Conversations with Myself – Part 3a
Welcome to Part 3 of Conversations with Myself, a series in which I explore – and attempt to speak to – the various personalities and sub-personalities inside me, as outlined in the BLE Parts Map. For those of you just joining in, you may want to start with Part 1, in which I come to an understanding with my oblivionator. You can also read Part 2, a conversation with my seductive rationalizer – but I warn you, this one is a little disturbing. Not every encounter comes to a peaceful resolution.
Today, I will begin exploring the third and final sub-personality in the Indulger category that I’ve identified within me: the rebel. But before I attempt to speak with her directly – and share the results with you – I think a short introduction is in order.
The Rebel: What We Already Know
The rebel is the part of me that rises up in defiance. She is suspicious of authority, chafes at rules, and cannot bear to be controlled. You can see how these propensities might make a rules-based system of eating something of a challenge. She has derailed my efforts more than once. And yet, of all the voices in my head, the rebel may be the one I have the best relationship with. Without having deliberately attempted to let her speak, I am already very familiar with her, and appreciate the positive aspects of her existence.
My rebel is a significant, but not an obvious part of my personality. I am not an intrinsically rebellious person – that is, I do not rebel for the sake of rebellion. I’m old-fashioned: I like old things, and old ways, and I don’t seek out newness or novelty. I never did. I made it through my adolescence without subjecting my parents to a rebellious phase. I never resented or challenged their authority – though their expectations of me were higher than those placed on the majority of my peers. I was studious, responsible, and well-behaved – much as I am now.
However, the more I think about it, the less I can attribute this seeming docility to a really compliant or obedient nature. You see, although I felt my parents’ expectations, they rarely imposed actual rules on me. They never needed to. My own conscience, and the expectations I placed on myself, were more than stringent enough to keep my actions well within their notions of propriety, since at least the age of 13. Therefore, I never felt them as a domineering force in my life. I felt free to do and choose as I would. I didn’t rebel, because there was nothing to rebel against.
In my entire adolescence, I can remember a single episode contradicting this general state of affairs. I was probably 14 or 15. And my father, uncharacteristically venturing upstairs to check on his sleeping children after arriving home late one night, found me reading in bed. It was quite late, possibly early in the morning, and he was surprised to see me awake. It was a school night. He told me to turn the light out.
It was the first absolute directive I had received from my father in many months. My little bubble of autonomy was burst, and I felt the weight of parental authority resting heavily on me. I can still feel the anger that built up in my chest at this injunction. My eyes burning with indignation. I was being treated like a child. Though I obeyed, I did not like it.
I still do not like being told what to do.
I have a strong will, and an independent spirit. Reasonable bedtimes aside, my parents encouraged that in me, and I think they were surprised at how far I took it. I may not rebel without good reason; but where I have, or believe I have good reason, I will rebel. I take little notice of going against convention or popular opinion. Where I’ve felt it necessary – after much thought and a little prayer – I’ve broken the law, with an ease which surprised even me. It can be a little scary, but I quite like this part of me. I’m glad that I question things. I like that I’m not satisfied with the status quo; that I think for myself and make my own decisions. These are some of my favourite things about myself.
The problem is, this rebellious side tends to rise up against any restraints that she finds unreasonable – even those that are self-imposed. You see, we don’t always agree. We have different priorities. And she is very strong – strong enough to take over. Which is why this conversation is so necessary. Until this part of my personality is on my side, I don’t think I will ever be able to stick to Bright Line Eating for any significant length of time.
Now you know a little about my rebel. Prepare for what I expect to be an epic conversation.