Monday, April 02, 2007

Who's In Your Audience? (a sort of MEME)

Judy says: "....many people are DRIVEN by people in their imaginary audience, who in actuality pay no attention whatsoever to them".

I don't think of myself as someone overly controlled by "what-must-they-think" mentality, but I'd have to be honest to say that there are many voices perched on the peripheries of my brain that should be identified, evaluated, and possibly evicted. Its kind of like the 16 personalities of Sybil; it can get a bit loud and chaotic at times.

Fear is a big-time resident. She lobbies for the twins: fear of success and fear of failure. Recently she has been tapping her foot with an irritating rhythm. "You're about half through your life, you know..." she whines. "You're never going to make anything significant of yourself, you know that, don't you? Isn't it kind of a waste to be down here, know what you know, and be too dense to go anywhere with it?"
She exhausts me. I usually shut her down by sabatage.

Then there's the Angry Accountant. He sits there with his dark eyes and dark hair shaking his disappointed head back and forth, eyebrows dark and furrowed. He chastises us for never learning. For not being more more careful. Should plan better. Should say no to many things. Should have a plan, stick to it, eat simple meals.
I don't like him. He makes me feel bad, and gives me the impression that I can never do right.

The Thin Woman with room in the seat of her jeans is omnipresent. She's naturally willowy, and very, very sensible. She's almost condescending when she asks me; "Well, what is it that you want? If you want less fat on your body, why not just be proactive? Get out there, move your body around, eat less food. Its not rocket science, and you know how you gained twenty, so just reverse the formula, and voila, you should be able to drop it".
I'm intimidated by her. I know she's right, but scaredy pants always enters stage left right about that time.

Scaredy-pants isn't fat, and she isn't thin. She's obviously uncomfortable in her skin. You half expect her face to erupt into scarring acne just from the anxiety of you studying her. She drapes her arms across the front of her as though to protect herself from your eyes. She knows that you can read the padding on her body. Her failures and weaknesses hang off her in dimples and folding bulges. If her body size changed to that of a thin person, she'd have nothing to protect her. You'd see straight into her soul, and you may dislike what you find hiding there. Without that protective layer to be ashamed of, the shame would go deeper, much deeper and may even strip the skin right off her bones. She's just not capable of dealing with that kind of stress.
I feel compassion towards Scaredy, and I'd like to offer her a hand up. But she embarrasses me. I'm ashamed to be seen with her. I'm afraid that people wouldn't understand.

Then there's the "Neighbor" who hates living beside us. He hates: the soggy snowman parts littering the front yard. The three chairs that had ugly sweaters on them for my party last fall. The children's sled frozen solidly to the brown grass. He hates coming to the back door, balancing on boards sunk into frozen mud, up the stairs to a rotting deck, poorly designed by some tightwad before us. He looks down his nose at the cracks in the vinyl siding, and the tacky vinyl lattice halfway ripped off the edges of the deck. I think he and the Accountant are brothers, actually.
I hate them both, and I want to tell them that if that's how they define success in their lives, they must be very poor indeed. I want to introduce them to all my friends, and wow them with those investments. Still, they annoy me like an opinionated relative at an annual gathering. For some unknown reason, I just have to put up with them.

Then there's the Class Brain. He openly mocks me for my slow moving grey matter. How I can't remember any geography, history, or politics, no matter how I try. How I take such a long, belaboured time to evaluate information, to come to conclusions, to integrate new information. He makes a point of telling me that most people can keep up with their lives. How they can integrate news about people dying, people birthing, people killing themselves, marriages crumbling, natural disasters, babies starving, parents aging, brothers isolating themselves, driving themselves further into the loneliness of untreated addictions and mental illness....

I fear that the Brian is right, but there doesn't seem to be much value in defending myself. He's smarter than me, and it'll be hard for him to relate to a slower moving train. The best I can aim for here is to try and avoid eye contact.

Annoyingly Perfect Parent comes and goes at will. She criticizes me for what my children eat and don't eat, their lack of consistent manners, the lessons we never stuck with. She tut-tuts about our not having devotions with the children. Not reading the Bible as a family. She points out my inconsistencies, my difficulty with saying "no", and setting boundaries.
Mostly I slam the door in her face because I don't see the point in her. But there are times when her foot is in, and its just impossible to keep her out.

Wing-Nut and I share a love/hate relationship. She's funny and easy to hang out with but she can be incredibly spinny to the point of irresponsibility. She drops and breaks a great deal of things. She is plagued with nightmares about forgetting three or four babies in the basement, lying in pools of water. She starts things, then completely forgets about them. She's indecisive and entirely too honest. She can be a little embarrassing, since her brain is splintered and multi-coloured. I'm not sure what to do with her, to be honest.

That's a cross-section of my audience. Who's in yours?


Louise said...

Wow I have to say that you are an incredible writer, so good in fact that you should be writing books!!! I love reading your blog, hope you don't mind I found you through Shelley!!
Keep writing I love reading it all!

Anonymous said...

Wow! you have a full house and a few hecklers. You should get rid of the hecklers, definitely. I'd have to think about my audience at little, I'll try and get back to you. Katie's bus is due any minute. Good read.

Rosster said...

Brilliant !!!

mmichele said...


wonderful. i've been eating and drinking too much to even think about an audience...

must begin


Anonymous said...

That's what makes you so interesting...all those little "people" you house....Lindalew

Judy said...

My people are real people that I know.

The strangest one is a friend I knew from school. I have not seen her in 26 years, yet so much of what I do she is right there commenting on.

Another is a counselor my husband and I saw. I cannot for the life of me figure out why HE is in MY audience. But, he is. Maybe because he would write notes on a paper... That might be it. I still can picture his note writing.

For me, the audience is imaginary but the people are real.

Makes it harder for me to 'off' them, I guess.

I've actually written a few more posts on this, but whenever I go to hit 'publish' one of those dang audience members has an opinion about it...

Anonymous said...

Oh Joyce, don't get rid of Wing Nut.
Splintered, multi-coloured brain is good. Not bad.

Linda said...

I have similar people in my life. Maybe we need to exorcise them out of existence.

it's a gong show... said...

Wow Joyce! I am speechless after reading this. I had no idea that MY audience had siblings.

it's a gong show... said...

I hate to sound really ignoramus here but what is this MEME stuff?

Romeo Morningwood said...

I am Legion for I am many!
The good news is that my passive aggressive nature prevents me from actually confronting any of them (avoid eye contact) and they can all just pee up a rope!

The dominant goblins are, and as you well know firsthand, the Smartass, Triviameister, and the excrutiatingly annoying Philosophical Gadfly. How incredibly tedious they are. Pests really.

The Oversensitive Mushball, Incurable Kvetcher, and Extroverted Poseur try to elbow their way through the mental minefield a every so often.

Then there are the Charming Satyr, OCD Perfectionista and the struggling but deeply Angst-ridden pedestrian.

Finally the Egalitarian Social Engineer, Drunken Sailor Bank Manager and the Uber-Tacky Sears (circa'73) Window Dresser who dresses us in camouflage.

What a dreadfully tedious lot.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about the triplets: Should've, Would've, and Could've. They join together in harmony at the most opportune times like 'if you'd only purchased this instead of that, you wouldn't be in the mess you are', 'if you moved there instead of here' and the merry go round continues.