Monday, April 06, 2009


I wonder if we all have "alters".
I just finished watching the entire season one of The United States of Tara on Showtime.
First of all, it was amazing, and Toni Collette is brilliant, yet
that isn't what keeps the story on my mind.
The character, Tara, allegedly had a traumatic experience when she was away at boarding school as a teenager, and coped with it by splitting her consciousness into several different personalities.

Though the majority of us don't manage our personal traumas, secrets, shames this dramatically, I wonder if we don't have personalities that help us to cope.
When I was watching the end of the show, I couldn't help but think about all of the judgement that we heap upon ourselves and others in this culture. 
We are expected to live within the lines drawn arbitrarily by religion, politics, and social mores passed down through generations.  We are expected to paint on this face of "ok-ness", and if we can't -- or don't-- we aren't acceptable.

The personalities that Tara developed into could be seen as somewhat cliche, yet, don't we all have them?  There is "T", the sexually aggressive, 16 year old pot smoker who doesn't give a rats ass what boundaries are expected of her; there is Alice, the 1950's kick back who is going to paint on her Better House and Garden's face and cover any adversity with blueberry muffins;and there is Buck, the Vietnam vet, drinking, smoking, tough talking, gun cleaning, punch throwing, fart lighting dude who will stand up to even the slightest disrespect. 
And then, there is the alter that really interests me.  The name given to it is "Gimme", and it is like a child that has been raised away from any culture, full of fear and anger and shame.
Gimme acts out in wild, completely unacceptable ways to protect Tara from herself.  To protect Tara from healing.

Gimme made me think of myself. Not that I am like Gimme. I like to think that my cultural assimilation is one of my more charming qualities.
Yet, there are secret, dark places in me. There are shames that I rarely speak. To my knowledge, they are not things that you would recoil in disgust or judgement over, but tell that to my Gimme.
One of the areas that I have dysfunctionally coped with internal discord is with the addiction to being overweight. I find it fascinating that though I am as well-versed in the methods of how to change this as any consultant on The Biggest Loser, I have not made this change. 
Now, I have lost, and gained the same 30 lbs many times. This tells us that I am, indeed, able to do this thing. And then, just when I feel like progress is within my reach --
And whatever that deep, dark, angry part of me is trying to keep hidden, is protected.

I'll keep working.

Do we all have a Gimme?

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