I played Joan Jett today, bought a bottle of black hair dye, and practiced holding up my middle finger while contorting my face in the mirror.
I couldn’t help but laugh at my attempt to appear fierce. It’s going to take some practice for sure.
It’s a new day, and as I’ve been encouraged to do, I am letting my inner rebel come out to play. I haven’t used the dye yet, but so far, I like this part of me. We’ve had brief encounters in the past, but I have never met her in full form. Today, I think I’ll turn up Joan Jett, go for a drive, and get that nose ring I’ve always wanted.
If you think I’ve lost my mind, you’re right. I have, and it feels great. Try losing yours.
I am 28 years old, and for the first time in my life, I’m saying f*ck it. I’m living without restrictions, and for once, I feel as if I see a part of myself that has long been buried. She’s beautiful, loving, and fearless.
A therapist once told me that my ego is always in the driver’s seat, and she was right. I’ve been stuck in behaving and living a particular way because of familiarity. As time goes on, I’m learning to lean into discomfort and fully embrace the life I choose for myself. I may never get a nose ring, but I do plan to live for me today, and for the rest of my life.
I have invited my rebel to stay awhile. I’m not sure what else she’d like to do, but I am curious to find out. One thing is for certain—I like her more and more as the hours pass and I turn Joan Jett up just a little bit louder.
If you were to meet me for the first time, you may find my voice soft, sweet, or difficult to hear. I’m often teased for its soft quality and asked to speak up. This is the voice of my five-year-old part, and she’s more often than not blended with my adult self.
When I speak of the feeling of being five, I refer to it as a part. I have many parts, just as you do, and as do those with Dissociative Identity Disorder. While this disorder is rare and I do not suffer from it, we each have parts within us, and we often speak about them when using the phrase, “There’s a part of me that feels X.”
“Parts work” or Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a type of therapy in which clients work to understand, value, and transform the parts within themselves.
In IFS, it is believed that each of us is made up of parts. These are various personalities that we each carry, and they all benefit us in some capacity. However, as we proceed through life and experience traumas and difficulties around attachment, these parts can negatively affect our lives. Our goal in IFS is not to get rid of them or to look down on them, but to transform so that we can flourish.
When I examine the parts of me that are most present, I notice a five-year-old, a 10-year-old, a 16-year-old, and my adult self.
My five-year-old is sweet, timid, always yearning for someone to play with her, loving, and hesitant. She cries if someone she loves, particularly a mother figure, leaves.
My 10-year-old is anxious. She’s protective and doesn’t trust people. She’s easily frightened and is not always accurate in perceiving danger. She’s been trained to behave this way, though, and only wants to look out for me.
My 16-year-old is there, I think, but I haven’t really met her. I see glimpses of her, and I think she’s fierce. She’s definitely a go-getter, an independent thinker, and a rebel. She advocates for fairness, honesty, and justice. I like her, but I’m not sure her how she will arise or what she will look like. Time will only tell.
Lastly, there’s the adult Rebecca. I am often either her, my young five-year-old self, or some blended form of the two with the addition of my 10-year-old anxious persona. My adult self gets things done, takes care of bills, works hard, is loving, often takes on too much work, and is making sure everything is organized and completed.
These are just some of the parts of me at play, and these particular ones are most familiar to me.
While it can be difficult to get know the parts within us, it is important to remember that they each attempt to help us. With IFS, one can learn to support these parts and ultimately transform them and heal.