I was talking with a friend who quit drinking a couple of years ago and she said “I don’t even know who ‘that girl’ is anymore and I never want to see her again.” She was talking about her dark side, her evil twin, the ‘her’ that drank.
My girl is The Rebel. And I love her. I didn’t always feel that way, in fact I hated her, was terrified of her and of course, was wildly jealous of her. I thought she embarrassed me with her bravado, fierce rebellion and gumption. I hated the way she provoked those around her and left me cowering in a corner while she did that and then left me to pick up the pieces and mend bridges.
There are so many sides to a person. We can not be defined as just one thing. For me, depending on the situation, different sides or versions of me come to the forefront to deal with reality as I am interpreting or experiencing it. If you can imagine a flock of birds flying in a V formation.
Sometimes, a different bird switches places with the lead bird. It’s like that. A different version of me will position itself as the leader depending on the experience I’m having. Sometimes I am a nurturer, a sage, a rescuer or a diplomat. Other times I am a victim, a saboteur, a judge, a manipulator or a rebel.
My Rebel is incredibly passionate, strong-willed, determined, brash, reckless and always gets me into a lot of trouble. In the months leading up to my decision to quit drinking I’d been sitting and talking with my Rebel. Ok sure, we were sitting and talking over glasses of red wine, but for the first time we were actually conversing.
Have you ever faced your rebel, or your dark side, and asked it what it wanted? Turns out all my Rebel ever endeavoured to do was defend me and demand to be heard in defence of me. She just didn’t go about it very well. Her behaviour was that of a toddler, declaring her place in this world with all a child’s demanding:
This is what I want! Listen to me! Look at me! Pay attention to me! Love me!
There is another reason why my Rebel behaves like a child: That’s how old I was when she was made. When she first showed up to defend me, to protect me, to declare loudly to the world that I mattered.
I love my Rebel now because I understand her. When I sense that the hairs on the back of her neck are beginning to stand up and she’s straightening her spine for battle, I pay attention. I try to identify what experience is bristling her and tempting her to the front of the line. Then, instead of being afraid and wary of her, and instead of trying to rein her in and control her, I open my heart and give her my love. You see, she is important because she is also the side of me that demands more out of life. The one who stands up against wrong and fights against the norm. She is the side of me that helps set and enforce safe boundaries in my life. And I need her, now that I understand where she’s coming from. Now that we’ve met in the middle, as long as I continue to walk with her, we’ll get somewhere.