Last night my husband and I took our six-month-old pup, Bailey, and went out for a walk. I love it when we leave all the electronic umbilical cords at home and just take time to talk.
We were strolling past the park, shuffling through the big oak leaves that showed pale gold, brown, and orange in the street lights, and enjoying the slight nip in the air. As we were chatting about this and that, my thoughts turned to someone we both love and for whom we are mutually concerned.
I began to explain what I was thinking about telling this loved one if the situation warranted a firmer position than what I’ve previously taken. In the middle of listing what I thought needed to be said, my husband quickly interjected. He told me that I had already said those words, and he even listed off the other things I was about to tell him – I had already said the firm words. But I had no recollection of it. I still don’t.
It is preposterous, what I’m about to say. If you’ve never had this experience it will be hard to relate to…
See, this disturbed me. I was disappointed. I felt a sense of unrest and betrayal. Though it was clearly one of “us” – you know, me, myself, I and all the rest – who gave the advice, I felt kind of stunned. Since two of us are usually up and aware (Cate/Grace), and share co-consciousness, this was very disquieting to discover that there is obviously someone who has not yet identified herself (assuming it’s a “her”) to us, and she takes the main stage sometimes.
It’s not even that my mystery alter said or did anything inappropriate. I couldn’t argue that it was needed counsel she gave, and I was actually relieved that I didn’t have to build up my courage to say hard words because I had already said them. I was even kind of happy that there was agreement “within” on the subject. But I felt like some other “me” stole my place, usurped my authority, spoke out of turn, and didn’t even have the courtesy to tell me about it. And I wondered how often this has happened.
In addition to my own feelings of ambivalence, what about the consequences to others? What if I had another conversation with that person and had no idea that I had already said those words? How awkward would it be to repeat them as if saying them for the first time? Would I even recognize any discomfort as resulting from words I had already spoken? Would I make the leap and catch up if the other person began to address what I said last time?
This isn’t the first time someone has said “You already told me that”.
I know that some chalk it up to getting older, repeating oneself, etc. But I’m not even 60, and my mind is sharp and alert. It’s just that it’s insulting to my sense of fair play, and makes me look weak and foolish in the eyes of others, and I can’t even explain it because that’s a whole can of worms I really don’t want to open.
I wish I had an answer. But as a temporary solution, I’m thinking about installing a bulletin board “inside” and asking my incognito alters to check in once in a while. It would be nice to know who’s up, and who is taking over unbeknown to me.