Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gaye and the Little Ones

    Almost every morning I wake up with a phrase, a word, a name or a place in my head. I either hear myself saying it or another voice saying it. Sometimes it relates to a dream I had or sometimes it seems arbitrary. Sometimes it’s familiar and other times it’s something I’ve never heard of before. Often it leaves my mind quickly but sometimes it sticks with me and I find myself replaying it throughout the day or even longer.
    Yesterday, I woke up to my own voice saying, “I met myself last night”. That statement haunted me all day yesterday and it got me thinking about my most pronounced, developed alter part of myself, “Gaye.”
    My therapist thinks "Gaye" is about 14 now. She was about 8 or 10 when we first became aware of her last summer. It seems as if her role has primarily been my protector, my “go-to girl.” The “boss.”  That describes her really well.
    As I thought about that, I had a very clear memory of being a small child with my babysitter and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Murphy. I don’t know how old I was, but I had to have been less than 8 and I’d guess much less because I was standing up in the back seat of their car leaning up against the back of the bench seat. So, maybe I was about 5.
    I remember the white leather interior with red trim and it smelled of cigars, (I HATE the smell of cigars). Mr. Murphy was driving and Mrs. Murphy was riding in the passenger seat and we were talking. I think I said something cute or funny and he turned his head to look at me. I was a VERY shy little girl, so what came out of my mouth would have been unexpected and surprising I’m sure. I boldly, precociously said to him “keep your eyes on the road!” Based upon his response to me, I must have sounded like I meant business because he replied, “OK boss!” They both found it amusing but he did turn back and kept his “eyes on the road.”
    I think that’s my first memory of “Gaye” as a separate, protector part of me. Something about being in his car and the way he looked at me scared me subconsciously and she stepped right in to save me. I don’t have any memory of anything bad ever happening to me while I was in the care of the Murphy's, but I think I was triggered by the way he looked at me and by being in his car. Maybe that’s when I figured out “Gaye” was the boss and she could handle what I couldn’t.
    I will always be grateful to the parts of myself that took the abuse so that I wouldn’t have to. They allowed me to go up to “the attic” of my mind, to live in TV land as one of the Brady Bunch, to float away to wonderful places and to “sleep” through it. Without “Gaye” and the little ones, I surely would not have survived. They allowed me to get up and go to school everyday, to make friends, to go to college, date, meet my husband and raise a family. The blessings I have in my life, I have largely because of them.
    The challenge I face today is in discovering, reconnecting and putting my “pieces” together again. What once saved my life, now gets in the way of living that life. I had no awareness of this internal family of mine and because I was oblivious to it, I abandoned those little parts of myself. You can imagine how hurt, scared and angry little ones might feel about having to “stay and take it” without any thanks; about being left behind and forgotten and finally, about being rejected and resented once they were noticed. I owe it to them to come back for them. I owe them my gratitude, acceptance and nurturing. I'm trying to earn back their trust and get them to share memories and feelings with me. Today I need them to help me remember who I was and what I've experienced. I need them to help me heal. I want to help them too and I promise to never forget them again.


  1. Gabrielle,
    I am amazed at your writing, you are gifted! I can see a book in your future~~ Know that I am praying for you on this journey adn we will get togather for coffee soon....

  2. Very moving. I wish you the best in reconnecting with "Gaye" and the little ones.