Oh Susie Q (and the rest of the gang)

A couple of months ago, in my eating healthy mode, I suddenly experienced the overwhelming feeling of needing to shovel fattening food into my mouth at an alarming rate. Not this again, shit! Or, not this shit again! I had been doing so well for a week or three. I had lost what I had gained from my last feeding frenzy and I was almost at a good number. Not good number as in my goal weight, oh no, but good number in that I was down from the shame zone.

So, my mind was racing as to what was in the house. We had nuts, cheese, milk, chocolate, pasta, avocados, and honey. We didn’t have pan dulces from the Mexican market; not the ones stuffed with cheese and jalapenos, or the sweet ones with cream and a chocolate glaze. I’m starting to make myself hungry now so I’ll get on with it.

I had the flash of insight to ask this aspect of my self who it was. Immediately the answer came back ‘Susie’. That shocked me, I didn’t expect any answer at all. It really was a rhetorical question. How old are you? and the answer came back ‘6’. I said you can’t be 6, I think you must be more like 2. Oops how rude of me, telling my little inner self how old it was. I asked another question and got this answer. ‘I am not gonna talk to anybody who doesn’t love me.’ And I knew she meant love her totally, completely, freely.

I wanted to lure her back, it was such an unexpectedly beautiful connection with my inner self that I wanted more. I felt that she was shy and didn’t trust me. I needed to make a space where we could communicate safely so I imagined a dense forest with a clearing by a stream. I lay down on the grass in the clearing and relaxed, watching the clouds go by. I hoped that Susie would come to the edge of the forest and talk with me. But she didn’t. I thought of that peaceful place often over the next few days but there was no sign of her.

One day I went to the market for tomatoes and mushrooms. As I got back into my car I thought of a former friend who lived a few doors from the market and worried that he would come out of his house and see me. I wondered what I would say to him, would I be polite but closed or ignore him altogether? I had the thought what would you do, Susie? Immediately she ran out from behind a tree, all fists, and elbows, and fury. She ran right up to him and kicked him really hard in the shin and then ran straight back into the forest and disappeared. It all happened in a second. I was so surprised I sat in my car and howled with laughter until tears were coming out of my eyes. I fell in love with her completely in that moment.

I told my friend about her. My friend had also named her inner child but with a beautiful name, Leah Mariposa. Leah was her Hebrew name and Mariposa (butterfly) was her childhood street. I wanted Susie to have a better name but my childhood street was LeMoyne and I didn’t have a Hebrew name. So she became Susie Q. When I told my friend her name she said that was what she used to call me all those 50 years ago, Susie Q. So I went on youtube and listened to different versions of the old song ‘Oh Susie Q’. My favorite of them was by Jose Feliciano and was a little too sexy but otherwise perfect. So I sang his version of ‘Oh Susie Q’ in my head every day for awhile.

Since I fell in love with her I haven’t felt the urge to binge eat. There have been a couple of stirrings but nothing like the tide-going-out almost impossible to resist feeling it was before. Once in awhile I have a craving for an ice cream and I have one, lingering over the sensuality of every bite and thoroughly enjoying it. And then having a healthy dinner later instead of continuing a binge. This is huge for me, something I have never been able to do. I would binge or be strictly healthy, black or white, a very bi-polar way of eating. One bite of a salted cashew had been enough to send me into a full out binge that could last one day or two weeks. Now it’s very different and much more peaceful. Thank you Susie Q. I haven’t lost many pounds but I figure that will all take care of itself over time. I have started taking walks in the morning hoping to hurry it up just a teensy bit.

Of course I’ve told my therapist all of this, she encourages me to do all of this and asks for more. She wants the name of the rational part of myself who makes the wise decisions and I told her Socrates. She got me thinking about all the aspects of me and who is in charge of what. That’s what this bit of writing is about today, to riff on that theme for a bit.

Okay, so the one in charge of me is Susan. I’m the one who owns a lot of the brain space and the one who is typing right now. I’m like the Chairman of the Board with lots of different departments weighing in or just silently and stealthily influencing my decisions and my world. I’ll attempt to call a meeting and see who shows up. Wish me luck.

The first committee to arrive is The Republican Party, which is made up of The Church Lady AKA Prudence Ursula Claxton. She holds the line on the rules and makes sure they aren’t broken. She bases all of her decisions on the Holy Word which would be fine but the version she has was interpreted from the original dead language by Roseanne Rosannadanna and her religious aunt Hosanna Rosannadanna. (These were characters on SNL created by Gilda Radner, look it up, it’s brilliant.) (Roseanne and Hosanna also interpreted the Holy Koran but instead of it being 72 raisins, they got confused and said it was 72 virgins. Oh well.)

The Committee on Spiritual Matters is made up of Mr. Rogers (1), Anne Lamott (2), Marianne Williamson (3), and Moms Mabley (4). They are the arch enemies of The Republic Party. The CSM represents the voice of love and reason and high ideals and it’s also in charge of the tears that wash Susan clean and keep me going. This committee is also called The Atticus Finch (5) Brigade.

Next is the Department of Internal Affairs which is headed by Susie Q, a 6 year old, freckle faced, wild haired, little poppet. She is the leader of Troop 55 of the Brownies. They live together in the woods without grown-ups. They sleep under the stars the forest canopy and cook over open campfires. They make their furniture out of old newspapers and bottles, things they find in the forest. They are impulsive, willful, and the keepers of the deepest secrets.

The Department of Interpersonal Relations is made up of Gladys Kravitz, neighbor of Bewitched’s Samantha, who looks out from behind the curtains of her living room to spy on all the goings on of the neighbors. She judges everyone according to the rules of The Republican Party. Gladys cannot sit near the Committee on Spiritual Matters or she will melt. She is joined by Granny Clampett from The Beverly Hillbillies who sits with a shotgun on her knees in an old rocking chair and protects the boundaries between Susan and the rest of the world. Also in the DIR is Dr. Frankenstein, who writes plays from the info Gladys gleans and tries to make them believable and powerful but they are really mirages. He is best friends with Roseanne R.

Search and Rescue is made up of Hannibal of the Alps, who will lead elephants over the snow topped slopes to get supplies in and rescue the troops. Florence Nightingale is his closest ally, she is the one who sounds the alarm when he is needed. Might Mouse is always there to save the day in case the elephants can’t get through.

And finally The Monkees, which has three members. Ivan the Gorilla is the embodiment of panic, agoraphobia, and anxiety. He lives in a cage but we all live in fear that he will escape again. His sister is Koko the Gorilla who has been taught sign language so that she can communicate between apes and humans. She is as gentle as Ivan is dangerous and she keeps kittens as pets in her enclosure. She lives next door to Hannibal’s elephants and their amazing swimming pool. And also Bubbles the Chimp whose main job is to feed random obsessive thoughts and memories into the brain machine and think the same thing over and over.

These are the committees who have made themselves known so far. As soon as more reveal themselves I’ll swear them in and then send out an updated report.

(1) Mr. Rogers who was the kindest person who ever lived. Also his mother told him when there is a tragedy to always look for the helpers.
(2) Anne Lamott, author and wise woman who inspires me greatly.
(3) Marianne Williamson, author, who can make the most difficult spiritual thought easily understandable by almost anyone, even me.
(4) Moms Mabley, comedienne, toothless, old, and may be the one who first said If you always do what you always done, you’ll always get what you already got.
I can’t put “” around that cause I’m paraphrasing.
(5) Atticus Finch is the main character in To Kill A Mockingbird. He is wise and kind and just. He will not be moved from his morals and principles.


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