Okay, so we let Self-Loathing in the house. She’s a part of me too, after all. I’m learning that all the parts have their place; it doesn’t do any good to try to chase some of them away.
This morning, we’re all sitting around the big table together: Compassion, the girl, Weekend Laziness, the Housekeeper, Snarkiness, and Hope. We’re eating raspberries for breakfast when we hear shuffling on the stairs. Self-Loathing comes in the room. She looks cleaner than she did last night, though she’s still wearing the same ragged clothes. She smells like lavender, so I guess she did take that bath.
“Come join us,” Compassion says, scooting over to make room at the table. “There are plenty of berries.”
Self-Loathing remains standing, looking at us. Her eyes are a bit glassy, unfocused. She takes something out of her pocket. It’s a small gun, which she holds up to her head.
The girl stiffens and cries out, and Compassion puts her arms around her, pulling her close. The others are quiet and watch.
But I’m not allowing this. I walk up to her and take the gun out of her hand. “Absolutely not,” I tell her in a firm voice. “You are welcome here, but this gun is not. No weapons in the house.”
I hand the gun over to Weekend Laziness and ask her to dispose of it in the usual manner. She in turn gives it to Snarkiness and asks her to dispose of it. Snarkiness rolls her eyes and murmurs something under her breath about the apparent immobility of Laziness but gets up from the table. She takes the gun, walks to the front porch, and drops it into out magical This-Doesn’t-Belong-Here (TDBH) disposal chute right next to the mailbox.
“Here’s the deal, Self-Loathing,” I tell her, my voice a little more gentle. “We have a few rules in this house. Not many, but the ones we have are inflexible. No weapons. No killing anyone, including yourself. No deliberate endangerment of self or others. If you have difficulty sticking to this, you are required to let us know, and we’ll have Compassion and Hope hang out with you for a while. We won’t punish you for feeling this way, but we also won’t permit you to wallow in self-destructiveness by yourself. Do you understand?”
She stands still. But her eyes are more focused. She looks from face to face. Snarkiness nicely looks away in order not to frighten her too much with her usual dirty looks. Self-Loathing doesn’t say anything, but she nods.
Hope stands up with a big bowl of raspberries. “Come on,” she says, taking Self-Loathing by the hand. “Let’s go upstairs and eat these in peace. And then maybe we can find you something else to wear. I think I have a sundress you can borrow.”
They go upstairs. While Compassion rocks the girl on her lap, humming, the Housekeeper starts to clear the table. Snarkiness asks Laziness what she’s going to do to help out today.
“Take a nap in the garden,” Weekend Laziness says with a yawn. “What else?”