the lesson of sister mary loquacious (besides just wanting a cup of tea)

adhd authenticity failure mindset perfectionism Oct 19, 2023
Weirdly Wired Women
the lesson of sister mary loquacious (besides just wanting a cup of tea)

I was absolutely certain I sent a weekly email last week.

I would've bet on it.

Aaaaannnnd....I would've lost. Because I definitely did not.

It's the kind of thing I could really beat myself up about.

And that's exactly what I would've done to myself in the past.

Somewhere in my formative years, I heard a story that I had to be perfect.

I don't know when, or how, or why.

I don't even know who told it to me...someone else? My own brain?

It doesn't really matter. What matters is, the story stuck.

That's not surprising--our brains are wired to remember stories. They have incredible staying power.

And they don't have to be true to stick around.

That's why it's so important to fact-check the stories you tell yourself. Especially the ones that hold you back.

But it's not enough just to know they're not true.

Because the stories don't have to be true for you to believe them...or to act in accordance with them.

You need to replace the stories holding you back with new ones.


One way you can do this is with an entirely new narrative, like Mary Hodges in Good Omens.

If you're not familiar with the book, the short version is this:

Mary first belongs to an order of satanic nuns. They're charged with replacing a human baby with the son of Satan, per Antichrist/child-switching tradition. Hilarity ensues.

Anyway, Mary believed herself to be stupid and scatterbrained. That's what people expected of her...and what she expected of herself.

That was her story.

After the baby juggling, the order gets dissolved. Mary discovers she isn't a nitwit. She actually has a head for business and finance. And she opens a successful corporate training facility.

She rewrote the "simple scatterbrain" story she believed about herself.

Image: Photos from Good Omens Season 1. Left, Sister Mary Loquacious saying, "Fancy me holding the Antichrist, counting his little toesie-woesies." Right, later, as Mary Hodges, recalling "He had lovely little toesie-woesies."

Sometimes what you really need IS a whole new story.

But a lot of times you can simply reframe the narratives you already have.

Which is really just a way of saying "tell your story in a new way."

Or, yet another way, "tell your story the way your best friend would tell it about you."

So, for example, here's my old story:

Perfect is the Only Option: Self-Flagellating After Your Failures in 79 Easy Steps

Which I've reframed it to:

It's OK Make Mistakes, Girlfriend: Cut Yourself Some Slack and Maybe Get a Cookie

(I'm not sure why, but I'm incapable of writing fictitious titles without a colon in them. Also, I love making up fake book titles.)

To rewrite or to reframe?

I've been thinking a lot about both methods lately.

Last week was my 5th "anniversary" of being laid off...I did a lot of rewriting and reframing after that transition.

It was also my birthday...and getting older in a culture where women aren't supposed to age definitely requires some new narratives.

Plus it's been about 2 years since being diagnosed with ADHD...which has had me fact-checking all my old personal novellas.

I muse about some of this in last week's (very short) podcast episode.

I don't believe either is better than the other.

What's important is that you keep telling yourself your new story...

And then watch what happens when it sticks. :)

Being myself, as hard as I can,


PS: I've been relistening to Good Omens this week. It's my comfort book. I also love the TV adaptation---though a lot of detail about Mary was cut out. Including this line, which I love:"but after some thought she decided that... the really important thing to be was yourself, just as hard as you could."