Eric Berne has a lot to answer for. He was the one who shared with us the concept of the Inner Child, the best comment on which comes from Don Henley and Glen Frey:
You drag it around like a ball and chain
You wallow in the guilt; you wallow in the pain
You wave it like a flag, you wear it like a crown
Got your mind in the gutter, bringin’ everybody down
Complain about the present and blame it on the past
I’d like to find your inner child and kick its little ass
Recently, in a fit of narcissistic self-indulgence, I decided to rumble through my inner cast-list and see who is hanging around in the back of my mind.
We’ve already met my confused inner feminists: intelligent, articulate, Independent-reading women that they are. My inner rationalist won’t let them read the Guardian, which seems a bit mean of her, but sisterhood has limits.
I also appear to have an inner Big-Sister, (as if my outer Big Sisters weren’t enough in that respect). She tends to say rather brisk things like, well that was stupid, wasn’t it! I did get my revenge once by channelling a comment of hers into a poem about the end of a love affair which started with a direct quote when she observed sharply you aren’t as independent as you thought, girl! She tends to call me girl for some reason. She’s the only person who does, these days.
Poetry, of course, brings me on to my inner muse. Actually, there’s a whole separate inner woman with a name and everything, who travels a lot, has passionate fraught and deeply sexual love affairs and who writes poetry which manages to be both over-emotional and over-analytical at the same time. Fortunately she’s calmed down a bit. Taking her passport away has worked wonders, though she still comes out occasionally, for a cry.
My inner WI member is around rather a lot these days, in fact she’s taking over to the extent that I have an outer WI member as well. This is the one who knits, though my inner mathematician makes her knit moebius scarves. She’s a good cook too, though neither of us could bake cakes to save our lives. She adores my aunt-in-law simply because the aunt-in-law is not only a good woman, but a baker of moistly delicious cakes.
There’s an inner whore and an inner courtesan, who feel that a kiss is wasted if their partner does not shiver. There’s also an inner sexual adventuress, and the less said about her particular kinkinesses without adult advisory stickers the better.
There’s an outer slut, who lets my kitchen get to the point where it is dangerously unhygienic, and my inner slut then says immune system – use it or lose it while stepping over the dead mouse for the third time that day.
My inner toddler is an anarchic creature, and far more cutesie and girlie than I ever was before the age of 20 which is slightly odd. She has simple tastes and giggles when people fart.
What is disturbing is that I set out to write something mildly entertaining for you, gentle reader, and pleasantly self-reflective for me, but now I find myself wondering if there is in fact an inner me at all. And then I realise, Don’t be ridiculous, I’m Aphra. Inside and out. Who on earth else would I be?