Staring peacefully out of the passenger seat window, taking in the scenery, and enjoying the warmth of the winter sun on your face, you find yourself reminiscing on the car rides that you and Mr Incredible took together in the early days. You think back to the exhilarating speed and risky sharp turns, you remember Mr Incredible ignoring all the road signs and breaking all the rules. The excitement of it had your heart racing, you were sure you were riding in the best and fastest car on the road, with such an experienced driver, so skilled and so in control. You remember the times when you smiled all day and laughed so loud, the air thick with opportunity and promise. Those were the days when your skin glowed and your eyes sparkled, because you got to spend all of your time with Mr Incredible, who showered the Wonderful You with all of his affections and attention. You find your mind often wandering back to the thrill of those exhilarating car rides, the ones that Mr Incredible took you on in the very beginning.
Today, you’re just so happy to be out of the cold house, (where the fire needs to be kept constantly burning), enjoying the gentle heat of the suns rays pouring down upon you. While staring out the window, you think about how much these car trips have changed. Nowadays, you don’t feel as confident in your driver as you once did, you’re always uncertain of which way he might suddenly maneuver the vehicle, and you never know what’s around the next corner. This may have seemed like fun once, but not anymore, more often than not, you feel unnerved inside , you are completely unsure of what he keeps in the boot of the car, or hidden on the back seat. The air around you that was once filled with promise and hope, now seems clouded with a strange vagueness and uncertainty. It’s not really a wonder that you’re enjoying the view of the landscape out the window so much, along with pleasant thoughts of car rides once had, they seem like easier places to be in, rather than the reality of the present.
It’s not long before you are snapped back into reality, Mr Incredible and the Wonderful You begin a discussion, one which takes only minutes to become heated. It’s about the lie that he told you, when he said he couldn’t drive you to Sydney (a seven hour round trip) because he had something else to do, failing to mention at the time, he’d already organised to take that same day off, to drive his secretary to Sydney and help her pick up her new car. With desperate intensity in his voice, he’s trying to explain why he had to lie to you; he knew you would overreact if he told you the truth; he was just trying to help someone out; it’s normal to hang out alone with other girls where he comes from; a happy employee is a good employee; it was to benefit the company (he is the company), the list goes on, but you’re not buying it, you want to know why he lied. If it was all so normal, and he was just helping someone out, why would he would keep it a secret? “I’m just trying to do the best I can!” He was yelling now, his voice urgent and panicky, “I’m trying to keep everybody happy… I’m trying to please you, I’m trying to please her!” You feel as though you are being grouped together with this person, and you wonder why he is trying to please her, you remind him that she works for him, and he doesn’t need to please her. “Well, not please her,” he says, correcting himself, “I’m trying to keep her happy.” Again, you ask, “Why are you trying to keep her happy?” His words make it sound as though he has such a heavy burden to bare, an innocent bystander could easily be convinced that he’s in such a hard predicament. If it’s a battle you’re engaged in, then Mr Incredible is clearly losing, trying to make you out to be the crazy, jealous one isn’t working for him in this instance, seeing as he’s the secret-keeper. His body language is fidgety, he looks both confused and frustrated, he shifts around in his seat in an agitated manner, trying to get comfortable. Abruptly, and out of nowhere, he changes direction, as he slams on the brakes, your body is thrown forward, then to the side, and then backwards. After spinning the vehicle around in a complete U-turn, he takes off again, there is no discussion, the outing is boycotted, and you are heading back in the direction from which you came.
But this wasn’t to be the end of it, Mr Incredible breaks the silence by striking from out of nowhere, “You be careful what you say about her” he said, “she’s good at what she does, you weren’t that good” (Yes, you worked for him once) and then, “that’s why I do what I do.” You turn your head and look at him in complete astonishment, as your jaw slowly drops open, he shoots from left field again, “and I’m not sure what your parents did to you either, but they’ve fucked you over, in a really good way, you are so fucked up!” Ahh, and there it is, the wounding arrow, the lie that has been carefully formed out of some kind of truth.
And then, ever so swiftly, your positions are swapped back again and you return to your prospective posts, you are cut back down to size, and put back in your place, back to where you belong, and he is elevated back to his self-appointed throne.
Looking out the window once more, your head remains turned away from him as far it possibly can for the remainder of the trip. You can’t see much now, everything is blurry due to the tears that fill your eyes. Occasionally one rolls down your cheek, but you don’t move your hand to wipe it away, because you don’t want him to see that he’s made you cry. You wonder to yourself why he’s just accused you of saying something about her when you didn’t say anything at all, and you wonder why he was so defensive of her anyway. You wonder why he brought up your parents out of the blue like that, you wonder why he thinks you are so fucked up. You wonder why he chose to take her to Sydney that same day that you needed someone to take you, you wonder why he kept it a secret, you wonder if there have been any other secret trips you don’t know about. You wonder what makes her better than you, you wonder what makes her so deserving, and you so undeserving, she must be really good, maybe you’re not good enough.
Your worst fear has come to the light, if you didn’t already doubt yourself, then that’s all nicely sorted out for you now, if you hadn’t already accepted his offer to play the game called ‘Prove yourself,’ then here it is, being offered to you once more, beckoning you to step up to the plate and accept it’s challenge. These seeds germinate and take root down in your brain, just the way Mr Incredible has purposed them to, it was even Mr Incredible himself, who accidentally told you of his own lie, creating a drama out of nowhere. The seeds are firmly planted, it won’t take much continued watering and attention on Mr Incredible’s behalf, to cause them to grow.
You can hear a faint, small voice trying to speak to you, but you can’t make out the words… Mr Incredible is just too loud. Your Little Secret Self is gentle and not overbearing like him, always giving room for other people to be themselves, maybe sometimes too much room, but this is her none the less. She’s probably trying to say something like, “This is not normal, something’s not right… it’s not you, it’s him… you don’t deserve to be yelled at, you are indeed good enough, you are MORE THAN GOOD ENOUGH, YOU ARE GREAT, and you were fantastic at that job, think back to how you had to resign because he wouldn’t stop his abuse, throwing things, shoving things in your face, and calling you names, he is crazy, get the f#%^ out!” Whatever she’s saying, you can’t hear her for all the white noise and confusion that’s screaming and spinning around in your head. Your Little Secret Self is, after all, (as Mr Incredible so unkindly pointed out) damaged, what hope does she have of ever being heard or making any sense to anyone? It seems that doubting herself is the only thing she’s any good at after all these years.
Finally, the car trip comes to an end, still in shock, you exit the vehicle in silence. Your body feels so frozen that you’re hardly able to move, you wonder if you’ll be able to walk once your feet hit the ground. The pain is almost physical, it feels as though someone has stuck a knife through your stomach and twisted it around on the inside of you. Who is going to be there to help you heal these wounds, who is going to comfort you and what are you going to do now? As you walk away, Mr Incredible calls out to you, you ignore him, but he persists and catches up with you. Grabbing your shoulders firmly, he turns you around to look at him, but you fail to meet his eye, “I’m sorry” he says sincerely, your body doesn’t respond, and your arms fall limp by your sides as he pulls you close to hug you. For the smallest second, you allow your head to rest on his shoulder, never in your life have you needed to hear these words as much as you need to hear them right now, in this moment. And this this is the day it begins, the abusive cycle of wounding and healing, knocking you down to help you up, hurting you to heal you, creating unease, and then offering you comfort. Oh, the insidious of it all.
The days following this car trip are riddled with torment and pain, all of your worst fears run wild in your head, like caged animals suddenly released. You spend hours questioning yourself and your performance as Mr Incredible’s one time employee. You start out on the disastrous trail of comparison and competition, even though, in the depths of your own soul you know the truth and you know the answers. But there is a problem, and it is this…… you don’t yet know the depths of your own soul, you are not properly acquainted with your Little Secret Self at all, and that is precisely why Mr Incredible targeted you in the first place.