Last Night I Dreamed I Went to Manderley Again
Remember that movie “Rebecca”? If not, I’ll give you a brief recap, complete with spoilers, so watch out.
A never-named young woman, who is in Europe as the companion to a rich old woman, meets and marries a rich older guy. He takes her home to Manderley, his estate.
Thanks to her own insecurities and to a verrry creepy housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (shown in photo above), the woman comes to believe that her husband will never get over the death of his beautiful, talented, intelligent wife, Rebecca.
Much hand-wringing and self-doubt ensue. At the end, it is revealed that the lovely Rebecca was not a great lady, but was instead a wanton adulteress who had a bunch of other rotten stuff going on as well.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. Mrs. Danvers, the evil housekeeper (whom I suspect of having a little lesbian thing for Rebecca) is that Bad Voice in our heads, the 3 a.m. voice, the “you’ll never be good enough” voice. That voice has evidence against us. Some of it comes not only from inside our sick brains, but also from the evidence we collect from others – mean little comments, doubting teachers, parents seeking to protect or, in the worst cases, to destroy.
How persuasive she is! We can’t tear ourselves away as she whispers in our ear. We believe what she says because she is only reinforcing what we already believe deep down, no matter how hard we try to deny it.
So even though we already have enough stuff to make us happy – in this case, the rich, kind husband, the estate, the cashmere twin set – we are still plagued by that voice.
We can’t see that we’re fine, that no one is lurking in the wings to show us up. We can’t see what is right in front of us, instead relying on faulty whispers and accusations. The truth is that the thing that makes us doubt ourselves, like Rebecca, is already dead and wasn’t that great when it was alive.
I’m going to start calling the Bad Voice “Mrs. Danvers.” Maybe that will make it shut up.