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Last Night I Dreamed I Went to Manderley Again

June 4, 2012

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.

  1. June 4, 2012 22:06

    I love Anne Lamott’s take on that voice. She calls it radio station K-FKED. It’s the radio that plays in your head to tell you you’re f&cked. And incidentally, the book Rebecca is fabulous, as well.

    • June 10, 2012 08:06

      I love her. And I hate that radio station.

  2. June 5, 2012 03:14

    I remember this movie well. Mrs. Danvers is definitely the ego voice.

  3. June 5, 2012 04:59

    Tell “Mrs. Danvers” to shut the hell up. YOU are definitely good enough.

    • June 10, 2012 08:05

      She’s so creepy I don’t know why I bother.

  4. June 5, 2012 06:52

    A great way to think of it.

  5. June 5, 2012 11:49

    Rebecca will be a Broadway musical next season. BEWARE: Mrs. Danvers is going to start singing.

  6. June 5, 2012 18:55

    Mrs. Danvers is a bitch. I keep her in my basement with all the other unwanted crap. But thank God for the Internet, because I like to think we help each other keep Mrs. Danvers in that basement. Suebob, you’re more then enough.

  7. June 6, 2012 08:29

    I’ve been thinking about MY Mrs. Danvers a lot lately. She’s such a bitch. If she were a real person, I wouldn’t give her a second of my time. Why, why, why, do I give her so much space in my head. I’m ousting her.

    On an unrelated note, I’ve tagged you because I like your blog. Hope you don’t mind. Feel free to ignore the shit out of me.

    • June 10, 2012 08:04

      Thanks for the tag. If I get a spare moment, I will do it.

  8. June 6, 2012 10:09

    The brutal irony here is that you are one of the most amazing women I’ve ever known. You are not only “good enough,” but a stellar example of what many people should strive to become. Mrs. Danvers be damned.

  9. June 7, 2012 07:37

    Call her Mrs. Danvers AND kick her in the taco.

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