Yes, that’s right: “the voices in my head.” I have, in fact, come to the verge of naming them. One of them is the Narrator, the ever-present account of what’s going on, of what I am thinking during an event, of the background and detail of any given experience. I thought everyone had a Narrator (my aunt calls hers the Commentator, which might be more precise), but then Bob set me straight. He didn’t call me crazy, but he did look a bit confused when I asked him about his Narrator. It turns out he doesn’t have one (so does that mean mine does double-duty, due to my vocation as wife?).

There is also the No-You-Shouldn’t voice in my head, who might also be the good angel that’s always depicted in the cartoons. The No-You-Shouldn’t voice, though, doesn’t always give me good advice. I’ve found that she’s a little conservative sometimes (and yes, she has a gender and is most definitely female; Narrator, though, seems male). Sometimes NYS will advise me to wait for a car in an intersection, though it’s unclear (a) how far the car is from me and (b) how fast the car is going. At this point, Just-DO-It pipes up and sets things straight…or, as I am sure we all struggle with, adds a wrench to things. Just-DO-It often wants to be risky and adventurous; if I was at the Grand Canyon, Jus-DO-It would take off with no water bottle and probably wear entirely inappropriate shoes. Just-DO-It is handy, though, when I’m in a rut and NYS seems to be running things (and allowing life to get verrrrry dull). JDI will shake things up, rattle my cage, and not let me sit still.

There’s also the Evil Little Voice in my head, who adds nasty comments when I’m ticked off about things. This voice is unnamed, because Lucifer seems too harsh (I mean, come on, it’s a voice in MY head, I don’t want to name it Lucifer!) and I haven’t thought of anything just quite right. Evil Little Voice is the source of gossiping I do, which I try to control but I admit to being guilty. ELV will commentate and even misrepresent situations.

One of my favorites is the Bob-in-my-head. Now, I have no idea how Bob got a voice in my head, but he did! This voice is exactly Bob. It will pipe up with “yeah, right” at exactly the right times, and to things I don’t feel “yeah right” about at all! It will also tell me “good job” sometimes, and that’s a funny thing indeed.

There is Dot, who represents my domestic desires, to be a good mother and a good wife and, maybe, someday, to be a good housekeeper (she’s got her work cut out for her!), and Elizabeth Bennett, who represents my survival from folly. Both of these are new voices, so named after some observations of my aunt and the realization that I had voices waiting to be named. Dot seems able to juggle in ways I never thought I could, and EB is the person who points out the things in my life that make me marvel. My narrow escapes are the stuff of EB’s delight, and my dinner triumphs are the music for Dot’s dancing.

Then there’s Peerybingle, who probably most represents who I am now in my life. Peerybingle is who I think I am at the core of things. Peerybingle helps me struggle through my vocations as wife and mother and my desires to binge on books and write all morning even as a toddler begs to have her pants changed (or more accurately, my nose begs me to change her pants), the laundry buzzes, the phones ring, the dishes pile, and every other obligation screams at me. Peerybingle seems to keep a sense of humor about the whole thing, and to plant little coping comments that I didn’t even recognize until a friend pointed them out. When relating a story of Small Fry opening the shower curtain repeatedly and drenching the floor, Peerybingle’s response was, “Ah, well, that floor has needed mopped for a while.” Peerybingle’s my half-full gal, the one who reminds me about my blessings and gives me words and images for what I want to say.

There are other voices in my head, waiting to be named and discovered. A few of them have been banging and clanging around lately (I think there might be a Faustina and an Anthony, at the very least), trying to get my attention. But I’ve been busy with other things, and so they will just have to wait their turn.

I’ve been assured I’m not the only one with voices in my head. What voices live in your head?