The train whistles one last time before it chugs off into the distance. You stand a couple feet from the platform, taking in your surroundings with awe. The train station isn’t a station at all, but rather a waiting room, with hordes of unrelated sketches, paintings, and prints lining the walls. There’s very little furniture save for a couple of bean bags and the receptionist’s desk.
“Do you have an appointment?” she calls. At first, you don’t know the receptionist is speaking to you because her eyes never leave her computer screen. Then you realize you two are the only ones in the room.
“I think so? I got invited here to see what goes through Jasminder’s head?” you respond. The receptionist nods quickly, searching for your name in the database. “She should be arriving right about…”
“Now,” I finish the sentence for her, smiling lightly. “There’s a lot I have to show you, so let’s get going,” I tell you in one breath. As we walk towards HQ, I wonder to myself if I’m already talking too fast. Ah well…perils of being part British, I suppose. We arrive to rapidly whirring gears and cogs, a flatscreen TV that doesn’t stay on the same channel for much longer than a few seconds, a blaring stereo stuck on a loop, and all four of the voices in my head sitting around a table and talking at the same time.
“Is it always like this in here?” you have to raise your voice amongst the noise.
“No. Sometimes it’s dead silent,” one of the voices replies without skipping a beat in her other conversation.
“Like when Jasminder meditates or has to write something really important,” another adds.
I turn to you admit, “Of course it also gets worse than this sometimes.” With a flourish of my hand, I explain how it isn’t too uncommon for modern dancers and method actors to flood the room. “I’m a very visual person, you see, so I like to put up little displays to go along with my thoughts.”
Pointing at the whirring cogs, you ask, “Is that the gears are for?”
“They’re a gauge of how quickly I’m thinking,” I explain. “Listen closely enough and you may even hear some words.” You peer at me in disbelief.
“Go on, have a listen,” I urge. “They’re not about you I promise.” Sighing, you make your way over to the cogs and lean in slightly. Within a few seconds, your jaw is agape from what you hear.
“Do cows celebrate their birthdays?” You cock an eyebrow. “I want nail polish that’s the color of blood.” A chill runs down your spine. “I need new shirts, but clothing is so socially acceptable.” Subconsciously, you glance at your own outfit. “Finals are so stressful. I should start making a planner.” Shaking your head, you turn back towards me.
Smirking, I ask you if you liked what you were hearing. Nervously laughing you answer, “sureeee.” All things considered, it’s the best reaction I’ve received so far. Most people turn tail and run as soon as they reach the waiting room. I guess installation art isn’t for everyone.
“So those four people sitting around that table over there…what are they doing here?” you ask. It’s a good question. I know that each one of them makes up my internal dialogue but you don’t.
“They’re basically my consciousness. Part of being an INFJ is having a really developed internal dialogue, and mine manifests itself in these 4 lovelies,” I explain.
You look from me to them several times. “So they’re like voices in your head?”
My expression darkens. “In a way. I mean they are voices and they are in my head, but they’re not like the kind you’re thinking of. They’re the life and blood of my thoughts; nothing more, nothing less. I can silence them at will and they’re always under my control,” I clarify.
“One more question, uh, they’re not all girls?” I smile at your confusion and turn to the voice in question.
“Why don’t you explain to our visitor why you’re here?” I request. He rolls his eyes and rises from the table, crossing over to us. I hear you draw in your breath in surprise, so I murmur not to be afraid just quietly enough that you won’t know if I actually said it aloud or not.
The voice looks you straight in the eye when he speaks. “Gender doesn’t matter so much in here, Jasminder has a pretty low-pitched voice, so she put me here because I sound more like her.”
“He doesn’t talk much at all though,” I add. “That’s because you don’t talk much,” he quips. With that, the other three voices call him over, and he stalks back to the table.
We watch for a couple seconds before you ask, “Do any of them have names?” I shake my head.
“Again they’re the manifestations of my thoughts. They’re all me, so I guess their names would be Jasminder if you had to name them.” You nod, slowly beginning to understand. The distant sound of a train interrupts your thoughts.
“That must be your ride. You should get going then,” I stick out my hand. Surprised, you stare at me a for a second before shaking my hand.
P.S. I’m going to take a moment and teach you lovelies how to do a proper handshake because it’s such an important life skill. Your thumb goes around their thumb, grip their hand firmly — you’re not a princess, — and then it’s down, up, down. That’s it.
P.P.S. Thank you Dream Big, Dream Often for inspiring me to write this post!