Dear Bossy Fran,
Ah, you think I don’t see you, but I do!
Sometimes you fool other people. Who? They would ask. Bossy Fran? We don’t know her.
But they do, because you are always standing right behind me, inserting yourself into my thoughts, sometimes blurting out before I can stop you.
But now I am breaking up with you, Bossy Fran. The time is right, because all my rationalizations are gone. I am no longer a parent to children, who I have to decide things for. They are grown and I should be talking to them as if they are grown. I am a peer in my marriage; I am not the boss of my husband. I am a peer and colleague in my job, and even though I am older than some, more experienced than some, you and I know full well that they may have more smarts, a fresh outlook, and other skill sets.
Bossy Fran, I’m not going to let you make me take over a meeting or push through an idea ever again. Most especially, I’m not going to let you distract me from learning what I can from others. I’ve come to realize that I spend so much time figuring out the clever thing I’m going to say next, I stop listening well. Whether it’s my grown children, my husband, or my work colleagues, they are all fun and clever and smart, and I don’t need you as a third wheel in my relationships.
Here’s the bottom line, bossy Fran. I like myself best when you are off somewhere else. I actually bring more to the table when you’re not present. You say that doesn’t make sense? That telling people what they should think and do is helping them? Well, turns out you’re wrong. I used to agree with you, because I’m so, so smart. Well guess what- you were misguiding me; I’m not. And I don’t need to be so smart, because I can be smart enough to learn and accept help from others who may think differently from me.
Bossy Fran, I have come to realize some truths you’re not going to like. Without you I’m a better listener. Without you I think more deeply. Without you I show more respect. Without you I actually learn more! I mean, I learn stuff I really didn’t know, and I even learn stuff I didn’t know that I didn’t know!! You were keeping me from so much, the veil is lifted from my eyes.
And the best of all, and do you want to know what put me over the edge to write you this break up letter? I discovered the real Fran not only gets smarter but is more loveable, too.
Seriously, I’ve been flip and smart-alecky, but this isn’t easy for me, either. I like my bossy self who always felt they had something important to offer. In my honest heart I know I will miss you and your certainty and feeling of self-worth and- let’s just say it- privilege.
And I have a sneaking feeling that you are going to malinger at the edges, try to creep back to me. But I’m watching out for you and in fact I’m building a wall of better habits. Breaking up is hard to do but it is time.