The Boss of Me

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Growing up one of five kids in an Irish-Italian family where the births came bang-bang-bang one on the heels of another, it was not unusual for someone to shout: "You’re not the boss of me!"

With the ages so close together, the struggle for power was real, and it was ongoing.

As the oldest, I found it infuriating when Middle Sister, who had her own ideas about how things should be done (and absolutely no respect for my less-than-three-years' seniority), tried to boss me around. (Middle Sister also was not above throwing a wooden clog at my head to make a point.) I would get quite worked up about it, quite distracted by the whole process, eventually screeching at her,

YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME.

(By the way, Middle Sister is a woman grown now, and kinder to more people in a DAY than I am in a MONTH. Full disclosure.)

Where was I? Oh. Right.

YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME.

We shout it as kids. We still say it sometimes as adults.

Perhaps as feminists-smashing-the-patriarchy, complete with an F bomb: “F--- you. You’re not the boss of me.”

Perhaps teasing a slightly controlling partner with a truth-in-jest “Soooo...you know you’re not the boss of me, right?”

Maybe in our heads to a supervisor: “You’re not the boss of me, Janine.  Except you are. DAMNIT.”

YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME.

When we say (or think) “You’re not the boss of me,” we’re telling someone they don’t have authority over us. I’m here to remind you that this phrase can be a useful tool when dealing with the mean voices in your head.

The ones that want you to feel small. Or broken. Or weird. Or failed.

YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME.

After all, the voices are not the boss of you. YOU are the boss of you.

And this statement, it's a reminder. For YOU.

You’re giving a shout out for – and to – the YOU that is Still There. Still There underneath all the noise. Holy, Inviolate, Full of Power and Peace and Possibility.

The YOU that the voices are distracting you from feeling and knowing and being.

The Real You.

And no, I’m not claiming the mean little voices will magically disappear after you utter these words. (Middle Sister did not disappear when I screamed the words at her either.)

But you will bring the voices up short. You will give them pause. YOU WILL LET THEM KNOW YOU KNOW.

We are always and forever choosing, my friends. Choosing between the mean voices in our heads and The Voice for God.

So shout it, whisper it, pray it, think it -- Do it any way you like. But today tell the mean little voices,

YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME.

And let the Universe help you with the rest.