Our Committee

by cheri sabraw


White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico, 1953

Within our minds, like a corral full of transhumant donkeys and their shepherds,  a committee resides.

The committee is influential, detrimental, and experimental.

Not everyone has the same size committee. The more members you have, the harder it is to shut them up.

This committee is full of stubborn, negative, limiting, and passive-aggressive voices–like those  whiny timid ones I heard at faculty meetings that complained about everything from attending parent conferences to supervising student dances.

The goal for those of us who strive for mental, emotional, and physical health is to pare  down our committee  as the years go by until  all members have hung up their spurs and left the premises.

Until that happens, be aware that:

Your committee has dynamic and vocal blowhards (strike that… I meant members) who have been with you for a long time– from your childhood until the present moment. Other committee members have raised their voices during your work life, have offered romantic and sexual advice, and often have weighed in on your body and how it looks.

We usually do not seek professional help until the committee’s edicts become so dominant that they begin to limit how we interact with others, and most importantly, with ourselves.

When young, I had a committee the size of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir but today, my committee is down to three members: one who supervised all the career and business decisions I have made and make, one who was one of my husband’s committee members and somehow has entered my blood-brain barrier, and one who weighs in on my body–its health and its appearance.

These three committee members still feel the pesky need to chime in every now and then. Oh. They rattle and babble about prattle.

Am I meeting expectation?

Am I still attractive?

Am I making the right decisions?

With practice, I have taken charge, for the most part, of my committee members and their limiting edicts.

But every now and then, usually after the fact, I recognize that my committee has influenced my behavior.



Nova Scotia 2009








About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life, People and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Our Committee

  1. shoreacres says:

    I’ve heard the expression, “a committee of one,” and it seems you’d be a fan. On the other hand, couldn’t some committees be more positive and useful? For example, even though I’ve never enrolled in any sort of writing program, there are some writers (mostly dead) who live in my head, and the advice they’ve offered helps to keep me on track: more or less.

    On the other, other hand, I did have an experience very recently where the voices of some old committee members popped up instantaneously, and had to be beaten down. Being able to see the process so clearly was instructive, and a good reminder that committee members don’t always leave. They’re over there in the lounge, having coffee and biding their time.

  2. wkkortas says:

    The committees are bad enough. It’s the existence of sub-committees that is really holding me back.

    • Cheri says:

      Ha! Funny comment, indeed. Yes. Those sub-committees–sort of like second cousins twice removed–that cause hesitation, double-checking, and OCD behavior. My central committee members are enough for me to control. I’d like to have them retire.

  3. Richard says:

    There is a handful of people I admire who have enhanced my life and whom I wish to emulate, mostly dead. They are in permanent session, much to my pleasure.

    I chair this exclusive committee and have a veto after consulting with other advisers.

  4. Cheri says:

    I can see that you have never needed counseling. Impressive.

  5. Cheri says:

    No way, Richard. You are as sharp as Master Shardlake.

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