The Itty Bitty Shitty Committee

The other day I wrote a piece called I Got Nothing about my struggle to get on the New Year’s Eve Make-Your-Life-Over-by-Thursday blogger bandwagon. In that piece, which you can check out if you like, I shared with you about the ten days of angst I went through before I was able to ‘fess up to the fact that my thinking is different from traditional coaches on this subject.

As part of my regular spiritual practice, when I get stuck on something, I try to deconstruct where I got derailed. In this case, I got off beam when I started to listen to the “Itty Bitty Shitty Committee (IBSC)” in my head that was telling me:



■You think weird.

■Everyone who doesn’t think weird is successful.

■You will never be successful, because,

■You think weird.




Now, for ALL of my adult life – for nearly thirty years — I have practiced a daily program of reflection, amends, discipline, and growth. And yet, on occasion, I can still be bewitched by the negative voices in my head that want to derail me.




There were a couple of things that made me particularly vulnerable to this past week’s “Stinking Thinking.”


First, I was traveling with my family to visit relatives, so I was out of my regular routine. Second, part of my regular routine is that I meet daily with other friends to discuss our lives, our challenges, and the ways we are leaning into personal growth to work through those things. So, I was away from my routine and I was away from my network.




But, I also did a couple of things right.


As soon as I realized I was “off” I put out a call for help to my network. One of my friends recognized the problem right away and set me straight about the lull of conformity and how I had accidentally backed into trying to look like (write like?) everyone else.




Conformity was never a long-coming of mine. And honestly, it doesn’t much appeal to me today. And truly, by the time you get to MidLife aren’t you just a little bit sick of it, too? Don’t you just want to break bad – even a tiny little bit – and try something new and fresh and different?




Well, buckle in Sister, because together we are going to do exactly that. And my experience is that AS SOON as you commit to creating a lovely space for yourself – just AS SOON as you do that, your IBSC gets to work. In fact, the closer you get to your true dream, your true calling, it seems as if your IBSC heads to the gym and starts popping steroids. It is going to whisper all manner of lies to you with the ultimate goal of sabotaging your success.


(By the way, no need to call in a padded cell reservation on my behalf. I get that we’re not talking about real people here. In a way, your IBSC is more destructive than an embodied saboteur because if there is an actual person trying to hurt you, you can just tell her to fuck off. Your IBSC, on the other hand, is internal, so you’re gonna have to deal with those bitches the rest of your life – one day at a time!!)




By the way, your Itty Bitty Shitty Committee IS NOT your Conscience. Your Conscience you need. She tells you when you have overstepped your values.


How do you tell the difference? Get still. Get quiet. And listen to your heart of hearts. Your IBSC says mean, nasty, untrue, and diminishing things about you. Your Conscience? Well your Conscience is your Spiritual Grandma wagging her ever lovin’ finger at you. Your Conscience loves you. It’s a tough love. So she’s just gonna bitch-slap you upside your fool head until you mend your ways. Your IBSC is going to tell you to open an artery and just bleed out all over your Big Dream.




If you’re honest with yourself, you get the difference.


Maybe it’s a nuance worth discussing. I’ve never really talked about my IBSC with folks I don’t know. But I sure would like to hear from you at this point. What kind of crap does your IBSC tell you? What price have you paid in the past for listening to it?




Love, Jennifer


Photo: Flickr, jdhancock 3




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5 Responses to The Itty Bitty Shitty Committee

  1. Luisa says:

    Awesome, Jenny! This not only speaks to women of Middle Age in a New Age, but to everyone. Thank you!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you, Luisa. When I first read your comment, I thought you were talking about the Middle Ages which made me think about what Lady MacBeth would say to her IBSC, “Out. Out. Damn spot!”

      I gotta get out more!!

  2. helen bogun says:

    i call that IBSC the guys who are punching their hammer on my head – sometimes i get headaches of that and i got that strange idea that they might be right.

    but heck I AM WEIRD and proud of it!

    normal – that is something everybody can be – and who wants to be normal if i can be me :)

    thanks for this blog jennifer

  3. Jan says:

    Hey Jen,
    I love this acronym, IBSC! On my first super-fast scan of your article, I thought it was referring to intestinal bowel syndrome! And I couldn’t figure out how that was related to a committee, but in thinking about it, perhaps the viral spread of committee meetings are related to IBS… However, back to the subject, you have given me a perfect visual with the IBSC, one that makes me smile and feel more positive in my thinking every time I recognize it. In working to stay optimistic and creative about my future career now that my current position has ended, it has been a tremendous help to clearly name this committee with its screeching, foundation shaking demands for conformity, and now when I hear those nasty voices I can say – hey I know you – and why don’t you F/O! (Fly off?) 

  4. Amber Stepp says:

    GREATNESS!!!!!!!!! My IBSC I think has formed a LEGION! It’s time to put on the big girl panties & tell ‘em to Fuck off! Thanks Jen, you so ROCK!

    I WILL get my house organized this weekend IBSC, so BACK YOU FOUL BEASTIES!!!!!!!

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