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The Minnie Stories

Cleaning Up Your Act - Part 2


You remember I told you about being named Miriam when I was born? And then because they thought I was too weak and small to live, they gave me a new name, and that’s how I became Minnie? Well the strange thing is, although I’ve been Minnie for nearly all my sixty-eight years, my parents were right….because Miriam didn’t die - she’s still here inside me!

I don’t know if I can explain what I mean; but it’s like sometimes, when I’m in a situation that’s getting me angry, or impatient with someone, or something, and I can hear my voice getting louder, and I can feel my temper rising to where I might say something I’ll regret later, there’s suddenly this quiet, gentle little voice in my head, saying “It’s okay Bubbela, don’t upset yourself………life’s good, isn’t it?”

And that’s not like the Minnie me at all, so it must be Miriam, mustn’t it? Although now I come to think of it, she’s not the only one in there! Let me make something clear…….it’s definitely not like being….. what do they call it?, oh yes - schizophrenic, because I know these aren’t real people in my head……! I know that what I’m ‘hearing’ is just the different parts of me - the mothering part of me, the wife part, the daughter part, the cleaner part,of me myself; and also the people in my life - my family, people I’ve known - it’s like I have a video album of them all, inside my head! But I think it’s just natural…….specially maybe for women; I mean, don’t they say we’re good at multi-tasking? Well then maybe each different job is being done by a different part of us!

And don’t tell me I’m the only one who thinks this way either….I remember my Auntie Judy, who had a button business with her husband, my uncle Dave - if you phoned her at the office, this posh voice would answer the phone

“Good morning, Bronsky’s Buttons. May I help you?” Then I’d say

“Hello Auntie Judy”,

and suddenly she was instantly back to being the person and the voice I’d known all my life……”Oh it’s you Minnie darling; what do you want, quickly, I’m busy!” You see what I mean? A totally different person! But both exactly the right one for the job!

So I’ve come to the conclusion it’s not some craziness of mine, it’s normal, it’s our way of coping . And not just women , men as well…….. take my Jack, for instance.

Did I mention Jack, my husband? He was a lovely man…….give his last shilling ( that’s old money for those of you too young to remember!) to someone, he would. And often did, which I admit didn’t always make me very happy, specially when I needed it for the gas meter! And always singing, laughing, joking…a good man.

And you could always depend on him - he was like this strong person who would stand up for me, for the kids, against anyone, in any situation.

And yet, for himself? Never! The number of times I begged him to start his own little business, because he hated the big company he worked for. They treated him like dirt: no, that’s not what I mean. What I really mean is, they treated him like he was invisible. He’d been there so long, they didn’t see him any more. Always passed him over when it came to promotion.

But he’d never say a word….just smile, and take it. Even when I could see how it aggravated him so much, he’d bottle it all up. So what happened to the strong Jack who’d stand up to be counted for anyone else? That Jack just sat down quietly in a corner in his head, and let another part of himself take over - the one who didn’t want to rock any boats, make any trouble. You see….? All the different parts of ourselves we have inside. And each one doing what they do best.

So who’s to say that that part of Jack was wrong? He wanted to keep a safe regular wage coming in, so we’d always have some kind of security. Life was different then….if you had a job, unless you did something terrible, you knew you had it ‘til you retired.

Today, there isn’t such a thing….even the kids with University degrees can’t be sure of even getting a job, let alone keeping it! So it’s no good me giving my grandson, Anthony, the same advice I would have done with someone his age thirty years ago….the world’s changed, so I have to change which ‘inner me’ talks to him.

Before it might have been the part of me who, a lot like that part of Jack, thinks the most important thing in life is to fit in, to have security. But now the part of me that will be more useful for my Anthony is the part that has the courage to be creative, to be itself……the part that doesn’t say

“I’ll change who I am to be what the world will accept”, but says

“This is who I am, let me change the world!”

Sometimes I wish I’d listened to that part of myself more often…..because that’s the me who would never regret what she’s done - only what she didn’t do.. .

I’ll maybe tell you some other time….

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Cleaning Up Your Act

Introduction To The Story Collection

The Minnie Kerchevsky Stories

Real wisdom can often be found in the most unlikely places....not from teachers, coaches, professors and so on, but from ordinary people who have their own life experiences to draw on to help others.

Cleaning Up Your Act is a collection of the stories of one of these very special people.........

Minnie Kerchevsky is a so-called ‘ordinary woman’, a cleaner, a 'daily', with no pretensions, no super-ego... just a desire to make things better in any way she can; helping those around her to “clean up their acts” in her own unique and heart-warming way!

Minnie believes that what stops us being happy is thinking we don’t have choices - and that feel-good is a state of mind we can always choose to be in!

So in ‘Cleaning Up Your Act’, we gradually learn about Minnie’s own life and events - and how she dealt with challenges and learned how to see raindrops as sunbeams in disguise! - interwoven through the stories she shares about the people she impacts with the homespun wisdom that is the essence of who and how she is, because of who and how she has been.

Each of us has met Minnie, or someone like her, in our lives... and if we haven’t, we’re the poorer for it - so here’s our chance to put that right!



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