Thursday, September 21, 2006

Making the unconscious conscious

This has been a tough week. My tough weeks happen when there is psychological stuff going on that I don't recognize until I have a mental collapse. It's nice to have the mental collapse. Afterwards, things are, if not rebalanced, at least honest.

I worked my ass off this past summer so that I would have enough money to avoid the necessity of a job during this last year in school. How unfortunate that something in my psyche thinks that I don't deserve an opportunity like this. I feel guilty for not having a job. Or at least, I feel unlike myself. So I noticed last week that I was really pushing hard to do extra things - attending seminars and participating in projects outside of school. When an issue came up with a rental deposit - which may end up in court - and an overdue, extended visit with an old, dear friend of mine - who recently suffered a stroke - pushed me over the edge. Fact is, I was doing too much last year. The reason to be unemployed this year is so that I can continue expending the same amount of energy without blowing my brains out. The point is not to expend more energy! But the guilt drives me to it anyway, like I have to fill in the gap from not having a job because it is my lot in life to have to work twice as hard as everyone else. Because I don't have a job, I must do all my reading, hand all projects in on time, attend every class. I must accomplish all those things I used to complain I couldn't accomplish because my job got in the way. Wrong! I have to remember that that extra time doesn't need to be filled. That the same amount of effort that I put into school last year still applies today. Otherwise, when new issues come up, like the money and my friend's disability, I will fall apart. And wasn't that what I was trying to avoid in the first place?

But it's weird to feel guilty when I'm given something that many people take for granted. I used to envy my classmates who didn't have a job and didn't sympathize with them when they complained that they were overworked. Now, I'm one of them. But I don't have to be. The opportunity to be able to focus solely on my studies is a breath of fresh air, and I deserve it as much as anyone else. It makes me sad that I felt guilty, but no more. It's also weird that I didn't recognize my guilty feelings until I mentally collapsed. I'm always surprised when I have a negative reaction to the good things in my life. It's probably this same guilt that prevented me from being able to hang onto this same opportunity (not having to have a job) back in my first year of law school. We confess all the time those things we expect we should want, but it's our unconscious feelings that actually rule our lives. Somewhere inside me, a long time ago, I didn't want to have this opportunity; something subconscious was afraid of it, despite my conscious expressions of desiring it.

When they talk about "becoming whole," they mean aligning our unconscious selves with our conscious selves - making the unconscious conscious. This doesn't mean that I should stop wanting opportunities like this, but that I have to understand my unconscious fear of them so that when I create these types of opportunities, I am aware of and managing those fears. If I don't, my opportunities disappear and I'm left wondering why I don't get to have what so many around me have, and being angry at the universe for singling me out. When in reality it's me who's singling me out. It's me who's causing my own deprivation.

So after the collapse, I've been dealing with the guilt and the feelings of inferiority. They're not that deep or complex, just dangerous when hidden. And I'm committed to looking for them whenever something good happens to me now. Because I want to hang onto my opportunities. I deserve them.

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