I have this knot of fear in my gut and it barely unravels unless I’m really distracted.
Having talked to my therapist about lack of confidence I went back to college this week and talked about it in our triad session. I considered picking some other topic but decided to go with it. It was actually a really good session where she pushed me to say, not what I wanted to say but what I needed to say.
The next day however I woke up with this same knot of tension in my stomach and the same sinking pit in my head that I do not want to try and cross. My heart is pounding just writing this. Although my head has been busy with monologues running through it, now that it comes to putting fingers to keys it shuts up and is lost for words.
I am scared. For the first time in my life, other than having children, I am doing something that is just for me, that is a calling. I want to be a professional counsellor. It feels good and I think I can do well at it and actually help people. It is not a job that will do but it is more than that.
Last time I felt a calling to a career I was a teenager. That was a long time ago. I wanted to work backstage in theatre and went to drama college after leaving school. That all went to pot and it took me over ten years before I could walk into a theatre again, even as a mere member of the audience. I still haven’t got over it and probably never will. It was my dream escape from my father and I still wonder how it would all have turned out differently had I gone to a better college. I didn’t have time or space to grieve that loss, not properly. And here I am again, filling my head up with the idea that I can do something I want to do and be the person I want to be. My parents finally asked about the course, but their onely interest was whether there is a job at the end of it and that was it. If I fell down flat at it they would give that same disappointed sigh and remind me what a failure I am when I stand on my own two feet.
So some of that fear is anticipating a future loss that would have echoes with the past but that may not actually happen.
There is fear over writing the assignments. Because they are not just write 5,000 words on this topic but are broken down into small questions and paragraphs of answers, these are not “proper” essays and aren’t challenging enough, even though I find the idea of working on them quite hard. This is my father’s voice again, telling me that if it’s not as challenging as it could be then it’s really not much of an achievement and not worth investing myself in it. It is also the fact that by revealing myself in the essays I am opening myself for external validation and the result, in the eyes of my father and my last school, is simply “could do better”. External validation was always about showing what I didn’t know rather what I do.
The placement interview really threw me in terms of feeling judged and evaluated and found wanting. I don’t like it. Again it’s my father. His voice ran through our triad session as he kept telling me I’m not worthy for one reason or another.
I felt this session was powerful, as did our tutor who observed the second half of it. I felt, as our tutor commented afterwards, that my counsellor kept my nose to the grindstone and tried hard not to let me wiggle away. As I know from therapy, if I can wiggle away from the painful stuff then I will. I started wondering whether this style of therapy was what I needed rather than the more relaxed sessions I have with my therapist, something I will have to bring up.
There is also the fear of the big unknown. At the moment my life has a routine, however haphazard and a plan for the next two years which consists of getting on with the course, helping 4son finish school, getting a placement and maybe some other work. After that though all I can see is big waves on the sea. Not stormy, but big. And the choppy sea is empty. The future is unknown and a huge blank canvas. Once qualified I will get a job, somewhere and work towards accreditation. But what type and where and all those sorts of questions are total blanks. Yet I want to swim in that dangerous sea.
This whole journey for me consists of:
- becoming single;
- quitting smoking;
- getting therapy;
- accepting that I am a decent parent;
- certificate course;
- daily meditation;
- daily Pilates;
- currently working on sleep;
My listener pointed out that I was terrible at giving myself credit as this is a long list of worthy achievements. Not in my father’s eyes was my immediate thought. All this can be summarised as liberating myself from my parents’ shackles, or introjects, or conditions of worth. It’s about becoming free and I am not yet free.