A dear friend and fellow blogger texted me two days ago, saying she’s been enjoying my posts. Yay! Even the smallest positive feedback makes me feel so good—I think if they looked, psychologists could actually see dopamine squirting out of its various reserves in my brain. My friend texted, “Hope all is well. :)” I love my friends who love emojis.
I texted back, “…I’m holding it together, kinda barely—I think that will be the U post!! ;P”
To which she replied, “Unraveling?” I love even more my friends who can read my mind.
So I procrastinated. I wanted to describe, artfully and with great insight, the struggles of the past week: Feeling shameful and inadequate for falling behind on the alphabet posts, the Unexpected and acute trauma of a negative patient encounter, moral conflict over staying at a Trump hotel later this year, new presentation deadlines, and how my friends United to help me though it all. This morning I realize that the details are boring and pretty irrelevant. Here is what I learned:
At first I was feeling Unraveled in a bad way—coming apart, losing function. Then I realized the unraveling was more like an Untangling—an opportunity to explore between the fibers, to see what’s gotten mushed in there, like batter accidentally smeared on baking twine. I rediscovered my own triggers of ‘not doing enough,’ ‘not good enough,’ and ‘just not (f*ing) enough.’ It kinda sucked, which is probably also why I didn’t want to write about it. AND, I sincerely believe that each time I recognize this deep-seated fear, I move ever closer to freeing myself from it—I’m slowly getting Unbound.
I started listening to Presence by Amy Cuddy this week. It’s the second or third book in recent memory that references Carl Jung’s philosophy of integration and individuation. I loved Cuddy’s TED talk. I have used her strategies before presentations and also yesterday before I met the patient again who I felt abused me last week. I have referenced it to patients, colleagues, and friends. The whole book is so dense, full of insights and stories, research and synthesis—I highly recommend it! Anyway, it really hit home for me this week because this is exactly what I’m after—Unification.
My aim in life is to integrate all that is me—the good, the bad, the gorgeous, the ugly—to the point where those labels don’t even matter anymore. Because I have a calling, which is to make the world better. And I can only do that if I am my whole self. One does not become one’s whole self easily or without struggle. It’s not baking twine, it’s that giant rope that I could never climb in PE class at Highland Elementary. Maybe I don’t have to Unravel the whole thing. Maybe I can live Unbound by the memory of repeated failure to touch the big wooden disc at the top. I can still aim to live this life in the most Unified possible way, one day, one moment, one breath at a time.