Lessons for a Tired Soul


[Image via Manic World]

On Saturday, Judith had me visualize a day in my life in the year 2020.   She had me look at myself in the mirror in the moments before leaving my home.  She had me see what I was wearing, get into my car, drive to my place of employment, say hello to my assistant, and read a letter notifying me that I was being honored for my life’s work.  We were at the point where Judith instructed me to visualize what exactly I was being honored for.   I couldn’t take it.  The tears had been welling up since I saw what I would be wearing in 2020.  I started crying like a little girl.

Fact:  I hated the outfit that I imagined myself wearing.  I hated the bedroom furniture that I saw.  I hated the life that I visualized.

Fact:  I could not think of one thing that anyone would ever honor me for.  I don’t really know what I’m going to do with this life of mine.  More telling, however, is that at this point, my real goal is just to be left the fuck alone.  Who is going to honor me for that?

It probably didn’t help that I worked 80 hours last week, that my 80 hours were not enough, that the transaction I’ve been working so hard on is particularly painful and the work particularly tedious, that it was my Mom’s last weekend in town and I wasn’t able to spend it with her, that the weather was beautiful but I was chained to my computer.  It also didn’t help that I’ve been killing myself for the last ten years.  I. Am. Tired.

Right now, I’d really like to be one of those people who calls up other people at dinner time and tries to sell those other people magazine subscriptions.  That sounds like a really nice job.

*sigh* I must keep on keeping on.

Judith gave me some pointers on my “please help me figure out the purpose of my life” letter.  The problem was that I wasn’t specific enough about what exactly I wanted the recipients to tell me (you all were right) and that I didn’t demonstrate an interest in the recipients, specifically.  Once I draft I new one, I will post it – maybe a good example, assuming I make one, will help someone else in their own escape from misery/search for fulfillment.  But this whole thing brings me to another obstacle:  people.  As a general matter, I don’t love people, and have carefully engineered my life so I never really have to depend on anyone liking me.  Oh, you don’t like me?  Go fuck yourself.  Or better, I don’t like you?  Whew!  Good thing I don’t have to deal with you!   The whole job search process, however, especially in this economy, is really people-driven.  Fuck me.  Thank god I have therapists.  Lots of ‘em.

In recounting my experiences, I typically try to extrapolate from them some kind of lesson, message or insight.  Today, I am at a loss.  Maybe, as a psychic once told my Mom about me, before the universe will free me from my Biglaw shackles I must learn the lessons of tolerance, patience and understanding.  I hate my job, I am in pain.  I need to tolerate it – to suck it up and do what I have to do; to understand that this job, this lifestyle, will not be forever; and to have patience with my journey – to trust that I will get where I am meant to go, when I am meant to get there.  I would also add to that belief.  Belief in myself – that I can achieve the things that I want to achieve – and belief in others – that most people really aren’t douchebags and that some of them will even help me get where I need to go.  Or maybe I need to learn to grow some balls and go all Steven Slater on my work life.  Either way, lots of lessons …

Incidentally, that same psychic also told my Mom that I will have to learn how to market myself and how to hustle, which brings me back to the present:  What does one wear to a publishing industry networking event?  Thursday’s the big day!


10 Responses to “Lessons for a Tired Soul”

  1. Hiya beautiful,

    You’re on quite the interesting journey aren’t you? We appreciate you sharing it because in doing so, it helps others like you wouldn’t believe.

    Okay, I really need to ask – why the fuck do you need to be ‘honored’ for something? Are you seeking some external validation? Why on earth would you need that?

    You know what I love about visualisation exercises? You can keep doing the buggers over and over again until you get it right and it feels amazing and you want to go back to that place so many times that one day it just seamlessly becomes real.

    Also, I’m curious why you feel you need to punish yourself to learn? Who makes these rules? Who says we cannot learn life lessons through beautiful experiences? I’d work on changing that thought asap!

    Good luck with your publishing mixer – please help me get a deal, when you are famous!

    Luff to you

    • 2 Samantha Alexander

      Good to hear from you, Ruby! I’m not sure that I need external validation … maybe I do … but the lack of the basis for honor upset me more insofar as it highlighted the fact that I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing. But thanks for the suggestion re the visualization do-over — I am definitely going to try that.

      Punishing myself to learn … my Dad’s Catholic. Will bring it up with Shrink #1. Thanks for bringing it to my atention.

      So did you start your yoga teacher training yet?

  2. 3 Bro

    I heard Ralph Nader speak to interns. He graduated from Princeton and goes back for class reunions. He’s kind of on the old side. He asked his fellow classmates what it was it that was most important to them. It wasn’t cars, houses, money. It was family – Ralph of course is unmarried with no children, but he has a sister with some kids that he likes. But the main thing that he grabbed onto was their accomplishments – whether it be a moment, a creation, some sort of achievement of excellence. It was they impressed themselves and made themselves happy. Like ms. Rubywildflower writes about, it is not always EXTERNAL approval (or internalized external approval). It can be the story of your life as lived by you. It may be things that don’t impress others or even things that society may be hostile to. You need to find your own drummer and start marching to the beat. What helps is to ask the fundamental question, “Who am I really?” and “What makes me happy”. And a corollary is to get out and be exposed to many different things so you grow as a person and reach your own fullest potential. My voices more choices, more options, more wisdom. And of course while you are sacrificing on your journey, don’t forget to smell the roses along the way. On that note to further keep my slide into Hallmark territory from reaching new flowery depths, I’ll leave you with one last note, “vegan chocolate cake”. Nuff said.

    • 4 Samantha Alexander

      Agreed. I’m reading “What Color Is Your Parachute?” and it’s all about the “subsoil”. I think I opened a can of worms here … much to do. Was that a hint that you want me to send you vegan chocolate cake? I bet Mom will make you one if you’re nice.

      • 5 Bro

        No, it was a hint that you should have one to immediately bring some relief to your pain and suffering and mitigate your damages. But I hear you have been eating cupcakes instead. Vgean chocolate birthday cakes will not be turned away, however.

  3. Hey,
    So for some reason (like you said) I can’t reply to your comments on my last post but I want to thank you for them. It seriously made my day to read them when I know you’re busy as hell with everything else. So thank you and everything you said was really helpful.

    This post makes me question myself. You said you want to be left the fuck alone and that you hate people. When I read both statements all I could do was nod and say “Amen.” I’m not sure if that makes me a burnout since I’m 22 and haven’t even gone to graduate school yet but I’ll chalk it up to what my past therapists have labeled “social anxiety disorder” *shrug*

    Anyway, for the publishing thing: I have never been to a mixer like that but I don’t think you could go wrong just looking professional. If this thing is in the city, then whatever industry you’re looking into, I feel it’s always safer to look “too professional” rather than “too laid back”. From my experience with publishing…you get a bit of both. The guys at my work wear shorts and t shirts. And most annoying of all, flip flops. Authors? Well, I don’t have to tell you how much style authors have. I’ve had to sit down with one wearing a cape once. But since you’re looking for a job you still have to look your best. Once you get the job then by all means do what I do and wear whatever you want. They don’t care as long as the books get read.

    • 7 Samantha Alexander

      I don’t think my aversion to people comes from being burnt out — I’ve always been like that. My therapsis have called it “general anxiety disorder”. So you’re not burnt out! Or maybe you are … ? I dunno. My wanting to be left the fuck alone — that is more about my lack of ambition, and attributable in part to burnout and in part to my “general anxiety disorder”. Just wanted to clarify where I was going with that. I didn’t have time to edit my last post to death, so I think some of my points got muddled.

      Thanks for the tips regarding my “coming out” outfit. Can’t wait until I can get away with wearing a cape around. Maybe I’ll work that into my visualizaiton exercise.

      Oh, I wanted to ask you — what are editor hours like? Do you/other editors you know have to work weekends? Late nights? I’m kind of over all of that.

  4. You wear whatever you’ve got in your wardrobe, or perhaps you take a shopping day tomorrow, and wear what makes you feel comfortably confident. I’ll grant that your posting leads one to suspect your inner confidence is possibly waining lately? Nonetheless, whatever you feel are your strongest strengths, combined with your natural talents and genuine desire to get involved, wear that.

    Your visualization exercise tells me that you are having trouble rising out of the hatred of life you are currently feeling. I believe your guide in the visualization might have had something other than your current self misery in mind, however. If one is to create a manifestation of their own reality, they must first be able to see it as already created in their mind. So, if ten years in the future when you are perfectly successful, and perfectly happy, in your ideal dwelling because of your ideal occupation seems a bit of a stretch for the moment a) that seems natural, and b) I have a slightly modified visualization for you to start with:

    This will work best if you have a comfortable chair, barring that, sit in your favorite sitting position in which you feel at ease, barring that, lie down on something more comfortable in your home than a piece of cardboard. Once you have found that place in which you can let your tensions drift for a good ten seconds or so, or even five if ten is too much, I want you to visualize yourself exactly as you are positioned. The time doesn’t really matter. You can consider yourself fifty years from now, or half a second from now, or even right now if you choose. I want you to see yourself, and whatever you are sitting or lying down on, surrounded by nothing at all. As though whatever light there is shows you and the chair perfectly, and only blackness besides; you and the couch, or carpet, or whatever, is the only thing existent where you are in this visualization. Now, I want you to look at your face. It may be easier to see your eyes as closed since they are while you are visualizing, or perhaps you see the happiness in them if you wish to see them open. If happiness in your eyes is too hard right now, just leave them closed and relaxed. While you’re looking at your face, what I want you to see is yourself smiling. That’s it. I just want you to close your eyes and visualize that there is nothing at all in the world surrounding you but your body relaxed, and your face smiling. No need to worry about what you’re wearing.

    Were you able to see it?

  5. 9 Samantha Alexander

    That is a really cool exercise! I didn’t try it full out yet, but I could see it and I liked it! I think your broader point goes back to something you said a while ago — baby steps. Getting myself out of this awful mental state is step 1.

    Thanks also for your advice re my outfit. Self-confidence is waning, mostly because the world at large is daunting. If nothing else, law creates a nice structure where, if you can only just endure it, everything else is secure. The thought of stepping out of that structure brings up all sorts of fears. Those feelings are natural, I think, generally and in light of the fact that I would have to bear the full responsibility of whatever happens as a result (e.g. getting laid off is nice and easy … and probably not going to happen for me).

    • The more you think in terms of what you wish to be, and less about the opinions of the world, the less daunting you’ll find it being. The goal is to dress as you wish to be, which is hard when you aren’t quite sure yet what that is. Whatever is your wardrobe looks even slightly like the real you, start wearing that regularly, never mind interviews. If you can’t seem to find yourself in your wardrobe, time to go shopping! I couldn’t find myself in my closet until I saw a homeless man walking down the street in my skirt one day . . . Not gay, just like pants that breathe!

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