But it was irresistible. I got up, peed, and got back to bed. Then lay in the darkness, eyes wide open, mind filled with thoughts soggy with anxiety. Such as: it’s already May and I have done nothing to improve my CV. Such as: when was the last time I wrote? When was the last time I worked on any sort of writing? Such as: this freelancing shit is a waste of time, but what do I do for money if I don’t do this?
There’s also the perennial problem. The things that I feel like I ought to do are not certainly the things that I want to do. The things that I certainly want to do are not the things that I feel like I ought to do. And this seemingly unceasing conflict has produced inertia, a retardation, the opposite of drive; and so avoidance, stress, anxiety, confusion.
Four years later, post-PhD, a rightful claim to an ego-stroking title, and I still feel as if I am not good enough. I still feel dreadfully and thoroughly inadequate, like an abject failure, a pathetic and pitiful nobody.
I should take a break from the freelancing. But what do I do for money? Yet, if I keep doing this for the money, the things that I should do but am not doing keep me up at night. E said he can support me, but no. He can’t. Even if he could, I absolutely hate relying on someone else for basic things, let alone money. I already feel inadequate enough as it is; why exacerbate that? And yet, this isn’t sustainable, and it is meaningless. I don’t know what to do.
I wonder if I would be happier or less confused if…I don’t know, where do I start? Where should I start? If I hadn’t gone to law school? Am I really still harping on about that? If I hadn’t left the profession? Do I really think that I would have survived any longer than the time that I had given it? If I had been the type of lawyer that I had wanted to be? Do I seriously think that I have the emotional toughness and detachment to stomach endless disappointments? If I hadn’t done the PhD? But what would I have done? Do I really think that I would have abandoned the idea?
The conclusion is simple, isn’t it? My life has unfolded in the exact manner it was always going to. But then again, this isn’t accurate; this is question-begging. It assumes that I wouldn’t have chosen anything other than law school. So yes, I guess I am still harping on this. I am still naming it as the cause of my constant dissatisfaction, unhappiness, lack of fulfilment. How would my life have turned out differently if I had chosen differently? It is a fantasy to suppose that I would be writing if I had chosen differently. Because here’s the thing: what has the choice to write, or not to write, got anything to do with the decision as to what subject to study at university?
I need to stop faulting myself for the choice that I made. Not only is it useless, but it is also a cowardice: it allows me to shirk responsibility for my present failures by blaming it all on my past failure. But it’s past; it’s done; and I’m here now, with three fucking law degrees, and it doesn’t matter at all that perhaps I’d never really wanted them, or needed them. They are mine, and so is this shell, this void, this constant failure to be the person that I want to be.
Maybe things would change once I start seriously taking ownership for the things that are within my control, and letting go of the things that are not. One can always hope.