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  • Writer's pictureAlice

Going Inwards Is The Only Way To Go Forwards

You just need to be willing to listen to the voice of authenticity in your head

Moon shining over the forest

There are a lot of things you can learn about yourself when doing research for a project, a course work, a presentation or to simply clarify the meaning of a word.


In my personal experience, this translates into figuring out who we are and what we are made of by looking at all the connections between the Gothic and the world inside and outside of us. I normally do this for my magazine subscribers, my Medium readers, for my YouTube audience or in the papers I write for the seminars I am invited to.


When you have a hunger for knowledge and love connecting all the dots, a world of synchronicities open up in front of you. I see these synchronicities as the physical evidence that my ego needs to understand my soul.


Even though this may sound complicated, it is easier than it seems.


In other words, the more you listen to what really moves you on the inside and relax your need for external approval, the clearer the path you need to follow will become.


When we are down, depressed or blocked, we don't see what's in front of us because we become blinded by our own negative thoughts. All the pieces make sense once we accept what moves us, just as we did when we were children and expressed our inner desires through play.


BECOME UNSTUCK FROM YOUR PROFESSIONAL CONUNDRUM

It was never in my plans to become an independent scholar and investigator. For a long time I was a frustrated undergraduate in search of happiness by trying different jobs that didn't fulfil my expectations, work places full of dangerous profiles with inflated and manipulative egos.


After going round in too many circles, I decided the way out was to retake what I had put on standby a long time ago and enrol at university. I was already a mature student when I obtained my English Philology degree.

This made me feel I was legitimate and could be respected by others when I shared my knowledge, opinion and teachings.


However, I remained professionally in no man's land for a few years until I decided, together with my husband, that the best way to have our freedom was to open our own Language School.

This "freedom" lasted for ten years.

The market of the Second Language Teaching in Spain had became a very competitive and aggressive place to be in. Most students were there for extrinsic reasons rather than for their own love of the language, just as I had been when I started my own journey. This challenged my husband -the other half of the business- and I in ways that we could have never imagined.


We became stressed, ill and traumatised.


I realised that I was limited in the way I could help that new type of customer. I needed to dig down into their psyche and help them figure out what was causing their lack of consistency, their absences and their lack of involvement. They needed a language teacher and a psychologist all in one and I was only one half of the tandem.


If you think about it, jobs that involve helping others achieve something in life, or that solve problems, require high levels of patience and empathy. The problem is when we lack those.

That's why the first step to helping others starts by helping yourself first.

GOING INWARDS IS THE ONLY WAY TO GO FORWARDS


Once you realise that you have been living purely in the outside world and neglected your inner world, you are on the right track. Awareness is the first step to learn how to balance both.


For many years I prioritised my business and the needs of my customers. Even when their goals were not realistic, I always put them first and fought for what they thought they needed.

Everything I did, every new idea I came up with, was oriented to maintain my clients, to make new ones, when possible, and to become successful in my space. However, we hardly managed to break even every month.


Rapidly changing customers' demands, our teachers' unreliablity and the birth of sporadic "mushroom" competition in our little village didn't allow us to have a minute to sit down and reevaluate the health of our business. We were constantly putting fires out.


Parallel to all these, health issues and other external problems also took place almost from the beginning of our entrepeneurial life. We were overwhelmed.


In 2018 we decided we needed to make serious changes starting from the following course in October. We had already started contemplating a whole shift to the world of the online a while ago, but things were becoming clearer by the minute. We had to do something and we had to do it as soon as we stopped for the summer holidays that started at the end of July.


But that July our lives took a detour when my husband suffered an Ictus that nearly killed him. To make things worse, the day after his intervention, they found out he also had a serious heart problem that would impede him from having a normal life ever again.


This news put our personal and professional lives on standby for a while.


With a seven year old and a four year old in our charge and a sinking business, the world became a really scary place.


Going inwards wasn't a choice: it was a necessity for the four of us. The world kept going, but we had been stopped by external forces, probably created by all the stress that we had been breathing for so long.


Doctors' visits, my husband's delicate health and him not being able to drive for six months, having to relearn himself wasn't compatible with what was happening to our business.


The course started with low numbers, but it started. Despite having improved the space to provide students with a cafeteria and a space for workshops in English, things were not picking up.


In January 2020, the same year the pandemic was reaching Spain, and after the Christmas break, we took the difficult and risky decision of proposing everybody to move to the online. We created a riot.


However, COVID-19 didn't give anybody another option: they either moved to the online or cancelled the courses with us, until things came back to normal. Many students complained, some didn't even try it. Some stayed faithful to us and adapted.


They all really showed their true colours.


We realised that it wasn't the method, or the platform used to teach. Students' lack of interest and motivation was due to their inner problems with the language. It had been an intrinsic issue all along.


This realisation came with another realisation: we were damned to fall obstreperously into oblivion.


It was a slow and painful death. And while we still managed to keep some classes, my mental health was starting to show signs of exhaustion that translated into palpitations, numbness of my face, short temper, distress and a whole series of other issues that I became aware of later.


You know you've hit a wall when you mentally disconnect from yourself and the individual in front of you and you know you are about to lose it.


Dean Winchester in Supernatural hoping for God or the angels to listen to him


HOW TO RECONNECT WITH YOURSELF AND FIND A NEW PATH


When you have been hit, like we did, by events you can't control, there are many steps you have to take before you gain clarity regarding where to go next.

It can take a lot of time, hours of reading, self-analysis, therapy and an ingrained amount of flexible cognition to even figure out where to start.

When you become as disconnected as I did, you consequently feel trapped in a world that doesn't allow you to be authentic. To protect myself I forced myself to stop pushing my students any further. Their mental walls were too challenging for me.


My life as a language teacher had become a "chronicle of a death foretold."

Luckily for me I had never stopped flirting with my other passion: Gothic literature. I had written a few short stories on my blog and was drafting, with my sister's help, a Gothic website where people could go and learn everything they wanted about their favourite genre. Since university, I had never stopped reading, investigating and researching the Gothic.

One of my dreams had been to continue with a Master, but at the time, my then employer didn't want to give me a flexible timetable, my university didn't contemplate Gothic studies and moving to Stirling wasn't an option.


But now, the idea of picking up from where I had left off was too strong to let go.

As a responsible adult you are expected to make the right decisions and to go for those career paths that people understand and that sound safe, but I didn't because what looked normal to others, meant death to me.


The age of risking careers seems to be relegated only to that part of the population that hasn't lived much yet to have enough opinion about what they want.


But, it turns out life is about changes and about revisiting your professional path regularly. No matter how old you are. And this makes a lot more sense in a rapidly changing world like the one we are living in.


My journey of self-recognition meant that I had to rethink everything I knew until then and look at it from a different angle.


It became clear to me that I couldn't help anybody efficiently in either the language or literary spaces if I didn't help myself first.


THE GOTHIC AS A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION


As a child, the Gothic and Horror were always my hidden places. Not that I told everyone that's what I liked. As an empath and introvert (yes, this is not the same as being shy), I didn't like to draw attention to myself. I've always wanted to blend in to be accepted. Did I also say I am a people pleaser? Yep, a terrible combination!


This is why, I only told people about my passion when I got comfortable with them, or they told me they liked that kind of thing first.


When I realised there was a part of the population who like me used the Gothic and Horror to disconnect from their problems, and to keep learning I became hopeful. Maybe I had a chance to turn my passion for the Gothic into a career.

The only problem is that outside the Academia and writing circles, the Gothic is still a missunderstood genre. In Spain this is more acute.


However, there seems to be a recent adoption of this mode by people who would have initially rejected it or looked at it under their nose. I am talking about the recent creation of programmes or series like Wednesday , through which some people seem to have become true fans and connoisseurs of this genre. It makes me a little bit mad.

Really!



But... maybe this is actually the perfect time to get new proselytes. At the end of the day, the Gothic is the safest place for those who feel different and missunderstood to be in.


The Gothic is a very psychological space. For curious minds like mine it's food for thought.


I have particularly found many answers to my ancient and very personal ideas and theories of the world by analysing the Gothic through the Jungian lens. And that's what has started driving my investigations forward and where I find I am more authentic.


It's the perfect tandem for the perfect mindset.


I even use what I am learning from connecting both disciplines in my language and literary coaching sessions.


All I keep doing is going down the rabbit hole of my mind and shining light in the dark spaces. The information I am finding there has more value than all the marketing courses in the world.


FINAL THOUGHTS


  • What your career path looks like now doesn't have to be what you end up doing forever


  • Life sometimes decides for you and there's nothing you can do about it, apart from rethinking where to go next


  • The Gothic is a mode that triggers your curiosity and makes you want to learn more about yourself


  • Life has strange ways to show us where we need to go next


  • Learning to listen to what is going on inside your head can show in the form of synchronicities on the physical world. They are called synchronicities.


  • The Gothic is a very psychological genre and mode that can help you keep investigating


  • The connection between the Gothic and Jungian psychology can bring you a deeper understanding of who you are at this moment in time.

 

Did you find this entry useful? Would you like to learn more about how the Gothic can help you learn about yourself? Subscribe to my monthly online magazine You Are Gothic But You Don't Know It for only €4.99 a month.


The profit made from readers' subscriptions goes to funding my project Female representations of the Mother in Gothic and Horror Productions through Jungian Archetypes .


As an independent scholar and researcher your support is crucial to help people like me to make the world a better place by creating awareness.


When you become more connected with yourself you will connect better with others and will lead a happier live.





Until next week, stay Gothic my friend!

Thanks for reading,

Alice

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