The crossroads we all come to one day or another
We all get to that moment in our journey when we question our "road so far" - yes, I've borrowed this from the TV series Supernatural.
For a lot of women, by the time we turn 40 society says that, by then, we should have reached the perfect life: a stable job that brings you and your family economical stability, the perfect marriage, the perfect kids and the perfect holidays abroad. However, it also feels like you are just waiting to die. There's nothing else for you to look forward to.
Some of my students used to feel the same.
The funny thing is that I could coach them and help them with their life journey, but I couldn't help myself.
A SCARY REALISATION
When I hit 40, I felt the world around me was starting to crumble. You see, we women have an expiry date based on our fertile years. My youngest son was born a month before I turned 40. The race to get to him had included an ectopic pregnancy, that almost killed me, and an involutive twin pregnancy, that had to be terminated. Both losses marked me deeply.
Around that same time, I started feeling I wasn't professionally hitting the goals. Although I had created the business of my dreams with my husband, and we had the ideal context to raise our kids without any external help, I was stuck in a spiralling sensation of "being wasted".
When you are a language teacher, no matter how innovative or creative you are, you will hit a level ceiling. Despite pushing your best students to higher targets, the reality is that your own skills aren't challenged anymore.
My call: take back my writing career and kill two birds with one stone. That's how I started a personal blog, but with many difficulties, because I needed a lot of technological help. Also, I felt insecure about not being a native speaker of English, despite my CPE in English and my English Philology degree. People call it Imposter Syndrome. I call it an exaggerated need for perfection and external validation.
Can you see all my demons already?
We all know when we are still not ready for something, and seeing other people jumping into the void made me feel very vulnerable. But the nagging thought of pursuing my writing career became too loud in my head.
DEATH KNOCKED AT THE DOOR AGAIN
In 2018, I was 43 and my husband was about to be 42 when he had an Ictus from which he almost didn't come back.
Things changed drastically from that moment on, not only for him as a person who saw how his body became unknown and uncanny to him but also as a family, as we didn't know what to expect.
We had to rethink our lives together and also individually. While my husband was trying to adapt to his new body and limitations, I went back to my hiding place. I went to my beloved Gothic story writing and Gothic literature reading and investigating.
I opened a Twitter account and wrote short stories for my blog. I wasn't very consistent because of my daily job and my family, but I produced many unfinished pieces and started retaking an old original idea for a Gothic web page.
Things became more complicated when COVID-19 made us close our physical Academy and took us to the online world, a modality we had been working on very slowly since 2015.
THE JUNGIAN JOURNEY
For a long time, I have been in denial. The Gothic is a very psychological place but I wanted to teach it without going too much in-depth into its psychological core aspect.
I was so wrong!
I wanted to make money from my passion for the Gothic but didn't want people to judge me. So there I was, sending mixed signals to potential customers who smelled my insecurities. And nobody buys things they can't understand.
As a result, over the last two years, I became more and more frustrated trying to be like my marketing mentors, using their words and their styles, and feeding my ego with the wrong actions, because I wasn't going to the core of the problem: me.
When I turned 48 in November I decided I couldn't carry out any job if I didn't work on my shadow self first, a term I had become more and more familiarised with over the last year.
I made a deal with myself and started going to therapy. It has been a game-changer.
No, my therapist doesn't look like Crowley, in case you were wondering.
WORD OF THE YEAR: INTROSPECTION
For many people, their New Year's Resolution is a list of targets meant to feed their egos. Mine is just embracing who I really am so I can find peace with myself and with some people in the world who, right now, scare me too much.
Through Gothic literature, TV series, films, interviews, podcasts and much more, I am learning a lot about the Jungian archetypes applied to the world of Gothic literature. But not only that, I am learning a lot about myself and everything that has made me who I am.
It's a scary but exciting way ahead, and I can't wait to see what I will discover as I go deep into my buried fears. What my ghosts look like and how much I will learn from them is the carrot that keeps me going.
Your middle age life crossroads is quite likely to hit you. Some people become depressed, others accept it without much ado, and others start a journey of self-recognition they can't ignore.
This journey looks different for everybody, but for all of us, there's a shadow aspect of us we need to work on if we want to move on.
The question for you is: are you willing to do what it takes to discover who you really are right now? Are you ready to use the Gothic lens as your best ally to listen to those parts of yourself you keep ignoring?
If that's the case, you can start by subscribing to my online monthly magazine where you will learn all about the Gothic elements in your everyday life, how to identify them and what they say about you.
I hope to see you there!
Until next week,
Thanks for reading