So when I started this blog (yesterday that is…) I imagined that each day I would be able to come home and have something to throw out to the world. I expected my day to have given me the inspiration to write.
Today, however, was an average Friday – getting ready, breakfast, walking to bus stop, bus to city center, city center to train station, train to work… work.. work…work…lunch…work…work... train home…lift to the Doctors…
Ah, the Doctors.
That was different.
I booked this appointment a couple of weeks ago when I was ill and miserable but the earliest available appointment was today (GP surgeries are understaffed, Jeremy Hunt is destroying the NHS – we’ll discuss it another day), and so although I’m no longer as ill and miserable… I went to the appointment because 1) gosh, it was hard to get that damn appointment and 2) I have still been feeling chronically tired / having headaches / basically not feeling 100%… so y’know, better to get it checked.
This is getting off track. Let’s refocus.
Believe it or not – I started this post after seeing the “prompt of the day”. As I mentioned my day (bar the doctors appointment) was pretty much an average Friday. Anything even slightly interesting has been discussed with my cousin (not the same cousin mentioned in my first post mind you (side note: I have a lot of cousins)… and so I ventured to the land of prompts to see if it would spur something.
At first nope. Nothing. Nada. But hey, look, 239 words in! It’s working!
Anyway – going promptly back to the prompt (funny?…No?) “shadow” didn’t immediately spark something with me and so I did what every millennial does when they are stuck: I turned to Google.
Search results? The generic shadow pics – all grey and dark. There was a picture of birds I liked.
But below that there was…
Shadow – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“A shadow is a space where light from a light source is blocked by an opaque object. It occupies all of the three-dimensional volume behind an object with light in …”
And I read that and thought, hmm… maybe I can write something metaphorical and artsy…
But then I saw…
Shadow (psychology) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“In Jungian psychology, the shadow or “shadow aspect” may refer to (1) an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in …”
…And my interest piqued.
And sure, I know, Wikipedia isn’t exactly the most reliable source but from what I read…
Shadow, in psychology, at least, refers to a part of a personality which a person is ignorant of. This is usually a negative quality. On the other hand, the shadow can also be a positive quality: the example given, being a person with low self-esteem being unaware of their own positive attributes.
This struck with me and got me thinking.
I like to believe I’m a self-aware person. That I know what my strengths (determination, punctuality) and weaknesses (shyness, not paying attention to detail, need for control) are but…
How self-aware am I really?
Do I honestly know what I’m capable of? Let’s take a recent example. As part of my University degree, I have to undertake a research project and my personal adviser has recommended an area for me to work in but…
Here’s the thing: no matter how exciting and interesting the project sounds I am terrified of doing it. I’ve never done anything like it before. I don’t know any of those techniques. I don’t know if I will be able to learn those techniques. If I will be able to understand what I’m doing and… the more I think of it, the more I think no, no I definitely won’t be able to do it. It’s just not me. And so then, why would I choose it? How can I choose it? How can I risk at least forty credits in my final year of University?
But you see, I don’t know if I’m being clever here. If really, I honestly do understand my limitations. If choosing not to do this project is me being sensible – doing the right thing. Choose the easier option. The one I think I will be able to get good results in.
Or am I just being obtuse?
My personal adviser says I’m good at data analysis. Thinks this project will be good for me. Believes I can and should do it.
Is he right then? How right can he be? Sure, I met with him weekly during my first year but after that it was three times a year (with a lot of these “meetings” occurring over email – so… how can he know that I will “get it”?
My cousin – who has known me (literally) all her life – says “go for it” – do it. She’s a risk taker. An adventurer. A challenge-seeker. She says “you can do it”. She says: “do you really want to finish university doing another project on things you know”. She hears how hard it is and her eyes light up. She says: “so what if it doesn’t go exactly to plan? So what if you don’t get the top grade?”
My mum is not a risk taker but… she trusts me. She looked at me and asked: “will you manage? Can you do it? Do you want to do it?” And I…
I changed the subject.
Because… I don’t know if I can or can’t do it.
I don’t know if I’ll manage.
I don’t know if I’m the comfort-zone sitter – curling up in things I know will keep me warm – or the risk-taker – capable of saying “to heck with it” let’s see if I can survive this jump.
I don’t know.
It’s my shadow and I. Don’t. Know.