Wouldn’t that be something? Seriously, though–now is as good a time as ever to examine my unconscious behaviors and motivations when it comes to my work life.

With just two more weeks left in my final client contract I will officially be unemployed in no time. I am listening to the fear in my mind and in my body. All of the anxiety wraps around me like a dark cloak. And I don’t know what to do. That phrase used to really devastate me. But in this moment, it just feels liberating. “I don’t know what to do” means there is room for a new solution.

Every phase of my childhood development came early. I rushed through each milestone in an attempt to secure independence, a sense of control over the chaos that was life in the family system I grew up in. I always felt a great measure of pride in my maturity and self-reliance. I felt strong. I felt smart. I was smart.

I took my first job at fourteen and from that point on the money wheel kept turning. I knew how to play the game– how to show up on time, illicit trust from my employer, put on the cheerful face and get down to business. Although I presented the face of a model employee, I learned over time, ways to cleverly subvert most systems as soon as I identified the  weaknesses in the structure.

As the years wore on, my inner turmoil presented itself in secret  rebellions on the job–mostly sexual acting out behind the scenes. Usually behaviors that would have gotten me fired if discovered. I thought I was having fun. This felt dangerous. Powerful.

The soft, vulnerable parts of myself–the needy, insecure parts–I pushed them down, relegated them to the lowest priority. Or talked myself “out” of feelings that were unacceptable to the situation. To build what I thought was some semblance of a “normal” life, I constructed identities to please the world and to get what I needed in the moment: money, sex, the good opinion and cooperation of others.

None of these strategies work for me today. The stakes aren’t what they used to be. I’m not out there on my own anymore–not that scrappy, thorny young woman who didn’t need help. Who didn’t need friends. I have outgrown that mask.

But, now I have built this empire of solitude. I remember someone once saying “In isolation, no one can hurt you, but no one can help you, either.”  Now I am older, softer, more open– I can hear the faint voices of the parts of myself I locked away so long ago. The inner children I cast aside for the promised security of adulthood.

They cry for attention. But I don’t know them. I am afraid to know them. If I acknowledge them, by prying open those doors, what will happen to me? Will they mess up my tidy home? Will they overwhelm me? Or turn me into someone I no longer recognize?

I hope so.