One last thing I have been thinking about is this:
When a bad thing happens to me, there are things I can do in order of easiness.
Surprisingly, the easiest thing to do is not repression, as my neuroticism would just guide me towards any attempt at repressed memories, things kept “unremembered”. It’s also an active choice, to choose not to remember something.
The easiest choice then is victimhood, I chose this one for a while with this incident, just saying that I didn’t do anything wrong, how crazy was that guy, everyone comfort and feel sorry for me.
It requires no further self-examination on my part, I can live with the memories and go on, though it’s not a “powerful” choice and so it’s one that stymies you in life later, one that leads you to be a less “real” person.
The next easiest is then the previous discussed repression, an active choice made never to think about something again, to gloss over it. Again, this has the benefit of averting pain, but many studies and fictions have been made on the subject of repressed memories and you’ve probably seen how those end up, just like victimhood, coloring your life through your subconscious.
After is what I still do, often, aversion: knowing those thoughts are in your mind but trying not to think about them. This is difficult, in some ways the worst of all worlds, because you don’t have the comfort of denial afforded by the first two, but you’re still not really dealing with the problem. This gives these things power of my life and subconscious too, see: panic attacks, irrational hatreds, etc.
After that there’s what I’m trying to do: accept responsibility. Try to assess the situation and learn what you can. Attempt to disarm the bomb of shame or weakness, anger or sadness. Explode it and then look at the parts. This is, of course, very difficult, not only to risk exposure to emotionally-damaging memories when the present is difficult enough already, but to even find those moments, to know them, when you could have buried them or glossed over them somewhere along the way. Not to mention, you have to find a way to find distance, which in this last case, took me two years to find. It’s difficult, but healthier than these choices in that it makes the subconscious conscious and disarms these moments’ ability to control your life.
But there’s one things I didn’t mention, a last step to all of this, present even in the first option but gone from the rest and difficult too, indeed.
That is: accepting the good in those moments, recognizing the positive in the negative. Recognizing what you can take from even those awful moments in one’s life.
I was often fake and annoying and made many bad decisions in my time at the show.
But I also was ambitious in my want to learn. I heard everyone’s stories, I made sure I knew what everyone did. I was tenacious in pursuit of my art, applying to festivals every day, mailing DVDs, going on festival message boards. I was holding a writing group every week or every other, writing sketches and shorts and pages from screenplays. I loved the people in my life dearly and showed loyalty to my friends.
When that stupid woman told me that they’d taken the vote and decided they didn’t like me, she asked me if I’d learned anything and I answered without snark: “Yes.”
By the time that internship ended, I knew so much more than 99% of the population about how things worked at a good, well-respected weekly TV show. I knew what the different producers did, the writers did, how the shows were structured, the chain of command.
I fucked up a lot and boy was I dumb about a lot of things.
But I’ll be damned if I didn’t try my hardest, in my own insane way, to get the most out of my internship.
And to some degree, I succeeded.
I guess that’s the last step.
Forgiving yourself, for it all.