Freud On My Mind

Disclaimer : The following thoughts are largely based on my experiences. If it doesn’t apply to you, worry not, I am not saying this is the standard experience across the board for every woman. Or forcing it to be. It just so happens that I know a number of similarly aged women who have gone through similar experiences. Don’t ride the offense horse, it has no saddle. 

There is a certain stage that a woman experiences once they turn or are about to turn 25. A certain wisdom garnered between ages 21-24. I’m not saying that you know everything and that 30year old you won’t look at 25 year old you and not cringe; they will. But 22 year old you is definitely not going to be 25 year old you.

You will learn patience. If you went to uni/college (I live in Kenya so it’s university for me, yaay 8-4-4 😏) by the time you hit 25 you’ll have been a graduate for two years. If you don’t go for your masters degree and you were lucky enough to get a job with your undergrad degree, you’ll then be exposed to the joys of the bottom of the career ladder. And let me tell you, for a woman in a third world misogynistic country, the rungs are lower than the pits of Tartarus. Climbing up them is no mean feat. You’ve got your regular sexism and mansplaining to make the task more challenging. Then you have to prove your worth and skill. And you have got to have an aptitude for a diverse number of things because nothing you learnt in class will be applicable to your career.
You will do mundane tasks that’ll have you questioning your sanity. You will be your supervisor’s bitch. You’ll learn patience whether or not you want to. You will subjugate. You will learn to deal with the most odious personalities and the most kindest. This new environment will build your patience. This in turn will surprisingly spread to other sectors of your life. Well it did for me. I however, cannot take orders that stifle my creativity (I sound like a hipster douche, maybe I am but what are you 😛) so I brainwashed (jk)  a couple of like minded friends and we formed a company. As if life wasn’t challenging enough, I added perennially broke and potentially stroke inducing career moves to my plate. I like to live on the edge. Thug life ‘n shit.

You will experience a life event that’ll change you irrevocably. If you haven’t, it’s coming up. Be it a romantic relationship, friendship matters, death, secrets coming to light, family matters, sudden abrupt change in routine etc; you’ll experience something that’ll shift your perspective on certain matters greatly. It’ll affect you profoundly and change key aspects of you. It’ll either make you more cautious or bitter. Kinder or cruel. Open or closed off. Asshole or empathetic. Considerate or uncaring. More honest or more deceitful. Basically, it’ll shift you more toward a negative or positive extreme. I personally tried for neutrality but ended up deep in cynicism and sarcasm. The high road is full of potholes. 

You will learn how to drink properly and hydrate well on a night of binge drinking. Because after 23, hangovers are rough. I however am that annoying cunt that rarely suffers hangovers. But I recognize and implement the wisdom of hydrating whilst drinking not after drinking. 

You’ll do something stupid with a wildly attractive person you have nothing in common with and are inexplicably drawn to (or people if the lesson doesn’t sink in quickly enough) and get your pride hurt. For a minute you’ll think it’s your feelings but then you’ll realize that feeling extremely stupid is quite close to feeling hurt. But don’t worry, it’s just your id taking a blow. You won’t be stupid like that again for a long time subsequently.

This next one requires a bit of psychology background about the id, ego and superego. I shall borrow from this site : The Id, Ego and Superego

According to Sigmund Freud, human personality is complex and has more than a single component. In his famous psychoanalytic theory of personality, personality is composed of three elements. These three elements of personality – known as the id, the ego, and the superego – work together to create complex human behaviours.

The Id

  • The id is the only component of personality that is present from birth.
  • This aspect of personality is entirely unconscious and includes the instinctive and primitive behaviours.
  • According to Freud, the id is the source of all psychic energy, making it the primary component of personality.

The id is driven by the pleasure principle, which strives for immediate gratification of all desires, wants, and needs. If these needs are not satisfied immediately, the result is a state anxiety or tension.

The Ego

  • The ego is the component of personality that is responsible for dealing with reality.
  • According to Freud, the ego develops from the id and ensures that the impulses of the id can be expressed in a manner acceptable in the real world.
  • The ego functions in both the consciouspreconscious, and unconscious mind.
  • The ego operates based on the reality principle, which strives to satisfy the id’s desires in realistic and socially appropriate ways. The reality principle weighs the costs and benefits of an action before deciding to act upon or abandon impulses. In many cases, the id’s impulses can be satisfied through a process of delayed gratification–the ego will eventually allow the behavior, but only in the appropriate time and place.

The Superego

The last component of personality to develop is the superego.

  • The superego is the aspect of personality that holds all of our internalized moral standards and ideals that we acquire from both parents and society – our sense of right and wrong.
  • The superego provides guidelines for making judgments.
  • According to Freud, the superego begins to emerge at around age five.
  • There are two parts of the superego:
  1. The ego ideal includes the rules and standards for good behaviors. These behaviors include those which are approved of by parental and other authority figures. Obeying these rules leads to feelings of pride, value, and accomplishment.
  2. The conscience includes information about things that are viewed as bad by parents and society. These behaviors are often forbidden and lead to bad consequences, punishments, or feelings of guilt and remorse.

The superego acts to perfect and civilize our behavior. It works to suppress all unacceptable urges of the id and struggles to make the ego act upon idealistic standards rather that upon realistic principles. The superego is present in the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious.

The Interaction of the Id, Ego, and Superego

With so many competing forces, it is easy to see how conflict might arise between the id, ego, and superego. Freud used the term ego strength to refer to the ego’s ability to function despite these dueling forces. A person with good ego strength is able to effectively manage these pressures, while those with too much or too little ego strength can become too unyielding or too disrupting.

According to Freud, the key to a healthy personality is a balance between the id, the ego, and the superego.

Still with me? Okay, good. If your eyes haven’t glazed over from all that background information we can proceed. Ages 19-23 is dominated by the id. With sprinkles of ego to keep you from going off the rails completely. 22 will be the zenith. You’ll be at your most cockiest, most arrogant and most charming. You’ll give zero fucks and will be high on life. You’ll thrive. Then those life changing events that I mentioned earlier will creep in and mould you so that more of your ego and superego calm your tits the fuck down.

You’ll test the bounds of your mental agility and stability. You’ll get to know your lowest points and highest points. And hopefully how to exist in between.

You will learn the value of alone time. You will be lonely, you will revel in it and despair in it. You will understand solitude. It’ll comfort and vex you concurrently.

You’ll make enemies, be an enemy or have someone malign your character. Some people will just hate you, the same way you hate some people. Part of life.

You will realize that your confidence has been slowly building over time. This becomes more apparent when you expose yourself to situations that push the boundaries of your comfort zone. Quiet assurance will replace the cocky veneer of your early twenties. You will exude confidence instead of screaming it.

You will finally begin to understand the deeper meaning of life going on despite whatever is happening to you. You will understand that you are just a tiny speck in the universe’s grand scheme. A tiny speck with a whole universe inside you. You are the universe. To quote Anais Nin,

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”

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