Archive for the ‘contemplative’ Category

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will my streak continue and no doesn’t mean yes

September 2, 2014

cyberfriends, wish me luck.

i have just begun trial on a defendant that may be seriously demented. he refuses to plead out the case and keeps smiling at me from where he’s handcuffed across the room. really makes a girl feel special when a rapist focuses on you…and by special, i mean paranoid enough to contemplate buying a gun in case everything goes wrong and he’s released. meanwhile the judge is driving me up a wall, across the ceiling, and down the other side. makes a girl rather desperate to get rid of an otherwise good case.

but it is not to be. hopefully by this time next week, the jury will know him for the freak he is, the victim can put this behind her, and i can be released from a case that has been dogging me for over a year.

in other news, it’s very scary how many guys came up with “no means yes” while i was questioning them for jury selection. yet again makes me wonder what it’s like in a man’s brain. this isn’t oh baby, i’ll pretend to fight you and you hold me down for some racy sexy-wexy time. everyone knows what’s going on there. it’s not confusing. when a girl says no and starts crying, that’s a no, not an invitation to change her mind/pretend you didn’t see/turn her around so you don’t have to. nor are you entitled to sex just because you’re in a relationship, or because you feel like the big man who takes care of her financially so of course she “owes” you. consider, men, for a second what it would be like to have someone invade YOUR body when you don’t want them to. what it’s like to be a woman where sex means trusting and submitting yourself to a man. how humiliating and dirty and used that would make you feel when he takes what you haven’t given him.

on that pleasant note, i still have to work to do. sigh.

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life as i know it–2 years later

October 2, 2013

no, i did not fall off the face of the planet. rather, i became a prosecutor and “life as i know it” changed to a whole new plateau of crazy. more than TWO YEARS later and i’m angrier and chubbier, but hopefully a whole hell of a lot smarter than i was pre-career.

let’s take inventory. i am:

  • working crazy hours
  • not in a relationship, unless you factor in my unhealthy attachment to netflix
  • overweight
  • on match.com. even though i said never again
  • underpaid (apparently i’m working solely for “justice”)
  • acquainted with far too many cops (incidentally, they get paid a lot more than us lawyers)
  • chronically stressed
  • partial to binge-drinking with the rest of the over-stressed district attorneys
  • attending far too many weddings for friends and family and zero for myself
  • paranoid and checking for mayhem around every corner. yes, i keep a large, sharp knife next to my bed in case mr. rapist decides to pick me one night
  • prone to irrational bouts of road rage brought on by the morons who drive around this city
  • slowly losing all feeling in my baby toes as a result of wearing heels every day in court for hours on end
  • without sex or the promise of sex in the near future
  • the owner of 15 suits and 19 pairs of panty hose. yes folks, we’re required to wear panty hose. no it’s not sexy like on tv, it’s just hot and itchy
  • amazingly good at multitasking–i can ignore the judge while pretending to avidly hang on her every word, fill out paperwork, AND respond to a half dozen defense attorneys descending on me like vultures!

as i’ve learned at this job, always best to end on a positive note.

you might wonder why so much of that list relates back to my job. or is the result of my job. that’s because being a prosecutor slowly consumes all other aspects of your life until you look back one day and can find very little about yourself that doesn’t relate back to the office. your friends are all work friends. your conversations, even outside of work, are about work. your dating life is restricted by work and also because the search for romance seems like a futile way to spend the precious time you have away from the office. and yet, a lot of that precious time away seems to be dedicated to tv and the couch.

but i’ve been making some changes. there’s a point where you sit up and wonder how you got here and know you need to shake things up or another two years from now it’ll be even worse. i’m not brave (or crazy?) enough to go all Eat Pray Love, but i’ve taken stock of what’s making me unhappy and i’m working on it. imperfectly of course, but making progress. one thing i want to change is getting back to expressing myself in some other way than legalese.

so here i am once again putting words into space and hoping for a human connection.

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mp’s response–you are talking out of your ass

February 9, 2011

haha, so here’s an exact reproduction of mp’s response:

i don’t know why you get a negative vibe from me…i’m a positive person!

don’t take this the wrong way – but i’m leaning towards you talking out of your ass…or at least not understanding what (real) happiness is.

while i think emotional (and biological) “happiness” is relative – you have varying amounts of chemicals in your bloodstream and brain which signal that you are happy – real happiness is a state that is unprovoked.  you can be happy in response to something, but this is only a temporary condition.  spending time with loved ones, accomplishing something, or exercising.  even shorter term, drugs and pharmaceuticals can also cause one to feel this way.

in my opinion, contentedness does not correlate with happiness.  i feel that true happiness comes through detachment.  this is a theme seen in many world religions, like buddhism, hinduism, bahai, and even christianity – i belive with good reason.  unhappiness derives from suffering.  suffering comes from desire.  then to eliminate unhappiness, the goal should be to eliminate desire (or, i guess, at least to be content with nothing – so maybe contentedness does have something to do with it).  one thing that i think to myself regularly: if my job, my family, my possessions, and everyone and everything i knew were taken away from me, would i be happy?  for me, im not sure.  but i feel like i am getting there.

i think without this “inner” happiness, every person will be the wrong person.  i experienced this in my own life.  for the longest time i felt lonely, and wanted to have someone.  it wasn’t until i stopped caring about what others could give me when things fell into place.  the person who i am with now doesn’t MAKE me happy.  she does, however, enhance my already happy state.

i want to see what others think, then i’ll formulate my thoughts a bit more. and, thank you mp for creating such a lively discussion! really appreciate the response. i hope you don’t mind being featured here. i would have asked first but you don’t have an email associated with your name. oh well 😉

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in response to a comment

February 9, 2011

i originally wrote this as an answer to a comment on “the road of lost innocence.” however, because its subject departs from the point of that very serious post, i thought i’d reproduce a more eloquent version of my answer here rather than taking more focus away from the Somaly Mam Foundation.

the comment was,

i’m confident that people aren’t happy with someone unless they’d be happy without them, anyhow. mp

this comment related more to my recent singledom post where i moan and groan about being lonely and boyfriend-less. anyway, i’ve heard variations of this maxim and even used it myself a few times. but i think, on deeper reflection, that it’s too simplistic a rule.

  1. first, humans are social creatures. i don’t think we’re meant to spend large amounts of time by ourselves. through the ages, there has been a progression from how people used to live in close-knit households and communities, to the sort of lives a lot of us now lead—flying solo in our own apartments and marrying late in life, if at all. in some places like india, you still see extended families living together and on top of each other, no one having their own room or privacy. now we come home every day to empty apartments. freedom, yes, but the concession we make for our privacy is greater distance, geographically and emotionally, from the people around us. that’s why, to me, it makes sense that when you have that BEST best friend to be particularly close to, it’s possible to finally achieve the content that was still somewhat out of reach when single. i don’t think this is true for everyone. it’s the closeness, the connectedness to people, that we need, and for some people that doesn’t have to be through a relationship.
  2. i think happiness is a kind of complex state-of-being that doesn’t necessarily preclude feeling lonely sometimes. they aren’t mutually exclusive. i see happiness as the measure of your overall emotional state—a sort of mathematical average of your week or month that allows for a few blips.
  3. also, i see happiness as somewhat relative. i’m the happiest i’ve ever been in my life. monday, i took my dog for a long walk and came to realize that i was just randomly grinning. yesterday, i spent a very wonderful day with my grandparents celebrating their 56th anniversary (olive garden + 500 card rummy and family gossip = bliss). and these aren’t isolated incidents of happiness. so i would say that despite my bouts of loneliness, i am happy. if i had the right person in my life, i could be even happier. it’s really just about a level of contentedness. obviously, if you’re suicidal, no significant other in the world is going to make you happy. but if you’re a glass-85%-full happy, i think that’s enough.

what do you think? i might be talking out of my ass or making excuses.

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singledom

February 6, 2011

how can one half of a person be so happy at what she has achieved, and the other half so achingly alone? last weekend i was so busy with different events and people that it wasn’t hard to keep my mind on a leash. but this weekend, no matter how much i will it to love me, my phone remains mute. when i have too much time on my hands, i resent waking up every morning and reaching for no one. if i cook, i halve the recipe because it’s far too much for one person. i hold off watching netflix movies as if i’m waiting for someone. i buy a new see-through nothing even though my only audience is a dog and kitten. i sit on my stylish leather couch in my perfectly decorated contemporary living room and watch the evening light fade to black. everything about my life is waiting for a man who is not there, and may never be.

when i consider my future, i know there are so many meaningful things in my life to which i could devote myself. especially as an attorney, there are an unlimited amount of victims to help. and yet somehow, all i can focus on is the thousands of times i will come home to an empty house, a dinner alone, a cold bed. i hurt sometimes with this desire to just BE with someone. literally actually—my cunt aches.

hopefully things change when i start work. i certainly don’t want to feel like my life is filler time until i meet a guy, especially since that kind of shallowness would not support anyone’s attention anyway. i have a feeling if i just had one gal pal to take on the city, i wouldn’t feel so desperately lonely. unfortunately, all my girlfriends are adorably paired-off. oh, how disgustingly adorably.

in other news, it has been exactly six months and three days since i have had sex.

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ramblings on a recent life change

January 24, 2011

my first post in months is thesis-less and all over the place, but if you’re patient, you can share some good news with me!

my whole life, i’ve always wanted to categorize people. introvert, extrovert, popular kid, nerd, jock. and yet, if i don’t fall into any clear-cut categories, it’s unlikely anyone else does. my entire life, i’ve over-analyzed, watched from the outside, been painfully self-conscious and brutally self-critical. in middle school, i dreaded getting off the bus because i was scared of tripping. no joke, i would tensely wait in my seat, picturing how i would get up and hold my bag just so in order to smoothly exit the vehicle. i hated it. i was self-conscious about getting up in class, or having to talk to a teacher. i rehearsed conversations in my head, and took different routes through school hallways because it was easier than having to figure out how to interact with certain people. i didn’t like shopping for clothes because i felt intimidated by the other girls in the juniors’ department. i’m still like this over a decade later. i always feel other people’s eyes on me, but am much more adept at faking nonchalance and confidence.

which is why in high school, i shocked everyone (including myself) when i actually chose to audition for the school’s very exclusive and very popular show choir. even more jaw-dropping, i made it into the choir and even wracked up a solo which i performed over a dozen times.

now, at age 25, looking for a position somewhere as an attorney, i’m surprising myself again. i so very badly want to be a prosecutor. why, as someone so awkward and insecure, someone who has rampant insomnia because of her neuroses, would i want to be an attorney who must be in court five days a week? on record, doing trials, before a judge and jury scrutinizing my every action and word?

it’s a mystery. you would think i would be happier hiding in an office where i could limit the number of energy-sapping social interactions. just write some contracts, do some legal research and call it a day. during an internship, i did a few trials for petty crimes. it’s nerve-wracking. it can go very well, or very, very badly. and murphy’s law says that the courtroom will be packed on your bad days and empty on your good.

i do know that in a public situation, when you do something right, it’s the best feeling in the world. maybe that’s it, maybe i’m a gambler. i want those intense highs, and for it, i’ll risk some major humiliation. but why am i this way? why, for example, do i keep planning parties at my place when the stress of wondering who will come or if they’ll have fun is so exhausting? why strive for jobs for which i have no natural ability, social events which could go terribly wrong, and guys i feel are completely out of my league? for someone so scared of life, you would think i would stay in my comfort zone.

instead, i want to be a prosecutor. and guess what? the dream is coming true: starting in march, i will be a prosecutor for one of the top ten largest counties in the united states. i read that and i shiver.

i don’t think i could have chosen a job with a more mentally grueling and anxiety-causing interview process. it spanned from September 11th, 2010 to January 13th, 2011: **DISCLAIMER** i’m sure you will all find the rest of this boring, but i want to document my journey for posterity’s sake.

  • interview #1, aka “the dead baby in the cooler” test–my mother always says, don’t try to look attractive for an interview, look competent. and so there i was, suited up, hair pulled into a chignon, a single strand of pearls. heart-pounding. you know when you can actually hear the blood pumping in your ears? just like that. i prepared by googling my interviewer and creating a document with every possible interview question i’d ever been asked, and solid answers i could give. i walk into the interview, prepared to earnestly explain to this woman why i’m the right person for this job. what do i get? a hypothetical wherein (do you like that nice legal insert?) a man goes about kidnapping babies, putting them into his cooler, going out onto a lake, and throwing the babies into the water. the cooler is a very standard plastic blue cooler. so, one afternoon, another baby is taken and in the wee hours of the night, an officer sees a man about to get onto a boat holding a blue cooler. can the officer search the cooler? talk about an “oh shit” moment. it felt difficult to breathe and even more difficult to think of a coherent thought. why didn’t i think to study criminal procedure? the interview went from bad to worse as i talked myself into a corner. i left the interview, my confidence crushed. i immediately went home and wrote a sincere and, if i do say so myself, eloquent email to this woman begging her to call my supervisor and get a real understanding of my abilities and passion for the job.
  • it worked. callback interview #1, aka “dead baby revisited”–this time i’m really prepared. one week of going over all my old criminal procedure notes from law school and bar exam studying. i am determined to make a better impression. what do i get hit with this time? first, he wanted to know why i felt the need to write the email to my first interviewer (um, duh, because i sucked and i really, really wanted a second chance). two, he was back on that darned dead baby hypo. well, obviously i’d thought about it some and i had a few different ideas of how to get that officer’s itchy little hands into that cooler. i spun off a few of my theories, thinking i was so smart. did the man seem impressed? nope. complete dead pan. instead, he mentioned how they had over 400 applicants for just ten positions, and that i should really have a back up plan. he sympathized with recent law graduates with the economy being as it is, and said it would almost be better to still be in school. ok, that’s all folks, my rejection letter is as good as in the mail.
  • ok, maybe not. callback interview #2, aka “the three levels of  hell and meeting the queen”–i imagine the only reason i received a second callback is because the previous attorneys i had worked with wrote me some very good reviews. bless them a hundred times over. new suit, new pearls, new pumps (annoyingly, the right shoe squeaked with each step). interview is at 3 pm. i’m fifteen minutes early. i wait. and wait. and wait some more. it’s almost 4 pm when someone comes and gets me from the lobby. we go to the 4th floor where i’m ushered into another waiting area. another half hour passes while i desperately scan the copy of “Super Lawyers” on the table next to me. at 4:33, a secretary invites me into an imposing conference room with ten seats and no people. i set my purse far enough away from my feet that i won’t trip getting up. i try to pose so that i look professional but can still get up quickly to shake the queen’s hand. i put my hands palms up on my lap so they won’t collect sweat. the minutes tick by. i’m starting to feel nauseous and my palms are sweating anyway. 28 grueling minutes later, she walks in. i remember wondering if she purposely makes her interviewees go through two hours and three levels of waiting hell just to ratchet up their anxiety level by the time she walks into the room. as the head of the entire prosecutor’s office, this is a woman who is on tv with precious little time to waste. and here she is, shaking my hand.  strangely, at the most intense and important of the three interviews, i did my best. i spoke well and made her laugh a few times. we ended up getting off onto a few tangents until she would suddenly check her watch and say, goodness we’re off track but that was so interesting! one of her final questions was also to ask me why i felt the need to write that email to the first interviewer. it surprised me. don’t people do things like that when they are truly passionate about a position? i told her i’m not afraid to put myself out there for something i want. she complimented me and said that i was very intuitive and eloquent. i practically skipped out of there. my “intuitive” self felt like i’d aced the interview. just three days later, i get a call from the hiring coordinator stating that they are offering me a position for the march class. i called my mother right after i got off the phone and screamed something unintelligible into the phone. i even called my dad, who isn’t exactly my best buddy. it was an amazing day, and i’m still floating on that high.

2011, you are shaping up to be my best year yet.

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in the present

October 18, 2010

in high school on slow nights, my best friend and i would drive for hours through the meandering roads of a park. we drove because we had nowhere to be, but even though we drove in the same tired circles, we felt free, exhilarated. we would play the stereo so loudly we could feel it vibrating in our chests. we would talk for hours about boys, college, getting out of this horrible, cliquey town. it may sound ridiculous to you, but on those drives, we felt alive and young and present. it was like living life in color.

i’ve always had this problem living my life versus watching myself go through the motions as if i were the narrator to my own story. there are very few times, like those car rides, where i’ve felt as if what i was feeling was pure.

how to explain?

example: friend tells me about a mutual acquaintance, very close to her, who died at age 27 of a heart attack. my reaction is clinical. my brain, and i almost picture a dry british voice doing this, articulates that i should feel sad because that’s the appropriate response. and so i do ‘sad’. and truly, i am sad. what frustrates me is that i have an emotional middleman—nothing i feel is instant but the result of some sort of consultation. during special events when i’m out on a night where there’s no reason not to enjoy myself and be happy, this voice constantly flits through my head: “remember this moment, try to picture how everyone looks right now, laugh harder, make your face relaxed and happy in case someone is looking”. i’ll be taking care of my drunk friend, and as i’m rubbing her back as she retches into a toilet, that damned voice says to me, “look at what a great person you are”.

i think maybe this might be the root of my self-esteem issues. basically, i have so few seemingly unadulterated emotions that i feel like a fake. i can’t really believe things people think i am—compassionate, sweet, thoughtful—because even though i feel empathy, go out of my way to help or do nice things on a birthday, there are always those few seconds before whatever feeling i’m supposed to be experiencing kicks in, or that Voice takes satisfaction in a good deed. even when i know people like me, i’m left thinking that they couldn’t really because i’m not fully what i portray. they just don’t know that, and i don’t want them to because i desperately need people around to be happy.

why can’t i just BE? not just during those special days scattered throughout my 25 years of life, but every day.