Thursday, October 7, 2010


this is supposed to be the season of my liberation. i'm finally supposed to be free. i'm getting the last of my education, i'm in a brand-new relationship, and i'm on my way forward into my new life. but today, after some back-of-the-envelope math, i realized once and for all that my old life is just not going to let me go that easily.

translation: kids, your humble blog proprietor is 110% BROKE.

i've survived on a small amount of money before. hell, that's how i got through undergrad; i scraped by, barely eating anything, and it was fine. but this time, i've had eight years of adult life, which means eight years of adult debt to rack up. my rent and utilities will be covered, as will my phone bill. y'know, the important stuff. but when i was with my ex, we lived like, well, like idiot twenty-somethings, and now i am left holding the bag. i'm sure it shocks none of you that all of this stuff was in my name. boy, is that coming back to haunt me.

this is utterly terrifying. i literally have no idea what to do about this. i'm going to have to have a tough talk with my ex about giving me more money this year. that much is true. he's going to push back. i know it. it's going to be EXCRUCIATING. but more immediately, i'm going to have to figure out a way to get by. i have a very small amount of property to sell. i'm still waiting for my deposit check back from my old landlord (and i'm about to get REALLY ornery over it, too). but that's not going to help that much. i'm looking for work right now, which i think is a really scary proposition given how hard this program is, but i don't think i have a choice right now.

it'll be OK in the long run. i'll get through this one way or another. but that doesn't make this moment any less terrifying. the noose is around my neck. it's going to take some quick thinking to get it off. and in the meantime, the stranglehold gets a little bit tighter every second.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

go get it

it's october already. holy hell. i have an exam in 11 days. (gaaaaah.) there's much to do in the next few weeks, and not all of it is academic. i mean, there will come a day when this professional student gig comes to an end and i begin to justify the mortgage i've taken out on my brain. so today i polished up the ol' resume, wrote some cover letters, jumped through some hoops and started applying to jobs.

i don't know if y'all are followers of current events, but you may have noticed we're in a teeny bit of an economic tailspin of totally biblical proportions. i have managed to time my graduation from all three of my post-high-school degree programs to coincide with just awful financial conditions. hell, i graduated from undergrad as part of the first post-9/11 class. 2010 was the year the legal industry as we knew it imploded, and while things seem more stable now, they've stabilized at a pretty bad level. used to be, and not that long ago at that, a law degree was a sure-bet ticket to a stable and comfortable life. there are too many of us out there with JDs now, and there are way, way too few jobs. it's pretty scary, especially when i think about the debt i've taken on to get my education.

damn it all, i went to law school because i like studying law. i liked being a summer law clerk, too. i like what i've observed of the practice. i truly believe in the goodness lawyers can do in this culture. (not a fan of lawyer jokes - just putting that out there.) i'm just getting a little nervous that the combination of a bad economy and a glut of people chasing paychecks will keep me from doing what i always wanted to do.

so here i go into the breach. i'm papering the universe with my resume: government gigs, judicial clerkships, etc., etc., etc. in 15 days, i'll know whether i passed the virginia bar exam. (unless someone calls the office to ask about results. sigh.) what i want is simple: i want my LL.M. i want to practice law. i want to earn a good living doing good work. and i will do EVERYTHING in my power to get it. i say this a lot, but i am on the verge of having every part of my life lined up and going well. it's time to go to work to make sure that stays true.

let's go get it.

universal truth

a few months back, i got some news that triggered this rant. (me? ranting? i know, right? shocking.) the prognosis was bad, and it made me scared, angry and frustrated. but every story has an ending, and this time, the forces of good are winning out. the affable-but-worthless fiance became the affable-and-trying husband. and somehow, some way, my kid cousin and her baby girl beat the odds today. the birth went down, and everyone's okay so far.

i've been vaguely terrified about what would happen ever since i found out about this. i mean, the rationalist, the logical thinker, looks at something like this and thinks, yeah, i have a bad, bad feeling about all of this. there's no way this will end well. and yet, here we are. i'm so incredibly relieved that the kids pulled it out. there's still a long row to hoe, and i'm still holding my breath (not to mention that now the kid's going to have to be raised - another story entirely), but the big threat passed over. whew.

i was with the man when i found out about my cousin going to the hospital. he held me, he rubbed my back, and he said, "you have to trust me; it's going to be okay." i said to him, because i knew he would understand this statement, "it's times like these when it's hard to be an atheist." i don't mean it's difficult to retain my lack of belief in the face of things like this. it's literally challenging to be faced with something this potentially tragic and to know that there's nothing you can do except hope for the best. my family, of course, will point to this all as a clear example of the intercession of a higher power. and i even succumbed to the temptation of seeking comfort in the non-existent by asking my religious friends to pray for her. i felt like i had to do SOMETHING, being a thousand miles away with no ability to do anything anyway.

but even that request made me feel like a sellout. i mean, why would prayers from others matter? it's all steps in a dance that's performed to music i just can't hear. it's comforting, i guess, to think that prayer, faith, etc. has any effect on what happens in this world. and it's a "comfort" i will never be able to experience. that's why it's hard to face things like this: there's no comfort found in it, just the cold realization that there's nothing you can do but hope for the best and prepare for the worst. all the beautiful words and heartfelt sentiment in the world can't change that. that's the universal truth.

Monday, October 4, 2010

shameless self-promotion, the sequel

today, i have a guest post over at the hindsight letters, a fabulous blog that you should all be reading. the concept alone is amazing: grown you writes back to teenage you, reflecting on a key decision that had a deep impact on your life.

as for mine... well. let's just say that things have changed since i composed this one. let me know what you think...

comfort food

oh, what a weekend for a louisiana-centric sports fan like myself. ooh, the stress that my alma mater and my beloved saints gave me. the only happy, and i use the term loosely, sports fan in my life today is the man, whose giants won the division. ugh. drama and more drama.

i salved my jangled nerves as i sometimes do. no, not with wine, though that's a good guess. i chose to make things better by pulling together one of my all-time favorite emotional tonics - red beans and rice. oh, man, there's nothing finer to ease my mind. back down south, you can get the beans in cans; all you have to do is make rice and nuke the beans. hell, if you're a hopeless slack-ass, you can even use instant rice (though i find that stuff a sin). here in the heathen mid-atlantic, though, it's an all-day affair. four hours of cooking and prep time, once it's all said and done.

sundays are for cooking large meals at the man's house, sharing my bounty with his friends and generally flexing my domestic goddess muscles. i get a huge charge out of it; they gush, i get proud. but this time, there was a level of emotional balm to the act of chopping, boiling and serving. when i'm stressed, as i usually am, i find release in things like cooking, cross-stitch, and really out-of-character traditional "womanly arts." there's a level of traditionalism to this relationship that i never saw coming. doors are held. drinks are purchased. i cook meals; he takes out trash. it's surprising, and what's even more surprising is how comforting i find this dynamic.

living in this new reality is comfort food for my tortured soul. whatever the source of the torture, this new relationship soothes me. there's love, companionship... there's everything i never knew i needed. i get to be exactly what and who i am, no questions. if i want to be suzie homemaker, i can. if i want to yell at les miles for ANOTHER STUPID CLOCK MANAGEMENT DEBACLE, i can. there's room. and there's no greater comfort than that.