Saturday, January 29, 2011

bonne blog-iversaire a moi

yesterday, i said that today was a pretty big milestone. well, it is: it's my one-year blog-iversary. i started this little internet outpost for my writings one year ago today.

it was just another day in my law-school career, which meant it was full of class, activities and the dull, thudding sense that something was drastically wrong in my life. i spent a lot of law school feeling that way, as a quick spin through my archives will show you. but a funny thing happened: i started writing on it. i wrote the angst, the sorrow, the anger, and my reactions to it. i changed names and details, but yeah, the essence of the stories were pretty much my life.

and you came. my little band of online compatriots started reacting, and here we are a year later. i don't know what i'd do without my interactions with y'all. in a real, true sense, y'all helped me work out my problems, clarified some decisions, and got me over the hump. blogging is better than therapy. i've been there, and let me tell you, therapy did not get it done for me. but putting this story out there in front of god and everybody, free to be googled for anyone's perusal, forced me to take a look at my life in ways i'd never been willing to before.

this blog also could have caused me some serious trouble. a few people - and if you're still reading, you know who you are - decided that my writings were worthy of a) being spread all over my law school like a stolen diary, b) forwarded to potential professional contacts, and c) being "reported" to my ex. (ha - like i'd ever be dumb enough to blog without telling him about it.) now, these are things that could have seriously screwed me. it was surely a spiteful and ridiculous way to behave, and it was undoubtedly an attempt by silly people to get some kind of leg up on me. i'll never understand the urge people get to want to "destroy" others.

but it's funny what ended up happening. i got some pageviews out of the deal. i never lost an interview, got a bad grade or suffered in real life for this. not only that, it came to my attention recently that a member of the legal community ended up getting this link sent to him. this man is a highly-placed lawyer, someone who, if he wanted to, could have ended my career before it began. instead, his reaction was to tell the person who recounted this to me, "anyone spiteful enough to try to do this to a classmate is someone i wouldn't trust further than i could throw. they will never work for me, nor will they ever work for anyone i know." ha. haha. hahahaha. it's so nice when the good guys win, eh?

so thanks. thanks for reading, reacting, lurking or laughing. thanks for being there for me. i love the little blog community i'm part of, both here in DC and all over the country. it's been one hell of a year. here's to many, many more...

Friday, January 28, 2011

a place for everything

quite out of nowhere, and no one's more surprised than i am about this, i have developed a neat streak. don't freak, those who know me in real life; it's far from a perfect, obsessive level of neatness. i've been a piler - and let's be honest, a slobby one - my whole life. i was a classic type-B kid, messy room, unorganized class notebooks and a general "it'll be done in time, no need to worry about how" attitude. but now? by way of demonstration, today is my off day from class, and i spent the whole day cleaning, doing laundry and reorganizing.

maybe it was law school that did this to me. you just CAN'T be unorganized if you want to get through that pressure cooker alive. my class notes for my JD were so neat, so systematic, that you'd either bow down before me or report me for psychiatric treatment, depending on your attitude. that approach seems to have flowed into my personal life of late, too. the laundry i did today is folded and put away. my books are all on their shelf (with a separate bookcase for law books). there are neat stacks of magazines and books to be read. my DVDs are alphabetized. my closet is grouped by type of clothing. my shoes are all in shoe organizers. my pictures are hung. my jewelry is sorted. hell, my bed is made. that's just CRAZY.

or maybe it's just maturity. i am almost 30. maybe that's too old to be living amid the kind of chaos that was my room at age 15. adulthood changed me in a lot of ways, helped me reorient my priorities and really pay attention to what i wanted. maybe i want to care about the way my room looks, too.

either way, i know for a fact that my dad would fall out if he could see my room right now, cleaned and neatened of my own volition. perhaps the why is unimportant. in any event, the result is pretty damn nice.
programming note: so tomorrow is a big day around the ol' blog. stay tuned for the commemoration of one hell of a milestone...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"that's how i know i'm loved."

ugh. perhaps you've seen this insipid slogan in its natural habitat - a third-rate tacky-jewelry emporium that advertises during playoff football games. the commercial is just everything i abhor about the depiction of modern relationships. it's a dialogue, superimposed over shots of teddy bears, chocolates and really ugly jewelry:

woman (in a tone best described as bitchy): "what are you getting me for valentine's day?"
man: "umm..."
w: "is it sparkly?" [cut to god-awful-tacky necklace]
m: "well..."
w: "is it sweet?" [cut to standard-issue heart-shaped chocolate box]
m: "um... let's just say it's a surprise."
[sales pitch]
w: "and THAT'S how i know i'm loved."

oh, for the love of all things sacred and holy. there is so much wrong with this - crass commercialism, materialism writ large, reinforcement of standard, trite gender-role stereotypes - that a sociology class could do a study on it. but the worst part of all of it is this: it's such a sad, hollow commentary on the state of modern love. i mean, it's so empty that it physically hurts me to think about it. really, you poor woman? you only know you're loved because he got you some stupid gemstone? ouch. my soul aches for your shallow life.

that's just not the way to go about it. no, the way to know you're loved is to, well, live your relationship. be present, be aware, and appreciate the small, comfortable little gestures. at least that's how it works for me. the man will never be that guy who does the GRAND, SWEEPING ROMANTIC GESTURE. his exact words were, i'm REALLY bad at valentine's day. this is also no surprise to me. i know my boyfriend well. to expect him to turn into someone else because the greeting-card folks made up a day when we all have to try really hard to "prove our love" through commercial transactions would be the height of silly.

but who needs grand, sweeping gestures? i have daily reassurances. i have things like this:
 - random texts, just because he's thinking of me
 - going out to happy hours and dinners when he'd rather go home, eat takeout and watch TV
 - being driven all the way to class, when all i expected was a ride to the train
 - watching entire hockey games when he wants to watch movies (and hates hockey)
 - keeping an ankle brace and a heating pad at his house, reserved just for me
 - at night, sometimes, he folds me up in his arms, kisses me on the forehead, and whispers i love you into my hair when he thinks i'm sleeping (this one is my favorite)
the list goes on like that. it's not a present, some empty material thing, that shows me where i stand. it's the life we lead together, the bond we've built for so long now, that assures me, comforts me. and unlike that poor, sad creature in the jewelry commercial, my signs are 100% real.

yeah, honey, that's how i know i'm loved. and that's how it should be.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ooh. stylish.

well, how 'bout that - one of my favorite reads out there, the venerable siouxsie at siouxsie law, has passed on a stylish blogger award to me! thanks! i am honored. so in keeping with the rules, here are seven random facts about me.

1) if it were possible, and they still sold them, i would live in my old black suede airwalks from high school. GOD, i miss those shoes.

2) i'm sure i lived just fine before my iphone. i just can't do it anymore.

3) as much as i love humanity in the general sense, i get more misanthropic as it relates to people i run into in a given day every single year.

4) i hate powerpoint with a passion unparalleled.

5) really, i prefer a man with traditionally southern mannerisms.

6) i CANNOT be in a room when a TV is on and someone's watching video on a computer. the competing sounds are too much for me to take.

7) as much as i bitch when other people do it, and lord knows i do, i suck at picking a restaurant.

and now, i've been asked to share the love with 15 of my favorite bloggers. here we go:

a) adorable napalm
b) 'bama on the brain
c) anna's life
d) have we met?
e) perfectly cursed life
f) always a drunk, never a bride
g) the suniverse
h) best of fates
i) a diary of a mad woman
j) heartsick and headstrong
k) blond with a bullet...
l) mascara and microchips
m) dibbly fresh
n) are you there, youth? it's me, nikki
o) the best days of your life


Sunday, January 23, 2011

sins of the fathers

parents. everyone has two, somewhere out there - that's biological reality. we all have a mother and a father, at least at the point of conception. but in a lot of cases, way more than should ever be the case, one or both of the people who give a person life just... check out. i am not a parent. it's only been recently that the idea of being someone's mama hasn't caused me to break out in hives. but i am someone's child. i love both of my parents, my dad who's here and my mom who's passed on. and even though i came out okay, even though i have next to nothing to complain about regarding my raising, i still have scars. and i'm one of the lucky ones.

my friends and i are at the age when most people historically start their own nuclear families. i've had a couple of friends give birth. it's a hell of a thing - all of a sudden, there's this kid you're responsible for. and watching all this go down has made me reflective, i guess. when you do this, when you create life with a partner (one you love or not), you've opened the floodgates. you're now on the hook for things that happen to that kid. and like it or not, more often than not, what's done can't be undone. we forgive, but we don't forget.

so back to the checked out parent. sometimes it's a tragedy, an unintentional trick of brain chemistry, that pulls a parent away. that's what happened to me. other times, it's willful hatred, cruelty or reckless disregard for the consequences of actions that sear into a kid's mind. those are the times that try my soul more than anything i can articulate. i've seen the breakdowns that occur, the way the victims of situations like this have had their hearts broken time and time again, and even so, still hold their attackers in a place of rueful, painful love, twisted around the mangled frame of their conception of what that parent should be and what that parent actually is. it's shattering. there's no other word for it.

kids are so fragile, such blank slates. that's what scares me about them, what gives me so much pause about the idea of having one myself. if you're a thoughtful, caring person on any level, you can't help but evaluate yourself against that standard when contemplating reproduction. everything you say and do to and around that baby is going to go towards what that baby becomes in adulthood. there's so much focus on prenatal medical care. hell, some people go so far as to say that women of childbearing age should take prenatal vitamins all the time, just in case. while that strikes me as a little too "women are nothing but walking incubators," there's certainly no doubt in anyone's mind that if you're thinking of conceiving, you should get yourself into good medical shape.

but no one ever seems to pay much mind to prenatal mental care. shouldn't that matter too? if we're so concerned about whether the fetus is getting enough vitamin B-12, it seems that we should be just as concerned, if not more, about whether the parent(s) of that soon-to-be-baby can handle what's about to happen. nine months of gestation is one thing - the rest of your life as someone's parent has WAY more impact on what that baby will become.

so i guess my point is this: parents, be careful. for that matter, everyone around those babies needs to be careful. when they put that little bundle in your arms, that's the first impression you'll make. it's incumbent upon you and everyone else to make damn good and sure that every impression after that does as little harm as possible. that's the wage of being a parent. for the sake of that bundle, and the rest of the world, you had damn well better pay it.