Soundbites

I’ve been working on an issue-related blog post for a month now and I have writer’s block. Well, not so much writer’s block- I know what I want to say but I can’t focus long enough to say it. So I’m just gonna let it cook and come back around to it. In the meantime I wanted to get some other thoughts out into the universe.

On work: That’s actually going pretty well. I work in legal aid and it’s everything I thought it would be (for good and bad, lol). Every once in a while I run into a difficult client but on the whole, they’re easier to work with than some of my private practice clients because they trust my expertise and don’t question me to death. And even when I can’t do anything, people are just so grateful to be listened to and treated with dignity. I’ve had more than one person cry on the phone because they had lost so much (I work primarily with folks who were displaced by Hurricane Harvey). I am also up for transfer to a community advocacy position which is the job I’ve been preparing for my entire career. My interview is next week and I’m just praying I get it so y’all send some good vibes my way, please!

On wellness: Sleep is everything. I mean I’ve always needed my 8 hours a night but now it’s more about physically being able to get up on time rather than just being grumpy all day. My body will get its rest whether EYE say we have time to sleep in or not. I slept through my alarm all last week and fortunately, my boss was out of town and didn’t witness my egregious lack of punctuality. I’m working on winding down at night and being disciplined about my bedtime because I legit have things to do!

On politics: America is completely f*cked. And I’m tired of all these thinkpieces about how white men feel forgotten, and conservatives feel attacked, and racists don’t want to be called racists. Liberals have their own set of issues but I’d rather have people err to the extreme of political correctness and inclusion than the extreme of hatred and condemnation. You can’t disagree with a Drumpf supporter without them taking it as a personal attack because they are their politics! So where does that get it? We’re being held hostage by a combination of backwards thinking morons and selfish greedy rich assholes. God help us.

On social life: I read a long time ago that Capricorns age backwards–we get more fun and lighthearted as we age. And in my case that appears to be true. You had to practically bribe me to be social but now I’m going out, having friends over, and even enjoying the occasional glass of moscato or champagne. I was just very goal oriented when I was younger. I knew that I needed an education to get a good foundation for life. Now I’m at the point where I just have to keep from screwing things up, so I can relax a little. Fortunately I’ve come across some cool people and developing my own little circle of girlfriends.

On mortality: I guess your 30s are when things get real. I have a friend who just received a cancer diagnosis, and another good friend who lost their father this week. All I can do is keep praying for them, and checking in to give my support so that hopefully they don’t feel alone. That last part keeps me up at night because I found out recently that a friend of mine who passed away, actually committed suicide. I’m glad I found out after the fact because knowing up front would have made it so much harder to get over. I’m still not over it, but I’ve accepted that he’s gone enough so that this new information doesn’t send me into a grief spiral. I just wish he had reached out to someone, anyone. For the record, if you are my friend and going through a hard time, I’m here for you. I’d rather you “inconvenience” me than go to your funeral.

On Greek life: I love my blue and white but I love my husband and my free time more. I won’t lie to anybody. The die hard sorors will tell me “It’s only a couple hours a month to participate!” LIES. Chapter meeting is 3-4 hours on a Saturday afternoon, which we all know is peak weekend when everything happens! Let me know when y’all stop letting people hold us hostage to read the entire minutes from all 12 committee meetings. Between email and Facebook there’s no reason to go more than 2 hours. Then y’all wanna hang out afterwards when I was just here all day. Next thing you’re asking me to be on a committee which is a 2 hour conference call every month. I would go to the social events but my choices are a) go to the movies or the park with your kids (*shudder*) or pay $40 to go hang out in the VIP section of some lounge and still have to buy my own food and drinks. If I wanted to spend $50+ on a night out I could have met my bougie friend at III Forks, ate a gourmet steak and got into Grooves for free before midnight. And did I mention the dues which seem to go up every year? GURL BYE (*in my Funky Dineva voice*)

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Breaking Point

2016 has been a year.

Culturally and politically, as a Black woman, it’s been rough. We have a presidential candidate endorsed by the K_K_K who has yet to disavow said endorsement. We lost Prince. It’s apparently open warfare between the police and the Black community.

Personally, it’s also been a trial. My third wedding anniversary is coming up next month and we’ve been together for 8 years now. In all that time, we had never had a real falling out. You know, the kind where one person can’t stand to look at the other and is afraid this might be the end? Yeah, we finally had one of those. We’re back to normal now but that kind of ruined a full month of my summer. Things at my job have been. . . challenging, to say the least. If you know me personally, you know what I’ve been dealing with and if you don’t–just use your imagination. All I will say here is that I’m considering my options. Just three days ago was the first anniversary of my friend’s death. I’ve thought about him every day since he passed and it still doesn’t seem real. Riding an emotional rollercoaster on two fronts has me feeling like a crazy person. I like to stay at equilibrium. People always comment on my restraint, but it’s self preservation for me. Emotional extremes are just exhausting and if I’m too far on either side of the spectrum, it’s hard for me to buckle down and be productive.

Today I almost had a full blown anxiety attack, which has only happened to me two or three other times in my entire life. It’s the red flag, flashing lights, blaring siren sound from my subconscious to me that SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT HERE. I know exactly what needs to change and while the more prudent thing may be to wait, I’m at a point where my physical and emotional health are being compromised and that is simply not acceptable. I will find a way to do what I need to do.

I can tell from my social media newsfeeds that I’m not the only one struggling, either. The devil is busy and we all need to pray for each other.

I’m back

This blog has gotten awfully dusty. First it was because I was in an unemployment-related funk and didn’t have anything to say. Then it was because I was having an inner struggle about how much is too much of yourself to reveal on the internet. Then it was because I was just too damn busy.

Well, better late than never. Things are going pretty well. I’m getting into the groove at work and feeling less like a rookie by the day. Tex got a promotion and even though his hours have gotten almost as long as mine, he’s really loving his job. Two months after the passing of our friend, I’m finally starting to feel back to normal. I’m sleeping better and feeling less “bleh” in general. I’ve still got a lot on my plate at work but it doesn’t feel quite so impossible.

I’ve been thinking more and more about having kids. NO, I’m not nearly ready to have them but we are going to become godparents in December. I suppose I need the practice. It seems like another friend or family member gets pregnant every week now (a lot of them are MY AGE!) and I just can’t wrap my head around it. I can barely handle taking care of myself and my husband right now. I just paid off my law school credit card debt, and now I’m getting ready to make a couple balloon payments on my car note before my student loan deferment ends. I mean, we wouldn’t be broke if we had a kid but it’s not just the money (because let’s face it, as long as parents want to give their kids the world no amount of money will be enough). But the time, the energy, the sheer monumental effort…geez louise. I’m not ready for that yet.

What I have come to realize is that money/work are not important to me. At least, not the way they seem to be to society at large. I need to focus on stacking paper while we’re living that DINK* life and just know that I will need to budget to live below my means after that. Because I’m not interested in being a full time working mom, nor do I want to be a housewife. I want something in between. I’d like to be a part-time/contract lawyer so I can set my own hours and only take on as many clients as I want to. But the full time firm lawyer thing is just not gonna cut it forever. But hey, as long as I’m making more than I would folding shirts at Macy’s I’m good.

It’s become solidified for me that I’m far more interested in “leaning in” to my husband and our family than any job. Tex and I have weathered many a storm during our first two years of marriage- extended unemployment, relocation, living with his parents, and the death of one of our closest friends. And being able to count on him during those times has made me fall more in love with him than ever. He’s the best part of my life (no pun intended). I’m not going to go to my deathbed regretting that I didn’t spend enough time working. I care about my career- I worked hard to become a lawyer and I enjoy it. But as long as we have enough money to meet our needs and take a few  vacations, I’m good.

 

 

*Dual income, no kids.

Gone.

My friend died last weekend.

I was at the airport, heading home from my girlfriend’s wedding when Tex and I got the news. We had just seen him three weeks ago. Nobody knows what happened except that it was unknown natural causes, and he died at home with his parents.

I work for a solo practitioner, so I only took one day off and went back to work this week. But everything feels hard. I force myself to stuff the grief down long enough to do my job, which increasingly requires more and more hours. But I can feel it choking me as the demands and my to do list pile up and I fantasize about quitting, running away, yelling, screaming…anything but pretend my life is the same as it was before August 2, 2015.

The feeling of being overwhelmed at work will probably pass. If it doesn’t, I’ll explore options and figure something out. But my friend is not coming back. I’ll never get to go to his wedding, or invite his kids to play with mine, or watch a terrible movie and laugh about how bad it is. We won’t build his business together the way planned to. My only consolation is that he spent his life surrounded by the love of friends and family; there’s no question that he went to the other side knowing he’d be deeply, deeply missed.

And I’m still here, and Tex is still here, even though I know he’s trying even harder than I am to deal with the fact that his friend–no, really his brother–is gone.

Gone.

On the come up.

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Good news! I found a job as a lawyer! I really enjoy the work, my boss is supportive and treats me with respect, and I have a 10-15 minute commute. Plus, now that we have a second income I can finally replace my car, buy tickets to fly out for Jaleesa’s fall wedding, and upgrade my wardrobe. The car thing is pretty urgent- I have just one working window, the A/C is out, the engine idles high, it starts up sluggishly…it could probably be repaired, but the repairs would certainly cost more than its current value. So things are pretty good. My one regret is that I didn’t negotiate better for my salary- I was so dumbstruck when I received the offer that I couldn’t think straight! But this is my first real job, I’m making enough for us to have some significant breathing room in our budget, and if I bring in a case I receive a healthy chunk of the fees. My boss has also said several times in the three weeks I’ve been working that he’s impressed with me, so come this time next year I should have ample ammunition to broach the subject of a raise. 

I know part of my unease comes from the fact that I’ve been worried about money virtually since I knew what it was. A part of me is terrified that I’ll never have an opportunity to make more money, so even the loss of a couple hundred dollars a month extra is going to tragically limit me down the line. Never mind that I’m in a profession with unlimited earning potential, or that my husband is a computer engineer working at a universally recognized company who will almost certainly be making  six figures within a decade. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I suffer from “poverty brain“- I’ve never gone hungry or been out on the street, but I knew growing up that we didn’t have a lot of money for extras. I suppose I suffered from a bit of cognitive dissonance. My parents are educated and cultured. They took us to the zoo, the ballet, gave us music lessons and SAT prep classes. I went to college on scholarship, so I had to scrimp and save money for my spring break trips that left me broke for the rest of the month. And after experiencing long term unemployment and having to uproot my life to live my in-laws, I know that the cost of living is not as cheap as you want it to be.

On the flip side, we don’t currently live an extravagant lifestyle, and I plan to keep it that way. I don’t want to end up like all the Baby Boomers who fell for the lie that the economy could expand ad infinitum and trapped themselves into bloated mortgages, too-big houses, a new car note every decade, and the other trappings of conspicuous consumption, and therefore can’t retire. I’m working on trying to pare down my wardrobe and buy only affordable, but quality pieces (no more Payless or Forever 21!) that I love and will wear regularly. I’m drawing up a new budget this weekend to make sure we don’t fritter away our second income stream on things that won’t appreciate.  But I know I also need to work on being thankful, present and faithful. This isn’t the first or the last opportunity that God has for me and I need to act like it.

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A Different Kind of Christmas

This year, the holiday season was different from some in years past. First off, the husband & I are still going through a “for poorer” stage of our lives. I got a holiday retail job and while I’m certainly glad for the extra change, it’s definitely way too much work for minimum wage. (Stressed out, entitled holiday shoppers will turn anyone into a Scrooge). I actually had to work the closing shift on Christmas Eve and I get to do it all again the day after, plus I’m working New Year’s Eve and January 1st. Yay me  -_-  I’m not feeling the holiday spirit as much as usual. This year there was no singing Christmas carols and going to church with my family. But my sister and her husband are in Dallas visiting his parents, so on their way back to Atlanta they’re going to spend a couple days with us in Houston! I’m beyond excited to see them both. I know for sure I want to take them to the Galleria just to see the ridiculousness. The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle both seem like good movies to see, and they’ve got to have some authentic Texas barbecue! Can’t wait for the fun to begin.

Since I’m finding the silver lining, I should mention that I got a tutoring gig back in October working with a high school senior in AP Economics. She was borderline flunking the class when we started our sessions, but she got an 84 on her final exam! That was a great reward in itself. I got an econ certificate in undergrad but hadn’t looked at the material in years, and there were times when I wondered if I was getting through to her. I’m thrilled that she got so much out of our time together and I’m looking forward to working with her next semester. But the Christmas bonus in the card her parents gave me was certainly appreciated! In a couple of weeks, I’ll (hopefully) be done with retail since I start at a tax firm for a seasonal position. Who knew income tax law would come in handy so quickly? This job is going to give me some great client counseling experience. Plus, I’ll have the expertise to do tax preparation and and audit representation when I hang my own shingle. Tex got an interview through a friend of a friend of his dad’s, and we’re hoping that pans out. If so, then I’ll know we’ll be in Texas for the long haul and can start preparing for the July bar exam.