Archive for October, 2012|Monthly archive page

Healing: Stages of grieving

In Encouragement, Law School Problems, Somewhat disjointed rant... on October 28, 2012 at 7:05 am

It’s easy to blog when I’m happy. It’s easy to spread encouragement. I just think about what I need to hear on days when I feel hopeless, burned out, and used up. Days like today. Yesterday, I gave myself permission to walk away from pain. But, I wasn’t vigilant enough. You see, pain is a sneaky thing. It’s like a lioness attempting to take down a wildebeest  The lioness knows damn straight she can’t take down a healthy wildebeest from a herd of healthy wildebeest. She has to wait for a weakness in the group: a sickly wildebeest; a lone wildebeest wandering off; a young, impetuous wildebeest to0 quick to believe itself strong and indestructible. Though the herd may well sense the lioness’s presence and move away from her. Well, she IS still a lioness.

Needless to say, pain snuck up on me. I was susceptible. Studying all day after a week of studying and working for five days. Tired. Bored. Boring. Burned out. I was that lone wildebeest who wandered away from the herd. Pain came at me like a lioness from the tall grass: fast, efficient, devastating.

Still in repair.


Heartbreak Redux: Permission to Heal

In Encouragement on October 27, 2012 at 6:01 am

Your Permission Slip

Yesterday, I gave myself permission to feel heartbreak and pain. I didn’t run from it. I didn’t scold myself for not “being happy.” I didn’t try to talk it out with someone else. I just felt it; I walked around in it; I saw what it was made of. I realized that it was full of shame, sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness. Then, I gave myself to permission to walk away and feel something else.

Remember back in the day when you wanted to go on a field trip? Remember that permission slip your parent had to sign? Without that permission slip, you couldn’t go anywhere. Even if your parent was willing for you to go, if s/he forgot to sign that permission slip….the jig was up. The same thing goes for the healing process in adulthood–except that you are the one with the power to extend permission to yourself.

I believe that I am going through something very much like the five stages of grief — except for friendships. There is no right way to grieve. There is no time frame within which a loss must stop hurting. There is no time frame within which life melds back together. Indeed, for some people life never does meld back together. But, if that is where you are…I give you permission to be there if you won’t  give yourself permission. I give you permission to be sad sometimes. I give you permission to have a day during which you do not mourn or grieve. I give you permission to want to have fun with your friends. I give you permission to make new friends. I give you permission to want time alone.

This may sound a little far-fetched, but I honestly feel like God gave me permission yesterday to give myself permission to be at a place of pain in my emotions. I could have chosen to go for a run, or eat chocolate, or get on the phone, or play solitaire…in an attempt to feel something different. I was at that place for a purpose. Maybe the purpose was so that I’d write this post. Maybe the purpose was so that I would understand Moore’s words: “Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.”

Or, maybe I was supposed to give you a permission slip. And, it’s blank 🙂

Heartbreak Rehab

In Encouragement on October 26, 2012 at 3:07 am

I am. I’m in repair. I have a broken heart. I’m past the angry phase. I’m past the bitter phase. I’m at the tender phase. That’s the phase when I feel completely 100% until some event or phrase or person seems to poke me right in the tender place left in my heart. When that happens, I just want to know why. Why? What did I do wrong? Why did I deserve to be hurt? Then, I begin to hurt. I begin to mourn that lost relationship. Did I spend enough time with that person? How is s/he? Was there something more that I should have done?

I am writing this only because I suspect that I am not the only one at this place in my life. I am writing this because today, in the midst of my mourning, a realization hit me. I have been here before. I am writing this because I am going to take this opportunity to poke the tender place in my heart, in hopes that I can finally heal and accept the end of a relationship.

I have been here before, and I made it through. Each time I learned something about my own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, I’ve learned that I can be extremely independent and resourceful. I can get powerfully angry. I can be very protective of those close to me. I have a deep sense of justice and injustice. Without heart-break, it might have taken me until the age of 40 or 50 to learn these things about myself.

So, I’m in repair and I refuse to lose hope. I refuse to believe that I am fatally and fundamentally flawed. If I were, I wouldn’t be in repair. The same goes for you.

Political Manifesto…or just words

In Encouragement, Somewhat disjointed rant..., Thoughts on Christianity on October 19, 2012 at 4:08 am

(An edited and expanded version of an FB post of mine)

I have recently been very disturbed and disappointed by the social media words of fellow Christians. Particularly, some of the opinions of Christians regarding the upcoming presidential election are dismaying. Now, I don’t claim to speak for all Christians. I am, however, speaking for my own understanding of Christianity based on….welllll, based on my relationship with Jesus and the words of the Bible.

First, I believe that politics often distracts us from the real issues. I’m saying that WHATEVER issues the media is telling us are important are likely NOT the key issues. Equality is what matters. What matters is that America is a nation founded on the principle that every person should have the chance, regardless of nature or choice, to reach his/her full potential. Period. Each person is entitled to his or her beliefs regarding abortion and same sex marriage. My point is this: how does the occurrence of either one affect your personal beliefs? I have never had an abortion, and would not choose to get one if it could at all be avoided. My personal choice, however, is not changed by another woman making a different choice.

Having a law that bans abortion (or anything else) will not make life better. We don’t get brownie points in the Book of the Lamb if these laws get passed. I love these words from Galatians 3

10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse,as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”

Second, for those of you contemplating not voting in the upcoming election: REALLY? SERIOUSLY? America is great and is becoming greater as our citizenry becomes more diverse. Your failure to vote is not some sort of personal protest; it is rather one less vote in ballot box.

Third, for those of you contemplating voting for or not voting for POTUS Obama because of his race: REALLY? SERIOUSLY? Neat-o. So glad to know that things have changed so much since the Civil War. Moreover, good job on doing your research about a candidate’s stance on key issues. I’m sure because your race matches your candidate’s race that your beliefs and his match completely. Life works that way. All the time.

Fourth, for those of you waiting for your church to tell you which way to vote: REALLY? SERIOUSLY? I read these words once: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Your vote is yours; the government is His. Believe me, the Good Lord is not going to snatch back your salvation based on the candidate for whom you vote.

Being Blessed

In Encouragement, Love and Romance, Somewhat disjointed rant..., Thoughts on Christianity on October 18, 2012 at 4:30 am

I am going to be intentional about being blessed. Wait. Wait. Let me finish. First, I am defining blessed as being touched and/or guided by God. I am going to be intentional about recognizing the ways I am blessed. It sounds corny, but just taking time to think about the ways that God is guiding me and affecting me in the very moment refocuses me; sharpens me; makes me more aware of the life around me.

It is crucial for me that I think the very moment that I am in. I cannot think about the ways in which I will be blessed–that encourages a lust for the future in me. I cannot think about the ways that I was blessed–that encourages me to be nostalgic for the past. I have to think about how I am blessed–how I am being blessed–at that moment. Sights, sounds, textures, and tastes are a part of that immediate experience. What once seemed to be bad but is now a positive is part of that. Self-awareness is a part of that. Awareness of others and their needs is a part of being blessed. The ability to express your blessedness is part of that. Most importantly, thankfulness is a part of that.

Yes, yes! I’m so blessed.

No Quarter for Ignorance

In Encouragement, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on October 10, 2012 at 3:24 am

There is a war. Not against drugs. Not against terror. Not against tyranny.

Against ignorance.

I will respond. I will talk. I will rage against the dying of the light. I will bite with sarcasm. I will burn with kindness. I will pierce with light. I will attack with education. I will write. I will love. Yes, I will use that greatest of all weapons, all emotions, all actions, all aspirations: LOVE.

This is a no holds barred challenge. This is a clarion call to fellow fighters who refuse to assuage, to excuse, to ignore, or to laugh away.

Sometimes I get discouraged. Maybe you get discouraged sometimes, too. Here is where I go for fuel. If you have places where you go for fuel, please leave links and quotes in the comments.

Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

“Citizens, whatever happens to-day, through our defeat as well as through our victory, it is a revolution that we are about to create. As conflagrations light up a whole city, so revolutions illuminate the whole human race. And what is the revolution that we shall cause? I have just told you, the Revolution of the True.

From a political point of view, there is but a single principle; the sovereignty of man over himself. This sovereignty of myself over myself is called Liberty. Where two or three of these sovereignties are combined, the state begins. But in that association there is no abdication. Each sovereignty concedes a certain quantity of itself, for the purpose of forming the common right. This quantity is the same for all of us. This identity of concession which each makes to all, is called Equality. Common right is nothing else than the protection of all beaming on the right of each. This protection of all over each is called Fraternity. The point of intersection of all these assembled sovereignties is called society. This intersection being a junction, this point is a knot. Hence what is called the social bond. Some say social contract; which is the same thing, the word contract being etymologically formed with the idea of a bond.

Let us come to an understanding about equality; for, if liberty is the summit, equality is the base. Equality, citizens, is not wholly a surface vegetation, a society of great blades of grass and tiny oaks; a proximity of jealousies which render each other null and void; legally speaking, it is all aptitudes possessed of the same opportunity; politically, it is all votes possessed of the same weight; religiously, it is all consciences possessed of the same right. Equality has an organ: gratuitous and obligatory instruction. The right to the alphabet, that is where the beginning must be made. The primary school imposed on all, the secondary school offered to all, that is the law. From an identical school, an identical society will spring. Yes, instruction! light! light! everything comes from light, and to it everything returns.”

–Enjolras, Les Miserables, Chapter V. The Horizon Which One Beholds from the Summit of a Barricade.

In defense of lawyers

In Law School Problems, Lawyer Problems, Somewhat disjointed rant... on October 10, 2012 at 3:09 am

It really chaps my hide when someone (and I mean ANYONE) makes a serious generalization about any group of people…particularly a group to which I belong. Of course, being a law student means that I’ve told my share of lawyer-as-douche-bag jokes. But, I’ve earned my stripes.

I would like for the whole world to know that lawyers have not cornered the douche bag market. There are douche bags in every known profession out there. But, for some reason, lawyers are social pariahs. We tear at the fabric of society. To be clear, most lawyers are former (or current) nerds who spend hours in libraries and artificially lit rooms reading–sounds dangerous.

1. Lawyers do talk a lot. Mysteriously, this is a problem only when we are not in the courtroom. Step into the courtroom and clients want you to jump up and shout OBJECTION every few moments. Of course, after the objection, you have to make an argument. Then, the clients want you to do an opening AND a closing. Geesh. Then, for some unknown reason, EVERY client wants to know what is going on with his or her case…this means meetings and telephone calls.

2. Lawyers like to argue. I think that this is for purely economic reasons; the lawyers who don’t like to argue or take adversarial positions don’t tend to get a lot of business.

3. Lawyers are aggressive. I agree. Lawyers could definitely negotiate with insurance companies in a less aggressive way. Yes, there’s no need to be aggressive when the insurance company starts off at $600.00 and the client has $10,000 in medicals (not including missed wages and the need for continuing care). Soft words and warm biscuits will work.

4. Lawyers don’t actually add anything to society. Thurgood Marshall. F.W. de Klerk. Marian Wright Edelman. Maynard Jackson. Francis Scott Key. William Penn. Paul Robeson. Gandhi. Nelson Mandela. Henri Matisse. Alexander Hamilton.  Absolutely. Never. Did. Anything. For. Society.

5. Lawyers only want money. This completely distinguishes the legal profession from other professions. The following professions are all above a simple cash nexus: doctors, dentists, singers, basketball players, dancers, hair stylists, makeup artists, architects, and chefs.

I’ll be honest. Not every lawyer or law student that I know is the person that I’d choose to be stuck on a deserted island with. But, most of the attorneys and law students that I know are incredibly passionate, articulate, and driven people. Some attorneys and law students are douche bags. If, however, you get stuck with a douche bag attorney…..you know what you should do? Fire your attorney.



The Friendship Exhale (Shoop, shoop)

In Encouragement, Somewhat disjointed rant... on October 6, 2012 at 4:41 am

I haven’t really listened to Whitney’s songs since she passed–the closest I could come was Robin Thicke’s cover of “Exhale.” Today, I watched Whitney’s video. I was immediately transported back to my early teens–a time in my life when I was addicted to chocolate brown lipstick because it looked so awesome on Whitney in this video. My early teens were also a time in my life during which friendship (if not make-up) was fairly simple and easy. High school decided who your friends were; I was a nerd, a maggot (a magnet student), non-band, non-sports, and square (I didn’t wear stylish gear). These facts alone whittled down the crowd of people with whom friendship would be developed.

Adult friendships have not proved as easy for me (though my sense of make-up has definitely improved). I have struggled, fought, triumphed, shared, cried, laughed, and been to therapy (yes, Black women need therapy sometimes, too). Mostly, I wanted to know why I couldn’t seem to maintain healthy and long-term friendships with….anyone. I thought that one day the light bulb would go on, I would have a Sherlock Holmes moment, get to the root of the issue, tambourines and bells would sound, and I’d find a bosom buddy. Thaaaaat didn’t happen.

But, today, I realized that with the help of many people near and dear to me, I have (you knew it was coming) exhaled. I’ve stopped holding my breath and waiting for me to “get better.” Maybe my understanding of friendship and the friendships I need are different from another person’s understanding and needs.  I have people who I think about, who I care about, who I pray for, who I check on, who I e-mail, who I laugh with, who I instant message, who I tweet. Maybe what I need right now isn’t a 25 year bosom buddy. Maybe what I need is what I have: a collection of people in my life who are living their lives while I’m living mine; our paths sometimes run parallel and sometimes perpendicular; we don’t fight the tide of life that pulls us because we appreciate that we are in the same ocean and when we are swirled closed enough together we reach out and love on each other and are grateful for the moment; we realize that friendship is but a name for congruence of time, purpose, place, emotion, circumstance or some combination of those. I am thankful for each of them. I am thankful for you.

Keep on the sunny side….

In Encouragement on October 2, 2012 at 1:00 am

I’m having one of those days. You know THAT day. I really wanted to blog about what made me upset, but it struck me that there is no hope in putting all of that out there. One song comes to mind:

I hope that I’m not fake in my posts, but I made a commitment that I was going to start looking for lessons when I feel that I am less than. Instead of posting solely about the cloudiness, I want to post about the clouds, but I also want to post about the sun that breaks through.