Friends

XCVII: I Won’t Be An Attorney In 2019, But I Will Be Free!

So, ya girl studied for the July bar exam up until the week prior to the exam and then chose herself and her sanity over rushing the process. YEP, YOU HEARD ME RIGHT, I chose ME.

We all know that the natural progression is LSAT, law school, bar prep, bar exam, and usually those who take these steps do them one after the other after the other.

BUT!

In all honesty, my life was not working in a way that would get me across the bar exam finish line with my sanity or happiness intact.

At that point, I had just lost too much, was experiencing too much hurt, and was just mentally occupied and checked out. I had done what I was supposed to do and stuck to my study schedule but it was to no avail. I was basically just going through the motions and retaining nothing.

Now, I have seen myself at something-closer-to-peak performance, and I saw myself at whatever it was that I was experiencing during bar prep and I knew that I had reached my limits. I had no more fight left in me and I just couldn’t push through.


It’s rare for me to choose myself because it’s usually the case that, making other people happy is what really makes me happy. But, it got difficult when law school finals, graduation and bar prep were getting closer and closer all while life was still happening in the background.

During a couple of months time, I had to brush off death, my emotions, my fears, my feelings, love, heartbreak, and disappointment. Trust me, I’m used to working through these things but sometimes it just gets to be too much.

All of that on top of bar prep was definitely too much.

I got to the point where it was like, “okay, if a pen drops, I’m going to lose it” and that just was not a stable place to be. Bar prep is daunting enough, it’s hard enough and its terrible enough without so much going on in the background. It’s also a lonely process because no one knows what you’re going through except maybe your study/accountability buddy but life is also happening to them, so, you’re alone!

it was hard learning that, you may FAITHFULLY be other people’s happiness, but that does not mean that they care about your happiness. Many times, they don’t care.

This was tough to accept during a time where I felt that I needed certain people to be there for me.

By about a week prior to the bar exam, I had lost my longest-running and closest friendship with the only person I’d ever truly trusted, I had lost a close family member in an unexpected way, I had stressed my way through my moms major surgery, and it made me feel like I was, once again, working hard towards another loss (pass or no pass).

And a lot of that lead me to the conclusion that it just wasn’t my time.


Prior to making the choice, I did not tell anyone that I was thinking about postponing, I just gave myself more time to try and study. I made the choice and then studied as hard as I could for a couple of days, but once those days were over I saw that I still wasn’t in a good space at all. I spent the majority of the time bawling my eyes out at my desk and not actually being able to study. Topics like Wills & Trusts and Community Property were making me cry just given all that was going on, and really, I JUST NEEDED TO HEAL BEFORE I COULD DEAL WITH THE BAR EXAM (even when all of the topics were handed to me).

I say that I am now free because, throughout the process and all of the loneliness, I saw different sides to people who I had considered a friend.

I saw that a lot of people did actually care about my wellbeing and my mental prosperity, but that many others were more interested in my next moves. They wanted information about what Bree was doing next, where Bree was going next, and who Bree was dating. This is fine, but if you’re not checking on me too, you’ve got to go!

Nosey acquaintances are nothing new, but they are sometimes hard to pick out because they shield their triflin’ ways in fake concern, but it becomes more obvious the more they speak. So, I definitely freed myself from those types of people.

I freed myself from those who claimed to love me but betrayed me, weren’t there for me, or were simply garbage. AND, I FREED MYSELF FROM THE IDEA THAT I HAVE TO DO ALL OF THESE THINGS BECAUSE OTHERS EXPECT THEM OF ME.

The best lesson that I learned during bar prep was that, even though we often get to a spot where we hope that others care about us enough to work towards our happiness the way that we do theirs, at the end of the day it is NOT their job to ensure that you are happy. It is YOUR job to do what will make you happy at all times.

So, I won’t be reading that I passed the Bar Exam on Thanksgiving (because I didn’t take it), but I will go into my next round of studies in a much better space mentally.

LXXXIII: To Be A Woman...

To be a woman is to wait...  

In our teens, we wait for the moments that make us feel most like a woman. We wait for that group of friends that we believe we can’t live without. We wait for love — a deep, all-in, scary type of love. 

We wait for those little glimpses into our futures that show us what our passions will likely be. We take chances never fearing the risk. We try without the fear of failure. We leap knowing that life will catch us.

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Once we reach college age, we wait for the work that we’ve done on ourselves, thus far, to be realized.

By now, we’ve experienced friendship, betrayal, and love [for many]. We’ve had to pick ourselves up, persevere and be our own heroes. We’ve done all of this while under the lens of those around us while trying not to crack under the pressure.

Being a woman is tough. If we aren’t waiting for recognition for our hard work, then we are waiting for men to realize that many of us require that they actually treat us right. We are forever seen as the weaker sex and forever waiting for equality, civility, humanity, and appreciation.

At this point, this woman has been waiting to see a couple of things and I’ve noticed a couple of things... :

HARDWORK’S PAYOFF

There are some women out there working their buns off on a consistent basis and I think that it is worthy of so much applause.

Without getting into the things that women deal with, all too often, while working in the professional world, the way in which women still reign supreme in a number of professional arenas is astounding.

Women are simply amazing. But, sometimes it’s also the case that women are overlooked for their hard work. There are a ton of women out there who have to work behind the guise of a man just to keep their jobs; there are so many women who are the geniuses behind works that will never be known; and there are so many women out there who could do the job 10 times better than their male counterparts but will never even see anything past an interview.

I know that there are many women, including myself, who are waiting for all of their hard work to pay off, and I am just here to say to all of us:

Keep your head up. Your day is coming…

FRIENDS ACTUALLY BEING FRIENDS

I say this and will always stand by this, “it is so easy to be there for someone when they have nothing for you to be there for them about”.

I am a complicated person as it is, but in all of my arduousness, I still manage to be the friend that those around me need. As a woman, I found it necessary to pay attention to the needs of each friend (because they are always different), and work at being what each person needs and when they need it.

Again, I don’t see the point in being in someone’s life if I am not there to enhance or change it. So, as a friend, I make sure that I am exactly what that person needs: if they need an ear, then I listen; if they need a night out, then I’m going; if they need to vent, then I’m right there volunteering to beat up whoever needs it; if they need a shoulder, then I do my best, but honestly I hate contact so, you know, give and take.

All I’m saying is that, I understand what it is to be a human. I understand what it is to be a woman. I understand what it’s like to have emotions, and I understand disappointment very well. Life is not easy for everyone, and I get that it is 10 times harder if you’re doing it alone. So, I do what I can to make sure that those around me know that they are not doing it alone. I’m always here.

But, when it comes to my needs, if I really take a look at my life, not many of those same people even try to be there for me, women included.

For women to see how difficult this life can be and still not be there for another woman is disturbing. And I see it as a cycle of women running into the wrong types of women throughout their lives. They reach a point where it’s impossible to trust a good one when one comes around — and so begins the cycle of selfishness that we are currently knee-deep in today.

Women loving women, genuinely, is so absent in today’s society. For two women to be friends and not talk behind each other’s back or not lie to each other’s face is near impossible to find and it’s sad. There is nothing more powerful than a woman truly supporting a woman — how could we not flock to this?

We have to do better because there is nothing more beautiful than women truly supporting and rooting for other women.

REAL LOVE

I’ve heard it time and time again. It is so easy for a boy to tell you that he loves you, but I have yet to see a man show me that he loves me.

As a woman, when a pattern makes itself known, we cannot help but to internalize… “It must be me”, “Maybe I am asking for too much”, “Maybe I should lower my standards”. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is true, sometimes it is us! Sometimes we do ask for unreasonable and unrealistic things! And I’m not even touching that last one because I will never lower my standards.

But many times, it’s the fact that these boys haven’t been held responsible for their actions (see To Be Man post); they haven’t been required to try or put forth effort beyond getting in a girl’s pants, they haven’t been told to be the role model or the man. It’s never required because there is always a girl in the background that he can spend his time and energy on who doesn’t require these things like the woman does.

In this regard it’s like we’re fighting ourselves because we’ll continue to be the home for his womanizing ways, lies and failure to accept or admit the things from his past that have hurt him. Things that he hasn’t even taken the time out to work through because he’s never been required to.

Being a woman is hard — being a woman in love is the hardest.

Strength and “Real Love” have to go hand in hand in this world. I’m waiting for the shift that doesn’t only call for a woman’s strength but that also includes a man showing strength, restraint, loyalty, and love… and I do mean Real love.

COMPETITION

For some reason, women always seem to be in competition with each other as if we aren’t all fighting the same evils.

That competition even becomes the very demon that destroys our relationships, our friendships and our own well-being.

I don’t compete with the women around me because I really don’t see a point and I don’t see what we would be competing for (I generally see myself on different levels across the board). The energy put into competing at things that probably won’t even matter 5 years from now could easily go into, oh I don’t know, ANYTHING.

I just see the world as insanely difficult when it comes to people because our focus gets stuck on things like competition instead of on things like working through problems, or being there for each other, or being a friend…

I mean, maybe the fact that I honestly cannot wrap my mind around why or what women are competing for is exactly why I don’t understand this concept of women competing against women — and I do refer to the negative competition and not the fruitful/sportsman-type of competition.

HUMANITY

Chivalry, compassion, dignity, love, tenderness, kindness, consideration, generosity, goodness, sincerity, honesty and loyalty — Where art thou!?

I’m waiting for the world to find it’s humanity [again]. For some reason I have this idea that we once knew how to treat each other. And I could be completely wrong, but I honestly feel like there was a time where men had manners, at least made an effort to be honest, and tried to treat women the way they deserve to be treated.

Maybe because of the way that I was brought up — you know, with common sense, common curtesy and decency, do I believe that others should exercise the same.

I think that the world is so caught up in the pretend lives that they’re living for social media and viral culture that they are completely forgetting to be human and to treat others as if they are also human.

As a Black woman, my experience is much different from many others when it comes to humanity. Many women reading this post probably do not feel that humanity has died, but being a Black woman (the most unprotected, the most attacked, the most forgotten kind of woman) only shows me in technicolor that the world is lacking in the humanity, compassion, loyalty and decency department, and I want us to get it back. I believe in us!


Women spend their lives trying to find themselves and then to not lose it to the world, trying to determine who and what is worth caring for, trying to protect what’s nearest and dearest to them, nurturing, loving, caring and being compassionate and remaining strong. All while being used and abused by damaged guys (and girls), being betrayed by lifelong friends, and being placed in insane situations in the workplace while being looked over for things and positions that they can [more likely than not] do better than the guys.

Being a woman is hard… And I think that I continue to return to this point because it is too true. But, to all of the women who are loving in this world, working in this world, caring in this world, trying in this world and who are remaining true to themselves in this world, I see you and I applaud you all.

🖤

LXXVII: Have I Called A Post 'Love' Yet?

If I were to choose a Love Language, then it would definitely be in line with Gifting. Not so much receiving gifts, but definitely giving gifts.

Because I am not as physically and verbally expressive as most, I tend to show affection, appreciation, love, and friendship via gifts instead.

FOR ACQUAINTANCES:

I’ve found that I am an odd breed of person because I don’t even have to know everything about you to think of you and get you a gift if I think that it is fitting for you.

There have been instances where I just met a person and in one of our conversations they mentioned that they were a huge fan of something random. And then one day I am in a store and see a trinket in line with that thing and I grab it for them!

That’s just me! Oddly enough, the people who have crossed my path these last couple of years obviously haven’t had giving people in their lives because, when it’s a gift to a guy, he thinks I’m proposing marriage, and when it’s a girl, she thinks I want to be her best-friend! And trust me, neither of these are ever the case.

For this, I feel so badly that they’ve never had a nice person in their lives and am always happy to be the first! But, I’ve also found that these are usually glimpses into more narcissistic or egotistic character traits that I do not need to align myself with, so I let these people pass me by — gift or no gift.

But lucky for them, they were a thought at some point! Making someone feel special is something that brings a joy unlike any other type of joy, especially to me. Give it a try sometime in whatever your Love Language may be.

For Friends:

The majority of my friends receive gifts like random flowers, tickets to things, gift cards or food.

To me, food is a bond and when I can share that bond with others, then I usually can tell that we’ve crossed that boundary into actual friendship. But, I always say, if I can’t even eat in front of you, DO NOT THINK THAT WE ARE FRIENDS, PERIOD.

In my opinion, friends receive the second best gifts that I give (coming second to family). They get the gifts that show my appreciation for their long-lasting presence in my life, their honesty, their loyalty, and their patience in dealing with me (because I am WORK).

I love and appreciate the friends that have stuck by me and I make it a point to show them.

For Dates/More-Than-Friends, but Less-Than-Lovers/and Lovers:

These gifts are usually more sentimental and I certainly put more thought into them.

Because I am naturally a “gifter”, when getting a gift for someone who is working his way into my heart, I definitely spend a good amount of time reflecting on our relationship up to that point before deciding on the appropriate gift. I think back on past conversations about our goals, wants and needs. I think to things that have affected him and I think to things that he’s said to me. But most of all, because a sense of humor is a must when being around me, I think back to things that have made us laugh uncontrollably. These things usually help me most in putting together gifts.

Over the past five years, I’ve put serious thought into gifts for guys twice! This should give you an idea of how rare it is that I even let someone get close enough to care about getting them anything “special”.

Again, I am not affectionate in many ways, but gifting is kind of my thing. Lucky is the man who convinces me to love em’ (& deeply troubled, let’s face it, I’m a handful)!

Now, it’s your turn, what’s your love language?

  1. Gifts — Receiving gifts

  2. Quality Time

  3. Words of Affirmation

  4. Acts of Service — “Actions Speak Louder Than Words”

  5. Physical Touch

LVII: Practice Makes Imperfect...?

I AM NOT PERFECT, BUT I AM LEARNING.

I learn a lot from the people who I allow into my life.  Whether it be a good experience or a bad experience, I learn a lot.

So, this post is about a couple of the things that I have learned this year that I truly appreciate having had the opportunity to learn. 

THERE IS GOOD OUT THERE. 

So, I have an old co-worker, Josh, and I used to always walk by his office, bug him with dumb questions about his life and law, and pretty much just be annoying to him. 

Oddly enough, he took to my annoying ways and has become a good friend and person in my life.  

The part that shocks me the most is that he didn’t have to do this. But, I am glad that he did.

I have another friend, Ken, who I met when I first decided to apply to law school. He was this bright, beautiful souled person that constantly made me laugh and is geniunely caring. 

He listens, he cares and he gives the advice that no one else will. He’s REAL! Simply put. 

Having met people like the two just mentioned still shocks me. There  are  good people out there, and I know I shouldn’t be this shocked, but I am!  

These two give me hope. And I’m grateful to have that glimmer of hope that reminds me not to give up on people. 

SOME FRIENDS ARE REAL. 

Alicia is this fun-sized, adorably sweet, giving, caring, nurturing, dog-loving woman who I am blessed enough to call a friend. 

Over the years, we have refined our relationship and she’s shown me time and time again what it means to be a friend and what it means to have a friend. 

I’m often shocked by who she is and how she is, and it’s great. I aspire to be as good a friend as she is. 

Another great is Faith. I mean, have you ever met someone who was just like you but cooler? That’s Faith and I! 

He is this very quiet, but very outspoken, cool-dressing trendsetter who makes me laugh and hates juice! The joy that I feel just seeing him is insane. He is someone who I vibe with anywhere and anytime. I mean, I took him on his first trip to IKEA! We are forever bonded and he is forever a great friend.

YOU CANNOT CONTROL EVERYTHING. 

My biggest problem (apart from communication) is that I try to have control over every situation. 

I try to prevent situations from causing me pain by micro-managing them. I try to shape situations by grabbing them by the reins and controlling the direction of them.  

BUT, my friendship with Andre has taught me that you cannot control everything and you cannot control anyone. 

I often fear just letting situations play out because I believe that they will always end in the worst ways. Again, the realist in me forces me to follow the patterns of my life, like, it’s all that makes sense to me. If things have gone one way in the past, then they will go that way in the future. 

What an unhealthy way of thinking right? I KNOW! I’m learning, guys!  

This lesson is a tough one for me because it’s something like a two-fer! With learning that I cannot attempt to control, I also have to learn how to STOP TRYING TO CONTROL.

I have started this horrible habit out of complete fear from my past experiences. But now, after learning that I can lose people over this, I just want to forever rid myself of this need to control things.

I am no perfect person, perfect friend, perfect lover, or perfect example. But, I am practicing… I am practicing different ways to be a great friend. I am practicing ways to let go of my need to control. I am practicing seeing the good in all people.

I know that I will never perfect this, but I do plan on working on it.

So, in me, watch practice make imperfect.

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L: ... Too Fly To Be Depressed?

Depression is the result of a chemical imbalance which, in me, manifested itself in the form of: staring at blank walls for hours; filling my hot showers with tears; struggling to get out of bed; dreading human interaction (more so than usual); and an overall disconnect from everything and everyone.

My depression was a culmination of everything that I let build up over the years, and it hit me at the worst time (because when is the right time for it to hit?)

Let’s Address The Perception:

When I initially decided to reveal to a select few how I was feeling, the reactions were either very supportive or very expected.

The way that people would receive this information is one of the reasons that I kept this information quiet for so long. The supportive reactions were just that: very soft spoken words of encouragement. The very expected reactions were those of selfishness: the ‘but you’re still alive, why are you complaining’; the ‘let me send you links to streamed church sessions’; and the ‘well, we all got problems [insert their problems]’.

I know that the movies and the extreme cases on the news have hardened our hearts to the idea that those surrounding you may be capable of suffering such an ailment, but please remember that it is very possible. And, whether or not you believe in it, if someone else is going through it and chooses to open up to you about it (1) feel honored that they thought that you were human enough to understand that they are not feeling “okay”, (2) try to tear yourself away from YOU for at least 20 minutes and hear that person out, and (3) do not assume that you know what is going on or what it is like. Everyone’s experiences are different and someone else’s depression is not yours.

The Feels:

Let’s talk about what a depression felt like for me:

The Loneliness:

Even though I wasn’t always alone, I always felt alone. I felt like I did not have anyone and could not go to anyone. This is the fault of no one, it’s just an effect that I suffered.

The Sadness:

There was a build-up that lead to my depressed state and it had to do with: my level of activity, the amount of people who rely on me financially, the way that I treat those that I am close to and the fact that I expect similar treatment in return (a bad habit that I am trying to break), the uncertainty about my future, and the negative feelings associated with opening yourself up to others.

This resulted in a bunch of me blaming myself for this continuing pattern in my life where I give my best (and worst) self to people only for them to take it, give nothing in return, and reap the benefit with one foot out the door. These types of things happened to me with past boyfriends, friends, family, and then when it happened again on top of everything else that I was feeling, it was just too much…

This sadness doesn’t easily go away. Mix this with the loneliness that you’re already experiencing and you’ve got one sad drink!

I still haven’t figured out how to deal with or get past this sadness just yet, but I am working on it.

The Denial:

Let’s not forget the fact that we don’t want to be going through this in the first place, so my initial thought was to just deny it.

I did not want to believe that I could experience something like this. But, once I got to the point where I really did not want to have to experience this anymore and that I wanted to get out of it, I was more willing to accept that this was happening. Once I accept it, I can start working towards getting better, was my mindset and it worked. I am now working through this ugly battle.

The Fatigue:

When you are depressed, you literally wake up feeling tired (if you get sleep at all). You often need a nap or a break in your day.

Little things tire you out, your days seem impossibly long (but also not long enough), and your feet weigh a ton anytime you have to get up and move.

So much weighs you down when you are “down”, and the fatigue is just another thing that you have to combat on the road to recovery.  

The Sleepless Nights:

Now, I experienced a complete lack of sleep when I was experiencing my “down time”. I just couldn’t fall asleep. I would lay awake and think, or stare at the walls, or watch “It’s Complicated” or “Living Single” over and over and over. As if those things would “heal” me.

The part that I dreaded the most was that, when the sun would start to set, I would just get sad because I’d know that I would spend another night laying awake and wishing that I could just go to some other subconscious world. I never have dreams but you have no idea how much I prayed for any type of dream to take my mind off of whatever else it was on.

Add to that the fact that I literally could not sleep in my own bed! I would begin my night in my cozy king bed but lay awake for hours. Once I finally got tired of tossing and turning, I would finally give in and move to the couch — the only place that I even have a chance at falling asleep. Hence, the sleeplessness. 

The Loss of Appetite:

As hungry of a state that I constantly live in, it shocked me that I could not eat!

I would find it being 1p.m. or 2p.m. before realizing that I hadn’t eaten a thing. Not because I didn’t have things to eat, but because I literally could not eat. Food would make me sick, but, I guess, to add to the drama of it all, my stomach would growl. 

No clue what the loss of appetite was about, but I didn’t like it when I experienced it. 

The Healing:

I don’t know what other people’s healing is like, but I know that mine is a long process that involves me getting back to my very routine lifestyle.

It is the fact that I decided to leave my very routine bubble that led me to this depressed state, so I am literally backtracking in order to get back on track (which means going back to a completely closed off state, as bad as that sounds). Unfortunately, this is harder to do than it seems like it should be, so I find myself constantly straddling the line between “okay” and “back in”.

My circle is not big, at all, there are probably 3 people that genuinely care about me and my wellbeing apart from family, but there are also people around my campus that make it a point to check on me.

I have so much love for those of you who saw me around campus, noticed I was down and talked to me (Josh and Ron); and those of you who randomly check on me (Corina, Em, Jason and Alicia); and NATHAN thanks for just being there to hug me. You guys have no idea how much those things have meant. You have no idea how far those simple acts go.

In short, the healing is harder than actually going through the depression itself. It’s a process that requires patience. And, it’s not easy, but believe me when I say, IT HAPPENS TO THE BEST OF US. So, if this is happening to you, embrace it, because this too shall pass, and I promise you ain’t too fly to feel it (because I surely thought I was).