Category Archives: Lawyer Life

Coming Out of The Fog (Again)

I have been in a quagmire of funky emotions.  Dealing with the adjustments of forming all new – lifelong – eating habits, hormonal changes that come with surgery (didn’t know this until after) and rapid weight loss, getting used to my family being here all. the. time., trying to run a business, and working through the suffocating depression that has followed me around like a lost puppy dog the last three months (since I had to defend my decision for surgery to the one person I never wanted to have to defend it to).  I have been so exhausted and unable to function on a consistent basis.  But I’m finally coming out of it (again).

I guess this is the cycle of life, my dears.  Up and down and sometimes in between.

I think my body is finally adjusting to the decreased caloric intake.  The tiredness lingers and I’m super emotional at the most randomly inopportune times (my brother and I have had multiple fights over cheese), but I’m able to have a good solid, productive, 5 or 6 hours of work done now.  I just didn’t realize how difficult the first few months would actually be after this surgery.  Physically, emotionally, mentally, it’s been very challenging and often in ways that I was not expecting.

My social life has been nonexistent.  I’ve been wanting to join my friends, networking buddies, and colleagues for their many holiday soirees, but I’ve only been able to make it out to a couple of things.  Some days I can do it, other days, I hit a wall and have to rest.  I suppose if I paced myself, instead of trying to hit three things in one week (hey, when you’re feeling good, you gotta take advantage, amiright?), I’d be better off.  Either way, I’m hopeful that everyone understands and I’m trying not to be hard on myself about it in the process.

I’m really grateful that I have my own business, so that I have had an opportunity to recover in my own way.  Sure, it’s been a hard transition and a totally different kind of stressful, especially when recovery brought my business to a screeching halt, pissed off a couple clients, and killed my finances, but it’s temporary.  Now that I’m finally getting around to feeling more normal, life and business can resume (mostly) as scheduled.

Having my family here has been a real blessing.  Getting used to living with an entire family after being by myself for seven years has been quite a change, but they help out so much.  I barely have to do anything around the house and it’s such a relief.  I was praying for quite a while for someone to come swoop in and help take care of me for a while, and having my brother and his family here has been an answer to that prayer in so many ways.

My brother and I talk a lot about growing up, how difficult it was, and how difficult it continues to be.  It’s hard for the both of us to relive the many terrible memories, but it may be even harder for him at times.  I forget that while I’ve been working really hard over the last few years to deal with my our past, he has mostly just tried to forget about it the last 20 years of his life.  He keeps bringing it up, though, so I keep giving him every ounce of knowledge and insight that I’ve gained about dealing with it now. I have certainly gained some perspective because of our conversations.  I hope he feels the same.

I’m taking a bit of a break from therapy until early next year.  It may not be the best of ideas, but life.  From finances, to getting back into the swing of business, to just not wanting to for some reason right now, I can’t bring myself to do it.  I feel like I’ve talked myself to death about my childhood and my mother, I’m dealing with surgery and post-op life the best I know how, and my energy is better spent on being with my family, working on business, and enjoying a little life for a minute.

I’m learning more and more that it’s okay to take a break.  As long as I’m doing something to better myself and/or my business every day, then I’ve got nothing to be down on myself about.  Even if I’m not as productive, not as busy, not as whatever I wish I had been on any given day, I’m still making strides toward some things that are incredibly important to me – a happy and health mind and body and a successful business.  With those as my requirements, today has already been a good day.

One Step Closer

I finally heard back from the surgical center this week and got my consult with the surgeon scheduled for August 5! Apparently I’ll get my surgery date at the time of consult, which should be four or so weeks later. So… surgery in early to mid September! Eek! I’m nervous as hell. I’m excited beyond belief. I’m trying to get all my ducks in a row. I’m having a hard time not feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all.  Just have to remind myself (I’m like a broken record in my mind here) to keep taking this process one. day. at. a. time.

I ended up telling my parents about surgery this week.  I struggled with the decision for months and was adamant that I wouldn’t tell them, but it was getting too weird not to. Surgery is a huge part of my life at the moment and it will continue to be for, well, forever. It went over pretty well. Dad was typical dad – don’t go with the first surgeon, it’s a total life change, do your research.  Yeah dad, I know.  Mom was excited (I thought she might be), but of course the conversation with her was immediately about how she wants to be involved and had to include a “no, I don’t need you there, I’ve got this covered.” She was disappointed, but she seems like she’ll be respectful of my wishes there. My parents are intentionally my 5th string on the support team. This is about my own very personal transformation, inside and out; I need to keep it that way, even if it’s hard for anyone else.

Unfortunately, I’m already slightly regretting the decision, because my mom threw around a couple comments about how it’ll be when I lose all my weight yesterday. I had to shut her down, because I try not to think that far ahead and, truly, just don’t want to discuss that aspect of it with her. I don’t even know what my day tomorrow will be like and If I think about all the future possibilities surgery-wise, I get too anxious.  Mindfulness means staying in the present, so I constantly have to reel it in and think short term.  What’s done is done, I’ve got to deal with it now.

Naturally, because the universe loves me, life beyond WLS continues to be crazy.

I’m struggling with keeping my head on straight at work these days. Between almost daily court appearances, boss regularly being out, and an intense caseload, it’s tough. I’ve been a networking mad woman this month too (which is incredibly tiring for this gal with introvert tendencies).  Having a crazy schedule and stressful career constantly concerns me when it comes to surgery, but it’s my life. I’ll figure it out.

I also recently got an invitation to be a contributing writer for a new local lifestyle and culture magazine launching October 3. We had a meeting yesterday, and it turns out that rough drafts are due August 29 and final drafts are due September 12 (all right around surgery, of course)! It’s a great opportunity, but something I’ve never done before. Plus, as I wrote here just the other day, appealing to the masses gives me a brain cramp and serious writers block. Everyone seemed to like my ideas, but I’m definitely feeling out of my element here. Intimdation. Insecurity. Check and check. For some reason, this opportunity landed in my lap, though, so I’m going to make it count!

Unfortunately, because yesterday was an overwhelming day on all fronts, I ate like crap for dinner.  I was struggling with head hunger all day and my fridge is low on easy good for me food (time for grocery shopping), so I went to Carl’s Junior. I’ve been there on this journey and done pretty well, just getting a cheeseburger and nothing else. I fell into old habits for the night, though. I’m disappointed in myself and feel a bit sick because of it this morning, but today is a new day! I’m not going to let it ruin my overall progress.

Slow and steady wins the race! Have a beautiful day, friends :)

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Rollercoasters and Childhood Dreams

In the last week I have experienced more emotions than I ever thought I could possibly handle.  From anxiety to elation and exhaustion and everything in between, it has been quite the roller coaster.  I am a different person for all of it.

I got all of about thirty or forty-five minutes of sleep Tuesday night because I was anxious and excited for the biggest day of my career to date on Wednesday – the first day of my first solo bench trial.  I was pumped at first, getting ready to do this thing.  I was thrown off by the small podium and got my papers all mixed up as I tried to figure that out, so when I started the first witness the first morning, I completely blanked.

Yep.  Everything about the case left my mind completely.  Not. Fun.

It took me all morning to work through that as I examined my first witness.  The Judge was none-to-happy about my morning ineptitude either.  Ugh.  I was running on fumes and I was nervous, so sue me.  I took the Judge’s words to heart, beat myself up about it, then regrouped and worked it out after lunch.  It went much smoother, but the witness was equally challenging.  When I left, I was beaten up and bruised.

As I drove home, exhausted, enjoying the cloudy sky and processing the day, I began to give thanks for having this moment.  While it was beyond challenging, it was still the first day of my first solo bench trial and I was floored.  This was the final realization of a childhood dream and I was so grateful for it.  As I prayed, the clouds opened and visible rays of sunshine shone down upon the mountain.  It was a glorious moment.  I felt like God and my Gram were both there and I couldn’t help but cry.  As my tears dried, the clouds closed and I felt revived.  Tomorrow would be another day.

And boy was it!

The second day of trial on Thursday started off with me missing my alarm.  I stayed up late again the night before so I could prepare better witness outlines and plan my attack for the next day.  I slept like a rock and had apparently turned my phone on DND the night before.  You know that feeling when you wake up late?  Yeah, not fun on day two of an already tough trial.  Thankfully, my body clock actually had woken me up on time.  But the adrenaline was already coursing through my veins by the time I realized that!

After I managed to assuage the near panic attack I had from missing the alarm, I got ready and made my way to the Court.  Thankfully the morning anxiety and stress did not stop me from having a killer day.  Before I even made it into the courtroom, I had seen three attorneys I know who all had support to give.  It really helped me be on my game like I wanted to be the day before!  Talk about exhilarating, friends!  This is why I wanted to be a lawyer, after all.  Finally living the dream.  It’s so fun to be doing what you want to do with your life.

As a side note, opposing counsel and the Judge were both women.  Also, a few senior girls from a nearby high school came in to observe for their class project.  It was totally girl power up in there Thursday morning!  But I digress.

After a great day like I had, I couldn’t go home and be alone!  So I met up with a friend at a business mixer at this cute little restaurant I had heard about before.  I was out in full effect, let me tell you.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been in public and felt like that.   Carefree, happy, not worried about what anyone else thinks of me.  I made lots of new friends (one, in particular, I can’t stop thinking about – AK) and a couple potential clients.  It was, to say the least, a great night.

What had just been an awesome day turned into an incredible 24 hours.  After leaving the bar following a long, heartfelt, naturally meandering conversation with AK at 11:30 p.m., I couldn’t sleep when I got home.  I had to work through the prior day so I could be ready in the morning.  Ugh.  I shouldn’t have stayed out so late, but it was 100% worth it.

I was going to try to sleep, then get up early to prepare for the next afternoon (Court didn’t start until 1:00 p.m. Friday, thank God).  Hahahaha!  My brain was so not into that idea.

I needed to talk to someone, but by then it was 2:00 a.m. Friday morning and no one I knew was up except my parents.  I had not intended to call her until after trial was complete.  I still had words for her and did not want to get into another screaming match right at that moment.  God called me to do it anyways.  So I did.  And, well, you already read the result of that.  After having the day and night I had already had, I was truly overwhelmed.

With so many feels, it took me until about 9:00 a.m. to fall asleep, but I did enough work to feel pretty prepared for the next day.  I managed to get a tortured couple hours of sleep and was nothing short of exhausted as we begun day 3 of trial.  I was still pretty on my game, though.  Worked through my last witness and rested my case.  I think I got all of the important evidence in.

I almost cried during my closing argument.  I did my very best to tell my clients’ story how I would want someone to tell it if it were my own.  As I got near the end and was summing up how this case has affected my clients, I turned and looked at them and I almost lost my composure.  One of them, the older man, winked at me and I somehow managed to keep it together.  It was a special moment I will absolutely never forget.  To be zealously advocating for my clients and to get so into it that I experience that type of pure, unabashed, emotion is beyond words.

Beyond words.

Mental Cool Down

Today has been a busy day.  One of several this coming week. *sigh* While I need to get some sleep, my anxiety and excitement are going crazy, so here I am to tell you all that’s on my mind.  Thanks for listening.

Had a lazy Sunday morning (the best, right?), jumped in on #SundayBlogShare with Suzie81 Speaks for a minute (it’s fun, you should try!).  Then, caught up with  friends on Facebook and 💜ed away on Instagram while a movie and a few guilty pleasure shows from the last week play in the background (e.g, all of the Little Women shows on Lifetime). Got in my water for the day (gave up soda a week ago last Friday), had leftover pizza and dessert (yeah, I’m getting it in while I can, so shoot me). After lunch, it’s off to work. 

Work on Sunday – boo! But, my first solo trial starts on Wednesday (eek!) and so time with the clients and the quiet time after to focus was really great. I’m still nervous (and a bit excited too, I can’t lie), but I feel more prepared than I did yesterday.  That’s a fantastic feeling, let me tell you.

Adding to my nerves and excitement, though, is my apointment with the dietician tomorrow!  I have absolutely no idea what to really expect.  Again.  I’m just trying to go with the flow.  With that said, what the heck was I thinking making the nutritionist appointment a day and a half before trial started?!  I think I just really wanted to get it going. It was a month between the seminar and the nutritionist, after all. I didn’t want to wait!

Still, I should know better.  Lol

I have to say, when it gets super busy like this at work, I really worry that weight loss surgery isn’t right for me right now.  How will I ever prep prep prep?  How will I exercise faithfully? How will I possibly manage my anxiety and depression as I work through what I’m sure is going to be a rollercoaster? Oh, and still function at work? I’m so terrified of failing in the long run.  I know I’ve been successful at lots of things I’ve set my mind to, but not this.  Never this.  It’s scary to think that I’ll go through all this and fail again. 

I mean, I can hardly remember a time when I wasn’t overweight. But then I remember that I’ve got a couple of months (at least, I hope) without something really big like trial after this week is over (thank you baby Jesus!), and I stop worrying so damn much.  I’ll have time to focus on making changes before surgery, on working through this process.  Or I’ll make time.  This is important and will be a priority.

All I do know is I’m pretty at peace with the decision to go for surgery, despite all that.  It finally feels like the right time. 

Oh, today I also found a few cool, friendly people on Instagram and Twitter who are sharing their weight loss surgery pictures and journies! It’s super inspiring and gets me excited to see what my results and stuff will be! I hope I can do well. :)

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What a Dump

I have to get some things off my chest and out of my mind.  Ive been bottling things up. Feeling depressed. I haven’t been able to create much lately.  I’m not sleeping well.  I’m sad, lonely, overwhelmed, frustrated, exhausted.  I can’t keep it all in anymore.

My work-life balance has been way out of whack for weeks now.  March was incredibly busy, and April hasn’t let up. My boss is going to be out for another week, leaving me to run the show yet again (which I get to repeat in May and June – making it four months in a row).

Work consumes a majority of my life these days. I didn’t leave until just shy of 11 pm last night.  I’ll be working a good portion of this weekend.  I’ve got trial looming in the next couple weeks.     Plus I have to be this *person* at work, who clients vibe with and therefore want to pay, who knows her shit at all times, who has confidence even if she doesn’t feel it, who doesn’t make mistakes, miss deadlines, or fail to communicate regularly with clients.  It’s a lot, and it’s exhausting; especially with life’s curveballs.

I’ve continued on my quest to be more social, attending networking/community events with my growing circle of networking friends.  Yet I seem to feel more alone than ever. Case in point, I had some fun work news to share this week and no one answered my calls, no one responded by text. I had no one in my personal life to share it with.  It made me quite sad.  I wish I had more people I could call on (and I do mean actually call – texting leaves me unsatisfied and unfulfilled – hearing someone’s voice is so much better).

I think I’m still in shock and grieving over recent deaths in my corner of the universe too.  My first secretary, Shirley, suddenly died of liver cancer. Kara Tippets, who I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing personally, but was a spiritual inspiration in my life (I started going back to church while following her blog) recently passed away.  Of course, there has also been the news that my favorite high school teacher, a super hero in my life, is in hospice care.

My first experience with death as a young child (my Grandpa Andy’s funeral) left me extremely confused and scared.  When my great grandma died when I was 18, I had no skills and no support to work through it.  I haven’t had anyone in my life who could help me navigate my grief and I think I tend to revert back to that chilhood state in the face of death. 

I also haven’t really given myself a chance to process my feelings after seeing my best friend’s two year old have a seizure at a family barbeque a couple weekends ago.  As one of only three adults (of about 20 present) who didn’t completely freeze or break down, being the one to be on the phone with 911, wasn’t easy.  I’d do it again in a heartbeat, no question about that, because I love my friend and I adore her kids.  It was a bit traumatic, though. 

Watching a child go through all of that, being afraid for his life, watching as he was so confused and scared as he slowly came to, seeing the fear in his eyes as the doctors examined him all brought up feelings about my own childhood I didn’t know I had.  It reminded me of the story my mom tells about the seizure I had after I ran head first at full speed into the bathroom counter. Seeing my friend and her husband be so incredible for their baby made me wonder if I got the same kind of support when I needed it most.  My suspicions that I didn’t were realized when it came out in a talk with my mom about my friend’s kiddo that my parents didn’t even take me to the doctor after my seizure.  They didn’t even get me checked out.

Of course, my mom’s recent relapse into extremely poor boundaries and narcissism have triggered a storm of things inside me too. 

Last, but certainly not least, the universe is forcing me to wait a while before I get to take the next step towards the weight loss surgery.  I couldn’t get an appointment with the nutritionist until April 29.  It feels like a lifetime and the excitement I was feeling about this process has considerably waned because of it.   I’m trying not to be discouraged,  because honestly, it’s probably for the best.  Starting a diet right now?  Hah! But it’s still disappointing.

I wish I had better things to share.  More positivity to spread.  Light. Spirit.  Fun.  Something.  I feel like I’m back sliding emotionally.  Things were going so well and now I’m down in the funk again.  I need to get out. 

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You Don’t Get Any Credit

I had a fantastic morning in Court, winning one of the biggest motions I’ve argued to date in my lawyer life.  I was nervous, like I usually am before a big hearing, but I pulled myself together. Never let them see you sweat! I felt like my voice was shaking a bit, but I managed to artfully convince the Judge that he made a mistake and should reconsider his prior order!  I’m sorry if that doesn’t make a ton of sense, my dear readers, just trust me when I say it’s kind of a big deal.

I can’t begin to explain the adrenaline rush I get from being in Court and walking out victorious. It’s purely and absolutely intoxicating (especially on a hard case like today)!  While it’s not for everyone, I love my career.

Unfortunately, I dont really have anyone to celebrate these successes with. So since we’ve started talking more regularly lately, I have begun relying on her to fill that role in my life again.  Big mistake. 

She had the balls to tell me tonight, “Of course you’re a good arguer, I taught you that.”  Let’s get something straight real quick. She did not teach me to argue. If I wasn’t complying, I was at risk for harm. She beat all of the argument out of me. She made damn sure that I had no voice growing up.  Becoming a lawyer has been one way for me to try to reclaim my voice despite my circumstances.

It has not been an easy road to get here either. I have worked my ass off to create moments like today.

I’m the only person in my family who has a doctoral degree (and only one of a few with a bachelor’s), so there was no blueprint laid out for me; I had to figure it out on my own.  I had no financial support of any kind, but still found a way to put myself through school all on my own.  I worked at law firms during the day while going to school at night to get experience in the field and a foot in the door.  I started at the very bottom of the law firm totem pole and worked my way up over more than a decade to become the respected, competent, likeable, all around good lawyer I am today.  I have suffered through several incredibly egotistical and abusive bosses knowing it would eventually propel me forward. I have fought tooth and nail to prove myself time and time again because my pedigree isn’t Ivy League.  I have sacrificed love, friends, my mind, my health, and plenty of valuable life experiences to make it where I am today.  I did all of this; no one else.  

So yeah, I absolutely hate that she tried to take any kind of credit for me being successful at my career.  She’s done it before too. You know what, though?  Fuck that shit.  She doesn’t get to take credit for all of my hard work.  Besides birthing me, forcing me to watch law shows (that actually just showed me how lawyers often have more power than law enforcement), helping me get my first job in a law office, and giving me some general encouragement along the way, she had no role in this. This is not her success.

She has taken so much from me.  She can’t have this too. She can’t. I refuse to let her.

Damnit. Why do I insist on sharing with her in the first place? I am consistently disappointed in myself and her afterwards. For some reason, I still crave her approval and affection despite everything.  It makes me feel so weak and pathetic.  Is it so much to want a parental figure who supports you for exactly who you are, not how you make them feel about themselves? Is it too much?

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I Was Wrong – Now What?

It’s so very hard to admit when you’re wrong, when you’ve made a mistake, to eat crow, but I’m here to do it.  I made a terrible decision when I quit my job last year.

I was so angry – overwhelmingly angry – when, at the last minute, they ripped away my chance to actively participate in a trial on a case that I spent three long years on.  I was deeply hurt and I took it personal, when I’m pretty sure (now) that it was actually just business.  So, I cut off my nose to spite my face and I quit.

I thought it was the demands of my job that were getting me down, but it was life.  The shit I had been dealing with from my childhood had been overflowing into my daily life in major ways for a couple of years by then.  Instead of continuing to deal with my issues like an adult and being grateful that I was gainfully employed at a place that was being pretty supportive (all things considered), I quit.

I took a two month road trip to clear my head (a trip I will absolutely never regret taking)  In some ways, I did clear my head.  In other ways, I think I must have confused myself even more.

I got it into my brain along the way that I would make it out there in this big bad world on my own, as a solo practitioner.  When I got back home, I started my own law firm.  It was exciting and liberating and all of the things I thought it would be, until it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gotten several decently paying clients; but it’s just not panning out.  My money is running out faster than it’s coming in.  I’m intelligent and creative, but I’m also shy and introverted, and I haven’t perfected a style of marketing that works for me.  I never gave myself the chance to learn before I left my job.

I can’t pay a mortgage on hopes and dreams and I don’t want to end up completely broke, so I need to make my way back into a job.  I’m terrified that by opening my own law firm and bombing, I’ve effectively blackballed myself from the list of employable lawyers.  Something tells me that’s not 100% true, but it’s definitely a fear I have.  A stomach churning, paralyzing, anxiety laden fear.

Now what?  Normally, I would say, “fuck it,” hold my head high, and plug along doing my thing.  I was good at that once, before it felt like the bottom of my life fell out from under me.

I’m still a great lawyer.  Nothing there has changed.  I’m still smart.  I just have issues and have made some mistakes.  We all make mistakes from time to time.  Every. Single. One of us.  I’ve lost my way over the last few years and just need to find the route back.  Man I really hope that in 10 years, I can look back on this time and laugh – wondering why the hell I was so worried.