Long-distance is the worst of both worlds. I can’t have sex with whoever I want, but I also don’t have anyone to go out to dinner with.
Summer has been going by quickly, and I both love and hate how busy I’ve been. I’m working part time at the public defender’s office and part time as an intern for a judge. Neither pay much, but the experience has been great.
Today I was biking to my garden plot and I had the sudden feeling that I’m starting to become the person I want to be. I’m working with underserved communities, sticking to my principles, getting involved with my community, and building up an impressive resume. In many respects, this is the life I imagined for myself when I decided to go to law school.
On the other hand, J’s last job fell though when the company went under, and he’s been living with me and trying to find a new position for the past couple of months. It’s great to have him here, but he’s not making money and his school loans are starting to come due. Not to mention that we had planned on getting married next summer, but that won’t happen if we don’t have some kind of stable income and insurance options.
I’m looking forward to getting married to J, but I sort of realized the other day that we did things in the wrong (or at least in an unconventional) order. We are engaged because we know we want to get married to each other, but we aren’t ready to do that quite yet. We need to get our lives in order a little first. J wants to get started in his career, and I want to make sure we are ready to be financially independent. I guess we didn’t realize when we got engaged that people usually wait to do the whole proposal thing until they are actually ready to get married. Oops. We never were much for convention anyways.
One of my mentors at the public defender’s office left last week. He was the best public defender I know - passionate, whip-smart, and no-nonsense. He had a foul mouth, a sick sense of humor and an infectious laugh, and he connected deeply with his clients. I miss him so damn much. Nobody wanted him to leave, and he didn’t want to leave, but he’s been working three jobs for the past few years to make ends meet. He’s going into private practice for a while to make some money. He says he’s going to come back. I hope there’s a job here for him when he’s ready. He inspires me to be a better person and a better attorney.
This has been a summer of ups and downs so far. It seems like as soon as I’m doing something I love, J is searching for something new. I hope that soon, we will both be on the right track and our collective life will start to come together. For now, we are in stasis until something comes through. For now, we wait.
I messaged an ex-boyfriend the other week just to see how he’s been, and I was startled at how much he has changed. When we were together, he had this beautiful long dark hair, and he was a great musician, and we hung out in a record store and played darts, and lit incense while we had sex, and had long discussions about music and philosophy. In other words, we were a couple of academic hippies and it was wonderful. Now… he’s cut off that lovely hair and gotten accepted to an MD/PhD program, and he’s TOTALLY pompous. It makes me wonder if it was really him I was in love with, or if it was just the tall-dark-and-handsome, smart-sensitive-hip-musician persona. I always kind of wondered what could have been, but I’m glad, now, that I ended it when I did. It’s sort of nice to have a bit of accidental closure. But I do mourn, a bit, for the man he used to be. We could have been great friends.
But! The weather has improved dramatically and it’s put me in a better mood than I was in a few weeks ago. This is the first spring flower I saw, blooming in a flower bed just outside the law school.
I also decided what to do this summer - take a couple of classes and volunteer for the Public Defenders Office. Having a plan also makes me feel better about life.
J’s stepbrother is getting married this summer and I’m already sick of pretending that I’m looking forward to it in any way. It’s going to be a typical tasteless, over-budget, tulle-filled, perfectly-matching production, and it just makes my skin crawl. Every wedding-related email, website, and status update is filled with vom-inducing phrases like “our special day.” They’re having a full mass with all the accompanying promises to obey and references to women as property, and the reception will include every awkward garter toss, chicken dance, and macarena. AND, J is an usher so he has to wear a godawful rented tux (he’s going to look like my prom date. ugh.). I wish I could stop myself from being so judgmental, but… it’s all so phony that it just seems wrong somehow. Maybe I should stop reading indie wedding blogs, but I think a wedding should be a reflection of the couple and a celebration of their commitment to each other, and not just a laundry list of meaningless (and expensive) things that must be done because that’s the way things are done. That’s a bad foundation for a marriage, in my unsolicited opinion.
AND! THEY ARE REGISTERED AT SHOPKO. That’s practically Walmart. My god how is J related to these people.
To make myself feel better, I ordered an awesome, funky dress to wear to the reception. At least I won’t look like I belong in the Wedding Day Barbie set. I will probably buy a coordinating (but NOT matching) pair of colorful high heels, and wear my hair very very short. And then I will feel better through my tiny act of rebellion.
I haven’t been able to put that boy from Barrister’s Ball out of my head, and I finally figured out why. It’s not that he was particularly attractive (he wasn’t), or intelligent (law school dropout) or funny (I guess he was kind of funny, but nothing to write home about). It’s that he wanted me - he was pursuing me, courting me, and I guess I never realized how much I miss that feeling. I wonder if that’s just a part of the human condition - a tradeoff - either stay single forever or lose courtship altogether. I wonder if that’s what people mean when they say the passion has gone out of their relationship. I wonder if there’s any way to fix it, or if it’s just something to learn to live with, an unavoidable aspect of any long-term monogamous relationship. I’m certainly not unhappy in my relationship with J, but the interaction from Barrister’s Ball really forced me to unpack some difficult emotions. I can’t help but feel that this is yet another thing that would be easier if we weren’t living long-distance. All that is to say, being an adult is hard.
Barrister’s Ball was last night. It was lots of fun but I drank too much (of course) and spent part of today feeling like death. I danced with a lot of different people, which I love, and apparently led one guy on a little too much (oops). I’ll admit that I have a soft spot for flirting with geeky boys, which I maybe should try to control more, but in my defense I did not realize that I was signing up for a long term relationship by dancing and chatting (as I did with a lot of people). (Also I was really kind of drunk at that point and apparently not picking up on social cues.) Oh well. I feel bad because he really did seem like a sweet guy, and if I was single we probably would have hit it off. He friended me on Facebook and then sent me a message that said “Call me if you ever don’t have a fiance.” Uh… Ok?
Laundry drying in Murano, Italy.
But I did get this guy to keep me company… his name is Atticus (after Atticus Finch… I know, I am a huge dork) and he is small and furry, and he likes to drive me crazy when he gets bored but it’s hard to stay mad at him. For obvious reasons (i.e. he is freakin’ adorable).
Spring break was great - I visited J in what is quite possibly the loveliest part of the country this time of year - but being back here is just depressing. The weather is abysmal and I’m sick of everything. Sick of school, sick of living alone, sick of applying for summer jobs, sick of freezing rain. Sometimes I just feel this crushing sense of unfairness. I wish I could just pick up and move to the South with J, and make it work like so many normal couples do. I miss him so much, all the time, and it feels so unfair that some people never have to go through this. On the other hand, though, I am fully aware of how ridiculous it is for someone in my relatively privileged position to complain that life’s not fair. Which almost makes it worse - I feel sad about how my life is right now, and then I feel bad for feeling that way, and it turns into a never-ending guilt spiral… Anyways, this semester is really sucking right now, but I am hoping I will start to feel better when it stops raining all the god damn time.