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Last Tuesday, I had my first-honest-to-goodness Bar-prep breakdown.

I was working on three essays, working on keeping everything under three hours. On the third hour, I realized the essay was on Torts. I had worked on Torts in the first week of bar prep. I was able to spot all the issues, but for the life of me, I just couldn’t get anything coherent onto paper.

I burst into tears.

Yeeeeaahhh.

I thought about how I could have possibly spent so much time on torts and not have remembered anything. I was probably being melodramatic at one point and going, “Why, God, whyyyy???” Then I wallowed in the piteous thought of how I would wake up everyday only to start the day over. My eyes would open and I’d think, “Aw, fudge, I have to study?” I mean, how bad does it have to be that I actually look forward to something really mundane like going to the post office to mail a letter just because it wasn’t studying. Then I get sad thinking about all the repercussions and consequences of what would happen if I failed this bar exam. I mean, the sacrifices my family has made, the faith people have in me, my own self-esteem… I can’t fail!

I have to be like Yoda on this one. Do or do not. There is no try.

But Yoda never said anything about liking it. And so, bursts forth more tears. I actually have a box of tissues next to me now, in case I ever have another Tuesday breakdown.

Sigh.

I’m definitely not one to just breakdown and cry over work or stress. I’m a workaholic to the very core of that definition. When I was working professionally, if my bosses didn’t tell me to go home, I would have stayed in the office all night.  Most of the time, I didn’t really care that I was still at work. I do like working. It gives me purpose in life.

So…this whole crying over work was really weird for me. I kind of just looked around my big empty apartment and it just made me even more sad. I had an instructor on TV in the living room and I thought how utterly defeating it was that I would have a lecture on just so I can hear someone else talking to me.

Although, I would probably have to warn you that last Tuesday, I went to bed at 2 AM and woke up at 5 AM, drove all the way to the city of Taft in Kern County to take care of my speeding ticket. I had already driven for five hours that day, and was in the last hour of a three hour self-imposed practice exam. I pretty much already had a full eight hours under my belt

Probably not the wisest move on my part.

I was just exhausted and crashing so fast by mid-afternoon so that by the time I realized I didn’t know jack about products liability, I burst into tears.

I looked at the clock. Dear Lord, it was only 2:13 PM. I still had hours of studying ahead of me. And because I had gone to court in the morning, I had to allocate my work-out and dinner time towards that. I didn’t feel like I had a break in sight. I was feeling very sorry for myself at this point.

Pillows Don't Hug Back Either

So then, I hugged myself.

At which point, I cried even harder. I just wanted a hug and there was no one around to give me one! WAAAH!!!

I went over to my room, threw myself onto my bed and laid out all my pillows (I have a LOT of pillows…I’m kind of a pillow-whore) around me so I was cocooned in soft warm goodness. I felt better. It made me think of those autistic kids and the hug machines that they had. I think I should perhaps invest in one, at least for the duration of Bar Prep.

I think what scares me the most is that sometimes I need emotional support (I mean, who doesn’t?) when I feel like…well, when I feel like Tuesdays. I don’t mean I want to be coddled or be told things I already know. I don’t want blind faith in my ability to pass this exam, and I don’t want to hear how you understand that it’s horrible. Because really, I think it’s horrible for different people in different ways.  What I do need is a hug. I miss big bear hugs that just make you feel safe and sheltered from the big bad world out there. And I need laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.

If you know me at all, you know that I believe laughing is the best thing on earth. I will always gravitate towards the people who make me laugh (and who will laugh at my extremely lame jokes in return).

However, with Bar Prep, all of my best friends are kind of gone. We are all locked away in our individual ivory towers of solitude and studyhood. It’s almost impossible to find a moment of impromptu laughter. I miss that so bad.

So you know what I did? I got out of my cocoon of pillow hugs, grabbed my laptop, stuck my tongue out at my products liability essay, and went online.

Then I watched Modern Family.

If there was one tv show that could genuinely make me laugh out loud, it’s Modern Family. I mean, not to be disloyal to Big Bang Theory or anything (because Sheldon, I do love you), but ABC actually posts full episodes of MF, while CBS doesn’t post any full episodes of BBT (but the short clips still have me in stitches!)  But, I seriously suggest you check Modern Family out. It’s such a good stress reliever. After a half-hour of laughing, you really feel like you can conquer the world.  After that fix, I got back on to work.

Life was well. Sort of. I mean, I still had to study.

And um… on a final note:

Pretty Please?

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When I looked at you, my life made sense. Even the bad things made sense. They were necessary to make you possible.
-Jonathan Safran Foer

I wonder if there really are people out there that come into your life and throw everything into complete disarray…and yet you accept the disarray because, well…because it made sense.  Maybe part of it is because you allowed everything to happen the way it did. You turned a blind eye, told yourself you’d deal with the consequences later on, or worse–you believed that it was okay that things were bad because it was just how they were. It was the only way to make that person a possibility in your life.

How does someone like that make sense?

Maybe if only to show us that it doesn’t.

A person’s life can’t all be made up of good things. It’s part of the theory of relativity. Each person is tested by their own fire. Each person has their own demons. Each one has that one person that only exists to remind them of how things can be so good…and how things can be so bad. Each one has their polarizing person. Or two. Or three. Who knows? Maybe as many as it takes to learn your lesson.

Maybe it stays painful for as long as it takes to learn what’s good for you.

You’ll keep seeing this person, keep feeling this person because…well, it just makes sense and still does.

I don’t get it, and I can’t possibly explain how I feel. Except that…the quote above reminded me of you. And maybe who you’re supposed to be in my life.

It makes sense, doesn’t it?

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Taking Law of Global Warming is really disheartening.

I want to save the planet and be a good citizen of the Earth, but after going through the last 14 weeks of class and writing my (simulated) recommendations to Todd Stern (Special Envoy to Climate Change in the US State Department) for COP16 of the UNFCCC, I just feel like the planet cannot be saved.

It’s a great notion.

But I think that’s all it’s ever going to be. Politics just ruins the crap out of moral intentions. But that’s reality. I’ve always been a subscriber of the realist notion that the world works based on a distribution of power. It’s a zero-sum game out there. When there’s a taker, someone’s gotta give.

Thus, even in dealing with carbon emissions, it’s all about a market and who gets how many credits to keep on polluting. It’s about whether third-world countries are willing to commit to something that would stunt their politico-economic growth. And it’s about alliances. Who can convince whom to do what and in exchange for what? If the U.S. goes and sits in a room with China and Sudan and gets them onboard with Copenhagen…that should be a good thing, right? But then, where is the transparency in the entire transaction? Why the closed doors?

Oh well.

Being the realist that I am, I understand how things work and I know that what is necessary must be done to accomplish the goal. I even understand the continued protection of coal and oil industries even as the country purports to move towards renewable energy sources. It’s done because they have the power to do this. In a realist world, change or the lack thereof always originates from a place of power. Only something more powerful could upset the balance.

Where is Captain Planet when you need him?

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I am struck with the realization that I am in a better place. I am … happy.

I had dinner with Coopaloop and we talked about the randomest things like we always do and we shared our secrets. You know those things that you wish you could tell someone and not be ashamed to even have those thoughts and feelings much less say them out loud? Yeah those, we talk about those kinds of secrets. 

At one point, he looks at me point blank and says (something along the lines of), “I’m so tired of this sad shit, be a happy panda already, will you?”

I automatically reply, “I am, you idiot.”

And what do you know, he might have cured me.

It’s not that my life is perfect. There are a lot of things that really, really are far from perfect. But you know what? Life goes on. I can sit here and keep my heart shut and have all these hurts and fears build up until it bursts like a dam, and I would definitely need some serious damage control then. Or I can open it and let it all out slowly and surely. Let it out so there’s space for some light and good and hope.  I can pout and complain and cry about how unfair life is and how I will never have the right opportunities, but then that’s all I would ever do. Pout. Complain. Cry. And in the end, those things can be really exhausting. They just drain all the joy out of everything such that I’m just a bitter pouter. Not cute. So I could accept the way things are, look at the things I can change and the things I can’t…and choose to make a change for the better.

Life will keep moving forward, whether I’m ready or not, whether I want it to or not, and most of all whether I can handle it or not. When my little boat of safety capsized, I struggled. I wanted to stop the current and push my little boat back to where I was before it tipped over. Maybe I could have changed something. Maybe I could have been better.  But that’s just damn near impossible. When I stopped panicking and being afraid I could never fix things, I realized that the best bet was to just go along with the current, keep my head above the water, my feet forward and watch for obstacles and navigate around them.  I mean, before I kenw it, I found several spots of peaceful waters. I found calm again.

Who knew that I’d have fun along the way?

Who knew I’d be smiling and saying, “I am, you idiot.”

I now know that it is possible to get back into the boat and gain control of my life again. But I know this won’t be the last time I fall over. But it’s okay. Cuz…I get it now.

I really do.

Despite the lame river analogy. Ha. It just came out. *shrug*

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There are markers for the passage of time. The seasons change, temperatures drop or rise, one side of your planner gets thinner than the other until it’s almost time to buy a new one, movies that were in the theater are suddenly now on DVD or Blu-ray, friends’ birthdays come and go, and before you know it you’re standing right at the edge of a precipice and staring into the unknown. The kind of unknown that comes with the pages of your planner running out, or the next chapter of a story starts but you gotta flip the page to know what happens next.  The kind of unknown when you find yourself at a crossroads and you can’t know what happens next until you make a choice first.

Yeah, the scary kind.

There is comfort in the everyday. There is safety in routine. There is something very reassuring about knowing what’s next.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned living in this skin is that life is about change.  Life never really lets you be comfortable for far too long. After all, how else are we to mark the passage of time but in the changes in ourselves?

The only way we grow is to be pushed past our comfort zone. The only way to learn is to reach out towards the unknown. Sometimes we’re ready for it. Sometimes it more or less hits us like a line drive out of nowhere knocking us off our feet. And mind you, line drives have killed people. (Trust me, I watch CSI — and the Drillers’ first base coach, Mike Coolbaugh, is an example of a fatal line drive too.)

But change will come. And we just do our best to roll along. I’ve learned that if I try to hang on to things too hard, I start to turn a blind eye to things that would have helped me deal with the changes. Things that could have helped me grow, be better, be prepared. And you know, that’s usually when things get all screwed up.

If you keep looking backwards all the time, you won’t know what’s coming right at you. And when it’s a line drive headed for you, you might wanna duck.

But despite change, there are also things that feel like…they never changed at all. You go on living everyday and there are these parts of you that just somehow still stay the same–or at least not as changed as it ought to have been by now. Like old wounds that should’ve healed by now — but I guess I keep pickin’ at it, so it never really gets a chance to fully close.

And of course, I’m still me. Still the same girl throughout the years. Kind of spunky, kind of always in trouble because I’m too impatient, kind of scared but annoyed that she does get scared, kind of the jeans-and-t-shirt girl despite efforts at being not, kind of tomboyish, kind of girly, kind of smart but slightly ditzy, kind of a goof but more of a dork, kind of battle-worn from life, and kind of still hopeful.

But then of course, as the years go by, I’ve changed too. Maybe a little more jaded, a little more sad, a little less book smart, a little more street. I’m a little bit wiser and a whole lot older, the smile’s changed from the full-on I-grin-and-the-world-grins-with-me, to a more tentative will-you-smile-back-at-me one. I’m a little bit stronger, tougher, less cool. I have a lot less faith in people, but a little bit more in the world. I’m a lot more careful about being hurt, but a lot more reckless with my life.  And while I’m still hopeful, I don’t quite know what to hope for anymore. 

It’s that great paradox Jacob Dylan sings, “I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same.”

And in the end, time is just passing along, the seasons change, fashions come and go, the clouds in the skies change before our very eyes, and we move forward into that unknown.

“It’s up to you how far you go, if you don’t try you’ll never know.” –> that’s from The Sword in the Stone, and it’s what my dad always told me whenever I got scared to try something or whenever I didn’t know what to do. And in the end, it’s still how I deal with change. It’s up to me how far I go. I can stay and be the same and rot away…or I can move forward with the changes and grow.

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I don’t really know the power of “Sorry.”

I was watching the Season Finale of Celebrity Fit Club (yeah, don’t judge), and Kevin Federline apologizes to Shar Jackson. He finally says sorry. And she proclaims that it meant “the world” to her.

I’m sorry…but No.

I’ve been at both ends of that word.

At one end, it is everything. At the other end, it is absolutely nothing.

When you’re the one who’s sorry, it can mean everything to you. It means that you’ve accepted that you’ve done something wrong. It means that you’re ready to move on, to grow up. It means that you’ve lowered your pride and admitted fault. It means that you’ve reached a certain degree of self-realization, self-acceptance such that you can look at the bigger picture of your life and say I did something that wasn’t good–that hurt someone else.

And you are SORRY. You will change. You will grow up, learn and be a better person.

But when you’re at the other end of sorry…well, it doesn’t really change the fact that you were hurt. It doesn’t turn back time and it sure as hell doesn’t erase all the pain and scars that were left behind.  Sorry just means you get left behind. It means the other guy knows he has done something wrong…and can move on from that. It doesn’t mean that you get to be all better, too.

It’s not fair, almost. When the other person says sorry for hurting you…does it mean you can’t be angry with them anymore? Does it mean you have to forgive? Does it mean you aren’t supposed to feel the pain anymore?

It just doesn’t work that way.

I think the flipside to being told the s-word is forgiveness. I’m sure it’s got the same effect as being the one who says the S-word.  And maybe, right now…I’m just not ready to forgive.

So when you’re sorry, I’m glad you figured it out and feel that way and can move on. But I’m not ready to not be angry because I still hurt. I’m not ready to forgive because I still can’t wrap my head and heart around it.  I do hate feeling this way and I am working towards it.

But for now, unlike Shar, your ‘sorry’ doesn’t mean the world to me.

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It’s not that I have a fear of commitment.  It’s not that I can’t just click the little “Buy” button. It’s just that I like a lot of things, but it doesn’t mean I like it enough. Economists would call it a Marginal Willingness to Pay (MWTP). If that margin isn’t reached, then I ain’t payin’ for it.

So I find myself with a ton of shopping carts filled with things I like, just not enough to take the next step.

But like I said, it’s not that I have a problem with commitment.

Lawrd knows, the moment I really want something, hell or highwater couldn’t stop me from going for it. 

Point: I clicked on the “Buy Now” button and completely bypassed the bidding process on the Burton Clash on ebay.  I have bought clothes with barely a second thought. I’ve paid serious cash for food and drinks without missing a beat. I’ve agreed to expensive trips (hell, snowboarding, vegas anyone?) without notice. 

I just have all these things that I kind of like, just not enough to make a leap.

So they sit in my shopping cart. I go back every now and then. Sometimes, what was in there is no longer in stock.  My loss if I suddenly decide that I had wanted it all along.  Sometimes, I buy one thing from the cart because things have changed enough such that…I want it. And sometimes, I delete items from the shopping cart altogether. And still other times, I leave the same things in there.

I was thinking about it the other night, and dating…is kind of like having the Shopping Cart Syndrome.

There are guys that you like…just not enough to really go for it.  So you flirt with them, you date them, but you never really take them home, much less to meet mom.  You put them in the shopping cart, but you never really buy (into) them. Sometimes, you realize that what was in the shopping cart was one that you’ve wanted all along..sometimes, it’s not available anymore…and sometimes…well, they just stay in the shopping cart. Till next time.

And of course there are ones that you delete right off the list. Or your phone. de-Buddy List. Block on your G-chat. Defriend on Facebook. You know how it is.

Then there are guys that just knock you head over heels. Like, BAM! you’re seeing stars and you’re going from 0 to 60 in 2.6 seconds. Yeah…you know those guys.   Where you’re just throwing all caution to the wind for…the ones you just want. right. now.  And because you want him that bad, you’re willing to commit to this guy. Signed, sealed and delivered, baby.

I think I have the Shopping Cart Syndrome. I don’t believe in committing to something I kind of like, but it does give me some sort of satisfaction to put things in a shopping cart.  The thought of “maybe” is pretty heady. But then again, I know that when I want something, I wouldn’t think twice about anything else but the thought of having it. My MWTP is pretty high for that guy.

It’s pretty bad.

But hey, at least I know what I want. Right?

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That is the question.

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I have so much on my mind right now I can’t even begin to sort through them. It’s just all these thoughts and emotions, and attempts at putting them into coherent thought is just impossible.

Or scary.

I just don’t really want to know what’s going on with me just yet. I think it’d be scary to know myself right now.

So I’m internalizing…and maybe getting stomach problems and sleeping issues. 

I’ll live for now, though. I’ll keep internalizing until I get the courage or find it necessary to purge.

So no New Year’s Resolutions (it’s all part of the jumbled up mess in my head and heart) and no reflections on 2009 (because last year was just too painful to really put together right now, hell even college football was painful).

But Happy New Year…and I really, really, really hope 2010 is a happier year for me and for everyone that I love.

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