Thank you to everyone for their kind words and encouragement after I shared my feelings so openly in my last post. It’s comforting to know that there are other couples facing similar struggles in various situations. In more selfish terms, it’s comforting to know we are not alone. It’s also a wonderful comfort to know how many people I have to talk to when things become rough. I had internalized so much over the last 18+ months that I had kind of forgotten that I am indeed allowed to talk about it. And so many of you expressed a willingness to listen. Thank you.
I wanted to continue from my last two posts and elaborate on the struggles I’ve been facing. Next post, I’ll elaborate on the goals I have modified.
In a nutshell, a combination of the daily grind, feeling uncertain about pretty much everything in my life, and a mid-semester move pushed me to extreme Survival Mode, which lead to a lil bout of depression. I moved in October, which was the month that shit really hit the fan. I had an appellate brief due in the middle of the month. I know that’s jargon for you, but essentially I wrote an appeal that would hypothetically be argued in front of the Supreme Court of Ohio. I took an appellate advocacy course so that I could try out and apply for my school’s moot court competition team. Good news! I made it!
I produced a 36-page document arguing my case, and then two weeks after I submitted it, I argued it verbally, which is known as an oral argument. I was nervous, and I know my voice was shaky in the beginning. But once I found my bearings, it was a total thrill. I’ll spare you the complex legal argument, but the core of the argument was transgender rights. I’m assuming you know which side I was on. I had fun, and best of all, one of the judges told me I seemed like I really cared about my argument. At that point, I nearly cried. I won’t humblebrag about the other compliments, but I want to be passionate over anything. That comment meant the world. And now I’m an advocate on our Labor & Employment Law competition team, which is really cool because that’s the work I currently do!
Once I got over that hump, it was time for final exams. But that oral argument was the boost I needed. I have imposter syndrome on a daily basis. I question every document that I draft, for work and in class. I feel ignorant and unqualified in my own life most days. Every case is different, which is refreshing and also why I’m in this profession. But it involves endless research and learning. It’s hard to be an expert in this field! (That is why we hire experts hehe.) The argument was a reassurance that I am qualified, and I can do it.
Back to the topic of the grind, I was working 14 hours a day on a card table and a folding chair in my apartment. I generally prefer libraries, but I really needed to be at home to have quick access to food and other amenities. I was working at home so that I could actually pull off 14 hour days. I didn’t have to drive anywhere or haul books and re-group when I lost my place. However, I was working among dozens of unpacked boxes and other types of disorganization. I was able to block it out and produce my brief, but the chaos really got under my skin during exams. I was overwhelmed. And I had become…. dun dun DUN… depressed. You could see it if you walked into my place. I was joking that I was living in filth, but it was kind of true. It wasn’t filth like hoarder-level. But it was just not me. I’m a little messy, but I’m not dirty for heaven’s sake. But this was a lot messy because there was no flow to my place. Scant furniture. No decorations out of the boxes. At some point during exams, I did make time to put up my Christmas tree because I needed the sparkly lights. I just really needed the light.
After my first round of exams (they last two weeks), there was a Saturday that I could not manage to get out of bed. I felt crippling guilt. There were so many things to be doing, but I just couldn’t. The exam I had taken the day before had broken me.
I do not share these things for sympathy or pity. I simply ask you to be mindful when you notice your own light dimming. Things pile up and spiral out of control so quickly. When you start giving up things you once loved because you can no longer cope, that’s a problem, my dear. As I mentioned in my last post, it’s tricky, a double-edged sword. On one hand, please do what you need to do to get through it. But on the other, you can’t sacrifice things you love for too long.
I stopped running during this time. Last semester was hard because I didn’t even cheer at the Columbus Marathon, my favorite race in the whole world. It fell during that stretch of 14-hour days, and I stayed at home. The FOMO was real. My running was super inconsistent last semester in general, and then finals came and I stopped altogether.
This is also not me. I’m active and energetic, and I need to be moving. Well not when you’re depressed, honey. So I stopped running, and I actually still haven’t started. That’s another story. I was quite sick over break. Probably from those 14-hour days and no running or other physical activity. I plan on starting again soon, but for now I’m studying ballet and having fun pouring myself into that. I started taking classes in the fall, and I became inconsistent during Survival Mode. I’m back at it and eager to graduate to the next level– from intro to beginner! 😉 It’s a whole new way of thinking and feeling and moving. After months, it’s finally starting to feel more natural. It’s such a challenge. I love it. I actually started ballet at the encouragement of Leo. It’s something I’ve always been interested in, but too insecure to do. Over the summer, I was talking about how I think it’s so beautiful and I would love to try it. Leo asked, “Well why don’t you?” And that was settled. I had never thought about it before. I guess I thought I was too old or too uncoordinated. And now I’m an aspiring ballerina that’s definitely most improved. He’s a gem.
When Leo visited, he helped me get organized. He unpacked the rest of my boxes. He was kind of my Marie Kondo. He even helped me create listings on Poshmark. I didn’t know that I needed saving, but he stepped in and saved the day. It was fun making a home with him. Since we can’t be together permanently yet, it was a small preview– like playing house.
I actually titled this post after him. During his visit, he started the day by opening every blind and shutter in my apartment. Rain, sleet, snow, or shine, he let the light in.