Panorama of San Bernardino

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ordinary World

I just read a woman's blog about wanting to have an ordinary and mediocre life. And it made me itch inside. Because I don't know many things, but I know me and I can't be satisfied with that.

The mundane vexes me. Apathy is one of the worse vices. Being normal is not something I have ever wanted. I would rather be the crazy lady at the park mumbling to herself about her yet unwritten novel than the woman lunching.

As a young girl I daydreamed and read myself into characters. I always felt as if something special was on the horizon, I just needed to climb and overcome that crazy mountain of my family. But, being special requires a deep desire, motivation and luck.

Some may say I have beaten the odds by where I am and where I have been. A high school dropout, despite being an A student for most of my high school career, I waitressed and studied my way back into academic excellence. It was my years at Mt SAC junior college, working two jobs at times and living in a trailer park for a while in Pomona, that proved my fortitude and ambition. I wanted out. I wanted more. I yearned for it and needed it. I willed it into being.

By the time I transferred to UCR, it was almost a certainty that things would change. People complained about the small room with the common kitchen but I loved it. I had wanted the college experience for so long. A too short two years and graduation with a Bachelor's in English Literature. I had taken as many courses as I could in those two years. Then USC Law. Sure law school was hard, mostly because I was broke, but I had known harder times.

Times like when it rains and the roof caves in on your trailer and you have nowhere to go. Or losing your waitressing job and only having your bagel making job that pays minimum wage.  And your car engine blowing up. And someone stealing the money you had saved to fix the car engine. Having no home, no good job and no ride to school which forces you to move back home, into yet another trailer (your parent's trailer down the street from your busted trailer) feeling like an utter failure.

Your dad cooks you fried bologna and eggs every morning and drives you to school or your sister picks you up for class. And you muddle through. But just barely. And the light times are when you are at school. When you are there in class at 8 pm studying Shakespeare trying to stay awake because you are so fucking tired from working all day, yet you relish it. You love the books so much it hurts, and the literary explications move you. Or working late in the news office pasting headlines onto the wax paper, that is joy. So law school was not so bad.

 Next, onto the largest most prestigious law firm in Texas. All the way to god damn Texas. By myself. Eager for it. All alone. I felt as if I was the American dream. I had made it. That is when my story careens off into nowhere. All that hard work and sacrifice, student loans, no partying while in law school and then I made it, and hit a brick wall. Bam!

I quickly found that I hated the corporate litigation world. Loathed might be a better word. It was dreary, soul sapping, superficial and boring. To me, to try and succeed at that life, to be a law firm partner, once I knew what it entailed, surely that life would be ordinary and sad.

I started writing poems in my high rise and the words poured out of me. I couldn't stop them. I had turned on a tap that had been off for too long and then I knew. But not really. I stayed at that soul sucker of a job for almost three years. Went through a deep depression and when I awoke, I took the California Bar and thankfully passed. Yet, I still took another soul sucking job at a big firm. The change of locale helped. Adrian and I found a great deal on an apartment in San Francisco and he went to dental school and I worked twelve hour days and weekends.

When my dad died something broke in me and I moved back home to the Inland Empire. When Adrian graduated, we got married and I found a job I could love at the Public Defender's Office representing the poor. I should have known all along that I belonged there, but sometimes we can't see our own stories clearly until they've unfolded.

And I wrote. And wrote. Pen to paper, fingers to keys. I found and created writing communities. For me, it is everything. Writing transcends. It transports me. It is my very own portal into other worlds. Writing is the antithesis of ordinary and it is where I want to be.

So fuck the ordinary world my friends. Live a strange and unique existence. I know I will.

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