Panorama of San Bernardino

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Chicken Little

The other day someone called me Chicken Little. At first, I reacted with annoyance. "What does that mean? What is the point of saying that?" I said via text. "You sometimes act as if the sky is falling..." was the reply.

Initially, I brushed the comment off. Later, it made me think. Have I become a worrier and over anxious? Do I blow things out of proportion and engage in catastrophic thinking? Yes and yes.

Have I, and I shudder to think of it, become a pessimist?

Life has gotten me down lately. My brother in law's death last year, along with my infertility, has led me to live life without my usual rose colored glasses. I used to be a total optimist, that's how I got so far in life. No matter what was going on in my life, I felt that it would okay. It didn't matter in my waitressing days if I had no car and had to beg for rides or take the bus, or had to pick up shifts to have money for rent, I knew it would be okay.

When I was in law school, those first two years were hard, always scrounging for food, gas and other necessities. But again, I always knew that I would be okay.

Now, even though I am far more financially comfortable, I am not so sure it will be okay. Perhaps, I have begun to face my own mortality. I keep asking myself, why am I here? What am I meant to accomplish if I cannot have a child? (Obviously, this is a personal issue and I am not in any way saying that every woman's life is for procreation.)

My point is this: my yearning for and then my quest and inability to conquer that elusive windmill of having a child, has made me question my very purpose in life.

While a dog is not a baby, at least not a human one, my two shih tzus Frodo and Chewbaca are two of my great loves. Yesterday, I had to take Chewbaca to the vet because I found a lump. The vet is a good friend of mine and he tried to aspirate it, but ultimately, he decided Chewie needs to have it removed and biopsied. I tried not to over react. Inside, I am terrified that this is bad.

After the vet visit, I made a conscious decision to try and be optimistic. Instead of freaking out and crying in my car after the vet visit, I took Chewie to Starbucks and got him a whip cream treat. I sipped my espresso listening to The Strokes while he licked his whip cream cup almost bare. At one point, I looked into his caramel colored eyes and said, "You are going to be okay. We are going to be okay.”

And, I meant it.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Coffee Fueled Thoughts

The only coffee cup to go available with a lid at the AM PM in downtown San Bernardino was the mega size. I knew it would keep me up but I was cold, hungry and on my way to a workshop and reading. Plus, they had non dairy creamer and Irish Creme flavored syrup that was vegan.

Truth be told, the problem was not the size, but the fact that I drank it all. Every last drop. The coffee was delicious. I had outdid myself in its preparation.

The workshop and readings were engrossing. I left inspired. Walking into my house, my husband Adrian chatted with me. We went to bed early but I couldn’t sleep all night. By two am, I gave up and went downstairs to try to fall asleep. Work issues with a special client weighed on my mind. I was suspicious. My inner voice was telling me that something was going to go wrong in his case. I had learned to trust my gut, so the anxiety of that with that damn cup of coffee meant that I didn't sleep at all.

The next morning, groggy and irritable in court (seriously half asleep), I found out that my instinct was, of course, right on. After being a deputy public defender for a decade, I am rarely surprised and it is par for the course to be disappointed, but this got me. It really got me. I was so upset at the situation and outcome (one that I could not control) that I had to take a walk in the middle of my court day.

As I walked down Main Street by the courthouse, I thought about the real decision I had to make that weighed in the back of my mind. Would I follow my dream and try to be a writer full-time? Or I would I stay in my safe, and rewarding, albeit stressful lawyer public defender gig? My inner voice, or gut, or higher power, what some call God,  or whatever you want to call it, was telling me to go for my bliss.

I know what I want to do. But at forty-seven years of age, taking big risks is much scarier and dangerous. I am having to weigh the costs of my dreams and passions.

And that would keep anyone up for days.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Falling In Between Roses and Headboards

Last night, I was upstairs watching Top Chef when my dog Frodo rolled over and fell in between the mattress and headboard. He looked at me with his wide black shih tzu eyes as if pleading “Help!”

I jumped up and pulled him up. He almost broke his neck.

That's how I feel most days as a forty-seven year old lawyer and writer. I am mother to none except my fur kids. My quest for children ended in heartache. The details are too much to share in this essay, but if you've read my work, you know.

My latest quest is to finish my book. And perhaps, to go back to school for my MFA in creative writing. I have always been a dreamer. I think my dreams are what got me this far. A high school dropout turned waitress turned USC educated lawyer. A corporate lawyer turned deputy public defender. And now a lawyer turned writer. Quests are part of life and I always need one to keep me going.

But, sometimes, just sometimes, it's all too much. Yesterday, I had a full court calendar and then a very important policy meeting about my incompetent clients. And then, I had to prep for today's calendar which was going to be ridiculously busy. Traffic was wicked going home, so wicked that I even hit my hand on my steering wheel in frustration.

And, it was Valentine's Day. I yelled at my husband Adrian over the phone about something petty then came home to fifty roses.

"Fifty," I said in my usual sarcastic way, "that better not be a reference to my age." (Adrian will say I am almost fifty when he wants to piss me off quickly-it is almost magical how fast I will blow up.)

But, I was joyful to see the flowers. I couldn't stop smiling and singing to myself (I always sing when I'm happy). The roses were red and long stemmed, and fragrant and lovely. Adrian had stuffed them all into one vase so I separated them into two large vases and counted them to make sure the florist had not shorted him. Yep, fifty!

Flowers make me happy. To me they are a reminder of the beauty in life. The flowers also reminded me that you can't get caught in between life and a headboard. The "in between" parts, all of the sadness and losses that are inherent in life, are what tries to drag you down. But, you can’t let it. You must resist the pull and fight your way out.

Because you see dear reader, the beauty is in the small things. Like when you are lying in bed with your husband and dogs by your side listening to The Smiths. Those are the things to remember.

And of course, the fifty roses.