“The job of being a human is so hard, and it is the only job there is left—though we keep on pretending otherwise.” – Toni Morrison
I’m halfway a lawyer and I’ve finally started to feel alive. There is no correlation between the two things, of course.
The year was a massive struggle, as is every year in our lives. I uncovered deep dark family secrets. I got placed in deportation proceedings. My mom became ill and lost her job. I was fired from my job the day of my last 1L final. I went home to work at the National Lawyers Guild and then I turned around and went to work for a corporate firm. I battled degenerating heel tissues and wisdom tooth surgery. I learned more about painkillers and alcohol than I needed to know and indulged in other self-destructive behaviors. I’m still battling Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — the villain in a lot of our lives. And I fell in love, for the first time in a decade.
It happened in the most unexpected place in the most unexpected way. One moment I was barely paying attention to what she was saying to me and the next I could not look or listen to anything else but her. And it came with all the romantic shenanigans that my desi heart had expected — maple leafs flying in the wind, violins playing in the background, connecting under the moon and stars and so much more. She took me along for a long spin cycle, rinsing and cleansing me of the raw cynicism I had about love and commitment and family. In some ways, it has been a fairy tale. I don’t really know if it is truly over or if it ever really began but I’ve grown through the experience and learned so much more about myself.
The heart is a muscle, with an amazing capacity for loving. And I’m finding out that like other body parts, my heart has muscle memory. Once you train it to do something, it just keeps getting better at it. I’m getting better at loving the people in my life, and appreciating them so much more, be it the concierge at the front desk of my apartment, the room-mate whose just about given up on getting me to care about school or the loving classmate whose been such a rock through it all. They are all family.
I’ve even started to love seasons. The sunshine warms my soul. The rain washes away my sorrows. The chilly winds provide a good excuse to sit at home with a book. And the bloom of Spring is ideal for romance. Actually, come to think of it, every season is ideal for romance.
Of course, it’s unfortunate when your brain starts producing serotonin for the wrong person, but I figure that it will get better at it with lots of practice. After all, what is more rebellious and revolutionary than loving and living in a place that denies you humanity? And doing it over and over till you get it right.
I suppose that is me, someone once said to me — “to be open and loving and the hell with what happens.” I need to hang on to that and I can only wish that for everyone else in my life.
Next year, I plan to fall in love again. Maybe twice. Bring on the heartbreak(s). I also want violins and maple leafs flying around, and I’m ready for some grand gestures like running through airports and after trains for a girl. I also suppose I can get started early since there are still some days left of this year.
Till then live and breath every moment. It may be your last so make it worth your while.