Skip to main content

What Now?

I don’t know if this message was meant for me or whether it was just included in the signature block of the person who sent me the email, but nonetheless it read:

“Think BIG! There are unseen forces ready to support your dreams.”

It couldn’t have come at a better time.

I don’t know what the career analog of being transgendered is, but whatever it is, I’m it. My job and my profession don’t really match who I am inside – a creative, witty, profane, arrogant, neurotic, fun woman of letters. For years I’ve tried to make myself fit into the legal profession, to keep myself attached to at the periphery, to tell myself that it’s not that I don’t like the practice of law, it’s just that I haven’t found the right practice area for me. That if I had gotten a position with the NAACP LDF or some similarly intriguing cutting-edge legal organization always fighting the good fight, I’d somehow fit into this profession.

That’s like Elton John thinking, “If only I could find the right woman, I’d be straight.” Yeah, right.

Maybe it’s because I’m closer to fifty than to forty and having a mid-life crisis that I’m thinking longer and harder about the time I have left on this planet and how I want to use it. I’m not absolutely sure I want to spend it making money as a lawyer.

There’s no shortage of things I would want to do or be if money were no object: President of Spelman College, published author, event planner (I actually enjoyed planning my wedding – call me weird), charter school operator, professor of education or African American studies (notwithstanding my lack of a Ph.D), high school civics teacher, filmmaker, owner of my own PR firm, talk show host (Are you reading this, Oprah?), maybe even politics. If I were younger, maybe I would throw myself whole-heartedly into music and aspire to be more than proficient with the instruments I learned to play. I guess what I’ve tired of as a lawyer is constantly having to defend myself – my opinions on what the law is, on legal strategies to be taken, on brief writing, you name it. I rarely get the opportunity to just say, “This is how it should be” and have people fall in line. I’m constantly having to defend myself. Sometimes you get tired of fighting.

Are there other professions where you don’t have to do the equivalent of a mathematical proof justifying your work and opinions to your colleagues? I just don’t know if I want to be arguing over brief writing and legal opinions when I’m in my fifties. Somehow, I don’t think so.

So the encouragement to think big couldn’t have come at a better time, even in these recessionary times.

I scour More magazine seeking examples of women who’ve done 180 degree career changes and still paid the bills. I pour over just about every article in O Magazine about “living your best life” and re-invention. It’s not the dreaming I have problems with; it’s focusing on those dreams and making them come true that I’m having problems with.

And let’s not forget – once you’re married, you don’t have the luxury of making revenue-altering decisions without the advice and, perhaps even, the consent of your spouse. BMNB supports me in just about every wacky thing I do or could imagine doing (bartending school? Yep, he supported it.), but I don’t know how long he’d be happy if he had to pick up the financial slack in our marriage caused by my pursuing my big dream or dreams. But hey, if it ain’t tested, it ain’t really a marriage, right?

I guess I’m just trying to figure out what to do and how to do it now that I’m closer to death than to childhood. And to have faith that those unforeseen forces are indeed standing at the ready to support me.

Any suggestions?

Comments

Anonymous said…
You would be a great Spelman College president. I am an alum.
I'm good at knowing how to set up a bar and at knowing what certain basic drinks include. What I'm bad at is pouring a shot without measuring, which, I was told, was a crucial skill since most bartenders don't have time to measure and can't afford to get it wrong. I've had a rotator cuff injury that makes it difficult for me to hold a bottle of liquor in one hand and pour exactly one ounce -- a perfect shot. I was told that bartenders who overpour get fired, and bartenders who underpour give the bar a bad reputation as being stingy with the liquor.

Thanks for the kind words re Spelman. My grandmother attended Spelman but had to drop out, to support her family I believe. I have a copy of her application from about 1917 -- it said, "Lazy girls need not apply." I've always wanted to write a book with that title. And I've always held the institution in the highest esteem.

Popular posts from this blog

When You Leave The Ghetto, Don't Bring It With You

NBA player Gilbert Arenas brings a gun to an NBA locker room. NBA player Ron Artest lets his pit bulls run wild and free in Loomis, California while playing for the Sacramento Kings. NFL player Michael Vick did time for fighting dogs. And NFL player Plaxico Burress is doing time for shooting his damn self.

What do all these men have in common? BMNB would say an inability to make a profound paradigm shift. I’m less eloquent than BMNB is, so I’ll say it differently: The inability to leave the ghetto behind.

Yes, call me saditty, bourgie, elitist, stuck-up, whatever. I don’t care. Until you’ve had a tweaker ruin your Thanksgiving turkey, you don’t even know (more on that later), and I’m not trying to hear you.

Living in Western Placer County, my husband and I continue to hear stories from folks like us who had to flee “those who can’t leave the ghetto behind.” You know these people, and they come in all races. In our case, we had returned to Sacramento in 2004 and 2005, respective…

Malia's Hair is Off Limits! So is Sasha's!

I read a snippet of a New York Times article in which there was criticism of the hairstyle Malia Obama wore to Italy. Twists, to be precise. Said twists were criticized as not befitting someone representing the United States abroad.

Hold up. Slow your roll, America. You don't get a say in this. Neither Malia nor Sasha "chose" to represent the United States in any way, shape, or form. And their hair, and how they wear it, is off limits. Back the eff off.

I was hotter than a hornet reading this. The whole black woman's hair thing? That's personal with me. We black women have more than enough issues and neuroses about our hair and how we wear it. It is not open to debate within wider circles, especially when there's a child involved. The choices we have, other than wearing our hair in its natural state in twists, dreads, braids, cornrows or afros, are painful -- chemical relaxers, also called "creamy crack," and searing hot straightening combs. If Malia …

Hillary Clinton Can Stop Trump -- If She Releases Her Electors

Hillary Clinton isn't going to be President of the United States.  At least not yet.  And not in 2017.

But she can possibly stop Donald Trump from being President by releasing her pledged electors  in the Electoral College to vote for a compromise Republican candidate.

This is part of the strategy of the Hamilton Electors, members of the Electoral College who see that Donald Trump is not qualified to be President.  They argue that the Electoral College's role is not to rubber-stamp the popular vote -- which, in this case, would belong to Clinton -- but to serve as a check on the popular vote to make sure that no one who is unfit assumes the office of President.

According to the Hamilton Electors, named for Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (Yes, he of the very popular musical for which I can't get tickets) Hamilton stated that the Electoral College's test for fitness to be the President was as follows (and I'm quoting):

Election of a Qualified Person: As Hamilton s…