This is the place where I put my favorite photos that I've taken, and thoughts that I've... thought. Rarely will I reblog, but if a photo or quote is so inspiring, it may find its way on here.
"Patina" is my favorite word, and I, um, really like ponies. I might be five, I might be twenty.
Feel free to email me at: skp5n at virginia dot edu
On Endings and Lost Boys
I’m so glad that I went to law school. I ended up being a very different person than when I came in. I went from being willing to sell my soul for a few good polo ponies, to working for the government. I had worked really hard to start liking myself in college, but I wasn’t quite there yet. I still believed that I wasn’t capable of a balanced life - of success on the job and having people to love in my life. So I saw myself diving into work. Sitting at a desk for twelve hours a day, stretching the muscles of my brain and cutting weaker people down. And if I didn’t have time for a social life, I thought, who cared? Because I wasn’t going to be able to meet people who would like me enough, because I just wasn’t going to have one.
I don’t believe that now. So I’m going to work in a part of law where I get out at 5.30, where I make enough money to live, by anyone’s standard, and where, more importantly, I have time to spend that money on things and people (and Hank the pup!) I love.
I went to law school in the same place. But I was a different person, a happier person, a stronger person, a better person. I really did start liking myself. I finally feel like I really am myself.
And I couldn’t have done it without my friends. I’ve met amazing people here. And I’ve also been so lucky to still be close to my fantastic friends from college, my brilliant and brave, my kind and hilarious, my friends.
It was a little strange being in my college town for law school. I was useful, knowing which bars not to go to. But it was also cripplingly nostalgic at times, where I wished that I could go back there as the person I am now, and suck the marrow out of college in a way that I feel I didn’t do. I had a surreal chance to do that a few weeks ago. I went home with a 21-year old, home to his frat house right on Rugby. And as we were walking, hand in hand, I kept thinking, “I never would have done this in college.” It was the first time I had slept at a frat house. And this boy was just so lost. And it made me realize how much distance there is in four years, how much this three-year experience has changed me, and, most importantly, how much I love being 25. How much I don’t wish that I were younger, that I were in college again. I’m so ready to be a young professional. I’m so ready for my adventure coming up.
Anyone who knows me in the real world (or, more accurately perhaps, Facebook), knows already that I got a job! And that it was THE job that I wanted! You’re looking at (reading at?) one of the next Attorney General’s Honors Program participants. And that wordy-assed title is so so sweet to my ears. It’s the job I wanted, that I hoped for. It’s the 2-year stepping stone that will get me back to the office I worked for these past two summers, and loved the hell out of, which didn’t have any HP openings this year. And more than that - it’s not only a way to wait for a position; it’s a way to learn so much more about immigration, in the trenches, while I wait.
The rub, you ask? THE job is in … El Paso, Texas.
When I applied for the job, I did a lot of big talk. It’s only a two-year position, I said. I’ve lived in Virginia/DC my entire life, I said. I want to “satisfy some wanderlust,” I lovingly let roll off my tongue every opportunity I had. And so, when I applied for THE job, I checked that scary box that said I would go anywhere in the country. By anywhere, I had in my head, in this order: Miami, New York City, L.A., San Diego, San Francisco, Honolulu, San Juan, Seattle, Santa Fe, and even Omaha. Cities that, I at least knew in the abstract, were warm. Courts that were big, so that I’d have other clerk friends - a built-in network that would make straying so far seem less terrifying.
And I got: a city at the very edge of the United States, 2000 miles away from home, with a court consisting of only two judges (so it’ll just be me, and two old men). I’ll be really far away. I don’t know a soul there. And, real talk, I’m scared. Scared that Texans won’t be as nice as everyone says they are. Scared that my first foray into living alone will result in a disastrous end. Scared that I’ll get bored, and lonely, and that my friends will be too far away to afford to visit. Scared that I’ll get really sick of burritos (I know, silly). Scared that I’ll get lost in Juarez.
But I wasn’t scared enough to say no. I’m going. And I’m determined to make my experience a good one. These may be the scariest two years of my life, but they’re also going to be some of the most fun ones. Because I’m going on an adventure. The universe called my bluff and sent me to El Paso, and I’m doubling down, even if I may not have had a hand. Attitude is nine tenths of experience, and I am so ready to satisfy my wanderlust, even if it’s sending me farther away than I expected - in distance and in culture.
I loved studying abroad - and this will be like two years living in a whole new world, without any support network of other American students along for the ride with me. But I’m going to dive in head-first. I’m going to eat a lot of breakfast burritos. And lunch burritos. And dinner burritos. And choco-tacos. I’m going to learn Spanish, and I may not even have to take a class to do it. I’m going to take advantage of the beautiful desert mountains that will be all around me, to work off all of those burritos. I’m going to bask in every sunny day that the Sun City brings, and I’m definitely going to wear sunscreen. I’m going to take advantage of the government work schedule, and take long weekends to places I’ve never been ~ Tuscon, Austin, Dallas, etc, just like I did when I was abroad (Venice, Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Perugia, Mont’Argentario). I’m going to check out the two polo clubs in El Paso, and maybe even be able to afford to play at one of them, because the cost of living down there (as opposed to, say, Miami or New York) is so low. I’m going to live alone, and I’m going to decorate the hell out of a place that will be home for two beautiful years.
I’m so excited about my adventure that will start next September. The fear only makes it real. And I’m so grateful that it’s real, that I was lucky enough to get this amazing opportunity.
I am in a sequined dress on a bus to New York City. A sequined dress that I have worn bunched up as a shirt. Because it’s freezing on this bus and because the dress is New Year’s Eve short. And because my friend has cancer. Because she’s decided that pink is infantilizing. That a better color for this disease is sequins. And because these are the sequins I have. Because we have decided to wear sequins for her big C days. And today she is having a double mastectomy. May have already had it, but in any event, some time today, getting her ironically, absurdly, small tits hallowed out, removed of even any potentially cancerous cells. And in will come (has come?) the plastic surgeon right after, to prepare her for bigger breasts than she’s ever got to have naturally. A silver lining in this hell that she’s far too young to go through. But I’m absolutely certain that she will get through it. That she’ll beat this thing. That the doctors will get everything with no complications. That we’ll be wearing sequins on other big days, like the day the doctors get to tell her it’s all out of her. Like the day when we all meet up sometime after that to celebrate. Together, laughing like we always do, in sequins head-to-toe.
I know this is cryptic, but who the eff cares? This thing is for me, mostly.
But seriously. Life is so unbelievably unfair sometimes. She does not deserve this. She’s healthy, she’s far too young. She’s training for a goddamn marathon, and she has the tiniest boobs. But she’s also so strong. And she’s taking it with such a beautiful mixture of grace and wit. And she’s going to beat this thing, and be back to running marathons in no time. She’s a fighter, as cliche as that shit sounds. And she’ll have an incredible story after it all, that she’ll tell with the same amazing voice she writes everything with.
But if my stepmother mentions her fucking hot flashes one more time, I’m going to have to cry in front of her and tell her to stop.
Worry less, hunt more.
Love, big and little
My sister and I left New York, where we had been visiting extended family, early last night. We drove through some horrible wintery mix, but eventually found dryer and less crowded road and sailed home. My sister and I don’t always get along. We’re different in ways that make things always seem like a battle, but that may actually have more to do with the things we have in common. Our stubbornness, our heightened self-awareness but stunted awareness of others, or our simple unease in being home, in leaving our real lives at school, the lives and places that we often, perhaps not accidentally, refer to as home when here. But we had a easy drive. Conversation, and the silences in between, were simple and flowing, full of laughter. And despite the times I really hate her, most often as a mirror into what I don’t see in myself, I really love my sister.
I fell asleep thinking about how much I love my family.
My aunt and uncle whom we stayed with during our visit. My aunt’s ability to love everyone, without fail. Who sends our mother a Christmas card with pictures of her family every year, even after the divorce. Who always asks how she’s doing, with real concern in her eyes. Who makes me feel guilty for not begin able to answer completely. My uncle’s humor and his wit, his competitive spirit. His saying that if he could have done one thing differently, he would have been a lawyer, and my knowing he meant it, knowing he would have been great. But he’s also great right where he is. A father that can take his kids skiing multiple times a year, that has a boat and goes fishing on long weekends, that isn’t a slave to his work. And that they still love each other. That they recognize the magical rarity of a family still together after 16 years, and can be in awe of themselves and what they have managed. That they are still so happy together, after so much time.
My Papa, all quiet and secretly funny, whispering these amazing zingers when the rest of our loud Italian family is stumbling to shout over each other, to repeat the same stories that they told the year before, and ask the same questions of their visitors.
One of which is always, without fail, “is there a boy in your life?” And I’ve always lied, simply saying that there are many, that I’m not taking things seriously. But this year the same phrase isn’t totally a lie. And I love that I have boys to see while I’m home, and boys to look forward to when I get back to school this year. That I can have a coy smile when I say that there are many, a smile that I simply could not fake with any real verisimilitude in years past.
I love that I am reading again. For fun. That there is time to fall into a book and not come out until your eyes are so heavy that you’ll forget to mark the page before you drift into a dream that is half an extension of the page you haven’t finished. That sometimes the words in your head and the ones on the page melt together in the middle of the night. That I am writing again, and it’s so much more fluid with these other great voices in my head to strengthen my own. To remind me. That this is how a sentence flows. That this is how words connect like synapses firing and nerve endings twitching. That to write is to create. That it is a special kind of magic.
I am filled with so many kinds of love at the end of this year. It may have been the worst for a lot of people, and we may be going off that fiscal cliff come the new year, but I am so grateful that this past year has been this beautiful for me. I want to pull these feelings with me into the new year. To make each year better. To love more, and to be loved more, as each one turns into the next with glitter and shouts.
I just re-watched the first season of GIRLS. I’ve been doing a lot of procrastinating, and taking a lot of study breaks. The creator just got that crazy book deal, and some people are gushing about it, but a lot of people are talking about how selfish the pieces of her pitch that leaked sound. And it got me thinking about the show, and the girls in it. The girls of my generation - my friends, me, everyone we know. We’re all so utterly selfish. I mean, looking back at my recent posts here makes it so achingly obvious that I’m only concerned with myself. I’m scared. I’m lonely. I look at myself in the mirror too often. I use the word “I” far too often.
So I’m going to a party tonight. And I’m going to try not to use the word “I” once. Should be fun.
I’m supposed to be a hermit during finals
What happens when a serial monogamist and a serial single-person hook up? Well, that serial single-person shaves her legs and cleans her room. But after that, who knows.
In No Particular Order, and No Filter
Things that I want:
A white jean jacket; longer, fuller lashes; high heels that are both stylish and comfortable; a job where I am always learning; to lose 17 pounds; to do a pull-up; to devour new fiction over winter break; respectable grades this semester, particularly in federal courts; a polo pony (or four) and time to ride it/them; clear skin; to understand federal courts; more time; someone to love.
I feel like this week could not go any worse, and it’s only Monday.
I misread a simple fact in the case I’m working on in my Clinic. Which means I wrote totally useless/absolutely incorrect issues and point headings for my meeting with my professor this afternoon. Which means I was flabbergasted when he pointed it out, and said that my case was simpler in one way than I thought it was, but that it was complicated in a way that I don’t think I even understand.
I’m so embarrassed. It was a mistake that I shouldn’t make, a mistake that I know not to make, and that I wouldn’t make, if I were doing things back at my summer job at the DOJ. The kind of appellate work I’m doing is really different here, and I feel like I’m drowning, even though I should know how it works.
But I need to just brush it off. I have way too much shit to do tonight to wallow like this.
In other news, my brilliant Fed Courts professor came in today having prepared for the wrong class entirely. After we caught on, and told him, he was adorably embarrassed. He made a total Job face (“I’ve made a huge mistake”), and just said “Oh, dear God.” But after a few minutes of gathering himself, he went on to just be brilliant about what we had actually read. He called it flying by the seat of his pants, but it was still amazing.
So I’ll pretend I’m brilliant. And just compose myself, and get back on this brief.
I may have bit off more than I could chew this semester.
I have a crazy clinic, and a reply brief is due in a little less than two weeks.
I have too many classes, and yet at the same time, not enough credits.
I have the urge to get to polo as much as I can, because this year will be the last time in a long while that I’ll be able to afford it.
I had an amazing job, at the government, which means I have to keep looking for a job for next year.
You are oceans. Oceans away.
You are a lighthouse, baby, you will burn out someday.
You gave me love, but never hope.
I am a raging fire, and you are smoke
In my eyes, my eyes, my eyes.
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.
New computer, can’t seem to figure out how to convert my iTunes version of this song into an mp3. This’ll do for now.
So go on and move on,
Go on and act all strong,
Go ahead and fall for the next ship that comes along.
“It’s my own fault. / I got no right / to fall apart / to fall apart. /
I’t just that I’ve been thinking with my lonely little drunk/ my lonely little drunk heart.”
Lighthouse - Chris O’Brien
It’s been a week, and for two nights in a row, I’ve seen great reasons to stop. And I’m going to. I’m making you hold me to this, internet. I’m done with him. Absolutely done.
In the cab, on the way to his apartment, he said, “you just keep making the same mistake.”
But for me, it’s never been a clear mistake. Because I really liked him the first time we met, when I thought that he was single and that something might happen. And then I was hurt, and didn’t want to be hurt again, so I did my best to separate myself from any feelings I had towards him, to reduce what was happening to a purely physical connection. To practice, because I haven’t had much practice, or at least not much that resulted in any real fun.
I couldn’t keep things separated for long. I liked him, and I assumed that he thought nothing and felt nothing for me. I’ve never been in a relationship that lasted longer than two weeks. I’ve never been sure that the boys in my bed really want to be there, with me, for all of me. And so I thought that this thing - if it can really even be called that - was nothing, too. That, yet again, I was the one that was feeling, and that it wasn’t reciprocated at all. I was pushing against someone that didn’t want me back, but I kept pushing, because I was trying to learn to let go, and because it was better than nothing.
So in order to break an old habit, in order to try to do something real and something honest, I told him how I felt. And this was different from the blabbing that happened this summer, because I was doing so to his face, and when I wasn’t totally sure that things were going to end because I had said something.
It’s been a few days, and I still can’t really articulate what happened, or how I feel about it. I told him I liked him. They weren’t mistakes to me because I wanted to be there. I don’t only come back because he’s a jerk; I come back despite his being a jerk. And he was kind in return. Said things that I would never have guessed he would say - nice things, about me. So maybe I wasn’t giving him any credit. When it mattered, when there was someone beside me in the dark that could want me back, I thought that I meant nothing to him, and put up a wall to protect myself from indifference that might not be there at all.
He keeps asking me if I want to date him. I don’t know. I don’t think so - not after the way it started with him. I don’t think I could. But I’m not sure that that’s the same thing as saying that I don’t want to.
But I do want something more. I’m not sure how to pinpoint where else on the spectrum I want to be. Before this weekend, it had something to do with surety. With knowing that I was wanted. Because I’ve never really been certain of that, and the anxiety over the question ruined the one quasi-relationsihp I’ve ever had. And maybe now it’s clearer that I am wanted, wanted by him. At least in those sparkler moments in the middle of certain nights. And even that feels like more. But I’m still not sure that it’s enough, even though I don’t really know what more I want. And I’m still anxious. That the words from this most recent night have already evaporated, and that things will be different, worse, the next time.