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*Such* an emo title. Anywho, I want to give fair warning to all of my readers in the middle of Bar Study that this post will be about being happy. It won’t be sappy, and starts off depressing as fuck, but I totally understand if that’s not something you can deal with reading right now – someone else’s happiness. Please feel free to leave and come back next time when we return to my usual snarky, bitter complaining. Until then: Good luck. I love you. Breath.

***

This has been a miserable year. A year I think most recent law school grads can relate to. A year filled with question marks and second-guessing my whole life. The levels of low I hit in the fall spawned this blog. Need I say more? No. But I’m totally going to.

There is something interesting about reaching the into the darkest places of yourself; of experiencing depression so ugly that when you finally climb out of it, your healthy mind is scared by what it remembers of that time. It inspires some pretty profound self-reflection.

The start of 3L year found me staring down an 8-month stretch to unemployment. I was scared, pissed off, and grasping for a little certainty. The nothingness that awaited me in May felt like a slow moving Dementor, asphyxiating my soul over months rather than kissing it out in moments. Oh, and the answers are ‘yes’ and ‘no’ respectively.

Yes I referenced HP. No, I’m not ashamed.

But there was something else. A vague timeline I’d never really acknowledged, but that had always been ticking away somewhere in the earnest parts of me that I don’t like to frequent. A timeline that my impending graduation thrust into my consciousness. We all know what I’m talking about: the serious relationship/marriage timeline. The end of law school was coming, 25 was coming, and for the first time I realized that the general guide to my life that I created somewhere around age 4 was not going to be my reality.

This fall I fell apart. Sometime around March I started to re-hinge myself. Jobless, single, and lost, I was forced to re-evaluate. I came to some liberating conclusions.

The thing is, I’m not really sure why I ever had this timeline. Social indoctrination? Expectation? Because it was something I truly hoped for? It’s unclear because there is something else hiding away in the earnest parts of me. Something that I’m never fully comfortable admitting out loud: I’m pretty sure I don’t want children. Or marriage. Ever. I said this outright once when I was 12 to an uncle. He called me a selfish girl, among other things, and lectured me until I cried.

I say “not sure” because I’m never comfortable with certainty, and that’s part of the problem. I don’t like knowing what’s going to happen. “Marriage” sounds like “stagnation” in my head. “Children” sounds like “capture.” When my friends, who are in wonderful relationships with amazing people, talk to me about their own life plans I start to get sweaty and anxious. That familiar cagey feeling kicks in and my throat tightens as though hands are closing in around my neck.

Faced with my own despondency and confusion, I had to wrestle with this disparity between who I am and what I’d grown up expecting of my life. I am proud to announce that last week, I found my footing. Here it is:

I am happier alone. I draw strength from solitude. I am selfish. I don’t want to share the bed, I want to sleep in the starfish position. I don’t want to love you for who you are and who you’re not. I don’t want that love in return. I don’t want to accept your faults and help you grow. I don’t want you to accept mine and teach me. I don’t want geographic limitations. I want my stuff to be mine. I want *my* couch, and *my* DVDs, and *my* leftovers. I don’t want to have to roll on all fours during sex just to get through it because, while you’re such an attentive boyfriend, Jesus Christ you’re bad in bed. I don’t want to be obligated to contact you each day.

I want to learn to shoot and get a gun permit. I want to start horseback riding again. I want to travel to Thailand, Morocco, Brazil (during Carnival), New Orleans (not during Mardis Gras). I want to run a 5k. I want to strive for a job in the international community in Europe, and one day live in London. I want to learn Arabic. My ultimate dream is to do something that gains me recognition. I don’t need fame, and I don’t want fortune. But just one thing, once, even if for a day, that is widely noticed. I’d love to get something published.

I don’t want to consider your feelings. I don’t want to sacrifice. I do not want to compromise.

These are my conclusions. Maybe one day my legit adult self will look back at my sort-of adult self and smile knowingly to herself at my naivete. But for now, this is who I am. This is who I want to be. 24 years into my life and I’m finally comfortable with that. And it’s goddamned glorious.

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