Law School Discussion

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - jamiesam26

Pages: [1]
Have you ever wondered what a conversation with a statistic would be like? What would be the very first thing that you would want to know? Would it be their story? Would it be how they came to not be a statistic any longer? Sadly, statistics are numbers that donít have voices or answers to any of those questions, because statistics are the end of a story, and not the beginning of one. I once was almost a statistic, the kind that shows up in the form of a short obituary on page four of the local paper, a sort of here one moment and gone the next, with no mark left on this world at all. I am not here to tell you that story though. I have quite a different story in mind, one that even I never expected I would have the privilege not only to tell, but to write as well.

It started with 24 years of a life gone by and nothing to show for it except for prescriptions for Xanax, Prozac, and a divorce that couldnít be finalized fast enough. What had brought me to that point was a cumulative assortment of finding any way I could to avoid the fact that I was no longer a child, and the adult world was no longer as kind to petulance and tantrums as it was when I was ten years younger. Sultry glances, tight dresses and a come-hither smile once could solve any problem I had in the world, but one morning I woke up after a night out with those tactics, with more problems created than any that could have ever possibly been solved. I was just one Google search away from confirming that I was destined to be every statistic in the book.

Becoming a statistic was not what scared me the most. I could handle that my actions were leading to an inevitable and self-fulfilling prophecy. What I could not stomach was that morning when I walked through the front door of my fatherís home, what I should have been able to call my home, and saw the absolute shock on his face that I was even still alive. I donít remember much about that night, but whatever I had done was enough to make my father ready to accept that he had done all that he could for me, and that he was too tired to fight for me to not have that spot on page four of the local papers.

For all intent and purposes my fatherís eyes could have been a full-length mirror that was placed in front of a blind person who was able to see for the first time. It was the very first time I thought beyond all of the vices that came to make up my existence up unto that point. I just froze there in front of my father and allowed myself to take a really deep look at my reflection. Something broke inside me at that moment, and trust me when I say that there was not very much left inside of me that was intact.

It did something amazing for me though. It changed me. I wouldnít describe it as a come-to-Jesus moment, because it was so much more than that. I had always taken that saying to mean that someone who is having a come-to-Jesus moment has just hit a moment of realization, and not really a moment of change. Starting at that moment I saw through my eyes a future. The future was something that I never really thought about until then. Up until that point I lived my life in the moment with no regard for the past or the future.

A life like mine at twenty-four years old was the life read about in my social work classes when I was an undergraduate. Back then they were just words on paper that were to be memorized the night before an exam. They didnít hold much more meaning than that. Even when I was a case manager for those applying for disability benefits, I paid what I read on paper no heed, because before I would be able to  see that I was crashing fast I would have to be stripped of everything I held dear in life at that time. It would take being absolutely alone in the world, without any support from friends or family, because they were more tired than I was. It is difficult being more tired than someone who wakes up and doesnít remember quite how they got to that point.

It is hard to be alone in this world. Some people choose to not be alone for very long, and the company they surround themselves with to ease that unbearable ache of loneliness puts that right back at square one, and right back on their way to page four. When I finally saw my reflection I neither wanted new friends or an ending. I wanted a new beginning for not only myself, but for others who find themselves in similar situations.

I learned one very important thing when I worked as a case manager deciding Social Security disability benefits for initial applications to the program, claiming that they could not work. That lesson was that medical evidence trumped subjective evidence, but it was legal evidence and guidelines that trumped the two former. It made me realize that, being the person I am, I could bring about very little change for myself, or for the people who were just like me with the current laws and policies in place.

I had some idea once upon a time that it would be a career in social work that would allow me to change the world, but that couldnít be farther from the truth. I learned that social work is limited by laws and guidelines, and social work is all about following all of those laws and guidelines right down to the letter. There is more accountability in making sure the rules were followed perfectly rather than the act of doing what is actually in the best interest of a person. Social workers move sand hills. Laws are what move mountains, more specifically, the people who influence the creation of laws.
I learned that by witnessing a local attorney defend a man, my father, in a hearing for involuntary placement in a psychiatric unit in a rural part of Florida. This attorney knew the law inside and out, and during those fifteen minutes that I had the privilege to witness him in action, showed me all that I needed to know. That attorney was not the only one who taught me something new that day, but the judge and the stateís attorney taught me as well. I walked out of that courtroom knowing that I had found my voice.

So here I am. I have a life story that makes for a better Lifetime movie than it does as an inspiration to go to law school, but it is what I have. Life is constantly testing my level of commitment, but only those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve are rewarded with lifeís most precious gifts. It takes a resolve that is constant and consistent to move mountains. I am devoted to not becoming a statistic, and changing the current avenues for people who are on their way to do just that and with a little bit of faith, for those who are already there.

I am ready. With words, strong and powerful, I will bridge oceans and move mountains, all for a better tomorrow. The past, it can stay there, as a reminder if it wants to, but it doesnít own me anymore. The future and all of the wonderful things that I know are waiting for me there does.

Pages: [1]