This is my brain on ADHD.
I like shiny things.
Anyhow, I've been meaning to write this. So here.
My brother bought me this bag. For work. It's a really nice leather attache case.
Fifteen years ago.
It was a graduation gift.
Fifteen years (and a few months ago), I graduated from law school.
For the moment, we'll ignore all the stuff about how I should have quit school when my husband was diagnosed with cancer because it was in that moment that every.single.thing in my life changed completely. Fifteen years ago, I was still kidding myself about wanting to be a lawyer. I thought I still had a plan, even if that train had completely derailed.
The train was rolling downhill and I was desperately clutching my ticket, trying to climb back on and will it onto the tracks.
That's a whole different story.
I don't like to talk about all that much because it's a reminder of who I was supposed to be when I grew up, and also of how I totally didn't become that person.
I became this one. She's not a lawyer, not really anyway. She has the loan balance to go right along with it, of course, but not the job or the income or the prestige or the whatever comes with being some fancy pants attorney.
I wanted to do pro bono work anyway, so I suppose I was always destined for non-fancy-pants.
At the time that I was gifted this bag, I was hugely pregnant. With a kid that we weren't supposed to be able to get pregnant with after having lost a baby and being diagnosed infertile. I walked (okay, so it was more of a slow waddle) across the stage to receive my diploma and walked into labor and delivery three days later.
I was going to be a lawyer, but first I was a Mom.
An unplanned one. An unexpected one.
A grateful one.
That Mom was still clutching the tickets to the derailed train, of course, insisting that she'd get back on it someday. And my friends and my family bought the lie that I sold them, although in my psuedo-defense, I bought it too.
Time passed. More school to increase my specialty in the field I was supposed to work in someday. More kids.
Then we moved out of state and whatever hope I had of ever finding my way back into the field stayed behind in a box in the rafters in the garage.
(This is the point where I'm going to stop anyone who tries to tell me that I didn't really leave my career behind in the rafters in another state, insists that I can get back to it someday or whatever. Sure, maybe. Because what law firm wouldn't love to hire a 40 year old mom of five who hasn't worked in the field in fifteen years, especially when she needs to be able to leave at a moment's notice because of those five kids and everything that comes with them. I'm stopping you right there. I might get back someday. I might not. I don't need someone who doesn't get it trying to insist that my ship hasn't sailed. It sailed. Fuck, it circumnavigated the world. I just didn't get on it. And, I've made my peace with it. Mostly.)
The bag, though, the one my brother bought me for work. It moved with us. Still in the box and everything.
It mocked me a little bit, if I'm being honest. It went from actually living in the rafters in the garage in the other state to living in the basement here. For years. Every time I'd see it, I'd cringe a little bit.
HEY KELLY HERE IS A REMINDER OF
THAT THING YOU TOTALLY DIDN'T DO
AND HERE IS A LOAN STATEMENT
It sat and sat and sat. I wondered what the hell I was going to do with it. Yeah, I'm a writer, but I write from home in my pajamas. I don't "go" anywhere. I don't go to fancy writer conferences because I convince myself that those are for people who actually can call writing a career, and that implies that you're supposed to have an income that more than a gnat could survive on based on what you do. "For a living".
I never needed to use it.
I can't even bankroll a gnat, let alone take a bag like this to a fancy conference.
I couldn't get rid of it though.
I have bizarre emotional attachments to the weirdest things.
And then last winter, I turned in an application to be a quizmaster. I was hired.
To run the quiz, I need a computer, and I can't do it from home in my pajamas. So I need to carry an actual computer to actual places.
The husband reminded me that I had the bag.
(quotation marks here for emphasis, and YES I COULD MAKE MY POINT WITHOUT THEM AS SOMEONE SO KINDLY POINTED OUT TO ME ON FACEBOOK THIS WEEK BUT I FUCKING LIKE THE QUOTATION MARKS)
Sorry, I didn't mean to yell.
I had the bag.
The bag that sat in the rafters and in the basement, the one my brother gave me as a gift for my new career....it's finally being used.
It has a Wonder Woman pin on it, beside a Spock hand making the Vulcan greeting sign and Superman.
It's full of answer sheets and mixer cheat sheets and speeches I rehearse in case I have to deal with belligerent assholes. There's not a single legal document inside it. The only fancy pen I have is a red Sharpie, gifted to me on my first night of work by a friend. The computer it contains is covered with brewery stickers. It accompanies me to a bar, not a courtroom.
It's not what my brother intended when he bought it for me.
This isn't who I intended to be.
But it works.
And it's perfect.
It's also a constant reminder to me every week that just because life gets off track doesn't mean it can't be dusted off and repurposed someday.