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Falling down the stairs is a great start to any day…

Falling down the stairs is best done in the morning, so that it can fully impact your entire day:

First, it sets the tone of your entire day. So what if someone is snippy in the elevator?  They probably fell down the stairs too.  Cut them some slack.

Second, it makes everything that subsequently turns up wrong seem okay.  Did you accidentally put soy milk in your coffee instead of delicious half-and-half?  Well, that’s okay.  At least you didn’t fall down the stairs again.

Third, it adds a bit of spontaneity to the traditional “how was your commute” morning small talk.  “How was your commute?”  “Well, I fell down the stairs.”

Fourth, it covers for you in case your hair is frizzy or your clothes are (a) wrinkled, (b) poorly matched, or (c) all-around ill-fitting or dreadful.

Finally, it gives you cool-looking bruises across your arms and legs, thus removing all barriers from personal conversations with strangers.  “What happened to YOU?”  “Well, I fell down the stairs.”

Here’s to hoping you are having a fantastic, tumble-free Saturday!

P.S., I joined TWITTER!  @MaryBeth8142010

Positive Affirmation

So, I forgot I had a blog.  Not that anyone noticed, since I really only have one reader anyway.  Sorry for the, umm, three month lapse in posting.

Positive words are immeasurably important to me.  I often forget how important it is to be encouraged, supported, and loved by your peers.  Instead of reflecting this knowledge onto myself — instead of remembering how important positive words are and keeping my heart and mind focused on the positive aspects of my own life — I often am hyper-critical of myself and let myself get discouraged unnecessarily.

During college, I had a built-in support group (a.k.a. Zeta Beta GO KD!!) which kept me positive.  Walking into the cafeteria, class, meeting, etc., there was always someone to remind me that I was pretty, or smart, or funny, or sarcastic, or some other derivative of awesome.  It was amazing to have so many beautiful women who were in touch with one another and their respective need for affirmation.

Law school, my new home, does not naturally provide positive reinforcement.  Instead, first year tears down your pre-established learning pattern and opens the door for a new way of thinking:  “Like a Lawyer.” To do this, you learn that the way you think is wrong.  That you are wrong.  That your old study habits are not good enough.

For too many, this develops into feeling that you are not good enough.  That you have to try harder, and do more, and that no amount of work or sweat, blood or tears, studying or caffeine, will be sufficient.

I am not going to be that person.  But still, every few days, I have to sit myself down and have a heart to heart with my self-esteem.  It goes something like this:

M…B…J… You are awesome.  What?  No.  You are.  You are [insert list of things I do every day…].  You are getting married to a wonderful man, working to develop a successful and effective career that will help people who need help every day.  It’s okay if you only do laundry once a month, and only if your fiance makes you do it.  It’s okay if you need to be a hermit on some Saturday nights because you are simply exhausted.  This is okay because you are living the life you are called to live.  One of purpose, and hard work, and compassion. So pull it together, and please get out of bed, because class is starting at 10 AM whether you are there or not.

I have a friend who spends our conversations lifting me up.  Another friend who does it on a car ride to work once a week.  And I have a professor who has really helped me see my strengths and capacity to do great legal work.  I am so lucky, and blessed.

End-of-the-Year Ramblings

One year ago I knew 2009 would be better than 2008.  I had reason to be sure — during the first six weeks of 2008 my mother was diagnosed with cancer, my school was hit by an F-4 tornado while my mom was in surgery, and I’d lost all of my belongings [except for a half-dozen lumpy garbage bags of remains filed by the Tennessee Guard].  While the move to the new city and the beginning of law school brought many exciting firsts, it was a difficult transition; by the end of that first semester I knew that something was about to break.

Well, it did.

Not only was this last year of school amazing, but I found a wonderful roommate, got engaged to an amazing man, and embarked on a new journey toward “adulthood.”  I’m ready and excited for what is coming.

But, it makes me think:  do you have to survive natural disasters and family tragedies to be certain that the future is going to be better and brighter than the past?

First Post: Holiday Edition

It is time for introductions.

My name is Mary Beth and I am a histo-literary focused law student.  I grew up in the deep south and went to a private Christian university, but decided to pack my bags and move to the nation’s capitol to begin a new life with my almost-husband Hunter.

Over the last sixteen months, I have mastered public transportation, maneuvered through tricky roommate situations, conquered the hellish transition from college student to law student, and taken substantial steps toward becoming an attorney, a wife, and a more compassionate and considerate human being.

On this blog I will reason out tricky theological, philosophical, legal, or life-based conundrums.  I will probably post more questions than answers.  There may be days or weeks where wedding-planning drama or personal life moments steal the focus.  But I want to savor this place, this blog.  The structure and stifling workload of a legal life can drown out creativity.   I want this blog to preserve mine.

It may take some time for me to learn how this works because I am new to the blogging world.   My good friend Mary writes excellent blogs about her travels and transition to a healthier lifestyle, and I am following in her footsteps here.