This post is about the beginning of failure ... failing in the public eye ... and how I can still get up every day with good intentions and a new plan.
Kap-Cher Failure in a Flashback
I remember the first time I failed the bar exam. It was a hot summer's day, and I was at work, reviewing documents. I was getting antsy because there was a quiet murmur about the office. My every day environment was and is occupied with both Attorneys and Juris Doctors (to be attorneys). And the air gets real thick and suffocating when the bar rejections/approval letters are being mailed to candidates. The jerks in the office ask you about your results before you even get them. The other jerks want to make comments on their success on a bar exam. It's all hazing. But for the most part, people in the office are decent and somewhat compassionate (at least to your face). DUN DUN DUN DUNNN. What more can you ask for?
Anyway, I exited my pod after getting a text from my study partner on his success. I left the room to phone him and congratulate him on his success. And I remember tearing up just then. Somehow I knew I had failed. But he was comforting; he reassured me that I didn't because we studied all night and day for three months. On top of that, I was dating an asshole attorney who wasn't much help either. Don't do this! Don't date while studying for the bar, if you can manage it. Or stay with the person you dated throughout law school. My advice is not the holy grail, but it's reasonable. (Reasonableness matters in law. It's so easy to deviate a strict course. I was triggered.) Furthermore, I was solving problems for my family and friends. What trouble did not follow?
I remember the gate wouldn't open as I pulled up to the garage. I pounded my key fob 100x over to get it to work. It didn't budge. I wrestled with my key fob with sweaty palms, praying to the Lord to give me a sign that I passed and not to let my last three months be in vain. "Lord, don't you remember I worked full time to keep all of my things, and it hurt badly, so I'mma need that pass Lord. Who haven't I helped in the past few months? Give me a sign." The dialogue went something like that. I can't quite remember.
But wait, why do we think if we over-extend ourselves, there's a reward ... bonus points awaiting us? Like there will be extra points on Earth? I truly believe that fallacy starts with Christian teachings. But ... I'm not going to go there with y'all today. I no longer over-extend myself, and I only have two cheeks, so you'll be addressed. You're welcome.
Back to the story.
A car then pulled in behind me, and the driver must've saw me struggling and buzzed the gate for me. I parked at the closest parking space, leading to the apartment building's second floor entrance.
The mailroom greeted me at the door, all painted in a deep purple. I hurried over to my mailbox, and remember getting a slight headache. You ever get filled with emotion and feel a sharp pain ... in your damn head? That's it.
Anyway ... so I opened the mailbox, and there was a manilla envelope addressing my fate. I grabbed it quickly and held it to the light. It was as if I needed a preview to prepare myself for the main event. I kept looking for "Congratulations" then thought the lighting failed me. I turned to the hallway and swore the lighting failed me again ... but then I looked closely as I reached my front door and stomped really loudly in disgust. There was no "Congratulations!" There wasn't shit there but some words I could not make out. I called my study partner and asked him to come downstairs (he lived in the building) to open this letter for me and read my results.
As we entered the apartment, I remember the apartment being in disarray. It had only been 4 weeks since I've stopped studying and had gone back to working full-time. So I had little energy to clean more than once a week. I opened the patio door to let in fresh air. I was sweaty, hot all over, ecstatic and frustrated. He looked at me and asked if I was ready. I sat down. He read the results: "We regret to inform you that you did not pass the North Carolina Bar Examination for February 2017." Heart sunken, I just stared at him.
"I'm sorry, Denise. But you know this stuff. You'll get it next time," said he.
After a brief discussion, he left my apartment. Soon after, I opened a rich bottle of Cabernet that was given to me on my birthday. I saved it for my bar results ... for a glass of celebration. But it worked as a temporary fix for this occasion too. My phone had already been ranging off the hook with friends and family and fake friends asking about my results. I employed the silent option on my phone. People's anxiousness and anticipation for happenings in my life became a part of my anxiety. I felt like I had to meet those expectations.
So whenever I experience disappointment (or succeed), I go into isolation. Some people view this as a sign of depression or an onset of it, but it is not. I think every living soul should take a moment to recharge and regroup. If a plan can be devised during this time, then great. But personally, I don't force it. I use the time to breathe, in silence, quietly, leaving wine optional. "But of course, Dear!"
After a while, I may put on some of my favorite jams. The first time, I rehashed the time and money spent and wondered why it didn't end in a WIN. A rehearsal of events was not good. I spent time looking for that flawed moment, things I could have improved, etc. I obsessed over this exam. I had post-its all over my bedroom walls, kitchen cabinets, bathroom mirrors of rules for different subjects. I had Critical Pass cards and my personal index cards spread across my work desk. Outlines were neatly organized and stacked at the corner of my desk. These are snapshots of my home. These are snapshots of a determined woman.
As the weeks passed, I found a new respect for myself and more audacity. My biggest fear was failing, publicly. How will they see me now? You know ... a person close to me once said: "Well, you look good." It's cool that I'm attractive. I'm thankful for the good genes and a strong sense of style. That's a humble brag. But in moments like this, "Attractiveness" is placed at the bottom of the totem pole where "Accomplishment" is at the head. I want to be remembered as "Audacious, Intelligent, Successful with a heart of gold then Beautiful." In that order.
How the Experience will Make Me a Better Lawyer
Well, I've gotten to the "IDGAF what people say about my bar exam journey" and "stop calling my damn phone so much" stage. I thinned my herd and kept my original friends. I'm actually having a lot of fun being my socialite self. Right because law came later, and it doesn't define me. It's a part of my arsenal. That's it.
In all, I'm just a spiritual soul having a life experience, in my Eckhart Tolle voice. Stuff will happen, and if I'm lucky, I get to party another day.
I hope this inspires a Do-Gooder or a Go-Getter to keep going. xo.
P.S. Snag a Hustler's R Us shirt. That'll remind you.