Saturday, October 26, 2013

Big Picture Stuff & Trying to Define Success

Thursday would have been my father's 60th birthday; if you read this blog regularly, saw that entry or know me in real life, you know he died in June. I was trying to keep the day free since I wasn't sure how I'd feel. I ended up being asked to do paying work so I spent some of my day on that. Then my husband asks me, the sick woman he gave his cold to, to do dishes & other domestic tasks (I'm pretty sure he also asked me to make HIS tea even though he swore he didn't).

Actually had a great conversation with the person I'm doing paid work for. He pointed out some things that are completely accurate from my vantage point & it made me feel really good to hear it. It was further confirmation that I'm exactly where I belong & am no dummy here. My therapist also read the Yelp review I wrote on her (which was 100% truthful) & she told me yesterday that I am a writer.

My husband & I are finally going to go to marriage counseling. I'm proud & happy that he admitted there are problems in this marriage & he took the initiative to set that up with someone who may be compatible with who we are + take our insurance. I definitely think his stunt last week was a turning point, at least for me.

One big thing I absolutely won't put up with from anyone is abuse; emotional abuse is most certainly included in that. I had to put up with enough emotional abuse from my father & then I was a child who had no say or options to leave (though I did tell my mother when I was 7 that she should get a divorce & probably kept saying that over the years or asking why she wouldn't leave). As an adult, that is simply not going to fly with me from anyone. I don't care if you've been married 100 years or 100 seconds; no one deserves that. I have a lot to say about where I see problems and what I will and won't put up with.

Today's conversation kind of further proves that no one should dare accuse me of living in a delusion when I say my entertainment pursuits are going to pay off & that I'm just where I need to be professionally speaking. It's one thing to hear it from the world at large; it's another to hear it from your family members or your relatives. Calling my career a hobby or me delusional on this one is extremely offensive & means I won't be dealing with you since that shows me you've got zero respect toward me as a person or for any creative talents I have.

It seems like a lot of people in my life are in the midst of major transitions & changes. I sort of wonder if I'm going to be one of them in the near future; I honestly don't know how things are going to go but this status quo isn't going to cut it. Between me & my sister, I wonder whether these men think that because our father is dead they now get to treat us like shit since he's not around to kick their butts. If they think that's the case, they'll be in for some very sad realities.

I'm also the type of person who never hung around bullshit. My affection for a guy faded very quickly if I was disrespected, lied to, or the guy did something horrid. Now I was more often the dumpee than the dumper but when I was feeling oppressed or angry or hurt & the guy never acknowledged or respected my feelings, I was out the door. I also never tolerated anyone's attempts to control me or tell me what to do (I still won't). There's one definitive sign that it's over: when you're crying after you've had sex with someone. Once you do that, you have to face the fact that it's over & done.

As I told a friend of mine, if this marriage ended I'd probably never want to get married again. I wouldn't be helpless & figure my friends won't let me cede to that feeling but I think I'd only want open marriage if I ever got close enough to anyone again to want even a slight commitment. I'm still shocked I got close enough to my husband to have a relationship with him since I never was able to do that with anyone else, even when I wasn't looking for Mr. Right Now. I'm not even sure I ever looked for Mr. Right since I felt Mr. Right was a myth.

Now for some reason the Biography channel is showing that old show Confessions of a Matchmaker, which I remember watching years ago back when it aired. I think my husband may have found it. I was watching an episode where she's trying to help this guy who is a "deluded" musician because he works in a music store & is trying to be a rocker. He'd apparently had an album but they didn't go into too much detail about what he did, if he had gigs, what he was trying to do, who he knew, anything like that. The matchmaker was just dismissing him as delusional because of his age (within my range, by the way) & because of his day job in retail.

It's been my contention that success isn't something with a quantifiable definition, especially in the entertainment field. You can make money at it but not be famous & you can also be famous but broke. You can win awards, get great opportunities & have lots of contacts while having to take a day job. I just don't define it by money & if you did that in entertainment, most of the people in it would be "failures" by that definition.

Recently, I read this book about the oral history of Nickelodeon's early days. One fact I learned was that a lot of people doing the shows many of us know and love form that time were working for passion, not money. I don't think anyone would have called those people "failures" back in the day & I'm sure most wouldn't now.

See what I mean about success not being defined by money? At the end of the day, I'm pretty sure it's what each person personally defines as success. You might think I'm "successful" but perhaps I don't, just like I might call myself a success even if someone else wouldn't. It sounds a little New Age but I do think there's no real quantifiable definition of it, just a perception that everyone has to define for themselves.

Oh, and let me also say that I think the people who define success by a paycheck are the same people who have zero creative talent, would never get the opportunities our innovators get & may very well know this fact (while also hating it). The people who don't think that way are a breath of fresh air to people in my industry, let me tell you.

Since getting back to this post a few days later (my schedule is literally that insane these days) I'm still in the midst of waiting for what life is going to bring. I guess in some way we all are.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunglasses: A Symbolism Story

Until taking high school English & learning about it, I didn't really appreciate the concept of symbolism. After that, I started to notice little symbolism stories in my own life. The absolute best one was when I lost the diamond ring I bought myself years before on the same weekend my then-boyfriend said he cheated on me. I think I told it before but if I didn't, I have to someday.

The latest one concerns my former childhood best friend. Maybe now we ought to call her a train wreck or someone TLC ought to be contacting with a contract for a reality show. From her latest antics, they really ought to. She's apparently managed to make one acquaintance who I felt ought to get a reality show w/her sister look functional by comparison (she's the one who had to fight to get a tubal after having 4 kids & limited means to raise them).

Many moons ago (or at least it feels that way), before she went insane my ex-friend gave me a pair of sunglasses. They weren't really The Angry Redheaded Lawyer's style (my style is very eclectic & different from the pack's) but I said "Thank you" and took them just the same.

If you read "The Wedding Saga" series here, you know that friendship has definitively been history for a while. gets so much better.

Remember when I mentioned my sister finding out her husband had been having less than clean conversations with other women on Facebook? Well, guess who he decided to have one of these conversations with? Guess who responded to these overtures & said nothing to my sister? You got it, this ex-friend.

My sister, for God only knows what reason, decided not to tell this bitch to suck it or fuck off or drop dead like 95% of us would have. No, she decided to still talk to her though on a more limited basis.

Two thoughts occurred to me at hearing this:

1. My BIL could do so much better than ex-friend. If he were single, had no kids, dressed nicely & came to a fashion show, he could probably have a shot with a fashion model. I know them, you know. Plus, I have the wingwoman skills. Oh, hell I'll be a bitch & say it: this ex-friend was a size 22 at the wedding. I am (and was) a size 2.

Looking back these days, maybe my ex-friend had more luck with guys than me back in the day because she had fewer standards than me. I was picky, wasn't going to have sex with them & according to people I know (and even someone who reached out to my sister later), guys were intimidated of me & insecure around me being who I am. Older guys checked me out but I had no skill to pursue that and no one really pursued me until college.

2. My sister ought to be nominated for sainthood. The reason will be even more obvious soon.

Fast forward to this month: the ex-friend had the baby with her illegal fling who I guarantee isn't nearly as good looking as most of my guy friends & certainly not any male models I've worked with. She contacts my sister (AFTER the revelation of her little conversation with my BIL which my sister found out about & not from the ex-friend) to ask her to get a free bassinet my sister is trying to sell. This after she apparently owes my sister money from that wedding.

My mother apparently told my sister she was done with this ex-friend after the ex-friend showed her ass at the wedding (the incident referenced later in the saga & to which everyone who's heard that tale sides with me, including many impartial third parties). My sister simply opted not to return that phone call.

Apparently, ex-friend was around when my sister lost her first husband but I think that ex-friend used up the goodwill from that ages ago. Recently, we crossed 10 years since this guy died; I don't think you can do the shit she did & get to remain in someone's good graces because you comforted them when their first husband died.

As far as I'm concerned, the only thing my sister owes this ex-friend is not shooting her on sight (mostly so my sister doesn't have to go to jail). Anything else is fair game.

Now, for the symbolism. I started wearing these sunglasses & didn't really care if they got messed up or lost screws (as most of my sunglasses invariably have happen) since I was just using them in the meantime before wearing newer ones I got that are in keeping with my style. I had been wearing them for the longest time just because. Certainly anyone who saw me in them figured they weren't really my aesthetic.

A few days ago, I came home & had the sunglasses in my purse. I open them up to find this:

I have no clue how that happened. I wouldn't be able to physically break them myself, my purse had been closed when I discovered this & I'd worn them home a few minutes earlier. The cats didn't sit on them or my purse. I'm still puzzled over it.

I still have to get the screws out so I can save them or maybe put them into some other sunglasses in a style I like. I just think this is interesting. Don't you? Whose sunglasses break apart like that with no prior evidence of this?

This ex-friend is also a huge reason I'm selective about who gets to come into or stay in my life along with convinced that no one should get to stay in your life simply because they've been there forever if they no longer fit within it. Friends of mine certainly better know if they don't that they're in a privileged place & past goodwill isn't going to keep them around forever. Guess my sister got the whole saintly stuff when it comes to people while I got the "no mercy" gene.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Why I Won't Be Your Manager, Being an Inadvertent Wingwoman & The Job I Want But Will Never Get From a BigLaw Employer

Lately, life has been rather busy with my freelance gig. I also went to a model casting I heard about on Thursday night, which I figured was going to be a short term type thing with no networking involved but ended up having free food that was pretty decent and led to my meeting someone in the talent management arena who said she recognized me. We had a lovely conversation & I've got more people to follow up with (likely now or sometime after my husband goes back to his dreaded job; at least he's been acting more like his normal self, though we still have that whole fiscal responsibility issue to address--today's my anniversary, by the way).

I also am no longer managing my first client. This is better anyway since she found someone more suited for the role, I am who I am and since being a manager isn't about promoting your own career, it was just too much anyway. We're still friends, though.

Since then, I've now vowed not to be anyone's manager again unless I retire from what I already do.

This means not doing any type of creative pursuit and certainly not being a partner in a film production company. Otherwise, I'm going to be way too focused on representing myself and getting ahead for myself.

Plus, I'm just worn down from being anyone's Mommy. I'm sick of doing that for my husband and have stepped back from things I would have done in the past. He even asked me if I networked for him at the event I went to on Thursday; I told him that since he doesn't want to work in the entertainment industry with its permanent freelance nature & is not into fashion, I did not. I also mentioned that he doesn't even know what he wants to do so how am I supposed to help him on that front? Plus, let me tell you self-sufficiency is a turn on for any mature, functional woman (me included). In fact, it's not just a turn on for me; it's a dealbreaker. I can't deal with that type of dependency. I heard a song by The Waitresses recently called "Go On." There are lyrics in there I'm sure many of you girls can relate to about guys. Particularly "another [guy] gets dependent" and "Am I a magnet for losers? A net for the helpless? I'm no social worker." Hear, hear! It also strikes me that a friend of mine was actually BEING a friend to me back in the day rather that just trying to break up my relationship for selfish reasons (or at least it was this friend not trying 100% to break it up).

The Waitresses have other songs, as I discovered in Song Pop. Go hear them. Just like The Specials, there's some good writing on issues that relate to things in life you don't hear about all the time. I also happen to like Mary J. Blige since she has some depressing songs but they have depth & I can relate to a lot of them having grown up where I did.

Yeah, I'm plain too worn out to do that so I think it's time I took care of myself & let my own career go where it goes.

On Friday, I went to karaoke with my husband as we often do. We have a karaoke place not far from our house that we've been to so much, they no longer check our IDs when we go in. This week, a friend of my husband's he's been trying to get there for ages showed up & brought his friend. My husband said this friend (who he worked with at another branch in the library) was proficient at getting women. Apparently, though I helped his friend get a hook up without trying.

Here's what happened.

The girl his friend was talking to gets up & sings a Talking Heads song. I'm a huge fan of their music & have every single song from that group. If Song Pop got a Talking Heads category, I could get 4 stars in it very quickly & kill most people in it. I also told my husband if I ever end up in a coma, he should make sure to have Talking Heads playing.

I don't feel I could sing Talking Heads well but this girl did it. She also happened to be the very first person I'd ever seen do Talking Heads at karaoke; no small feat considering I've been to karaoke tons of times in various cities along the East Coast.

I said "Points from me for picking Talking Heads." I also figure if you're going to sing something by them, you've got some taste. We had a brief conversation, I told her about my husband knowing the guys involved with the karaoke & giving them songs before. She said "We need to get all their songs in there." I said "Yeah," since I think that would rock especially if you see Talking Heads songs you don't see elsewhere. This place has a cool selection of songs & I have found a few that I've not seen elsewhere.

After I had this conversation, I legitimately had to use the bathroom. Lucky for me, there was no line.

I come back and my husband tells me his friend's friend and this girl are making out. He claimed that I apparently helped this guy get laid even though I didn't set out to do that. I just complimented the girl on her song choice in a spirit of sincerity.

This story confirms that I could totally do wingwoman work & should get paid for it. I applied at a few places and got interest in the past but nothing ever worked out from it. I'm not sure if you have to get licensing for it if you want to do it on a freelance basis by yourself. Getting a company name could help & I know that costs money but it seems like a possible avenue I should investigate. Plus, I've got the model cred officially this time.

So if you're going to karaoke & need a wingwoman, I can totally do it since I'm a semi-pro singer & know a lot about what makes it good or bad when you're in front of an audience. I also have the necessary stage presence because of my whole entertainment background & there's that model cred. Finally, I'm well aware I'm a rare breed (at least if the older guy I met while at karaoke is speaking accurately): a woman with good looks AND intelligence.

Speaking of jobs, I found a listing for the elusive one I'd love to do in a law firm. I actually saw a Craig's List post for it and had to wait until Friday to apply due to life happening. I also needed some time to craft my strategy.

Looking at the description I was thinking "I can totally do this." After all, I have been a partner in my own business for nearly 6 years, have had my law license for about the same time, managed to get some respect in the legal community by being me (and if you've read this blog, you know how hard that task is; I would have told you it was impossible a few years ago) & have had people from the traditional legal world listen to what I have to say, even though I'm not some BigLaw type.

I applied but in my honest view, I've got a better chance at winning the lottery or being abducted by space aliens than getting an interview for it. First off, this is at Morrison & Foerster LLP a.k.a. a BigLaw firm. They're part of that whole evil empire that shuns creativity, people who aren't from T1 schools/weren't on law review/don't come from millions of dollars to make either of those things happen, thinking outside the box, attractive women, assertive types & pretty much anything else you can think of that would describe me 100% accurately.

Second, I'm not impressed with BigLaw or anyone in it. I will not kiss your ass & I will not let you treat me like crap. I don't care where you went to law school, what your class rank was or any of that garbage. I care about how you act as a person & if you're a jerk to me, I wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire. Magnanimity is not a trait I have or aspire to. That would be my sister: she's far more magnanimous than I & clearly has a much greater tolerance for BS from others. It takes a lot to really get on my bad side but once you do, God help you. When I hear anything about BigLaw, I figure they expect some fancy little ass kissing presentation where you grovel at their feet and refer to them as "Your Excellency." Sorry, but that's not who I am.

Finally, from reading the ad I feel like they focus on creating client relations by technical measures & there's a director to report to. It feels like a conflict between book smarts & street smarts. I have the street smarts considering I've been networking on my own for free just to enhance myself and my business; that bridge isn't going to get built if you're just sitting on your butt & looking at the lumber, you know. You have to BUILD it and put in the work to make it strong. I also have yet to meet any successful networker who has developed rapport or built authentic relationships by using technical measures and sophisticated metrics. You build those relationships by being a good person: having empathy, doing things the other person would find helpful, inviting them to events you're involved in, talking about things other than their legal problems, being laidback but not too much. There's a balancing act involved & you need some warmth along with genuine affection/respect for people if you're going to do it well.

Guess that's also an issue I take: I don't feel the world of BigLaw has respect for me or my contemporaries.

Now I have encountered people who worked in BigLaw (even as attorneys) who weren't total assholes fitting my image of BigLaw. That was the spirit in which I chose to apply. There's also the idea of never getting things if you don't ask so I figured applying wouldn't hurt.

However, I did it by being myself & by pitching the idea that my being an outsider is the precise reason why you should be talking to me. My demographic is different, I have a different manner from your crowd & I'm better at creating authentic relationships. I hear things from people that they'd never feel comfortable telling you, I have likeability & if I'm working with you, that reflects better on you since perhaps a fellow BigLaw hater will give you a chance if you have a representative who isn't conforming to that mold.

Either these people will shock me & get in touch with me or they'll live up to my low expectations and do precisely what I expect. You can't make phone calls for this one & I have no direct contacts to this firm (though if I asked, I'm sure there's a contact someplace with some insight; wish I knew someone who had worked in the NY office to tell me if my negative views are accurate or about this particular Director of Client Relations since I have no time for incompetent blowhards who know less than I do, have zero imagination & would hate me on sight but for some reason would get to supervise ME).

Maybe knowing that I've done what I have but these people haven't & probably couldn't is another reason I have some clashes with that world. Who knows if some of them aren't the haters who bitched & moaned when I refused to kiss their asses or assume they were God while I was a poor, stupid simpleton?

At least I have a general title for it & know it exists but I don't see a BigLaw place considering me unless my best friend was a partner in the law firm with a huge share or a partner there was a huge fan of my creative output or my film company's creative output. Am I wrong? Prove it. You can offer to help me out on this or show me by word & deed that I'm wrong. Otherwise, you're not likely to convince me I shouldn't start expecting the spaceship to come take me away before getting a call from this firm.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

"Passion First" vs. "Money First" People & Things You Don't Say to Creative People

It feels like there's two different mindsets among people in life. There are the people who are first motivated by passion and then there are the ones who are first motivated by money. It's the type of thing that leads to huge conflicts, especially when you deal with creative people.

Living in both of these worlds, I have no idea how we can distinguish why particular people have this mindset. I do have my theories on the "money first" types, though. First off, not seen those people confront death in their immediate family at an early age. I became more motivated to follow my passion when my brother in law died suddenly at 21 when I was 22 and trying to get accepted to law school somewhere outside the Southeast.

Second, I haven't seen those people really have a passion for anything. You get a sense that they're just going to slug it out at any old job paying enough for their purposes, have no real enjoyment in anything & then die sooner or later. For me, that's depressing as hell. At least do something you like, even if it's in your spare time.

Third, the true "money first" types are more than happy to tell the "passion first" people to try shoehorning themselves into holes that simply do not fit them for whatever reason. I have had to confront this in my own home, which no one should have to deal with.

Finally, the "money first" types hate their lives & what they do. Perhaps they recognize the bleakness of their own existence that I mentioned. Unfortunately, I've seen quite a few operating under the old "misery loves company" umbrella & try taking everyone around them down with them. It's these types I have been excising from my life since that shit doesn't work in modeling, where I plan to utilize as many opportunities as I can get.

Dealing with a lot of personal issues lately. At least I did find out my immediate family is still with me but I'm not so sure my husband is truly with me. He makes me wonder at times, especially with certain comments I've gotten recently. For instance, he apparently thinks I sit on my ass & do nothing all day since I don't have some full time job that provides me with a W-2. I look at opportunities & take advantage of networking while he outright told me "networking is a waste of time" and refuses to do it. My husband is a bit of a misanthrope; he'd even admit it to you. He's not the type to go to fashion events, while that's totally my thing. In some ways, I missed out on things since I lived in NC and never got to do entertainment stuff until I graduated from law school and moved to NYC.

I could deal with his having different interests from me and having other friends. That's fine and I think that's healthier. We don't need to be attached at the hip; no couple should aspire to that. Just remember that if you get married, your spouse's problems become your problems. I had no clue just how much this was the case until my husband became outright despondent over his job situation & started taking it out on me. It seems he falls in the "money first" crowd while I'm part of the "passion first" crowd.

I wasn't actually part of the "passion first" crowd until later on in my life. I think maybe it started with my brother in law's death or when I learned there was such a thing as entertainment law. Yeah, I think it was when I learned there was such a thing as entertainment law. I knew I would never be happy in the average law firm setting and had no desire to kill myself to be number one in my law school class. I also knew the power of relationships and "you can't take it with you" with my brother in law's passing and watching my sister's reaction to it while trying to take care of their son by herself. I vowed that if I ever found a love of my life (which I felt didn't exist), I wasn't going to let some law firm break up my relationship. I figured once I found the love of my life, it was going to be a set "forever & ever" thing. Who likes dealing with divorce & all the mess of break-ups?

But when you're dealing with 2 different mindsets and 2 different levels of ambition, you're going to have serious problems. As an older, wiser person I have to say don't marry someone who doesn't have some ambition unless you lack it yourself. I'm hyper-ambitious so being around people who aren't drives me crazy. Ambition seems to be one of those things like financial attitudes: they say if you're a saver, don't marry a spendthrift & vice versa.

My husband is from a "money first" family so I feel some concern that this attitude has rubbed off on him way too much for me. My family has its own flaws but no one ever told me I couldn't bother having dreams, ambition or sights outside my hometown. Eventually, they stopped having any moments of doubt in me when I said I was going to do something. I have continued on my not seeing people in my husband's family since their comments to him since I refuse to go anyplace where I am not welcome & have yet to receive an apology from anyone. What's the point in that? None of these people are co-workers, pay my salary or are sharing public transit with me. To my mind that means there's no point in putting up with their bullshit or disrespect. We'll see how my husband handles this & if he respects what I told him long ago about how I would not put up with abuse from in-laws (it was a chief reason I refused to get married).

Call me jaded, an old soul in a young body, whatever but I'm done putting up with people or situations in my personal life that I don't have to (and family is not a "have to" thing in my book since I am not raising children; even if I were, I think we should teach children not to put up with emotional abuse or rudeness from people who are supposedly there for you all the time & your #1 cheerleaders). I'd rather be done with that relationship and emotional tie than deal with negative feelings and situations arising from certain people. Common parlance would call this "cutting toxicity out of your life." That shit is toxic to an entertainment career as well & I know it would mess me up in other ways. Goes back to the wanting people around me who are going to bring out my best, not my worst.

So you "money first" types can have more peaceful relations with the "passion first" camp, here are things you shouldn't be saying/doing to those people if you want to actually be in their lives:

1. Implying that their careers are invalid because they aren't earning a paycheck for it. I've done quite a bit that means far more than a paycheck & has boosted my industry reputation.
2. Asking when they're going to "get a real job."
3. Assuming that if they are at home, they don't actually do anything. I'll have you know that I spend most of my days on the computer following up on messages, networking, reading up on current events, writing, looking for paying work, updating my social media (since if you're going to have fan pages & a website, you have to update those on occasion), doing legal work, organizing my e-mail/files/etc. Then there are those domestic tasks I'm asked to do like dishes, paying bills, feeding cats, moving the car, figuring out dinner, etc.
4. Equating being at home with being a leech. A leech is someone who does NOTHING; a leech doesn't network or go to events or try to stay current on anything. Vacation is a concept unheard of to the self-employed & definitely to many creatives.
5. Calling them lazy or unambitious (implying it also counts). Let me tell you something: it's damn hard to follow your passion if you work in this business. The majority of people working in this industry take far lower pay in exchange for doing something they love. Serious actors and other creative types constantly spend time on their craft with classes, shows, networking, etc. Ask yourself how much networking YOU have done lately. Let's see how many contacts you've forged.

Oh, and every career advice article out preaches the gospel of networking & tells us that "it's not what you know, it's who you know." The people who have the contacts win out every time.

Let's also not forget the fact that creatives think outside the box & reach out to people in ways you'd never bother with since you're stuck in the conformity box. I, for example, don't go around being needy or trying to impress any potential employer. As far as I'm concerned, you need to be selling me on a job just as much as you expect me to sell to you.

6. Pestering the person because they haven't made money after a certain set time period. Entertainment industry success is a marathon, not a sprint. Tons of major movies took years to get made (for instance, Avatar took 10 years).

No creative I know thinks any of these acts are cool. I know I don't. It just makes me lash out & want to tell you to go fuck yourself. It also leads me to brand you as a jealous hater. Yes, we know the people who do this shit are jealous since they don't have a clue of the big picture & would rather drag us down to their level.

Now I'm not speaking of people who were told by industry pros that they have no skill at something or need to do something & just won't bother. You have to be a little realistic if you're going to work in the creative field & please, have some talent or go develop it. I'm talking about people who have some talent & a track record, who have signs that they should be doing this.

The irony is every single thing I've been doing in recent times circles back to this industry. I even got a recent paid freelance job with someone who works in this industry. If you read all my stories about how this industry comes in even at the most mundane times and when I'm doing something completely unrelated to entertainment, you'd have to notice the obvious and glaring signs in front of you. I already saw them & decided not to ignore it like some would have me do (i.e. people who aren't my friends & who I most likely didn't choose).

We'll see how things go & I did decide to look into marriage counseling (since some of this is being piled on top of all the BS I've already had to deal with in recent months, which I think is a shitty thing to do to someone). However, the old fire is definitely still there & I feel the same as I did in college i.e. NO ONE & NOTHING will stop me from doing what I want to do. I also won't be violating my own principles or things I said I'd never tolerate & that's just the plain truth. My sister decided to look into it to deal with her own marriage & as far as I know, things are okay with her. Therapy is helping me, after all.