Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Not The Twilight Zone

I marched to work yesterday feeling as if there was a distinct possibility that I was willingly walking to my own death. I felt guarded, a little apprehensive, and filled with gritty resolve to see it through. On my back I carried a gym bag with my yoga clothes and a large rolled-up Tibetan thangka (wall hanging) of White Tara sticking out as if it were a sword. Every few feet I would catch a glimpse of myself and think of Hiro, and remember that whatever happened I was a bad ass and at least at the end of the day I'd be able to curl up on the couch and watch the season finale of Heroes. All would not be lost.

To my great surprise the day could not have gone any better. Everyone was warm, friendly, welcoming, and seemed genuinely excited to have me there. All of the attorneys, about 16, went out to lunch to a delicious Turkish place to celebrate my arrival, and shockingly I had a wonderful time. At my old firm, having a lunch with partners present, let alone sitting right next to you on all sides, would have been at best awkward and at worst torturous. Here, I found myself enjoying learning about each of the partners, sharing things about myself, and fully engaged in interesting conversations. Had I entered the twilight zone?

In the afternoon, we had another party, this one in a conference room with chips and chocolate, again to celebrate my arrival, with all the attorneys, the paralegals, and the support staff. Two parties in one day and no one acted like they had more important things to be doing. Everyone made the time to come, chatted some more, had some snacks, and welcomed me again. It was bizarre.

I got my first two assignments and they're interesting. They're also cake. There's no torture, massive time crunch, or nasty supervisor involved. My stomach's not knotting at the thought of them. One of them is a neat little problem that I need to figure out. I'm actually looking forward to diving into it today, breaking it down into it's components and fully analyzing it. I started making a table yesterday and found myself having fun creating it. All of the old nerdy, school-loving qualities started coming out, and I found myself excited at the idea of doing a great job in a way I haven't felt about work in a long, long time. It felt like a good part of me, the part that actually might like being a lawyer and the legal process even if I'm not doing women's rights work, was re-awakening. It was crazy.

By 5 pm I was filled simultaneously with a hopeful, warm happiness for my new job and a white-hot desire to punch Dragon Lady in the face. For the first time in my life, I was being treated like a human being at a law firm. It was fantastically discombobulating. It made me feel as if the two and a half years that I spent at Firm From Hell had been me stuck in a dark, evil bizarro world where everything was off from what it was supposed to be. It made me me want to reach back in time to protect my self of two years ago, to tell me that I was right, DL was a nasty, abusive, miserable, old hag, that she had no right whatsoever to treat me like she did, and it was effed up in the extreme that Firm From Hell would allow its partners to treat their associates so poorly. It made me wish that I had had the perspective, strength, and knowledge to know how wrong DL was and to tell her to eff off, instead of internalizing her evil death rays. Effing Bi-atch.

* Sigh *

I have a long way to go to achieving a detached enlightened state. Clearly, it's not going to happen in this lifetime, but that's ok. The truth is, I don't want to be totally detached. I would like to not be filled with white hot anger at the thought of DL, and most of the time I'm not. But, sometimes I am and I'm fine with that. She deserves to be the object of anger occasionally and I deserve to feel what I need to feel. I survived a hell on earth, but I've most definitely come through to the other side. I won, not her. She's still miserable, along with most everyone else at Firm From Hell, but I get to be happy.

Speaking of which, I have to get ready for work.

Photo: Sunrise from Tiger Hill in the Himalayas, Darjeeling, India.


Gypsy said...

Yay!! I'm so relieved it went well. Here's hoping it continues!

Anonymous said...

She's still miserable, along with most everyone else at Firm From Hell, but I get to be happy.

Yes, you do get to be happy. Hurray for you!

Starshine said...

This is very encouraging news! So glad your first day of work was so wonderful and I'm thrilled that they gave you such a warm reception.

Anonymous said...

Aw, I'm so glad you had such a fantastic first day. Long may it continue! DL would've had her ass fired in my office because we have a zero tolerance policy on bullying and harassment.

Gregory A. Becerra said...

It felt like a good part of me, the part that actually might like being a lawyer and the legal process even if I'm not doing women's rights work

By being a woman, what you achieve in life, and the example you set—isn't that about the greatest set of actions anyone can do for women's rights?

Buttercup said...

Gypsy, Ally Bean, and Starshine - Thanks for your continued support. You all are so wonderful!

Caledonia - Sounds like you have a good work environment. Bravo!

Gregory - In one way yes, but I've also been thinking a lot about self actualization and living up to my potential. When I'm doing women's rights work I feel inspired and engaged in a way that I don't when dealing with regular commerical litigation and at some point I would like to pursue that for my own happiness and personal satisfaction. Also, I'd like to make a contribution beyond just being a successful woman. I've done that, I'm doing that, but I'd like to contribute to social change in a broader way. That being said, right now I'm just working on achieving a state of personal happiness and balance. Once I get that figured out I'll be in a good position to make progress in other areas. That's the plan for now.

Karianne said...

I am so happy for you! I'm especially excited for your new cases, it is so much fun to think in new ways.

InterstellarLass said...

See! I knew it would go well! Two parties...they must be over the moon to have you there.

Forget about Dragon Lady. I had a boss that was rather like that, and when I used to think about her after I left that job, it made me ill. Now I laugh because I know what an idiot she was. Past in the past.

Buttercup said...

Karianne - Yeah, it feels good to be challenged in a new way and to be learning new things. Day 3 and so far so good!

Lass - So true that Past is Past and that we should all let go, and for the most part I have but I think it will take some time for everything to fade away. It's hard not to think about the past and to compare now that I'm suddenly in such a dramatically different (and WAY better) situation.

Sparky Duck said...

I knew your first day would go great!