Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Part of the Same Addiction

So law school was a decision made in the grips of my worst addiction. The truth - which I can see only now that I’ve tried to do something else - is that I’m an artist. My dissatisfaction with art came from the perception that artists have no power in this world. And for the most part, they don’t – that perception is valid. My error was in thinking that lawyers had more power. No one has the power to make the world go in any direction. At least not consciously.

I had wanted to be an artist so I could tell stories that would change the world. After 10+ years as an artist and having changed nothing, I decided that lawyering would be a better route to create change. Hah! I can be there for my clients, support them and help them accomplish what they want, but I can’t change my client’s underlying belief system, can’t erase what she thinks about herself or how she envisions her world. Her thoughts are what direct her choices and create her behaviors. If the way she thinks doesn’t change, then her choices and behavior won’t change, which means her life won't change. All I can do is try to create a safe place for her to land (create it sometimes in spite of my client) - try to get her into a place where she can stop and think about changing her beliefs. Whether or not she takes the opportunity to do that is completely beyond my control. You can lead a horse to water, etc. Nothing changes on the outside that hasn't first changed on the inside. And nothing that comes from the outside – whether it be art or a trial – makes any difference. The only reason to think I can make any change in the world is because I think I’m right and everyone else doesn’t get it, which is, as you know, my worst addiction.

Flash forward four years and $120,000 worth of debt later. Law school has been an expensive lesson. And my future career remains in doubt. I know the direction I want to go in, but it will only be worthwhile if it brings me stability and peace. Fuck changing the world. Fuck defining what I am – artist or lawyer. That’s hubris. I am just like anyone else. I am as small as the rest of us. Which means none of us is small, because we are all equal. And adding a bunch of letters behind my name makes no difference. Leaving pieces of my life behind me, archived in some museum or library also makes no difference. The only thing that makes a difference is realizing that nothing makes a difference.

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