Monday, June 20, 2016

My Days of Recovery in the Barrillos

Copyright Piximus.Net
I've worked so much, I slept in three days straight. I didn't even go out; nor, did I want to.

I just surfed the net. I laid in bed - thinking about everything that's happened: the good and the bad and the painful. And I kept wondering, why I felt so tired.

Although I had just finished turning in three briefs: two to the Court of Appeals and one to the Supreme Court, it wasn't like I ran a marathon. But it felt like I did.

But more and more, writing these briefs, somehow leaves me feeling like something was taken from me, from my spirit, my emotions, and my thoughts. It leaves you drained, exhausted, and not wanting to put effort into anything.

In the last three years, I believe the way I viewed writing briefs, blogs, articles, and anything really, has changed, especially when it comes to law. Before, the aim used to be to write a mechanical legal brief. But I've since learned not to do that because I've realized the point of writing is to open up a talk with your readers.

In general, my briefs now seek to have a conversation with the court. I'm not telling them what I think anymore. I'm asking them to talk with me about an issue, which is something a mechanical brief cannot achieve. The hard part is how you open up a conversation, without directly seeing or hearing from your audience, while still staying in the bounds of acceptable legal standards.

I suppose I was moving towards this insight, as the stakes of litigation moved up. Hence, when I read a quote by Hemingway, it seemed like he was advising me. The words almost jumped out of the page.

Hemingway once said, "It’s your object to convey everything to the reader so that he remembers it not as a story he had read but something that happened to himself."

To re-stress the point, during my break, I watched a TED talk, in which the speaker said that the great problem solvers left their audience with an experience, not with a solution. And I guess, being a writer, an artist, a teacher, or a litigator, has left me with that question. What kind of experience is my work leaving with the audience?

But more generally, this applies too, with relationships. What kind of experience am I leaving as a son, a friend, a protege, or a mentor?

See: when you leave someone with an experience, you've sacrificed a part of yourself in your work, for someone. In other words, you do all the work for the other person, instead of the audience doing the work to understand you. And you feel how much that drains you.

Hence, I noticed that many people read the quote I selected about loving someone. Quote on Loving Someone

The insight in that quote was that, when you truly love someone, you accept them for who they are, no matter what flaws they have. You don't try to change them. It's not a feeling or an emotion. Love makes you committed to someone, despite their shortcomings and the things they do to annoy or bother you. And that's what I think I probably have to work on more in life.

(I guess, I thought more about this when my mother dropped me off at the airport early in the morning. As a young adult, I saw her flaws and wished she didn't have them. But when she woke up early, made me my coffee, and dropped me off - I realized how much she cared about me - because no one else would do that for me.)

So, I realized it's the same thing, when you sacrifice a part of yourself for your work. You do it, because you care about at least one person, if not more. And you're trying to direct a talk to communicate a message to help others.

Returning back to my state of recovery, I can tell you, I'm in the barrillos (Spanish for ghettos), recharging in South America. I'm paying $9 a night to stay in a decent place, which is surrounded by danger outside. The hostel owner has an iron bolted gate.

The manager tells me, "Don't go out at night. It's not safe." Oddly enough, it reminds me of living in Baldwin Park, though.

But I like it here. I like sleeping in until 10:00AM, hugging my blankets, closing my eyes for more rest.

I like being surrounded by backpackers from other countries, though I don't have the energy to put in the effort to talk to them. I can feel they want to talk to me, and when I don't, I can see people get offended, especially the women.

(Now, that's not to say, I don't like people. In the vein of this post, over the years, I've also developed a sense about people: especially when they want something from you, instead of wanting to get to know you. I guess I intuitively shut out the former, and welcome the latter.)

The hostel cook reminds me of my mother. She makes me potato pancakes and sausages every morning. She also brews my coffee, the way I like it, as my mother does. And when I don't finish everything, she tells me what my mother says, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." (Of course it's all in Spanish, which is improving leaps and bounds here.)

I just wanted to end with the most random thing. I was walking at night yesterday, and a kitty popped out of nowhere. I called to it. And it ran away, shy of me. But as I walked away, it ran to me, and asked me to pet it. So, I did. When I left, he cried. I told him I'd be back tomorrow.

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