About GAY DOJ
This blog is me, becoming me. It is a love letter to my work and my life, for times when I can't remember how to be brave or how to be happy. It is me reckoning with myself and with the world, and bringing you along the way. It is, the story of an anxious small town lesbian becoming an immigration attorney, in real time.
In 2010, I dropped out of community college. Depression and anxiety had dug me a hole so deep that I couldn't even get myself in the door to my classes.
A week after dropping out, I moved to Michigan to live with my sister and brother in law.
My anxiety was so bad that I couldn't even get on a plane, so I rode in a coach class amtrak seat for 72 hours straight. I arrived in Michigan dead-eyed and lost. My sister and brother in law each hooked me up with a part time job, so I spent alternating days making prototypes at the scrapbooking company where my sister was a designer, and folding screen printed shirts. The truth was, although I was delighted to live with my sister and brother in law for a while, I had hit the proverbial rock bottom. My anxiety had finally won.
In Michigan, I wrote a desperate email to an admissions officer from a small liberal arts school in Arizona that I had declined admission and a partial scholarship to the previous semester. Was there any way, I asked, if that scholarship might still be available?
I arrived at Prescott College not healed, but steadied from the clarity that a winter in the Midwest brings. I believed that I would scrape together enough credits to graduate with a degree in philosophy. What I didn't know then, what I didn't know until the day I graduated, was that Prescott is not in the business scraping by. Prescott College, it turns out, is in the business of passion.
Instead of wallowing, maudlin over ancient conceptions of ethics and consciousness in philosophy courses, I found myself in a series of bizarre classes that took me fully and completely outside of myself. First, I spent three weeks backpacking in the superstition mountains, then I taught writing classes in a juvenile detention center for a semester, and most magically, I spent the summer of 2011 traveling along the U.S.-Mexico Border in a course focused on cross-border organizing for immigrants' rights.
It was in the deep desert of the border that I healed. Less than a year after dropping out of community college because my anxiety prevented me from going to class, I found myself willingly enduring what was essentially a month-long road trip with eleven other students. Actually, I found myself loving it. I had never met people my age who were so passionate and full of fire. I was totally and completely outside myself, which was exactly what I needed to escape the constant humming of anxiety that normally paralyzed my ability to study.
On that trip, I began to fall in love with myself. On that hot dusty border, in the middle of learning about some of the worst human rights abuses in the world taking place right here in the United States, I began to understand myself as not just someone who was constantly battered by life, but someone who held very real power (thanks to my white skin, college education, access to wealth and a million other privileges) to make a real, tangible difference in people's lives. In short, I found my passion. And I found that what passion is, for me, is the vial I keep in my pocket: the so far infallible antidote to depression and anxiety.
Almost five years later, I am about to graduate law school with a concentration in poverty law and economic justice.