I have been feeling a strange sense of paralysis lately. Every day I make a long list of To Dos. (Currently consisting of: 1) Find a job 2) Write an Op Ed about Marriage Equality 3) Find out when loans payments start 4) Submit claim form from my last day of health insurance 5) Go to the grocery store…. etc) Then I come home after work, with plenty of time to check off several things from my list, or at least make steps towards accomplishing them, and I settle in to a several hour binge of reality TV and general internet wanderings. Mind you, trashiness of content knows no bounds. My most recent obsession is ABC’s the Bachelor Pad. No, not the far more classy Bachelor. Bachelor Pad is a show where rejects from the Bachelor and Bachelorette fight each other in a twisted weeks-long game to win 250k. Classy.
But, something set in before law school graduation and really settled in during the dreary months of bar prep this summer. Really foreign feelings of lethargy and apathy began to leech into my brain.
One time a friend of mine convinced me to do an aura test. Basically you answer a litany of questions in columns of Yes, No or Maybe. Adding up the columns tells you what color your aura is. This tells you what characteristics similarly-shaded people have. This particular friend likes to analyze responses to the test in real time, and has most of the questions memorized. When I answered the question, “You will someday be famous” with a No, she shook her head incredulously at me. “What?? You don’t think you are going to be famous??!?” I answered that I just couldn’t think of a reason that among billions of people on earth, I would make it into the handful that has fame and fortune written in their stars. Sure, I had thought about what it would be like to be famous, but couldn’t come up with the “how.”
In furtherance of my reality TV obsession, I was looking at the Twitter feed of one of the buxom babes on the Bachelor Pad. This particular contestant, Blakely, had worked for 15 years as a Hooters waitress, and is portrayed as one of the most unlikeable characters on the show. Mostly because she’s as pushy & manipulative as the men. When I read her Tweets I realized why I liked her. She posted a tweet from a woman trying to raise awareness of a rare disease that her son had died of. I realized that Blakely, aside from wanting to be rich and marry a hot guy, also wanted to be famous for the reason that I bet my Aura-loving friend would. Why so many people would. Because they want to be listened to. They want people, lots of people, to think what they say is legitimate, and value what they do.
In our fame-obsessed, reality-drenched world, we have stopped listening to real people. We listen to pundits shouting. Why to we listen to what they have to say? Because they are famous. Does it really matter why they are famous? No. If Angelina Jolie says that we should Free Burma Now!, then we probably should. If my friend Thelma says the same thing. Who listens? It all seems so arbitrary, but why so many causes try to lure celebrities to their side.
Transitions are always difficult. You go from knowing what your day, your week and your years to come will look like to not knowing. For me this period of transition involves going from feeling overwhelmed with possibilities and ideas to totally underwhelmed with the banality of the choices I see before me, I hope for a short time. It comes from the excitement of knowing you’ll someday be a lawyer (or professor, or whatever) and the accompanying excitement, to suddenly being 32 and being a lawyer (or professor, or whatever) and having to figure out what that means, when you are supposed to already have spent so many years coming to know.