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24: Unapologetic, ruthless, unwavering

Kinnick queen.

Kinnick queen.

The quiet in the law library pulses almost — the kind of silence that asserts itself. I want to be like it, I sometimes think: unapologetic, ruthless, unwavering. It’s a bit extra in the best possible way.

Silence like it used to suffocate me. I wanted to fill it with people and stories and questions and words. Anything.

Since starting law school in August, I’ve gravitated to the quiet, letting it swallow me, or maybe “embrace” is the better, gentler word.

But this past year has been anything but gentle. There is something about actively taking control of my time and energy that still feels a little dangerous — like the time I told my parents I was going to the neighboring town to play tennis when I was 17, but I really went to see the boy I liked at the time. (Sorry, Mom.)

That’s what I did this year. A lot of cool, scary shit.

I got into my top-choice law school. I quit my first full-time, post-grad job. I went to Europe for 10 days and visited three countries. I battled my insurance company because it didn’t think my IUD was a medical necessity (and won). Continue reading

Filling the blank spaces

The fourth floor student lounge offers a beautiful view of Iowa City.

The fourth floor student lounge offers a beautiful view of Iowa City.

I keep thinking I should get a curtain for my kitchen window, something teal or maybe patterned like a picnic basket. I imagine light peeking through the folds of fabric. Maybe I’ll sew the curtain myself, I think, dreaming of spare time and the fancy Singer sewing machine I once used in middle school.

But I like watching the light shift from season to season, shadows softening in the fall. Already-orange leaves blow from the trees into my open windows, wedging their way between the glass and screen, as if they know they’ll soon enough dissolve in snow. It’s October, and I’ve officially started outlining everything I’ve learned in law school this first semester. There are wayward exceptions and clauses and cases that don’t fit into my bullet points yet.

There’s a certain grad school loneliness for which I want to insert a footnote, the kind of thing that doesn’t catch your attention right away, but hell, you know you’ll have to deal with it eventually. I find myself retreating to my carrel in the law library before, between and after classes, the hum of fluorescent lights and rustling papers my company in the maze. Continue reading

Cincinnati: a mishmash of my likes

Skyline on the BridgeAfter I return from a trip, I scurry around my apartment unpacking and reorganizing my life, as if to preserve the order of the familiar, giving new cities and experiences space to sink in. Then, I usually sit in silence, reading or sipping tea; that’s when the new city starts to take root in my mind, when photos, ticket stubs and souvenirs become words and paragraphs.

Cincinnati was two vacations in one, a trip split between tennis oasis and city escape. Since I already wrote about the tennis part of my trip for The Double Bagel, it’s time to give Cincinnati a headline. With two quick mornings and one evening in the city, it was a whirlwind of picture-taking, walking and exploring this ultimate crossroads of a place. Cincinnati was comforting and challenging all at once, a city with Midwestern roots and Southern charm, a city that simultaneously feels homey and intoxicatingly unfamiliar.

Continue reading