Happy Easter! Or at least it’s around the bend… with the start of Spring has come a few more sunny days, but that Ithaca snow’s still not leaving without a fight. Regardless of the temperature, though, a moderate amount has occurred in my life lately: work for The Gibson Law Firm and Cornell Law Review has progressed slowly but surely–in the former, there’s already been success with some mass dismissals of charges against the defendants! Also, it’s my Spring Break now, and while I gotta TCB on the aforementioned academic and professional obligations while others party hard closer to the equator, I’m also in NYC this week looking into some promising legal internship opportunities in Manhattan.
On a more personal note, the last week or two saw a myriad of minor realizations and revelations–difficult to articulate but safely distilled to “growing up”–complete their boot-up process after spinning a loading icon around my mind for months. So while I still have my neurotic and introverted tendencies, I’ve been feeling bolder lately: Since my last post, I’ve also become the 3L Representative for the Briggs Society of International Law, Sustainability Co-Chair for the Environmental Law Society, and gotten serious about helping organize a week of events to raise awareness of the importance of public defenders as the Cornell Advocates for Human Rights‘ incumbent VP. On a lesser note, I’ve jostled my admittedly knee-jerk contrarian attitude toward some modern pastimes: I established a Reddit profile, started doing Instagram, and even bit the bullet with Tinder (swipe right for White!). Call it petty, but don’t call it quarter-life crisis–nothing ventured, nothing gained!
But finally, on March 19th, I performed at a law school open mic hosted by The Nines in Cornell Collegetown. Fortuitously, schedule-jumbling by the powers-that-were made me the headlining act! (although lack of prep time and the general late-night hyped-up vibe meant bailing on a tentative cover of “Such Great Heights” alongside the school’s resident guitar prodigy) Here’s a confirmed sighting of me delivering some verses atop a makeshift pooltable-adjacent stand:
A far cry from my quick ‘n ballistic “rap” circa 2014, this poem was one I’d foregone at the most recent Public Interest Law Union Cabaret, as I’d worried it’d kill the mood–and while such doubts still plagued me leading up to the open mic, I eventually decided (1) There was no sense in passing up a chance to share my work with a captive audience and (2) my classmates were obviously going to be chill about it. Indeed, while some syllables were lost between my irrepressibly speedy cadence and the gabby crowd, I got a solid round of applause and a few personal compliments thereafter! I’d shared the work in close circles before, but it felt good to express it to a comparatively unfamiliar crowd.
So in the seasonal spirit of rebirth, rejuvenation, and the starting of cycles anew, I present the poem in question. I actually wrote this last December, and aside from a few changes after the fact for flow, the deadline was fast and deliberate–as some people write detailed diary entries, paint furious blasts of abstract art, or are Chris Martin, I had a very specific set of feelings and images to get out of my system in one coherent, crystallized form when I wrote this, and the New Year was as good a cut-off as any. Think of it as an emotional time capsule, unearthed in pursuit of perspective.
People who know me will know what this is about, and people who it’s about no longer know me, so let’s just say it’s the story of a question in three words: