I think I was Latina in another life. My friends can all testify. I love Mexican food. I should probably own a cilantro tree – it would be more cost effective. Handmade tiles make me swoon. And I’ve never met a taco I didn’t like. (Yes, I’m straight.) I’ve been known to ingest obscene amounts of tequila at night and run 3 miles the following morning. Then, there’s my obnoxious affection for the avocado…the “alligator pear.” Yes, the evidence is all there. As a matter of fact, I think my name may have been Rocio. Rocio the great. I like it.
Funny thing is… I’m not sure when I discovered this potent revelation. It’s a bit unclear. But, I do remember it began with tequila. I didn’t really drink tequila or do tequila shots in college like all the other newly-legal students at LSU. However, I do distinctly remember crashing a party with a few of my fellow Caucasian persuasion Tigers. Three cute guys accosted me at the door with a bottle of “tequila” that held a worm firmly implanted at the bottom. They offered free shots and encouraged me to ‘bite the worm.’ Only in their dreams… I wasn’t interested in the worm. (Yes, I already told you; I’m straight.) I did, however, take one shot, and thus began my fascination with the agave plant. Those poor bastards had no idea that they were drinking Mezcal. Mezcal isn’t tequila. It’s the equivalent of calling Wild Irish Rose a vintage Cabernet. But, I’m sure they knew what they possessed was a “3-shot” liquor meaning if they got any girl to take 3-shots they had a better chance of scoring that night. Although my college years included many a faux pas, that night was not one of them. Thank the Inkan gods!
Then came the military. My oath to defend this country against enemies both foreign and domestic came fully equipped with an I.D. valid at the nearest Class Six facility which held an array of 40 proof beverages to quench my camoflauge-wearing sharp-shooter qualified palette. It was there, through trial and error, mix and pour, I found my liver’s joy: tequila. Tequila was definitely crafted for me. No headaches. No hangovers. Only waves of elation and bliss. Sometimes it takes a while, years even, to figure out what works for you. Time. Life. Experiences. Heartbreak and sometimes even tequila… all bring clarity.
The same could be said of my chosen profession. I didn’t always know what I wanted to be or who I wanted to do. Pause. Rewind. Who I wanted to be or what I wanted to do… Yeah. That. During my recent high school reunion, my friends and I scanned our senior class yearbook and called out the career aspirations listed under each girl’s graduation photo. Then, the five of us pondered whether each girl, now grown-up, had fulfilled her wishes. Graduating from a small, all-female, African-American, private, Catholic high-school in New Orleans was an anomaly. Everyone knew everyone else a little more intimately than we would have liked to. (For the last time, for real, man. I’m straight!) As we sat spralled across deck chairs on the cruise ship combing through pics, we laughed and shared stories about the ambitions of once teenagers now women. Some of us had realized our set goals, yet some of us – me included – had taken turns, set new goals along the way and decided to pursue those. As we arrived at my photo, a friend proclaimed loudly, “Well, we know you’re not an attorney!” We all laughed. No… not quite. My grandfather used to say, “That girl sure does like to talk. She should be an attorney.” I was 6 years old and he was thinking financial security. I love him for that. He had no idea there was a creative beast inside me longing to break free. Deep down, I always knew I was different. Spectacularly so. I spent more time in my grandparents’ massive backyard pretending to roam the hills of some faraway, make-believe land, conquering giants and slaying evil sorcerers, than I ever spent on homework. Plus, law school never really appealed to me.
Post high school – what to do? I had no clue. I changed my major three times. Scholarship aside, I was an academic, ill-focused wreck. Yet somehow, I survived. Living life brought clarity. The more time I spent releasing my creative energy and comedic genius, the more I realized it was my love, my passion and my destiny to pursue. I am blessed to now call it my profession. My grandfather may have been slightly disappointed, but who cares? Seriously. There are enough attorneys in the world, don’t you think? The truth is I was crafted for this business of storytelling. It is the life for me and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sometimes it takes a while, years even, to figure out what works for you. Sorry, grandpa. I may not have a juris doctorate. But, I am happy doing what I love. That’s what’s important. Even if I have to eat sandwiches for now. Being happy is what matters most. And that, my friends, is clarity.
Persnickety Self Adjustment: Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you planned, they turn out far better.