By Lindsey White • February 06, 2019•Writers in Residence
At this column’s beginning, I was one month out of law school and a few weeks into my first round of bar prep. Twin emails confirming my graduation and welcoming me into the alumni community visibly sat on the first page of my inbox. I hadn’t received an official transcript in actual, tangible paper form yet. And now that I think about it, I’m sure it wasn’t very many lines away from the message congratulating me on my acceptance to Ms. JD’s Writer in Residence Fellowship. Reading and rereading those subject lines was still so exciting. Even humbling.
I did not expect Ms. JD would be so ready to share its platform with me. Or that I would be given space that was truly mine to do with what I wanted. I had no idea that anyone would be interested in listening to stories like mine. And at that time, no one had spoken to me in reaction to what I was writing. Starting out meant going over every word, every phrase, every line, and worrying over every point by asking myself, “Is this too much?”
It wasn’t. Honestly, I wish I could go back and put down more. People listened. Women listened. And they began speaking to me. More than anything else, the listening I was able to do because of my words was such an honor. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have heard other’s stories as well. A huge thank you is owed to this space, and to Ms. JD, for having a hand in creating the conditions that made those conversations possible.
And now that I’m at the close of this column, it’s also important for me to recognize that the initial thing I set out to write about - the experience of mental illness as a law student, is one that’s going to keep shapeshifting for me as time passes. I am so damn curious about what the content of this column would have consisted of had I written it now, a year out of school, or five, or even longer. Time surely influences healing. That’s absolutely true. But I can also say, for a fact, that time lends and gives to your perspective. If I have one last point to make, that is the far more interesting one I’d like to end on.
A year later. Arguably, I’m a year older and wiser. A year removed from one of the most difficult experiences I’ve ever come through. Putting it into words has been such a privilege. A year later, Whatever you find yourself in, and wherever you find yourself at, I hope you’ve found a way to be proud of yourself for it.
I’ve been there. I’m rooting for you.
Gratitude for the hard things. Gratitude for the little things. Gratitude for the voice inside my head that refused to back down, in spite of what it all looks like on the outside. Gratitude for the passage of time, and being on the other side of so many difficult and scary things. And gratitude for those things, in and of themselves. They taught me that I am wildly capable of more than I can imagine within that very experience.
Gratitude for being able to recognize the many, many instances of joy that connected one moment to the next.
Please remember, you’re not alone.