We met on identity lane

Oh, hello!  I didn’t expect to find you here.

No, no, I’m not lost.

How did I get here, you ask? 

As best as I can remember, it began on the very long road to my JD.  Then I manned the trenches at BigLaw.  I accumulated great wealth and even greater anger.

That didn’t feel right, so I back-tracked a little to the intersection of BigLaw and InHouse.

Ah, yes, this is where I wanted to go.

Before I took the off ramp, a nice lady asked me, “what will you DO with all that free time?”

Surprisingly I came across Yoga.  At first it was purely physical.  She sat obediently in her compartment and I never lost sight of the road ahead.  Until she began to overflow, off the mat, into my life.  Suddenly I was off the highway altogether, navigating the back roads of my mind with her breathy focus and direction.

I gave in and we pointed as Law disappeared in the dust our tires kicked up.  On that off-road excursion, Yoga introduced me to a wonderful woman named Carinn.  She was a writer.  Her free time was abundant.  Her passion was infectious.  Her self-doubt fleeting.

I lost track of Carinn when I met Motherhood.  I welcomed her.  She cold-cocked me.  I held on to her rollercoaster for years, moving on her track, at her speed, unable to ease my white-knuckle grip.   I knew I had to get off her ride, but I didn’t know how.  I had lost my vehicle it seemed.

Ah, look up ahead!  It’s InHouse again! 

Her offer was a sight for sore eyes.  Recession?  Who cares.  Three years out of practice?  You’ll get up to speed.  Salary?  We’ll match the level you went out — in 2008.

That kind of unconditional love is impossible to resist.

I sat down behind a familiar L-shaped desk and saw what she gave: legal pads, pens, a computer, and a land-line.  Later in the week I saw, hidden behind the stapler, that stash of building anger.

I had to find Carinn.

She was still writing (she could never stop).  She received me with no judgment, but she said I needed to make changes.

On my left, InHouse caused a ruckus; waving green bills and promising me days of solitary potty breaks and lunches I would never have to share.

On my right, Yoga, Writing and Motherhood beckoned me softly but separately.  I tried to envision braiding them together.  One piece too big, upsetting the balance of the delicate weave.  Another piece ruined by the short strand that falls out.  Undo.  Redo.  Over and over in my mind. But it never looks quite right.

I can’t make it work. 

“It’s simple,” says Carinn.

“It’s a mess,” I retort.

That’s where I met you.  And you asked me the question no one has asked.

“How do you choose?”

With your question, I am forced to face the answer.

There is no choice.

There is only Carinn.


In my continued quest as a writer, I am linking up with Yeah Write for their Summer Writer’s Series.  Week two: authentic voice.

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

43 thoughts on “We met on identity lane

  1. Oh fuck yeah. This is right on. Motherhood cold clocked you. The l shaped desk. The rage. Man, you nailed it. I didn’t realize you did yoga. I just told Jeff that when my body heals I am going to do yoga and honor my body. Awesome post. So grateful to see you at yeah write.

    • Yoga is awesome but it’s hard to find one that clicks. There are so many different styles, different teachers, different levels. I know nothing of geography in Chicago but Yogaview is an amazing studio there. Forget honoring, start listening. It is shocking the secrets your body will tell you.

  2. Goose bumps. That’s was my body’s reaction to reading your post. You wrote for me. When I made the decision to leave my big job to be a full-time mom, I wrote an honest, gut-wrenching letter to myself outlining what I wanted and took the leap. Then I held on for several years as a consultant before letting go of it completely. Now, I’m just starting the process of figuring out what I want/who I want to be in this next iteration of me. Thank you for leading the way. I love this post!

    • Thank you so much Mary! It makes me think of that Nora Ephron quote: “What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don’t be frightened: you can always change your mind. I know: I’ve had four careers and three husbands.”

      Gospel right?

  3. I guess we all feel this way. Motherhood, yes. Oh my god can she ever knock you for a loop. You lose yourself even in the midst of all the amazing. I can really relate to this. Great post!

    • Right? That is exactly what I wanted to convey. I was flung from the extremes but now it’s my job to weave together all the pieces that matter without one aspect taking over or another falling short. It’s work!

    • I think we were all drawn to the same underlying idea with the question no one bothers to ask. You are a mother – period. But is there more under there? Anything you want to share? At some point no one seems to care.

  4. Holy cow. You were in my head today. My “I hope to write it today” is the imperfect perfect that life becomes post kiddos. I’m so glad you found yoga. But mostly, Carinn. She’s great.

  5. This is a FANTASTIC post. I love this line: “I lost track of Carinn when I met Motherhood. I welcomed her. She cold-cocked me.”

    I’ve been working on a post about a similar subject. Wish I had thought of that brilliance :)

    • Thank you!! This challenge had a 500 word limit. That paragraph got a lot of cuts and I loved where it ended up. Simple but powerful. If you haven’t checked out Yeah Write, you should. I think you’d be an amazing addition to the link-up line-up.

  6. Right on, mama. I love that you found your way back to Carinn and embraced your writing. Smart move: You are very talented.

    I’m new to your blog. I’ll be back. :)

  7. This is so perfect and wonderful. Totally nailed it for me, that feeling of being pulled in different directions of what you should do, what could be, what feels right and what makes your heart happy and alive! I’m so in the middle of all this as well….I love yoga as well and am so grateful I found it. What I’m learning is, there is no perfect balance, no way to braid it all together so it flows and looks perfect, it will always be difficult in some ways. I don’t know the answers, it’s like trying to find your way in the dark sometimes but I really, REALLY love this post! Awesome Carrin!

    • Thank you Anna. I feel like I’m always “in the middle of this” – that my journey to discover who I really am and what the hell I should be doing is a long one. I’m just grateful I have my kids, yoga (which I NEVER do enough) and of course writing. The writing is such a perfect outlet but even more amazing is the community that this blog has afforded me. Love it!

  8. Wonderful. I am a person who has never wanted a big career, always wanted motherhood, although I don’t have it, yet. No matter which direction she is going, motherhood always cold-cocks us, doesn’t she?

    • oh yes! I wanted to be a mother my whole life – and then I struggled with infertility for almost two years. Then when I had my first I was floored. It’s been a rollercoaster for sure, but certainly the best thing I’ve ever done. Nothing worthwhile comes easy, right?

  9. There were so many parts I loved about your story. I loved the conversation at the beginning. I loved how you used analogies of travel and rides to describe everything. Your career, you rage, yoga, motherhood… it’s all described so perfectly here.
    Man, do I have a lot to learn.
    Great job!!

  10. Ah, yoga. I went to class five times a week before I had my first baby, including the day I gave birth to him. Then I literally didn’t set foot in a yoga class for six freaking years. Finally someone who loves me had the nerve to say, “I think you need to go back to yoga,” and I had the sense to listen. Beautiful post.

    • I’m with you Louise. It was my life before my son. I taught three days a week and practiced 5 days. When my son was born I dropped to teaching one day and practicing NO days. I always relied on my home practice to elevate my mood or work out the kinks, but it is only now that my second child is one that I am insisting to find a way to make it at least once a week. Baby steps.

    • You are the first to comment on the braid and I’ve been dying to say what I probably don’t need to – that Motherhood is the thick overwhelming piece and the Writing always falls short. Thank you for that!

  11. Somehow, the way you put this captured the experience of trying to find a whole self perfectly in th way just saying it straight up (which is my style, usually) would never quite convey. I definitely related, and I just loved how you put all of it. I miss yoga. I did it up until the 6 month or so of pregnancy, and I have yet to figure out how to bring it back as a stay at home mom who’s avoided getting babysitters. Maybe soon…

    • Let yourself off the hook. I was in your shoes (SAHM with a super colic boy and a neurotic mom who refused to believe any babysitter would stay 30 minutes without running away screaming) for two years. I didn’t get to one yoga class during those two years. And now it’s only that my daughter is 16 months that I am figuring out how to make space for it. It will come back with time.

  12. Decisions and balance. Always! And being cold cocked by motherhood hit the nail on the head! Loved this line”tried to envision braiding them together”.

    Yoga is very special to me and I am particular where and with whom (instructor) I practice because they affect me…affect my life, in a beautiful, non-judgmental, peaceful way. I’m glad you have Carinn. Darlene has been special to me in ways she doesn’t even know.

    • Oh, I too am very particular about my yoga. Any teacher can give you a workout or guide you through the poses, but a great teacher seeps into your thoughts. It makes ALL the difference! You summed this post up so well — decisions and balance. That’s life!

  13. Wow, inspiring. Raw. Real. Damn. Love!

    Bikram yoga saved me, healed my body and mind at I time I *really* needed it. Still practice some sort at least 1-2 days a week to stay level. It’s kinda my non-therapy therapy. :)

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