Home » Uncategorized » My Story, Part 3

My Story, Part 3

This post continues my story. If you’d like to, you can read part 1, here, and part 2, here.

I landed in Houston, Texas. Once there, I was homesick for home, family and friends, as well as my son, who was living with his dad.  Over the years, leaving my son with his father is the only thing that I wish that I could do over.  All the other choices, big and small, missteps and those less than perfect choices that litter my life’s path, I’ve grown to accept as necessary to make me the person that I am today, and I would not change them if I could.  For example, marrying young was not a good choice, but as a result of that choice, I have three beautiful children, whom I would not have without that particular person, at that particular time. Yet, I see my choice of leaving my son with his father as more about me and less about my son.  Although he disagrees, I should have chosen better.

Anyway, after months of sending out resumes and applications and interviews, I finally secured a job as an assistant geologist with Sohio, which after a number of iterations is now BP America.  I loved my job, was good at it, and rewarded accordingly. By 1984, I was once again ready to resume my education.  I did with a vengeance.  With Sohio’s assistance, and my husband’s help. (By this time, I’d remarried.).

Looking back, I can’t believe how I managed to do it. I attended undergrad full-time at night, while working full-time during the day. My weekends, lunch hours, and kid’s soccer games were set aside for study.  I was on a mission to prove to my ex-husband that I would not be one of those women who ended up in the project trying to subsist on welfare.  Whenever my energies lagged, the memory of this statement never failed to reinvigorate me and spur me forward.  After just 4 years, I graduated summa cum laude with a 3.74 G.P.A. and a B.S. degree in General Studies. I was the first college graduate in my immediate family. I’d finally repaid my Mom’s efforts.

I went on to win an academic scholarship to law school at the University of Texas at Austin-a top tier law school, as well as the other law schools to which I’d applied. I choose the University of Texas in Austin, even though it meant leaving my then husband and children outside of Houston while I commuted back and forth every other week. With the blessing of my husband, I moved to Austin, and into a small condo not far from the university.  Believe it or not, I was 29 years old and this was the very first time that I had ever lived alone in my life. I was terrified. Guilt and terror drove me through the days. For two years, I trekked back and forth along the well worn back between my Austin home and my Houston home. That is, until the summer between my second and third year of law school, when my marriage ended and I brought my girls to Austin, where we made our home.

My last year of law school (1990-1991) was, in a word, hell. My baby brother, who was my dearest and closest sibling, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 23.  A favored cousin was diagnosed with cancer in early 1991 and died that same year. The girl’s step-mother who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, died in the first half of 1991. Due to the girls’ school schedules, I could not work and we had to rely on my scholarship and financial aid to survive. Pets died. Cars were broken in to. At times life appeared to be careening out of control, but as always, it didn’t.  

After an emotionally grueling and money-strapped year, I graduated from law school in 1991, sat for the bar and was licensed the same year. My headstrong, tenacious baby brother did not succumb to cancer, though he was forced to leave his beloved San Francisco and return home to New Orleans to be close to family. I began working as a trial attorney practicing civil rights defense for the State of Texas. Except for a brief stint, I remained with the State until my health forced me to resign early in 2004. With the exception of some health issues that did not impact my ability to perform my job duties, things were reasonably quiet until 1997. Everything up to this point, pales in comparison to what happened in 1997.  It changed my life and sent me spiralling into a deep, dark depression. To be continued. . .

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