I don't have health insurance; I've even applied for food stamps.
But I don't have the luxury to fall apart, dillydally or quit lawyering just because it's not my passion. I remind myself that I'm not back where I started.
Who cares if my friend thinks I've hit bottom? My ex sees them regularly, and he sends money when he can.
As for me, I'm practicing law from home and living on a tight budget.
I didn't get a job because my husband earned a million a year.
Instead, I went to museums, took yoga and did volunteer work, but I was merely killing time, dying on the inside. A few years after that, I got pregnant again, this time with a girl. I knew that having kids couldn't magically save my marriage, but my husband and I still loved each other, and I believed we'd do our best to make things work.
Sometimes, I'd open the truck's rear doors and inhale the inside-a-meat-locker smell—sawdust, animal fat and Freon. Except I felt stuck: On the one hand, I wanted to go back to work and be financially independent, especially now that things with my husband felt rocky.
But I didn't love the law, and besides, my dad was too sick for me to be working around the clock. Looking back, I see that I suffered from what I can only diagnose as "affluenza." I got massages because I felt anxious; I felt anxious because I lazed away my days getting massages.
As our net worth increased, my self-worth plummeted, yet I was somehow unable to make the necessary changes in my life. Instead, like so many others, my husband lost his job, a week after my daughter was born. I was alone with a 3-year-old boy and an infant, the stitches from my cesarean section still in place. It was a dire situation, but the separation also brought some relief. A part of me felt hopeful that I could finally build a more peaceful and authentic life for myself and our kids—on my own terms. By this time, my children and I were living in a luxury building, in a downtown apartment on the Hudson River.
Every window framed the Statue of Liberty, yet I felt anything but free.