Dancing on my own.

I’ve always been a girl to associate a random song lyric with a special, or perhaps rather ordinary, moment. For example, when seeing my ex with his fiancee in Duane Reade on an aforementioned Sunday morning, Cee Lo Green’s “F**k You” played repeatedly in my head.  And when I discovered the wonders of having a semi-functional rooftop deck, King Harvest’s “Dancing in the Moonlight” instantly struck a chord (no pun intended) with me.

But on this particular day– a day characterized by excessive filing and random bursts of carb-inspired energy– I gravitated towards a Swedish pop tune, Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own.” A song centered on the girl who in the end does not go home with the hottie from across the dance floor, it captures the essence of 20something failed conquest.

And while I recognize that my life is not a series of failures or continued missteps, on days like these, when I wonder what in fact I intend to do with the rest of my life, I identify with lyrics that capture the essence of a 22-year-old’s confusion:

I’m all messed up, I’m so out of line
Stilettos and broken bottles
I’m spinning around in circles

The circles metaphor seems particularly apropos. While kibbitzing (a Yiddish synonym for schmoozing) with my favorite attorney, I suddenly found myself speechless. Said attorney asked, “Well, Yaffa, why do you want to be a lawyer?” And me, Little Miss Motor Mouth, was unable to form a coherent sentence, let alone thought.

Despite my seven year old enthusiasm and seeming passion for the legal system, when posed with the most basic of law school entrance questions, I was dumbstruck. I was not sure how to respond largely because I am in the midst of coming to terms with whether I should or even could be a lawyer.

My college professors all encouraged me to pursue academia. In fact, in the middle of my thesis defense, one of my professors exclaimed, “If you don’t go to grad school and publish your research, you are a damn fool!” Her comment was followed by a second professor stating he would “pay to listen to [me] talk all day.”

And after both an agonizingly long research process and extraordinarily rewarding writing experience, I thought my professors were asking the impossible. The thought of repeatedly subjecting myself to the process of fighting for funding, stroking academics’ egos, and subjecting myself to the uber-critical lens of others in my chosen field sounded unappetizing, to say the least.

But here’s the confusing part– I am actually pretty darn good at playing the academic game. While I lack athletic, musical, and even basic rhythmic abilities, I can write a mean political science paper on the halls of patriarchal governance in Uganda. And I can make it interesting, stimulating, and accessible to most anyone willing to give my writing  a chance.

Whereas law does not come naturally to me. In fact, the Conductor even says I would make a bad lawyer, particularly of the contractual variety. And after two months in the industry and a moment in which I was entirely unable to verbalize my commitment to the field, I worry he is right.

However if academia is too tasking and law beyond my G-d given abilities, well then I’m just spinning around in circles. And frankly, I am starting to get dizzy. I need to find my grounding– hence my latest spontaneous and costly endeavor: enrolling in continuing education classes at NYU. If four expensive years of college has not solidified my career plans for me, maybe a five session class on long-form journalism will. That, or maybe I’ll find an aspiring hipster writer to call my own.



One response to “Dancing on my own.

  1. I love that song 🙂 And I totally understand your doubts and all! Same with me, but I’m already a little bit older than you 😉 Hope you find your way!

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