Friday, July 18, 2008

Fuck-It Nirvana

Have you ever been so stressed out and completely overwhelmed, over such an extended period, that you reach sort of a zen state? All the stuff you needed to do still needs to get done, you still can’t imagine how it’s all going to come out okay in the long run, the stakes are still sky-high if you can’t pull it off. But you just don’t care anymore. Not that you don’t keep plugging away at it. But it just doesn’t get to you as much as it did, say, yesterday, or maybe even an hour ago.

In my years as a trial lawyer in a perpetually underfunded and understaffed government agency, I’ve had some experience with this. I call it “fuck-it nirvana”: that blessed zone where your concern about your workload just melts away. Your shoulders sink slowly down in relief, your brow uncreases, you find yourself humming or smiling as you work, joking with co-workers. While chaos swirls about, you are filled with a sense of calm and wellbeing.

Fuck-it nirvana never comes easy. Fuck-it nirvana cannot be achieved without considerable suffering. And you can’t force yourself to get there; you have to reach (and pass) your breaking point. The stress will be driving you up the wall––stomach churning, jaw clenched, head pounding, and let’s not even talk about the intestines––and you beg for relief, fantasize about fuck-it nirvana. “Why isn’t it here?,” you ask yourself desperately, shrugging your shoulders to try to shake it off, breathing deeply to try to find your inner calm. But it is all for naught. Fuck-it nirvana arrives when it wants to, and nothing will bring that blessed relief prematurely. You may think you’re at the breaking point, that surely it is just around the corner. But no, fuck-it nirvana says you’re not ready yet.

This morning I achieved fuck-it nirvana. And Holy Christ, did it feel good.

This week has sucked. Sucked hard. I mean, let’s face it, it’s sucked ass. Things on my appeal are not going well; things on my brief are going worse. And there was a day in the middle of this week where there was a good chance the court was going to continue my oral argument, almost a stay of execution, but then they didn’t do it. And that glimmer of hope made it so much worse.

In the meantime, on Saturday I went to my podiatrist’s office to pick up my $500 custom-orthotic sandals, which were finally done, only to discover that the lab ordered the wrong color. I wanted black—the lab seemed to think I wanted “metal.” Puh-lease. They were hideous. And well, for $500, I needed black.

Luckily, the footbed is removable, so we pulled out the orthotic insert and had the lab rush the right color sandals to the office. So on Wednesday night J picked them up for me. That night I got my first look at the finished product, and I was seriously underimpressed. Certainly not $500 impressed. Not even $50 impressed. For starters, the orthotic footbed wasn’t cut to match the length and shape of the shoe—about ¼ inch of gap was at the end. Just completely shoddy workmanship. And to make matters worse, the lab had made the top of the orthotic black, but had not covered the edges of the orthotic, which showed layers of brightly colored foam. And because there was a this crappy-workmanship gap, you could see this edge. UGLY. And the orthotic made the sandals too tight and uncomfortable, even though I was assured I should order the sandal that fit me right and the lab would take care of the rest. They gave me blisters.

Oh, but we haven’t gotten to the worst part. The orthotics don’t work. It’s almost as if the lab didn’t even bother to shape them to my feet (of which they have fancy 3-D digital scans). While my orthotics for my sneakers push hard on my arches (thus keeping me from pronating), these don’t even touch my arches. I could tell within a few hours (and that mostly seated at my desk) that these were not giving me the support they are supposed to. Essentially, I just paid $500 for a little bit of extra arch support.

I knew this was going to happen Wednesday night as soon as I tried them on. Anyone want to guess what happened Wednesday night? I guess it’s not so hard to figure out: total meltdown. I was fine through dinner. Fine through TV-time. But when I started doing my stretching I got this insane rage. And then I tried to go to take that rage to bed with me and it was all over. I took a tranq and cried for about 20 minutes. I was just at the end of my fucking rope with everything. And so, 5 days into IVF Cycle 4, I had my first serious breakdown. (Which isn’t even a record, sadly enough.)

Thursday I became resigned to the fact that I was going to have to return the sandals and demand my fucking money back. (And maybe even switch doctors, as each doc apparently only has a contract with a single lab, and this lab sucks.*)

And then on Thursday I worked my ass off some more.

Last night I took a tranquilizer as a prophylactic (not THAT kind of prophylactic, of course, because I’ve now learned that my years of devoted birth control efforts were all a fucking joke). Which seemed to work.

And today I hit the jackpot: fuck-it nirvana. I’ve got a moot court on Monday. Oral argument on a brutally hard issue on Tuesday. Trip to NY and presentation in front of hundreds on Wednesday.** Complex bitchy brief due a week later.

What-the-fuck-ever. I just don’t care anymore. And not caring is the best feeling in the world.

All I can ask for now is that my fuck-it nirvana holds through the rest of the storm. Because you never know when fuck-it nirvana will abandon you and leave you out in the cold, blinking back tears and hanging on by a thread.

* I can’t be the only woman out there who needs orthotics and sandals at the same time! Now that I’ve tried throwing money at the problem, and even THAT failed, I am feeling so helpless. I’ve been trying to get out of my ugly-ass sneakers for well over two years. Does anyone know how I’m supposed to resolve this???

* Every time I tell someone at work that I’m really stressed about not being prepared for this presentation, they tell me “oh, you’ll be great, you’re always so good at that sort of thing.” I’m ready to rip the face of the next person who says this. You want to know why I’m good at oral arguments and presentations and trainings and such? Because I prepare, asshole! I’m anal and like to be prepared. That is why I generally seem prepared. Sheesh.


Katie said...

Let me preface this by saying that I am pretty conservative in my use of the word fuck. Seriously, I have used the word only a couple of times on my blog because I believe it should be reserved for emphasis.

You are fucking smart, kickass woman. With everything you have been through, you will not put up with fucking shitass shoes, especially when they fucking cost $500 fucking dollars. You take that shit back, tell them you could get some fucking Dr. Scholls for fucking $12.95.

Once that's solved, you will focus on your fucking presentation that you will fucking rock because you will fucking prepare in between your fucking stim shots. Anyone gets in your way? Fuck 'em. You have other things to fucking worry about, like getting fucking pregnant and staying that way, which I really think you will, no fucks attached.

I don't know if this makes you feel better, but I feel better :)

Ps. thanks for the advice... I will lay of nizzle and focus on the shizzle.

Hang in there.

annacyclopedia said...

Ahh, yes. Fuck-it nirvana. I've known it many times, although not by that name. It is truly a blessing, but you're right that it don't come easy. I hope it lasts long enough to get you through all your work stuff and beyond, and I hope those fucktards either fix your shoes or give you your money back easily and without resistance.

Pepper said...

Fuck-It Nirvana: when you know that no matter how hard you work there's still no way you'll get everything done, so to hell with it all. Ah... Bliss.

Get your money back for those crap sandals. We have a store in my neck of the woods call Fleet Feet. They make orthodic inserts, which is great because you can use them in your regular shoes (or so I hear). I know someone who swears by them, and I'd be that they're considerable cheaper than your sandals. Maybe there's a similar near you?

The thing about time is that it keeps on moving no matter what you do. In this case, that's a good thing because before you know it all those motions, appeals, and presentations will be behind you.

P.S. I have a feeling that you're a lot more prepared than you think you are. You know what to expect and that's half the battle. You've already fought the other half because you've done the work and know your shit. Now have fun with it.

Rebeccah said...

Oh you poor thing. I've never understood how litigators handle the stress ... But yippee-ki-yay for fuck-it nirvana! I know exactly the state of mind you're talking about, and you are lucky to have found a puddle of it to bathe in, even for a few minutes.

As for the sandals -- grr!!

peesticksandstones said...

If you don't mind, I'd like to borrow the term "fuck-it nirvana". It's just brilliant!

I've got a pair of $500 orthotics just sitting in a basket somewhere (never worn) -- every time I see them, I just cringe. Had the fancy 3-D scan, too. But they just never seemed to work right in my shoes and I didn't have the nerve to speak up to the dr's office.

Hoping this week goes well for ya!

Ms Heathen said...

I LOVE the concept of fuck-it nirvana, and am now hoping that I may reach it myself fairly soon!

And I'm with everyone else on the shoes - you need to get your money back!

Io said...

Man, I need to get to fuck it nirvana. I think I was almost there last week when the shit hit the fan and work was so busy and I had to keep going. Or maybe that was just shock.
The saga of the shoes is totally ridiculous dude. If I were an orthopedic cobbler, I would make you some kick ass shoes. Of course, I am not. So that plan won't work. But I hope you get some good shoes to wear.
I hope your life manages to get more nirvana and less fuckit. ::hug::

Shinejil said...

Equanimity. You've got what some poor souls spend years in caves wearing smelly hair shirts and eating groats trying to achieve.

I can't believe that shoe shit. What a fucking racket. Five grand for sandals that you can't wear in public and don't do what they were prescribed to do? Argh!

We're all here, knowing you're going to plow through!

kate said...

I'm a bad blog friend. It's taken me a really long time to get around to going through my Google Reader, but now, I'm finally reading your post, and I'm crying because I want you to be my sister. Please can't we find some way to be related forever and ever? I just feel like you've read my mind and just written it all out on paper. I'm with you.

Acheiving (if you can call it an acheivement) Fuck-It Nirvana is NEVER easy, but there is just something restful about it, like it all just swirls around you and you know that you just have to keep doing but you have to stop caring or you'll kill yourself. It's like some sort of primitive psychological protective state that the brain goes into to keep you from totally fucking losing it.

It's been a hard week. And last night, I ran my ass off. And though I really wanted a punching bag, something I could beat the crap out of instead, the running ended up as a decent substitute. I ran harder and longer last night than I have in a really long time. And then, when I was on the floor stretching afterwards, I just wanted to cry at the release of it all. And then I still wanted to punch some stuff, and I asked my husband if he was interested in sparring with me (not that he knows how or that we've ever done anything like it before, but it doesn't hurt to ask, right?), and he got this kind of scared look on his face and said that no, he didn't think that he wanted to be on the other side of my fists right now, even if he knew that I wasn't actually trying to hit him, 'cos I had a kind of crazy look on my face. I think I'll sign up for a kick boxing class or something. Sigh. I've been stretching more, but my body just craves the hard-hitting action... which is probably why I should be doing yoga instead, right?

Fuck-It Nirvana. Man, I just SO hear you on that one.

I really do promise that I have a little something to send to you, and I really do promise that I'll send it this weekend. Things just keep getting away from me, you know? Soon, though. Soon.

Joonie said...

I must say I envy your prose. You have such a way with words! Your description of fuck-it Nirvana is dead on.

Oh, and give them hell on the shoes, you deserve better.

Alyssa said...

I cannot say it better than Katie did at the top of your comments page: I agree 100%. Damn shitass, ripoff sandals! (And, as a sidenote, have you heart of MBTs? I know they are not orthotically measured and all, but my friend K, who is a MAJOR pronator, swears by these shoes and sandals. And, although pricey, not nearly $500.)

DC said...

As a fellow government litigator, I feel your pain. Numbness is good. :)