Saturday, December 31, 2005

Upset that Father is home from his trip...

I got angry at my dad last night. He asked me if I wanted to have dinner with him, and I said, "yes," and then the minute I turned around, he called his best friend from downstairs to join us. Pissed off, I told him that he could have checked with me to see whether it would be okay with me. I live here too.

That's the thing. I don't want to live with him anymore. Other than his inconsiderate behavior, I find him to be unmotivating and unsettling. There is nothing that he does that has a positive effect on me. All he does is sleep, fart, walk around naked, watch television, and waste time. I find that almost zero percent of his time is dedicated to goal-oriented activities. For me, a person who does not work on their goals is a loser and is not worth the breath they breathe. I am so sad to have been given such a loser to be my father. I do not look up to him at all. I never have; not since I was a child. I do understand the need to relax if one IS working -- I often relax after a hard day's work, or after I've expended a significant amount of energy on a project or a goal.

Tonight after Havdala, I yelled to him "you're so unmotivating" when he hung up the phone after saying to his friend that he doesn't feel like going out tonight for New Year's Eve. What gets me upset is that I CERTAINLY DO NOT WANT TO SPEND TONIGHT WITH HIM. I want to be alone for the sole reason that I want to be independent and not watched or monitored or controlled by anyone. I have a lot of work to do and when I am seething with anger, I am unable to focus.

I am so angry right now with my new "friend" for the evening that I want to go out -- anywhere -- as long as it is away from him. I hate being in the same house as him because I get drained of my energy and I feel that from my anger, my life force drips away when he's home. I want nothing to do with him, and he does not know how to give me space and to leave me alone. I enjoy nothing more than an empty house. These past few weeks while he was away were the best weeks I've had in months. I am so upset that he is home from his trip.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Dependent on Father Dependent on Me.

Tonight there was an incident between me and my father. Well, there would have been had I said something. He came home from a trip yesterday, and I am 8 days into my intensive bar review classes.

We live together in his house, and whenever I want to invite a friend over or whenever I want to do something, I extend the courtesy of checking with him to see if he is alright with it. He doesn't extend the same courtesy.

Tonight he decided to invite his friend over for dinner. This would normally be okay, but I really needed to study. I wish he had checked with me because if he did, I would have asked him not to have guests over today while I am studying.

They were so loud talking in Hebrew that I couldn't study at all. I took a two hour nap because I got overwhelmed with anger, and when I woke up they were still going at it chatting away. I wish he would have had the courtesy to ask me if I needed quiet.

I wish I lived alone away from my father. I wish I lived in my own apartment, and I wish I had the job to sustain myself. Being in law school has taken such a toll on my humanity because it has forced me to be dependent on him, however each time I have tried to move out on my own, he has started getting VERY sad wondering why I am leaving him. I often wonder who is dependent on whom.

I wish I can get up and leave but because of my financial situation and my inability to change it, I am held prisoner in my father's home until I pass the bar and get a job. Graduating and passing the bar is not only my way to success and happiness, it is also my get out of jail card, unless I can find a way to leave sooner. I often think that my sanity depends on it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

New Matisyahu Video; My feelings about it.

There is a new video which I found to be inspiring. The video can be found here. It features Matisyahu as a moving character billboard on the wall. I enjoyed the words posted in the background because I often find Reggae songs hard to follow, but here, the words were beautiful.

I felt that with the black hat and the white shirt, I was inspired to return to dressing because while I think Matisyahu captured the essence of what it means to be today, his message wasn't one about limitations and conformity, but unity between souls and helping another person in need.

I haven't worn my white shirt and black hat combination in some time because I've been embarrassed the way I look wearing it. People see me as channeling someone I am not, and it felt weird being asked all these questions about Torah and Judaism when I as of late have been pretty secular myself.

I guess the message here is that it is never too late to return to being outwardly Chassidic and it is probably wrong of me to hide it by dressing secularly. The affect the garb has on people is stunning, and I shouldn't take away from others that religious inspiration which the clothing inspires in others because of my own insecurities of not being myself.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Rub-a-dub-dub, Studying in the Tub

I'm really happy with the way studying went today. Studying in the tub surprisingly kept my focus and my attention on the materials I needed to study. The trick was to have a drink handy just in case I got dehydrated. I brought a bottle of Crystal Lite and a cup of coffee. (I know, coffee is dehydrating, but the energy kick is worth the extra toll on the body.)

I feel prepared for my exam tomorrow. I will need help from G-d to do well on my exam the following morning. This will be one of those events where I look back and wonder, "how in the world did I accomplish that?!?"

I should probably at this point turn to G-d and say, "I know I've neglected You the Almighty Creator, but now I'm turning back to you and asking you for help. Please G-d help me do well on my Patent Law exam. ...and while I have Your attention, can you also give me that extra push of support with my Secured Transactions final too?" I should probably also pray, but I likely won't. I haven't been into it in a few days. I will start up again as soon as my finals are over. Bad boy.

Work PLUS Play

The choices were doughnuts or working out at the gym. Are you curious which one I chose? Neither. I didn't want to get fat from the doughnuts, and I didn't have the energy or the hours to spend at the gym.

So I decided that if I took a past exam and my notes into the bathtub with me and I answered the questions using my outline, that way, I'll be able to both study in a fun environment, and get some work done too. I used to do this also when I would do phone sales from home -- I'd hop in the bathtub or sauna and make my calls from a list and a headset phone. It was a wonderful way to combine work with relaxation.

In fact, I'm about to go back in to continue... See you later!

I must persevere.

I've lost it. The desire to be the best I can be, the desire to master my exams. I feel like I cannot go on, and I feel like I cannot master these exams. My exams have gotten the better of me and I feel powerless to intervene. From the work I have already done, I know a significant amount; but I lack the focus and the mind power to move forward with the studying. My brain is a fog. I am done for.

As destructive as this is to the precious hours I have left before my exams, I need to take a break and to get out of the house for a drive. I have been here too long, and I feel like I am no longer productive. I feel like I have over-studied, and yet I have not yet even covered half the amount of material that I need to cover by tomorrow.

I don't know whether to go the healthy route and to go to the gym, or to go the unhealthy route and to get a doughnut. Right now the doughnut seems more attractive to me. I will get into my gym clothes and then I will put my shoes on and get in the car. Where it drives me, we will know the answer.

I am not a hero. I am an ordinary guy trying to get by so that I can get a descent job when I graduate law school. I want to find a wife; I want to have enough of an income to be affluent. I want to be self directed, and I want to pay my own bills out of my own money and not federal government school loan money. I want friends, and a culture that will give me activities to participate in, people to see, and meaningful events to fill my time.

These exams and the upcoming bar exam classes which will lead to taking and passing the bar exam, coupled with the patent bar exam seem like unclearable hurdles which separate me between my present and my future. However, I have done feats as difficult as this before and I have succeeded. This is not the hardest time of my life. This is me making this trying time the hardest time of my life. I must persevere.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Pre-Exam Insomnia

I've been laying in my bed for over an hour with the hopes that I'll be able to wake with full energy at 4:30am just like I suprisingly did this morning. No luck. I can't fall asleep because I'm restless.

I don't know whether I'm nervous about the exams, or if I am worried about not having the energy or the power to focus in the next day so that I can study and properly prepare for the exams.

I do know that I spent all day today studying Patent Law, and I cannot study more yet I am still awake. What is bothering me is that my eyes are tired, which is a sign that I am not functioning normally. Normally when your eyes are tired, you should be able to get to sleep.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Understanding the movie "Bee Season"

I just saw a movie called "Bee Season," with Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche. It was probably the smartest movie I've seen in some time. Below I have an interpretation of this movie, but you're better off seeing the movie before you read this because if you read my understanding of the movie, it might just ruin it for you. In fact, maybe I'll write the interpretation assuming that you've already seen the movie.

First of all, let's look at the characters. The father (Richard Gere), a conservative Jew who is a college professor on Kabbalah and Mysticism. His son, looking for G-d and truth just as his father is. His daughter, a regular elementary school girl who has a gift for nevuah (prophecy); her gift manifests itself in her being able to close her eyes and "see the words" when participating in spelling bees.

The mother, a convert, also has this gift, but she was never a vessel for it. In other words, she was never able to understand or harness the power of her gift. In her childhood, she never knew how to understand the things she saw and it manifested itself into an OCD-like kleptomania where she stole things thinking they belonged to her.

When she met her husband (Richard Gere), he explained the deep secrets of the universe, including the story of how G-d made a vessel to hold His light, and the vessel couldn't handle the power of G-d's light and so it broke into many pieces, and the purpose of the universe in our world (tikkun olam) is to recover those "shards of glass" as a metaphor for the broken pieces of the vessel that couldn't handle G-dly light. I'm highly simplifying the story; people spend their whole lives immersing themselves in the Torah to get even a glimpse of an understanding of this story and the meanings of it all.

Needless to say, the mother took the whole concept of tikkun olam -- literally, fixing the world by restoring the vessel so that it can hold the G-dly light -- and she understood it literally. So she started breaking into people's houses and stealing little pieces of glass and jewelry -- the "shards of glass" so that it can hold "the light" as being literally light instead of the metaphor regarding G-dly light that Richard Gere was talking about when he told her the story. You could say that she herself was the broken vessel, given the gift of prophesy, but she couldn't handle the gift and so it broke her and fragmented her life into many pieces.

The interesting thing that happened in the movie is that the mother, tormented with this gift, saw that her daughter also saw things, and she had this gift also. It made her cry as we saw on multiple occasions in the movie where she put her daughter to sleep each night.

The more the daughter got better at using the visions to win each spelling bee, the worse the mother became with her kleptomania. You could say one inspired the other. Once the mother went to the hospital when she was caught collecting all the stolen pieces of jewelry and glass, the daughter made the connection that her mothers disease had to do with her spelling bee, although the daughter didn't quite understand the connection. Once she learned that her mother was sick, she thought all the way until the end of the movie before she threw the spelling bee that she had to win the spelling bee to make her mother better and to bring her family back together again.

As a side plot, her father noticed that she had the gift, and so being the Kabbalah and mysticism teacher, he started to teach her the Abulafia method for permutating letters, a method of spiritual awakening where the person as a result achieves a deep connection with G-d akin to prophesy, causing their whole body to shake and tremble from their experience. Before the final spelling bee, after the mother was already hospitalized, the daughter practiced the Abulafia method and achieved the level of prophecy. When she awoke from the experience, she experienced visual distortions.

All through the movie, her father would tell her to "speak the words of G-d and let G-d run through you when you stand there on the stage and you do what you do at the spelling bees." At the final moment in the national championship spelling bee competition, after the girl reached the level of prophecy from her Abulafia experience the night before, she realized that just because she was given an ability and a spiritual gift does not mean that it was G-d's will for her to use it. Had she used the gift which was tempting her to win the competition, she realized that her mother would have continued to be sick, and her family would have broken apart. However, abstaining from using the gift and throwing the spelling competition brought her family back together.

The twisted lesson of the movie is that sometimes we are given gifts and powers that we may or may not be vessels for. If we are not a proper vessel for this energy (G-dly light), then it will manifest itself in ways that can fragment and destroy us. However, even if we are "a vessel for the light," a.k.a., even if we are able to harness and take hold of the power / the light / the gift / the energy -- I'm referring to the same gift -- that does not mean that it is G-d will for us to use it. Sometimes it is better to live in the real world, rather than indulge in the spiritual candy we are given. In other words, just because we can do something special doesn't mean that we necessarily should do it. Just because we are given a gift doesn't mean we are supposed to use it. This is the lesson from the movie as I understand it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

One Exam Down, Three To Go

Last night was my Attorney Practice final, a monster of an exam. Part one was 65 hypothetical questions with paragraphs of data to take in before the question at the end of the hypo asking for a short answer or a yes or no or some date. Part two was short essay, and part three was a long fact pattern with nine essay questions.

I was glued to the clock making sure I didn't fall behind schedule, or else I would never finish the exam. Half way through the first half of part one, I didn't think I would make it -- somehow, through an adrenaline rush, I finished right on time.

I feel that without the massive amount of studying I did, I would have never passed that test. The test required specific knowledge of the issues in each question, and if you didn't know what was being tested, there was no way to properly answer the questions or the essays.

My next final is Constitutional Law, which is in just a few hours. They were originally back-to-back (6:30pm last night Attorney Practice, 9am this morning Conlaw), but there is a school policy against back-to-back exams, so it was postponed until 11am for those of us that had an exam last night.

Although all of my time this past week and a half has been devoted to the Attorney Practice exam, I've studied for weeks for my Constitutional Law exam prior to studying for Attorney Practice. It is certainly a risk not touching the subject in such a long time, and I am hours away and I have still not memorized the rules, but I believe it will all come to me in the next few hours.

I will spend my time memorizing the outline I wrote, and listening to CDs on the subject matter being tested. My goal is to pass this exam, because it was Attorney Practice that took precedence when studying because that was a monster of an exam.

After this, I have a week off to study for Patent Law and Secured Transactions. I am not so worried about these. It is yesterday and today's exams that I wanted to get out of the way.