Depending on who you ask, I'm a mother, a single mother, or a working mother. I'm a sister, a daughter, a friend, a college roommate, a law school classmate, an attorney, a family lawyer. I've curled my hair and straightened my hair, grown my hair out, cut it all off; it's been frizzy and stick-straight and everywhere in between. I've worn glasses and contacts and bi-focals and reading glasses. I've been light brown and dark brown and this-close-to-really-really-blonde and gray. I've been defining myself all my life and I think I've finally figured out that all of this defining gets us really nowhere closer to who we are.

We are who we are each moment of each day. Our moods can swing from high to medium to low. We can be laughing one minute and crying the next. We can be smiling or scowling or yelping with glee. We can be sobbing from heartbreak or jumping for joy, and all of these things, every one of them, depends not so much on who we say we are as much as what we are living in that moment.

People ask me, when first meeting me, what I do for a living. It's a good question. It's an opening into who I am and where I've been. But do I say I'm an attorney, a divorce attorney, a civil litigator, a former prosecutor? Does that tell you very much about me? It may not, but it gives us a starting point.

As relationships grow we learn who we are and who our friend is, not externally or educationally or geographically, but deeply and emotionally and spiritually. You may learn that I am Jewish with hints of Buddhism and Hindu highlights. You may find out that I am a "previvor"- having had the BRCA gene, having been lucky enough to avoid breast and ovarian cancer, but having had a prophylatic hysterectomy and mastectomy to be safe- to save my life. You may learn that I am the oldest child, the only daughter, a type-A control person with a gigantic laugh. You may learn that I have many versions and many shades of black flowy pants, flowy tops and too too many pearls.

Because all of us and each of us is not who we seem to be from the outside. Our perfect lives looking in may be crumbing. Our desperate circumstances may hide a truly centered and soulful and grounded internal calm. We are not what we appear to be, the faces we show to the world, the occupations we hold or the relationships we're in.

We are the lines on our face and the hidden smile in our eyes and the tenseness of our jaw and the beauty of our breath. We are our past and our present and our hope for the future. We are, each of us, perfect as we are and perfect as we continue to make ourselves and our lives more potent and more diverse and more intense and more relaxed. We are our tears and our laughter. We are our agony and our brilliance. We are parents and children and friends and lovers and co-workers and confidants and secret-keepers and whispers in the dark and long-distance phone calls. We are on this earth to find out who we are and why we are here and to peel back each layer, day by day.

This is the life.
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