On Being Broken, Again

With every episode, the tragedy continues

LaToya Baldwin Clark

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A broken mirror
https://flic.kr/p/4qJNDP

For weeks I’ve known, but all I could write was a title.

Actually writing these feelings into words — my body wouldn’t allow it. Thinking about this episode made me so sad, a sadness that needed words, but a sadness that was also tears and writing through crying doesn’t work for me. So I’ve thought about it a little here and a little there. I cried for 30 minutes before I finally sat down to write and I don’t have anywhere else to be. I’ve taken two breaks.

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In early-2023, and likely a bit before that, something broke in me.

I remember being at a retreat in early January with my husband and promising to contact a doctor and therapist. There were likely many causes that have never quite abated: I took on too much and tried to support too many and when I needed to tend to myself I couldn’t. I’ve not once felt ahead; I am always running to catch up. I am exhausted.

Many days I’m not moving. I am spinning with anxiety and all the things I needed to do but feel physically unable to do them.

I know what happened, what I accomplished in 2023. I list them to remind myself: co-wrote a report that was widely covered in the media, published articles in top law reviews, taught 175 students, got COVID for the third time, unexpectedly moved, and got tenure.

Now, I just typed that and then read it back and I don’t feel like I did any of those things. I know that doesn’t make sense and I really wish it would. Maybe because these 2023 accomplishments will forever be associated with dark days, days I’d rather not remember.

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I’ve been having this feeling, of experiencing being me, and being not-me, a watcher of sorts.

I am sad because I am drowning; not-me is crying because of how sad the scene is.

I, as not-me, know the arc of this tragedy. Independent of the immediate sadness, no episode can be understood independently of the others; that’s what it means to be episodic, right? There is an overarching…

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LaToya Baldwin Clark

Law professor. Living with Bipolar. Teach and write about the law of educational inequality, property and the family. Mom of 3. All opinions my own.