Law in Contemporary Society

*The Multiplicity of Personality

“The world existed, and my pain, my desire, my love and my uncertainty existed, and then, there was something else.” –Eben Moglen. The world existed, indeed, and other humans existed in it. And these humans created systems that benefitted their wants and needs, sometimes at the expenses of others’. And some millions of years later, I came into existence, and the totality of who I am was tested. My love existed, people’s trauma existed, and it was projected onto me and it became mine. And now my pain exists, my love and my light exist, and though my trauma exists, my resilience exists. My optimism still exists and my determination, above all, exists. My trauma is expected, yet unpredictable. My constant persecution and the inevitable consequence of trauma is given to me. Not just my hand, but my fill. According to America, I should need nothing else but my trauma. I should long for and revel in nothing short of my trauma. To this country, my trauma negates my joy. It negates my peace. It negates my potential. It obscures my humanity and labels me “one-sided”. To the majority, I have no depth or purpose beyond my trauma. I have one personality, and it is the one persecuted, oppressed, subjugated, traumatized, and broken. America tells my seemingly one-sidedness to accept its fate. To accept my second-class position. But my trauma opens a new world for me, one of endless possibilities. One where I exist here, and now, and I am happy. One where I exist here, and now, and I am powerful. One where I exist here, and now, and I am free. One where I exist and I am humble, I have compassion, and I have unending empathy. I would not know my resilience, my strength, my humility, and my perseverance if it weren’t for the trauma I was gifted. If it weren’t for the trauma that once crushed me, I would not be free. The gifts of trauma, cognitive dissonance, and dissociation avail to us a break from reality and a reconception of what is. The relentlessly killings of my people over the past decade may have shocked me, hurt me, depressed me, crushed me, isolated me, and abused me—but it jolted a power within me that refuses to submit. It cleared an opening for a reimagined America, and in that opening lies my path, my purpose, my sense of empowerment, and most importantly my opportunity to advocate for the recognition and respect that my people have been denied for centuries. It is only by my affliction of trauma that I have been gifted the pain, dissonance, and dissociation that created my multiplicity of personality—the one thing that can make me an experienced and authentic advocate for my people. Now, I look beyond my race and I see another: the human race. The complexity of it all. The history that existed before my existence and the tensions that may outlast it. I do not understand it all and I recognize daily that my work may be futile and at times my solidarity performative. I reflect on that. I hold space for my ignorance, for my knowledge, for my authenticity, and for my insecurity. I hold space for the individuals who have died fighting for the freedom that I revere as a right and simultaneously shame as entitlement. I hold space for the centuries of complicated and nuanced history of conflict that exists while also taking space as an aspiring attorney ripe to change the world. But is it real? If I can't watch the videos of terrorism and brutality, am I genuine? If I don't put my money where my mouth is, do I lack authenticity? If I speak up just because I think I will be judged if I do not, am I conceited? If I only amplify others’ struggles to provide a basis for their continued solidarity, do I even care at all? If I care about able-bodied, healthy-minded people of color, but reject those facing disorders and dysmorphia, how am I perpetuating pain and mistreatment? The answers fluctuate. But one thing I know is that the only light in this darkness—the only redemption in our suffering—is the law. The law has not always been kind to me. It usually has not. The law holds power over me. It dictates my behavior. It discriminates against me. But it legitimizes me. It empowers me. It offers me opportunities to denounce my own discrimination, to protect and uplift others, and most importantly to reimagine a more just world and to do something to achieve it. But what if “I’m in law school” becomes “I’m a lawyer” becomes just a line that earns the validation of others? What if this submission to compete with my peers becomes an air of superiority towards my clients? What if I lose my passion in paperwork or performative justice becomes paramount? What if my image did not dictate my work ethic and my salary did not define my integrity? These questions, though far from any compelling essay I have ever written, are the foundation of my career. My practice begins and ends with the search to embody the lawyer I want to be. In fact, it’s cool to care. Conceit and vanity are boring. Egoism is uni-faceted. Performative justice advances some at the cost of others’ truths and struggles. It is entirely through the multiplicity of personality that we may embrace our own hypocrisies and honor the humanity of others. It is through my multiplicity of personality that I have found compassion for my counterparts worldwide. Each instance of trauma inflicted on me serves to crack open the soul of the scared little girl within. The glass ceilings shatter. Her light is reflected in the face of all the others. She rejoices in their image.


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r3 - 20 May 2021 - 03:44:30 - TaylorPerez
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