Law in Contemporary Society

Family Business

-- By BenjaminSanchez - 18 Apr 2016

“He make the team this year? Aw, they said he wasn’t tall enough?

I was always small growing up. But high school showed me just how small I really was. Soccer was my sport. I started playing when I was 6 years old, and it was something that came naturally to me. I was good at it. I made all the all-star teams growing up, played in all the biggest tournaments, played against the best players. I was never worried about my height when it came to soccer. I knew I was good, and so did everyone else.

Freshman year, I tried out for the soccer team, and was told I wasn’t good enough. In fact, I was explicitly told by the coach “I wasn’t tall enough.” This started the demise of my self-confidence which took place over my four years in high school.

“Somebody please say grace, so I can save face. And have a reason to cover my face”

I remember freshman year, after school, leaning against the wall with my twin brother, waiting for my Mom to pick us up from school. I kept my head down. Didn’t want to make eye contact with anyone from school. Didn’t want anyone seeing us having to wait two hours after school ended to be picked up. I didn’t want anyone to see me. Period. My coach told me I “wasn’t tall enough” for the soccer team. This may or may not have been true. But I believed her assessment. What’s worse is I extended it to other areas of my life. I believed I wasn’t tall enough for friends, that I wasn’t tall enough for success, that I wasn’t tall enough for joy. I was too short to fit in with everybody, so I didn’t. I spent much of my four years of high school feeling isolated and separate. I didn’t try to fit in.

“Rain, rain, rain go away. Let the sun come out. And all the children say.”

In the midst of my self-imposed expulsion from social contact and interaction with my peers, I discovered Kanye west. Specifically, I found the song “Family Business”, select lyrics from which, make up the section titles of this essay. This song kept me sane during this time. I was introduced to another underdog. Someone who was overlooked, someone who was told he couldn’t do it, someone who wasn’t supposed to make it past 25. I began to use his lyrics as the “steam to power my dreams.” I took ownership over my life. I turned 15 and got a job making Philly Cheese steaks. I kept this job for 6 years. It got me through high school, and my first two years at junior college. If you visited me at work, undoubtedly you would have found me mopping the floor or washing dishes, headphones in, yelling “Y’all don’t know my struggle…. Y’all can’t MAX MY HUSTLE.” I related Kanye’s struggle to my own and adopted his drive and perseverance. Although I didn’t take steps to address the deep rooted problems of my insecurities, the music at least inspired me to ignore them and begin to take positive steps in my life. The rain clouding my vision began to dissipate and I positioned myself to enjoy the sunlight of a bright future.

“All the glitter is not gold”

The sun seemed to be shining brightly down on my life when I was accepted into Columbia Law School. No one in my family has ever pursued a post graduate degree. No one in my family had an income in the 6 figures. No one in my family has ever left California. I thought this experience was going to be something like a dream. Turns out all the glitter is not gold. I’ve found myself in an environment where I have to constantly fight for recognition and respect. One that discourages any sort of individuality. If you’re honest and put yourself out there, you’re left open and vulnerable to criticism and scorn. I felt I was progressing and moving far away from my high school days where my thoughts were spent entirely on what others around me were thinking, but I’ve caught myself relapse into this old way of thinking. I’ve begun to start thinking twice about speaking from my heart, or living the life I want. All because I’m surrounded by cookie cutter people who can’t and won’t accept someone like me, someone who will never fit in. If nothing else, Law School is now giving me the opportunity to truly face the problems I’ve long ignored since high school. Walking through the halls of Jerome Green take me back to the days after soccer practice, walking with my head down. But this can’t happen again. I can’t think twice anymore; I’ve done that too much. I’ve chosen this career path for myself, the people are not going to change. Instead of concerning my self with them or tradition, or “what I’m supposed to do,” I’m going to focus on becoming the best version of me, despite my immediate surroundings.

“Real is what you live to be”

I’m not complete. I’m not the final version of Benjamin Sanchez. In fact, I’ll never be done growing. Surrounded by peers who don’t take kindly to imperfection makes the process difficult, but I can’t allow that to stop my growth. This is a messy process. Some parts are beautiful, some parts are garbage, but I count myself fortunate to be given this opportunity for development. I will continue to face failure, insecurity, and fear but I find hope and peace knowing that who I am now is different from my high school self, and who I am in 10 years? Can’t wait to see.

The one objective I have right now, which i can act on immediately, is to imagine my world without self-imposed limits. I'm a believer in the idea that our thoughts and mindset control our reality. I have so much time to think. On the train, in the office (waiting for assignments). I can't waste this time with negative or self-depreciating thoughts. My immediate challenge is to not give in to adversity. Where there's an absence of adversity, there's probably an absence of progress. This is what I signed up for. My struggle is greater then myself. It's in the name of my family, my community, the people that I am called to lead.

So my first step in getting the job done, is knowing, despite everything telling me otherwise, that I was made to get the job done.

You have grasped one important problem with law school: that it is like high school.

You have seen why the social class from which you come is as important a force in shaping your life as your own cognitive powers and temperament. This is an overwhelmingly important fact to hold if one is trying to make any kind of justice at all, and it is almost always invisible to people whose social background is privileged.

You have got the central social purpose of art.

We were both children who were told we were too short for things we wanted to do. I had a different socio-economic structure behind me, so I turned out to have dealt differently with the resulting insecurities.

Like the last essay, too, which you didn't revise, you have used your powers to clear the table (better here than in the last one, there is improvement). But clearing the table is the beginning, not the end. As I said last time, your route to improvement is to build on the base cleared. Now we know, in the detail that comes from the roots, why you need to build the right practice for yourself. That's one version of all the stories here: everyone needs to build the right practice, even those who are fooled into believing that all building your practice means is getting a good job. You are special and your reasons are special, but recognizing that is not equivalent to beginning to get the job done.

It starts by making your aspirations specific. Of course they will change later, but no strategy is possible without objectives. Strategies change, because the world changes around us and we change around it. But without objectives, however changeable, there is no strategy, and without strategy there is no freedom.

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Webs Webs

r3 - 13 Jun 2016 - 20:38:35 - BenjaminSanchez
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