Asylum Among Strangers

By creating an emotional barrier, I was lonely, but I feared losing those who knew me if they saw me as I see myself. Though recognized as a SuperLawyer, I identify as a weak person. Unable to halt the abusive behaviors my clients describe. Unable to stop those who loudly and repugnantly cause harm to others. Unable to prevent persons in authority from causing further trauma to those who beg for sanctuary. I dream of a place and people who accept me as I am.

Seeking a Home, Protection, Asylum

The ultimate Goldilocks, I have bounced around the world for almost 40 years looking for a safe haven, an asylum for my soul. Israel, where I lived for two months, demonstrated a nationalistic pride born of necessity. France, where I lived for a year, taught me to slow down and gouter la vie. In addition to 30 plus countries, I have also seen all 50 states in the United States. (I refuse to call it America, in respect to our southern neighbors).

This wanderlust came to me honestly. Even if they beg for asylum elsewhere, immigrants speak about “the homeland” constantly. A country where, according to the parents who tell us all else, life is (or was) so much better. My parents never spoke as though they knew the United States was their country. They never spoke as if they understood the finality of their leaving Cuba, but they acted as though they did.  They purchased homes and opened businesses. My parents became American citizens while President Carter was in office, and my mother voted in every presidential election since her naturalization.  Cuban refugees watched Spanish-language television and listened to Radio Mambí for direction on how American politicians would free their homeland, Cuba Libre. There would be three years of ordinariness, then suddenly the drama – televised presidential debates in English, Reeegan visiting Saints Peter and Paul Church, Bush sweating in a guayabera short-sleeved shirt at the Cuban Mardi Gras, Calle Ocho.

No surprise children of immigrants grow up untethered, seeking, traveling. No surprise I long for the ethereal happiness of asylum, and understand my clients’ longing for it, too.

Asylum Among Strangers

Safety makes a place home. I feel protected in nature, the misty Blue Ridge mountains of Asheville and the winding trails of Huntersville. A cool breeze, blue skies above, a dog sniffing the ground ahead as we walk towards a waterfall, a stream, or a lake. The people I cross on paths smile, share a tidbit of advice, wave kindly. John Lennon’s dream of all the people sharing all the world. 

But what if asylum is not a place?  What if it is a community of strangers thrown together by the abuse of the powerful? What if this could be my asylum?

Disclaimer – These entries are based on real life events. Family member names, when used, are real. Client names are changed for privacy.

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