Tape on the Ceiling

My mother made little eye contact with me, dropped her sweater, jacket, and purse on the living room carpet, and went into the bathroom. In retrospect, this was very strange. She never put her belongings on the floor. She would have put them on the cheap WalMart table my roommate and I bought. She would have said, “I’m going to use the bathroom.” She would have made another comment about remembering the first time she had an apartment with a popcorn ceiling.

But none of that happened. Little did I know, my mother shutting the bathroom door behind her would be the last time I saw her as her normal self.

Let’s just say that my life drastically changed after my mom left the living room of the modest apartment I was renting with a friend. It was one of those big buildings with a lot of apartments that were all the same. The walls were white, the carpet beige, the kitchen cabinets a grimy white color with light wood around the edges, and the rooms were small. You could walk from the front door to the farthest point in the apartment in about twenty steps.

So when the EMT’s burst in the door and shoved the table forcefully over, I felt trapped. It was as if everything exploded – all of a sudden our quiet apartment was now a disaster area with people yelling and rushing around and trying to save my mom’s life.

Someone pushed my roommate and I in my bedroom, purposefully standing in the way so we could not see what was going on behind where the table used to be. I’m sure he wasn’t yelling but it felt like he was screaming at me. He was asking me what my mother had drank and eaten that day, if she had any allergies, what medications she was on. My mind was blank.

More happened. Hours and hours of more. But in the end, I could no longer stay in that tiny little apartment and had to move back home. To the home, my mom had left as if she would return that night we went to eat and then stopped by my apartment. Freshly washed clothes were in her laundry basket, a few dishes in the sink. Tape still on the ceiling.

December 14th, 2010 my mother turned 50. I coaxed my grandmother to take her out for lunch and shopping while I ushered her friends and family into her house for the big surprise. Everyone parked across the street in the dirt parking lot, the lights were off, and we were all hushed in the dark as my grandmother pulled in with my mom. I stood on the stairs directly across from her as she opened the front door. I had butterflies in my stomach because I was so excited to surprise her.

She opened the door, I flipped on the stairway light, and we all yelled, “surprise!” She was shocked and for a moment I thought she would punch me out of fear. Her eyes fluttered and her body shook, but a smile came over her face immediately when she realized the situation. A hundred or so balloons floated along the wood floors, people walking around kicking them to get to the next room, my boyfriend and I most amused by this as it was our idea. We taped a ridiculous amount of celebratory decorations on the walls and from the ceiling. We all ate food and laughed. When I left that night she reminded me, as a mother usually does, that I needed to come back and clean up, which included taking the tape off the ceiling.

My mother’s surprise 50th birthday party was one of the last fun things I got to experience with her. A little over a month later she was gone. And I was back in the house she raised me in since I was four. And I’d never felt so alone, so lost, and so not at home.

It is now 2018, seven and a half years since the day it all happened. Seven and a half years of trying to make this house my own. Trying to make my own life without the support of my parents.

The first few years in this house were honestly torture. Trying to go through everything in the house was like reliving a million memories. Many times I sat in the driveway, my car idling, and waiting until the last possible moment to go inside. Sometimes procrastinating the walk to the front door for an hour or more, especially when I lived on my own. It felt like the house had a hold on me. It was haunted in more ways than one.

Over time things became easier, and the house seemed more like home again. I got new furniture, new curtains, changed things around, and redid the bathrooms and kitchen. Every once in a while, I’ll go through more of the things that have been in the house since I can remember and either donate them or toss them out.

Some people would say you should never throw out things that were special to the person who passed. I was tired of feeling suffocated by the things of my childhood, my mom’s childhood, and her life. I also came to the realization that my mother had an abundance of things. That when she liked something, she sure did like something and tended to buy multiple colors of said thing. An example of this was something like fifteen or so vases, twenty or so miniature bowls, and a shit ton of clothes. I came to the conclusion that I, on the other hand, preferred only one vase, one miniature bowl and only the clothes I need to wear in a week.

But what about the sweater, jacket, and purse she put on the living room floor in my apartment almost eight years ago? What about the tape on the ceiling from her birthday? To this day, her sweater, jacket, and purse hang off the same dining room chair I put them on seven and a half years ago when I moved back home. To this day, I have barely touched them, let alone gave them a new home. To this day, there is one piece of tape on the ceiling that remains from her 50th surprise birthday party that sits right above where I am seated writing this.

Some things you just can’t get rid of no matter how hard you try; no matter how much time goes by.

And that’s okay. Grief and loss take their own path in everyone who experiences it. Some people want to swim in the person’s belongings. Drown and seclude themselves. Some people get rid of people’s things and change their life almost immediately after someone passes away. Neither is right. Neither is wrong.

It just is. It just is like the tape on the ceiling that continues to be there and will continue to be there for years to come.

It just is.

Advertisements

Is Watching the Movie Before Reading the Book Really Blasphemous?

My friend and co-worker, Jon, invited me to watch Ready Player One in theaters a while back. He came into the front office where my desk is and randomly updated me on how the book was going and hyped up the movie release. We were originally going to go see it for my birthday but there happened to be a Thursday night showing a few days before my birthday that worked out. I excitedly agreed to go, bought my ticket in advance, and showed up to the movie theater just before the previews started.

The theater wasn’t full by any means, but you could tell the people there were big fans of the book and probably had been counting down the days to be able to see it on the big screen – kind of my like my friend, Jon.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It was an interesting concept, it was visually stunning, and I loved all the entertainment references (especially The Shining scene!). At times during the movie, I have to admit I had a few nerding out moments, but I am not ashamed one bit. It was worth it. Or so I thought?

Jon and I stayed to see if anything played after the credits (nothing did). And so did two girls who had probably been the two biggest fans in the whole theater (as evidenced by their loud talking and gasping during the movie). One girl was LEANING off of her seat, body tense, and staring at the movie screen in disgust. The other girl was doing about the same, mouth open as if she was in shock. We could clearly hear them complaining about the movie disregarding the book and how it was a tragedy. THEY. WERE. PISSED. Jon could see what they meant since they were both very different, but he held it together because he said there were parts of the movie he enjoyed.

I forgot what was exactly said between us and the two girls, but basically, they asked me if I had read the book when I said I enjoyed the movie, and I said no. I replied, “But I can tell you have.” They huffily left the theater and continued to banter back and forth and justify why the movie sucked compared to the book.

I thought to myself for the first time EVER – MAYBE it isn’t a blasphemous act to watch a movie before the book. And I was reminded of another time this happened recently. I spontaneously went to watch Annihilation at the movies by myself. I hadn’t heard any hype leading up to the movie but when I heard about it, I had to see it. I couldn’t wait to find out what was hidden in Area X.

I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of Area X, but also the just out of reach understanding of what was going on in the suspicious closed off land. All I could think of after the movie finished was, “I need to read the book.”

Previous to this, I would always try to read the book before watching the movie. And deep down I would consider doing things the opposite way as an evil act. Essentially, it was blasphemous to watch the movie before the book. Kind of like reading the last paragraph first is.

Until I watched Annihilation. And then went to read the book. The book was in and of itself amazing – Jeff VanderMeer’s writing pulls you in. The concept is one I had not heard of, especially coming from such a biological perspective. I was intrigued and I loved it. But there were HUGE discrepancies between the book and movie. HUGE.

Was I disappointed? Hell no. I think I would have been, though, if I read the book before watching the movie instead of watching the movie before reading the book. Why would this be the case? Why does it seem the loyalty lies with the book and not the movie? With Annihilation, I could totally appreciate both versions. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and thoroughly enjoyed the book.

I haven’t read Ready Player One but am looking forward to it for the same reason – to see the differences. And appreciate each entity for what it was.

Within the same time frame of watching Annihilation and Ready Player One, I read A Wrinkle in Time and then watched it on the big screen. I found my loyalty with the book and was incredibly judgemental of the movie. For some reason, I wasn’t able to sit back and enjoy the movie as much as I had with watching the movie before reading the book.

In conclusion, I have started to believe it doesn’t matter if you read the book first or not. It actually seems to be more beneficial to watch the movie before you read the book, and then you can appreciate both entities on their own (and in the end get two versions of the same story!). I have no idea why this might be, but maybe give it a try 🙂

To My Mother on Mother’s Day

My Mother has been gone since December 2010, and sometimes it seems like just yesterday that I saw her last, and sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago. Every holiday, birthday, and anniversary is different. They’re always hard, but sometimes I get anxious ahead of time, and other times I barely notice my feelings until the day has arrived. I’m not sure which one this Mother’s day was, but all I know is I felt like writing to my Mom.

Dear Mom,

Last night I went to bed with the intention of sleeping until I couldn’t stand being in bed anymore. Possibly isolating myself the entire day. Luckily, this morning I felt sad but not unmotivated to get up for the day, and it was beautiful out which always helps. I laid in bed thinking about you and how I wished I could celebrate you today. I miss going out to eat and to the movies with you. And shopping, spending way too much money. I miss sitting on the couch, crowding you against the arm, cuddling against you until you told me to give you some damn space. I remember making you egg dropped toast for Mother’s day one year, but I was young and not a good cook. You told me you loved me but couldn’t eat it because it tasted so bad (if I remember correctly, it was all mushy – sorry!).

I decided to get up. I went to brunch with the family to celebrate Mother’s day for Gram and Aunt Mimi. I went for a bike ride to expend some of my energy and clear my mind. The weather is perfect today – not too hot, not too cold. The wind on my face as I zoomed down the trail, feeling like a kid again on a bike. I haven’t ridden a bike since I was probably what, 8 years old? You used to give me permission to go down the store and I’d fly down the sidewalk on my purple bike.

When I was at the store today picking out Mother’s day cards for Gram and Mimi, I saw one I would have loved to give you. It had a delicate 3D pattern on the front, wrapped in plastic to keep it protected. It was in the special section of the cards, and all I could think about was how I’d love to get you such a special card. Cards were always a big thing between us – I’ve saved all of yours.

And then I thought about Annihilation. I thought about how much I loved the movie and the book, and wish I could tell you all about it. I thought to myself, “Mom loved sci-fi stuff, and I bet she would have loved that movie, too.” You did read but hadn’t for quite some time when you left. So I’m not sure I could get you to read the book, but I know we could watch the movie.

I thought about all the cool things that I wish we could talk about now – I wonder if you’d be a part of The Book Nerdery with me and Erin. I wonder if we’d go see all the scary movies that came out and read the same books (you used to read Dean Koontz so I’m sure we could find some books in common to read). I wonder about the podcasts I’ve been listening to and if you’d be interested in them, or at least listen patiently when I told you all about them.

I thought about writing you a letter today but thought maybe distracting myself enough would change my mind. I was wrong. So here I am, and I suppose it’s the exact thing I should be doing on this day.

I want you to know that I wish we had more time. I wish I was older and knew the things I know now so that I could have asked you the questions I want to ask you now but can’t. I’d ask you about your life when you were young, your thoughts on the government, what made you happy and what made you sad. I’d ask you how to make the best mashed potatoes and beef stew. I’d ask you about your dreams and the things that scare you. I’d spend way more time with you and tell you more how much I appreciate you. I wouldn’t be so hard on you because now I understand life – that we aren’t all perfect, we make mistakes, but there is usually a lot more good that we do than bad. If I end up being half the woman you were, I’ll be lucky. You were brave, independent, smart, and funny.

I’d do anything to hear that laugh one more time, and when I hear your laugh in my laugh, it makes me smile the biggest smile.

I’d take you out more. I’d cook you dinner more. I miss our chats on the phone. You and Gram are really the only two people I can ever think of that I enjoyed talking to on the phone. When something happens, I sometimes still think, “Oh, I need to call Mom!” Thank you for always being there for me, for making me face my mistakes, and for making me independent. If you hadn’t made it clear that doing things for yourself was important, I don’t think I could have made it through when you were gone. All of a sudden I was on my own, and I had to take care of myself in every possible way. Thank goodness I learned how to take care of myself from you.

I think I’m rambling at this point, but it’s everything I’ve wanted to tell you. I love you – and thank you so much for all you sacrificed to help me live a wonderful childhood.

Love ya, love ya.

Boo

Happenings, The Book Nerdery, and More

This post will be all over the place, so consider it a brain dump. Ending friendships, books, a septum piercing, running, podcasts… this blog post might just have everything!

The first thing to get off my chest – I lost my temper with a good friend, and said some things that I had thought previously, and never said. I’ve been thinking about the situation on and off over the last month or so since it happened, and have thought a lot about arguments between people in general.

Basically, something I have come to realize is that most arguments start by one person (we’ll say person 1) doing something the other person (we’ll say person 2) doesn’t agree with and is hurt by. Person 2 reacts/responds to person 1’s behavior, usually with anger, which then is interpreted by person 1 as being irrational and hurtful.  The original behavior that caused person 2 to get pissed is overlooked because now the focus is on how person 2 reacted, not the shitty actions of person 1. And of course, both person 1 and person 2 tell others what happened, and each person has people on their side that say the other person is wrong.  Each person has people on their side in shock at what the other person did. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter because both people got hurt by the situation in one way or another. So who is right? Maybe there is a little truth to either side.

One thing I am sick of hearing, and I’ve heard it a few times before this situation, is – “I was in a bad place,” as an explanation for what happened. I, of course, understand being in a shitty place as we all do. Your self-esteem is low and you need some attention – something to distract you from reality. But to throw your friendship aside selfishly for yourself – over and over – you can’t expect other people to not be pissed about it, no matter the reason. A lot of people apologize for something, but continue doing it. That doesn’t seem like a friend to me.

I don’t have high expectations for friendships – I don’t expect that we talk every day, I don’t take it personally if you don’t want to hang out, and I don’t usually give a shit what people do. But when someone blatantly ignores a friendship and goes behind your back multiple times just to make themselves feel better, that can’t be that strong of a friendship. I’ve learned that it’s okay for friendships to end and people to move on. People want to change, but sometimes you can’t ignore the person they’ve shown you they were. And it’s okay to not want that bullshit in your life. Could I have said it better? Probably. Do I regret ending that friendship? Definitely not. Both of us have the right to be friends with people who see us as we are now, as we want to be, and who respects us.

One person in my life who I really love and appreciate told me her life is good because she surrounds herself with good people. And another told me it was okay to let go no matter what past experiences you’ve had that connects you to someone.

Moving on….

I’ve been running again. Running is not easy, haha! It’s a challenge every time I go, but I’m enjoying it. I’ve realized how much I need that physical activity to release the energy inside me. Sometimes I think depression can just be stagnant energy that has no way of getting out – lack of motivation to be physically active. So it just sits and wallows and has no place to go, and drags the body down. Running is a great thing for me no matter if I’m depressed or if I’m feeling super motivated that day – it always helps. We borrowed some mountain bikes so we’ll be biking too, which I’m excited about! Also looking forward to kayaking and hiking… it’s about time the weather got nice!

My friend and I have recently started “The Book Nerdery” on Facebook (and I think my partner in crime made an Instagram for us). We post all things books, and have a super relaxed book club. We have a featured book that we all read together and Erin and I post discussion questions and such once a week. It’s going well so far, and we’re both having a lot of fun with it! She picked our first book (she’s super into YA), The Serpent King. It ended up being a really great book as I was hesitant because I’ve never been much of a YA reader. The book is an easy read but it’s thought-provoking and tackles some serious topics such as faith, abuse, depression, grief, etc. Our next book is going to be Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer which I discovered after watching the movie at the beginning of March. I LOVED it and loved the book too. It’s hard to put into words how amazing Jeff’s writing is. We were also lucky to have Jeff VanderMeer himself LIKE our announcement that our next featured book would be Annihilation – pretty awesome!

Some cool podcasts I’ve been listening to have been Rabbits and The Bright Sessions. My boyfriend and I recently went to NYC to see Celeste Barber (holy fuck, she’s funnier in person), and along the way he wanted me to listen to a podcast he found. Rabbits is a really intense story but definitely keeps you interested. It’s basically a really intense rabbit hole of theories you could get lost in forever. I highly recommend it if you like mysteries, video games, and conspiracy theories.

Another podcast I found recently is The Bright Sessions. Working in the mental health field, there are HUGE issues with how the therapist handles some things (yikes) but it’s meant to be a fictional story, so that makes me a little more comfortable with it, haha. It’s about a therapist who treats people with strange and unusual abilities like time travel, mind reading, etc. But there seems to be another story unfolding that sheds light into her own personal motivation to do work like that. It’s definitely got my attention!

I also started my first month of Audible, and I am OBSESSED. There are so many good podcasts out there, and now I’m even more excited about listening to books. The first book I got was Pet Semetary by Stephen King and WOW, it was amazing. He’s such a great writer – he doesn’t simply talk about events in a linear pattern but is so comfortable weaving from the present to the past, and sometimes the future… he’s an amazing storyteller from all aspects.  Now that I have noticed this in his writing and others, I can’t stand linear books, such as this happened, and this happened, and then this happened (A Wrinkle In Time is a good example of this writing style). Listening to Pet Semetary, which was read by Michael C. Hall (omg omg omg) I was totally enthralled in the story! Much better than the movie…

A few Mondays ago, me and my friend Erin who is my partner in crime for The Book Nerdery got our septums pierced. I’ve always wanted this piercing but I was nervous that it’d be too painful, and it really wasn’t! Especially compared to some of the other stuff I’ve had done. Erin invited me to go, and I’m glad she did! I have quite a few months of healing, but it looks like it’s healing great and I can’t wait to switch out my jewelry. Pretty excited!

On the note of body modifications… the other weekend my boyfriend and I and our friend went to Boston for the annual tattoo convention there. It was pretty awesome! I’ve been wanting to get two of my tattoos removed, and they happened to have a place that does tattoo removal there that day. They were doing a promotional price so I decided to do a laser removal session. I was going to do both of the tattoos – one on each forearm – but it hurt SO bad, I could only do one side. It felt like bacon grease continually hitting your arm but 10 times more painful. I think my body almost went into shock it was so bad lol definitely the most uncomfortable thing I’ve done. I have to go back for quite a few more sessions, so hopefully, they’ll get easier as they go along.

Well, I think that’s all I have for now – I am going to take a nap 🙂 Thanks for reading, and keep smiling!

 

 

Feel Good Meditations and Articles

There was a time in my life where I felt like I didn’t have enough tools in my toolbox to effectively manage my emotions and create the life I wanted to create. This included becoming the person I wanted to become. I felt emotionally stuck and confused on how to move forward. I needed some different perspectives on life to transform myself and my life.

Luckily, I was in a really good spot to explore my options. I was in therapy consistently to help my PTSD symptoms (irritability and mood swings are a part of PTSD and were my biggest issue at that time), and I was running group counseling at this time as well. Through a lot of trial and error, and increasing my self-awareness of what I needed, I stumbled across quite a few tools to add to my toolbox to help keep myself and my world balanced.

One was meditation. I first started meditating by listening to davidji. You’ll love his voice and his straightforward approach. You can click here for his website and find links to his meditations, blog posts, and sign up for his newsletter that includes a weekly “life tools” video which introduces concepts to help you foster peace and balance.

Here are some recent meditation links I received in my inbox:

Transcending Uncertainty

Emotional Freedom

Choosing Miracles

Transform Fear Into Trust

Another resource I’ve found helpful is Tiny Buddha. You can sign up for the newsletter and receive helpful articles right in your inbox. I sometimes read a few of the articles, sometimes just one, and sometimes I just delete the email – but the option is there in case anything jumps out at me. After all, the Universe does have a way of sending you exactly what you need if you’re open to it!

Some recent articles that caught my eye in my Tiny Buddha newsletter:

What To Do If You’re Not Passionate About Anything

How I Transformed My Anxiety and What to Do If You Feel Emotionally Stuck

How I Learned to Stop Absorbing Other People’s Emotions

There are SO many opportunities out there to find new ways of looking at your life experiences and how to move forward. Good luck!

30 Days of Writing

I have a confession.

I am not very good at following through. Sometimes. It’s weird… I’ve followed through with a lot in my life, but there are some things I just can’t do.

Like working out every day. Meditating every day. Writing every day. Etc. Etc.

Obviously, all of these things are really great, healthy, cathartic activities to do and can improve your life. Which is why I decided to challenge myself in 2018 to do one activity every day for 30 days each month this year.

I cannot express how difficult this has been.  I cannot even commit to 30 days of doing one thing.

Why is this? Things come up. I lose interest. I find other “challenges” to follow through with. I commit to other things and lose sight of my original commitment. And for some reason, I felt like I needed to correct this. For some reason, I thought I’d be exponentially happier IF I committed to doing something every day for 30 days since I picked such healthy, creative activities.

Truth is – it’s just not in my personality. I wasn’t keeping up with doing whatever I said I’d do every day and instead was being too hard on myself. I was feeling like a failure. Even if I enjoyed the activity and felt better after, I would not necessarily be motivated to do it the next day. And sometimes my back would get sore, and I’d have to take a break. It ended up just being frustrating instead of inspiring.

The month of March, I was supposed to write every day. And I kept my options open – whether it was a blog post, a thought-provoking status, a gratitude list, or a private journal entry – it would count. Overall, I did write MORE this month and enjoyed it, but there were days I just didn’t feel like writing.

And that’s what I’ve decided is OKAY. In a perfect world, it’d be great to do healthy things for yourself every day, but in reality, I’m just not going to do it. I’m just not going to be in the mood to do the same thing every day. And that’s okay because, on a regular basis, I am doing healthy things for myself. One day I might feel like writing, and one day I might feel like doing yoga, and one day I might feel like going for a walk. Whatever I decide to do is okay, and I think I’m finally okay with that!

Because of this, I decided to not continue with the challenge. Instead of structuring my year, and putting unneeded pressure on myself, I decided to flow with whatever comes up this year instead.

So, I guess we’ll see how it goes 🙂

 

Reflections

Today is my first day in my 30’s. I’m grateful because I started it with a clear mind, awe at life in general, and with a few of my favorite things –  yoga, books, and writing.

I wanted to take some time to reflect on the last decade simply because it was an EPIC ten years. It could really be considered a microcosm of an entire lifetime, an entire Universe. Love, adventure, heartache, pain, growth, transformation, clarity, resistance. All of it was packed into my life in the last ten years, and I have to say at this point in my life, I’m glad it was.

In my twenties, I graduated college, which was one of the most amazing feelings of accomplishment I’ve ever experienced. I was surrounded by friends and family and felt I had just had some of the best years of my life. The world seemed so attainable in those days – the world was big with so many options, and so many beautiful things. The world was mine and if I worked hard enough, I could get whatever I wanted.

Rough times followed college, including the unexpected loss of my Mother. It was a traumatic experience for different reasons than just the fact that she was there, and then she wasn’t, and I felt alone in my life. After this, life seemed very small, restricted, and dangerous. As if, no matter what I did in my life, something bigger was at play and I had no control. Fear set in. Things I thought were true growing up were challenged. My viewpoint on life was challenged. It was a time of grief, confusion, pain, and resistance.

But during this time, angels came into my life to guide me. I found clarity learning about yoga, meditation, and different perspectives that changed the traumatic tragedy of losing my Mom to something that could be inspiring instead of crushing. I realized that whomever I met were all there for a reason… the people I had trouble with were there to teach me about myself and to learn love, and the people that loved me were there to open my heart again after refusing to connect to anyone ever again – the loss was too painful. During this time I was starting to be able to appreciate the light and the dark of the world.

I worked a few interesting jobs, but nothing that caught my attention as a career. I made a last minute decision to go to massage school for a year. For a long time, I had been focusing on the mind and thoughts and how to move through grief and become oriented with my path, that it was really nice to focus on the body. Spending that year focusing on facts and science of how the body worked was a much-needed change of scenery. And during this time, life seemed to slow down a little bit. Things seemed to balance out a little bit.

My confidence started to come back in the sense of making good decisions for myself. I knew my boundaries, I knew how to be assertive, I knew what direction I wanted to go in, and there was some clarity to my life for the first tie in a long time. This was thrown out the window my first love came back into my life.

We’d text here and there. Check in on how each other were doing. Suggest a song we knew the other one would like. Talk about the last movie we saw. But nothing more as we had an underlying sense of resentment towards each other and knew that any serious conversation might turn into an argument. Essentially, he lived his life and I lived mine. There came a time where I was so confident in myself and being able to handle any difficulty that I felt invincible against adversity. And trust me, we had a lot of adversity in our first few go-arounds as boyfriend and girlfriend.

It was a very simple text conversation if my memory serves me right.

Me: “I still love you and need to know if we can work. I think we should get dinner.

Him: “Okay.”

We hadn’t seen each other for over two years. My heart raced and I was shaking, but my makeup looked damn good.  The best it had in the last two years.

We walked downtown to get some Thai food – one of our favorite past times. But neither of us ate a lot. Basic pleasantries. And then the discussion started. Where to go from here? I was ready to try again but he was just feeling like he recovered fully from our last adventure. We decided to be friends.

The next few months were challenging. Spending time together, we saw how we had changed. We saw how the other had grown. At times it was scary for me. Wondering if I was still in love with him or the thought of him, especially now since he seemed so different? Especially now since he had a different life, as did I when we were apart. Could we accept these things of the other person?

In time, we grew closer. We discussed what needed to be discussed after years of not communicating in a healthy way about what had happened over the years. And once again, my clarity and confidence diminished. My anxiety sky rocketed, I felt depressed, I felt out of control, and I felt angry. Angry at myself, angry at him, angry at the world. I thought I had become better than this? I felt completely hopeless and disappointed in myself. I was at the point that I was seriously contemplating suicide, and had the means to do it (please, if you are a loved one reading this, know that I am okay now. This was two or more years ago at this point. If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please contact the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255).

Therapy. People. I can’t emphasize how helpful therapy can be. It’s cathartic to express yourself to a complete third party and get a different perspective.  It doesn’t mean you’re crazy and falling apart (well, I have to admit I was during this time of my life, lol) but if there is a situation you can’t figure out a solution for, an emotion that takes over a little too much…. see a therapist.

We worked HARD. It was not easy to be in therapy together and the truth was right out on the table. To say we were both vulnerable is an understatement. But being vulnerable with one another helped us move past our resentments and move forward. I was again able to trust myself and “the process” of healing. There was a great moment of healing within, and a great moment of healing between us.

During this time, I was lucky enough to find a job doing group counseling after massage school. It was quite the drastic contrast between my own life of contemplating suicide, being out of control, and then completing groups with severely mentally ill clients. But this was also an amazing gift. During this time at my job, I read hundreds of articles on how to deal with depression, anxiety, PTSD and how to find happiness in all the chaos. I presented to the clients about cognitive distortions, the hedonic happiness cycle, the lifespan of an emotion, and how to create healthy relationships. Simultaneously, I was struggling with all of these things so to be able to constantly read and share these concepts with others to help them, gave me hope. My clients of course never knew this, but to this day I know that having that job was heaven sent. While I was working there, I also had a boss who changed my life in many ways on a spiritual level and helped spark my interest back into some new age concepts.

I decided to go to yoga teacher training. Once again, a last minute, no-brainer decision like when I went to massage school.  Transformation truly happened at this point in my life due to realizing how much I was resisting healing on some levels. As we discussed in class, I was stuck in the hallway. I had gone through the door of healing but I was stuck in the hallway between that door and the next one where things made a long-lasting shift. Where things started to become easier and more consistent because I had stopped resisting the transformation and the Universal plan, and instead embraced it fearlessly. Where I let love lead my life, instead of fear.

I’d say I’m making small steps towards this idea of living through love instead of fear. I think I might have one foot in through the second, freedom door. It’s a continual process and journey, and a commitment to cultivating awareness of myself to know how to take the best care of myself.

My twenties also brought lots and lots of traveling. I made traveling a priority and have been taking trips almost every year for quite some time now. While working as a group counselor, I came across Jake and Hannah Eagle who offered a retreat in New Mexico. It would be the first of its kind that I went to, but it was life-changing. I spent a week on self-reflection with a bunch of strangers on a compound in the middle of New Mexico and couldn’t believe how calm and centered I was when I got home. I also had the joy of taking a three-week cross-country road trip with my sweetheart. We shoved ourselves into a car and hashed it all out. And loved one another. And had fun making memories we will have for the rest of our lives. I went to Hawaii for a writer’s workshop and went alone – the farthest I had been on my own in my life. I then was lucky enough to go to Hawaii again a few months later with my entire family to visit the first little one to be born in the next generation and see my cousin who I missed dearly. I went to the Grand Canyon a few times, Las Vegas a few times, North Carolina on the beach, Tennessee, pretty much the whole West Coast between Seattle, Portland, and southern California. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of great people and experience a lot of amazing things through my travels and can’t wait to see what comes next.

At this point in my life, I have a home. I have an amazing new job with amazing new coworkers that I love.  I am teaching and sharing the love of yoga at an awesome studio. I have three rescue dogs that are like my children and have taught me so much about life. I have healthy friendships and relationships with my family. I have a wonderful, supportive man in my life to make it through together. I have returned to things that make me happy, are making time for them, and pursuing them. I’ve allowed myself to let love in and give love freely. I’ve worked hard to turn my life around, and I am grateful to be in a good place right now. I’m looking forward to the adventures of the next ten years, whatever life brings.

The world feels big again.