It has been over a year since I posted my last blog on bullying, and it is quite an appropriate transition from that post to the one I am about to write. Because over the past 15 months I have had many new experiences with bullies and manipulators, and think it is important for me to get it all out in the open. Because for a lot of you, it is quite a surprise that I am back in Seattle, not really teaching yoga, and keeping things on the down low.
I can’t and won’t go over everything that happened to me since last March, but will say that it has been a rollercoaster of mostly negative emotions, depression, poverty to the point of near-homelessness, confusion, disappointment, digging deep, soul searching and taking a number of large steps backwards in order to attempt to heal.
It has been a time of trusting the process, of learning and growing, and of setting important boundaries for myself.
2015 was rough for me. I was bullied, manipulated, put down and nearly crushed by the weight of it all.
2015 was a year of hustling, insomnia, of trying to get by and make ends meet and live up to my full potential.
2015 was a year of over doing it, of putting other people’s needs before mine, of not taking care of myself (body, mind, nor spirit).
2015 was a year of deep love and heartbreak, and transformation, and oftentimes, painful growth.
2015 was a reminder of the importance of friends and community who uplift instead of put down.
Today I live in suburban Seattle, in the house I grew up in. I sleep in a single bed, in the childhood bedroom I shared with my sister. It is quiet here, it is safe, I am surrounded by love and there are constant reminders of good times, of my formative years, of the love and support of my family.
I am 33 years old and live with my mom and dad. And this is 100% where I am supposed to be. My parents are two of my favorite people on the planet, and I am forever grateful that they are mine and that they support me through everything.
I am not teaching yoga right now. This is totally ok. I am not even really practicing yoga asana right now, and that is ok, too. It is ok to take a physical break to focus on meditation and more internal aspects of my yoga practice.
I am working in retail. I have been promoted twice since March, and am the visual merchandising manager for two retail stores in Seattle. I work with some incredible people, who inspire me to be my best, and who I get out in nature with. We laugh a lot, cheer each other on, and support each other through struggles. It is a good place to spend a lot of time. People appreciate me there, and I am happy. Yes, you read that right: I am happy working in retail.
I love the fact I have one job that I go to every day, where I work for 8 hours and leave the duties at the door when I clock out. I love the fact I get a decent paycheck every 2 weeks, that I have great benefits, and that I get paid days off to actually take vacations!
On the side I am working with my dad and one of my very oldest and dearest friends on a project that we hope will not only be creatively fulfilling but also financially fruitful.
I try to relax, I try to make things pretty, in hopes that I will eventually get back to a happy, healthy, financially stable and productive version of me.
This is a very different picture than where I was last year.
February 2015 I moved into a house with an acquaintance in Long Beach. At first it was fun. We decorated the house, painted, hung new curtains, made things pretty. I made friends with her cats.
But making a space pretty does not make a space healthy. There were bad vibes in that house long before I ever moved in. There were small things that bothered me from day one that I never mentioned because I am not a fan of confrontation and would rather let myself deal with it than make things more uncomfortable. (I know, I know, and I am working on standing up for myself).
Without getting into specific details, I was basically not at all comfortable or at peace in my own space. I was made to feel as if I was not good enough to be there, that I was not worthy, that I was taking advantage and using my roommate and not living up to my part of the bargain.
By June last year (4 months after moving in) I was so miserable that I never wanted to be at home, I especially never wanted to be at home when my roommate was there, which became increasingly difficult when we both had jobs where we worked from home a lot of the time. I noticed I had started complaining instead of being grateful and thankful. I noticed I was getting depressed and had lost my joy and appreciation for everything I had in my life that was good. So I decided to try and find a new place to live.
And then my roommate’s ex-boyfriend started to harass me and threaten me.
By September I lost my job that provided the biggest portion of my income.
And then two of the yoga studios where I worked went out of business.
And then my roommate decided to arbitrarily raise my portion of the rent.
In November I found a retail job, and a potential temporary new roommate and apartment. (Things were looking up!)
And then the new place fell through 2 days before I had to be out of my house.
On December 31st 2015, I took tons of stuff to Goodwill, I packed everything up and put it in a storage unit in a public storage location where I am pretty sure people lived, and then stayed with friends for the entirety of January.
And then I realized that I just couldn’t keep going the way things were. Because I was at rock bottom. And there was no way to get out without removing myself from the situation entirely.
And so I moved home.
2015 was a year in which I lost a lot.
But 2015 was a year in which I gained more than I ever imagined. One of the biggest things I gained was the knowledge of what real friendship is:
Real friends will spend part of their long weekend home from Cleveland to help you sort through your belongings, take loads of donations to Goodwill, and will give you good wine and lots of hugs.
Real friends will drive from Santa Barbara to Long Beach to help you move your stuff into a creepy, storage facility. And they will do this without question or judgment, and all the while providing lots of hugs. They make you laugh on your worst days, when you have no idea where anything of importance (including your brain) even is.
Real friends drive from Torrance, multiple times to be there for you, to help you move stuff into storage, without even batting an eyelid or asking anything in return. They also give you love and support and beautiful paintings and their most treasured books on Thailand (for inspiration).
Real friends drive from Redondo Beach in rush hour to meet you at Wholefoods in Long Beach so you can actually get a decent meal in you. They then drive you to work so you won’t be late. They constantly send you text messages and emails just to let you know they are thinking about you.
Real friends let you stay at their homes even though they have never had overnight guests before and are rather uncomfortable with the idea of it. They fix up their guest bathroom with deliciously smelling soaps and body washes, and loofas and nice crisp clean towels. They feed you. They let you sleep. They leave you little love notes. They don’t ask questions.
Real friends include sisters who do so much without even having to be asked. Who support you every single day. Who make you laugh so hard as you walk out of that negative cesspool of a house for the very last time, by seeing a roommate’s name on a letter, and nearly toppling over with laughter. Because the last name of the former roommate is German for disturb, bother, derange, distract, harass, intrude, interrupt, and interfere.
Oh the irony and little joys of life.
Real friends wait to get their New Year’s party started until you arrive dirty and stinky from moving, and have snuck into the guest room, to put on a smile, some sparkles and some lipstick so you feel like your old beautiful, carefree self. They don’t ask questions. They don’t need to, because they just innately know. And what they know is that it is all going to be ok.
So 2015 is lost and gone and with it a lot of hopes and dreams. But the loss and emptiness opened my eyes to what was really important. And I am finding my way back home and can’t wait to see what the rest of 2016 brings to the table.