My Way Out
“She was fierce, she was strong, and she wasn’t simple. She was crazy and sometimes she barely slept. She always had something to say. She had flaws and that was ok. And when she was down, she got right back up. She was a beast in her own way, but one idea described her best, she was unstoppable and she took anything she wanted with a smile.” R.M. Drake
I have always struggled with being comfortable in my own skin, which has kept me from letting other’s into my world completely. It has been a struggle for me to be truthful about what is truly going on in my life and how that something is tearing me apart inside. I met yoga for fitness by DVD form one Christmas break where I was stuck in a college ghost town as all of my peers ran home to their family safety nets. I was looking for a little relief from feeling down about staying in town to work all three of my jobs. I marched myself to the store bout my first Giam brand yoga mat and was certain I would find some peace. When I think about hard times in my past and relate my younger self to who I am now I have pinpointed that my way of internal healing has always been the yogi way. On my own, I picked up habits that to this day have saved me from teetering down the wrong path, or perhaps spending millions of dollars visiting a shrink. Feeling lost, seeking more love, and crying for hours alone were obstacles I over came from practicing my inner yoga. To date habits such as: reading and writing, running, and meditation have been the most consistent and healing hobbies in my life. I loved getting lost into different stories about different people, and creating new endings as I wrote, “to be continued” short stories to my classmates about my family pets. It helped fuel my imagination and create dreams I wanted to accomplish so that I could live adventures like the one I created and read about. Consecutive first place medals in the girls mile run as well as being one of the quickest on both the track and cross country teams was the outcome to many afternoons I spent running as far away from home as I could get. When the yelling and the screaming became too overwhelming in a household full of conflict I would sit Indian style in the back of my closet and mediate my way out into my very own, much happier place.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer; I just haven’t always been writing. I made a goal to myself a couple years ago to have my first book published by age 30 but in a couple weeks I am going to be thirty and I am not ready to publish my book yet. What I did well as a young writer was freely write exactly and whatever was in my thoughts or top of my mind. I did not worry about what others might think if they picked it up and read it and everything I wrote down was raw, unedited, and straight from my heart. My elementary diary entries give me a variety of different emotions that I truly hope I can accomplish in my current early thirties writings. Some pages are full of stories and statements that make me laugh out loud, and other pages and entries quickly bring me to tears.
There were sections of story telling were I told my readers about the 4th grade dance and what boy I was crushing on that moment, there was a goals section where not only did I write out my “request” but I came back around and logged my results. One of my personal favorites was my “update section” which was ultimately my very own gossip column where I updated the relationships in my life as well as other relationships that were going on with my classmates. There was a prayer section, (which is often the section that can make me cry) where I would ask God to listen and grant my prayers. I asked to please make Granny well when she was sick, I asked God why Granny did not like me anymore, and I asked him what would happen to me when Granny died.
The flow was not exactly right when connecting one thought, or story to the next but it doesn’t seem to stop anyone I share it with from wanting to read more about what I was up to. Clearly there was no plan as to what I was going to do with all of these writings but I didn’t care about that. I just freely sat in my room and wrote about what I was going through, how I was feeling, and how everything going on in my life was affecting me. These diaries have been a great gift to myself as I jog my memory of past events in my life to continue my story but most of all they are a reminder to not worry so much about what comes out and to just write.
Making the decision to finally move to the big apple the winter after I turned 27 was a goal of mine that was not only going to bring me career success, love and happiness but I believed the move would help me get further along in my writing. If I were to come back around and currently “update” where I am now it would be that I have come a long way and have a lot of inspiration to write about.
When I first started NYC I could not touch my toes, I was in a lot of financial debt, I was heartbroken, and I was scared shitless. Although, I moved to Manhattan with a job, I did not move to the Big Apple with a big savings account or a clear financial plan. I kid you not: The 12-foot box truck that drove all my furniture and belongings from South Florida to Manhattan, the gas for my car to follow, the renter fees, apartment fees, lease-breaking fees, food and any miscellaneous moving supplies were all paid out of a $1,500 budget I had at my disposal. I’d be lying if I said my Nan didn’t stick a few bills in my pocket, and that my wonderful friends and family did not help me over this hump. I was showered with gifts, gift cards, and so many blessings and words of encouragement, but it still remains one of the top most anxious, and scariest times in my life. I questioned myself daily on my decision to move when I was experiencing such financial burden and so many weeks I had to stretch thirty dollars to feed me and transport me through one of the most expensive cities in the world. I truly believe it was only possible for me to do because of the experience and learning’s of my meager youth. Tuna fish, carrots, tomatoes, bananas, and mac & cheese, were my go-to budget food items, and with any leftover money I would buy myself a bottle of wine to keep me company as I wrote in my journal thoughts and goals to get out of this mess.
My first apartment at the Ritz was located in midtown and was SO BEAUTIFUL! I was lucky enough to get this “hook up” from one of my college best friends who previously lived in this apartment and was smart enough to hold onto it (and its rate) by sublets like myself. From my bedroom you could walk out onto a balcony twenty-nine floors high that overlooked Times Square to the left and Hell’s Kitchen to the right. The one side of my room was pure window, and I had beautiful wood floors where I propped my Gaiam yoga mat in the corner next to a standing mirror. This yoga mat placement, although I was still not a yoga practitioner, was placed with intent for the sanctuary I was trying to create in this stressful, fearful time. I will never, EVER forget the beauty of the city lights from my room and how I could sit out on the balcony and, if only for a second, remember to be proud of myself. I started to have visions of doing yoga gracefully on my Gaiam mat outside my large glass windows, and these visions started to become reality when I took out my mat one afternoon and turned on my yoga DVD. What was different this time around is that, after the first week, I didn’t stop. In my free time, I started Googling and searching YouTube for different yoga tutorials that I hoped to practice on my own.
After the first three months, I started to get a little more financial security as well as more knowledge of ways to spread my money more evenly and even save money. The first thing I did when I had a couple extra dollars a month was research and purchase a gym membership that fit my budget. With all of my fitness classes, I always wanted parts to be like ballet or hip-hop, and then I started to mix in yoga classes. No matter how hard it was to convince myself to go to class and be the “beginner” that I was embarrassed to be, I cannot recall one time that I did not feel an amazing sense of anxiety relief. I am always very thankful that I made it to my classes, and I always remind myself how thankful I am each and every time I practice because it has NOT been easy to get to this point of my yoga career. The goal I set in August 2013 was to at least make it to one yoga class each week, and that goal has evolved into a habit of searching for a yoga class to attend almost every single day. Spring of 2014 I was feeling pretty darn good, but not exactly where I wanted to be and the universe must of known that. In a blink of an eye the universe switched the ocean tide and forced me to seek a new way out when I was fired from my fancy high paying Manhattan job. Worried about my rent, scared this meant I would have to stay in the relationship I wasn’t happy in to survive, and that I had failed were more reasons I needed more yoga. With the extra time on my hands I have given myself my first and well-deserved yoga challenge and incorporated daily practices with my freed up time.
Two weeks before turning thirty, I can touch my toes, I have finally achieved control of my finances, and writing is apart of my weekly routine. I have signed up for my yoga certification, and my yoga practice affects my everyday thoughts. It is how I am choosing to live my life. It is a way a perfect stranger can relate to me, and unlike when I was younger, I am fully aware that it is the best way for me to deal with any inner bullshit that is begging to come out. Every day in class, I learn something new about my body and about the different ways I can get myself into different positions. It frees my mind in such healthy ways, and keeps me from more of the drugs or booze I might have looked at to ease my mind in the past. It releases the hurt, the uncertainties, and gives me so much hope like nothing else in my life has been able to. Anytime anyone is going through anything difficult in life, I often think to myself, “they need yoga”. Inhale good shit, exhale bad shit. It has helped my decisions in my career, my writing, my relationships, and most importantly my health and self-esteem.