Have you ever felt like you wanted to start over? Have you ever felt like if you could just wipe the slate clean but take all of the knowledge and lessons from your past with you, that this time would be better? I have. And I asked for a re-do. It was not easy for me to admit to myself that I needed to start over. I spent most of this year crying, trying to figure out why I was so sad, why I was so unhappy, why I felt like I was suffocating under the weight of expectations and obligations and timelines and deadlines. The moment I made the decision to leave, I felt a heavy weight lift from my chest. It was probably the first deep breath I took in months, potentially all of 2018. Usually, holding breath means we are trying not to think certain thoughts or feel feelings because the breath is how all of that energy moves through our bodies. For some reason, I didn’t think leaving was going to be a super emotional experience for me. I mean, honestly, this is me, so what was I thinking? If there is one thing that I know to be true about me, it is that everything is emotional - in both the best and worst way. I thought, “I’m super done with New York. We are super done with each other. It feels like an abusive relationship at this point, where no matter how many times I get knocked down, I always find one small reason to stay.” So I finally did the most courageous thing I have ever done: I left.
Saying goodbye was hard. It was harder still to walk down the street and be attacked by the memories and feelings and habits and old versions of myself that seemed to linger on every corner. I would run through riverside park and look out at the water thinking, "this is where we watched the sunset". I would turn a corner in the west village and BAM, this is where I sobbed hysterically because work was the worst. I would be strolling with a friend on the LES and all of a sudden wander across the intersection where I ran that 5k. There are layers and layers of memories hidden in every square inch of New York. I loved it for that. Honestly, I'm a bit homesick for the familiarity of it all. But it was weighing me down. When I went to a conservatory for university, I was committing to a non-traditional life. I told myself that I didn't want to be the person who looked back in ten years and asked "how did I get here". Slowly though, that's who I was becoming. It doesn't matter your occupation. If you continue to live a life void of passion, void of doing the things that truly matter to you, you will always end up looking back asking how your life became so unfulfilling.
I gave myself the opportunity to start over. I was writing the same story over and over again. It was the one where I wake up, grind hard, fight for survival, battle some seriously negative thoughts, make it back to my home and do it all over again. Of course, there were moments and large swaths of joy and love and happy, but overall, I allowed myself to give up the very things that made me feel alive. I promised myself that I would never do that again.
So, I’m writing this little note from Los Angeles. I landed on Friday. I’m still waking up at 4am every morning because my body is on east coast time. Mainly, I like that it’s quite here. The people wave and smile. I’ve met people willing to help me out as I navigate this next chapter of my life and I am finally in a place where I’m ready to receive their guidance and support. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I would be lying if I said that didn’t scare me. It is absolutely terrifying to start over. What keeps me grounded and moving forward is this: I made this choice for me. I didn't make it for a man. I didn't make it for a job. I didn't make it because someone else expected me to. This was all me. That is both the ultimate freedom and the ultimate responsibility. This might not work out. I hope it proves to be the place where I find my heart home, but I can't predict the future. I might have made a horrible mistake by leaving the place and the people I love to start over again. If I did, that is all on me and it brings me such joy to know that I have finally taken back my life. I’m armed with the knowledge I’ve gained from building an incredible life in one of the toughest cities to live. I know what it means to fight and I know what it takes to live. I am terrified. I am ready to discover who it is I can be. Sometimes it takes making a ton of mistakes, breaking down, breaking through, and wiping the slate clean to all of the beauty to unfold.
Next Time on the Blog… Break Downs and Break Throughs