This is a little story about how powerful pain can be. It’s about healing and overcoming. I have been reluctant about sharing this story but I figure with everything I do share, that this should be no different. It was a significant part of my life and I worked hard to move forward from it and find the good so here we are.
When I was about 14, I met this boy at school who was a year younger than I. My friends and I would sometimes hang out with him and his friends. We took the bus together after school for a couple years because we lived close to each other. A few of us did actually. When I was 16 and he was 15, we got closer as friends. He had shared with me some of his pains about his mother’s battle with cancer but that she was in remission now. Soon enough, time flew, the thief, and his dear mother has passed away. This was what brought us to our closest point in our friendship and shortly after that, we became a couple. This was the beginning of some of the most beautifully painful days of my life. From glorious high to the depths of despair. From 16 to 21, this guy would break me and put me together again ever so smoothly, always cooly, until one day, he had no such effect. Ultimately, I let go inside, finding myself moving on yet he was still there. I thought this would be my fate. I would always be me + him and all that we had been. But it did not play out like that…
The beginning of the big change.
When I was around 18, I started to feel fed up with the pain. The back and forth, up and down, and emotional stress were just too much. His battle with drugs was getting worse, and our on-again-off-again saga was ruining me. I had spent two years unable to move properly. Every day was so painful and difficult. When the days were good, I came back to life. But with every relapse or indiscretion on his part, I broke again. Literally falling to the floor because I just couldn’t take it. The different girls, the fears, the games, the lies, the fights, the break-ups… but then the make-ups, the moments, the days, the understanding, the forgiveness, the love, the connection… We had it all, in my mind. Yet I still was losing weight. I still found sleep to be a sweet release from being awake most of the time. I would wake up hoping that I had dreamed the pain I used to cry myself to sleep, but it would always come flooding back. Sometimes, I would be at the table with my family and would start crying uncontrollably and would excuse myself. It was just too much sadness. There was a deep depression there and I believe it was a culmination of many years of anxiety. I am sure that given my personality and my experiences at the time, the whole thing played a huge role in bringing me over my breaking point. What happened to me may not have happened to another person. But it happened to me. Nevertheless I was determined to find a way to gain control on my life and on myself. I couldn’t take it anymore. I want to say that it only made me want to kill myself, and sometimes it did. But actually, he made me feel so alive sometimes that I didn’t want to lose that.
The big day
One day, by the grace of all that is good and true in this world, I gathered enough strength to decide that I wanted to try something new. I thought that maybe if I put myself into something that had no associations for me, that I could start over. Something that I did not have in my life so far. Something where I could find my true self. Maybe this way, I would understand what was going on, why this was happening to me, why I was here, and what I needed to do for myself.
One morning, I woke up, rolled out a yoga mat I found in the house, turned on my yoga app and completed my first Sun Salutation. I had no real idea what it was supposed to look like or feel like, having been a ballet dancer for many years before this. I went along with what I was told, watching the app girl complete the movements slowly for me. The next morning, I did the same. Soon enough, I was moving up to different poses and shortly after that was calling them asanas…:) Every morning, I looked forward to those minutes on my mat. I looked forward to the voices from the app. The smell of my mat was so comforting to me I would occasionally tear during my Sun Salutations. Each movement, each breath was mine and it was keeping me safe from the pain I felt. I also started meditating and in time, I was waking up at 4 am every morning to meditate. I would do so for about an hour, just going over my fears and insecurities. I would create a safe space for myself where I could feel the pain that made me sick. But it was ok because I was safe. I had my yoga. Every movement made me stronger and made me feel in control and more confident. Suddenly, I felt like I deserved love. I deserved to give myself the reassurance and protection I never had. I deserved to matter and exist. I was going to build myself up and my life so that I could be who I would have needed in all my times of sorrow.
Eventually, I was attending yoga classes regularly. Two or three times per week, I would wake in the early hours of the morning, carry out my new routine, go to yoga class and keep building my existence. The guy I was talking about earlier was still in the picture. Very much so. But for once, this was something to which he had to access. Heck, this was something to which no one access. Every time I would get hurt, even every time he and I were walking on clouds, I remembered that safe space I created for myself. I remembered that no matter what, I had myself and that space.
The inevitable happened
Sure enough, bless his heart, he got deeper and deeper into drugs. I say bless his heart because he was a sweet and gentle soul. I should have put more emphasis on that earlier. We really did have something special. In fact, he had awoken so much in me. Before bad things were happening, there was a true love. There were promises, hopes, dreams, and so much love. But then things happened. Drugs, abuse, and a lot of pain. I can’t tell you how many times the pain made me sick. One time, he had confessed something to me. I left, was walking to the bus I had to catch to go home, and threw up in the street. I would not throw up again until one of the final events…
After about 5 years of this saga, his addiction getting worse and his episodes closer and closer together, my sweet love was vanishing. His eyes were not the same. His brilliant mind was shutting down and we couldn’t feel each other as we had once been able. We had always been able feel each other, read each other. I did not know if it was that I was moving on and letting go or if he was in fact leaving. I had no idea what was going on. But I knew something was happening and something bad was coming. One day, I got a call that he went absolutely mad on his family and they had to call the police. That answered why I had not heard form him in a while. I tried to talk sense into him and he called the police on me. We were at his house and the police came asking if there were drugs involved and I said nothing. I walked away and apologised to the cops, got into my car, and left. I remember him standing there, watching me drive away. Shortly after that, he was so high one night, that he got into his car and crashed. I once again was wondering why he had not come home that night. He was the one who finally called me. We met that day and it would be the last day I would ever see him. Both brought to our knees in tears and desperations, (no exaggeration), we let each other go for good. I knew he was no longer who I had known and loved. There were whispers and hints of the person I called my soul mate once, but it was not him. Not anymore. He died to me that day and a part of me went with him.
I spent a couple years in a very strange phase, putting all my energy into work, school, and building my first business. I travelled, was working out a much as possible to keep moving, and I actually put yoga and meditation on the back burner. Though it was always part of my life and I would come back to it, I was turning my back on what had once saved me. I was ashamed and afraid to go back. I was afraid to feel anything at all. When I finally took off for my travels, I realised that I had actually moved on. For better or for worse, I had a new life now and I had worked my butt off. I quickly realised that this attitude I had about making my own life and always keeping myself safe WAS my yoga and meditation world. They were just in disguise, just as I had been underneath all my pain. I felt myself coming back to life with every mile, every city, and every moment in various beaches of the ocean washed away what I was afraid to shed on my own. I was not alone anymore. Rather, I had never been, but now I could feel it again. Most of all, because I found myself. What’s more is that I was ready to love again! I was ready to love myself, love my life, and love someone else. I was whole enough that I could enter into a whole new world of love without losing mine.
Needless to say, yoga and meditation are what I live and breath. They are essential parts of my life, challenging me when I need it, but also keeping me safe and consoling me when I need it. To this day, my mat is sacred to me in a way that is unique to me, as it is for any yogi. Yoga is in my every day, my every moment. It’s in my lifestyle, my decisions, my choices. It’s my way of life. It’s my connection to the highest power that exists within me.
Every now and again I think about the story I just told you and I swear I do not get sad. I can certainly remember the sadness and if I focus on it, of course I feel sad. Mostly out of empathy for my younger self. More than anything I have enough room in my heart to remember the love, the happiness, and the blessing that my relationship carried. I am also encouraged and reassured about all that I have gained in my journey. In a way, it was a soulmate. One story. One kind. But every person contributes to your existence; some more than others. I have found that I am my one and only soulmate. I brought myself to me. I also brought myself to my beloved boyfriend Tomas. I cannot imagine life without him. When I think back to when I was sure I could never love again, I can’t help but smile at life’s incredible abundance of grace and love. I can’t help but be humbled by it all and love everything and everyone more. Most of all, I can’t help but love Tomas even more wholly. It’s as though I have a whole new chakra filled with love for him. 🙂
In the end, yoga and meditation did more than save me. They allowed me to be able to save myself.