I first conceived this blog post on June 7th, 2016 at 1:23 pm. I know this because, as a visual learner, I took a picture to preserve the thought.
June of last year was, at the time, one of the hardest times of my life. My boyfriend of nearly two years and I broke up suddenly and St. Vincent de Paul, the school I attended and was teaching at, announced it was closing. These two events hit me hard and were completely out of my control. Despite the work I put into our relationship and the extensive work I did to fundraise and market the school, both ended. My life had had a direction, I had a plan, and I was at peace and excited about everything… then, it all shifted.
While there was a severe time of unrest, depression, and anxiety for me, I came out on top.
I seized my unemployment and new relationship status as an opportunity to finally move down to the Jersey Shore. With the help of my cousin I landed two part- time jobs in the arts and teaching — my two biggest passions. My other cousin worked with me so I could rent her beach bungalow for the winter. It was all happening. I would be living a block and a half from the beach, working for ENSPiRiTED Projects and working at a dance studio. Not only that, but I had free time during the day! A luxury no school teacher (that I know of) can boast about.
My life had fallen apart, but I was able to pick up the pieces and create a new masterpiece and master plan.
My mom, my biggest cheerleader, had supported me in immeasurable ways during this time. She understood and supported me taking time out of the classroom. She thought taking this risk was a great idea. I needed to hear that. I needed someone in my corner who understood me, my situation, my dreams, and my desires. She was always there.
As I find myself at another crossroads of life, I wish I could pick up my phone and ask for her advice again, and again, and again.
The reality is, I can’t pick up the phone to call her. I have to pray and meditate on my decisions now. I know her spirit and energy are active and she will guide me to what will best serve me, but it’s been hard to accept that I can’t physically hear her.
And truthfully, my life isn’t in pieces this time… my heart is.
Since my mom entered eternal rest, I have gotten really good with my grief band aids: buying myself Starbucks, shopping for clothes, shopping for others, doodling, dreamstorming, more shopping, watching tv, spending time with people, and so on and so forth… Today I ran out of band aids. These activities aren’t cutting it like they used to just days ago. Today I realized I need to start on the harder stuff; I need to work on my stitches.
I need to do soul work. I need to take the time and steps to ease my grief so I can pray- really pray- and meditate. It has been too painful for me, so I haven’t. I need to pull off the band aids and start on my stitches. I have never been more apprehensive about spiritual betterment.
Feeling this fear reminds me of a quote from a “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” daily rip- off calendar that my mom had. One quote resonated with me so much so that I taped it to the headboard of my bed and it remained there for years. I had just experienced my first break up and was struggling to get over it. (Some things never change.) The quote read, “it’s not what happens to you that hurts you, it’s your response to it that does.” This was a hard pill for me to swallow. There were so many things that were out of my control that were really, really hurting me! But, deep down, I knew this was true. So I kept it.
The lesson is simple, but it’s hard to continually apply it:
No matter what you’re going through, no matter what current hurt you are working to heal, there is some beauty that will come out of your efforts. When your life or heart are in pieces, know that if you work to pull yourself back together, the mold in which your life or heart used to fit in, is gone. You have the opportunity to improve, to forge new dreams and goals in ways you would have never been able to before…
Be brave; give yourself time and space to pray, heal, and prevail.