Today, I am happy. I am full. I am free.
I have the same amount of money- and the same amount of debt- I had when I left home. I am just as unemployed now as I was 3 weeks ago. Three weeks ago, I couldn’t sleep. I felt uncertain and edgy and stuck.
Today, I am happy. I am full. I am free.
It has everything to do with taking the step that seemed, three weeks ago, like something I dream about and other people do. It has everything to do with following my gut and my feet to the next right thing. It has everything to do with doing WHATEVER IT TOOK to move in the direction my heart was pulling me.
I knew I could do it. Still, the moment I am in now felt, three weeks ago, like someone else’s story. It felt like something that people who have all their shit together get to experience. I had to hear over and over and OVER again that I could do it, that I was even allowed to do it, before I did it.
I booked a one way flight to Thailand late last year. I didn’t tell anyone. I sat on it for a while, the juiciest and tastiest and scariest secret I ever knew. I didn’t sit on it for long, but for about 24 hours it was mine. A friend who fell in love with Chiang Mai in 2016 invited me to visit her there. I knew I was getting ready to sell my business. I had, two and a half years earlier, sold my home so that I could travel more. I checked the prices on flights to Chiang Mai. $350.
I had $350. Barely, but I had it.
I booked it. One way. Thailand. If I didn't do it RIGHT THEN, I would have talked myself out of it. I would have let myself down so badly. So, I booked it. I was going to Thailand. I wasn’t ready to think about coming back. I just knew I was going. The thought of it felt like popcorn in my brain.
Three months and some days later, here I am.
Happy. Full. Free.
So far, my time here has taught me something I’ve known to be true for a long time but not felt as fully as I feel it now. The truth of this feels grounding, like earth under my feet; a sensation I felt far from three weeks ago.
Everything that has happened in my life, every decision, every move, every relationship, every job, every bit of it has mattered. Nothing is wasted.
Working retail and restaurant hostessing jobs for $8- $10 an hour taught me, no matter what, I can bring in money. It may not be much, but I am capable of hustling for it.
Watching my mother taught me to handle myself confidently and competently- even if I’m in place in the world or my own life where everything feels unfamiliar. I can figure it out. There is always a way.
Traveling with my father taught me to pack light, to always have cash on hand, and to get to know my way around before I do much else. Get to know a place. Don’t be a stranger. The place will not change to fit me- I must fit the place. Smile!
My grandfather, DD, taught me to look up where the world is. It's worth seeing.
Shaving my head taught me to follow an impulse that feels true and right without overthinking it. It taught me that letting go can feel like freedom, not loss.
Falling in love with Jessie Mae taught me to trust my instincts, that nothing is worth giving up what makes you feel loved and respected and known.
Opening, and ultimately releasing, the yoga studio taught me to create and design and invest my soul in something I believe in; and, when it's time, to let go.
Speaking with Rachel’s Challenge taught me to use my voice and presence in a way that matters deeply in the world.
I hear my Gammy in my head often reminding me to talk to Jesus and live below my means. Things are just things, but experiences and memories and laughter are well worth collecting.
My little brother packed his whole life into an Isuzu Rodeo and moved across the country. He teaches me to be brave.
My older brother left his career to work as a background actor in TV and films because it makes him happy. He’s hustled his whole damn life and now he has his time and his life back. He teaches me no job or career is worth losing yourself.
My life long friends, the one I’ve known since we had braces and acne and wore high socks with sandals, they show me how to love well. They teach me how to show up, how to invest when it matters so when you’re far apart you can pick right up where you left off. They teach me how sacred it is to be fully known and understood.
The friends I’ve made in the past year, my Home Church, they show me how to move through transitions of all kinds without losing what really matters. They refuse to let this deeply important circle of love and trust fade away, even when it would be easy to let it. It is not time. The teach me to hold on.
My collaborators in embodiment workshops teach me how to hold and release and feel and know. They teach me to be present, to sit in moments, to feel them fully. They challenge me to bring my best, my most honest contributions to our friendship and our work. Most importantly, they teach me to play. To work and to play and let my work become play.
My yoga teachers and friends remind me to move my body, release stories that aren’t true, and catch myself before I “should” all over myself. And poop. Always make time for a really good poop.
My “brain trust”, to borrow a phrase from Brene Brown, these master teachers and thinkers and writers give me permission over and over again to hone my instincts and trust them. They give me permission to jump. They cheer me on, they remind me over and over that truth is worth speaking, beauty is worth creating, stories are worth telling, simply because they must be told. They insist I use my voice and do work in the world that matters, no matter what.
Travelers I've met along the way teach me there is no such thing as "ideal circumstances". You must simply go.
My Rachel’s Challenge family remind me of my worth and support me when I can’t find my feet. They trust me to do the same for them. I will always be so deeply grateful for this chosen family.
All of it matters. All of it has led me here. To Thailand. On a one way flight. With no real plan, but all the confidence in my being that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
Happy. Full. Free.