About a year ago today, I found myself on the floor of an empty apartment that I’d just vacated of all my personal effects. I remember being there, the place bare, the shiny hardwood floors and staring blankly at the slate blue wall that I’d painted a year prior. I’d picked that deep blue to bring balance to a home that had pink satiny couches and magazine wallpaper. This Blue seemed to give the room context. And as I started at it then it seemed to give me everything but.
I’d been subleasing my apartment out while I was traveling abroad to “find myself”. I’d backpacked, solo, over 3 continents visiting various countries, living out one of my greatest desires. But that day I stood in front of a wall I didn’t have the energy to paint.
Like several hundreds of people who were using Air BnB in San Francisco and New York I’d gotten caught up in a loop hole in the law that allowed the owners of the building to ask me to leave. I ended up with a settlement out of court but had to agree to leave by a certain day.
I never imagined that I’d be in that predicament with seemingly no place to go and my stuff in storage, yet here I was. Reeling from what seemed to be another blow in a season of blindsided blows and really extreme lows. I felt tired and weathered. I felt embarrassed that my hustle, which at one point was so worthwhile, had come to such a dramatic end that was anything but.
I looked around one more time, taking in all the renovations that I was now leaving behind. Taking in again the place that had been my home, I turned out the lights, closed the door. I had one rolling bag with me. In it I’d packed next to nothing, a few changes of clothes, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a brush. I walked to a local coffee shop. In a couple of hours I would get on a bus to L.A. But As I sat there, bag beside me, feeling truly homeless, I questioned what was life trying to tell me? Why had all the other doors to get new housing been so difficult for me? What had the universe whispered to me and was now shouting? As I sat there, willing tears not to fall and convinced that whoever I called wouldn’t be able to do anything, I just sat. As I did so, I wondered if I’d stayed too long in this chapter and place in my life? Should I have exited this chapter of my life after my travel abroad and not come back? Had I been given a graceful exit and now had to be forced out of that chapter, in order to move to the next? What signs and signals had I missed and where was the freaking guide post?
My Apartment in San Francisco. I decorated and reupholstered the couches myself!
My phone rang, in the midst of my thoughts. It was a large oil and gas company I’d interviewed with. My heart leaped! They were calling to tell me that they loved me, it was a pleasure meeting me, but determined hiring me, an outside consultant, would be out of their budget. There were no negotiations, just a no. I hung up. I put my head in my hands, and audibly said “ok, alright, I’m done.”
I felt isolated. Alone. Confused. Betrayed. All that could go wrong was going wrong and in light of it I was losing more and more fight and with it my spirit and hope for better days ahead.
Some of my ashes…..Unbelievably Human me,
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