The Long Journey Home Part 1: Unfinished Business
I write this from my sun porch, one of my favorite spots in my one bedroom apartment in Beverly Hills, drinking my emergency earthquake water because I won’t be needing that in Boston - although with global warming you never know! It’s a beautiful sunny Sunday morning and I’m wearing a bathing suit top to soak up the last moments of sunshine before I head to the dreaded New England Winter. Eek! I’m hiding from the chaos that is my last week in LA and all the boxes of stuff that I am trying to pack from my four and half years of being in California, yet I found myself out here in the light unpacking my life.
Before writing new blogs, because there’s so much space in between them, Ha! - I like to look back at what stage I was at when I wrote the last one. While looking, I found my screenplay that I wrote in 2001 after living In LA the last time. It’s an updated version of the Wizard of Oz where Boston is Kansas and California is Oz. It’s a metaphorical journey, through a cross-country trip of chasing dreams, following one heart and finding oneself. I know, right? A huge stretch for me. I thought about making it about 5 years ago but I thought at the time that some of the themes were antiquated; racism, sexism, terrorism, my own lost and found identity. How sad how wrong I was especially with the disbelief, the anxiety and disconnection I am feeling with this upcoming election. In addition to this being another project I never finished.
Speaking of unfinished, I’m surrounded by random assort of mix-matched chairs that never found their way in a closet or in my home. After all this is my favorite spot and this is California so it definitely gets used all year long, but I couldn’t decide if I wanted a little banquet, lounge chairs, a hammock, I had painted old shutters so I could hang plants and herbs that I was going to nurture and grow…. Hahahahaha! It’s hysterical just to write that! …. I had big dreams for this porch. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always had big dreams of living in California. I still have the mini blue license plate with my name that my Dad gave me from his travels from work.
I did not think that this would be life at 45. I have lived lots of different lives, before yoga, I had waitressed for so long that it now has a new name; server. From being a diner wench to 5 star Michelin restaurant, from serving the homeless to billionaires, from being stiffed to receiving a $1000 tip and everywhere in between. I was a bartender, a manager, an after-school teacher, kids basketball coach, dance teacher and nanny. I sold printer cartridges, I answered phones for a record label and a law firm. I was a personal assistant, production assistant, casting assistant and although there have been hundreds more… I. even. had. to. dress. up. as. a. Frosted Cheerio. Yup, I was the last one to arrive for us wannabe-actors at some gig at the crack of dawn at South Station in Boston which is like being in Times Square on New years Eve at midnight. Busiest time filled with thousands of people and I gotta run into a college friend from Brandeis. Yes children that’s what a mini ivy league education can get you… a free bowl of the latest gimmick brand cereal from the Cheerio with skinny legs carrying an oversized spoon. Obviously, that didn’t last long. Yes many different lives, professions, lovers, etc... no one could ever say that my life is boring! Moving makes one do this... unpack your life. Physically, you can't take everthing with you. You have to clean up old baggage, decide what to take with you and what to leave behind. Energetically you have to do it too. Moving from anything, into a new relationship, from one home to the next, from one job to the next. We can do it unconsciously or we can bring it out in the open and do it consciously. What went well? What did I learn about myself? What are some things that I still need or want to define for myself? ANd then the magic... what would that look like if I was living my ideal life? ANd what are some actions steps that are going to take me there??
So here it is bringing this shit up to the surface isn't easy but it's very necessary. I still have things that are leftover in my heart that feel unfinished. It’s not so much the relationship of why I came to California in the first place, that was hard, really hard, extremely hard, hardest of my life BUT that’s easy now. It is more of why I was in LA in the first place and how I still don’t have definite answers as to why I was here and definitive answers as to why I am leaving now. Twenty years ago, I wanted to be a dancer, singer, actress and performer and I thought maybe I would find these answers or closure for this, this time around. Not so much.
The way I feel right now is unsettling. And this a vulnerable place for me to be. I usually don’t share things with the public until after I’ve moved through something. When I teach yoga, I share the things that I’m curious about, things I’m learning, themes that are echoing in my own life but I don’t share about personal stuff until it’s over. I encourage my yoga teacher trainees to refrain from that too. You end up ranting, rattling on, not making any sense of things yet… that’s not what you are there for and I promise this won’t be that. I have no problem sharing, being honest, authentic, if you’ve read my other blogs you’d know that about me by now.
It’s the vulnerability of it all that scares the shit out of me. I don’t have the answers. People’s responses of me leaving LA have been obviously very mixed depending on which side of the country they live. For the most part LA is sad and Boston is Ecstatic. I have heard 10 times from people in LA in the past month since I announced my departure, that they just found me and now I’m leaving… and I can’t say I blame them because I feel the same way. People want answers. Well, you wanna hear it, how I made my final decision, this is one of the things that made me throw in the white flag…
It was a rough week of not feeling well which I’ll get to more in Part 2. My soul sister had another surgery from complications with breast cancer, my other best friend was going through figuring out arrangements from losing her husband in his sleep and my mother’s best friend was losing her last days to cancer. Twenty years ago when I left LA in ’98 it was because I was missing the births of my cousins’ and friends’ children and now it’s because of death and cancer.
I couldn’t go home for the services because they came quicker than I thought and I had already committed to being the Yoga Opening Act for a movie premiere at the Wiltern Theater. Sounds glamorous right? Just wait. I was feeling a reprieve from being sick but I was feeling particularly sad so I went to the beach and walked the boardwalk. Hiding behind tears, feeling lonely for my friends, confusion swarmed my head, heaviness compressed on my heart. I was surrounded by kids, families and people enjoying another beautiful sunny Sunday in LA. At the end of my walk I knew I had I had to pull myself together for the event. So I turned off my slit-wrist-music and turned on some Beyonce and I got a little pace going and I started to run. It felt good. I had a nice pace going, my body wasn’t aching… my lungs were shot from being out of shape but I felt like I was coming alive. I saw the last hill to go up towards my car which the athlete in me strives for and I was feeling good so I turned the corner AND MY ANKLE and the next thing I know I’m on my back. I rolled my left ankle, landed on my right injured knee; the one I’ve had 8 surgeries on; the one that has been really good since doing yoga therapy meditations, yeah that one. It wasn’t good. I couldn’t walk and I didn’t have time to deal so I drove myself home, got myself ready, limping around. Besides the pain, hobbling around on my left side was something that I knew how to do well because I have had so much experience.
I uber-ed instead of driving and got to the event. It was so disorganized. It was nothing what we talked about in emails. I am now introducing the movie but they have no copy for me to say. They put me in the middle of the audience with a mic and a stand instead of on stage with a wireless mic. No big deal right? Well it wouldn’t have been if they had told the 750+ people entering the theatre that there would be yoga, stretch and meditation before the movie. But instead, people are coming to grab seats and drinks! There are bars inside the theater. It was a nightmare. My 15 minutes of fame turned into 15 minutes of shame! At one point, I tapped on the mic and tried the “is this thing on?” Lol! I tried everything. I tried being playful. I tried being sassy. I limped around and tried to get people to participate. It was the people that killed me. I’ll never forget their faces. They looked with such disgust and disdain for me. One guy with a Tim Gunn accent (insert Mr. Roper smile emoji here) told me the mic was bad quality and it was hurting his ears. So I stopped using the mic…so I could tell him to fuck off. Lol!
I returned to my mic stand surrounded by the VIP section which were very gracious and sweet. Not everyone in LA is an awful human being. Lots of people from the back came to the front to participate. There was a moment of stillness for me, almost like a movie in slow motion. It brought me back to 2004 in Hawaii at a yoga teacher training that I was a student in. We had to get up at the front of the room and just look at everybody. There was no talking. You were staring at people and they are looking back at you. It was a very vulnerable place to be in. You felt so raw and open and you couldn’t hide behind anything. If you were in the audience and felt moved to, you got up from your seat and stood right in front of them to show your support for that person. In that moment I was brought back to the hot yoga incubation tent that was totally a fire hazard but was our home for 8 days when I was completely raw, open and couldn't hide and as I looked into these strangers eyes in the theater wondering what to do… and then I saw the people that stood in front of me in 2004, I saw Ossi, Jane, KK, Sid, Jennifer… for that moment I felt safe again. I just completely surrendered. And in that moment nothing really mattered.
There was a particular family from India that I focused eyes with, a Dad, a Mom, an older girl and a younger girl. We all closed out eyes and amidst the chaos, the noise, people’s voices, the whole front of the theater was silent.
I introduced the movie and away I limped into my uber, on the phone with my mama, to take me back to my safe place on my porch in Beverly Hills…
To be continued…