2019 did not get off to that start that I was hoping for on January 1st, as I slept through midnight celebrations at my cousin’s house in Kingston, in preparation for a morning of music, dancing, endless coconut water, and spicy ackee tacos.
Instead of continuing on that high note; my year very quickly took a crash, without my knowledge—spiralling downward into the darkness like the tip of a metal screw twisting itself haphazardly through a piece of wood. Making an uneven hole. Perhaps bringing something together. Perhaps not.
I’ve experienced every type of pain, from the physical to the emotional, in a seemingly incessant barrage of incidents that not only humbled me, but have also changed me fundamentally. Parts of me that I thought had died, re-emerged. And parts of me that I didn’t know I had showed themselves. In so many ways, this year has shown me who I am—but also who I am not. I’ve made decisions I’m not proud of. I’ve hurt people who love me. I’ve hurt myself.
I’ve also healed. I’ve gained new traumas; and I’ve let go of others.
I’ve helped. I’ve heard. I’ve grown so so much.
But it hasn’t been easy.
Behind all my lovely IG pictures in stunning magical places is a real life hue-man being who still battles with depression. A girl who lives 1000s of km away from all her closest friends and family, whose lives are going on without her. What my highlight reel hasn’t shown are the many nights I’ve woken up screaming in pain. The many raw, real conversations I’ve had with loved ones where heavy tears were shed as layers of trauma became unearthed. The children who get me out of bed every morning, but can’t always keep me for the entire day. The confusion. The uncertainty. The disconnection. The imbalance. The financial struggles. The weeks that went by where I didn’t practise because I was in the worst pain of my life. Because I was too lost in the darkness to find my way to my mat. Because of a motorbike accident that left me limping and with an injured wrist. Handstand practise came to a halt. Motivation to meditate or do anything other than things for basic survival had all but disappeared. For months I was lacking sleep. I couldn’t be bothered to eat. I’ve been confused about love. I was underpaid. I’ve missed my family and couldn’t afford to go home for the summer to be there for my mama’s graduation.
That’s the thing about depression. It comes like a thief in the night and before you know it, you’ve lost months of your life.
This year, we have looked each other in the eyes, more times than I care to count. Sometimes I’ve yielded. Sometimes I’ve overcome. All the time, I’ve felt the intensity.
But when I remember to practise gratitude, it helps me see that there are many people who love me and want to help. The accident I had, though traumatic, could’ve been much worse. I can still afford to buy food and live in a beautiful villa with a pool. There are people who never stop checking for me. My school parents and the admin have NEVER stopped showing me my value as a teacher and my God is this school 100000x better than my last. I always walk with the most highs beside me and the universe always has my back. These are the little things that keep me going every day. That help me manifest, when I’m clear enough to see through the smog.
And so, in the end, I was able to go home. I spent the summer healing in so many ways, and sharing quality time with loved ones. I saw my mum walk across the stage at the very top of her class. I saw my brother keep his promise to Daryl to start racing by the time he was 30. I saw my cousin off to play football for a university in another state. I healed a relationship that was a huge catalyst for so many of the things in my life; and I got to experience the community I’ve been missing.
So when I came back to Phuket, and darkness reached for me again; her long, sprawling arms extending eerily from the caves of the underworld, I resisted. I knelt down before her; before my creator, and I made myself small. I shed all the weight I carry that was never mine. And then I looked her in the eye and sent her off.
I had decided, in that moment, that her job here was done. She was no longer welcome.
And then I poured myself into my life’s work. Into my children. Into creating a community. I’ve implemented many changes and worked on bringing the very best version of myself to my classroom every day. I’ve put the phone down when I’m in the presence of a real human. I’ve given myself grace. I’ve taken on responsibilities I could’ve only dreamed of finding. I began writing to the moon again, clearing the space for manifestations. I’ve continued to humble myself, over and over, through it all. And on the days I struggle: I write. I read. I rest. I reach out for a friend. I do my best.
Then I start over again the next day.
Let this post serve as a reminder to check on your strong friends. Check on your weak friends. Check on your distant friends and the friends who seem to have everything going right. What we see online is not reality. It’s curated. There are real people behind these screens, trying their best to work through the overload that is social media and all the blues on the news. Life always goes on, yes, but easier so when we know we are loved and supported. So share more love. Today. Always.