“When you truly desire something it has a way of manifesting for you, sometimes not exactly as you expected, but as it should”
My relationship with my sister had begun to come apart as her generosity morphed into resentment as she began to create a different kind of life with her partner. Soon after this, Brett and I found a place of our own and rescued a baby kitten, Machi, who was a healer in disguise and a truly divine gift. Things were seemingly normal until I began to feel very ill about a month before my 20th birthday. Reluctantly I took a pregnancy test to find that again, I was indeed pregnant. I don’t often share this part of my story because I experience tremendous amount of shame and grief surrounding my decisions as a young woman. Abortion is a hard topic in large part because it has been cast into silence. Whilst going through some of the darkest days of my life I was unable to find any literature or account of women brave enough to express their experiences with abortion. This is interesting considering the amount of women who have abortions at some point in their lives.
“The earth was grieving for me, grieving for the child I was, my child, my naïveté, my innocence, my helplessness”
The day of my appointment at the clinic it was pouring rain. Rain so fierce a tree was struck by lightning and caught on fire outside my kitchen window. The earth was grieving for me, grieving for the child I was, my child, my naïveté, my innocence, my helplessness. I sat alone waiting for my appointment.
My second procedure was unlike my first. I did not have the money for a general anesthetic and suffered excruciating pain during the procedure. A pain so great I almost fainted to which the clinician held an alcohol swab to my nose and held my body down. After my procedure I was moved to a small room with other girls to have a cup of apple juice and wait for someone to pick me up.
For two days I felt totally fine. I told everyone who asked I couldn’t believe how great I felt. I was in shock.
“..but in reality I was a desperately lost young girl in need of compassion and guidance”
And then, I crashed. It crept in and just devoured me. I felt so ill I couldn’t get off the couch; I was paranoid, extremely emotional, nauseated, and incapacitated. I could not return to work for almost two weeks and when I did it took a super human strength to get through my shifts. I returned to the clinic because I felt something was truly wrong. After seeing two abortions on my chart I was treated with disrespect and dismissed without much consideration for my emotional suffering. On paper I looked like an irresponsible dumbass, but in reality I was a desperately lost young girl in need of compassion and guidance.
A month or so after this, my lease for my apartment was up, so Brett and I decided to move back to Fullerton, closer to our work. I decided to drop my classes and take time to heal. After seeing my doctor multiple times to no avail, I realized I was having panic attacks and severe anxiety. In my mind this was something that would eventually go away as my heart ached less. I had absolutely no tools to deal with my mental health. Unbeknownst to me at the time, much of the anxiety had to do with my vegan diet combined with severe hormone imbalance. Brett became increasingly depressed as my health worsened and he continued to be helpless and filled with guilt. I remember my dark little apartment, Brett cooking for me, trying to get me to eat anything at all. I remember sitting in my bathtub shivering, feeling like there was no possible way my life could continue if it was going to be as dark and awful as it was. Prior to this, I had no idea what depression felt like. I had no idea how torturous and debilitating anxiety could be. At 20 I felt like my life had been shattered. I had transformed, I felt like I lost everything I associated with me, Veronica.
I began therapy, I started going to yoga at my local gym, cut out caffeine, and went for weekly massages.
I was still, a complete and udder wreck. So, early summer I decided to leave Brett and move back home, with my mother.
After making the decision to return to live with my mother, her boyfriend, and his son in my hometown, I immediately felt a mix of relief and immense guilt. I left Brett with an apartment he couldn’t afford, took our cat child, and abandoned him because the weight of my feelings were literally, crushing me. To this day I wonder if I had had the tools, could I have helped him through his own depression? But you see, therein lies the problem. Healing is a deeply personal endeavor. It can only truly come from the individual’s intention. I think this desire to fix, save, and help can be very damaging to women, yet it is such a common sentiment among us. Women so often find identity in their relationships with others. Our identities as women must reach beyond our services to others and first be of healing service to ourselves. That is what the divine feminine is, and that is what I believe will collectively transform and heal our species.
For the next two years, 2011 and 2012, I continued to commute 45 minutes from my hometown to the restaurant I had transferred to and worked at from the time I initially moved to Orange County. I also maintained a full load at the college in Orange County. This meant I was commuting about 6 days a week, sometimes 7, on one of the busiest freeways in America, literally.
“These topics need support, exposure, and courageous folks telling their stories”
During this time I gained some level of stability back in my life by making the decision to take an anti depressant. This decision without a doubt saved my life. The medication had many side effects. I gained weight, I was always tired, always hungry, but, my anxiety subsided and for the most part, and my depression vanished. My decision to take medication was not taken lightly. I labored with all my heart, examined every angle, swallowed my family’s judgments and made the decision for ME. Like abortion, anti depressants and anti anxiety medication are judged in a way that encourages people, especially women, to write them out of their own story. These topics need support, exposure, and courageous folks telling their stories. Looking back, I just cry for my 20 year old self; feeling like an inadequate yogi for taking medication... Taking the medication may have left me with future health complications, but it also saved my life. Making that decision meant honoring where I was, at that time.
That fall, I began a course at the college, The Mind and Body Connection. I had been getting into Kundalini yoga and coincidentally (if you believe in such things) the woman in the class that I felt drawn to on the first day was a Kundalini yoga teacher. She had moved here from the Czech Republic a few years prior and there was not a single sign in the room that would have indicated this to me, or her, but instantly we connected. Whether it was our shared Czechoslovakian heritage or our intuitive Kundalini connection, I will never know. That semester was like magic to me. I was craving some guidance, an open heart, and someone who wanted to help me; and that is exactly what I got. When you truly desire something it has a way of manifesting for you, sometimes not exactly as you expected, but as it should. Again, “what you need,” will always find you, whether conventionally or not. I don’t believe the universe cares about convention. The love I needed, the attention, the consideration, I received.
“Love that makes your heart swell will heal every cell”
Katerina and I met twice a week outside of class for several months. We met at 129 Yoga, a quaint little Iyengar yoga studio surrounded by bougainvillea and a majestic fertile avocado tree. We connected deeply, we shared our pain, we exchanged gifts, we cried, and we healed. I remember one meditation we did where we stared into the eyes of the other for several minutes. The purpose was to connect and feel compassion. I will never EVER forget the healing power of that meditation; her gentle eyes reflecting the same sentiment toward me that I felt for her, tears streaking our faces. Love that makes your heart swell will heal every cell!
At this time I was still working and going to school most days of the week. I made great money at the restaurant but every weekend I still saw Brett was a struggle on my heart. During the weekdays I spent company with guys from my hometown for pleasure and companionship but never got serious. I did however notice a guy trimming the beloved bougainvillea and doing other gardening at the Yoga studio pretty regularly. He was cute; he had that skateboarder grunge that somehow, just works for me. One day after class, Katerina invited me back to her house for a bowl of homemade soup. When I got to the house, I realized that it was filled with a big European family of 7. The home was Katerina’s mother and father in law’s home… Katerina’s husband, Michael, was the brother of the cute gardener. Thanks universe, I see what you did there!
Naturally, Katerina felt like her brother-in-law might be a match for me. So, in true Katerina fashion,she had me begin to pull Runes and Cards for her deck to see what the Universe had to say about it. I pulled the marriage and family Rune. An entire book of runes, and that is the one I chose. So, we decided to invite David, the cute gardener to Yoga. He obliged.
Part 2 of a 4 Part Series sharing honesty, vulnerability, healing and the birth of Bright Radiance.