Two weeks ago, I quit my job, sold or donated most of my belongings, packed up the rest, and moved out of LA with no definite destination. However, just because I lacked a physical destination didn’t mean I didn’t know where I was going. And it was all based on where I was coming from.
For the past year, I have been barely scraping by, trying to survive in the worst depressive episode of my entire life. Which is really saying something, considering I have struggled with depression for over 15 years. I moved to Los Angeles with an exciting job prospect, a significant social network, and the promise of better weather and a new, improved me. Instead, what I found was a life in a dark, direct sunlight-less apartment where I spent way too many dollars per month to spend way too many hours on my couch absorbing Netflix series. I took a major pay cut for what seemed like a dream job that turned out to be anything but, and despite my extensive social network, I was miserable.
I somehow got it in my mind that I would make it a year. As the months passed, that year felt farther and farther away until suddenly, it wasn’t. I couldn’t figure out what was scarier – surviving in a life that felt like it was never going to end or finding myself at that end without any real direction. I decided it was the former.
So here I find myself, “jobless” and “homeless” but really not lacking in either one of those things. I decided, partially on a whim and partially over the last 15 years, that writing was the one thing I truly loved to do and had been denying myself all of these years. My amazing family has agreed to take me in on month-long bases to put a roof over my head during this time of self exploration. And I have never been happier.
I thought being “less” in all of these capacities – job, health insurance, home, stability, benefits, blah, blah, blah – would make me feel like “less” as well. I thought a time of certain instability would surely bring back the depression demons living deep inside the neuroreceptors of my brain. But that couldn’t be more from the truth. Instead, I found that I am living a life I never thought I could or ever would live. And that, I can say, is the best feeling in the entire world.
I recognize that I am incredibly privileged and lucky to have these safety nets in place for me to take this time to get my feet on or at least hovering above the ground. And I am also realizing that I am incredibly lucky to possess a trait that I originally thought of as a curse – the inability to accept to concept of less than perfect. This “curse” has left me single at 30, living with six figures of student loan debt for a doctoral degree in a field I no longer loved, and a struggle accepting a lifelong mental health battle. This same “curse”, however, has led me away from an unhealthy relationship that no longer served me, caused me to reconsider my life in a profession that felt good but never great, and fostered the strength to walk through the firiest parts of hell and emerge alive, although scathed, on the other side.
And while I know that this is just the beginning and there will be greater battles to fight, I also now know that I am truly, utterly, and unapologetically unstoppable.