28.5.17

You cannot make this sh*t up

Not-so-funny little story: on the night of December 21st, 2014, I celebrated the winter solstice with a girlfriend at a sweet little vegetarian joint in Queens. After dinner and plenty of catching up, we began to scribble on the paper platesettings a list of our most deepest desires. On the darkest night of the year, we were to dig into our hearts for what we most longed for, and in our own way, plant the seeds for our visions.

My list wasn’t that long. At this point in my life, I was clear on what it is that I wanted for myself: independence. Financial independence. Creative independence. But above all, spacial independence, as in, my very own place. I’ve always either lived with my parents, or roommates, or boyfriends. I was so ready to have my own place and any time I closed my eyes I could immediately see what it would look like.

I wanted independence. I wanted it bad.

I’d taken some serious hits that previous year. Bad, bad bruises. I had moved to Philadelphia in 2013, having gotten a gig producing and hosting food events. I liked Philly. It seemed ripe and right, in comparison to NYC, which to me felt over-saturated. I made friends. I found a sweet place to live in West Philly. I began my hustle. And I also met someone (my ultimate demise).

Now, in order for this crazy story to make SOME kind of sense, I’ll share this much: prior to moving to Philadelphia, my life in Brooklyn had pretty much ended: my then live-in boyfriend broke up with me, and that was the string that undid pretty much everything else. So it wasn’t so much that I “moved” to Philly. It was more like I ran away to Philly. Hoping to start a new life. That sort of thing.

This ex-boyfriend had been an architect. I was so into that. I often fantasized about the idea of him designing our future home. I think I even have a Pinterest board and a vision board which I thought would someday help him in the process (I know, cute. Eyeroll.)

So when I was in Philly and I met this new “someone”, it turned out that he too was an architect. I took that as a sign from the Universe. All guards went down. All red flags were ignored. I romanticized the whole thing. And next thing I knew, I got pregnant.

Yup- I got pregnant.

Fuck oh fuck. Everything I had began working on, all the toil and labor and social butterflying, it all went down the toilet along with the vomit of my first trimester sickness. My savings quickly depleted. My new someone, I soon learned, had a substance addiction, and after telling him I was pregnant he pretty much bailed. I hated the idea of raising a child alone. Oh yeah. And I was broke.

I decided to terminate the pregnancy, hands down the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. It’s my biggest contradiction: I regret it with all my heart and at the same time I do not regret it at all.

My heart was broken. My body in shock. I needed time to process it all. I packed up my belongings, left Philadelphia, and moved back with my parents.

It took me well over a year to recover and come back to myself. I ended up working at the Open Center, a holistic-minded place in Manhattan, where I worked producing events for people like Gabrielle Bernstein and Deepak Chopra. It’s also where I found my herbalist teacher, Robin Rose Bennett, and would later go on to connect to the Wild Woman community. I loved working there; it was such a big piece to my healing.

The healing was sweet. I have many incredible memories from there but there is one I will never forget: one afternoon, I was in the kitchen getting my lunch, when a co-worker came in all giddy with joy. He began to tell me all about a doctor’s visit he’d just been on with his wife, and all about the sonogram he’d gotten to see of their tiny little baby. At this point in time my wounds were too fresh; I had not told many people about what had happened and I certainly wasn’t talking about it. But as this man, this soon to be father went on and on about his baby that he so clearly loved, I couldn’t help but break down right there and then.

You know what he said to me?

“Yeah, I know. When I think about all this I get weepy too.”

It was too much. I burst out laughing at his innocent comment and my heart, oh my heart, actually enjoyed the laughter. I laughed for what seem a long time before finally confiding in him the real reason for my laughter. Upon learning about it, he was overly apologetic, whereas I was overly grateful. This sweet man had begun to melt my icy heart once again.

One year later-ish, after lots more laughter, tears, and healing, I was to be sitting across from my friend in that place in Queens writing out my desire list. And like I mentioned, I wanted nothing more than my own place.

But life can be so funny.

Nowhere, and I mean nowhere on my desire list did I write:

-get knocked up (again)

-live with my parents until I figured out what the fuck

-drop into a deep depression for months

-move to Massachusetts

-move into a house with 3 other adults and 2 babies

-drop into a deeper depression

I mean. What the fuck.

Cause that’s exactly what happened.

Now, don’t get me wrong. While I felt depressed for the most part, I still managed to come to the surface and enjoy life. For one, this pregnancy was different. The baby daddy was all about supporting me through the pregnancy, and we were in love. I was teaching and practicing yoga regularly. And I’d never been to Massachusetts but I trusted him when he said it was an amazing place to raise kids. We lived commune-style with truly amazing people. There’s a great community of people here and I landed right smack in the center of it.

But that part of me that had wanted independence stood by the whole time, witnessing and waiting. My life had become too loud for that voice to be heard. And inside, I began to whither.

The crazy part about whithering is that initally, we tend to blame others for it. But when we really get down to it, it’s easy to see how we are the only ones responsible for it.

I ignored that voice for a long time. When I had first gotten pregnant, the voice was impossible to ignore. Literally two days after I had written my desire list, I took a pregnancy test. So while I lay around in agony during my first trimester, it was almost all I could think about. And how unfair it all was. How in God’s green earth would I now be able to have what I wanted? I had suddenly been thrust into the role of mother and provider. And I was still trying to “figure my shit out” while living at my parents house.

It became even more difficult to hear my desires when I moved to Mass, with a huge 8-month baby belly. At the time, my partner and I were engaged, and we shared a home with another family. I embraced my new destiny and dove right in. But alas: the babe was born, the honeymoon period ended, and the engagement broke soonafter. Living in a busy home where I had nowhere to retreat to and escape began wearing on me. But as far as I knew, I was paralyzed. I had no choice but to suck it up. I was far from independent. And the thought of moving weighed heavily on me. Because…

The last thing I wanted was to move again. And especially not with a newborn. I wanted to spare him the process of moving mainly because it had haunted me so long throughout my life. I once counted the number of times I’ve moved since I was a baby: about 20 times. I was so ready to settle, to put my roots down somewhere. Oh yeah, and there was still the fact that I was carless and just-about penniless. And the absolute last thing I wanted was to move back to NYC. So I stay put. And in so doing, I continued to ignore my inner desires. My inner deep craving for independence.

I’ve since learned that when I ignore my desires, it’s only a matter of time before my reality is clouded over by anxiety, depression, and a forgetfulness of self.

I decided to escape the winter (and my situation), and I talked my mom into going to Ecuador for a month with the baby. We had a grand old time, but at night, it was impossible to ignore the anxiety I felt about not wanting to go back to my life in the states. The anxiety of not knowing how to move forward. My trip to Ecuador extended into a month and a half of hustle time in NYC, where I finally took the leap and made the decision to find my own place.

Or as fondly remember it, that is when my full-time job house hunting on craigslist began. And to my wild amazement, I totally hit jackpot. I found the sweetest nook for my babe and I. I’ve spent the entire month settling in and making it home. Feeling myself coming back to myself. Witnessing as other avenues of possibilities open up. Meeting new friends and baby friends for Luca.

And: ok. You CANNOT make this shit up. Luca’s dad will be moving in the building right across from us. As co-parents (a relationship we’ve been carefully cultivating), we often daydreamed of a living situation where we are next to each other but have our own living spaces. And I am stoked to say we have totally manifested it (see pic above).

My desire took long in coming. My path was what it needed to be. And now that I’ve landed somewhere, I am on my knees with hands in prayer in gratitude.

Excited to see what this new chapter will bring.



Welcome:

My name is Mishel Ixchel. I’m Ecuadorian-born &
NYC-bred. Western Mass is currently home, and it's also where I practice + teach the art of
Sacred Self Care.

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