Before I left L.A. in 2007, I kept visiting psychics at magic shops around town, asking whether I should move to Austin, Texas or Paris, France. I remember one at the Cauldron in Silver Lake told me it was a toss-up, that I might very well meet a cowboy with horses in L.A. This meant nothing to me as I wasn’t looking for a cowboy and was never that into horses. But I kept going to others, to a seance party thrown by a friend of a friend, to anything that promised answers to this lost feeling I had that had always been part of who I was. I was unsettled, lonely. I lived in an apartment with a kitchen so small I ended up eating out for every meal. I was trying to date someone who wasn’t interested. My friends felt distant; they were moving forward with their lives, settling down with boyfriends and girlfriends, buying houses, being promoted at work. I was stunted and would write about how unhappy I was in my journal or daydream a better life.
I chose Paris. The crepes and croissants were amazing. It was beautiful. But I was still me. Paris was an internal battle with myself.
The September rain hid my tears as I walked from my apartment in the Bastille through the shops and small streets of the Marais, across the Seine, passing behind the Notre Dame, on my way over to the Left Bank and class. I was on a walk that tourists fantasize about and writers make their names romanticizing, a depressed wreck. I remember thinking I’d come all this way to a new life and still hadn’t escaped myself. I felt trapped.
It was what I needed to finally face myself. I got out my yoga mat – always my sanctuary away from destructive thoughts – and began practicing daily to escape my mind at first.
I came out on the other end by the time I left Paris months later. I was still a bit lost, but I returned to the states, and began creating the life I wanted. New city, and a dog, Karma. for the first time, I had a sense of home, of not waking up with anxiety in my stomach, of running from myself.
I was reminded of that all this week after meeting up with some fellow yoga teachers. One of my friends, a writer, was telling us what she knew about astrology – a lot – and we all wanted to ask what she could tell us about ourselves. “What am I like?” I asked her, all anxious to hear. As. If. I. Don’t. Know.
I used to spend so much time hiding from myself. When I’d sit in meditation, I’d get a tickling feeling when I was getting too close to seeing my stuff. I practiced, sitting just a second longer, then another. At some point I realized that I couldn’t go there because I was afraid on a very basic level something was wrong with me. That changed through practice. But I guess old habits of wanting someone else to tell me about me die hard.
The X-Files had it wrong, though. The truth isn’t out there.