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Five Months

Lost and Found

By Leah EllaPublished 3 years ago Updated 2 years ago 8 min read
My summer birthday

Five Months ago, I celebrated my birthday, poolside at the Freehand LA and afterwards? Jumped on a plane! My mood? Ready to live! Couped up for almost a year, all by myself in LA, I was ready to see people! I also had a moment of wanting the digital nomad life. I was tired of my own space. First stop? Miami!

High Above the Clouds

I was on the edge of my seat for the entire flight to Miami, but also super grateful for the empty seat between me and the other passenger, despite the flight being packed! There are some perks of flying standby after all. Every time I went out, I accepted the fact that I might get Covid, since no one wore masks in public and it was Swim Week. The crowds were everywhere! That’s the thing about Miami, you’re having too much of a good time to worry about not having a good time!

Fourth of July on Miami Beach

Miami was everything I imagined it to be and much more. It was the perfect balance of work and play. I’ve lived most of my life in Miami, so going back “home” felt like picking up right where I left off and the judge in me wasn’t sure if I liked that feeling… Did I want the four years of living away in Cali to feel like nothing had changed? I felt like a different person but to my friends and social club, I felt the same… They felt the same and I really liked that… I spent way longer than I intended to and the nostalgia started to settle in.

Within the last two days of my two week stay, I tried reconnecting with some of my estranged family members. If you’ve read the article below- A Letter to my Mother, you would understand what I mean by estranged… Unfortunately she wasn’t interested in a reconciliation, well because it wasn’t on her terms. Her messages- short and not sweet, stuck with me and added to my misery once I returned to LA. I felt like a failure. I had such high hopes and good intentions to reach a place of healing with my Mother. Instead, it turned out to be wishful thinking, nothing short of a dream, not based in reality. Reality is much harsher these days, hence, the subtitle- Lost and Found.

Healing Heartbreak

The journey to healing is a personal one, fought with good intentions of integrity that fly out the window the minute you are tested. This became all too real for me, I thought I was ready, somewhat healed, but I was so wrong. I never imagined feeling the way I felt trying to pick up the pieces of my broken heart to feel somewhat whole again. I fell… My world felt shattered… Nothing seemed to matter to me with as much intensity as before my trip to Miami. The heartbreak I had known for my entire childhood returned… I was lost. How could I not matter to my Mother, now, after all I’ve lived through? After all we’ve been through?

My Aunt “colluded” with me and I was able to see my cousins, brother and Grandfather, whom I met for the second time in my life. He was very frail and on dialysis. My Aunt told me stories of him and my Mom being best friends (at her expense)… I totally understood her and her need to treat me as her own despite my Mother’s knowledge or she would’ve forbade her… Are we in the mid-centuries or something? I felt banished from the family all by the word of my Queen Mother haha (give me a break)

Five Months of Lessons

I got back to LA and straight to work… Work became overwhelming as I kept swallowing my trauma and not processing my feelings. I became very insecure and mistrustful of my colleagues. One fateful August day, while working at the mall, gunshots were fired about 10-15 feet away from me. The moment was surreal. My first thoughts were of the children’s playground and how silent it was. Every other moment of the day, you can hear the sounds of children playing just outside the door. It was about 7:15pm, some screams and gasps then nothing. I turned my attention to the customer and invited her to get down in a stooped position as we both tried to guess if those were in fact gunshots… Three gunshots.

Trauma Times Two

In the days to come, I felt anger and despair but what stayed with me was the feeling of fear and sadness. Not just at the inconceivable nature of someone opening fire in a crowded mall but because I somehow found a way to blame myself for not being prepared. I felt naive. Not having the reassurance and closeness of my Mother to console me made me feel worthless. I wanted her to know how scared I was. My new normal felt a lot like living in terror… Still, what I feared most was never reconciling our relationship, before either one of us kicked the bucket, that thought haunted and terrorized me. Now all of a sudden, one trauma was magnified by another. I spent much of September afraid to venture outdoors, almost like I was holding my breath when what I needed was to take a huge breath. I had panic attacks, something unfamiliar to me and my thoughts plagued me day in and day out. When I tried to express myself in words my vocal chords hurt, there was a huge lump in my throat and I couldn’t breathe, I ended up in tears. I woke up with anxiety week after week, until I realized that my reality hadn’t caught up… I was still alive, I still am and so I must keep going, “in the direction of my dreams.”

Day By Day- One

Lesson One was to take things day by day, one day at a time and not become overwhelmed by everything I wanted to and felt like I needed to be doing.

Fear Less- Two

Lesson Two was coming to terms with the fact that the fear is always worse than the reality.

Let Go- Three

Lesson Three was learning to let go of the hurt I was feeling and trying to trust again. Not just trusting the people closest to me or my coworkers or myself, to be honest, but also trusting the opportunities all around me. It’s amazing how a lack of trust and a growing fear can change a persons outlook and entire wellbeing or way of life.


I started becoming unrecognizable to myself. I sought isolation, I wanted the days to go by faster and I wanted to disappear. I fixated on not allowing anyone to take my life but me… I was angry at the person who shot a gun in a mall in spite of the fact that armed robberies happened every week and more and more in the areas surrounding me, it was inescapable. I was spiraling and it was all in my mind.

Purpose- Four

Lesson Four was to replace the fear with passion and purpose. The only thing that could “snap me out of it” was/ is my whole reason for being in LA. So I quit my job of which the burnout was real! Zoom fatigue is a thing and just not having clear boundaries or a work-life balance and reached out to my former (pre-Covid) booking service. I got back on set. There were days where I couldn’t get out of bed, it was a real heavy task for me to face the world… but I focused in on my passion and it took me exactly where I needed to be, I remembered my purpose. Each acting job rocked my world and brought my dreams back to life… I felt alive and mentally stimulated, longing for the next time… Camera crews, lighting, sound, the grips, the set design and wardrobe departments… If I was searching for home again, this was it. I had found my happy place again, which leads me to Lesson Five- Listen to Myself.

Listen To Myself - Five

Your inner voice knows, you’ve just got to trust it. My voice needed to once again become the loudest voice I heard. Listening to myself got me out of an extremist religious group that distorted my reality back then and forced me to not see or believe in myself, my worth or being deserving of any real love or success apart from servitude. The religion my Mom expects me to return to before we can be on speaking terms. When I revert to fear and self-doubt, these feelings reappear. I doubted for a second everything I was and everything I’d ever done, up until that day.

Acceptance- Six

Lesson Six is Acceptance, which has been at the forefront of my new set of core beliefs, having been at the other end of acceptance too many times. I completely forgot to accept my Mother for who she is and who she has always been, not who I want her to be for me. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” - Reinhold Niebuhr


My biggest lesson is to continue believing in myself, silence the self-critic sometimes… I know what makes me feel my best and when I do, I thrive. I’m responsible for my decisions and no one else should decide anything for me… Breaking free from the shackles of guilt and the coercion of self-limiting beliefs, or, learned beliefs that no longer serve me…I’m courageous enough to face my fears and believe in myself... More importantly, I’m hopeful and I’m grateful for every opportunity I’ve been blessed to receive. Once I ask for it and claim it, it’s mine. I’m deserving and I am enough. I’ve also realized that being a “recovering” perfectionist is another form of fear and the need to control what I cannot accept… Even if it’s myself and my flaws… It’s what makes me, me and you, you and what’s more special than that? Embrace the messy imperfections, they’re yours and I doubt you’d want to trade them in for anyone else’s…

The Moral Of The Story

Life is comprised of the many layers we peel away at and live, kind of like an onion, with each layer comes alot of tears. Have you heard of the expression, “grow through it?” Well, it’s much more than just the physical growth that happens before your eyes, it’s the unseen but felt mental fortitude, it becomes a part of us, almost built-in, with each new experience both good and bad. The mental agility to keep going when we swear that we can’t go on any longer living in ‘this or that’ situation… The moral of the story is that I am capable and you are capable. I found Me and I love Me. It’s ok to be lost sometimes, just don’t ever doubt that you will be found and whole again. You can do it! Be thankful for everything that you are today. Keep your dreams alive and if you’re ever feeling down and out, remember that what goes up must come down, and what was lost must be found.


About the Creator

Leah Ella

Caribbean-American(she/her)+Actor+Life Coach student.

Welcome! Get to know me here:

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Comments (1)

  • BECKWERKS2 years ago

    I in my own ways felt like I could relate with the things you were going through. I'm sorry that you are being made to feel how you shared by your mom. My childhood was a nightmare, full of violence, drugs, alcohol, theft, my things taken, sold returned to stores or trader directly with drug dealers for heroin.I knew how to rip off cars and new power tools, the car crusher that would pay cash for the stolen cars, the Mexican dude who paid cash for stolen power tools, the dealers who sold the heroin that I got to watch and learn how to prepare and cook in spoons, how to tie off for veins, how to suck it through cotton injury the syringe and shoot it into the van. And then all l the nodding off, cigarettes burning down to they're fingers or left/dropped burning floors, counter tops, toilets, sinks, chairs, couches just about anything/everything. I know all about all that before I even started kindergarten. I know all about that, about being accused by my dad of things I didn't do and seeing the same happen to my mom, me being whiped several with the belt buckle for falling asleep in the car and peeing in my sleep. My head cracked open for accidentally making a magnet disappear inside the wall heater that my dad got free from a trashed speaker. The magnet was found after I got beat 2 different beatings that night with my head getting cracked open during the first. My mom having her ass beat, black eyes, bloody lips and nose, bruises all over and verbally abused to the max as well. I can't even count how many times the violence got so insanely bad that everything was wrecked and back to my grandparents mom and I went and then moved off to different towns, states, with different relatives and friends that usually I never met prior. It was that many new schools, that many friends gained then lost, that many fights at each new place we went to. It was that many times to get pitched on and made fun of by the other kids because I had hand me downs, thrift store clothes, tuff skins grocery store shoes or trax from k mart shoes... That many times is also how many times the monster that regretfully was my dad, somehow found my mom and I and convinced her that he was going to change and be a good man. That many times of having everything we had destroyed, turned into drugs or alcohol or just left behind in a hurry.. 15 years of that and more that I haven't mentioned. I wanted to kill that monster and promised myself that I would for sure do exactly that when I was older and stronger and he was older and weaker. He was a MONSTER that I never seen lose any fight. Not even when 4 big bad ass dudes prison yoked out with pipes beat him down. The guy got his ass beat bloody and yet he just got more evil and scary l like a monster from Hell and to my disbelief he beat every one of those guys with their own pipes down till they didn't move anymore and were bleeding out. I watched him get in a sheriff's face once saying what are you gonna do about it like he was going to beat him down.. That sheriff jumped in his car and locked the doors to get away from the monster that is my dad.. I wanted to kill him so badly to stop him from beating my mom but I knew that if I failed in any way he would surely lol my mom and I. So I planned out that I would make him pay for all he did after I got older and could kick his ass I thought. I planned to chain his ass up in some of abandoned building in the middle of nowhere and severely torture the hell out of him every day and remind him of every bit of what he did to my mom and I. I figured I would dedicate no more than 6 weeks off my time torturing him to death and end him if he made it that far... Life, life is so dynamic and full l of surprises.. I ended up becoming a dad myself when I was 20 and all about being a good dad and man for my family. One day we I was watching my like mini me being a busy little bee, I realized that he was being shorted a grandpa that he should have had with my dad. I realized I was a grown up at that point and felt hopeful that I could handle my dad if I did find him and he got stupid in any way..... I decided to try to find him, hoping maybe he mellowed with age... I found out that he got stabbed and killed in a bar fight years prior. Several of those years that I was busy plotting out how I was going to torture him to death for the shit he did. That was a unexpected reality to hear and realize. I realized that I used up space in my thoughts on my feelings, in my soul on a monster that was gone already... I don't know what compelled me to write about all that and yet only that here and now but I did and I'm letting it stay. Maybe you or someone else will get something useful from it or maybe not lol... Oh yeah when you talked about the onion it reminded me of something I live by and have told many that I live by. I think of people in my life like layers of an onion. I'm at the core and my closest people I love are inside those first layers with and near me. As the letters go, the people I don't really know or don't care about or just don't like, they are on the outer layers. The ones closest to me there at the core, I will do pretty much anything for to make sure they are ok and kept safe. I would cover for them if needed and In would lie for them if needed unless they pulled off something that I can't accept like raping murdering, molesting or other evil rotten unjustified harm to others.... The outer layers, I won't be eager to do for them or may not be willing to do anything at all if they are outside my onion so to speak...

Leah EllaWritten by Leah Ella

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