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An exploration of feelings

By Leah EllaPublished about a year ago 7 min read
Photo by Will O on Unsplash

I woke up today with a need to share very intimately, some things that I’ve been holding inside, afraid to look at, feel, and come to terms with. I’ve just had a birthday and suddenly I want to seek meaning again and I want my life to matter. I’m still figuring it out and was reminded by my Aunt, that we all are no matter how green the grass looks on the other side.

I’ve always been a very driven person up until, noticeably so the last few months of 2021. I’ve mentioned it in a couple other articles but now I will try to explain how it felt… It was a very crime filled era (thinking back in history how this time may be perceived) I was working on a very special project for a start-up at the time when the clock struck 7:30pm… There were about 6 people in the store, we were winding down for the day when shots were fired within a very close range. We were inside of a mall and the sneaker store right across from my store was the scene of the crime. We had to stay in the back of our store, sitting on the floor until security would escort us out. I tried to keep as cool as possible, none of us were talking. A couple of the ladies were on twitter and the citizen app looking for updates. We were there confined to a space, some of us perfect strangers, for about two hours before we were allowed to head home.

In the months to follow, I felt a range of emotions, mostly hopelessness and rage. How could people be so selfish, this was a family mall with a kids play area between both stores. How could “these people” be so reckless and heartless? Why was I so unprepared to deal with this? Why didn’t I ever anticipate this happening to me? Then I felt a determination to live my life doing what made me feel happiest because if my life had ended on that day, would I have been… Would I have felt deserving? Accomplished? Like it was worth it?

I didn’t speak for a month after the incident and I also didn’t leave the house because there were shootings happening in malls and shops near by, “follow-home robberies” and it was all very triggering. I kept thinking to myself that I can’t allow someone else to take my life… That’s not how I want to go… Not in an impulsive, meaningless way… No one should loose their life that way…

I’m 2022, I should’ve realized that therapy was what I needed instead I did all that I could to numb these feelings of fear, worry, anxiety, sadness and anger. I took out my anger and frustration on my partner at the time… I just wanted to be alone to process and feel in control of my life again and I didn’t know how to get that feeling back. My partner took it personally, our communication was completely off and so I decided that leaving would be my best option, so I left.

The second half of 2022 was spent trying to rediscover or desperately seek out meaningful connections and experiences that made life feel worth living again. I took some trips, spent time with longtime friends who are like family, actual family, I cat-sat three cats for the first time in my life. My life was on a rose-colored adventure… I felt like I was in a hot air balloon, on a magic carpet ride and never had to worry about it ending, but it did and when it did, I took it hard.

The thing is… Ignoring your feelings is never the answer. Numbing those hard to feel things can only last for so long… There was this underlying expectation that at anytime, my life would be taken away from me if not by some tragic incident, maybe even by myself…

Before my trip to the other side of the world, London England, I remember saying to myself… I hope that this will be the thing to change my life, not knowing that my life was in need of desperate change and that change was needed on the inside.

I had a great time in London and spent time with some very special people who I’m lucky enough to call family. When I returned to LA, “the scene of the crime” so to speak… I could feel a sense of loss, not knowing that it was me. I was loosing myself, meaning that the things I was living for, felt far away, almost out of reach and a tad bit meaningless… It just so happened that I was also loosing my job and apartment in the weeks to follow… Everything I thoroughly enjoyed, my new routine was being taken away like, “you aren’t deserving of this…” This little bit of happiness and hope… Whoever, however the universe conspired to take my life away from me or the things that made it my life, did it out of spite and was punishing me. I felt guilty and I didn’t know why. How dare me have such a great second half of the year… How dare me feel loved and achieve a certain level of happiness… How dare me allow myself to think it would last? My maladaptive thinking is that nothing good lasts… That’s my childhood trauma speaking… This was how I felt.

I was torn not only internally but also literally… I didn’t know where I wanted to live, in which state, with whom, nothing… I felt a blank… I was very worried because here I was feeling things I had never felt before… I was in fight, flight, freeze mode with no where to go, no one to understand me let alone put words to how I was feeling. I had major brain fog and froze… I was stuck… For the first time in my life, I didn’t know what came next. I couldn’t choose, I didn’t know how to feel. It was beyond rationale and I’m a rational person…

In the months to follow, I chose to be sober. I wasn’t eating, I dropped at least 10-15lbs within a month, my acid reflux wouldn’t allow me to even drink wine, I was sleeping a lot during the day (on a friends couch) I was just completely out of it. I wanted to end it but I didn’t know how… I kept thinking to myself, I don’t want it to not work and then everyone know it was an attempt… Or I didn’t want to suffer the consequences of an unsuccessful attempt at ending it all… As if it was the last thing I wanted to fail at… I felt like enough of a failure at that point. Finally I decided to go “home.” To be with family… Some place where I was assured was the best place to be, where leaving didn’t have to be what consumed me anymore… I could actually be reminded of staying and what that felt like… Staying in one place that felt like home… That was the only thing on my mind… I wanted to find it in Cali, but my friends can’t accommodate “this mess” like family can (that’s how I felt) and so I left California.

I forgot that my family is a mess but they’ve accepted it and do not try to fix their messes. They just live with it and allow it to spill over into other messes and it becomes one big mess of sharing at all times… Trying to welcome my mess and add it into the mix was the last thing I wanted to do. I actually wanted clarity. I wanted to understand why certain things were/are the way that they are… How my family or even genetics affect my mental health. Certain ideologies and religious ideals… I needed a clear path before I considered adopting anyone else’s path… I don’t want the enmeshment… I want clarity.

I don’t sleep at night, or at least not for most of it. I sleep for the first quarter of the day… I have therapy to focus on with an actual therapist. I’ve ditched all company and opinions (well meaning or not) I’m fighting for my sanity… My brain seems to work again and I’m still figuring out “what next” for this woman… Yes, I’m a woman now thanks to age, I no longer feel like the word “girl” applies lol

I’m no longer concerned about the woman I used to be… I’m ok parting ways with her. She was a hell of a fighter… Maybe even a freedom fighter… She gave herself her best shot, she explored, she discovered… I still feel very lucky to have experienced and still feel a certain level of freedom of choice. I know that what comes next will be worth me showing up for as a healed individual… Maybe not whole just yet… I would love to allow new people in and new experiences to add to my wholeness… For now, I just want to show up for me and my life, healed. It’s a very worthy process. Thanks for hearing me out and if you ever feel like giving up, I hope what you read here makes you reconsider… You aren’t what happens to you, you live within what you make happen for you so create it, choose it, do it for you.


About the Creator

Leah Ella

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

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    Leah EllaWritten by Leah Ella

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