Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Happy Anniversary to Me!
“ This woman has fought a thousand battles…
And is still standing.
Has cried a thousand tears…
And is still smiling.
Has been broken, Betrayed,
But she still walks proud.
Laughs loud, lives without fear,
Loves without doubt.
This woman is beautiful,
This woman is humble,
This woman is ME!”
Exactly one year ago today, I embarked on a journey that would forever change my life. My last night in the town that I had lived in for 47 years, I stayed at my parents house. I had sold everything that I owned except for clothing, my computer and a few small personal items. I did manage to sleep that night somehow and got up to take a shower and get ready for my trip. Much to my delight, the shower was not working correctly and my journey was not starting out as I had anticipated. Rusty water was coming out of the showerhead and did not stop. My last shower before travel had literally turned into a “MUD” bath. Not exactly how I had planned to show up to my new life.
Saying goodbye to my parents was one of the most difficult things I had ever done. I had never lived away from them. I was fraught with emotions. Fortunately for me, my living Angels on Earth were with me to take me to the airport, offer me support and encouragement and most of all…love. I can’t tell you the emotions I was feeling as I stepped onto that plane…alone…literally for the first time in my life. You see I had lived a very sheltered life having suffered from severe panic/agoraphobia for most of my adult years. There were times I could not even go to the grocery store for weeks because of my fears. I missed out on a lot in life. I could not travel out of town and my life consisted of a 2-mile radius. Through it all I held my head high and accomplished quite a bit. I was a single mom who purchased her own home, ran and owned a very successful deli and also was Editor of our small town newspaper. I raised an amazing daughter who is just finishing her Masters Degree in Wildlife Education and am blessed with a beautiful granddaughter who is the love of my life.
First stop on my new journey was Ashland, Oregon to visit with my daughter and granddaughter. I stayed with them through Halloween. I got to spend quality time with my granddaughter, visit the redwoods, go to the ocean and see things I had never seen before. On the morning of November 1st it was off to the airport to my new home in Southern California. I was to be staying with a friend until I could get myself settled with a job, apartment etc. Life happens as they say and things do not always turn out the way planned. It turns out that my friend had a very serious drinking problem and was rarely off the couch. In fact, in the beginning, I would sit in her backyard and cry, thinking “what am I doing here?” Her husband worked away and was gone most of the time, unaware of how serious her condition was. I had no vehicle and no job and had no idea where I even was. The idea of her taking me to find jobs, etc. was impossible. She was too far gone. Eventually she filed for divorce and moved away. I was devastated. For her and myself. One Sunday I decided to visit the Church next door to where we lived and totally broke down during the service. I was scared and alone. At the end of the service people came up to me and I blubbered out my fears and not knowing what to do. Those people became my friends and lifted me up. I was not alone anymore. Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want to give hope to those who are scared to follow their dreams. This is how the story began but what happens next is where the dream came true.
Despite what was going on I knew that I was meant to live in CA. I felt it calling to me from the time I visited in 2010. It was time to put on my “Big Girl Panties” if you know what I mean.
I applied for a job within walking distance to where I lived and was happy to have a place to go, meet people and earn some money. As you can imagine, the small amount of money I brought with me was slowly dwindling away. I also joined a morning Boot Camp and told myself that for once in my life I was going to start something and finish it. I attended each and every boot camp and even the extreme challenges. I conquered “Sand Hill” in Malibu and the stairs at Moorpark College. At the end of the 30-day boot camp we were challenged to see how we had improved from our first day testing. I was almost always last in the running part. Little did I know when I went to the Awards Ceremony, I had shaved 4 minutes off my mile run and won an award. After that, working out became my new passion. The boot camps stopped holding the morning sessions and I decided to hold my own. Having lost 25 lbs. I was in the best shape of my life. I became a Health Coach for Herbalife and was recently named “Supervisor”. Helping others get in the best shape of their lives is something that means so much to me. It is a career that gives back.
Through the ups and downs I have conquered my fears. I was forced to “Push” through them. I have climbed mountains. I have traveled more this past year than I did in my entire life. I have been to Arizona, back home to Maine, and Oregon. I have been to Beverly Hills. Not to mention the beaches…Long Beach, Newport Beach, Venice Beach, Santa Monica Beach, Zuma Beach Malibu, Port Hueneme, Mother’s Beach, Point Mugu Beach, Oxnard, Surfer’s Point Ventura, Rincon, Pismo and Santa Cruz!
Each week I am crossing things off my “Bucket List” and the items on my vision board I created in 2010 are coming true! Did I forget to mention the best part?!? I fell in love!!! I found the type of man one could only dream of finding. He supports me in everything I do and is helping me to accomplish my dreams. I am blessed beyond words.
Just yesterday, I was coming back from a morning run and I stopped to say hello to a neighbor just two doors down that I had not met before. When I introduced myself she said, “Heidi, your name is in the cement right here with a handprint.” I looked down and there it was, cemented for life. It was in that moment that I knew…I was here all along.
~Heidi Martin St. Jean