Letter to 2013

Dear 2013,

Let’s get something out of they way; I approached you with extreme caution. After what your sister, 2012, brought I wasn’t sure if you were the nicer one or if you were planning to pick up where she left off. We met at a challenging time in my life – new city, new job, fresh break up, no friends within 50 miles, and a deep depression and just before you came into my life I had hit (what I hope was) the lowest low I’d ever reached and while searching the internet for “New Years Resolution ideas,” (because surely I wasn’t capable of figuring out what I needed to change on my own) I came across this story;

Chapter 1

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5

I walk down another street.”

After years of walking down many of the same streets, falling in the same holes (or skillfully dodging some,) I was ready for something new. I decided that I wanted us to meet under different circumstances than I’d met the rest of your family – it wasn’t going to be rushing from one party to another or drunk beyond recollection – this time was going to be different, it had to be different. I decided to spend the hours before we met surrounded by a group of people I’d mostly never met before, doing something completely new to me, in a space primed for reflection and rebirth. Our meeting was the beginning of something amazing.

Over the course of the past 364 days you’ve provided me with opportunities to learn about myself in ways that I’d never imagined. See, I lived my life through other people – what others thought of me was one of the greatest shackles on my existence. I’d spent countless hours trying to please those around me, molding myself ‘perfectly’ to be worthy of being in their presence. I was killing my self in hopes of staying alive. You helped me find time to sit still, to listen, to be honest, to truly find out what’s in my soul. What’s in there you ask? Love. Light. Gratitude.

But a word on love – I have spent the better part of my adult life searching for the love of others because really, deep down, I didn’t love myself. I didn’t know how. I hopped from relationship to relationship all ultimately ending (albeit amicably,) and even though I’d committed to walking down another street I still wanted to feel loved by others because I was so scared of learning how to love myself. This year, I’ll admit, I chased ‘love,’ I chased, I chased, I chased, and nothing came. One night when another chase had come up short I remembered something my grandmother told me for years “If you don’t love yourself, then there’s nothing there for anyone to love.” And just like that, I stopped. I stopped chasing, I stopped leading people on, I started to speak the truth, honoring my heart, keeping my soul intact. You’ve taught me the difference between loving friendship, loving community, and loving (intimate) relationship. This lesson, I’ll never forget. So even though I’m single, I am experiencing the deepest loving friendships that I can only hope the rest of the world can experience and a connection to the most loving community that is Sacramento.

As we get ready to part ways and I get ready to meet 2014 (everyone seems really excited to meet him!) here are a few things I hope we can experience together;

  1. Writing. I have a story to tell, thoughts to share, light to shine, and I think 2014 and I can write some inspiring words together
  2. Love. I will continue to deepen my friendships, give a little more, expect a little less, and love without apologies. Now that we’ve made peace with the past, 2014 will help me to cultivate old and new friendships.
  3. Yoga. In 3 weeks I’ll start the journey toward becoming a yoga teacher. There aren’t enough words to describe how complete my yoga practice makes me feel and having the opportunity to share this path with others makes my heart flutter. 2014, can you even chaturanga, bro?
  4. Soulfulness. You and I only scratched the surface of my soul – I know what’s in there, now it’s time to cultivate it, and live each moment from this space.
  5. Happiness. You helped me realize that there’s happiness to be found in every moment and a lesson to be learned in every experience. 2014, let’s continue to make this happiness a reality by committing to being a beacon when times get dark for us and those around us.

2013, I’ll miss you. We had a great run and I’ll never forget you. Because of you I am stronger, smarter, and more powerful than ever before. I’ll have nothing but fond memories for the times we share. See you around.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. curtishagen says:

    Romel! Thanks for being an inspiration of love and light, all the while developing and loving, your self! You have helped me awaken more so, through yoga and meditation (wow, what a journey!), and by simply reflecting on your emanating beauty. You are an angel with an aura of brilliant colors; powerful, indeed, May 2014 bring you streets, paved with gold. Happy new year! Love, Curtis.

  2. Jenny says:

    Thank goodness for chapter 5. Your choice to embark on a new road ended up crossing paths with my road, and the rest is history. So f*cking thankful for our story. I love you and cannot believe when you wrote this you hadn’t started teacher training. You know where you were yesterday? A damn photo shoot for the Zuda teachers. Chapter 5, you f*cking rock..full of so many great stories. I love you. You’re amazing in so many ways.

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