Deux! Enjoy. All the likes and comments have completely rocked my world the past couple days. I really can’t begin to appreciate those of you who have taken a minute to follow this blog. Some days are better than others, but the wordpress family makes the sun shine for me. Thanks a thousand times over, everybody.
There was no time for me to ask Grace anything else, because she chose that moment to follow suit and picked up a pen and a notepad and made her way to one of the conference rooms of The Lotus for the staff meeting. I sighed and shook my head at the timing of it all before I followed her to the conference room.
The conference rooms at The Lotus weren’t really the conventional sort of rooms with a wooden desk in the middle of the room and chairs around it where people sat and held meetings. These were calm rooms with large fluffy couches, painted a cream color with gauzy white curtains that fell gracefully over large, long windows that looked out over New York. High up on the 14th floor of the building you could almost pretend that you weren’t in the city at all. The windows that faced out of the conference room looked up and down the avenues of New York, with the traffic below and nothing but clouds and blue sky above.
I rested my forehead against the cool glass of one of the windows as I waited for everyone else to file into the room. People took their places on the couches and floor in different parts of the room while I remained at my perch by the window. Grace sat cross-legged on the arm of one couch with her notepad on her knee and her pen tapping morse-code on it. Her eyes looked far off and her full mouth was relaxed in thought. Her left hand twirled and un-twirled a curl that had fallen free from her bun. I couldn’t help but wonder what it was she was thinking about so intensely.
I sat on the wide window sill and forced myself to face the city again. I wasn’t sure why I was so drawn to Grace but I knew that it was ridiculous. I was hardly the person to believe in any kind of love at first sight or anything like that. She hadn’t even tripped my gay-dar, so it didn’t matter either way if I believe in love at first sight because she was probably straight. I chalked it up to the loneliness that got to me every so often and decided that the only cure would be more time alone.
I had spent the last three years alone. I needed that time to try and find myself and decide who it was I was going to be from then on. Three years ago was when Ash happened. Ashley Vern had made me realize that I needed to change my life. She was the reason that I took up yoga and meditation. She was the reason I was working at The Lotus now. She didn’t know any of that, but she was the reason. Ashley Vern was the woman who had dragged me to the brink of death. I was the woman who crawled back battered and broken, but still me. I felt my mouth tighten at the thought of Ashley and I repeated my affirmation to myself. I am safe. I approve of myself.
When I first picked up affirmations I thought they were silly, useless. There was no amount of positive thinking that was going to repair me. I needed serious help. In the years that followed the Volcanic Ash as I liked to call her, I had been on medicine on and off just about everyday. I tried every self destructive thing I could think of. Pills, cutting, burning, piercing, tattoos, you name it, I tried it. Normally, one wouldn’t think of piercings and tattoos as self destructive, but the difference was the intent. I wanted to feel the pain. I wanted to feel the physical pain to forget about the mental and emotional ones. I welcomed it and the euphoric rush of watching my blood flow, knowing that I was the controller of at least that. It was heady and addictive.
After the first month of using affirmations, while I was discontinuing my use of prescription medication, I found that the answer wasn’t going to be as simple as positive thinking, but it was a start. Like it or not, as I began to say positive things to myself, things began to take shape. My brain began to latch onto those positive words when I would spiral out of control. They became the light in the darkest moments of my recovery.
I shook myself out of the memory and the darkness that was beginning to creep in at the edges of my vision. I wasn’t that woman anymore. Well, I was, but I was growing. I was feeling myself more. I was getting to know that there were other sides of me than just the self destructive one. There were other parts of me that mattered. That’s what The Lotus had done for me and Victoria in particular, whose voice was helping to calm the anxiety that was beginning to rise up in my throat.
“Morning, all!” She beamed at the crew and most of us smiled back at her. I chanced a glance at Grace and saw those beautifully large eyes focused on Victoria, but the edges of her mouth were turned down slightly. Whether in concentration or frustration, I couldn’t tell.
The rest of the staff meeting went by in a bit of a haze. I was able to move myself out of the rut brought on by thinking about Ashley, but I couldn’t shake myself free from Grace. I found myself just looking at her for whole portions of the meeting. taking in the way her pen moved quickly over the notepad as she tried to absorb the new details of her job. This was all second nature for me. Ever sine I had begun working at The Lotus, I practically lived there, welcoming any chance to be in the environment that helped me to remember that there was more to life.
Leaning my head back against the window, I let my mind wander. I allowed myself to be unguarded, while everyone listened to Victoria. I put down the walls that I built up high between myself and everyone else, the walls that I knew were there, but wasn’t ready to completely take down yet. I just let myself look at Grace. I had meant what I said about first names. Somehow the person embodied the name so that it took on a definition all it’s own. The person owning the name instead of just something they were called. I knew I would never see Grace the same way again.