When people find out that I moved to the great city of Portland, they usually ask if a job brought me out here. And that’s a fair question. I was pretty much jobless when I moved here, so that was definitely not the right answer.
The reason for the move is not easy, straight-forward, or short. I usually tell people that I wanted a change. And that’s not entirely untrue, but not the complete answer.
But the answer is a hard one for me to face, acknowledge, or speak out loud. And if I do, it usually involves a lot of crying.
The reason I ended up in Portland was because it was a new place to restart my life. It was the place that made me feel like me again. Portland helps me feel light compared to how heavy I have been in the past year & a half. Ever since Oct 2014 really. This is the first few weeks in a long time where I didn’t wrestle with feelings of worthlessness every hour of every day of every week. When I started to want to live again.
When I quit KPMG, I didn’t know how hard of a road I was choosing. How much more darkness I had to get through before I would feel ok.
The hard part of this period in my life was the nights. I had the worst anxiety and too often resorted to sleeping pills. I think there was one month where I had to take a sleeping pill every night to fall asleep. And sometimes the pills would induce me with lucid dreaming… and most of the time the pills would cause more depression the following day. It was a cycle that kept spiraling downward.
I can tell you the exact night where it was the hardest. The peak of my struggle. There were two actually. One was after I got a rejection (by phone) following my final round interviews with Amazon. At that point, I literally gave up. The night following my rejection from Amazon, I literally crawled into my mom’s bed and wept all night long. My mom’s arms around me and rocking me to sleep was the only way I got through that night alive.
I really thought that God was going to give me this amazing job opportunity, and when I didn’t get it, I was at complete loss. To go from an amazing, hard program at a world renowned university to working like a slave for a company that treated me terribly… and then to living at home with my parents, in a place I dreaded. I had no direction, no prospects, and no plan. And my debts were growing. While my will to live was shrinking. I had felt that God had abandoned me. That He no longer cared for me or loved me.
The other night was Christmas night. I was not able to get anyone gifts that year. And that itself was a hard thing for me to swallow. I’ve always been able to financially support myself, but for the first time in a long time, I was growing in debts and in financial trouble. It was hard not to give my friends and family gifts, because gifts are one of the ways I show my love. That night, I was thinking about the year. How difficult it was. How many sins I committed. I was a shell of the passionate & ambitious & hopefully person I used to be. I was a person that let someone else define my worth. I was a person that let a company push me to my limits, physically, mentally. And walked away from that job/company traumatized about my work and abilities. Still unable to forgive a lot of the people that made that year, the hardest. I was a person that started to lose her faith in the God that created her and saved her and healed her. I was on the road to losing my desire for truth, light, and holiness. I was the person that felt like I had no one to turn to in the hardest hours.
That Christmas season I lost hope for good things to happen to me. I saw and believe that they happen to other people, but I no longer believed that it would happen to me. That falling in love and walking down the aisle to commit my life to my best friend was not in my cards… that I won’t be able to raise my kids, or have a satisfying career, or finally feel strong enough to run with endurance and carefreeness. That I won’t be able to truly laugh anymore.
In Portland, that hope comes back to me. Yes, some days are harder than others. And I still struggle with healing from my past. I still struggle to untangle myself from the tight grasp of anxiety and depression, but it’s lessening it’s grasp on my soul. I can laugh and see the good in life again. I can meet people with the hope that I will be able to build up a group of friends here. And I date with the hope that it will lead me to the love of my life. I pray and attend an amazing church that is leading me into the loving arms of my Savior constantly. And I write again. I write about the struggle, but also the lightness and strength that God has given me. I’m fighting my way back to me. And it’s not an instantaneous victory. And I won’t be the exact same person before this dark time, I have more scars on my heart this time. But I feel comfortable in my own skin for the first time since Oct 2014. I am feeling the joy and peace that has been so unattainable in my journey. Even with the rain pouring down outside or the rare sunny days in this amazing city, I feel beautiful, strong, and loved. And I want to live this amazing life. I’m back.
That’s why I made the move to Portland. To come back to me.