The day I was proposed to was one of the happiest days of my life. It happened on a trip to New York on July 24, 2015 while visiting family. We made arrangements to meet with my mother and little brother in Central Park. I called to confirm our meeting. As soon as I spoke to her I knew something was wrong.“Elishah, we can’t come.” She excused herself and said her husband couldn’t take her into the city. Sadly I wasn’t surprised. I had traveled all the way from California, yet she couldn’t cross the George Washington bridge to see me.
As we made our way to Central Park we stopped at a food cart to get Kebabs. Simon took out his wallet to pay, then placed his bag behind him, clearly an easy target. I reminded him that we were in New York City and that he should switch the direction of the bag. He looked at me and without saying a word brought the bag in front of him. We crossed the street and as we did Simon said “Why don’t you pick a spot?” As I started scanning a place to sit he began to absently move ahead of me, focusing on an area not quite under a tree. A little annoyed I followed, he clearly had something else on his mind, but so did I. I was busy thinking about how my mother had canceled on us last minute.
“I’m so sorry you have to deal with this, ” I began. He tried to change the subject but I continued “I can’t believe she didn’t come.” He hadn’t touched any of the food.” Aren’t you hungry? You’re not eating.” He shook his head no and asked what I wanted to do the rest of the day. I told him that I wanted to go to a museum and we sat in silence for a few minutes. Maybe he was so disturbed with the situation he had lost his appetite. I know I had. “You know I have this feeling that I don’t want you to be my girlfriend anymore” my heart dropped “Is he breaking up with me? Maybe this is too much for him to handle.” Then he continued “I want you to be my wife.” He reached into his bag and a small black box appeared. It was open and inside was a beautiful ring. He had been trying to propose for some time and I had almost ruined the moment. For the rest of the trip I was floating. I called my mother from the park and told her the good news. She was thrilled.
We returned to LA and after visiting some venues decided to have a destination wedding and get married in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It seemed like the perfect way to spend time with our loved ones, enjoy a vacation, while celebrating our union. As I began to plan the wedding a feeling of loneliness began to creep in. No one told me that wedding planning would be lonely, or that it would bring to light all of my insecurities. That people in my life would have opinions on how I should have my wedding and others would abandon me when I needed them the most. I was bothered by the fact that my mother wasn’t there to help me through the process, something I had dreamed of for so long. Most of my friends thought that I had everything under control, like it was magically taken care of. All we had to do was show up. A few saw how much time I spent planning and coordinating things and only a couple offered to help. No one seemed to really understand the struggles I felt, the things that were coming up for me, but how could they? From the outside I seemed to have it together. I began to close myself off. It was as if I were drowning in my anxiety and to make matters worse I realized how fractured my relationship really was with my mother and the more planning I did the more it became blatantly obvious.
I realized early on that my mother would not be attending the wedding, which was something that deeply saddened me. I would frequently speak to my aunt on the phone and she would try to soothe me but it was only temporary. The old feelings would return and I would feel sad again. I was always in a bad mood. This was suppose to be one of the happiest times of my life yet I was absolutely miserably. My husband to be tried to be supportive, but often times didn’t know how to help. Instead he patiently listened and offered advice when he could. Then there were times where I felt misunderstood and doubt would begin to make its way in. The closer the wedding approached the more it showed on my skin. Concerned I visited a dermatologist “I can prescribe you something, but this is stress related.” I had paid a professional to tell me something I had known all along. Guests began to cancel left and right, some without saying a word. 2 bridesmaids back out 6 weeks before the wedding and that was only a few things that went wrong. I was emotionally spent.
The day of the wedding was bittersweet. I spoke to my mother as I got ready, but felt almost numb to the fact that she wasn’t there. My aunts tried to take my mind off of her absence by dancing and joking around. Something I desperately needed. It was surreal that she wasn’t there despite getting married in the country that she is from. The day was almost perfect, with a few mishaps yet it didn’t matter. That morning I had decided to surrender and remain calm. I said a quick prayer and gave it up to God. There were times throughout the planning that I felt like I wanted to throw in the towel and give up but what kept me going was the immense love I have in my life. With every single doubt or break down I had, Simon remained calm and never got angry. In my worse moments he showered me with unconditional love.
At 18 I rekindled a relationship with my mother’s older sister. Throughout the years she’s stepped into the role of a mother figure and has been one of my biggest cheerleaders. I asked if she would walk me down the isle along with Jim my father figure. Right before the bridal processional song began I turned to Jim and almost started to cry “I can’t believe I’m old enough to get married. Do you remember the conversations we used to have?” in an instant the childhood memories began to flood me. I couldn’t believe how quickly time had passed. It seemed like yesterday that I was 9 years old, engaging in deep conversations with Jim about life. As the music commenced we made our way towards Simon until we reached him. He was beaming.
The wedding was absolutely beautiful. We hugged, laughed and danced the night away with the last guest leaving at 7:30am. The next day my mother wanted me to send pictures. One in particular struck a nerve. She stopped speaking to me a day after the wedding.
I heard from her weeks later on the first day of my honeymoon in Fiji. She sent me a lengthy message with many hurtful words. “I see how much you care about us, please don’t contact me anymore.” She still had the ability to affect me despite being halfway across the world. I spent the next few days inconsolable. I was in one of the most beautiful places on earth and I felt like shit. I knew that if I didn’t make some sort of peace with myself I would never be able to get over the hurt I was experiencing. I tried to leave my feelings aside and enjoy the honeymoon, but it still remained in the back of my mind. I knew I had to drastically change things.
About 3 months after the honeymoon, when I was at my lowest I sought professional help. I didn’t want to continue to let my issues effect my life or my marriage. I was severely depressed and tired of feeling helpless. I needed to feel better. For a few months I saw the therapist weekly. I made sure I walked to the office and got out in nature. She compassionately listened and explained that it was normal that these emotions were coming up, especially during a life altering event such as marriage. She suggested that I begin to mediate and try yoga.
6 months later I walked into my first first Kundalini Yoga class. I remember telling my therapist about my first experience, then a few months later that I was thinking about going into teacher training. “I wish more of my clients realized the benefits of doing yoga. I’m so happy you’re practicing regularly. The connection with your body, mind and soul is so important.”
For a long time I viewed depression as something negative, a feeling that had absolute power over me and would linger for the rest of my life. Now I view it as my mind telling my soul that I need to make a radical change and this radical change lead me to where I am today. I spent 16 months (and more) absorbed by the hurt I was feeling and surprised at all of the things that were coming up. There were moments where I couldn’t see the end, where I was consumed with a desolate feeling, I was tired of feeling like garbage. Then there were times where I thought I was ok, then something would happen that would trigger all of the old feelings and bring me back to darkness. There’s no magical formula, the truth is in order properly heal it takes work. You have to face the darkness before you’re able to see the light, and I promise there’s so much light in you waiting to shine through.
“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” -Francis Bacon
Here are some tools that I’ve used to help me heal:
I Can See Clearly Now
Codependency No More
Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents
Need to speak to a therapist but don’t have time?
What if you could reparent yourself? Try this 8 day workshop through Free and Native.
Something that helped me tremendously was Reiki. This beautiful technique helps heal your body and mind. The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy.
Here’s a beautiful Kundalini Yoga Kriya that can be done for 40 days. It will help balance your chakra’s and elevate your mood.
Are you lacking joy in your life? Try doing this meditation for 40 days. Why 40 days? This will break any negative habits that block you from growing.
Are you planning a wedding or going through a difficult time in your life? Know this difficult moment will pass and with each difficult moment you become a stronger more resilient version of yourself.