I feel ready to tell the world my story.

But where would I possibly start? It’s so hard for me to imagine my life before getting into Effiji breathwork, or to explain how I felt and operated in the world. It’s almost like I was numb, completely unaware of what I was feeling and how I was existing. I guess that’s why they call this sort of thing an awakening, huh?

I suppose I could say that I was suffering from existential dread before finding the work, but that sounds like I was even aware of how and why I was feeling this way, and I don’t think it’s accurate. I don’t think I was consciously aware that I didn’t have any fucking idea of what I wanted to do, or that the things that I thought I wanted were things that I didn’t want at all, and I was just following suit of the imagined life that had been laid out before me since I was a kid. I was expected to go to college, find a career that I felt passionate about and made enough money to thrive, find a man that I loved to marry, buy a house, have kids (or an absurd number of pets) and live happily ever after. I honestly didn’t even consider there being other paths that were even remotely worthwhile. I thought I had it all figured out — I was doing everything “right”, and at such an early age! I had a small amount of financial help from my parents, but for the most part it was me who had gotten myself to the position I was in. I should have felt so proud, so FULFILLED. My whole life was ahead of me!

And yet, I was so unhappy. I felt trapped, like I couldn’t deviate from the course I had launched myself down. Nothing could make me feel what I thought I should be feeling. I seriously began to wonder if something was wrong with me. I used alcohol, weed, TV, video games, mindlessly scrolling through social media, buying things like crystals and other woo-woo shit to help fill this black hole that was forever expanding inside of me. Each time I adopted a new “thing” to help bandage this hemorrhage, the hole would violently pulse and grow when I yet again I had the dark realization that, no, this didn’t fix me either.

In March 2019, my grandmother passed away suddenly. Her death certificate said it was cardiac arrest. It very well may have been, but we couldn’t ignore the fact that her ex-husband, a man who very effectively drove a strong divide between her and my father (along with the rest of our family), had a history of latching himself on to rich widows. The questioning of what really happened to her only deepened when we found out that his new girlfriend died in the very same bed my grandmother had died in, three months later. I carried a lot of hatred and suspicion of him that year. Admittedly, there’s a part of me that still does.

I was so fucking angry about the situation. But I was most angry that the last time I saw my grandmother, it was only for a few hours, as I was visiting her with my dad and sister, and she and my dad were not on great terms. She spent a lot of time not remembering anything, settling into her nightly drunken oblivious bliss. This wasn’t the woman I grew up loving, the woman who loved me so deeply and unconditionally that it made the rest of my family uncomfortable. I can still hear her calling me her “special, special Sam”, a name that my family still uses to poke fun at me, a name that I had learned to associate with ridicule and self-depreciation. I remember always feeling so embarrassed when she would call me that in front of my brothers, feeling almost guilty that I did or said things that would make her favor me so greatly. I remember not liking the extra attention.

I wish I could have said goodbye. I wish the last time I saw her wasn’t the tense situation that it was. It feels like such a shitty and unfair ending to a lifelong (albeit, distant) relationship. But, it’s the ending that I was given, and some part of me accepts that. That’s all I can manage for right now.

I did not handle this sudden loss well. The pain felt so confusing and layered. Not only was I dealing with the loss of the one person who thought the world of me, I was mourning the loss of opportunity that she and I would have the deep relationship I felt like we could have had. As I type this out now, I wonder if this is just a fantasy — was she even capable of entering a relationship like that with me? The more I think about it, the more I realize that I didn’t really know her. I didn’t really know anybody at that point. I didn’t know myself. That’s such a strange thing to think about — how do you not know yourself? You’re literally with you all the time! And yet, in my 25 years of life, I had a spent a lot of time avoiding really getting to know me. There was (and still is) a lot about myself that I don’t like. I’ve spent so much time lying to myself, trying to sweep these “undesirable” parts of me under the rug, acting like they didn’t exist. I’m such a good liar, I fool myself a lot of the time. Is that delusion? Is delusion just a defense mechanism? I think I have some newfound empathy for pathological liars now.

Just a lady (she/her) who thought she knew what she was doing, only to find she hadn’t even scratched the surface.