Inner Work,  Personal Journey

What a Big Life Change Meant for Me

I recently experienced a MAJOR life change. I was let go from my job. It was something that occurred unexpectedly and caused acute stress in me. I had a very rough 24-hours as I digested what had happened. From the moment I realized what was happening (it took a good long moment, mind you) something interesting occurred. Gratitude began to percolate in me (along with a whole lot of other feelings— like sadness, fear, and shame).

Why Gratitude?

I think this happened because I knew that as one door slammed shut in my face that I would open another. I knew that all the deep and painful personal work I’ve put into myself and into my relationships was going to show up in me, for me. I had faith.

Way back in early therapy, I remember telling my therapist that I knew there was something after the abyss and that I’d get there eventually, but I wanted to be there now. I wanted to fast forward. I wanted to time-travel.

Of course, I knew that wasn’t how healing worked. I knew that wasn’t how strength-building worked. I knew it would take time and it would take effort. Ultimately, it took years and literally my blood, sweat and tears.

And so as I was faced with this most recent painful event I was grateful because I finally felt the abyss was behind me.

A Gratitude List On A Horrible Day

That night I wrote up a gratitude list that became focused on survival and resiliency. I’m grateful for…

  • my emotional breakdown in 2010 (somehow I chose life instead of death)
  • hitting a bottom and then getting sober in 2013 (best thing ever)
  • the work that I’ve done with my therapist (I love her so much)
  • the strategies I’ve learned through a tonne of reading (so many teachers in the library)
  • the meaningful relationships I have with friends and family (thank-you thank-you thank-you)
  • my father’s five year battle with cancer and then his death when I was 24 and he was 54
  • the stigma I faced when I was outed as a sex worker and what it did to me and my family
  • the stalking and invasion of privacy I’ve had to deal with as a sex worker
  • my autoimmune disease diagnosis and the weird body stuff I continue to live with because of it
  • the numerous sexual assaults I’ve survived
  • the despair I often feel because once you’ve done sex work few people give you the opportunity to do anything else

I wouldn’t wish my traumas on anyone. I wish they hadn’t happened to me. I wish I hadn’t spent decades shoving them down. Hiding them away. Brushing them off. Thinking others have it worse, so my stuff was inconsequential. I wish I had access to therapy and support earlier.

But I did learn to acknowledge what happened and to treat myself with compassion and gentleness. I sit with it now. Ask it what it needs. Judgment free. Hold it. I’m tender. And I know that this isn’t a once and done kind of thing. It’s a lather, rinse, repeat until my last breath kind of thing.

Good stuff, I see you. Bad stuff, I see you too.

Neither define me, but they do inform who I am. And I’m resilient even when I’m hurt and suffering. Both are my truth.

Thank-you to all of it. You helped me process this most recent experience without numbing out, getting blackout drunk, or hurting my body.

6 Comments

  • Kenneth Rosado

    I discovered you recently. Checked out your “past”. I liked who you sre, as I saw your Instagram posts.

    I cannot imagine your battles, but having so many of my own, I can empathize. Your replies were always kind.

    I don’t know who you were, I like who you’ve presented, and appreciate your open and frank posts. Very brave.

    • Seska Lee

      Thanks, Kenneth! I’ve been publicly sharing for a long time, but I’m glad my blog is still of value to my readers even though my interests have changed. And glad to connect with new people too!

  • Roman

    I like where you say YOU will open up another door. Shows you have control and are willing to step into the next phase of your life.

    A few years ago you posted some New Years quotes that I stuck on my fridge to remind me to be me. Your experiences, good and bad, have built you to be you, and it sounds like you are using those experiences to your advantage and to keep moving ahead!

    Keep on building the great person known as Seska!

  • Simon Cross

    Hiya,

    I just had exactly the same thing about a month ago. Let go after a very long time. I’m finding that it’s important not to lose self-confidence and self-respect, and to re-connect with the small things in your life that bring you intense but unobtrusive happiness.

    Soon I will take a deep breath and get back on the horse, with a new outlook. But first I’ve got to beat the prostate cancer I was just diagnosed with. You have to trust to your strength. Seska, you trusted in yours, and that’s an inspiration.

    • Seska Lee

      Thanks for the kind words. In recent years I’ve noticed what some people call simple pleasures have become the big ones for me. Watching as the wind makes leaves and branches of a tree sway, for example. It really moves me. Wishing you a speedy and uneventful treatment.

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