Sunday, March 25, 2012

Snowflakes in Seattle

On March 17, 2011, I sat inside the house I thought I'd live in forever but has just signed off to new owners. All of my worldly possessions had been packed, sold or given away. I had a new apartment awaiting me in The Emerald City, but no job and no prospects. My savings account had less money in it than when I was in high school and Wells Fargo had just ripped me off of money I desperately needed.

To say the least, I was terrified. I knew the move to Seattle was the right choice, and it was something I'd wanted for most of my life. But to say I was about to leap out of my comfort zone was an understatement. I sat on my couch, staring out my beautiful bay window at the ugly Wal Mart across the street. When my couch was given away to the neighbor, I sat on the floor and did the same thing.

Early in the afternoon big, fat snowflakes began to fall. They dropped from the clouds and plop onto my car, the yard and the street. They didn't stick, but it sent off a whole new string of worries about the conditions of the pass and maneuvering the moving truck.

Great, I thought, watching the flakes  fall through a scowl. I don't know where we'll be next year, what our lives will be like or how much of this mess we'll still be in, but at least there won't be snow. At least these bullshit winters will be over.

I got excited then, despite my fear. I longed for a fresh start and decided to make a fresh start when it came to who I was as well. I'd been struggling with some traits I didn't like and some bad habits I wanted to change. I set an intention to change certain things about myself and maybe meet new people who reflected the positive qualities I wanted for myself. Moving at the cusp of spring made it even more beautiful… new city, new jobs, new life, new me. No snow.

Exactly one year later, I woke up in my cute little apartment on Alki Beach in the heart of my new life. I managed to drag myself to a morning hot yoga class up the street. I'm no stranger to hot yoga, but I'd never been to this studio. They offered a free class for first timers, something I wasn't about to pass up.

The class was intense. The little room was heated to 95 degrees and the male instructor showed no mercy. It was power yoga and we powered through it. I started sweating almost immediately and was dripping wet within 15 minutes. I love this part of class. It feels like I'm shedding more than water weight. It feels like I'm ridding myself of bad food choices, toxins and even bad habits. Each class is like a mini fresh start.

Halfway through class, I tilted at the waist and lifted my arm toward the sky in a perfect Triangle pose. I looked toward the sky and saw I was positioned exactly below the room's only skylight. And I almost fell over when I saw the big, fat snowflakes falling from the sky. Snow isn't unheard of in Seattle, but it's not common. And it's definitely not common to see big, giant fat flakes on St. Patrick's Day in the city.

"Is it snowing?" asked the woman next to me.

I smiled. "It sure is."

"I've lived in Seattle most of my life, and I've never seen snow like this so late in the year! This is crazy!" remarked our instructor.

Sorry, I thought. Apparently it followed me after all. The irony, the symbolism and the beauty of that moment did not escape me.

The flakes continued to fall, dusting the city in a beautiful white coating before disappearing as quickly as they came. I caught the final few moments of it as I stepped out of the studio, and the flakes felt remarkably refreshing against my skin after being in that scorching room for 90 minutes. I tilted my head to the sky and caught the flakes on my face instead of scowling at them through the window. Instead of wishing them away, I enjoyed them.

Later that afternoon, the sun began to shine beautifully and I walked with my friend down Alki toward our destination of happy hour at a seafood restaurant. As we talked, I took a good look at her (which isn't hard, she's a beautiful girl) and realized she's exactly the kind of person I was hoping to meet. She's got the good qualities I have been trying to cultivate in myself. And some of her "bad habits" are also ones that I share. But, as it turns out, those qualities are not things I am ready to give up like I thought I was last year. And put in perspective, they aren't "bad" at all. Instead of desiring to change them, I've learned to embrace them, just as she has.

We were later joined by other friends I've met this year, from work and life, whom I feel the exact same way about. We celebrated St. Patrick's Day at a Mexican bar together as if we were best friends who hung out every weekend. If I could have looked a year ahead as I sat in my empty house the year before, I know I would have been both pleased and relieved.

Life changes when you move locations. But who you are as a person stays with you. You can't run from problems, and you can't run from who you really are. But that's not a bad thing. It's a blessing. Because odds are, who you are is who you should embrace being. 


Anonymous said...

Wow--amazing about that snow. Beautifully written. Thanks, Jess. :)

Delish Dish in the Kitch! said...

I just adore you. ~ Carm

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