“We have got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”
– D. H. Lawrence
I studied psychology in undergrad. Although I eventually chose to pursue social work for my master’s degree, there was one concept that always stuck with me from Psychology that was mentioned in just about every course I took: tabula rasa.
From Latin to English, tabula rasa translates to a “clean slate.” In the moment we enter this world, we are all tabula rasa. We have not yet been jaded. We have not seen things we cannot forget. We have not yet heard hurtful words that keep us up at night. We have not been betrayed. We have not been hurt. We only know safety. We only know the warmth of our mother’s womb.
Lately I have been looking at pictures from my graduation day in May 2016 (for my MSW). Although in the pictures I was smiling, on the inside I was anything but happy. In fact I was incredibly fearful of what was ahead. In the two months prior to my graduation everything that I thought I knew was solid changed and became rocky ground. My living situation, my relationship status, my career plans… all of them, changed.
If I could go back and tell myself what the next three years would be like, it would sound a little bit like this: life will be challenging, complicated, and incredibly bittersweet, but make no mistake that the lessons you will learn, the things you will go through, and the people you will meet will all be directly connected to your purpose.
So, what happened the last three years?
Living situation: I moved back into my childhood home, in my hometown (Milpitas, CA – in Silicon Valley), with my parents. I moved out a couple of times, but each time I made choices that put me back to square one with mom and dad.
Relationship status: Single, never married. After the relationship I was in ended, I searched all over the Bay Area to find someone to fill the void that my previous relationship left. As a result, I ended up developing an addiction, losing friendships, being terminated from a job, and getting myself into many toxic situations.
Career: I ended up looking for work the bay area where I didn’t previously have any connections (nor did I plan having to find any). The first job I got that I thought paid well, I took. I was terminated from that job a year later due to missed work for prioritizing men over my career. I continued to keep looking for work but none of the jobs I took on seemed to fit.
Meanwhile, my addiction was growing. I could easily talk about my mental health, but when it came to drug and alcohol addiction, I stayed silent and I suffered as a result.
I felt nothing but lack of safety the entire time I have been back in the bay area.
In a twist of fate which I will later detail, I ended up moving back to Sacramento this past month. I have been given a tabula rasa, and I plan on taking full advantage of it. Not everyone gets this chance and I am eternally grateful.
I look forward to sharing more about this journey in upcoming posts.