Going back to move forward.

I’m currently back where it all started.

However, very much in a place that I’ve never been before. I’ve spent the summer working at a French bakery/café in my hometown, teaching yoga once, maybe twice a week, opting out of being super involved with the local yoga scene. I’ve experienced completely new levels of exhaustion, served coffee to people I went to high school with–with a smile, and have asked, “How would you like your eggs cooked?” about a million times that I often say it in my sleep. At 31, post separation (not even officially divorced yet at that point) I voluntarily moved from the city I loved back to my hometown—-a place I vowed never to come back to for more than a quick visit. I’m here now because I allowed love and fierce trust to lead the way. Here are a handful of the lessons I’ve been dying to share.

You deserve it. All of it.
In the process of officially moving to Brooklyn, NY about a year ago I crossed paths with a really amazing guy in the process. A type of person I was trying really hard not to find –> a partner. I wasn’t looking for any type of relationship but instead nurturing the relationship I had with myself. A process, I know now, that can and will continue no matter if you have a partner or not. Adam and I first met when we were 12 and in the 7th grade. He lived in my hometown for a few short years then moved with his family. I saw him again randomly on my 20th birthday. Then saw him again randomly when I was 30 at a friends wedding. And to make a long, beautiful, epic story short, Adam and I fell quick and deeply hard for one another from afar. He had landed in my hometown again and I now lived in Brooklyn with no plans on when, if ever leaving. As our story was unfolding, I had a really hard time allowing myself to fall in love again. Allowing myself to feel the way I did.  At the base of it, I felt like I didn’t DESERVE it. I didn’t deserve this kind of love.

…because I was getting a divorce and left a marriage
…because I “should” stay single and keep options open and be single for [—–] this amount of time
…because I’ve hurt people in the past
…because this is too good to be true, no one is this awesome
…because women I knew who didn’t have this deserved it more than me

The reasons were endless, and either way I don’t deserve something so pure. Who am I to experience something so real? I fought it. But with these thoughts came the reality of the love we were experiencing together. It WAS this good. It WAS this real. And the question was, who am I NOT to deserve this? After a few months of us, a few short months after I asked him to be my boyfriend (which felt DAMN good), the conversation of living in the same town kept coming to the surface. We were spending our last dollars flying to see one another. Our families couldn’t get enough if us. Our friends loved the two us together and how happy we were making each other. Soon, my joy wasn’t being in NYC anymore. It was when I was with Adam. In person, over the computer, over the phone. I could no longer choose this city over this love. That wouldn’t be following my heart. It would be following the “should” again. I “should” stay here because it sounds and looks better. My mind was fighting my heart but I knew what I wanted. I wanted him. I wanted us. And I deserve us. I deserve love, I deserve joy, and so does he. All of us do. So here I am, back in my hometown discovering what Us looks like.

Ripping the rug out from underneath you is a GOOD thing. 
It’s the BEST thing.
My entire life was different the second I arrived back to Virginia. Not only were the atmosphere, lifestyle, mindset, speed and culture completely different than Brooklyn but also my personal situation. The choice of going from a long distance relationship to moving right in with someone I couldn’t see another day without. From living away from my parents for years and seeing them a few times a year to having them be 10 minutes away again. Teaching anywhere from 10-15 yoga and barre classes a week to teaching one and running around a busy café taking 10,000+ steps in 5-8 hours, refilling coffee pot after coffee pot. A drastic change simply makes you stronger. It teaches you how to adapt in your own way. How to choose what serves and doesn’t. It also teaches you what you need to be you. I miss walking and commuting around the city, so I walk the hills where I live and listen to the podcasts and music that fueled me in the city. I miss my NYC and Charleston tribe so we late night FaceTime, send videos, and call randomly. We continue to support each other. My coffee and breakfast dates are now with my Mom, and I’ve taught yoga to my kindergarten teacher and to Adam’s family. I’ve had moments here that make my heart sing along with moments of confusion and reminders of why I chose not to live here. Who knows what’s next but what I do know, is that I can handle it.

Your journey is unique. Own that shit.
When I first came back here a few months ago, I would go back and forth on being proud to have chosen love to feeling some sort of failure for being back home. Honestly, it was such an annoying toss up. I knew the reasons I came here were very pure and simple. I would have followed Adam anywhere to see that smile every day in person. It just happened to be here for now. But I wasn’t sure what to do here. Teaching full-time here would mean I’d be in my car driving back and forth from town to town to the few studios that exist. I wanted to do something different, to learn a new skill, get one paycheck instead of 3-5 different ones. So I took a job at this cute, local bakery. The first few times I ran into people I knew, or into people I knew once years ago, I would almost feel nervous and anxious. Embarrassed even. Like I had failed at something. But as the summer went on, I quickly felt so proud of where I am in my life. I’ve been through a lot since I left this place years ago and I’m not ashamed about any of it. I’m proud to make your latte and ask you how you want your eggs. I’m stoked I get to meet my mom for breakfast or a movie, that I’ve been able to see and get to know Adam’s family better. And what feels SO GOOD about following my heart instead of my head is that I don’t give a damn about what you think about it. I’m telling you, yeah YOU reading this whether I know you or not, that I could give two shits about what you think about how I’m living my life. And I tell you that with the utmost compassion. I’m telling you this because I hope you can tell me the same thing. That you can choose boldly without fear, that you can love fiercely without worry, and that you can trust your choices without comparing them to others.  

Being back in VA has been challenging but so rewarding. It’s taught us numerous lessons on how we react to things, who we can be for each other, and how our families are the RADDEST people in the world and we are so very lucky. We’ve worked our asses off all summer in order to take a cross country adventure. A trip we’ve talked about since he said YES to being my boyfriend last year. In about a week, we are off to marry my best friend (JD’s getting married!!), to meet and spend time with each other’s friends and family, and to discover areas together we might choose to call home in the future. Keep up with us if you want to via Instagram/Facebook, friends!

xoxo, jojo