10 years and 7 weeks ago today the structure of my life began to crumble when after a series of ever-worsening drunken fights throughout the darkest most drunken and depressed days of my life, my 200lb alcoholic boyfriend flipped over the bed I was lying in, smashed it up then grabbed me and threw me across our bedroom against the wall leaving me with a severe back injury. It was the last time I ever saw him and the end of the most destructive and gnarly relationship I ever had.
Over the next weeks I learned of a commission restructure at work that would translate to me as a £12,000 pay cut and that my 3 best friends in London were all moving away. I had a reunion with very good travelling friend that had come to town and in the middle of our time together, my beloved Nanny Helen (my dad's mum) died. Everything hit me at once and I flew home to Northern Ireland sobbing the whole way.
A week or 2 after nanny's funeral, and ten years ago today I was on the tube to work when we were all suddenly evacuated due to 'power surges'. I was 4 miles or so from work and walked in with hundreds of other Londoners and a strangely excited energy in the air. When I got near my work I saw everything was cordoned off, I had no phone and had no idea what was going on. I ducked under the tapes to get into the shop and was the only one there, the phones were ringing off the hook and I could see people being pulled on stretchers from Russell Square tube station across the street. One of the bombs had been under my work and the other around the corner. It was pretty wild even for me who grew up in Northern Ireland during the 70's and 80's and was familiar with bombs. The closeness of it was so surreal. Eventually I met my colleagues at another branch of the travel agency I worked at, everyone was accounted for and we were all safe. It seemed like the whole of London went to the pub that day and stayed together for hours and hours, eventually walking home later that night.
I knew that day that my life would never be the same again. The culmination of all these events over a 7 week period spelled the end of what my life had been, and the beginning of what it would become. Shortly after, I made my way to a yoga retreat and howled for a week. 6 months later I moved to Thailand and became a yoga teacher. The rest is history. I'm flying back there tomorrow to lead my 6th yoga teacher training and my life bears no resemblance to what it was before.
I have been reflecting quietly on this life anniversary for the past couple of months. I am reminded that even though sometimes things get really fucking bad, a turnaround can still be possible. I remember my sister saying to me 'everything is clearing out to make way for something new' As agonising as everything was, she was totally right.
The lesser known cousin of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is Post Traumatic Growth. Where following awful and traumatic experiences, people change their lives in very positive ways. That's kinda how it turned out for me, although it definitely took me to slam into rock bottom before I woke up. I still make occasional trips to the dark side, life stays interesting like that. And keeps me qualified to hold space for other's transformation, as I'm prone to do.
My heart goes out to everyone who was affected by the bombs that day. I offer up a huge prayer of gratitude that I really am one of the lucky ones. Aho.