The Year I Spent at Home

“Who are we when we are together with no one but ourselves?” 

This essay is a 4-minute read about the magic that arose from the 14 months I spent at my parent's home in New Jersey.  I listened to my 2013 playlist 'hoping' as I edited and crafted the essay. 

What was supposed to be my senior year of college, I spent at home, alone with my parents.  I was allowed to go outside, be with my friends, go to the gym, go to the mall, but my body couldn’t.  It felt like I had mono, a concussion, and a hangover all at the same time. The symptoms persisted longer than any of us expected, and doctors in Providence, New York City, Vermont, and New Jersey couldn’t figure out what it was. I didn’t know how long it would last.  For the first month, every time I would wake up, I would sit up in bed, open my eyes wide and scan the room, hoping for no eye floaters that were crowding my vision to the point where I couldn’t read. 

When I made the hard decision to take a health leave and not go back to school for my senior fall, a lot of my friends asked, “what are you going to do!?” “what hobbies will you pick up!?”  My brain frantically searched for things to tell them because I couldn’t admit that my body was still to weak and tired to do anything. I didn’t know how to articulate that it was hard for me to read a single paragraph with eye floaters in my vision and brain fog that felt like a concussion.  

I love spending time with my parents, so that part was fine.  Seeing my friends continue on with the last “hoorah!” through Snapchat did not feel so fine.  Things that I was used to having as an outlet (running, being very social, playing lacrosse, intellectually stimulating activities at school) were no longer accessible to me. While I wrestled with finding the cause of this strangle illness and a remedy for my body, I simultaneously had to restructure my life.  This is what I picked up:  painting, making Spotify playlists, a love for herbs and whole foods, journaling, meditating, saunas, cold showers, acupuncture, spirituality, juicing, fasting, positive self-talk, energy work, sitting with uncomfortable moments, jumping on my trampoline. From an unfortunate time where I felt moments of depression, anxiety, isolation, and confusion, I learned how to make myself happy.  I found sustainable Cinda-happy-places. 

Virginia Woolf explores how “shocks” force us into awareness.  Both little and big eruptions force us to reflect on our place in the world that we wouldn't have otherwise noticed.  They realign us with our essential nature of being.

Wounds can be vehicles for exploring our purest sense of self, revealing our deepest textures of our heart and soul.  If only we sit with them, open ourselves to the pain without holding back, without blame.

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