A year ago today, Oct 6th, 2018, around 10:30 am central time, on a Greyhound bus, near the borders of two countries - the United States of America and Mexico, the trajectory of my life took a drastic turn. My life as I knew was crumbling and all I could do was watch it crumble into pieces.
On this appointed day, I found myself being summoned to a "Govt retreat" (aka Detention Center) hosted by ICE - Immigration and Customs Enforcement.😀That day felt like the death of who I was.
The 40-day experience was traumatic. And there were many lessons and blessings that I experienced while in the detention center, in the desert of New Mexico. I was forced to face myself in a real, no bullshit kind of way. I got real about no longer being invisible in my own life. I also had to search my heart and confess some secrets to loved ones. I gained a new understanding of what love looks like through my family, friends and even so-called strangers.
Being stripped down to a prison jumpsuit, a blanket that was barely long enough to cover me, and having to sleep on a bunk bed in a warehouse-type building, was a shock to my system and brought me to my knees, metaphorically speaking.
I became fully aware of my privilege as a British citizen (and I milked it when I needed to). Yes, I did! I was clear about what I was doing and I used it when needed. It was my "calling card" to holding on to my dignity. The detention centers are designed to strip you of your human dignity. I wasn't going to let them win. There were times I was afraid that I was going to "pop." I had to develop a strategy to make sure I didn't lose my mind. There is nothing as scary as becoming fully aware that, one word, one thought, one encounter, could alter your mental health for the worse. Thankfully, I had the understanding and awareness of what I needed to do to stay sane.
I had no idea how long I was going to be in there, which was a stressful thought, to say the least. I knew that I had to do my best, all things considered, to maintain my mental health with all that I was going and growing through.
40 days and 40 nights later, I was set free. I resurrected! That date in Nov 2018 represented a new journey, a new path, a new territory... It was scary and yet, I felt nervously excited for what's to come.
A year later, I am in a place of deeper gratitude for life and my life. I am grateful for all of those who helped me maintain my sanity while I was in the detention center and the continued support.
One of the things I have learned from this experience is, life is committed to breaking us open... open to live life fully, to connect with another, to love deeply, to become more empathetic, to allow in what we say we want, to know that we are worthy and to know that WE ARE ENOUGH!!
It is also important to say that, there were relationships and things that died because of what I went through, which caused pain. There are times when I still feel the pain and sadness of the loss. What to do? I keep moving forward while being aware of what I feel. Sometimes, I can invite the emotions to sit at the table with me and other times not so willingly. However, they eventually pass because nothing is permanent.
I am stronger. I am wiser. I am grateful for the man I have become. I am grateful that the experience broke my heart open... to experience life with a more heart-centered attitude.
When life breaks you open, stay open. It is the safest place to be. Life has your back. You are Life. Life is you! She knows your heart’s desires. Trust her. Trust yourself!
The experience pulled me into a low place and it has now catapulted me to a new high. A year later, I am not bitter. I am better. I am on a date with destiny!