"ON YOGA & BLOOMING" / JENNIFER / YOGA TEACHER
You could say I've been blooming my whole life, but hasn't everyone? But is it something that you try to embody...every single damn day?
I think the moment I really bloomed was when I realized that if I wanted something, I would be the only one who could achieve it. I wasn't going to have help—financially or mentally. I was all on my own and had to figure it out.
I was 18 when my stepdad kicked me out of the house before my high school graduation. It was Memorial Day Weekend, May 2005.
A few weeks before, I had turned 18 on April 16th and it seemed like I had this new sense of freedom. I remember my dad said I had a curfew until midnight. Wow! Invigorating! That was until I came home at 12:03AM and he wouldn't let me back in the house. He would say, return to wherever you came from. Sometimes I couldn't go back to a friend’s house so I slept in my car until my parents left the house or I went straight to school. I was 18, a senior in high school, and feeling like this was the beginning of something new. I had nothing to lose.
Fast-forward to graduation, I moved in with my aunt temporarily until my VA benefits kicked in which allowed me a monthly stipend to assist with living and college expenses. By November, I had my very own apartment. I always held multiple jobs and seemed to perfect the art of the side hustle for the remainder of my life.
I transferred to the University of California Santa Barbara, joined the Delta Delta Delta sorority and really enjoyed college life. I became a personal assistant to an entrepreneurial couple, assisted at a healthy meal delivery company, and interned at community law office as well as a history museum. I was always doing the most. And soon, I learned that I didn't want to become a lawyer anymore although my path was mostly focused on a pre-law track. I thought I wanted to contribute to nonprofit work but it literally couldn't feed me so I decided to move on to business.
In December of 2011, I joined a start-up that recruited for start-ups in Los Angeles, which was a part time position at first, but I soon made it into my own full time job. I attended so many networking events; I exposed myself to the art of cold calling and outreach. I was hungry, determined, and driven. Funny enough, before I interviewed for the position I saw that they had an outpost in New York City. I kept planting seeds about how I also wanted to live in NYC and how I would love to visit and be a part of the team. After many late nights, hard work, and not being able to always go out with friends, I was awarded all expenses relocation package to live and work in New York City. I had a month to figure it out, so I said goodbye to my roommate, called my mom, and told her I was moving to New York.
I haven't looked back to California since. I was 25 when I moved to the big city with my sweet dog, a dream of mine fulfilled since my first visit as a child.
Since then, I was laid off, worked for two shitty bosses, and now I'm back in startup life. For a bit, I had really bad relationships and partied too much. But now, I have started a blog, A Lite Bite, and established a steady yoga practice, that led me to my community and to yoga teacher training which truly provided me with a new set of tools and perspective that I never thought possible. They say in New York City you're always looking for the perfect apartment, job, and partner. I'm turning 30 in a week, and I think things finally make sense. I've always been excited to find that enlightenment in the art of contentment. I finally think I'm here.
But what I love about yoga is the constant state of learning and growing. Stagnation will not get you anywhere and every single day you should be growing—whether it's through the way you treat others, checking your ego, or revising your routine. It's important to always try to be better—but remember that you're human, imperfect and that's okay. I've learned to know what I really enjoy, how to say 'No', and to stand up for myself. I've never felt so me in my entire life.