But here I am with a new slate, fresh opportunities and the chance to start anew. You'd think freedom would be exciting but it's actually quite scary. I think what scares me most is the financial aspect of things. I currently have close to no income at the moment (less than $100 a month usually). The thing about owning/starting a business after leaving the cult is: when you're in the cult, you're not allowed to have relationships outside of the cult and when you leave or get kicked out, everyone in the cult is instructed to cut off all contact with you, no matter their connection (whether it be parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends, friends, acquaintances...). Meaning, most ex cult members start off knowing no one and having no one. Trying to network without a network and with me having debilitating health issues is damn near impossible. But onward I push.
This year I had the freedom to celebrate my first New Years in over a decade. As with so much in the cult, celebrating New Years in any capacity was not allowed. Naturally this go 'round I went all out. I live just outside of one of the biggest cities on the East Coast, Charlotte, NC. Even before I got all messed up with that whacko religion, I had never really done a big New Year's Eve bash. Normally it was spent at home, watching NBC and the ball drop in Time Square. A few times I went out on the downtown mall of my hometown but it mainly only consisted of walking around with friends. I had always wanted to get dressed up, go to a nice dinner, go to a show, go dancing and be kissed under the fireworks and confetti at midnight.
I wore my favorite green, flowy dress from BHLDN that nods to old Hollywood along with the most adorable back shoes with tiny heel that not only met my fashion requirements but comfort for my health needs too. I had my hair off to the side, pulled together with a vintage butterfly pin.
For dinner, I made early reservations at a beautiful French restaurant, La Belle Helene, that I had been wanting to go to for over a year. The place is stunning and surpassed all of my expectations with its tiny black and white tile floors, deep teal seats, vintage flair and oversized impressionistic style landscape paintings on the walls. The staff was very kind and gave me a free celebratory drink in honor of my escape, my new life and my first New Years. OH MY GOSH the food there is amazing!!! I had the pork chop with giant onion rings with mustard sauce, creamy, buttery, mashed potatoes, and sautéed apples along with a creme brûlée for dessert.
(pictures above of La Belle Helene were obtained from Google)
Afterward, the Charlotte Symphony put on a fantastic show at the Belk Theater. You guys, the conductor, ______________, is such a riot! His antics and wonderful interaction with the crowd was so much fun! The music was lovely combined with a solo by _____________. I'm also a nut for classic movies and they played many of the songs from My Fair Lady which I sang every word quietly through my beaming smile at my seat. An hour before midnight they cleared the stage to make way for dancing, champagne and dessert hors d'oeuvres. Then, "...5,4,3,2,1, HAPPY NEW YEAR!" and my new life in my new year had officially started! By the end of the night, I was in an immense amount of pain from my chronic health issues that had been made worse by having strep for a week but the entire evening was worth it and a memory I won't soon forget!
2020 is going to be quite a year: my freedom and divorce will be official in February/March, I'm starting a photography/art/education business, my cousin is having a baby girl in the late winter/early spring (they also got engaged on New Year's Eve Day) and I'll be turning 35 in May.
I normally don't really make New Years resolutions because they often end up being lofty promises that can't be kept but this year I deserve to make certain promises and goals for myself. I want to come back to me, I want to be my own person again, with sparkle and joy and confidence, without fear, anxiety or hesitation. I want to start on the road to being independent and not being required to rely solely on others because of my limitations due to my health constraints. In order to do that, I have to start taking care of myself physically by getting back on my diet so that the foods I eat don't feed the Lyme disease, the fibro, the candida and mold along with improving my thyroid, adrenal system and iron levels. I need to slowly start exercising and doing yoga to help build back my strength, release endorphins that will make me feel happier but also boost my immune system and help my mental health. I want to start breathwork again to help stabilize my PSTD/anxiety/depression from years of trauma along with meditation and journaling. I want to start doing proactive self care that isn't just me laying around resting but including things that will propel me forward.
Here's to a new year, a fresh start, a new life and freedom! Cheers everyone!