Three years ago contracting COVID sent me into the darkest time of my life. For months I spent hours every day trying to hide tears from my family. I felt completely unlovable, empty, and overcome by depression. It was scary to say the least, especially to fall so far from the abundance I felt before we sheltered in place.
One day I cried myself to sleep only to wake up in tears. Depression had stolen my life from me and I wasn’t a functional person - not the partner I wanted to be, the parent, or friend. I was desperate to save myself because even with a community holding me in their hearts, it felt impossible to feel lovable, or loved. I needed to get well so I could be the partner, parent, and friend my loved ones deserve. So I sketched out a plan to save myself.
It was a multifaceted effort - I took up running, I had a therapist, I sat with my Sad and loved it, I pursued pleasure, I joined the circus. But my Kundalini yoga practice was the most potent aspect of my recovery (which continues today).
As part of my meditations I wrote a new mantra for myself: “I am Love. Selfless. Fearless. I am Love.” It couldn’t feel farther from the truth. I was incapable of being Love because I was empty inside; I needed to fill my heart. I was selfish - I wanted someone to do the work for me. I was scared - I didn’t want to be so utterly sad but I was also afraid to Love, afraid my love would hurt the people I bestowed it upon. But I wanted it all to be true. I wanted to feel so much love in my heart, for it to be overflowing and infinite. I wanted to be so abundant and self-sufficient that I could give love with reckless abandon. I wanted to become the embodiment of Love.
I’ve worked hard to claw my way out of depression, to grow into my mantra. Now I am leaving old patterns behind - I’ve shed the daily (sometimes hourly) mantra “I’m not good enough” that was a driving force for everything I did; I have learned new ways of relating to myself and others; and I have accepted my role to heal hearts with unconditional love and compassion. To help me move forward I have decided to change my name.
Is it you? Do you love it? Does it fit? Those are the questions I ask myself before I choose something to wear. I love “Julie” but it isn’t me and it doesn’t fit anymore. A name I’ve liked for many years, Esme, is derived from the old French word esmer, which is the verb “to love.” And so…
My name is Esme. (Pronounced “EZ-may.)
My husband, best friend, joyfriend, and therapist were my most intimate circle of support. In my relationships with them I experienced the deepest love, the most poignant challenges, and exquisite compassion. Other very special people also circled around me and held me with acceptance, encouragement, and patience as I made my journey. It is with heartfelt gratitude for all of these people that I can make this announcement.
Will you please help me with this transition by changing my name in your contacts? And in person we can work together to remember to use it!
Love and light and blessings during this season of new beginnings,