A Facebook memory popped up yesterday. It reminded me that 6 years ago on September 19th, I packed up my life in Ontario and took the 14 hour trek to Regina with my mom, Grams & Gramps. This got me thinking of ALL that had happened over the last 6 years: here are my reflections.
With passion in my heart and a yearning for a new chapter in my life, I accepted a job with The Aldo Group to move to Regina and manage Call it Spring. This wasn’t always my dream - but after a year of ups and down in Ontario, I decided this is a dream I could settle for. I wanted to arrive in Regina, kick ass as the new store manager and make my way to the top. I had worked in retail most of my adult life; I loved helping customers, and trying on clothes and dressing mannequins. After all, I studied Fashion Marketing & Management in College. This is what I wanted - I kept convincing myself.
After all the arrangements were made, I packed up the rest of my shoes (so many friggen shoes) and made my way home to Dryden before our long drive out west. I don’t remember a point in my journey to Regina where I thought it wasn’t a good idea. I had gone through a rough break up, drank myself into oblivion, and finally got my shit together enough to incorporate some sort of self care into my life. This was my time - fuck Thunder Bay. Fuck having a broken heart and meaningless sex. I am moving UP in the world…or so I thought.
I remember arriving in Regina with so much excitement - a new beginning. Just what I needed! Although my apartment was incredibly shitty, the people were nice and offered a helping hand where they could. I recall my mom saying “everyone seems so nice here” and I thought the same. It seemed like a kind community of people. I didn’t know it then, but this city was going to change my life forever.
I remember being SO nervous on my first day of work: introducing myself to my team and stepping in as their manager. This was a big deal for me. I had never managed a team before, I didn’t have great experience in this department, but a part of me was incredibly confident in my new role. We continuously won weekly sales challenges, sold shoes like crazy and always had beautiful displays (that was my favourite part!). And then there was my assistant manager; she was sent to me as a challenge and a lesson - that much I know. I didn’t have great skill at dealing with conflict. My way (always has been) is to run away or bow down to it. I had to learn quickly that I was the leader and if I was going to continue to show up in that role, I had to stand tall and not bow down. It was challenging and I lost a few people because of it, but when I stepped further into my power, I felt a sense of strength within me that I hadn’t had before. This was just the beginning.
The team decided we would gather for an evening out together. People invited their friends and we all met at a local pub after work. It was chilly - I remember wearing a knitted cover up over a really tiny dress and walking to the pub was brisk. When I got there, I found the team and the few friends they had invited to come along. I noticed a sad looking guy right away and wondered to myself “why is he so sad”. Turns out - I had just caught a glimpse at my husband and later ex-husband that night. We started talking, hitting it off and later found out that the team I worked with sort of set this up. I remember feeling excited that I found such a responsible and chill guy - after the heart breaker of an asshole I dealt with in Ontario, this new guy was refreshing.
It didn’t take long for me to realize, this could be “it”. I felt safe and secure having Tory in my life. It felt like I could be the adult I had always dreamed of being with him. And then it didn’t take long for me to turn my nose up to retail and decide that I am better than that. Spending time searching and moving through jobs, I received an email one day from the hiring manager of a financial firm. Woah - first a responsible and adult relationship and now a job at a financial firm…this is amazing! I was hired a Freedom 55 Financial in February of 2015, just 7 months before I was getting married. I remember thinking to myself how proud I should be, at only 23 I had a stable job (that had benefits and a pension) and a soon to be husband - this is perfect.
I loved my life - my job, new friends at work, my relationship. Things were great. And then they weren’t. Being an adult so quickly fucking sucks. Bills, moving from apartment to apartment, trying to keep my chin up when old white men at work would call me down. Life seemed really perfect - but under it all, that bright light in me started to dim. At this point, I was continuously making decisions out of fear. Taking a job, out of fear. Marrying a guy, out of fear. Nothing felt like love, fully. It felt like security meant way more to me than true happiness - and I had to suck it up if I wanted to stay secure in this life.
Throughout my time thus far - I had taken in a yoga studio to practice a few times a week. Although, it was intense physical practice, it was still me time away from all the fear. It was my time - to connect with my body, breath deeply and open my heart. Except that it wasn’t. I had selected a yoga studio that was focused on changing the body so it could fit into fucked up, pretzel poses, and I wasn’t able to keep up. I experienced a few injuries while trying to keep fit and tiny enough to bring myself into postures. I was realizing I couldn’t sustain this life of security and stability. I decided to enroll myself in a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training program - I didn’t know then, but this training was going to be the start of something BIG in my life.
For 10, very long months, I studied and practiced, and wanted to quit and then practiced some more. This training was intense. It was asking us to get clear on what we wanted in our hearts and I was just not ready to dig that deep. I remember wanting to walk away a few times, wondering why I was even in the program. Close to the end of the 10 months, my good friend passed away. She had been sick for a long time - and the last time I had visited with her was Christmas of 2015. I remember having to head home and miss training one weekend for her funeral and although I cried my eyes out at the church, I don’t recall ever truly grieving that loss. Denise was one of the most amazing people I knew - with a smile that could light up a whole room. She was funny, and always laughed at my stupid jokes. She was light, and understanding and to me, a teacher of sorts. I don’t think I realized the beauty Denise had inside of her, until she was gone. I don’t know how - but her leaving us, changed things with in me. It was going to take me a few more years to learn that…but she was patient.
I graduated YTT and decided I didn’t want to teach - reminding myself that I took that training only for me. But it wasn’t long before the desire to teach was burning in me. Yoga changed my life, and I wanted to share that love and beauty with the world. A friend and old colleague started working at GoodLife fitness and asked if I would be interested in teaching there. Okay - that felt good. A gym environment (because I was used to that) that wasn’t a snobby studio. Let’s do this. I began teaching weekly at GoodLife in October of 2016 and have taught there ever since. It was a different vibe teaching gym rats how to stretch and breathe but it felt amazing to me. I remember how many times I would show up at GoodLife with tears in my eyes from a fight with my husband and leaving feeling like a brand new person. Yoga was healing for me. And teaching allowed me to share that healing with my whole class.
From YTT, to buying my first house, to starting my first business - 2016-2017 were truly transformational years. But all I can recall from those years were my struggles. My husband and I were not getting along, his drinking was out of control and I was pulling away. My heart was not in that marriage, I had always left one foot out the door because I didn’t want to get hurt. Upon reflection, it doesn’t matter if you have one foot in or both - you’re still going to get hurt. A lesson I am still learning today. Although those years were tough, they were necessary for deep growth. I was still working at the financial firm, still practicing yoga and teaching weekly but it wasn’t long before I started to feel out of place. Finance wasn’t my passion. Being in a marriage halfway wasn’t what I wanted. I’d have to wait a little longer to get out of this fear based life!
2018 was by far the biggest year of my life and my journey in Regina. It was the year I quit my job, left my husband (or he left me, who knows) and fell in love. It was powerful and fucking awful all wrapped up in one. It started with an online course I had signed up for to learn more about reading Tarot Cards. The teacher was someone I followed on YouTube for a while and she reminded me a lot of Denise. Her soft and quirky energy, her laugh and smile. I truly believe that this course is what started me on a new path. The course began in April and I continued to work on it through the summer. It was powerful - almost too powerful for me to grasp. The changes in my life we’re beginning to be too much for me. I remember texting my husband and telling him I wanted to quit my job and read tarot cards and teach yoga. Maybe I could get a job at the crystal store I stop at everyday. I’ll never forget his response (and remember: this was from fear) “how could you do that to us? I want to divorce you if you quit your job”. So, I wasn’t super supported in my decision to leave my secure and painfully rigid life, but I did anyways. I went home that spring to visit my mom and by the time I had returned home I had quit my job, and been hired on at Awarehouse Books part time. Tory wasn’t happy, but I thought he’ll get over it.
I don’t think he did. We spent the entire summer fighting and yelling and then fighting some more. His drinking had gotten even worse and I was wondering how the fuck I could get out of this mess. I loved working at the crystal shop - and I had started teaching multiple times a week an amazing yoga studio. My dream life was unfolding in front of me, but my heart was closing off. Living with someone you resent is incredibly challenging both on your heart and mind. I didn’t know how to leave, so I stayed. And the universe stepped in and helped me out.
My mom was down for my 26th birthday and had noticed a terrible decline in my marriage. It was a rocky weekend to say the least but the way it ended was by far the worst. Tory and my mom had exchanged words about her leaving for a hotel and him not making her feel welcome. This was awful - my birthday and the two people I loved the most were yelling at each other. The weekend ended with Tory packing his bags and heading to his friends house. He said he needed to leave, so he could stop hurting me and get his head on straight. He had plans to come back - but I didn’t. I’ll never forget the way I felt when he left that day - free. It felt so shameful to feel free when your partner leaves, but thats the only word I can use to describe it.
I didn’t have to tip toe around the house, or fear what I said and how it would get taken. I didn’t have to worry about the cat or the dog getting in trouble - it was just me, in our tiny little house, all alone with Emma and Nova. At first, I mourned the loss of my marriage, saying to myself “yet another man left you Krista, poor you”. But it didn’t take me long to use this new found freedom to my advantage. I started feeling moments of happiness between hours of despair and could feel a light enter my heart. It wasn’t that bright light I had my whole life, but it was something. After years of dimming that light, I was free to step back into that version of myself that walked away when I realized being an adult was the end goal. I said to myself, “this divorce is much bigger than you” and convinced myself that my human experience of this loss and separation were worth the good that would come. Each day of my freedom, I felt more and more alive. I felt my heart beginning to open up even though it was broken.
September 16th was a day I won’t forget. I had recently purchase a high vibration (life changing even) crystal from Awarehouse Books. I had been carrying it around with me and feeling its high energy for about a week. And then Sunday evening rolled around. I was lonely and feeling the need to get some of this heaviness out of my body. I decided to turn on a how to dance video on YouTube and found myself fluttering around my living room like a little kid. Dancing like no one was watching, in my pj’s. I had recently added the app Snap Chat on my phone so I could connect with a friend from out of the country and that night I had a new friend request. Leon Pryce wants to be your friend. My stomach fluttered, THE LEON PRYCE? No…it can’t be.
A quick background story: I met Leon at college. We met within the first few months of college and truly, I was in love. In a young, naive way. There’s a longer story there, but that’ll be for another blog. We were in love in college, and it didn’t work out. Too much drinking and drama on my end and a lack of commitment and maturity on his. I didn’t think I would see him again, although we tried our hardest to work it out each time we started talking again. But nothing ever stuck…
And now, we are going to be friends on Snap Chat. This can’t be good - but it was!! I think in that moment, my heart opened up again. With reservation and still a huge amount of fear in there - it opened. We started chatting, and catching up - it had been a long while since we chatted and even longer since we saw each other. Days went on, and this time felt different. There wasn’t the distance between us. There was of course, because he lived in southern Ontario and I was in Regina, but that invisible distance we kept between each other had gone away. Both his heart and mine were finally open enough to see where this could take us.
At this point in our lives, we had known each other for 8 years. It was crazy to think back and reminisce on college and the times we had together and again - this time felt different. I had closed my heart off to this man a long time ago, when I thought all he could do was run away. But now, he is here in front of me and I am not going to let my fear of him running, stop me from embracing this exciting new found relationship. I was planning a trip home, to see my mom and host a Full Moon Circle in Dryden at the end of the month. I was telling Leon about my trip and he jokingly (but also 100% seriously) said, let’s meet in the middle. I was shocked, and again, excited. Just over a month ago, my husband left and I was broken, but this felt like it was helping my heart heal again. Not out of desperation for attention, but by divine guidance this beautiful soul had returned to my life.
When I told my mom about my plans to drive to Marathon Ontario to meet Leon she was not impressed. She wanted me to spend time with the family and not run off with that guy who broke my heart once (or twice). But she couldn’t stop me. Not even my fear and resistance could hold me back. My heart was continuing to open each day and seeing Leon was going to be the cherry on top. As I packed up my car at 6am and left for Marathon, I could feel the butterflies starting. Why was I doing this again? I could get hurt - but fuck it. Love wins, always. Choose love and your heart will be fine. I kept repeating this to myself and still am to this day!
I pulled into our hotel parking lot and saw Leon talking on his cell phone. He was on the line with work, hashing out some details for his upcoming week. He looked so calm and collected and I was ready to pee my pants. Just as I remembered him, stylish, handsome as hell and strong. His deep voice and and warm embrace allowed my guard to come down, a little more, and I felt myself releasing into his love. This was the beginning of our beautiful life together.
Leon has since moved out to Regina, and we currently live together in a beautiful apartment with our pets, Emma and Nova. Each day with Leon, I am reminded that love is always the answer and that he isn’t going to leave. We are both in this to break the cycle of loving and leaving, of staying small and unhappy. This is our time to shine, and I can’t wait to see what the next 6 years has in store for us.