Leaving New York City

This is a loaded topic, but here we go.... A year ago today I left my textile design job at Eileen Fisher, a dream company for anyone who works in the fashion industry... or any industry for that matter! 

I was feeling totally stuck running on a hamster wheel: working a full-time job with an hour commute and trying to rev up my quilt making. My mind was restless and in a perpetual toxic way of viewing myself and the world. I was grasping at potential plans for how I could get out of NY or start a new career or go to school for something new. I had this drive to want to save the environment but was at a loss of how I could actually go about it. 

It was a complete low point. I was suffering from severe adult acne, all kinds of nutrient/vitamin deficiencies, adrenal fatigue, and loss of self-confidence. I was terrified of my relationship with my boyfriend ending in shambles, and I was living in constant fear of my next anxiety attack lurking around the corner. Acupuncture, herbs, psychotherapy, naturopathy, yoga nidra - I was up for trying anything that could offer some relief. 

I was totally out of touch with myself: my mind, my body, my spirit, my creativity. 

I moved out of NYC and headed for a two month textile artist residency in Iceland. Iceland was my rehab. It was the pseudo "break from life" that I needed to counteract my stressed state and to begin my healing process. Real OXYGEN, real SPACE, real SILENCE, and real NATURE. It was an opportunity for me to finally slow down, rest, and learn how to sleep through the night again.  

It's hard to describe my transformation post-NYC. There was no single moment of enlightenment or light shining down from heaven experience or anything. Instead it was a very gradual and at times tumultuous process. One that left me feeling low and discouraged often. In Iceland, I was peeling back the layers to locating my inner artist and was being inspired and challenged by my fellow artists around me everyday. I was testing new textile techniques and coming back into my own self again, all while letting myself "take it easy," a new concept for me at the time. The days were getting darker as winter descended, but my inner light was starting to appear again. 

I continued several of the natural and energetic therapies, herbs, and specific diet along with yoga or breath work and meditation every day. A lot of alone time, a lot of introspection, a lot of looking my fears in the face. Month by month I slowly started to see a difference. My acne started to subside!

I worked up the confidence to travel alone for a week in Lisbon, Portugal. It was heaven! I was having FUN again! Yes, fun with myself! Smiling in the sunshine and taking a selfie on a hill top? Yes. (Selfies were not an activity I engaged in during the 2 years prior to this.)

For the next few months I put my ego aside and lived with my younger sister in Atlanta. I continued to rest, make art, walk my parents' dog, and get to know myself, my fears, my flaws, and my inner beauty. 

Leaving New York was the best thing I ever did. I am aware of my privilege in being able to leave relatively easily - I know that it is not so easy for others to be able to do so. I'm thankful for every minute of my 5 + years in NYC and am equally thankful that it pushed me to an existential crisis. Without it, I wouldn't be who I am today. 


I'm starting this journal as a place to share my journey and unpack topics close to me and the Ethel Studio mission. Next post: how to sit on your meditation cushion. Thank you for reading, and stay tuned!