Stranger 64, Day 64 – Meet Chloe, the “One at Peace”

Stranger 64, Day 64 - Meet Chloe

Today’s Stranger is one of the karma students at my yoga student. She’s actually new as a karma student (volunteers some working hours in exchange of free yoga classes). I just met her today, and she was up for being today’s Stranger.

Meet Chloe, 24

Who are you?

“I can answer that in anyway?” Yup!

“Well, I’m Chloe. I moved here 2.5 months ago from San Francisco, California. I’m here today because I started karma student-training. I did the new student special about a month and half ago, and it expired. I just wanted to continue practicing yoga, and it’s free when I become student and just do this — it’s four hours a week, maybe even less. And that’s just working here long-term.”

“Doing that. Moved here just to have a new environment. I’m working in the film industry right now. I’m doing some background and standing-in… photo-doubling right now. I’m still a student, and I’m going back to school to finish up my degree in communications and theater. And I just love life! That’s who I am!” She smiles.

What about life do you love? What wakes you up?

“So earlier this year, I went through a spell of depression again. When you’ve gone through that darkness, not sure if you have before or if you have family and friends who have gone through that thing, you kind of re-evaluate life, and why are you still standing here? What happened? It was a terrible break-up, and I moved back home. What saved me was yoga. That’s what gets me up every morning — the art of meditation. The art of movement. I don’t see anything in life to be sad about now that I’ve gone through depression so many times. It’s just that everyday process of finding that happiness, finding what you appreciate… I can’t even imagine why I was so sad back then.”

How did you find your happiness?

“I was living out in Monterrey with my boyfriend at the time, and things didn’t work out. I moved back home with my parents just to rebuild myself. I went back to therapy. Knew that I wanted to do something active, but I didn’t know what it was — just to get that energy out. Took one yoga class. At first, I hated it. It was too peaceful for me. I wanted something to punch… more aggressive. Couple weeks passed by since I took that first class, and I kept going. I went every day for a week. Actually, my best friend was the one who turned me to it. She was starting teacher’s training around that time, too. I found peace. I found hope again. I found I could love myself again without another person. Without having to rely on other people’s judgments. So it was yoga, and basically hiking and nature. Just being away from what made me so sad. Helped me rebuild myself and love myself, and be happy again.”

When you think about some future relationship, how do you make sure that you don’t get pulled back into relying on another?

“The relationship this year was for quite a long time in my 20s. I think that’s just going to be another bridge I’m going to have to cross and figure out when that happens. I’ve been dating since then, but it’s not like an easy to walk through. It’s an everyday battle whether it be finding someone to date or just be friends with. There’s no easy answers with that. It’s an everyday thing. I work on loving myself everyday. It’s not like I wake up and say I love myself. I have to work through that.”

So you moved back to Atlanta. Is this where your parents live?

“No. I moved around a lot.” She tells me how she’s lived in a northern suburb for six years as a child before moving to California. “So most of my life has been in California. Last place I lived was San Francisco.”

You’re doing some film stuff here. Is that why you came here?

“At home, I was feeling better about myself. Loving myself. Basically, I got to a point where I got very comfortable at the end of the summer. I just didn’t find a calling out there, I guess. Yes, it’s California, and Hollywood there. So living is really high. Traffic… just all these other factors didn’t make me feel like I needed to be in California in that type of place in my life. I do have family that’s still here that are in the film industry, and they said, ‘why not just try it out?'”

“That was September. I was supposed to stay maybe October. Ended up loving it. I moved a lot more of my stuff over here. Shipped my car. Just diving deep into this film industry, and wanting to make it work.”

I tell Chloe that I’m one of the few, the proud, the Native Atlantan. So I offered her what I could do to navigate Atlanta — great barbecue, greatest pizza place, etc.

“I’m still figuring out Atlanta most of the the time. Monday through Friday, I’m on set. Lately, I have been going to the Virginia Highlands. It’s just about doing stuff in Atlanta when i do have the chance. Sometimes in the beginning, I just find myself decompressing — doing laundry, getting rest. Right now, I’m fine!”

She definitely has me as a resource whenever she needs it. I’m like a great Atlanta tour guide.

Looking at where you are today compared to where you were even 10 months ago or even 3-5 years ago. What piece of advice would you give yourself?

“That I come first. That I can’t forget that I need to love myself, and always have hope. That I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, and I didn’t honestly know that word and what love meant until everything happened this year, I guess. Loving yourself isn’t selfish at all. It’s okay to tell people how much you love yourself. It’s okay to show people that you love your body, your spirit, your mind. It’s okay to be vocal. It’s okay to tell people how you feel and not feel ashamed. It’s okay to let people in. It’s okay just to live your life. You don’t necessarily need to follow a set plan. Sometimes, you kind of take each day for what it is and go along with the flow. Yeah…”

What is it that you think is impossible that if someone was to show you the way, that you would believe is possible? (Thanks to Chris, Stranger 63)

She pauses to think.

“Whatever that I feel is impossible right now…” She breathes deeply.

“Since I am from California, a liberal state, right now, this one, especially since this election just happened, I find it kind of impossible for me to kind of understand the conservative side. Sometimes, I find it hard to wake up in the morning, and be like, ‘it’s going to be a better day’. I do live in a household of conservatives, and we’re just not understanding each other — both sides. I guess that’s where I’m stuck right now. How do I inhabit a place or I love the work, and I can’t necessarily feel like I belong? Because I am the minority here. At home, I feel like I see the world. So it’s like two polar opposites right now. Kind of wading through the waters how I’m supposed to feel like I do belong. I don’t want to live in a place where I don’t, you know?”

What would you like to ask tomorrow’s Stranger?

“I just want to ask… do you love yourself? Do you love your life? Do you love what you’re doing? And if you’re not loving yourself or what you’re doing, what can you do?”

After the handshake.

I like how Chloe really found a place for herself… or rather, she found that it’s not only “okay” to love herself, but she should. It’s perhaps a simple thing thinking about it, but so often, we are our own harshest critics. Yet, that criticism doesn’t come with enough constructive criticism and positivity. We’ll laugh that we’re not good at something, and just leave it at that. For Chloe, she battled a tough time earlier this year, and it really put her in position to be happy with herself. Not only that, but she put herself first knowing that she’s the one person she’ll have to hang out with for the rest of her life.

I also liked her answer to Chris’s question from yesterday. It wasn’t so much about the answer as much as she understood it, and answered in a pretty succinct way. I was wondering about Chris question if today’s Stranger would be able to provide an answer, let alone one within our conversation. Though, I do hope that Chloe realizes that despite being a “red state”, there are many, many people who share beliefs much like she does. Plus, the studio is one with a fantastic community of yogis, so I feel she’ll feel she belongs, and is surrounded with people of similar values and interests.

Meet Chloe. No longer a Stranger.

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