The answer isn't always what we thought it would be. It often won't be what we want it to be. Still, there is always an answer. Sometimes you just have to wait.
It will be two years in November since I was silenced. Most people reading this blog (if anyone is reading this blog) won't even understand what that means. I am rarely silent...and I live in a country where speech is free and women have equal rights to men. I am not oppressed, nor have I ever been. Still, almost two years ago in my small, very fortunate and free world, a piece of me was silenced. It shook me to my core, it hurt my heart and it questioned my strength. And just like with any physical wound, this blow left scars.
If you don't know the background - here are the Cliffs Notes. In October of 2013, my business, The Energy Barre, had grown enough to take the risk of leaving a safe space and taking on my very first commercial lease. I had no business signing a commercial lease without an attorney reviewing it...but I am impulsive and I operate on faith. I signed a lease for a gorgeous, single room studio space on the fourth floor of a big brick building that sits in the very center of Stoneham. Sometime later we entered into a new lease agreement taking over the rest of the fourth floor. Again, impulse and faith. The studio pretty immediately ran into issues regarding noise complaints from tenants downstairs. For a great deal of time there was friendly communication between myself and the other business owners to try to find a compromise and a solution. Overtime, our efforts fell short. I could have done things differently, they could have as well...but ultimately the building management felt they had no choice but to bring a law suit upon me to restore peace in the building. Overlooked language in the lease that I eagerly signed enabled them to silence my business operations between 9 AM and 5 PM.
My fatal flaw maybe just how much of myself I put into the things that I love, so much that they become me. My business is me...and so, just about two years ago, I was silenced. It shook me to my core, it hurt my heart and it questioned my strength. And just like with any physical wound, this blow left scars. The thing about scars is that they signify healing.
For a long time the scars only provoked pain, a constant reminder of what was taken away from me and the people I care about....but it's different now. I am proud of my scars. I earned them. I made mistakes. I thought I could fight fire with fire. I gambled and I lost. Still here I am. I open the doors to my business with a smile, everyday. The people who had grown to love The Energy Barre did not turn their backs and walk away because some things had changed. They embraced the change. We grew together. I am proud of these scars. They remind me of my weaknesses and the mistakes that I never want to make again. They remind me that I am fortunate to love my work, so much it hurts. They remind me that I am loved, and supported. They remind me that I am not alone. They remind me that no matter what life throws my way, I have the choice to respond with authenticity. They remind me that when I am broken I will heal, when I am lost, I will always find a way.
When I walked out of the courtroom on that November day, I knew that there was an answer. There had to be. Still...it took a long time to find it. The answer isn't always what we thought it would be. It often won't be what we want it to be. But there is always an answer. Sometimes you just have to wait. You have to wait because you must arrive at a willingness to receive the answer that is, rather than the answer you want.
On Wednesday afternoon, with my son hanging off my hip, I opened an email with the answer enclosed. I was granted permission to play music, without time restrictions on Saturdays and Sundays. I jumped up and down like a child. I was beaming. My son joined in the celebration because he couldn't help but share in my happiness. The answer I waited for, for a LONG time, was the ability to play music at anytime without restriction, but the reality is, that is not going to happen...even more, this limited permission could be revoked at anytime. I will always be at the mercy of the tolerance of the people I share this building with. But I believe in my heart that this answer was meant for me, and that it will remain, and I will respectfully work to ensure it does.
Today I shared this news with the community of The Energy Barre. The delivery brought me pure, light, happiness....because this was never about me, it was about what I was no longer able to share with the community that means so much to me. Today I am happy for us, and I am proud of my scars, my process and my change. I can say with pride that I responded to the most challenging experience of my life with patience, integrity, creativity, understanding, persistence and compromise. This experience has changed me, through loss came tremendous growth.