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I had been thinking about taking a course in data analysis since my very good friend, Gallo, came over for what he calls a drive-by–stopping in for a semi-quick hello coffee/tea break. Trying to be helpful, due to knowing my situation, he began stressing me out with life advice. I could feel my heart rushing and my neck muscles knotting as he threw at me, in his emphasized east coast accent, “Sophia… you gotta…”…and.. “You just gotta.” In my head I was thinking, “I just gotta survive bro.” Friends like Gallo, that always look out for you, are rare, especially when your a single mother, so I tried desperately not to show how agitated I was. I attempted to explain to him I was too overwhelmed to take it in despite genuinely valuing his opinion. I used the excuse of work to get him back out the door as fast as possible. It worked.
The last thing he said that day was: “You know what you gotta do Sophia? You gotta meditate and the first thing that comes to your mind when you open your eyes, THAT’s what you gotta do.” Relieved at the lack of complexity it entailed, I responded back, “Ah!, I can do that”, half to appease him and half to get him out faster so he couldn’t see the agitation and fear that was spreading over my body thinking of how I was going to get through another month of unaffordable child care, rent, and low paying insecure free-lance work.
The week before Gallo visited for our drive by, I was visiting my father in Texas for Mother’s day with my son. While there, I had calculated the budget needed to survive and another alternative budget with childcare included, as well as everyday emergencies that sprung up, and the cost of maintaining living in Venice. Both were grim. I had been avoiding the reality of how expensive it was to live in LA for the past couple of years–legal and health issues were prioritized. I realized that I couldn’t afford to get a full time job at anything less than 50 an hour if I were to stay where I was at. The despair kicked in.
Right after crunching the numbers, I took a bath with my cheeky 3 1/2 year old boy. I tried to avoid thinking about the numbers when I was with Gaptoothwonder (my son’s nickname) However, the thoughts poked through. As soon as they did, I could feel the pressure in my back (usu. a somatic indicator of being triggered by stress) rising to my neck. It was a shooting pain, unlike anything I’ve experienced before. I barely managed to get Gaptoothwonder out of the bath before I realized I couldn’t move my neck. I laid myself on the bed and began yelling for my father, trying to desperately normalize the yell for my boy’s sake, despite the pain and fear I was feeling. My father’s wife had to put on my underwear and they insisted I be taken to the hospital, I adamantly protested. I knew I couldn’t afford the deductible. I can be a stubborn bitch at times and was sure I could heal myself if I could just lift my neck enough to take 3 ibuprofen. After about an hour of contorting my body, I swallowed the pills with the tiny bit of water and after another hour I was able to get up just enough to meditate through the pain. Slowly, I managed to stretch my neck enough to move, what I assumed, was a trapped nerve.
So when Gallo stressed me out and told me to meditate, I eventually listened because I could feel my back acting up again. To my surprise, after a dreamy , ethereal and spiritual meditation from Digipill, I opened my eyes and the first thing that came to my mind was “DATA ANALYSIS“. I laughed at how ridiculous it felt but the message was clear as day. I called Gallo and told him about my discovery.
“I told you mama-mia, you gotta listen to what the universe tells you.”
I looked down at the broken phone his words were cutting in and out of, thought about the broken pieces of my life and the only thing I could think of was, ‘you gotta at least figure what data analysis is.’
I did and the universe kept inspiring me to find out more. I found the courses, looked up scholarships and today I just made first payment for my 10-week summer school data analysis course at General Assembly.
Update: I am proud to say I received my certificate in November 2016 after countless sleepless nights.