I can remember the first time I tasted cocaine. A friend who picked me up for school everyday had brought me some to try right after a trip to New York City with the Art Seminar Class. A few of my friends and I were supposed to report to the Principal’s office that morning after getting into a bit of trouble while we were away. I got to school a little early and my friend handed me the tiniest zip lock bag and a pen cap. He told me to scoop up a little bit on the end of the pen cap, close the opposite nostril and sniff it up with one side.
I walked to the bathroom near the library because I knew there would be no one in there. I sniffed and didn’t feel anything. I didn’t know if the response was going to be instant, so I did a larger hit and just like that I was on my first cocaine high. I checked my face in the mirror to make sure what I did wasn’t noticeable. My heart was racing like I’d never experienced before and I was sweating but felt on fire, invincible. I headed into the office to meet up with my friends and find out what our punishment was going to be. My friends were looking at me strangely and asking me why I was so hyper.
I naturally have a big personality but at this point I was moving as fast as the speed of light, I looked at them and said I had too much coffee. That was the beginning of the end. No other drug I had touched before had given me a high like cocaine did and I didn’t want to stop, the desire for more took over.
Fast forward 7 months, a few months into my senior year and I was in the medical vocational at a different high school. I barely made it to my homeschool, I would check myself in and leave to go party, until the doomsday came. I had a tiny bit of coke left that I wanted to do before I left class, so I went into a private locker room, that had one private bathroom in it and locked both. I broke out my mirror laid out my lines and did them all within seconds, I was now a pro at this.
I left the locker room and packed my stuff up to head to my home school with a
group of my friends who were also in the same vocational as I was. Once we arrived at our home school I headed in to the office to check myself in, looked down at my phone to check a text and lifted my head to see the serious face of the lady at the front desk telling me to go straight on in right now to the Principal’s office. I thought nothing of it. I was a straight A student who never came to school.
I sat down in the chair in front of my Principal and turned around to see two police men walking in the room. My heart already racing from the pile of cocaine I had just taken felt like it was going to leap straight out of my chest. The Principal then stared at me and told me that he had received a call from a parent stating that I had illegal substances on me. I did a quick scan, thinking fast about what I had in my backpack, but knowing that I had just taken the last of the cocaine I had I decided to stare back at him. I said “No way. That’s untrue, I don’t.” Then he asked for my belongings to search through. That was when they found the mirror and my cocaine straw in my bag and immediately tested the residue on the mirror. My heart dropped, there went my high school career, my chance to head to Miami of Ohio for Pre-med, I was done. I had no idea what was going to happen next.
They called my mother and she thought they were joking. Hearing that her straight A daughter had been skipping school was bad enough but the cocaine addiction was overwhelming, as I had carefully hidden what I had been doing the entire time. That day was the end of many things but the beginning of becoming the empowered woman I am now. From there I went through a rehab program, dropped out of high school, had to go through anger management, was on medications, the whole shebang. The healing did not happen for me there. Just like they say “you can’t help an addict unless they want to help themselves” I had to find that reason, that path to create a new life myself.
In the middle of all of this upheaval, I was wandering through Target and found myself staring at the yoga section, this was after seeing something about the calming properties of yoga on television a few days before. It was a clear sign that there was somewhere I could put myself that would use all the big energy I had inside in a way that was constructive and empowering.
The moment I purchased that yoga mat was the moment my life started taking a turn for the better. Over the last 10 years I have taken yoga classes on TV, made my own yoga cds, practiced in studios, at colleges and obtained my certificate to teach. I became a Reiki Master and fell into my purpose of helping others heal their own life scars, guiding them to the path of light, love, and compassion just as I had. Today I own a small donation based Metaphysical Healing and Movement Therapy Center that is attached to my home and I love what I do, it heals me and those I work with. I love to see people release pent up energy from their body.
I work with students that are born with congenital issues, students with depression and anxiety, physical injuries. I thank that younger version of me rather than judge her. I think I am an inspiration now for my small son. If I hadn’t picked up that bag of cocaine, fallen as hard as I did, I wouldn’t be where I am today and have the ability to work with others who have fallen down too looking for a hand up. I am not sure if I would have taken the path of compassion that I have, if it wasn’t for that day in the Valley Forge High School bathroom.
To connect with Brittany’s yoga journey check out her instagram page #ladiboomyogini
The incredible images here are by photographer Howard Washington @nevernotworking_
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