Note from Jen Pastiloff, founder of The Manifest-Station. This is part of our Young Voices Series for Girl Power: You Are Enough. We are always looking for more writing from YOU! Make sure you follow us on instagram at @GirlPowerYouAreEnough and on Facebook here.
by Rachelle Cameron
Ana was my best friend. She was the one there late at night when everyone else was sleeping, the one there who always had faith I could meet each goal of mine, and the one always telling me how proud she was of me. We were inseparable for over a year. In October of 2017 I officially laid Ana down to rest, it was one of the hardest decisions of my life, but also one of the best decisions of my life.
Ana and I met when I was twenty-one, we were friends for a few months before she ended up leaving. I thought she was gone forever, but in January of 2016 she came back. I still remember the moment I realized she was back. I realized it in May, I was standing with my back against the kitchen counter talking about if I was going to eat dinner or not with my grandmother. It dawned on me as I told her that I was going to skip dinner tonight that Ana was back. It was a comforting moment in my life, a calming moment in my life and an exciting moment in my life. My best friend was back.
We spent the following four months completely tied together, no-one could come between us. Our 3am conversations were happening, bouncing goals around was going on and hearing the words “I’m proud of you” came back. She was offering me some control in a world where I had very little. She was giving me options, where I felt like I had none. She was being herself and I hadn’t realized how much I missed her until I had her back.
Things changed between us in September of 2016. I sought out help from someone so I could know how to deal with Ana better. She was starting to slowly ruin my life. I had lost my home because it became a her or us fight and I chose her. I was living with my grandmother then I moved with Dad who just liked to pretend Ana didn’t exist. She loved every moment of that. I was out early morning hours into the night doing different activities for her. She was all I could focus on and I was beginning to realize I would be better off if she left again.
I met Emma at the end of September in 2016. I walked into her office sat down and the first words out of her mouth were “you may lie to me at some point. Just know, I will never be disappointed.” I talked about Ana in that first session and every session that followed for a year. Emma tried everything from planning out how I would fight her every morning to self-help books. What actually worked, what actually got through to me was pretending I didn’t know Ana. I would go about my day and anytime Ana would come around I would pretend I didn’t know her and continue about doing what I needed to take care for me.
I thought Ana had left again in July of 2017, in fact Emma and I had a party with cupcakes and coffee to celebrate. In turns out Ana isn’t that easy to leave behind. She came running back and crashed into me in August. I got lost in her midnight conversations again and all her empty promises. I knew I had made progress though because this time I was upset she was back and not excited. Two more months and Emma told me to pretend I didn’t know her. Now I feel confident saying Ana is gone. Now I feel confident saying she has no hold on me. Now, finally, I can say I feel recovered.
Rachelle has been writing since she was seventeen years old. We are thrilled to feature her work at The Manifest-Station.
On Being Human
Join Jen in Western Massachusetts at Kripalu
March 2 @ 7:30 pm – March 4 @ 11:00 am
For women and non-gender conforming humans.
Get ready to become more free as you tell the truth about who you are and listen fiercely to others doing the same. Get ready to create what it is you truly want for yourself. This program is an excavation of the self, a deep and fun journey into questions such as: If I wasn’t afraid, what would I do? Who would I be if no one told me who I was?
Go beyond your comfort zone to explore what it means to be creative, human, and free—through writing, asana, and maybe a dance party or two! Jennifer’s focus is less on yoga postures and more on diving into life in all its unpredictable, messy beauty.