Emerging from the Ashes of My Burnt Espresso Beans

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For a long while, I disappeared: stopped showing Babes with Coffee any love, shut down my personal blog, and (perish the thought!) went dark on social media. I barely communicated with a soul except my closest friends and family. I protected the precious airwaves in my head from outside assault, and I did that through physical distance as well. I ran as far away from the trauma and the paralyzing fear and the smoldering embers of a Cali girl life burned to ashes as I possibly could—to New York city where every injured soul goes to start anew and maybe find a good cup of coffee in the process.

But I’m nothing if not resilient. I’m back from my hiatus not because my healing is complete—no, far from it—but because my healing is in fact incomplete without the ability to share and connect with other women through the one thing that has been a consistent source of fortitude and self-soothing through every stage of the abuse and trauma that sometimes seems to have no end: coffee.

It was coffee that kept me fighting for my freedom in the tenuous months following my exit from an abusive relationship. And when my abuser resurfaced and worked with his wife to frame me for a crime, it was coffee that kept me calm and gave me the mental endurance to live like a caged animal facing life in prison for a crime that I not only did not commit but one that went against my entire belief system as a feminist who marched in Take Back the Night parades and launched a women’s issues magazine on her college campus. It was coffee that allowed me to laugh at the irony and laugh at how small-minded my abuser really was.

And when, reeling from a stress- and fear-induced disassociation and shaken to my core, I was finally dumped out on the other side of my trauma—penniless, jobless for the first time in my life, exhausted from three months of almost no sleep, and questioning every friendship and relationship I’d ever had—it was coffee that allowed me to escape my zombie-like state and pretend to be human again.

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And it was Jackie, my much-beloved Chief Social Babe, who was there the second I got out. She never questioned for a second that the woman she had met, the woman who had escaped abuse into her arms, was innocent, and she started working on Babes with Coffee with me before the District Attorney’s office ever announced my innocence. That right there—that’s living proof of what we mean when we say coffee brings women together and what we mean when we tell you we’re stronger as a team.

Jackie didn’t hesitate to offer words of support and encouragement when I told her I was starting over in New York City. No true friend would ever begrudge you a chance at happiness because friendship is selfless. We’ve stayed in touch every step of the way along my wild journey here in this city that never sleeps, and now, I want to share that journey with you: my quest to find peace, love, happiness, and good coffee in the unlikeliest of places, a city so frenetic and high stress that it might seem a poor choice for a domestic violence survivor with PTSD and a myriad of other post-trauma issues.

Little Babe in a Big City is my gift to you: a story of hope. Of finding good coffee and friendship in your neighborhood café with the cheery barista. Of finding love and taking the huge symbolic step of moving an espresso machine—and my heart—into someone else’s home. Of seeking out little pieces of California to remind me of everything I miss about my home state. Of creating opportunities for self-care in my crazy schedule.

I can’t wait for you to join me on this journey. It’s 11:11 as I write this, and my wish for all of you is that you never read an installment of Little Babe in the Big City without a good cup of coffee to warm your heart.