Can you imagine being robbed and not being able to do anything about it?
That was me two months ago when I received a text message saying I was being robbed.
Them: “There are people in your apartment”
My stomach turning as I knew we still had two more hours in the air and there was nothing I could do. I remember the people sitting next to me watching my face turn white. I was chatty Kathy up until that message came through. I felt helpless, trapped, couldn’t speak; with my only option to text a friend.
Me: I’m being robbed. Please, can you rush to my place? There are people inside.
When my friend got there he found the police inside with the person who broke in claiming to live there presenting a fake lease. What? I know right? Wild! But, true story.
Police: (Via my friend’s phone) “Miss Martinez is not here to defend herself so it’s her word against this woman”. Tell her if she wants to deal with this she needs to come here in person.
Me: Tell them to look by the couch for my paperwork and new business cards. Or in the bedroom by the bed, I have my black hat on a clothing rack, the meditation room? My Buddha, candles and singing bowl?
Friend: “Anne, it’s not there. Nothing of yours is here. The place is empty. “I’m sorry.
It was then on that plane that I made the conscious decision to let it go. I had to accept the fact that everything I owned was gone. I took a deep breath. Sat back. Looked out the window and began to say, “I am so grateful. I am so grateful I am safe. I am so grateful I am healthy. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you”
This was it. What else could I do? I had to stay calm. This was one of many incidents that had taken place in my life and I’m sure there may be some of you who have been through worse?
Two hours later, there I was in JFK running off the plane and making calls. A knot in my throat and hailing a taxi in the middle of a storm.
“Mom I was robbed. Mom, everything I have. Gone. Gone. The apartment’s empty”.
Sobbing in the rain I remember feeling embarrassed because people were watching. I wanted to control myself and stay composed so I stopped crying and sucked it up.
I had been traveling home to New York to see my nephew and dad. All I was able to do that night was hug my nephew and put him to bed. I spent the next few hours trying to get the police on the phone in L.A. (Don’t ever attempt that; cause no one’s gonna pick up). The next day nerves a mess and no sleep I was back on a flight to Los Angeles. That would be me for the next two weeks of my life. Consumed by the beef of my landlord and his ex-business partner. That was the person seen in my apartment claiming to live in it. It was a woman and three men doing a hostile take over of my apartment and later another woman (my neighbor, YUP!). The morning I left for the airport my neighbor saw me leave with my luggage and well, made the call, the one that would wipe me out.
Less then 48 hours later I was back in L.A. at the police station asking for help in which I was told there was not much I could do. Although I had just left my home it was no longer mine to enter. Eight hours later there I was, three friends, my landlord, and three police officers waiting outside of an apartment that I once lived in. I now found myself with the luggage I packed for a 4-day trip and pleading to get into my apartment to see if everything was gone. After a locksmith, drill and screaming, “let me in” we finally got in. But only under one condition. I had to be civil or someone was going to go to jail.
“Wow, I have to be civil. This woman has robbed me and is sitting inside and I have to be civil?” and guess what? I was.
Finally inside and what do I see? An open bottle of champagne I got for my birthday along with my food open and eaten. Cigarette butts in my sanctuary and an empty place. Now here’s the deal. Anyone who knows me knows I am not a material girl. My career has allowed me to enjoy and see what comes with that order. I like my personal life very simple. So, here I was finally settled in my new place in Los Angeles accomplishing to get all my belongings in one place after six years of living around the world. The things I owned were special to me as they were custom pieces from my years in nightlife and entertainment. Point is you can’t just go to the store to pick one up. They were with me for years along with a few keepsakes from loved ones who had passed on. It stung considering it was all I owned. They were my memories.
I didn’t know what to say. I was confused. Should I act crazy? I couldn’t speak. This woman and I stared at each other and all I could say was. “How could you do this to someone? How do you look at yourself in the mirror? How do you sleep at night? All while three officers hovered over me. Her response: “Tell her not to look at me”
My friends had been outside recording and I had also gone live on Instagram earlier in the day so those who could see what had happened were sending messages like “I would have lost it”. “How did you hold it together?” “Why didn’t you punch her?” “How are you not losing it?”
Well, I did break down, but only for about an hour. I cried and had a minor asthma attack (I don’t have asthma I’m exaggerating) outside the apartment coming to terms with the fact that it was just my luggage and I. I asked my friend to take me to a bar for a glass of wine (three to be exact) and let out one more cry before she asked:
Friend: “Ok, are you done? All out?”
Me: (Sniffle) “Yes”
Ahhhh the lesson. Cause you know there’s always a lesson, right? Or is there?
I refused to see it at first. Maybe even admit it. But later, came to terms with what and why. What I want to leave you with is this could have derailed me any many of you. But shit happens. And when it does we need to keep it moving. Some people suffer greater loss through natural disasters or disease that don’t have a voice.
So how do we stand up for those who don’t have one? We become resilient and learn how to get back up when we fall.
“re-sil-ience” | re’zilyens | noun
The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, toughness
The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity
Here is my formula for resilience.
1. Letting Go. Not having an attachment to what was lost. In this experience, I had to think about what was important. I wasn’t hurt. I have my health. What was stolen could be replaced and what had sentimental value could never be gone as those memories live forever in my heart and mind and no one can ever take that away from me. Even the items that had sentimental value could not replace the emotions I feel when I think of those loved ones.
2. Faith. Trust and believe there is a greater force that has your back. You are not alone. What is happening is happening for you, not to you.
I remember people asking “How are you so calm”? And I would answer because I trust and believe. If this is a test then I cannot imagine the blessing.
3. Moving on. Life is going to keep moving so you need to too. Stay in motion. Don’t lose focus and continue on your path. Don’t lose hope or feel defeated. It’s part of the journey.
Spiritual Growing pains: The Lessons.
Things which hurt beyond belief, but always result in more clarity, wisdom, and a deeper perspective.
I learned so much about myself during this time. It was a hard slap that forced me to step in fully in areas of my life I had been ignoring. But it also showed me how resilient I am and that no matter what happens in my life nothing or no one will ever stop me.
When you are assigned to do good work you will get hurt, distracted and towers will fall. Just keep going”