Updated: Sep 12, 2021
I am a caregiver. I cared deeply about the wellbeing of my family at an early age; the calling was deafening from the age of 6. I learned how to give foot rubs to my dad on long, difficult days working as a technician. I learned to make meals so that if ever my mom was sick, I could take care of her. And, unbeknownst to her, I would also unscrew the tops to her *expensive* perfume bottles and mix them all up, pretending to be some kind of magical apothecary (sorry mom). I played with herbs and dirt in the forest and made mudpies to cure all ailments. I was so clear on my desire to become a caregiver that at 14, I had narrowed down which schools, what courses and extra credits I needed to make this transition as easy as possible. I even started out as a candy striper when I was 16. I did the work. I hustled and busted my butt. I became a Registered Nurse.
Nursing is a wonderful choice for the young and the restless. There are so many different avenues of nursing and you get to pivot whenever there is a calling for something different. I worked at my home hospital and eventually made the move into plastic surgery where I worked under a prestigious and gracious female plastic surgeon. Our team, consisting
mainly of women became my home and my first experience with women leading an industry. It's been almost a decade of saving lives. I have helped bring life into this world and supported the transition out of it. I have had the opportunity to demonstrate my passion for primary care; I've learned and taught a lot of people about their own health. The world I know is richer having experienced people on either spectrum of their health and emotionality. I have had the opportunity to travel for work and see the beauty that is Canada, as well as meet the most wonderful people that will remain closely clutched to my heart.
Off on a Christmas contract in Nova Scotia something in me shifted. 3000 miles away from home I was starting to feel the deep pang of homesickness, more than I had ever experienced before. My Lola (grandmother) had fallen ill and we didn't think she was going to survive. In my ten weeks on this particular contract I had been a part of one death per week at the hospital, and having a flair for the macabre, our family pets died while I was away. The lonely isolation permitted a recalibration for the intentions I had initially set out to do as a nurse. Sure, it reignited my passion and a calling for palliative nursing care but there was something in me stirring for something more than the burnout I was experiencing every single day. After that stint I came home searching for rest, clarity and perhaps, a way out.
I don't remember how the idea of becoming a health coach came about. Honestly, I was embarrassed to admit that I had even been thinking about it. I was conditioned to feel like it was lesser than what I was already doing. Less qualifications, less work, just less than. It seemed as simple and messy as playing with my mom's perfume bottles, but probably more expensive. It was weird and new-agey. But the methodology of a health coach was so enticing to me. Counseling and therapy relies heavily on talking it out; of operating solely from the structured mind to remember and process the past to move forward.
Coaching hinges on the body moving through these experiences and creating a vision of what you want moving forward. It's about embodying your sensations, doing the things that make your body feel good so that you can operate like a well-oiled machine. It felt all-encompassing, more holistic and client-centered. Having had my share of disordered eating, depressive episodes, worthiness wounds and painful experiences, I see the value in primary prevention and holistic care. Suddenly the goal became less about saving lives but teaching people how to save themselves. It became a tool to give power back to the seemingly powerless. Boom.
There is certainly a time and place for both, but my heart got a little tickle when she realized that coaching is what we were doing. I researched a few different schools, having interviews with a couple but the amount of negotiating, excuse making and heaviness in my head deterred me each time from pulling the trigger. It seemed as if this dream I had in becoming a full time health coach was less likely. I felt discouraged and tired, which would only got worse as COVID-19 entered the mix.
To Personal Healing & Transcendence
As our world descended into a state of calamity in the early days of COVID-19, my mental health was beginning to deteriorate. My system was chaotic; it felt like a fist constantly pressed against my solar plexus, my throat tight. I was grumpy and unmotivated. I turned it on for work and I was otherwise off the rest of the time. As much time I was spending with my husband locked down, as exciting as it was to be travel nursing to a new region, I had no interest in doing much unless asked or demanded. I wanted to sleep and eat. And when I realized that my mood was only ever uplifted when I was eating, I saw that I was stepping back into old habits and it was time to do something.
I did not feel like therapy was going to be enough to pull me out of the hole I was digging. I was repelled by the idea of talking my way through my feelings. It didn't feel productive or safe anymore. It felt hopeless and I was f*cking done dealing with these demons in a cyclical nature every time something stressful, big, irritating or traumatizing happened. I haphazardly researched eating disorder support, coaches, looked for books, podcast developers to see if anything or anyone resonated. Eventually, my search engines had narrowed my focus, and Samantha Skelly's Food Freedom Journey fell into my Facebook ads. At the time she was offering a $1 for a 1 month promotion. Too good to be true, but something about it felt safe because there was nothing to lose.
I opted in, was assigned a coach and attended my first virtual webinar. It was uncomfortable; being seen on camera by 80+ strangers made me feel naked in a body that was already unbearably embarrassing. I focused on Samantha Skelly's voice. I listened to her heart speak. I absorbed all the wisdom of the trials and tribulations to get her to her body loving self, her story resonating in all its truisms, its pain and worthiness confusion. In all her glory, in her vulnerability and sensitivity, I began to trust her, my coach, the community. Layers were quickly releasing and an adventure of a lifetime began. A spark reignited in my belly and began to smolder. Being exposed to the powerful, embodied women leading me scared and inspired me. "How do I get to where they are? How can I become a fully embodied woman? How can I teach this to others?!" - epic questions scurrying around my head. That fire guided me to rediscover the room where I had left the idea of becoming a health coach. Nothing felt more opening, more scary, more exciting and illuminating than knowing that I could become a woman so fiercely present in her own light, so wild in her presence and brave in her conviction. It wasn't long before I enrolled in the Hungry for Happiness Coach Certification Program. Everything has fallen into place since saying yes to this opportunity. Taking leaps and risks aligned with my heart's desire as opposed to what was expected of me.
The Road Ahead
I have waited almost a year to start the program. In the waiting I became a certified Breathwork Facilitator and have experienced more unbecoming, unraveling and reawakening than I have in my 15 years of healing. The road up until now has been like healing an abscess: Topical anesthetic, draining, packing, allowing it to heal from inside-out.
Antibiotics in the form of self care and preventative maintenance looking like inner child work and self-forgiveness. Everyday. It really is amazing to see the progress I have made in only a year and I can't wait to see what more is in store. These days I feel more like that 6 year old making mudpies and mixing perfume, though my toolbox and repertoire is far bigger than it was. My vision is so crystal clear, I am online with my truth and both know where I want to be but open to what happens. Living in the certain and uncertain, safe and uncomfortable. I can't wait to share my toolbox with all the other little girls looking to play, to imagine, to care. Together we will set fire to the world and bring in a new warmth and light.