FYI – This gets personal. I think that us bloggers so often put the brightest, shiniest bits of our lives on display, and it isn’t realistic. What anyone knows about me from reading my website is that I’m a health coach, I’m engaged, I’m happy, I’m healthy. None of you know where I come from or how I got here. So I open up a bit about that today. If that’s not your thang, I warned you.
Also, I seriously considered titling this post “Started From The Bottom Now I’m Here” but didn’t think a lot of people would get it.
So here goes.
When I was 11 my mother told me I’d be pregnant by the time I was 17 and never amount to anything.
I’m not sure why she thought I’d be pregnant by the time I was 17, I was never promiscuous. But this is something I think a lot of people came to expect of me, and expect of most young girls who grow up as white trash. (But I just left my job to run my own nutrition coaching business; IN YOUR FACE, EVERYONE!) I used to be ashamed of admitting that I come from white trash, but now I’m proud of it and think it’s an integral part of my story. I grew up without a dad and with a drug addicted mother that has always made money by stealing from people (later in life, it turned out she would steal a lot of money from me). My grandmother lived with us on and off growing up and was my one saving grace. She is the reason I am the person I am, and likely why I didn’t starve to death (drug addicts don’t care about grocery shopping).
Growing up, I didn’t do well in school and I didn’t have high ambitions for myself. A career and happy life were just things that didn’t even occur to me. My mother started kicking me out of the house when I was 14, and officially left to move in with her boyfriend when I was 16. That may sound like abandonment, but rest assured it was the best thing for me. Living with her was a terror every single day. When she moved away, she rented the other two rooms in our house two crackheads. I don’t mean that metaphorically, they literally smoked crack. But they were nice guys, even if they did keep me up all hours of the night partying; so school wasn’t high on my list of priorities when I didn’t even have food to eat.
When all of my friends left to go to different states and embark on their bright futures, I was living where I’d always lived, with two crackheads. So I started drinking heavily. At 19, because I refused to pay her more rent (the crackheads had both stopped paying rent months earlier), Joanna had kicked me out (I stopped referring to her as “mom” when I was a kid, that term of endearment always felt too awkward). So I slept on my friends’ couches and on the floor of my grandmother’s efficiency apartment.
Stick with me here, I have a point.
I’ve been working on and off since I was 11 years-old, but my big break came at 21, when I got a job with the government. It was around this time I was falling in love with nutrition. I had watched Food Inc and wanted to learn more. I wanted to fight for small, organic farmers, I wanted to eat locally, I wanted to have a healthy and sustainable diet. So I enrolled and started putting myself through my first nutrition certification program, but they were all about raw, vegan and vegetarian diets. I was learning more and more about real nutrition and ancestral diets on my own, so their teachings felt very off to me. After that I enrolled in a different certification program. I was in a student program with the government, and at 23 my department had decided to eliminate that program. So I was let go, along with the other students.
I immediately found work at a law firm, which is the job I just quit. What I thought would be an easy job that allowed me time to work on the site turned out to be a lot of work with very little downtime. I’m not the type of person to be in an office all day with no sunlight, sedentary. That is not the kind of life I want for myself. Not only that, but it wasn’t anything close to what I wanted to be doing. I knew it would take me a while to build my own business, but in the meantime I hoped I’d find work doing something to at least help people that needed it. I didn’t. While I liked my immediate coworkers, the job was kind of soul crushing.
In June of 2013 I started to really monetize this site. I was a certified holistic nutritionist, and I was ready to help people, transform lives and change the world. I created Ditch The Diet, and more recently the 21 Day Lifestyle Transformation.
Working from the couch because my office is crazy cold in the winter:
In the scheme of things, I’m still a n00b. I’m not making a ton of money, but I know if I didn’t quit my job, I likely wouldn’t make anymore. Working a high stress job takes so much out of you, I was out of the house until 5 everyday, then had to come home, clean up, make dinner and make lunch for the next day. Trying to maintain a website and coaching and social media on a few hours a day was next to impossible. There were so many nights that I literally cried my eyes out to Scott. I wanted to quit, but I just wasn’t quite there yet. I wanted immediate success (like so many in my generation do). But the truth is that it doesn’t happen overnight, I busted by buns to even get to this point, and I cannot even contain my excitement at putting all of my energy into this website, into helping people.
I highly encourage everyone to find what they’re passionate about. I am insanely passionate about health, and I’m insanely thankful I was able to turn that into a job for myself. I didn’t go to college, I didn’t have financial support from my family, hell, I didn’t even have a family. Now, I have Scott and I am beyond thankful for him and his support. He always believed I could do it, even when I doubted myself. I have the most amazing partner who I know will continue to support me throughout this journey. I think if you find something you’re passionate about and work your ass off, you can do whatever you want.
I’m confident that if I keep working at this, I can be incredibly successful for one big reason: I genuinely want to help people. You don’t need a ton of money, you don’t need to be a doctor, but you do need the drive. I came from nothing, I came from a place where literally no one believed in me, and now I’m quitting my job to run Ancestral Nutrition. And you can bet your boots I’m going to keep working my ass off everyday until the whole world knows about real, sustainable nutrition and I’m more popular than Jillian Michaels.