So, here we go! My Story...
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
I realized I have always played the “victim” in life. Thinking things were unfair or that I was always wronged by someone or something. I was able to trace where that mindset came from recently... I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 4. Trust me I know what you’re thinking because I heard it all the time, “arthritis? Don’t only old people get that?” JRA is a type of arthritis found in children. I remember thinking how unfair it was, I had to leave school when all the other kids were going to after school sports and go to the doctor to get blood taken or therapy to get my joints moving. That is when I started getting used to being a patient, “sick” and weak. However, through those experiences I now have a really strong sense of empathy. I pick up on when people feel uncomfortable, excluded or living in pain. I gravitate towards them and work hard to support and love on them. Through that experience I learned to always have a positive mindset (which is a big thanks to my momma for teaching me that everything is gonna be okay). Through that experience I am brave and courageous and passionate about maintaining my health.
My next big life event happened when I was 14... Hurricane Katrina. Being a New Orleans native, this had a massive impact on our lives. Not only did we have to leave home unaware we wouldn't be able to return for months but my sister and I ended up temporarily in New Jersey to live with family while my parents stayed in Baton Rouge to work and try to get back into our home. We were scared, homesick, homeless, bullied in school but the worst bit was feeling like we were a burden to the world. We felt like we were pathetic for wanting to live in a place that was under sea-level. "Why would anyone do that!?" I remember constantly overhearing people talk about how annoying it was that the rest of the States had to help fund the recovery of New Orleans. This was the first (and I guess only) time I felt like a refugee in my own country. We had packed only 1 bag for the weekend, since we thought we were heading back home after the storm. I remember people doing clothing drives, stores giving us extra discounts - which is so nice but also made me feel pathetic. One guy on a plane sitting next to me actually said there's no point to rebuild New Orleans, its just going to keep flooding and people like him will have to come in and save us... Talk about guilt! I loved my city but also felt so sad that others didn't love it or see it the way I did. So many emotions... When I returned back to New Orleans a few months after the storm. My home was gone, we lived with family and at school I was one of about 8 students in my grade who returned. Weird doesn't even describe it. But what came in those months following was intense passion and love for my city. I felt so connected to New Orleans and the people who returned. We were all back because we had so much love and joy and wanted to bring that back. This is when I started volunteering and feeling a tug to serve. Being separated from our parents and having to learn how to deal with emotions like these, both my sister and I learned a strong sense of independence which has carried us so far. Because of Katrina, my family is closer than we have ever been. Because of Katrina, we learned how to collaborate and rebuild a city from *almost* scratch. Because of Katrina, I am passionate about helping others when disaster strikes.
High School + College Leadership
I feel so grateful that I loved both my High School and College. I felt like a big fish in a small sea. I was given so many opportunities to grow and lead, so I drove right in and my passion to build and create took over. Though I was really proud of myself, I also felt unconnected at times. Like I was a "floater" because I didn't do the same activities or was always volunteering or doing something where I would miss out on an event or party or just hang out time. Self talk was a big issue now when I look back. I had great friends in both high school and college but I would at times convince myself that they didn't want to hang out with me. This of course started a downward spiral where I would tell myself I didn't fit in, when really I was putting that perspective on myself. Looking back on this now, I always pause and take a minute to think "Is this truth? Or am I telling myself something that isn't real?" I was the ultimate people pleaser and have learned now when I need to say no and when I need to protect myself and my headspace from negativity / negative people. So... because of the many activities and roles I played throughout high school and college I learned to see the big picture. I felt the need to create and dream big. I also learned the importance of connecting with others and through self talk that keeping my mind in a positive place was KEY!
At a previous job, I had one of those no good, very mean bosses who made me feel undervalued and less than. She got into my head and by the time I left this job I was completely convinced that I was "too young" to make a difference in the world. I was "too impatient" and didn't deserve to get paid more because of my age. I would have to "wait" my turn. Because of that mindset I felt so stuck and suppressed. I was in a real rut! However, because of this experience I was able to see that I wanted/needed more out of life than having a boss dictate what I can and cannot do. I started constantly thinking about the future and what I can do to make it better. I knew I wanted more but wasn't sure how to get there yet. I learned some key skills working there like how to stay organized, the power of networking and how to accommodate. It was this experience that set me off on a personal development journey and if it wasn't for that... I do not know where I would be at the moment!
Arbonne + Personal Development Journey
After leaving that job (about 1 year into my Arbonne Business) I was feeling "stuck". I was scared that I did this Arbonne thing but had NO IDEA where it was going. I quit my job because I was unhappy but at the same time I felt like my identity was shifting and I wasn't sure who or what I stood for. Luckily Arbonne has the most incredible community and my mentors immediantly encouraged me to start reading and getting into a personal development routine. So I did. I started reading every self help book under the sun. I listened to podcasts and books on tape. I started waking up at 6/6:30 to read, journal and say my affirmations. I know this sounds weird to some, because it did for me at first. But all the leaders that had what I wanted were doing this so I stuck with it. The transformation I have seen in myself / my mindset is incredible when I look back over my story. I am now able to pinpoint where I learned certain mindsets and correct them to what I actually believe vs. what my environment, family or friends taught me. I still consider my journey in its beginning phases. There is so much more to work on and do but its all about consistency! SO! My challenge to you is to try this exercise... Write out big events or things that happened in your life. What did you feel at the time? And what did you learn / find from that?
EVENT FELT FOUND
Its okay if it doesn’t all come out at once. Do a little brain dump, meditate, keep a journal near you to scribble what comes to mind, what experiences sadden you? Hurt you? Scared you? What were you feeling during that time? And then what did you learn / how did you grow from that? Once you get it all out, you will start to look at the *negative* experiences as positive ones because of what came out on the other side. Sending love and courage your way!