How I lost myself
Growing up, confidence was something I never had. My friends always treated me like an outcast and made fun of me behind my back. I just assumed this was how normal friendships were… where drama, gossip, and laughing at people were the usual. I was so scared to do anything different for fear I would be made fun of and called weird. I was constantly being left out of things like parties, vacations, and sleepovers ~ only ever seeing my friends if they wanted something from me or no one else was around. My family was no help either as they praised the other girls for being everything I wasn’t. I tried so hard to be peoples friend that I eventually stopped being me because I didn’t want to be alone. I quickly turned to men to answer my need for positive attention ~ leading me down a hole of cheaters, users, and even physical abuse. But I was so insecure from the mental abuse of my friends that it didn’t matter how I was treated, as long as I was getting attention from, well, anyone. Of course, I would do anything to fit in with these people who were giving me this bad attention so I eventually turned to drugs, alcohol, smoking, sleeping around, running away, lies, anorexia and an addiction to self-harm – mind you, I was 13 at this point.
The destruction of my social skills
I ended up turning so far down a bad path that my family couldn’t handle it anymore ~ so they sent me away to a lockdown facility in Death Valley, NV. Long story short, I was picked up from strangers at school one day, put into zip ties, and shipped off to Nevada where I would spend the next 15 months separated from my family, not allowed to talk to a single friend (or even have pictures), walking in line structure, wearing uniforms, writing essays for breaking rules, going through self development seminars, and trying to work my way up through “levels” as they called it till I eventually got to the top level and graduated from the program. While this place likely saved my life, it also hindered me in a lot of ways. I didn’t get to experience things a normal teenager would like high school graduation, social events, sports games, school dances, etc. Which put my social skills at a whole new low, even though they were already pretty low. I felt isolated, alone, and depressed. I never tried making new friends for fear they wouldn’t like me because that’s the only way I’ve ever known friendships to be. Quite honestly I didn’t like myself either. I was so focused on hiding things I was interested in that I became this fake version of myself. I didn’t even know who I was. So, I turned to food – the only thing that made me feel good.
Replacing friends with food
My eating habits were never great. Since becoming vegetarian at age 9 I solely relied on bread and cheese to keep me alive. Think lean pockets, soda, mac n cheese, quesadillas, and fast food. Then when I did get into a serious relationship with the first guy who showed me any real attention ~ it got even worse. I began eating fast food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I drank soda like it was my water (and thought it was so funny that I didn’t drink any water). I only snacked on chips, candy, and desserts. The lack of nutrients in my body sent me through hell. I woke up everyday sick, I had horrible mood swings, and my energy levels were at an all time low. Not to mention the weight that started to creep up on me. In just a short year, I had gained 40 lbs.
Grasping for change
This sent my confidence down a drain so far I never thought I would be able to get back. I stopped going out with his friends because I was so embarrassed that none of my clothes fit me. All I wanted to do was stay home, watch TV, eat, and spend money ~ anything that took the attention away from how I felt about myself. I cried everyday because of the person I had turned into. How did I end up here? I knew I needed to change, but I felt trapped. Every time I tried, I would hit one bump and give up on myself. I knew that if I wanted to succeed that my entire life would have to change. I would have to force myself to be uncomfortable and just be with ME for a little while. Which meant leaving my boyfriend whom I had lived with, moving to a different city, and forcing myself to be alone – again.
When fit doesn’t mean confident
I ended up taking the path of working out. I figured, if I was fit I would be confident. I ended up losing 50 lbs and was pretty ripped. But unfortunately, every time I looked in the mirror I was STILL so unhappy. I wasn’t going out, I was tracking all of my calories, I pretty much spent every waking moment thinking about working out or cooking food. I was under 100 lbs and still called myself fat. I found that even though I was fit, I wasn’t confident, having any fun, or exploring any of my interests. I was still hiding behind the walls I had built and had no idea who I was supposed to be. What was the point of being fit if I didn’t love the human inside the body?
Discovering the light inside of me
With this realization, I turned from outer work to inner work in the matter of moments. I needed to find out who I was if I was ever going to be happy. I needed to align my goals with my values. So I changed my entire way of being. From how I dressed, to how I talked about myself, to letting myself explore things I was interested in like meditation, crystals, astrology, and self help, to accepting that I was different, to listening to an abundance of self improvement podcasts, to reading book after book, all the way down to the people I surrounded myself with. I rid myself of everything negative in my life and replaced it only with things that made me feel positive. The self love slowly started to peak its way into my life. I was actually being who I was and I had never been HAPPIER. It was not an easy road to get there though. It took me a full year to workout consistently, another year to start eating healthy, and another year to figure out that I needed to work on my inner self. Exercise made me feel good, fueling my body with nourishing foods gave me energy, but talking positively about myself is what showed me confidence! Thus, I discovered my true dharma ~ to help people not only love their BODY, but love their MIND as well so that they could live their highest selves.
Where to next?
It felt so GOOD to discover who I was and let myself be me. I had never truly known what this was like. Around this time is when I met Joe, my now husband. We were living in LA and spending most of our time working to build other peoples dreams ~ only leaving little time to work on our own dreams. We felt exhausted and beat down. We knew we wanted to begin building our future, but we were already struggling to keep our head above water. We ended up getting engaged in April of 2016 which lead me to question our future even harder. Could we build businesses with the fast-paced lifestyle we were living? I knew I wanted our time to be just that ~ OUR TIME, but I didn’t know how to get there. I only knew that I wanted to be my own boss, help people fall in love with themselves, and inspire others to lead a healthy lifestyle.
The idea that changed everything
So one night when Joe got home from work I posed to him an idea: we would get married the next April, quit our jobs, buy a van, build it out, and spend the next few years traveling the country while we both built our businesses from the ground up. BUT in order to do this, we needed A LOT of money… Money we certainly didn’t have. So we would have to move into his parents house, work multiple jobs, give up luxuries, and put our heads down for an entire year. I was met with a little resistance because while our lives in LA felt hard, we still loved it there. My whole family lives there, all of our friends, and quite frankly we liked our jobs. But as we thought it out a little more, we eventually came to the conclusion that yes, to make our dreams come true we would change our entire lives.
Believing in myself for the first time
This is something I would’ve NEVER even considered a few years ago. Live in a van? But my friends and family will think I’m weird and homeless. Build my own business? But what if I fail? Scratch that, you WILL fail. Take a chance on myself? HA who am I to deserve anything different out of life? But the confidence I had found over the last couple years really helped me believe in myself. I knew that any friend or family member who didn’t agree ~ I would prove wrong. That even if I failed at my business ~ I was a success for even trying. That if I took a chance on myself ~ then there was an actual chance at succeeding! Because you can’t win a race without taking the first step. I knew that if I could even help ONE person love themselves a little more, that would mean success to me.
How Van Life opened my mind
After we got on the road is when I finally found my groove. I was finding out things about myself I never even knew before. This new lifestyle was opening doors in my mind left and right. By connecting with the outdoors, having time freedom, giving up things I didn’t necessarily need, meeting new people across the country, and being forced to slow down (as with van life, everything is slow), I discovered so many incredible new tools. I had time to work PLUS time to work on myself. My confidence began growing greater than I could’ve imagined. Not only did I want to help people love themselves, but now I wanted to help people BELIEVE in themselves! I spent the next 6 months pouring myself into my business. The inspiration I was feeling from this life on the road was something I never thought possible. Moving into the van brought a lot of fear with it, and starting a business only heightened that fear. But in the process of busting through my fears, I not only had confidence in the person I was, but I had confidence in what I could DO. And I wanted to help others believe in their big dreams. Because as I have proved to myself time and time again, with hard work, dedication, consistency, and will power ~ we can achieve anything we dream of. Success may not come in the form we had always dreamt it would be, but none-the-less, success will come. Whether in the form of income, a better opportunity, knowledge, experience, or even helping others – success will find you if you work hard enough and believe you can do it.
The beginning of my future
I launched my company Be Confidently You in January of 2018. A name I chose that reflected everything I wanted from my business. For everyone to be confidently themselves ~ no hiding, no hating, no accepting negative people, no turning down dreams for fear of failure… just simply loving themselves for who they are with no apologies and taking risks on themselves. I share my story to hopefully inspire someone who may be down the same path and realize they’re not alone. I use a mixture of fitness, healthy foods, positivity, crystals, astrology, and daily motivation to help others discover self-confidence. All things I personally used on my journey. For I believe the first step to loving yourself is to care for yourself. As I learned, mental health is just as important as physical health, so we work with both body AND mind to build a positive connection between the two. Though not every tool is meant for every person, I want to share all of my knowledge in hopes that each person has a tool to use and no one feels lost. As of now, I give out free blogs, recipes, and workouts to help people improve their confidence plus daily inspiration through social media and weekly emails. But I am working on a 90-day guide that will include confidence exercises, journal prompts, meditations, recipes, workouts, and crystals! Plus meal prep guides, nutrition guides, essential oils, jewelry, and much more that will be released throughout the next year. I also have a free 30-day guide with daily confidence exercises and a coinciding workbook.
Inspiring myself, by inspiring others
I could never have imagined myself here. Before – an unconfident, lonely, depressed girl surrounded by people who only brought her down. To now – a confident, positive, flourishing woman surrounded by people who are lifting her up. I strive every single day to be better than the person I was yesterday. It’s not always easy, and yes, I still get down on myself sometimes, but it’s the messages I get from people who read one of my posts or do one of my workouts telling me that I’ve inspired them to change their life that keep me going. That they are ready to take the journey to loving themselves. That they are letting go of their fears and jumping head first into their dreams because they know they deserve more than what they’ve been giving themselves. It’s messages like this that help me know I’m in the right place.
Living in the van has not only given me the time to work on my dreams, but it gave me the confidence to take action. It showed me to believe in myself when nobody else would. It showed me that anything is possible if you try hard enough. It showed me that even when times are tough, the pain of growing is far better than the pain of staying stagnant. Most of all, it showed me that my fears are there to keep me alive, but they are not meant to hold me back.