Hi I’m Rachel, and this is who I am.
I was born in the 1990's as an identical twin. I grew up in an environment where my parents were stressed out due to emotional and financial issues. My dad lost his business when we were young, which caused a great deal of stress on our family. It also caused my father to feel depressed and resentful. My mom, who is co-dependent because she never got her needs met as a child, unconsciously, felt that having children would fulfill her. However, becoming a mother caused her to be very controlling, which in turn caused my sister and me a great amount of stress and anxiety, from which I am now healing.
Because of the chronic stress, my parents yelled a lot, which caused a lot of fighting in our family on a daily basis, which I lived with until I left for college. Every day was like walking on pins and needles wondering if I was going to get yelled at, shamed, punished, or a combination of all three. It was extremely difficult to express myself, which caused me to begin doubting who I am and to have trouble making decisions. I didn’t feel safe in that environment, which made me begin acting differently -- as a false self in order to survive the chaos, which has drastically affected my relationship with my parents even to this day.
As well as all the fighting, I was constantly getting ear infections, which caused me to be unable to talk until I was almost 3 year old. I also took a slew of antibiotics, had tubes in my ears, and had my tonsils and adenoids out. Without realizing it at the time, all of these procedures began to stress my body and affect my gut health as I grew up.
In Kindergarten, I met my friend, Kyle. He was the only friend who truly made me feel safe through much of my early life. I almost feel like I had a co-dependent relationship with him without even fully realizing it until now. It was difficult to make friends because I would constantly be anxious about what was going on at home. I would call this a co-dependent relationship. Kyle had a similar troubled home, so he was very understanding of what was going on, as I would unknowingly leak family energy onto others . He also lived nearby, so I could walk to his house on a daily basis. Because of my co-dependency, I would not want to hang out with anyone else except for Kyle. It was scary to do anything out of my comfort zone. I was always told as a kid that I couldn’t be trusted and I unconsciously believed it.
It was hard for me to trust anyone else, which affected who I would hang out with. I lost a ton of friends up until high school because I would always choose to hang with Kyle over anyone else. He didn’t really like anyone else, but I thought nothing of it at the time. He must also have been the same way unconsciously with issues of trust. It’s crazy how much we mirrored each other. That’s why Kyle made the most impact on my life up until college. While I hung out with him, we would always eat chips, drink pop, and eat lots of candy. I was always slightly overweight because of this. Although we ate unhealthfully, we were very active playing in the park and riding our bikes when it was warm outside. As we grew up, our activities evolved into playing Dance Dance Revolution and running. I eventually joined Marching Band, Cross Country and Fencing in High School, but with my poor diet, I started experiencing bloating and other symptoms which I later understood to be because of my leaky gut.
Kyle was not involved in high school at all, so I began to experience my true self by making my own friends and having a sense of independence. Some of these friends I still have to this day. It made me start to want to have independence from my sister and my family. One other big influence Kyle had on my life was that he loved computers. I would watch him program a lot in middle school and I started to develop an interest in it as well. I started learning HTML and maintained a few sites for some extra money, but I had a difficult time learning anything outside of that. Since I had no idea who I was and I was in constant survival mode, I followed mostly everything he did, which included deciding to major in Information Systems in college. It was the only thing I felt somewhat confident in from which I could try to earn a good income. Kyle and his brother ran a business together, which inspired me to want to create one of my own. I saw the financial freedom they had and the joy from running it, and I wanted to have this for myself. The issue with this approach was that I had some underlying doubt about my skills as a developer and whether or not I could even handle a full time job in this field. I ignored these doubts since I had never explored who I really was for myself.
When I went to college, it was the first time I felt that I could find my identity. I was on my own and felt what it was like to be independent for the first time. I was free from the family tension and was able to make decisions on my own. My relationship with Kyle faded at this time due to me being away at college. Feeling free and independent was exhilarating. I gained such confidence from that. I joined the Marching Band to find an easy way to make friends and continue to play my instrument. Immediately when I arrived in band, I was flooded with new friends from the trumpet section, which made for a fantastic college experience. However, as I continued on my journey to success, I also continued to develop anxiety and worse eating habits. With the pressure of my classes, partying on the weekends with friends, and my family still burdening me, I started drinking coffee every day and alcohol became a part of my weekend norm. I would have consistent exercise with Marching Band in the fall, but the spring was inconsistent, because I took more credit hours. By the time I turned 21, I was no longer in band, and I had put on almost, 20 lbs that semester.
At my worst point, I was completely sedentary both physically and mentally. I finally decided that I was going to make drastic changes in my life starting with my weight. I couldn’t fit into my clothes from a few months prior and I was ready to change. I began to start reading food blogs and cooking recipes from scratch, instead of from a box. From that point on, I started losing weight and changing my lifestyle. After adding cooking into my routine, I decided to train for and run a half marathon right before graduating college. I managed to lose 8 lbs on my own from the time I turned 21 to the time I graduated, and I also dropped a few pants sizes, so I was feeling motivated to continue this change. Unfortunately, after running the half marathon, I was left with terrible shin splints and it was difficult to run or do any form of weight training without pain.
Right after I graduated college, I started working in Corporate America as a developer. I knew that it was really important to maintain my health because the amount of hours I typically had to work which promoted a sedentary lifestyle. Shortly before I entered corporate America, Kyle suddenly passed away, which was also the beginning of the end of my desire to work in IT.
Although the co-dependent relationship had ended with Kyle, I was at home again with my co-dependent parents. At the time, I started working out at my local gym and one of the trainers, Alex, approached me when I was on one of the machines. I ended up taking a complimentary fitness assessment from him. I told him about my shin splints and he told me about how he specializes in functional and full body movement. I was so inspired by the assessment that I decided to hire him as my trainer. My parents were not too fond of the idea, but to this day, I continue to train with him, despite their judgment. I really trust him and feel that he was the first person in my life who truly believed in me, even when I do not. He is completely real, challenges me to be my best every day, and allows me to be myself without judgement. I’m thankful I have him in my life. His passion inspires me to live my life to the fullest every day. Thanks to him, I’ve developed a routine that works for me and enables me to be consistent because Alex has taught me exercises and movements that I could have never learned on my own and that I truly enjoy. Within a few months of training with him, my shin splints were gone! It was a miracle! I felt such joy being able to exercise without pain.
Shortly after I found the fitness routine that works for me, I was introduced to pole fitness by one of the other trainers at the gym, Sydney, who is now my friend. She took me to an intro class and I instantly fell in love with it. Pole has been a great way for me to be able to express myself in ways I had never imagined before through the art of dance as well as to use my strength from weight training to take my fitness to the next level. I was seeing glimpses of my true self, but it got to the point where I could no longer handle the co-dependency of my parents.
After 2 years of living at home, I moved out into an apartment on my own. I felt called to find my independence without the extra noise from my family. At that point I saw how Alex was able to create abundance by doing something he loved while I was stressed, lonely, and miserable at my desk. I was inspired by him, but had no idea how to do that for myself. I was stressed and exhausted due to the poor schedule and lifestyle from my corporate job. To help cope with the stress going on in my life, he referred me to his holistic chiropractor, Abby, who through the NET technique has helped me bring to the surface and release areas in of tension in my body. NET (Neuro-Emotional Technique) is a mind-body technique that uses a methodology of finding and removing neurological imbalances related to the physiology of unresolved stress which has helped me release a lot of the stressful situations I’ve encountered on a day to day basis from my subconscious.
Because of a merger, in 2016, my employer began doing a company-wide re-organization. My current role was no longer going to be a part of the combined companies. I took a step back and asked myself if my intentions were truly in IT or not. I began exploring other options to see what I wanted to do for the next stage of my career. Knowing that I feel a sense of presence when I work out and cook that I don't experience at my corporate job, I knew that this was no coincidence. I could see now the entire cycle of my life had happened for a reason. I realized that my desire was no longer IT because my intentions weren't truly there. I was burnt out and had started developing adrenal fatigue because I was working out a lot paired with lack of sleep and the high stress from my job. I wasn’t moving anywhere up the corporate ladder and I felt stuck. I shared this realization with Abby, who introduced me to one of her colleagues. She told me about an online course at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) that she completed to become a health coach. I looked into the course and felt like this course resonated with what I want to do because it would be a way for me to be able to live my life of health and wellness while being able to help others achieve their goals, too. I would be able to live my career instead of having my life and career separate!
The following day, I called IIN and signed up for their next course. This course has helped reveal and heal a lot of stress/anxiety triggers that have surfaced throughout my life, and has helped me realize who I really am. I graduate in September, 2017. The course has been such a transformational experience in all areas of my life. I am healing my mind/gut relationship, healing my relationship with my family, continuing to find who I really am, speaking my truth of who I really am to the world as a health coach, and inspiring people to take their disadvantages and turn them into the lessons that become their success stories from a space of true compassion and joy.