The One Where Rachel is Poor

Honestly writing these posts has been so easy for me so far. However, as I go deeper into my own story the writings will get harder to put out. It isn’t about a lack of ability, or time, or even motivation; it is just sifting through the line of what I want to share and what I should share. This is the point in my blogging journey where it will really start to feel like I am jumping all over the place. We left off last week on budgeting and bettering yourself, this week we are taking a hard left, or a soft right, or wherever this writing takes me. 

In 2008, at the age of 18, I was pregnant with my daughter. This was a tremendous year of personal struggle for me. I graduated high school, moved out of my parents house, became a mother, and had some really hard health scares. I was the poorest I have ever been, I remember having boiled potato water for lunch because that was all we had to eat. Her father and I lived with his parents in a 2 bedroom mobile home on a chicken farm. My boyfriend worked at McDonalds and eventually on the farm with his dad to make ends meet as I was on medically induced bed rest for the latter part of my pregnancy. Living with my in laws at the raw age of 18, physically unable to contribute much to the household, shaped and changed my views on marriage. 

My parents had always been atypical; my dad stayed home with us and my mom worked a high powered job at a large tech company. I did not have a traditional childhood in that sense and had always assumed if I ever married that I would follow the same path. It is spiritually taxing to be struggling so much and not being able to help your family much. This is where my love of budgeting, couponing, and meal planning/prep was born. When you are that poor and unable to work your full time job is finding ways to cut corners and stretch money. 

Something that made this whole journey harder for me was that I did not come from a paycheck to paycheck family. My mom made a solid salary and my dad staying home meant no childcare costs. We were pretty well off and I never went to bed hungry. My mom and I went shopping every season for a new wardrobe and we had the latest technology. Not to say my parents spoiled us; there were a lot of things they tempered our access to but I can reflect back and say I had a very comfortable childhood. 

All of this to say that I have a unique perspective on things my generation is voicing and the world is going through. I grew up with the classic millennial childhood filled with dunkaroos and ABC’s One Saturday Morning. I felt the angst of Eminem and Nirvana, while being taught an appreciation for the classics from John Lennon and Led Zeppelin. However, throughout my adulthood I learned the other side of that coin. What it means to go to bed hungry, what it means to steal food so your kids don’t starve that week, and what it means to really lose your dreams because of your situation. All of that struggle and comfort has shaped me into a woman who understands, to some degree, each side of “the tracks”. I think a lot of what held me back is the mindset that comes from just making sure you can eat today and tomorrow before worrying about anything you actually want. 

Once my first marriage ended I was hyper focused on never feeling that emptiness in the pit of my stomach I felt when I stole grapes from the store for my daughter to have for breakfast. I put my head down and put in the work required to give them my comfortable 90’s era childhood. I never even added up the spiritual cost of raising them this way until last year. It has eroded so much of who I am, independent of a mother, away and left me feeling pretty empty. I hold no regrets and still continue to sacrifice when it comes to my kids. Although, I have come to the realization that over time they are better off hearing the word no occasionally and seeing mommy pursuing her dreams then being at the fancy summer camp in the designer sneakers without a role model around. 

This week I am going to push past the uncomfortable feelings that come up when I talk about my past experiences and ignore the lump of shame in my throat and be honest about why I have come to this place. If for no other reason than to make myself accept that I cannot change the things I have done or the choices I have made, and I can only learn and keep pushing ahead. If you are still here you are probably wondering why the FRIENDS reference in the title, well my name is also Rachel. I can relate to her story of a cushy childhood that she gave up for some struggle and self discovery. While my life does not mirror anything else from that classic sitcom, I think it does an accurate job of reflecting the projection I have set for myself and this business I have started. 

Comment below about a time you have had to overcome a hardship to pursue your ultimate self!

Fire, Rebirth, and Money

In this past week I have been able to begin the journey to realizing my dreams. It is a spectacular feeling to look around you and love what is happening. I have had my nose to the grindstone for the last week and honestly I haven’t felt this good in years! I say all of this to say the cliche; if you don’t like something, change it! I think sometimes we are slow to accept that sometimes things society views as flaws or downsides are actually our greatest strengths. For me, I love to be busy, I also love to complain about it to my friends. It is too easy to get caught up in others’ views and lose sight of where we see ourselves going. 

Once I knew where I was going everything started to click into place. This journey actually started back in August of 2019 for me. I knew it was time for a big change, I felt suffocated by this life I was supposed to want. The first move was to get out of my job because it was literally killing me. The stress and anxiety had eaten away at me over the 6 years I was there and just left me a shell of myself. The uncertainty and self-doubt had become overwhelming. Once you let someone else have that much power over you it is really hard to break away. I left and found the perfect environment to lick my wounds and grow myself back up again. 

Once I had made that change then my focus moved out of my professional world and onto my personal life. I will be the first to admit I am not normally neat person, but even I knew my life and home were in disarray of epic proportions. I started with the physical clutter in my house and re-organizing and donating and trashing things. Once that project was fully underway I was able to focus on something I had really been ignoring, my finances. 

This was such a struggle for me, it meant admitting that even though I had the tools to live better I was allowing myself to stay stuck in the paycheck to paycheck cycle. I started listening to Ramsey podcasts, watching The Budget Mom on YouTube, and doing so much independent research and calculation. It was overwhelming and difficult at first, but I finally was able to craft a system that worked for me out of what the people I follow had success with. I honestly think that personal finances are so personal there is no one size fits all option. Budgeting, debt payoff, and saving is really a psychological journey. You have to change the mindset that prohibits you from saving and that allows you to rack up debt. 

Now that our house was getting ordered and my finances were progressing, I felt I had time to look into expanding myself. I am taking classes to get my Microsoft Office certifications now and looking into SEO/digital marketing/design classes. I no longer see these things as “extras” but investments in the business of myself. I had let my business, myself, go over the last 10 years. I had allowed people to come into my soul and stomp out my passion and motivation.  One of my favorite quotes says it best, “Sometimes you have to burn bridges to get some distance.” That is exactly what I did, if your presence in my life brought me stress- out you went. That meant letting go of that life I had built based on what I thought was expected of me. It wasn’t all bad, I have memories I will hold close and lessons learned I will never forget. 

All of us have something in ourselves worth investing in, worth exploring. Don’t rely on conventional wisdom and societal expectations to find it. I am giving you some homework, take some time for yourself and really think about the things that make you happy. Write them down in one column, then in a second column write down what motivates you. The last columns should be your dreams/goals and then your hobbies. Now you have to go through the list and find what overlaps! This exercise is a visual way to explore your own ambitions and hopes, maybe don’t share the list with anyone or share it with everyone! 😉

I look forward to these weekly posts and as always, if you have anything to add or questions you have please leave a comment down below!  

HappyMotivationDreamsHobbies
My Kids and WifeMy FamilyEntrepreneurshipMeal planning
Lazy SundaysSuccessTravel EuropeCooking 
ShoppingWealthLarge FamilyWriting 
Being BusyFeeling UsefulWealthSocial Media
I am sharing a bit of my own list, it is so therapeutic to write it out.

Backslide

I love this! So insightful on the parallels in our lives. Give it a read and comment some of the parallels in your own life.

You know how they say, “art imitates life”? Lately I’ve been wondering if sport can imitate life as well (specifically climbing, obviously, in my case). Let me share with you a few parallels as evidence.

That boy who smells really great but also says things like, “You’re the only girl I want to talk to” (despite having several pictures of himself and some chick pressing cheeks together) writes Jen and she responds immediately (despite telling her friends only yesterday that she was TOTALLY DONE).

Back1 

That same day Jen attempts a V2 and fails miserably–something that had become standard for her to top last year but has now, for some reason, become no guarantee for her to get.

 Jen’s play gets rejected from several (five plus) festivals and theatres. Rejection is pretty much standard in the industry, but maybe she’s putting all her eggs in one basket at this…

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Ambition, Dirty 30, and Fulfillment?

If you read my previous post then you already know I am pulling you with me on this journey of self re-discovery. Ahead of my upcoming 30th birthday I had a breakdown moment when I realized that the list I had made for myself so many years ago had no check marks on it. When I was younger, in middle and high school, one word could always be used to describe me- ambitious. I was always focusing on how something looked for future me, I never even got a detention so that one day I could be president and they would have no mud to sling at me! That logic and focused ambition drove me to have some lofty goals and work really hard to make them reality. 

I made a list, a list of what I wanted my life to look like 10-15 years after high school. Now coming up on my 30th birthday I realized that I have not accomplished any of those goals! That was a real harsh reality moment for me to come to terms with. I spent months brooding silently with myself before even bringing this up to the people around me who I love and rely on. It took a lot of introspection to appreciate that while I may be letting my younger self down in so many ways, I have achieved things I never would have thought I was capable of previously. 

I am going to include a preview of my younger self’s list of ambitions and goals here and then revisit what I have managed to achieve and realize instead.

  1. Graduate law school from an Ivy League (obvs)
  2. Practice divorce or corporate attorney law and pro bono in family court for abused children
  3. Have a farm or rescue animals that need attention
  4. Be a politician preparing for a senatorial and presidential campaign
  5. Have an Aston Martin, a never ending supply of designer shoes and bags, and a really really nice brownstone in New York (neighbors with the Olsens a plus)
  6. Have my bachelors in psychology and therapy practice

These are all goals that I still want for myself to some degree, not to say they are all entirely unattainable at this point in my life several are highly unlikely. This has caused me to realize that what I really miss is that girl. The one who was so ambitious and really believed she could change the world and do anything if she just worked hard enough. I did not arrive at this conclusion quickly, even though it seems so obvious now. I spent hours feeling this deep spinning in my soul. I did not feel a sense of personal purpose anymore. Everything I have done since I left high school has been to support my family, once you have kids all of your priorities change and life just starts to happen quickly. 

I had to really look inward and begin changing my own way of looking at my life and myself. I was not happy on the inside, I did not feel that deep fulfillment like I was doing what I was meant to be doing, I have always thought it was just because I put my own dreams on the back burner to support my family, but now I am not so sure. Starting this blog is me rediscovering that girl, rediscovering the person who finds so much joy in goals and ambitions. So let me introduce myself and give my readers a bit of my bio so to speak!

My name is Rachel, I currently live in Austin and have spent most of my life here minus about 8 years. I have 2 amazing daughters and am married to the most amazing woman. I work at a great company now and have the time to invest in myself again. I have 2 of the fluffiest demons AKA cats and they love to pose for instagram and destory my belongings. I loved writing when I was younger and I was the kid who had a Xanga and a LiveJournal for when I wasn’t on AIM. I am getting back into writing as a release for myself and hopefully walking through this journey will help a few readers as well. Stay tuned as I will begin posting uploads twice a week now and each post will get deeper into my head and my life (scary!).

The “Whys”

Some people are blessed with the ability to stay the course. I am not one of those people. All the new, the shiny, the next big things; they pull at me constantly. I was born with a restless soul. It is a meme of my generation that we are never happy with the now and always want MORE. I have to say for me that is true! What is so bad about wanting more? I do not want to just have a corporate job or a family or travel, I wanted it all. This has now led me to realize the problem with wanting it all, very rarely do you truly get it all. 

This had me feeling like I was spinning my wheels in quicksand, no matter what I did I was dropping the ball somewhere. I sat down and really really looked at myself. This was a difficult and drawn out conversation. I spent all of 2019 making changes within myself that have slowly began to come to the surface of my life. 

The first step was actually looking at what I wanted with my life, what was the most important, or what was my “why”. This was actually a difficult question for me to truly answer, I do not feel like I have only one “why”. My family is the heart of most of my “whys”, but I do have personal goals that have been motivating me for years. I want to be successful in a way that equals freedom. Freedom to live the life I imagine, freedom from debt and creditors, freedom from an unfulfilling career. Now I know what I want most, the freedom to give myself PERMISSION to enjoy my life. Yes, I said permission. I have always been focused on the needs of the ones I love and the people I support and never fully developed my own dreams and talents. I also am not living the life I want, I am living the life I am supposed to at this stage in my life. I really do not like that! With realizing all of this I knew I needed a plan, I am someone who likes to plan everything out and it gives me great peace to have goals and steps in place to achieve those goals. If you are anything like me and you feel stuck, unfulfilled, or unhappy- join me on this journey of discovery of self, the discovery of purpose.

Over the next few posts I will discuss my personal journey up to this point and why I decided that I needed to start a blog and a little shop to feel that deep fulfillment. 

I am so glad you are here with me, let’s do 2020 together!

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