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!