I've avoided writing this post because I was afraid that my "story" would be too boring. I don't have a troubled past. I don't have a spectacular body transformation story. I don't have anything to prove. All I have is a desire to become what my parents always raised me to become, a role model for my children. And a desire that most other people have: to be truly happy.
We can skip the childhood part. Aside from the perpetual availability of junk food in my home, I had it better than most. My parents worked hard enough to provide for us, but not so hard that they weren't around. They loved each other (still do). They signed us up for sports, helped us with homework, took us on vacations, etc. I didn't realize until I was an adult that I was incredibly fortunate to have parents like mine.
My struggle didn't start until I was on my own. And by "on my own" I mean moving 1,000 miles away from anyone I've ever known with a 6-month-old and a husband who had logged about seven days of fatherhood until that point. Let me back up just a bit.
My husband enlisted in the Army while I was pregnant and did not meet our daughter until she was two weeks old. He did not get to experience the sleepless nights (literally, she did not sleep AT night for months), the days FULL of crying (anywhere from 3-8 hours EVERY. DAY. For MONTHS!), the breastfeeding issues, or the anxiety and depression that came along with feeling like you've failed the only job you should be at least somewhat biologically prepared for. I couldn't take care of myself or my child and I didn't even have my partner's shoulder to cry on. Trust me, I could have used it. I cried almost as much as the baby did those first few months. Friends and family tried to be supportive, but they were not my husband. And a lot of them did not understand just how difficult it truly was.
I have suffered from anxiety and depression most of my adult life, and this experience brought me down to my lowest low. I was mourning the motherhood I had so naively anticipated. I had lost myself in the nonstop obsession to fix my child and make her stop crying. I think I was showering maybe once a week. I can't recall a single outfit that didn't include yoga/sweat/pajama pants. I was exhausted, and I wasn't ME anymore. How could I be?
Luckily, I was surrounded by family and most of them were very helpful, so I wasn't alone. When my husband came home from almost a full year of training, I was so happy to finally be a complete family that I forgot the part about how he had never been a father before. Jumping in six months into the game must have been terrifyingly overwhelming, but I was so desperate for us to get on with our lives that I ignored the possibility that he could be struggling, too. Less than two weeks later, we packed everything we owned and drove from central Florida to Ft. Hood, Texas. And then we were ALONE. Just him and me and this new, little, very unhappy baby. (I'll skip the details of the marital drama, but let's just say there were a couple times I went home for visits and really REALLY considered not going back.)
Things got better, then worse, then better again. I started working and at first I was really happy to feel like Kiersten again instead of just "Mommy." That was short-lived. Once I became the target of a bully administrator, I began dreading work. I felt myself beginning to spiral down into that drain of anxiety and depression again. I was pregnant with my second child and I had lost 10 pounds in a month due to lack of appetite and constant fatigue. I had a full-blown anxiety attack in my midwife's office. I could not keep working.
That brings us to today. The WHY. Why did I choose to become a Team Beachbody coach?
At first, I continued to be overwhelmed with life and too depressed to deal with any of it. Laundry and dishes piled up, but I just could not get off the couch. I got angry with my husband for not helping, but what I was really angry about was that HE would not just FIX everything. Why couldn't he clean the house so I didn't have to look at the mess anymore? Why couldn't he stop complaining about work so it wouldn't make me upset? Why couldn't he try harder to make me happy?
Taking control of your life is like falling in love. You can tell somebody what it feels like, describe every intimate detail, but they will never truly understand until it happens to them. And there's no magic formula, it just happens. You finally decide that you're tired of living an unhappy life and it dawns on you that nobody else is responsible for changing that. That's what happened. I decided to make the effort every single day to remind myself of all the beautiful things I had to be grateful for. I started changing my thinking by literally saying to myself, "This is a negative thought. Negative thoughts are not productive," every time I felt myself becoming unhappy about a situation, and then taking a huge, full breath to "blow" the thought away. (It works most of the time!)
Then a funny thing happened. I noticed that the more effort I made to be positive, the less I felt anxious or depressed. The more positive thoughts I had, the better I felt about life. I started cleaning the house again. I started taking my daughter to story time and the park. Then it was time to think about me again. I have tried and quit so many things, I was almost afraid to try anything else. I was afraid of spending the rest of my life being "the girl who gives up." But I had a new outlook now and new tools in my bag to help myself stay positive. I was finally ready.
Coaching so far has been more than playing the MLM game of recruiting and collecting paychecks. This has been an exercise in finding my happy. I am able to work and stay home with my daughter and help other people find their own path to happiness. I don't have a horrible boss anymore and I no longer have to spend 15 minutes every morning convincing myself that I have to go to work. I don't have to spend 60% of my paycheck to have someone else watch my daughter for 10 hours a day. Now, I get to exercise, eat healthy, and help others do the same. This makes me happy.
What would make you happy?