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I decided that I was no longer going to hustle for my worthiness to fit in......I was going to show up as my true authentic self and belong.

I have debated several different career paths in my life, including wanting to be a legit sumo wrestler. Archaeologist, civilian cop, nurse, special agent, and mental health provider were some of the others. I actually joined the military as a cop because I was obsessed with Law and Order SVU and religiously followed the work that Mariska Hargitay (Olivia Benson) was doing after founding the Joyful Heart Foundation ( I decided that I would serve 2 years in the military on the "limited time contract" (National Call to Service) I was offered and then take my educational benefits, move to NYC to attend the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and then join the NYPD. The rest would be history....okay, I was literally hoping to be the next Olivia Benson.

After two years, I reenlisted, reenlisted again, and again, and then commissioned. My decisions over time in my 16+ yr military career and the decisions that were not mine, slowly molded me into who I am today. I reflected on the opportunities and experiences I gained from the military, along with the self work and understanding of "belonging" and have come to the conclusion that I never belonged in the military as my true authentic self.

Every new assignment, every new duty position change, every training I attended, there was one thing in common, I was destroying myself at times trying to fit in to a world where I would never belong as Theresa. I had that awakening during my mental health journey in Spring 2022. I started to explore interests where I felt the sense of belonging. Because I was now living for myself, I thought about applying for my PhD Psychology because of the impact mental health has had on my life after my traumas. I decided that was not my place to belong either.

Last year, I was reviewing some work from Brené Brown, reflecting on the Facilitator course I went to, and felt a rushing, overwhelming feeling of nostalgia. Now that I was able to take in positive emotions for the first time in my life and feel physiological reactions (that's shit is overwhelming in itself), I sat with all of those terrifying emotions brewing in my body. MIND, BODY, SOUL. I realized that course I attended was the first time in my life that I showed up and belonged, but had no clue what I was feeling. Years later I yearned for that same emotion and feeling that I couldn't name before in 2019, but knew I want to grab hold of it, name it "belonging" and never let go. I decided to seek out that feeling again. Considering a lot of the other facilitators were also life coaches, I decided to research (because I am a huge ass nerd ) and signed up for a coaching certification course through Coaching Training EDU. It happened again.....I was showing up as Theresa, the true ass Theresa, and was belonging, the same belonging I felt in 2019z That is the feeling that I want on the regular and it is in my power to control the acceptance of that feeling. I spent my military career hustling, and although it did not bring me true happiness, it gave me other opportunities, which in turn assisted me in having the grit and tenacity necessary to show up as me, where I belong.

When you are constantly hustling to fit in, you are missing out on the opportunity to show up as yourself, find those other "weird" people like you, and belong. This is what true happiness feels like.

Ultimately I decided to become a life coach because when I show up as my true authentic self and belong, I feel a sense of euphoria that I have never felt before. I want to be able to share that with the world, and I believe that with genuine human connection, empathy, and accountability, this is possible for us all. And in the long run will make the world a better place:)

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