Have you always felt like you were a bit different?
I know that I definitely did. My entire life, to be honest.
The day I landed in Canada wearing my fake furred blue parka, little did I know that I just stepped foot into a world where I would constantly feel like I didn’t quite belong.
I was born in Ukraine raised by my babushka for an entire year around the age of five, while my mom immigrated to Canada all by herself in search of a better life for the both of us. When I turned six, I flew all by myself to Canada. What a young age to start my solo adventures…
I guess it all makes sense now…
When I landed in Toronto, I was greeted by my mom who hadn’t seen me in a year and met my new stepdad. Growing up as an immigrant child in Canada undoubtedly came with its challenges and setbacks.
Albeit my story started out quite opposite to the life that I lead now, it has ultimately shaped who I am today and why I often associate myself as the black sheep.
Who else can relate?
I was constantly bullied as a kid for being different. In the early years, the bullying started because of my accent and inability to communicate in English with the kids in my Kindergarten class.
As I grew older, kids made fun of me for having a gap tooth in between my two front teeth, wearing second-hand clothes, and having a lunch packed with tuna sandwiches and an apple, rather than a pack of “Lunchables” and a fruit roll-up. I now thank my parents for packing me healthy lunches, even though that made me look “different” or “uncool.”
As I became a teenager, boys would often pick on me for wearing my hair in braids. I was also bullied for having broad shoulders and long arms because of the athletic physique I developed from practicing gymnastics, playing tennis and swimming competitively. Thank you mom and dad for taking me to all those classes and giving me the strength and confidence within myself.
I definitely wasn’t a popular kid. I always felt like an outsider, a bit of an outcast if you will. I cried often, and asked my mom, “Why doesn’t anybody like me?” She would reply, “They just haven’t gotten to know you the real you yet.” Maybe this story sounds a lot like your own story, or similar to something you experienced growing up.
Do you remember your 8-year-old self?
What would you say to your younger self if you could speak to them right now?
I would probably tell myself to stop fearing the judgment of others, and just be unapologetically myself. I would remind myself that I made friends with one or two people at a time, and that those people saw me for who I really was and accepted me.
I remember joining my new 3rd-grade class halfway through the year because my family moved houses often as I grew up. I actually went to about 5 different schools while I was in elementary school. Making friends wasn’t easy.
I’ll never forget the day I sat in my new class, all shy and quiet at the table with 5 other kids. Of course half of them stared at me, and I could feel their energy of dislike. But there was one girl in particular, who became my best friend until this very day. Her name was Theresa, and she immediately saw that I felt out of place.
But she didn’t treat me any differently. In fact, I remember her trying to strike up a conversation, and asking me to hang out with her at recess and come over her house to play after school. I remember feeling my body tense up, wondering why this bubbly outgoing girl wanted me as her friend.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Well to be completely honest, it’s because I have come to realize that comparing your child-like self to your present self will actually provide you with a ton of insight on who you are today.
What I mean by this, is that you may find the answers to why you are the way you are today.
Is there anything that is holding you back currently?
I’m sure the answer is yes.
Well, dig back into time and find out why.
Do you care what other people think about you?
It’s okay if you do, so many of us fear judgment.
Did I always care about what others thought of me?
Heck yes I did.
Do I still?
No, but for most of my life I unfortunately did.
I have always been the one to do something completely different and against the grain. I always challenged myself to work in different industries from a young age. To be honest, I couldn’t quite figure out what I was good at. I liked to try many different things, and thought that I would one day figure out what I was ultimately an expert at.
Do you feel that you have many different types of skills and abilities that you could share with the world?
I worked as a swim instructor, lifeguard, retail worker, waitress, bartender, tennis coach, volleyball coach, tutor, teacher, and most recently deckhand and kiteboard Instructor. Working in the yachting industry has felt closest to home for me – I love the lifestyle and being able to work by the ocean.
I have certain strengths that I showcased in each of these industries, but I never truly understood where I “belonged” or fit in. It wasn’t until a year ago when I was living in the Dominican Republic kiteboarding, that I realized what my passion was. After just quitting a job on my first yacht because I was being bullied, I realized my true potential often shined through when I was collaborating and working with others.
I love people, and I love understanding humans. I guess that comes from my psychology degree both in and out of the University. I studied Psychology during a 4-year undergrad degree. But, I like to say that my Master’s Degree was out in the field – while I was traveling solo.
I realized something on the day that I was sitting on the rooftop looking up into the stars, chatting to a dear friend. We were having an extremely vulnerable conversation, and in that moment I figured out what I wanted to do. I remember saying, “wow, we should make a podcast episode based on this conversation.”
That’s when it hit me… I was going to share my stories with the world and break the stigma of being vulnerable and open with others.
I could feel the fire and passion burning inside of me. I wanted to help people.
I wasn’t sure yet.
I have now realized that these people are women who want to find the confidence to get out into the world on their own in order to connect with themselves and other human beings.
Just like me 6 years ago…
They are women who started off living in fear, filled with self-doubt, and they were constantly making excuses as to why they couldn’t be the person they wanted to be.
Does this sound like you? Or maybe an old version of you?
Traveling has taught me so many lessons, and opened me up to a world that allows for openness and vulnerability. From the moment I began my solo travels, I accepted my uniqueness.
I was always a forward thinker, a dreamer and a doer. I always thought outside the box, I had no shame in expressing my wildest dreams, and if there something I wanted to do – I would always take action and make it happen.
I used to be super shy and introverted, so I never thought of myself as a leader. But the last few years I have been told by many that I have helped to inspire them, motivate them and believe in themselves.
For me, that is a unique trait and one that I want to truly encompass for the rest of my life. I know that I must help others see the amazing qualities within themselves. I want to continue to inspire others.
Being an expert in solo travel, I know that I can help many women out there who want to find this confidence and courage within.
I finally understood why in all the industries that I have worked in, I couldn’t quite find my place. I realized that I had to take this opportunity to share my stories and help women all around the world.
So why is this important?
Well, caring about judgment and other people’s opinions has more of an effect on you than you think. It stops you from doing the things you want to do and limits you from being your true self.
Ask yourself this question:
Have you ever thought about doing something, but you stopped and asked yourself, “What if this person thinks I’m weird, annoying or wrong?”
Maybe you are afraid to receive criticism from your family or close friends?
Trust me, I was the exact same way.
It’s usually always about the people closest to you, not the strangers.
Who else grew up being a people pleaser?
I did, and I am not ashamed to admit it. Being able to go back in time and sit with my younger self, I have realized that these patterns have started from an early age for me.
And to be quite frank, it was time to make a change.
Maybe your flaws are different from mine?
Maybe you grew up being an overachiever?
(which I am also guilty of by the way).
Or maybe you grew up being labeled as the kid with ADHD or behavioural problems?
Maybe you just weren’t interested in being placed in a box at school?
Maybe you had other dreams?
So why not harness your differences, your unique traits, and your abilities?
What do you have to lose?
Other than disappointing yourself…
What is it that really makes your heart smile?
For me, it’s writing and sharing my stories with you.
It’s having conversations centered around vulnerability and openness. I love connecting with human beings and helping them to realize that they have the confidence within themselves to do anything that they want to do.
My passion is to connect with women who are feeling stuck or living in fear. I want to help women who feel stuck in their 9-5s, in their relationships, and in their hometowns.
I want to help women who are ready to take themselves on an adventure to a foreign place, where they can open themselves up to new opportunities and connect with like-minded individuals.
Where they can be apart of a community of “black sheep” who dare to be different.
Does this sound like you?
If yes, then stay tuned for more and please subscribe to my email list so that you don’t miss out on my latest posts & updates on future freebies and upcoming courses.
Thanks for reading,
May 18, 2020