MY NAME IS
AND THIS IS MY STORY…
Video Advertising Specialist
The woman I was before Awaken Your Life was scared, living in fear, and constantly trying to gain her confidence and happiness from the outside. The woman I am now is able to face fear and isn’t trying to make everyone else happy so they like her, but is just starting to really like herself and is working past the fear.
Tessa was living what she called an “escalator life.” She worked so hard to check all of the boxes of success—career, money, security, motherhood—and despite fitting the mold society conditions women to believe, she felt unfulfilled.
“I had the stability and what I thought would bring me security and comfort and that sense of control, but I still wasn’t feeling right. It felt more like, ‘this is how you do it, and then you die.’”
“I wasn’t being authentic to who I really am,” she says. “I was losing my meaning in life.”
Instead, Tessa was overworked, unfulfilled, and she struggled to connect with her husband and daughter. She was faced with severe PTSD and manic depression and felt her body was breaking down due to stress. For five years, she tried various medications for pain management and felt she was going in circles.
“I didn’t feel like I had a purpose. I was unclear on how to be truthful with myself and how to process my emotions,” she says. “I didn’t feel I had control of my life, and I didn’t understand what I was supposed to be doing.”
She feared that she’d lose it all or that work would consume her time and energy, forcing her to miss out on family time and any personal enjoyment. She wanted more from her life, but didn’t know how to get it. She tried therapy, yoga, meditations, schedulers, planners—nothing worked, nothing sustainable anyway.
“I had tried so many things to deal with stress, anxiety, and trauma, but I wasn’t really addressing it in a way that would heal me,” says Tessa.
Then she came across Julie’s Facebook ad.
“What drew me to the program was the authenticity of how Julie spoke in her video about what the program meant to her. That’s what I connected with: the overwhelm, the doing, going, and never stopping, and never feeling fulfilled. I researched Julie for about 20 minutes and took the leap.”
“I had been looking for a way to understand myself better and to be able to comb through my feelings. I knew how I was feeling wasn’t just about work—I knew this program was right for me, but I was scared of what was to come.”
Tessa was looking to address her anxiety, panic attacks, and depression and to model for her daughter how to navigate life with balance, presence, and joy.
“I wanted to be present with my decisions on a minute-to-minute basis, not three weeks ahea, and not replaying conversations in my head from the past. I wanted a better relationship with my husband and daughter—as an abused child, I didn’t understand how to cultivate that. I had no role models for it.”
“In the vision exercise on your first call, when I looked across that river, I saw someone who was strong and confident and who accepted and loved herself,” she says. “I wanted her to be free of a past of numbing, addiction, running, and all the things that were holding her back—all the things that needed to be healed, and she needed self-forgiveness.”
Tessa wanted to heal and free herself from past traumas so she could find balance in her life. For her, being her authentic self, standing in her power, and feeling freedom to live on her own terms was the life she wanted to build.
“I’m strong, and I’ve lived through a lot, but there was this other part of me that wasn’t standing up for myself, wasn’t being true to myself, wasn’t setting boundaries, and who wasn’t able to embrace the security I had built because I was living in fear. I wasn’t being truthful with myself and my decisions.”
“The woman I was before Awaken Your Life was scared, living in fear, and constantly trying to gain her confidence, happiness, power, and acceptance of self from the outside. The woman I am now is able to face fear while still being a little scared. The woman I am now isn’t trying to make everyone else happy so they like her, but is just starting to really like herself and is working past the fear and embracing her power.”
Not only does Tessa radiate confidence, clarity, and joy, but her investment in healing her own traumas has helped her wean off medication entirely and has transformed the vision she has for her daughter and how she chooses to show up.
“My daughter, she’s so smart, and I don’t want her to feel held back because of the preconditioned image of what a woman should be like. I want her to have a sense of self and have support and know how to make her own boundaries—things I wasn’t taught to do. I want her to express herself, to go for that dream, and that she can have a dream but doesn’t have to constantly be that dream,” she says.
Tessa adds: “I want her to work toward bettering herself, and I want her to feel she always has support in me. I want her to become somebody who is grounded, who is able to help other people without it being at the expense of herself. I don’t want her to lose herself because of sacrifices for others. I want her to make an impact, to live life in a fun way, to not live in fear of being something big. All these things I’ve lived in fear of. I don’t want her to ask for permission—the only permission you need is yours.”
To honor the vision she has for her daughter, Tessa leans on AYL modules and tools such as its trigger process and emotions wheel to identify her triggers, practice self-awareness, set boundaries, ask for support, and honor her priorities.
“I thought boundaries were for everyone else to set and that they were outside myself versus inward boundaries for me,” she says, after learning her do-it-all, always-say-yes nature stemmed from her family of origin’s belief that it’s “family first with everything you do, you sacrifice for everyone.”
“Today, I’m integrating how to set boundaries so I can honor and respect myself and practicing how to ask for support versus ‘doing it all’ to please others,” says Tessa.
“Everything from the school stuff to laundry to planning vacations to the grandparents and practicing ‘no,’” she says. “I don’t have to do this all. That societal impact about what a woman in the household should be was something that I didn’t fit into the box of.”
For Tessa, AYL’s supportive container for deep reflective work and coaching for trauma response helped her deepen her understanding of her past, her relationships, how she managed emotions, and why she was triggered. This, in turn, has helped her connect with herself, her daughter, and her husband.
“I never dealt with my emotions, I just swept them under the rug,” says Tessa. “When my daughter was born, I didn’t know how to connect with her. I didn’t understand my emotions, so how could I understand hers and help her?”
She explains: “I had to connect with my emotions and triggers and retrain how to look at a statement that my husband made and discover why I was getting upset. It’s not an attack, and automatic responses are not OK. I had to reprogram, change the way I speak, and most importantly, take that pause. I realized I was always reacting after a reaction, and instead of looking at myself and finding what I can change, I was just blaming and blaming.”
Tessa says her relationship has improved with her husband, and he’s also using the tools. “He was also reactionary, so we were bouncing off each other all the time,” she adds.
Tessa’s learned to not focus on fitting the mold, and she realizes there’s more to life than the “escalator life” she had been living.
“I needed to figure out myself, face my trauma, accept it, and not repeat it,” she says. “It wasn’t until I worked with the AYL trauma specialist on release work that I learned how to move past my trauma—I didn’t know how to do that before.”
“I don’t know where I would be without going through the AYL program,” says Tessa. “I was on all these medicines and still having two panic attacks a day. I’m not on any medications any more. I do have panic attacks, but not often, and I’m more in tune with my body. I know when it’s beginning versus becoming enveloped in it.”
She adds: “When I looked across the river, I was embracing the life I’m living and being true to who I am now.”