When I announced the changes to my website, I said I was going to stop hiding. Of course, that doesn’t mean the desire to hide isn’t there, it’s just I’m going to act despite that feeling. When I first thought of doing an “about me” post these thoughts came up:
“No one wants to learn more about you, just write about something else!”
“People are going to find out you’re weird”
“It won’t get shared on social media”
But that’s just my crazy mind going. The truth is I want to develop a stronger relationship with my readers. That can’t happen if my guard is up and I never make myself vulnerable. And I don’t want to just write articles that are more likely to get shared. Some of you have been with me from the beginning and others have just joined. So I wanted a “getting to know you” session by telling you some things about me that you probably don’t know.
1. I’m a first generation American
Both of my parents were born in what used to be Yugoslavia. My dad was born in Montenegro and my mom in a town called Nis in Serbia. My dad came here during wartime (to Canada actually) and at the age of 16, my mom was sent to the US to live with her father.
My parents had somewhat of an arranged marriage. My mom had just graduated high school and my dad, who worked incredibly hard to become an engineer, was looking to marry someone of his same heritage. He wrote her nice letters and once they met they agreed to get married and have children. I was the youngest of their five kids.
My dad always reminded us kids how lucky we were to be US citizens. Because I was the only one actually born in the US (my brothers and sisters were born in Canada) he always told me I could be President of the United States someday. That instilled a lasting belief that dreams are achievable. I think that’s why I’ve pursued this nontraditional line of work, and remain open to life’s many possibilities.
Here’s a Serbian dish I make all the time.
2. Early loss taught me not to take life for granted
Unfortunately, when I was 13 my father suddenly passed away. My whole world was turned upside down and the years following were a blur. Looking back, I realize that losing someone close to me so young taught me not to take life for granted. It also fueled a lasting determination to make my dad proud of me.
I’m also the kind of person who believes unfortunate things can happen. In other words, I tend to worry when my husband gets home late about my kids’ safety. I try to keep this in check, though, and enjoy each moment I have with loved ones.
3. I didn’t discover love for writing until I was 30
After college, I worked a slew of jobs racking up the “I don’t like” list but wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. It wasn’t until I got a job as a corporate dietitian that I discovered my love for writing. A good portion of my job was to create materials and content for the website. And it hit me — I like wanna do this forever!!
Of course, I wasn’t even that good of a writer then but a lot of my previous experiences made sense to me. How the dietitian replacing me at the hospital was so impressed with my homemade education materials. How I got A’s on my papers as long as someone edited them.
I also realize how close I came to not doing what I love had I not taken that particular job. That’s why I believe it’s important to encourage children to discover their interests early. I don’t want my kids to just be good students, I want them to become lifelong learners who leave school with a solid idea of the area they want to pursue. (Read Why I Take Notes When My Kids Play)
4. I’m a seeker of truth
A natural part of writing, for me anyway, is to get as close to the truth as possible. In order to do this, I need to read as much as I can on the subjects I study, including the stuff I don’t agree with. Otherwise, I’m writing based on partial information. So I purposely keep my own biases at bay so they don’t influence what I learn.
One example was when I kept seeing studies on non-food rewards and vegetable consumption in young children. Even though it went against my belief of rewarding kids, I dug into the research to find answers (See this post for what I came up with). To only share evidence that is in line my view of the world would be a disservice. I never want to be that certain of anything. Keeping an open mind is paramount in writing, and my life.
5. My WHY for writing
My husband and I recently watched Simon Sinek’s TED talk. He is the author of Start with Why. He talks about the importance of understanding your why behind selling anything (which for me is my books). In other words, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. I realize that my why for writing about health and nutrition is to end the struggle people experience.
Struggle is defined as “to make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction.” This is different from challenge which is needed for growth to happen. Struggle feels more like spinning your wheels than moving forward. You want to save money but still seem to be living paycheck to paycheck. You want to get in shape but always end up back where you started. You want your family to eat better but picky kids — and busy schedules — make that feel impossible.
All of my books are set up to end this struggle by helping people take control of the right things. We can’t always control certain circumstances, like a cautious-eating child, the outside food environment, or the body type we (or a child) is born with, but we can control how we respond and view those situations. Research gives us many clues to the optimal ways to respond. And that strangely makes us feel in control, at peace, and healthier as a result. Because it’s in our attempt to control what we can’t, that we end up feeling so miserable.
Well, that’s enough about me. Please share with me something about yourself in the comments. I want to get to know you better!!