I am Kelly Nerdzilla Mendenhall. I am an author, entrepreneur, and love terrorist living with chronic pain and invisible illness. I help other badass unicorns, like myself, break away from ‘tradition’ and create a life and career that honors their special needs and limitations.
Who was I to walk away from the career I’d put so much into building, and sacrifice the student loan debt forgiveness that I was promised if I could just put in 6 or 7 more years? (Oh, holy shit, did 6 or 7 years sound like an eternity on the bad days.)
It didn’t matter that I was crying at work because I hated it so much. I should suck it up.
It didn’t matter that I worked with a bunch of catty back-stabbing bitches, I should get over it (more on that later.)
It didn’t matter that I didn’t make enough money, wasn’t that what I signed up for since I signed up for working to help others?!
This was all my fucking Ego talking, and it was bullshit.
I didn’t owe it to anyone to be miserable.
I certainly didn’t owe it to my family — my mom doesn’t want me to be miserable.
I was afraid, though! I was afraid of reinventing myself, of daring to dream.
Look, I was straight up oppressed by my student loan debt. In my head, with my ego talking, I just kept thinking, “How on Earth can you consider reinventing yourself when you’re already in so much debt from this first set of dreams?!”
The ER doctors are kind of stumped and they do all my labs, they’re good. They do a chest x-ray, it’s good. The EKG checks out and I’m diagnosed with “heart palpitations” as far as that is concerned. But what is happening to me?
I had zero reflexes in my left legs and my pupils weren’t responding to light, I was falling over, the pain was intense because at this point I was like 12+ hours without any meds, and my blood pressure was up to like 191/87 at one point. Basically wacky shit is happening but there’s no way to draw blood and see if there’s just too much serotonin in my system.
I was ultimately diagnosed by the ER physicians as having serotonin Syndrome. Then I was sent to the Clinical Observation Unit for further care and observation.
It was a miserable night. Holy shit.
I want to be an unstoppabl einfluence. I want to help others while learning and growing myself — ideally, I’d like to make enough money to pay my bills while doing it.
That’s not something that’s impossible, it’s just not something I believe I could have achieved had I continued to feel trapped and oppressed in a traditional work setting.
I want to help other people dream. I want to be an empowered woman who empowers other women. That’s part of why I signed up for the Unstoppable Influence 21-Day Challenge with Natasha Hazlett. You’re definitely going to watnt to check out the link included here because you can still register, and the challenge officially starts tomorrow, February 4.
I said many, many f-words, in a variety of ways and sentences. I apologized, of course, for the fact that my mouth turns into that of a seasoned ex-con working at a tattoo shop (yep, believe it or not, I’m familiar) and they forgave me. The doctor and nurse insisted that it was nothing they don’t hear every day.
The doctor kept telling me that I was doing great. At one point I replied, “I don’t feel like I’m doing great. I feel like a giant wuss.”
This was, to my recollection, my very first time eating crow. I felt awful. I felt kind of like Tanya was going to kick my ass, but she didn’t.
Maybe she saw the look in my eyes and at 7 or 8 years old could already recognize honest remorse and pure humiliation and shame.
In any case, we stayed friends, and it never came up again. Tanya showed me some real Grace.
So, when Harold asked what types of hardships I faced and what I learned, as a white kid growing up in Flint, MI… this is what came to mind.
Remembering this made me feel more determined to show the kind of Grace shown to me by Tanya, to others.
People say dumbass shit all the time, and believe it or not, sometimes they really don’t know what they’re saying!
We can’t control the dumb shit people say — but we choose how we react to it.