The Courage to Become | Rachel Ritlop
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Rachel, the blogger behind The Confused Millennial (TCM). I often feel torn between Netflix binges and taking on the world, and TCM is really for other millennials facing the same struggle as they navigate this whole #adulting thing . I’m also a blog consultant, Forbes contributing writer, and dog mom.
What was one thing you always dreamt of doing, were afraid to do, but did anyway?
As a kid, I always dreamt of publishing a book. I loved to write and had tons of short stories. However, my biological father is European and in his country, “left handed people are stupid.” So whenever he would catch me writing, I would have to sit at the kitchen table re-writing everything for hours with my right hand. As a seven year old, that takes a toll on you.
I slowly stopped writing, because I didn’t want to get caught and go through all of it. In high school my mom kept pushing me towards STEM classes/careers so my creative side really died. It wasn’t until a series of traumatic events my senior year of high school that I found my way back to writing as an outlet for all the emotions.
Getting started it felt totally cathartic. This deep visceral release. At the same time I was going through some intense cyber bullying, so as soon as I started to find my footing with writing again, I found myself totally afraid of the written word from my anonymous attackers. Once again, I decided to let it fall to the way side because it was just too painful.
I got lost in TV, movies, and music… avoiding the written word like the plague for another eight years. I found myself in the midst of a quarter life crisis freaking out about the unknown of my future when I said to my husband, “I’m just another confused millennial with no idea what to do with my life!”
And honestly, just like that the lightbulb went off. I bought the domain within an hour, designed a logo, built a website, wrote four posts, and “went live” to the interwebs in 48 hours! I had no idea what I was doing, where it would go, but I knew I just needed to write again.
What’s been the biggest motivating factor through my twenties, and ultimately launching my blog, has been this mission to help others. I honestly don’t think I would be alive today without the help from others. The random acts of kindness, the inspiring word, or even just feeling like I am not alone in my feelings have saved me and I hope to pass that along to others.
The other major motivator is the person I admire most, my husband. He has been with me through starting a business, pivoting that business, and gave me the courage to evolve it into a true lifestyle business that not only supports me, but supports my mission in life.
Alright… to answer your other questions:
Which talent would you most like to have?
I honestly have no idea! I think a skill I would like to get better with is my writing. Since I avoided english classes like the plague for years, I could definitely use a grammar refresher!
What is your most marked characteristic?
My honesty. I am a little too honest at times, and it’s definitely gotten me in trouble. But I believe in transparency and honesty if we want to grow or help others grow.
What is your motto?
“What other choice do you have?” - I’ve learned that life is going to happen, and all we can control is our reaction to it. I try to always lead with grace and dignity, even if I just want to throw a temper tantrum.
What are some things you are proud to have accomplished?
I’m proud of a lot actually so this is hard. Honestly, I am just really proud of how far I’ve come with my anxiety and depression. That I have a loving husband. I’ve been able to connect with so many amazing people through my blog, and support myself from my blog as well!
What keeps you going when you feel like you are knee deep in mud?
My readers! They send me lots of emails, DMs, comments, and positive vibes to get through it all. In my experience community and sharing our struggles is what makes walking with them a little less burdensome.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to women who are about to embark on the journey you are on?
Keep your eyes on your own lane. If you’re focusing on what everyone else is doing, you’ll only become a consumer. If you want to build a lifestyle business or become a professional blogger, you need to have an original POV, and that will get watered down if you are reading every single thing published on the internet in your niche. For more advice I’d give on starting a blog, I’d recommend checking out these lessons from my first year blogging.