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delrae's story - journey to the herbalist and esthetician I am today (part 2)

delrae's story - journey to the herbalist and esthetician I am today (part 2)

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After a week of mulling it over, I headed back to see the neurologist to discuss medication options. We sorted brochures and postcards for pregnancy safe medications vs. non. I didn't want to start a medication and then have to ween off of it when it was time for me to have a baby, if that's what we decided. At this time, I was weeks into my relationship with my now husband, so it wasn't something I wanted to decide quickly. 

The doctor could see the hesitation in my body language, and hear it in my voice. I watched my dad go through some tough moments over the years, and being on that medication ... (sigh) ... I just didn't want to do it. I didn't want to sacrifice my internal organs for the sake of hiding my symptoms. I thought, well they are frustrating, but I can handle it. My diagnosis was early on, so I had a choice; but, we didn't know how fast the disease would progress if I opted out of medication. 

I decided to turn to holistic options. My chemical free journey was born. I had no idea all of the shit I was putting in, and on my body. I grew up with all the things infiltrating our homes with pure harm (i.e. fragrances in body care, toxic cleaning products, laundry detergent, wall-plugins, etc.) but after taking some time to learn; I started with essential oils. Initially, it was Frankincense that made me a believer. After all of the MRIs and neuro visits, I was still experiencing the numbness. I started using Frankincense on my skin, and diffusing it by my bed at night. Within a few days, my symptoms were GONE. The neuro could not explain this, and sent me in for additional MRIs. It was noted that my scans improved. 

I was a believer. All from this little bottle of oil? Honestly, up to this point I was extremely skeptical when it came to the oils inside my starter kit. This is where my fascination for plants began. In the coming months, I went about life as normal and decided to start dabbling in make and take parties. We would incorporate the essential oils into different beauty care or cleaning products and that's how I started transitioning my home. But with a career I could no longer attain, I was lost. I didn't finish college (at this time), I kept working at the hospital searching for answers on what steps to take next. 

I was toying around with different names for what I would call my team in this MLM I was apart of for oils, and it hit me, Loil Life. Initially, I tried the MLM thing, but it wasn't for me. I decided to turn to what I knew - the making. What if I pre-made these chemical free products and sold them. Loil Life started off as a bath salts, scrub, lip balm and bath bomb company. Boy, if you look at those pictures now ... phew ... not good, but we all start somewhere. I started hosting in-home parties at friends houses, selling my premade magic. 

About a year in of me realizing this is not going to become anything bigger. I found my way into herbalism. I took a few online intro classes and then a certification class. It was centered around European herbs so there was some research involved in US regulations. Man did it feel right. I waited weeks for my materials to arrive from Britain, studied hard, passed my exams and received my certification as a Master Herbalist. Truthfully, anyone can become an herbalist, and the US does not require special licensing or certification. I wanted that for me. I wanted to know that I was properly creating with appropriate herbs, I wanted to be mindful of contraindications and I wanted to see the art of herbalism from actual herbalists.

I played with oil infusions and after months of trial and error, decided an easy way to incorporate essential oils into my routine to help my struggles was to add them to herbal skincare. This was effectively a two bird, one stone situation because I had struggled with my skin for most of my teenage/adult life. I couldn't develop a routine because I was allergic to practically everything on the shelf, plus I I didn't want the chemicals inside most of those products on my body. 

Over the next few years, I finished college with a BA in Biology, I got married, had a baby, and created the products you find in Loil Life today. It was right after my first baby was born that I jumped all in, quit my job, stocked 12 local shops with my creations and worked farmers markets each weekend. But I wasn't finished. I became a certified skincare formulator, had another baby, opened my own retail shop and was finally feeling like my business was becoming something spectacular. It had traction. 

Unfortunately and fortunately, having small kids adjusted my trajectory. I had to close the retail space. The customer base I built faded away with the closing doors. The sales went from 5 figures to $0. 

There are so many nights I cried. Thinking how do I recover. What can I do. During the time the store was open, we hosted events and would have estheticians come to do facials with our product. Instead of hiring estheticians, I decided I could add so much more value to our company if I received that education. 

Every day for seven months, I dropped my kids off at my mom's in the evenings and busted my butt in night school. I aimed to be the best, the most knowledgeable, the one who squeezed every ounce of wisdom out of the experienced people around her. I did it. After seven grueling months, I did it! I graduated with my license, set up a suite, and was ready to serve the community again. 

Unfortunately, the universe had other plans. We were blessed to have another baby and I was needed back home. The mother I aim to be and the level of entrepreneurship I see in my minds eye are always playing tug-o-war. 

With no wind left in my sails, I took a year. A year to be there for my kids, my husband, and me. But it didn't turn out quite as I hoped. I went back to the hospital, taking a position in management again. Just like riding a bike. 

But it wasn't, it was different this time. It was different because I was now 31, a wife, mother of 3 (about to be 4) and a woman with more life experience. I was a leader in my own business, and I wanted to be a leader to my new team of 30. I wanted to show them that YOU matter; I care about your story, your work life balance. I felt new stresses from the top and bottom; as I was trying to navigate managing these expectations, BOOM - the rug was pulled out from under me again. 

We lost our baby boy. I can't even put into words that experience, and frankly it would require a trigger warning. It's a part of me now and it is the reason I have returned to my passion. Not even 3 weeks after the tragedy I left my job and came back to my true calling. Being a mama to my beautiful children, and sharing my love for holistic skincare. 

My hope for the future is bright. This is who I am and who I am meant to be. I am not questioning it anymore. I have been returned to this place for a reason. And I am going to do my best to fulfill it. 

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