Some would say telling your own story is the most difficult task in the world. I would agree with those people for the most part. I will, however, make a valiant attempt anyway.
I’m Eryn Rochelle; a very creative and spontaneous person. I love technology, crafting, writing, music, and most recently health and fitness. I work on the editorial, design, videos and social media aspects of Healthy Hustle & Heart.
I was born 26 years ago in the great state of Texas. My life started very traditionally. I was born into a middle class, two parent household. I’m the oldest; my sister is 4 years younger than I am. I loved the idea of being an older sister from the moment I found out my parents were having a baby. I took my role as the older sibling very seriously. At age 5, I lost my dad to an aneurysm. This was devastating, but even at my young age I knew life had to go on.
My dad was so intelligent. It was my goal to educate myself and make him proud. I’m visually impaired. It’s one of the many things that makes me unique. This made my desire and pursuit of education difficult. There were few resources for children with my severe level of vision loss. I struggled to get basic accommodations throughout my primary education.
The severity of my visual impairment led to numerous surgeries throughout my childhood. These surgeries set off a series of constant inactivity as a child. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t go out and play with the other children. It was very isolating. I began gaining weight. I was never allowed to overeat. I didn’t have a negative relationship with food, but spending your days completely still is a guaranteed way to pick up extra weight. The weight gain wasn’t rapid; just a few pounds extra a year, but it took its toll on me. I wasn’t happy.
I continued to undergo various surgeries throughout my middle school and high school years. Most years, I started school late because I had surgeries during summer vacation in order to cut down on the days I would miss from school. My vision continued to deteriorate, but I was still determined to excel in my school work. I spent hours daily working on my homework. It would take me forever to complete the simplest of assignments. It was also important to me to help my younger sister with her homework. There were many nights I would still be awake, working on an assignment at 3:00 am. I went to school exhausted every day.
After completing my first semester in high school, my academic counselors suggested that I transfer to the remedial classes. I was hurt and insulted. I wasn’t stupid. There was something wrong with my vision, not my brain. They told me I wouldn’t graduate high school on the Recommended Degree Plan. My only hope for graduation would be the Remedial Degree Plan. They felt it would be best to transfer early, instead of waiting for my grades to slip and delaying my graduation.
I was deemed a lost cause. My vision was too poor to keep up in the regular classes. I just wouldn’t accept this. I knew I was better than what they thought of me. I continued to study hard and push through. I would make my dad proud of me.
After struggling for 4 years, I graduated with a Distinguished High School Diploma in the top 2% of my class. I received a full university scholarship. Graduating high school was one of the proudest moments of my life.
I started college with bitter sweet feelings of my future. I was so proud of my accomplishments thus far, but there was a part of me that just wasn’t happy. I was overweight and trapped in a body that I hated. I needed to make some changes in my life, but I had no idea where to start. I was perplexed. I knew the importance of diet and exercise, but there were still several restrictions on my physical activities. I needed answers.
I started reading articles on health and fitness. There was some great information out there. I purchased my first Fitbit, and I loved it. I became obsessed with all the data I could get. It would tell me my step count, elevation, miles walked and so much more. I’m a technology enthusiast, so this data was life changing for me. I walked more and more each week. I had to get my 10,000 steps in every day. Getting those steps in was a new hobby for me. I joined other Fitbit lovers and built up a great community of supportive people. I slowly started losing weight thanks to the support of that great community.
In addition to my love for technology I also love crafting. I’m always up for new projects, but mostly I crochet, do paper crafting, and repurpose objects for my room. I started getting into crafting because I would often find myself in situations where I needed a creative solution for a vision related problem. One of the first problems I solved was not being able to see my Fitbit in the dark. I had the little clip on Fitbit at the time. I crafted a special necklace with a small light for my Fitbit. It worked out brilliantly for me.
Like most creative people I kept a journal when I was younger. I still journal now, but not nearly as frequently as I used to. Now, I journal in the form of goal, gratitude, and fitness tracking. All that journaling as a kid led me to my major in college: English. I’m great at editing and revision, so going with a literary based English degree seemed to be a natural fit for me. I graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington in December of 2014 and it has by far been the greatest accomplishment of my young life. I went from being a hopeless case in high school to a university graduate. Dreams do come true.
I spend my time these days working on my next degree: Visual Communications. It’s a fancy way of saying Graphic Design. I really enjoy my classes, and I’ve gotten a chance to work on some pretty cool projects which can be seen on my portfolio page. In addition to school, I’m still working on a ton of freelance and volunteer work.
I take so much pride in Healthy Hustle & Heart. It truly is a labor of love! It is my goal to share my fitness journey and inspire others to be the very best they can be.