Lost for Words.

by | Jan 24, 2021 | Personal

Hello dear readers,

It has been…a little while since you’ve heard from me.

(And yes, in the meantime, I have watched Bridgeton, and loved it!)

Sorry, but kind of not sorry! I’ve had a LOT going on.

It’s time for me to spill the tea

Up until now, I’ve been juggling three wonderfully fun jobs. I’ve been social media-distancing a lot more to cope with the utter exhaustion that has come with COVID-19, and 2020 in general. Having said that, I’m feeling very grateful to have spent lots of quality time with friends and family in Sydney, and despite enduring a tough year, I made it to the other side having learnt a lot more about myself and the world.

However, it hasn’t been till quite recently, that I have been able to implement a lot of self-care measures to look after my mental health. I am slowly easing myself back into a regular meditation practice. I am exploring journal writing and Julia Cameron’s, The Artist’s Way. I’ve enjoyed lovely neighbourhood and beach walks (when it hasn’t been raining!).

I’ve also started acupuncture to help manage my PCOS. And in the next few months, I am going to investigate if I have coeliac disease to get to the bottom of my never-ending tiredness, iron-deficiency and bloating. Yes, nutritionists are human too! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dreading it, nervous, and anxious as f*ck. Honestly, I love sourdough bread, pizza, dumplings and pasta – and just food in general so so much. However, I am so grateful that we have a great healthcare system in Australia, and that I have such amazing dietitian friends and colleagues who I can reach out to, and work with for support. Also, the fact there are plenty of gluten-free options than there ever used to be! I won’t have an answer for a little while yet, but I will be sure to keep you all posted on my journey, which I will probably document on Instagram and here on my blog, of course!

The other big news …

I am about to commence a Master of Speech Pathology at The University of Technology, Sydney! Seriously, who the heck saw *that* career pivot coming?!

It was a big decision. Like one of the scary, WTF-are-you-doing-with-your-life?! kind of decisions.

Don’t panic. The Visionary Nutritionist isn’t going anywhere – like literally. If I’m going to be “stuck” in Sydney/Australia for another couple of years, I might as well do something productive with my time, like do a third degree, right? (But trust me, no one is envious of my never-ending student debt).

So why speech pathology?

  1. I have always wanted to work with kids and make a positive difference for younger and future generations. Speech path fits the bill.
  2. I am a bit of an accidental communications nerd. I already have a Master of Health Communication under my belt, and we all NEED to communicate in some way, every single day to function within society and ensure our personal needs are met. Many of us already possess the key(s) to unlock the door(s) to communicating with ease and confidence, while others may need a little extra help, and tools to get there.
  3. I’m someone who gets bored easily. A career in nutrition/dietetics wasn’t filling my cup fully anymore. Something feels like it is missing, or totally draining me – I am still having a hard time pinpointing exactly what that thing is, but it’s a gut-feeling to venture into a new world, too strong to ignore.
  4. It’s a rewarding career path. Unlike nutrition and public health, you can start to see results of your hard work straight away. You also have the privilege of changing someone’s life in a positive and meaningful way. Whether it is helping a child with autism feel more confident in social settings, helping someone regain their ability to speak after a stroke, or helping new parents create peaceful mealtimes at home – the scope of practice for speech, language and feeding therapists is massive, and so fulfilling!
  5. In a world of masks, face-shields, physical distancing, artificial-intelligence, social media and digital technology – just to name a few, there has never been a greater need for us to communicate more clearly, and innovatively! I am very up for the challenge, and I’m sure many of the skills and knowledge I learn in my new degree will be extremely transferrable and valuable to the world of nutrition and public health.
  6. I can come out the other side of my degree and work as a feeding and swallowing therapist! A lot of people don’t realise that speech pathologists help people of all ages have a safe and healthy relationship with food! This side of therapy is very multi-disciplinary, where you often work with dietitians/nutritionists, occupational therapists, doctors, nurses, psychologists, and many other professionals! I say, bring it ON!

The rest of the journey I know will be filled with plenty of surprises and challenging moments, I know will help me grow both personally and professionally, which is what I am craving, now more than ever. Am I nervous? Excited? Absolutely!

I have also created a new Instagram account (@superlicious_speech), where I will be documenting my speech pathology learning journey if you would like to follow along. For my own sanity, already running multiple social media accounts, it will probably just live on Instagram!

So, are you “quitting” nutrition? What’s your deal?

Okay. Let me: Clear. This. Up.

The short answer is: NO.

I am here to finish what I started. I am taking a *tiny* detour into speech pathology while I figure things out. I have a very creative vision for The Visionary Nutritionist, and I don’t think I am going to bring it to life without taking risks and pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

While I am studying over the next two years, I still need to meet the continuous professional development (CPD) requirements set out by The Nutrition Society of Australia as part of my membership requirements. I have recently been accepted into their new mentoring program as a mentee! I am so excited to work with my mentor over the next year to begin to niche down and keep me accountable in reaching my goals.

My door is still open if you would like to work with me, but I have a much more limited capacity now that I am studying full-time. I only want to take on projects that light me up and align with my values and stretch me out of my comfort zone. If you would like to chat about something else, or have a blog topic request, you can contact me here, or connect with me on social media by sliding into my DMs.

Regarding, The Visionary Nutritionist? I am literally lost for words. Lost for words, but incredibly grateful as to how incredibly supportive you are of me, and how everything has all came together over the last year. But I am also lost for words in terms of mapping out where I want to take it over the next little while.

As someone who works in health communication, and now speech pathology, I think there is so much (unnecessary) pressure, for us to have all the (right) words, all the time.

While I am filled with more hope for a brighter future than ever before, I also stand before this overwhelming gaping rabbit hole of the unknown.

However, when there are no words on the tip of my tongue (at least for the time being), or you are staring in front of a blank canvas, there is necessary space created to listen, learn, reflect, express  gratitude, heal and understand – and that to me, at this topsy-turvy time in my life is exactly what I need to embrace, to figure out the next step – and find all the best gluten-free gems in this world, before I lose my mind.

If I get lost, and fall down the rabbit hole, I just need to remember to head in the direction of the tea party, where I hope I’ll find you too.

Chantelle x  

I’m Chantelle Vella a.k.a The Visionary Nutritionist. 

This is my fresh take on food, nutrition, public health, and health communications. 

Quals: Master of Health Communication. Bachelor of Science (Nutrition) (ANutr.) 

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