Achieving Peace

11/01/2022 12:51 AM By Lisa Anderson
Amanda Rodriguez
Amanda Rodriguez
Story by Taylor Strickland • Photos by Joshua Jacobs

Achieving Peace

Chronic Helper Learns To Help Herself

It may have taken nearly two decades and a global pandemic to get her to do it, but Amanda Rodriguez is finally making herself a priority. Born in Cuba, the 23-year-old University of Central Florida student and marketing professional moved to the Ocala area when she was in elementary school. “My mother moved us from Miami to Ocala, and to be honest, I think she hated it,” confesses Amanda. “There’s a big Cuban community in Miami, and she had a lot of support there.” 

The lack of community support in Ocala meant that Amanda had to pitch in to help her single mother, who struggled with English. “She can speak it a little, but I think she gets embarrassed. I had to translate for her and take care of her [medical] paperwork growing up,” Amanda explains. “I filled out the FAFSA [Free Application for Federal Student Aid] completely on my own.”

Amanda’s independence and assistance to her mother went far beyond just paperwork. “My mom had a lot of jobs and used to work at a cleaning company under my aunt, but then she came to me and asked for my help to start her own cleaning company. It was something she really wanted, and I wanted to help her.”

“We did door-to-door and face-to-face marketing. We did cold calls,” Amanda laughs. “It took about two to three years to get the business started.” The business, Diosdersy Cleaning Services, has since thrived. “Mom does all the hiring and takes care of the business aspect of things, and I do the marketing.” 

Due to her upbringing, helping others is second nature to Amanda. “I’ve always been a people person,” she says. “I only want to help people. Of course, I want to grow and prosper financially, but I ultimately just want to help my clients achieve their goals.”

True Calling

Given the myriad responsibilities she was used to tending, Amanda felt she was best suited to a life of service. “When I was in high school, I was involved in HOSA [Future Health Professionals],” she mentions. “I always knew I would be in the medical field. I went to college to be a physical therapist for kids with special needs.”

It wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in 2020 that Amanda realized she had overextended herself. “The pandemic was very hard for me, because I was in a relationship and that ended. It was a really big wake-up call,” Amanda admits. “Mentally, it was difficult to deal with; I felt really overwhelmed with all my classes and the issues with my relationship.

“Toward the end, I felt that I was so focused on others and helping so much that I began to lose myself. It was physically and mentally exhausting. I remember thinking, ‘I don’t want my life to be this way,’” Amanda recalls. At this point, she had realized that marketing was her true calling, but she had reservations after dedicating so much time to a singular pursuit. “I felt selfish going into business and marketing,” Amanda shares. “I thought, ‘How am I going to help people in business?’”

It's Going to Be Okay

Something needed to change in Amanda’s life. Thankfully, she felt confident enough to reach out to some other helpers in her life. She started therapy. 

“Therapy is amazing!” Amanda exclaims. “I had a lot of family problems growing up. With all the struggles I went through, I felt like I couldn’t be a kid. We were homeless when I was 13. It was me, my mom, and my grandmother. There were times where it felt like [my family] wouldn’t move past that. Coming from a Hispanic family, we don’t really talk about our issues. We’re sort of like a bubble that pops and then reforms again.”

Amanda usually avoids talking about the vulnerable moments of her life, but her new support system encourages her to acknowledge the experience she’s gained and follow her passions. “I changed my major to general business marketing; I graduate with my bachelors next year. I still manage the marketing for my mother’s business and even have several clients of my own now.”

As far as the ex-boyfriend goes, Amanda sees it as a life lesson. “The breakup was really harsh, but there’s no hard feelings. I’m really grateful to that person, because I learned a lot about myself. I’ve always had a bit of anxiety, but I didn’t really know until that relationship,” Amanda muses. “I put all of my feelings into that person, and they dealt with them. So, when it ended, I had to face the anxiety alone.”

Amanda started her company, Marketing with Amanda, in January 2022. At times it can be overwhelming, but Amanda has a way of dealing with the demands. “I take breaks when I need them. I think about my past experiences and remind myself that I am always going to be okay. No matter what happens, I’m going to be okay.”

Amanda is now not only a student and business owner, but the proud dog-mom of a mini-poodle named Cudi. “After the rapper,” Amanda claims. “He’s so spoiled: He sleeps with me at night and has a BarkBox subscription. My family loves him.” 

It’s obvious that Amanda has achieved a measure of peace and temperance since 2020. “I never thought I would get here,” she says happily. “But I’m so glad I did.”
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