I grew up on a farm in Washington state. Trudging through creeks, playing in fields, riding ATVs, and loving animals is a good characterization of my early childhood. My father was a forester and small business owner, so I got to work in the woods with him during my teenage years. I developed a strong work ethic and a love for working-class and blue-collar people at a young age this way. My mother was an artist who painted, worked with stained glass, and crafts with everything imaginable. Her creativity inspired me to draw, write poetry, and make movies throughout my childhood.
As I inched closer to graduating high school, lack of healthcare and medical debt pressed my family to sell their farm and move to an apartment in Oregon. I decided to trek out alone and poured concrete for years until I decided to get a degree. Southern California is a land where young dreams are made, so I went to a community college in Fullerton. Here I fell in love with philosophy, psychology, and religious studies. I transferred to Chapman University to get a degree in Religious Studies and a Latin American history minor. Both degrees combined my love of the human mind, metaphors that drive entire cultures, and the strange movements of history.
After about a decade in California, I moved to Seattle and started a career at a startup. Going from working blue-collar jobs to an office job was an incredible transition. The office had snacks and talked about mental health. Essentially, it was like I had been dropped off on Mars. After acclimating, I quickly climbed the corporate ladder as a manager. I found myself with a Vice President title managing the entire wings of a business in eight years. I took this title with me to multiple companies, all the while feeling I had forgotten something important had been left behind. I felt very little connection to the work and always felt like something was missing.
My kids were born. Watching a child approach the world with awe, openness, and curiosity made me realize the corporate ladder was not where my mind and body felt nourished. My aspirations led me to counsel because I valued relationships above anything else, cared about other people's pain, and wanted to help people professionally. I did not want to wait another five years to pursue counseling. I'm now a counseling student at Northwestern University.
As a counselor-in-training, I want to work with everyone. No matter what someone is struggling with, I would love to help. I have a particular passion for working with people struggling with masculine identities in their life (covers the entire gender spectrum), those suffering from anxiety, and people exploring non-monogamy. In my academic pursuits, I love studying the intersection of physical fitness, mental health, and neurobiology to understand the entire human body.
I spend most of my time with my family. We love to adventure outside, wrestle in our yard, scooter, and play video games together. Individually, I love to read, hike, boulder, and listen to records in my free time. I love to travel and plant myself in overstimulating cities where I do not know the language or culture. I also love to pick a type of cuisine every year and learn to cook it. Thai food is my most successful thus far.
Breakthroughs are real. This is how therapy has worked throughout my life. As I have eased into my early middle age, my life felt numb and gray. My past felt like a jumble of trauma and unhealthy patterns that drained my life of meaning and joy. Counseling is the one space, tool, and spiritual exercise that has challenged me to be more compassionate toward myself, others, and the world around me. Working with therapists has brought color and music back into my life because it has helped me heal and feel a sense of self-exploration in my life. Whenever I feel a sense of progress or a breakthrough, I am pulled by a deep yearning to spread this work to more people. I hope you are ready to make the jump and talk to someone if you are reading this!