My love affair with words started in a Brooklyn apartment in the mid-seventies.
I learned to read at 2 years old (no, really!). One day my parents overheard me talking by myself in my bedroom. They walked in to discover little me holding a book. I had memorized Chicken Little after hearing it read to me so many times and would sometimes pretend to be reading as I recited it from memory. They assumed that's what I was doing until they got closer and what I was holding: Bing Bang Pig. A book they had never read it to me before.
I wrote my first story when I was 5; some pretty cliche poetry in high school; and then majored in English Literature in undergrad. I figured I'd end up teaching English in high school or college.
But life took me in a different direction and my work became about people instead of words.
I left New York with my boyfriend (now husband). During a brief pit stop in Michigan, I decided to pursue a career in social work. In 2000, we moved to Portland, OR and I got my MSW. I had a long, rich, challenging, and rewarding career as a social worker and therapist. And then, after almost two decades in that field, I slowly came to the realization that I no longer wanted to be a therapist and needed to quit. Closing my therapy practice was one of the hardest things I've ever done.
A few years before closing my practice, I began courting my creativity again in new ways. I started writing poetry and posting it regularly on Instagram. I created an Etsy shop for photography and then later for poetry merchandise. I performed at a few storytelling events.
This process of reclaiming my creative self was a mixed bag. I was energized and grateful. But I also had to wade through a lot of grief about having largely abandoned my creative self for most of my adult life. There was no getting back that lost time though. Only committing to continue this relationship with my creative self for the rest of my life.
After deciding to end my career as a social worker, I floated in liminal space for a while.
While getting my life cycle celebrant certification, I was simultaneously considering copywriting as a career. I lucked out getting my first client and loved it so much that it lit a spark in me that I hadn't felt in a long time. Rather than force myself to choose one path, I decided to lean into my multi-faceted, needs-to-be-doing-lots-of-different-things-at-once-or-I-get-bored self. So I did some reading and took a course and started down that path as well.
Suddenly I found myself pulling a variety of interests, skills, and experiences together in a new way. While this was a big career pivot, in many ways it also felt like a continuation of my previous path. I get to bring my rich life and work experience into this new chapter.
Some overlapping themes in my past and present professional worlds:
A love of words and stories. Deeply listening. A desire to help people pursue their dreams and goals. Poetry. Beauty seeking & meaning making. Service. Putting words to things that are hard to articulate. Writing. Speaking. Space holding. Shining a light on things that are typically in the darkness. Bringing people together. Honoring what matters.
In a previous lifetime...
I was social worker for almost two decades. I held many roles throughout my career, but the majority of that time was spent as: school counselor/social worker in high schools; Dean of Students at East West College of the Healing Arts - a massage therapy training program; and therapist in private practice.
I also have a decade of teaching experience:
Faculty at East West College of the Healing Arts, Therapeutic Relationships course
Developed & taught continuing education course for LMTs called "The Ethics of Client-Centered Presence"
Adjunct Professor, Advisor, & Field Placement Liaison at Portland State University's School of Social Work