Updated: Nov 24, 2019
I have never connected with educators who pretend they know everything, or therapists who make it seem like their lives are perfectly sorted. Counsellors and educators are humans too. We've been through stuff, and we don't always practice what we preach.
Often the very thing that attracts us to doing this work is how empowered we've felt by the process of learning, and the possibilities of helping people move through the same struggles we have experienced ourselves.
The picture below is during a time in 2018 where I was physically run down and mentally burned out. I was running on embers. Writing to process my experiences, I expressed that I felt like the little alien in Men in Black operating a skin suit in order to pass as an old man. I continued to look and act like a youth worker, but I was faking it. Faking it took a ton of energy. Evenings looked like bed, Netflix, chocolate.
Until then, I had exclusively relied on the support of wonderful friends, colleagues and family members. I decided if I was really going to take charge of my life and my mental health, I was going to need to talk to a therapist.
Taking the action to talk to someone had power for me in and of itself. It required telling myself that what I was going through wasn't okay. It meant imagining a different future for myself. It meant loving myself enough to practice self-care.
I have often wondered what "magic" needs to happen for people to just take a big breath and make a major change. I always felt I was waiting for something: inspiration, an interview at a dream job, stars aligning in a specific way. In the end, it was just plain old courage and willpower - plus, honestly, a little desperation. Since I took this picture in 2018, one brave act has given me confidence to make another, and another. I've changed little things (I made my bed this morning!) and huge (this website!). I took a leave, eventually quit, found a new job, and started building my business.
For now, I give myself credit for the shifts in my own energies, rather than worrying about the outcomes. But I can't wait to find out what joy and success I will manifest as a result of all this internal change.