It’s been a long time since I’ve provided an update! I've been busy with a lot of great things over the past year and have exciting things on the horizon. It feels like a good time for reflection and re-introduction!
A big question I’ve always had about publicly discussing identity work is, how much do I share personally? The reason I chose this work and the reason I’m good at it is that I’ve done a lot of my own identity work, I’ve transformed my story. I was listening to the podcast, All My Relations, and one of the hosts talked about the idea of consenting to public learning, which I really resonated with. I began blogging about Mixed Race in 2012 and at that time, a lot of it was my own personal processing, my work. It was vulnerable, but I also felt called to work publicly because I hold a value in sharing my story if it can help others.
Yet, vulnerability. And compound that with vulnerability as a therapist when you’re trained in school not to disclose anything about yourself. Luckily, my internships and early career were spent in agencies that did culturally specific work. Among many POC and immigrant communities, the relationship is paramount within a medical system that can often ignore or harm them. So I learned the value of disclosure to build the relationship.
At first I shared too much. I realized later that I was trying to prove my worth through my experiences. As I grew in experience with community conversation and as a therapist, the racialized themes became apparent. It wasn’t just something that happened to me, it was things that happen to us.
So, back to the point of learning publicly. If you scroll into the archives of my blog here, you’ll see some of that writing, learning, reflecting I was doing over the years. Some of it feels cringey to me now, but I think it’s important to show you where I’ve come from, with dates. Not to prove my worth, but so I can model that identity work, and becoming a mentally healthy and nourished person takes time, work, mistakes, exposures. I believe it’s a lifelong process.
That said, I find myself here in March 2020, almost three years into marketing myself as a Mixed Race trauma therapist creating safe space to explore complex identities. I primarily work with POC and provide culturally specific services to Mixed folx, as well as centering Transracial Adoptees and Queer and Trans Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (QTBIPOC). I am blessed to have kept a full practice with a waiting list since 2017. I could not be more grateful for my practice, it’s incredibly fulfilling and I learn so much every day! I am living my dream.
Now that my business is running pretty smoothly, I’m looking at expanding my reach. The feedback I get from my clients says I’m doing something right. And more and more people are reaching out to me wondering about the basics of identity exploration.
The main reason I moved toward this career in the first place was because I didn’t want other Mixed folx to be isolated and suffering in shame, silence, and self-judgment the way I was. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge as I’ve worked through my own identity and helped others with theirs. It feels like the right time to share with a wider audience.
I can’t do therapy across state lines, but I can share information, education, resources, and processes as far as the internet can reach! So that’s what I’m working on now: sharing information here on my blog and social media, while creating some more formalized resources - courses on identity exploration and development, and mental and emotional wellness. The broader theme is healing from the damaging impacts of racism.
I also have a couple of fun things coming up locally:
On March 19, I will be the featured speaker at the University of St. Thomas for their Multiracial Heritage Month “And Still We Rise” event. They have asked me to share about my identity and career development for an audience of women of color.
Then on April 19, I am joining More Than A Single Story’s “Dealing With It: People of Color Talk About Mental Health." The format is Circle within a Circle, where artists, writers, and mental health professionals have a discussion among ourselves in a circle while the audience observes. Then audience members replace us to react and reflect. I recently went to their last event where the circle was composed of Transracial Adoptees. It was excellent, very moving.
Finally, I'm so excited to share an update on Within, Between, and Beyond, the beautiful multimedia project Leslie Barlow, Ryan Stopera, and I developed and premiered at the 2019 MidWest Mixed Conference. Leslie is an incredible visual artist who is kinda blowing up right now (check her out here). She was recently chosen for an exhibition at the MAEP Gallery at Mia (the Minneapolis Institute of Art) to show Within, Between, and Beyond in November 2020! We are adding 12 additional subjects. I have a lot more thoughts to share on this project, stay tuned!