“My mom is my hero and one of the most fascinating people I know. She’s always educating herself and always learning more. I was 11, was when my father left us, so my mom told us from very young that we had to work hard to buy our own school supplies. My biological father was quite a character. He was mentally ill and a pathological liar and a lot of different things, so no one really surprises me because some of my earlier experiences were really shocking and surprising.
When people show great kindness and compassion, when people remind me that they are capable of those things, I think it’s more uplifting now. Looking back, I’m grateful now that it was all part of my experience. It wasn’t going to be any other way. I’m more discerning about connections. I will filter out and keep people at a distance that have that energy about them. I’m not easily taken in. It really makes you appreciate the connections that you have that are really authentic and really genuine even more.
I’m incredibly passionate about helping people come through trauma. I’m going into social work and I want to go into private practice and go into therapy and I also want to publish. I want to help people create a framework where people are more empathetic with one another, where they can more naturally step into another person’s shoes. Neither one of us arrived at our belief system nor who we are today in an instant. We arrived here through all of our cumulative experiences. And I think that there’s got to be an easier way to help people to be able to step into that empathy and say, ‘I may not like a thing about you, but I get why you are the way you are.’
I have a lot of theories about empathy in general and how we can use that and I think that we can do better in schools, in governments and just better across the board. Someone like Brené Brown is really inspirational to be me because I believe that stories and conversations are so important because it lights things on fire and it arms us all with a common language where we can talk about vulnerability and we can talk about these themes that are really, really important. I don’t know what form that’s going to take, but that’s what’s next for me. I want to see where social work takes me. I want to help people through traumas caused by sexual and domestic violence and the only way out is through.”