How are you today?
I’m good…..a little nervous to be doing this to be honest. I’m used to being the one asking the questions, it’s different to be in the other chair.
So, I’m going to get straight to it, who are you?
The first thing that comes to mind is that I’m a lover. I feel love deeply for those I know, the people I work with, and all the living things we have the privilege of taking care of. I’m a thinker, my brain is always making connections, building dreams, creating ideas….it rests sometimes but prefers to be efficient. I’m a nurturer, I find my greatest happiness in caring for people, especially children, my purpose is found in that. I think the final thing I would say is that I’m silly. I laugh easily, I love to dance, sing, rap, do impressions…..life is often so serious so I think joy is essential.
Can you sketch me a portrait of yourself?
I would love to.
List the top three priorities you have in life right now?
My top three priorities don’t really ever change. The first is to love God and to build our relationship. The second is to love my neighbour as myself. I find if I’m doing the first one properly the second one takes care of itself. For me it’s not about religion it’s about relationship. We toss the word love around all of the time, however I believe there is incredible depth to it. I am continually in the process of learning what it means to love…how I conceptualize it, feel it, and live it. My third priority is my people, my family and friends.
Can you tell me a little bit about your upcoming trip to Israel and what you will be doing there?
Yes. I’m going to Israel to work with women and their children. The purpose is to support them in their time of transition. They have been affected by addiction and abuse, so my role will be to come along side them as they create their new story. My job is to be there as they experience healing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. This will be done as I live with them…we’ll go about our days together, learn new skills together, and build some dreams. What is special about this for me is that any woman, regardless of their background, is welcome to come to the place where I will be going. In a country often marked by its division it’s special to be a part of bringing women together. Regardless of the differences in their stories, I hope they will see that they are very much the same. I’m excited to watch it all unfold.
What scares you about this trip?
This trip is significant for me on multiple levels. Israel is incredibly special to me, the people and the place. I know I am going to see and feel many things that I have never encountered before. I think the ambiguity of it all is a bit scary to me. I’m scared of the cultural differences, but I know I will adjust and I’m excited about that process. What I’m most scared about is how I will feel when I come home, I think that transition will be a difficult one.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in the past five years? How did it change you?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced in the past five years has been completing my masters degree. I entered into my program at significant time of change and transition in my life. I was dealing with loss, and I was trying to figure out what I wanted for my life. Learning to become a counsellor is a very raw and gruelling process, you have to do your own work before you can effectively help others do theirs. I had to look at the various parts of who I am and what I stand for. There is nothing about that process that is comfortable, it’s hard, scary, and sometimes it hurts. Regardless, I know at my core that it is 100% worth it. It’s been hard hearing people’s stories, there is so much pain in life, yet I have seen that there is also resounding hope. The hardest part has been learning to hold what I can in session and then to let it go. I have to let it go, I can’t carry the stories and pain with me. The reality is that that skill is easier said than done. This will be something I have to continue to do for the duration of my career, there is never a point of completion. I find that fact both daunting and refreshing.
How often do you feel discouraged and how do you press through?
I go through seasons with discouragement. Sometimes it doesn’t visit for a while and then out of nowhere it will sneak up on me. Other times it will camp out for days, even weeks. Whenever I’m dealing with that I get down on my knees and I pray. Prayer is vital to me, and I find there to be incredible comfort in reading scriptures as well. When I feel down I rely on my mum and dad, you’re never told old to need your parents. Apart from that, my close friends and my family….they’re the ones that lift me up.
If you could change on quality about yourself, what would it be?
I would worry less. I worry about how I worry…..joking, but it’s true. Honestly, there is no point to it and it takes up an unnecessary amount of time. I want to learn to surrender things more.
What do you love about yourself?
That I look for the best. Despite all the sad things I’ve heard and seen I still believe in goodness, restoration, peace, and joy.
What makes a woman beautiful?
It’s funny you ask that, I’m going to read you what I wrote about that once. “To me the truest beauty is that of humility. I see it in the woman holding her child at the bus stop, in my mother when she prays, when women celebrate each other through kindness, love, and relationship, it is in the story told on the face of the older woman I pass each day when I walk down my street, and it’s in the loving glow of my friends faces. The beauty that takes my breath away can be found in the splendour of a person’s heart, I see it in their eyes, their face, the way they hold themselves. It is this kind of beauty that is independent of time, age, lighting, ‘likes’, filters, make up, clothing, ethnicity or culture.”
And a man?
The most beautiful quality in a man is a kind and compassionate heart. How does he treat people when he thinks no one is watching? Those moments reveal the most important type of beauty. Next to that I find the ability to lead incredibly attractive. A man who can lead effectively, lifting up those around him, being equally concerned with ‘the one’ as he is ‘the many’….it’s about a confidence balanced by humility. The final piece to me is the ability to have fun, and to not take themselves too seriously. There is immense beauty in a man who laughs easily and experiences joy freely. To me it doesn’t get much better than those things.
What is key in getting through a rough day?
Ok I’m going to give you my go-to’s. First is a killer playlist, something you can dance to, because in my opinion dancing solves most issues. I highly recommend finding the nearest dog (or cat, if that’s what you’re into) and spending time with it, if a dog isn’t accessible YouTube videos of puppies are my back up. Watch something funny, my fav is Parks and Recreation, specifically the ‘Treat Yo Self’ episode. Go for a run, spend time with friends, or just stand in front of the mirror and do the ugly cry, get it out of your system…..we’ve all been there. Eat some chocolate and boost those serotonin levels. Lastly is the advice of my mum, on rough days she always tells me to keep it as light as possible, and to have a good sleep and revisit it in the morning. I’ve found these to be my best remedies.
What have you learned most from the people you counsel?
I wish everyone could sit in my seat as a counsellor because they would quickly see that we all share very similar pain, insecurities, sources of happiness, and a desire to find meaning. We’re all good actors, but when you strip us down to the essentials it’s very much the same. The biggest lesson I have learnt is that the greatest gift you can offer people is your time and a compassionate, non-judgmental ear…we all need that.
Do you believe that creativity is an important part to overcoming adversity? How does it help?
I believe it is essential. Creativity allows us to create an alternative narrative to the story of adversity we are experiencing. It gives us the opportunity to take ownership of our lives again. In western culture there’s this strong division between science and the arts, I often hear “Well I’m not ‘artsy’ or creative”. This is simply not true. Every human has a creative element to their soul, it’s about finding that thing and using it to process the various moments of your life. For some that comes in the form of music, art, photography, or writing. For others it may be cutting people’s hair, the precision with which they draw a blueprint, the meals they cook, how they cut their grass, they way they see clouds when they look at the sky…..it’s exciting to find your points of creativity…..I encourage everyone to do it.
Omen by Disclosure ft. Sam Smith, it’s my current jam.
Top three hangouts that you will miss when you away from Victoria?
I’m going to cheat and give you four because they’re tied.
The front bench of Is This Menswear?
Coffee and walks with you.
Beach adventures with my main pup Kiro.
Saturdays at Temple.
Tell me a secret!!
I can tap dance. Sometimes I still pull out my shoes and it give it a go. I don’t think the neighbours below me are too happy about it though…..
Can you leave us with any words for someone out there who may be lost and discouraged?
You are loved. You were created with purpose. Some times those words are hard to hear, they don’t always fit, you however, do fit. Your very existence is vital to the system around you. Your family, your community, the people you pass on the street, the country you call home, the world you live in. During his time in Auschwitz, Viktor Frankl realized that pain is never pointless since there is always meaning to be made in it. He stated “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” Each of us have a ‘why’, if you don’t know yours yet I promise you will.