It was one year, ten months since I graduated from grad school. I was lying on the couch, in the middle of a February afternoon, with all of my blinds shut and a blanket over my head. There was no way I was going back to work. The migraine had been pounding since 9am.
Since graduation, I had moved a total of five times (once across the country). I had spent five of those months searching for a job with my fancy new Master's degree that, after hundreds of job applications, seemed to be just for show. When a full time, salaried position finally popped up and seemed to fall into my lap, I had never been so relieved.
With this newfound sense of security, I looked back on the previous months, thinking, "Five months of job searching, and I land a salaried position? Not bad!" And it's true. Full time therapist positions for recent grads are really hard to come by. I considered myself lucky, and in fact, "living the dream."
But the work was killing me. The migraines started to build in intensity about six months into the job. I developed neck and back issues, and started experiencing more panic attacks. Vicarious trauma is a real thing, folks. It seemed like no matter how much I tried to practice self care, I could never quite get back to feeling like myself.
It was on this February afternoon, after sobbing on my partner's lap as he attempted to massage my migraine away, that I decided something needed to change. "I can't do this anymore." I had no idea what I wanted to do instead, but I knew that the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual pain I was feeling was not worth all the salaried stability in the world.
I did some serious soul searching with the help of a couple awesome books. I soon realized, "the dream" I was living was not my own. And if I really wanted to live the dream, I had to do something about it.
I worked through layer upon layer of fear, doubt, and insecurity until I finally built up the courage to quit. In June 2016, I left my job. A few months after that, I started The Growth Studio with the dream that I could build a business based on change, positive impact, courage, and creativity.
And while The Growth Studio has evolved and changed since it's initial launch, and will always continue it's evolution, I can safely say I'm living my dream. I'm living according to my truth, instead of someone else's, and I hope to empower you to do the same; whatever your truth may be.
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography & Intermedia from Western Michigan University
- Master of Arts in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology and Art Therapy from Naropa University
- Marie Forleo's B-School