Connecting My Dots

Connecting My Dots

It took a village to raise me. Not a connected village, not a community of people who knew one another, but a bunch of people who saw potential in me and looked out for me. Either that- or they just felt it was their duty to not leave me stranded. I had friends’ mother’s picking me up from school and taking me to sports games, teachers making sure I applied to college, and other adults listening to my ideas and connecting me to someone who could help make them reality. Mentors helping connect me to people in a new state after my dad died, and those people making sure I had a roof over my head and a job. A whole unconnected village raised me.

I was anxious growing up. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was really nervous about being “successful” and finding out whatever that meant to me. I didn’t want to let my village down. All of these people were supportive of my dreams, even when I had no clue what they were. From track star to journalist to teacher- people supported me along the way. I grew up with many “moms” making sure I didn’t have to walk home during a blizzard or that I got home from the track meet or basketball game, driving out of their way to drop me off. My parents tried though, they tried their best as a Caribbean parent could- and I thank them for that. But truly, that village really helped push me, in their small ways, to allow me to create the path I wanted to live.

If you told the young version of me that I would be starting my own private practice in Los Angeles, I wouldn’t believe you. Not that I didn’t think I was capable of it- it just wasn’t something that was instilled in me growing up. Like most, I was told to get good grades so I could get a good job or be a doctor. This came from my mother who was a business owner herself at that time.

 

Sometimes I wonder what would’ve happened if she told me to be an entrepreneur, doing what I love on my own time or that it was both possible to work for someone and own a business simultaneously.

 

Similar to the concept of generational wealth, these types of values weren’t as important back then as they are now. But, I watched her struggle often to keep up with the trends of a growing business and it didn’t look appealing to me at all.

But, here I am- starting my own practice in Culver City, CA as a mental health therapist wanting to be part of someone’s village. I want to support them in their mental wellness and work through some of their past situations that haven’t allowed them to live their most present and best versions of themselves. I got into the mental health field “to help people” which is usually why most of us go into it, wanting to change the world. I was shocked that not a lot of people looked like me in my program. In the professional setting, I was often one of the very few, or only, woman of color at conferences, trainings, etc. I had to realize that the stigma of mental health in the Black community not only affected those who wanted someone to talk to about their thoughts and feelings with, but also those who wanted to help.

I am the change I wish to see in the world. As a person of color, a woman, and a mental health therapist- I’m joining many other clinicians of color who are normalizing mental health amongst us. Really, I’m part of the bigger village offering support to varying versions of who I was when I was lost, stuck, or just needed someone to listen and support me.

Princess (M2)

Princess Walsh, LMFT

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