For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading and writing. I cannot imagine my life without either. When the kids in middle school meant to insult me for being the teacher’s pet, I took it as a compliment. I loved learning, and the highlight of summer vacation was unfettered access to the library. I can still hear my mom nagging at me to go hang out with friends while I basked in the sun on the patio wholly absorbed in The Tommyknockers. If someone asked me then what I wanted to do when I grew up, I would have said, “I want to go to school forever!” But you don’t get paid for going to school; in fact, it’s the opposite, and school is expensive.
After working in the music industry for 13 years, a career focused on sales, marketing, and communications, I went back to school for psychology — career 2.0. I wanted to help people, but the scary monster called “research” loomed in front of me, and I didn’t think I could do it. However, I was a “returning adult student” who only had two years to complete a psychology undergrad degree, which meant I needed experience fast if I wanted to get into a graduate school. Therefore, it didn't matter what I thought I could do; I just needed to do it (thank you, Yoda).
I dove in. I applied for a research assistant position to one of my professors at UW-Green Bay. Dr. Kristin Vespia. I’ll always remember her because I sat in her office during the interview and admitted my fear of research. I’m an abstract words person, not a logical numbers person, but I figured I could learn and told her as much. While these were not her exact words, she told me to think of research as perpetual curiosity, asking questions, and looking for answers. The statistics and numbers involved are not always the focus. They are a means to an end, and most researchers enlist the help of experts to do that. However, the simple point of research is to ask questions. The light bulb went off. I'm good at that! Armed with that perspective, I was off to the races. The university library database, with its unending treasure of knowledge waiting to be explored, admired, and shown off to the world, was my new candy store! Remember the Little Mermaid song, “A Whole New World?” Oh yes, Dr. Vespia reframed the research monster, and I entered a whole new world.
The good news is I earned my B.S. in psychology and my M.S. in counseling and provided therapy to many clients. During that time, I loved teaching my clients about what they were experiencing and found I could explain complex research in a way people understood. So I kept reading, learning, and writing.
Then, a couple of years ago, my family went through a dark time, and I quit providing therapy. After the dark time passed, my husband’s military injuries worsened to the point where he retired, and I wanted to stay at home with him. Enter freelance work and more time to do what I love: read and write. So here I am. Learning, researching, reading, and writing for a living. Since school is expensive, I stopped at a Master’s degree, but if it were free, I’d do a Ph.D. But it’s not, so I don’t, but I keep learning on my own. At this point in my life, I am delighted, thrilled, and thankful for the time and technology that allows me to research and write while working from home.
So here’s what I do. I write. I love writing, I have mad skills and did I mention I love it? I also love a challenge and believe that given the time, I can write about almost anything. Why? Because I learn about it first. I read books that most people don't have the time to read. One of my talents is reading something complicated and explaining or writing about it in a relatable way. That is something I did a lot as a therapist. For example, the biology of trauma is fascinating and explains a lot about why people carry the effects of traumatic events for so long even when they think they are "over it." Clients came in believing there was something wrong with them, but after hearing that much of it is the body doing what it was made to do and then getting confused about the whole thing, helped them put things into perspective. The resulting thought, “what if something is not inherently wrong with me?” becomes hope that something can be done to work through it, around it, or with it in a way that allows for life to improve.
My goal, when writing for clients, no matter the subject or purpose, is to learn what I need to know to create the best final product. Peruse the blogs and portfolio and you will see the topics I write about most often. However, I love to stretch my writing muscles, so bring on the challenge.
There you have it — the reason I do what I do and why I want to write for you.