I’ve been wrapped up in psychology for a while now. Seven years of formal education in the subject, the counseling field and just getting to know the humans on a deeper level is just the beginning of a long career ahead of me. Besides photography, my goal has always been to be a counselor.
I remember my grandmother asking me when I was about 7 years old what I wanted to do when I grow up and why, and I said “I want to be a psychologist. I wanna know why you are all so crazy.”
I was raised Southern Baptist. Admitting that brings up some stereotypes, I’m sure. You may be thinking a room full of old white folks and mundane hymns. That’s true, but it wasn’t too dull. I entertained myself with listening to back-pew gossip and sitting next to my grandparents. I was somewhat fond of going to church just to be next to my grandfather. He was a Deacon and I just thought he was just an all-round bad ass. He was popular, kind and for some reason I thought it was cool he got to handle the collections plate.
Our preacher looked like Elton John - gap teeth, wide cheeks, and he played piano. My grandfather fed me Tic-Tac mints just to keep me from laughing when the preacher went behind the piano. I remember admitting to my grandfather, “I hope he plays Crocodile Rock this morning.” Come to find out, the preacher did not like the comparison.
One evening, the preacher made a home visit and during a little small talk he was interested in knowing what an 11 year old wanted to do for the rest of his life. I told him I wanted to be a psychologist because it seemed interesting to me. His demeanor changed quickly and said “No. You’re not.” He continued, “When you study psychology you are going to learn about a man named Sigmund Freud. He was a dirty Jew who was in love with his mother and was a cocaine addict. That’s not something you should be learning.” If I wasn’t too interested before, I was now.
That man went on an anti-Semite rant that made no sense - unless you have no knowledge of other faiths outside of your own. I remained Christ-ly silent (John 19:9) while my mother respectively undermined his oppressive propaganda. Have in mind, a woman with a mind and mouth of her own was not celebrated in this church. And it was well established our home was a matriarchy, which the preacher disrespected. He went about his agenda and prayed for our home which he never entered again.
After that, I was introduced to other faiths that I approached with childlike curiosity, wanting to disprove any and all stereotypes. It opened my eyes to how similar we all are, yet how different we all approach it. Some of us pray together and some of us pray alone. Whatever the faith, the person must extend their own into their lifestyle. To my knowledge, the basis of my religion is set to project love but based on this man, if my neighbor was Jewish, I was to caution my possessions because “they take and take and take without care for others.”
Luckily, my parents encouraged me to learn, to know and to believe in what is right and wrong. For me, it is wrong to give power to someone with hatred in their hearts. It is wrong to undermine the potential of your fellow human with propaganda. Some good advice comes from 1 John 2:9; “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.” I avoid such darkness, but I am aware of its existence. It exists to oppress and silence so many people who do not deserve to be submissive to hate. And I think that’s why I chose to be a counselor. I want to be able to give the silenced a soapbox to testify their existence, potentials, and passions. Make your voice matter because we are here for a reason, we are significant in some measure and we are all responsible in the betterment of our tomorrows.
Today, I am an advocate working on my Master’s in Mental Health Counseling, in route to be a LMHC. Tomorrow, I just hope I do something good for someone.