Amy’s Story: A Leader Steps Forward

When I first started meeting with Jon, I didn’t think I would end up where I’m at today. As I type this testimonial, I’m waiting for my next class to start as I begin spring quarter in the School Psychology program at UW. However, two years ago, I was in a very different place.

Prior to starting my journey with Liminal Space, I was very unhappy with my job and had been for a couple of years. I was seeking more, but I didn’t know what that more was. I felt stuck. I didn’t want to jump into a new job again, not knowing what I truly wanted, so I stayed, hoping I would figure it out. But I was miserable. Every day at work felt like hell on earth. My friend who is a therapist knew Jon and recommended that I see him. It took me awhile to make that move. Stepping into deeper self-awareness and the unknown is scary. Then over the summer of 2015 my boss notified me that I was moving into a different role- a role I knew I wouldn’t like, so I finally decided to contact Jon. I knew I couldn’t stay at my job any longer and figuring out stuff on my own wasn’t working. I desperately needed direction as to where to go to next.

I didn’t know what to expect. I just wanted answers, but I realized there’s no easy way to find those answers without deeply engaging with my story. I remember one of the first exercises Jon had me to do was send a list of questions to those close to me. After reading through the answers, we found a lot of consistency. I was surprised to realize how much they saw me. Many of them spoke about me as a leader. But I had never associated that word with who I am. Yet Jon and others around me helped me see that being a leader has been a large part of my story. I had always believed that I belonged on the sidelines.

Throughout my time with Jon I was working in a job that had me sitting in a far corner of the office. The corner is also representative of the larger part of my story as it has been my default place of refuge. Yet, through my work with Jon, I realized that the seemingly safe corner also carries much harm. It has hindered me from seeking out my heart’s desires. It led me to believe that my story didn’t matter, and my desires were not worthy of seeking out.

Another powerful moment during my journey with Jon was sharing the stories that I wrote of where I envision myself in five years with my closest confidantes. I think Jon was giving me one last exercise to push me out of my corner. 🙂 It was a scary and transformative time. I had never felt so raw and vulnerable and so seen and known and accepted. I’ve never stepped into such an intentional time with my loved ones. It was very uncomfortable, yet, very good. This time helped me see that I’m not alone in this journey and no matter how much I try to hide, people see me. They see the good in me.

My time with Jon has encouraged and inspired me to tell the ghosts that are luring me to the corner to back off. I stepped into the courageous unknown by applying to the School Psychology program at UW. Returning to school had always been at the back of my mind, and I finally decided to make that happen. I was attracted to the role of the School Psychologist, because I love working with children. I also knew that I wanted to be part of another’s journey of discovering themselves, loving themselves, and to be part of tending to their hearts, as that has been lacking my in story.

Grad school has been a huge transition. I am truly, truly enjoying it. Something happens to you when you’re spending most of the day doing something that you love and enjoy, even when you have to write 10 page papers. I’m excited about almost everything that I’m learning. Imagining myself working in schools two years from now excites me so much. The ghosts in the corner continue to lurk. There are days when I feel alone and discouraged and wonder what I’m doing, but then there are days where I am energized simply by reminding myself how alive I feel right now and how different things are for me compared to a year ago.

Every year I come up with a theme instead of a New Year’s resolution, and this year I decided that it’s “ok to take up space.” I believed for so long that my story didn’t matter and that I need to be as small as possible in the spaces that I’m in, but I’m tired of the trajectory of that story, so I’m taking up space.

I shared this with one of my classmates who’s also Asian American and the youngest of us all. We were hanging out after class a couple weeks ago and I told her that I need to be a ‘woman of action’ and allow myself to take up space, so I’m going to set up a time to meet with my advisor and my mentor for the first time to inquire about summer and research opportunities. She also shared she hasn’t met with her advisor yet and was hesitant about it. She didn’t want to bother her so I encouraged her that it’s ok to ‘take up space,’ and soon after she set up a time to meet with her adviser. I did as well. Then last week we spontaneously decided to go to Spokane for a conference to listen to our professor speak, and the conference was great. We are both such courageous women of action!

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