Hello friends! Boy, do I have a story for you.
When I was about 13 years old, I had one of those moments of “Oh-my-gosh-what-am-I-gonna-be-when-I-grow-up??!?” When I was little I wanted to be a doctor…and then I discovered that I couldn’t handle blood in large quantities. By age 13, though, I knew I really liked music, and wanted to do something with it…but what? I asked a friend what he thought, and without batting an eyelash, he said “music therapy”. He knew that I wanted to help people, and although medicine may not be my forte, providing therapy would allow me to still work in that type of field. And with music!
I found that a Music Therapy degree would probably be obtained through a Master’s program – and I would need a Bachelor’s of music something…so I opted for Music Education. But by the end of High School, I had pretty much give up on the Music Therapy idea…Music Ed just seemed like what I wanted to do.
Of course, in college, while studying Music Ed, I felt pretty sold on it. At least on the surface. I mean, I had to throw myself into the classes, writing papers as though becoming a music teacher would be my dream come true – and while I do have an interest in teaching and helping people, maybe the standard classroom isn’t quite the place for me. However, in taking upper-division classes and preparing to student teach, I had essentially resigned myself to the fact that I would be a teacher. Just ask me – I’d probably robotically tell you that I plan to come home after student teaching and hope to find a job in elementary music. At least…I think I do?
While attending family therapy at UCSD, my dad remarked one day “Wouldn’t it be somethin’ if you ended up working with eating disorder patients some day?” It was like permission to NOT teach classroom music if I didn’t want to! And it got me thinking.
I want to help others who are fighting eating disorders. But I’m not exactly sure what that will look like. Will I work in an eating disorder treatment center? Will I mentor others like Barbi (my mentor)? Or would I be an advocate for healthy body image in my classroom? So many unknowns!
A bit of a back story:
My therapist for this summer is opening an in-patient treatment center sometime next spring. This will be the only service like this in my area, if not the whole state. This is really exciting!!!! In a conversation with Chelsey, I told her about this idea of working in the Eating Disorder field and I said “Heck, you and me should go work at the new clinic!” Chelsey stopped dead in her tracks. See, just days before, her and her boyfriend said essentially the same thing.
So last week in therapy, my counselor and I began talking about jobs working with eating disorder patients. I mentioned that it was interesting that he had brought up jobs in the eating disorder field because I had taken part in several job related conversations lately. And then I expressed my slight concern over the fact that working with Eating Disorder patients wouldn’t really make use of my degree…”…but I suppose that’s life!”
My therapist said, “Ah, but music is being used in Eating Disorder Therapy more and more.” SAY WHAT?!?! So I told him the brief history I just told you – about wanting to do music therapy, but leaning more towards the Music Education side of things. There was a bit more light on my horizon.
It seemed like things were coming full circle – back to Music Therapy! And what my therapist told me next literally blew my socks off. And I mean that.
He said “Can I bring it around even further? Because in-patient clinics are working with teens in school, they need tutoring in order to keep up with their classes. You’ll have the Education degree, and will be certified to take a job like that. You can use Music Therapy as part of the tutoring.”
Could someone pick my jaw up off the ground please?
We continued discussing this type of job and I became more and more excited. I light up when I think about taking this type of job – much more than I do when I think about teaching 500 elementary children. It ties right in to my desire to help people – and use music. And it’s possible that I could have a job near home doing this work with eating disorder patients.
Not only is this exciting because of the notion of the job, but it emphasizes the hope I’ve carried through the entirety of journey through anorexia: I want my experience to have a purpose – a meaning. I want it to be used for something. And perhaps working with young people in recovery is one way my journey would be useful to another.
Guys, I’m so excited!!! I’m praying and trusting that God will guide me and lead me, opening doors when and where they need to open.
Have a great Sunday!