When I was 26, I moved to San Diego, CA. It was the 80s – shoulder pads, hair bands, spandex, permed hair (the higher the better!) – and I was having a GREAT time! I worked at various places, made new friends, and found myself really enjoying the “bright lights, big city” aspect of San Diego. This was the time of “Top Gun” and San Diego was right by Miramar – the fighter pilots! Back then I cared about things like that, and still liked Tom Cruise.
It was also the first time that I lived fully on my own, albeit with roommates, as I’d lived at home off and on during college back in Hays, KS. I liked the freedom and I liked the responsibility and I LOVED the novelty. Admittedly, I was less interested in my Native American heritage than I was in the exciting life I was building in a new city, but it was here that I would attend Pow Wows for the first time in my life! During the years from 1986 to 1992, I would go to Pow Wows, a few local tribes’ reservations, and eventually found my slumbering interest in my own ethnicity awakening.
As time passed and my interests changed, I eventually discovered that I didn’t like my job; that I didn’t like my career. I started exploring options and opportunities, and found myself returning to my first love, mental health – harkening back 15 long years to my very first declared major in college: Psychology. Exhibiting my emerging love of obsessive research, I decided that the best way to meet my goals of a career in mental health was to go BACK to school, particularly graduate school, in the School of Social Work at San Diego State University. I went to grad school in 1996 on a Title IV-E fellowship, where I marked “Native American” on my application, identifying myself fully for the first time in my life. My second-year internship at the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency Child Protective Services Department was in the ”Indian Specialty Unit.”
My life was never the same from that point forward. Indeed, I was never the same from that point forward.
Stay tuned for Part 4, of a multi-part blog of the origins of Five Tribes Therapy, and me.