Some years ago, starting with my first personal development classes I got asked the question: ‘What do you like to do the most in life?’. My answer came quickly and embodied:
All about sex! Talking, researching, exploring, experiencing, enjoying, learning, observing, sharing … its soft and hard pleasures and lessons. I wanted to know about the theory, the emotions, the physicalities and the energy.
For a long long time, I was convinced (and told) that for something to become your job, you have to follow a standardized academic path. You go to university to study (in my case that would be sexology) and then you’re ready. Ready, in the sense of having permission to ‘know’ how to help cliënts with their sexological questions. This is a valid journey of learning, but it’s not the only one.
I’ve researched this option really well, but for a few reasons, I decided this wasn’t the road I wanted to take. Because of the dependency on location (I had so much desire to learn from the world) and the time and money investment of a 4 years full-time Masters, study wasn’t really in the cards for me. The fact that the only university that offers this program in Belgium is a Catholic one, and that the course is almost exclusively academic rather than experiential or creative in its learning approach wasn’t what I was hoping for in planning my future.
That part about the learning approach is really important to me. Because even if I would have had the means to start this Masters, I don’t know if I would have succeeded.
When I was eleven I remember the social services in school told my parents I had several learning disabilities, maybe a low IQ and that they shouldn’t have too high hopes for me because it would be really hard for me to do anything in life. When I got actually clinically psychologically tested at 18 years old, they stamped me with a whole bunch of labels: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, chronic depression, eating disorders, ... I believe they had good intentions, but they made their decision “this will be something you will be struggling with the rest of your life” after only a couple of conversations.
Little do they know I’m now a happy, healthy, successful independent woman who finished university with amazing grades (from the moment I became accountable for the courses I chose at least), got unusual interesting job opportunities, I’ve travelled the world solo and became an entrepreneur at 25 while still being international, to eventually open my own therapy practice one year later in the heart of Ghent, which is booming just by word of mouth.
I see why they had their doubts about me and why I wouldn’t be the best fit in this Masters. I’m not so good at memorising stuff. I’m not talented in giving my focus and attention to things I’m not 100% motivated about, which a 4 years course will have. I need to do things on my own tempo, which is sometimes doing things twice as fast (and being bored) and sometimes I need more time to finish the same tasks than the average person. I can’t sit still, listen to lectors and write all day with my nose in books because my mind starts drifting off with some interesting little detail that I picked up, which I can’t let go off until I know or understand everything about. I need multi-sensory stimuli (like actual experiences) to contain information so I won’t forget it after I get the grade. And I refuse to believe science is wholesome or holistic in truth, especially if my experience contradicts it.
And as to how I see it, these are no signs of learning disabilities in the sense that it takes away my ability to learn. These are just signs of someone who uses a different approach for growing awareness. And maybe a societal issue of hierarchical thinking in terms of giving more value to a rational intellectual brain than to an intuitive creative brain.
So yes, I’m a nerd; skilled, talented and experienced in my job at working with sexuality and even trauma, without having a masters in Sexology or even Psychology. And I often get asked how I got where I am now, from people wanting to go there too. Well, I invite you to become a nerd in what you’re passionate about too and you will be able to make your job out of it if you want.
(I’m not talking about reading a couple of books and following a 1-week retreat about some topic and you call yourself a coach ‘stante pede’.)
Awareness creates growth. My mission, for example, is to facilitate growth in my clients so they can experience more pleasure and healing in their intimate lives. But this works for anything you would like to grow.
Awareness = experience + knowledge.
Find it! It’s out there. Start with a good base. (I, for example, have a bachelors in Socio-Educational Therapy.) Then don’t limit yourself to the borders of your country when it comes to schooling yourself. I’ve learned from the best teachers all over Europe when it comes to trauma, sexual education, creative therapy, coaching, spirituality and conscious sexuality. I’ve invested more than 20 000 euro already in my growth in the last few years alone! And I’ve experimented and explored myself within polyamory, bi-sexuality, healing (my own) trauma, tantra, healing, BDSM, … and so much more. Because you don’t know what something really is about until you actually try it and emerge yourself to its possibilities.
So yeah, there is always some money, time, braveness and energy investment involved. But at least know that you have the power over HOW you become fucking nerdy!
Stay curious folks, there is some life-long-learning to do for any kind of wired weird brain.