Evolution: Heiddi 2.0

Evolution?

I should say so. After a year-long hiatus preceded by a two year hiatus, you figure why do I keep doing this to myself? Haven’t I figured out what I’ve wanted to do yet?

Frankly, no. Here I am a college graduate and bilingual licensed mental health counselor working with low-income families in New York City. As of 2011, when I received my licensure, I also accomplished my goals. Which is an amazing feeling and a proud moment for me.

Turning Point

But, with all my accomplishments and achieved goals as of 2011, comes what next? For the past few years, I’ve been trying to find out. I’ve reduced a lot of my extra-curricular activities such as playing guitar at my local church (12 years), paid blogging (6 years) and writing in general (too many years to count).

Self-Evaluation

I’ve been spending more time in self-evaluation mode while also prepping for the arrival of my second son, Benjamin who arrived on June 21, 2014. Yes, Andy’s a big brother now and I’m still the single mom of now two amazing boys. I’m a very happy mom.

While being a proud mom is great, I still have goals simmering within me waiting to be unleashed in the world. I’ve found that I need to set new goals and discover new passions.

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What I hope to share on this website is positivity and wellness – whether I’m writing about mental health or the simple things that bring me joy. I’d like to keep writing and sharing these with you.

The Heiddi 2.0 Evolution is here – will you join me?

My Journey to Mental Health Counseling & Blogging

My calling to be a mental health counselor and advocate began years ago when I was in a local after-school program called “Unitas.” Invited by my 7th grade teacher, I instantly found an escape from the noise at home. I found a place where I was accepted as is and was called amazing.

I met a young woman there named Valerie (D.) who was a Fordham University student at the time. She was awesome! And she took the time to show a geeky, little girl with the nerd trifecta (bad hair, bad vision and bad teeth) – that she was awesome, too! Valerie was in Unitas for only a school year. I stayed on for 10 years.

When I left it was to go to work because I didn’t want to go to school. I realized later that I was looking to re-create my time in Unitas. I felt comfortable and confident in my abilities as an after-school counselor. I gained intrinsic value (as Doc like to put it) from just being there for others. Though I’d worked for years in the corporate setting, I was not happy.

During my pregnancy, I was depressed about my situation and was referred for therapy. It was then that I met Alma. For once, I felt like it was all about me. I thrived and grew in the process. And I was inspired.

And after having my son and losing my mother by my 25th birthday, I decided to stop looking for my calling because it had found me years before. I prayed on it and God made it happen. I ended up finishing my last year of undergrad at the Adult Degree Completion Program (ADCP) at Nyack College. It was there that a fellow alumnus told me to check out the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling (AGSC) because he felt that “it was meant for me.” He was right. (I need to thank him for that someday.)

Graduating in 2008 and earning my license as a mental health counselor in 2011, brought me so far. But, it wasn’t until May of 2012 that I’d found the job that was a good fit for me. My current job is at a small non-profit and has me working as a Bilingual Child & Family Therapist. And I LOVE IT!

Along the way, I picked up blogging as a hobby and now have blended my two loves (Mental Health  and Blogging) to advocate & educate others on Mental Health and Wellness. My goal is to mainstream Mental Health by writing and speaking about it as well as continuing my counseling work. This blog will help me do that. I hope you enjoy the ride. Thanks for your support!

Writerly Goals

As the new school year approaches, I find myself considering what my options are for writing. I can say that I’m a good blogger, though I can be better.
Right now, my focus has been settling into the new job and making sure kiddo has a good summer. And both goals have been met. It’s been much easier for me to have goals, both short-term and long-term for my son’s education and my own career. When it comes to writing though, it’s been a challenge.
I’ve set and kept a goal of writing at least once a week on the blog. I’ve even hit a couple of conferences this year (like BlogHer12). But, I wonder what is really going to light a fire under my ass to put myself out there enough that will get me the blogging jobs I want.
So, I’m going to set this goal for myself – that the end of 2012 will find me with a redesigned website to showcase my work. That leaves me four months. Period. Onto the weekend.

This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Read Heiddi’s Full Disclosure here.

Glam Me: Long Island Edition

Mommy’s Links is back with the fourth installment of Glam Me this time in Long Island and the last one of 2012. With a variety of vendors and sponsors,  Mommy’s Links provides YOU with the pampering and fun you deserve.

This time around Mommy’s Links makes it easy and affordable to get your glam on while sticking to your budget. Check out the details below and get your Glam Me ticket today! See you there!

Saturday, September 22, 2012
6pm-10pm

Long Island Children’s Museum
11 Davis Avenue, Garden City, NY 11530

Directions

This post has a Compensation Level of 15. Read Heiddi’s Disclosure Policy.

Why I should win a free year in Freelance Writer’s Den?

Note: This contest is now over. Thanks for all of your support!

Because I’m a damn good writer who needs lots of support, that’s why. I’ve been writing for a years and have a few print and online clips under my belt. But my ultimate goal (has been for the last five years) is to break into magazines. I’ve been struggling with this goal while having achieved others along the way – grad school, becoming a licensed bilingual therapist and being a blogger in my own right. But, breaking into a nice glossy, shiny magazine is the one writing goal that hasn’t happened yet. My hope is that a year in the Freelance Writer’s Den will get me there. So what’s my problem?

My struggle isn’t having the money in my budget to join the den. It isn’t putting words together that make an impact. My struggle is simply that I need more cheerleaders and accountability partners to keep reminding me that I need to get out of my own head and get my head in the game. I can write, but I’m afraid of succeeding.

I go through this with anything new I try. I get anxious, then need support (sometimes a lot of it) then get comfortable and confident. It’s my pattern of behavior. I’m confident as a mom, therapist and blogger. I want to be just as confident as a freelance writer – seeing my name in print magazines that I can show to my dad and my son who are my two biggest cheerleaders.

So please, if you think I deserve a free year in Freelance Writer’s Den, share my post via Twitter, Facebook, Linked In (anywhere else you can think of is great, too thanks!). Then check out this contest courtesy of Carol Tice & Linda Formichelli. Thanks friends.

This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Read Heiddi’s Full Disclosure Policy.

Intimate Partner Violence, Part I

Ever since the Grammy awards aired, I’ve seen several instances in the media where Chris Brown is bashed. It has happened via tweets, news reports and at concerts. While everyone is certainly entitled to an opinion, I think this has gone very far.

Even now, as Rihanna & Chris have released new music together – with Brown being called various names and Rihanna being called “stupid” for even considering this – I’m compelled to share my perspective on this subject.

I’m a therapist by profession and working in this field has taught me a great deal about domestic or intimate partner violence.

Some stats to reflect on (regarding teen violence):

(Unless otherwise noted, the following data in this section are from a Liz Claiborne, Inc. study on teen dating abuse conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, March 2006)

  • Half of teens (50%) reported they’ve been in a dating relationship and nearly a third (32%) said they’ve been in a serious relationship.
  • 1 in 3 teenagers in a serious relationship reported that they’ve been concerned about being hurt physically by a boyfriend or girlfriend. One out of five of these teens say they have actually been hit, slapped, or pushed by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

These are probably numbers that have been mentioned in the past. One thing that has not been talked about is how to heal every person affected by Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). The people targeted for assistance are the victims and the children from those relationships. One person often left out of this is the abuser.

Society has taught us that violence on any level is wrong and that the person committing those acts are “bad people.” We have also been taught that there is no redemption for these people. And that if a victim returns to his/her abusive partner, the victim is “stupid.” Society then “reabuses” the victim for that choice. And the abuser gets a backlash from family and/or friends and may lose relationships because of the abuse.

Would you be willing to get help if you knew someone would call you stupid because of your choices? How would you be able to focus on your healing if you are constantly barraged with negativity?

As a professional trained in the social services field, healing can only come if all people affected by IPV are helped – not just the victim and/or children, but also the abuser. There are people that want to change; those that want to continue the relationship; those that are willing to do the work to change patterns of behavior. Even abusers.

In NYC, where I live, there is only one program aimed at helping men working to be non-abusers. Seeing as many families are affected by intimate partner violence, more services need to be in place to help every person in the family, especially if the parents want to stay together. *Please note intimate partner affects people of all races, ages, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation*

I am aware that change is very hard, indeed, I know it is given my professional field of choice. And intimate partner violence happens very often. What I also know is that all people who are willing and open to seek help should get it. And they should be given unconditional love and support simply because change is so hard.

Go here to find more information on Intimate Partner Violence in NYC.

Go here to find more information on Intimate Partner Violence nationwide.

Level 0: Heiddi has no significant relationship with any product, service or brand mentioned in this post.

2011 in review

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and celebrating with your loved ones. Just wanted to share the success you’ve brought me in the last year with your support. Thank you for helping me do it! Happy New Year!

 

Sincerely,

Heiddi Zalamar

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2011 in review

Here’s a round-up of my success here. I couldn’t have done it without my faithful readers. Happy 2012!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

New Job, New Chapter

I don’t often write about my daytime work (counseling). This week finds me beginning the next chapter of my life – a new job. While I can’t go into the specifics of the job here, I will say that it is a major shift in work for me.
My previous job had me running around on a crazy schedule, commuting everywhere and underpaid. This new one, while still crazy, will have me on a consistent weekly schedule, in an office (omg! My very first!) and with better pay. I know that I’ll be crazy busy from start to finish, but it’ll be a welcome one after the four years I’ve had at the other job.
I know that this job will lead me closer to my professional goals, but I also hope that it’ll give me the extra motivation I need to move my writing career forward. Wish me luck!

Happy Thanksgiving

Hi all! I just wanted to send out warm Thanksgiving wishes and blessings to all of you. Thanks so much for all of your support in the last three years. Many thanks to all the readers, commenters, retweeters and subscribers out there who keep up with this blog and The Freshman Writer. I’m truly blessed to be able to share my thoughts with such amazing people.

Please check out my peeps in the blogroll and onTwitter. Thanks again and Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Cheers!