by Brandi Godbee, MA, LMHC
This summer I am celebrating five years of service at VSC, receiving the Employee of the Quarter award, AND a birthday. YEAOWHH!! Here, I am taking some time to reflect on what it’s meant to me to be part of such an impactful non-profit organization.
For starters, I have always felt capable and driven to hold space for those struggling with what are often deemed some of the darker human experiences – and the resulting emotional roller coaster that for some, can follow. I am at VSC with intention; I chose to do this work. Many times I have been asked how or why I do this, and I can say this with absolute resolve: because I have seen what the other side looks like, and I have seen so many folks arrive there. To a place of peace, freedom, and ongoing self-compassion. Although it may sound clichéd, it is a journey indeed.
VSC has consistently accelerated efforts to reach more and more folks in our community. The social justice aspect of the organization is important to me, and to our team. Witnessing dedication despite numerous setbacks is inspiring. We work to obtain access to more opportunity to help more people. And it is work. Thankfully, the commitment of our VSC team members helps ensure we stay focused. Is it immediate? No. Is it worth the sometimes disappointing roadblocks? Absolutely. We lift each other up when we need to, and we hold space for one another when we need to. Every person at VSC – staff, contractors, interns, & volunteers – understands that making social change takes long, hard work.
I’m so fortunate to bear witness to the raw humanity of so many of our clients. I don’t take the trust that’s built lightly; I consider it a humbling experience when someone is vulnerable enough to invite me along their path of healing. I learn from my clients as much as they learn from me. I know that without the barriers of shame, and without the lenses of pain (whether through individual or social experience), we can see this being human more clearly. That my clients can begin to see themselves clearly, and finally come to the present and live the life that’s right for them. That looks differently for everyone, and I cherish that difference. I am proud to support each person for exactly who they are, including any and every aspect of identity around which they may have been shamed, mistreated or harassed. People are more than their trauma, and I hold inherent value for all human beings.
These last several months have been strange for all of us. COVID, quarantine, social distancing (if that’s what we’re still calling it), and the magnified social injustice that’s sparked a louder voice for a movement still ongoing (Black Lives Matter!) has led to quite a disruptive and confusing time. Here’s what I’ll say: I’m still here, and I’m able to be so because of VSC. My heart is in the work. I see so many of us are that way. We can only do this thanks to funding dollars. Yep, free services still cost something. I hope you never need to see me, but I hope that if you or a loved one needs to, I or another of my talented and skilled colleagues can be there for you. We have an auction going on right now (cheersforchange.org) or you can simply go to our website and click the donate button.
In celebration of so much – 5 years, an Employee of the Quarter honor, and my birthday – I ask only this. Take a moment and lift your chin high – higher, please – and smile knowing you are safe and treasured in this world. Thank you for allowing me to do this work.