Shae Perkins and the Office of Housing and Residential Life held a week long series last week focused on building a healthier relationship with yourself in order to build a better relationship with those around you.
The event was titled, “Healing Identity: Exploring and Empowering Marginalized Voices.” For an hour a night in various rooms throughout campus, students were given the chance to delve deep within themselves and reflect with Perkins, an alumna and family therapist who owns Shae’ Seasons, a business venture that helps facilitate experiences of self-reflection.
“What you do in here doesn’t matter if you don’t use it out there,” Perkins said. “The purpose is to apply what you learn. They say knowledge is power, but that is very untrue. It’s the application of knowledge that is power.”
“My hope is that you apply what you take from this space … It’s all about building a healthier sense of self so you can build a healthier sense with others.”
Perkins and Resident Life Coordinator Stephen Heggem brought this series to campus earlier in the semester and took the opportunity to provide another session as the semester comes to an end.
Several activities, such as games of true or false and recipe making for the perfect relationship, were used to help students realize who they are, how that affects the people they surround themselves with and what it is they need to implement within themselves to maintain healthier, stronger relationships.
Heggem said he was hoping the program could help start a path toward change at the University, especially in regards to the recent protest calling for diversity and cultural competency training and inclusion.
“The hope is that through the assessments you filled out, we can present this to faculty and staff and say that these demands are doable … Let this be a very exciting but also scary start to some very needed change on this campus,” Heggem said.
On Wednesday a group of five met in ACB 212 and gathered to make the perfect recipe for the perfect relationship. Of the five, one student who had participated in the activity once before was asked to build a recipe for the perfect relationship with himself.
Rudy Amaya, senior social justice in education major, built the perfect recipe for a relationship with himself using various amounts of love, reflection, authenticity, acceptance, adventure, care and grit. Recipes could include cups, tablespoons, teaspoons, quarts or whatever measurement audience members preferred.
“You have to be real with yourself, dig in deep,” Amaya said about his one-fourth cup of authenticity. “A lot of times we’re so quick to talk about the good, we’re a little more hesitant with the bad. We don’t want to go to that sacred space. I say sacred space because it really is something beautiful…It’s ugly but it’s beautiful.”
On the last day Perkins asked a room of four to write down their past — more specifically, their struggles — on a piece of paper.
“You have stories in your past that you wouldn’t have chosen if you were the one who had the opportunity to do so,” Perkins said. “Sometimes people pick up the pen and they write it for you and you’re left to just deal with it.”
Once done, she asked each participant to tear the paper apart and throw it away. This was Perkins’ way of choosing her own story.
“In this day, I throw away the story that was placed upon me. I throw away the experiences that were placed upon me. In this day, I am not that. I am what I choose to be,” Perkins said.
Relationships are vital for human survival, and that includes the relationship with ourselves, Perkins said.
“Sometimes we need a driving force, and there’s nothing wrong with you being your driving force,” Perkins said. “At the end of the day, when you lay your head down at night… You are all you got for certain, so why wouldn’t you choose to be your own driving force?”
Perkins said she hopes this series could one day turn into a class. If not, she said she at least hopes to continue offering the series to students on campus.
Jocelyn Arceo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.