You look exotic, what is your background?
Second most common question asked in clinical settings (after “How are you?”). My father is Italian and Austro-Hungarian. My mother is Italian and Afro-Surinamese.
How were you raised?
I was raised by the Afro-Surinamese side who immigrated in the 1930s. My family spoke Surinamese Dutch as a home language. I do not. Suriname is culturally Caribbean with random bits of Dutch culture but are yet somewhat different. For example, I grew up with Black Peter (Zwarte Piet) leaving candy in my shoes, but he was described as being black due to soot and dirt because he was a chimney sweep not because he was a slave. (This version is now catching on in the Netherlands as Roetveegpiet / Sooty Peter).
Why so many degrees?
I really like reading and learning. I’ve never met a subject that I didn’t like to study (exceptions being Russian and Calculus). I figure I am making up for all lack of educational opportunities afforded to my relatives.
Why have you had so many different careers?
The short answer is : Discrimination.
The long answer is that’s how it ended up.
I started in the entertainment industry as a child. My family worked in the industry and the industry is relatively non-judgmental. Back then it was the only industry open to gender non-conforming young girls, so I have done this my entire life. I’ve been doing it so long that I don’t even register it as work given I grew up in a television station which was also my father’s job as well as his hobby. My mother’s job was radio/television and her hobby was theater. It’s not work, it’s home.
I wanted to be a scientist, but while I was able to obtain the BS and MS degrees, I was unable to secure a science position because I was a woman. I eventually transitioned and was blacklisted because now I was transsexual. (In irony, there was a huge push to hire women after I transitioned.)
I have mostly been freelancing and self employed because discrimination is real so I take whatever I can get, whenever I can get. Sometimes that means I work 100+ hour weeks not including commuting time. I’ve been at various times a researcher, various jobs in the entertainment industry, EMT, and even a DEI consultant. I’ve been able to obtain more work as a clinician, but I suffered a serious injury making it harder to do EMS.
What did you want to do career-wise as a child?
I wanted to work for NASA. Very strong interest in astronomy and astrobiology. Still have that interest.
You do a lot, what is the secret to your productivity? Do you sleep?
I sleep 9-10 hours most of the time. If you don’t sleep and you will burn out. I used to be a human performance consultant so believe me when I say a huge key to productivity is to sleep right, eat right, and remove distractions. I didn’t have or watch TV for 5+ years. That included no streaming services and no YouTube. I still rarely watch it with the exception of new episodes of Star Trek.
- Can I hire you for public speaking/stage management/production/acting/research/consulting/etc? – Probably. But please send a message. Please include expected start date/end date (if applicable) and rates if you have them. For therapy/life coaching/hypnosis, please book an appointment at After Hours Hypnotherapy.
Why is it called “Leaving Bacon Behind”?
Very easy. I don’t eat pork. I stopped eating pork before I decided I wanted to become Jewish. It made sharing with my Jewish boyfriend easier. A lot of Reform Jews be somewhat offended at the title. Orthodox haven’t said a thing.
How long did it take you to write “Leaving Bacon Behind”?
Actually the very very first draft was from National Novel Writing Month 2012. It wasn’t a particularly good draft but the framework was there. It took another three drafts before I took a several year break. Then it was accepted by a publisher, who went bankrupt. Another publisher accepted it and ghosted me. Then I accidentally got Manhattan Book Group interested even though I was pitching another book which they weren’t interested in, but they asked if I had anything else so I pitched another book which was half written which they put on hold, and I told them the only thing done was a book they probably wouldn’t be interested in… the next day, they contacted me back saying they were interested.