erinHi! I’m Erin Fisher, a professor of psychology at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois. I have a master’s in Educational Psychology and am currently working on my dissertation to finally complete my Ph.D. in Psychology. I have an amazingingly awesome 10-year-old daughter named Kirsten. It sounds like a cliche, but having a daughter has changed my life and my outlook because I see so much of myself in her, and if I love her so much and think she is so amazing and beautiful, how could I continue to cut myself down the way I always did? I grew up in an emotionally abusive home, and I struggled to find any worth within me for years. It’s both inspiring and humbling to think that bringing a daughter into this world allowed me to find my own worth.

What inspires you? Well, obviously my daughter, as I said. I see in her a fire that I hope never goes out. I probably drive her crazy with my “stay true to yourself” and “you are enough” mini-lectures I’m always giving her. I’m also inspired by the students I have who have had to overcome great obstacles in order to fulfill their goal of getting a college education. I feel privileged to get to be a part of that.

What makes you feel powerful? Wow, that’s a great question. I honestly never felt powerful until I made the difficult decision to divorce my husband, a good man who was painfully not right for me in any way (nor I for him). I was terrified, convinced I could not survive on my own. But I did, and I am. And while I struggle with the guilt of putting my daughter through it, I am truly happier and healthier than I’ve ever been, which I believe benefits her in so many ways. Knowing that I was strong enough to survive, to take care of my daughter, my house, my pets, and myself, all by myself, did more for my own self-worth than I could have ever imagined.

What is your favorite part of yourself and why? Probably my absurd sense of humor. I will admit that not everyone gets it, so I suppose that’s why I value the people in my life who do get it so much more. I think that being able to find the absurdity in everyday life, including the hardships we all face, has helped me overcome even the most difficult of circumstances. If I could add another favorite, I think I would also say my smile — when I smile, I feel it all the way down to my coreand it is very powerful. Maybe that’s why I enjoy my humor so much–it makes me smile!

Photo courtesy of Erin.