Becca Lantry, writer for THE JUBILEE Newsletter, joins us this week to talk to us about being a counselor, her biggest success story, and being a woman!

Watch the full interview here:

Listen to our podcast here:

Alice: Hi everyone. Thank you for watching or listening later. My name is Alice. I’m the social manager for Jubilance and today I’m talking to Rebecca Lantry.

Rebecca: Hi.

Alice: Rebecca is currently pursuing her EMS in Marriage and Family Therapy from San Diego State University and she holds her MA in counseling and education and works with youths, young adults and families around competence, love, relationships, and empowerment. So, we’re going to talk to Becca today about that. Yay!

Rebecca: Yay! Yeah. So happy to be here. Thank you.

Alice: Yeah. So welcome Becca. Thank you for joining us. 

Rebecca: Thank you so much for having me.

Alice: Do you prefer Becca or Rebecca?

Rebecca: It’s interchangeable. Becca’s like my– yeah. I’ve been experimenting with Becca with my client work to– I don’t know. ] I relate to both so, either way.

Alice: Okay. Well, we want to start off with some fun questions. So, who’s your favorite Disney princess? And why?

Rebecca: Okay. So, I’d have to go with– I don’t know if she technically counts as a princess which is why I kind of like her. I would say Mulan because of her gender stereotype defiance and ]kick-butt attitude and determination. Definitely, Mulan.

Alice: That’s amazing. Okay, if you were salad dressing, which one would you be?

Rebecca: Ooh, okay. I would have to say Caesar, Tangy, like thick in-depth many layers to it and yeah, most people like Caesar, I would hope.

Alice: Yeah, it’s probably good.

Rebecca: Yeah.

Alice: And powerful like a Roman emperor.

Rebecca: Oh yeah. I didn’t think about that but yeah, that works

Alice: And what’s your favorite random fact?

Rebecca: Oh, about me? in the world or?

Alice: Sure. About anything. I love random facts.

Rebecca: Yes, okay. So this one is my favorite. If you say beer can in English accent, it sounds likes Bacon in a Jamaican accent.

Alice: What? Beer can. 

Rebecca: I know.

Alice: Wow. That’s incredible.

Rebecca: Beer can.

Alice: Yeah, I didn’t know that.

Rebecca: I know. That is the most random fact

Alice: Then I will think about forever.

Rebecca: Yes, right? How can you not?

Alice: So, Becca, can you tell me where you’re from and how did you get to San Diego where you currently live?

Rebecca: Yes, I am originally from the Los Angeles Area, the San Fernando Valley, so I’m technically a valley girl. And I lived there until I graduated college and then the summer after I graduated college, I married my college sweetheart, Devin, and we moved four days after our wedding to San Diego because he already had a job here. I was really interested in theater education at that time and there was a non profit that I found a job with and we had a wonderful situation to live, and it just worked. Who doesn’t love San Diego? So, I was like, why not? I’ve been here ever since. It’s been six years.

Alice: That’s amazing. And what’s your favorite part about San Diego?

Rebecca: Oh, I absolutely love the weather. I love the community. I love the people. Yeah, it’s hard to walk by somebody and not exchange a smile. It’s hard for it not to be in the mid-’70s.

Alice: Oh, I miss that.

Rebecca: Yeah. I mean, now, we live in kind of an urban area, but we live right by a river path and there’s nature everywhere, everywhere in the sunshine. I just love it so much.

Alice: Oh, that’s amazing. And what’s your favorite restaurant in San Diego? If anyone goes there, where do they need to go?

Rebecca: Yes, well, if you’re in San Diego, you definitely need to try some Mexican food and definitely, you need to go Ponce’s and Kensington. It’s a really lovely sit down Mexican restaurant owned by a family, and it was one of the first places when I moved here that Devin and his family took me to, and it’s just like really, really good. Yeah, definitely. Ponce’s is my favorite.

Alice: That sounds amazing. I’ve never tried it. I’ll have to check it out. 

Rebecca: Ooh, it’s so good. Yes.

Alice: And I was wondering, you’re pursuing another master’s degree right now. You also have an MA in Counseling and Educational already. Can you walk me through what you wanted to do, first you were interested in theater education when you got out of school, and now, you’ve kind of moved over into a different sort of therapy. Can you talk about how you got to where you are?

Rebecca: Yeah, definitely. So, it’s been an interesting shift that’s kind of you know, led me here. So, yeah, like I mentioned, I was interested in theater education. I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Literature and Theater because I acted and I was super interested in–

Alice: Wow! I didn’t know that.

Rebecca: Yeah. Fun fact also, I was in some plays and I just loved what it felt like to be somebody else. I loved it. I love the production elements. I love working towards something bigger than myself. I love being in a community. I just absolutely love it when I could go to rehearsals and the end result, everything like that. And so, I wanted— I knew I wanted to work with kids and I knew that maybe pursuing audition life wasn’t necessarily for me, and so I was like, “Oh, I need to do something else with this. ” But still stay close to it ’cause I love it so much, and I know how excited I was as a kid to do theater programs, so why not to teach, and figure something out?

So, I joined the team of this non-profit, and unfortunately, it doesn’t really exist anymore, but we did kind of like life skills, education through play and theater. I got really into it, and we would go into some unfortunate situations, maybe with youth and foster care, or some schools who needed some resources. We would go and talk about conflict resolution through playing and theater, and it happened to be the job that I got out of college that I was super into.

I was following this organization and from there I was like, “Oh, woah. This conflict resolutions stuff. I’m super into this.” But all the stuff that’s out there doesn’t really incorporate theater so much except for what I’m doing now. So then I was like, “Oh, you know what? I could do more of this.” And so I explored experiential education around kids and somehow, ended up in a job, working with young adults doing that too for a couple of years. And thought, “You know what? I’m really into this. I love the movement. I love the theater. I should probably get a degree to make me a bit more legit in fields.” And so, I ended up getting my Masters in Education in Counseling, which is more a broad degree, so that way I could learn more from the counseling element, and the education element, so that way I could put my spin on it.

I absolutely loved it, and it was a year program, and it happened to be in the same school as the therapy program that I’m in now with, and some professors who were in this group counseling class where I was, wanted to integrate some kind of theater and restorative practices and I realized like, “Oh. Yeah. I like therapy.” Like I like it. It was just like, Oh, wow. I could really see this. I could see this working. I could see myself being a drama therapist or a movement therapist and incorporating expressive arts practices into therapy, things like that. And I looked into a couple of expressive arts programs and I realized, “You know what? In order to maybe to open myself out to other opportunities, I decided to get a broader degree in family therapy So, now I’ll have, the training to be able to sit with people in like a private practice setting or agency setting, work with families, couples, kiddos and also eventually be able to do some really cool stuff with expressive arts.

Alice: That’s amazing Becca.

Rebecca: Yeah, thank you.

Alice: Wow. That’s so cool. When are you done with you degree? Your next one?

Rebecca: May. Yes, this one. May. I’m done in May. That is my last year.

Alice: Wow. Oh my gosh.

Rebecca: I know.

Alice: Amazing.

Rebecca: It feels like there wasn’t an end in sight, and now there’s and end in sight and maybe a PHD which we’ll see…

Alice: Why not.

Rebecca: May 2020. I know. So, it’s going really well.

Alice: That’s awesome.

Rebecca: And yeah, yeah. I love it.

Alice: Wow. And it sounds like you have so many different roots and options that you could go down with this. So, it sounds perfect.

Rebecca: Yeah. Definitely.

Alice: Yeah. Oh, that’s wonderful. And, do you have any fall traditions that you– I mean in San Diego, is it ever fall–?

Rebecca: Yeah. So I get very excited if it drops below 70 degrees here. Like, 68 degrees–

Alice: The horror.

Rebecca: Yeah. I know, at about 68 maybe I’ll wear a sweater. But it’s never getting cold enough to wear that. So, I’m like, you know what? Maybe I’ll sweat a little and start wearing scarves. It’s like my own little tradition and also I don’t necessarily like too much commercialism but I do love a good fall holiday situation like the fall drinks–

Alice: Ohh. Okay.

Rebecca: — at the coffee shop and things like that. Like I love a good pumpkin something. Anything.

Alice: Well, the pumpkin spiced latte is now at Starbucks. Have you had it yet?

Rebecca: I know. I’ve been holding off till after Labor Day. Just for my own conviction. “My god, they’re early every year.” but I do love it. So, yes, scarves and lattes ’cause I don’t really get much else.

Alice: That’s wonderful. What do you think is your biggest success story?

Rebecca: Oh yeah. So, it’s really interesting that you asked that question because I recently started thinking more in the successes like, in terms of “Oh this is a win.” for me, thinking about the result of my life rather than “Ugh, I’m in this process when am I gonna get to the next step?” And so, I would say– you know, I know that you know about the season and some people know about this, and it’s coming up in the piece that I’m writing for the newsletter too, but, our daughter recently passed away about 9 months ago and I was in school still and there was kind of a crossroad situation where it’s like “Oh, something major and huge has happened. Do I want to even continue this?” Because I had the option to drop out, and just kind of figure what else out ’cause I missed so much school, but I decided to go back l within a month and it was the biggest success so far because I went back. I was able to see a client right away who’s going through something similar and give them therapy, which was one of the coolest experience in my life, and also I ended up getting a placement ’cause I’m technically a marriage and family therapy trainee right now, so I’m in the field. I have a caseload, and I’m at a high school right now, which was one of the best kind of placements that I could get at this place. It’s my top choice and I ended up getting it, because of you know, just coming back, determination, working hard, and now I’m able to help a bunch of really, really cool teenagers. That inspire me everyday, so I would say that is my biggest success so far, going back after that.

Alice: Yeah. That’s awesome, Becca. 

Rebecca: Yeah.

Alice: And we’re so sorry that happened and–

Rebecca: Aww, thank you.

Alice: I’m glad you can– lcreate a success out of a situation that you can help people with too. That’s really great that you could help someone as well.

Rebecca: Thank you. Yeah. Yeah, feel’s good. Yeah.

Alice: Can you talk about– I mean, I guess being in so much grad school and family therapy and I’m sure you have classes on what it means about gender and what it means to be female and a woman. I mean, it changes every day and it changes from person to person, but what is your definition for being female or being a woman?

Rebecca: Oh yeah. So, many layers to that. 

Alice: Yeah.

Rebecca: Yeah, so the program that I’m in right now is really radical and political in terms of the theories that we learn about, how we get to be the way that we are, right? And, I’m under the firm belief that we’re all products of different contexts and stories and relationships in our lives, right? Like there are just no issues that happen in isolation and we’re all in relationship with one another. And, all of– you know, from my experiences, my beliefs, my values have been informed by– what I like to call discourses, which are these beliefs about the world that come from somewhere culturally.

So, a discourse could mean what it means to be a woman, right? What it means to be– you know, believes that what women should do, how women should act, that is informed by culture, religion, politics, everything. And so, I’m constantly in the state of de-constructing that, and learning how I’ve come to learn things about being a woman, and so, I would say, initially, I thought being a woman meant serving, based of how I grew up and not necessarily in a bad way, right? But just like, kind of being there to make sure that everyone else was okay. And maybe sometimes, forgetting who you are as an individual because there are bigger things at hand and so, now I’m kind of under this idea– this notion that women in my mind base line are resilient. What it means to be a woman is to be resilient. You’ve survived under any circumstance that informs you and to thrive in order to serve, which is a lot more empowering than how I would initially think about it, right?

You know, if I had to kind of, make a lump– a claim, I would say resilient.

Alice: Yeah, and I think really any definition is okay for what we think of as being female or woman and especially since gender is so fluid now too. But, I think resilience is so empowering like you said, it’s so tough and badass and I think that’s a great definition.

Rebecca: Yeah.

Alice: I’m curious too. Have you ever felt prejudice because of your gender? And do you have stories about it?

Rebecca: Yeah. No, definitely, I think where that resilience has to come from somewhere right? So, in order to, come over something, or go through something, or be strong for something, there has to be some form of oppression or prejudice or something like that to come out of. And I’m under a firm believer that in one way or another, we all kind of have instances of that. I definitely would say that because of my gender I was assumed to be one way, and I end up surprising a lot of people.

I grew up in very traditional households where gender roles were kind of assumed and pre-defined. And, yeah, I’ll say that. In terms of putting dinner on the table, and serving, and making sure that the males were served first in age order on the table, things like that. And it comes from a good place, comes from like a long-standing, you know, formal tradition and things like that and I value that, it’s for my upbringing. And also, sometimes I was hungry and I wanted my soup first. So, I don’t mean to dump on it at all but yeah, that.

And also in terms of education, I think you know, I’ve had at least one conversation with some people in my life that have said, “Why do you need to go to school? Why do you need to do that? You can find your husband and get married. Why do you need to go to college?” And that’s great for some people, and that’s a wonderful life for some people, and I did end up meeting my husband in college, but not because I was searching for it. I was searching for education. Just making the distinction. I definitely think my journey in becoming more educated, or getting these degrees, these fancy, you know, letters, is I think is my own little protest. Like those moments of prejudice, I guess.

Alice: Yaas queen. Yeah.

Rebecca: Yeah.

Alice: And how do you feel about talking about PMS? Has it ever had taboo connotations for you? I mean, I remember when I was growing up, I would die if I said the word period. But now, I say it all the time.

Rebecca: Yeah.

Alice: But, what about you? Do you have any of these stories or anything you’d like to share about PMS or periods?

Rebecca: Definitely. Oh yeah, definitely. So, there’s so much there. With like family traditions of what it means to get your period and everything like that. I do know that there’s a huge– the moodiness has always been a thing in my life that I would want to talk about and be like, “This is why I’m experiencing this. I don’t mean to offend anybody.” But I’m like, “I’m not myself right now. This is happening.” But then instead of being like, “Oh you know, let’s talk about what’s contributing to this.” It was always like, “Oh, Becca’s being nasty.” And so there was never– yeah. It was definitely taboo to be like, “No. I’m about to get my period. What’s going on? Why can’t we talk about this?” And I was 13 and I wanted to be an open communicator. But, like, “Why can’t we all just talk about it?” So, yes, definitely and also there is extensive shame, extensive shame, and secrecy around it. I remember always being very prepared and this is like my one period story that I like to tell everyone when we start talking about it in a social setting.

Alice: Yes!

Rebecca: I had first gotten my period and my mom taught me very well to be over-prepared for the situation. And I wasn’t sure how to use a tampon yet, so a pad was my go-to. I was like, you know, itty bitty Becca the 7th grader and of course, I had like a gallon freezer size plastic zip lock bag filled with pads.

Alice: Oh my gosh.

Rebecca: I had it, just in case.

Alice: Incredible.

Rebecca: You never know in a 6– yeah, in a 6 hour period of middle school, how much you would need, I had it right there in my gallon zip block bag in my backpack. And, I was always pretty clumsy and I remember I was going to shut the backpack but I forgot ’cause I always have an open backpack.

Alice: Oh no.

Rebecca: I’m pretty clumsy. I wasn’t paying attention and I was walking down the hills to go to my next class and I didn’t see where I was going and I physically bumped into my History teacher, and this giant, like a comedy movie, this giant zip block bag of industrial pads that were probably from 1986, flew out of my backpack onto the floor and my jaw just dropped

Alice: Oh noo.

Rebecca: And my teacher looks down, makes eye contact with me and goes, “Rebecca” and I’m like, “Huh? Huh? Huh? Mr.?” And it just takes about then run to the bathroom. It was ugh. Alright, but the truth is, it’s totally normal. And like, you’re a teacher in middle school, you should know that your students get their periods and you should be proud of them for being prepared.

Alice: Yeah.

Rebecca: So, I was just like– I was just like, Oh my gosh. There is so much shame associated with this. Why couldn’t I have somebody talk to me when I was that age to be like, this is normal. This is okay.

Alice: Yeah and I think those conversations are starting to happen now but when we were growing up, I don’t think so. When was that? 10? 15 years ago?

Rebecca: Yeah. Yeah. 

Alice: Yeah, it wasn’t a thing which is wild. Oh my gosh. I just like had physical anxiety from you telling that story.

Rebecca: Right? Every time it’s like time stands still and the padded bag is flying in the air. Yeah. Like nooo.

Alice: Yeah.  Amazing.

Rebecca: Oh gosh. Yeah.

Alice: Yeah, so another question for you. How do you think we can solve the gender gap?

Rebecca: Education, in speaking up, I think is huge. And I know there are plenty of vocal, wonderful women who advocate for themselves and I also fear that we’re just not taught to advocate for ourselves at young ages in ways that would help us get more money, in ways that will help us get paid more and ways that would help get more advantages and ways that will help us get opportunities in life. I never learned necessarily that it was okay to negotiate. I always felt like, oh, just you know, oh, whatever they give you, you should be lucky to have and that’s you know, and that’s what it is. And as I’m getting older and as I’m getting more confident in who I am as a human in this vessel, I would definitely say that advocating for myself, it has been one of the hugest tools to learn and sometimes, saying No can really– or saying “Hmm. I’m not so sure about that.” How could we explore more options that benefit me? I mean, stereotypically, might label you as, you know, not a great word or too difficult or things like that, but if men say, I got to find men where to say the same thing. It wouldn’t be an issue because men are taught to be– if we’re talking about, you know, stereotypical masculinity or taught to be steadfast and know what you want and be good at business and things like that. And so, why can’t we learn the same? Why can’t we be encouraged to do the same instead of, you know, keeping quiet and just saying “Yeah, okay.” and putting all the smileys in our emails and things like that? 

Alice: I think that’s great.

Rebecca: And I can’t tell you– yeah. I can’t tell you how many students and young people that I’m working with who their main concerned of their coming in with us is I can’t speak up in class because I’m nervous by the teachers going to tell me that I’m dumb. And so, how can we assure, you know, the future generation that you’re not dumb. You’re there. You’re showing up. You’re working hard and you’re doing the best you can. You deserve this opportunity just as much as anybody else, so name it.

Alice: That’s great. Thank you, Becca.

Rebecca: Yeah.

Alice: And then, I think a similar question I have is, do you have some concrete ways that we can fight for women’s equality?

Rebecca: Oh yeah, that’s a great question. Concrete ways that we can fight for women’s equality. Education. Education. Education. I know I’m in a place of privilege, being able to go to school and put my mind in a way that can, you know, I don’t know, I guess know more things, I would say, hitting the books because when we know more, we’re stronger and we’re a force to be reckon with. I would also say, yeah, similar answer, learning ways and working with people, and I am kind of bias but maybe working with a counselor, working with somebody to learn how to advocate for yourself, to represent yourself in the way that you want, in the way that you prefer and ask for help. I don’t think that we can bypass inequalities and isolation. I think we need to stand strong together as a community and when you ask for help, you’re linking yourself to somebody else so, I’m not sure if that’s concrete or not but I live kind of on the abstract. 

Alice: No, I think that’s wonderful. We should hit the books and ask people for help. You’re not alone. I think that’s wonderful.

Rebecca: Yeah. Definitely.

Alice: Yeah. And I just have some fun ending questions to wrap up with you.

Rebecca: Okay. Let’s do it.

Alice: Yeah? Yes! What’s your favorite book to read for the summer?

Rebecca: Ohhh.

Alice: Or in general.

Rebecca: Yeah. I love anything– yeah. So, I read a lot about emotions.

Alice: Cool!

Rebecca: If I’m not doing that, I would definitely read anything from Mindy Kaling. Her couple of books are really just her, and they give me inside fuzzies, and I love that, yeah. I’m really into memoirs of ladies so. anything.

Alice: That’s awesome. What is your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to?

Rebecca: Ohh, okay. So I haven’t traveled to many places internationally but I would definitely say that Sedona, Arizona, it’s like my favorite place to be. I’ve been there a couple of times and there’s something so peaceful about being in the red rocks with that mud and the turquoise and the people and hippie-dippie like vortexes and all that stuff; I dig it so much.

Alice: That’s awesome. I’ve never been there. If they were to make a movie about your life, who would play you and why?

Rebecca: Ooh okay. I was really struggling with this one. I don’t feel like there’s any person that represents me like directly. However, if I were to pick based on mere acting chops alone, I would go obviously witht Meryl Streep because she’s great. Not that I [crosstalk]–

Alice: Perfect!

Rebecca: think that highly of myself but if I have to cast it, I would probably go with Meryl and then maybe some kind of like America Ferrera redo of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants cast in some ways to represent like different people.

Alice: I love it.

Rebecca: Maybe. Yeah. Yeah.

Alice: That would be awesome, Meryl Streep, yes.

Rebecca: Right?

Alice: Yeah.

Rebecca: Yeah.

Alice: And when did you start your period? You kind of mentioned it in your story earlier.

Rebecca: Yeah, yeah. I was 12 and I was not excited. I was not excited because I knew that would make me a woman. I don’t know, I was like “Oh, that’s too much pressure. I can’t do that right now. I’m not into that right now.” Like “Ugh.” I remember being like, “Mom, this is going to ruin my life.” but no. I was twelve and I’ve had it ever since so..

Alice: Great!

Rebecca: Yeah.

Alice: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Rebecca: I don’t think so. I just want to say thank you so much for the opportunity and if any– for whoever else is watching or listening and you’re going through something or even if you just need a little bit of maintenance, it’s great to talk to somebody. If it’s not a counselor, it’s a friend or religious leaders. Somebody that you can connect to. It’s important and anywhere in your area, there are likely free services to mental health access care. Look it up. You’re not alone. Talk to somebody. So, yeah, thank you so much.

Alice: Thank you Becca. Thank you so much for coming on. Yeah.

Rebecca: Thank you for having me.

Alice: Bye! Thank you.

Rebecca: Okay bye.

Alice: Bye.