Joaquin Saavedra MacCarthy Thin, grew up in Oakland California. Joaquin, having a Mexican/Vietnamese mom, and white dad, was an interesting upbringing. He felt that when you are young; you are impressionable, building principles, foundation, values, and perspectives. He was 12 when he went to an Art Middle School in Downtown Oakland. Kids used to tell him you aren’t a “true Mexican “or a “true person of color”. He felt hurt and confused because he knew he was a person of color and it was in his roots and in his culture.

Joaquin went through depression when he was in middle school. He was 13 years old when he saw his first therapist and he hated going as he didn’t want to heal. He didn’t feel worthy of healing, but over time it did get better with hope. Joaquin and his closest friend were in 7th grade when he got into some trouble. He was attacked by his friend that he trusted. Joaquin almost passed out due to the altercation. Since then, Joaquin had been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He would develop flinching for a few years after this incident. He would put his arms up when someone startled him, even at home, so he started to look to negative outlets which temporarily helped the pain. But he knew to stop the pain, he needed to talk through what had happened and to this day he has healing to do.

He knew his first step was acknowledging his feelings and addressing his mental health struggle. He was confused and didn’t want to go to therapy to talk to anyone about his problems. He always felt on edge after these incidents. It wasn’t until 8th grade that Joaquin obtained a therapist that worked for him. He kept doing this every day until 10th grade and his life started to get better little by little as therapy was gradually helping. Joaquin had his own support system he built with help from his mother because he didn’t trust the school system which he felt was unreliable. He had therapy to give advice when he needed it. His emotional trauma taught him about his value and how important self-discipline is.

Joaquin has now surrounded himself around strong independent like-minded people who also want to be around him because they want to help him grow. He believes it’s because of the energy he puts out! Joaquin is tired of tolerating people coming into his life with a negative impact, and any genuine positivity is a reminder for him to be proud of his persistence in trying to find his happiness. Joaquin wants anyone reading this to believe that “You’re worth is shown through your actions and they speak louder than anything else.”