We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristen Wagoner and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kristen, what are you inspired by?
I am most inspired by the people I am able to share pain with in my career as a therapist.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I work as a Professional Counselor during the week and on the weekends I paint. I paint just about everything and anything from urban landscapes on canvas to larger-than-life insects that can be seen on the streets around the city. My heart work during the week inspires me to paint my guts out on the weekends. I adore my job however it can be painful at times. It is worth it though to look another human in the eyes who has gone through sexual, physical, mental, emotional abuse, and neglect and hold space with them, love them, and fight like hell to help them to love and value their own self. I got to where I am today with a lot of grit, gut, self-compassion, and support from family and friends. I have seen the worst that humanity has done to humanity. I have worked in psychiatric facilities, group homes for kids in DFCS, children’s shelters, outpatient treatment clinics for mental health and substance abuse, as well as private practice. I also have the honor of experiencing the resilience of the human spirit in my work daily. I have seen the fight, the choice to not give up, the choice to embrace the deep waters when you feel like you will drown and do it anyway. My clients are my heroes.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I wanted to show someone a good time in Atlanta, I would take them to Homegrown for breakfast and start with a comfy chicken biscuit. I would then introduce them to @sadstove on Instagram because he is one of my closest friends and the funniest person I know. I’m sure during the week we would take a few bike rides around the city and probably eat at Mi Barrio for lunch every day. Who can say no to an authentic, family owned, and operated restaurant, slammin’ margaritas and tacos to die for? Let it be noted that El Progresso has some bangin’ tacos as well if my friends wanted to do a penitentiary drive-by. After lunch I’d hook up my friends with spray paint and let them go crazy in Krog Street Tunnel and go bench trains. Long walks on train tracks are a must also. It’s always a walk on the wild side when you’re hangin’ with Classy lol. If my friends were down, I may take them urban exploring in some bandos. Grab your flashlights and gloves folks. Anyways food is central to everything so for dinner we would find spots on Buford Hwy most likely. Later on, we would swing by Cateye Creative Gallery to see some of Atlanta’s dopest art. It would be a wild card kind of week.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
For the past 5 years my therapist Pegge Riley at Sage Center in Decatur, Ga. has been a constant support. She has helped me realize that I am worthy of good things in this life. She has helped me walk through the darkest moments and the deepest waters as I painfully confronted my own past trauma. I have learned to love myself finally after feeling ‘less than’ and now am able to love others in a more authentic way. Also have to give a shout to my boy Nels who passed away in 2020. He was a true inspiration on so many levels. He urged me to paint in ways I never thought I would or could.

Website: classystreetz.com

Instagram: @classystreetz

Other: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/kristen-wagoner-cumming-ga/892732

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