I am about to share with you a brave story. A story about survival. When I think of this next guest, a beautiful Phoenix comes to mind, rising from the ashes.
My next guest interview was with someone I don’t know very well. Yet, I felt instantly comfortable in her presence. Immediate kinship as we delved into some really deep and heartfelt conversation. I could relate to so much of what she shared. Though our backgrounds and stories are different our feelings connected us. Almost mirroring each other, validating each other, lifting each other up.
That’s what this blog is all about for me: CONNECTION
We are all more alike than we are different.
My new friend trusted me to tell a part of her story. Emboldened by her own journey of growth she revealed to me her path toward reinvention. Speaking her truth to continue her own process of healing. I feel honored to have heard her truth and to share it here with all of you. I only hope that I can adequately serve as the liaison, the tool to serve her cause. I give you Megan.
Megan is waiting for me at the picnic table settled in the shade at one of our local parks. It’s a gorgeous Sunday afternoon and from our position we can hear the children playing on the playground and birthday festivities nearby. We are able to speak uninterrupted, as our own children are hanging at our respective home bases with their fathers. Our conversation is easy and relaxed but intense. I fumble with the voice recording app on my phone asking if she minds me recording our talk and admitting that she is my first interview done in person using the voice recording app. I tease that she’s my “guinea pig” for trying this strategy out. To me it’s preferable to writing as she speaks, as it allows me to stay present with her in our conversation. I have my list of questions I like to tackle but prefer an open organic dialog where we engage and feed off of each other’s responses.
We begin briefly discussing how we know each other. We met at a few organized homeschool group activities and got to chat on several occasions. We text occasionally and follow each other’s social media accounts. I think back to the first occasion we really got the chance to speak and recall feeling that Megan was “my people”. Someone whom I could relate to and hang with. A person I could be me with. I think we initially talked tattoos as we both have them and love them. And as most homeschool related activities go we talked about our kids and the homeschooling adventure. Megan tells me that this is her first year homeschooling her two boys and how she is working to find the balance of the right activities for them. I remember my first year of homeschooling feeling like a neurotic mess. So insecure and afraid I was going to screw the whole thing up. I share those fears with her and also relate that those feeling calm down as you find your way and realize you don’t have to do it all. I share that eventually you find your stride and get more comfortable in schooling the way you choose and having the freedom to that is so wonderful and scary at the same time. We touch on this subject again as we get rolling into the interview.
Sidebar: Choosing to homeschool your children is a wild and fulfilling undertaking. But it is not for the faint of heart. Homeschooling requires perseverance and trust that you are doing the right thing, even in the face of push back from the rest of the world.
As we progress the conversation focus shifts. We begin to share more about ourselves. Megan shares with me that she and her family are in a period of what she calls “transition”. She explains that her transition was not intentional but more a result of life traumas that had pushed her to her brink of depression, despair and feeling suicidal. Her willingness to grow was her choosing her life. Two years ago Megan was forced to the edge of questioning the value of her existence by a rape. My dear sweet friend was raped by a duo of predators who preyed on her desire to achieve her career dream. A female friend she trusted and was hoping to build a career with and a man in a position of community power and authority drugged and raped her. Unfortunately, this was not Megan’s first experience being victimized in this way by someone she trusted. Megan shares that this recent experience triggered feelings from her past where as a 14 year old she had been in an abusive relationship with an older male who repeatedly raped and abused her. In both situations she carried the burden of blaming herself. Questioning what she was doing wrong. Layering on the clothing to self protect, all black to unintentionally signify mourning. She relays that these experiences shaped her perception of love, sex and intimacy and hints that it altered how she relates to and respects men. Including her own husband whom she loves dearly and who has treated her with kindness, compassion, patience and respect. She straddled Megan the woman hurting and reeling from her deep wounds and Megan the mom and wife who did not let her children see her pain, the caretaker of her family unit.
In the aftermath of the rape Megan chose not to prosecute or to pursue any legal action against her attackers. She says that she decidedly stopped caring what others thought or felt about her and burrowed inward, into her home, her family, her safe haven. She avoided people because of anxiety. The depression crept in and threatened to drown her. The persistent waves of trauma that she had managed to tread her entire life. Navigating an unsupportive family life growing up, an abusive boyfriend rapist and another devastating rape. She felt as though she were being overtaken. She didn’t know if she could continue. She embarked full throttle in homeschooling and felt that she and her children thrived. She began to feel a bit of confidence. She gleaned strength and support from the Me Too Movement Luckily, Megan sought help. She is actively participating in therapy with a pastor to help her heal. Admittedly, Megan has never been involved in religion prior to now. This pastor therapist has helped her mend.
Sidebar: Megan and I stop briefly and reflect about how common sexual violence is among girls and women everywhere. Recurring perpetually all over the world, though rarely discussed among each other. I ponder, is the reason because we are ashamed? We fear repercussions and further victimization through blame? Or are we just accustomed to the fact that it is more unique not to have experienced some form of sexual assault or violence as a woman. That makes me deeply sad inside.
We discussed other defining moments in Megan’s life. The birth of her two boys awoke in her a love and nurturing “a magic” Megan states “she didn’t know she had”. Embracing motherhood and watching her boys grow and evolve has been one of her unexpected joys, “an amazing blur”. Megan did not see herself where she is now, a stay at home mom, a homeschooler and wife. She planned on being a chef in NYC. Currently, she is utilizing her culinary skills and showcasing paleo-centric meals and desserts along with her homeschooling days on Instagram. Check her out @megthepaleo
Megan feels that she is forging her path to reinvention. Seeing the world in a new way. Seeing herself in a new light. Acknowledging her humanness. Actively speaking out about her rape experiences, shaking off the self blame and shame, pursuing change through therapy, watching her children blossom via homeschooling have all led to positive change and hope. Megan refuses to let her trauma define and control her. She dreams of feeling at peace with herself and the world. Megan says she does not see herself as a badass but that she is aiming to get there. Where is she describes herself out loud or presents herself in that badass intimidating fashion it is because she herself believes it, rather than a mode of self-protection to guard herself against others. As in my last interview I feel so differently than my friend feels about herself. In my eyes who she is, what she experienced and who she is striving to become shows tremendous bravery, guts and heart. All the makings of a badass.
As we wrap up our conversation I ask Megan what her goals are for 2019. She smiles and chuckles a bit and says that she avoids making resolutions. That for her and her OCD type thought processes resolutions are self-sabotage. She prefers to see how change unfolds and be pleasantly surprised with the flourishing in her life. But, she says that she is aiming to be healthier. Healthier self and family. For what it’s worth I think she is well underway.
Once again, a big grateful thank you to Megan for trusting me with her story. Please her out on Instagram. You will not be disappointed.
Until next time.