Note to Reader
This is a twelve month project which aims to bring to light the individual pain experienced by young women and to show how their unique stories make them who they are. We ask you to feel with an open heart and respect their stories.
To read part one of Megan's story, click here.
It's been so long...
It’s been so long. It’s never ever something I find myself dwelling on. In my faith, I’ve found some healing about it. Like being able to look back and know God was always with me; in those moments of distress, I was never really alone. The thing I was always searching for to fill that hole is never going to be satisfied with earthly things.
I think God really blessed me with resiliency because not everybody has it, and I think that’s why I’m able to give back to the mental health community. Because I have that bone. I think when people go through a lot of stress and chaos at one time, it wears that resiliency bone down and for some reason mine stayed together. I don’t know why I was spared for that because when you think about it, I could have seen my life trajectory go south but it didn’t. I think there’s healing there.
I definitely can find the good in my story. I don’t pour out for pity or for you to feel sorry for me because I’ve gone through this. I use those negative experiences and the way they felt and I share them. I’m not afraid to talk about it. I want people to see that even though you go through hard moments, you can get through it, you can be resilient, and in hind sight you’ll be able to pick out things that can positively influence your life today. And I like being able to disclose those certain things to my patients because I’m not one of those counselors who won’t talk about my life.
Now of course I have boundaries but if I was working with someone who is going through a divorce, even though I haven’t gone through a divorce, I know how it affects the people around and I know what kind of burden and guilt that carries. So when you experience those things firsthand, you’re able to use that for good in helping others go through it. I think that’s the whole point when we go through things, to literally turn around and say, “Okay, I went through that but the good thing is God brought me through.” So it’s back to that whole purpose of giving Him the credit for everything.
When I think about the divorce, what I witnessed and felt, it affects me now because I don’t ever want to put somebody through that. Ever. So in a way it empowers me to value honesty more, communication, loyalty, commitment. It made me value those things. If I look back on all the long term relationships I’ve had, I never stepped out of the relationships in a disloyal way because that is something I take very seriously. Because I have seen what that can do and it’s awful. And unfortunately, there are people out there that have had it worse than me. So in a way it empowers your value system.
I want to be an honest person.
I want to be an honest person. I want to be a loyal person. I want to be a committed person. I don’t want to step out of relationships and put somebody through that. That’s something that’s good out of it. I’m not saying you would have to go through this pain in order to be a loyal person, but I think when you look at it this way, you’re more driven to make loyalty a part of your core values.
The word that’s coming to my mind when I think about the thread that ties the bad and good together is progression and transformation. The beauty in my story is the growth, the reflection, the insight, the self-awareness, the social-awareness. That’s the beauty of it. It’s looking at pain and looking at things you’ve had to endure over time and saying, “That was purposeful”.
God didn’t say, “I want her to experience a really shitty divorce on behalf of her parents.” No, He knew it was an experience that was going to happen and He equipped me with everything that I needed, that resiliency bone. He’s given me the ability to look back, reflect on it, and know it’s exactly what I needed. It’s exactly what I needed so that I could have healthy relationships, good friends, the ability to love my friends, and have long lasting friendships. It’s a transformation journey. The beauty is the purposeful, intentional experience and being able to pick out everything that can be a positive in how you live currently. That’s how I see it.
My worldview up until recently has been quite distorted. I’ve struggled with my weight and when I think about the world’s concept of beauty, I think strictly physical. That there is no room for scars, there is no room for imperfections, there is no room for deviations from the standard. That’s how I feel the world is. So growing up, when I was going through the divorce, I can look back and say there were many times when I felt unwanted, unworthy. My parents were fighting over me to cause pain to each other. So I felt literally like a gateway for pain, chaos, and turmoil. I didn’t feel truly wanted, I didn’t feel worthy enough for them to set aside their differences for them to look at what my best interests were as a child. That obviously carries over as you get older and have those kind of beliefs, beliefs that hide away in the darkness inside of you. It’s like, “Oh, well now I understand why I have really, really low self esteem and why I don’t think I’m beautiful or worthy”. It was very much like I was an outlier, in a way.
But where I am now, I am trying my best to believe what God says I am. And that even though I am not my situation, I am beautiful regardless of the things I’ve gone through. It’s not so much a physical attribute. It is but it’s leaving room for all the other things beauty is that the world doesn’t allow for.
I think my story is beautiful because what is beautiful about it is being able to share it with other people. If I just sit at home and stare at four walls and reflect on my life, where’s the beauty in that? The beauty comes from identifying it as such and then sharing it with other people.
Who am I? Well some days I still have to convince myself that I am even worthy of God’s love. Which I know is nincompoop; like I don’t need to think that way. But I don’t know how to stop that thought from ever entering my mind again. The thought can come, and then you can overwrite it with something, sure. So I don’t know how to answer who I am. Beautifully imperfect, maybe that’s the best thing to say.
If I could tell somebody anything, it would be to love people. Love who they are and everything they are made of because we’re so incredibly different yet we can exchange stories that describe pain and empathize with each other. Because we’ve all felt it. We don’t know how it internally feels to each other but that’s our similarities, that’s how we connect by our experiences.
I would also say, embrace those hard moments and look back to find the light in it. Because it’s there. I whole heartedly believe that the negativity we experience through our lifetime is purposeful and exactly planned by God. Not the event itself, because we get to choose and then we have consequences, but I just whole heartedly believe that it’s so purposeful and if we don’t look closely, we’ll miss the light in the situation. And that’s what I would tell people. Don’t miss the light.
Don't miss the light.
I think sharing my story was very helpful. Because just talking about it alone is putting the puzzle pieces together and has been very therapeutic and healing. I think often times people are afraid to talk about things that are hurtful, upsetting and painful. But being in an environment where you know you are being listened to by a genuine ear, is helpful.
I also see that I have grabbed onto my faith and God. I see that He is the one. That whole time. There was never a moment He wasn’t with me.