Woman Wednesday: Megan

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below. 

 


Q and A with Megan, Baltimore, Maryland

“The future. Earth’s governments have fallen, succeeded by a unified military order. An elite group of soldiers, the Sentinels, protect Cotarion from marauders and neighbors alike. Within, shadowy forces at the highest levels conspire for the power they need to enact a mysterious agenda.

But now, something has changed.

Men and women have emerged, displaying superhuman abilities powerful enough to threaten the established order, and the High General commands Sentinel Cameron Kardell to track a superhuman gone rogue. A superhuman who holds the key to these powers’ origin. Who happens to be Kardell’s best friend. Who will reveal the truth of Cameron’s own origins.

The Altered now wake.” –Megan Morgan, Author of “The Altered Wake”

 

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: Stories are definitely my passion! I love reading them, writing them, and listening to them. I love figuring out what makes a story work and picking apart why some stories don’t work. I love discussing what stories mean to people. They’re everywhere, and we are all telling ourselves stories all the time about who we are and how we impact the world. They’re almost so ubiquitous that we often don’t realize just how important they are.

That impact of stories on our personal and larger social psychologies are why I’m so focused on writing stories that defy conventions. As a kid, I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, and I loved how these kinds of stories could invert our perspective of the world. A lot of the main characters in the stories I read were male, and women usually had supporting roles. Things are better these days, but I still crave women as leading characters who drive the narrative of the stories they’re in, so that’s what I write. In fact, all of my characters defy stereotypes, or at least, that’s what I hope.
Now that my first novel, “The Altered Wake”, is out, I’m working on the second in the series, “The Altered Rise”. And like a lot of storytellers I know, I have more story ideas than I will ever have time to write!

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Q:What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know?

A: I’ve been an army wife, and later, a single working mom to two awesome kids while writing my novels. I’ve written during ideal circumstances and completely awful circumstances. I’ve written when the words were easy and when they were hard. I’ve received heartbreaking rejection letters and even an email from a friend who was devouring my novel in a dental office. I boxed up all my manuscripts and put them on a shelf more than once. And eventually, I made the decision to get my work out into the world, even if I had to do it myself.

 
If there’s a lesson in all that, it’s that you just never stop. Surround yourself with people who believe in you. And don’t be afraid to work your butt off on what you believe in. Keep that little ember burning in the dark times, so that when there’s some kindling, it can ignite.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in Fairmont, West Virginia, which is a really beautiful place. As a kid, I spent a lot of time catching frogs and swimming. My mom loves to read, and so she took my siblings and I to the library on the weekends. My dad was a schoolteacher, and he read us books every night before bed with the most amazing voices. I was so lucky to grow up with two parents who believed in the value of reading and who encouraged me so much as I began to write my own stories.

In junior high, I started writing longer mini-novels for my friends, and as they devoured the chapters I supplied to them, I was hooked. I could make my own narratives, worlds, and characters. Then other people would believe in them. I found that, for me, it was the best way to reach other people. And sometimes, putting words down on paper is the best way for me to understand myself.

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Q: What would you like others to learn from your story?

A: I think it’s really important to pay attention to the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we surround ourselves with. Not just books, TV shows, and movies, but the stories that are there in our minds. We all have narratives about who we are and what our value is, and we can absolutely change ourselves for the better by nudging those stories in different directions.
I had a college professor who, day one of class, talked about how we introduce ourselves to other people by telling them stories about our lives so far. It’s sort of how we package and present ourselves. I think it’s a good idea to look at those tales we’ve curated and see what they say about us, and also, to realize that the stories society tells us impact which narratives are worth keeping.

Question that!

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism means (to me) that people can be who they are without shame or ridicule. To me, it means we all have opportunities to fulfill our goals. The idea is that we have an even playing field, and “feminine” qualities aren’t ridiculed, and men aren’t shamed for having complex feelings. I see it as equality.

So, feminism means that my daughter can play in the mud (or not, as she prefers), and my son can paint his nails. We can be the complex people that we are. I think that’s good for everyone.
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Here are links to my social media places and the Clickworks Press site for the book! All the links for purchasing the book are right here:
My Twitter:
And the Facebook site for the novel:

 

 

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Woman Wednesday: Katherine

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.


 

Q and A with Katherine, Hunterdon County, New Jersey 

“I believe we can really change the world through kindness and how we treat those in our daily lives. In order to make a difference in the world, we don’t always have to do grand gestures. Doing small things with great love can have just as great of an impact on the world.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: There’s a few things in my life that I’m really passionate about. The first thing is my faith. My faith is something that has always been important to me, but recently, I’ve really been trying to grow in my relationship with God and allow my faith to inform all aspects of my life. God is so good, and I’m so grateful for how I’ve seen Him work in my life. In my free time, I share a lot about my faith on Instagram and on my blog, Loves Jesus & America too!  I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and we recently bought a house & farm in the town we grew up in. We’re really passionate about farm living and renovating our home! I work as an occupational therapist in a school for children with special needs and also at a hospital with elderly patients. My job is really fulfilling, and I love being able to help people everyday.

 

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Katherine in Paris, France. Read more about Katherine by clicking here. 

 

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Pictured: Katherine on her wedding day.

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A:  My younger years are really special to me. I was so blessed to grow up in a big family, being the oldest of 4 children. I had such a wonderful childhood. The home my husband and I bought is actually right next to the house I grew up in, and we are so excited to be so close to family! Growing up, I was always hanging out with neighborhood friends, playing outside, and volunteering. Volunteering from a young age really instilled in me the importance of giving back to my community & serving others.

 

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Q:What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know?

A: Something valuable I’ve learned that I would like for others to know is that it is more important to cultivate meaning in your life than it is to rack up accomplishments. I used to be so concerned with achieving things. I never found time to rest and to enjoy the present moment. Working hard is incredibly important, but we need to find balance and meaning in our lives beyond that, whether it be through relationships, faith, hobbies, or rest. That’s why I love My Lilianas so much! It is a company all about women working hard and supporting one another, but also living their lives fully and enjoying the present moment.

 

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Pictured: Katherine wearing her Lilianas

 

Q: What would you like others to learn from your story?

A: Something I would like others to learn from my story is that at the end of the day, what matters most is how we love those around us. Saint Mother Teresa once said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” I believe we can really change the world through kindness and how we treat those in our daily lives. In order to make a difference in the world, we don’t always have to do grand gestures. Doing small things with great love can have just as great of an impact on the world.

 

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Pictured: Katherine, and her high school sweetheart ~ husband, Dominic. 

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?
A: To me, feminism is embracing the beauty of being a woman and the person God created me to be. God created women with beautiful talents, gifts, and capabilities that are unique. True feminism to me is embodying and embracing these gifts that are unique to women and using them to benefit our world and help others.

Check out Katherine’s Blog! 

LovesJesusandAmericaToo.com

 

Katherine’s Instagram Profile to Follow: 

@katherineocello

 

 

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Woman Wednesday: Faith

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.


 

Q and A with Faith, White Marsh, Maryland 

 

“Look back to when you were younger, and see if what you love now is what you loved back then. Often, the things we loved when we were kids are the things we have a true passion for.” 

 

Q: What are you passionate about?  

As a mom, wife, and a full-time manager, I have a very busy schedule every day! I love every minute, and yes, sometimes everything can go up then down, but it all seems to manage itself out. I love being a mom to a wonderful 10 month old as well as a stepmom to 2 kids- both 8 and 9 years old. I love every second I can be with them. I am a full-time manager with a company geared towards children for 9 years. I’m very thankful for the love and support of my husband, mom, and sister so that I can do what I truly love– which is photography. I have been a photographer for around 7 years, and I seriously started doing it as a business two years ago in 2016. Over these two years, I have grown so much. Photography is a skill you can learn and teach yourself by doing it hands on and watching videos. I started my passion of photography originally by shooting nature photography. I loved capturing the waterfront where I lived plus the woods and animals all around me. Especially when I went on trips, I loved taking my camera and capturing every moment. Photography can be so relaxing whether during a session or event or when editing the images.

 

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I love all the support and feedback I get from not only family and friends, but from my loyal clients as well! Some have been with me since 2016 and through my growth. I hope they stick by me through many more years. I also hope to be full time with photography in at max 5 years and not just part time- like I am now. I would love to have my own studio one day. I do sessions and events for all kinds from family, newborn, maternity, birthdays, weddings, and much more! Recently, I started a new venture in my career and started shooting weddings! This has been a huge step to further my career, and I can’t wait for all the new adventures this brings me. If you ever need any photography done, you can contact me through my Facebook page Faith Nicole Photography. I’m located in White Marsh, Maryland, but willing to travel in Maryland or another state. I would love to capture your family memories for you to keep forever.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I come from of a family of three kids. As a middle child, I always found way to keep myself busy in addition to playing with my siblings and cousins. We lived an outdoor life, which consisted of always playing games, fishing, and anything under the sun. If I wasn’t outside, I was indoors playing school or doing arts and crafts (especially painting and drawing). I was a very shy and quiet kid when I was younger. I worked really hard in school and was mostly on the honor roll. I graduated in 2010 from Eastern Tech High school where I was a part of the culinary program. After high school, I didn’t go to college like most of the kids I graduated with. I wanted to, but I really wanted to work and become independent. I wanted to make sure I could pay for what I wanted and needed without having to ask my parents for it. Even now, working full-time, plus running my own business, I work very hard not only to support myself, but also my family. I think being so creative and independent when I was younger helped me grow to where I am now and it especially has helped with running my own business. I still have a lot to learn, but as I tell others, you can only learn best by doing it and trying.

 

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Q: What would you like others to learn from your story?

A: The most important thing to know is to always follow your dreams and passion. Even when I get discouraged and want to give up, I always try to remind myself that it will all work out. I look back at my work from the past, and I honestly cringe to see how different and little I knew back then. I’m still learning until this day about how to take photos. I even have severely upgraded my equipment from a simple cheap camera to now a professional DSLR camera along with a lot of other equipment, props, backdrops and more. I will grow and grow every year the more I practice and work on my passion. I organize throwbacks next to current work to show my clients and others the difference from time to time. I love and appreciate my clients that have stayed with me throughout my growth, and I truly appreciate it from the heart. Basically what I’m saying is… don’t give up as it will be a struggle at times, but you will make it through. Keep working on everything you want, and you will get it one day! Despite a bad review here or there, you will get many more good reviews. Keep doing what you love, and I support you along the way too!

 

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The best way to learn from my story is look back to when you were younger, and see if what you love now is what you loved back then. Often the things we loved when we were kids are the things we have a true passion for. Mine was photography throughout the years among doing many other things such as girl scouts, soccer, gymnastic, karate, and being an adventurous and crafty kid. Even through high school and then when I started working, I always admired photography and seeing everything in a creative point of view. In 2016, my passion clicked in my head, and I started doing what I loved to do again. I enjoyed seeing the faces and reactions of my clients once they saw their images. Now with the growth I have had, the reactions are even greater, and I hope they will be further down the road. Doing what you love to do will make your life that much greater. But to add to that, it is your family and friends who make it even much greater. Capture those memories forever, because everyone grows up too fast and changes. I love being able to capture the memories for all people to keep and look back on years from now, and for your kids and grandkids to see many, many years from now.

 

Click here to reach Faith about Photography services and inquires. 

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Woman Wednesday: Jessica

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.


 

Q and A with Jessica, Hunterdon County, New Jersey  

“I remember flipping through a magazine one day (out of boredom), and I came across an article about hiking. And the editor decided to highlight “Legs strong enough to hike all the way to the top.” This statement resonated with me, because I started hiking with my friends around that time. On day 1, day 2, day 3…and okay let’s say up to day 30, I felt pretty weak. But every time we went, I was a little bit stronger, a little bit faster, and I was not running out of breath. I could see and feel the progress I made. So, I was not the best I could be on day 1, but to keep up with my friends, I had to keep going even when I was tired. I had to eliminate the mental barrier that said, “I can’t do it today, so I shouldn’t even try.” If you have a goal in mind, keep going, because you might be surprised by what you can do.”   

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: There are two ways I can answer this question- professionally and personally.

Professionally, it is marketing. I was really lucky to have found this passion at the age of 18. At the time, I was working at American Eagle Outfitters and taking two AP classes I enjoyed- drawing and psychology. I loved my job at American Eagle, but I was not a pushy sales-woman. I like getting creative, but I was not an artist. I found human behavior to be fascinating, but I wasn’t the next psychologist. Marketing was a combination of various things that already interested me.

 

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And personally, my passion has become traveling. I have been able to visit some exciting places including Sri Lanka, India, and the UK. The best part about traveling is remaining quiet behind a camera and snapping a photo of the architecture and people. Recently, I was getting lost in London. Exploring is a liberating feeling. I’m either alone with my thoughts and camera or meeting someone new.

Next on my list is Greece!

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was somewhat quiet; I didn’t come out of my shell until I was about 16-17. I hated large group gatherings, being on a team, class projects – you name it, and I felt uncomfortable. In school, I’d rather zone out or people watch. I hope my former classmates didn’t think I was a creep for staring.

Overtime, I became an extroverted person. I have no doubt that there is correlation between finding my passion(s) and finding my confidence. When I finally found something that I was both good at and had fun doing, I wanted to talk to other people. I wanted to reach out and connect with the people who enjoyed the same things.

Side note: I don’t stare as much. I now read about industry trends and user behavior. Unless I am a tourist behind a camera.

 

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Q:What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know?

A: You are stronger than you think you are.

I am not only talking about physical strength.

I remember flipping through a magazine one day (out of boredom), and I came across an article about hiking. If you don’t live under a rock, typically a strong statement will be enlarged and bolded. And the editor decided to highlight “legs strong enough to hike all the way to the top.”

 

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This statement resonated with me, because I started hiking with my friends around that time. On day 1, day 2, day 3…and okay let’s say up to day 30, I felt pretty weak. But every time we went, I was a little bit stronger, a little bit faster, and I was not running out of breath.

I could see and feel the progress I made.

So, I was not the best I could be on day 1, but to keep up with my friends, I had to keep going even when I was tired. I had to eliminate the mental barrier that said, “I can’t do it today, so I shouldn’t even try.”

If you have a goal in mind, keep going, because you might be surprised by what you can do.

Almost ten years ago, I tore out that statement and put in a book. It’s still on my desk.

 

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Q: What would you like others to learn from your story?

A: Do not be afraid to make decisions to improve your life, and do not be afraid to seek help.

Over an extended period of time, I experienced one unfortunate event after another. Even when things were going well, I sometimes wondered if I will, metaphorically speaking, fall…again. I did not surround myself with the right people that could fully understand what I was going through and support me. Unfortunately, this caused me to battle with depression.

I decided to go to counseling and remained in it for about 3 to 4 years.

I noticed there was a common theme during my sessions. I need to navigate through the current situation and keep my end goals in mind. To me, this meant I could not put my entire life on pause. I could not call in sick and distance myself from the entire world like I wanted to.

I’m no longer enrolled in counseling, but when faced with stress, I adjust and make decisions for my own mental, physical, and financial wellbeing. I frequently wear a compass necklace as a reminder to navigate through life and keep moving in the right direction.

 

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As I answer this question, I wish I could turn to the counselor I met with during high school and the counselor I met with during college who both helped me and just say, “Thank you.”

 

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Q: What does Feminism mean to you?

A: I do not consider myself to be a feminist. I simply believe that if an individual has the desire and capability to do something, they should be treated fairly.

What I would like to start to see from women is female-to-female empowerment in the workplace. Many of us talk about it (#girlpower), but I often find that women often target and act malicious towards other women. If a female employee wants to be seen as an equal to her male peers, she should not spend time knocking down another female employee. From a male supervisor’s point of view, he might associate your comments with women all together.

 

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We need to put aside our differences, get our job done, and empower one another. Until then, we will still be talking about the need for feminism.

 

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I highly recommend getting together with other women in your industry, place of employment, or with a female who has a similar job function. You could end up learning something new and/or experience a happier environment which you both may share.

Grab a drink, get a smoothie, or do whatever you both might find to be easy and comfortable.

 

Q: Why should women take roles in business?

A: I am going to follow up with a (sassy) question…or two.

  1. Would a company like to limit themselves?
  2. Is it a women’s obligation to stay at home with no option to pursue a career?

I can answer both questions for you, no.

A company requires diversity to fuel new ideas and enhance the potential for profitability and expansion. If they would rather limit themselves to only about half the population, that is their choice and their risk. But nobody can deny the fact that there are female leaders and entrepreneurs that are driving economic growth.

Not all women desire to be caretakers.

As someone who works in a business environment, I feel that I bring value to my team and to my employer (at least that is what my paycheck tells me). If I propose a campaign idea that my male peers did not think of and it directly results in sales (and yes I actually have), then I deserve to be there.

What I do brings me joy, so I’ll be sticking around as long as I bring value.

 

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Woman Wednesday: Caitlin

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.


 

Q and A with Caitlin, College Park, Maryland

 

“Even the person who seems to have it the most together has problems, and we are all one big mess. I learned that what I considered to be a weakness was actually a strength that allowed me to help others with the same issues. I remember saying that I hated my life, that I wanted to be someone else, someone normal. Your day is coming. You just have to take those baby steps until they become great strides. Then one day, you will look back and only have some memories of that time, long ago, when you were struggling. If I can do it, you can do it. We are no different. Set your mind, and keep it set.” -Caitlin 

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I currently work as a Kitchen and Bath Designer, and I absolutely love the ability to get creative and face challenges head on with my clients. I enjoy painting, hiking, and reading in my free time. Yoga has always been something that helps ground me and keeps me energized for the day ahead.

But let me tell you about my real passion— my family! I have a super energetic seven-year-old who LOVES arts and crafts! We have a poodle named, “Georgia” who keeps us busy and loves cuddling with us! As a single mother, there is never a dull moment! I am passionate about many things. As far as being a mother, there is nothing more rewarding and challenging all at the same time. My daughter has taught me 2 things. #1 to ALWAYS have fun no matter what and #2 to never stop asking questions.

 

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5F0936A8-10E3-4D61-AD4D-77AF4BFFCBF9.jpegPictured: Caitlin and her daughter 

 

 Q: What were your younger years like?

A: First, let me tell you that I am the oldest of 6 children. Oldest child + Big family = Great responsibility. There is a really large age gap (16 years between me and my youngest brother). I assumed title of “mothers helper” around the age of ten. This meant changing diapers, babysitting, meal prep… the whole nine yards. My youngest two siblings were high risk pregnancies so my mom was at UMD after they were born for awhile. Due to her absence, I really had to step up and help my dad take care of the other children still left at home. As much as I resented my childhood being “cut short,” it taught me a lot. I attribute my OCD responsibility and “take charge” attitude from that point in my life. At a very young age I took on the responsibility of “mother” and learned very quickly that waking up in the middle of the night with a 4 year old who’s having night terrors and a 1 year old who’s hungry, isn’t the best of predicaments. I learned about balance, how to put others needs first, and how to work as a team with my parents to achieve an expected end result.

 

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 Q: What were your experiences in school like?

A: As far as schooling goes, I bounced around a lot from school to school. By the time I entered high school, I had been to a private school, public elementary school, and homeschool. I was never in one select school for longer than 2 years at a time. I was a competitive figure skater through middle school, and skating was LIFE.

 

Because of other family circumstances, I had to give skating up. I went in to a new school, once again, making a new set of friends. By the time I finished 11th grade, I just wanted to go to college. I pulled myself out of school, enrolled in a homeschooling group and completed my senior year over the summer before my senior year in high school would have started. I left for college that fall and attended Marymount University for Interior Architecture and Design.

 

Looking back, I was sad that I never established a consistent “friend base.” I will never know what it’s like to go through 12 years of schooling with a group of friends, creating that forever bond and the countless memories over the years. I will never have a class reunion, a senior yearbook to look back on, or the experience of walking across the stage for my High School graduation.

 

 

Q: What’s something you learned by constantly moving?

A: While being sad about not creating a consistent “friend base,” I am extremely grateful for the constant “bouncing around” during my school years. It allowed me to see many different walks of life and forced me to be an extrovert. I made many friends along the way, and I am very grateful that I never fit into a “mold” but rather was able to get along with everyone by being myself.

 

Moving around a lot made me very adaptable to life and change, which helped me get through my divorce. My senior year of college, I found out I was pregnant. My then-boyfriend and I immediately got married in the courthouse to please our very religious families. To me, this was just another change. We got married, I graduated 3 months later, and had our daughter 2 months after graduation. We had a home built and moved from VA to MD 8 months later, all the while planning our big “church wedding.” We were in the house for 5 months. Four days before our church wedding, my ex-husband said he didn’t want to be married, he wanted to be single. He handed our daughter to me and told me to leave.

 

We called off the wedding 4 days before, having to still pick up flowers, my dress, pay the caterer and call 180 guests. Panic set in and completely consumed my life. I had just turned 24 years old and set into a deep depression. I did not understand why this happened to me. I had always been a “good kid.” I got good grades, went to church, and obeyed the rules of being a decent person. I gained nearly 30 pounds in a month from stress eating and spiraling downhill.  To this day, 6 years later, after many court battles, custody battles, fighting for child support, I look back at it all and realized that in the midst of all the struggle, the depression, the debilitating anxiety, I found my faith.

 

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I learned that you have to chose to be happy, even on your worst day. I learned that it’s OK to carry around a brown paper bag when you feel like hyperventilating and it’s OK to be HUMAN. It’s okay to be real and have real feelings.

 

 

Q: What would you like others to know from your story?

A: Even the person who seems to have it the most together has problems, and we are all one big mess. I learned that what I considered to be a weakness was actually a strength that allowed me to help others with the same issues. I remember saying that I hated my life, that I wanted to be someone else, someone normal. I was in church one day and everyone was giving the “sign of peace” where we shake hands. I was recently divorced and was by myself. Ironically, everyone at church that day seemed to be a couple or a family. I was so angry the entire service, sitting there, in the back row, looking around at all the people I considered lucky—because they looked like happy families. I sat there boiling over with anger. I watched as everyone was shaking hands during the “sign of peace.” The service continued, and I just wanted to leave. All of a sudden, a very old man tapped me on my shoulder (I was so annoyed at this point that I just turned and gave him that “what, do you need me to move?!” look). He just took my hand and said “peace be with you, you know… I always save the best for last.” He smiled and just walked away. I left the church that day bursting into tears. That day, I decided that no matter what happened, the best was going to be saved for last, and if my life wasn’t what I wanted now, it was only going to get better. This has carried throughout my life and now, entering my 30’s. I am more grounded in faith than I have ever been. I can honestly say I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything else in the world. It was through them that I came to appreciate the little things and little blessings in life. Most importantly, I learned to be thankful for the hard times. If there is one piece of advice for anyone dealing with anxiety or depression, it is to fight the good fight and never ever EVER give up. Your day is coming. You just have to take those baby steps until they become great strides. Then one day, you will look back and only have some memories of that time, long ago, when you were struggling.

 

If I can do it, you can do it. We are no different. Set your mind and keep it set.

 

7E25B0C4-1BA7-4032-BB75-6421AFF58BAB.jpegPictured: Caitlin happy today with her daughter and Matt, her significant other.

 

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