Reflection: Episode 101: Meg McGinn

I have often used my platform selfishly to admit things, work through things, or just share embarrassing things. When my friend Michelle was on, we had the most honest conversation about a huge falling out we had. When my buddy’s dad, Don, was on, I apologized for stealing a bunch of his quarters to buy cigarettes when I lived with him. When I got Meg to agree to be on, I thought it would be funny to admit to her that I had a crush on her when I was eight years old. What I didn’t anticipate was her starting first by telling me that she had a crush on my brother at that same time! I was floored with laughter, surprise, and that stupid childhood voice saying ‘ooooffff course!’

Overall, sitting down with Meg was absolutely incredible! It was the first person I had over in-person since the fall, nearly six months ago (other than Chris for episode 100, but he’s a regular friend I see pretty normally). It’s always nerve wracking to ask a woman I have likely not talked to in decades to just come over to my house and sit in my basement, but when they are game for it, we get to laugh about the overt awkwardness of it and then have a great interview. Meg was no exception to this.

Meg is a perfect example of someone you think you know. To me, Meg was always pretty, so in high school, I put her in a box of pretty and popular, which also meant I had a built-in level of intimidation and awkwardness around her. Like most people you don’t talk to after high school, somewhere in your lizard brain, you continue to assign that identity to them. You see their pictures or updates on social media and you run it through a processor in your head that paints the entire narrative of their life with this brush of judgement. I have spoken on the show numerous times about how ridiculous it is that we assign these decades old characteristics to people we don’t even know. We assume somehow that, even though we have changed dramatically since high school, that these other people have not. I have a friend who is notorious for this, constantly talking about how some guy from high school is an asshole, not realizing that same guy may have been an asshole then, but you don’t know who that person is now, what they’ve gone through, or what they were going through back then. We do not allow the same grace we give ourselves to the people around us, but I digress.

The thing that really stuck out to me in talking to Meg wasn’t the specifics of her story, which are remarkable, but the genuineness in how she told it. I have had the extreme honor of sitting across from many people who show me a version of themselves that is not always there. They let me in and share a vulnerable side of themselves that can be hard to put on the poster of your life. Whether we have talked at all beforehand and whether or not the re-connection springs a new friendship, it doesn’t matter. In that moment, we share a connection that is rare and real and undeniable. It is within these moments I have found my desire to get into therapy as a career. It is within these moments, I have realized that we really can look beyond stupid factional differences that we have and there is just a very basic and primal human connection. That is the space I try to create and sometimes it is embraced by both parties, and sometimes it’s just a conversation. I wanted to bring this up here because my time with Meg was a refreshing reminder of that.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the bravery and selfless approach that Meg took in speaking about her experience with domestic abuse. She bounced over it at first, but circled back around to it and stressed the importance in sharing her story, not for her to gain any sort of public sympathy, but for other women who may find themselves in a bad place, seeking help, and not know if they have the strength to get out before it’s too late. I find it both admirable and remarkable when someone decides to share something like this with me and it is my extreme privilege to be able to give that story a voice. I know, firsthand, that people have been and will continue to be helped by the stories people share on this show, and for that reason, I am very proud of the platform this week and very thankful that Meg trusted me to be that platform to share her story.

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