Q and A with Moriah, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
“Instead of asking yourself who you are, ask yourself how do you want to feel.”
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: As a neurodivergent human, the concept of passions can be a tough one. There are so many things that bring me joy and I can find myself completely thrown into them. My biggest overarching passion is being a lifelong learner and sharing knowledge and wisdom as I gather it along the way. I love nature (Plants, plants, plants, and more plants!), art, music, woodworking, meditation, roller derby, reading, horseback riding, working out, travel…I could go on and on. Currently, my focus has been completing my Functional Medicine program, which I successfully graduated from just recently on the 22nd of February, and relaunching my coaching practice. I have worked as a health and mental wellness coach for several years, and this certification adds another beautiful layer of understanding to the whole-person wellness model.
*Functional Medicine (for those who are unfamiliar) determines how and why illness occurs and restores health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual in order to promote optimal wellness. Its goal is to create an ideal environment for the body to restore itself through sleep & relaxation, nutrition, stress reduction, healthy relationships, and exercise/movement.
As a first responder and survivor of abuse, working specifically in the area of mental wellness and mental health advocacy has been a constant thread throughout my life. Through my own journey, I fought through the stereotypes of those with mental health struggles, the fear of not being worthy of my children, partner, job, or friendships as I struggled silently…and ineffectively. I finally discovered alternate perspectives and ways to look at my experiences, and slowly became renewed in my hope and vision for what was possible. Since then, I have made it my mission to bring joy, balance, creativity, and gratitude more and more into my life, and hopefully, that spills over into those I interact with.
I start my day focusing on my core desired feelings; for this year, I am dedicating myself to feeling creative, powerful, and balanced. This has led me to try new things that bring me closer to those feelings. For example, I began auditioning to be a narrator for audiobooks. I adore reading and have lost the ability to read much for pleasure over the years with school, multiple jobs, and small humans, but to have the opportunity to be both creative in voice acting, balanced in making money while doing something I love, and a bit powerful seeing my name on a title cover and perhaps performing a bit of spice…it’s unlocked the belief that things I didn’t think were possible really are, and if they are possible for me, they can be possible for anyone! So, here I am…mental health and wellness coach, narrator, mother of two boys, and tattooed bad a** …making a powerful impact in my corner of the world.
Q: What were your younger years like?
A: As a child, my life was far from traditional. While I don’t think I have nearly enough time here to get into detail, I lived a very secluded life until I was 15. My mother and stepfather let their lives be governed by fear, and that drove them to do some pretty insane things. We were preppers. Deeply rooted in Old Testament teachings, to the extreme. At one point, we lived in an abandoned church in the mountains, living only on our grown or slaughtered food. I never stepped foot in a school or doctor’s office from the time I was five until 15, that I remember. Anything I learned, I learned simply because I longed to know what the world outside tasted and felt like. I read voraciously and would listen to any music I could get my hands on and hide from my parents. I learned a lot of valuable skills during that time. Given the need, I could easily survive out of doors off the land by hunting and foraging for weeks. I can sew, cook, weave baskets, make medicines, and most importantly…survive.
When I was 15, a couple noticed signs of abuse on my body, and within two weeks, I was uprooted from the only family I had known and moved across the country to live with them. I had my first taste of school as a sophomore in high school and life progressed on a wild, tragically beautiful road until now, where I find myself rediscovering, or better yet, fully accepting who I am as a woman, mother, and human. A single day in my life where I do not feel I have enriched a life…even if it’s my own…feels empty…and the opportunity to be a part of healing and recovery with others is one of the greatest gifts I could receive.
Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?
A: I don’t know if I could simply choose one thing I have learned without a bit of anxiety that I am leaving out something more important, but here goes. All the stories we tell ourselves from the time we first begin to put thoughts together DO NOT DEFINE us. We have 3 selves…The one we want to be, the one we let others see, and who we really are. Life is all about balancing and uniting those 3 selves so that we are acting in our fullness always. We waste so much time tearing ourselves between the three, causing heartache, confusion, anger, bitterness, and stagnation. Instead of asking yourself who you are, ask yourself how do you want to feel. When you start there, your interactions with people, the decisions you make at home, and what you tell yourself come into alignment. That might feel a bit woo-woo, but when it clicked in my heart and mind, life completely changed. And, if you get nothing else from my story, I hope you hear this…HOPE. Hope does not die. Who you are is a magical, powerful human with limitless potential, and I am so excited to hold space for who you are and what you are becoming.
Q: What does feminism mean to you?
A: Whooo…love this question. Feminism is fully embracing your you-ness. What is this you-ness you ask? As women, it’s an appreciation for the beautiful mosaic of all elements of our abilities, personalities, power, skills, and passions. It’s recognizing the needs of humanity and creating a space where we can grow and be fully and SAFELY ourselves. Many people think of the contrasting stereotypes of feminism as man-hating, masculine wannabes versus the soft, weak homemakers. Feminine energy is powerful. It’s creative. Compassionate. Feral. Respect, honor, and dignity should be attainable for all, and I value those who speak up and represent the many faces of feminism.
MORE ABOUT MORIAH: I am grateful for the opportunity to share a piece of my story, and for those who take the time to read and make space for people like myself. Whether you are interested in my coaching services, just need a random laugh, get lost in my neurodivergent brain space, or silently watch for the bushes, you are welcome to a safe space.
MORE ABOUT MOVING ON…I have a few practices I have incorporated to manage some of the after-effects of the past. Mindfulness practices/gratitude/meditation are super important, not only for the day-to-day reset, but eventually, regular practice changes the chemistry and structure of the brain, improves cognitive function, sleep, etc. I get excited about that topic! I also use a weighted blanket, which seems simple, but it is an important grounding tool that I use when I am having dissociation, anxiety, etc. It also helps with my overall sleep. I am a strong believer in shadow work. Basically, the concept that there is a part of us we reject. It’s been taught subconsciously, or outright that it is wrong, unacceptable, unloveable, etc. It’s usually why we have such strong negative emotions about certain behaviors, personalities, etc. For example, I was trained that being vocal, un-submissive, questioning authority, etc. was wrong, evil, etc.
For the longest time, even though I wanted to be all those things, speak my truth, set my boundaries…my brain would tell me I was being a B*, or when I saw it in others, they were B’s and not proper or worthy of respect. It caused so much conflict internally because I was a strong, independent, vocal person, but I was in a constant state of trying to reject myself. It is exhausting. Add mental health to the mix, and the subconscious teachings that those with disorders are weak, “crazy” or unfit, and it’s a whole other layer of self-rejection and conflict. Taking intentional time to think about what triggers our “big emotions” as I tell my kiddos, and then really diving into where that specific trigger came from, what pieces of it are valid and should be handled with care, and what pieces are based on untruths and should be gently, but firmly reframed is essential to healing. ALSO, strong supporting of EMDR therapy, EFT tapping, finding support in a group (I take part in a morning manifestation group where women from around the world send voice messages to each other about what we are grateful for, what we are manifesting for today, and manifesting in the future), and medication as a bridge, if necessary.
Thank you for reading!
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