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192: Going From LA Party Girl to Alaska Trail Worker While Battling Demons Including Abuse And Suicidal Thoughts with Lorna Rose
Episode 19231st March 2022 • The Beyond Adversity Podcast with Dr. Brad Miller • Dr Brad Miller
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Lorna Rose is Dr. Brad Miller’s guest on Episode 192 of “The Beyond Adversity Podcast.”

She is a talented writer that engages in poetry and narrative nonfiction. When it comes to her writings, she often avoids mainstream topics and prefers to write about something unexpected.

Lorna aims to help, inspire, and affirm people in their lives. She has established a blog that contains personal stories, her writings, and a lot more.

In this episode, Lorna shares with us how she overcame abuse. She also shared with us how she volunteered for 5 months on AmeriCorps which changed her life.

She was born in the suburbs of California with three younger siblings. She grew up in a harsh environment. With her abusive father around, she got traumatized and even thought of ending her life. 

Lorna also mentioned how journaling is her way to let out all of her feelings. She uses it to document her life. 

Her life in Alaska changed her for the better. She thought going back to California would make her return to her old self which scared her so much. 

All these worries washed out when she remained to be the better version of herself even after returning.

Episode 192 of The Beyond Adversity Podcast is a must-listen for anyone who was abused in the past and is slowly picking themselves up from what happened in the past. It can encourage you to be the better version of yourself.

“The Beyond Adversity Podcast with Dr. Brad Miller is published weekly with the mission of helping people “Grow Through What They Go Through” as they navigate adversity and discover their promised life of peace, prosperity, and purpose. 

https://lornarose.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bigthings2/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LornaARose

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lorna_rose_writes/

Transcripts

Brad Miller:

Dr. Brad Miller here on Beyond adversity. This is the podcast, where we help you to grow through what you go through. And we love to talk to people who have had to face some adversity in life and have found some process then in their life to navigate through that. And our guest here today is Lorna rose, Lorna is an a very accomplished writer. She is involved with narrative nonfiction and poetry. And she is all about helping people to claim their feelings, to affirm their life, and to inspire others. Lorna rose, welcome to Beyond adversity.

Lorna Rose:

Hi, Dr. Miller, thanks for having me.

Brad Miller:

It is awesome indeed, to have you here you have a you have your blog at Lorna rose, calm. And if folks go there, they will find just all kinds of interesting things about your life and about your writing, and about what you are all about. And here on our podcast, we really like to kind of get to the foundational story that led you to what you are up to now. And would you just share us a little bit about kind of the circuitous journey you took to where you're at now and live through some really challenging times? Really, in your life? Let's hear your story.

Lorna Rose:

Sure, sure. So I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. I have three younger siblings. And I had an abusive father, I would. He was verbally abusive to me, I was called a bitch and stupid. Growing up, and as a result, I got really, really shy. I was also terrified of him. And contemplated suicide. At one point, I just didn't feel like I belonged anywhere. I don't. I didn't feel like anyone saw me. When I was 16, we found out that my dad had a secret family. He went back and forth to another Chicago suburb for 14 years. And he had three other boys with another woman.

Brad Miller:

Wow, that's, that's pretty intense. But please go on. You've got more to tell. I know. But that. Wow, that's a wow moment there. It sure was.

Lorna Rose:

And so I spent the next 10 or so years just sort of in this fog of promiscuity and drug use and drinking. And I you know, I felt mostly really alone, I didn't feel like anyone understood me. I was just very timid inside. And I did a lot of things to try and hide that. Fast forward 10 years. So I'm 26 Then, and I'm living out in Southern California. And I'm doing the party scene. I'm doing the LA I've got the clothes and the makeup and the hair. And I'm spending a lot of evenings after work actually fantasizing I am an actress. And I'm actually I literally sat in front of a mirror and interviewed myself and attended it was People magazine, or US Weekly that was interviewing me. Because reality just was not fun. It just it, you know, reality wasn't worth it. You know, I didn't. I wasn't living in the moment. I wasn't in the present. I didn't really know how to be. And so this fantasy life just felt. Was it

Brad Miller:

all fantasy? Or were you actually trying to do through auditions and what have you to get into the entertainment world?

Lorna Rose:

You know, it was a little bit of both. It was you know, I knew it was a fantasy. I knew it was just sort of a departure from reality. And then part of it was preparation for the day that I was going to become famous.

Brad Miller:

Well, how that how that worked out for you?

Lorna Rose:

It didn't i Yeah, nothing ever came of that time. I mean, I was, you know, to I mean, I was starstruck I was, you know, in California, and I would I mean, I think I bumped into like Diane Lane ones and like Kati from Seinfeld, and I was all like, oh my gosh, you know, these, these people live near me and it's so exciting and I want to become part of that world. You know. At the same time, I'm convincing myself that I've got a really good life. I mean, I've got a good job. I've got you know, friends and we go parties and I drive this hot red sports car. And, you know, light life is pretty good. You know? And and I was, I spent so much time trying to convince myself of that, you know, because when the outside it, it did look fun. You know, it did look good.

Brad Miller:

Sure. Sure the fantasy often does look good. But other stuff happens, doesn't it? Mm hmm. So what is what else happened here? What kind of led you then to some other?

Lorna Rose:

Yeah. So, you know, I did this for a time this party life. And then I kind of started to look at things differently. I, I started to look at my behavior, I started to look at patterns. And I started to look at my priorities. And I started to ask myself, Is this it? Is this it for me? Or is there something else? Is there something else that I should be doing? Because I kind of feel like there is. And I had no idea was, but something did not something started to not feel good about my life and my lifestyle and the choices I was making.

Brad Miller:

So you find yourself in sort of a spiral type of deal going on here is that what was happening? I

Lorna Rose:

kind of I mean, I just started to feel stuck. And I started to feel like, there was something bigger for me out there. That, you know, I was kind of living kind of this narcissistic life. I mean, it was all about me and, and feeling good. And, you know, being being seen and going to clubs to be seen, and it was really just, you know, all about me. And, and that's what I sort of started wondering at, you know, is, is this really all about me, or I feel like maybe there's something bigger, you know, I feel like there's a horizon out there that I haven't looked at. Yes. And so I had heard of this program called Amira Corps. And it was a volunteer program. It was a national service program. Basically what AmeriCorps is, it's it's like domestic Peace Corps. And AmeriCorps itself was started in the 60s. So it's been around a long time. It's a large service organization, you can teach, you can work with homeless, you can build houses, you know, do environmental work, which is what I ended up doing.

Brad Miller:

Yeah. There's a lot of great things that happened. And so you tracked into that organization.

Lorna Rose:

Yeah, you know, I was just on their website one night, I don't know why. I was just on their website poking around. And I saw this opportunity to go to Alaska, and work on hiking trails for five months. And I still remember the moment I saw that opportunity, because I felt such joy regarding that opportunity and thinking about it. That I hadn't felt since I was a little kid.

Brad Miller:

Something triggered that sensitivity in yourself up involves something bigger than the narcissistic lifestyle that you were involved with.

Lorna Rose:

Yes. And I couldn't explain it. It made no sense. My thinking brain went whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. You've never camped. You've never done manual labor. What the heck? What are you thinking? Why are you thinking about this? But I couldn't let it go. I could not let it go. It was like something inside me bolted upright and paid attention.

Brad Miller:

And so you went.

Lorna Rose:

And so I went. I went i i subletted my apartment in California. And I went I had no idea what I was getting into. I had no idea what I was doing.

Brad Miller:

Because I assume it did involve camping and fifth is physical labor was a part of it, right?

Lorna Rose:

Yes. Yeah. Every day. That was the the meat of it. And I don't know I just it's it. I felt like I didn't have a choice like this was fate. This was the universe talking to me. That this is it. You know and i No matter how many excuses I made, I went I ended up going and joining America and serving for five months, and it absolutely changed the trajectory of my life.

Brad Miller:

Wow, that's awesome. It's so out of that. You would you had this trajectory change from party girl, whatever you want to call it to something else. What was the something else that you became?

Lorna Rose:

aware, aware of myself and others, aware of community, I didn't really even know what community was I had never experienced community before. And I became really introspective. I mean, I was able to sit with myself in a way that I hadn't before. In part, because I had to, there were no distractions around. There was no cell service, no TV, no internet. It's just sort of you in your tent at night. I mean, I was on a trail crew. I mean, there were eight other people. But man, you're I was alone at night.

Brad Miller:

But a complete a complete departure from your lifestyle before just completely disconnect from that, right?

Lorna Rose:

Yeah. Like, like, I can't think of a more opposite setting.

Brad Miller:

Hmm. Wow.

Lorna Rose:

Yeah. And it was there that I began to deal with my demons. I had never dealt with my dad, and the fallout from that, and what I experienced that the abuse I experienced as a child, I hadn't really delve into any of that. And Alaska gave me space to do that.

Brad Miller:

That is, that is awesome. So that led you then eventually, to somewhere along the line, you took up a writing to help you process some of the stuff that happened in Alaska, or wherever. But you eventually took a poetry and writing to help you processes. Tell me a little bit about how this LED you there?

Lorna Rose:

Sure. So I did start journaling pretty heavy in Alaska, I should back up and say I was a, I was a writer, when I was little, I wrote little short stories. Just over the years just got away from it. I'm from a family of businessmen and engineers, and I grew up the thinking was very black and white. You know, there was one right answer. Everything else was wrong. There's no nuance there's no gray,

Brad Miller:

more of an analytical type of approach to things rather than kind of a artistic type of thing. Oh, absolutely.

Lorna Rose:

Yeah. So my creativity wasn't encouraged by most family members. So I kind of got away from it, you know, and then, you know, college and young adulthood happened, and I just just put it away completely. And then Then last, I started journaling. I wanted to document what I was going through. And I also wanted to process some of the things from the past that maybe I felt like maybe I was holding on to that I I needed to work through.

Brad Miller:

Journaling was one way to do that.

Lorna Rose:

Absolutely, yeah. I always feel like journaling is it's very affirming, in that, you put your words down on paper, and all of a sudden, they go from inside your head, just these, these ideas swimming around in there, too. It's in, it's in, it's an ink on paper, and it's living and breathing outside your head. And that can be really powerful.

Brad Miller:

I liked the way they put in the legal profession. My wife is above the legal profession. And they when you write something that's called memorializing it, you know, even in legal terms, and I think for us when we journal, you know, I have my journal right next to me here at my workstation here. You know, we memorialize it, you know, we get it out of our head onto paper, or in some other form, and it makes it real. Is that part of your experience

Lorna Rose:

as well? Yes, definitely. Yeah. Yeah, it just, you can and then you can once you make it really you can kind of there's a new there's a new level of ownership to it. You know, like you created this you put your feelings on paper and now here they are, you know, and and then you can you can deal with them. And you can sort of do what you need to, if that makes sense.

Brad Miller:

Yeah, well, you have, well, you have the opportunity, I should say, in order to process it. Whereas, if we just let things go in and out of our head, which is very possible, we can be distracted by any number of things, whether it's, you know, the social media, or whatever is out there, or even, you know, the wilderness, you know, you can see a squirrel go by, right you can, you know, whatever it is, but you can be we allow ourselves to be distracted, when you focus a little bit on putting pen to paper, whatever the process is, then you can go back to it as well be part of your part of your process. That's awesome.

Lorna Rose:

Yeah. And, you know, I felt such big changes happening inside me in Alaska, that I just, I needed to get it down. I'm a big processor. And I needed the journal to help me process what was going on inside me, because I felt self becoming another person while I was there,

Brad Miller:

what would you say, Lorna is some of the, especially as you think about how you can take your, what happened to you and be helpful to other people? What do you think are some of the action points? You know, not everybody does this, you know, there, Lorna, there's a lot of people in LA and other places who stay stuck in whatever their lifestyle is, you know, parties or otherwise for a long time, and some people end up, you know, destroying their, their lives. But you didn't, you made a pretty dramatic change, to uproot your life in Los Angeles and head to Alaska pretty far away, uproot everything you're about. So that's one change you made. But what do you think are some of the changes both externally and internally that you made that made a big difference for you? Would you be specific as you can some changes that you made?

Lorna Rose:

Sure. I think internally, what kind of started this whole thing, which I'm so glad I did was, I listened to my intuition. I as as much of a party girl, and as a gogogo person that I was, I heard something inside me say, go to Alaska. And I'm so glad I gave myself space to listen to that. Because not everybody listens to their intuition. As you said.

Brad Miller:

You claimed it, didn't you, you claimed your intuition. And you made it real for you.

Lorna Rose:

Yeah, yeah. And I surprised a lot of people in the process, my friends and family, I think pretty much everyone said, What are you doing?

Brad Miller:

For the certain security in the in the you may be miserable in your life at certain security in the, the no one, you know, the no one, the job, the lifestyle, whatever it is a certain security in that if it's miserable, when you break out of that, you know, it's not as secure in some ways. But it is can be free. Oh, look, here's a couple things I've noticed here, you listen to your intuition. You did something about it, you moved from Los Angeles to Alaska, and you change the the kind of the values of your life from, you know, the campaign and the journaling and the writing and the disconnecting, and you change those things, anything else you think were just profound actions that you took that may be helpful to other people.

Lorna Rose:

When I returned to California, I held on to that. I held on to the journaling and the new priorities I had. And I got to know myself again.

Brad Miller:

He didn't just fall back in the old patterns right away. Did you

Lorna Rose:

know and you know what I actually I remember, I got myself into therapy. That was something else I did. When I returned to California. I was I was ready for it. You know, I was ready to really dive deep. And I remember telling my therapist, I'm scared, I'm going to go back. I'm scared that all this personal growth that I did in Alaska is gonna be all for naught. Because I'm going to go back to the clubs and the dating and the drinking. I'm, I'm worried that I'm going to go back, but I didn't. I didn't.

Brad Miller:

Well, so many people do. There's a that's a a founded fear by that, you know, it is proven that people happen that so I think one of the things that happened is is kind of my own thinking and take on things learn is that when we connect to something greater than itself, and really, really ramp up The emotion of that, that helps us to stay on a on a pathway that's more healthy and more grounded and more fulfilling. So let's talk about that for a second for you. What connections did you make? You've already talked about this a little bit. But let's go a little deeper here. What connections did you make to something greater than self? What connection did you make with a higher power? Anything of a spiritual nature, meditation, religion, anything that may have been in your life that helped you say, Okay, this isn't just about my own of my own personal pleasures, or something to connect to? For a greater greater good?

Lorna Rose:

Yeah, yeah. Well, like I alluded, alluded to before, it was, I mean, I really believe that moment that I saw that opportunity with America that was fate, the universe higher power, however you want to say it? That was that talking? That That wasn't me, that was something else saying, this is for you, you need to go and do this. And, and so yeah, that that certainly was something greater than myself. And it's funny, you use that terminology, because I do as well, I became something greater than myself. And, and that is, so it's so valuable to have perspective like that. And it's also so valuable to have purpose.

Brad Miller:

Yeah, that's awesome. I think a lot of folks, especially this time of year, we're in month of December, people started to think about transitions, New Year, and all that kind of thing. A lot of people talk about having goals and goal setting. And that's important, I believe. However, I also think there's something to be said to be drawn to, you know, the de Comos magnetic power the tractor beam, if you will be drawn to something greater than yourself. But you have to choose to get into that orbit, you have to choose to get into that, you know, get in that field there. And that's what you did. And that that's an awesome thing. Let's talk for a minute learn about the people that you've left, but also the people you came into your life, I want to talk about the power of relationships, you talk a little bit about the you know, the power of negative relationships, you know, destructive relationships, let's talk about the power of positive relationships, in terms of your personal transformation. And that could be interpersonal, or it could be you know, like mentors, or it could be books or tapes or things like this. Let's talk about any you have people who were influential, influential upon you, in this process, because I think most of the time, we don't go through this completely on our own.

Lorna Rose:

Sure. Sure. Well, you know, it's interesting, I talked before a little bit about getting to know my new self, you know, after I returned from California, and there were some sort of loose friendships, more acquaintances that I had, before I left. And then when I got back, those acquaintances and loose friendships became good friends. Okay, because we could talk about stuff now. And I wasn't always I didn't have to talk about myself all the time. You know, we could talk about real issues that, you know, affected our community, or our, you know, our parents and, you know, environmental issues. And I mean, real issues. Yes. Whereas before, I wasn't on that level, you know, I couldn't, I could, I was, I was too busy letting people know how awesome I was.

Brad Miller:

And then you probably came to these folks, you're talking about the deeper relationships, you probably became a lot more awesome. Once you made this change. I bet if we talked to those folks, that's what they would say. And I think so.

Lorna Rose:

I think so at the same time, other friendships drifted. Yeah. And I let them drift. You know, and I mean, and to this day, I mean, I wish them well, you know, I hope they're doing well, wherever they are. But they, we were just in you talked about orbits earlier, we were just in different orbits, you know, and they didn't completely understand where I had been.

Brad Miller:

Yeah. Well, we, you know, we change many different levels and emotional level, and this is one of them. And as we change that airbelt changes as well. And so we are corporates change, let's talk but then I also like to talk about called cognitive which is you know, how we kind of take our new lifestyle and we make it a part of who we are through habits or through practices, or through new lifestyle changes. You've mentioned journaling a couple of times. But what are some things that you've done journaling? I'm sure is one of them, that you do make a habit now, which are helped to, you know, seal the deal, so to speak with your life change?

Lorna Rose:

I I'm a lot more aware of my impact on the environment. Okay. I don't know if that's the sort of thing you were going for. But absolutely, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's a big change I've made I mean, everything from my clothes, to, you know, using plastic bags at the grocery store. to I mean, it to spending time outside, you know, spending time in nature, you know, and really valuing nature. And, I mean, that's something that was not even on my radar before.

Brad Miller:

What uh, one of the things you've done is you've done a lot of writing. And that's one of the habits or I believe that's it, you have to have some sort of a personal discipline about your writing, you wouldn't have accomplished so much writing. And that's something to be noted here, I would think and so let's talk a bit about who you're writing for, you know, you're writing a little bit for yourself. But how do you serve other people through the writing, tell us a little bit about the types of things that you've written, I know, You've written several things for, for Smith journals, and so on, tell us what you're writing and how it serves others.

Lorna Rose:

So I write like, you mentioned, poetry, also narrative nonfiction, which is like personal essay and, and whatnot. What I try and do in my writing is, I want people to know that I see them. And so how I do that in my writing is I, I talk about things that might be surprising. I don't, I like to stay away from the main mainstream narratives that are out there. And I'll give you an example. So pregnancy, right, I have an eight year old and a six year old. And I write mainly about a couple things surrounding like pregnancy and parenthood. One of them is I hit complications in pregnancy with my, my daughter, my second born. And we had, at one point, felt we were going to lose her. And so I, you know, there's a mainstream narrative, right about pregnancy, that it's always a happy thing. There's never anything wrong. You announced the news, and it's wonderful. And nine months later, you have a baby, and it's great. My pregnancy didn't go like that. And so I write about it, to make others feel less alone. Because that's actually more pregnancy complications of all sorts are more common than you. And I think,

Brad Miller:

Oh, I'm aware. I have my 35 year old daughter was a preemie baby. And there was a lot of complications in the pregnancy. So yeah, I get that in the end. Yeah. Yeah. And unfortunately, I've also been involved in my ministry was terrible situation like this, including a couple situations where a child was stillborn and things like this. But yeah, so it seems to me in your writing, and through this particular expression, through pregnancy, and childbirth, and so on, you're writing about that you're trying to answer that question that a lot of other people have is this it? You know, for instance, in the pregnancy there, you mentioned kind of the, the, the, the narrative a lot of folks have is, you know, it's wonderful, it's great, it's happy time and did it a miracle of life and so on. But you're trying to reflect for some people that, okay, is this really what this is? And deal with the reality of it, as well.

Lorna Rose:

And the other thing I write about, about actually, you know, becoming a mother is, the mainstream narrative is that, you know, motherhood is great, and it's special, and you love it all the time, and you love your baby from the start. And again, none of that happened. For me. It took me a good three months to feel bonded with my firstborn. And so I write about that too, because I think that's more common than we think it is. It's just it's not talked about, you know, so I want people to know that are having these feelings, these new moms that are having these overwhelming feelings. Hey, I see you and it's okay. Because motherhood can suck. There are times where it's really, really, really. And you know, for a long time, I didn't understand why everybody thought motherhood was so great for a long time. Because it was, you know, I was exhausted and I was grieving my own life. And my son had feeding complications. And it was, it was really hard. And I was like, you know, is this worth it? I don't know. And so I write about that stuff, too.

Brad Miller:

Yeah, well, that's awesome. Let's talk about who you're writing then has impacted or your your life has impacted. And we can come around to how you can continue to serve people. But what I'm interested in here now, Lorna, is maybe a story about a person who maybe read something that you've written, or maybe you've had some contact with, through some coaching or something like that, where you've seen some of what you know, you've experienced a lot, you know, you came out of the party scene, and you had a life transformation go to Alaska, you've to process it through writing, and through journaling, and through writing in journals, and award winning writer and you got a bit more coming out, and you got a lot of stuff going on. And your life experience has been able to speak to others. So let's hear the story of maybe a testimonial story about how something you've written or worked on, has been helpful to someone else who's kind of asking that question, is this it?

Lorna Rose:

Sure. Sure. So I wrote a couple years ago, I wrote about my son. And he, he has what's called synesthesia, synesthesia, kind of a tough word.

Brad Miller:

I'm not familiar with that. Okay.

Lorna Rose:

So you see, he sees colors, when he hears a certain word, or he hears a certain music note, he sees colors. And he also sees colors. When we talk about emotions and stuff. He's very intelligent. He's also on the autism spectrum. Okay. And so I wrote this, this essay about when he was four. And he and I were saying good night, and he asked me what color love was. And so we had kind of had a dialogue about it, and okay, okay, Mommy, what color is fear? And we talked about that. And then in the essay, I go into being so terrified of SIDS, which is sudden infant death syndrome. Yes, like when he was a newborn. And so I, you know, I have this essay. And I, I placed it in a journal called Motherwell, which is a journal for mothers and about parenthood. And this woman reached out to me and said, I read your essay, and I just bawled. Because because that is my son, you were writing about my son. And I, and that was neat. You know, this is someone I didn't know, you know. And that was it was special.

Brad Miller:

But that's awesome. Well, folks out there who are listening to our conversation here today are struck by your story learning and I know that they are because I know my listeners here. And your story is going to try to strike a chord with a lot of folks. How can they be become more aware of your work and what you're about? Tell us about HIPAA. We'll find for instance, they go to your website, how can people be connected to you?

Lorna Rose:

Sure. Well, you can contact me through my website, which is Lorna rose, calm it's Lor Na, R OSC calm. And you can find my publications. You can find other interviews that I've done. And you can find my blog, I don't blog super regularly. I just I don't I might be shocking, but I do have limited time as a mother with little kids.

Brad Miller:

I get a yes,

Lorna Rose:

yeah. And you can read more about why I write kind of how I got into writing. That's that's all on there and my current projects, kind of what I'm what I'm up to these days and I love coming to speak to folks I've spoken to to parenthood groups and to people like yourself that have a podcast that centers around adversity and resilience and whatnot. Just just general audiences. I also teach writing classes, you can read about that as well.

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