Monster Advocates

These are real, fantastic monsters sharing their stories. They are committed to helping others realize their wild beautiful potential in their own unique ways.

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Dr. Chrissy Whiting-Madison

Assistant Professor:  Psychology & Community Counseling

"I became a teacher so that the next generation of therapists and clinicians will have a better capacity to embrace uniqueness with unconditional love and acceptance. The clinicians before us were all taught tolerance. You tolerate a toothache, not a human a being."

What about yourself makes you feel like a monster?:

I feel like a monster nearly every single day simply because I feel so different from everyone else.  I am bubbly and loud, and that contradicts the typical PhD persona.  I mess up, a lot.  In my opinion, I mess up far more than most people.  I have been married 4 times and have a very difficult time staying in any kind of intimate relationship.  Sometimes, I don't even feel like a person, rather, some kind of "it."  Not male nor female, not pretty, nor ugly, not smart, nor stupid, instead an existence that virtually never fits in with the world around it.  Some days I can compartmentalize and own my oddities, but others I want to just be like everyone else, and be considered "normal."  

How have you learned to accept that about yourself?:

That although I cannot usually see it, most people actually like me for the enigma that I am.  Those quirks, that I oftentimes detest, make me fun to be around.  Interestingly the same quirks, made me a verifiable outcast in both high school and college. 

What advice would you give to someone else who feels that way?:

You are not alone.  We are all monsters. just some of us hide it better than others.  We are all weird, and none of us truly fit in.  Own who you are and live the life given to you to the fullest.  

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Kayla Jurinak

Owner/Creator - Dead Darling Boutique

"I am a mom of a preteen daughter and young son. I am also a creative maker of many things- most of which are a bit unusual. I encourage everyone to be the very truest version of themselves. I have had the pleasure of living in a handful of different states. I have met many people as a result of that. Interacting with so many people has taught me that we all have our struggles. Everyone has something about themselves that makes them feel insecure. But often... those insecurities are things that other people admire! Be strong. Be Brave. Be you!"

What about yourself makes you feel like a monster?:

My depression takes my mind into some pretty dark places. Some of my thoughts most people probably hope to never even dream about. It can be a scary place sometimes.

How have you learned to accept that about yourself?:

I've learned that I am not alone. Many people have depression. Many people have these dark, macabre thoughts. I have learned to snuggle up to it... and make art! Art gives me a place to channel my darkness so that I don't have to hold it inside.

What advice would you give to someone else who feels that way?:

To anyone who feels this way... You are not alone. It's okay to talk about it. Any way to express it, I think is therapeutic. So writing a poem or song, drawing a picture, making a sculpture, or, hell, even turning on some music and dancing it out!

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Rebekah Thompsen, M.S.

Adjunct Professor/Campus Ministry Volunteer

"I am proud to finally be called a professor. It has been my dream for many years, but I wasn’t sure it would ever happen because I’ve had so many setbacks. Now I love to use those struggles as stories in class and in ministry to encourage my students that no matter who or where you’ve been or are right now you can move through and make a change in yourself that can in turn help others."

What about yourself makes you feel like a monster?:

As a child I consistently felt like a monster because of my “bad thoughts.” I had no idea the monster wasn’t actually me but a mental illness called obsessive-compulsive disorder. With many years of treatment and support, I manage my disorder much better now. But I still have times when I feel monstrous because I think I am so different than most people.

How have you learned to accept that about yourself?:

Having a name for my “monster” helped me to accept that I wasn’t bad, just different. Telling my story to others also comforts me because helping people makes me feel important and different in a good way.

What advice would you give to someone else who feels that way?:

Never give up on yourself or think you’re less important because people don’t understand you. You don’t have to be “normal” to be loved or appreciated; you just might have to learn a new way of expressing your true self to better deal with narrow-minded people.

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Waya Gawonisgi

burlesque, body positivity coach, poet, horror gore model, and flow artist

"I volunteer with OKEQ and try to listen to my fellow monsters whenever I can.  I am a body positivity coach. I want people to feel good about themselves no matter who or what they are." 

 

 

What about yourself makes you feel like a monster?:

I am OCD, ASD, ADHD,  and I suffer from severe complex PTSD.  

How have you learned to accept that about yourself?:

I have learned through my art.  I love flow art and dance and horror gore aesthetic.  It helps me cope and do. 

What advice would you give to someone else who feels that way?:

I would tell a person to accept the truths about themselves and realize that yes, those may be things that make you a monster, but they by no means define them.