Interview with SLM participant, Brittney, by Juliana Scherer, SLM Program Coordinator
When you think about your mentor, Megan, what comes to mind?
She’s very caring, energetic and active. She’s very helpful when it comes to supporting me when I go through hard times and when I accomplish things. She’s always been there when I need her, or when I just need a friend. She fits me a lot as an individual, because I’m very caring, too. She is also very motivated, and I’m very motivated.
How long has your mentor been in your life?
I first met Megan ten years ago, when I was 16 years old. My therapist at the time thought I should have a mentor because I didn’t have a lot of family. So she contacted Silver Lining Mentoring, and that’s how we met.
Is having a mentor different than having a therapist, social worker, or other provider?
Yes. It’s very different. I can be more myself with Meghan. I’m able to open up to her more. She’s kind of like a friend in a way.
Can you share a memory of a time your mentor showed up for you?
I can name a few! One time we went to the Katy Perry movie when I broke up with my boyfriend and I was really sad. I called her and she said, “Ok, let’s go to the movies.”
I remember when I met her dogs. She picked me up from one of my programs and we went to for a hike with her dogs. She had asked me if she could bring the dogs, and I love dogs, so it was fine. They really fit her personality – they’re energetic, just like her!
She used to take me hiking a lot. She would tell me I need to move around more. I used to complain to her a lot about going hiking because I wanted to go see a movie and go eat. But Megan knew a lot about my health – she knew it wasn’t good when I first met her and then it got worse. Her encouraging me to go hiking with her wasn’t annoying. Instead, it made me happy that someone actually cared about my health, cared about me, and wanted me to be healthy. She was supportive of my mental health, too. This was especially helpful when I was dealing with a lot of anxiety. Even when I didn’t want to see my therapist, she would encourage me to go. I was glad she did.
How did you build trust with your mentor? What does your mentor do to allow you to trust her?
Megan let me get used to her. She didn’t try too hard to break the ice or force me. She asked me questions about what kinds of things I liked, to see how we could connect. We discovered things we had in common: we’ve seen all the Twilight movies together and all the Harry Potter movies together. We both like watching sports, especially Boston teams. We’ve even been to a couple of Red Sox games together.
I didn’t trust her right away. It took time. But I built trust faster with her than with most people because Megan made it easy for me to open up to her.
Do you have a memory of a special moment in your life that you shared with your mentor?
I’ve spent a lot of birthdays with Megan. We would go out for a special meal. One thing that was very special to me was getting to tell her when I was pregnant. She was the second person I told. She was surprised, very supportive, and didn’t make it seem like a bad thing. As it turned out, we ended up being pregnant around the same time, and now we both have kids.
Can you share a fun memory with your mentor?
We’ve done many fun things together, and we joke around a lot. It helps me not have to take everything so seriously. One of my favorite memories was when we went to Plaster Fun Time because I really like art. I think I painted Betty Boop and she painted a Teddy Bear. That day was so peaceful.
What is your relationship with your mentor like now?
Now I see her every week. This year, she brought me a Christmas tree. That was really special because I’d never had a Christmas tree before. I was planning to get a tattoo for my birthday, and she helped me decide what to get. I decided to get a tattoo that says “survivor,” because of all the things I’ve been through. Megan reminds me that I’m a survivor. Megan has been there for everything. She’s not only a friend, she is like family to me.