Category Archives: Interiews

Changing Her World

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I want to talk about a friend of mine today. I mentioned her last week. She is the first person I have attempted to interview. I chose her to be my first because I thought I would be more comfortable working with someone I’ve known for so long, and because she has a compelling story that I thought needed to be told. Not just because of the things that have happened to her, and her struggles, but because of the things she has done with those experiences.

 

 

Natalynn recalls being made fun of as early as the age of 5. It seems pretty sad to me as she described it because she says “I didn’t know there was anything wrong with the way I looked”, as though being picked on solidified in her mind that there was something wrong with the way she looked, and she just didn’t know it yet. Almost like the abuse that she suffered so long ago changed the way she saw herself. She stated that fact so nonchalantly, as if it had just been pointed out that there was something stuck in her teeth instead of children planting the first seed of doubt in her self-confidence.

 

These attacks continued straight through to her senior year, which when provoked, she finally had had enough and made that fact well known. Natalynn does not condone violence, and will speak out against her own actions, but in this case I’m not sure you can blame her for defending herself. Hear the whole story in the Interview. Later the intimidation, and brow-beating got bad enough that as an honor-roll student she was forced to drop out only two months into her senior year, destroying her chances of a college degree.

 

With little other choice, she went through a series of bad minimum wage jobs, which made her miserable, before finally landing the career that allowed her to buy a house and gave her pride in her work. However it wasn’t long before that pride turned to dismay and depression . A general lack of education trapped her in the company vehicle, fighting not only against her transcripts, but her gender as well. She was constantly passed over for promotions and raises even though she held seniority. She delivered oxygen to patients that made her school years feel like a day at the beach. During her time at this company she was perpetually berated and belittled by patients, coworkers, and supervisors alike, till eventually she was chased out, and the relationship was terminated.

 

 

I realize this all sounds horribly tragic, and I’d understand if you were bracing yourself for the traumatically sad ending, but I assure you that’s not where we are headed. We are in fact headed to the small city of Danville, Virginia.

Danville is in south-central Virginia on the North Carolina border. It has a population of about 43,000 (source). To put that in perspective Richmond, the capital of Virginia has a population of about 230,000 (source) and Washington D.C. has a population of about 600,000 (source). Of the 43,000 in Danville, 28.2% are below poverty line (source), and 15.8% are school aged children (source), and this cross section is often where you will find Natalynn.

 

She has converted her life of abuse and injustice into a career of fulfillment and helping people. One of her many jobs is at the YMCA, where she is currently spearheading a charity fashion show benefitting the YMCA Scholarship Fund. That helps pay for underprivileged children to spend time at the YMCA during the summer months, and in after school hours. The goal of this program is to help keep kids off of the streets while their family is at work, giving them hobbies and skills they can use later in life.

 

If you watch the video you will hear Natalynn refer to herself as Natalina Corvino a few times. This is her pro-wrestling persona. It is this persona that granted her a foothold in the public school system of Danville. Natalina runs an anti-bully campaign, and gives speeches to students in the school district. She has bracelets made for the students she speaks to, to give them a reminder of her visit and let them know someone is thinking of them, even when they feel alone. And she does all of this on her own dime. Everything is paid for by Natalynn and her supportive husband. She says she would like to turn it into a 501(c)(3) public charity but does not yet have the funds or knowledge to do so.

 

If you are local and would like to volunteer your time to Natalynn’s cause, or if you want to donate money, you can email me at r.treadway@theraggedwriter.com and I will put you in contact with her, or look for her on Facebook under the name Natalina Corvino.

 

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This is an abbreviated summary of a video interview, which in itself is a brief recap of the horrors experienced by one person, and how those experiences lead her to fight for everyone going through what she went through. One person can make a difference. If you don’t believe so, talk to Natalynn’s Kids. Listen to the changes she made for them. I strongly urge you to watch this Interview, most of the information in this article came from the first 5-6 minutes. There is still 25 minutes of conversation that deserves to be heard. Do yourself a favor, and watch it.

An Uphill Battle

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It’s been a few months since I’ve started this site. I started it with absolutely no knowledge of how to do so. It hasn’t been all too easy for me, since I’m not exactly technically or digitally inclined, and I kind of jumped in with both feet. To be honest my site went live accidentally. Only a couple of weeks but early nonetheless. I was working on it and didn’t know it was live until it started receiving likes through WordPress. I seemed to have published it instead of saving it. From this point on, everything has been an uphill battle.

The amount of time I spent sitting at the table with this laptop is insane. Still, I spend a good part of every day looking for design tips, and plug-ins’, and general ways to improve the site. I am always making changes, some for the better, and some to be undone later. I think I have made it to a point where I am temporarily happy with it. I don’t think it is at its finished stage, I’m just ok with it here while I move on to other things. I feel like if I don’t keep moving forward I will just spend all year tweaking this site and never get to where I want to be.

 


 

Having a dream/goal can be terrifying. So much so that often people don’t act on it. It just sits on a shelf gathering dust while we think that one day we will get to it. That is the “safe” route. If you don’t try, then you can’t fail. And this is kind of where I was stuck. I was scared to move on. I could continue week after week posting on my blog, hoping to start to really gain a following and start making money from marketing, or I take the leap and follow my business plan. I knew what I needed to do, but that didn’t make it any less intimidating.

I saw a site advertising for guest post submissions on particular topics, one of which was body positivity. I felt like it that was a good place to start. So last week I pulled the trigger and set up a Zoom interview with someone I’ve known for a number of years, who has made great efforts to help people in that area. I started freaking out the moment I finished the conversation asking her to do the interview. I now had a whole new group of problems that had to be figured out. Again I was stepping into a whole world I knew absolutely nothing about.

I’ve never interviewed a person. I didn’t have the foggiest idea what to ask or say. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to talk about, and the things that had happened in her life that made her an expert in the area I was researching. But they were sensitive topics. How do you bring them up without offending or causing hurt feelings?

Google wasn’t much help at first. When I tried to look up interview questions and techniques, it sent me results for job interviews. If I included “journalistic” or similar words in my search then I got results for journalistic reporter job interviews. Apparently google thinks I suck at job interviews, which isn’t completely false. Finally I found some tips to help me, and looking back they are kind of common sense.

Interviewing someone is pretty intimate, and communication is key. You can’t just jump into the darkest parts of their lives without warning. I sent her a basic rundown of the things I wanted to discuss, asking her if it was ok to talk about certain things, and where her limits were. I did not send specific questions so there would still be authentic reactions when they were asked, rather than planned and robotic answers. Which, it turns out, I never had to worry about. She was way more comfortable then I was in front of the camera, and was completely her very animated self.

 

 

I am pretty introverted and was not at all comfortable being recorded, even though I was the one doing the recording. I guess it’s something I’m going to have to try to get used to, because my plan involves a lot of interviewing. The theory is that the interviews will go up on YouTube, and/or somewhere on this page, and I will write posts based on the interviews. I’m not quite sure how to deal with it now though. I’m having trouble editing the video because I don’t like watching myself. I find my facial expressions weird and my general appearance pretty unattractive. I expected to have multiple issues stepping into this role, but this wasn’t one of them. I wasn’t prepared and honestly, I’m unsure how to move past it. I guess I’m just going to push through and see how it turns out. It’s a lot easier baring my inner most thoughts and demons with strangers when it feels anonymous. I know that even a little digging can get you to my Facebook and LinkedIn pages, but that isn’t as bad somehow as being live and in color.

One of the expected problems is, as we have discussed before, I’m not exactly technologically inclined. I had to find a video editor that I could use. So far Filmora from Wondershare is the best one for me. It’s pretty user friendly, even for newer users. I tried using the Windows Photos editor, but I couldn’t get it to really do what I was looking for. There is software that does a lot more than Filmora does, but it gets pretty complicated to work with. Since this is literally the first video I have ever tried to make, I think I’ll stick with it for a while.

I’m sure I’m going to have trouble when it comes to actually posting the video too. I don’t know if there is specific formatting required or how to format a video. These are all things that I’m sure I can figure out with enough research, but it’s always a struggle doing it the first time. There is an additional aspect with the video that makes it a little scarier than this site. If I fuck up this site, my name is the only one attached to it. I’m the only one embarrassed by mistakes or design flaws. There is a lot of pressure to get it right knowing that her name is on the line as well as mine. I may well be blowing everything out of proportion, and it’s entirely likely that no one will blame her for my errors, but that doesn’t make it any less stressful. Especially considering she already has a public persona, she is a professional wrestler for an independent wrestling promotion. She does a lot of good in her hometown and I don’t want to be responsible for setting back her causes in any way. Again, logically I don’t believe that people will hold her responsible, but fear isn’t always logical.  I’ve learned recently that fear of success is as powerful as fear of failure, if not more so.

I know my site isn’t perfect yet, and I know that my videos will probably be flawed for awhile too. Luckily for everyone involved I am getting better as I go. It has only been a few months. I am comparing myself to people that have been doing this for years, and that’s where the disconnect comes from. You have to just keep pushing through. You can’t keep comparing yourself to those with more experience, training, or education. Hopefully you are reading this before you fall into the same trap. Hopefully the lessons I have learned will carry over into information you can use.

 

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”  – Jack Canfield

 

 

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