Mia Sutton is a Jane of all trades. Wife, mother, writer, avid reader, Editorial Manager for Holl & Lane Magazine, and now the host of the (upcoming) Body of Hope podcast which aims to give a voice to survivors of sexual trauma. Mia is a graduate of George Mason University and spent many years working in local, state, and federal government in the higher education, administration, and human resources fields. She lives in Virginia with her husband and 2 sons.
Tell us a little about your childhood and the impact your mother had on shaping you…
I am an only child, and I spent a lot of my childhood holed up in my room reading books and writing stories in my journal. My parents divorced when I was 3 years old and I lived primarily with my mother and step-father, though I had (and still have) a very close relationship with my father. My relationship with my mother is complicated. To say the least. But she has made a couple of impacts on my life. 1) She is a hard worker. She will be 62 years young this year and she still works as many hours as she did when I was little; maybe even more since my step-father passed away a few years ago. She has never shied away from difficult situations or from doing what needs to be done. And I admire that. 2) She was what you would call a helicopter parent, often doing and speaking for me before I had a chance to do for myself. And I personally think that affected me negatively as I grew up and found myself in situations where I needed to navigate my own path. I’ve tried very hard with my boys to give them the freedom to be who they are without trying to micro-manage every aspect of their lives. It’s a balance, for sure.
What has been a “spark moment” or “moments” that set you on your path?
A huge spark moment for me was becoming a part of the Holl & Lane Magazine team. Sarah Hartley, who is the creator, designer, and Editor in Chief of Holl & Lane, has created this amazingly beautiful, open, honest, loving community where women can come together and share their life experiences and know that they are not alone. I am so honored to work with her and the H&L team. The trust that people have in us to share their stories completely blows me away. H&L has shared stories on miscarriage, infertility, mental health, body image, love, loss, self-care, and so much more. And being surrounded by the truth and beauty of those stories every day inspired me to share my own and to no longer be afraid or ashamed of being honest.
What is your passion and purpose (the “P” in EPIC)?
My passion and my purpose is to bring awareness and openness to the subject of sexual trauma. It is one that often makes people very uncomfortable, but I truly believe that it’s something that needs to be discussed. I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and it is something that I tried to avoid dealing with for most of my life, even though the damage it caused was tremendous. I felt ashamed and unworthy and unlovable for many years. But it wasn’t my fault. And I think that message needs to be etched into the minds and souls of every survivor. So, in creating the podcast, I hope to not only give a voice to survivors of sexual trauma, but also to share a shining message of hope – that what happened to you doesn’t define you.
What is one of your favorite things to do, related to one of the E.P.I.C. guideposts?
My favorite thing to do is related to the E in E.P.I.C. My family and I are avid movie-watchers and love nothing more than to be at home with a giant bowl of popcorn watching a funny movie together. It might not be fancy, but that time together is so precious to me. Plus, movies always offer teachable moments that give me the opportunity to bring those up with my kids.
What are you currently reading or listening to for inspiration?
I’m currently reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’ve heard from many people that there are parallels between the book and today’s political/social climate, so I’m very interested to find out more. But generally, I read a lot of poetry. Words are everything to me – and poetry is like fine art for the soul.
What is one message or affirmation you tell yourself to ground you on your quest?
“I am stronger than I know.” Meaning that no matter what life throws at me, I can get through it. The obstacles might seem insurmountable, but instead of giving up, I remind myself that there’s always a way.
In one word, what are you seeking most right now on your Quest?
What challenge or offering would you like to share with the Mother’s Quest Community?
I would like to encourage the Mother’s Quest Community to fully embrace authenticity. There are so many times that we put on a smile when we’re not smiling inside, or tell people that we’re fine when we’re not. And I think it’s OK to be real, it’s OK to let people know that you make mistakes or you’re struggling just like everyone else. You never know who might be out there going through the exact same thing you are and just needed you to speak up so that they could say, “me, too.”
So, I challenge the MQ Community to share 1 thing (with a friend or loved one, or on social media, or wherever) that is 100% real. No sugar-coating. Just let it all out. And then see how you feel afterwards. It always leaves me feeling lighter and often leads to some really meaningful discussions.
And then if you feel the need for more honest conversations about the trials and triumphs of life, sign up to receive a FREE mini-issue of Holl & Lane Magazine here: http://www.hollandlanemag.com/signup/
Do you want to share how you are living your truly E.P.I.C. life? Be featured on the weekly Mother on a Quest series by sending in your story here – http://mothersquest.com/mother-on-a-quest-application/