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Megan Higginson has had to face and overcome pretty traumatic events in her life. Her bravery is truly inspirational, and undoubtedly, life changing. Megan used her fears to anchor courage through her story, which now she presents to the children of the world as a gift to be empowered by. In this article, Megan shares her inspirations and motivations behind ‘Raymund and the Fear Monster‘s’ foundations. You’re a treasure, Megan! x
What was the inspiration behind the story of ‘Raymund and the Fear Monster’?
In June of 2013, I went on a Mission trip with my church to Ilocos Sur Province in the Philippines. It was in Cabugao that I visited the Spirit and Life Mission House orphanage. I really connected with the children. I spent a lot of time speaking with them and the workers and found out that they had many fears. Some are typical fears. Fear of the dark, and the monster under the bed or in the closet. They also lived with various other fears similar to what foster children here suffer. I also had lived with fear my whole life, so I felt a deep connection to these kids. I started writing to the children when I returned home. I wrote (and wrote for a long time) short stories that entertained and encouraged them.
We planned to make a return trip in December 2013 to January 2014. I wanted to do something very special for the children. The story of Raymund and the Fear Monster was written for the younger children of the orphanage, to encourage them to face their fears and overcome them. When I sat down to write a story about overcoming fear, I didn’t want to write the usual sort of ‘facing your fear’ story. So, I asked myself, ‘What if fear was a monster?’ And with that, Raymund and the Fear Monster was born.
I wrote and illustrated (rather poorly) the story, printed it out as a photobook at Officeworks and presented it to them as a Christmas gift. They loved it.
That really is the inspiration behind the story. And I drew on my life experiences of dealing with fear. I grew up with a violent, alcoholic father. We lived in constant fear of him and what was happening at home. We couldn’t talk about it. My parents separated when I was 13 and we had to go into hiding. I was kicked out of home at 16, and became pregnant at 17. However, by the time I found out, my boyfriend and I had already split up. So, I was homeless and about to become a single parent, and I walked straight into another relationship and got married.
I became sick with Fibromyalgia at 30 (I’m now 45). I was in a toxic marriage for years. Several years ago, I realised how much fear had prevented me from leaving an obviously bad relationship. Fear of what might happen if I left held me back from making good decisions (e.g. There are some days I can barely walk, how would I look after my kids?), enjoying life and becoming all who I was meant to be, but I also realised how fear had kept me safe by keeping me on my toes. In a way, Raymund and the Fear Monster is my story of facing my own Fear Monsters and saying, ‘Enough!’
And I believe in this story. I believe in the power of words, in the power of the story and the illustrations to change lives, even a little bit. If it reaches just one child, one person of any age and they can start talking about their own fear monsters and how they can face them, and they actually start doing something about it, I know doing that will be life changing for them.
Article by Megan Higginson
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