Like mascara trails down her cheek,
exhaustion in muscles weak.

The tender ache of a bruise,
the baby weight you can’t lose.

Trembling after his rage,
sense of loss after emptying cage.

The taste of wine that you sip,
the ghost of his touch on your lip.

Final song at the end of the night,
hurtful words that were said in a fight.

Garlic scent still on his breath,
The longing left after a death.

Smell of smoke in the distant wind,
sense of shame; accusation: you sinned.

Sense of dread from that first casket view,
Eerie silence post storm blowing through.

Emotion of dreams upon waking,
It’s all over yet shoulders still shaking.



That’s not a good reason!

This is just a rambling exploration of some topics that have been on my mind. I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic if you have any!

Exploring Good Reasons

What are good reasons for doing something? Valid reasons? Healthy reasons?

I am guessing all of these are based on individual values, more or less.  If I value the opinion of others, I am going to be more likely to say that doing something because I know that so-and-so will think highly of me is a good/healthy/valid reason to do something.  If I value doing what makes me feel good, I assume that would impact my criteria for defining good/healthy/valid.

A Christian may use the Bible or prayer to help determine a course of action.  A good/valid/healthy reason for giving to the poor may simply be because the Bible says to do so.  On the other hand, someone may view that same decision as a “bad” decision because they live by the phrase “give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for his life.”  So perhaps a good decision would be to get involved with an organization that helps homeless men develop skills to obtain a job.

Reasons to go to church could range from going to worship, going to save face, going to follow through on a commitment, going for the social interaction, going as a learning experience. Which of those are “good or bad”?

Some Other Reasons:

If you were a good daughter you would do your chores.
If you were a good Christian you would go to church.
If you cared about your family you would make dinner.
If you love me, you’ll have sex with me.
If you care about your health, you’ll stop smoking.
If you value your commitment to your job you’ll work late.
If you value your commitment to your family you’ll come home at 5pm.
If you don’t want to get arrested, you’ll put some pants on.

I am going to do my chores because I am a member of the family and we share responsibilities.
I am going to do my chores to avoid making my dad mad.
I am going to see the movie because I want to.
I am going to see the movie because my friends all want me to and I don’t want to disappoint them.
I am going to try smoking because it’s cool looking.
I am going to try smoking because I like trying new experiences.
I am going to try smoking because I hear lung cancer is pretty fun.
I am not going to see the movie because it costs too much.
I am eating dinner because I am hungry.
I am wearing pants because it is cold outside.
I am wearing pants because public nudity is against the law.
I am wearing pants because public nudity makes other people uncomfortable.

Exploring Manipulation

So… what is manipulation? And is it “bad” to manipulate other people?  Are there times when manipulation is justified? (see this article for an interesting discussion of that question) What if the thing you are trying to get them to do will ultimately be beneficial for them?  Are you the one who gets to decide what is beneficial?  Are some things just objectively beneficial?

manipulate: verb, control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly, unfairly, or unscrupulously

All marketing is manipulative (an attempt to influence a person to purchase a good or service), however is marketing that touches on fears or insecurities somehow worse than other forms of marketing?  If the people creating the advertisements genuinely believe that their product will improve the lives of their customers, is the manipulation justifiable?

At the end of the day, aren’t we all constantly attempt to manipulate/control/influence the things, events, and people around us?  And even ourselves?

Reason Equation

“What are the reasons for which people do things? A common answer is ‘the pairing of a desire and a belief within the agent’.” (from this webpage)

I desire to avoid conflict and I believe that going along with what other people say will allow me to avoid conflict.

I desire a promotion at work and I believe working late will help me to achieve that.
I desire a promotion at work, however I don’t believe that working late will impact that.

I desire my own emotional stability and I believe that attending this event will not be helpful for that.
I desire to avoid triggers, and I believe this event will contain triggers.
I desire for my friend to feel loved, and I believe attending this event will help her to feel loved.
I desire for my friend to feel loved, and I believe she will know I love her even if I don’t go to this event.
I desire to know what all the fuss is about, and I believe I will find out sooner if I go to this event.
I desire personal growth, and I believe that going to this event even though I don’t want to could be helpful for that.
What desires are prioritized?  What beliefs have the biggest basis in reality? What desires and beliefs align with one another? What is the ultimate decision?

That’s not a good reason!

Kicking Butt & Taking Names

Hey everyone!!

So after that previous post containing some unfortunate news about not getting the Penland scholarship, now it’s time for a FUN POST filled with exciting news! Remember how one of my 2018 goals was to write, illustrate, and publish a children’s book? Well, that goal has officially been accomplished!  After getting my test print, I ordered 150 books that were delivered to my door this week!  Meggoline is officially in print! (There’s a lot of exclamations points in this post so far, I know.  But I’m just SO EXCITED!)  I unloaded the boxes into this massive stack in my studio and have spent the last couple days signing them, addressing envelopes, packaging them up, and making trips to the post office!  Thankfully the postal workers have been much kinder about having to process all of these packages than I had thought they would be.  Let’s hope that continues because book orders keep rolling in!!  I am so, so grateful to everyone who has supported me on this journey so far!  Whether through backing my Kickstarter, leaving kind comments on my Instagram updates, liking my Meggoline Facebook page, or ordering the book itself, it has all been very encouraging and uplifting.

meggoline spine

So what’s next for me?

Right now I still have a couple dolls I need to finish for the Kickstarter rewards. (I have loved sewing them, but MAN they are taking longer than I had anticipated!)  Then I have a couple collabs I hope to work on with some lovely folks on Instagram. PLUS, I am getting my Etsy shop prepped for a re-launch on May 1, 2018 (mark your calendars)!  And meanwhile, don’t you worry, I am definitely still brainstorming ideas for my next book!

Scroll down some photos of the printed book and stay tuned for more fun things to come!

meggoline interior


meggoline copyright

meggoline one bed

meggoline back



Kicking Butt & Taking Names

No Hope, No Disappointment

It’s easier to just share the highlight reel, easier to only show the happy, exciting moments.  Just like it’s easier to be cynical, easier to give up, easier not to hope for anything.  Because it’s hard to deal with disappointment.  It’s hard to fail or feel like I didn’t live up to expectations.  It’s hard for things to not go as planned.  And so I think I have had a tendency during my life toward cynicism.  I have spent a lot of time looking at the potential pitfalls and expecting the worst.  The thing is, you’d think this would make the unexpected goodness more joyful, but instead it tends to just rob the joy from the whole process.  It stunts my ability to authentically care about the things I care about and to get excited about the things for which I am hopeful.

To put this in context, months ago I found out that Jay Ryan of The Bird Machine was going to be one of the artists leading a session at Penland School of Crafts this summer.  I have wanted to learn to screenprint for quite some time now and am in love with Jay Ryan’s work (to prove this love, I can attest to having four of his prints hung in my apartment, in addition to his book on my shelf), so this news definitely caught my attention.  After looking into costs, however, it was clear that I wouldn’t be able to attend without a scholarship.  I spent weeks putting together an application, choosing what to include in my work sample, and getting recommendations.  I was really excited about the possibility of learning a new skill and getting to meet other artists. Even if I didn’t get my first choice of session, I was excited about any possibility of attending Penland.

After waiting months to hear back, I got a response in the mail today.  As you can probably guess, based on what I’ve said so far, I wasn’t awarded a scholarship and thus won’t be attending Penland this summer.  After reading the rejection letter I went outside to sit and think for a while.  I found myself oscillating between emotions, trying to convince myself of apathy yet also feeling definite disappointment.  My thoughts kept returning to, “See, this is why you shouldn’t hope for things.  Getting excited just leads to disappointment.  How did you let yourself fall into that trap?  Haven’t you learned anything?”  I kept trying to tell myself, “It’s better this way anyway.  Now you won’t have to face that social anxiety, won’t have to travel, and you won’t have the chance to make a fool of yourself in front of all those other artists.”  But then something caused me to stop and looked at what was going on in my head.  And as I did this, I noticed a newfound desire within me to fight these thoughts.  I want to give myself the freedom to be upset, to feel disappointed.  I want to use this as a way of helping to gauge what I am actually passionate about, instead of pretending, trying to convince myself that I wasn’t that interested in it.  Now, of course I don’t want to dwell in the disappointment.  I don’t want to let it consume me, but I do think a healthy level of it is okay.  Especially if I can somehow use that emotion to propel me forward try again, to work harder, to keep chasing (and helping to identify) my passions.

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

No Hope, No Disappointment

I care…

A constant question in my life is: how open should I be?  I have no problem sharing things about my life; I’d rather be fully transparent, with all my cards on the table, than try to bluff my way through.  But I’ve found other people don’t necessarily appreciate that.  And because I have these remarkably frustrating and deeply seated need to please people, I filter what I share.  I care about my reputation; I care about being authentic; I care about being trustworthy; I care about not being judged.  I care about whether people think I am being over-dramatic or a self-obsessed asshole.  I care about whether people will judge me for swearing and if that will sway their decision to let me babysit their kids (even though I would obviously never swear in front of children!!).  I care about if I am wearing a shirt that my sweat will show through.  I care about if the shoes I am wearing are too loud when I walk.  I care about finding the balance between authenticity and privacy.  I care about my motivations for posting things and I care about other people perceptions of my motivations for posting things.  I overthink and overanalyze.  I am remarkably self-conscious about how many times I have used the word ‘I’ in this post so far…

A caption from my Instagram, to further reiterate:

“To anyone who saw my little overthinking breakdown on my story last night, I apologize… I mean, I’m not going to lie, all of those thoughts are pretty much always bubbling just below the surface anyway… But there was a trigger last night that brought them to the surface and apparently onto social media. There have been such a variety of experiences and events over the last few years of my life that have shaped me, but I’m remarkably insecure about admitting to some of them. And maybe I don’t have to, maybe that’s not any of your business. Maybe privacy in the midst of social media is something I should embrace more. But where is the line of authenticity drawn? Is all of this just a way of pretending we have friends and relationships when what we really have are followers? Where do honesty and vulnerability reside? What would my life have been like without the pressure to present things are certain way on the internet? What of this is an act and who am I really? And the biggest question of the moment, am I the only one? Does this bother other people? Do you have doubts you’re afraid to share? Do you know who you are at your core? Would you admit it if you didn’t?”

I care…


Imagine you’re up on stage, about to give a speech.  You are at a conference and have been asked to share something deeply personal about your life—something you’ve wanted to get off your chest for a while, but haven’t known how.  You are looking into the spotlight, trying to picture the audience, trying to gauge the crowd, to get a feel for who you are talking to.  You aren’t sure who is listening or how they will react.  Is the crowd filled with strangers? Your family? Your current employer?  A potential future investor? Will this personal story change how they view you?  Will they lose trust in you?  Change how they interact with you?  Will it forever impact your relationship with them?  You second guess your desire to share—maybe it isn’t such a good idea after all, maybe you’re risking too much. But then you hear a voice in your ear, a voice that reminds you that you don’t need to be ashamed.  A voice that reminds you that other people struggle, other people have insecurities.  And then the voice asks you: if you can share something that positively impacts just one person’s life, isn’t that enough?




GOALS: update

WOW it has been a busy couple of weeks!  Who knew that chasing my dreams and accomplishing goals would so all-consuming.  But it has been such a blast so far and honestly really encouraging.

(If you are interested in following along on the day to day I provide a lot more frequent updates via Instagram (@the.megan.mill) and Facebook. 

Goal: Author/Illustrator

If you want to know more about the book I am writing or get a copy of it, you can see the Kickstarter page here .  There are also other rewards, like vinyl stickers, postcards, prints, or commissioned art.  The campaign goes until the end of February and as of right now I am only $700 away from my goal!  Which means 39 lovely backers out there have helped me to get 72% of the way!

kickstarter_19 days to go

The process itself has consisted of so many different pieces, from sketching, inking the final drawings, painting the illustrations, scanning, digitally editing, page layouts, text editing, marketing, researching publishing methods, connecting with nannies on social media, reaching out to organizations and companies to collaborate (that hasn’t been as successful as I would have hoped… thus far anyway… but if you want to collaborate please let me know!), filtering through unsolicited advice, thanking backers, prepping files for print… Gosh, the list goes on and on!

made some art_web_higher res

In reality though, it really has been fun to have a goal to reach for and go after.  And even more encouraging has been the chance to get to connect with so many awesome people!  Lots of nannies have messaged me to say how excited they are for this book… how they have been looking for a resource like this or how they wish there were more children’s books on the market related to the topic of nannies.  I never knew how big the nannying community actually was!  So many others out there who also love kids and crafts, creativity and playgrounds.  But also so many other who have gotten close to a little one, developed a bond, but then had to say goodbye.  It really is a tough balance of holding on and letting go.  And not just for nannies… in life in general.  No matter who we love, nothing is permanent and we will all face changes, transitions, and goodbyes.

waving goodbye_web

Because of the excitement I have seen and how much I have enjoyed this process, I am feeling more and more confident that this will not be my only children’s book.  I have one or two more in mind for now… But am trying to not get too far ahead of myself… Gotta finish one first!

tea party_web.jpg

For those of you who don’t know me or really know my history, I have struggled with depression on and off for most of my life.  There have been a lot of days where everything has felt so remarkably meaningless and it was hard to get excited about anything.  So the fact that I have goals right now… and not goals that were part of a pre-determined plan (graduate high school, go to college, get a degree, get a job, etc.), goals that I am excited about and actually want to achieve… this feels big. My life feel full of passion and authenticity and dreams!  (Man, I sound like a sappy commercial or something…)  And to bring it back down to earth, ya, there have been hard days.  Days of anxiety and self-doubt and frustration.  Days where I have said “holy crap holy crap what am I doing, I’m not qualified for this, I’m going to fail, ahhhh”.  But all-in-all it has been a good season.

Though, speaking of seasons, it has been remarkably cold here in Virginia recently.  So one of my other goals to walk all of Blacksburg hasn’t gotten a whole lot of focus.  In fact, I think I have only been on three outdoor walks since the new year. But as things warm up I am excited to get back into that as well.  Today I went out on a trail I never knew existed and found a beautiful field, informational plant signs, and some deer poop…. So, that was a win, right?

Thanks for following along on this journey!  I would love to connect with you, hear your goals and passions (or what you saw on a walk today!) so feel free to leave a comment below! :)

GOALS: update