Megan Thee Stallion and the price of overcoming trauma

It is one of the most anticipated trials of recent years: Rapper Tory Lanez faces three charges in the 2020 global superstar shooting Megan Thee Stallion following an altercation between them and their former friend Kelsey Harris in Los Angeles. If convicted, Lanez faces up to 22 years in state prison.

Many have been unwavering in their support for Megan, believing her ever since she came forward about being shot in the foot during an Instagram Live video in August 2020. There were others who said that there was no way Lanez could have shot him.

The speech has been discouraging. The truth is that it has risen to the level of disgusting. Black women experience intimate partner violence at higher rates than their white, Latino, and Asian and Pacific Islander counterparts. Indeed, we are three times more likely die for it But instead of rallying around the victims, many feel the need to tear them down and make them outcasts.

Megan has been met with extreme vitriol and what appears to be an organized hate campaign. And it felt especially cruel. When she took the stand Tuesday at trial on assault and firearms charges, she offered the jurors an insight how the ordeal has been for her. She summed up the past two years and spoke candidly about how it felt to be a woman in a male-dominated industry. However, it was her confession that this abuse has made her wish she was no longer alive that was most heartbreaking.

“I wish he would have shot and killed me if he had known I was going to suffer this torture,” he said in his testimony Tuesday.

However, through it all, we’ve seen Megan smile and keep pushing. As far as we can tell, he has refused to let this traumatic incident stop him. Actually, except her emotional “Saturday Night Live” performance. on October 15, we haven’t seen it break. And, selfishly, we admired his persistence. But when we heard his testimony, we could no longer pretend that we didn’t know the truth: it all came at too high a cost. His public perseverance has come at the cost of private agony.

Musical guest Meg Thee Stallion performs "anxiety" activated "Saturday night live" and becomes emotional on stage, apparently fighting back tears, during her performance.
Musical guest Meg Thee Stallion performs “Anxiety” on “Saturday Night Live” and gets emotional on stage, apparently fighting back tears, during her performance.

Will Heath/NBC via Getty Images

When Megan came on the scene, she was a breath of fresh air. We all rooted for the resident hot girl because it looked like we knew her. Then, just as his star was rising, his world came crashing down. In March 2019, Megan lost her mother after a battle with brain cancer. Having lost his father in his childhood, he now navigated the world without both parents.

When Megan met Lanez just months before the July 2020 shooting, she said they bonded over the loss of their mothers. Having lost her mother when she was young, Lanez understood what Megan was going through and acknowledged that she was trying to “fill the void” with the people around her. Can any of us imagine what it’s like to lean on someone to get you through the worst time of your life, only to have them introduce you to an even worse experience? It is unfathomable.

Harris’ courtroom antics have left a lot to be desired. Lanez’s legal defense strategy is to convince jurors that Harris was the shooter; has led many on social media to speculate about the end of Harris. But more than that, it calls into question who Megan had around her.

The immediacy of pain can cloud anyone’s judgment. The shooting happened as she was leaving a party, just a year after Megan’s mother died and in the midst of her desire to start a new family to ease the pain. There is certainly guilt, shame, and the belief that your actions – on some level – are what got you here. Add in online bullying and songs mocking your experience, who wouldn’t want them dead?

Conversations about suicide are still necessary, and with the recent death of famous DJ and famous dancer Stephen “tWitch” Boss, we are reminded that no amount of money or fame can insulate a person from this level of pain. But what about the people who may never consider taking their own life, but wake up every morning wishing they hadn’t woken up? What do we offer people who are disappointed that the painful last was not the last?

This world can be incredibly cruel at times, and finding light often seems impossible. I think we’re supposed to be easy on each other. This will include fighting against injustice and using our platforms to speak out on behalf of those who are being victimized. Meg may or may not see it, but someone else will, and they’ll know they’re not alone. Being light also means being there to remind people that the mistakes they made in trusting and loving the wrong people are not character flaws but opportunities for deeper growth and true healing. It’s important to find every way imaginable to let people know that you’re thankful that whatever it is didn’t kill them and that they’re still here.

Admittedly, I’m nervous about the impending verdict and what it means for Megan. Regardless of what the jury decides, he will still be the subject of unnecessary hatred and ridicule. At the same time, it’s refreshing to know that she’s an advocate for therapy and has the resources to get through this ordeal as healthy as possible. Still, I pray for his heart and his spirit because it can’t be easy. Despite this tragedy, she has a beautiful life and deserves to flourish in it.

We all deserve this. We all deserve to live.

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