Today we’d like to introduce you to Micah Chrisman.
Hi Micah, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My life in the Midwest—specifically in the Kansas City Metro—started like many folks in the region: on a farm. I grew up in Grain Valley, MO, which has since developed into a suburb, but as a child, we were surrounded by small farmlands right off I-70. This land, with its dense woods and rolling fields, became the center point for my fantasy fiction stories.
My siblings and I would dress up in our garb and romp through the forest for hours each day, fighting invisible monsters and rescuing our friends from certain evils. Our imaginations ran wild and, as a result, I began writing my first novel “The Legend of the Seer” when I was only 14 years old and self-published it in 2011 at 21 years old.
My creative writing came to a halt as I entered a new phase of life: my faith deconstruction journey. Growing up in a loving, Christian household in a small community taught me how to love and serve others, but it didn’t prepare me for the new relationships and struggles I would encounter in college. Spiritual mentors, professors, and my research work on Ferguson and Black Lives Matter woke me up from blanched worldviews throughout my time at the University of Central Missouri and caused me to take internal stock of my purpose and values.
As a white man, I had to recognize my complicity with systemic racism and toxic masculinity—in myself, in society, and in the Church. I had to wrestle with how Christianity called me to love all people and yet it excluded LGBTQ folks. These issues, among others, ultimately led me away from organized religion but not away from my spirituality and mysticism. Altogether, this was one of the most transformational times in my life, to the point that it launched me into my community organizing career.
Since graduating with a master’s in mass communication, I have held communication/marketing roles for nonprofits in Kansas City for the past eight years. From urban farms to the Kansas City, MO Health Department, to my current statewide work with Alive & Well Communities, my purpose has been deeply connected with racial justice, health equity, livable wages, housing, and other community issues.
Parallel to this work and personal transformation, I began revisiting my earlier writings and decided to edit my first book to reflect my current values. While the 2nd edition of “The Legend of the Seer” is still not published, the very exercise to maintain a childhood story but make changes to its characters and themes to match where I am today was a spiritual experience in itself. The rewriting process has since prompted new book ideas, fresh poetry, and now a new podcast as outlets for my creativity. The “Pray for Micah” Podcast is my attempt to grow and become a better Human by exploring art, activism, spirituality, and our cosmic (in)significance with guests on the show.
Throughout my 32 years of existence on this planet, I have come to realize we never fully attain or “get there”. Instead, all we can hope for in our life’s journey is to experience moments when our consciousness expands enough to recognize and love ourselves and others. My activism and creative works have brought me here to this point in the story where I am encouraged by those who also desire to create an inclusive world—one where we can all walk together.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My biggest struggle over recent years has been dealing with anxiety and my mental health. I had my first panic attack at 21 years old after taking a finals exam in college.
When I sat down at my computer in the library after the test, my vision blurred and my heart raced, to the point where I thought I was having a heart attack. After a trip to the hospital, where they ran EKG tests and found no signs of heart issues, I learned for the first time how crippling an anxiety attack like that could be.
I would have several other moments like this in the years to come but have now reached a two-year period without experiencing an anxiety attack (knock on wood). I’m super grateful for my therapist and family who have supported me on my mental health journey.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
As a life-long writer and communications/marketing specialist, I believe words are like wizard magic and have the power to shape whole governments, policies, cultures, and communities. Writing and public speaking are my tools to tell stories of what is and what could be. From writing fiction to hosting the “Pray for Micah” podcast, it’s my goal to change the way we see the world and even spur us to take action.
In addition to doing anti-racism work, I currently serve as communications manager for Alive & Well Communities, working toward racial equity and trauma-informed communities across Missouri and surrounding states.
Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
Grace and empathy…
I can be my own worst critic and many times “perfectionism” will stop me from even starting a project, much less finishing it. So for me, the most important thing I can do is extend grace and empathy toward myself by accepting the areas in my life that need growth while also loving myself right where I’m at.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: prayformicah.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/prayformicahpod/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PrayForMicahPod
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/PrayForMicahPod
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaU6fdJl0S3tNdD2uWHbEbA
- Other: https://www.mjchrisman.com/