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  • Writer's pictureMari Charlson

Hearts of the Northland: Nic Miller

Nic Miller is a 21 year old 6 foot 6 inches fierce Aries. He is a senior student at Park University studying Business Administration with an emphasis in Digital Marketing. Nic is also part of the L(G)BTQIA+ community. Nic has 3 younger siblings who he helps to raise. Their ages are 10, 12, and 17. Not only does he have these siblings, but he also has 2 more sisters who are 23 and 26. These two sisters are not blood siblings, though. But the chosen family is just as much family as any other. Nic says, "They have been there for me when I needed them the most.

He enjoys photography, modeling, anything with music, spending time with his best friends (who he calls "my sugars"), and going out dancing with friends. Nic is a great person to be around, and always is searching for fun. He is extremely passionate about fashion. His long term career goal is to do fashion marketing for a large fashion house such as Louis Vuitton or Prada.

When asked about his life growing up in the Northland being in the LGBTQIA+ community, he says, "As someone who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community, living in the Northland has affected my lifestyle by shaping me into a social chameleon. Depending on where I am and the people who surround me depicts just how much I allow for my true authentic self to show through due to the lack of security and feeling safe." This leads Nic to gravitate towards the scene in downtown Kansas City. This is because it is a place that feels to be more accepting of those who are within the queer community.

     Nic grew up in the Northland and went to schools in the Northland. I asked Nic about how his schooling was affected by him being queer. Nic said that throughout his pre-post secondary education career, he spent a lot of time feeling like he needed to hide who he was as a person in order to feel accepted and a part of a school community. He says, "From the grades of 3rd-9th, I was continuously called slurs and made fun of for being more feminine as a child. However, due to the bullying and a few other factors, my family moved school districts. My new district was a very safe space for me. However I never came out officially in high school because of a lack of security."

Speaking of resilience, Nic has practiced this idea plenty. In 2021, Nic dealt with a tragic loss in his life. His mother passed away extremely suddenly. With this sudden death in his life, he faced many new challenges. Prior to losing his mother, Nic was completely disowned from his family for reasons that weren’t justifiable on his parents end. Therefore, he had no family obligations in regards to doing anything centered around his family because he was completely removed from the family unit.

     Nic says, "However, once my mother passed I then came back into my family's lives to try and help fulfill the role of my mother. Seeing as I have 3 younger siblings ranging in ages of, 10, 12, and 17."Nic's easy going, by a whim, and nearly responsibility free lifestyle has drastically changed into astounding amounts of stress due to the amount of responsibilities that he has taken on. Now everything that he does is centered around the convenience of his siblings. He has the responsibility to be there for them tohis best ability. Whether this be to show up at their sports games, have essential coming of age talks, or being there for their most important celebrations. Nic has a tattoo of tulips on his arm for his mother, which is a beautiful reminder of her everlasting effect on his life.

     I dug deeper with Nic and asked him about how he has continued to practice growth and resilience in his life. He explained to me that in the past, he was the type of person to hold onto anger and grudges. This is a common theme for those who have experienced a major trauma. For Nic after dealing with the trauma of losing his mom, he has been less likely to hold onto past anger . Nic explains, "I used to never let things go because I couldn’t see past the wrong doings that were being done to me. Now that I have grown through grieving, not to be cliche, but I’ve really learned that nothing is ever that deep and that hurt people really just do things because they’re hurting." Nic told me that he has learned empathy on a level that he never knew was even possible. "I think learning and fully understanding what having empathy means has really helped me practice growth and resilience."

     Of course with the journey of resilience, there are always times where growth is necessary. As life continues, that means that usual life struggles come up. As someone who has dealt with a major trauma, the way that you learn to grow in this time is essential. Nic said to me that a piece of growing for him is to understand that bad things can happen to good people for no reason. "I am the type of person who strongly believes in karma and things like that, so when things happen that are negative I always feel like I am at fault for that and there’s something I could’ve done to maybe be a better person to have avoided that hardship." Unfortunately, though that is just not the case. Bad things happen to good people and that is just something that you have to deal with and grow from. But Nic explains that these hardships will only teach him important life lessons and make him a stronger person in the future.

     Although Nic is the definition of a strong individual, he explained to me that feeling a sense of strength is something that he struggles with. He feels as though he needs to be "built of iron at all times." Putting on a brave face for everyone around him is something that he feels is a necessary task, after all, he takes on the responsibility of his younger siblings. He is learning that it is okay to feel your emotions completely and to be vulnerable. Learning that feeling all negative emotions are not a sign of weakness is extremely hard, but essential for growth.

     I finished off my talk with Nic by asking him two questions. First, what five words would he use to describe himself currently? Nic's words were, "driven, empathetic, outgoing, strong, and nurturing." I then asked Nic five words that he would use to describe who he hopes to be in ten years. He says, "Five words that I hope to use to describe myself in 10 years will be: successful, happy, kind, empathetic, and healing."

Although I will not know every person in this interview series personally, I have the honor of being considered one of Nic's "sugars" (his best friends). Nic came into my life one day before his mother passed away. As someone who has also lost a parent in their early adulthood, I believe that Nic came into my life for a reason. With Nic's friendship, came a family relationship that we both needed at that time in our lives. I consider Nic to be my brother. I am absolutely honored to know this hard working, kind, introspective, and absolutely fun person.

We honor Nic for all of his growth and his journey through resilience.

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