Interview with Jen Saunders, founder of Wild Sister Magazine

Today, I’m interviewing Jen Saunders, founder of Wild Sister Magazine. Jen is a long-time KOM contributor and all around amazing human. She recently came out of the Asperger’s closet, and I couldn’t wait to talk to her for KOM. Thanks for being here, Jen! ~LH

LHFor KOM readers who haven’t read your post about Coming out of the Aspergers Closet, can you give us a brief summary of where you are on this journey and how you got here?

Sure! About a year ago, I saw an interview with a woman on TV, she was talking about her life with Aspergers Syndrome. I’d heard of Aspergers, but I didn’t know it presented in women differently than it does in men, and I found myself instantly relating to everything the woman was saying. I started researching it immediately, and starting to think I’d finally found the answer to why I always felt so different.

I decided to sit with it for a while, feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. Then, earlier this year, I decided I wanted to know for sure, so I booked sessions with an expert on female Aspergers, and soon after she diagnosed me with Aspergers Syndrome, also known as Autism Spectrum Condition.

I’m sensing a feeling of relief that came with the diagnosis. Is that accurate?

Hell yes! I’ve never felt so much relief in my life. Finally, I had answers to questions I’d been asking myself for years, things from my past were instantly explained and released, and I felt incredibly validated and truly ‘seen’ for the first time in my life.

I’d like to take a minute and acknowledge the courage it took for you to make this public. You could have easily continued on your path without ever revealing this. What made you choose to share?

I was very nervous about going public with it, but I chose to share because I knew it could help people. I knew I had spent the first 26 years of my life completely in the dark about Aspergers, and just as seeing that TV interview turned a light on for me, I wanted to turn a light on for other women out there who felt different but didn’t know why.

I already had a large audience and reach, so I knew I could impact people’s lives in a positive way by saying, “Hey, I’m happy, healthy, successful, and I have Aspergers.” I felt a responsibility to bust some of the myths out there and also help women find answers for themselves.

LH: actually crashed the day you “came out”. How did that feel?

It was certainly unexpected! I had no idea what to expect when I hit publish on that post, but seeing the views, comments and shares rise instantly was amazing. I received nothing but love and support, and I was surprised how many women I know resonated with my story – some of whom have gone on to be diagnosed themselves. I feel incredibly privileged that I was able to turn the light on for other women.

Aspergers is a part of you, but there are many more. What are some things you’re excited about right now – personally & professionally?

Right now, I’m excited about everything! I’m creating a new online course called Devotion to Self that will be launching in a couple of weeks, and my calendar is full of fun projects that I can’t wait to sink my teeth into. Personally, I’ve got some travel plans in the works for later in the year which I’m so excited about!

You started WildSister about 3 years ago. How has it changed you and how have you changed it? 
Wow, Wild Sister has evolved so much since it started – and so have I! Wild Sister has taught me so many valuable lessons that have changed my view on the world, like; everything happens for a reason; everyone has a story to tell; and loving yourself sets the foundation for happiness.

I love your philosophy making yourself happy, and think it really resonates with a lot of KOM’s readers. What has choosing happiness done in your life? How do you handle the days when that’s extra difficult?

Realising that I can choose happiness has changed everything. It’s given me my power back, and opened my eyes to all the blessings in my life. On days when it’s extra difficult to choose happiness, I remember that everything happens to either bless me or teach me. I look for the lesson, let it grow my soul, and focus on the positives. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.

If you had to choose a phrase, quote or song that “defines” you, what would it be?

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman.

Any parting words for our KOM audience? We love you here and wish you nothing but good, Jen! Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us. <3 
Thank you so much for featuring me! I’ve been a huge fan of KOM for years, and it was one of the reasons I started blogging, so it’s always an honor to come and hang out here. And thank you to the KOM tribe for always welcoming me with open arms and warm smiles, you rock! 🙂

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