Home Featured Finding Your Voice Through The Pain – Shantel VanSanten

Finding Your Voice Through The Pain – Shantel VanSanten

When Shantel and I filmed this interview it was prior to the light that’s been shed on the recent One Tree Hill tragedies. And though I never experienced any wrongdoings while filming the show, I am incredibly proud of the profound bravery of my Tree Hill sisters for stepping forward and sharing their stories.


In this information era, every story is available at the touch of our fingertips, and every day there is some new tragic story coming to light. It is both a dreadful and profound time. And it makes me think–

As humans, it seems like some twisted right of passage to have certain terrible inexplicable events happen to us.  These events that happen are most often not by our own choice but they nonetheless have a dramatic impact on our lives. They are like a wrecking ball, crashing into our path. How do we pick up the pieces once the damage has been done?

There are many ways that humans deal with trauma- denial, anger, self harm, addiction- just to name a few. For my own self, I spent many years numbing the pain away with most of the distractions I just listed. For so long I had no idea how to look at or express what was going on inside of me, I had no tools. Unfortunately, there’s no prerequisite class that teaches them in school.

Once I had played out running and ignoring for long enough- realizing that that never got me the outcome I was ultimately looking for, I was finally ready to begin my search for help. So began my journey of going inward, and for the record going inward means going into the pain- into everything I never wanted to have to feel again- Yeah, willingly walking into that shit.

For years my journey was spent excavating all of the dirt and soot that had accumulated on top of my relic of innocence.  I had built up massive walls of protection that needed to be broken down. Needless to say but it took a lot of work!

After all the work, I realized there is no amount of looking at the pain-surrendering, forgiving, fixing, healing- that will ever make what happened go away. Instead what I have come to realize is that every tragedy can inspire new growth. Every pain can guide us into a deeper well of feeling than we previously had the capacity to feel. If we allow it, pain will be one of the greatest catalysts for our growth.

My choice is to see my history as a gift. Whether it was wanted or not, chosen or not, it is indeed mine.  My history is part of my journey, and at the end of the day it’s what I’ve done with the hand I’ve been dealt that is most important.