An Interview with Rebecca Colt Aslan, Author of Some Truths Lie Beneath

1. What inspired the author to choose the pen name Rebecca Colt Aslan?
I will share the answer to this as found in the forward of Some Truths Lie Beneath:
“When I was a teenager, I created a pen name for myself based on three of my favorite books – Rebecca Colt Aslan. Rebecca because I loved reading Daphne du Maurier, and her novel Rebecca was one of my favorites. Colt because my grandfather used to tell me about how I would sit on his lap reading a book about horses to him more times than he could count. I have loved horses all my life. Aslan because C.S. Lewis created a character who meant more to me than he could ever have imagined. I dreamt countless times of Aslan coming to rescue me.”

2. How did you come up with the title “Some Truths Lie Beneath” for your memoir, and what significance do these words hold in capturing the essence of your story?
I chose that title because I live an outwardly pain free existence whenever I encounter emotional difficulty. I do not say that with regret, merely because the truth written in this memoir remained beneath the surface of virtually every personal and professional interaction experienced throughout my life. I have always been one who uses my internal world to heal and move forward. Perhaps that is part of the reason I chose to use a pen name. What I have written contains the raw and unvarnished truth of some of the most difficult times in my life, but a truth which I have left behind and seldom shared – hence Some Truths Lie Beneath. While I have no interest in revisiting my past through repeated discussions, I have hope that the manner in which I present it in this book can provide something of value to those who choose to read it.

3. How do you think sharing your story can help others who may have gone through similar experiences, especially in light of the #MeToo movement?
Honestly, the brave presentation of reality in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why was the catalyst for this book. I watched it by myself when it first came out in 2017 and was thrown into an emotional vortex. I had experienced so much of what was depicted in that series, yet many colleagues and friends were upset about its content and either refused to watch, ceased watching once they began, and forbid their children from viewing it lest it upset them. My belief was that everyone should have been watching that series to open their eyes to the brutal reality contained within. It was not fiction to me; it was cathartic and opened my heart to the possibility of sharing my story. If the fiction depicted within 13 Reasons Why was beneficial (albeit painful) to me, perhaps my truth could be beneficial to those who might read it.

4. In your book, you mention the importance of self-love, empathy, and non-judgment. How do these themes play a role in your personal journey and in the broader context of societal awareness?
I’m not certain how it is beneficial to any human to spend time on judgment of others. Of course there are some things which I judge negatively, e.g. rape, murder, child abuse, but I choose not to dwell on or spew judgments publicly. We are all entitled to our private opinions, but I have no interest in reading or hearing them shared with vitriol and malice. I will share that I hold in deep negative regard any human who judges another for falling outside some artificially created religious or societal norm.
Self-love is the cornerstone of living an authentic life. So much of my life was spent attempting to conform to parental, professional, and societal norms in a vain attempt to feel loved and respected. That approach to living left me anxious, weak, and vulnerable. I am relieved to share that once loving myself became my priority, I became calmer, stronger, and less susceptible to external manipulation or pressure.
Empathy is vital to all of humanity. If we view others through an empathetic lens, we become less likely to enter into conflict with an emotional and reactive response. Imagine if, when being mistreated by someone, we took a step behind their reality to realize their mistreatment of us is a manifestation of their own pain. I believe unkindness reflects the person being unkind, not the recipient. If we loved ourselves enough to see that, we would be less inclined to allow their mistreatment to negatively impact us. I have yet to encounter an unkind person who is living a fulfilled and happy life. Understanding that the person who wrongs us is most likely dealing with hidden pain allows us not to retaliate and to live our lives unencumbered by resentment and anger. We can then choose to keep that person in our lives or move on from them. If it is occurring in the workplace or another situation where we may not be ready or able to move on, we can hold our heads high, not react, and remind ourselves how thankful we are to be who we are. Self-love and empathy are powerful tools with which to navigate life.

5. Reflecting on your journey of healing and resilience, how do you feel about the transformation of your anger towards your parents over the years?
It is my previous answer about self-love, non-judgment, and empathy which illustrates how I was able to move past anger. I was eventually able to understand that any of the pain I felt because of my parents’ interactions with me was a result of believing I was not good enough in their eyes. Instead, I realized, due to their ingrained beliefs, they had no other choice but to attempt to mold me into the human they believed God wanted me to be. While my life choices differed from their ideal, I finally believed I was “good enough” regardless of what they felt. My mother was my greatest emotional affliction in life and when I saw her lying in her casket looking more peaceful than I had ever seen her while she was alive, I saw that anger was a wasted emotion. I asked her to take it from me and have felt none since. Both of my parents had trials, tribulations, and beliefs which set them on their path, and I no longer take any of their past judgments of me personally.
Living without anger is one of my greatest strengths.

6. Have there been moments in your writing process where you felt stuck or unsure of how to express certain emotions or memories? How did you work through those challenges?
Thankfully, I never felt stuck or unsure as I wrote this memoir. That is the case because it was written years after the events presented within and I am not the same person I was during that time. I will confess that I was moved to tears as I recounted painful events, but not tears of regret or distress, simply tears reflecting the sadness inherent in what was being recounted.

7. Could you please share your experience of meeting Michael by the lake? How did you feel in that moment, and how has your relationship with him positively impacted your journey towards healing and overall well-being?
The first time I saw Michael in person, I knew I wanted him in my life. It was a feeling that came over me and is unexplainable. The beautiful thing about my relationship with him is that it began after my journey towards healing and overall well-being. All I needed and continue to need from him is his consistency, kindness, and honesty. We have only been able to last for almost twenty years because I don’t need him in my life, I choose him in my life. We both have internal worlds from which we garner strength of self and I live my life loving him free of any desire for him to be anything other than who he is. If he ever began to treat me as if he wanted me to be different, I would have the strength to move on with no regrets. I’m not sure I’d ever be able to find someone who makes me laugh as hard as he does, though.

8. Can you share a memorable experience from your journey as a writer?
My most memorable experience as a writer came when I was a freshman in college. I had worked tirelessly on a paper and felt immense pride in the result. One day after all the papers had been graded and the professor was ready to return them, she called me to the front of the class to hand me mine. I was certain it was because I was to be held up as a positive example. Instead, she turned my paper for all the class to see the large red “F” she had written on the first page and proclaimed that my writing was an embarrassment unworthy of a college student. I spent my winter break writing a new paper as the only way in which I could pass the class. For years after that experience, I believed I was a fool to think I could ever be a writer. Little did I know that in over 40 years I would be a published author.

9. Reflecting on your decision to share your story through your book, what emotions do you experience knowing that your words may resonate with and inspire others?
I feel a calm sense of hopefulness. I have never been one to look for great meaning in my life, but if my words are of help to anyone, my life on this planet would have more meaning than I ever wished for.

10. If you could step into the world of your book for a day, what would you do and who would you want by your side?
I have been living in this book since I began it in 2017 and am happy to have it out I the world and the writing of it behind me. Should I step back into it, I would want only myself by my side. I would hold the hand of the younger me and encourage her to love herself.

11. If your book were to inspire a social media challenge, what would it entail and how do you think it would resonate with your readers?
Social media challenges are beyond me other than to say I am aware that they are a part of our world. That being said, I would be interested to see what people might choose to share with #SomeTruthsLieBeneath. It can be quite liberating to share things about yourself that no one would guess to be true.

12. Now that your book is finished, how do you feel about sharing your story with the world? What advice would you give to others who may be hesitant to share their own truths?
Regardless of how this book is received, I feel a sense of freedom having it out in the world. Everyone makes decisions in their own time, and I would never advise someone to share their truth unless they have come to the conclusion that was what they wanted to do. Nothing of this magnitude should be shared because some else encourages you to do it. It must only be done if it’s what your heart dictates. I was not able to share my story when I felt hesitant – it was only possible to lose that hesitancy with the passage of time. I needed to let my own evolution dictate the time for sharing. That is what I would advise others to do as well.

13. Would you be open to providing personal counseling to individuals who have experienced a similar journey to yours? If so, is there a way for them to contact you or meet you for support?
I wouldn’t say personal “counseling,” but I would be open to conversations which might provide support. My email address is listed in the back of the book for that purpose. It is [email protected]

Some Truths Lie Beneath is available for pre-order on Amazon

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