Since the late September debut of Megyn Kelly’s Today Show, we’ve seen her discuss Stephen Curry’s favorite dish with the basketball star’s wife (it’s chicken parm), rub elbows with the female cast of SNL, hang out with a police dog, and dish on whether or not it’s possible to pull off Mom Jeans. For anyone who’s paid attention to the mega-watt TV star’s career over the last decade, you could practically hear this screeching, 180-degree pivot from her not-so-distant biting journalism days.
Oh yes, Kelly’s sharp tongue has certainly been dulled, and according to a recent in-depth interview between her and Elle Magazine reporter, Mattie Kahn, Kelly is delighted to be sitting in the warm-and-fuzzy inducing Today show chair.
“I'm not trying to orchestrate anything one way or another over here. I'm just trying to help people live better lives and talk about issues that I care about...in a way that's smart and compelling and dynamic and, at times, provocative and surprising and, at times, just pure fun,” Kelly stated in the interview.
When asked about whether the “extra joy” Kelly had found in her new gig surprised her, and whether she was “itching to let this all out” while at Fox, she got real honest. Yes to all the above, she said, adding that she “hadn’t felt joy for a long time.”
“When you live in a world full of vitriol and combat, you get used to it,” Kelly told Kahn. “It just turns into a slow burn of unhappiness. It seemed like there was one crisis to the next for a while there, which burned up a lot of emotional real estate at work and at home… I'm really good at compartmentalizing. If something is going bad at the office, I don't bring it home with me. I developed that skill as a lawyer. But it was starting to seep over. Compartmentalization wasn't as effective as it had once been because it had just reached such a huge magnitude.”
For Kelly, removing herself from that figurative journalistic combat zone — and “the darkness of politics” — has been a blessing. She’s admittedly happier, and honestly, who wouldn’t be happier cuddling up to police dogs, hanging out with Morgan Freeman, and telling inspirational, feel-good stories? Especially when on the other side of the fence you’ve got a snarling president and fiery, palpable hate coming at you from every direction.
Sometimes, for some people — for at least a portion of their lives — the grass truly is greener elsewhere and it’s OK to break out the lawn chair.
Megyn Kelly. Photo courtesy of Business Insider
“If you didn't know her before Donald Trump unleashed his Twitter account on her, you knew her after. I think that may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Megyn Kelly is a very smart woman. She knows journalism and was not going to be swayed into going down the Donald Trump rabbit hole,” said media expert Christina Nicholson, a former TV reporter and anchor who covered news in NYC, Miami, and Fort Myers, Fla. “People go nuts if you have a political disagreement — no matter how minor. On morning and daytime TV, things just aren't that serious. I think she is looking for something a little easier, less stressful, and new.”
This transition will certainly be a challenge, and it will be interesting to see how Kelly fares in the apolitical spotlight. We’ve seen a little bit of clashing already.
For example, her questioning Jane Fonda about her plastic surgery, and Fonda’s immediate bristling; and her lack of excitement over the eclipse compared to the eagerness of co-stars Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer.
“Even though we knew her before her new role, she is a whole new brand now. She's going from serious coverage to lifestyle; from an audience mostly made up of men to women,” said Nicholson. “It's a challenge.
It's a challenge because it's almost like starting over again. There's no doubt she is good at what she does, but she is in a new niche, with a new audience.
In that sense, the “get to know you, like you, and trust you game” is essentially starting all over again for Kelly, only she has a “past life,” if you will, that may make it more difficult to win people over.
Many people try to reinvent themselves, said Nicholson, but rebranding doesn’t always work out as seamlessly as you’d like.
“For example, the Kardashians are a hit, but Kris Jenner's talk show was not. It was a different demographic,” she said. “When you change your fan base, you're taking a risk. Sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn't.”
For Megyn Kelly, the fence hop may work. We’ll just have to wait and see whether the audience is willing to get to know this new, friendlier side of her, and, more importantly, whether they like it.
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."