October / Morgan
Updated: May 5, 2020
Name - Morgan Simpson
Age - 24
Lives in - Lexington, KY
Alma Mater - Asbury University
Studied - Media Communications
Graduated - 2015
Drinks her coffee - Rattlesnake (Irish cream/vanilla/chocolate drink from Lexington’s Common Grounds)
Last read - Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Job title - Assistant Store Manager at Fan Outfitters KY
Responsible for: Opening/closing the store, maintaining an organized sales floor, performing inventory checks, coaching associates towards 35% conversion, and managing conflict.
SIB: A 2013 Washington Post article (see here) notes that only about 27% of college grads have a job that is closely related to their major. Why do you think that is?
MS: I know for me, I could have a job in media communications, I would just have to move. I thought I would want to move, [but] I want to stay close to my family right now. (Morgan’s family lives nearby in central Kentucky.) So maybe that’s part of it, maybe people aren’t living in the location they need to be. It’s very scary to do that.
SIB: Most people tell you that if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life. Does turning something into a job ruin it? Should some interests be just for fun?
MS: I’ve never had a full-time job in my field, so I can’t speak from experience. But as a person who’s working retail and would like to [one day] be elsewhere, by the time I’m done with work, my energy’s low; I don’t have as much time to work on the things I’m passionate about. And I also feel like I’m passionate about too many things, so that doesn’t help me! That being said, I think if you can pursue what you’re interested in, you should, but sometimes it’s just not realistic. I feel like personally, with student loans, I have to ride this wave of a consistent job, whereas my passions would make me a freelancer.
SIB: There is the pressure to have ONE interest that you are super good at. You have many interests and talents (i.e., writing and singing). Tell me about balancing all those things.
MS: Honestly, right now, it’s whatever I feel like doing. If I don’t feel like singing, then I’ll go and start writing. Then with Midnight Sun, it’s more of a priority because it’s a duty of mine. It’s not an official job, but I’m a part of the team.
SIB: Midnight Sun is a Lexington-based documentary group telling raw stories of hope and healing through Jesus. Where did the name come from? How did you get involved in the project, and what’s your role in it now?
MS: My roommate Megan told me back in June or July that she had had this [idea] for the longest time, telling stories about people overcoming things, but she’s not oriented in videography, writing, that type of thing. So she had this desire but didn’t know how to execute [it]. She got this group of friends together, asked us if we were interested in it. She said she needed a writer; I was like, “Pick me!” That’s one way I can write and be doing something meaningful.
One of the members of the team, Yousef, he’s really good with ideas on the spot. Megan said, “What should the name be of this organization?” And Yousef out of the blue goes, “Midnight Sun!” We were like, “That’s perfect!” Because it’s a symbol of what it means to overcome something in life. There’s always going to be midnights in our [lives] where we don’t see the light of hope, but eventually, the sun does come out.
Megan and her team [will] record for a full day and come back with all this video and audio. I transcribe most of it, then convert that into the story. I try to keep [a story] as much in the voice of the person talking as I can. I don’t get to meet these people, so I just have to base it off of what’s in the audio. I’m still learning how all that works. So far, so good, I think. *laughs*
SIB: Obviously, it’s important to educate on social issues, which you’re doing with Midnight Sun. How would you recommend people act on what they learn?
MS: Don’t stay stagnant. Say you’re inspired by the homeless couple story we have up right now, you can easily get involved with many organizations that are giving shelter and food to homeless people. You’ve got to be active and looking for opportunities, though. They’re not just going to come to you.
Also, just telling people about the story could create a ripple effect. You don’t know what other people are going through, so if you’re just shooting the breeze with someone, bring up the story that you read. You never know what that could trigger in someone else, what that could ignite. Whether sharing it on Facebook or talking about it with a friend, stories are meant to be shared, and that’s where their power is.
SIB: You and your sister, Miara, have been making music together for at least seven years. (Their Christian Alternative band MiMo garnered 1.4k views of their cover of Jonathan Thulin's "Compass.") How do you enjoy the benefits of knowing your creative partner super well while maintaining a working relationship?
MS: We’ve had some real struggles with that, especially when we were younger. It would result in heated arguments, if not fights. It was just a very sensitive thing where we’re writing these very personal songs and trying to get each other together, like, “No, you need to sing this note this way because that conveys this emotion!” It’s something that we have gradually tried to get better at, working together as creative partners. As we’ve grown and matured, we’re able to hear each other out and understand what we want from each other.
SIB: Should artists create art for their audience or for themselves?
MS: You don’t want to have the inside joke thing where people are looking around like, “I don’t get this.” But if your writing is true to yourself, I think that is going to resonate in people’s hearts. Not everybody. It might be a really small group of people. But I don’t think we should compromise that. That’s something that I’ve never struggled with in my music. All of my songs have a similar flow, and it’s kind of sleepy. I’ve tried to write faster songs, and it just doesn’t work for me. That’s my soul’s BPM. So I’m going to keep doing the melodies that come into my head, the words that come together, even if I don’t understand it.
SIB: You mentioned spending time in prayer and journaling is important for your well-being. What other activities help you stay centered and peaceful?
MS: Another one of my hobbies is painting. I really have only used acrylics. I actually got to sell a few paintings. [Once] I got commissioned to do this Prince painting; I think it turned out the best. And then I love Celtic music, so I listen to Celtic music and paint away and it’s almost like being suspended in time. I don’t have anything else to worry about but the brush in my hands, the colors, and this Celtic music in the background. It’s wonderful.
SIB: You limit yourself to fast food once a week. When it’s a cheat day, where’s your favorite place to go?
MS: *laughing* I go to McDonald’s, and I get a fry and a sweet tea. The four years I was [in college], I did not go to McDonald’s one time. Started working at Fan Outfitters, [McDonald's is] right around the corner, and people bring it in, and that smell…there’s something scientific and wrong about that smell. So as soon as I kept smelling that I literally - no self-control - have to go to McDonald’s. Whenever I do feel unhealthy I just drink a spinach smoothie.
SIB: You always have such a fresh face. How do you keep your skin so glowing and healthy??
MS: I drink a lot of water. I was doing [Clean N Clear’s] anti-breakout soap plus astringent. My skin is still healing from that. I just went back to using Dove soap. I don’t do anything too special. I only wear makeup for special occasions too, and that’s not because I feel any [negative] way about it, it’s just personally I don’t like the way it feels on my face.
SIB: What makes you feel beautiful?
MS: One time [at work], there [was] this little kid staring at me, and he tugs at his mom’s shirt and points at me and is like, “Is that a boy or a girl?” It’s only happened a handful of times but it feels like a direct attack against me. I usually end up calling my mom crying about it. Those times I definitely don’t feel beautiful.
The first time that I felt beautiful was in prayer. I remember this one particular time, I was on something like [Pinterest], and I was looking at pictures of black girls with their natural hair, and it was the first time that I felt it looked beautiful. That was a huge transitory time in my life, where I was like, “I’m not beautiful because of anything I put on, I am beautiful because God made me.” And then once you see yourself that way, you see everybody else that way too. It was like God dropped a lightbulb on me. I just didn’t see it. I spent my whole life trying to appear a certain way, and I still struggle with that.
I always believed that God loved me but it was in this blanket way, like how He loves everyone. I kept blocking Him because of feeling unworthy. But it wasn’t until I could see myself the way that He sees me that I could accept the true love that He has for me. And that changes everything.
I feel like the way that I explained it, it sounds like it happened like that. [But] it’s not easy just believing the truth. You have to work at it. Ultimately, I’m just so grateful that God would even take the time to work on that with me and free me of those things that seem petty but are really devastating to the soul.
SIB: Today’s society incites a lot of fear of offending others. This can cause one to feel bad about her convictions. How do you stay strong in your beliefs and identity in the face of rejection?
MS: It’s hard to be truthful about my beliefs because they can be dismissed as blindly following God or the Bible, but as a believer, you believe the Bible because of all the truths you’ve found in it. Unfortunately, the loudest voices representing Christians don’t line up with the Bible at all. The Bible says “Do not judge.” We’re supposed to help our brothers and sisters in Christ grow, but as far as unbelievers, you can’t judge them. They don’t have the moral code we do. You can’t describe holiness to someone who doesn’t believe in it. It’s like describing a whole other color.
I have to reflect God’s love to people. Cheesy train coming, but we are as Christians representations of Jesus in this world. Sometimes I have a hard time picturing if Jesus was walking around on this earth, how He would be responding to all these different things. I don’t think [He] would be posting on Facebook about it, I think He would be talking face to face with people about it. As a Christian, we should be standing up for those [who] feel ignored. We should be right there with them.
SIB: What do you consider your biggest strengths?
MS: I think I can calm people down easily if they’re worked up. I’m a big empathy person. I also have leadership abilities. I’m a leader right now at work, but as far as God’s kingdom, I don’t know what that would look like later. I feel like I am a [good listener]. I don’t know if independence is a strength, but I feel like I am independent.
SIB: What does balance mean to you?
MS: Balance is being at a place in your life where one single event won’t make or break you. [You’re] at this place where you’re mature, you’re able to handle things as they come at you, and then on the other side [working] on something that’s meaningful to you.