As we continue to spotlight the many remarkable women of North Dakota, we found one woman who is using her traumatic experience to give a voice to others.
Meet Lindsay Nowling.
“It’s been the breakthrough for me, so I hope it helps others,” said Nowling, an Intelligence Specialist with the North Dakota Air National Guard.
A former University of Mary student and track athlete, a single mother and intelligence professional for the North Dakota Air National Guard, Lindsay Nowling seems to do it all.
But life hasn’t always been easy for her.
“I was having some issues with things that came up in my time serving, and I recognized that I needed some assistance. So, I got into the VA. Then they asked if I wanted to be a volunteer for the women’s health as well as mental health department,” said Nowling.
After once falling victim to sexual abuse, her current mission is to help others who’ve experienced similar traumas.
“In the middle of the night, I woke up 3 o’clock in the morning. Saw a pen and notebook on my desk and I just started writing. Words fell out, and it turned into a poem,” said Nowling.
Nowling’s words have been adapted into a song by Alyssia Ruffin who works with Mission 22, a nonprofit organization for veteran suicide awareness.
Those close to her tell us they are proud of their friend.
“We all need something. So, I knew she was seeking a way of outlet of dealing with it and coping. That made me happy,” said Kayla Skelton, Lindsay’s friend.
“She has a lot to say, and I think that if she keeps going, she’s going to do phenomenally well,” said Wendy Dannenfelzer, Lindsay’s childhood basketball coach.
Skelton, who’s been a longtime friend to Nowling, says not very many people can do what she’s done.
“I love the fact that she’s vulnerable enough to realize that, ‘Hey this is my weakness. I need to work on this. I’m going to figure out a way to do it, and not being ashamed of that.’ Putting it out there,” said Skelton.
While Nowling has shared her writing with close friends, others she’s served with may be surprised to hear about her new passion.
“They don’t really know about it yet, but they’re going to. Yeah, it’s kind of interesting. I’ve kind of kept it pretty close to the heart for right now,” said Nowling.
The song is called “Collateral Damage”. Nowling tells us the last lyrics speaks to her the most.
“This is all my heart can manage, for you have been my collateral damage,” said Nowling.
The song is available for pre-sale Monday and will be officially released to iTunes and Spotify Friday.
Next month, Nowling plans to go on to be a panelist on the Clothesline Project in Fargo, for sexual assault awareness.