I've had true crime addictive tendencies ever since I can remember. When I was little and my mom would finish reading her People magazine, I would snatch it up and immediately head to whatever crime story was published in that issue.
I'm convinced that a big part of my fascination with true crime stems from being the daughter of a New York State Trooper. While my Dad was really good about not bringing work home with him, I was acutely aware from a young age that monsters weren't in closets or under the bed, but rather were ordinary men and women, and it was my Dad's job to catch them. On a lighter note, I would giggle with glee when my Dad would come home in the Troop car with the lights on, blaring "bad boys, bad boys, watcha gonna do, watcha gonna do when they came for you." And take your daughter to work day was hands down the best day of the year.
True crime addicts usually have a defining event or case that they believe solidified their interest in the subject. Mine was 9/11.
I was seven when my Mom picked me up unexpectedly from after school care and told me that a plane had crashed into a really big building in New York City. I thought, what a terrible accident that must have been. We got home, turned on the news, and for the rest of the evening watched in horror at the events unfolding hours away from us. Although I was seven, I knew the severity of the situation.
The attacks happened during the midst of the stay of our Foreign Exchange Student, who spoke English very well but with the confusion surrounding the terror, my parents switched the channel to a Spanish speaking news station so she could have a better idea of what was happening. The images showed on this channel were much more graphic. The zoomed in image of a man jumping to his death is forever imprinted on my brain.
After seeing that image, I was ushered upstairs to watch TV in my parents room before eventually drifting off to sleep. The next day my second grade teacher gathered us together to discuss what had transpired. When she asked if we knew what happened, my hand shot in the air and I proceeded to regurgitate the facts known at the time. I'll never forget her eyes going wide as I talked about people jumping from the fiery buildings. She quickly urged me to stop talking.
From that point on, I was always intrigued by shows, movies, or books involving true crime. I never really talked about this dark interest of mine, I didn't hide it necessarily but it wasn't something I broadcasted.
It wasn't until a year ago when I found the Podcast, "My Favorite Murder," that true crime became a concrete interest of mine.
If you've never heard of the show, you probably just guffawed at the name (because I know I did when I first heard about it). The hosts, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, tell true crime stories to each other every week and do so in the most laid back, but captivating way. In the year and a half the show has been out, they have garnered a massive following, taking their show live across the country and overseas.
I found My Favorite Murder right after I uncovered my memories of being sexually abused as a child. Putting in my headphones, and diving into other people's trauma became a way to cope. If you've never experienced abuse then I'm sure that sounds callous. But when you're at the office, trying to get work done and all you can think about is how alone and violated you feel, getting lost in someone else's story, puts your horror - your trauma - into perspective. When images of being abused keep flashing in your mind as you try to be productive, focusing on the details and facts of a case leaves no room for memories to appear.
After participating in the main MFM Facebook group (there's over 200,000 members), where I get awesome recommendations for true crime media and get notified about ongoing cases, I joined a sub-group to help with weight loss accountability. I have never felt more comfortable in my body as I do today and I absolutely believe this group helps with that. We are all different shapes, sizes, and ages and have different goals but we are there to support each other.
About a month and a half ago I went looking for a sub-group for Survivors of abuse. To my surprise, there wasn't one, so I decided to make one. And I am so glad that I did. I don't attend any support groups, so having this virtual platform where I can pop in whenever I need help, is a coping mechanism that I didn't even know I was missing. But, more importantly, I love that this group gives all of us Survivors a place to lift each other up.
In the first year of my true crime "addiction" I have learned that it's actually really common. Everyone has a "favorite" case even if they don't openly discuss it. Interestingly, children of law enforcement/first responders and survivors of abuse make up a big portion of the Murderino (My Favorite Murder fans) community.
So now that I've outed myself as a true crime addict, I'll wrap this up by saying the official Murderino closing: Stay sexy, and don't get murdered!