The Privilege of Struggle

The Privilege of Struggle

I woke up this morning cocooned in forty-seven comforters, decorated with one aging Huskie mix just before dawn, but had no intentions of leaving this source of warmth for several hours. It’s day four of no power post-nor’easter, day 98 post-reconstructive ankle surgery and I am in a lot of pain today, and it happens to be day 6,570 since my older brother died after contracting meningitis at college.

This day is poised perfectly to suck.

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It is Monday, March 5th, 2018. Monday is usually the day most people in my profession take “off”. Since I had taken off so much time to recover from surgery, I have decided to not take any “off” days for a while. That is my choice. I don’t do it because I want praise for work ethic (I know, I am so brave and strong), I do it because I actually love working and I want my business to be successful. My dad is a work-aholic and my mom was a career house wife who did not know how to sit still. I happened to be the child who absorbed all these qualities. (Insert my friend Lacey, “You are a human being, not a human doing,” as I pace for no reason during my down time.)

“I feel privileged to have struggled as much as I have and to have come through the other side alive and able to laugh.”

One day a few weeks after my brother had died, my mom and I were sitting on the porch of my childhood home, smoking a True Menthol cigarette, which I was probably joining in (because at this time in my life there were literally no rules) and she looked at me with red, tear-stained eyes, and said, “What are we going to do?” I just sat there and stared at her, hoping deeply it was a rhetorical question because little did she know my priority was trying to plan my wedding to either Eminem or Lance Bass at this stage of my life. (Spoiler alert: Lance Bass is gay and Eminem was already married.) I will never forget this because it was in this moment I went from 14 to adult and decided I was supposed to start solving problems.

I feel privileged to have struggled as much as I have and to have come through the other side alive and able to laugh, still trudging towards the future and still with some faith in humanity. I have found some amazing friends along the way – some of whom are going through some tough times themselves right now. None of which I can fully understand, but I do know I have a duty to make sure they keep going and land on the other side with a smile on their face.

March 5th has marked a particularly sad day in my life for 18 years now, with the 3-year anniversary of my mom’s passing just a few days after. But after this much time to digest and process a traumatic experience, I am able to begin to recognize the positive influence of all the struggles, particularly the ability to appreciate the humor and positivity in the most dire of circumstances.

March 5th isn’t so bad if I spin it the right way. I’m enjoying an overpriced yet delicious yuppie hippie coffee beverage in our local Starbucks which happens to have heat, power, internet and has graciously put out surge protectors for people to power up after a long, cold weekend. I am getting ready to go ride some horses and teach some fun students, and then I get to go to physical therapy where I have some awesome doctors helping me not be so clumsy/injured/weak. My gym got power this morning so I fully intend on showering there later. And my bed is awesome and warm even if there is no heat ever. Boom, spun that.

Not all of you had the privilege of meeting my brother Pat, or even Mama K – and for this I am deeply sorry. They were beyond. But in their spirit, especially in the month of March – if you are feeling so inclined, pick someone else up and show them something worth smiling about.

Feature photo by Nicole Severino.

This post originally appeared on, and has been published here with Megan’s permission.

Written by Megan Kepferle

Megan Kepferle is a professional event rider and coach living in Long Valley, New Jersey, where she runs Kepferle Equestrian. Previously, she served as a four-star and World Championship groom for Sinead Halpin and as the Area II NAJYRC coach.