Lilian Garcia has praised WWE superstar Shotzi Blackheart for her incredible ‘courage’ opening up about her horrific sexual abuse.
The Chasing Glory host – whose podcast is now available on the WWE Network – chatted to the NXT wrestler for last week’s episode, and the 28-year-old star spoke candidly about her experiences.
Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, Lilian said: ‘I really want people to see that episode. They’ll understand what Chasing Glory is all about…
‘I just appreciate her courage for going out and speaking about this. I think that she and others that have done this are giving people permission, I always say – own your story.
‘We all go through something. Don’t hide it, share it, so that we can start healing the world. We have to start healing each other… That’s the only way as people in this world that we can start connecting, no judgement and really make an impact.’
Lilian admitted she was ‘brought to tears’ by a letter Shotzi penned on social media – which the former ring announcer read out on Zoom during our interview – after their interview appeared on the WWE Network.
In the emotional post, the wrestler said: ‘I usually keep things light and above the surface so this is the first time I have ever talked about my childhood publicly and it makes me nervous that it is out but it also feels really good.
‘I honestly didn’t know I was going to get this deep when the interview started to articulating my story was difficult and new to me but it is a conversation I want to have more.
‘The part I struggle with when I’m opening up is not feeling like a burden and accepting that someone will listen/believes me/cares even though I know I have a lot of people in my life that do care.
‘I don’t own this burden and I don’t deserve to carry the weight of it. I hope this interview encourages others to let go of the burdens in their life that don’t belong to them.’
Shotzi – who also revealed during the heartbreaking and inspiring podcast that she was sexually assaulted in high school – explained how musical theatre and pro wrestling have been her therapy, while she did also talk to ‘a really awesome therapist’.
‘Performing was always just like therapy in itself. So I think I always chased it, so I think wrestling is therapy for me too. And now I just need it. It’s in me now,’ she told Lilian.
‘I just was like, “I don’t want friends. I just want musical theatre. I just want to hide in the theatre.”
‘So I kind of did. I just stayed in the theatre, I ate lunch in the theatre, I just focused on musical theatre.’
Lilian – who has been open about her own mental health struggles and battles with bulimia in the past – hopes her podcast can continue to encourage people to speak out about important issues.
‘There’s other things that I would like to open up and talk about,’ she said. ‘I love that we have a platform and I love that WWE embraced this.’
*Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia is available on the free version of the WWE Network.
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