LESSONS LEARNED THE HARD WAY, oh why Oh why do we have to always learn the hard way!
“Once you choose HOPE, anything’s possible!”, Christopher Reeve
Hey, YOUR BACKUP PLAN TRIBE! Welcome to our awesome show our awesome podcast this week with Ms. Exceptional, beautiful guest that, of course our title is Lessons learned the hard way.
Yes, we always learn difficult lessons. And we always seem to learn them the most difficult way that there is. I’m not sure why. There must be a theory around that somewhere, of course. But if you are new here, welcome. Welcome to YOUR BACKUP PLAN TRIBE. Talking Taboo with Tina. It’s always so difficult to say, brought to you by YOUR BACKUP PLAN if you are a returning subscriber. Thank you so much for watching our shows. My name is Tina Ginn. I am an Emergency preparedness coach, a Best selling Author of in the blink of an eye.
Yes, everything happens in the blink of an eye. That’s right. Everything seems to do that. I’m a Financial expert, and an App Developer of YOUR BACKUP PLAN APP. And I’m located here in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
So welcome, say thank you so much to our United States, and Canada listeners, as well as our upcoming countries that keep on moving up the ladder, like Germany. Welcome. Welcome, German listeners. Thank you so so very much for listening, Ireland and Sweden is going to be next and I’ll be practicing whichever one beats the other one. I will be doing that accent as well. I’ll definitely need some help and guidance around that one.
So welcome, welcome. You know, we we what do we focus on on talking to boo with Tina, of course, REAL RAW conversations that are real with our listeners about the guests journey from a life changing event in their life?
LESSONS LEARNED THE HARD WAY. Yes. So I am so excited to let you know that our guest today is going to be really delving deep into spinal cord injury. And what that looks like for individuals. It’s quite common. And I’m surprised that there isn’t more discussion around that. And I’m so thankful and blessed to be able to bring that to our listeners today to be able to hear the other side of what it’s like. Your backup plan app puts your life all in one place. So that it’s for any unpredictable circumstance. What could that be? It could be a car accident, it could be hearing the cancer word or heart attack, or stroke, or a disability or coma, or wildfire, which is just unbelievable in the Pacific Northwest, all the way from California, to Oregon to Washington State and to British Columbia and Alberta right now. It’s crazy with the amount of crazy wildfires that are going on. People are being evacuated. People are losing their homes, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, as well as I’d like to say I’m send out my prayers and my love to all those in the surf side. Condo collapse in Florida in the last month. That was a horrible, horrible tragedy.
And I would like to also put out my wishes to all those affected by the awful, awful floods that have been happening in China, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany. All around the world. It’s, it’s, it’s a crazy, crazy world out there this summer. And if I didn’t have enough with COVID, they just threw us some more stuff that we have to deal with. So I would like to move on and bring on our special guest. Your backup plan will help you put all of that stuff into one place so that it’s accessible for you when you really, really need it the most. Because you never know what the expect unexpected. Expect the unexpected, because that’s really what life is from one day to the next. So on that note, I would love to bring in Marjorie Ono’s she is from beautiful Montreal, Canada. Not very far from me, actually.
Yes. Hi, everyone.
Hi, Tina. Hi, Marjorie, I am so excited to have you on our show today. I’m just going to give everyone a little beautiful introduction from from us here. Marjorie honest, is a Ph. D is a psychologist, inspirational speaker, author and researcher from Montreal, Canada. Her expertise is working with parents with patients with I’m going to put my glasses on that will help who have intellectual disabilities. In 2012. She sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident, mother to a 16 month old at the time, the accident and subsequent injury gave her an instant interesting perspective on parenting, and having a disability. Marjorie believes that focusing on our strengths of character can lead to living a fulfilling life. With her family, she learned to be a solution finder to make her world more accessible. Isn’t that the truth? Her memoir, with lessons learned will be published in 2022. You can follow her and listen to her inspirational speeches on her social media accounts. And they’re all linked down below in the description box. And before I forget, I didn’t mention to any new subscribers, please like, share and subscribe to our channel.
Because I always get our out our hand. Our hand is going to tell us here somewhere down below to press the subscribe button. And of course the like button. If you enjoy this broadcast, I would be happy if you could like, share and subscribe to those that you love and care about because Marjorie has a great story for us today. Where did it all start? Marjorie for you did you find in your life?
Um, well, the first thing that I would say is that I always was someone who is very active and physical. I’d love to play, you know, different sports. And I had the belief that I could achieve and do anything that I put my mind to. So you know, with just plain grit. And you could see behind me there’s a wall of inspiration and greatest part of it. And perseverance is part of it. Because I really did feel that I was someone who, you know, like a dog on a bone would just like, work through anything and achieve everything that she wanted to. And so that was my mindset. And so it happened then, you know, I turned 30 I was in a relationship. He didn’t want to have child and I really wanted to become a mom. So I’d love that man. And, you know, with grit and determination and perseverance. Realize realized that I could do it on my own. So I became a single mom by choice a few years after that. And so, you know, I mean, we talk about backup plan here. So I was I thought I had it all. And so I I was like you know I’m a single parent, I need to have a will in case I die. It needs to be super clear. Who’s going to take care of my child who’s going to you know, how he’s going to get my money, my house and so forth. So I thought I was like, you know all prepared because I knew I had my backup plan in case I died. And then when he was 16 months old after a week of super a lot of fun with my whole family and my parents cottage, I was going back to work. So back to Montreal, my son was staying a little longer with my sister and my parents. And on the way over my car had black eyes. And at the first sway I, I knew that was it, I knew I knew that day was my day to die. And at first, I felt very okay with that. I was like, You know what, we all die someday, today’s a pretty good day the sun is out, I spent a whole week have so much fun with my most favorite people in the world. My son is safe with my parents and my, my sister, you know, they’ll take care of him, and every thing will be beautiful for him. And as I set that, or thought that in my head, I realized, well hold on a second, I sort of like, created him on my own. And I had made promises, you know, in a way to him, just to say that I was going to be there to make sure that he’s safe and that he grows up, you know, fully loved. And supported.
And supported. Yep. And so I said I can die. I just can’t, I have to live. And that’s when you know, it’s really amazing how all of this goes through your mind in seconds.
Oh, quarter of second. I don’t even think that it was a few seconds. But it’s crazy. And I could go on because it was like so clear in my head. And I just know that, you know, it ended with me thinking about Thomas and saying his name. And I then lost consciousness and I was hit obviously. And I woke up according to that papers, you know, like the the file that they have from from the car accident. I woke up probably 20 minutes after the the impact. And when I woke up, I I could barely see my vision was very blurry. My hearing was very muffled. So I couldn’t like hear very much. And my legs felt like marshmallows. And I was like, I had pins and needles. And it’s funny because I mean, spoiler alert, or alert, I have a spinal cord injury. And right now as I’m talking about, like, what it was in the car, and how like my legs felt like, like pins and needles, my whole legs are right now feeling like pins and needles up to like my toes. A similar feeling that I had in the car. But um, yeah. And so then I realized that I couldn’t move or feel my arms. And that’s when I really got scared. Because I was like, Well, you know, dying, would have been okay, because I had a will. Right? So I didn’t, I wasn’t scared of dying. But then all of a sudden, I was scared of like not being able to move my arms. Because what would that mean? How, how could I take care of my son if I couldn’t move anything below my neck? And really it was below my neck. And yourself and your and myself? Yeah, exactly. But I think at that point, I was very, very focused on Thomas. And so I was like, I need to have my arms back. And like, right before the impact, I had sort of like, asked for God to live. And I’m not very spiritual. But at that time, I you know, I called on on God. And when I realized that I couldn’t move my arms, I called on God again. And I sort of said, like, you have to give me back my arms, because I need to be able to hug him. And then I said it again, you have to give me back my arms because that’s the only way I could hug him. And you have to give me back my arms because I want to raise him. And so and the last time that I asked, I said please, please give me back my arms. I’ll promise I’ll make it okay. And so I sort of made that promise of being okay. Which I have to say. I wasn’t very, very good at keeping that promise. I’m struggling every day. Certainly at the beginning was harder and there’s moments in the past 10 years because it’s been 10 years where I wasn’t able to fulfill that promise. But my arms came back. And they came back like fully so I have full strength on my arms. And I got my spine got hit in the neck, but not as severely as it got hit in the middle of my back. And that’s why, you know, below my armpits to my toes, I’m paralyzed. And that’s how it started. Really? Yeah.
When did your arm feelings start coming back right away? Or if that slowly?
No, it came back, like right away? After seeing it the fourth time? Yeah, I felt my fingers move. And right away, I said, Oh, you have to stop moving. Because obviously something really, really bad happened. And, you know, if you move, you might injure it again. And you don’t want that.
So did you? Do you know what you did? When you slip? Did you go straight forward and keep going around in a circle? Or did you go off? Or?
LESSONS LEARNED THE HARD WAY. Yeah, I went off. So I went. So I went, there’s a sway to the left. And that’s like, often when I tell the story, that’s the first thing, it starts with a Sway on the left. And that’s when my thoughts start. And then there’s a Sway on the right. And as I suede on the right. So I knew there was a car behind me. And I knew that from before the the I hit black ice. And I knew that because I felt like they were like, really too close to me from like comfort. But I was, I was driving at 80 kilometers an hour on a road that I could go up to 90. And I knew there was a pickup truck coming the other way. Cuz I had also seen him. And then when I did the sway to the right, I realized that there was sort of like, a little hill. And so basically, my car would it would have been, it couldn’t go anywhere on the right because of sort of that hill. And what the car did is a 90 degree turn as if I was turning. And so basically the pickup truck hit exactly in the back of the car, and hit exactly where my son would have been if he had been with me. Uh huh.
And then spun you around, I guess once a year, right?
Yeah, well, I don’t know after that, because, yeah, I was unconscious. During that whole impact?
Yeah. So, um, the seat belt is supposed to save you. What do you think happened? Was it just the impact from the side that you think did it or?
Well, actually, and I can’t prove it, but my thought has always been that, because I was hit so hard. On the side, you know, like, the seat belt is there to protect you like from coming forward and backwards? To sort of hold you there. In my case, I got hit. And so the impact was on the side to side. And I believe there was also a how do we call them? airbag? Yes, on the side of my door, and an airbag in my, in the wheel. And so I think it’s a combination of all of that it was it just like, prevented me from doing a, I guess, normal movement, or it pushed me further. And the, the spine, you know, with the sort of got severed to a point or got hit that way from side to side. And our bodies not that’s meant to move that way. Right is the high impact. So yes, it’s very surprising when you see some vehicles in a car accident, and they basically walk out and then some of them don’t even look that bad and they pass away. You know, none of it really makes any sense sometimes know that. Yeah. So you just laid there and waited for the emergency to come and you didn’t wake up until they were there.
Well, actually from my memory when I, when I was in the car. And I was like getting, you know, like doing my diagnostic, in a way, I heard a man’s voice. And in my memory, this is the driver of the pickup truck. And in my memory and don’t ask me how I know, it’s maybe like things that I’ve heard but didn’t realize, I think he was sort of a paramedic, who had just finished his shift, and he was going home. And so he actually called I guess, his colleagues to come. And as I was doing the diagnostic, I could hear him sort of say, Oh, don’t worry, don’t move. I called 911. Everybody’s coming. And so I know that we were three cars. So the car behind me also got into the car accident. And he was basically sort of walking between the two cars. I don’t know, you know, I know that he’s fine. I don’t know what happened with the people, you know, in the other car. But I don’t think they were hit as badly as me. Because when, when you get hit like that in in Quebec, and my province, there’s, you know, pretty much like one trauma hospital. And so I was the only one that day, so I know that the other person, like didn’t get hit the same way. So he was telling me like not to move, and then I would come in and out of consciousness. So to prevent myself from moving, and from injuring myself further, I felt that by having my eyes close, it would prevent me from having sort of, like, you know, officially something Well, yeah, and if you see something like on the corner of your eye, you’ll want to turn your head and I didn’t want to turn my head, because I sort of figured, you know, that it had to do something with my spine. And I’m not a doctor, but, or a medical doctor. But in psychology, we do study, you know, anatomy to some extent. And so I knew that much, right? That I needed to be careful. And so when, when the firefighters and the ambulance came, I was basically sort of lying on my side in the car. So I was really like my head was resting on the passenger seat. In my car, my legs, were still on the pedals. And yeah, and then they open like the door, my door. And then they opened the passenger door. And I had an ambulance worker there. And he put sort of like something around my neck, he asked me questions, and I answered. I told them about my legs that, you know, they felt like marshmallows. And I had you know, the the arms and he was basically coaching me and sort of telling me what the other guys were doing.
They didn’t have to cut you out or anything they could pull a whole year out.
No, I think I think we had to work a bit on on the car to get you out.
Yeah. And that’s why that’s why this guy was beside my ear and sort of telling me not to worry.
Not so nice. They’re so good at what they do. I don’t know how they do it. Even even with mine, they they were I’m trying to make her laugh. They kept saying to the other guy I’m trying really hard to make like to Yeah, you change change it they’re just very very good at trying to get you to calm Yeah. and not be scared I guess.
You know, Marjorie, I it brings back all those same feelings but of course, you know they there’s nothing worse than sliding I find because you have absolutely no control. And you’re not sure what it’s going to do. You don’t know what your tires are going to do or what the road is, isn’t going to get better as you know that you’re going to keep sliding or it’s it’s just awful, awful feeling and watching basically watching your life in front of your eyes. And I think for me, I don’t know about you, but I can see how you are positioned all cockeyed in the car, of course. But this smells, I, I think you remember the sounds of the people talking, but the smells is what got me to that you can’t get that out of your mind.
Well see, that’s interesting, because in, in some of the speeches that I do, there was one, I was called Love, and it was really recounting the last those minutes that I just shared with you guys. And as I was writing the speech, I was trying to, to put in as much details as I could, so that whoever would listen to the speech would sort of like really feel like they were in the car with me. And the smell, I got nothing. Nothing, it smell nothing. It was like that sense did not exist in the car. Yet, I, I knew a lot about my eyes, I was very aware of my hearing. And of course, like anything, sensory in terms of like, my arms. And my legs what I was feeling, but nothing, nothing about the smell. So I have no idea. I don’t even know, you know, like, because I knew the firefighters were there probably to get me out of the car. So they’re the one who usually sort of destroy the car to make it open and stuff. And you know, I was there fire? I don’t know, was there gas? I have no idea. I? Yeah, smell was just not there for me.
Well, that could be a good thing. Because I’ll tell you, you can’t, you know, that smell of that. Memory in my mind is stuck in there. Yeah. And it’s kind of eerie. It’s an eerie. It’s a combination of the Arabic powder, and the motor. And that it’s a very eerie, dark smell. Yeah. And so thank goodness, you didn’t have that. Because, yeah, when you close your eyes, it’s, you know, what you would feel?
LESSONS LEARNED THE HARD WAY. Well see, for me, it’s the wash. It’s that feeling of like that first, like losing control, that has been haunting my dreams. And that have been haunting part of my life. So, of course, after the the injury when I was ready to like, I mean, I’m talking months after, to be, you know, in a car again. You know, every time like, if there was a little bush, I like I was back in my car, reliving it, which was very difficult, because there’s a few times, you know, my dad was driving, and we were going to see my sister who lives about seven hours away from us. And it was like winter, and if there’s a little bit of wind that makes the car to just like, you know, and the tires are still like on the road. But it’s sort of like that gusts of wind just makes the car move a little bit. And I’m like back, like, if that was like my traumatic trigger. And, you know, if my mom was driving, and, you know, again, sort of that whoosh or turning left, I couldn’t turn left for like, a minute years. I think it’s just in the recent years that I can turn left when you have to cross another lane, because every time I turned left, I could see the car sort of coming. And I was like my other trigger, which was you know, that so every time that I was in Montreal, and I needed to turn left, I would just do like a roundabout in terms of like, doing blocks, turning right. Right. Right. So that I could like go to the slot that I needed to. Yeah.
Yeah, so it’s interesting. Yeah, it is. It’s funny what our brain sticks with us. And yeah, and you can’t get it out after
I get it out there. Yeah. So how long were you in the hospital for?
So I was in the hospital for a month. And then I was in rehab for five months. In the hospital, I had amazing, amazing care. For the first 10 days. I was in the ICU unit, which meant that I had a nurse, just one nurse one patient because they wanted to make sure that we breathe properly and that everything because I was I underwent surgery that evening. They had to consolidate my spine in both my neck and in my back. And so I was in surgery for about eight, nine hours. And then as you did they fuse it.
They did. Yeah, exactly. So I have about three vertebrae fused in my neck. And four in my back.
Yeah. And then you went into rehabilitation after that after you got?
Yes. And so rehab was was an interesting time because in between ICU when rehab, I had a few weeks on the floors, where there are too few nurses for too many patients. And that was like, the, there’s part where I have trauma also there. When they sat me in the wheelchair and positioned me and the pain. It was like torture, and you know, like those movies where you see like torture scenes in them, you know, middle ages, you know, and where the they tried to dismember people. That’s how I felt on the wheelchair. And they could leave me in the wheelchair for two hours, because they were doing their rounds, and they couldn’t get to me. And so you imagined that really incredible pain for that time. And so that was the hospital. And when I left the hospital, I was sort of happy because I was like, Well, maybe you know, it’s not gonna hurt as much when I’m in rehab. And I’m lucky, because yes, that’s exactly what happened. So rehab was a place where I felt I was regaining some control. So from a woman who was controlling pretty much every aspect of her life, to someone who loves controlling the car, who had no control in the hospital, all of a sudden, I was empowered again, in terms of like, figuring what’s next. And the hour that was the most precious to me was the hour that I had with my physio therapist. That was like the hour where, oh, my god, like, I would grant I would swear at him, I would like just give it all, you know, it was like back at the gym. Where, you know, he would say, you know, jump in, I would say how high obviously, he wouldn’t say jump because I couldn’t jump, but he would tell me like, okay, we’re doing pull ups and, and, you know, I have a great story actually with pull ups cuz he made me do 101 just out of pure motivation, and wanted to see what my grit was how, how far I could go. And, yeah, and so that was like my saving grace, that was like my, my precious hour.
Some of the other hours were painful, some painful in a way that I needed to go through them to grow. And so those hours were with my occupational therapist, because with her and her aid, they had to put me in situation where I would get scared or where I was scared, scared of falling or scared of facing sort of like the emptiness and I have an example where at one point, I’m sitting sort of on a on a bed. And they put Kleenex box on my feet, and they asked me to go and pick it up. I was telling them, I can’t because I can’t feel my legs. So I can’t sort of like, go forward. Because I feel like I’m going to fall and I don’t have any abs. How am I going to do that? And they said, well just figure it out pick up the plane on Xbox, and one of my biggest fear is heights. And on a trip, like years before I had like tried to conquer my my fear of heights by doing by rappelling down a 60 foot cliff. And it was exactly the same feeling I was facing like, this is like a 60 feet. Cliff that I have to go over to get that Kleenex box and oh my god, I cried like I think all the tears that I had in my body I did it because again, like they knew like I was someone very strong on grit. And that if I was put in front of a child I would sort of like, get it. But it was really, really tough. And they put me that in a situation in that situation in front of my sister. And so I didn’t want to show weak. He didn’t want to show weakness.
Yeah. And so I just, that’s hard. That was hard. You know, and so physio was great. Yeah, ot hour wasn’t so great. Well, it was great, because I could regain. That was sort of the way that I needed to regain sort of some of my autonomies that was great in that in that space. And then the set me to psychology, and that was not great. I fired my psychologist after the second hour. And oh, my whole staff said, Oh, but you need to, and I was like, Yes, I do, that there’s no going back there. And the reason why is that, I felt like my life was dark enough. And I lived my whole day, you know, my whole 24 hours was darkness all the time. Except for that hour in physio. And for the time that I had with my son, my parents were amazing. And so they would bring Thomas to me every day after his nap. And so I would see him and so those were the two, you know, sort of things in my day that were that brought lightness, everything else was like, as if we’re turning the light off. And, you know, our work, yeah, to look forward to it.
Exactly. So, but psychology, they wanted me to talk about like, the accident and what that meant, and my losses and whatever. And I was like, Fuck, no, I live my losses every single minute. Except for those two hours that I have sort of light a little bit. I’m like, I’m not doing that. I’m not like rehashing darkness over darkness. And that is something that’s profoundly important in my story, because a few years ago, so we’re talking like eight years after the accident, I learned about positive psychology. So even being a psychologist, I didn’t even realize that there’s there was sort of this thing called positive psychology. And I didn’t know about character strength either. And it’s when I started learning about that, that I realized, that is what I needed in rehab, I would have needed someone to talk to me about my strength of love, you know, I survived the car accident because I loved my son so much. And I was working so hard in physio, because I love my son so much, right, I wanted to regain as much autonomy as I could. And so that was very empowering to, to see or to feel like, Hey, I’m, you know, I have strength in me. And we all do, we all have 24 character strengths that we could tap into, when we need and every day, we actually tap into, you know, some, some of our strengths, and we each have a different profile, but it was like, very empowering for me to, to feel like, you know, my love for my son was something that could get me out of the hump. And that, you know, my love of learning could get me hope, because I was learning about all these things that I was actually powerful, or, you know, capable to tapping into.
LESSONS LEARNED THE HARD WAY. And so it was very Yeah, it was, that was something that changed. I think, my whole perspective, your whole
outlook. My whole outlook. Yeah, I don’t know why some counselors and that sort of thing, bring up all of that. It’s like they bring it in a half to hash it over and over and over. Whereas, like you said, when you start looking at like, I always talk about when something like this happens, you feel like you’re in this horrible, dark room with no light. And I feel like I’m walking around this room trying to find something, something that’s gonna open or like you feel so trapped,
trapped blind. You’re going in blind and you don’t know. And the fact that I was a psychologist didn’t help me. You know, like, it wasn’t like because I was the One going through it, so is very different. And, you know, you mentioned serve, you don’t know why psychologists or counselors, you know, sort of do that? Well, because a good chunk of us are trained to do exactly that, you know, you deal with trauma by by talking about it by, you know, sort of going through it. Except that for me, that was way too soon. I couldn’t, I didn’t have distance from that story. And so, you know, for sure, if there was like something that I could do to change the system, I would say that psychologists who work in the acute care at that point, they need to just learn about positive psychology and use that and use those tools and just, you know, empower me and not disempower people. Hmm.
Yeah. Because I found, personally, with that same kind of story, that when you’re in it, you don’t know what’s wrong with you. You know, you just know how you feel. And all of these exterior things coming at you, whether it’s a counselor, psychologist store, rehab, you need it to be positive to be able to tap into that strength that you have, because you don’t need to be brought down anymore. You’re already in this dark space. Yeah. And that that’s what I found, anyways, that.
And for me, I felt like, my whole life had crumbled. You know, I was, I mean, it’s, it’s crazy how, like the dichotomy or like, the I had my house, I was a homeowner, I had my career I was doing, I taught in universities in two different universities. I was, you know, a manager, I was working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I was a single parent, I mean, you couldn’t be more, you know, achieved. And because I am white and well educated, and I was able bodied, and so forth. I was pretty high on the, you know, social status, you know, stairs, yeah. And the accidents are brought me down, because that’s when I realized shit, you know, when you have a disability, you’re, you’re not so high on that status anymore. You go down a few steps, and you go down a few steps, because sometimes people don’t even acknowledge me. So I’ll take like, for example, a COVID situation where I was going to get vaccinated. And I, I had heard that I could go for my second shot. And I’m in the, you know, waiting line to get the second shot. And I have a question, because they’re pulling out people from the line. So I’m like, Well, why are they pulling up people?
I need to find out. Well, the man who was basically answering everybody’s question answered every single person’s question, he would sometimes look at me straight in the eye, and still not asked me if I had a question. Even though I had, I was in front of him for like, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes. And it was like I was, you know, invisible. And he could just look through me, not at me. And that was very difficult for me. And still sometimes very difficult, because I get like, Hey, I have the same values. As anybody else. I have the same, right. Why aren’t you acknowledging me and sometimes be acknowledged is also, you know, like, don’t don’t stand in my parking spot. My parking spot is there for a reason, because it’s dangerous for me to be in a wheelchair. I’m short. So cars don’t see me if they back up, they get, you know, into me very easily. Yeah. And so it’s sort of like, my parking spot is right beside the entrance for a reason. Don’t take it, you know, and I feel that there’s a lot of things that people don’t realize, and that’s why they do it. And that, you know, I hope that if they knew they would change their behavior, but so for me, it was difficult for that reason to because I felt like I couldn’t, you know, pick up my career the same way I would have. I mean, I really felt like I was destined for great things, and then the accident happened, and I really do feel like my career stopped. And, you know, maybe I’m destined to do great things, but it’s going to be different. And I think at the beginning, it was very difficult to sort of go through through all those secondary losses that you don’t imagine after an accident,
you don’t realize you have to grieve.
No, I didn’t realize I had to grieve. And so the tsunami of emotions for me, you know, happened to five years after my accident. And that’s when I really sort of like a god hit a second time. It I call it my mental health crash. So I had my car crash, and then I had my mental health crash five years later.
What do you think brought it on? This realization?
Yeah, the reality realization and the fact that I was, I mean, something was happening at work. And I realized that I couldn’t keep up. And work had been the only role that had not changed since the accident. So I held on to that role, you know, with both hands, because it was sort of like, that’s the one thing that is exactly the same, you know? And when it wasn’t possible anymore, that’s when I went, I lost everything. Yeah, that was
everything that was normal.
Everything that was normal, exactly. Yeah, quote, unquote.
Yeah. How about now? How has it shifted? Was this dark space that you went into kind of like mine?
Where he described it dark room? It’s exactly that you described it? Exactly. You know, I have a similar experience, for sure. It was exactly like you’re in a dark room, and you’re blindfolded on top of it. So there’s really like nothing that you could see.
And there’s so much fear, I found so much fear in the room, almost like if somebody had a strategy to a chair and blindfolded you and put you in this dark room. That’s kind of how you feel. Yeah. And, and you’re still trying to make it around the room, trying to find that little, little smidgen of light that you can kind of access. And one side, I was able to grab the door handle and feel that I could pull the door open and there was light in the cracks. That’s when I finally could feel like I could move towards the light. Yeah, kind of sounds kind of corny. But it is true. Yeah.
No, it’s a similar. Yeah. I think it’s very well said or well described for sure. For me, you know, that door handle was learning about positive psychology, certainly felt like, you know, there was not just light, but you know, like how you feel the sun on your skin. You know, like when it’s like worm, when it’s like springtime and gets like super warm. I mean, that’s what I felt. And I felt like maybe there was, you know, light at the end of the tunnel. And it was difficult because I had to manage like, major depression as I was still raising Thomas, and I didn’t want him to be affected more than he had already been affected. And so I was I was looking okay in front of him. And I was looking, okay, I think in front of a lot of people, not many people knew that. All the struggles that I had in my head. And for me, it was, you know, all my life. If I wanted something, I worked hard at it. And I was a hard worker. And I would get to like the goal that I had. And in this case, no matter how hard I worked, I was still paralyzed. You can change it, I couldn’t change it. There was nothing that I could do. And I remember having conversation with my physiotherapist. And he was saying to me, like, if there was one inch of a chance that you could walk, you would have been the one to make it to walking. But it was just, that’s how spine spinal cord injury works. You know, once it’s bruised, it’s bruised and doesn’t grow back. And so it’s done. You have to put your energy somewhere else or else you’re wasting it to some extent.
Because once it’s there, it’s there. You can’t It doesn’t get better or worse, I guess is how to speak. No. No. Um, What do you think that changed it? Now? What what has given you this positive outlook? Because when you felt prepared for death, you obviously weren’t prepared for this long journey. Um, and in your backup plan we talk about, are you prepared for the unexpected? You could have your house ripped away from you in a instant, you could have your body change in an instant. But did having who was paying your bills for you while you’re going through all this? Like, it’s such a difficult journey, if you’re not prepared? You know, where’s the key? Where’s the cat food? Where’s, who has the vet or, or whatever your life consists of?
Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, ironically, when I had signed, you know, my mortgage for my mortgage in my house, I took in insurance, obviously. And there was one box that I forgot to tick. And that one box. Yep. And that one box, you see me coming, was in case of a severe injury. And so they couldn’t do anything. So I still have a mortgage. And, yeah, that was like a, an interesting twist of this story. I was lucky, again, enough that I have parents who just like love their children more than anything in the world. And so they moved in my house. I’m also lucky because I had work insurance in terms of my salary. So there’s, you know, there was still income coming in, which allowed to pay for, you know, all the big things. But they basically raised my child for like, the first six months when I was in rehab in the hospital. And after that, there’s a lot of bills that they paid until I was able to go back to work.
And to figure out what bills there are, I mean, that’s a challenge. That is a challenge. And again, you know, like, in Quebec, we’re lucky and it depends on you know, which province, because we have an automobile insurance that we have to take, and it’s mandatory, everybody who drives has to have that. And so, the, the society who holds the, the insurance pays for certain things. And so for sure, in comparison to any other person who has gone through spinal cord injury in a different way. I’m lucky because there are certain things like adaptations in my house that are paid for by the auto insurance, but there’s a lot of things that are not paid, and that are not considered and one of them is your parenting role. And so when I was telling, you know, the insurance, well, my, my mom comes to see me every day, she has to drive, and she has to pay for parking every day, because she brings my son every day, because my son who’s 16 months old will forget me if he doesn’t come every day, and I will, you know, I’m gonna, like it’s gonna be it for me if I’m not a mom, after all of this. And yeah, and so it was like, No, and I had to fight every, for every single thing that was related to my parenting role, I had to fight. And sometimes, you know, I stopped fighting because it was just too long. I remember when Tom is like, when to school, start school. For me to drive him to school, I needed to go into, you know, in street that is blocked off, usually.
And I went to the ombudsman of the city to ask for permission, and I was still rejected. But yeah, you can only fight for so long. And it’s really hard to fight against insurances. You know, and, I mean, in my case, I thought I had everything prepared. And then you know, it’s like you say, you have to be prepared for even the things that you don’t think of, because in all my life, I knew I could die and I need to, you know, organize my affairs for that. But I never realized that I could actually live but live differently to a point where every Everything. I mean, we had to sell my house, I had to move into a new house that we could adapt. You know, and those have cost and they have cost also for my family. I mean, my parents, you know, sold their apartment in Montreal, to be able to come and live above me so that they could, you know, take care of me and my son, if I needed to. They had to sell their cottage because nobody wanted to go back there. Certainly not me. It didn’t want to take that road again. And so there was cost there. And, you know, there’s cost in terms of like, they were both retired, but they could have been working. And then, you know, my mom was basically, you know, she was doing childcare and Marjorie care, pretty much all day, every team. Yeah. And so in a different situation where she had been working, then what would have happened, then, you know, and if I hadn’t had my parents, what would have happened to my ability to maintain custody of my child, I worked in, you know, in the system, where I advocated for parents with intellectual disabilities, and saw all the discrimination that there was in systems. And I felt like it could happen to me. You know, when I was in the hospital, I was always looking to see who was coming in my bedroom, my hospital room, because I felt like anybody could be someone from Child Welfare coming to assess if I can raise my son. And any any new professional, I felt like I also had to scrutinize a little bit to make sure that they would be the one calling child welfare. And in my head, and so I mean, I’m talking like, seven days after my accident, I had an intervention plan organized in my head. Because I had that fear was true and real about like, I’m a single parent now with a physical disability with a house that is not adapted. And so raising my child in those conditions are impossible for me, they’re even dangerous, because I can’t serve like, you know, he could go into the stairs, but I can’t, I can’t follow him, I can go pick him up.
My most fav movie:
And those are things that you don’t think about, right? Sort of how you organize things around your child. Yeah, so, you know, certainly in terms of like having a backup plan, you have to think about all those details.
Well, and unfortunately, everybody thinks it’s not going to happen to them. So they’re not going to worry about it. But my sense is, why not have the photos of every room in your house? Why not have the receipts if you have them? Why not? Put those little few documents together in one place, so that they’re all together when somebody needs them? You know, it’s all of these kinds of little things. And I’m not sure how to help people who think it’s not gonna happen. Because, of course, in our podcasts all the time we talk about something will we know something? Will you just don’t
know what, that’s right, or when or when, but we know it well. So why don’t we prepare? It’s like, you know, it’s like once you get engaged, you know, you’re going to get married. So you start preparing. Yeah. You went you book a trip, you know, you’re going on the trip so you start preparing, but we don’t talk about death. We don’t talk about sickness and we definitely don’t talk about loss and it’s an it’s really unfortunate because thank you for being so open and talking about your feelings about this horrible horrible spinal cord injury affects so many people athletes accidents you know, it airy military Yes.
And, and it’s a real change of your whole life. It truly is life changing. Totally. And a car accident can be a slight as not being able to walk the same or, but it’s the emotional part of the whole section. That’s even, like only we see things that are physical, that it’s what’s going on in your head? is even more powerful.
Yeah. I want to say like, you know, I’ve been living with a spinal cord injury for 10 years, I don’t want people to sort of like, and, you know, listening to this and sort of say, Oh, poor, her poor her, you know, it is definitely a change and definitely like it, it totally reshaped my life, and my family’s life and so forth. But, you know, I’m here and I, I’m engaged in what Thomas does, and I’m engaged in, you know, my family and what they do, and I have a lot of loving people that surround me. So I don’t want to, you know, people to sort of go and think that people with spinal cord injury can’t have beautiful fulfilling life, because that’s not true. We can’t and so, but it is, you know, sort of a huge, huge adaptation, for sure.
Absolutely. What kind of final message would you like to tell the listeners, you know, that anything can happen at any point to be prepared doesn’t make it so or make it true, it’s just because it is true. And, you know, tick all those boxes, don’t forget really verify, because that could have also a huge impact. And, you know, I think, over the, the years, we’ve we’ve gotten people aware of sort of having a will and testament, you know, in case of death, but do know that other things can happen, you know, it’s not just about dying, that we get ready for, for different things. And then the rest, you know, it makes you not have to worry about it so much. Because certainly, like, in the first six months, I couldn’t deal with any other like bad news. So it had to somehow run smoothly, and I was lucky that my dad could pick up and I mean, you know, he was able to he was a cosigner on my house, and he was a cosigner on some of like, my, my bank stuff. So, you know, that worked out smoothly. It worked out, you know, I didn’t have to like, because I was I could have been in the coma for, you know, days and months, just months. And my parents, you know, we’re we’re grieving also, and my mom didn’t sleep for like days, neither did my dad, my dad, you know, got old, faster because of the accident, I’m sure of it. And so you know, when you have to deal with somebody else’s sort of accident and so forth, and you’re the one who has to pick up sort of the slack, then the pieces, the pieces, you need to have information and sometimes, you know, having that backup plan would certainly be helpful for them.
Yeah, a family conversation, we have worksheets on just having those family conversations of not just about death, but it could be well, what kind of care would you like to have? What where would you like to live? Do you want to be staying with a family? Do you want to go into a home like, all of these different topics that can be talked about like it? You know, if you’re left alone, where would you like to live? What you know what your kids? Yeah, what? The kids? All all of those things? What what do you want it to look like? Yeah. Because it might not be that you’re not here to to answer. You might be here but still can’t answer. So Right. Yeah, thank you so very much. Thank you so very much for being open and honest and the courage to rehash this every single time. It’s a beautiful, beautiful story of if people would just listen. I think it’s taught you to be better prepared for the unexpected, but I see in you that it’s prepared you to be present in the moment. More so to treasure every precious moment. Yes. And that’s what we talk about. Yeah. Because it means everything.
Yeah. It’s a beautiful summary actually, because that’s exactly what it did. It made me grateful and appreciative. And I do notice you know, beauty, a whole lot more than I did before, and I often, you know, use the the metaphor of a high speed train that I was on before my accident. And so when you’re in the high speed train, and you look out the window, you can’t really see anything, because it’s all blurry because you go too fast, too fast. And now I’m in a little train that sort of takes its time. But I can definitely look out the window and see, you know, the beautiful scenery that’s there.
It’s like being on that San Francisco trolley. Yes, like, Oh, okay. Chicka, chicka, chicka, chicka, chicka. And then stop. Oh, I get to enjoy this and Chicka Chicka Chicka. Okay, let’s Oh, the analogies that we come up with? Oh, that’s awesome. Well, thank you. I know, Marjorie, I hope this can help someone out there listening. Because it really truly, you’re amazing. And thank you for for being you know, I’m so sorry for you having to go through all the all of this, but you’re just you’re just words of wisdom for everyone. You really are. Thank you for being that, for being like that for others.
Thank you so much for the invitation, Tina.
Oh, you’re welcome. I hope that everybody, I don’t want to give up the story. It’s it truly is. Could be a movie. Because it’s somebody’s journey through what they’ve, you know, 10 years probably doesn’t seem very long. But it’s been long enough now that you can start hopefully, seen some of the beauty of everything. Yes. And because I tell you there are times when you don’t see any beauty at all. And it’s just a matter of getting through that trauma part of it and and with all of your wisdom from you’re learning and researching, and I’m sure you have more great, better things that you’re going to be doing in life. You’re here for a reason.
Yes. Well, thank you. Absolutely. So thank you, everybody. Thank you listeners. I hope that we’ve inspired you and motivated you, with Marjorie’s beautiful story and, and that it shows that you, you too could have a unique plan. And that it’s essential that you do make whatever that looks like for you. Your backup plan app puts your life all in one place and because you don’t know Expect the unexpected, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I always end with if you’re thinking of someone right now listening to the show that you love and care about reach out. Pick up the phone, we still have those things called phones, text, Skype, zoom, whatever it is, but tell them how much you love and care about them today. Because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. So thank you my listeners love each and every one of you! Thank you my German friends. I always end with Carol Burnett because she could always make us laugh. And I’m sure you know who Carol Burnett is Marjorie. I’m so glad we had this time together just to have a laugh or sing a song seems we just get started. And before you know it comes a time we have to say so long. So long, my friends stay safe be kind. Till next time. Bye for now. stay safe be kind! Expect the Unexpected.
On our Youtube channel: https://youtu.be/wHYgHQyXZns
You can follow her, and listen to her inspirational speeches on her social media accounts, and on www.speakerslam.org Instagram: @ninjamarj
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ninjamarj
LinkedIn: Marjorie Aunos Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWSN…
OVERCOMING and Leaving a Legacy with addictions and childhood traumas!
“A note to anyone who needs to hear it: we don’t get over it or move on from our trauma. We are forced to make space for it. We carry it. We learn to live with it. And sometimes we thrive in spite of it!”, Unknown
YOUR BACKUP PLAN APP puts your life all in one place everything that’s up in your head in case of any unpredictable circumstance while taking that painful Aftermath out of a tragedy. What does that mean?
It means that, for example, a wildfire that you have a five minute evacuation, what would you have at hand that you can take because you are truly blessed if you’re given five minute notification notification for anything, any tragedy that occurs, you have to thank everybody for allowing you to have those few minutes to grab your stuff. Because in our Florida condo collapse that was at Surfside, this past few weeks. They weren’t given any time to take anything. They were lucky to get their shoes on and run and be safe. Because that’s what happens. A car accident. You know, you don’t get time. Well, just a minute. Let me prepare for that. No, it doesn’t happen that way. So prepare for the unexpected because you don’t know what tomorrow or today will bring. So that’s what we help you with. It won’t happen. To me doesn’t happen around here because it does, you’re not Superman. And things don’t always show their light until it actually occurs. So be safe out there, be better, better prepared, check out our app if you haven’t already done so, because it can help you be better prepared for the unexpected.
And we do have a new program coming out very soon called the emerging blueprint, which will help you get better prepared if you’re not certain on how to do that. So thanks, everybody, for coming out today. Let’s get this party started. You have come here, if you see this show, or watch our show, you are here for a reason. And we have a very special guest today. And I am just going to bring him on.
Welcome. Welcome, Eric. There he is. Welcome Eric Allen, to our show today.
OVERCOMING and Leaving a Legacy! Thank you so much for me. It’s such an honor. I really appreciate the opportunity. Well, you’re welcome. It’s It’s awesome to have you on. I’m so excited to hear your story. Let me give you everybody our listeners a great introduction for Eric. He’s only a hop, skip and a jump away from me today. I have been to his area of Idaho, and Spokane Washington area many, many times. As I told Eric a very funny story about Spokane. And he has been married for 17 coming up to 17 years. He has an 11 and an eight year old. He is an avid avid podcaster. He is a content creator and a voiceover. And he has a super podcast all about MMA fighters for all of you.
We have a huge MPC we are I know for a fact that we have a lot of MMA fighters or people that love it, as well as wrestling. So I’m excited to hear your story about where did it all start for you, Eric, because you have you’ve really come full circle.
Yeah, it’s interesting life for sure. You know, I grew up in eastern Washington out there in tri cities. And I grew up in what I thought was a typical household. So you know, went to Sunday school, played Little League. My parents then got divorced when I was 11 years old. And I had no idea what divorce was when they told me that I had never heard of the concept before. And they got divorced. And my parents split pretty quick. And my mom got together with a man that was very physically abusive it almost immediately.
And so I remember, you know, being 11 years old watching this kid, you know, watching this guy beat up on my mom, I would be outside of the house looking through the window, and they’re arguing, and he’d be hitting her with a cordless phone. And, you know, the police would come and my mom would never press charges. I never understood that and never understood why she decided to stay with that guy. Oh, then she got pregnant. And they decided to do the smart thing and move to Stevensville Montana, which is a small town population. 1200 people there, oh, they rented five acres.
OVERCOMING and Leaving a Legacy! And there was a house on that five acres. It was beautiful property, two pounds or two pawns. Right behind the bitterroot River, you know, really, really pretty area. But the problem was that house had three bedrooms. It was one for them, one for my brother, who was just a couple months old at the time, and one for my sister who was four years younger than me. And they said, Eric, you don’t live in the garage. I literally had half the garage to that was quote unquote, my bedroom. I had a black tarp at the end of my bed that separated my bedroom from the truck that pulled in. And my half of the garage had a fireplace. So it would keep me warm semi through the most of the night, I guess, when it would get down to negative degrees of Montana in the winters.
So I remember there was a lot of cold nights for sure. And you know, one night I was 13 years old, I was brushing my teeth wasn’t anything different than any of the night but they came home arguing. And as I was brushing my teeth, I felt my personal opinion. I felt God say man, you got to turn around and see what’s going on. And the way the house was set up was behind me was the kitchen to the pantry to the garage where I lived. And in that pantry hallway there to get to my bedroom, my bedroom door. He was on top of my mom and it was just boom, boom, boom, one shot after another just punched in the face. And like man, I gotta get this guy off. And so I snuck up behind him and I grabbed a cast iron pan and you know the heavy duty once you take with the campaign and I played Little League, I got a pretty good swing and I swung as far as I could. But the back of his head open. And I’m not laughing because of that. I’m just thinking that you thought you had a good swing. totally right. Yeah, you know, 13 years old run up. No, right.
So yeah, so I mean, I swung it as hard as I could split his head open. He turned around and he’s like what the end is he turned around I swung again. I split his forehead open. And I had swung so hard that second time I’d actually fallen over, he did not get knocked out because he was so drunk. And I remember him standing over me yelling and screaming, my mom jumps up lands, like six punches in a row bloods blocks on the wall. Cops show up, take him to jail for the night. My mom doesn’t press charges. And I was kicked out of the house at that point. So I had three months left in my freshman year of high school, so I just bounced around from friends houses and living on floors.
Why do you think she stuck around for that? Eric? Why would she want to live like that?
Yeah, it’s weird to me that, that anybody would do that. I didn’t understand it. I don’t know if it was fear, or I didn’t understand I and it’s still to this day, I have no idea. You know, after I got kicked out, that led me down this path of destruction for the next 10 years of my life. And you know, it was it was pretty insane for the next 10 years. And, you know, at that point, I, after my freshman year of high school, I moved back to live with my dad in Washington State, and he rented a house for him and I and who’d, but $20 in the cup for my lunch money for the week, hunger, man meals in the freezer and cereal milk in the house. And then he’d go stay with his girlfriend. So I would maybe see him a couple times a month in passing. But it was basically no adult supervision, no accountability.
OVERCOMING and Leaving a Legacy! You know, he got me a bus pass so I could get to school, because I didn’t have my license at the time. And so I was getting stoned. before school, I was getting stoned. During lunch. I was getting stoned after school. And I did that all through high school. And when I was a senior in high school, I actually got arrested for having a bomb, which is now legal in the state of Washington. But in 1998, it was not. And I had to go to jail black and white chain gang outfit on bright orange slippers. still being a senior in high school, I literally wrote and wrote a note to my dad, hey, I’m staying at Danny’s house. I’ll see you tomorrow, because I knew I was only going to be gone for 24 hours. And I knew that he wouldn’t call. And so I did. I went to jail and got out the next day and told him like 10 years later that I had actually been arrested at the time. But I was on probation for a year where I could not wow, you know, smoking pot. And so what that did was enhanced my drinking. So I just started drinking, I was taking acid and mushrooms and even to the point going to the store and taking by buying a bottle of Robert tussen de m cough syrup because it had morphine in it. And it would make me hallucinate.
And it cost half of the cost of acid. So I mean, really into drugs and heavy drinking at that time. And two weeks after I graduated high school, I woke up to a note on my mirror that said you can’t comply with house rules. You have 48 hours to get out. And so at that point, I was basically homeless between ages and yeah, basically homeless again. Yeah. So between ages of 18 and 21, I moved 21 times living on couches of friends of second cousins for week here week there two days there. I had $100 in my pocket, and I moved to Seattle, Washington to get into the music business. I don’t know how to play anything. I was just like, I just want to get in the music business. I love music. So I want to figure out how to get there. And so I basically, you know, lived off of credit cards. I got my first credit card at Sears and I got a video camera so I could record my buddies playing Skate or you know, on skateboarding, and then I was like, dude, I can get this for free. I go get another credit card and it just by Tom 21. I’m $28,000 in debt and have to file bankruptcy. That doesn’t take long, right? Yeah, you know. And so it took me a couple years when I got into Seattle, but I finally did land that job with Universal Records, which was you I was just a mailroom guy. I was working at a CD store and one guy walked in that was a rep for Universal Records.
And I jokingly said, Hey, man, how do I get your job? And he goes, Oh, you got to be an intern. He got to be in college and stuff. And so I went down to the local community college and I said, How much does it cost for me to you know, go through this internship program you guys have, they’re like, Oh, 300 bucks. So I pay through the box, I get my receipt. And I go to university and I say, Look, I’m an intern never went to a single class. And I said, Look, I’m an intern. They said, Okay, perfect. You can be an intern for us. So for six months, I just showed up every day at Universal just stuffing posters. I never got paid for it. And then after six months, I had Alright, well, this guy’s committed, we’ll start hiring you. So they hired me on as the mailroom coordinator, I was tracking sales and set a meet and greets. prom was while I was at Universal and the year prior, I was managing a band. So I had this two year span, right, went to about 175 concerts and had open tabs and every single one of those concepts very heavily, living a rock star lifestyle without being a rock star. I don’t know how to play any instruments. And that was a crazy time. I mean, I would never I don’t regret any of the things that I went through, because I think it made me the person I am today. But it was a crazy rock star lifestyle for two years for sure for me, but you obviously met some perfect people along the way that changed you. Right to to control you or to give you that guidance to to know right from wrong. I guess you could say somewhere around there.
OVERCOMING and Leaving a Legacy! Sort of Yeah, I mean, I was at so I remember there was a concert that I was at in downtown Seattle. I was in my early 20s. And there’s a music rep from another record label that was probably in her early 30s But I remember this moment so clear looking at her going, I do not want to be her age, going to concerts five nights a week and being away from a family. And it was a couple of weeks after that I got laid off my one year anniversary from Universal because of Napster. People didn’t realize that hurt the music industry actually killed the music industry very much. So at that time, and half our office got laid off and I was bottomed out also I got laid off. And I went into a deep depression. I was working at Starbucks at night, and I would get off work and go to the store, grab a six pack of beer go to my ghetto apartment, which was across the street from where Jimi Hendrix was buried there in Renton, Washington. And I would drink myself to sleep every night. And one night while I was working at Starbucks, this girl walked in and doesn’t drink coffee. And she said, hey, we’ve got this cool college aids event at our church, would you be interested in going while I was depressed? I had no friends. And she was really good looking. Absolutely. Yep, I’ll go tell me when
you no matter.
Yeah, I was like on it. So I couldn’t be right. You know, and so I got down there. And it was like this weird thing where God I believe God was planting seeds. There’s all these guys that I knew from high school, like man I haven’t seen in six years. I haven’t seen you in five years now what is what’s going on? And it was at this youth event. So I was just helping them set up and tear down and, you know, so I got there and did that. And about a month later, it was Easter 2004 I was managing a band. We went and played a concert the night before Easter, and I woke up Easter morning 2004 my buddy’s basement surrounded by probably 15 buddies, and you know all still sleeping, I woke up at five o’clock. And I felt in that moment. God just telling me, man, you’re going down this path that’s going to end your life very, very quickly if you don’t start making some changes. And I quit cold turkey drugs, drinking cigarettes right there. And I gave my life to Christ and my buddies basement. And I called that girl up, I got her voicemail and said, Hey, thank you for inviting that church event. Happy Easter, maybe I’ll see at the store. and a month later, we were dating and now she’s my wife of 17 years. Oh my gosh, yeah. That’s so cool. Yeah, we’re actually both born at exactly the same minute 1:41pm on her birth certificate seven days, every years, but the exact same minute.
Wow. It sounds like to me though, even though, you know, a lot of people could be homeless and, and there are stories about somebody bringing a homeless out of their environment, and what they can become. But with your story, it sounds like the universe really kept planting seeds to you. And you just, I mean, you flew into it. What you learnt in that music industry was probably really, really helpful for you in so many ways as well as prop. Yes. Right? Yeah,
it definitely was, and I love the connections that I had. But, you know, I got to see the perspective of, you know, if my life continues down this path, whether I have this relationship with with Christ or not, I remember that moment going. I love the music industry, and I still do to this day, I love going live concert. But I wouldn’t want to be in that five, six nights a week, like I saw a time, you know, right. I wonder why you thought that? What? What? You know, there must have been something that I don’t want this lifestyle. Yeah. Something deep inside of you.
I agree. I think I think that, you know, God has always watched over me. And I truly believe that because I grew up going to church, I think, you know, my grandma, who’s still alive today, she’s 87. She’s like four foot nine. And probably the most amazing person in my life. I spent so much time with her. And since the day I was born, and even to this day, she tells me that she prayed for me since day one. And I believe truly that her prayer kind of guided me through this life and got me to where I’m at today. And, and and maybe it was her prayer that put that thought in my mind at that concert that one night. I don’t know. But I remember that so clearly that I was like, You know what, I do want a family, I do want to have a life outside of just going to a concert every night. You know? And so I think that was what started it and I decided to make a change. And there Here we are today.
OVERCOMING and Leaving a Legacy! Because I mean, that lifestyle is wonderful for musicians. Sure. But it can be painfully wrong. For many. Yes, because sex drugs and rock’n’roll just doesn’t mix well. Right. Yeah, exactly. It causes other issues of course. You know it look at Britney Spears. And I mean all the young people that were affected by that lifestyle early on in their lives, some how it how it changed them. Good and bad. Yeah. Not very many basically got out of that lifestyle alive. Really. Yeah, I agree. And healthy and still here to tell the story. Um, it must be Very fast moving very fast lifestyle.
It is. Yeah. And you know, before I worked at Universal, my buddy was the manager of the gorge, which I’m sure you’ve heard of there, the gorge amphitheatre out there in Washington State. And so that full summer before I worked at Universal, I had backstage passes, I had open passes free concert anytime I wanted to go down there. And again, open tab. So that was part of this, you know, party rock, like a rock star, you know, personality. You know, I think it’s, there’s, there’s musicians that can make it through that, but it’s very, very tough.
Very tough. So, I mean, you saw your mom’s boyfriend with alcohol issues. Yeah. You didn’t think it would happen to you, if you kept on doing what he was doing?
I never thought of it. I never thought about that. I all I did was Hey, you know what I am subconsciously looking back now. I was numbing the pain that I was in. You know, I was, I was ashamed. And I was embarrassed of all that crap that I’ve been through and witnessed and, you know, embarrassed of my family, or my mom, you know, not pressing charges. And I hated to tell that story. Yeah, and only a few people knew that story up until about two years ago, when I decided to go, you know, publicly released my story. I’m 41. Now I didn’t tell my story. I was 39.
Wow. Yeah. Because you can’t understand it. Of course, because you’re when you’re been through something, you’re thinking, well, what’s it like that? Was it just me? Right? Right. So yeah, it takes a while. So you got through the bankruptcy. You got out of jail. You battled those addictions? Which you turned around. You never went back? Nope. To after switching that switch? Yep. Correct. Awesome. And that that’s tough all on its own. So you. You broke the chains of divorce? Is your mom still around now then?
Yeah, both my parents are still alive. I’m not close with either my parents. You know, we moved to Idaho, because we didn’t want people just knocking on our door randomly saying, hey, surprise, we’re here. Right? You know, so, you know, my dad lives in Washington State. My mom and my sister live in Texas. And then my brother, who was the you know, from my mom and her abusive boyfriend. I don’t even know how old he is. He’s probably 26 now, and I think he lives out in the Seattle area still.
So is your mom and him still together?
She ended that.
She ended that a couple years after that. But you know, and she ended up getting together with another guy who was an alcoholic, which, you know, if you look at historically, I think women, you know, at least in my mom’s situation, jumped to another alcoholic situation. You know, I that and she was okay with that. And they were together for a while. And then tragically, I think he ended up passing away and now she’s living out in Texas with another with another man. I’ve never met him. But my understanding is he’s a nice guy. Oh, thank goodness. Right? Yeah.
Finally, finally break that chain for her. She does she deserve some real life too. And so, um, you were sober. You were now you’re married? And what?
From the music industry that you enjoyed so much. You really did you you have a passion of it, I’m sure inside you.
Yeah. And my dad was a big music guy. So you know, I remember being at my grandma’s house the house that my dad grew up in as a young boy and my grandma would be watching me but I’d be downstairs and putting Elvis in the eight track player. And I grew up listening to Elvis so Elvis still to this day is probably one of my favorite artists. But yeah, I mean, ever since I was his as far as back as I can remember, I’ve always loved music and mostly rock and roll and you know, my dad took me to my first concert was Richard Marx and my 13th birthday took me to see Rod Stewart so I’ve seen people Yeah, yeah. And I’m sure you must have saw Supertramp in there somewhere. I have not seen Supertramp but they would be a great live show for sure.
So what what made you go into MMA fighting that industry that that world itself from music to to that it’s kind of cool.
Totally Yeah, it’s a great question because I grew up you know, my dad was would get mike tyson fights on pay per view and boxing fights on pay per view. So I always watch that. But my dad would also rent ninja movies that they spoke no English, we would just put it in and watch it and through all these ninja fight scenes as a kid I remember watching them and you know, I didn’t understand what they’re saying. But I love the action part of it. My dad would take me to local regional wrestling matches So way back in the early day got to see Dusty Rhodes and Jake the Snake before they got big, you know, like all these regional wrestling shows and then I ended up they did take me to probably five or six WWF events. As a kid too, so always was of combat sports fan, I remember being, you know, first grade me my cousin and Prosser Washington would walk like a mile to the store and we’d go get on UHF or VHS UFC one and two, and we’d watch that as kids and like first and second grade. And so just always this big fan. And then in 2012, I’m sitting around the house like man, I, I really want to get into MMA, you know, apparel side of things, tap out was huge at the time.
So I talked my wife, she came up with the name top rated MMA. And then we said, How do we make ourselves different, we launched as a 100%, American made MMA apparel company, there might have been one other company that was doing that at the time. And then we wanted to be able to give back so we reached out to Brian Stan’s organization, Brian standard used to fight the UFC, started an organization called hire heroes, USA, which helps veterans and their families transition into the workplace. Sorry, my camera just flipped off there for a second. But they help transition veterans and their families back into the workplace for free. And so we give back 20% or excuse me, 25% of all the money that I generate through affiliate links on my website, I give back to that organization. So just always been a fan. So top rated may started as a pro company. And then in 2015, I got bored with it. I literally put an ad in Craigslist and said who wants to buy this company. And one guy called me up one of the offered me 1000 bucks or 3000 bucks or something like that. But I realized in that call that I wasn’t ready to quit. And so I spent the next year just kind of barely getting by with the company and then launched in 2017 as the top rated MMA show, and now we are 238 episodes into this thing. And 100 episodes on my other podcast and humbly considered the number one MMA podcast out here in the Northwest. Oh, that’s awesome. Thank you. Like you know that that’s, that’s and so you have the apparel obviously still then you have the whole works.
Yeah. I do it all myself now. So I made a lot of business mistakes bought inventory like crazy and you know, ended up donated a bunch. But yeah, I just I do my own onesie. twosie now, yeah, well, that you have to find what works. And, and I mean, the printing industry itself for clothing has changed so much throughout the years in the last five years, especially. Totally. So everybody in the printing industry has have had to change that world of whatever that looks like. What kind of people have you had on your show?
So I talk with a lot of up and coming amateur fighters and early pro fighters because I like to get these guys that are what’s their mindset, like my initial quest, I guess when I started the podcast was why do you want to get into cage you got punched in the face? And that was my question to all of them when I started, you know. And really I’ve heard everything from I did karate and wrestling and transition MMA. Do I have a federal offense and I can’t get a real job, but I can go fight somebody and get food on my table for my kids. And so I love those stories of hearing people why they want to do that. So I have all the anyone from up and coming amateurs are the pros. I’ve been able to speak with Ken Shamrock twice. A lot of the guys that are in the UFC today have been on my show, you know, both on the Ultimate Fighter right now, Brady heinsohn. I forget now and that his opponent they’re fighting next week. They were both on my show. And so you know both of those guys, Josh Ryan houses name. But yeah, both those guys have been on my show. They’re both from here in Spokane area. And so it’s been cool to see these early fighters, then now get it into the Big Show. And so I love talking with early up and coming fighters and I talk with fighters all over the world. It’s been fun.
And they all have their stories to write.
OVERCOMING and Leaving a Legacy! Yeah, they all have their stories. So I love to ask them, you know, Hey, where did you grow up? And what was childhood like for you? You know, and a lot of times I hear that, you know, they had good childhoods. And then I hear some that are like, man, I had a horrible childhood, my parents got divorced, and they were addicted to drugs. And I got my way out of it. And now I’m changing my mindset of how to do that and how to provide for my own family. And so I love those stories. I love to you know, talk about like real fighters real stories is kind of what I talk about. And, you know, over to the entrepreneurship podcast, the same thing I asked the entrepreneurs like, why do you want to get punched in the face? Hopefully not physically. But as an entrepreneur, we get punched in the face all the time with nose rejections and failures, and how do we get through that? And so I that’s what my entrepreneurship side of stuff talks about kind of the same thing as being in the cage, isn’t it? Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. You know, I have a very special quote that I say in most of my podcasts, and just talking about your backup plan. And do you know what Mike Tyson’s quote is, by the way, everybody feels tough until you get punched in the face or something like that. Something like that. I don’t think I don’t think I got that quote correctly, but I think it’s something very similar. like everyone’s tough until you get everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Yes. by Mike Tyson. Yeah, absolutely. Isn’t that the truth? So much so, because we, you know, with your backup plan, I do talk to some people and say, you know, I have a will, and I have some life insurance. And I have my house insurance, and I have my medical, you know, I have a plan. And I say, you don’t know you don’t have a plan until you get punched in the face. Yes. And then you realize that what I had wasn’t what I wanted, in the first place. Or that I didn’t understand what I had in the first place. Right? Yeah. So that’s what what we’re all about is me trying to help people understand what they have and what they need. Because they may not understand what they need. Just like an MMA fighting. If you don’t know that you have to fight a certain way and hold up your fists in front of yourself. You’re gonna get knocked out. Yes, it won’t take long. Right before somebody punches you. Yeah. in the wrong place. Yeah, exactly.
So, um, what kind of fun stories do you think you’ve come across that would be I mean, I always revert back to Ken Shamrock story. Cuz, you know, that guy, he’s, he’s done. Like, he got adopted as a very young kid. But he’s always want he’s always been a fighter. Right? Like, you know, having him on a show on my show and hearing his story of like, having to fight kids at the school yard that were like, you know, three, four grades older than him, you know, and getting stabbed when it was a young kid to I mean, just crazy, crazy story. And, you know, I think he broke his back or his neck at one point, you know, and then he was in the WWF.
And he was doing the UFC. And he’s, you know, I think he was on Impact Wrestling for a while, like, the way that he can, like, present himself is just the solid dude, and probably one of the nicest guys that have ever got to talk to you. And the fact that I got to talk to him twice, was just mind blowing to me, because he’s just such a great genuine guy. And what he’s got going on with valor Belden Bare Knuckle coming up soon later this year, it’s his his own promotion, Bare Knuckle fighting. I think he’s got a really solid plan for moving forward. You know, he’s just such a great, great guy. One day, I talked to Ken Shamrock. And then an hour later, I thought, I talked to Ed, my lead who’s like, my virtual mentor guy. And it was like the best day ever, I had so much information that was given to me that day, it was just unbelievable.
I find it so interesting. Because when you speak to these types of people and like yourself, there’s so much business involved in that whole mentality of strength, and focus, and being aggressive enough to get your point across and being aggressive enough in the ring to get what you want done. Yeah. Because it obviously isn’t just go in there and be a brute. There’s there’s mental technical things to it, just like hitting a ball in baseball. Yep. It’s so very interesting how business all comes out of this and how it’s formed you as, as people, just like hockey and baseball, and you know, that kind of training. So you’re very lucky to have been involved in that kind of stuff. I’m sure musicians find it that way, too. Because they have to have that mentality as well.
Yeah, you know, a lot of the overall theme, I think, when I talk with entrepreneurs and fighters is one, they got to be dedicated and committed to what they’re doing. You know that what are they doing what they’re passionate about? And are they committed to it. And for me, I wake up at 4pm, six days a week to work on my goal. You know, it doesn’t matter how late I stay up on Friday night, I’m still waking up at 4am on Saturday. And I might have to take a nap on Saturday, but I’m getting up at 4am no matter what, because I committed myself to do that. And so that allows me to get upstairs to work on editing to reach out to guests to, you know, put shows out do voiceover work and practice speaking and things like that. And so I think overall, whether you’re in the cage or you’re an entrepreneur, you have to have those that committed and dedication and keep fighting for what you’re passionate about.
Yeah. What do you think these fighters that you’ve come across? What do you think, change their lives that this is what they want to do? Is there a component that’s similar in all of them? I think all right. I think the overall theme that I’ve heard from MMA fighters come on the show is the reason they want to do that is because they want to push the limits of their body. And really, it’s like, how can we do this? Like, a lot of them, like, they love to get into the cage and just fight. And I’ve had guys say, if there’s ever a fighter that tells you they’re not scared to get in that cage, they’re lying to you. Because backstage I asked them, like, What? Where do you feel it before you walk out to a cage, knowing you’re gonna get locked into a cage? There’s a door behind you, it’s gonna shut there’s another guy or girl across the cage for me that wants to physically hurt you. Yeah, you know, what’s the mindset going into that and a lot of like, you know what, once you’ve like trained, then in, that’s what you’re passionate about. The pain, they don’t feel it during the fight. And they know 99% of the time. It’s not anything personal. It’s both of them doing their job. And you’ll see it after the fight. I love the respect that fighters have for each other. After the fight. It’s handshakes, it’s hugs, man, thank you for this. Thank you for that. They both grow stronger, win or lose. And I love that aspect of it of the fighting. Yeah, but watching them fight and getting knockout and stuff like that is fun. But I love the mutual respect that comes out of fighting.
Do you think the mental strength is the winner?
A lot of times, yes, yep. You have to be mentally stronger. And really, whoever is mentally stronger in that fight is going to win that. Absolutely. And in a fight anybody, anything can happen, right? But I think the mental, the more mental stronger person is going to win that fight.
And being involved in softball, like I was, as a softball Mom, I realize that going up to bat wasn’t all technical. I mean, it definitely is knowing the sweet spot of the bat and, and how you stand and all that fun stuff. Sure, but it’s the mental game. Yes. I played baseball for 10 years. And, you know, I coach Little League now. And it’s, it’s it is a mental battle when you get up to bat. You know, I remember being in Montana, and I was playing for the all star team up there. And there’s a kid that during the league, his name was Toto, and this guy being 13 years old, he was an Indian guy. And he threw like 80 miles an hour at 13 years old. I mean, very, very fast. One of the kids that was I went to school with got hit in the head by him. And it actually like made him go half blind, and one of his eyes and I was like, when I get up to bat against this guy, and the catcher is like, here comes a fastball, tell me exactly what’s coming. I’m shaking. I’m like, I don’t want to get beat by this guy. And I only had a bat against him two times over two seasons, and he walked me both times. And then when I made all stars, we were teammates, and he’s the nicest guy ever, but I would never want to get beaten by a hit by that guy. By pitch for that guy.
Well, the girls were funny too, because sometimes the pitchers would come up and they were twice, you know, their size. Sure. And everybody be like, Oh, God, I don’t want to get up to bat with that. You know, I hope I get locked. And it’s just such a wrong mentality to have. And you go up to bat? Absolutely. Because it’s all mind focus. And that. Who cares? Who’s pitching to you? Who cares? Yep. It’s just the ball coming at you. From whatever arm? Absolutely. Right. So I guess it’s like that in the cage. It’s whatever somebody looks like, or makes you feel intimidated? Or? I guess it’s like that in the business world, too. So there you go. Yep. Exactly. So um, now that you’re married and have kids and what is? Have you ever thought of your backup plan? Because, you know, your backup plan isn’t just for wills and life insurance. It’s you have a podcast? What do you want to have happen to your podcast? If something happened to you tomorrow?
You know, that’s a great question. Because I don’t think that I’ve planned for my podcast, what happens when I’m gone? You know, I’ve always just go, like, I’m gonna run this thing until I’m not passionate about it anymore. And, you know, if, for some reason I wasn’t here tomorrow, the podcast would go away, you know. And I hope that in the short time that I’ve been able to put out podcasts and put out shows and connect with people, and share my story, that I’m impacting one person, at least, you know, that’s a personal goal of mine. If I wake up and open my eyes, there’s when number one I jump out of bed, make a bed, there’s two wins and 15 seconds, it’s gonna be an awesome day. But then my next goal is to make sure that one person virtually or in person gets a smile on their face from me. And so if I can do that every single day, then that’s that’s the goal. But, you know, backup plans, I have the life insurance, but I didn’t think about it till I was in my early 30s. And I started have kids, and I was like, What if I wasn’t here? Yeah, damn, I better get my stuff organized. Right? Yeah. So you know, you know, I started getting smarter financially after I filed bankruptcy. And I started, you know, realizing that I do need to have that financial backup plan for my wife and my kids. If for some reason I’m not here, you know, and things like that. So yeah, I mean, I think we’re good to go on. Life backup plan, but in regards to my show, I’m gonna run it as far as I can. And if for some reason, I’m not here one day, then it’s probably because I’m not here one day.
But you see, just by me mentioning to someone like you, yeah, there’s going to be other listeners that I feel passionate about helping to that. I want you to think it’s going to come up in your mind at some point and say, Hey, you know, Tina was right. I should be thinking about who do I want to give this to? Who do I want to have continue it? You know, maybe it’s your wife, maybe it’s somebody different? Maybe? You know what, even if I was incapable, but still living, what would I want have happen? Right? To that show? Yep. Because it’s part of you. It’s part of your life. Yes. Just like your life itself. And yeah, that’s see I’ve made a change, hopefully, was somebody listening today to start thinking about their blog, their podcasts, their website, their other stream of income that they have coming in? You know, it could all disappear after they’re gone? Yes, totally. So why not? Why not have it have a plan in place? So Oh, that’s awesome. Thank you so very much. Do you have any last notes for our listeners, I just want to thank you for the opportunity and the honor to be on your show. This was amazing. You’re a great host, and people definitely need to be listened to your show.
Oh, thank you. And you’re so sweet. I I just I don’t know what to say. Thank you so very much. Um, yeah, I hope somebody you know, this is why we do our shows. This is why we get up in the morning. And this is why I find great people like you to come on our shows because you never know what’s gonna come around the corner. You don’t know who’s gonna listen to something and say, hey, that’s my life. Or maybe I should you know, that your mom’s story or, or your story about being a kid and that instance. It’s, it’s awesome. It’s, it’s an awesome enlightenment for people. So thank you very much for sharing it and being open. And having the courage to, to bring it to the forefront. Absolutely. Thank you. And so everybody, it’s that time I, I would love to talk to Eric some more. He’s, he’s so great to listen to. And he has so many great people that he’s also interviewed. So thank you so very, very much for our story today. It’s been great. If you are, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe because Eric’s notes are all down
my hand. I love that head.
That’s always going the wrong way. And down here in the corner, somewhere there, subscribe. And like and click on the bell because you have to ring my bell ring my bell, down there below. Don’t forget, I hope we’ve inspired you and motivated you guys to Eric’s story. It was fantastic, inspiring. He’s such a great, cool guy. And remember, nobody’s Superman in this world. Everybody has a story. So expect the unexpected. And if you are listening to the show right now, and you have someone in your mind, that you would like to reach out to and tell them how much you love and care about them. Please pick up that phone, send them a text, call them on FaceTime, zoom, Skype, you name it. We’ve got all the technical stuff now. Do it because you don’t know what tomorrow may bring. I hope that you can also look at start thinking about your unique plan. And I hope it’s giving you some inspiration and motivation to what Eric has told you about life and all the things that’s happened to him. And I thank you for sharing your time with us and watching and I love each and every one of you and I always end and Carol Burnett. I think you still know who Carol Burnett is right, Eric? Oh, absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Okay. Carol Burnett, such a beautiful, beautiful comedian in this world. And I love I love her so dearly. I’m so glad we had this time together. Just to have a laugh or sing a song seems we just get started. And before you know it comes a time we have to say so. Long. So long, everybody. It was great having you on board with our show today. Thank you click on that bell, like, share and follow. Thank you, Eric, for coming on. Thank you. It was a pleasure. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thanks so much. Bye for now. Stay safe- Be Kind!
Our interview on Talking Taboo with Tina and Erik Allen, will be his story of breaking those chains of divorce, abuse, complicated childhood issues, a broken home, and of course addictions. Erik has many scars but is here to tell us his story!
Let’s go Erik! You can reach Erik at: Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ErikAllenMedia
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/erikgallen/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ErikGAllen
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/erikgallen/
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/TopRatedMMA
Website – https://www.erikallenmedia.com/
C’MON man what’s your Story is a man’s point of view with coping with grief, loss of a loved one, addictions and life’s struggles. So glad to have your on our Podcast this week Chris Robinson!
“Recovery is not a death sentence, addiction is”, Unknown
“Addiction makes good people do terrible things”, Unknown
C’MON man what’s your Story? Our interview on Talking Taboo with Tina today is one where we should embrace the man’s point of view when it comes to coping with grief, loss of a loved one, addictions, and life’s struggles. They don’t need to define you as a Man, and make you less of one, but truly make you the Man you are today! With scars and all! “For every wound there is a scar, and every scar tells a story.
A Story that says I survived”, Fr. Craig Scott
“The scars you can’t see………. are the hardest to heal”, Astrid Alauda
Check out this incredible interview with, Chris Robinson who will tell us HIS STORY!
Y’all you won’t want to miss this one!
Because there might be something in our wonderful broadcast today that resonates with you or someone else that you would like to share this with.
C’MON man what’s your Story? We have a special guest on our show today. His name is Chris Robinson. He’s from from beautiful Texas.
us, and I’m anxious to go there. Again. It’s a beautiful place. He is. Our title today is Come on, man, what’s your story, that’s for sure. And it’s perfectly perfect for the show today.
One thing that we can all count on is that we’re all going to get sick or disabled, or lose something or lose everything, or perhaps pass away from disasters, tragedies, or in the blink of an eye. And that’s what we’re all here about today. Because we want to show you that it doesn’t have to be complicated, that you can save your photos, you can save your documents. And you can save all of your information so that you and your guest user can make sure that your bills get paid, or that they know where your documents are when needed, or you know where your documents are. Or that you have your photos all saved on a backup drive. So you don’t have to worry if your house goes up and smoke you that that’s my primary concern that when you lose everything, you have lost your life. And there’s nothing else that we can do to repair that. And so we take that painful Aftermath out of that tragedy. So if you haven’t, we will also have a link below for all of the shows notes on our blog, if you would like to also read the broadcast. So welcome aboard. I’m going to bring on Chris and have him.
Hi, Chris. Hi, Tina, how are you? I’m awesome.
Today, how are you doing in Texas? Great. We’re doing great. We’re staying warm. I would love to be there right now. And I want to introduce you you deserve a great introduction with your wonderful story.
C’MON man what’s your Story? He is the author of C’Mon man. He’s a counselor, he focuses on Adult counseling, as well as marriage counseling. Now, after this wonderful journey that has put him into this place in my life now, as you know, I can’t believe you take on the challenges faced by men. And men definitely see things in a different light when things happen. And I’m so anxious to interview today to hear your story, Chris.
And I’m really looking forward to it. So where did it all start for you? Well, for me, it all started, you know, I was I was raised in a little town called Maplewood, New Jersey. And when I was 11 years old, my father’s business transferred their headquarters from New York City to Houston. It was a oil and gas company. And so when I was 11, me and my two brothers and three sisters, and our parents loaded up, moved everything down to Houston
in August in Texas, which was a shock in itself, getting off plane and feeling that hot blast that Fern Oh.
And so we made this transition in August of 1971.
And we’re adjusting we’re trying to figure out who our friends are. We’re getting into school and feeling a little bit disconnected. And it was in November of that year that a trauma hit our family and you talk about things changing in the blink of an eye. Nothing could be truer in our story because as we got settled in and we were looking forward to Thanksgiving Day, in November of 1971. And my brother had been out with some friends the evening before after work. And they went out in a car they had been drinking. There was a car wreck and my brother was killed
in the early morning hours of thanksgiving and 1971 and so were they all killed in the car, Chris?
No, no, my brother was the only one killed. Another one was injured, and the two other people in the car, you know, survived.
But my brother was in the in the front seat and that was before seatbelts were required. And you know, just to unfortunate tragedy. So that is the beginning of our story in Texas. And well, how old were you then? I was living at the time. And my brother was my brother was 15. Oh, wow, he’s so young. Yeah, right. Right. So you had that horrible knock on the door? Yeah. And actually, as an 11 year old, you know, my next oldest brother and I he was probably 13 at the time, and he and I had a room together. And we were looking forward to the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Houston. That was our plan for the morning is we were going to get up, get dressed, go down to the parade, come home, have our Thanksgiving dinner. And so, you know, when my mom came into our bedroom, man, I was I was fired up.
Just just ready to go. And we could see immediately that something was different, something was wrong. And that’s when she she told us what had happened. And it was just like a, a numbness that overcame our entire family. Like an unbelief. Like it’s it can’t be just it’s it stunned. absolutely stunned. And yeah, I didn’t, I didn’t even know how to process anything. And if we consider that in the in the 1970s.
Counseling was absolutely not a thing. Right, that if you were in counseling in the 1970s, it’s because you had some kind of a serious mental disorder. And that’s not something that anybody was going to talk about. Right? No. And you usually went to a facility somewhere. Right, right. And so we were left to all deal with it. In the best way that we knew how. And I was the youngest of the six children. My my oldest sister was actually in town, but she was in her freshman year of college at that point, and so she dealt with it far differently than I dealt with it. You know, she she did, she spoke to people about it, she spoke to my parents better. She spoke to her friends about it. She She grieved, she cried. For for me and my brother, you know, 11 and 13. We, we didn’t even know what to do. We didn’t know how to respond to this. And, and so it’s really interesting to look at how it affected each of my siblings. Yeah, differently. Especially boys, you probably weren’t given the opportunity to really cry and let it out. And you had to be tough and strong. And yeah, yeah, that was it. We just we didn’t even know what to do with it. And so for me, that’s essentially what happened is I just, I just pushed it down.
People around me people at my school that heard about what happened, it was on the news and Euston. And it was like, nobody knew what to say about it. And so since they didn’t know what to say, it was kind of like that I was avoided.
C’MON man what’s your Story? Right, like the plague because, you know, it’s just we don’t know what to say. So we’re just going to go down the other hallway, you know, and that kind of thing at school. So it was it was really interesting, as I look back on it now, and realize how I did cope with it, which was in an unhealthy way.
I pressed it down until the point where I was about 14. And then at age 14, I was in in high school and started drinking at that point. And in Houston in 1971. Nobody was checking your ID, you know, if you walked into one of the corner stores, you could get a beer, you know, that wouldn’t problem or you could give somebody money to walk in and get you a beer and then be glad to hand it to you when they came out. So I I started drinking when I was about 14. And found that, you know, I enjoyed that. And drinking, some of my friends then got their their driver’s license at age 15. And so they would take us out to two bars, in strip clubs, you know, and in all these places, like I’d say they would, they would let you in.
And when you know, when you think about what’s going to get 14 1516 year old boys going,
it’s gonna be the, you know, eroticism of strip clubs, and then there were porn bars in Houston. And so we wound up going to some of those. And that created another addiction. For me, and I tell the story in my book, that I’m fortunate that I did not become addicted to drugs or alcohol. And the only reason is because I also enjoyed sports, I was an athlete, and doing two day workouts for football in August in Texas, did not go well with being out and drinking heavily the night before. No, it kept you more on the narrow road. Yeah, so So from the the, you know, alcohol, I was able to say, Okay, I can’t do that and play my sports, but I also had this exposure to porn that I could do without any problem. And, you know, nobody knowing that nobody finding out about and that really kind of developed into an addiction that, you know, carried into adulthood.
To the point where, you know, hours would be spent viewing that you would go, you would go through the the shame and the guilt, that that, you know, a gambler goes through a shopping addict, goes through an alcoholic goes through a drug addict, goes through addiction is addiction, right? Because you have the craving to do it. And then after you do it, you’re like, why did I do it? Why did I do? Yeah. And it’s one thing, you know, to do that when you’re in college, and single and kind of living your own life. But then there’s another level of guilt that comes into play. When you get into a relationship and you get married, and you have children. And now you’re spending, you know, hours, supposedly working late. But that’s not what you’re doing. Right?
Yeah. And so you’re you’re taking away time from your family, there are some times where you’re taking away time from your employer. And so yeah, there’s there’s a lot of guilt and shame associated with that. And then oh, by the way, add on one more complicating factor, you know, if you label yourself a Christian
will now you know, there’s a whole another level of guilt that I shouldn’t be doing this, I know better. I know, I shouldn’t be doing this, this, you know, sinful behavior, and all that kind of stuff that goes along with it. And you just start heaping guilt upon guilt.
And getting to the point, you know, hopefully we’re you recognize that, why this is really, really bad for me, and I and I need to change something. And there was a point that I was kind of forced into that, to that point was, what do you think that, you know, it’s interesting, because I, I, I was always involved in the church from the time that, you know, my wife and I were married. I was involved in the church, and I happened to be, I don’t know, that’s probably, you know, 20 years ago, at a church where they were focusing on recovery from addictions. And you know, for some reason, they asked me, Hey, would you be willing to serve on this committee be a part of this group that puts this together? And I said, Yeah, sure. I’d be glad to do that. You know, they saw me as a, you know, a leader of the men’s groups in church and things of that nature.
And chronic. Back there. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Like, okay, I’ll do it. And in the very first meeting, the leader of that group, who was an alcoholic in recovery, said, Hey, I think that we all have our addictions.
Things that we just can’t control.
And if we’re going to be genuine and authentic in this group, is we go into helping people in their recovery.
Maybe it would be a good idea for us to just kind of go around the table and say, Hey,
What? What is your addiction? or What was your addiction? and Tina, my heart just started pounding. I mean, I mean, I could feel myself getting good. I never talked to anybody about this. I hadn’t talked to my wife about it I nobody, right? And so here I am, at this group of table with about eight people, and the only thing that I can be thankful for that meeting is that he started on the person next to me, and went around so that I’d be the last.
C’MON man what’s your Story? God forbid that he should start with me, because I couldn’t even hear my heart was beating through my ears.
It’s like hiding in the classroom when the teacher says, who knows the answer to this question, and you’re like, can I? Where can I hide? I literally, I felt like a caged lion. I felt like a wild animal that had been trapped. And just pacing back and forth. That was feel I was looking for a way out. I was I was thinking do i do i get up and leave right now excuse myself from the meeting?
Wedding, I was everything you do everything physically that you could experience in anxiety and panic I was experiencing in that moment. And when it finally came around to me, I told him, You know, I do have something that I’ve struggled with, but I’ve never talked with anybody about it. And I just said, I can’t speak with this group about it. Before I speak to my wife about it. Good for you. So I went home that evening, how many were in the group, there were about eight of us in the group.
And so I went home that evening, and sat down with my wife and really had the toughest discussion with her that I’ve ever had, I didn’t know how she was going to react to it. And she was so overwhelmingly gracious, she just looked at me and said, You’re my knight in shining armor. And I would say, Wow, even with this, even even with this. And that really, I think is the point at which my recovery began. Right? Because when we have an addiction, and we keep it secret, we keep it in the darkness. It has complete control over us. But once we shine a little bit of light on it.
And we find out, Hey, you know what, we were safe in doing that, that there are people who want to help. And I was able to go back the next week, and let the group know what this was. And the group who has experienced addictions, looked at me and said, we understand. We get nice, that’s why we’re here. And so the experience that I had was one of encouragement and support.
Because it just so happens that I was doing it around the right people. It wasn’t my plan, you know, if you don’t want to talk about a backup plan. Now there was not for this. No, there was no plan for this at all. And what’s interesting is that
it began to change who I was right. So when I look back, and and I look at the loss of my brother in how that changed the trajectory of my life, you know, what would things have been like? had that not happened? And they’re even, you know, every Thanksgiving morning? Still today? That’s the first thing that I think about? Yeah, my brother. Yeah, right. But there There comes a time where, for me, you know, I can’t tell anybody how to grieve or what are the right stages for them. But for me, I was able to arrive at a point where tears of sorrow turned into tears of laughter in remembering our relationship and remembering the stories that we had together of our of our life together, albeit short, he was somebody that I looked up to greatly. And so, you know, seeing how that impacted me and seeing how it impacted some of my siblings as well because they had their own struggles, you know, a sister that dealt with alcoholism, and other sister that poured herself into work completely total workaholic.
And so we dealt with things differently. And it changed the trajectory of all of our lives. But what’s interesting is I never would have I don’t know that I would have been experience that level and feeling of love and forgiveness and grace.
Had I not been through that path of addiction? Right I that I went down of some sort? Yeah. Right. Right.
And so, you know, that began to change me. And then as I, you know, went on in my career and things happened professionally, then then change continued to occur unexpectedly, right in the blink of an eye.
That’s, well, hopefully, it was a good change.
What do you think would have been different if your wife had been upset and flew off the handle and not be supportive in that instance? You know, I think that it would have made me want to keep everything in the dark. I, I probably would not have gone back to the group the next week, I would not have had the courage to do that. If I had been rejected, if I had been judged, if I had been condemned in coming out about this. Why would I want to do that again, to anybody else? Right. I will just keep that my secret.
Because it hurts too much. Yeah. Yeah. It does hurt too much. And you don’t want to experience that kind of pain? More than one? Yes. Yeah. And so I think that I probably would have just kind of withdrawn a little bit.
I think that it would have changed my marital relationship.
You know, when I felt judged and condemned instead of unconditionally loved.
I think that that this actually strengthened our relationship. And I think that had that not been my wife’s response, then it probably would have served to erode the relationship, right?
In your case, it wasn’t anything that was going to hurt her or hurt you. Whereas drugs and alcohol could impact
yourself as well of those that you love. Yeah, I guess in that instance, it could be a little bit different. But just having that support is just beautiful. Yeah. And we think that and this is where I start to get into the mindset of men, right? Is that we think, well, this isn’t hurting anybody.
Well, it is it because when we look at porn, we’re we’re watching people who, in many, many cases, did not choose to be doing what they’re doing. We get into the idea of sex trafficking, you know, and when we’re watching porn, like it or not, we are more than likely supporting sex trafficking, right? When we’re watching porn, it changes our view of
the opposite sex. Right, its objective, its objectifying.
C’MON man what’s your Story? And it changes our view of healthy relationship and healthy sexuality. Right. And so I for the longest time, you know, did this with the idea that it’s not hurting anybody? Right. Right. But yeah, but it was changing me mentally.
To to an unhealthy thought pattern. And when that happens, then it was also changing my relationship with my wife. Right? How I looked at her. And so it does have an effect.
But sometimes we don’t recognize it. Yes. Right. And, and it’s predominantly a problem for men. That’s not to make a you know, a broad statement there. They’re absolutely women that that struggle with pornography as well. But it’s primarily men, because that’s, you know, we’re, we’re visually aroused. And so that, you know, that that is an automatic draw for us. And we don’t think that we’re doing ourselves or anybody else any harm. Right.
But don’t you think in the 70s I mean, porn was a lot different than it is today. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I mean, for one thing, it was a lot less success.
All right, I told you that I, for me to to watch porn in the 70s I had to go to a porn Park. Right now I could I could get magazines, you can do that very problem. But tell me Chris, what is a porn bar? A porn words.
Are is is is a bar that you walk into. And it’s like a movie theater where they’re playing, you know, the hardcore pornography and you sit at a table and you’ve got, you know, a waitress serving you drinks and off offering other services as well. Is it all on the screen then that it’s like, the screen there? Like a sports bar? Yeah, right. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, that’s, that’s what it would be the equivalent of but it was just, you know, pornography. Is that still now? No, I don’t I don’t think so. I think number one, they became illegal. And number two, they weren’t needed because it was so much easily, much more easily accessed. You know, when the internet came along, you know, who needed it. And so now it’s become a, I think this is a $13 billion industry annually in the United States. So you have the strip, joints still. Now, you still have the strip, you know, the strip bars that people can go to?
And they probably Yeah, they do. They still have the adult video shops that, you know, you can go into you can rent movies, they’ve got private rooms, but they I don’t think that they’re allowed to serve alcohol in there. Right.
You know, we timed it, you know, 14 1516 years old. We pull up going and get a drink at the table, get served. And watch.
You talk about unhealthy coping, that was really unhealthy coping? Do you think you when you look back? Why did you go down that road?
Because she threw everything down deep inside? And? And or was it more of, of that social aspect of have been brought into this group of friends? Well, I think you’re just combination of things. One absolutely is suppressing this not knowing how to deal with it. And then looking for some escape from that, you know, we’re whether we know it or not, when our brains are traumatized.
It can, if we look at PTSD, right, the brain is traumatized. And typically what we will do in normal situations is store memories. And they can be pulled back up when needed. But there are some memories that are stored and archived in our subconscious that we’re not even aware of. Now with PTSD, what happens is the traumatic event runs on the loop. You can’t get rid of it. Right. And that’s where the nightmares, the flashbacks, the hypervigilance, the startle response comes from. And so you know, when we’re when we’re talking about trauma, and pushing it down,
it’s going to find a way back up. Right? And so the way that we want to escape from that, we want to find an escape, right? Yeah. So there’s unhealthy and there’s and there’s healthy ways of doing that. Naturally, the healthy way I know now as a counselor is the processing of trauma, which is part of what I do with people who’ve experienced trauma. The unhealthy way is to just find an escape a diversion or distraction, such as alcohol, which was where I went, right. And I found a group of friends that I enjoyed drinking with and one of those friends had a license and said, hey, let’s go down to this bar. And we were like, be okay. And once we saw what we saw on that barn, you look at the impressionable minds of 14 1516 year olds, and, man, let’s go do that again next weekend. That was awesome. Right? And so that, you know, what seems like an awesome experience turns into an addiction because the brain needs that hit. Right. You need that happiness. Yeah.
Yeah, yeah. It’s It’s It’s dopamine, right? Yeah. That it’s that excitement that arousal. Whether we get it from
You know, any number of sources, that’s what addiction is, it’s looking for that next hit and then never getting enough of it. Right?
When do you know you have a problem?
You know, sometimes you don’t, sometimes somebody else tells you, you’ve got a problem. Sometimes you get fired from your job. Sometimes your spouse says, either get help, or we’re done. But then there are other times where you do recognize it. You You hit what they refer to in the recovery community as rock bottom, where you just can’t sink any lower. And you recognize that either in the severest forms of addiction, I’m either going to do one of two things, I’m going to die, or I’m going to recover. And most people are going to say, I don’t want to die.
So I need to go find help. Hopefully, it doesn’t get to that point where somebody has to hit that level, on their own, that they might be surrounded by somebody that says, hey, we’ve got you get a get a sponsor, let’s, let’s, let’s work on your calmness.
I mean, you were very lucky. I was just like, it was like the universe came down and said, You know, we’re gonna put you into this group, and you’re not gonna have a choice. Basically, you weren’t really?
And yeah, I don’t know, if you would have done it on your own. You know, like, probably not. And, you know, thank thank goodness that somebody did intervene without even knowing that they were intervening.
Yeah, it was quite amazing. Really. Right. Right. Because so many people have these hidden secrets. And
sometimes they don’t know really, they do. And sometimes I think, in the, the ones that I’ve had guests for, have been given that opportunity, that epiphany moment where they realize that they need to do something, but then they don’t know what to do.
Right. Right. And so it was clear for me that weren’t good choices. You know, and I like this discussion, because one of the things that that we always need to be clear of is that people with addictions are not bad people.
Right? You would think that as somebody who had an addiction to pornography, that I had no moral compass at all. I did. You know, it’s that moral compass that created feelings of guilt and shame within me, but it’s also that moral compass that made me say, I’ve got to speak to my wife about this. Before I speak to anybody else, it’s not that I was a bad person.
I had a bad habit. I can’t imagine the feeling the courage it took you to do that. It scared the hell out of me
to sit down and tell my wife, I have a problem. It’s like and and I’ve been struggling with this for years.
And get the response. I mean, not no hesitation. Just go straight in the eye didn’t blink in said those words of encouragement to me. What did you think you were gonna get?
I don’t know. I thought I guess I thought I was gonna get you know, a, okay, we need to work on this, we need to do something about this, we need to figure out how to fix you. Nothing like that. Nothing like that. Which really reinforced my my value as a human being. Right, because this when you deal with guilt and shame, you deal with self esteem issues, as well. self worth. So in just those few words, is kind of like all of that worry. Washed away.
Right. And, and as I say, I think that that’s where that recovery process.
Began because number one, I knew I was loved. I knew I was encouraged, I knew I was supported.
And then this was followed up several years later, with me losing a job that I had for 17 years. Not because of any problems with the addiction, but because there was a managerial change. There was a new president of company brought in. And so from his own company, he brought a lot of his own people in there was just a revolving door of the existing managers and leaders of that company that left and I was one of those existing. And so it was, again in the blink of an eye.
Session, 17 years, they came in one Friday afternoon and said, You no longer work here. You know, here’s a severance for you. If you would clear your office out. And I was happy holidays. Yeah, yeah. stunned and numb once again. Right. And so drama, another trauma hits you. Yeah. And I think that any time something like this happens, it causes us to have to step back and say, Who am I?
Right? And so this was another one of those steps where, okay, I had I had moved beyond this addiction that had its its talents in me. And now let the devil Yeah, yeah. And now, I was being successful as an executive with this company. And in on one Friday afternoon, found myself out out the door.
C’MON man what’s your Story? And recognizing, over the next week or so, as I was stunned by this, that I had placed my identity
in being with this company, this was the company I’d been with since I got out of college. Yeah. And I always thought my father worked for the same company from you know, for, you know, 35 years from the time he got out of college, my grandfather worked for the same company. And I just figured this is the way we do things. Well, in the 80s, we found out No, it’s not how we do things, values changed, right, corporations were changing, and it was going to be things were based on what are the you know, what are the quarterly returns. And so there was a change that took place there. And I had to take stock of who I was, as a person and recognize that I had put my identity in poured my time, completely into who I was as an employee, who I was as a provider, right. And that was kind of how I was measuring success is income, and how I was viewed by my peers, the level of professional respect I got. And so here we go with another loss, right. So loss can occur in a lot of ways. And in this case, loss of a job that caused me to reflect on who I was, and recognize that my values had gotten totally out of whack.
And in that process, I recognized that I had to reprioritize and that family is first. But doesn’t it kind of make your stomach like go upside down and, and start pulling all that crap from down in your feet that you push down? You know, it just turns everything up again and says hello. Yeah, again. Right. Right. And it’s it does it has you when something like that happens, you reflect on everything, you don’t just reflect on the last year, a couple of years, you reflect on how you came into this circumstance? How did I arrive here?
Did it all start with moving from New Jersey to Texas? What if that hadn’t happened? is an 11 year old? Yeah, I’ve been experiencing any of this what I have had a different, you know, outlook on life, a different worldview?
We don’t know the answer to that now. But what I do know is that we have a choice in how we respond to any of these situations. And, you know, having a plan does help your response. But getting blindsided by things means that you have to be able to step back, think about these things. Talk to Somebody’s about him and determine what’s my direction from here. Right. And so I think that it was that recognition that, hey, things can change in a heartbeat professionally, and I got my values and my priorities way screwed up.
So that when I reached the age of 50, I started thinking ahead now, that seems a little late to start thinking ahead. Yeah, but but, and it is in a lot of senses. But I think that we are, we go through stages of life, where we’re focused on certain things, having a job income, climbing the corporate ladder, raising children, you know, having enough money to put kids in school, and all that kind of stuff. And so I focused on all that stuff. And it was really, when I hit the age of 15, it was by no means a midlife crisis or anything like that. But I started thinking about what does the future hold for me, because when I reach retirement, I don’t want to spend all my time playing golf, fishing, sitting in a rocking chair on the porch, I want to contribute. I want to be an active member of society, I want to be giving back to the community.
And so I, you know, being being a person of faith, I prayed about that for a few years. Literally a few years, I prayed about it for a couple years, I thought I had the answer, that I would go into counseling, and I looked up what it takes to become a licensed professional counselor.
And that was getting a master’s degree, which I didn’t have going through 3000 hour internship, which I hadn’t planned on doing a practicum. Which not.
Especially 50. Right. Right. Right. And so yeah, it’s been, you know, almost 30 years since I’ve been in school. So I shut down the laptop, literally, and just, you know, told God, there’s been a misunderstanding.
I didn’t want this to be hard. I didn’t want I really have to work for this. I can talk to people, I can listen to people. So this, how do I do that? And I went back and you know, prayed about for another year, and it became a occupying thought. Yeah, I mean, during the day, sitting at my desk, and I was in the field of construction, and an executive in the construction industry, reviewing contracts. And I would be sitting there reviewing contracts, and maybe five times a day, I will have this thought come through counseling, counseling. Oh, my gosh, I can’t get this off my mind. And I’m telling you, yeah, I go, yeah, go to bed at night, my head hit the pillow and my mind would just start working on what do I need to do to get an application in for a Master’s, you know, and I wake up in the morning, and the same thing before my feet even hit the floor, I’m thinking about counseling. And so finally, I said, Okay, you know, I give
I checked out some universities, their master’s degree programs, how can I do this while I’m still working, you know, full time in in my industry, and figure that out.
And in in a couple of years later, started into that program, actually, that year, started into the started end of the program. And complete look at you now. Yeah, right, right. So in when I started thinking about that, at age 50, it was not with the idea of early retirement, or quitting the job that I was in or anything like that it was about what am I going to do when I retired age 6567.
But as I went through this master’s program, I became so passionate about what I was learning, and so passionate about the opportunity that laid ahead of me. And the focus for me started coming into working with men, working with men who have had struggles and challenges just like I have and determining where did that come from? Let’s deal with that. Let’s deal with the root cause. Now let’s deal with whatever problems or challenges it might be presenting in your life today. I became so passionate as I went through the studies that as soon as I finished my master’s degree,
I went into counseling full time, into the profession of counseling, I needed counseling as well.
I went into the professional counseling, and now have my my own practice and wrote a book, which, you know, again, that was not part of the plan either. So sometimes it’s just by my willingness to be open to change. And to make a choice, when the right options are presented to me to move forward with those and not to be fearless, or not to be fearful in doing that. And, you know, when I go back to not being fearful, all of that goes back to that moment, when my wife said, You are my knight in shining armor.
I learned there. I didn’t have to be fearful.
But from when you were younger, it brings up that fear. Right? Yeah, yeah. And it’s interesting, because as I got into this idea of providing counseling for men, all of my professors and all the professionals that I spoke with said, that’s a great idea. It’s so badly needed. But you’ll go out of business doing that, because men don’t come to counseling. Yeah, thought, Okay, well, I’m not going to be dissuaded by that. No, I’ve been fortunate enough in my career that I didn’t, I wasn’t doing this for the money. And so I sat at my desk here in my home office
one morning, just thinking about, okay, if men will not come into counseling, how can I reach out to men, and at least give them some tools, some resources, right, for identifying their challenges for normalizing those challenges for letting them know, Hey, we none of us are immune. we all struggle with the same things. We just don’t talk about it, we step it down. That’s why we have heart attacks. That’s why we have the stress. Well, health issues. Yeah, yeah, all these health issues that come into play. So it was really interesting, I started writing down every challenge that I had faced, personally, every challenge that I knew other men had faced where I’d come in contact with, because at that point, I had been a speaker at some men’s retreats and a table leader, you know, talking with groups of men. And what I found at those retreats is that these men, really, without exception, would break down at some point over the weekend, in tears that they had held in for decades, right.
C’MON man what’s your Story? And are recognized while these problems are uncertainties, these struggles are really impacting us. So I just wrote down on the launch sheet of paper, every struggle challenge if I could think of that man had dealt with and essentially, those items became the chapters to this book. Oh, I just started writing about
values, right, because a lot of it was, you know, for me, was my values had gotten way out of whack. And I recognize that with most men, they had lost the compass for their values. And so the focus, yeah.
Right, because when you lose, well, I think, I mean, I’m not a man. But I think love comes into place somewhere in there, you know, and fear, and love will conquer. But fear sure makes the challenge difficult. And yeah, sometimes it’s just all in your head. It has nothing to do with real life.
You’re so fearful from your own past experiences that it’s coming into your real life at the moment.
Yeah, changes perception around things. And you started with a real interesting comment there, Tina, and I’m not a man. Right. The interesting thing is, is that although I wrote this book for men, taking on the challenges faced by men, these are challenges that everybody faces.
The truth is that men and women respond differently. Right? Men are taught by society or culture to handle it, right. Deal with it, deal with it, get up, move forward, quit complain. Don’t cry.
This is not about feelings. These are all the things that are messaged to us, as we’re growing up, right? And so we learn to stuff things down, we learn not to deal with it. That’s why these retreats, men would break down because they had been stuffing things for decades, right? Yeah. Now, this is generally speaking, and I hate to generalize on anything, but generally speaking, men are going to internalize feelings. And women do a much better job of externalizing feelings, women do a better a bit much better job of being in community with each other, with nurturing each other with sharing their burdens with each other. Right. And so their response to these challenges, oftentimes is much different and much more successful than it is for men. And so that’s why I titled The book the way I did. But you talked about our life experiences. You know, what, there are women who have gone through the exact same things that I have, right? loss of a loved one, dealing with an addiction, loss of a job, right, and all of these things that begin to shape, how we are who you are, right loss, loss of a fiancé can be just I’ve seen that with quite a few clients, and it’s amazing what an impact it makes in their lives. I’m not sure if it’s because of the age they are, or I’m not really sure. But
it’s, it’s just whoops, it’s just very surprising.
Yeah, and I think that our age does have a lot to do amongst many other factors. With with how we handle loss.
We, you know, we there are some people who are naturally more resilient than others.
There are some people who have more maturity. And when I say that I don’t mean it in a negative way. I mean, emotionally. Yeah, yeah. He isn’t me his 11 year old, experiencing a loss versus my sister at 19 or 20 years old. Right, experiencing the same loss was handled very differently. Do you think there could have been more love amongst in your family to kind of help with that whole?
I’m not saying your parents weren’t or the household wasn’t loving. But yeah, we Yeah, we had a very loving and a very, very tight family relationship. But when this happened, it was almost like a splintering effect. Yeah, because nobody knows what to do. Nobody knew what to do. And we were all trying to figure out how to handle it individually, including my parents. Right. One of the things that was really interesting is that this was a point in time. And it’s interesting to me because I was thinking about this just this morning. This just hit me this morning. That when this happened, it was my mom who came in and told us the news. My dad was broken. Right? He couldn’t even vocalize it emotionally broken. This, this is probably the only time that I witnessed my dad. sobbing. Right.
And I was thinking this morning, how interesting it is that it was in that moment of trauma that the roles reversed. Yeah, yeah. That the woman was brought over as the strength and I and to this day, I don’t know how she did.
I don’t know how she remained strong if she did through that. And my father was completely emotions on sleeve. Yeah. Just Just and so it’s interesting when I say that we were all trying to handle it in our own way. I think that that was part of my mom’s waves that I’ve got to stay strong. I’ve got to keep moving. I’ve just got to put the next step forward. Yeah. And, and so that’s how she dealt with it. My dad Uh, you know, broke down emotionally with this and, and, and, you know, my dad wound up dying at age 58. And a cow. Yeah. And I, and this happened when, you know, they, they would have been in their 40s. But I firmly believe that the trauma and the effect on him and the stress that that put on him, affect his immunity affect his physiological response to health and disease.
Because it broke them down. And, you know, my mom just, you know, found a way to keep moving forward. And each of us siblings, found our own ways, some successfully and healthy. But others of us not so much went through a few obstacles first. Yeah, yeah, that’s right. But But those obstacles can serve a purpose, right? Again, what are we going to do with them. And so we have a choice to make, and the choices that I’ve made, and the very fortunate circumstances that I have found myself in with the supportive tribe, if you will, both my family and my friends, the people in my community, that I hang out with, have enabled me to move forward and overcome, and now turn around and lend a hand of support, hopefully, to other men, who may be going through some of these same struggles. I’m sure.
I’m sure they all are all have their struggles. We all do. what’s right, a struggle of either a past or something job wise, or love wise, or relationship wise, or family wise, or? Yeah, and if we can just shine a little light on it, and say, Okay, this has been hidden in the dark for a long, long time. let’s recognize you’re in a safe place, a safe place. And I guess realized, what am I scared of? What am I scared of? Because maybe there doesn’t have to be anything to be scared about. But I’m making it all up in your own mind. Yeah. And I think that many times, that’s it, you know, we become paralyzed by our fear. way, when, in fact, if we will just talk about it, what we’ll find out is that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Now, it’s not to say that everything, you know, has a has a happy ending. No. But it is to say that, if it is fear that has us keeping a secret in the darkness. And it’s going to affect other areas of our life. And those who move forward. Yeah, and those other areas in our life are not good, we’re not going to be able to live to the fullness and quality of life that we that we want to. So you know, even if we have to address a problem, an addiction, and even if it results in loss of a relationship, we may individually be better off for having addressed the problem. Right, to be able to move forward. Right. Right. But But I would imagine in most instances, it doesn’t happen that way. It’s probably a very small percentage that it doesn’t really go the way you hope it goes, I think. Right? I think that most people who run their relationship are going to be very supportive of each other.
No, it’s been my that’s been my experience. For the most part, you know, obviously being in counseling, I see
everything on the spectrum, right. So that’s why I always make it a point saying that, you know, a fairytale ending is not a guaranteed here for anybody. It’s not guaranteed, but it’s only because you push forward to do it. Make it your own world. Yeah. That you wish, right? You your mind can go the opposite way too. And your world is your oyster. So yeah, you know, what I would say is that when we address our problems, whether unexpected things happen after we address those problems or not, that most times we move forward with a better quality of life. Right? I know that I’m moving forward with a better quality of life. I also know people who have identified addictions that have created loss for them.
But they are still moving forward with a better quality of life right now. Absolutely. They recognize they own their their own stuff, some of the conditions that they created. But they don’t beat themselves up with it anymore. They don’t deal with the guilt and shame they recognize that hey, yeah, it was a mistake, but I’m not going to let it define me. Know, it’s done and over with it’s right. It’s in the past. Yeah, absolutely. What kind of message do you have for the listeners? You know, I think that follow your passion. Take care of yourself. No, I say self care is not selfish.
Think about what you want for your life. Sit down and really do a deep dive into your values. That’s, that’s why I start the book with the exploration of values. Because if we haven’t done that, then everything else is just on shifting sand. Right? So I think that we we explore values, we identify our passions, and then we live into those, we lean into those and recognize that hey, if that’s gonna require change, okay, don’t be afraid of change.
Can be awesome. Oh, yeah, yeah, I look at the change that I made the shift in my careers. And I, I gave up a six figure salary to be dropping, you know, to, next to nothing. Yeah, essentially start and pretty, pretty fearful in doing that, you know, to choose to do that it, you know, age 50? and recognize that I don’t know, you know, I might have another, you know, 35 years on this rock.
You know, do I run out of money or what, and I just thought, you know, what, I’m just, I’m just gonna have faith in this, you know, I’ve prayed about it, I put the work into it, and wanted to go do it. And a year into it, I was looking back and saying, Man, why didn’t I do this? 30 years ago. It’s kind of like practicing as a golf.
In golf for sports, really? Because it, you look at that huge road ahead and think, can I achieve that? I really want it. But can I achieve that? And you have fear? You have worry. And obstacles might get in the way.
There might be less training time or, or, you know, you’re not hitting the ball like you should be doing or you’re all up in your head. I always I always seem to bring everything back to sports somehow. Yeah. But the main thing is, is that when you look at every one of those athletes, right? We look at every athlete that has been going through the Olympic trials and the Olympic athletes. They believed in themselves, they had somebody else around them, who believed in them as well. So So I would say, hey, what, whatever it is that you’re doing. Believe in yourself, surround yourself with people who believe in you. And you’re not set up boundaries, you know, because the people who are not going to be supportive of you, quite frankly, don’t need to be around you. You don’t need to allow them to influence you. So you know, believe in yourself and surround yourself with the right tribe and go do it. Don’t be Don’t be fearful. That’s for sure. Well, thank you. That’s awesome. I always think of being up at home plate trying to hit the ball. And you could have this parent that could be yelling, come on, hit the ball, and then when they don’t, the parent says, again, what’s wrong with you? Yeah, right, right. Or you could have that parent It’s okay. You know, you’re gonna get it. It’s it’s just a matter of practice or timer.
Or whatever you’re working on. Well, yeah. We’ll get it right. The first time Babe Ruth swung the bat, he didn’t hit in a park. But he got to the point where he could point to where it was going to hit it. That’s, that’s amazing, really. Amazing. You know, and I think life is like that, too. We get when we focused and passionate. The world is your oyster
within ourselves. Oh, that’s awesome. Thank you, Chris. My pleasure. It’s it’s beautiful story. I’m sorry that you’ve gone through all of that. And I only say that because I’m Canadian, and I have to apologize.
That’s okay. I’m glad you got one apology. You can breathe now. Exactly.
Sure, I’m glad to share the story. It was an honor to be with you today. Thanks for having Well, I, I I don’t even know what to say about your courage and bravery and bringing that out to the, to the forefront for people. You know, that’s truly amazing. And, and I just love your story.
Everybody, your book description, stuff is all down below. I gotta get my finger out again.
Your information is down below for the book. Come on, man taking on the challenges faced by men. I have put those links down below for everyone.
And I want to thank you for coming on our show. It was amazing. As usual, we focus on real and raw conversations with our listeners, about their journey from a life changing event in their life. That was a life changing few events in your life, Chris? Yeah. Took a lot of turns. Yes. But you’ve had the support. It’s amazing, though.
I wish your wife was right there behind you. I’d say Good for you. Because
I know she’s a part of this too. And yeah, she is spiritually. Thanks. Thanks to her, you know, of how things all went for for you. And your and your your church community and the universe for whatever that looks like for people.
It guides you if you’re listening, ignites you. Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. So you must have been wanting something a little bit for the universe, or God to come down and say, I’m going to put that in front of you. And you’re not going to be able to say no, right, right. Or, you know, you have a choice right. Now, I’m going to give you a choice. Yeah, you can you can choose what to do with it. Here’s your test. And when that idea, yeah, when that test was thrown out to me, I had a choice to make. I don’t like tests. I don’t like those lessons that they keep giving us.
C’MON man what’s your Story? They’re not always easy, but we grow from No, no, we always learn something from them. That’s for sure. So I would like to thank everybody, take a moment and subscribe to our channel down below. Click on that link. And I just have to sing that song, this time ring, my bell rang my bell from the 70s down below, right there. So just make sure that you click on the bell because it lets notifies YouTube, to put it in front of more people. And that you don’t miss a show that’s coming up, perhaps that you’d like to see next. We have so many cool, cool guests, each and every week, sometimes a few times a week. And just like Chris, no one is Superman. And so expect the unexpected. Because you never know what could happen tomorrow, that’s for sure. If you were thinking of someone today, in your mind right now, while listening to the show, you could reach out by Facebook by Skype by zoom, by actually picking up a phone for that matter, maybe even a text. tell that person how much you love and care about them today, because you don’t know what tomorrow may bring.
So please, I hope that we’ve inspired you and motivated you to start thinking about your unique plan. And our one year list. our one year anniversary, for our wonderful podcast talking to boo with Tina is coming up to our one year anniversary and we are expecting a huge celebration at the end of the month. For the beginning of all guests. I’m really looking forward to that. We are going to bring on 10 of our wonderful guests and we’re going to have a mystery question. And they’re all going to have time to answer that mystery question. And that’s going to be quite interesting because they don’t know what the question it’s, it’s going to be our own Hollywood Squares moment. So thank you. Thank you for sharing your time with us and watching us. I love each and every one of you You
I always end with Carol Burnett. And I know Chris knows who Carol Burnett is.
It’s our their sorrow era. Absolutely beautiful. Carol Burnett, a wonderful, beautiful person and comedian. I’m so glad we had this time together just to have a laugh or sing a song. Seems we just get started. And before you know it comes a time, we have to say, so long. So long, my friends so long, stay safe. And remember that our journey is made up of a whole bunch of storms, so why not be better prepared for the unexpected? Lots of love. Thank you, Chris. Thank you for coming on our show today. Thank you. You’re welcome. Much love. Stay safe everybody. Bye for now.
Chris Robinson, M.A., LPC Summit Counseling of North Texas, PLLC www.summitcounseling.info Speaker/Author: C’MON, MAN! Taking on the Challenges Faced by Men www.cmonmanbook.com 972-822-8338