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Episode 2: How to Destroy Your Teenager's Magic

"This is going to sound weird, but my mom, even though she is not still Earthside is still my biggest support."

Vanessa Baker  

Hey, you're listening to you'll understand when you're younger, where I talk to young adults about what it's like to be them. I'm Vanessa Baker, I'm a parent and teen mindset coach. And I'm also the mom of five teenagers. And my goal in life is to inspire adults to see teenagers as highly valuable members of society. I'm here to crush the mindset that teenagers are problematic. And I am so glad that you're here right now. So my guest today is here. She's amazing. And I have known her for years. And I just am so excited to get into her brain and share with you guys what she has to share and be a conduit for that. So I'd like to begin our conversation today with my guest. And Hi, how are you today?


Guest  

Hi, I'm doing so good.


Vanessa Baker  

Good. Thank you very, very much for being here. So, I just want to just like get going right away. So what are you known for? Like the people who know you and love you know, of you? What do they know you for?


Guest  

Um, let's see. I'm pretty like artistic person. So I think that's something a lot of people know me for just like taking, you know, random scraps of garbage and making it into something interesting. See, I'm like a very empathetic person. And I make friends pretty easily that way, you know, like, I can kind of see people's pain. And I'm like, I understand your pain. Let's like, deal with that together. And yeah, I think those are probably like my two main things.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, artistic and empathetic. I love it. How did you gain that kind of empathy? Is that a way that you've always been? Or is it something you've developed over time?


Guest  

Um, I think a little bit of both. And growing up, my mom was always like that just kind of, you know, just strangers were always friends. There wasn't really the word stranger in our house. And so it's just kind of like anyone is, you know, a potential person in your life versus just a person. So yeah, I think like, the way that she modeled that, just, you know, became part of me. And yeah, growing up, like, we had a lot of pain in our own house. And, you know, I kind of thought like, man, does everyone deal with this? Is it just us like, you know, and kind of growing up, I started to realize, like, Oh, no, other people do have like, really tough shit going on. Mm hmm. So that yeah, that kind of opened up my like, empathy windows, I guess just being like, everyone has something you can't see going on.


Vanessa Baker  

Wow. Right. And to realize that as a young person is really powerful. Yeah, that's amazing. What do you like the most about yourself? Is it that very strong sense of empathy? And I know you're one to take action on the empathy that you feel as well? Is it that or is there something else that you like the very most about who you are?


Guest  

I do like that a lot. I think something that kind of goes like hand in hand with that is like, there's just like this natural part of me that's like, I like to appreciate little and big things, like specifically the little ones. So that just looks like you know, finding beauty and everyday little, like I said pieces of garbage or, you know, like animals that people deem is not very interesting, or, you know, qualities in people or, yeah, I think I like the.. I actually started an Instagram that's called appreciating little and big and it's just like me being like, "Hey, I really like that thing".


Vanessa Baker  

Oh, I love that. Yeah, not just thinking it and noticing it in your own mind and giving yourself a little boost. On purpose, which we all need every day, at least every 30 minutes, I could use a little, you know, emotional, round mental boost, but you're then also sharing that and trying to lead people right and to help change their perspective. That's what I hear it. Was that your intention with your Instagram?


Guest  

Yeah, totally. You know, there's so many random things that I see. And like, it's been, like, different a little bit during the pandemic, but like, before that it was just, you know, I was working three jobs and like, not sleeping very much. And I'm historically a pretty, like, depressed and anxious person. So it became something that like, was just part of my life to be like, I'm gonna appreciate that, like that very normal thing. Like for example, having hands is so insane to just have hands or like, you know, just tiny things like that. And I wanted that to be more of a not just dance thing, but like for this appreciation of, of lots of things to be like more of a, you know.. like an everyday thing in people's lives.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah. Right, because it's there, it's there and we can be blind to it. Or we can really value it. And I have to admit when you said tiny and hands. I thought about Kristen Wiig on Saturday Night Live with her tiny hands. Just so you know who you're dealing with here haha.


Guest  

Tiny hands!


Vanessa Baker  

I know that I relate to the depression, I relate to the anxiety. And that's a big thrust. That's a bit later behind what I'm doing here, because I want to help bring awareness to mental health stuff. And I almost haven't met anybody who doesn't deal with some level of either situational or chronic or, you know, like, clinical or whatever kind of depression, some level of anxiety, whether it's just, you know, a here and there thing or just like something they wake up with, like an elephant on their chest every day. So I appreciate you bringing that out, you know, in our conversation. So, regarding depression and anxiety, with the pain that you talked about dealing with in your home, you know, like us all, what would you say is your main source of support in your life right now.


Guest  

Um, so this is gonna sound weird, but my mom, even though she's no longer Earth side is definitely still like my biggest support. She died in 2019. And yeah, she's been my best friend since always, and will always be even though our relationship looks a lot different now. Right. But yeah, her for sure. And then my siblings, my two younger sisters, specifically, just because, you know, we've gone through horrible things together, and also really amazing things together. And, yeah, we're just like, the best family we have.


Vanessa Baker  

That's so I want to ask you, let me ask you specifically, tell me, if you will, this is really intimate. And I, if this goes away, and you don't want it on, you know, the podcast, we can cut it out. But I would love for you to try and share with us the nature of the relationship that you have with your mom, who's no longer here on Earth.


Guest  

Yeah, sure. I would love that. It's definitely interesting to like, I mean, you knew my mom, but it's tough to try to like when I meet new people in my life, it's like, I cannot imagine trying to explain her to you. Because like, like it just hard to put a person to words, you know, it's like, if you start dating someone new, and they say like, What do you like about them? It's like, I just like them, you know what I mean? But yeah, my relationship with my mom, and I was the firstborn. And I was the only kid for about two years. So, you know, we just did everything together and started out like that. But yeah, she was always a very artistic person. So I got into, you know, messing around with paint and things from being really little. And, like, the older we got, and the more siblings, you know, got added to the family, it just kind of became something that was part of our life. So that's like a small thing. But it's also such a big thing like it was, you're always just like, creating beautiful things. Like, in our home, we like at our dining room table. It was just like, you know, play music. And all four of us girls would just, you know, make stuff together. And that was really cool.


Vanessa Baker  

Right? So do you think that art has taken on a new level of importance since she's passed? Is that a way that you feel like you're with her?


Guest  

Sometimes. Yeah, I think like, we're definitely still in like grieving process. So sometimes it can feel like, you know, really, almost kind of yucky to make stuff, because it's like, she's not here in the same way. Yeah. But then other times, it does feel like really therapeutic. And it's been interesting, like, I mean, I always did art alongside her. So this would make sense, I suppose. But like, I've been doing some commissions over the course of the last month. And, like, I got a commission from one of my mom's friends and I gave it to her and she kind of, like, teared up. But she said, this looks like he made this. And so that's one way yes, that it has taken on a new meaning. It's like I've kind of not inherited but just from watching her, you know, creating with her. It's like, Whoa, that's.. I can make something pretty similar, which is strange.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, that is when you said that I thought like, wow, like, what if, you know, you're like channeling her, you know, and like expressing something through you. Totally. Yeah. Wow. Tell me about grief. Man. Tell me about grief. You know, I don't know if you really remember this, but my dad died on July 11 2019. Yeah. Your mom was the 10th. Mm hmm. Okay, so that's weird. She shared definitely different circumstances. My dad actually committed suicide that day. It was free .. day so I'll never forget the day. Yeah, it sucks. He was really sick with Parkinson's and You know, that was his choice, and he wanted to have control over that aspect and Parkinson's can drag out forever, right? And in many ways he was healthy, very healthy, very strong. So it would have been a really long, long ride. So, you know, you can tell I'm not like fully into that process, because I'm being like, distant from it. I know, you can feel that because I know you feel things. At the same time, I'm looking into grief. How can we say that? I've done some therapy since then I'm looking into considering grieving.


Guest  

Yeah, I'm thinking about it.


Vanessa Baker  

Tell me what it's like, for you to grieve as a young adult.


Guest  

Hmm. It is kind of like what you just said about, like, you know, I'm looking at it, I'm thinking about it. But at the same time, like, because of how close she and I were, are still, I guess, it's kind of impossible to not grieve because, you know, we like it wasn't super, like, orthodox. Like we talked almost 24/7, just like whether it was a text or whatever. Right. So I do, like, definitely have to look straight in the face and be like, I don't have that exactly. anymore. You know, so I don't like get a huge choice in that. But yeah, it's definitely like, people will ask me, since it's been a year and a half now, they'll be like, you know, how are you doing? Like, how are you feeling about my senior mom? And I'll say, you know, like, I don't really ever expect to miss her less, you know, like, it's always gonna be shitty.


Vanessa Baker  

Right? You know, when you said that a few minutes ago, when he said, I'm still grieving. That was the little thought bubble that popped up above my head, which is like, and you will always be grieving from what I understand, I guess on an intellectual level, because I was not nearly as close to my dad, as you are to your mom. My funny thing is I have a picture of him in the hallway. And I'll walk by it sometimes. And it's a really gorgeous picture. He's super handsome. He looks like a model, like a cowboy model in this picture, and I go, I go, "Hey, Dad, you're dead." and I walk out the room. I'm like, okay, grief, you're weird, right? And it's this bizarre thing. And then some days, it's very weird.. like, my oldest son is 18, and his voice, especially on the phone off, that almost got me in tears right there. His voice sounds so much like my dad's.. so much. It's been a lot of time together. But it's just like the voice. You know, it's not words, or I don't know. It's just like, the heredity of the voice, I guess the tone. And it'll for me, sometimes I'll feel like I, I forget how much I miss him until I hear his voice and my son or I see a picture. A different. I'm kind of numb to that one in the hall. Um, what are the most surprising things about grief that you have noticed? Hmm.


Guest  

I will say that like, I mean, initially, when we lost her, it was a shock. And so you know, it was devastating. Like, obviously. But I think the most, some of the most surprising things about it is it didn't kill me. And like, honestly, this is like, pretty vulnerable. But I'm surprised it didn't. Yeah. And, yeah, I'm also really surprised that like, the waves of it, because like a spike, especially when, like, she and I were so close, you know, I'm surprised by sort of how well I still can do like, do you know, like, how I can still get up and I can still, like, see pictures of her and feel happy instead of like.. wanting to vomit cry.


Vanessa Baker  

Right. Right. Yeah. Your resiliency. That's what I'm hearing, you're surprised by how strong you are. and resilient, you are in the face of your weakest, most horrifying reality. Totally. You know what I mean, weak, not weak is reality, but like you're in your weakest, most vulnerable state, and you're actually a survivor, right? Wow, man, that's like, that's really powerful. I think that right now, with so many extra people dying on top of the normal, you know, daily average of natural and accidental suicide deaths, you know, like, because of COVID. I think what you're saying is gonna touch a lot of people and I appreciate you sharing that I really, really do. And, you know, I love your mom, I have pictures. And she was such a beautiful, talented photographer. And just knowing like now when I see those pictures, that I'm looking right through her eyes, at my family, it's extremely powerful and she made a particular beautiful dent in the world. Actually, that's It's a great question I would love to ask you. What do you think you're here for? What do you think is your legacy? Like, why do you think you're on this crazy? planet? Yeah.


Guest  

Yeah. Damn, is it crazy? I would say, well, first I'm going to touch on this, I think at about, like, you know, when, when your kids are like, from, you know, 13 to 25, or something like that, like, somewhere in there maybe the whole time, they will definitely go through some like existential dread. Just like, what the hell am I doing here? Like, this sucks. Like, why? What is this? You know? And that's, it's a really tough spot, because, you know, there's no like, definitive answer for it like for why you're here and it gets pretty deep. Right? So I definitely went through that. And definitely in high school, like my depression, like probably hit, probably hit its lowest low. And I coincidentally, like around the time I started nannying, for you, I kind of found a little bit of my purpose. And it was just that, like, the easiest, like most natural thing for me to do is just love. Period. Yeah, that is the whole sentence like, "What are you here for to love?" period.


Vanessa Baker  

Ah I love that, I love that. And I get that, knowing you. And the way you're talking about the little things and the big things. What is that? If not love? You know, just like that is what you are. And not that you're being a copycat, but that's exactly what your mom is to. Totally, totally. It's literally a legacy. Right? And that's super powerful. Yeah. Is there any Is there any time in your life where you're just like it, I want a new purpose. This one fucking sucks. too hard, too much hate. What's been your biggest challenge in really, like embodying that purpose of being love?


Guest  

I think, definitely, like, I'm usually like a pretty unconditional love person. But there are definitely some times and with some people that I'm like, Oh, my God, like, I can't, I can't do it with you. And, and at those moments, I realized, like, I'm still a human being. And I don't have to, like fully love everyone, like loving someone can be as simple as I meet you where you are, and I see you. And, like, I appreciate these little things about you. Yeah, so I think it's really tough to, for me sometimes be like, you know, to fully appreciate a person. But you know, those little parts of them, I can kind of hold on to those. And also, like, every single person harbors pain and things that they've been through that have changed the way they are. So if there's something you don't like about someone, there's probably a reason it became like that, you know, and so that makes it easier to love them.


Vanessa Baker  

That's your empathy in play there. There's something hidden that we don't know about, we're only seeing the the results of the pain and the unhealed wounds. Right. Yeah, affecting them at the moment, and it's not about us.


Guest  

Mm hmm.


Vanessa Baker  

Right? So that's really important to get; thank you for that. So when you like, look kind of like survey, across your whole life right now, what would you say matters to you the most overall,


Guest  

I would easily like right off the bat, say my sister's, like, hands down. Like, I don't have a job, I don't really have anything I'm working toward right now. Aside from like, loving and taking care of them. And like, one of them is in Santa Barbara, and one is here and, like 15 minutes away from me, but like talking to them as much as like, you know, we can and just loving on each other is like the like the main thing I care about.


Vanessa Baker  

Right. Yeah, it's like, does it occur for you like taking on that maternal role? Or is it different? Is it pure sisterhood? Or is there something that you feel a responsibility toward? And I'm certainly not saying that you should or implying that.


Guest  

Right, right, right.


Vanessa Baker  

I wanted to dig a little deeper and ask you did that.. kind of being the firstborn, like you said, bring that to you like, now I have to be like my mom here.


Guest  

Huh? That's a good question. I like i don't think i have i don't think i feel like any, like pressure on myself to be like that, like to, you know, to pick up where she left off because like, frankly, no one can. But like, I don't know, I didn't used to have a very good relationship with one of my sisters and like, after losing my mom, it was just like she and I just.. like our whole lives we've just torn each other's head off. And it's just like, been really tough. And neither of us really knew why. And it was just kind of always a thing. And then like in, like, several months later, we just kind of like, saw each other for the first time. And like, never looked back. Like, it was just like, now we're inseparable. You know? Wow. Yeah. So, right, that kind of like relationship and, like just those. I don't know, there's nothing quite like a sibling. And I know that that's not true for every family or everyone, but like, I don't know, for my family at least, like they know me better than anyone. You know?


Vanessa Baker  

Right. Right.


Guest  

Those are really important bonds to uphold.


Vanessa Baker  

Use it against you or hold it against you. It sounds like right. Yeah. I really like how you have just demonstrated that family relationships can evolve. Mm hmm. Definitely. Definitely. I don't think people think like that very much. I know, I've gotten stuck many times, thinking that something is the way it is forever. And then something surprising happens and, and things shift, you know. So thank you for that bit of hope. Honestly, for me, I actually really appreciate that for sure. That's a tough one. I have a sibling, one sibling from whom I'm a stranger. And I don't know, you just gave me this little glimmer of hope, even though I'm really buttoned up about it, you know?


Guest  

Yeah, for sure.


Vanessa Baker  

Really? Thank you.


Guest  

You're welcome. Yeah, I think, like, my sister, and I, like, she was always like, better to me, like more, you know, like, she's actually very maternal. So she always always wanted to take care of me, you know, and I don't know, like, we still even with that beautiful love that she had. For me, it was still like, really tough. But, yeah, I think it's definitely possible that the people in your life like specifically your family, you know, can like, even if you like, have hated them, or you've had beef with them for a really long time, like something really could just happen like that. And I think it's really magical when it does.


Vanessa Baker  

Right. Right. And give staying open to that. I think that's kind of like what just happened when you said that, in my soul is there just was like this little crack, like this little wiggling of the doorknob. The door didn't open or anything, but you know, so, yeah, that's what this happened. And so with you now, with your parents, you know, other than your mom, mm, what do you think is, like top priority for them when it comes to you right now?


Guest  

Hmm. I would say it's kind of in a weird place. Like I would say that. Like, it's almost like, they give too much space. You know, like, they want to give me space so that I can, or me and my sisters and my brother and my other sister, just like, they want to give us space to grieve and think and whatever. But I think what we really need is to be like scooped up, you know, but yeah, I think they're I think that's a little. That's a tough question. For me. I'm not really sure what they're most important for them.


Vanessa Baker  

Right, right. I mean, maybe avoidance of some kind of pain reduction on their side, perhaps maybe not feeling like they're competent in the area of what this is like, how to be there for you how to not that they could even try or that they actually would but replace, or substitute for or fill in for, right, that incredible job that your mom did within you? Right? Yeah, that's interesting. Is there a request in there? Do you need to ask them for what you need? Because they may never figure it out? Unless you literally tell them?


Guest  

I think definitely. And that's kind of something I'm working on with myself right now is like, I've never been like, not never, I guess in certain situations. I'm not very good at like self advocacy from a parent. And so yeah, that's definitely something that that I'm working on. But, you know, if I were to get to a place where I felt more comfortable, I think I've I would, you know, want to approach them and separately, and just be like, like, I appreciate like the space you guys are giving me like I know what, what the intention is there. But like, this is what I really need, you know.


Vanessa Baker  

Wow, see.. exactly how you said that. That was perfect. What when he said the word uncomfortable, it like showed up in my head like a neon light. Yeah. So what do you think would need to change? Or ideally, what would you like to change in the landscape? Right, have your relationship with your dad, and with your stepdad? Is that who we're talking about here? Correct. Okay, so what would need to change in the landscape you can be as general or specific as you'd like to be for you to feel more comfortable to be that vulnerable?


Guest  

I think.. I don't.. I would say that like, I would love to see them, you know, model for us, like, show us how to grieve, and not that there's one certain way. But like, if it was something that was more like talked about, and you know more, like, I don't know, like, not the elephant in the room. Yeah, I think that would make it feel a lot more safe.


Vanessa Baker  

Right? You know, this is so common, when I get to talk to teenagers every day, not just my own, but my clients and everyone. Like, there's a huge opportunity, because of how smart you guys are, in a way for you to lead for you to be leaders in your families. And what do you think is the main obstacle for young people and showing up and being like, family meeting people be there? We've got to talk, we've got to change some things around. This is what we need. Hey, what do you guys need? Like? What's the obstacle from you? causing change that you need to see?


Guest  

Definitely, yeah. Yeah, I think like, one of the biggest hindrances of like, you know, teenagers talking to their parents, their family, is that a lot of times, like, their opinions are either quote unquote, wrong, or they don't matter. You know, it's like, your opinion, is, you know, void, because you aren't old enough to know how the world works, you aren't old enough to understand how this family works like? And, like, honestly, what, what's something that's so cool about teenagers having, like, all this magic in them already? Is that, like, they come into the world in, like, you know, into a generation that's already like, established. And they say, like, with, who knows where they get this knowledge, but they're like, That's not right. I don't like that, you know, and that upsets people that upsets parents, that upsets families, and it's because like, we're pushing and pulling your brain, you know, you don't like that. But it's like, I don't know, I just think like, it's so important that like, you know, their opinions are allowed to live, wherever the family lives, you know, like, no one has to agree with those opinions. But they, I definitely think they need to be listened to, you know, like..


Vanessa Baker  

Considered, right? But I totally get that. I do think that's what makes me and I hesitate to like, talk about myself, but I do, I'm just gonna say it, because I actually think it's valuable, whether it's about me or someone else. But I think that's something that has made a difference in my relationships with each of my children is that I allow them I. And I don't mean that in an authoritarian way I allow for, I am open to, what they have to teach me about what they understand differently from what I understand. And even before George Floyd and everything that happened, my one daughter in particular, was constantly pointing out in me and in others what racism is, and I was the last person to consider myself to have any kind of like racist beliefs, or, I mean, the last, the last, I mean, I'll get you know, I could give you my stupid, privileged white person list of all the proof that I'm not racist, right? It's gross. But she continued to have patience with me and we butthead sometimes. But she opened my eyes to that, if it weren't for my child. Mm hmm. Same kid when she was 10 years old, telling me that she's a lesbian, right? Many years before I came out at the age of 38. Now, like, I literally learned that it's okay to be myself because my kid had no problem being herself from the day she was born, right? And trust me, it took like four or five years to get used to this idea. Then I surrendered. And I'm like, you know what, this little.. I don't even know how to fill in the blank. There's been so many things in that blank, you know, this little thing, you know, she's going to be my best teacher. And, you know, I think God or the universe or the source of life, or whatever you want to call it, that I had that moment because she's literally changed my life.


Guest  

Yeah, I mean, I would, I would love to speak about your daughter too, because the I was, you know, when I was, you know, seeing you guys all the time, just that your house was so different from other houses, it was like, just like the most, I don't know about, like, I don't want to, like, put it on a pedestal or anything because it should be really the normal. But like, it was so accepting. And it was so like, let's talk about the difficult stuff, let's blah, blah, blah. And that was like something I experienced with one of my parents, but not the other. And so it was just so crazy that like, that was something that was normal for our kids. But something I want to touch on, like, more specifically was when your daughter, you know, was, you know, figuring out her identity. You know, what I want to say.


Vanessa Baker  

Their identity pronouns, like all of that.


Guest  

Yeah, all of that stuff. Like I'd never had someone else in my life like that. And she was 11 at the time. And like, I was just so enthralled by her, because, you know, it was really emotional. And it was a really hard ride. But she taught me so much about like, the way I looked at other people, you know, this is not like something that's an easy decision, or, like an easy thing to come to terms with. It's very hard, you know, and like she gave me so much like more empathy than I already had for LGBTQ plus, everybody, you know?


Vanessa Baker  

Yep. Yep, I hear that. I hear that and look at. So how old were you? Then? You were like, 1617? Yeah, something. So in there. And she was 11. So what if that was the model? Like, you're just showing something that is so beautiful. What if everybody could just be open to learning, literally, from everybody? What if it wasn't like, Well, I have my driver's license, and I'm in high school, and you're in sixth grade. And I'm 35. I'm 42. I graduated from college, and I pay the bills and your electricity is because of me. You know, and I can't learn from you. Right? Like, what if it was all like, this is my ideal world, okay, like, this is what I am seeking to build from this podcast, and so many other projects that I've created, it's that we all could just have that kind of reverence and respect, and give dignity to provide the space for each person to have dignity and like, who they are and what they have to offer.


Guest  

Mm hmm. And so like, something I just thought of, while you were talking is like, you know, we've been told, like, I mean, we I guess that's a collective we, but so many of us been told, like, respect your elders your whole life. And for like, any parent who's having trouble with, you know, they're potentially like, quote, unquote, difficult child. Like, it's also very important to respect your youngers. Yep. You know, and, like, like, like, it's very easy to separate humanity into different demographics of age. Sure, like babies, toddlers, kids, teenagers, geriatric, everybody, like there's so many things in there to separate us, but like, it's all person.


Vanessa Baker  

Right. Humanity. Yeah. Right. So what do you think matters more than it should, to, quote elders and the parents of the teenagers who are struggling for relationship and connection and how to influence their own children? What matters too much to them? That might be in the way of them being effective?


Guest  

Hmm. I think the definitely, in my own life, and so many people that I know, the biggest thing that a parent can do to get in the way of their relationship with their kid is to try and control them. Like, there's such a difference between like, you know, having boundaries and respect versus control. And I don't know, in my own childhood, that was something that absolutely, for like many years, destroyed my relationship with my biological dad. Just that there was no respect, because there was like, he had to control everything about my beliefs, who I was, and that just erased, it felt like it erased my own identity. And that I only fit in the puzzle. If I looked, you know, it walked and talked, how I was supposed to, and that meant, like my opinions were groomed and everything. So I think, I think it's, yeah, I think that's probably one of the biggest obstacles just that you don't let your kid express themselves, how they are because you will have a much better relationship and Like an easier time, not easier, but like, a much more effective time. If you're not trying to, you know, put them under your thumb all the time. They don't thrive there.


Vanessa Baker  

Right. Exactly. They do not thrive under a thumb. There's no light, there's no air, there's no water, there's no soil. It's just you're just smashed between the cement in a thumb, you know, and it's arable. I guess, you got to draw that.


Guest  

I do have to draw that.


Vanessa Baker  

So what do you think, breeds that need to control? What's beneath it?


Guest  

I think a lot of times the need for control comes from a lack of understanding. And like, a, you know, like, that doesn't look like me, like I made that. But that looks, you know, like something I've never like, quite understood. And it scares me a little bit like, I want you like, it. Also, it looks like that fear that, you know, that control could come from, like, I want this kid to have the best time, like the easiest time in life. So like, you know, I need to control it and tell them, you know, like, this is the way it is blah, blah, blah, so that they're safe, so that they're, you know, financially stable, blah, blah, blah,


Vanessa Baker  

Very, very smart. That's really, really smart. Right, but whose life doesn't have pain? And who's ever followed all the pre determined, quote, right, unquote, moves of another person's opinion, and another person's point of view and experience and come out really happy and fulfilled and stronger and more resilient. Like literally that's never, ever, ever happened. And I can't think of how many movies I can think of, in my head, like numerous movies where they did everything, right, and they were the perfect blah, blah, blah. I can hear the trailer, like the man's voice, you know, until one day they had had enough. Right? Like, so played out, like, How come? we perpetuate that many times? As adults? Right? Like, I don't know why, because it's illogical. But it's the default setting that parents seem to have, Oh, man. And okay, there was something else that you said, made me want to share this. So in my book that I wrote that, it's coming out, like in January, I think, I mean, so they say. We'll see, whenever eventually, there's this part where I actually am talking about differences, you know, you're not going to get a mini me of you, you think you're going to get a boy, maybe they identify as a female, a girl, you know, you think you're going to get a little athlete, and all they want to do is read books. And it's like we get entitled, which is a lot of what I talked about, in my practice, parents get entitled to think that they deserve for their kids to follow in their footsteps. And that's not a really totally shitty thing. It's just like hopeful. And it sounds really fun. And there are movies like that to write great. So I say that, I think you'll really like this, that when you have a baby or adopt a baby, whatever, you are not pushing a four on a vending machine, and then it plops down, and it's a four hand and I say, it's like you're putting your hand into a grab bag, a mystery grab bag, and not only that, you can't see what's in there. It's dark in there, but you're also wearing a really thick glove, and you can't even feel around. Pull it out. And then you still really know what this thing morphs into for like a good decade.


Guest  

Totally.


Vanessa Baker  

Can you handle that?


Guest  

Right? Because if you're like, I don't know, like, if you have, if you end up with a baby, somehow, some way, like, it very likely most likely is not going to be exactly what you'd hoped for. And does that sound okay? Like, because that's what's gonna happen.


Vanessa Baker  

Exactly, exactly. What's the most fucked up thing you've ever heard anyone say about the category that is teenagers or young adults?


Guest  

I would say I kind of touched on it earlier. But I would say that the most harmful like hurtful thing that I've ever heard about teenagers is that your opinion is wrong. And yeah, that statement on its own, is just so heavy like that weighs so much to say that an opinion which like by its definition is something you know, that belongs to someone. It's there's never a wrong one. But because of your age and your little, you know, your smaller view on the world. Just because you know, you haven't been around as long, whatever you believe, is incorrect. And I think that that is social And so wrong, you know, like that opinions can morph and change, but they're never, they're never wrong, and they might grow with you as you grow older. But some of them, you know, that I had since I was 11, or, you know, around that age have remained the same. So they're like, right, and you wouldn't tell a 21 year old, that their opinions are wrong.


Vanessa Baker  

Right?


Guest  

Yeah, I think that is the shittiest.


Vanessa Baker  

People do plenty, but I do. I totally know what you're saying. But you like, it's like you earn a little more respect every year that you're alive? And what if everyone got 100% respect? On day one? Well, right that, what, wow, how do you think you Okay, no, don't take this the wrong way. Because it sounds like I think you should be different. But that's not what I'm saying. I wonder, how do you think your life and the unfolding you know, of this path that you're on? Like, how do you think your life your emotions, your health, everything? Would it be different if you had been sure that you were important and valid and respected 100% and believed in from day one, by all the adults in your family, all the parents.


Guest  

Oh, my gosh, I don't know. Like, I feel like I'm a pretty like, like, I'm a pretty solid on my feet person, like, I'm pretty good with myself No matter what, but at the same time, like, that's taken work. So if I had, you know, every adult in my life, like not be dismissive, not, you know, all of that, I don't know what exactly would be different, but I think like, my mental health would be much different. Like, like, for example, like, I do kind of have a little bit of like, a PTSD, and a lot of what that looks like, is replaying, not on purpose, but replaying a lot of what I was told as a young kid, you know, those things were not kind, but if, like, let's say, you know, all of those adults in my life, respected me and treated, you know, my little person opinion is something valid like that, those, you know, thoughts in my head would not exist. And that would be a very different, it would be a very different brain.


Vanessa Baker  

Right, I get that I really hear what you're saying. You would have still, quote turned out, right, but struggle and obstacles that live inside of you that nobody else sees that drain your energy and affect you like a subconscious conscious, like, you know, inside of you. space would give way to something else, or nothing.


Guest  

Right? So there'd be space, there'd be space.


Vanessa Baker  

Right? There'd be space. Right? Wow, that's extremely powerful. Thank you so much. The last thing that I want to ask you is, if you haven't already gotten the opportunity to kind of, say, your piece, like, if there's something new, you'd like to add here, what's something that if a parent of a young adult or a teenager were listening right now, what's something that you would want them to really rethink?


Guest  

I would want them to understand that there is a difference between listening and hearing. When your kid comes to you with something that's like, depending on your relationship, it might be something that they've like, really mold on, you know, they've been like, do I want to talk to my parent about this? And it might be something serious, or it might be like, this is what I want for dinner. But like, there is a difference between hearing what you know, like, just like, Okay, I'm kind of like, or no, listen, I don't, which one is which? Hearing, yeah, hearing is just like, you know, that's going in my ears. And I'm probably like, it's, it's fine. Like, it's gonna just kind of go out the other one. But listening is is much different, like listening is, you know, validating your child and regardless of, you know, if, if you agree with them, or not, just letting them you know, hold space, and, you know, not have to worry about taking up space, because they're allowed to do that. Yeah, I just, I think that that is something that I've seen a lot of times, you know, just with passers by or with people in my own life that's like that you're just being so dismissive of that child. And that's something that that doesn't seem like a big deal in the moment, but like, that'll be something that shapes their communication skills for life.. the way that they advocate for themselves.


Vanessa Baker  

Right. Because how many times does a young person who's still developing have to get shut down before they stop opening up?


Guest  

Exactly.


Vanessa Baker  

There's a number. And then it's done. And they quit trying. And for some personality types and resiliency levels or you know, spiciness levels of people, it could be one. It could be 100. Right? It doesn't matter. it's eventually going to be like, there's no cat of that tree. I've got to stop barking up there, right? Totally. Yeah, man, I really, really hear that.


Guest  

Yeah there's like what I was saying about, you know, just teenagers. What I was saying about them having so much magic is that, like that magic can diminish if you don't give it room to grow. Right? If you don't, you know, listen to it and validate it and, and love it. Because, like..


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah.


Guest  

It's another child. Yeah. The magic of childhood is not something that can exist forever, unless it has room.


Vanessa Baker  

Right, right. And yeah, and is nurtured. And the irony is that so many parents who I work with who are in crisis with their teenagers, they would do anything to see that magic. And they don't realize because it's really not their fault. I'm, I am so compassionate toward parents, because they're just perpetuating what their parents did. And Oh, totally holders. Control comes from that fear, like you were talking about, and, you know, safety and risk management and all of that, right. But then there becomes a point where you're like, Where did my baby's magic go? And then that moment of them realizing and seeing that they squashed it out of fear of judgment, maybe?


Guest  

Yeah it's devastating for both parties.


Vanessa Baker  

Add salutely, it's healable. I mean, literally what I'm up to like, that's the precise.. Oh, I've got goosebumps. That's the precise way to say what I'm up to is identifying that and remedying that there's nothing that's gone, are like, I will never, I will never choose to believe that something is, you know, a lost cause.


Guest  

Totally.


Vanessa Baker  

One thing that I wanted to say, after what you said earlier, just a second ago was that, what do you think this thing is, like, children are like problems to solve? And the words that they say, are like problems to solve?


Guest  

Mm hmm.


Vanessa Baker  

What's it like, for you to be treated like a problem to solve or a problem to avoid?


Guest  

It just hurts man, like just just flat out it's like, because any, I don't know, like, you can, if you want to, if this helps in your brain view. It can flip it both ways. Either view every single person ever, as an adult, or view all of them as children. And I very often choose to view everyone as a child. And for some reason that for me, that makes it more. I don't know, I can connect with them better that way. But for someone who has like a difficult time with that, with that demographic, it might not work exactly the same.


Vanessa Baker  

Mm. Equal would work, right. But I get your point. And I actually, I have that practice in my mind, too. I like to think of it the other way, I think, because I have children, who I'm raising right now. And I like to give them every bit of respect as I would a stranger, which, you know, unfortunately, we give strangers oftentimes more kindness respect, totally, than we would our own family. So I get that it's just like we're all equal. My opinion is as valid as yours. I'm not wrong. I'm not wrong. You're not right. You're not wrong. But let's find this middle space. Right, right. Yeah. Yes. Okay. This has been so powerful. I have effectively met my goal and talking to another young person of like, literally demonstrating by asking some simple questions like how brilliant and deep and insightful and important and special and powerful you are. And you didn't even have to do anything. You just told me what was in your head, you know, like, who you are. I cannot do enough. Thank you so much for being here and listening to this episode today. If you're a parent, I challenge you to share this episode with your kids and see what kind of conversations open up. And if you're a teenager and something about this conversation, or different episodes, really hit you in the heart and really resonated with you. I challenge you to use this project, this podcast to build this bridge, you know, fling something over the fence if that's what it feels like and share this with your parent or guardian whoever you need to understand what You got out of listening to this today use this as the bridge and just see what kind of conversations open up, you can go to Vanessa Baker mindset.com for all kinds of love for me. The music at the beginning is from Lucas Lex. And I am also putting out a call for action. What I need from my teenagers and young adults is a song. And it can be any genre, any length really. But here are the criteria. This is all that it's all that matters about this project and the kind of rules about it. The name of the song, I want it to be the same name as the podcast, which is you'll understand when you're younger. I'd love it if you could incorporate any lyrics or thoughts or inspiration that you've gotten from listening to these episodes. And I would love to play your songs at the end of the podcast going forward. And as the songs collect, it'd be cool if you guys cover each other's songs, it can be all original. Again any genre any length and I'll play a good minute of it going out of every single episode. So all you have to do for that is go to the Instagram page which is capital you will understand when letter you letter are younger. I know it's the longest handle but that's the best I could do. So Instagram you will understand when you are younger, and DM me and I'll tell you how to submit your song. Thank you so much. I love you. Bye.

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