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Episode 3: On Parenting The Kid You *Think* You Have

"Instead of me having to push down the fact that I'm trans because she's uncomfortable with it, I'd like to have her to push down the fact that she's uncomfortable so I can be trans."

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 teenager mindset coach, and a mom of five teenagers. And my goal is to inspire adults to see teenagers as highly valuable members of society. I am here to crush the mindset that teenagers are problematic. And I'm so glad you're here listening right now. Today, my guest is another fellow anonymous human being who I adore. And he is going to be bringing a wonderful perspective to what we've got going on here. So hello, how are you?


Guest  

I am good. Hi.


Vanessa Baker  

Hi. So what's it like to be you in general?


Guest  

Starting big, huh?


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah haha.


Guest  

It's pretty good. I mean, can't complain too much. I kind of just exist for the moment. Nothing too big happening in my life. Yeah. Got a really great answer.


Vanessa Baker  

Okay. That's great! A lot of people really relate to that right now. I mean, really, that's like, a lot of people are feeling that at this moment. So thanks for validating all of those of us who feel like we're just existing right now. So what are you known for? Like, among people who know you? If they heard your name? saw your picture? What ran into you? They'd be like, Ah, that guy? What are you known for?


Guest  

Well, I would hope that I was known for being kind because I do try my best to be as giving and caring as I can be. I'm being honest, probably. I'm that weird, loud guy. And if you really know me, I'm one of the stupidest people you'll know. So..


Vanessa Baker  

Okay, define stupid.


Guest  

Just the decisions that I make have some interesting qualities, which because you know, me personally, you do know about and I'm sure we will get into.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, it happens. And I have to say, I mean, everybody I've ever met everybody who I've ever coached. Everybody who I've ever been related to. Everybody, like, I think that honestly is like, really nice that you just said that. Like that, because, like there's a part of me, probably the mom and me, who's like, Oh, my gosh, don't say that about yourself, son. But then I'm like, yeah, me too. You know? I think it's the human condition. Really. Like we can have a contest of who's stupider if you want to, but that's real, right?


Guest  

Yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

I hate that. When we do stupid things. However, we, you know, relatively defined stupid. It's like, we feel like we're the only one What do you think that is about us as humans, where we think we've done the worst thing ever, but like other people are like "you call that stupid? Let me tell you a story."


Guest  

I think we're all just kind of conditioned to see the worst in ourselves and the best and everyone else. So it's hard to think that you know, you've, you know that anyone else is fucked up. If you think Oh, God, I just did the worst thing ever. Because everyone else is great, but we're personally horrible.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, I think that comes down to vulnerability and we're trained to not be vulnerable. So it's not what people are hearing about us. And if so, it's all shame riddled, right? It's just, we're just riddled with like, Oh, you know, all that persecution? Personal torture. Yeah, good point. Yeah, we're going right into this. This is how I like it. Very good. So what Okay, besides being like, superlatively stupid. What do you like the most about yourself?


Guest  

I think what I like about myself is that I'm giving um, which I said earlier, that's what I hope people think about me. Um, which actually has been an issue in my life because I'm giving to a fault and I'll just give given give, but I like that about myself. I like that I you know, I trust that if I give everyone my all they'll give it back and I don't really care if they don't, you know, I don't care that goes badly for them.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, like I can see that as probably something that drives you crazy and something that might feel a little bit like freedom at the same time, not having high expectations of what you get back. But also I could see the potential confirm or deny, but is there a difference? They're to feel emptied out and not, like refilled back up with the same.


Guest  

Sometimes it's kind of found me in this position where a lot of the relationships I make are I become like the caregiver in them. And so that can be pretty draining, especially if I'm working with multiple, you know, close people where suddenly I've become like this, you know, Father caregiver, you know, adult person, even if, you know, even if I'm just as immature as them, right, that can be pretty draining. And I'm also working on having to teach myself that I'm allowed to, and I deserve to have relationships where they take care of me as well.


Vanessa Baker  

That's very smart. That's so profound. I mean, I think I was in my 40s, when I realized that. So, you know, how stupid are you? Really, I would beg to differ because that's something that, honestly, I think you're really speaking to something that was a main part of the motivation of me having these types of conversations with people in your age group is that, how does this happen to me every single day that I'm talking to multiple teenagers every single day, not just my own children, right. But the people, you know, whose parents hired me, and they're telling me these amazing insights and breakthroughs that they've gotten that I literally, like, would have sounded like Swahili to me or something. When I was hearing, I feel like "what? How are you so smart? and insightful?


Guest  

Oh, good. I get awkward when I comments. I don't know, I figure I've only made a couple big revelations. In my life, I'm still kind of running on trial and error. Currently, I'm sure everyone is no matter how old you are, but..


Vanessa Baker  

Very true.


Guest  

At my age is still, I think, probably a lot more trial and a lot more error than Yeah, gotten a little bit more time to figure things out. But there's a couple things that I'm certain to get locked down.


Vanessa Baker  

Good. What do you think is your main source of support in your life that has you getting these, you know, the confidence to make those things? Well, in the lock down category, you know, like, Where do you get your support?


Guest  

Um, probably my therapist, which, I don't know, always sounds in my mind, I hate saying that. Because it makes it sound like the person I'm getting support from, I'm paying, but you know what, that's fine. I'm actually wondering, she kind of puts my head back on straight, and, you know, got lots of get lots out of that, you know, he kind of helps me take my thoughts out of the "Oh my God, this is crazy. And everything's happening all at once and I can't deal with this" and kind of like, put them through the strainer and get out the actual little important tidbits that are supposed to teach me something.


Vanessa Baker  

Whoa, that is the analogy of the day. That's very good. That's very, very good. I really liked that, too. Like sift it out. I pictured it sort of like when you get all that sand, and then you sift it out and get the gold out of it? You know?


Guest  

Yeah, like that.


Vanessa Baker  

That's excellent. That's excellent. I'll never forget that. That's perfect. So what else? Like do you have support from friends from family too? I know, you're saying that's the main source. And that's definitely what I was asking what are like the secondary sources of support in your life right now.


Guest  

Um, let's see. It's kind of interesting. Because right now, I live in a very small town. So I've gone kind of back into the closet. And so you know, there's people that I see every day that I get support from, but you know, they don't actually fully know me to support me, which is a little bit of a challenge. But you know, that's.. and I like my boss that I've worked with. She's another person that I ended up taking care of, but I love her, but you know, not out to her. And so she can only really help me, and support me on the things that don't really involve who I am. And so that's not a large amount of things.


Vanessa Baker  

I wish you could hear that back. Right. I bet it's not, because who you are is who you are. And that's everything. And a little commercial for you right now. Who you are is perfect. I know that and if I had just met you, and didn't even know you at all, I would say that too, but I happen to know it firsthand. So what do you think is the main obstacle that stops you from being out to someone like your boss?


Guest  

Um, probably the fact that you know, she's a 54 year old woman. So she's my Best Friend, but she's also born and raised conservative small town. And, you know, I try to steer away from any conversations about trans or gay things. But, you know, I don't really fully know her stance, but I can pretty much guess it, which is not positive. And I like my income. And I like, you know, having a friend in the area, even if it isn't a wholly genuine relationship. And so I think at some point, when I go on T, I will have to come out to my town. And then we will see, you know, how she feels about it from there.


Vanessa Baker  

Right. Right. So it's not stopping you from proceeding with your transition. But it's something that you don't want to deal with prematurely. Is that accurate?


Guest  

Yeah, I think I'll just kind of cross that bridge when we get to that kind of way. It's like, you know, why would I come out right now when I can't go on T? Mostly, because, you know, if you come out as trans, you kind of have to immediately do something about it in a small town. Otherwise, you're a faker.


Vanessa Baker  

Oh, wow. That's the conversation. Interesting. Yeah, I got that. So what do you think matters the most to you, in your whole entire life right now?


Guest  

Oh, God. Um, let's see. It's gonna sound kind of stupid and frivolous, but I'm gonna say my dog, you know? Yeah, kind of just my dude. Tell us about your dog. He is, like, seven, but he's got about seven more years in him. He's very prissy. But, you know, he's been there through thick and thin, even, you know, at the start of figuring out I was gay, and then figuring out I was trans and then all of that. Yeah. And, you know, is kind of easy to, you know, push my problems away and just kind of focus on him. And so I think, yeah, that's.. he matters.


Vanessa Baker  

I love that. I love that. So what's his name?


Guest  

Clark.


Vanessa Baker  

Clark. I love that name for a dog. I like what you're saying right now. Because I think that's common. I think that's really common. And just like really sweet to point out that our animals, the sweet little unconditionally loving little souls, they matter a lot. They make a really big, big difference in our ability to cope. And it feels like for me, like I've had animals at different times in my life who like they're like a witness to my life. Yes. Like they feel me through my life, you know, and they comfort me and ah, I love that you're pointing this out. Tell me more about your relationship with animals.


Guest  

Well, I've always been.. always been an animal person because I live on a farm. So I've got my horses, my dog, my cats, my bunnies, at one point I hadn't leeches, which I know you know about because it made Olly want leeches more than anything.


Vanessa Baker  

Thanks so much. I didn't cave to leeches. We've had alpacas, goats, chickens, dogs, cats. Oh my gosh, Leopard Geckos. Fish after fish after fish, frogs, hamsters.. I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but thank God, I have finally gotten some balls and I don't get leeches in my life. How did you and the leeches end up parting by the way?


Guest  

I moved out of my city to back to my hometown, which is about a two hour drive. And I didn't think that they would make it there. You know, they're pretty easy to keep alive. But some things just stress them out to killing them. So I had a friend who likes them anyways, so it's like, here you go. You can take care of them now.


Vanessa Baker  

All right. Sad, sad story. To tell you the truth, I can't emotionally attached to the idea of a leech. I'll try. I'll try harder.


Guest  

It was hard. We both actually had like little personalities, but we were kind of creepy.


Vanessa Baker  

Oh my God, I don't believe you at all. Okay, so that's what matters the most to you and your life your dog. And I think that's so sweet. You should definitely like cuddle up to Clark extra special tonight. Like that's so so sweet. So, now to enter into the conversation, the idea of your parental units. What are they? What does that mean parental unit to anyway your parents. What do you think matters the most to your parents right now?


Guest  

Let's see. Dad really liked My Grades. That's his big one. And Mom, mom is trying to figure out how to get me to stay here for a couple more years instead of going off to college. So those are their big parental motivators, at this current point in time.


Vanessa Baker  

Now, how does that feel like, you know, being a fresh new adult, and being in your senior year of high school and making these choices to move on in life in some ways, right? Like, what college kind of can provide? And then feeling that from the mom's side, how does that impact you when, correct me if I'm wrong, but it feels like she's leaning on you to do something that she wants you to do, which may differ from your idea of what you want to do with your life?


Guest  

Yeah, it's kind of a weird thing, because, you know, part of me doesn't want to leave, you know, kind of want to just stay at home and curl up in that little parental cocoon and just be here, which is interesting, because I don't really have that parental cocoon, you know, it's not, you know, I live very different life than I would like to when I live with them. But, you know, part of me just doesn't really want to leave. And so I kind of sympathize with my mom there. I'm like, No, I don't want to leave you, I want to stay here, you know, I want to be with my mom. But in that I kind of want a different mom, or at least a different relationship with my mom than I have, um.


Vanessa Baker  

I hear you, if you could change anything about your relationship with your mom, what would be like, give me like your top three.


Guest  

I don't really have a top three, because my top one kind of encompasses everything, which is, you know, I'd like to be the kid, again, our relationship has kind of changed to me being the parent figure. So I'm constantly kind of putting away my issues to make sure that she's happy. And, you know, I wish we could switch that back. I wish that, you know, instead of me having to push down the fact that I'm trans because she's uncomfortable with it, I'd like to have her push down the fact that she's uncomfortable, so that I can be trans, you know? Mhmm like that.


Vanessa Baker  

Wow. Dude, that was like, brilliantly put, brilliantly put. What would in it for her? If she were to accept you? And I don't mean you're holding out on her in some way on purpose to be nasty, or, you know, like, like passive aggressive or something like that. I don't mean that. But what would be in it for her things that mother's heart desires? What are those kinds of things that would be possible, if she were to buy into and support and adore and cheer for who you actually are?


Guest  

Well, I mean, not to toot my own horn, but I'm pretty awesome. You know? When I am fully confident. And that is definitely when I'm being like, holy and truthfully, myself, which she doesn't get to see a lot of the time. And even when she does, she doesn't realize that's what's happening.


Vanessa Baker  

Wow.


Guest  

And so..


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah. Right. I mean, as a mom, I do, I do love that when I see my kids coming into their confidence. And with one of my kids in particular, I see that in her online kind of persona, I guess you could say, you know, on Minecraft on servers, and I hear her, like, laughing hysterically and not holding back and saying the funniest stuff and being facetious and just like, incredibly fun and confident. And then if you put her in a room full of people's eyeballs, right, with the social anxiety that she deals with, all of the sudden, she doesn't want to get up to turn in a paper that she worked on all night. Because what if someone looks at her, you know, funny or think something or even Look, sir, period, right? And so I like I can get, do you know what I'm talking about? Like, they're definitely two versions of a lot of us maybe more than two, and not to be the one the real you to your mom, tell me what's the impact of that on you not getting to be fully holy, truly you with your mom?


Guest  

Well, again, going back to what I said earlier about how I wish we could like flip the roles. It feels like a lot of the time I'm kind of pussyfooting around her where I'm trying to like, make sure that I'm fitting into what she needs. And it's a lot of just kind of constantly checking myself to make sure I'm not saying anything untoward. Or you know, being too flamboyant or anything like that. And so it's kind of constantly monitoring myself in a way that just makes who I am a .lot less genuine


Vanessa Baker  

Right, and then people sniff that out. And they're like, what the heck. And then they probably react, but they don't realize the source. It's like this invisible relationships going on in tandem with the actual relationship, right. There's what's being said, and then all of what's being unsaid. I never really thought about it that way before. But do you get what I'm saying?


Guest  

Mhmm. Yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah. So, okay, I love how you kicked it off with your little self intro of being stupid, but which is not true. Or it's true of all of us, right? Either way, you're not alone. On the other hand, though, what's the smartest decision you've ever made?


Guest  

Hmm. That's a good one. Um, smartest decision I've ever made. Probably be way back in eighth grade where I did not take no for an answer with my now best friend and just kind of forced him to exist with me. Yeah, which, you know, not taking no for an answer. Never the best policy.. always accept no's. But you know, it worked out.


Vanessa Baker  

But you must have had a gut feeling. Yeah, about that you guys needed each other is what it sounds like.


Guest  

And we definitely have over the years. He is, you know, he's the one relationship I've had that's really lasted because again, he takes care of me as well. And so, you know, it's a big back and forth on, you know, when we need each other were there? And it's, yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

I really like I like what you're saying a lot. I wonder if you've ever been in the opposite situation where you had a deep intuition, like deep knowing that something was right. And then you could have easily walked away from it because there was some, like pushback or adversity involved. Right? And then you're just like, nevermind, but you didn't do that. What would you say gave you that courage, I guess I could say to be persistent and.. I mean, we're talking about friendship here. We're not talking about you made do your lunch or something, you know, that or something. Right. So like a friend, he wanted him to be your friend. What do you think? Wait, I have a first question, actually. Why do you think he doesn't know?


Guest  

I came on very strong. Because at that point in time, I was just not confident at all. So I put on this huge persona of just we're gonna be friends. This is awesome. This is great. You know?


Vanessa Baker  

Definitely.. like uhh I'm good. And then what happened? Did you kind of start stripping away that big bravado situation? Is that the right word? You know, like, stopped stripping that area? He stopped and he thought maybe I should just be plain old me. And yeah, that wasn't working.


Guest  

I think definitely. Friendship started with for some reason, we kind of just immediately like, you know, we got past the initial "Oh, my God, what's happening?" And somehow we immediately just like emotionally dumped on each other. We went from like, nothing to just oh my god, we know everything now. I guess we're stuck. Guess this is happening.


Vanessa Baker  

I like that. Another.. another plug for? Oh, that I wonder if that word translates to do you know what plug means? Like a commercial. But plug is also I learned that's like also a drug dealer. Right? Yeah. I'm not talking about drugs. But that's another like commercial message or whatever. I'm so old Jesus. Anyway, for being vulnerable. Right? You guys were vulnerable. And you both kind of like, I'll show you mine if you show me yours. Ready, set, go. And then you're like, whoops, I guess like we're in deep, right? Yeah. And it worked. It bonded. You You were both honest and open. How hard is it? me like a high schooler into really like show the true you to people not knowing if you'll be judged or ostracized or blown off? Like, what's that like?


Guest  

It's a lot and you know, right now, teenagers, we are all so much. There's just we haven't fully figured out who we are. So it's always intimidating when you first meet people because you're like, this is who I am now. But you know, don't expect it a week from now or two weeks from now, or anything like that. That kind of put yourself out there when you're constantly in a state of change.


Vanessa Baker  

Whoa, whoa, that is, that's so interesting. I wonder if actually, adults have that too. I'm thinking about myself. I think of myself sometimes as a lot. Like I'm a lot so there are times when I like don't get close to people or don't even like, ah like, expose myself because it's sort of Like what you're saying, but it's more of a roller coaster like, maybe I am more who I am now. But there's also a roller coaster that comes with being me. Sometimes I'm, I'm big and boisterous and up and happy and productive and creative, and sometimes I can't text back "Hi." Like there are so many versions of me, and I don't know if any, I don't know when people want to know me, which one of me? Or is it both of me? Or which one of me are they gonna be okay with? Do you relate to that?


Guest  

Yeah. Yeah, I do.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, because we're all okay. So I think what I'm taking away right now, from what you said, and then what that made me think is like, what if we could all accept each other as being highly complex? from moment to moment from day to day? And then also like, a constant work in progress? Like, wouldn't it be so cool, if everyone could just know that that's just like, what people are?


Guest  

Yeah, that probably help with a lot of the issues that most people have in their relationships that most of us can about ourselves, so I don't know if we're gonna have a whole magical change in mindset about the whole world?


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, yeah. Right. The Oh, man, that's like, perfect, right? Because if we can accept that, if I can, I'll speak on my own behalf. If I can accept that I'm bouncing off the walls happy and everyone's telling me in my house, like, hey, you're like a 12. We need you at like a four. It's like 630 in the morning. You know, if I can't accept that, if I get feel foolish or embarrassed for just like being that child like me, and I struggle with that. I'm not always like monotone or one way, how am I going to accept about everybody else? If I don't have that compassion for me? Right. Yeah.


Guest  

But I mean, on the other hand, I do feel like, you know, I can accept other people's things a lot faster than I except my own. So maybe, you know, all accepted about each other. Even work in progress on accepting it about ourselves.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, either way. I think we just solved all the world's problems, they can pick option A or option B. Well done, sir. Well done. Okay, so here's a good one. And I think you're just gonna love to answer this one. Actually, I want to know, opposite of the smartest thing you've ever done. What's the dumbest thing you've ever done?


Guest  

Well, I do think we have a strong contender for what I was telling you about two weeks ago. So let's just go there, yeah?


Vanessa Baker  

Okay, I'm ready.


Guest  

Which would be, of course, the grinder hook up with the 34 year old man who had chlamydia, as we've learned this week.


Vanessa Baker  

Ouch.


Guest  

I would put that as a strong contender for one of the dumbest things I've ever done.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, yeah. Like, totally. I mean, I get that. If I did that, I would rank that way high. And at the same time, it's like, maybe, technically speaking, it's dumb. Because of the danger factor. Let's say why it's dumb. But not in like a shitty, judgy way. Tell me like, if it's a highly objective manner why that was technically dumb.


Guest  

Well, I mean, for starters, he was 34. So twice my age.


Vanessa Baker  

Yep.


Guest  

And then just a follow it all through, you know, it wasn't really using it as sex. I was using it as like self harm, but in a really weird way. And so, you know, it wasn't like I was making like a sane if slightly horny decision. I was making impulsive, I need to do something right now decision. And it got me a story and chlamydia. Right. How's the chlamydia going? It's going fine. It didn't have any symptoms. I just took the antibiotics and I've moved on. I got to get retested in a couple months.


Vanessa Baker  

Great, that's good. And I know you're an adult, and you've told a trusted adult. So anyone who's listening to this, who thinks I'm advocating for, you know, 18 year olds hooking up with 34 year olds, it's their business, but that's not the point.


Guest  

Don't do it.


Vanessa Baker  

So fuck off. Yeah. Now, let's get into our little sifting for gold thing. Okay? I want to know now that some time has passed. I mean, this didn't happen just like before our call tonight, right?


Guest  

No.


Vanessa Baker  

Okay, a little time has passed? How long has it been?


Guest  

Two weeks?


Vanessa Baker  

Okay. So, sir, we've had about two weeks to process this right over there. You and Clark I'm sure you've had big talks.


Guest  

Oh, yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

What have you and your therapist, right, like you're doing what you need to do to work through this, and that's your business? What have you determined is the gold that you're going to take from that situation?


Guest  

Now.. probably that there are better ways to kind of get myself back into my body than making reckless decisions. You know, I was gonna let myself slowly go down a path of recklessness that was getting bigger and bigger until obviously, it hit this path. Right. So you kind of brought me back to square one of, you know, making decent decisions for myself.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, I hear that. I hear that sometimes. That's what it takes. That's life, you know, different variables, different STDs. Whatever, right? Like I'm not laughing, but like, everybody in the world who says they've never done something dumb, be it sexual or not, is lying, and they're full of shit. And I don't want to hear it. Right. So I'm laughing because it's real. And we can all relate to it if all the people listening could like, raise their hand right now and be like, yup. I mean, they would, you'd see a room full of hands. It's just that people don't share. And I love you. I love you for sharing. Thank you so much. So but I want to circle back when you said like in your body? Like, let's say more about that. Like, how did you put that exactly?


Guest  

Well, again, even I had this conversation, but I can't just say that because no one else listening has was in that conversation.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah.


Guest  

But again, part of my transiness is I've got a big disconnect happening between myself in my body, where, you know, it's hard to see it as my own. And so, you know, in some ways sex puts me back in it, and in some ways, it throws me even further out of it. But, you know, it just, it brings me some sort of communication with it that I don't really indulge.


Vanessa Baker  

Right, I get that. What do you think is the likelihood that you'll repeat that core dumbest thing you've ever done?


Guest  

I'm gonna go with pretty low, I'm hoping that I will not be rendevouing with a 30 year old until I'm at least in my 20s. Okay. But, yeah, it's probably not something I'll really repeat. Just because, you know, it didn't make me feel good. And..


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, I get that. And that's a really good indicator of and we don't mean, neither one of us mean, feel good. In the moment, we mean, the kind of feel good, when you put your head on the pillow at night, you're thinking about your life, and you're taking your you know, daily inventory. People do that, I kind of do that. Or you wake up in the morning, and you think about the you who you have to drag through this next day. Does that feel good or not? Right, and I get that your pursuit in life is to try to do the things that make you feel like the real you, right?


Guest  

Yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah. I love that. So I'm glad you're safe. Yes. And I'm glad that we learned from that. And I'm glad it didn't end badly. And I'm glad you're here to tell the story. Because I don't know if you really understand how I got it. I really don't want to say normal, but in a way, like, would you believe this isn't the first story I've heard of a teenager, a high school aged student, you know, illegally, basically getting on to a dating website and meeting up with someone who had they had no business meeting with to meet their emotional needs, right? Not even physical dude. Even physical needs. That's literally not what it was about.


Guest  

No.


Vanessa Baker  

Not really, right?


Guest  

If I was going for physical needs, why would I go for someone in the 30s? You know?


Vanessa Baker  

Right. Right. Like, I've heard this before, dude, I've heard this before. And yeah, went through all the proper channels and steps to deal with it appropriately with the parents that it of that. However, I just want you to know, it's really powerfully for you to share this. And also to show people that you don't have to, like keep on doing something that doesn't feel right for you. Just because you didn't want it doesn't have to be like, Oh, fuck it. Let's just do whatever, you know, every weekend or something, right?


Guest  

Yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

Good. Okay, so in your life, how often does anyone tell you and I kind of mean this pretty literally, right? Not like, Well, I know it. No, I mean, like, how often do you hear these words that you matter, that you are important, and that someone believes in you?


Guest  

Well, I hear it pretty much every time I talk to you, so I appreciate that.


Vanessa Baker  

Awww.


Guest  

Um, but you know, actually not that often. I, yeah, it's not something that I think people think to say to each other. Just, you know, we assumed that our actions communicated well enough. You know?


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, I think we're wrong. I think we're wrong, I think, hear it more. I really do. I really think that, you know, today I was actually talking to my lawyer. Never had a lawyer 'til now I feel like such an actual grown up now. Just have some bullshit going on, you know? Again, life, right? And I said to her, "Hey, I really appreciate you how real you are, how much you're helping me see things, how much you're helping me with boundaries with the person, like, I really appreciate you and the way you show up for me," and it touched her heart like you wouldn't believe. And the funny thing is, she's extremely successful, extremely confident. She just really has her shit together. And she's just really, really great at her job.


Guest  

I wonder what's like.


Vanessa Baker  

Ah haha, I know! No. Shut up! I.. but right? And she, it literally touched her heart. Like it was a moment. So, if someone like that, who's like in the upper echelons of our society, in many ways, right? A Squire? Right? A lawyer, and, you know, all of that needs to hear that from some lady. I think everybody else might need to hear it, too. So, there's a little commercial for that right? Is there anybody.. Ooh, I got a question. Is there anybody in your life who you would want to say, "You matter to me, you're really important," like period, like in the world, and I really believe in you. Who do you think needs to hear that in your life?


Guest  

Mm. You! Vanessa, you matter. You're awesome. I'm so glad you're in my life.


Vanessa Baker  

Ah, thank you very much. Is there anybody else? I'm not not accepting that. I really appreciate that. And I know you mean it. But think about that, you know, like, what if that's how we get that thing. Working more in the world is like, the thing we need to hear the most, we say more? I don't know. It could anything.


Guest  

You know, I probably have.. probably tell my boss that. She's pretty awesome. She could probably need that.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah. All right. Cool. When we're done text that lady, okay? Okay. If she's not in bed, if she's not too old. All right. Okay. So, um, what do you wish mattered more? to your parents? You? I think you've kind of answered this, but I wanted to know, if anything specific kind of, you know, bubbles up to the top of your head here. What do you wish mattered more to your parents?


Guest  

Um getting their own shit together. I wish I was higher up on their list.


Vanessa Baker  

In what way? Tell me more.


Guest  

Well, now you know, like, what my dad thinks he's just, you know, rainbow shooting out of his ass perfect. So there's nothing to work on there, apparently. And my mom is those people who kind of constantly trying to fix everything else, that she hasn't really taken the time to do the inside work.


Vanessa Baker  

Mm hmm.


Guest  

Yeah. So I wish they would take some time for that. You know, probably. Yeah. Sentence over.


Vanessa Baker  

No, that's, that's fine. I didn't mean to cut you off. But like, I think that is universal. I think parents do that. A lot. A lot of parents do that a lot, where they fixate and numb out I call it numbing out on their kids grades and Deaflympics and their kids futures and their kids behavior and their kids, where's your wet towel? Is it on the floor? You know, like that kind of thing? Instead of distracting them from what they need to work on in their own lives. And then what's it like to be the kid and like, feel like your parents are actual hypocrites, because they're advising you of things that you watch every day. Or you can't watch it because they're not doing the stuff they're advising you of? Please tell me you followed that. I couldn't say it again if I tried.


Guest  

I think I followed it. It's, it's actually kind of funny to watch them, you know, desperately trying to be you know, get me to be perfect in all these ways. And then, you know, just not do it themselves. But it's kind of funny in that, you know, it actually like is hurting your soul kind of way.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, like you have to laugh.


Guest  

Yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

No, I get that. What if they could find a way? They all parents, are they your parents, however you want to look at it? What if the parents who feel Like they have to put on this facade of pedestal stander honor, you know, like, I'm this perfect person, what if they could just be like, Hey, I'm really sucking today, hey, I'm really working through this, you know, dependency issue right now. Like, if they could be like really real about their struggles as a human, what would that provide for you and other young adults, as a result?


Guest  

I think not even just for us, I think that would probably feel so great for them, because it must suck to try to, you know, constantly have that face of, I'm perfect. And even if everything's falling apart, I'm still great. Um, I think, probably, you know, help humanize them more, because sometimes they stopped feeling like parents and people and more like, you know, the insane dictators that run your life. That would probably, you know, make them feel more real, and less, you know, less an adversary and more someone who you know.


Vanessa Baker  

So do you think that it puts parents and their kids at odds when there's that, like, pretend world thing going on where I'm perfect, and you're not? And I'm going to help you be perfect like me?


Guest  

Yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

Like what does that do to the relationship?


Guest  

Yeah, it kind of makes it feel like you constantly have a teacher, like a robot teacher, because even teachers admit when they're wrong sometimes. Um, and I think that, you know, parenting, the kid helps quite a bit as well, you know? We help you figure out what you're trying to get us to do. And so when the parent is constantly the only person taking any lead, you know, they don't actually get to parent us they get to parent the kid, they think they have.


Vanessa Baker  

Whoa, shit. That's fucking going in some quote somewhere. What? That's brilliant. That is genius. That is brilliant. Seriously, like, that's going on a post or somewhere. That's very, very, incredibly astute of you. Exactly like parenting could be a relationship. It could be collaborative. A lot of the questions that parents suffer over and a lot of the worries and unsolvable quote, problems, that they just are tortured by could easily be worked out in partnership with the very person who they love the most. Like what? Wouldn't that be crazy? That would be awesome, right?


Guest  

Yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

Damn. I know. Dude, that's my goal, trying to get this through to the masses, I might need to hire some aliens to like, take some brains and put them back in and like, you know, in them with something like, I don't know what I not quite a scientist, as you might be able to tell. This is what I'm working on. Is this collaborative concept. A lot of parents do do it. But I don't think they're really taken seriously by the parents who think that they have to operate by the old traditional authoritarian paradigm. Yeah. That's very interesting. All right. So on teenagers as a category, what are some of the fucked up things that people say about you guys that you've heard? It could be media, it could be actual words that you've heard with your own ears direct first person accounts, but what are some of like, the messages that you hear about your age group?


Guest  

Um, I think the one that always just baffles me the most is that people are always on the same breath, that they're calling us, just idiots who know nothing about the world expecting us to be informed citizens. You know, you can't have both. And just kind of confuses me, because it's like, you can't constantly be doubting us and telling us we're wrong and telling us that we don't know anything about what we're talking about. And then expect us to have, you know, these opinions that perfectly reflect what you want us to think when we're out kind of making our own ones because you refuse to teach us anything.


Vanessa Baker  

Whoa, that's really I hear that a lot. I hear that a lot. Like there's a right way to think and there's a wrong way to think. And I'm like, Yay, for people who think I really like your thinking you're critically thinking, it's not that important of what you believe at this point, especially like politically, I mean, there's no right and wrong answer, necessarily, right. It's objective, but, okay, so, you're really dumb because you're a teenager and you don't know anything. And I'm shooting that into your brain and brain. watching you. And like, that's the truth. According to me, how would you ever as a teenager show up any other way to people who hold that belief?


Guest  

I don't know. I think we just kind of have to force ourselves into their view as actual people. Which is really hard to do.


Vanessa Baker  

I know I'm like, really? That sounds like, like being like Spider Man, like climbing up a building? Like, teach me how, without any CGI, how do you do that? Do tell.


Guest  

Oh, God. Oh, no, pretend to be an adult. That's, I don't know. It's definitely hard with people who raised you. But I found because I've, again, I moved back to salt town this year. And so I kind of showed up with a fresh start to them. And so I got my job. And suddenly, people have been like, treating me like an adult with actual thoughts and stuff. Mm hmm. And that's been really weird. But yeah, I just have to find someone who doesn't know you as the shithead. Kid, which is kind of hard if you're trying to get that out of your parents. Cuz..


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, I hear that. Like, you can start from the beginning. Not basically, honestly, it sounds like, Hey, tell me if I'm wrong. But it sounds like if you play the role, right from day one. Yeah. Don't be vulnerable, then you have a shot at respect.


Guest  

Yeah, yeah. Kind of like showing up to a prison yard. You got to like the biggest one, assert your dominance immediately as like this adult who knows things. Otherwise, are seeing you as a kid again.


Vanessa Baker  

Yikes. And then you know what that sounds like you're describing that parental role of never let them think you're struggling, never let the kids think you don't know what you're doing. And I've got to assert dominance when they're two, two years old.


Guest  

Yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

Do you see that that's the same thing perpetuated, just years later? Ew gross, right? Yes. It's yucky, it's very yucky. And it's also what keeps us alone, and isolated and pain, which then is the opposite of what we were saying earlier, which is like the collaborative thing can't happen, like you and your best friend. What if parents could do that? What if the kid could walk up? Oh, my God, what if you could say, Mom, dad data, data data, and they could be like, Oh, my God, thank you so much for sharing that. And they actually referred to you as their son. Right? And not not use your dead name and not call you their daughter and a girl and blah, blah, blah, right? So I'm just adding that in for icing, right? But what if you could say, we don't know what we're doing? We don't know how to do this. We never imagined this scenario. The world's changed so much. How can we help you? What do you need? And then it's like, a moment to moment. Problem Solving, teamwork thing. Instead of like, we have no like the robot thing. I have no program for this. Back myself up, right. But is that what you're getting at? Like, I'm just going off here, but tell me your thoughts.


Guest  

Oh, God, I don't know if I have thoughts.


Vanessa Baker  

You dumb kid, Jesus, get someone smart on the phone. I'm just kidding, you know I'm kidding. Right. But like, imagine that if parents could say, I don't know what I'm doing. Let's figure this out together. Let's get help and figure this out together. What would your life be like if your parents walked in your room tomorrow morning and said that?


Guest  

Well, I think if they walked into my room and set it, I'd probably think I was just asleep. Um, I think it would probably be really weird at first. Yeah. Because I already have my layers of distrust built up from, you know, sharing and being burned by that. But, you know, I think we could actually have a much more fulfilling relationship.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, both sides, I'm sure. Right. Yeah, definitely. So what's your opinion of teenagers and young people?


Guest  

Um, now I know it's not really the opinion you're looking for but we're so fucking stupid. But it's fine. We're supposed to be stupid.


Vanessa Baker  

I want to know really what you think.


Guest  

You know, but we should be allowed to be stupid and also be seen as you know, contributing members of society and actual people, you know, we should be allowed to make mistakes and that goes for everyone. Even you know, everyone should be allowed to make mistakes and, you know, be wrong. And you know, go off on a two week golf phase if they feel like it, and not be called a stupid, stupid kid.


Vanessa Baker  

Right? Yeah. Just like allowed to, I don't know, you know what it sounded like in my brain when he said that, like, what if we were all allowed to be free? Is that too cheesy? you know, like, be free like just to be free to explore and do and try and I don't mean like, be dangerous and reckless and try like crazy bad, you know, things that could hurt us. I'm not really talking about that. Okay, so like, that's not me. I'm a giant nerd. But what I mean, like, trying on styles, like you said the goth thing or music and not be told, like you have no right to listen to that music. You know, or you're a poser. Do people still say poser?


Guest  

Maybe? If I'm honest, I don't really talk to that many teenagers, or at least in a way where I'm called the poser.


Vanessa Baker  

You know what I mean? No, like we there's a word for it. I give it where you're just like, pretending that you're doing something that you can't possibly be into. You can't change your interest now. I mean, God, you're 15, you liked K pop yesterday, you can't like, you know, punk today, right? And like, what if everyone let everyone sort of be flexible and learn and find what they want? Instead of have to put each other in a box to let us all feel more comfortable? And judge each other as less stupid. Like, that'd be cool.


Guest  

That would be cool. I think it would be a whole lot easier to grow up.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, without the fear of persecution for just like, liking stuff, trying stuff. I get it. Okay, so why do you think you're on this planet?


Guest  

Well, when a mommy and a daddy love each other very much.


Vanessa Baker  

Not how, haha.. why? They hug very tightly.


Guest  

You know, I don't know if there's an exact purpose why I'm here, but I think I can, you know, make my own.


Vanessa Baker  

What do you have in mind? Well what do you think is the dent or like the impact that when you're long gone, like, you'll be remembered for this. And it doesn't have to be like, like, large scale, right, like fame wise, but I mean, the people who knew you will never be the same because they knew you.


Guest  

You know, again, I think part of my personal purpose that I've set out for myself is to just be nice and giving to everyone. So I'm hoping any sort of legacy I get leave is just that I helped everyone in any way I possibly could. And so you know, the path that sending me down as I think, hoping I'm going to become an abnormal child psychologist, so that I think, kinda part of my calling is to just help people and be someone who, yeah. I don't know where that sentence is going.


Vanessa Baker  

I love it. No, I Iove it. I hear it. I love it. I don't just love it. I feel that, like, I feel that I mean, don't what I wonder if anybody wonders like why is Vanessa Baker doing this? It's like, well, maybe because my teenager years are really hard. You know, like we use what? Mine worked harder than anyone elses is just my own heart, right. And like, I really like that idea that we go through this stuff, the bullshit that we go through in our life so that we can, like repurpose it, recycle it, you know, to make a difference for other people and help them suffer just a little less and love themselves a little bit more. Like I like that. I feel that when you say that, and I will definitely be sending my grandkids to you someday. Like you're the exact kind of human who I want influencing other people I love, besides, you know, you like, you know what I meant. Like, I love you. And yeah, I love being influenced by people like you. Like you're it. You're it and you know what, you're it right now. You don't need that degree. Yes, you do to practice legally, of course. But like you don't need that degree to like, offer that kind of support and love and insight for other people. Like you get that, right? There's nowhere to get, you're already that. Do you buy that?


Guest  

Yeah, yeah, I assume.. I do buy that because I tend to collect children and just kind of become their father. So.. nothing's gonna stop me. Gonna adopt like 50 billion children.


Vanessa Baker  

That's like you're reading my mind. I was actually gonna ask you that. Like, do you think you'll have kids? So yeah, 50 billion, okay, and what you think are like the main tenants that you'll raise them on? What are the main like lessons or beliefs that you would like to impart upon your five? What is it, 5 or 50 billion children?


Guest  

I don't even know what I said just, you know, the biggest number you can think of.


Vanessa Baker  

I think the biggest number that there is is like 50 billion. So we'll go with that. Maybe 51


Guest  

Yeah, that is the biggest number.


Vanessa Baker  

Oh, I think it is. Yeah. Yeah. See? Good at math and science. So how do you want to raise them? What do you want them to, like, what do you want impart on them?


Guest  

Probably that, you know, I'm kind of just gonna be there to feed them and support them in any way that need, you know, not trying to build my own person, kind of just going to make sure that the person they're building doesn't fall down all that hard.


Vanessa Baker  

Oh, another one. Another one. It's like DJ Khaled. Doesn't he say that in his songs? Another one. You just dropped another one. That that was probably like your fifth, but I tried to hold it together and be cool for the other ones. But dude, that was like, really big. That's so beautiful. You even know what you fucking said?


Guest  

Not really. I kind of forget.


Vanessa Baker  

Let me get back to you. Okay, I want you to hear for you what you said like, this is so beautiful. You said:


Guest  

I'm kind of just going to be there to feed them and support them in any way that need, you know, not trying to build my own person, kind of just going to make sure that the person they're building doesn't fall down all that hard.


Vanessa Baker  

That's beautiful. I actually wrote this down in my book, I think I've mentioned this on a different episode, maybe the last one. I mean, this is the third. So it was either the first one or the second one. I'm such a big deal. Like when you have a kid, it's not like a vending machine where you push a whatever, and you get the Snickers. This is like a mystery grab bag, like, it doesn't really matter. But it's yours, because you grabbed it. You won't find out for a really long time. And I said, if you're lucky enough to be someone who your kid opens up to and shares who they're becoming with you. Like, I think that's what a little bit like what you're saying, I just think you said it better. I love that. You're So Amazing. You're So Amazing. I'm so happy that you're in my life. And you have taught me so much like people can read my writing. And though read words that came from our conversations, like you're super important to me. And I really, really, really appreciate you talking today. And being so open and real. And just like eloquent and thoughtful. It means so much to me, I just want you to know that.


Guest  

Oh, just melt my heart. Just rip it out of my chest, I guess. Wow.


Vanessa Baker  

I put it in a butter pan and I turned it on. I boiled your heart and I melted it. Okay, so the last question that I want to ask you is, what is a message that you would want to get across to the collective, you know, parent out there? What's something that you would want them to take away either from what we've already discussed, or something that pops into your head?


Guest  

Ooh. Everything that you tell us not to do we just do behind your back.


Vanessa Baker  

Okay, I'm about to go have a talk with my kids. Thank you very much. So we tell them to get all A's. They'll be like, oh yeah? No, no, don't don't get all A's. Sorry. Yeah, and what's that, like, right behind their back and then not being able to tell them and go through the hard times with their support?


Guest  

You know, sometimes I just really want my mom and I go through these times where I'm just like, God, I wish I could just go curl up on her lap, even though I weigh 180 pounds, and I'm five feet 11 so well, and kind of have her pet my hair and tell me everything will be okay. Yeah, I don't really get to do that. Because I've had to live my life outside of her view.


Vanessa Baker  

Right. And it's like, conditional. You could have that if you play the game. Right? Yeah. Yeah. And I just want to say to you and anybody else who needs to hear it right now. Don't play the game. Don't do what you're supposed to do to earn that love because that is like the definition of selling out on yourself. And if you're going to sell out and disappoint anybody, it can't be yourself. Let it be everybody else. Everybody else but do not sell out on you and who you are. Sorry, you don't get to cuddle like a giant freaking great day and on your mom's lap and get those cuddles and that kind of love like I don't want you looking for it on Grindr anymore. Swear.


Guest  

I won't I deleted it and I blocked everyone.


Vanessa Baker  

Good boy.


Guest  

Well, actually, I had to unblock the guy cuz of testing, but..


Vanessa Baker  

Good job. Good job boo chlamydia. Anyway, that's a quotable quote. But what I'm saying is like, I think you're doing actually a great job of finding that love and finding that comfort in healthy ways. And I want to acknowledge you for that before we go.


Guest  

Thank you.


Vanessa Baker  

You're welcome. All right, let's do this every day. I just want to have this conversation with you every day. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for your generosity, and your vulnerability.


Guest  

Thanks for having me.


Vanessa Baker  

You're welcome. Thank you so much for listening. 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, or a young adult, or anybody, I challenge you to share this episode with your parents or your guardians or your teachers and see what kind of conversations open up go to VBakermindset.com for all kinds of love from me, and thank you so much for being here today. I love you so much. Bye.

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