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Un-f❤️ck-Up Your Fam: 30 days to clean Communication

Episode 5: What If You're Underestimating How Much People Care?

Kids don't want to be stereotyped, but neither do parents.

Vanessa Baker  

Hey, you're listening to you'll understand when you're younger, where I talk to young adults about what like to be then I'm Vanessa Baker, and I'm a parent and a teenager mindset coach and a mom of five teenagers. My goal here is to inspire adults, to see teenagers as highly valuable members of society. I'm literally here to crush to destroy the mindset that teenagers are problematic. And I'm so glad you're here right now. So this is the fifth interview that I've done. And I've decided to explain something for because of a little feedback I've gotten. The reason that I don't formally traditionally introduce each guest like this is so and so. And they're this age, and they're from this and this, and, you know, these are their pronouns. And this is how they identify an any bit, you know, this is what they're majoring in, in college, like, I'm not doing any of that. Because the feel here, the objective here is that this is one human talking to another human. The fun thing is that all of those fun details and the things that that humans are curious about you guys who are listening, all that stuff's gonna come out. And you'll and you'll, you'll find out everything you want to know. But I just want to start out like really like with the sense of just like human to human conversation. So that's the reason I do that. And I just kind of wanted to fill in the gap there. All right, so my guest is here. She is on today.


Guest  

I'm good. How are you?


Vanessa Baker  

I'm so good. This is so fun. I'm really thankful that you're here. So I'm just like, we're just getting right to it. So what is it that you are known for? Whether it's people who know you? Well, people who love you, people have heard of you? Like what are you known for?


Guest  

I guess I would say I'm known mostly for, like music.


Vanessa Baker  

Mm hmm. What's your what's your interest in music? What do you, what do they know about you?


Guest  

Um, I'm a musician. I write my own songs. I have my own acoustic project, and I'm in a punk band as well. And I'm super into all that stuff. So yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, definitely. And I know you're I know, you're quite talented. I happen to know that.


Guest  

Well thank you.


Vanessa Baker  

You're welcome. You're welcome. So, um, what's it like to be you in general? So got the music thing? Tell us like, What's it? That's a funny question. I know, it sounds really vague, but I love it. What's it like to be you?


Guest  

Oh, what's it like to be me? That's so broad. Um, I guess? Um, it would, I don't know, it's just a constant. Constant, like, thinking, um, I just think about everything. I'm an over observer. I, I think a lot about myself. And like, the progress that I've made as a person, and what I can do to better myself, that's something I think about a lot. So it's kind of just like, constantly, like, being self aware of what I'm doing and how that's affecting other people and stuff like that.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, I get that. I really do. I do I get that a lot. And, and it's like, it's with a really beautiful intention that you? I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like like you just want your life to like, you want to show up in life the way you want to show up in life. You're really mindful?


Guest  

Yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

Definitely not a correction of what you said. But like, is that accurate?


Guest  

Yes, I would say so. Yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah. I like that. So now that we know you've thought a great deal about this, what do you like the most about yourself? Like, overall? What are you the most proud of or the most like, into about who you are?


Guest  

I think, just like, how, how much progress I've made, because I used to be I used to struggle a lot like mentally and emotionally and I think just thinking about who I was as a person, like, a couple years ago, and being able to see, like, how far I've come since then, and all the positive changes I've made like with myself, and I think that is my favorite thing about myself. Yeah, that is something to be proud of. Can you share one like a like a concrete example of like something that you you know, developed yourself in or got help for however it worked out and to where you're at, in this really like, positive stable, like, forward moving place? Right? Yeah. Um, I think a big thing for me, like a couple years ago is I used to like Take everything super personally and get get like, my feelings hurt over like nothing pretty much. And I think I definitely got help for that. And I have realized I was able to like step outside of myself and realize, like, what is actually going on? And now I'm like, I can maintain like healthy relationships with my friends and my family and all of that. So, yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah. Okay, tell us your secret. I mean, that's, like, part of the human condition, right? Like, you looked at me funny. You know?


Guest  

My secret was, I kind of hit rock bottom, I guess I was in a toxic relationship. And it drove me to a really bad place mentally, and I ended up going to a hospital. And just like, while I was there, I just got, I don't know, just being around people who were like, having the same struggles as me and also having very different struggles than me. And all those people just like you, like, also knowing just how to be kind to each other that really, like gave me so much perspective. And it was like, Oh, I can actually see, like, what's really going on now. Okay, what's just in my head? You know?


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, yeah. Like you were able to step back. And it sounds like you came out of some version of isolation. Yeah. Like, your eyes are open to like, Oh, this is humanity. There's nothing wrong with me. Yeah. I like that. And it speaks to like, it sounds like empathy too, for yourself. Yeah.


Guest  

Yeah, definitely. Um, I, I was very hard on myself for a really long time. And just because I was dealing with so much like, I would, I would like lash out at like my family members and be like, Oh, no, this is not what I want. This is not how I want to express myself. And now I'm just like, being this constant cycle of like, beating myself up over, like, whatever I was doing. And I just, I guess, I learned that I needed to cut myself some slack. Because of how much I was going through and realize that like, all these people are truly like, they are there for me, and they do care about me. And that really, that really started like being more clear to me when I when I was in that place.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah. Okay. I just had like a visual picture of you literally beating yourself up. So what would be the visual picture of the opposite of what beating yourself up looks like?


Guest  

Giving myself a hug.


Vanessa Baker  

I like it. I like it. Just being like how you are with your friends, right? Yeah. treating yourself like as valuable as you do all the wonderful people in your life?


Guest  

For sure.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, I get that. So what would you say is the main support source in your life?


Guest  

Um, honestly, my parents and my closest friends are always really supportive of me. And I feel I feel very lucky to have them. Mm hmm. Yeah, I think that is really lucky. And that's awesome. What do you think is the like, Well, let me say it this way. Have you ever had a time where though the same people were right, they're there for you, you know, willing to love you and help you and talk to you and help guide you and make decisions and stuff? Did you ever underestimate that or not? Like, tap into that? You know, opportunity that's been there all along? Yeah, totally. 100% I'm, with my parents it like, when I was in, like, you know, a really dark place of like, beating myself up over it. Like I knew people were there for me, but I couldn't feel it. Because just from all the things that were going on in my brain at the time, and so I just kind of underestimated that. And I never wanted to like, my mom would always ask me, like, what was wrong and whatever. And I never wanted to tell her because I was like, I don't know. I don't know what I was afraid. I was afraid of like, an overwhelming discussion, I guess. But it wasn't in reality wouldn't have been like that at all. Like she just wanted to help and stuff.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, right. And to realize that, like you were putting her.. Were you, hey, were you actually like stereotyping her as this like like scary mom or was you know what I'm saying? Like when she like No, I'm fine, dude, it's cool.


Guest  

Yeah, I probably was a little bit honestly.


Vanessa Baker  

Haha, that's really funny. Yeah, that's the irony like this conversation is about people stereotyping young adults and teenagers and under valuing and under estimating them at times like it can happen not everyone does it all the time, but it's kind of a theme these days. Like in any crowd, "ugh teenagers blah blah". You know, you'll hear it flying. Like you smell it or whatever. Like immediately. So, that's cool. So, um, can you remember like, Can you give me like a before and after where your mom asks you another time because she loves you and she's like, what's up? I can tell you're hurting or whatever she said. And the last time you're like, not going there not worth it too much drama, too much pain, too much hassle, too much energy. Then, what? Can you flash forward to the time when she said it again? I'm just imagining, right? I'm making this up like, and and then you were like, okay, I'll tell you tell you.


Guest  

Yeah, um, I think it was, you know, probably last year, I started opening up more because that was when all this happened. Like, when I was in the hospital and, and when I got out, it was like, August of last year. And I think after that I just started showing like immediate progress. And honestly, she wouldn't even have to ask me what was wrong most of the time, like, I would just come to her.


Vanessa Baker  

Mm hmm. Yeah, that's that is really huge progress. So does it ever get kind of gnarly like, does it do you guys ever butt heads and now are you just able to deal with that more? Or is everything just rainbows and butterflies? Like which way is it?


Guest  

We definitely, my mom and I have definitely butted heads in the past just because not only like me being like mentally unstable or whatever. But we got into, like, some arguments over like, me wanting to like dye my hair and stuff. Like that was like more chill about that stuff. And, and now it's like, it's a completely different reality. Like, she's, like, so used to me like being like, crazy expressive with my like, physical self that it like, it doesn't even doesn't even like cross our minds is like a weird thing now. What was the breakthrough for her? Because yes, parents have this, like, you know, like, blank canvas view of kids. I mean, a lot of us do, especially it's like type A kind of control freaky. I always call myself like a recovering control freak, like I have an image, you know, how each of my kids would show up in the world. And then, you know, not all my kids are traditional or, or conservative in the way that their style and like tattoos and whatever, whatever. Right? And so, what do you think, changed with your mom? And was it random? Or did you contribute to her like being more open minded about your expression? I think it was a combination of a lot of things. Honestly, it didn't, it definitely wasn't an immediate switch. It was kind of like, an over time thing. My dad got me into punk rock when I was like, 14. And ever since then, my parents have just been both my parents have just been like, chilling out. Major, because they used to be like, conservative when I was like a little kid. And ever since my dad introduced me to punk and I eventually became like, a much like, more expressive fan of it than he is. I definitely, because you know, the whole punk mindset is like being open minded and like, accepting of people, like no matter like the race, sexuality, whatever. And I think not that my parents weren't accepting of people's race or sexuality or anything like that. But I think just like the whole mindset of punk and how I express myself with it influenced my parents. And maybe they realized, oh, hey, this is cool. And this is okay.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, right. I so get that I'm actually the mom of a punk daughter, myself. And for anyone who's listening, that's not a derogatory term. That's literally like, the most non-judgmental crowd out there. As far as what I've learned; do you agree?


Guest  

Yeah, for sure.


Vanessa Baker  

It's like completely "Live and let live" type mantra. Is there a certain mantra that you would want to, you know, have mainstream people understand about punk?


Guest  

I don't know. Um..


Vanessa Baker  

Like what's punk's tagline?


Guest  

There's a, I mean, there's a punk saying that's like, no gods, no masters. But that, obviously, it doesn't have to apply to everybody. Because you know, right. If you want to, you know, have a religion. That's cool. As long as you're not hurting anybody.


Vanessa Baker  

Right. I like that is that is a good perspective. I appreciate that. So what do you think matters most to you and your whole entire life right now?


Guest  

Ooh, I think I'm probably just like, the relationships with people around me. I would say, you know, music is like a big part of my life. So I was like, thinking about that too. But I would say that relationships with people in my personal life are like my main priority.


Vanessa Baker  

Mm hmm. How's that going for you?


Guest  

It's going really well. My parents and I FaceTime a lot now that I'm not living with them. I'm living in an apartment near Tempe and I, I FaceTime them a lot, I call them on the phone a lot. And I see I live with two of my closest friends. And that's, that's really cool. And so I like always have their support around me and my friend Ray has been like, a huge, like, huge support system for me, was really great. I love that. That's so encouraging. That's so special to have friends like that you can really count on. So do you think that the same things matter the most to your parents right now as as they relate to you? You know, in the category? You? What do you think matters the most to your parents? Um, in the category of me so like, in like, specifically, like, what about me matters?


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, like, what are they most concerned with, when they think about you? Like what matters the most to them about, like, is it like how you turn out? Is it like your grades in college? Is it like your music career? Or like, what do you think matters? What do they stress the most when they talk with you?


Guest  

I'm just my well being, I guess, which is really nice. Yeah, I know, a lot of parents can seem like, superficial and that they want their child to just like be, you know, successful business person or whatever. But they don't like care. I mean, I mean, they care but like they, they want my, my mental health and my well being to come before that stuff.


Vanessa Baker  

Okay, I'm gonna say a contrary thing that I don't feel. But I hear it out there. And I want to ask you about this. Do you think that and I literally don't think this but I want it just came up. So I just always just shoot out whatever. I think that's just, that's just me. Okay. Do you think that you will still reach your whatever this means but fullest potential, right? And like, like, maximize your gifts and your, your purpose or whatever you want to call it, even though your main concern is your mental health? I think you can hear those voices and those that rhetoric that I'm referring to. Do you know if you're with me, right here?


Guest  

Yes, yeah, um, I think as long as I am doing well with my mental health, and I will reach my fullest potential, you know?


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, I do. I knew you'd say that! Right. But I think that there's this thing, and I and I do hear it often among parents that if I baby.. I think that's kind of the vibe of it, right? Like, my baby, my kid, oh, man, I had it so much harder. And "just suck it up" right? And then they're therefore not ever going to send their child to get mental health assistance with professionals and make that investment and deal with any stigmas, etc. How do you even start that freaking sentence? But right, like? That's the irony, right? Yeah. Taking care of you like a precious baby, you're able to be fill in the blank.


Guest  

Um, I'm able to be myself.


Vanessa Baker  

Wow, your most stable self, right?


Guest  

Exactly.


Vanessa Baker  

Healthy, strong, stable, vital, self. And God, that is a funniest, like, counterintuitive thing that if you ignore someone's mental health, they'll just work it out and suck it up.


Guest  

Yeah, no. Right? And I'm laughing because it's definitely like a new focus in society. How do you feel about that, that you're, however you want to say blessed or fortunate to live in this in this era where the focus on mental health is there? And you were born into a family who values it as well? Like, can you imagine the alternative? Can you can you paint a picture of what you think your life would be like, if your parents just happened to be like mental health.. let's call it deniers? Oh, my God, I it would be terrible. I don't know where I would be right now. I don't know if I would even like be here. To be frank. Yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, that's heavy.


Guest  

I know.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah. I hear that. Hey, I'm really glad you're here. Thank you. You're welcome. You're really welcome. So what do you think is the smartest decision you have ever made in your couple of decades over here in this planet.


Guest  

Oh my goodness. That is big. I don't, I don't know. I think, um, I think a lot of things, like, decisions I made, I guess, like the things that have happened to me, I should say, weren't necessarily decisions that I made but were like, just like they just happen. Like, by circumstance, I would say the smartest decision like conscious decision that I myself have made would be deciding to like, go to college.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah.


Guest  

I don't know. Ever since I started college, it's like, it's been like, Oh, I can actually have friends that, like, understand me. And like, as opposed to, like, friends that I had, and like a small town, and a conservative town and like, this, like toxic environment that's like, they didn't really like get me like who I was as a person. Yeah, you can find your people, right? You can find the people like you. And it's not like clicky or like literally choosing family or not, like stuck with no offense to the people, but you really do get stuck, especially for year after year since kindergarden, right? So I love that you brought that up. What is the most surprising thing about transitioning from high school to college that just gives you life besides that, like, Is there anything else? I'm just like, I don't know, I feel like I can, like, do whatever I want. Like without, like, well, not without judgment, necessarily. Because, you know, society, but it's like, I don't have this like thing weighing on me of like, Oh my god, I live in a conservative small town. And now I can just like go out, and like express myself in like, whatever way I want. And I feel like I can have a lot more freedom. In that sense.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, freedom was the word on my mind. Freedom is my favorite. Mental freedom, emotional freedom, you know, intellectual freedom, spiritual freedom, like I value. I value freedom. And it's always there to like, take, you know? But don't you see how like, even an environment can make you feel like something that's actually just like, sort of social construct, you know, like, Oh, yeah, the people and the parents and the teachers, like, you could have still done it then. So what do you think actually is the obstacle? I'm not making you wrong? I'm just saying this is normal. What are the obstacle when you're in that smaller kind of fishbowl feel, that came from expressing themselves, like really big and bold.


Guest  

I think it was just the fact that I felt so I was so angry, like all the time. Because it's like, I don't know, all the people around me were shitty. Yeah, pretty much like almost all of them. Like people from my high school were so like, such shitty people. I can't even express it enough. It's like, like so many racist people, so many homophobic people. And I was just so angry all the time, because I was so aware of that, like being inferior, or whatever. And like, I was just, I think, it was like, the mental mental. Like, mentally I felt I felt trapped for sure. And it was that I couldn't, like, get to a place where I feel like happy or comfortable enough to like express myself because I was so focused on like, how mad I was about how shitty everyone else was around me.


Vanessa Baker  

Totally. Yeah, like being on high alert, like being in fight or flight all the time. Like, what's gonna trigger me? What's gonna offend me? What's gonna hurt my heart and yeah, be like, anti me.


Guest  

Yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

I said she earlier. What are your preferred pronouns?


Guest  

Oh, she or they. You're fine.


Vanessa Baker  

Okay, good. I just wanted to be sure. Thank you. Oh, okay, this is fun. What's the dumbest thing you've ever done?


Guest  

Um, I've done a lot of dumb things.


Vanessa Baker  

Everything? Haha, whatever you want.


Guest  

Um, I think honestly, like, a lot of the like, quote, unquote, dumb things I've done come from a place of like, not being like mentally, like entirely mentally or emotionally stable. So I feel like, I don't know if I would even classify them as dumb because like I said before, I need to cut myself some slack in that department.


Vanessa Baker  

Ooh you turned it into a trick question. Very good. Yeah. Love it.


Guest  

Um, that being said, I think um done-wise. I think I stayed in the relationship that I was in a couple years ago for like, so long. And I think it was really dumb of me to stay in it for so long. But also on the other hand, I didn't I didn't fucking know any better. Yeah. Unlike and like, I just like, I was clinging on to like, all of that I had at the time. So I don't know if I could really classify that as dumb because like, that's how I knew.


Vanessa Baker  

You're so good. This is great. I love it. I love it so much, because sometimes funny stories come out of that question. And that's kind of the idea because I'm not being a dick. Like, don't, don't tell us about your like, that's not where I'm coming from. And at the same time, like, I love the way you took that, you could take any single thing like me, I knew I was gay a long time ago, married dude, had five kids. You know, I don't regret that. You could call that dumb. Why did you marry a man when you're gay? Well, because I was dumb, I guess but no, because guess what, I have these five absolutely beautiful children in every sense of the word like just are my oh my god like to get the fact that I get to know these people I don't much less I was like partly and in the hand of creating creating them with like this guy. I mean, how can you call them dumb, right? Like it's not, and they wouldn't be them without him?


Guest  

For sure.


Vanessa Baker  

It's so important that I went through that in my life and I've learned so much.


Guest  

Yeah, I completely agree.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, it's just a perspective thing. And I think I think anybody listening and me for sure, I can just say like, this kid's perspective is just healthy and solid and self supportive. And I really appreciate you modeling that.


Guest  

Oh thank you.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, you're welcome. So do you explicitly hear from anyone in your life that you matter, that you're important?


Guest  

I do. My parents tell me a lot. I'm very fortunate to have that. Because I know a lot of parents don't tell their kids on a regular. And also just the fact that I live with my friends. I know I can reach out to them at any time. And they can like give me reassurance or whatever. So that's really nice. Yeah, I love that. And not everyone can read your mind and know when you need that. Right. You have the courage. Would you call it courage or insight? What would you call that you're able to say? Tell me why you love me. I need to hear it right now. Yeah, I guess, courage and also impulsiveness. I guess. If I need to hear something from someone, I will let them know on the spot. Yeah. Because I'm not patient at all, like in any sense.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah. That's awesome. What's the upside? Everybody likes to say impatience is negative, right. But like when, when applied in a certain way, I'd like to hear your opinion. I've no idea what you're gonna say. But I'm just curious. What do you think that is the upside of impatience. And in your case?


Guest  

I think, I think productivity, I guess. And, um, I guess I mean, in a very general sense, I suppose. Like, if you're impatient, and you like, really want to get something done, I guess it's just like, okay, fuck it. I'm just gonna do it now. Yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, like you have to.


Guest  

Yeah, so it's that. And also, I think it's helped me a lot in like, people I've had, like, kind of relationships with, like, somewhat similar relationship with since I got out of a toxic relationship, I guess, was, it's that like, I don't have time. Or I'm like, I don't have like the attitude to like, wait for anybody to decide whether or not like how they feel about me. So if they are, like, treating me badly, then I can just be like, okay, I don't have time for this. Goodbye.


Vanessa Baker  

Brilliant, brilliant, like a very, what, would that be a low threshold for bullshit?


Guest  

Yes, for sure.


Vanessa Baker  

I like that. I really, really like that. Like, that's, that's a good thing. What do you think, is the thing that when you observe, I mean, I know, uh, you know, you're a master observer, let's call you that. You're a master observer. You said that, right? Like that? What do you observe in your peers? Historically, recently, whatever, where they do put up with more than they need to. What is that?


Guest  

I observe that a lot. And like almost all of my friends. I think a lot of my friends are introverted. And so it's, I guess it's just harder to come out and say, like, this is what I want, or this is what I need. I mean, obviously, I can't read their minds, like all the time. And I don't know, like, entirely what's going on inside their head at any given point. But I just like, you know, the nature of being an introvert is like, it's, it's like, you don't communicate as much or as much as you need to just based on what I've observed. Like, sometimes my introverted friends will, like, even even communicating with me like, I will, like they'll tell me something that like made them like, like a situation that made them like uncomfortable or upset or something. Like in the past, and I'm just like, oh my god, I literally would have had no idea how do you not told me like even if this situation happened, like a week ago, or something like that I never would have known.


Vanessa Baker  

Right? Right. And so like, there's just like a high value on communication. And, do you think there's a message? Okay. And I think I might be on to something here, but I'm not really so totally sure. So just go with me. Do you think that there's like a correlation or causation between the way teenagers are spoken about and referred to and, you know, thought of, in our culture, many cultures actually many, many different you know, this is a worldwide thing about teenagers write. Do you think that has some bearing on the way teenagers don't feel like what they have to say is valid or worth saying?


Guest  

Oh, yeah, completely. For sure. I think if, like, everyone's open your face all the time saying, oh, you're annoying, you're dumb, then like, obviously, you're not going to want to like, talk about what's going on because you're gonna be afraid that that's what people are gonna tell you to your face.


Vanessa Baker  

Damn. Yeah, like the opposite of a safe space. Yeah. Like, don't you do anything wrong if you do anything wrong, you're gonna be in so much trouble. Yeah, did you do to do life happens I did something quote wrong. Maybe you're wrong. Maybe literal illegal. You know, all that stuff. Especially in the pumpkin crowd. But then, how likely is a kid to say to their parents, I did the thing. You've warned me and scared the fucking shit out of me. Like I do this. I'm going to lose my phone. I'm going to lose my car. My bus pass? I don't know. Right, everything. How likely is a kid to tell their parents to think they need their parents for the very most in that moment?


Guest  

Definitely not likely at all.


Vanessa Baker  

What is this setup?


Guest  

It's it's a bullshit setup.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, what is a kid to do? I know that sounded really corny, but like, really? Like what is.. what's your option? Suffering in silence? Okay, getting deeper and deeper into this darker and darker place alone? Because you fear punishment?


Guest  

Yes.


Vanessa Baker  

Or? Telling them? Yeah, like..


Guest  

Yeah. Oh, sorry. Go ahead.


Vanessa Baker  

No, no, yeah, just go on. I'm just randomly cutting off myself, because I'm just like, I'm just really, really putting myself into that spot to call them. Mm hmm. But tell me continue the thought like to pick it up from there for me.


Guest  

I just like, I mean, having the courage to tell your parents something like that is a really big thing, especially for most teenagers. I think, given like the stigma that you just mentioned, with me, I my parents raised me to have such a guilty conscience. So I would, every time I like did something quote unquote, wrong. Like you said, I would feel the need to tell them immediately and just fucking get it over with. Yeah. And it was like, I remember when I was a kid, I would like, I would like tell them like the dumbest shit. Like, even if it wasn't a wrong thing, or a big deal. I would tell them anyway. And there would be a whole conundrum. And it's like, why? I don't know. I don't know.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, right. Right. And it's like, we don't have like, I think it goes back to the Safe Space idea. If you don't feel like you have like the space to like show your vulnerability or your moment of weakness or just your moment of ignorance and not knowing yet. Really not getting it. It didn't click yet. And you did the thing that you were told not to do, but you didn't get why. So you did it anyway. Oh, now you get it. Like that should be something to celebrate over here in my hippie crazy mind. Not punished. Yeah, for sure.


Guest  

Yeah, that's interesting. Um, so is there anything about your parents, high school teachers, professors and college however you want to answer this or all of the above? were like, I wish like filling this in it. Like, I wish this mattered more to them. I wish I wish, like mental health mattered more to teachers. Especially like, I guess in high school, I guess. It was really, I was like struggling with depression. And and it was like, teachers, like you know, they just wanted you to do what you're supposed to do.


Vanessa Baker  

Mm hmm.


Guest  

And I guess, you know, I mean, high school. My high school teachers weren't great. Like they didn't care that much about like anything. And there were there were some good ones for sure. But like, I'd say a majority of them just didn't really give a shit about like the education the kids were getting, or the the way Being of the students. And I was like, I remember my senior year, I, my first semester of senior, I was taking a psychology class. And it got to the point for some reason where my teacher just started showing like films depicting like, various mental illnesses. And it was extremely triggering for me. And I didn't know how to communicate that. And so, my mom, I was like, so depressed at the time, my mom had to, like, email my teacher and be like, hey, she is like having, like, major issue with like, the film's in class, this like, this is really triggering. And I had ended up having to like, leave class to go to the library and like, do other work. Like while she was showing films, like it was like a worked out agreement that we came to. Exactly. Yeah.  Yeah, right, because they have no concept that like, this is like a textbook thing to them. Not something that the children in the class are actually dealing with. It's like an other people thing like, show entertainment. educational value thing versus like, no, this is people here. They could be bipolar, or borderline personality disorder, or depressed or anxious. Right?


Vanessa Baker  

And it just seems so like far fetched that it can actually be you. What do you think is the belief about teenagers that is that that kind of like, minimization of like that year a whole feeling complex person, just as every adult is? What is that?


Guest  

Um, maybe, and I don't know if this is like, true or whatever. It's just something that came to my brain just now. But like, I think adults like are so detached, dis attached. I don't know if that's a word. detached, detached. Yeah, that's, that's what I'm detached from, like being a teenager themselves. And they like have forgotten what it's like to be a teenager that they like, literally can't imagine what it's like for anyone else.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah.


Guest  

So I think like the empathy is lost in that sense.


Vanessa Baker  

Mm hmm. Oh, my gosh, I think about that a lot, actually, about how if it's if teenagers are so easy and so great, then why the hell did you block them out this way? Why do you only remember the good times? Why do you only remember the exact moments that are way harder than what your kids going through?


Guest  

Oh, my God. Yeah, for sure.


Vanessa Baker  

I don't know if that comparison game works. What do you think when they say, Oh, well, like, oh, gosh, I mean, you could think of so many I can think of so many examples of like, I if I'd said that to my parents, like, do you? Have you ever heard that? Yes, I have. What are your thoughts on that? How is that relevant to you? Is that motivating? Is that enlightening?


Guest  

It's definitely not, um, it's counterproductive. In like, every way, like, yeah, I'm not my parents, and my parents aren't their parents. So what's.. there's like, literally no point. And compared, and also the society has, like, changed. Since my parents were growing up, or since their parents were growing up. It's, it's a very different world. And so it's like, there's literally no point in comparing it. It's just gonna make your kid feel like shit, basically.


Vanessa Baker  

Right? Right. Yeah, there's really like, no objective, except for to just be like, so your feelings don't count. Your problem is solved. You're welcome. And good night, right?


Guest  

So 35 years ago, let me tell you a story about that, right? So isn't that funny, but but it's like really common and I'm not making fun of it. But it's almost like an inherited like, you know, we talked about mindfulness earlier. It's like, a mind-less bit of like rhetoric that that is just like part of being a parent. It's like, oh, and here's your handbook. Make sure you say this. Yeah, for sure.


Vanessa Baker  

So funny. So what do you think, Okay, this is the flip side, what do you think matters too much to, you know, those like trusted adult roles, that really isn't important to you? Or, you know, your peers?


Guest  

Um, I don't know, I think just like adults in general, I think probably like, um, like, traditional success, I suppose. I don't know. But, um, I think mainly just like, you know, to a lot not to my parents, necessarily, but like to a lot of like this adults. You're that we're describing. It's like, Oh, they want you to be like, have a successful job and make a lot of money. So that they can bring you back to Thanksgiving and be like, Oh, this is my kid. This is how much money they're making. This is so cool. This is better than you. Yeah, it means I must have been a successful parents. Yes, my child is in this tax bracket. Making model of car, right? Yeah. Real. What do you think drives that? Do you think it's absolute, like shitty materialism and competition? Or do you think there's something more like, something that's worth having compassion for that drives that generation, you know, into that corner, really? I think it's probably like, a combination of things. It is like stupid materialism, like you said, but it's also like, probably the way they were raised. And probably what their parents expected of them. Because, you know, as time goes on, like you said before, like, mental health is like, becoming more of a priority in society. But it definitely, like, that's a new thing. Right? So like, um, you know, people who are like grandparent age now, like, grew up in a very different world, where it's like, oh, you feel like you like actually have to, like, be like a traditionally successful adult like that, I guess.


Vanessa Baker  

Right. No, I get that I get that, whatever you just said, I was totally listening. And then you know how, like, your random thoughts pop up. If I didn't deal with my postpartum depression, that I had immediately upon the birth of my first child, probably maybe hard to remember honestly, maybe even during pregnancy, and he's 18. Now, by the time I'd had my third kid, I had five kids in five years, right? So the third one came along, he's now 15. I've been on an SSRI ever since. I've been in lots of therapy too, like I'm taking, you know, the holistic, multi faceted approach to my mental health. And I'm telling you what, I think if I didn't do that, I predict that I would be addicted to some thing, and I bet it would, I'm just guessing, it'd be alcohol. That's like, in my family, that was modeled. And I think that's what people did back then. Yeah, you deal with mental illnesses they've just like masked it with whatever substance wasn't too frowned upon. But do you think that fewer kids your age or young adults, your age will end up turning to like, you know, those numbing agents, because mental health is more accessible and acceptable?


Guest  

I think, yeah, I think there will be definitely less I definitely know, like a lot of people who do that, but I think it's becoming less of an issue, and it's gonna continue to become less of an issue. The more that the stigma is, like, put to rest I guess.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah. That's awesome. Have you ever.. Okay, okay. I have a good question. My first Good question. Okay. Was there, and you'll have to, you'll have to guess here but maybe, you know, and I don't want you to speak on your parents behalf. Okay. But like, do your best. If you feel comfortable? Do you think that they had to manage their own personal bias or stigmas or anything around mental health when it was in their home with their baby?


Guest  

Oh, that's a good question. I don't know. I think it wasn't so much of an issue like that, because my mom had dealt with some depression and anxiety. Before, before I was experiencing it, so I think she was like, very open. And like, I knew I could always turn to her for advice on that sort of thing, because I know, she had dealt with it a little bit. And I know my dad, you know, was aware that she was like dealing with it. So I don't think there was by the time I was experiencing it, I don't think there was very much stigma in our household.


Vanessa Baker  

Like she broke that ground for you. Now, something I I have observed is that a mom or a dad will be suffering with something like anxiety and depression and then it's like a secret. And then it perpetuates this stigma, whereas this example that you just shared, was like, really brilliant. Really useful information because you're struggling, then your kids can tell you they're struggling. And I'm telling you as a parent, and you can deduce this pretty easily. We really do just want to know what's going on. Yeah. You know, even if it's bad news, because we want to help help you, we love you, like more than we love your dog times kajillions, you know?


Guest  

Yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

So, yeah, I really, really like that. It's so counterintuitive, I think that you can show your children. I don't really mean this, but what people consider weakness, humanity. So right. Okay, so I'll shut up, I want to ask you like, what did you think less of your mom, knowing that she was having like, whatever chemical imbalance or situational or whatever that was causing her depression and anxiety? And that was her reality? Did that trouble you? Did that make you like, not respect her or look down at her?


Guest  

No, not at all.


Vanessa Baker  

I didn't think so. But I want you to tell us why.


Guest  

Um, it's just, I mean, my grandparent, my grandmother had passed at the time. And so we were all just kind of, like, you know, she was a very, like, prominent role in our lives. And I think we all understood, like, why it was so upsetting. And like, it's, you know, obviously, that's like a very common cause of like, a depression or anxiety response to something to someone's passing. Like, that's a very natural response to having a lot of people go through that. So it's like, not only is that like, extremely common and, and easy to understand, but it's also like, I love my mom, like so much, you know, I've always been, like, so close with her that it's like, nothing like that is ever gonna, like, make me like feel weird about her or anything like that. Yeah, that was the description in my heart that you just described of unconditional love. Like, there's nothing that she could, like be facing or struggling with that would change how much you love her. That's so beautiful. How did you come about that view? You may think it's a given and everybody feels that way about everything. But they, but they don't. How do you think you have come upon that view of like, family or love? I don't know. I guess. It's, it's just always been something for me. Like, obviously, it's not, you know, necessarily there for everyone else all the time. But it's definitely there. For me. I think I was, you know, I was raised as an only child. So I got a lot of attention. Yeah. As a kid, and we just I was the way I was raised, I was always very close with my parents. And I think that's just like, um, just like an idea I've had because my parents raised me to be very, like, kind and compassionate. So I think that's, you know, for me, it is a given.


Vanessa Baker  

Right? I do, I do get that. And I also know that you don't take it for granted. And so it's just right. You know, wait, everybody's parents don't accept that no matter what. You know, it's like, No, no, no, no, exactly. So, um, do you.. have you ever been in a spot in your life where you actually adopted that, like, what's the word that like, overarching conversation about like, teenagers are a pain in the ass and they're a bunch of trouble and they're dumb, and they're full of it. And they, they're arrogant and blah, blah, blah, you know, fill in the blank. Anything that you've ever heard about teenagers? Have you ever personally, like, lost any shares of self esteem due to that pervasive.. That's the word I was looking for.. that pervasive conversation around your demographic?


Guest  

Yes, I think I think there has been times when I was like, um, you know, like, 1516 probably my parents and I would butt heads sometimes. And something they would tell me it was like, Oh, you just think you know everything or blah, blah. Yeah. Like they know everything. You think they know everything, but it's like, I I've never thought that I've known everything. Like I just I just have an opinion on this one thing.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah. That's so good, right? You think you know everything? Okay, that's code for Ooh, let's let's look at it. Let's be let's figure it out. What do you think when parents say that, because that's one of those "oh, that's in the manual. Make sure like every so often you say you think you know everything." code for what's being threatened or triggered or rustled up in a person to tell a young person person who's growing and learning a lot, that they think they know everything as a fucking insult.


Guest  

I don't know, I think I think like, it's, it might come from a place of like surprise like, oh, wow, I didn't know my teenager could have an opinion the strong like, weren't they just a baby yesterday?


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah.


Guest  

And it's just like a, I don't know, a detachment from how much they've grown up and how, like, maybe parents don't want to accept that.


Vanessa Baker  

Okay, that's a really solid theory.


Guest  

Thank you.


Vanessa Baker  

That's a really solid theory. Okay, let me think of one. I'm thinking it's like, what if they find out.. parents, I'm speaking as a parent.. Like, what if they find out that I don't know everything?


Guest  

Oh, yeah.


Vanessa Baker  

You know, like, my place in the on the pedestal could be like, compromised if they know  more than me about something. But inevitably, each one of my five kids knows a lot. A lot more than me on a bunch of things.


Guest  

Yeah, for sure. That's just that's just like, the way it's gonna be like, no matter what, no one knows everything. And some people like, are bound to like, know more about certain things and other people like that's just the way it is. Right? And there's nothing wrong with that. Yeah, yeah. Right. Interesting. Yeah. I love this. Like, I'm thinking brand new thoughts. I'm a I'm a like, chronic thinker, too. So to think new thoughts is very fun. Not the same old ones, right? Not the regulars, right? Um, is there something that you can think of that's been like a really big challenge that you've had to face alone, and I say had to loosely, you felt you had to face alone, that you wished you'd had your parents support for or, or another person's support for, but you just kept it to yourself? I think. Like, like how I was in that toxic relationship, as I mentioned, like, I think before my breaking point, like when I ended up in the hospital and everything. I think before then I was like dealing with a lot. And like just like keeping it all to myself. Because I remember, like, having conversations with my mom, I remember one night was really bad. And my mom, I like really did not want to tell her. But she was like, not like prying unnecessarily. But she really wants to know, like, you know, for good reason, I guess. And I just like, did not want to tell her and I was just so frustrated with like the situation. And like, the fact that I didn't want to say anything about it, that I was just yelling about it. As I was saying it, and I didn't want to accept like, any, like advice or like anything like that. And I think just in that kind of period of my life, just in that little, you know, time when I was experiencing, like things that I didn't want to talk about, in hindsight, like, it would have been like, really good if I like had if I was like more open. And yeah, we talked to my parents about it, because like, I could have gotten so much support that I needed that I didn't know, that I needed at the time.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah, yeah, that's a really great point. That's a really, really good point. Like if you think that you're not supposed to need help for this or that there's nothing. It's like, you don't know what you don't know. So, I don't know. It's kind of like.. the word that keeps popping in my mind right now is, you went from it.. This is what it sounds like. You're saying like you went from being sort of like, prideful, not like a jerk, but like, scared of letting down your guard. Like, protective, I guess is a better word. More vulnerable, humble, open. So what's your what's your take on vulnerability, and its value at this point in your life?


Guest  

I think it's like so it's like one of the most important things there is. Because without vulnerability, like, I wouldn't be able to communicate my feelings with anyone. And that's like communication is like what builds healthy relationships. So I think, be vulnerable and being able to be vulnerable with people that you trust is like such a great feeling. And like having them not judge you in anything like that. Like that is so refreshing. Yes, yes, totally. I think that having courage. I mean, this is Dr. Brene Brown's whole life. I don't know if you know her yet, but I always talk about her. She's like, just one of my favorite influential teachers of my life. If I forgot to meet her, I would probably fall over dead but that's what she He talks about his his courage and vulnerability and, and when we're so fearful of being judged, it like cancels out our whatever like that the courage that it takes to be vulnerable. Yeah no, that makes sense.


Vanessa Baker  

Okay. Good. So what do you think gives you this new, I don't know, like new found or like whatever it's like you've developed into this level of courage to say your say your piece, speak your mind, not put up with people shit when they're hurting you. Get empathetic with people when they're dealing with shit, you know, about you like you've got this whole system. It's like really working right? What would you share about that? Like, what's something that you could give people who are listening? Adults, and people younger, teenagers.. Like, what's the secret sauce to that?


Guest  

I think it's just feeling like secure in yourself. I think it just like you have to tell yourself over and over that you are valid and what you're feeling is valid. Because for me, like when I when I kept it all to myself, it's because I felt like what I was feeling or how upset I was about it. I felt like that was stupid. And so now that I've like gained this, like new perspective, I guess of like being, like seeing other people struggling and like seeing how they deal with it and seeing how kind it's like, literally, it's like, it makes me want to be kind not only to other people, but to myself. Yeah. That's what I was thinking. That was my little moment right there. It's like, if you're judging yourself, you're going to imagine that people are going to judge you too. If you're being loving to yourself, you're going to give other people the benefit of the doubt that maybe they'll love me too. So I am a big fan of that, like theory or concept or whatever that, like the relationship we have with ourselves is the one that we like, what's that word? Like when you project it right on other people? So they think badly of you? It's like a cycle too. Isn't that like a vicious cycle? Yeah. Either way. Yes, for sure.


Vanessa Baker  

Yeah. Well, congratulations on breaking that, you know, I also just like appreciate, like this great awareness that you not only have but are able to articulate, like, I don't know if you see yourself as a great teacher, but that's exactly how you're showing up in this conversation. Oh, thank you. You're welcome. So okay, actually, that's, that's a great lead in and to this question of like, why do you think you're here on this planet? And I know, I know, I love these big questions, because then you're not like, Oh, this is the answer. Like, I have to make you think. It's my favorite thing to do, to make people think. So okay, so it goes into, like, what do you want to be known for? What are you here for? What is your legacy? Like, anywhere in that realm? Hit me.


Guest  

I guess. I, I want people you know, to remember me to be just like a kind of compassionate person. And I want I think, I think music is a big part of like, what I want people to remember me for. And I think with that I want to, like, inspire like women and queer people. And I want to make them feel heard and feel like they have a safe space. And I want to inspire them to like, do the same for other people, I guess. I guess it just goes back into the whole like, compassion thing and like how important empathy is, and how important it is to like, not take bullshit from anybody also.


Vanessa Baker  

Yes. Ooh, I love that that like, perfect equilibrium of, I don't take anybody's shit. I am a free person. Right? And I'm extremely empathetic, and compassionate and caring. I think that's exactly what should go in your headstone. Don't die. But's that's like exactly what you exemplify. I love that. What do you call that?


Guest  

Um, I don't know. I'll have to come up with a cool name for it.


Vanessa Baker  

Like that is so so powerful, like people think you either have to like, have your guard up and be tough. Or, you know, or be a pushover and it's like, no. Wait, right. Like there's this other option like a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, like make it your own DIY option of like, respecting yourself respecting others, and oh, man, I like it. I'm gonna try it.


Guest  

I would recommend it.


Vanessa Baker  

I know, it sounds so good on you. Right? Okay. Okay. Last thing is, I want to know, did I already say last thing? I'm so funny, last thing until I'm done is, like, is there anything that you would sort of like want to leave our listeners with like an like a message just like whatever pops into your head something you think that more people, you know, should should value or understand or consider.


Guest  

I think, honestly, the most important thing is to know that you are so valid, and you are loved by people in your life, whether you know it, or whether you feel it or not. And that is an amazing thing to have. And you just need to trust yourself in it and be kind to yourself. Be kind to your mind.


Vanessa Baker  

Wow, did you make that up?


Guest  

No, I didn't. I've seen it on a bumper sticker.


Vanessa Baker  

I know. I'm just kidding. I'm not making fun of what you said. Just the last part because it was so funny. But yeah, that's, that's brilliant. trusting yourself. And kind of like, yeah, the love thing. I think everything just comes back to that, doesn't it?


Guest  

For sure. Yes, completely.


Vanessa Baker  

You are inspiring. You are wonderful. You are probably a genius. You should probably go do IQ test online right after we hang up. I think you could confirm it, let me know. I really, really appreciate how open you are and how, you know, in specific, thank you for just being so like, it's no big deal to go. Okay. I didn't mean no big deal in my mind it but like the way that you've talked about having gone to, you know, whatever, psych ward mental hospital, like the way they talked about it, you gave it such honor. and respect for yourself is so present. And a lot of people can't really reconcile those two things. And you do that beautifully.


Guest  

Thank you.


Vanessa Baker  

I'd like to say that you're doing good work to reduce the stigma, by being so open, and letting people in on that. I think that's really good work on your part.


Guest  

Thank you.


Vanessa Baker  

You're welcome. Thank you so much for listening today. If you're a parent, I challenge you to share this episode with your kids and just see what kind of conversations open up. And if you're a teenager or a young adult, I challenge you to share this episode with your parents or your guardians or teachers and just see what kind of conversations open up. I want you to use this conversation and the cool thing that that my guests and I created today to make a difference in like have something be different in your life. Like I don't want this just to be an hour that you spent, you know, with some entertainment or like little insights like please use this to make a difference. So if you want more information or to read anything I've written on any of the topics that we've talked about today, please go to vbakermindset.com for all kinds of love for me. I love you. Bye.

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