Jill Morley

Jill Morley

At 40, Jilll took up competitive boxing to work through the childhood PTSD caused by her mother’s physical abuse.  She shares about living with depression, aiding other female fighters and making her documentary Fight Like a Girl.

This episode is sponsored by Bulu Box.   To learn more and get a MIHH listener discount go to www.bulubox.com click on the microphone in the upper left hand corner and use the offer code “happyhour”.

To take the listener survey for Paul’s potential advertisers go to www.podsurvey.com/mentalpod  Your email will not be sold or exploited, only to contact you if you win the $100 Amazon Gift Card.

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This episode is sponsored by Bulu Box.   To learn more and get a MIHH listener discount go to www.bulubox.com click on the microphone in the upper left hand corner and use the offer code "happyhour".

Check out the website for Jill's documentary Fight Like a Girl.

To take the listener survey for Paul's potential advertisers go to www.podsurvey.com/mentalpod  Your email will not be sold or exploited, only to contact you if you win the $100 Amazon Gift Card.

Episode Transcript:

P: Welcome to Episode 180 with my guest Jill Morley. This episode is sponsored by the Midroll, who books the ads for my show and they have a survey that I would love you guys to take. It’s short, it’s anonymous, they don’t share or sell your email address to anybody and you can actually, by filling out this short survey, it helps advertisers get to know who you guys are so that they can better match this show to advertisers. And listeners who complete the survey will be entered in an ongoing monthly raffle to win $100 Amazon gift card. So go to dot—go to www.podsurvey.com/mentalpod. That’s podsurvey.com/mentalpod.

 

I’m Paul Gilmartin. This is The Mental Illness Happy Hour. Two hours of honesty about all the battles in our heads, from medically diagnosed conditions, past traumas, sexual dysfunction, to everyday compulsive negative thinking. This show’s not meant to be a substitute for profess—I always struggle with that word. Professional mental counselling. This is not a doctor's office, it's more like a waiting room that doesn't suck. The website for this show is mentalpod.com. Please go there. Fill out surveys—not to be confused with the survey I just mentioned—surveys that I read on the show. You can also see how other people filled out the surveys. You can join the forum. You can support the show financially. You can read blogs by me and other people. Yes, go do it. @mentalpod is also the Twitter name if you want to follow me on Twitter. Let's get to it.

 

This is...this is from the Body Shame survey. This is filled out by a woman who calls herself Vixen.

 

What do you like or dislike about your body?

 

"I have chronic insomnia and it has caused deep black circles under my eyes. Every time I look in the mirror, I'm reminded that I'm a fucking moron who can't stick to a normal sleep schedule because of my anxiety and sleep problems. I refuse to wear contacts because I feel like my glasses hide my dark circles, if only a little."

 

Boy, you know, I wanted to read this because you are blaming yourself for not being able to fall asleep. I hope you can hear how, how hard you're being on yourself. I mean, you're acting as if you want to have insomnia. You're acting as if you have control over your insomnia. People wouldn't have insomnia if they had control over it so, cut yourself a little bit of slack there.

 

This is from the Struggle in a Sentence filled out by a woman who calls herself Dandelion. About her anxiety, she writes:

 

"Be normal, be normal, be fucking normal." And about having Dissociative Identity Disorder: "It's like running the world's longest relay race with a group of dysfunctional people who have trouble getting along." Thank you for that.

 

This is filled out by Ama (sp?). Who is a teenager. And a snapshot from her life, she writes:

 

"Squeezing a friend's hand during a panic attack, seeing how much I am making her hand hurt and knowing there is so much pain left in me that I cannot crush into her hand." Again, I always say that teenage girls fucking knock it outta the park on the Struggle in a Sentence.

 

This filled out by a woman who calls herself Sea of Troubles and:

 

”Living with acne is like living with another kind of depression where every new pimple makes you feel more sad and worthless." She's in her 20's by the way.”

 

"Going out with friends—"

 

A snapshot from her life:

 

"Going out with friends and huddling in the dark because I feel so ugly compared to them. Wearing a full face of foundation feels like a lie and no guy will want to be with me when so often there's no ooze coming out of my cheek or chin. After living pain, humiliation and disappointment of a face full of cystic acne, for so long, it really starts to hurt your soul to the point to the point where you have no self-esteem left."

 

Well we're sending you some love. I can't imagine how difficult that, that must be.

 

This is filled out by a guy who calls himself Duke Lacross. He's in his 30's. About his alcoholism/drug addiction:

 

"Drink many beers every other night but not so much it has caused a problem."

 

Snapshot from your life:

 

"Three or four times a night I drink a six pack, often 16 oz. cans but sometimes 12 oz. cans of beer and I've been doing so for many years. I want to stop and have thought about getting help but don't want to be made fun of other alcoholics for not really having a problem."

 

Any comments to make the podcast better: "Free beer. Just kidding. But not really."

 

I don't think it would hurt to go get help and I...you know...I've been in recovery for ten years and I've never heard anybody ever be made fun of for not quote unquote drinking enough or doing enough drugs. So, that's just my thought and it certainly couldn't hurt to go check it out. And by the way the amount that you are drinking sounds like more than I was drinking and I'm an alcoholic. So. That's my two cents.

 

This is a Struggle in a Sentence filled out by a woman who calls herself L. Lake. About her co-dependency:

 

"If I show you how much you matter, maybe I will matter too."

 

That is deep.

 

And this is filled out by a guy who calls himself Widefoot. He's in 20's. About his dysthymia, which is low level depression:

 

"Nobody takes you seriously because you look just fine but looking fine doesn't make you happy. Nothing makes you happy."

 

Snapshot from his life:

 

"That's the problem with constant low level depression, shyness, and loneliness. They're constant. There is no snapshot moment which highlights my struggles. They're present every day all the time. It's one long grey story. Nobody wants to read that."

 

That is profound. That is so...that just cut right to the centre of me. And I think it's why I sometimes, when somebody asks me how I'm doing, I just don't even want to say. So, because it's like that. You feel like you're just telling them a boring story. I totally relate to that and sending you some love.

 

And then I want to read this email from a listener who calls herself Louise. And she writes:

 

"I wanted to give you my take on the swearing in your podcast. I'm in my late 30's and for the majority of my life, have not really sworn. This was in part for religious reasons until I was ex-communicated due to my sexuality. However, I am not from some backwater. I am British and a Londoner, born and bred and work in Central London, etc. This means there are a lot of people who I come into contact with who swear even if it's just overhearing conversations on my train journey. I've always found swearing jarring though because I felt it unnecessary for people to swear so much and that it was a lazy use of language and thought is showed a lack of awareness of who was around eg. children. However I've been listening to your podcast for about a year and I actually find the amount of swearing helpful. It has helped me not to find it so alien to hear swearing and it no longer bothers me anywhere near as much to hear people swear. Now I find that people swearing just washes over me. It's just the way some people communicate and it doesn't stand out for me anymore. While some people might think this show a drop in my standards, I think your podcast has helped to turn me into a more normal person. Best wishes, Louise."

 

I was really touched by that. And I want to thank her for, for being open minded. And you know, maybe there's some other person out there that hears that or thinks that and you know, maybe they'd think to themselves, you know, 'If that cunt can embrace that cocksucker, maybe I don't have to be such a fuckface."

 

[Taped Introduction Theme Music and Voiceover]

 

P: I'm here with Jill Morley who I corresponded with via email maybe a year and a half ago and you told me that you had this documentary about boxing, women and boxing and how they were using it to help heal. Talk about—where would be a good place to start because you—talk about your childhood, let's talk about that first.

 

Jill Morley (J): Okay. Well actually let me...the film is actually, it's about women who use boxing to fight their inner demons. It also incorporates trauma and abuse and using it as a healing tool. So, so childhood. So abuse. (laughing)

 

P: Yes, unless there's more you want to talk about, about the film but it seems more appropriate that we would talk about what you went through and then talk about the film.

 

J: Okay. Ya. Well actually it's interesting because you know I listen to your podcast and when you talk about your mother and the abuse you suffered, I—my mother was narcissist, borderline personality disorder. God bless her. And you know, when she would get, I mean she tried her best. She had me when she was about nineteen or twenty years old. She did do a good job except for the fact that she would really beat me up. (laughing) Whenever she would get, she would get angry at things. She'd just get very angry. Like if I—when I was like a little kid, I didn't want my photo taken at the Sears photo and I would get a beating for it, you know. And—

 

P: Would she beat you right there or wait until you got home?

 

J: Oh, she'd wait until I got home. You know, she was good like that.

 

P: Would she let you know that you were going to get a beating when you got home?

 

J: Ya. Ya.

 

P: I would imagine you probably picked up on the non-verbal cues even she didn't say something, or was that not the case?

 

J: True. But you know that's a skill that I feel like I have to this day with other people. Like I can kinda tell when something's gonna go down. Because I can feel the energy.

 

P: Isn't it a mind fuck too because you wind up ignoring it, what people are saying, in trying to read what you think they're saying because you don't...you're just, you feel like there's something below the surface with everybody and...I don't know. Am I putting words in your mouth?

 

J: No, I think you're right. Because I think it was a way to cope and a way to—for protection. Self-protection. Like if something's going to go down, I'm going to run away or I'm going to prepare myself for it in some way. And even as an adult, I find myself tip toeing, or I don't want any anger directed at me. I hate conflict. You know, I have to like really force myself to say what I want. You know?

 

P: Ya, I think those of us that were raised with a mercurial parent...and my mom was never physically abusive but you know, she would go on negative tirades that were just unpleasant. And you would feel trapped by it. She didn't scream much but it would just be this torrent of negativity that was just really...unpleasant, you just felt like you were being held down. You know, verbally. So you wind up doing whatever you can to avoid that. You know, coupled with the fact that when you feel like you're the only one that listens to her out of guilt, you know. I wound up doing that but I also feel like oh that's nothing compared to someone that got hit.

 

J: Ya, and I say that's nothing compared to somebody who someone burned cigarettes on their arm. You know—

 

P: It never ends, I guess.

 

J: No, I always think, I had it really—you know, and I was, I was in that way but I still suffered from the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder the way that someone who went through much worse did. I can't control that, I have those symptoms, you know, or I have had them. I've been working through them for, you know, especially the last ten years of my life.

 

P: Talk about some of the symptoms.

 

J: Extreme vigilance. I can't sleep very easily. I'm always kind of looking around. I know when I started boxing, I guess I'll get into this later, but whenever I would get hit a certain way I would have a flashback. One time I got hit in the jaw, my jaw was sore and I just had a flashback of the time my mom hit me in the jaw, you know. It's just weird pictures in my head that would happen. Being a little jumpy. And the thing is, I'm an athletic tough girl so when I go into a situation like boxing, I don't think I'm going to start shaking and crying ‘cause some little girl's punching me, you know. But that is what happened. I hate to admit it. (laughs)

 

P: How many times into boxing did that happen? The first time?

 

J: Not the first time. But after a few times. And then it happened, it went on for almost a year.

 

P: Why did you keep doing it? Did you have the feeling that this is something I'm going to work through?

 

J: I, for some reason, put this pressure on myself. I thought, you know, you either have to work through this or you shouldn't be alive at all. Because then you've lost your battle. And I know it doesn't make any sense but for me—

 

P: It makes perfect sense to me.

 

J: (laughter) I have to put all this pressure on myself. Plus I was making the film at the time. I mean, the film was actually an afterthought. I wanted to box, first of all. And the film was an afterthought but then once we'd gotten into it, I'm like, well, I'm making this film and I'm trying to box. What, am I going to quit? You know? Me? Quit? You know. So instead I'll drive myself close to the edge and almost go over it. Which is what happened.

 

P: Did you set out to include your story as part of the film?

 

J: You know, I really didn't. I thought...I'd make another feature doc where I could be, I was the through-line and the thread but that I could tell these other women's stories but use my storyline to structure it. That way, I could tell it and have a beginning, middle, end suite, you know. But this time, because of what happened, it fucked up my whole documentary. The timeline, everything. And I wound up taking, instead of one year, I thought it would take, oh, I'll just fight in the golden gloves. It took seven years.

 

P: Wow. And it's a great documentary. I've seen it. Remind me of the name of it again?

 

J: It's called Fight Like a Girl. We did win Best Documentary at Other Venice Film Festival. What I'm more proud of is, we were awarded a medal from the World Boxing Council for inspiration, education, and courage. And it's for some of, besides for the film, it's for some of the work we do now with young girls. We teach empowerment workshops and boxing to young girls. And I teach boys too, it's just, I find that when boys and girl are together, the boys kind of take over. So, I like to teach them separately.

 

P: Talk about what it felt like...talk about the positive feelings of boxing and give me some actual snapshots from where you began to feel like there was some type of healing or catharsis.

 

J: I think when I started to get over the shaking and crying in the ring and I started to be present. And that became my whole thing is that I'm not going to shake and cry, you know, in this moment because that's not really what I'm feeling. What I'm feeling happened to me when I was a child. So if I'm present, then I'm just getting hit. That I can handle. You know. But the past of being you know, beaten when you're a small child by someone who's raging at you, that will make you shudder in fear. You know. So I think it was just being present.

 

P: You know my feeling too is also the wound, whether you were raped or beaten or told that you were a piece of shit, the thing they all share in common is that you got the message that you didn't matter and I think that's where the real trauma comes from. The stuff that's really hard to heal because your body going to heal from that stuff but you need to find a counter argument to the fact that you don't matter and that is so hard in this world—

 

J: You don't think you deserve—

 

P: You think you're making it up—

 

J: And I'm so jealous of people sometimes who just seem like, 'Oh I deserve to have this and this and this.' And I'm like well, 'You do deserve...' But why don't I have that feeling too?

 

P: Ya.

 

J: Ah! (laughs)

 

P: But I interrupted. Go ahead. So being present...

 

J: Being present was probably the most, like, when all of a sudden I could get into somebody and all of a sudden, I'd see the punches coming. And I could make them miss. And I was calmer. I mean, it's still nerve-wracking. But I'm calmer, right now, I'm...I can get in there with a girl who's really really good and—not saying I would beat her by any means, but I could handle it. And that's...you know what I mean? I can handle it. I will punch back. I won't freeze and cry. You know.

 

P: The first time you froze and cried, was it the first time you put the gloves on?

 

J: No. It was a little bit after that. At the time too, my coach—I found out later my coach was telling these girls to try to make me quit. To beat the crap out of me.

 

P: Why?

 

J: Because he saw that I was like, a little nervous and I think he thought I shouldn't be boxing. Because of the PTSD reaction. And I think he wanted to make me quit and I just didn't.

 

P: For your own good or because he just was, thought you were a pain in the ass?

 

J: Probably both. I was probably a pain in the ass. I would've hated to have had to coach me. (laughing) Because I mean, what do you do? What do you do. You know.

 

P: Hold you between rounds? Rock you.

 

J: (laughing) Throw in a towel. I don't know.

 

P: So when you would shake and cry, would they give you a ten count that was, each second was a tissue from out of the box? (laughing)

 

J: (laughing) Each count was a tear.

 

(laughter)

 

P: So talk about the very first time you put the gloves on and then talk about that first time that you shook and cried.

 

J: Well the first time putting the gloves on, it was exciting. I was going in with a girl who had won a metro's championship and here I am, you know, also starting at a very late age—

 

P: How old were you when you started?

 

J: Forty.

 

P: Wow!

 

J: (laughing) So basically, so down the line I had to lie about my age. Because the cut-off was 34 years old for USA Boxing so I made myself 30 so I could fight in the amateurs, which I did for a while. And then I finally copped to my age and then, you know, I fight at my age now. Ya so I just went in there...Well, when you get the shot for the first time, you're like, 'Okay!'. (laughs) 'This is boxing!' You know. But I kept having that feeling that I could do better—

 

P: Did it hurt?

 

J: No. I don't think it hurts. It's just, it's more like a...adrenaline. And also, if you have a fighter in you, you're like 'Oh ya?' You know.

 

P: Bring it motherfucker.

 

J: Ya. Whereas, my husband is just like, 'Leave me alone'. He says, 'I have an MBA, I don't need to do that shit.' (laughter) He's like, 'Leave me alone. I want to go dance.' He does modern dance now. So...ya. I just have a fighter in me. So even if I didn't have the skill to do it, I wanted to do it. I just had that little—

 

P: Was there fear or did it just go right to, kind of...aggression?

 

J: The first time it went to aggression but it was uncontrolled aggression. Because I didn't have any skills and also it was just...

 

P: You just started flailing.

 

J: Oh, it was awful.

 

P: Burned yourself out in thirty seconds.

 

J: It was terrible. (laughs). And I love, you know, it's actually fun watching other people do that. (laughs) When they go in for the first time and they're just swinging from the fences, you know, it's like...It takes a while to get good. But as far as going in and I think the first time I started crying. The tears were involuntary when I'd get cornered, let's say. I didn't know how to get out at that time. The tears were involuntary. And then I would get stuck, I wouldn't know what to do. I would think, 'Move!' Like, I would think in my head but I couldn't do it with body. And it was really frustrating. You know. And then afterwards of course—

 

P: You couldn't will yourself to move.

 

J: I couldn't.

 

P: It wasn't that you were trapped. It's like you were trapped...

 

J: By my body.

 

P: Wow.

 

J: Like I couldn't like, now I'd just pivot out, push the girl, get out of the way, do whatever. But at the time, I was just frozen. And I guess that goes with, you know, it's fight, flight or freeze. Right? I was going into freeze. You know. I should've gone into flight. (laughs) It's better. But, no, not actually fight. Ya, that was an awful feeling because it was just embarrassing too. And I think I told you, Daniel Day Lewis used to work at our gym. (laughing) And he used to see me cry like that too almost every day.

 

P: Did he say anything to you?

 

J: (laughing) No, he would smile at me when I left. He was really friendly. And then I found out, like when I'd left, he's like, 'Where's that girl...who cries all the time?' (laughing) That little redhead crybaby.

 

P: (laughs) That's so funny. We both had encounters with Daniel Day Lewis.

 

J: (laughing) I know.

 

P: That's hilarious. So...the first time you froze. Did...were you shamed for it?

 

J: By other people? No.

 

P: Did they...did they mention it? Were you afraid they were going to mention it?

 

J: No. They would just say, 'You gotta move'. Like, they didn't understand. Like the coach was like, 'You gotta move. You can't just stand there.' And it's like, I'm thinking—it's like when you're depressed, it's like you gotta snap out of it. You can't just sit there depressed.

 

P: And I can't think of anything worse than tears running your face and you're stuck with boxing gloves. (laughter) So you can't wipe your tears away.

 

J: And, in the beginning I used to wear mascara. So that was a sight. That was a really good like— (laughs)

 

P: And was everybody lining up to fight the racoon?

 

J: (laughing) Ya, exactly.

 

(laughter)

 

P: So did you make, how many rounds did you make that first time? Did you make as many rounds as were planned?

 

J: Probably not, no. Because also when you get all, you know, tensed up and you can't go for as long so you go two rounds maybe.

 

P: Oh it burns you out, man, when your adrenaline surges too much. It just burns you out. The few fights that I've gotten in in hockey, I've never been as out of breath as I was and it lasted fifteen, twenty seconds. And I think it was the adrenaline. In fact, one time I remember, is I got kicked off out of the ice, escorted, and I was sitting there, I started to, I was so out of breath, I started to throw up.

 

J: (sigh) And it's, the thing is too, on the ice, like, we know we're going to fight. We know when we're going to fight. You don't! So that's gotta even bring your adrenaline levels up higher, to make you even breathless faster.

 

P: Ya. And I think feeling disrespected and afraid, it would usually be because somebody had done something to me where I could've seriously gotten hurt and so I get this shot of fear which then turns to rage. And then the rage is the thing that makes the adrenaline shoot up. Or I suppose the fear does too but...it's so exhausting. And I would just feel like, how can I skate sometimes for two or three hours and not be exhausted and throwing five punches, most of which miss...

 

J: Mm hmm. That's even more exhausting. When they miss, you're putting more energy into it and it swings around. It's less exhausting to hit him.

 

P: So...you made it through that, through that first time. Nobody—go ahead.

 

J: Oh no, I made it through it um, and it basically, it just kind of kept happening that I involuntarily would have these tears go down my, and I'd be embarrassed. And I was putting my nervous system through this, like four or five times a week. For a long time.

 

P: Would psychologists say that this was a healthy thing for you to do.

 

J: Well I finally went to one who, that's when she diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder—

 

P: Oh so you didn't know you had it?

 

J: No, I thought I was over it. I talked through all this stuff in talk therapy when I was in college.

 

P: What led you to want to get in the ring?

 

J: I just had like this feeling inside that I wanted to do it. It's like, what makes you want to be an actor, writer, tell jok—you know, who knows.

 

P: So it was emotional. It wasn't intellectual.

 

J: No, it just intuitive, and I just always like loved Muhammad Ali and it's a connection to my dad. My dad was a boxer in the Marine Corps, you know. And I, when I punch, I punch really hard for someone my size so I'm like, so I think I can be good at this. (laughs) Of course I didn't know everything involved. But...

 

P: Meaning...

 

J: Meaning...well, there's like movement and defense and offense and footwork and, you know, rounds and you know, there's other girls who are just as strong as you are or more or more athletic and can, you know, have been doing this longer and...you know, it's no joke.

 

P: And strategy—

 

J: Strategy...

 

P: Reading your opponent and...

 

J: Ya which actually, that's, now that's my best thing. And also, as like an older fighter, that's what I use is more strategy than you know, I'm not going to go in there in a brawl or...you know (laughs).

 

P: Ya. Have you ever pictured your mom as the person you're punching?

 

J: No. Because I really, I have compassion for her. And that's...I need to talk to about that as well. She was...

 

P: And you interview her in the film. And you're honest with how you felt about her having beat you as a child.

 

J: Ya, and she was good enough to be in the film, you know. I mean she's, you know...

 

P: I thought that was pretty...pretty cool.

 

J: Ya. I mean, I can imagine too, like what does it feel like to reg—have something that you did that you regret, which I regret doing some things, but then to have that grow up, you know, that person you did it to, grow up and be damaged by—you know what I mean? Like that must feel awful. Because she's not a bad person. She just...

 

P: She had feelings that overwhelmed her.

 

J: Ya.

 

P: Ya.

 

J: Ya. So I have compassion. Plus she was beaten terribly when she was young. You know. And you know, I don't have kids so...I have dogs.

 

P: Are you afraid that if you had had kids that you would have hit them before you got help?

 

J: No because I got help in college. I started getting help in college. Talk therapy. Although I was just afraid to have kids because I just didn't think I could do it. I didn't think I could raise them. And also with the depression I go through sometimes, where I can't get out of bed and like, what if you had a kid?

 

P: You shadow box on your side then, when you're in bed?

 

J: (laughing) Ya. Exactly. Still boxing.

 

P: Go ahead...I can't, I can't resist interjecting. (laughing)

 

J: (laughing) No. Good, good. You should. Basically, I guess, when it came down to it, with all the nerves and every day, my therapist told me that, you know, there's something called exposure therapy. For people who have fears or whatever. And that, let's say if you were afraid of flying, you'd get on, the first thing, you'd go and look at the plane. Then you'd go home. The next day you go, you get up on the stairs of the plane and you get up. Next day you go into the—it's like that right? And of course with boxing (laughing) there's not a whole lot I can do unless I found some people who were, who would be willing to help, which I eventually did. So...

 

P: How did you express to them what you needed?

 

J: I just told them, 'I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder'. (laughing) I mean, 'I know it sounds stupid but I need you to work with me—' And actually I don’t even have to explain it because I switched coaches. And the next coach understood. And he just knew.

 

P: What did that feel like?

 

J: When the...

 

P: When you knew that he understood.

 

J: It felt so good to be understood and not feel like a big fucking loser. Like, you know. I am this really tough female boxer crying in the corner. That just doesn't match. It's not what I want to be...leave as a legacy. You know.

 

P: What do you remember thinking or feeling when you saw that compassion and understanding in him?

 

J: That I really...that I flourish in it when I'm being nurtured. I'm not someone who is good with like, tough love stuff. I need someone to like, pick me up and nurture me. And it's been that way anything I've done. You know. So I was just really grateful.

 

P: Did it feel like he was, in a metaphorical sense, giving you a hug?

 

J: Yes. Yes. It felt like he was giving me a hug. And also, I think, I like getting non-sexual male attention. I like having that kind of a relationship because it just, I just feel closer to them as people. You know, and that we're doing something together. And that was something that I really enjoyed.

 

P: I relate so deeply to that, you know. I think I've said it before on this podcast. Maybe I haven't, but, there is nobody that I feel closer to than female victims of abuse. Especially sexual abuse. And I don't know why I feel closer to them than I do to male victims of sexual abuse. I think it's because we have the bond that we were both used. But there's that nurturing quality from them. Maybe it's because I didn't get that from my mom. But I also didn't get it from my dad. But why is it that the opposite sex is so much more...I don't know. It just goes to like, if you have...a core to your soul, like a nucleus to your soul, it feels like it hits that part of my soul. And I don't know, talk about for you what it's like.

 

J: It's like, what I was just thinking, the word that came to my mind, is I feel sated. You know? I feel like (sigh) all is well, it's okay. You know. And—go ahead.

 

P: Do you get kind of...a high from it? Or is it, is it not like that?

 

J: Sometimes I do. Like yesterday I was sparring and I had two guys coaching me in the corner. Like these two boxer guys. And it was fun, you know. There like, you know, 'You gotta jab and then hook off the jab.' And you know, I'm like, 'Ya, ya!' You know. That's fun. I was getting kind of high off it and...like in that it's just fun to have these like, big brothers like, telling me what to do in there. You know. And then other times, it's just, it's just like, feeling whole.

 

P: Seen.

 

J: Ya.

 

P: Ya.

 

J: Ya. Recognized as a person. As, in that case, as a boxer. You know. And...it's not something, especially women in boxing, or in certain sports, are going to get. Or do get. You know.

 

P: So talk more about the...the male bonding and the nurturing. If there's more to share about that.

 

J: Well the thing is...

 

P: Do you ever feel embarrassed by the need for it or are you okay?

 

J: Oh no. I'm fine with it. I mean, I was a tomboy growing up. So I always had guy friends and I always, I was the only girl on an all-boy baseball team. So I always was one of the guys. So I don't feel like I'm, I never felt really separate until adolescence. And then that separate was bad because I was very awkward (laughing) and not asked to dances and things like that. But I don't know. I like my connection with men. I like too that as a girl, I had those experiences because as an adult, I'm often... I was a tennis pro and all the other tennis pros were men.

 

P: I didn't know that.

 

J: Ya. I was a tennis professional. Teaching. Teaching. And I was in an improv group. Mostly men. I was, you know, camera, production, mostly men and I'm pretty much good in those scenarios. Boxing, mostly men. Because I'm one of the guys in a way. And then not. But I love that.

 

(Sponsor Spot)

 

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(back to interview)

 

P: So what would be the next, I know I had some other questions about your experience in boxing. Talk about the first time where you felt competent as a boxer and what that felt like.

 

J: Okay. Actually...

 

P: Is there something before that?

 

J: (laughs) This is hard and I was going to try to—I don't want to avoid it. Basically, when I was going and getting beat up all the time, it was messing me up. I was having nightmares too. Another PTSD—I was dreaming weird things.

 

P: And you wanted to quit.

 

J: I wanted, I didn't want to quit. I just wanted, I wanted to get better.

 

P: I thought in the film that you...wanted to quit. No?

 

J: No I wanted to quit life. I wanted to quit living. Because I was so upset with myself that I couldn't do this thing that I really wanted to do that was going to prove that I wasn't that damaged after all.

 

P: Okay.

 

J: And if I couldn't prove that, I didn't deserve to live. And that's what my mind told me. And I actually went, was driving to my therapist in New Jersey who I'd seen a million times and I got lost. And I got lost and I said, 'Okay, that means you should kill yourself. Because you got lost.' And I drove home.

 

P: I can't disagree.

 

J: It's a perfectly—

 

P: I'm very hard on people that lose their way.

 

J: (laughing) It's perfectly good rationale. Ya, I drove home and I took some Ambien and I put the rest of them, and a Xanax, and I put the rest of the bottle on the bed thing to take later. Because I thought, well, I'm just going to sleep for now and then I when I get my courage I'll just take the rest of it. And that way, I can just...go. And it will be fine. I thought too, because I always have these things like, 'Oh it's just temporary...' But I'm like, no, this keeps coming back. This depression feeling. Okay, right now it's especially bad because it's tied in with PTSD. But it comes back. And it has been for years. So I just don't want it to come back anymore. And so this was my solution. So I don't remember this but when I was sleeping a friend of mine called and I guess, I picked up, I wasn't sleeping all the way and I told her what I did and she sent over an ambulance and called my husband and that was when I went to the hospital.

 

P: Where was your husband? Were you out of town? Was he out of town?

 

J: No he was at work. This was during the day.

 

P: Oh. Okay.

 

J: Ya. So I had to go to a mental hospital. Which was...crazy. It's not a place I feel like...I shouldn't say it, but I don't think it's a great place for people to heal.

 

P: According to the surveys that we have on the website, it seems to be a really polarizing experience for people. It seems like for the majority of people, it wasn't a positive experience. For some, it was, in the long run, a positive experience, unpleasant at the time. And for some people it was kind of nurturing and just what they needed. But they seem to be in the minority. The latter. What was it like for you?

 

J: Well the thing is, I was in lockdown. So I was in jail. I don't like being in jail. You know. I felt very vulnerable so I just did my boxer—like I wore sweats, I acted more butch than what I am. I'm not that butch. But...and I just felt like I had to, like, you know, be, be the bull the bull yard.

 

P: Has that been a coping mechanism for you throughout your life is to play the hard ass?

 

J: Um...no but to be more guy-ish and to kind of disappear. I'm really good at disappearing. At just, kind of blending in to the walls.

 

P: Not saying anything. Just...which I understand for a lot of people that were beat as kids that's a coping mechanism, is make yourself invisible.

 

J: Yes.

 

P: Hide in your room. Don't speak up. Don't have needs. You know. Fly below the radar.

 

J: And even my therapist was saying, you know, I stop breathing in the ring. And that's part of that wanting to be invisible. Like if I don't breathe, they won't hear me, they won't see me. I'll cease to exist.

 

P: Boy, that's a bad strategy in boxing. I know it's unconscious but...holy shit.

 

J: I know, I know. Imagine that. (laughs)

 

P: So you were gettin' gassed.

 

J: I was gassed so fast. It was...ya. And it was like, meanwhile I could hit the bags all day. You know, I would go running, I could hit, do like twelve rounds on the bags, jump rope, and then I'd go in there two rounds and I'd be like crying, on my—

 

P: Isn’t that funny?

 

J: Ya, on my ass! (laughing)

 

P: Isn't that funny? When I play pick-up, which is a non-league hockey, I have so much more energy than when there's the competition. It's so good to know that somebody else has it and I'm embarrassed that my adrenaline spikes when I'm playing in a silly beer league. But the, there's like this emotional attachment to an outcome that I have to consciously try so hard to let go of. To say, if I lose, it's not a reflection of who I am as a person. You know, I lost my shit the other night at my team mates because none of them were playing defense. I was the only one and we were gettin' slaughtered. And I was skating my ass off and I just felt abandoned. I mean, you know, in the sport sense, I was abandoned.

 

J: Not only that, aren't you also though put in danger if you're the only one playing defense?

 

P: Um, I didn't think of it that way.

 

J: Okay.

 

P: No. I don't...I don't feel like that was it. It just felt like nobody gave a shit about me. And I know it wasn't about me but I think we make it about us. So go ahead. You were talking about this—

 

J: Well actually, the mental hospital is good, because people did start to respect me. They were like, she's the boxer. Meanwhile, I mean, I'm like 5'1", I weigh 110 pounds (laughing) I'm not like a real scary looking girl. So, I remember there was a young kid coming off heroin and I felt the need to help the other people there. That's what I wanted to do. And I saw that this kid was being bullied by someone else and I stood up to the bully and I'm like, 'You leave this kid alone right now.'

 

P: What'd the bully do?

 

J: He backed down.

 

P: Really?

 

J: Ya. And then the kid, because he knew I was the boxer—I jumped rope, I shadow boxed on, you know, when we were allowed out of jail, you know—and he left the kid alone. The kid would sit at my lunch table. Because he's my bitch. (laughing)

 

P: Did he express anything to you?

 

J: He was just really sweet. I mean, my heart goes out to anyone who's recovering from addiction or anything. Like, and especially so young. Like, 'At 17, 18, I'm going to now get off heroin for the rest of my life. I have another fifty, sixty, seventy years ahead of me to live sober.' That's insane.

 

P: Ya, it's pretty terrifying. Did you have any siblings?

 

J: I have one sibling. Who grew up to be a psychologist.

 

P: Older, younger, male, female?

 

J: He is one year younger than me.

 

P: And did he...was he...get the same treatment from your mom?

 

J: No, she more or less singled me out. I mean, she was a little abus—like I remember her going out after us with a wooden spoon and breaking it on the chair and both of us jumped out of the way and looked at each other so I mean, he would get it a little but she would really focus on me to be the one.

 

P: Did you feel then, when you had that kid, kind of under your wing—just talk about what you felt, taking that kid under your wing, when the bully backed down. What did that feel like?

 

J: I just, I just felt this heightened sense of like, maternal instinct, protective, because I also, in my dreams I'm protecting people who are weaker than me. I'm protecting women, I'm protecting women who are being in as sex slaves. In my dreams. I'm protecting anyone who needs protecting, I'm protecting them. So. And then in this situation, where I needed to be, I guess, focusing on myself, what they say, is like, this was far greater, what I needed to do. You know, I needed to help this kid out. I didn't want him to get beat up by this stupid fucking asshole. Who, you know...(laughs)

 

P: Isn't it weird how much clarity we can have about somebody else's needs than our own.

 

J: Ya.

 

P: I mean, that's like the heart of the difficulty in healing people that were...experienced neglect as a kid, is that we have such difficulty identifying our needs and standing up for them.

 

J: I know. And we have probably a heightened compassion for other people and yet no compassion for ourselves. Or very little. You know, it's very difficult. You know, I'm always so much harder on myself in every aspect. And then someone else will do something, you know, I'm like, 'Oh that's okay.'

 

P: Give me the greatest hits of the negative self-talk.

 

J: Ooo. Um, let's see. The current, old? (laughing) The old, the top twenty? Um...

 

P: Maybe the ones that you used to have that you don't have anymore and ones you still have.

 

J: Okay. I'm invisible.

 

P: These are old ones that aren't true anymore?

 

J: Well. Sometimes I'm invis—but I like it now (laughs)

 

P: Right.

 

J: Ya, no. I can't be heard. I'm ugly. I suck. You know, at everything that I do. I'll never be good at one thing. I'm just going to be kind of good at a lot of things. I'm, you know, I'm going to be too old to do stuff that I want to do still. I don't know, you know. Some body stuff. But I guess because of the boxing right now, I'm pretty fit. But when I'm not fit then I have all the body stuff, of like, I'm too fat, I'm too this, I'm too that...I'm just not as smart as other people. I don't know. I just have a lot of negative, as far as, like, the comparing, which I don't do so much anymore. Like I'll compare, like when I was acting, to other actresses, when I was doing...now I'm just trying not to compare myself as a writer or filmmaker because there's no one like me. You know. I know, I'm not a smart as a lot of people who make a lot of documentaries but they also can't get in the ring and have seven amateur fights like I have. You know.

 

P: It sounds like you got the bases covered on your self-hatred.

 

J: Thank you, thank you. I’ve worked on it.

 

P: You've done your research. And well, your warped research. Because, as I look at you, I don’t see, I don’t see any of those things. And that's the thing that's so fucked up about it is...

 

J: And they're real but that's the whole feelings aren't facts thing. That's a good one.

 

P: I was also moved, I was moved by your story in your film. And I was also moved by the woman's story who had an abusive boyfriend who was beating her and...talk about her just a little bit.

 

J: That's Maureen Shea. She's a professional boxer. She helped Hilary Swank get ready for Million Dollar Baby. And at that time, she had gotten out of an abusive relationship because her boyfriend told her she was fat, she went to the gym. She started boxing and eventually she became a professional boxer and lost the boyfriend. And right now she is a world champion. She just won a world title. She's going to be defending it in July. She also does some of the classes with me, empowerment things, the volunteer work that we like to do.

 

P: Talk about your friendship with her and what you feel when you're around her and what you see as she has climbed the ranks.

 

J: Well, we bonded because she saw the PTSD in the ring. She said she had that too. She said when she first put on the headgear, she had a flashback of her boyfriend trying to strangle her. So she had gone through what I needed to go through. So that bonded us immediately.

 

P: What did she say to you?

 

J: She said, 'You can do this. You can do this. I know it. I believe in you'.

 

P: Wow. What did that feel like?

 

J: It felt amazing. Because I, I mean, I'd just watched her fight at Madison Square Garden. You know and someone like that would believe in me.

 

P: That makes me want to cry. Did you feel like you wanted to cry?

 

J: (laughing) Oh, I did cry—

 

P: You did—

 

J: Ya, I cried like a baby—

 

P: That's so beautiful—

 

J: Totally.

 

P: That's so beautiful.

 

J: Ya. Ya. I mean, that's the thing too, with all the women in the film, there's like this sisterhood. I don't know what...conception people might have of what female boxers are. I mean, I guess there are some that are like, tough bitches or whatever. But the women I know, like, we really get it. And we get each other. We want to help each other, you know. Right now I'm working with two girls. I helped a girl get ready for a fight in New York last week. I just spar, you know, I help. And there's another girl, who she played on the Olympic hockey team and now she's taking up boxing. I'm trying to help her get ready to fight.

 

P: Really? What's her name because I watch...sometimes I watch the women's Olympic games.

 

J: I think she's even on a mixed...can I say...her name is Tracy Connes (sp?).

 

P: Ya.

 

J: Ya. I don't know. She's small like me so it's good because you know, it's hard to find people my size to spar with. And she's also really sweet and is an emergency nurse and also has gone through similar things I've gone through.

 

P: Ya, I think people have a misconception that women that play sports at a high level or all butchy and this and...you know, that's not the case.

 

J: No, I mean some of them are and some of them aren't. You know. It doesn't—

 

P: That's what I mean, across the board it's not the way. It's just like another segment of the population. In fact, there's this one women who is like a super model. She's like 5'10". She wears make up, she wears mascara and she plays her fucking ass off. She's physical. And she smells good. (laughter) It's so funny when we collide in the corners and my teammates and I joke about that, you know: 'My god she smells so good'. It can be a little distracting.

 

J: Ya, I would imagine.

 

P: It totally bucked that stereotype that I thought—because I had never played against women, certainly a team of women, until two years ago. And it was much different than I expected it to be, both negatively and positively. Ya, I think, there's a lot of ignorance about women and sports. Especially the combative sports.

 

J: Ya, I mean, we help each other get better. We want to see each other succeed. You know, I mean it's tough when women are in the same weight class to be besties especially because they have to fight each other. But as my friend says, 'If someone's going to pay us to fight, you know, let's go fight, we'll get paid, and whoever wins buys the beer.' You know. Also as far as the fighting goes, you know about mixed martial arts and—

 

P: I love it.

 

J: Oh you do?

 

P: Oh, ya.

 

J: Okay, so you know Rhonda Rousey and Miesha Tate and all those girls—

 

P: Well I stopped watching about two years ago. I got a little burned out on it. But before that, I watched every time there would be a fight, I would watch it with my friend. You know, we'd pay the $50. And then after a while there were so many, I felt like the cards were starting to get watered down and I started to feel kind of taken advantage of and disrespected and so I kind of walked away from it about three years ago. So I'm not familiar with the current crop of MMA people.

 

J: Well, I like MMA. I mean, I love boxing. MMA, I'm like, oh they're going to the ground now, I'm going to get a snack. You know—

 

P: I feel just the opposite.

 

J: Really?

 

P: When they're good at jiu jitsu, it's like physical chess. It's—

 

J: So you get that.

 

P: But I also need the commentator to tell me what's happening.

 

J: Okay.

 

P: Or, like, 'Oh he's going for kimura. Oh my god!' You know, 'He needs to move his knee this way otherwise he's going to be in, you know, rear naked choke!'

 

J: (laughing) I know.

 

P: And so, that's really exciting to me. But people that can stand and really trade blows, I have to say, that's the most exciting. When the two combatants have strong jaws and they can take punches, it's so compelling. Because you just think, how the fuck are they doing that? How are they still standing? Because you know they're punching hard.

 

J: Or especially if one person's dominating, dominating, dominating and that other guy's just like, 'Oh ya!' and he comes back really hard! It's just so, it's kind of, I don't know, there's something inside, visceral that happens, you know. It's just really kind of exciting to see people will to will. It's really kind of cool.

 

P: It's almost like life condensed into five minute episodes. (laughter) So you were talking about—

 

J: I was just talking about Rhonda Rousey. She's a popular MMA fighter. She gets paid a ton of money. She's one of the stars of the UFC right now. And she's gorgeous.

 

P: Is Gina what's her name still—

 

J: Gina Carano is not fighting right now. They're thinking about bringing her back to fight Rhonda. But she's another gorgeous, you know...and then of course it's tough like, but then, do all the female fighters have to be gorgeous to get fights—

 

P: Ya, I was going to say—

 

J: —why can't they just be good at fighting? (laughing) So you know. But that's just one of the things we're going to have to, you know, work on. And then also women's boxing doesn't get the attention that mixed martial arts does. For some reason. They won't even televise the women. And some of them are really really talented. And the fights are usually voted fight of the night.

 

P: You know why I think, and I'm guilty of it, of not being as interested in female boxing as I am male boxing, because...it's like a competition thing where I want to know what the strongest person on the planet fights like.

 

J: Hm. I like the physical chess. I like the strategy of that. Like, when one of my favourite fighters is Alicia Ashley who was a dancer for Alvin Ailey. And now she's been a boxer, she's 46, and she's the oldest world champion. She just had a fight the other night and she won. And it's because of her movements. And her brilliant technique. I don't need to see the brutal force, you know, I need to say, I like to see the beauty of the movement, you know.

 

P: So what else would you like to talk about?

 

J: I think just, overcoming, that it's possible to overcome the PTSD. I know—did you ever feel that way that you were never going to get over it? And do you feel like you're over it?

 

P: I don't. I don't...and I...it feels like I would be exaggerating to say what I have is PTSD but I do get triggered by things. Certain things make me shut down, certain things make my adrenaline surge, but I don't know if that's PTSD, you know. I'm really afraid of becoming the host that has everything that their guests share and I've been accused of that. So, I don't know but I feel like I've backslid and I do get that hopeless feeling. I had that this morning, I've had that the last two weeks, that kind of hopeless feeling where I honestly have thought, 'Boy, it would just be easier to not be alive'. And that's just kind of where I'm at right now. And I guess it helps knowing that I've been through that before and come out of it but when I'm in the middle of it, I just want to go to sleep and not wake up.

 

J: I understand that. In fact...and this is not to say, I'm not like, 'Oh now I'm all better', you know. I think in an email I told you, I was in bed for three days last week. I mean, I'd get up and work but I had to keep going back to the bed. I—

 

P: Sweet, sweet bed.

 

J: —I didn't want to go anywhere that was far from my bed because I need to be near my bed. I guess there's...sometimes I'll get a sense of overwhelm. And sometimes my brain will just feel flat. You know, like there's this flat line, like if there was a monitor, that it would just be flat lining.

 

P: Everything goes grey.

 

J: Ya. And it still happens. (laughing) But luckily it does pass. And I know it passes now. And it passes quicker than it used to.

 

P: Ya. I have to say the difference between when I backslide nowadays and when I backslid before is...the place I was in before I really started getting intensive help, was a place of intense sadness. And I don't feel that intense sadness these days. But what I do feel is a complete lack of any positive feelings. Which makes me just want to live in bed.

 

J: Ya.

 

P: Because bed feels like, truthful. Like I don't have to mask on in bed. I don't have any responsibility in bed. Bed just feels like a hug.

 

J: And it's interesting too, you do this podcast and you do all these wonderful things—it's similar in that, like, I worry that I could never do a 9-5 job or some job that required me to always be on. Functioning—

 

P: I couldn’t either—

 

J: Functioning. Because I don't, I don't think I'd be able to do it and then I'd beat myself up for that and I'd probably kill myself.

 

(laughter)

 

P: You are awesome. You are so awesome.

 

J: Did I just get into your head? (laughing)

 

P: You did. You did because I think when I look at parents I think, how the fuck do they do it? The ones that live with the mental illness? I look at my wife and think how does she do it? How does she live with me? How does she...you know, this last month I've done almost nothing. I've planned nothing for us, I've helped out very little and I feel guilt about it but she doesn't make me feel guilty about it. But, that adds to the not wanting to wake up because it's like, I don't want to wake up again and feel like that person that is useless.

 

J: And when people are like, 'Oh but just force yourself to go the party'.

 

P: I can't.

 

J: It's like, well, even when I do and then I think it'll be fine. Sometimes it's not fine!

 

P: No!

 

J: Sometimes it's like, I don't want to talk to anyone. I don't think anyone wants to talk to me. I'm certainly not as accomplished as anyone here. I should go back to bed. That is where I belong right now. And I think that it's okay to go to bed when you need to go to bed. You know, eventually you need to get up but when that feeling is so strong, you need to be in bed.

 

P: Ya. I agree. I encourage people, you know. If you had the flu, you'd go to bed. And often times I feel like mental illness is just a flu of our brain and our soul. And our body.

 

J: Ya. And the thing is too, you are taking action, you are going to support groups. I do, besides, I talk to my friends. I started yoga, which I'm like, yoga? (laughs) You know. But, ya, anything. Meditation. You know, it's like I'm taking all these actions that I can from my bed. (laughs) And that seems to be the way to go. And then of course the being present thing. But in the moment, you have to give into the moment right? So in that moment, you want to lay in bed, that's the moment.

 

P: That's why sports are so awesome. You know, sports or a good movie, because you are present and it's not an effort to be present. It's, you want to, you can't help but be present, you, everything falls away.

 

J: You better be present, is really what happens, you know. But that is such a great feeling because then it's just like, there's, you know, all these things are happening at once and you're, like, there's that, you're in the zone. They call it, in tennis, the zone, you know.

 

P: And that's how you, like, when somebody asks you how you're doing, it's so often we filter it through how we're feeling about our future or how we feel about our past. And so rarely are we speaking about as we are at that exact moment without looking back or looking forward. And so I try, when people ask me how I'm doing a lot of times I just answer, 'Right here, right now, I'm okay. I'm okay'. Because I am in that moment. Most of the depression is the fear of always being depressed, of always feeling nothing. And you know what, even when I'm flat, I'm okay. I'm okay. There's just a regret and almost a resentment that I can't feel joy. But you can be okay without experiencing joy and I think that's one of the things that I want this podcast to accomplish is to say, 'It's okay to have sad days, weeks, months, just do what you have control over, which is to ask for help if you need meds, take meds, talk to people about it and ride it out, take naps'.

 

J: And in the grand scheme of things there's balance. There is balance. So you might feel like shit but you're going to feel good.

 

P: And when you feel good, it's going to feel so much better to you than it does to somebody who feels good all the time.

 

J: Ya, I'm so grateful, like, I told you I'm having like a really good day today. Like, I'm very together and I'm so grateful, I really appreciate it, you know. Another day I might go and spar and not have my shit together, you know. And that's not the best feeling, being tired. I think, I was so tired yesterday I went to go get something to eat. I pulled out and I scratched a car and I know it was because I was in that fog, you know. And I did the right thing, gave the information out, but it's just, you know, that's also when I think, god I should just live in New York.

 

(laughter)

 

P: So you don't have to drive a car.

 

J: I could just walk around in a fog.

 

P: Ya. Anything else you want to share before we wrap up?

 

J: I think there was and I'm not thinking about it so much.

 

P: If people want to get a hold of you, are you comfortable giving that information out or...

 

J: Ya, ya. Because really, right now, at this point, with the film, it's like it, okay we're getting it out there but the bigger picture is, I want to help people who have suffered from abuse or trauma, who suffer from depression. I want to inspire people, and women, like, do things that feel good. Like boxing feels good to me. Don't let someone tell you that, you know, you can't do it. So, I'd love to also give clinics to organizations and I get together some other women who box and we'll teach, you know, young girls, so if anyone wants that service they can get a hold of me and I will get it together for their organization.

 

P: Are you splitting time between New York and L.A.?

 

J: I go to New York a lot because I just miss it. And I do have a small video business and we do some corporate videos. And most of my clients are in New York.

 

P: Okay. But you live here.

 

J: I live here, ya.

 

P: In L.A. So people want to get a hold of you, that's not limited to L.A. or New York or are those the—

 

J: No, no. If people want to ask questions or something, I'm open to, you know, answering them. They can—

 

P: I was thinking also about maybe women that wanted to get into boxing to try to feel what you did—

 

J: Ya, actually there's a program in Toronto where they teach to transsexual domestic abuse survivors.

 

P: That's not specific enough.

 

J: (laughing) And there's like a lot of them! So just imagine. But I think there's, ya, I think it's a good way to heal. I know when people go to rehab and stuff, don't they like, hit tires and stuff with bats. So why not like, learn a real skill and get it out that way, you know.

 

P: And people from the trans community, there are few voices that have been as misconstrued and unheard in their truth as our friends in the trans community. And the surveys that I've read and the guests that I've had, I can't imagine how alone on a bad day they must feel so...Giving' a shout out to them but also sending some hugs their way because—

 

J: I also would like to do that because, I think growing up a tomboy, I mean I talked to Bailey Jay about this, about growing up a tomboy and feeling like a trans, because I didn't want to go play Barbies. I wanted to go and play with the boys, I wanted to throw footballs. So when I'm getting advertised to as a little girl and I'm supposed to like these things, I'm like, but I don't like those things. But then imagine if I wanted to be a man. That would really fuck me up. You know what I mean. So god bless you, if you can get through that, a childhood, in adolescence, with just being who you are—

 

P: Feeling like you're in the wrong body.

 

J: Ya. Like, you're...no, I don't know. All the respect in the world, you know.

 

P: Being ridiculed and told what you're feeling is wrong

.

J: Ya, when, it's what you're feeling.

 

P: Ya and she's gorgeous.

 

J: She's amazing, she really is.

 

P: Ya. In fact, I've corresponded with her. Somebody recommended her—

 

J: I did.

 

P: Oh it was you. Okay. That's right. Thank you for that. Ya, she and I corresponded.

 

J: Oh good.

 

P: And so if I ever go to New York, I'm going to record her.

 

J: She's very interesting. Very bright. Very insightful for a young lady.

 

P: Ya. So how can people get a hold of you?

 

J: Oh. They can either Twitter @jillmorley or—

 

P: Morley is m-o-r-l-e-y

 

J: Or jill@jillmorley.com is my email. Or they can get to me through Fight Like a Girl the movie website.

 

P: .com?

 

J: Ya.

 

P: Okay. Anything else?

 

J: No. I just want to thank you so much for what you do. I mean, I just think it's really helpful to hear people come and talk to you about these things that are not talked about enough and it's all about, like, as you say, it's like, you know, you're not alone. And I just want to thank you for that.

 

P: Well it helps me as much as it helps anybody else so, thank you to the people that support it and come and open up about their lives. It's...it's...on the grey days it gives me an hour and a half of Technicolor.

 

J: Excellent.

 

P: Thanks, Jill.

 

J: Thanks, Paul.

 

P: Many many thanks to Jill. I hope you guys enjoyed that episode. I certainly loved having coffee with her and loved recording her. And check out her Fight Like a Girl documentary if you get a chance to.

 

Before we take it out with some surveys and an email, want to remind you there's a couple of different ways to support the show. (laughing) Why are you saying that like you're seven years old? You can go the website MentalPod.com and make a one time Paypal donation or a recurring monthly donation which helps the show tremendously to stay afloat. For as little as $5 a month you can set up and then just leave it without having to do anything and your Paypal will kick us $5 a month from you. You can also support us by shopping through our Amazon search portal. It's on our home page, right hand side about half way down and Amazon will give us a couple of nickels if you buy something. Doesn't cost you anything. You can also buy t-shirts on our websites, you can buy coffee mugs. You can support us non-financially, that's another important way, is going to iTunes, giving us a good rating, writing something nice about us. Or just spreading the word through social media, Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, whatever floats your boat, it really does, really does help. And it means a lot to me. I appreciate all of you that do support your show, I really, really, I appreciate it. I don't take it for granted. There's one of you I take for granted and you know who you are.

 

Let's read an email. This is from a guy who calls himself Dan. And he writes:

 

"I wanted to share with you a moment I had last night that was inspired by what you've said about being vulnerable with friends. Last night I was in the car with a friend and she was telling me about some stuff that was going on with her foster kid who had a rough life so far. She's having some depression and they're going to take her in for some therapy and possibly meds, all of which I've done myself so I was saying encouraging things about that process. Normally I'm not very emotionally open with my friends. There have been exceptions but that's my default. But since we were talking about depression and stuff, I decided to take a risk. See my mom and dad, mom and step-dad are getting divorced. This is the first major emotional crisis I've faced since I stopped seeing my therapist and since I decided that my first major depressive episode was 'over'. I worried sometimes about what will kick off my next depressive episode. I decided to take a risk and tell her all of that stuff and I got exactly what I was hoping for. No advice, no interruptions but instead acceptance and congratulations. It wasn't an incredible or mind-blowing moment, it was just a normal human connection. The kind I haven't gotten a lot of lately and it was so worth it."

 

Thanks for sharing that, Dan. Love, love hearing that.

 

This is a Shame and Secrets survey filled out by a woman who calls herself Li, L-i. She is straight, she is in her 20's, raised in a pretty dysfunctional environment, never been sexually abused but been emotionally abused.

 

"Growing up my mom always nitpicked at everything I did. Right down to insisting I needed a larger size of shorts. It would've been horrible except the bigger pair was falling off...it would've been horrible..." I guess she would—I think she means it wouldn't have been a horrible except the bigger pair was falling off, "and the girl who worked there, trying to help, told my mom her pregnant sister could still wear the smaller size. My mom thinks we've never had a relationship because I blame her for my birth mom leaving me. In reality I know that no matter what I do I come in dead last. She and my dad also told me that they wanted me going to the local community college instead of NYU or even a local university, both of which I already acceptance letters from, because I was too dumb."

 

Darkest thoughts:

 

"I think about packing up the dogs and taking them with me when I go because I can't bear the thought of leaving them behind.

 

Darkest secrets:

 

"I watched my brother die and I was too scared to do anything. More than twenty years later and I still blame myself for his death and the cops not doing anything. They said it was a gang fight."

 

Sexual fantasies most powerful to you:

 

"I don't really have any sexual fantasies. More sexual fears. It makes me feel like maybe I'm not alive enough to have anything."

 

What would you like to say to someone you haven't been able to:

 

"I want to know why I wasn't enough. Why I'm still not enough. I guess it's a universal thing to say or ask for me because I don't understand what's so wrong with me. I don't understand why I always come in last."

 

You know my feeling about that is, we've got to be okay with who we are. I know people say it all the time but easier said than done and getting to that place. But for me, a big part of it was distancing myself from people that were toxic because I got enough negative voices in my head without more negative voices adding to the chatter.

 

What if anything do you wish for:

 

"I wish to be like anybody else. I know there's something deeply wrong with me but I don't know how to fix it. I just want to be like everyone else."

 

I think that's a myth. I think that's a trap, wanting to be like everybody else because nobody is like anybody else and I think it's unattainable and it's boring. I think the key is to embrace what's unique about you. But that takes confidence and confidence takes, means taking risks and being vulnerable and working through the pain that we've buried. That sounded good. I'm going to crochet that up and put it on the wall.

 

Have you shared these things with others:

 

"No. They don't understand and they think the answer is to just tell me either to buck up or that it's not true. What I want is an answer that I know no one will give me which leaves me unable to fix myself and more frustrated at my own failures."

 

Stop going to the well. It is dry. Anybody that is telling you to buck up through this, your feelings aren't true, avoid talking to them about anything other than the weather or the food in front of you.

 

How do you feel after writing these things down:

 

"Beaten."

 

Is there anything you'd like to share with someone who shares your thoughts or experiences:

 

"Animals are a hell of a lot better than people. People like to throw out the classic lines about caring or they won't forget about you. Actions speak louder than words and animals are better companions."

 

You know, I can't completely disagree with that but there's some awesome, awesome people. We just gotta take some effort to find them. And it takes some scary vulnerability by putting ourselves out there.

 

This is a happy moment filled out by Vixen and she writes:

 

"After my family died, my friends wanted me to feel like I was a part of their own family. They've been there through everything. They asked me to be the godmother of their second child so I would feel included in their family. I think it was their way of 'adopting' me into their clan. The sister, when I was over at their house, my godson saw me and came running at me laughing with his great big arms open for a hug, smiling up at his godmother and saying my name for the first time."

 

That is, that is beautiful.

 

This is an email I got from a listener named Pam. And she writes:

 

"In 2006, my adult nephew was arrested for a sting for connecting with who he thought was a 13 year old girl online and then travelling in a car to meet her. The online communication was sexually explicit. The reaction in the family has varied greatly. Some see him as a pedophile, some as a sex offender but his closest family insists he did nothing. And now he unfortunately says the same, though he initially allowed that he had a problem. Initially, my husband and I planned to get over it, to just look past it for the sake of his wife, his children, and parents and sisters. He demands unquestioning loyalty and has never apologized to the family but has said of his arrest, 'After what happened to us', meaning to he and his wife. So my question, is it possible that this really was the first and only time that he would have, that he would never have actually gone through with it if an actual thirteen year old had answered the door instead of a detective, and he doesn't have a thing about children. The family is now split because my husband sent a letter to his nephew asking him to lower his expectations and allow that some people aren't comfortable with him. What scares me is that he can't be getting real counseling if he and his immediate family are convinced he did not really commit a crime."

 

I think you and your husband are dead on in coming to that, that conclusion. And I wrote back to Pam and I said: "You know, my feeling is that if he can't own up to what he did and seek help, you should distance yourself from him. And I believe that those around him who aren't holding him accountable to be truthful about what he did and to admit that he needs help are just enabling his sickness. That is actually unloving thing to do to a sick person. Delivering consequences to a sick person who refuses to get help is a loving thing to do. Because it increases the chances that they will see reality. One of the biggest myths is that if someone is upset that we couldn't be acting from a place of love towards them. Though their sickness is less dangerous and dramatic than his, those family members who aren't holding him accountable are dealing with their own sickness of co-dependency. And I also believe that if he went through the efforts that he did to contact this girl and write this explicit stuff and drive there that he absolutely would have followed through with it."

 

And I've got a tip. If you do hang out with him and there's a tense silence, you can break it by saying, what's Chris Hansen like in person? I couldn't resist. I could not fucking resist. But you know, not to make light of that, that's obviously a very serious thing but consequences, consequences, consequences. Really, really important for people that are in sickness and don't want to see reality.

 

This is a Happy Moment filled out by a woman who calls herself Wren. And she writes:

 

"I was walking to work listening to this Friday's podcast and try to feel okay. I've been having a rough time lately and struggling to keep my panic attacks at bay. Nearly there, a few streets away, I went into our little local grocery store to buy some kale to have for lunch. No kale. Leaving disappointed and hoping against hope to not get flustered and panicky before work, I spied a little something on the street. It was nearly the same color as the blue grey asphalt but not the right shape. I walked over and there, sitting quite still, was a little grey bird. It was a fledgling tufted titmouse."

 

(pause)

 

That is the space where I would have included an inappropriate joke but I just wanted there to be silence.

 

"It was a fledgling tufted titmouse and I noticed it didn't try to hop away as I drew near. Realizing it was dangerous for both of us to be staring at each other in the middle of the street on a blind curve, I bent to pick it up. It let me. I gently took the little bird as we crossed the street. I could feel its little heart beating against my fingers though I noticed it wasn't pounding. And the little thing didn't even squirm, let alone try to peck me as I feared. He, she, it, just sat there as I escorted it around the block to a little park. I would look down as I crossed another street and meet its eyes and I just felt important and good and all these other things I rarely feel in my day to day life. I felt seen by this little creature. And even though I wasn't sure of the right thing to do, I felt like doing anything at all was the right thing to do. I felt okay about maybe being a few minutes late to work. I felt gentle and kind and realized that at least in these little moments I am capable and okay, brave and kind hearted, that I am a decent human being. When you always doubt yourself and feel like a giant mistake all of the time and your hand, as the little baby bird, trusting you to do the right thing and you do."

 

Man that is a happy moment. I heartily agree. Thank you for that.

 

This is a Shame and Secrets filled out by Ally. She is seventeen, she's bisexual, raised in a slightly dysfunctional military household. Never been sexually abused but been emotionally abused.

 

"My mom would constantly call me names as a child. Such as just being called a bitch, a pig, a useless fuckface, things of that nature. Whenever I'd confront her about it and tell her how it made me feel she never understood why it fit my depression. She thought it would motivate me to go out into the world to do things and meet people. It had the opposite effect and made me feel like I was never good enough for anyone. Now I find myself having a hard time having a decent relationship with partners or friends."

 

Any positive experiences with your abusers:

 

"There are good experiences with my mother. I empathize with her a lot over it. With me being the youngest of three kids at 17 and the oldest of us being 31, I can tell she's just with dealing with us. Especially me because of my history with depression and how she always swept it under the rug. I know I made it harder on her. My oldest brother ran off at 16 and my middle brother had to spend a lot of time getting his shit together and I know that took it out of her. Plus raising me mostly on her own without my father there and always facing the fact that he might die while deployed weighed heavily on her. So I give her credit where credit is due but I can't help but feel that the amount of emotional unavailability shows how lazy she got with me in a sense of just providing what I need but leaving me to do everything else."

 

Ya, I don't know if it's laziness or fear. Fear of emotional intimacy on your mom's part. But whatever it is you were not being fed, your soul was not being fed by your parent and that is a basic necessity as important as food.

 

Darkest thoughts:

 

"I think about killing myself a lot or just running away and cutting ties with my family. My family was never really that bad to me—"

 

How can you say that? After you said that your mother refused to deal with your depression, called you a bitch, a pig, and a useless fuckface. Wow. Wow. (sigh)

 

"My family was never really that bad to me but they just feel like this negative presence that I can't stand to have hanging over me." They are a negative presence. "It feels like they bring me down. I also think about cutting again. The amount of times I've held a knife or a box cutter to any part of my body and prayed that I could do it scares me. Or how many times I've been driving and thought about driving off the road but not doing it because I don't want to hurt anyone else."

 

Darkest secrets:

 

"Well there was that one memory that may or may not have actually happened. There was also the incident with my grandparents when I was 13. I was pretty chubby as a kid and my grandparents on my dad's side aren't too nice. But once during a visit, my grandfather got drunk and told me not to worry about my weight. That it wasn't that bad, that if I ran every now and then, I could look like my cousin Taylor who is the same age and a soccer star. That led to all sorts of body issues."

 

I've a very—by the way, I feel that grandpa's under the influence of booze are usually, that's the best window for life lessons. And maybe also while, there's a little, like, little miniature train set going around and they've got an engineer cap on.

 

"I overeat when I'm sad which is a lot of the time. This also led to bulimia when I was 15. I would purge a lot and tell myself I had complete control over it until I didn't. That was when my mom caught me and never got me help, just threatened to send me away if I kept it up. She watched me a lot after that but never gave me any affection or tried to understand. So I quit basically cold turkey. Having the purging tinker off, although when I overeat now I still think of going back to it. I'm very ashamed of that. I'm very ashamed of the fact that if there are any sweets around I eat all of them just to get rid of that temptation later. Even when I ask my mother not to buy them she still does even when I go shopping for her, she gets mad if I don't get them."

 

Boy, your mom really, really, does not see, hear or feel you. And that is trauma. That is trauma.

 

I'm going to read her sexual fantasies because I think it's...you know, normally I can kind of go either way when it's somebody who's under 18 but I want to read hers, you'll understand later. She writes:

 

"The most powerful ones to me are intimate ones. I don't really care about gender. But I just crave the feeling of someone that I trust completely. Someone that will love my body and not point out the faults I already with it. Someone that would attempt to understand me and talk to me about anything. I could go on about this for a long time but it's all basically being so intimate and trusting of someone that the passion and the love I'd feel for them would be its own turn on."

 

That is so beautiful. You sound like such a sensitive, big-hearted, compassionate person who does not have an outlet for this and it breaks my heart that you are experiencing low self-esteem and your overwhelming emotions being expressed in unhealthy ways like bulimia and self-hatred.

 

Continuing. What, if anything, would you like to say to someone you haven't been able to:

 

"I would love to be able to tell my dad that I don't actually hate him I just can't get close to him. The fear of abandonment is just too great."

 

You are so…you would make a great therapist. I mean, the stuff that you are able to...you have an emotional intuitiveness at 17 that is really pretty, pretty jaw-dropping.

 

What, if anything, do you wish for:

 

"The ability to let myself be less cynical and distrusting of people. I wish for comfort in my own body. I wish for friends that would throw me a surprise birthday party instead of ditch me. Real friends that just give a shit. I wish for a better family relationship. I wish that I could be intimate with people. I wish that I could just get myself to be a little bit more human or I could've enjoyed what people call the best years of your life instead of being so sad during them."

 

You know, you are very human but you're around people that are shut down and that's what's causing you pain. You're, you don't, you know, except for, you know, possible addictions that you might need to work through and some feelings that have been supressed, you're incredibly human, you’re incredibly vibrant. I think all the people listening to this survey just want to reach through the internet and give you a hug and myself included.

 

Have you shared these things with others? I don't think this is going to be a shock:

 

"I've tried to share these things with my mother and some friends but most usually shut me out and tell me that I'm too young and have so much to look forward to be feeling these feelings. I'm usually not taken seriously over anything emotional. Even when I was actually in therapy my mother made fun of me for wanting to kill myself so I just pretended to get better to stop going which wasn't the best decision in the long run. I know my therapist wanted to put me on meds but my mother turned them down and refused any of my later pleas to go and get help again.”

 

Thank god you are seventeen. In one year you will be able to get away from this toxicity and get yourself the help that you deserve and then I think it will be easier for you to find out what a healthy person looks like so that they can be your friend. Because you have a lot to give. You have a lot to give and you are so much more normal than you think you are. But don’t underestimate the work that will be involved in healing the wounds that have been done by your family of origin. Because they have really, really let you down.

 

This is from the Happy Moments survey filled out by a woman who calls her self Starford? Starlord. Starlord. She writes. She's a teenager. She writes:

 

"I was probably 15 and it was the Fourth of July. I was staying out with my friends, standing out with my friends in the field after the fireworks. The stars were out and the air smelled like smoke and that earthy comforting smell of night time."

 

I love that. And you don't get that out here in L.A. where it's so dry. Whenever I go back to the Midwest in the summer, I fucking love that. That and the sound of crickets. Anyway:

 

"The air was cool with a pleasant bite. We just stood there for probably half hour. In the moment I felt, for probably the first time in my life, like I was exactly where I belong. I felt like every star and person and molecule in the universe was right. My friends and I look back on that night and it keeps us together. It binds us and makes us feel like we're all meant to be together."

 

Boy, that's beautiful. Those are the moments that...you know, when we're on our deathbed I don't think we probably think about, 'I shoulda gotten a more expensive car when I was 25' or I think we think about those little moments.

 

This is Shame and Secrets survey filled out by a guy who calls himself Wayne. He's straight, in his 30's, raised in a slightly dysfunctional environment. Ever been the victim of sexual abuse:

 

“Some stuff happened but I don't know if it counts. When I was twelve I was forced to blow a 'friend' of mine that was a year younger than me. I knew I did not like it when it happened then. My whole life I feel shame from that. Always apologizing for everything in my life."

 

He's been emotionally abused.

 

"I'm a skinny dude and have been my whole life. I'm also very pale. My whole life I've been made fun of even by my parents."

 

Any positive moments with your abusers:

 

"No. I have body image issues because of it."

 

Darkest thoughts:

 

"I have emetophobia which is a great fear of vomit."

 

By the way the episode with Steve Agee talks about that as well so listen to that if you want to hear somebody else that shares that same thing.

 

"I have panic attacks every day in fear that I will get sick. I think that if I would ever get sick in public I will kill myself. I have a panic attack anytime I'm in public. I never feel like my old self when I'm out in the world. I hate who I've become."

 

Darkest secrets:

 

"I've attempted suicide when I was in high school because of my emetophobia."

 

I hope I'm pronouncing that right. E-m-e-t-i-phobia.

 

"I videotaped it but when I just couldn't do it I destroyed the tape."

 

Oh man, that breaks my heart. Sexual fantasies most powerful to you:

 

"We had lots of porn around the house when I grew up. I prefer porn over real life. I hate that but that's the way it is."

 

What, if anything, would you like to say to someone you haven't been able to:

 

"To my sister and brother it would be, 'I hate you. I hate that I'm supposed to love you only because we share some DNA. I hate how you treated me, made me feel worthless my whole life. Even now I hate myself. Cannot go out in public without the fear of being sick. Fuck you and drop dead in front of a bus.'"

 

Well they wouldn't need to be dead in front of a bus. They would just need to walk in front of a bus. Unless it was parked.

 

What if anything do you wish for:

 

"To never vomit again."

 

Have you shared these things with others:

 

"My wife and my therapist. It took me five years to say anything to my wife."

 

How do you feel after writing these things down:

 

"Good. Cathartic."

 

Is there anything you'd like to share with someone who shares your thoughts or experiences:

 

"Don't let emetophobia control your life. Talk to a therapist or just talk about anyone who will listen. Talking about it helps not give it as much power as it had."

 

Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. And...(laughing) Any comments to make this show better. He writes:

 

"I love that you, Paul, said 'If you're going to email about being hard on myself you can just fuck off.'"

 

(laughing) Forgot I had said that. We're sending you some love, Wayne.

 

This is an Awfulsome Moment filled out by Kitty. She writes:

 

"I was having a decent, if very emotionally fraught, chat with an operator on the suicide hotline once when I got disconnected or hung up on. I remember thinking, 'Who in God's name gets hung up by the suicide hotline?' I found it as funny as sad and I laughed cried hysterically for some time. I honestly thought I might lose my sanity for good at that moment but I guess I’m glad for my sense of humour which helped me to pull through."

 

That's great. This is an Awfulsome Moment filled out by a woman who calls herself Chagrined in Wisconsin. She writes:

 

"I worked at a company for many years and endured a terribly lazy co-worker that was surprisingly also very successful. I believe others called him 'the dancing monkey' because he knew how to entertain the executives which is why he shot up the ladder without actually doing any good work himself. I finally left that company and state and for years would refer to any other co-worker that showed the same traits a—"

 

And I'm going to change the guy's name here to as a gloopnik (sp?)—

 

"—as in swearing, 'Ugh such a gloopnik'. It was my own inside joke that didn't make any sense to anyone else until one day when I said it to a woman I'd met a few months earlier after she recited a tale about her lazy boss. When I said it, she stopped short, tilted her head to the side and intoned, 'What did you say?' I glibly gave her the background and she interjected, 'You mean Phil Gloopnik?' As the color drained from my face, 'My husband and I went to college with him and his wife. And he was in our wedding.' I sat there speechless and blushing with shame for so blatantly mocking a friend of hers. And then she laughed and said, 'Man I hate that guy, he is such a douche.'"

 

(laughs) It is fantastic. Fantastic.

 

This is Shame and Secrets filled out by Katya. Katya is transgender, gay, in her 30's, raised in a slightly dysfunctional environment. Never been sexually abused. Not sure if she's been emotionally abused. She writes:

 

"My parents, after their divorce, used my siblings and me to convey nasty messages to each other."

 

Oh yes. That is definitely emotional abuse. That is serious emotional abuse.

 

"Obviously trying to make us like them more by having the other one be worse. My mom was owrse for this and I wound up not talking to my mom for several years because I didn't want to be part of that. She tried to bribe me with money and vacations to convince me to visit her again but it wasn't until she apologized that I was willing to see her."

 

Good for you. What an awesome, awesome boundary.

 

Any positive experiences with your abusers:

 

"Yes and I still haven't managed to get through all my feelings on the issues."

 

Darkest thoughts:

 

"Death, apocalypse, etc."

 

Darkest secrets:

 

"I've attempted suicide several times over a few years fifteen plus years ago."

 

Sexual fantasies most powerful to you:

 

"Me, fully-female, straddling another female and 69'ing me while a guy fucks me doggy style."

 

I gotta say that is one of the most efficient uses of space. Somebody should patent that in Tokyo. That, maybe you could call it the Tokyo drift. I like it. Get that in the Kama Sutra. A-SAP.

 

What, if anything, would you like to say to someone you haven't been able to:

 

"'I need help' to a therapist. I'm afraid of all that could happen if I do. I'm also afraid of what could happen if I don't."

 

I would be more afraid of what would happen if you don't.

 

"I also don't know when I could find to see a therapist or how to talk to my family about needing one or how to lie to them so they don't know what I'm doing after work."

 

Well first of all, if you don't feel comfortable talking to your family about it, don't. You know. Say you're, come up with something, that you're going to see a friend or you got a hobby, I don't know.

 

What, if anything, do you wish for:

 

"Money. To be a woman. To be happy with my relationships."

 

Have you shared these things with others:

 

"Money, obviously I've shared. What married couples don't talk or fight about money. To be a woman. I've tried to talk to my wife about it. She said she wouldn't love me if I were a woman. I asked her why not and she said if she was interested in being with a woman she would have hooked up with a woman to begin with and that would've been much simpler. I said that she should be interested in me and she told me a story about an episode of Orange is the New Black which she likes and I've never watched. Where someone's husband became a woman and wound up in jail because he had to steal to pay for the operation. That was the end of the discussion."

 

How do you feel after writing this down:

 

"Relieved and frightened,"

 

Anything you'd like to share with someone who shares your thoughts and experiences:

 

"Get your mind and your body in order and matched up before you get into a long term relationship so you can avoid being forced to decide between being happy in your body and having your family."

 

I can't imagine what a difficult choice that has to be and we're sending you some love. My heart goes out to you and I appreciate you sharing that with us.

 

And I wanted to follow that up with an email I got from a listener who is trans and her name is Allison and she writes:

 

"When I hear an episode that deals with LGBT issues, I always get the urge to write to you. There's always something I learn in hearing anyone's experiences always helps put things in perspective for me. I've fallen a bit behind in the podcast and I'm attempting to catch back up. I've been really busy attempting to better myself lately. The past couple times I've messaged you, I've given you an update about where I'm at in my transgender life so why change anything now. I'm not sure if it's ever anything that you're particularly interested in but you always seem to listen. Anyway, I was finally myself in front of strangers. It was a huge step for me as only my closest friends have seen me be my female self. It felt amazing. I've never been happier than when they talked to me as a person. They didn't say a word about how I was dressed. They talked to me like I was just any other person. I can't put into words what that simple thing means to me. Anyway I've made plans to go out in public for the first time as female so we'll see how that goes. Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. I know you're a very busy person but honestly just typing these words out helps."

 

Thank you for that, Allison. And I would like an update on how it goes out when you, how it goes when you go out in public.

 

And then finally I've got a Happy Moment filled out by a woman who calls herself Still Not Creative Enough For This. And she writes:

 

"My dad was always very angry and impulsive. My parents separated when I was 17 and I didn't take it well. I threw a bag of my siblings' toys out of frustration and they went everywhere. My mom rolled her eyes at me and went to get my dad to 'straighten me out'. I cried and started making excuses thinking maybe I could talk myself out of it, thinking I was going to get yelled at or hit. But he just walked up to me and hugged me, saying that everything was going to be okay, that we would be okay. I will never forget that moment of compassion."

 

It's so beautiful. The slightest gesture of love and compassion towards a child from a parent, from anybody, can just have ripples that, positive ripples that last for years. I mean, what a great example of that. You know, I think so often parents get wrapped up and 'I've gotta you know, get all this physical stuff for my kid, I gotta get them stuff'. And yet, I've never heard somebody share in a Happy Moment the time my parent bought me this or that, it's always them taking some small moment to really truly see and feel their kid. But you know, I can't imagine how hard and stressful it's gotta be when you're parent and you got your own issues that you're filtering everything through and you didn't get fed as a kid emotionally.

 

Anyway, thank you guys for being a part of this community and I hope if you've listened this far in this episode that you, you know that you're not alone and that there is help out there and we're all in this together. And thanks for listening.

 

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