Podcast 959: Blooming: Finding Gifts in the Shit of Life with Carrington Smith

Joining me for this podcast is an attorney, business owner, executive search professional and the author of Blooming: Finding Gifts in the Shit of Life – Carrington Smith.

Carrington or more known to me as Carrie was born and grew up with a silver spoon in her mouth. But, this did not exclude her from hardships and challenges of life. She has survived sexual assault, two divorces, piles of debt, abuse, religious mind games, the death of loved ones, and the loss of close friends.

In Blooming: Finding Gifts in the Shit of Life, Carrie opt to share and tell the world her journey through the shit by combining wit and wisdom with a positive attitude and a shift of mindset, into a life bursting with joy, opportunity, and purpose. In this book, she shares how she discovered that her own path to happiness wasn’t based on fitting in but on standing out—celebrating her uniqueness and owning her past.

Get to know more Carrie by visiting her website by clicking this link.

I hope you enjoy and get inspired by this engaging interview with Carrington Smith. Thanks and happy listening!

THE BOOK

Blooming takes you on a treasure hunt to discover the gifts in the shit. Shit is quite literally fertilizer. It is in the messes, failures, trauma, and difficulties of life that we discover what we need to bloom into our greatness. It is Carrington’s way of sharing her journey – from trauma to triumph, through the depths of sexual assault, religious mind-fuckery, family rejection, body dysmorphia, mid-life metamorphosis, physical scarring, and death into happiness, forgiveness, empathy, purpose, belonging, and joy, Blooming is a poignant, powerful account of finding your way through the shit.

THE AUTHOR

Amazon’s best-selling author Carrington Smith was born into a high society family scrambling to maintain social status after the bulk of their wealth was gone. Carrington worked as a trial lawyer for seven years and then left the practice of law to pursue her passion for connecting people, businesses, and ideas. Today, as the owner of an executive search firm, a keynote speaker, and a Forbes Human Resources Council Member, she finds joy in helping companies and executives make authentic, value-based connections. She has also created Blooming Foundation to help the disadvantaged, women, and especially single moms get a hand up.

 

You may also refer to the transcripts below for the full transciption (not edited) of the interview.

Greg Voisen
Well, Carrie, for all of my listeners, I always like to say welcome back to Inside Personal Growth. I'm sure they get sick of hearing that from me, because that's what I say every time. But we have Carrie, well, long name is Carrington. I'm calling her Carrie Smith who's written a new book called Blooming, joining us from Austin today. And it is August, what is it the fifth or the sixth? And she's telling me they have had one date, like over a month of just straight in excess of 100 degree temperatures. So are you keeping cool right now for this interview?

Carrington Smith
I am, I'm an air conditioning.

Greg Voisen
So we want to make sure you stay cool for the interview. Yeah, well, it's a pleasure having you on and it's a pleasure having had the opportunity to kind of read your life story and really understand what you've been able to do as a result of this. And we're gonna get into this real deep, but I'm going to introduce you to the listeners because they don't know much about you. Carrington Smith is a single mother, attorney, business owner and executive search professionals despite being born with a silver spoon in her mouth, I probably say gold. Why it gave her a hard kick in the tail. She says she survived sexual assault, two divorces, piles of debt abuse, religious mind games, and the death of loved ones and the loss of close friend. And so for all of you are listening, and you listen carefully to this interview, there'll be an opportunity to hear from Carrie as to how she actually used the adversity. And the subtitle of the book is finding gifts in the ship of life. And she says that's fertilizer. In her memoir, Carrie, combines wit and wisdom to share her journey through the ship with a positive attitude and a shift in mindset into life bursting with joy, opportunity purpose. She's a graduate of UA Austin and Tulane Law School. And she rides it. She resides in Austin, with her two teenage boys. Oh, they're teenagers already?

Carrington Smith
Yes, actually, my oldest son is leaving for Baylor. Next week. Uh, well, good for you. Yeah, we got one out the door. And then the other is a senior in high school in the fall. So I'm about to lose both of them.

Greg Voisen
Well, you know, leaving your first kid off to college. I remember when we left her son at UCLA, I cried all the way home. So it's a separation anxiety again. And then you're like, oh, I'm glad to get rid of and then when you come back to ash like I had it sounds kind of empty. Yes. So

Carrington Smith
well, I've noticed I've noticed a recent uptick in my ice cream eating and I wasn't I was asking myself, is it because it's 100,000 degrees outside? Or is it because I'm really anxious about my son leaving? I think it's a little bit of both. But

Greg Voisen
probably, it gives you the, it also gives you that sugar boost that you know, right? So, you know, Carrie, let's start out your book is about your journey. As I told the listeners and lessons you've learned along the way, it's about finding happiness, and not necessarily fitting in. But celebrating your own uniqueness. Yeah, if you would set the stage for the book by telling a little bit about the journey. And how the shit of life because I mentioned a lot of the shit you already had. Yeah, has become fertilizer for your own growth.

Carrington Smith
Yeah. Well, let's start with you know, the idea of always trying to fit in, that started out with coming from this family where you say gold spoon, I literally did have a silver engraved spoon from Tiffany and Company. So coming from a family where my great grandfather founded International Paper Company. And as many people know, it's a company that still traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the largest paper company in the world, and in other parts of the family had founded banks and, and, and another. My other grandfather had a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. So it was a very, sort of The Great Gatsby type of background. That's sort of where I came from my family came from. However, when you got down to my generation, there was very little left and what was left was us to focus on maintaining social status and ensuring that at least the oldest kids got the kind of education and access to the kind of people that they felt that they should have, which meant my brother went to Stanford. My sister went to USC, I know competition with UCLA. But, and before that, before that she went to Miss Porter School, which is somewhat it's A very prominent women's boarding school where my grandmother mother, and she all went. And so just as a little brief study, in contrast, you know, when I was in high school, they asked me to transfer to a public school to pay for my sister to go to this boarding school. So she was spending her weekends on private jets and going to debutante balls in New York City. And I was, you know, drinking beer and a vacant lot with my friends. That is how different I mean, we are 18 months apart, and that is how different our high schools were.

Greg Voisen
Well, you know, having a socialite family to that degree, you know, you can hear it in the way you write. And, as we said, it was kind of trying to live up to these values, and values, you know, when you do a histogram, and go all the way back to your grandfather, and then look at the issues in the family, I think it's really quite interesting to see the patterns. So sometimes the patterns, skip a generation. And in your case, you know, you're talking about this wealth. And then when it got down to the third generation wasn't really a ton, but the wealth was left to really keep the status. You know, we were about the status. And, you know, along the way, you also wrote this book, during the pandemic. Yeah, and I think this is a really important point for the listeners, and what you referred to as the shifting storm of a lifetime. Yes, everybody started checking in on everything. And I think, most importantly, probably, because of the 800,000 people plus that were lost. They were looking at their finitude, you know, their own life, you know, what do I have left? Why am I doing this? Right, right. And we're all aware of the numbers of people who are questioning every aspect of their life, quitting jobs, getting divorce, moving to higher ground, things that you've done, all of those, right? What advice would you give the listeners who are in the throes of reevaluating their lives? Because they think this where this could really be the most valuable? is how you would guide somebody or whisper in somebody's ear? Hey, everything's gonna be okay.

Carrington Smith
Yeah, well, I think I really come to it from a very unique perspective, in that not only do I have the life experience of having a lot of bad experiences, experiences, or traumas or difficulties early in life, so I've already sort of been through them. But I also have the life experience of now being an executive search consultant. So I give a lot of advice on prayers on a regular basis. So a lot of people who are making these life decisions, it's actually changed how I advise people in the career space, because what I tell people, is what Stephen Covey said, which is begin with the end in mind, and start by writing the greatest life I can imagine is, and use that as a prompt, and then be really specific about who am I surrounded by? Where you know, where and how do I spend my time? What do I value? And what are my talents and gifts and which ones have I never used, I really want to spend some time discovering. And then as you write that out, you can use that as a guide, where you have opportunities come in front of you, you say, Will taking this opportunity get me closer to where I want to be. And suddenly, because you have a vision, the end, it becomes so much easier to decide how to get there or where to go. I think a lot of people get really depressed when they have too many choices. And I think that happens when we get to the middle of our life. We've achieved all these goals, we've gone to college have gotten married without children, all of those things we think we're supposed to do. And now we hit the middle of life. And we have this crisis of what do I do next? I've already done all these things. Now what? And I think that if we write the story of where we want to end up the most beautiful life I can imagine is who I want to be surrounded by all of those things, then suddenly, it gives us a clear path on how we're supposed to live our lives and make those adjustments. And for me, one of those things when I wrote that story was how important it was for me to have a great relationship with my kids. And so saying in my story, you know, my kids love to spend time with me. And if that's the case, then I really need to be investing that time with them right now. And so that has helped me as far as making decisions.

Greg Voisen
Well, again, having a family being divorced, twice and raising children as a single mother, and many probably single mothers are listening to this at the same time. They understand the struggles, whether they're trying to scrape Never gather enough money to buy the shoes, or they've got lots of money, but they don't have time. You know, the time bandit is there, there isn't time for themselves, they're always doing something for somebody else. And, you know, I think that everybody now is, is really kind of looking at time and perspective. Because they know how short this journey can be on the fifth on the fiscal plane. Nobody's really, you know, we're not talking today deeply about the spiritual side of things. But I have certain beliefs that you know, hey, look, we're going to transmute this physical body. And again, that's your relationship with the physical body because to say whether or not it's so important, and it's got to look great and gotta be great. And I know you struggled with that. Oh, yeah. And that's another thing. And so, you know, and for my listeners, I do want to say this, and I meant to say it right up front. But you're gonna go to her website. To learn more. She's got a beautiful website. Yeah, and it's it Carrington hyphen, smith.com. And we're gonna put a link to Carrington hyphen, smith.com. There, you can learn about her blog, her books, and so on. So carry you along, when you're in college. You your account of this brutal rape while you were a student in college was, you know, pretty horrifying, as I kind of read it. Yeah, especially how this guy did it. And almost unbelievable. The trauma you endured in from looking at it from the outside in, had to have been an unimaginable, can you tell the story? And if you would, what advice might you have for listeners who are dealing with any personal trauma in their life, they, you know, we see burn victims, we see all kinds of things that people have to deal with and go through. In your case, it happened to be these multiple rapes by the same guy or same man. And also if you would speak about this Gavin Becker's in his book, The gift of fear, survival signals that protect us from violence, that was a book that you got a lot out of, and I think there's today that are dealing with this, this might be one of those, so speak about the stories speak about what you learned, how you came through it? And what advice might you have?

Carrington Smith
Sure. So when I was a sophomore at Washington State University, I was raped by a guy in fraternity house, we I was tried out at the time we were doing. We were doing homecoming with the Sigma new house. That's how they did it Washington state, they would pair fraternities and sororities, and we would engage in this big Olympic style competition, where we met up every day for different events. And we put together a yard display or lawn display as something that got judged as one of the parts of the competition. So I went over to the sigma new house to help with building the lawn display. And with what over there with a group of sorority girls that wasn't by myself was during the day. And as that work got done, was invited into the fraternity house and offered a beer but was told that the keg was upstairs. And so I went upstairs again with my sorority sisters. But he grabbed me and pulled me into his room and locked the door, and then proceeded to rate me. He actually left the room and came back more, yeah, more crazy than he was before. And so it was a bit over a period of hours. It was, you know, it was afternoon that I went over there. And it was, you know, getting to the dawn when I left, and went back to the sorority house. And I you know, kind of to give you some framework for this. I was very well aware that the year before another girl at another sorority had been gang raped. And she had, you know, gone to the police and said she wanted to press charges. And instead of them believing her, she was vilified, labeled a slut and kicked out of her sorority. And that was a that was top of mind when this happened to me. So I went to one of my sorority sisters and confided in her about what had happened. And her remark to me was, you know, be really careful how you handle this because remember what happened to this other girl? And so I was pretty much on my own. I knew that if I said anything, they would blame me. That was sort of what I was dealing with. So I went to the Student Health Center, and I took what we didn't even have a name for it yet really but it was the morning after pill essentially. And, you know, just slept this went into this deep depression where I stopped going to class. I wasn't bathing, I, you know, was sleeping all the time, calling my parents saying I, you know, I'm, I'm depressed. And I feel like I'm gonna kill I want to kill myself and please let me come home and they're like, no, we can't afford it. And at the time a plane ticket was $50 Yeah. And when you now that you know about my family, you can understand why this was so egregious to me. So you're basically telling me my life isn't worth $50? Yeah,

Greg Voisen
well, the Eric's story is even another one or so

Carrington Smith
yeah. So um, so I eventually I somehow make it through from mid-October when it happened till Thanksgiving and drive home and confide in my mother about what had happened to me. And my mother, ironically, was the executive director for the crisis pregnancy center in our in our little hometown. And the crisis pregnancy center for your listeners is the is the prolife equivalent of Planned Parenthood. In other words, they advise people who are pregnant, like through ancestor, rape, or whatever the circumstance may be on how to carry that child to term as opposed to terminating it. So my mother was regularly counseling people on this very topic. And so I confide in her said, Mom, you know, I was raped. And her response to me was that she stood up, she got beat red in the face. And she just like, was shaking with anger. And she said, I am so disappointed in you, we had hoped that you would remain a virgin until you were married. And then she said, yeah, right. And then, like, I had control over that. And then she said, you must never tell your father about this, and you must never speak of it ever again. And so you know, not only did I feel abandoned by you know, and like completely lost. In this situation, I ended up you're taking my mom's advice and stuffing this trauma down and feeling so much shame over it, she made me feel so ashamed of what had happened to me. So I just shoved it down. And I was very much in this mindset of I don't want this event to define me. And I think a lot of us do that with whatever failure or trauma or difficulty in life or have, we have maybe inability to pay our bills, or you know, not being having enough food, we feel shame. And we shouldn't feel shame. And so what we need to do when these things happen in life is we need to speak up. And for me, I shoved it down. And what happens when you don't deal with your trauma is it manifests itself in your life in different ways. And for me, I became promiscuous because I, the message I received from the rapist was that I was only more the effects, I wasn't worthy of anything else. And so I kind of relive that trauma on a pretty regular basis. And it wasn't until Law School six years later that I had a moment where I was, you know, kind of in a friends with benefits situation with a guy and started to develop feelings. And it all came to the surface, I sat down at my computer, and wrote the story of the rate. And I think this is important to you, for your listeners. Because a lot of times when we go to share something, we immediately get minimized by the people we share it with, oh, it's not that bad. You're exaggerating, I don't believe you. But when I wrote the story, there was nobody there to tell me to shut up. And there was nobody there to tell me it wasn't that bad. I wrote what you know, my experience, I wrote about how I perceive all that had happened to me. And so I really was able to express myself. And then the guy responded by being compassionate. And he was the first person to express any kind of compassion for me. And that began my healing journey. So in the process of that healing journey, I came across this book called The Gift of fear by Gavin de Becker.

Carrington Smith
And in the book, he talks about a woman who's raped and all these survival signals that she missed and kind of helps people to understand that there are a lot of things that you can learn from this experience. And he did that because he grew up in an incredibly violent home. And again, instead of covering that up and being embarrassed about the family he came from, he claimed that and actually created a business where he was providing security advice to VIP CEOs and even the President of the United States. And the reason he was able to do that and create this incredible company and write this book and be held up for Winfrey talking about it was because he claimed to the fact that his childhood taught him how to predict violence. And he used what he had learned to propel him to greatness, I mean, literally at the top. And so not only did I relate to the story about the rape in the book, but I related to his story and how he took this horrible experience and claimed it and repurposed it and understanding that it was part of the fabric of who he was used it to propel him to greatness. And then the irony is, is, as I was writing this book, I stumbled across this passage from Augustine burrows, and I'd love to read it for you, that's, I think your listeners would really benefit from at least part of it. He said, because here's the truth about rate, you do not have to be victimized by it forever, you can take this awful bottomless horror the rapist has inflicted on you, and you can seize it and recycle it into something wonderful and helpful and useful. You can in this way, transform what was done to you into something that was given to you in the form of brutally raw material. You can, in other words, accept this hideous thing and embrace it and take complete control of the experience and reshape it as you please. This is not to deny the experience and how devastating it is, it is to accept the experience on the deepest level as your own possession now, and experience that is now part of you, instead of allowing it to be a tap that drains you, you can force it into duty in service of your creative or intellectual goals.

Greg Voisen
And that's a that's a great way to look at it. I mean, you know, it's one thing, you know, it's a great passage, but it's another thing for people who were going or have gone through it, to figure that out. Right. And I think, I think one of the things is like letting go letting people say, oh, well, it's so easy to let go well, that that memory for you was not easy to let go. And it took a long time. Yeah, and the pain and hurt associated with it. As we talked about discomfort. You know, I just did an interview with a gentleman from Denver, on hunting discomfort. I said, if you don't find discomfort, discomfort is going to find you. And what I mean by that is, is that all these emotions that you have, that are part of what happened, can't be brushed under the rug. Because if you do, it continues to etch away at your being every element of your being your emotional, your mental, your spiritual side of you. And if you claim it and use the power of it, just like the rapist use the power over you, you now have as much or equal power to him by doing that. And I think that's a really important thing to remember. Now, in the book, you speak at length about your family lineage. You talked a little bit about it already. The wealth of your grandfather and your family. And you mentioned that these individuals shaped who you became as a person, a family with high expectations where you were seen and not heard. And, again, that the young lady that counseled you about, you know what you do with this rape? She was asking you to not be seen and not be heard. Yeah. Because she didn't want you to voice your, you know, your anger and your frustration. And that's unfortunate, because you needed that to heal. So given your family situation and being the youngest of three children, what were the issues within the family that shaped you? And what impacted the separation of your parents play?

Carrington Smith
Well, my parents didn't separate. So, yes, so my mother ended up in assisted living, and my father was kind of doing his own thing. Okay. But yes, so, but as far as, you know, what I learned from my family lineage and how it shaped me, one of the things is, well, let me start with this. I think I was thinking about this question and reflecting on it. And it occurred to me that very similar to me in as far as family background as someone who I, I'm really cringing at making this comparison, but if you've heard the story of Elizabeth Holmes, and Theranos her story begins with her family being the descendants of the Fleischmann yeast empire. And so she grew up with a very similar environment where her family didn't have a lot of money, but they were still trying to hang out with that with that societal crowd. But look where she ended up in prison.

Greg Voisen
And is Yeah, she is now Yeah,

Carrington Smith
and so but that type of environment where the expectations are so high for you. I mean, it can really be a dark place to be and obviously that's where She ended up. But I think

Greg Voisen
what happens and you didn't allow it to happen, and pardon me for interrupting, but it's a distorted perspective of reality. Yes, I agree. And so you create in her case, she created that distorted perspective and began to believe what she thought she could create or do, right. In other words, I have a friend of mine that says, when your belief becomes a knowing, right, well, for her, this whole thing was a knowing. And, and our, our vision and or our perspective, the lens that we were in which we see the world shifts so much from, I'm going to say, a distorted viewpoint that you're living in almost like an alternate reality

Carrington Smith
100%. In fact, when I got to law school, I really had a crisis of identity. Because on one hand, I was the, you know, living this sort of, I'm coming from this high society family. On the other hand, I didn't have enough money to pay for groceries, and all I could afford to eat was, you know, a Canada Slim Fast and a gallon of milk. That would be my, my diet for the week, because that's all the money I had. So, I mean, it was really a huge time for me of an identity crisis of I'm supposedly from the Stancy family, but I can't even pay my bills, like, I don't even have food to eat. I really was like, who am I? Which person am I? Yeah, and part of this journey was figuring out that who I am is someone who, because I wasn't given much, but the expectations were incredible, that I am scrappy. I am a problem solver. I am creative. I am a hard worker, I am persistent, I learned so much about myself because I had to struggle. And I actually it's funny, I hear this wine, sometimes success is not a great teacher. Well, I learned a lot because I had a lot of struggles. And struggle, you know, when we're in the fire is when we become stronger, right? But doesn't kill us makes us stronger. So you out of that journey, I figured out who I was and what I stood for. And it's really helped those qualities that really helped me realize

Greg Voisen
when failure is not falling. Failure is only falling if you don't get up. And in your case, it's not failure, it's learning lessons. And all along in this book, you are really describing learning lessons, you know, and you certainly have been on the learning line at a very accelerated pace. A lot of people don't have these experiences. They don't have the opportunity to have them there. And they probably think to themselves, well, why would I want them? You know, but the reality is, it has forged you into the person that you are, and I think people have to look at, you know, when adversity strikes, it's really how you relate to the adversity and how you see it. And in your case, you saw it a different way. And you stayed in the book, that for many years, you resented and complained about your father, you then go on to say that every time you expressed your anger and resentment about your father, that You gave him control. So true. You then had an epiphany, about your greatest strength, which was intuition. And it's interesting, you said that in the book, I didn't know until I'd read it. I wrote a book about intuition. So what is it about intuition that has helped you through the pain and suffering in your life?

Carrington Smith
Well, intuition has is such a gift because I mean, what it is, it's a survival skill is what it is. And I honed that skill because of the you know, abuse and blacks and volatile environment that I grew up in. And so I was constantly observing and listening very carefully to gather whatever data my subconscious to get so that it was really a survival thing. And so as I got older, I had the benefit have really, sort of as I like to say, growing extra long nerve endings that have really helped me through life as far as recognizing when recognizing trouble or evil or you know, when someone's lying to me or when I when I should be fearful and at a much higher level than many. So then it really has been a gift.

Greg Voisen
Well, intuition is it can come in many different forms from my listeners, it can be a feeling, it can be a sense. In other words, you have a sense, so it depends on how it comes into you. You know, oh, I'm not gonna get on that flight. We've heard that and then the plane goes down or something like that. Or it's a sign or a symbol that you see, you can see and, and something is calling you to take notice to that, you know, it can be a billboard on a building, to be honest with you. And it's what you do with that intuition that makes a difference. Some of the greatest business people in the world that are quoted on intuition, including, you know, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, they said, it's the single most important thing in driving their business decisions, because you can collect all the data you want about how to make a decision. But in the end, if you call on your intuition, to add to that formula, it helps you in making the decisions whether right or wrong, it's not important. It's because you had a strong pull inside to do it a certain way. And they will all say they'll all say that intuition was the most, the highest thing that they developed in making decisions about building their businesses. So you recount a story about your grandmother, taking you aside after a Christmas dinner and taught and talking about this mustard, or taking a mustard seed out of the box and placing your hand. She then said that life is like a mustard seed. This almost sounds like Forrest Gump. Life is a box of chocolates. She then said that life is like a mustard seed. Have faith in yourself, and you will grow into a strong tree and bear much fruit. What did you learn and about your own strength is a result of the advice given by your grandmother?

Carrington Smith
Yeah, well, so the reason she told me that story is because I was really suffering from comparison, I not only had regularly been compared to my sister by my father in particular, but then that leads to self comparison. So I was constantly comparing myself. And then in that moment, someone else had compared me to my sister, and I was just really down in the dumps, because everyone was telling me how much better my sister was than me. Yeah. And what I came to realize, because of that story, my grandmother told me was that I needed to find my own sunshine, and not grow up in her shade. And for me, that meant finding, you know, carving my own path, and literally steering myself away from everything that she did. So, you know, she went to business school, I went to law school, you know, I just, I did everything I could to kind of steer myself away from her, and then gain my own self esteem based on my own achievements, where I wasn't being compared. And through that process, I learned a lot about myself. And I really came to believe that, you know, if somebody prefers one person over another, it's not that that person is better, or more beloved, it's just that they value that person's bundle of skills or attributes more than they value yours, and everybody has a different preference. Some people like skinny girls, some guys like curvy girls. And you know, just because one refers one more than the other doesn't make you lesser than, and so kind of reaching that understanding and, and creating my own path, and getting out of the shade of my sister and building my own life and career separate from her living going to different schools living in separate states having my own thing. So it really was a deliberate choice. And it was based on that conversation with my grandmother, and it was such a good piece of advice.

Greg Voisen
And a bit of add on to that is that, you know, the ego drives much of this comparison analysis. Am I good enough? You know, do I fit in? And in one sense, the ego is good, because it helps us through our survival. In another sense, if you can't get a hold of it and control it. It can control you tell, yeah. And so in this case, this comparison between your sister and yourself, you were able to like say, oh, no, even though everybody is looking at me and comparing me in the family to my sister. I'm not going to go that route. So you found your and I mentioned it in one of the questions. I call it your sovereignty, you know, your own strength. You know, and while you were at your third year in law school when you experienced excruciating pain, and here's another story about you know, just a challenge and fluid that was coming out of your ears. The doctors did a lot of these tests in a spinal tap that was excruciatingly painful. And you mentioned the doctors can fuse about what was happening to you. So they asked, how do you pronounce his name? But I want to make sure Oh, yeah. Oh, well, it's spelled with an X on the end. So I was gonna say Bo, to call your father and then let him know. And once your father, once your father spoke with you on the phone, you were astonished at his comment to you. Yeah, almost like the comment that you just had from your mother about your rape. When you stay in the book, how? And you're gonna say, and I can say how fucked up your family was? Can you tell the story again, and how you've learned to bloom into your own personal greatness as a result of this dysfunctional family?

Carrington Smith
Yeah, so, um, I, I had tubes in my ears, because I had lots of fluid in my ears already. And so I had tubes put in when I was 25, in law school, and I developed this mysterious fluid coming out of one of my ears, and it was coming out by the cup full. And so they put me on a x ray machine and did a spinal tap, or they injected contrast dye into my spine, and tipped me upside down to see if it was a cerebral spinal fluid leak. In any event, my father is a doctor, so they couldn't quite figure out what was going on. And so I asked my then boyfriend, Bo, to call my father and get I thought, you know, get him to talk to the doctors, and maybe they could figure it out together. And so he called my father and he said, hey, your dad wants to talk to you. And he handed me the phone. And so I put it to my good ear, and said, you know, hey, dad, and my dad said, your mother and I have been talking. And we just want to let you know that we're not paying for this. And as I'm hanging with my jaw open, he's gone. That is the conversation. So he did not, there was no conversation with the doctors, there was no Get Well, soon. There's no honey Howard, you're doing we're worried about you, we're gonna come there was no visit, you know, no flowers. No, there was just, we're not paying for this. And as I say, in the book, there are moments in life that I refer to them as light switch moments, meaning there's a clear before and after. And for me, the little girl who's was so desperate for her father's love, she died in that moment. And my father's abandonment of me was complete. He was kind of like I am done with you, you're on your own. I've even asked him about helping me with the cost. I just wanted to help figure out what was wrong with me. And that, but that's what I got.

Greg Voisen
Well, and the lesson that you learned, and I know even to this day, because you told me in the pre interview, that the relationship isn't much better. Now. Yeah.

Carrington Smith
So when one of the things that I learned from this experience is that and it's it dovetails with all of these stories. And that is, first of all, I mean, I just don't and I dealt with, you know, not just the agony and pain of what how my parents had treated me. But, you know, I was embarrassed and ashamed. And I bottled up those feelings. And I ended up spending a year on the couch doing psychoanalysis to deprogram the messages that my father had implanted in my head as far as constantly picking out me being negative, you know, just really saying horrible things. And so, I came to realize that, you know, the first step in the process of healing as you have to, first of all claim it, which is recognize the pain of abuse and neglect for what it is, and call it what it is, I mean, then the second part is feeling it. And as I like to say, I had to reach rage, to reach forgiveness. And that means stop suppressing the feelings, go through the motions that are natural part of the process of healing, feel them, own them, understand them. And then after that, set boundaries, because in order for me to heal, I understood that this man could no longer be part of my life, I had to set a boundary where he could not penetrate because the sound of his voice was like fingernails on a chalkboard for me. When I hear His voice, I immediately engage in self harming behavior. This is something that my various husband pointed out to me they're like, you literally get off the phone with him and like you'll go pick your face or you'll go eat a nice, you know, eat a bunch of ice cream or something, you there's a correlation between you talking to him. And so I came to realize that in order for me to heal, just like any scab on your body, in order for it to heal, you have to leave it alone. You can't keep picking at it, right? So setting boundaries, and then creating this new internal dialogue of self-love as opposed to self-flagellation where I was constantly beating myself up. And when I did that, and I created that separation, I could finally heal. Then I started looking at my far differently and trying to understand him, and why he behaved the way he did. And I was able to find empathy for him. And then I was able to find forgiveness. But I never could have healed and found empathy for him and come to forgive him if I hadn't set that boundary and gone through that whole process. So there really is something to that.

Greg Voisen
Well, self-love and compassion are a very important tool to heal the self-first, because you can't be any good to anyone else, if you're not good to yourself. Yes. And so in this process, what you've learned along the way is that there were many times where you weren't very good to yourself. And you almost like, you know, beat yourself up, right? So what I look at is somebody who learned a huge lesson. And in the process, you're saying that you forgave him. Now, I presume you're still the person out of the family, there's three of you that when you do show, you don't show up for family events, especially if your father's there. And it's only because the physical presence of him still has an emotional string, and an attachment. And you've had a hard time figuring out how to emotionally get through that. And I get that. And you know, you've been through divorces twice. And you state that it's something so painful that you wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy. What did your divorces teach you about being free from trying to please other people, like your dad, and your husbands? And claiming your own personal sovereignty?

Carrington Smith
Yeah, well, so after my second divorce, when I was in a pile, in my closet, in fetal position, on the phone on my Blackberry, that's when it was one of my girlfriends said to me, Carrie, I know you may not want to hear this right now. But just think about this. And that is that with adversity comes opportunity. And I sat with that, and she was right. I didn't want to hear it right then. But it stuck with me. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that instead of focusing on everything that I had lost, and all the pain of this divorce, if I shifted my focus to the opportunity, and the fact that I had a blank slate to create this whole new light and discover who I was and what I was about, if I focused on that instead. I mean, there's this huge opportunity, this is actually a blessing. So as I went through that process, I went through this journey of self-discovery, where when I got divorced, I didn't even know what kind of food I liked, I was so used to eating at the restaurants, he went to listen to his kind of music, I had to figure out what kind of music I liked. And yes, developing my own sovereignty of like, not always catering to everyone else, and trying to, you know, be like a shapeshifter, where I'm something different for everyone else, I had to figure out my own identity was right, and it's a fixed thing. It's not a flexible thing. So I did go through that process well,

Greg Voisen
and declare it, I think and declare it. You know, it's like putting a stake in the ground, letting people know where you stand. I mean, yeah, as an attorney, that's a big part of being an attorney, is being able to claim your identity as someone who can defend that is what you're doing. Now, you tell another story in the book, which I think is really interesting. And again, it kind of goes along the same lines, but it's also a betrayal story. You got very agitated with your best friend, Chloe, and her comments about your Facebook picture, and not showing your cleavage in the pictures because you had recently had some implants and your friend wanted you to show them. You got so angry and depressed by the comments and the subsequent attendance at a party for Chloe, that you lashed out in a lot of anger. I mean, like I read the passages in the book. Yeah, it was, you know, this is bullshit. Screw you. Yeah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Can you tell a bit about the story and what you have learned about anger? And who anger really hurts? In the end?

Carrington Smith
Yeah. Well, first of all, let me correct a few of those details. Okay, and that is so I after I got divorced, I bought my own house for the first time, decorated the way I wanted, and I had a housewarming party. I had a catered I had a DJ, I had a photographer walking around taking photos and there was a whole big deal. I was really it was a celebration of me coming out and being this is the new carry. And I had this fitted dress on there's a picture of it on my website and in the book, and it's basically a V neck dress where it stops above where the cleavage starts. I have I'd after my second child, I had a mommy makeover. And so I did have breast implants. They weren't so new. They were few years old at that point. But what happened was after the party, I took one of the photos from the party, and I posted it as a new profile photo on Facebook. And then I went off on business travel. And while I was gone, my group of very closest friends, so this I had a book group that I had for 12 years. And they had dinner together at a restaurant in Austin, ooh, chico. And that used to cook dinner, the apparently I was the hot topic of discussion. And they were talking about how this picture, which is a very tasteful photo, if anybody wants to look at it,

Greg Voisen
I saw it. It's very tasteful.

Carrington Smith
Yes. How it was they say, they refer to it as the boob photo, that all they saw was a set of boobs. And they got themselves so worked up. But they nominated one of the groups, my friend Chloe to tell me I needed to change my profile picture. So she calls me up, I go over to her house, we're having wine, she literally pulls her laptop out, opens it up and says, look at dinner the other night, the girls and I were chatting, and this photo is so bad. It's just all boobs, you need to change it. And I was like, what are you talking about? Everyone was telling me how great I look. There's nothing wrong with that photo. And so then she says, well, I mean, you don't want your kids to be ashamed of you do. So in one fell swoop, she had removed my the support of my friend group by saying everyone altogether, she had shamed this new person who had come out standing on her own finally, and I was celebrating, you know, the new carry, and said, You need to go back in a box, we don't like you the way you are. And by the way, your kids are going to be ashamed of you. So it was like it was a triple there was a multi-level thing going on there. And yeah, so at a party for her a week or so later, I was wearing a dress that, you know, it was a wrap dress, so kind of separate it slightly at the cleavage. And instead of coming over and thanking me, thanking me for coming to her party, she adjusted my dress, not saying a word except for making a face at me and then walked off. And so I went home in tears. And at that point, I think that listeners need to understand that this was really was so much more than change your profile photo, this was my core friend group saying we reject who you have become, right, we want you to be this other person. And so I became suicidal, I got super. And I was crying. And then I realized after all these years therapy that I was actually angry. And I realized that depression is anger turned inward. And when I had that realization, the thing is, is that you learned that if you unexpressed anger hurts you. And so what was important for me was for me to stand up for myself. And so I picked up the phone, and I called Chloe, and had it out with her and told her, you know, basically to eff off and that, you know, I can just, you know, finally that rage came to the surface. And I expressed in this is who I am. And I had had to go through the process of changing friends. Because it became very important for me, for my very survival to remain who I was coming, you know that I was blossoming, I was coming out of my butt. You can't shove that back in. I was really

Greg Voisen
Yeah. Well, you know, it's interesting, because when you look at anger, like you said, and how it hurts you from within, and then you know, you've kind of lash out. Anger is something that from a standpoint of like, looking to control it, you need to have the conflict. Right, so you have the conflict with your girlfriend. And if you run the other direction from conflict, which I had been known for doing that I'm speaking from personal experience because of a family situation, I would have I avoided conflict. At every corner, it would pop up because and I'll tell this incident, my father was over my mother. And I was like seven years old. And until I went into therapy like you and I actually went to USM and got my degree in spiritual psychology and went through trios to ascertain what I was doing. I was avoiding all conflict because I got in the middle of it. My dad picked me up and threw me against the wall at seven years old and said, don’t you ever come between your mother and myself? Right? And so that little incident, it may have taken. The event didn't last very long at the time, but it lasted years and how I manifested it out. Right? And what I'm telling people is don't run from that. Run to that. Find out what it is inside. I that you need to heal, just like Carrie has, like me, it did take me a long time. I didn't do that until I was in my early 50s. So it took a long time. So, again, for my listeners, this book is filled with wonderful stories, opportunities for you to heal inside opportunities for you to learn. And I think that the good thing about this book is the stories. They're engaging, it's well written, it's a great opportunity, caring for people to, like, look at a story and look at the consequences associated with the events and the stories and say, hey, that's part of my life where it has a similarity. And I may want to look at it with a different set of lenses or perspective. And, you know, with all these wonderful stories, woven throughout the book, and lots of life experiences that the listeners can learn from, if there were two lessons that you want to leave listeners with, what would they be? And how would they apply them to their own life? Like I say now, because everybody's looking to say, hey, Carrie, how do I, how do I fix this? How do I fix this now?

Carrington Smith
Yes, okay. Well to the first one is with adversity comes opportunity. I live that every day, to the point that anytime something really bad happens, I immediately am looking for that opportunity. I like to say mindset is a muscle. And if we have that outlook, then we get there a whole lot faster if we're regularly doing that. So that's one and then the second is that an event itself is neither good nor bad. It's how we view it that makes it so and so the story that you tell yourself will predetermine outcomes. I like to say thoughts precede actions; actions precede results. And so you know and let me tell you a time one quick story. I was caught in by I was sitting out eating by the Bellagio watching the fountains. And one of the fountains was caught by breeze and it came over me like a tidal wave. And we had just finished dinner and I and suddenly, as opposed to being ready to go out I am so from head to toe. And my girlfriend who was with me with under an umbrella. So it didn't affect her. She looks up at me with expectation, like what is going to happen is this is our night ruined. And I in that split second realized I had a choice to make. How was I going to view this moment, and I turned to the maitre d. And I said, is this ever happened before? And he said, No. And I was like, well, what are the odds, then this is a good thing. I've been baptized by the holy water I'm going to win tonight. And so quickly change, it was one of the best nights we've ever had. But that could have ruined our evening. It was that split second decision about how is going to view that event that determined the outcome. And I thought it's something that can be applied immediately. So I think that's a good one.

Greg Voisen
It is. And like anything in life, we are throwing opportunities, and you just said that it's an opportunity. And it's an opportunity to take a different course, one of the courses of action might have been Oh yeah, it's gonna ruin our night, go back to your room have to get a shower, get new clothes on bla, bla bla. Or the other one is say, Hey, I was just blessed by the water. I'm now going to win a lot of money in the casinos. Whether it happened or not doesn't matter. It's your it's how you've programmed your subconscious. Absolutely. And, you know, we are what we think about most consistently. Yeah. And so you know, that old saying is you are who you hang around the five greatest people that you hang around. Remember that because that one is true. And you want to hang around people that you can learn from that you can grow from. This is called inside personal growth. So that's what this is about. Go out and get Kerry's book. Again. It's called blooming and finding gifts in the shed of life. There'll be a link to Amazon there. There'll be a link also to her website as well. Carrie, a pleasure having you on insight personal growth, spending a few minutes with our listeners, talking about your own personal memoir and stories, and how you literally have navigated a whole new path to a life of personal sovereignty. Thanks for being on inside personal growth.

Carrington Smith
Thank you so much for having me. It's been a genuine pleasure.

Greg Voisen
Thank you. Namaste.

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