In this episode of CAN+DID, Hosts Rikki Harris and Will Voss talk with business owner, television host, radio host, actor, musician, designer, author and President of The Building Barn, Evan Farmer. He is best known for his lead role as Jerry O’Keefe in the MTV Film and follow up television series 2gether, and as host and carpenter within the home makeover television genre including Emmy nominated While You Were Out (TLC), Freestyle (HGTV), and Door Knockers (DIY).
Farmer is actively involved in many charities, most notably Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and frequently volunteers to emcee philanthropy events, including TN Voices’ first Green Ribbon Gala! His first book Breaking In: The Formula For Success in Entertainment, was released in 2012 and features a Foreword by Kristin Chenoweth.
In the midst of his fame, accomplishments and happy family life, Evan opens up with Rikki and Will about his mental health journey, and gives advice to those listening on how he CAN and DID overcome some of the challenges he’s faced. Get ready to be empowered!
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS WHO MADE THIS EPISODE POSSIBLE!
The Omni Family of Services is a multistate human services agency serving adults and children through a trauma competent lens. They provide a continuum of care, including foster care, family preservation, behavioral health, and primary care services focused on helping kids, families and the communities they live in strong and healthy. To learn more about Omni Family of Services, or to contact an office near you, CLICK HERE.
ServisFirst Bank is a full-service commercial bank focused on commercial and private banking, correspondent banking, and cash management, emphasizing competitive products, state of the art technology and a focus on quality service. To learn more about ServisFirst Bank or to contact an office near you, CLICK HERE.
If you or your business would like to sponsor an episode of CAN+DID, contact Mark McFerran at Mark.McFerran@TNVoices.org! If you or someone you know needs assistance with mental health support, contact 1.800.670.9882 or log onto TNVoices.org.
CAN+DID is a podcast of TN Voices about mental health, featuring stories of people who have overcome mental health challenges, as well as those who have helped people overcome mental health challenges. This podcast is about authenticity. And it's intended to give a voice to those who are passionate about mental well being. We hope that by sharing stories, listeners understand mental health and just how important it is in our day to day lives, and they will help us reduce stigma. We want you to know that so many who have struggled with mental health can and did overcome their challenges. And if you are struggling, you can too. I'm your host, Ricky Harris, CEO, Tennessee voices and with me is my favorite co host will Voss CEO of Tennessee voices Welcome to Our Podcast, let's get candid.Unknown:
Thank you to our CAN+DID sponsors who made this episode possible. The Omni Family of Services is a multi state human services agency serving adults and children through a trauma competent lens. They provide a continuum of care, including foster care, family preservation, behavioral health, and primary care services focused on helping kids families and the communities they live in strong and healthy. To learn more about the Omni family of services, or to contact an office near you. There's a link provided in this podcast description along with the contact email if you or your business would like to sponsor an episode of candid.Rikki Harris:
Fabulous, we will dive in Welcome to Our Podcast. Evan. We're very excited to have you. Just by way of quick intro. I'm Ricky Harris, the CEO of Tennessee voices and my co host will evolve CEO at Tennessee voices. And we are super excited about our guests today. Because Evan, you hosted you emceed our very first green ribbon gala for Tennessee voices very first, about six years ago. And I don't think I've seen you since except running into you like at a restaurant one time. I know. It's gonna happen. I know, like Time has flown by, it seems like it was yesterday. As always, we keep you know, getting older. It is what it is. But by way of introduction of our guests, Evan, let me just tell the listeners. And then people may recognize you from a lot of things. You've done some really cool stuff in the entertainment industry. Well, we'll start with the things I recall. And that is while you were out. That was the best. Oh my gosh. And I want to hear so much about that. But top 20 countdown CMT TRL Hello, who didn't watch them TV? I mean, I'm in my 40s. So let me just put that out there. If you're in your 40s you know right now what TRL stands for, just leave it at that. Philanthropy work. Goodness gracious, you've got a list of philanthropy work Susan G. Komen Habitat for Humanity. Autism Speaks cystic fibrosis, UNICEF, what if I left out as the voices You've helped us?Evan Farmer:
needed and wanted? That's whatRikki Harris:
you got a book out about breaking into the entertainment industry called breaking in, which is kind of funny. I love that. Because now you're doing anyway, we'll talk about that later. You're married. I got to meet your lovely wife at the gala. And you have two boys. And right now you're doing a project called the building barn. So we want to hear about all of that. Where do you want to start? This is a I just barely scratched the surface of all the stuff you've got going on? Well, well, thank you for scratching my ego while you're at it. It's funny becauseEvan Farmer:
I probably needed it today. I'm actually I woke up I'm serious seasonal affective disorder kind of guy. And, and I didn't even realize I needed a little ego boost at the at the time that you said it. But I think I think the key are where to start with with me. And what's important to me is I've been a full time dad pretty much since 2013. So I've been out of the entertainment more or less since since I left CMT. And that has been I'm unequivocally the best thing that's ever happened to me. And it's been a great opportunity. And it's given me a lot of space to help guide my kids through the last couple years in particular, and some some prior challenges. So, you know, my world is actually very small compared to your description of my history. And, and I really, I really liked that it's given me a lot of a lot of other opportunities to explore when, when you're busy running around like a chicken with your head cut off, like my prior resume required it to be, it can be a big distraction. And I think I needed that at the time, certainly, you know, relating to mental health, I think I was not ready to kind of, you know, address many things emotionally during that period of time. And I was very fortunate to have a really, really fun series of distractions. And the shows were definitely a fun way to do that. And I got to meet incredible people along my journey and including yourselves and, and that's where philanthropy really came in. Because somewhere early on in my television career, I became an amplicon. Early on, I became really disenchanted with it. The first project that I did that kind of brought me any sort of public attention was called together with a two it was a we were the Spinal Tap of boy bands. And I won't say I was becoming agoraphobic. But what I experienced made me very, I don't know, public challenged, I didn't like that kind of attention. I resented the attention that came just as a result of that, because it wasn't authentic to me. And so I found myself not participating in outside of, you know, my apartment or work. And it was a very unsettling experience for me because naturally, I'm an explorer, I like to be out and exploring things and I became scared to leave my house. At the time, my mom and this kind of goes back to the Susan G. Komen. But at the time, my mom was treasurer of Baltimore, Susan G. Komen, which she was part of the she was one of the founding members of the Baltimore branch. She had survived breast cancer against many odds, she was given three months to live, and she beat it after five years. And she suggested to me at that time, to use what I was resenting my attention, for good. And so she invited me to sing the national anthem, that year at the Susan G. Komen Baltimore, March or walk, I had been doing that from the beginning as a complete, you know, nobody, but there was only, you know, two or 300 people there at the start. And then all of a sudden with together, it was, it was an advantage to the cause. So there was, you know, I was able to help pull in people to the cause, just by my being there, never been more terrified to sing the national anthem in my life than that first, first time. But philanthropy then became my outlet to reengage in the world. And that's really where, where I came to, I'd love to say that it was entirely selfless, and that I saw this need, and I poured my heart into it. Of course, that is a part of why we all do it. And I think that's part of who I was, when I was born. However, it really that was the connector for me. And it made sense. And I was able to turn some turn a negative into a positive, and I've been doing it ever since. And I enjoy mostly just working with people who are passionate and you will never find more passionate people than who are doing philanthropy. And that's kind of my story in a nutshell. So that brought me back to sort of where I am now as a father, my son, my oldest son is 13, my youngest son is nine. And, and I'm two boys, obviously, I think I just said sons. And, and I really have found my purpose in life very clearly to beUnknown:
being a part of their lives. In a day to day organic experience during when COVID happened.Evan Farmer:
The opportunity for them to come home and be at school was actually a gift because it was probably something we should have done with my my particular boys at the stage they were in with what they were dealing with in school. And I just didn't, I didn't have that wherewithal to say, Alright, I need to do and I was scared. COVID took all that off the table for me and brought him home. And I've watched my boys heal. In particular my older son who dealt with some very ugly scenarios in in school with I wouldn't say severe bullying, I would say extreme violence. I went to school in Baltimore. During the crack epidemic and a public school that was on the Baltimore City line, I never saw what my son had to endure. And, and so being home, watching him heal has been the greatest gift. And seeing him blossom over the last two years, and it's really changed the way I approach family raising children just life in general. And my wife and I both opened up our worlds immensely, because of as a result of the COVID experience, to not limit ourselves in any choices that we make, and you know, the ruts as a parent. You get into that, oh, well, we've got you know, school friends and soccer friends and the our friends become the Friends of the kids and the parents of them and, and all of a sudden, by default, your life is being lived for you. And you wake up every morning, just getting on that train. And taking that control back has been one of the biggest mental health positives in my, in my life, bar none. And so for the last two years, it's really allowed me to address the healing that I needed to do. You wanted to be candid, there you go.Will Voss:
I have I will. I'm like I want to know more. So much. I haven't said much. I'm like wondering about all kinds of things and remembering some things that youRikki Harris:
you had shared with me, just some of your own self care practices. Way back when we talked last that you did just, I mean, I remember the cold shower story. I was like, Okay, I'm gonna try it. And it's really hard. It's not pleasant at all. And I remember thinking, Oh, he does this, like, as a practice regularly. Why? But I do know why. And and, and so I'm just wondering, like, what other things have you have you put into practice, as you've learned through COVID? I can so relate to stuff around having the kids at home, what you're saying, but what are the self care things? You've mentioned? Seasonal Affective Disorder, like how do you deal?Evan Farmer:
Great question, and the shower thing is still the hardest thing I do. I will tell you that I've brought my kids into it. And my oldest is very much like me, and that he's an extremist, he just goes through, he just embraces the extreme might, my youngest I admire, I wish I could be more like him. He's the Buddha. It's kind of the way I describe. He's one of the honeybadger. I mean, he's very, very centered naturally, he knows who he is. He's not, it's not desperately searching the way I feel like I had my whole life. But my oldest son and I go jump into freezing cold pools in in February. Still, we did it not too long ago. And it's by far the hardest self care thing I've ever done. But that's why I do it is I enjoy the challenge. But actually, you know, I'm glad you asked about the self care because I would say over the last year and a half, I have taken that to a level out of necessity, that I didn't realize I'd start I'd always been involved in different forms of self care. But my discipline with it has waxed and waned. And I've kind of tried different things. My biggest Prozac as I like to call it is going to the gym and I would wake up very happily at five o'clock in the morning and go to the gym, and I would, I would do a leisure gym, I would spend two hours there not heavily doing anything the whole time, but it was my my space. And when that disappeared for me, you know, I hit COVID Like a jack rabbit. And I was trying to do one of those videos like the super RX online or whatever. And I was jumping around the living room and, you know, my wife would come down and I was just it just looked like I was in a panic because I need to replace it. And I was I started off with the replacement. And, and I realized that that was unsustainable. And I realized that I wasn't going to be able to control it. It took a while to settle into the reality of what was going on. And I really had to make some hard changes. I think the hardest thing for me with mental health is the fact that it requires the last thing that you want to do, which is taking action and making change when you're really in that dark space. And I'm no stranger to that. The last thing you want to do is get out of bed. The last thing you want to do is, you know, go for a walk around the neighborhood. I grew up in a family that has struggled with a lot of depression and my mother had a lot of mental health issues. And coincidentally, I think we'd spoken about this at one point. She she was a therapist, and so on one hand, we had a lot of great therapy on the other hand, we had a lot of, you know dysfunction in our family. I did that she was a part of. And so it was a very weird mix. It was like I was being messed up, and then given the tools to fix it immediately, you know, almost simultaneously sometimes. I have never really considered myself a heavy drinker. But I made the decision. One night, I realized I made the correlation between one glass of wine and extreme anxiety. And I'm like, I can't, I can't be the leader of my family and experience that. And, and so I just cut it out, it wasn't a difficult decision, I was just like, Okay, no more of that. And I know, a lot of a lot of people kind of gathered around the zoom, and they would have their, you know, in that community, and they kind of replace their social lives, you know, and that and alcohol is a big part of our culture, I just realized that couldn't be part of mine anymore. That waking up very early in the morning, I came back to that. And it's replaced my early morning workouts with breathing exercises, breath work, I read a great book called Breathe. The author's name isUnknown:
eluding me right now. But anyway, and just the power ofEvan Farmer:
your parasympathetic nervous system and your sympathetic nervous system. And in getting that under control, is can be very therapeutic for a lot of people. For me, it has been so it sounds crazy and extreme, but I get up every morning and I do breath work for about an hour before anybody else in the house wakes up and I put, I'm gonna sound very gooey on this. But I put affirmations on YouTube on TV, sometimes over an ocean or you know, some beautiful vista, but it'll just slowly you know, put up words of affirmation, or comfort, sometimes it's just a crackling fire, just to give me that soothing comfort, and I do breath work, and I meditate and I read. And I try to get as much of that in because if I don't set myself up in the morning, then I struggle all day. And sometimes, you know, even even today, today was very difficult. I got up very early, did my breath work, my sons come down, and they start reading with me, which is really wonderful. And, and yet still, after it was over, I just felt really anxious and restless. And for me, it's, it's clearly the weather that affects me. Those are the two main things that I do I still exercise, I'm not rabid about it, you know, like I used to, for me, I will just take a 20 minute walk around the neighborhood, and actually have a list on my mirror of things that I need to do when I'm really in a funk. Because, again, the hardest thing, as we all have experienced, when you're in that dark place, regardless of how dark it goes, is it's hard to know what to do. And since I don't have, you know, my mom going, hey, you need to do this now. And, and because sometimes your spouse isn't always connected in a way that she can be like, Yeah, I think you need to take a walk, you know, I need to be able to remind myself and so on my mirror is this list of brief exercise, rest, eat and meditate. And those is that list and I'll just go check, check those boxes. And if one doesn't work, I'll move on to the next. And even if it's 10 minutes, you know, I need to do those things. And I need to do them on the regular otherwise, I just don't function very well.Rikki Harris:
Wow. I'm trying to write all that down. I need to be doing all these things.Will Voss:
There was a lot that I took away from it to Evan and I will tell you what I truly admire about it. You know, especially in the mental health field, we talk so much about self care. And we've seen over the years, how it's grown. And it's not just the mental health field to talking about self care to every field. What Ricky and I both talk to staff about is how it's evolving, it's ever changing. You can set out a plan and if it doesn't work, alright, let's try something else. Try What does figure out what can work to really help you get to that point where you want to be it. So I think it's phenomenal how you put out all of the kind of drawing as far as what things can look like, what didn't work for you what may work for someone else. You know, I tell everyone who comes on and you just help somebody. So I will tell you, you just help somebody and I think Rick is shaking her head similar to me. You just helped us to we've got a lot of things to add to our self care plan. It's evolving, you're right. It's Yes, sometimes none of them work. And that's that's the reality. Sometimes I you know, I will just sit there in bed and, you know, I've got to learn to say you know what, thisUnknown:
Days Gone? Ain't nothing I'm going to do. I've tried it all this days gone, and there's nothing I can do about it. My taxes can wait. Everything else that I'm stressed out can wait. I'm doing that right now I'm surrounded by, you know, nine months and finances. I've been avoiding that. Yeah, yeah, you just got to put when it's hard to put that foot forward. That's the part that, you know, I've seen with my family and friends, and as we've all kind of shared notes is, you know, sometimes the hardest thing is just doing that one thing, because the weight can be so enormous. And, you know, getting that toe out there, you know, it'll probably help. But it's just taking that first initiative. And it's so easy, and it gets a lot of platitudes. Well, you got to take action, you got to do this, and you got to do that. And it sounds like I do a lot. Sometimes I don't. But I know what I need to do. And, and sometimes it'll, it'll, it'll rapidly change, you know, my gym went to someplace else. And, you know, I don't look the same that I used to when I worked out for two hours a day. But I'm okay with that, you know?Rikki Harris:
Yeah, it's, and it's so interesting how that layer, on top of all that you try to do for yourself that layer of being a parent. And knowing how whatever you choose to do will impact your child in some way, adds a layer of guilt that we also have to try to protect ourselves from that piece, I can kind of relate so much to all the things that you're sharing. But then also, if I didn't do my self care, and I did have a bad day, now I have guilt of who I didn't give my kids my best today, they actually saw something I probably wish they wouldn't have seen out of me. And then you got to carry that around so that self care does so many things for us. And as my husband's always reminding me, you're human, and you need rest. So don't forget those two things. You will you will make mistakes, you will say things you didn't mean to say you you. You're human. It's okay. And that part's hard, too.Unknown:
Yeah, you know, I'm a big fan of Brene Brown. And the shame that you talk about, I'm looking back has been perhaps the biggest challenge of my life, I was raised in a family of extreme shame, male shame, I was the only boy. And there was a very well intentioned, but I think misguided version of feminism that kind of took roots in my immediate family, and it was very anti male. And the way I absorbed that was just shame. I was ashamed of everything. You know, my shame of existing was funny, I was looking back over preparing for a documentary about the pop era that I've been asked to partake in. And I was looking back over some of the things that were going on at the time. And I had this big trunk filled with interviews and magazines and things that together was a part of, and I remember and then I looked up my own Wikipedia and there was something or maybe it was IMDB. And there was something on that that said he would never wear red Evan would never wear red. And it triggered something you're laughing I'm need to know.Will Voss:
And I saw it and that was one of my questions for you today. I was gonna ask what is up with worry, it will talk to us about this. This is lovely.Unknown:
For the first time in my life, I will share you share with you the true origin of that. Because I did a lot of work on on. I remember proudly saying that in that interview, but not even really understanding why. And here is what I've come to is my realization in school, I or in my my life as a child. Starting in elementary school all the way up, I wanted to disappear. I wanted to blend into the walls, I would not wear Nikes that if the Shuar shoe or whatever you call the thing that's on the shoe, that thing if it was a different color than my Nikes because it might attract somebody, I didn't want anybody to see me. I wanted to disappear. And that was all born around shame. I was ashamed. I was ashamed to be a guy. I was ashamed to feel what it felt like to be a boy. I was ashamed to exist. A lot of those things were passively taught to me, not again well intentioned, for I understand it as an adult looking back. I literally want it to disappear. It was not I did not feel safe in this world. Wearing the color red was about as dangerous as I could possibly imagine. My outfit can be consistent and my mom used to make fun of me and she was like she would say you know I was just a boy thing I would wear one pair of jeans and one plain white t shirt. And white sneakers because I did not want to be noticed. And that took me all the way up to about midway in high school, where I was introduced to theatre and music and things that I found a group, a tribe, so to speak, they became very much my second family. They became my primary family. You know, we're also latchkey generation, I wasn't very actively parented from very early age. I was my younger sister's primary caretaker, she's four years younger than me. And somewhere in high school, I found my tribe and they were very good about making me feel not so weird. Now, you can't undo all that in a very short period of time, even when you find your people I'll never forget go into college in a different state. The only reason I chose a college where I went into Lane was it was the furthest college that accepted me and New Orleans. So I went to New Orleans, and I never came back, I needed to find my new place. But I remember joining a fraternity accidentally, which is a whole other story that we don't need to get into. But I remember very reluctantly going to a lunch at this fraternity, my purpose was to tell them Hey, guys, big mistake, don't want to be involved in all this. The hazing had started. And this was a group of guys who didn't grow up with male shame. And so that made me feel very uncomfortable. And they talked about things that nobody would talk about in my world. And I didn't want to be a part of that. And somebody at that lunch broke me emotionally, literally, I kind of saw red. And all of a sudden, that day, there was before that moment, and then there was after that moment, after that moment, became the guy that could do television could wear red, essentially, Old habits die hard, I didn't start doing that until it was actually felt like I've arrived and nobody's going to judge me negatively for just existing anymore. At least I have that superficial, you know, feedback, which again, to complicate things that went on to resent later on, because I'm like, Well, you don't like me, you just like the guy that is on that show where the you know, very complicated, but, but really, I mean, honestly, not wearing red came to and I hear a lot of this too. You know, I listen to a lot of podcasts and interviews with people in the mental health world, the self improvement world and whatnot, there is a very huge commonality of wanting to disappear and blend in I also have an extraordinary pain tolerance. That is also another commonality of people who share the blending in and disappearing is when you kind of grow up in a certain certain environments, it's becomes a survival skill, it becomes a test of your alive. So that actually enabled me to do a lot of things in my life. Because what caused people to rational people healthy people to go is a little too much. I'm pushing the boundaries here. I didn't and you know, without any talent, really extraordinary talent at all, in any of the fields that have worked in in entertainment, which I talked about in my book, The premise of my book is, look, I'm not a guy that's that's going to win American Idol. But I sold a million albums, you know, and without any talent in any of those fields. I went on to succeed because we're most people stopped I wouldn't. And that's because I was willing to kind of, it's because of that lack of pain, tolerance, emotional and physical. I would push myself that was a whole lot. I just realized I just I'm patting on you guys. LikeRikki Harris:
I'm like, Okay, first of all, can you come to work for us? And then second? Like, I have you watched the documentary. I think it's on either Disney or the Discovery Channel. I can't remember about the divers who saved the the the boys in Thailand that got stuck in the cave.Unknown:
I haven't because I'm so claustrophobic that I might die just watching it. But I feel like I must be the second person.Rikki Harris:
Okay, so but it's what you're describing the extremism and the I want to disappear. These guys there's like four or five main divers that got called in from all around the entire world. Because they were known to be like the the people that if anyone could handle this they could. And so they interview in depth. And all of them. I think there's four or five. They all say almost the same thing you did like I did like myself in school. I wanted to disappear. I didn't. I didn't believe in myself. And literally said going underwater in the dark and being out of everyone's sight was my most favorite place. It was it just became like this little haven for them. And then they become like these extreme, unbelievably talented divers and they never really set out for that it was just that's where they felt safe.Unknown:
I can relate it to every man So my version of diving is, is flying, so not just flying airplanes, but paragliders the minute my feet leave that ground, I feel like it's, again, my claustrophobia probably has something to do with, with that I don't feel safe in enclosed or surrounded by, by people, objects, or whatever. So being up in the air is, is metaphorical. But it's also some something transfer transform to me, I'll never forget my first flying lesson when I finally gave myself that gift I was doing while you're out, and I was like, You know what, I'm going to spend money on myself for once. And so I started taking flying lessons the first time, I pulled the stick back and left the ground. Again, it was another one of those transformational experiences like the guy that broke me at lunch and college. Which is interesting, because he was the biggest bully in the fraternity and he's gone on to do amazing things. I mean, he's almost world famous in the world in a different, totally different sphere. And he was a nightmare. But thank God for him, right? I mean, thanks. Sometimes it's those people. And anyway, I go off on tangents a little bit, but for pulling back that stick and leaving the ground and saying, Okay, now, what happens right now, and for the next 10 minutes until the plainest part, it's entirely up to me. Nobody else is going to influence nobody's going to shame me, nobody's going to judge me nobody's the only judgment is between my myself and my ability to get myself down. And, and for me, that was a practice that I relied on heavily for a long period of time. And I think a lot of people are drawn to extreme sports, born out of trauma. And certainly, you know, the flying I did wasn't too extreme until I, until I built my own airplane, and then flew it across the country solo, which was even looking back on that I don't understand what I was thinking. But I do know that it was a form of desperation. So many of the choices that I've made in my life have been out of, I need to do this to heal. And, again, I've never really talked about any of this publicly, certainly not in an interview, because I don't think I was ready to understand it. And a lot of a lot of ways until I found Brene Brown, who I think has really opened a Pandora's box for so many people to say, oh, that's what it is. That's what was going on. And, and it took, it took a lot of anger away from me when I understood it, because, you know, I don't blame anybody for living their experience. You know, and it doesn't, it doesn't apologize for anybody's actions either. But what it does is it once you make sense of it, then you can move forward. And I was stuck for a long time. And you know, I can move forward by by flying, I can move forward by you know, jumping out of airplanes, I did plenty of skydiving, paragliding, all great metaphors for it. But I, I would like to raise my children in this kind of bring it back full circle. But my goal is to raise my boys in a way where they don't need that to feel okay. And if I can do that, and that is my life's mission from here on in, then, you know, and I'd love to say that, that I chose that willingly. And that, you know, it came to this place, you know, I'm a restless guy I need to create, I created a business the building barn, which is on hiatus now because of COVID. But and I actually had to just stop and say, Is it okay for this to be enough? And, and then, and then sit in my own restlessness and feeling of, you know, of kind of disappearing on you don't get tangible results. Every day being apparent. It's the least immediate gratification gratification. I think Job anybody can do. You're playing the long game every single day. And nobody's going to come and pat you on the head. And certainly you can't take credit for you know, great things that they do, because that's not what that's about either. So it's it's the most abstract thing and for a guy that has lived his life, looking for and getting getting out of feedback as sort of like, you know, my next notch I will get feedback, resent it, move on, get feedback, resent. And, you know, it was hard for me to get off that train, and I don't even know him entirely off of it yet. I still think I'm looking for it every day. I'm reading and search all the books I read. It's funny. I'm reading this great book called The Lion trackers Guide to Life. It's phenomenal. This it's basically it's it's what we're talking about. Through a guy that grew up in the you know in South Africa reserve and his family. It's an amazing story in and of itself, but, but it's really about when you're, when you're just going forward, I think the quote is, I don't know where I'm going, but I know how to get there. And that is one from one of the trackers in Africa. And I feel like that's where I am right now. I don't know where I'm going. But I do know, with confidence, probably for the first time in my life, how to get there. And it's slow, and it's boring compared to the way I've lived. And it's fun, I'm at peace. Where than I've ever been.Rikki Harris:
Yeah. Wow, it the amount of insight that you have. I mean, it's time for another book, Think of time what was the last was a while ago, you got thisUnknown:
shame about writing that book. You know, it's funny, because, you know, the book is premised on, like, you know, when you write a book that is designed in the self help genre, you have to assume a position of some sort of authority, or some sort of mastery, which I'm not comfortable with. And so in order for somebody to read it, you have to basically brag on yourself for a second, you know, to say, This is why you should read the book, because I've done this and this and this, and if you learn from me, maybe you can, too. And that is still I fought with my editor on that. I'm like, can we just and in fact, I had to actually steal something from Anthony Robbins, after literally I, we, we came to this coming to Jesus moment where I listed the bullet bullets and things that I've accomplished, that made me feel extremely, and I just bolted them, because I didn't want to belabor this whole thing. And I put, I put under there, I'm not telling you this, or I'm not saying this to impress you, but to impress upon you. And to and, and I really don't feel comfortable with all that. Oddly enough, but that book is it's like I've read it probably 10 times since I wrote it. And every time I read it to to see oh my god, do I sound pretentious? Do I sound you know, like, do I come across? And that's that's the way I was raised. It's all that shame sort of coming to build? And like, Why Why couldn't I just be proud of some of those things? And why couldn't I, you know, accept the fact that I wrote a, you know, pretty decent book that kind of, you know, is a guidepost to certain things. Now, I will say, The God the book is really was written with an eye towards. And it's about entertainment, it needed to be because that's the, that's the world that I was speaking from, and we needed an audience to sell to. But really, I wrote that book for my kids, it's this is the best of what I know. But in hindsight, it's the best of what I know how to achieve. And I no longer value achievement for achievements sake. In fact, it can be a dangerous, dangerous distraction for a lot of people, it can cause mental health crises. And so, like, I almost want to go back and just write a foreword saying, hey, what you're about to read is for this and this alone, but first, can you sit and be with yourself and figure out what your life is really about? What issues you need to, to work through things that you need to address? You know, what makes you happy? Where do you see yourself in 10 years that doesn't involve money or accolades, you know, and that's the only the only addition I would make to it right now. Wow. And citing a couple of the people that I cited that have since become abominations in our, in our industry, they achieve great things, man, the me to movement wasn't so kind to them, so you know.Rikki Harris:
Understand, and and by the way, side note Brene Brown has a podcast, I think you should be a guest on her podcast. I'll let her know.Unknown:
Okay, you do that? Yeah, I'm not quite sure I qualify for the pantheon of greats that she has, but I listened to it religiously. And you know, what's even more fun is listening to podcasts that she's being interviewed on. I found those are far more revealing to me, but But yeah, I love it. Good stuff. Well, I can't youWill Voss:
know, no one else is gonna say us too. Okay, we were right there with you. Brene Brown bands. Yeah.Rikki Harris:
Yeah, man, there's so many things and so I have to say I love her but the gift of imperfection. I don't know if you've read it yet, but I can so relate to something you were talking about as you were saying it I was like Wolf that's hitting home really hard. But the the part about not not feeling good about people saying things or you to you know, accolades for yourself or anything like that. Just feeling like that's not okay. And I will. I don't know that I'll ever be over that. I feel like that's always going to be a problem for me. I know that when I awesome things happen, right? And I'll share it with my husband. That's about the only person that I'm willing to. I mean, I'll celebrate with will. But outside of that there's no like, there needs to be no attention drawn. And so I'll share it with my husband. And I mean, that's like, okay, okay. Okay. All right. You know that that was enough? Let's not, but it's almost like in my head, I'm saying, I needed you to say that. Thank you stop. Because if you keep going, then I have to do better next time. And there has to be more for the next thing. And I'm not sure I'm ready. Right, for that expectation, because you're, I'm going to need you to keep saying it. But if you keep saying it, I'm going to want you to stop saying it. It is this weird, weird place to kind of try to figure yourself out in Yeah, yeah, totally understand. And I can dearly describe as full as you can. But thanks for sharing that.Unknown:
Yeah. I mean, I relate 1,000%. And I think I've been very, very lucky in my life to have experienced both. In an extreme form, I was in a pre interview for this documentary that we're talking about. Ironically, with all this going on, I was part of a Russian band in 1997. And it was one of the first big experiences of my career, where I was bartending in New York, and barely making my rent every every month. And then one week later, I was in Moscow. With their biggest there was a batch, they were essentially the Backstreet Boys of Russia. And they've sold more albums and Garth Brooks, there's a weird microcosm of music outside of the United States, where you can be extraordinarily successful, by certain metrics, but not have the other metrics in place. It's very bizarre. But the experience that was so critical for me was I went to Russia did the tour in 97, and got to experience what extreme thing I became a Brad Pitt for three months, you know, I got to experience that. It was like, it was almost like one of those movies where you know, potion, you know, comes in person transforms into their dream for a minute, and then all of a sudden, and then I came back and I was bartending. So I have this weird experience of going out into public with for personal bodyguards to coming back to complete anonymity. And it was such a gift, because I immediately saw what fame was. And in my book, I talk about famous being a drug like crack cocaine is literally it has no value other than potentially getting you more money on a on a practical level. But other than that, it has no, it's a very dangerous drug, it'll make you feel great for a while, but then you need more and more and more and more. And so before anything happened in my career, I got to experience this very bizarre thing, where I went out and came back and, and so it's always been locked in that place. Like, I knew what it meant, no matter what stage of my career I was in and what level of, of, you know, notoriety or, you know, while you're out, I became very, very recognizable, probably more so than from together but just in a more casual way, it wasn't the, you know, Beatles screaming, there's a whole kids people are taught that people are famous in different ways subconsciously. And so when I was in together, it was okay to come try to rip my shirt off my, you know, back while I was walking through a mall, that was perfectly fine. Because that's the, you know, behavior that we're taught, you know, screaming girls to do with, you know, when Justin Timberlake walks by, for example, but when you're on a home makeover show, again, I'm veering off, but it does have a point that circles back to what you're saying. But when you're in a home makeover show, you're kind of that that guy that's in your living room that you're having a beer with, or your your that that guy who's you know, doing the dishes along with you or painting that wall, you know, and, and so you become sort of everybody's casual friend. And that was a different sort of, you know, experience. And I didn't really mind that as much, because people were, by far more respectful of my privacy at that point. But I had no privacy, you know, and, and so for me, fading back into complete obscurity when I left CMT. Incidentally, I don't know if I've ever even talked about this, but they required me to dye my hair as you can see, I'm completely gray. But as soon as I left CMT, I shaved my head so that everything that came in was real, real gray and it was all me I grew a beard, and I slipped into complete obscurity with absolute bliss. I do not miss never willness sort of that superficial recognition. But I do very much need somebody say good job. Huh. And that's a totally different beast. And that's like you it's like, you know, recognize that I worked really hard on this and everything, and then go away. I don't want to set the bar too high.Rikki Harris:
It's so crazy. Yeah, no,Unknown:
it's too much pressure. Yeah.Will Voss:
I know, we've talked about a lot. And I know we're getting shorter on time. But I had a question I do want to touch base with you on going back to something we talked about earlier on. You mentioned, you're vulnerable with us, you were candid, and you mentioned your son, and what he had experienced in school. And we definitely we hate to hear that. But to hear the outcome, and now things are starting to get better. That's a blessing and know you all are grateful. So that's a positive thing to hear. Something I want to ask you, because we do have a lot of parents and caregivers and supported adults who are who are listening. You know, going through that we've talked a lot about, you know, this is what self care looks like, these are things that you've experienced and what you're continuing to work on within yourself. And, and I recognize it in the same boat, we realized that you know, and one day we're going to work on it. It doesn't mean we stop there. It's continuous, it's ever evolving. What can we as adults do, from our end to make sure that we're still making kids understand that it's okay to talk to us, and that they don't have to hold in all of what they're going through. Because there's a lot that they're dealing with that we don't see throughout the day, and especially in this day and age of social media, what can we do to make sure that we're we're on the positive side of being open and let them know that, hey, it's okay to talk to this. Guy, no heavy, heavy, heavy, I apologize.Unknown:
I won't even pretend to know the be all end all, I will tell you, through lots of missteps, and lots of regrets and lots of trying over and lots of forgiving myself and is just the one word that comes to mind is safety. My kids don't get punished. They they are not. They will never be shamed. If I can ever avoid it, and I've caught myself. They, they need to know and if our children are, feel safe coming to you for the little things, and if they know that they're not going to be shamed or condemned or made to feel small, in any scenario, and it's hard to it's hard to really drill down and note it sometimes it's that tiny thing that will lock them away. That if they're safe, then they will come to you. And that takes a lot that is probably, you know, a lot of Brene Brown, there's a lot of books that go into how do you get there. But for us, and what's worked with us is providing safety and comfort and there is no shame, there is no wrong, everybody gets to feel respected and heard there is no punishment. I mean, that that's probably, you know, we currently here and where we live, you know, there's a culture of spanking and shaming and things where we hear that with other parents and my kids see that happening to their friends and, and it, it becomes really uncomfortable when you slip to the other way you've not slipped when you've gone to the other side. And we're like, Wait a minute. And I will tell you, my kids don't lie, they don't feel the need to because it's, it's really extraordinary, just naturally, they don't need to protect themselves. And there's so many other things that, you know, by no means are, am I a perfect parent, I'm not trying to say that, but I do my wife and I had both very consciously created a very safe space for them. And you realize that you've done that when they come to you with that really scary thing that triggers you. And then you hold yourself back from reacting. You really want to and magically, they're waiting and you can see it in their eyes. They're waiting to go, Is this going to be okay? Because if they get the message that it's not, they may never ever, ever circle back around. I know I didn't. And so it's hard to remember that because these little things and you know, it's funny because my oldest son is almost six feet tall. He's 13 he's, you know, brag a brag on both of them. They're both in the gifted program. They're both very intelligent. They both have very adult vocabularies. The problem with that is is it's easy to forget that they're little boys and I find myself messing that one up our standard my standards for them and Become subconsciously, sometimes very adult. Before they're, you know, what is it 25 Is when their pre toe cortex is supposed to be fully developed,Will Voss:
hey, I had a professor tell me it may be 3031. I think I just gotUnknown:
the 50 next year. And I think I might be lucky if I get to some resolution there. But you know, it's easy to forget that and, and I have to catch myself even even what we expose them to, you know, we're becoming a very news free home, I've never watched news on television, never expose them to because of the, of the trauma that really causes. And I'm not a believer in, you know, the school of hard knocks, even though I grew up that way. And I feel like I gained many assets from it, I don't feel like and this kind of plays into our our choices about schooling, I don't feel like a kid needs to go in at their age and learn how to get bullied and handle it. I don't feel like a kid needs to go in and learn how to defend himself physically, at their age, I think that's too much for them too much responsibility to give a child. And again, this is this to come across very Pollyanna. And I know anybody who my friends that are listening to this that are also our CO parents would be like, well, you know, he's a little soft there are you what I've seen, and I saw, you know, tremendous amounts of healing in both my kids since they've been home. Now, I'd love to get them back out into the social world, and we're working towards that. But I'm reevaluating how we do that, and choosing the environment that we we do that in. And that actually plays into I know, this is kind of running long, and I've got more than time than then you guys probably want but I will tell you, we are planning on actually moving. We're moving countries, we're gonna move to Portugal. And we are going in for many reasons. One is just I've always I grew up traveling around the world. And I think that's an invaluable experience. But we wanted to experience a different culture where, you know, it's far more family oriented. I'm not dissing, I'm not dissing where, you know, this culture. But, you know, it's a, it's a different approach in the research that we've did, I was like, wow, wouldn't that be nice, you know, to just experience that, and to, you know, there is no, it's the third safest country in the world. And that tells you something. Because there's the cultural difference. This doesn't mean the rituals better than the US I'm not, I'm not saying that. But we want to go and experience these things and searching consciously for the next positive supportive environment is extremely important. And in a microcosm here in Tennessee, what we've done is we've been very conscious about the people we surround ourselves with, and it's no longer by convenience, you know, we we've decided it's worth putting in a massive amount of effort to surround ourselves with, with supportive people. And to take that sort of, you know, off the plate for not just our boys, but for ourselves. And it's a conscious thing is kind of goes back to what we started with this conversation, which is, you know, mental health is, on one hand, when you're struggling, the hardest thing to do is take the action that you need to get there. But it takes massive action to actually find the healing and to protect going forward. So there's a big conscious effort, I would say, on our part, and the whole thing, you know, encompasses so many different parts. And by no means do I feel like we're, we're hitting it out of the park every day, but but I think as long as you, you know, is going back to the kids thing is think of if they see you striving and caring and trying. I will tell you, I apologize to my kids. As much as I've ever apologize to anybody, you know, ever we talk about the lizard brain and my family, you know, at night and early in the morning, our lizard brain is you know, is basically taken over. And so it's a very, it's shorthand for us to you know, hey, hey, buddy, I'm sorry, my lizard brain was was not not doing so hot. And I, I was very short and I shouldn't have been. That is so important. Because if you take accountability, you know, we expect our kids to, you know, take accountability for not doing your July, you know, we expect them to take accountability, but as parents it's somehow well, because I said so well, because I said so is never gonna answer. You know, it's, it's easy. But the accountability part is really big. And if they see you taking accountability, they're like, oh, I can trust this human. This human who's who basically is in charge of keeping me safe and healthy and happy. And, you know, we don't trust people who lie to us. And it's easy to point to politicians are lying. You know, but our friends you know, In lying, you know, little white lies, you know, I'll give you a perfect sample real quick as we went skiing recently, and my son's 13. But ski ski tickets were cheaper if he was 12. Well, we paid the extra 25 bucks, you know, because they needed to see that, that that isn't important, even when nobody's looking, even when you could get away with it. And accountability is critical. And so when they see that, well, they trust me, because I'm going to make the same decision on their behalf. Yeah, even if it's inconvenient. And, you know, it's like the friend that you always see lying to other people telling Little White Lies, you're like, What the heck he's saying about me when I'm not around. You know, that's, it's a lesson I learned a long time ago. But it's like, it's so true. We don't think about it when it comes to parenting all the time. And, and, you know, it's a tough pill to swallow when that's a high bar. Yeah. Because a lot of pressure to get everything right, you know?Rikki Harris:
Yes, absolutely. And, um, first of all, I need to know where you went skiing where it was only $25 difference, because I just bought lift tickets to go next week, or whenever. And the difference minus 14, and the cutoff was 13. And I bought the 14 year old ticket, and it was $250. More, but $25. So I was like, that moment you have I'm like, I look at her, like, could she pass for 13? Because she looks like she's 18? And I was like, No, of course, I'm not buying the wrong ticket for her age. But anyways,Unknown:
I would be lying if I didn't tell you that my first instinct was like, That's ridiculous. It's it's what's it's an age. And then I'm like, wait a minute, you know,Rikki Harris:
I know. Well, I will say, like, It's too bad. You guys are moving out of the country, because I feel like I need to hang out with you and Andrea a little bit, because we could talk all day. I tell people all the time. First of all, I can't relate to any. No, I can't relate to a lot of folks in terms of discipline, because we don't spank our kids. We've never spanked our kids either. And that's hard in this culture in Tennessee to explain. And then the other thing is, I tell people all the time, one day, I'm gonna write a book on parenting with respect, or, versus parenting with fear. I don't instill fear in my children to do what I say and live up to my expectations. I developed a respectful relationship with them, where we mutually respect each other and therefore make choices that honor each other. And people are like, what makes your kid Yeah, have I have I said before, you've made some decisions that I don't think, show me that you're responsible enough to have that cell phone? 24/7. So we're gonna dial it back and do it differently? Sure, yeah, we've had those conversations. But I didn't, there wasn't like, punishment, and all Yeah, all of that we could maybe way we could talk about that all day.Unknown:
I know, it's a lot. It's a lot. And I'm not interested in being popular either. So like, you know, I'm happy to talk about things like that. Even, you know, to anybody who wants to listen, and I, it doesn't make me popular among some of my former, you know, Friends, I would say, Yeah, and it doesn't, it doesn't necessarily make me judge them. It's just I, I know, it just highlights the disparity in the cause and effect that I want to see in my world. And my heart will bleed for a lot of children that, you know, like, it's hard for me to keep my mouth shut when I see somebody smacking their kid in a Walmart, you know,Rikki Harris:
oh, it happened to us. I had to take the dreaded trip to the mall for some ski gear to get ready for our trip. And we passed by a mom berating her toddler for not staying with her. And my daughter, I have two girls, Evan, they're 11 and 14. And my daughter looked at me and said, If that's not emotional abuse, I don't know what it is. And I was like,Unknown:
wow. And you know, it's good that they recognize that because when I was that age, I wouldn't have known any different you know, there was a corporal punishment in my family. There was a different kind of thing happening but now I wouldn't have I wouldn't have batted an eye and thought any different because that was what all around me was. Yeah.Will Voss:
So many so many questions. I'm like you brought you back. At the mall, Ricky, I was gonna ask Evan about those commercials that I found that you did in the mall when you were younger. I'm like being born in Ethiopia. It's so much so much so much.Unknown:
Well, I am looking forward to going back in Portugal is very close to Africa. So it's just a little hop or even a swim to Morocco, but we won't be leaving for a year so maybe a year and a half. So June 2023 is when We're planning on going, we'll be visiting for two months of summer to kind of scout and find our location and we'll see what we'll have to hangRikki Harris:
between then yes, let's do and don't tell us everything on this podcast save it for the book IUnknown:
think my book my book days are done.Rikki Harris:
Or your or your, you know, your documentary or something. I don't know. You got something to share, Evan, I think you should. Anyways. Well, thank you. Thank you. Thank you for participating on this podcast with us. What a what a joy. It was complete in so many ways. So things that you said so thanks for your being very, very candid.Unknown:
Absolutely. My pleasure. Thanks for having me. Here. Well,Rikki Harris:
thank you to our candid sponsors who made this episode possible. Service First Bank is a full service commercial bank focused on commercial and private banking correspondent banking and cash management, emphasizing competitive products state of the art technology and a focus on quality service. To learn more about service Firstbank or to contact an office near you. There's a link provided in this podcast description along with the contact email if you or your business would like to sponsor an episode of candy.Erika Lathon:
Thank you for joining us. If you enjoyed today's program, like subscribe and review this podcast. If you or someone you know is in need of mental health support services, log on to tn voices.org or call 1-800-670-9882. Join us next time as we get candid