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April 25, 2023

Navigating Tragedy: Finding Strength in Life's Challenges | Beth Booker

Beth Booker, a public relations professional, shares her powerful story of resilience and hope on The Life Shift Podcast. In this episode, she opens up about the trauma of losing her birth parents at a young age and how it has shaped her life. Beth talks about the challenges of growing up without parents and how her grandparents stepped in to adopt her, providing her with a new family and a sense of stability.

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Beth Booker, a public relations professional, shares her powerful story of resilience and hope on The Life Shift Podcast. In this episode, she opens up about the trauma of losing her birth parents at a young age and how it has shaped her life. Beth talks about the challenges of growing up without parents and how her grandparents stepped in to adopt her, providing her with a new family and a sense of stability.


"Every day that I get past 33 and onward is a gift for both of us. It's something that I'm living my life for, not only myself, my children but for him. And so I think that is something really special. It's like a way to honor your parent in a way." - Beth Booker


Throughout the conversation, Beth offers candid insights into the impact her childhood experiences have had on her as an adult. She shares how it has shaped her perspective on life and influenced her professional work as a storyteller. Beth discusses the transformative power of healing from trauma and the importance of addressing past experiences to move forward.


Don't miss this episode and hear Beth's inspiring journey of growth and healing. You'll learn more about the resilience of the human spirit and how we can overcome the difficulties that come our way.


Living in Naples, FL, Beth Booker is a creative entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in PR and Marketing with the education to match. As CEO of Gracie PR (graciepr.com), her diverse background spans multiple industries, from fashion to wellness, beauty to lifestyle, and healthcare to startups. Through it all, Beth’s prowess, knowledge, and leadership from both her heart and her experience set her apart from your routine publicist. Every project she takes on produces results-oriented work that is creative, strategic, and authentic. When Beth is not running her company, launching national public relations campaigns, and coordinating interviews, she can be found chasing her two kids, cuddling her three dogs, reading, hanging out on Twitter, practicing self-care through either skincare or her online shopping habit or doing some activity that requires a bathing suit and SPF.


Connect with Beth

Social Handles: @itsbethbooker @itsgraciepr

Websites: https://www.bethbooker.com/ https://www.graciepr.com/



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Hello, my friends. Welcome to the Life Shift podcast. I am here with a new connection. Beth. Hey, Beth. Hi. So I was listening to a fresh story podcast which is mutual friends of ours or Twitter friends and you also work with them and I got to hear some of your story on their podcast. And I reached out and I was like, hey, that's super interesting. And then you're like, hey, maybe I can talk about this other really interesting part of my life. And so thank you for just being willing to be a part of this. 

Of course, thank you so much for asking me. I think it's interesting when we have people that we, I mean, I feel like I know you because I see you on Twitter and you just, you, like you said before we started recording, you're just like an open book and, and you like to share the good, bad, indifferent, the ugly, you know, like all the parts of us that make us human. And I think that's what's so rewarding for me with the Life Shift podcast and probably for our friends Olivia and Jenny over there on a fresh story is to just like, these are just our real lives and it's something that we should be talking about and not, like, just painting the pretty picture. That's sometimes we feel we must on social media. Yeah. I think that, you know, being as authentic as possible and social is important because, you know, we are all human. 

We're all flawed people. You know, it's like everyone's trying to always paint the best version of themselves on there. And it's, I'm like, no, I'm gonna show you the messy side too. I don't know about you, but I always feel that the messy side is what makes us really interesting and it gives flavor to our story. Yeah, it's, I think my messy side is either is like the driving factor of what makes people either really love me or not like me at all. Yeah. And I think that's a good aspect of your personal brand is that like, you know, who you are and you know who you want to work with and will say what you do and, and now people know who they want to work with because they can see your true self and what it would be like to work with you. And so your public relations professional, what do you do on your, on your day to day? What's your, what's your life look like? 

Oh, man, that's a great question. So I um I work from home obviously, I am doing this interview in my house right now, as you can see, and I've ran my own company for four years now. And the great thing about working in pr is that no, two days are the same. And I think that's what really makes it interesting. You know, things are always changing. 

I read so much, so much news consumes so much news. It's nuts because I have to be on top of everything. So I'm always looped in on what's going on. But I work with clients across different industries. So that also keeps it, you know, a little bit different. And sometimes I'm working on all clients in one day and sometimes I'm working on just one or the other. Um and it's fun because I am a storyteller by nature. I love it. Um And I love being able to tell other people's stories. I love being able to look at a brand and like not just talking about the product or the service they provide, but also painting the picture of, you know, who's created the brand and who's getting impacted by this brand and what the difference is that they're making in the world or however they're positioned and it's always really fun to do that because then you can kind of see that moment where people are now supporting a company, not just because of whatever product or service they have, but because of who created it, which is something really rewarding, right? And it goes along with how you kind of present yourself out there as well and that, that, that people work with you because they know you and they know what you can do, but also they understand you. And so I see that I see the things that you're doing with your clients, at least on, on Twitter and congratulations to you kind of leveling up in your company as well. 

Try to bring on other people. So yes, I am growing really quickly, which is nice. Um Yeah, it's a lot, it's a lot of hiring a lot. 

I wish I could clone myself just to do the hiring process. But um you know, I feel really great. I have some really great clients that are going to be coming on soon. I'm excited to share. 

So, congratulations and now we've gone way off topic, but I just wanted to, you know, draw those little connections and hear a little bit about you. And so my guess, no, you know, I only have a simple little form that I have people fill out. I don't want to know too much because I want to just have a real conversation with someone about the moment that they feel it was pretty pivotal in their life, that kind of switch directions if you will. You know, for me stemming from when my dad told me my mom was dead, it was like my life was never going to be the same at that point. And so I'd love it if you could kind of paint the picture of kind of what your life was like before when you feel it shifted. And in your case, it might be a small little picture if we go on that story, but feel free to kind of paint a little bit of who you were so that we can see how that moment changed things. Oh, man. Okay. Um So this isn't something I've talked about super publicly. Um especially on a podcast and I've mentioned a little bit on social media. 

A lot of people know that I lost my parents when I was really young. Um I, so for context, um my parents met and after a really good time one night, um I was in the coming into the world. Um So my birth mother had a lot of issues with substance abuse and drug abuse and was bipolar. She had depression. She had a lot of um a lot of things happening in her life that felt very out of her control. Um My dad was very solid and hard working and amazing and generally just like the best guy ever. So naturally he brought her home to Pittsburgh where I'm from with him and they had me um they got married after I was born and by the time before I was even two years old, they were separating, there was um a lot of just really shady stuff going on with my birth mother. 

Um, to the point where she, you know, had sold my crib, my clothes, um, my toys, everything just trying to get different pill prescriptions and going to different doctors and, you know, it was just really, um, really, really toxic and this was in the early nineties. So my dad was actually granted full custody of me, which is something that was really rare then. Um, which I also think shows just how bad the situation was. Um And there's a lot more context in there too, but I know we have a conversation ahead of us, so I'll save that. Um But my dad and I lived with his mom and stepdad um in their house and his grandfather. No. Yeah, his grandfather, my great grandfather. And so we had this multigenerational family under one roof and we were living there. 

My dad was going back to college. He was in the navy, you know, he worked at Phoenix Glass at the time. So it was just like glass um Blowing company. But he passed away a week before my fifth birthday and he was 33 years old, which is really pivotal because I'm actually turning 33 next month. Um so it's this very surreal kind of like cosmic feeling inside of me with that. And I think it was, that was like the before of like what my life looked like. And because I was four years old I would, you know, I would hide from my dad every day. 

He would come home from work or school or whatever. And I always hid in the same spot because it's a four year old who really had no concept of like, oh, he's definitely not gonna find me here again. Um, I would hide behind this like, couch in our sun room and he would always, like, burst through the door and he would sing like the opening song to Lion King. 

You know, like so then, yeah, you know, sorry to everyone who just had to hear that and it was, it was tough and it was so fun. But then it was this one day and he never came home and all I remembered was his mom who's now my mom, she adopted me crying. And then it honestly is very, it's very odd and this is a trauma response. 

I'm sure a lot of people who especially who listen can relate to. But I, like, I really, I pretty much like, blacked out in between part of that. And then all of a sudden I just remember being in our house with all of our friends, family, everybody is there, everyone's crying, everyone's upset and I'm like little and understanding there like in the middle of it all while all of that. So, you know, it's like that was kind of the moment that I feel like a lot of stuff changed in my life. It all kind of shifted. Do you feel that, that you, like, vividly, remember you standing in that crowd of people and, and thinking, did you know what was happening? 

I mean, you were only four or five at this point, right. Yeah. Yeah, I remember, well, I mean, when you're that small to, like, everyone's much bigger, I just remember, like, kind of standing there, like hiding, like, you know, kind of like how, like little kids like kind of hide up next to their um their grown ups that they have. And because his mom was such a big part of my life and now she's my mom. 

I, because I was little, I would slip up and I would call her mom all the time. Um because I didn't have my mom around and she would always like, no grandma. And then like, she always says that was the day where I called her mom and she answered because she knew like that was the option, you know, she was going to have to be my mom now. And honestly, I mean, if it's something that I don't 100% like, remember all the details of, except for like little snippets, like my, you know, standing in the room with everybody. 

I remember um someone saying to me, you know that how great my dad was and what a great person he was. And I'm like, I'm for, I know he's great, but like, when is he coming back. Um, and then, yeah, yeah, they, they told me and, um, you know, the thing was, it was very sudden he had coronary artery disease, but no one knew that he had it. So he had collapsed, walking to the parking lot, um, or walking to his car through the parking lot. And, um, you know, he passed away shortly after that and it was just very sudden, um, and then for the funeral that we had had, um, you know, there was lines out the door, right? Like he was this young man who everybody loved. 

He was the type of guy who would stop and like talk to his mom's friends, like in the grocery store standing by the car window with the rain pouring down on him. Like he just didn't care. He was just a good guy. So I did not go to the funeral because his mom, my mom now Carol for anyone who follows me on Twitter, they know all about Carol. 

Um, you know, she thought it was better for me to not see him um, at his funeral because she wanted me to remember him as he was as he was alive. And honestly, like there was a lot of times when I was growing up, I was really upset that I felt like, um I never got to say goodbye to him, but in the sense now that I'm a mother, I know why she did that. And I appreciate that because all the memories I do have are happy ones. Um, and, you know, I wasn't alone, like my older cousin, um, stayed with me. 

She slept on the floor of my bedroom, you know. Yeah. And it was just, you know, it was one of those situations where it's just like a huge tragedy for our whole family and it's shaped who you are now. I can relate to so much of that. 

I was a little bit older. I was eight when my mom died. And there's a couple of pieces where you're saying these, these things and I'm like, it's a total What I would say, a normal trauma response of a kid that's lost someone suddenly, my mom died suddenly in an accident as well. So very strong parallels here. But the first one is when you said you're turning, you know, your, your around the age that your dad was, are you turning the age that your dad was when he died? Okay. So my mom was 32 when she died and turning 33 was the weirder one to me. So it'll be interesting to see how you feel when you turn the one year older than your dad will ever be. Because there is this, this weird thing because in your mind, your mom, I mean, your dad has not, he'll, he'll never age, right? And like, but now we're going to age as humans. So that's a whole other fun piece of karmic trauma that you'll get to kind of go through Its wild and, you know, my birthday is April 30 and he passed away on April 23 and I am turning 33 the same age. 

He was when he passed away in April 2023, which is like, you know, I'm very woo already. So I'm just like okay cosmic uh whatever. Um But the way I'm looking at it, I thought I would have a lot more of a harder time with it. 

I think it's very interesting that you make the point about like turning the age after. Um Because I feel like that is a little like, oh, like they never made it past this point. Um but the way I see it too is like my dad had just turned 33 of the month before he passed away. And it's like the way I see it is every day that I get The past 33 and onward is a gift for both of us. 

It's something that I'm living my life for, not only myself, my Children but for him. And so I think that is something really special. It's like a way to honor your parent in a way. 

I would agree with that. I think, I don't know, tell me if this is true for you. But growing up having a parent die young, I always felt that, that I was going to be that a like, I, like, I would be lucky if I made it to that age. And then after, to your point, I feel like I'm on borrowed time. I feel like, you know, I've, I'm 10 years older than my mom will ever be at this point in my life. And it's very weird to feel like, wow, I've been doing either a lot of things or I've done nothing with this moment in my time. Am I wasting this bonus time that I'm getting on this earth? Because as an eight year old and as a four year old, you don't understand what death is. 

You don't understand that it's final. Like you pointed out like, okay, when is he coming home? Like, I don't, you know, like that's part of the denial piece of, of grief, but at the same time you don't really understand. 

I mean, for so long, I, I used to try to convince myself that my mom was in witness protection. I did that too. So I'm assuming that some kind of trauma response where we can't quite process that. 

That's so interesting that you also, I did the same thing. I will still honestly sometimes like, it's weird in the back of your mind even in your thirties and being like, I wonder maybe, you know, maybe he's out there, you know, it's like you have those thoughts and it's, I mean, maybe that's some part of my inner child coming out from my therapy work that I'm doing that. I think that, you know, it's interesting that you had that same experience because I was always kind of like, I wonder if he's out there? I wonder if he's just, you know, something happened and he's in witness protection or he got into an accident and was in a coma and no one knew who he was. 

Like, you know, all these things you pull from movies and stuff. Um But, you know, in reality, I have his death certificate now and it's very real. Um as a grown up, obviously, when you're, when you're a kid, it's also you, you, you know, you talked about not being able to say goodbye to your father in whatever proper way that would be for a kid, which I'm not sure that there is one but you didn't go to the funeral. So you didn't have quote unquote proof that so I can understand kind of those moments. 

I went to my mom's wake and funeral. Same thing, lines of people, everyone telling me how great she was. I was like, well, I know this but like, why are we here? And it was very weird thing and then I can relate to your experience of, I think a lot of yours is probably attributed to your age, but a lot of the blackout moments, right? Like you don't remember certain pieces but little kind of highlights because I say like the two weeks after my mom died. I don't remember much but like little, little moments in, in there. Which ones? Yeah. What have you, what have you learned the most about your, your child and how your inner child kind of led part of your life or did it, were you able to process this early enough or did you? Is it this version of you is kind of more recently going through the trauma recovery? So I um, so I guess for more contact my birth, my birth mother, um she was still around. 

I don't know, like, not like in my life but, you know, um, and whenever my, my parents then wanted to adopt me after my birth father had passed, um, you know, she had to come and sign the paperwork and everything. Um It was always done in the intention that if she was clean and, you know, eventually down the line, maybe she and I could have had a relationship. I remember she gave me like a Valentine's Day themed Barbie and that was the last time I saw her because then when I was eight years old, she passed away in a car accident because she was drinking on drugs and driving. Um, and she went off the side of the road and, and she died and whenever my dad's mom who was, then my mom, Carol, if we're following. Very confusing. No kidding. I'm like, we need to have like a graphic for these listeners. 

They're gonna be so confused. Um, but whenever she told me that she had died, um, and at that point I was eight and she said that my response to her was, um, well, are you okay? And, you know, Carol, my mom's like, I'm okay. Are you okay? And she was like, or I was like, well, how old was she? And she's like, 34 I was like, she lived a year longer than my dad did. 

I'm like, that's great. Um And like, that's how I kind of viewed the world with that in mind, but as far as like the inner child work and all of um the trauma work, I haven't really started doing that trauma work and really digging deep into all that stuff until recently. Um I work with a therapist too, is fantastic with trauma. 

I have trauma that came from my first semester or first year of college. Um, to that I worked through. So it's kind of like the balance between childhood and, you know, college, you had a lot of trauma moments as a kid, not only in those death moments that you explain, but I mean, you know, recalling how your parents relationship was, I mean, you were around two when they split up, but I'm sure there's something that's carried in there of like how your mom was and your dad was probably being a great guy trying to in some capacity, help her in some ways. And then also, you know, having the, your mom kind of separate from your life. If you will, before she died, then your parents, then your current parents adopting you or your grandparents adopting you becoming your parents. 

There's a lot, there's, there's a lot in there that, that I think could push someone in the wrong direction. Did you find that your life? Like, what did your life look like? Let's say like after, after your mother, your, your birth mother passed away? Like, what was your life like after that? Living with your, your grandparents slash new parents? So the thing that's interesting is when I was adopted, I was given a hyphenated last name. So they kept my birth name, my birth last name and then because it was my, um, like my grandma's second husband, but he was a huge part of my dad's life, um, that he had a different last name that they attacked that went on to it. So I had two last names. So I was already like, very different from a lot of the kids in school because of that. And it was a really big part of my identity for that reason. Like a lot of people I think knew that about me. 

Um, they knew that I was adopted. It was really uncomfortable because a lot of times parents would be like, um, oh, your mom or your grandma, your grandma, like, and you know, and it's like, those types of things even now, like whenever I talk to my own kids about, um, you know, talking to their friends, parents or whoever I always say, you know, ask the grown ups if it's okay because you also never know if they have, you know, a mom and dad, two moms, two dads grandparents and, and you know, whatever. Um, and because like, that was something that I always just was really uncomfortable for me when I was growing up. But the other side of it too is that like, I grew up with a lot of privilege. 

Um, my, you know, my papa, that was what I called, my adoptive dad, my papa, he, he had a business that was very successful, um, a vending company in Pittsburgh and it really started to take off and be a real success around the time that my dad had passed away. And so he never really got to experience that. But I grew up in a way where I was able to go on these really great vacations. I, you know, always had the newest clothes, the newest devices, whatever it was the whole time I was growing up. And I think a lot of people kind of looked at me through the lens of like, well, why is she sad? Like, about having her parents? 

Um, we're not having her birth parents whenever she, you know, gets all of these things she wants. Yeah. And she gets to go on vacations and she has a beach house in Florida and all this stuff and it was like, that doesn't, you can be grieving and be sad and also experience all of those really privileged things in life. And I feel like they can both exist at the same time and it doesn't mean that like, one cancels out the other. And so that was kind of like a weird dichotomy of growing up where it was like, I had a really great childhood. I really did. My parents owned a restaurant, um, with a boat marina. 

I, you know, got to hang out in the kitchen and asked chefs to make me my, um, the little things that I wanted, I used to rollerblade through the kitchen and like the banquet rooms and, um, um, try to catch the baby ducks and like, it was great. I mean, but it was also like, there was always kind of that missing piece and it's interesting because, like, I don't think I really ever really grieved for my birth mother, um, at all because I felt like I really didn't know her and the memories I did have of her were not great. Um, but the ones of my dad, I did and I clung on to them and it feels like, you know, as I get older too, it's like you get further and further away from it and you try to grasp onto what you can because you don't want to forget what they look like, what they smelled like. Um, all of those things. But the thing that's really cool for me at least is that I have kids and my oldest son looks so much like my dad did when he was younger that, you know, Carol, my mom is like, I remember her just being so emotional, especially just being like, wow, like, and so I'm, you know, again, very woo. So I wonder, you know, like maybe it's his soul came back to me somehow. You know. That's interesting. Did you feel I, I can understand that, you know, other students, other kids probably were like, well, she has everything. Like, why can she, why is she sad? Like I want a new game boy or, you know, I want a new toy and at that time had, do you feel like you just said you hadn't like, grieved your mother but had you grieve your father lost? Had you had the opportunity to talk it out and talk through things or do you feel that all the good things that were happening in your life? Kind of kept that at bay? My mom, Carol, adoptive mom. Um Yeah, anytime I say my mom, that's Carol, um that's the current mom. 

Um, she did a really good job of, you know, talking to me and helping me understand things. Um I'm not a religious person but, you know, we went to church and I had, you know, these conversations with, you know, the pastor there who is nice enough. Um, and, you know, she helped me through that. But I also think that, you know, the material things were a good distraction for me as a kid. 

I mean, and it's still a good distraction for me. Now, it's probably one of my favorite avoidance tactics is online shopping. Um, and I mean, I probably am I going to be texting my therapist after this, like I had a breakthrough on a podcast. Um But, you know, I think that I was a really insecure kid when I was younger too. And so having those, you know, types of material things and having a nice house and having a playroom that was big and all of that stuff was, um it was kind of something I felt like made me feel like I was, you know, cool and worthy and, you know, interesting and not broken and, you know, all of these things because I mean, I did have friends but like, I was bullied. Um I was bullied literally all the way up through college to be honest. Um And I never really grew a backbone until after that. Um And it took me a really long time to do that and I don't know if that has to do with like the early childhood trauma side or um the later in life traumas. I mean, I have no idea but all I know, is it took me a long time to feel like I could stand up for myself. Yeah, I, I relate to the idea of, well, you, this was like mid nineties maybe. Is that what you said? Like I was born in 90 so he passed away 95. Okay. So mid 90s, late 90s, I don't think that a lot of people were talking as much about caring for mental health and grieving And on top of that, nobody knows how to help a kid grieve. No one really knows how to help anyone grieve, right? Like we just have to kind of figure out our own path there. And the reason I ask that question About the material things is that when I, when I was a kid, it was early 90s. When my mom died, no one was talking about that stuff and the people around me meaning well, wanted to make me happy, right? It wasn't to help me grieve but be happy and then everything will be fine. So here let's go to Disney. 

Yeah, let's just like give, give, give gifts and maybe that's why I like getting gifts now. I don't know, maybe that's just an American thing. But, but I think that, you know, it's, it's something to be said and the reason I'm curious about and it sounds great that your mom had these conversations with you because I think I it took me forever, took me so long to go through my grief process losing my mom because nobody around me had the tools right until I was ready, like you said to probably you were ready to grow that backbone until I was ready to face uncovering what I had done to my life after my mom died. 

That's when I was able to kind of find the tools right to, to uncover it and figure out what was there. So it's interesting to me that, that you had that, that part of, like, the materials in the nice place. Did you ever, do you ever feel like you use that to your advantage? Mm. I don't think I, well, maybe as a crutch I feel like I got used a lot when I was younger, um, because that stuff because I had those things because, you know, or even, like, whenever I was growing up and, you know, you go to the movies or the mall or whatever and, you know, I was friends with all types of people and, you know, they, maybe they wouldn't have the money to go to Taco Bell or something. So I would be like, I'll just get it for you. And I think my parents were always worried that, like, I was getting taken advantage of in those situations, but I also think I did it just because I so desperately wanted to be liked and so desperately wanted to be accepted and wanted to be supported that it felt um, I just felt like the right thing to do at the time and, I mean, I still do that even, like, whenever I've had, like, dips in business that I've been flat broke, I'm like, I will still do that for my friends, um, or send them little gifts or whatever because I just like doing that because I think it makes me feel good to see other people happy, especially if they're struggling and having a bad day. Um Then I think it was a little bit more self serving. Yeah. In a way, do you think that, that the experience of losing your father at such a young age, it might be a little different. But do you, did you ever have any abandonment feelings? Like you worried if you didn't live up to X Y Z someone was not going to be around anymore because of that? 

Yeah, I think that I have, I certainly have a lot of issues I always say and mommy issues. Um So I think that like losing my father at a young age was something that was obviously very life changing in the sense that like, I like that was my only parent, like only real parent at the time. But I think I actually reflect back more on my birth mom a lot. Um Because, and I think I do that a lot more now that I'm, I'm a mother. Um because I think I'm so afraid that I am ever going to turn out the way she did. And I never want to be like her In that sense. And it's not to say that she didn't love me because she loved me. 

She loved me very, very much. She just couldn't be a mom. And that's something that, you know, my mom has told me about my birth mother. You know, she really tried. 

She just had a lot of demons um, to fight and to your point about mental health in the early 90s, I mean, I was born in 90. She suffered from bipolar disorder, depression, substance abuse. Like I often wonder because I've had postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety that if she had that and it just went under the radar and no one noticed and no one, no one cared, no one diagnosed it or whatever because we didn't talk about that stuff then and like you pointed out earlier and I feel like it's like I wonder if we, you know, if she would have gotten help for that or if she would have, you know, someone would have picked up on it in a way it would have, you know, maybe changed everything. It's like you think about like the butterfly effect, right? It's like, you know, all these different little tiny decisions. Um and I often wonder if that's what happened to her. But I mean, I had postpartum anxiety after my first baby and postpartum depression after my second um and, but like, whenever I had it the second time I had those dark feelings and I was feeling horrible and because I had gone through the postpartum anxiety before, because I've had depression anxiety my whole life. 

I was like, uh nope, no red flags. I'm like, I called my midwife immediately. I was like, I need to be seen. I need drugs. I need a therapist. 

I'm like, I'm not cashing out on this life anytime soon. So I was like, I need to, I need help. Um, But it's also that was 2018. You know, it's a lot easier to, we have all these resources to really kind of understand those feelings and understand that like you're not alone in those feelings too and you also have that permission and that agency to reach out for help because you know that you need it. And, you know, I've even like any time that there's a new mom, I always ask, how are you feeling now? How's the baby? I don't, your baby's cute. 

Don't give a about your baby. Tell me how, how, how are you doing? Are you okay? Like, because if you're not okay, that's the normal answer because you're probably not okay. But like, how can I help you? And I often think back on my birth mother more for that because I always kind of have that in the back of my head of like, huh, I wonder, you know, um, because it just wasn't talked about. 

Well, I mean, to your, to your point about butterfly effect, imagine your mom had the awareness of, you know, their X Y Z issues out there. Maybe I have some of these, there's obviously some kind of illness, a mental illness that is making her go towards certain things. I shouldn't say. Obviously there might be, imagine she had gotten help and then, you know, maybe some of that stress cause something, you know, who knows where your life would have been. Had your parents stayed together? Had he not been in that parking lot that day? 

Had he been, you know, like it's all the little things that we can go to. But I mean, you can't, we're, we're a product of what we know at the time and what the circumstances around us do and you know, it's, it's, it sucks that, that we're just now like getting into the space where people are comfortable enough being like, look, I'm not okay and there's no shame in that. Like we're human beings. We, we have ups, we had downs, we have places in between and all of it's okay as long as we have the awareness and now we know that there are lots of people out there that can help us, you know, you just reaching out to other people. 

People weren't doing that because it was not your business. Yeah, I mean, no, like they're like, oh, I have my own problems. Like I don't want to have to deal with that. And I think that's also, I mean, that's why I'm so open about everything to on social. Like I, you know, I posted one time about like, you know how I missed bed time with my kids and when I feel like I'm thriving in work, I'm sucking as a mom and I cried and I posted all about it and people like I get that like, you know, when I had, I had two miscarriages in between my first baby and my last baby and I shared about it. 

I, I told people and now I still have people who I like acquaintances with who will be like, hey, I remember you posted about this. I'm going through this. Can I talk to you? 

Of course, you can talk to me like, let's, I'm right here, text me anytime you need me. You know, because I think that the more we share about those really, really dark and isolating moments in our lives, then it opens up the space for other people to know like they're not alone when they're going through that. Like, I mean, if you are a working mom and you feel like that guilt whenever you miss bedtime or you just can't make it to like a T ball game or whatever you're traveling for work. And I remember I missed a, like I was a Mother's Day event at my son's school because they had rescheduled it and I was away for work and my mom went for me as his, like, as his grandma. 

But, I mean, that sucks. And it's like no one wants to talk about that though. They want to talk about, like, gas, like a cute girl boss. Um, where it's like, you know, oh, mom preneurs and like, okay, like, yeah, I mean, but also, like, yeah, like, I'm not juggling it all all the time. 

I look like it. I look like I'm kicking ass which I do most of the time but it's like, you know, there is, it is very, very hard to juggle and all the things and I feel like, you know, sometimes you have to look at it where they're like you have like these like plastic plates and then you have the glass plates and you're spinning them all and if you drop some of the plastic ones that's okay, you're not gonna break but you gotta keep the glass ones up in the air. Um And that's just kind of like how I roll. 

I literally just fly by the seat of my pants every day. Yeah, I mean, I don't think that you're that alone in that. I think a lot of people, a lot of mothers have to kind of roll with the punches and, and do what they need to do and I commend you for sharing the not so pretty parts of your life that lots of other people can relate to. And I think that's kind of the whole point of this show is that like, sometimes our, our circumstances feel like, like we're the only person to ever go through this in our life. And like, logically, we know we're not, but emotionally, you can just feel overwhelmed and like, no one else will ever understand what I'm going through. But by just sharing our stories, just personally, I don't know about you, but by just putting it out there, it creates a relief in me because the story sounds so crazy, scary in my head. And then when I say it out loud, I'm like, okay, it's manageable. 

I feel like I can do something with it and then someone else can hear and go, hey Matt, I heard you talking about this. Can we talk? You know, and I think that there's such value in that. So thank you for what you're putting into the world in that sense. Thank you. I think it's healing to talk about what you've been through. Um And you know, like I experienced a lot of stuff within the first eight years of my life that a lot of people don't even experience until they're much older. Um And it was hard, I mean, I was in foster care at one point for a month. Um You know, I was in a cop car for the first time, but when I was, you know, 18 months old because my mom passed out and was on drugs and I was in the garden playing by myself in the dirt and, which is on brand for me actually. 

Um, but, you know, very big on sunshine and dirt. Um, well, like not like dirt, dirt, like plants, dirt, big plant early. Um, much more a fan of sand. Um, but I, yeah, Florida, it's like that was a lot of crap to go through as a kid. But I think that's also what's made me so tough and like that, it took me a long time to get that backbone. But I think I always have it. 

I think it was always there because I had survived so much, so much and even stuff we haven't touched on in this conversation. I have survived. And it's like I always look at it where I'm like, this is how far I've come. Like, you know, it's a miracle that I am here and I am thriving and I'm happy and I'm healthy and I'm giving it my best every day. And I think that it's just a testament to that little girl who really wasn't a really bad situation and it's a lot stronger because of it. 

Now, this might be a weird question for you. But is there anything that current version of Beth is grateful for because of the tragic experiences? Like something you've learned because of it and now you're grateful because it's shaped this particular part of you. Is there anything that's good because of this really tragic experience as a kid or tragic experiences? I should say there. Um I think that one of the most positive things that came out of losing my dad and going through those experiences Is interesting to look out because my mom was a single mom for a long time. 

My dad's mother, um Carol and that was her baby. Like she had him when she was 17 years old. And when he died, I think that if she didn't have me, she would have, she would have done something really bad to herself. Um And I think that we saved each other in this sense and that's probably why we're so close and also probably why we fight so much because we're the same. Um We're both also tourists is so that's like a lot of stubborn energy in one house. Um But I think that I, I, I think that we really kind of this, this antidote for each other through this time. 

You know, she always wanted a daughter. I always joke like you finally got your girl. Um And then she's like, yeah, I've been paying for it ever since. Um But yeah, like we fill this void for each other and I think it helped us kind of hell together through the years. And then the other point to is like I did grow up very fortunate. I don't have student loan debt. 

Um, I was in a beautiful home. I grew up in this quintessential beautiful town outside of Pittsburgh that looks like a Hallmark movie. Um, called Beaver Pennsylvania. 

I grew up in this really beautiful town in this beautiful house with fantastic parents that were hard workers and taught me like everything I know about business even though I didn't even launch my business until four years ago. Um, and I think that that's really, really a testament to them raising me because they were older. I mean, they were in there. Oh, she's gonna kill me if I get the math wrong here. Late forties. Yeah. My mom was in her late forties so my papa had to be in his fifties. 

But, you know, it's like they had a four year old and already done that. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, my papa had his own Children from his first marriage and they were much older than me. 

Um, and it's like, it's, I'm very grateful that I, they took a chance and not took a chance because they were always going to adopt me. They loved me but that they adopted me and that they raised me and made sure that I was, you know, loved and, you know, I think I owe a lot of who I am today because of that because it gave me stability. There's a lot of kids out there who lose their parents who maybe go into the foster system permanently or they don't have any other family members that are capable of taking care of them. And I think I was very lucky in that sense and that I had this, you know, this really beautiful upbringing of experiences and all these education opportunities and being able to do, you know, competitive dancing and cheerleading and piano lessons and all these things that cost money. Um, because just because I liked it and my parents wanted to make sure that I at least got the most I could out of my life despite not having what I lost. Um, and so I think that's kind of like the positive side is that I really ended up with fantastic parents. Um, and now it's just me and Carol against the world. So I'm down three parents. Um, it's just me and her but, but the relationship that you've been able to develop with your mom, do you think that would have happened if your dad had stayed alive? Do you think you would be as close to? He was really close with his mom? 

Um, you know, like I said, she was a single mom. Carol is very strong for leaving a marriage when she was not even old enough to get a divorce or get married. You said that you and Carol were each other's antidote because, oh, right. Yes. My dad was super close. 

Yeah, because you both knew, or she really knew what that loss was. Like, and she could help navigate this young child through this really tragic time. But then you were probably a great reminder of her son that she loved so much. And you know, and so like, there's just like back and forth of, of love that can heal things as much as you can without fully unpacking things. But I think it's beautiful. 

I, I, I can relate to so many parts of your story, which is so interesting. My grandmother, she did not adopt me because I still have my father. But she became that surrogate mother figure. 

We became probably like you and Carol, like best friends and talked about stuff that maybe we shouldn't have talked about together. But that was the relationship that I was so grateful to have. Even though, you know, like my mom died, I became so close to my grandmother. I don't know that I would have. And that's kind of where that question I've just been projecting my whole life onto you. That's okay. We have a lot in common. 

I feel like um I feel like I always would have been close with Carol. Um You know, my dad, it's interesting, he had a plan um where he had actually already started buying stuff, we were going to move to Florida. That's where he was the happiest. And um that's where I live now. So I think it's like some kind of nice little cosmic nod there that I still ended up where I was supposed to be. 

I think that, um, life would have looked very different and it probably would have still been just as beautiful and just as great. Um, but I think that, you know, our souls are on this earth for a reason and when it's time it's time. And, um, the best thing that you can do is just remember that, you know, you're a product of someone who loved you very much and that, you know, they passed on to the world, whatever their purpose was. And now it's time for you to do the same thing and just try to like go out there every day, be as nice and not as holy as possible. I like it. I don't know if that's a real word, but we're going to go with it, appointing it. So I, I'd like to end the episodes with a question and I'm wondering if, if you could go back to four year old Beth, almost five year old Beth standing in that crowd of people holding on to your mother, Carol's leg. Is there anything that you could do or say to her to help her kind of get through that moment? 

That's a good question. And I knew you were gonna ask that question cause I've listened to your podcast. Um I think that it would be, I know everything feels really scary right now and you don't know what's going on, but you have people who love you and who are going to look out for you and you are going to be okay. 

One day you will one day see your dad again. And even if you can't see him, he sees you and sees everything that you are going to become and your life is not going to be easy, but life isn't going to always be this hard. I always wish I always like when people tell me these responses, I immediately go into that moment, like I was just sitting on the floor in that crowd of people as you were talking to little version of you. And you know, she probably needed a big hug at the time. And it's so true. 

We're a product of, of what's happening to us, what's around us and it's our opportunity, I guess two or r option to make the best out of what we can, you know. And I, yeah, life's not perfect. It's never going to be perfect, but you have to do your best to just understand that there are things you can control and there are things you can't control. And the one thing you can control is how you react. And so I think giving yourself permission to feel what you're feeling and not pushing it down and not brushing it aside is something that is incredibly strong and healthy and that is really valuable and that's what's going to keep you pushing forward because otherwise you're just going to keep it bottled up and then that's not good because then it's like having a pot boil over. Yeah. Yeah. It took me a long time to realize that and, you know, as a kid, you don't understand that you or I didn't understand that I had the option to be sad or I had the option to be happy when I should be sad and all these things, we, we are very nuanced and you are so right. And you're exactly what you said is exactly what I tell people when they're going through a hard moment or like grief of some sort, they've lost someone because you probably know this. 

I know this, there's nothing anyone can say to you that will make you feel better or will fix it. And so I just like to tell people feel however you're feeling every, every bit of it is okay. You can be mad, you can be sad, you can be happy however you're feeling and whatever moment in time is fine and, and let that be. So I think that's great advice, but also it's just so impressive to see what you've created from this life in the sense that many people have these unfortunate circumstances like you did as a child and many people don't get out of that and don't find ways to find the positive and find the growth that's possible. So kudos to you kudos, to Carol kudos, to your, to papa, you know, and, and creating this life for you and, and, and I'm sure that you're now doing the same for your own Children. 

So, it was what a fascinating story and I'm sorry that I projected all of my life onto you and, and sharing these moments. But it's, we can go through these moments and, and still be great human beings at the end and it's important to not, you're not projecting your just relating. That's empathy. That's, you know. Yeah, that's a good thing. 

Yeah, I it's this moment right here. I've talked to other people that have lost people early on. You're the first person that I've talked to that has had a similar situation in which I've felt less alone by talking to through my own circumstance. 

So, thank you for that. I know that wasn't your intention or maybe it was, but it wasn't, you know, it wasn't what I intended coming into this conversation. I didn't know that there were going to be so many parallels in my, in my brain and in my heart. So thank you for that. And thank you for making me feel less alone. Well, it's always a pleasure. That's what I'm here for. 

I'm just gonna call you out. Hey, I'm, I'm feeling a little alone. Please help me. Hey, Trust Me. You wouldn't be the only one. But thank you for coming on and sharing this story. 

I know you said that you haven't shared it too much publicly. So I appreciate you unpacking a little bit. Uh, here on the Life Shift podcast, it's been truly a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me, Matt. This was great. And if you're listening and you enjoyed our conversation, please take a moment to rate the show five stars. I'm wearing a shirt that says it's just okay, which was a three star review. Don't do that, but uh nice review. That would be lovely. I don't know what it does, but it makes me feel good. So, uh and if not, we'll see you next week on the Life Shift podcast.