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What Women Want Today
What Women Want Today

Episode 71 · 5 months ago

Author Carrington Smith - BLOOMING: Finding Gifts in the Shit of Life

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

If you love hearing women's stories about trimuph over adversity, today's podcast is for you!

Carrington Smith is a single mom, attorney, business owner, and executive search professional. Despite being born with a silver spoon in her mouth, life gave her a hard kick in the tail. She has survived sexual assault, two divorces, piles of debt, abuse, religious mind games, the death of loved ones, and the loss of close friends.

In her debut memoir, Carrington combines wit and wisdom to share her journey through the shit, with a positive attitude and a shift of mindset, into a life bursting with joy, opportunity, and purpose. A graduate of UT Austin and Tulane Law School, Carrington resides in Austin, Texas, with her two teenage boys.

Carrington talks about how all of the abuse and pain in her life turned into a story she needed to tell.

She now sees adversity as an opportunity, and takes action

She says mindset, gratitude and happiness being a choice are lessons she learned.

She also shares why she never saw herself as a victim after rape.

You can find Carrington's website HERE to learn more about her.

On Instagram 

Her book can be found on Amazon: BLOOMING Finding Gifts in the SHit of LIFE

Hello and welcome to the what women on today podcast. You might be asking yourself right about now. Well, what do women want? I mean we're pretty complex creatures, right. Well, I think we want it all, and I'm here to export with you. My name is Terry Kellums. I'm your host. Go grab your favorite beverage, I've already got my glass of wine, and let's get started. Hello and welcome today's episode of what we want today podcast. This is your host, Terry callums. You guys, I have somebody really cool to share with you today. She is author, Carrington Smith, and she has written a book called blooming, finding gifts in the shit of life, and I just love that by line. By the way, Carrington is a single mom in attorney, a business owner and executive search professional. Carrington, welcome to the show. I am so excited to talk with you today. Oh, Terry, thanks so much for having me. Really appreciate it. So do you go by Carrington or do you go by Carrie? I go by Carrie. Okay, Great. So I knew right away I was going to like your book when I read this line and you said each of these stories describes a moment in time and not the entirety of a person. So I asked that the reader not damn an individual for a moment in time here she behaved badly. I loved that. I love thank you, although I do have to admit, after I started reading the book, I find a realmer. I felt it really hard to stay to that. But you know, it's true, though, if any of us there, we all have our bad moments and it's if we were painted by those bad moments. I mean, none of us look good right. So, so true, so true. I had many emotions while reading your book. I felt anger, I felt empathy, I felt sadness, I was proud of you. Sometimes I just loved it. I am. I'm really excited to be sharing your book with our audience today. Tell me a little bit about what led you to write the book. Well, I started writing short stories really back in law school, which is when I wrote the first story in the book, which is about when I was raped. But I actually I've rewatten rewritten that story probably twenty different times. So I I never really understood how to fit the stories that I was writing together and why they would be important to someone, and I also had that sort of that imposter syndrome of like I don't matter. And what happened was during covid when we all experience this universal trauma, I suddenly realize that a lot of my experiences were universal and that it was my very ordinariness that made them compelling. HMM. And so I like to say, you know, I'm not a celebrity, I'm not, you know, a musical artist, I'm not a Holocaust surdriver. When you think about who books you read, I'm none of those things, not a business titan. But what I missed someone who is relatable, because I've have a lot of life experiences that people can relate to. And so when covid hit, I realize my response to this universal trauma was very different than a lot of people's, and I kind of asked myself, like why is this kind of like to me, like just one more thing, like, okay, bring it, you know, I've been here so much I know I'm going to survive. I always land on my feet. I figure out how to do it, and so I thought I had a gift that I could give people, and that is sharing with them. And I believe that people learn through stories, not through telling people what to do. Share it through, through sharing my stories, help to people, help people to see her, take them, hold their hand and walk them on a path of how I was able to deal with trauma and use it to for growth and opportunity as opposed to something that weighed me down for the rest...

...of my life, and how, and hopefully, people would draw from that and use that with this experience and other experiences in their lives. And so I wrote the book in three months. All of a sudden all those stories made sense. I was able to knit them together and it just flowed well. I'm so glad you did so. You know, one of the things that I was sort of like connecting with in your book you You when you told the story of how you were raped, and you and I are very closeness to the same age. I could definitely relate to you know, even though it shocked me to read the response that people gave you when you confess to them what had happened to you. Even your what was it? Your R A at school? Or was my friend, my story, make sist? Yeah, okay, that's right. Um, even her response. I was like, are you freaking kidding me right now now? But you know, I also thought. Well, you're so brave for you know, it's really tough. I think you know you've been through a lot and I've also had quite a bit of trauma in my childhood. I think sometimes I try to protect people that don't need protecting or don't deserve my protecting, and I'm just I'm so proud of you for being brave enough to tell the story. And you had a quote in there early on. I think I wrote it down somewhere here, but you talked about how you know it was a quote that said, you know, if people didn't want you to speak unkindly about them, they should have treated you, you better. What does that direct quote? You have it off the top of your head? Yeah, no, it's in that same passage in the very beginning of the book. Okay, so I think it's from how it's another author. Yeah, actually, yeah, and but the idea is, yeah, that you know people would be fine to here. Yeah, and the Moss. Yeah, yes, yes, you own everything that happened to you tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better. Yeah, yeah, and you know you have you have power here. You're telling this story and I like what she said and I have one hundred percent agree with it. I I tend to protect people when I'm telling my stories on the podcast. You know my podcast was it was inspired by my mom's pain. So but I find myself trying to protect people maybe don't always deserve protecting. But how have the people in your stories responded to you writing about them very differently? Well, first of all, my ex husband, I changed his name and he had you know, that relationship is a priority for me because he's the father of my children, right and so, and we have a really good relationship and I didn't want to ruin that. But I really felt compelled to write this book and so I told them as I'm ryding this book and I said, and I'm publishing it, but I'm let you read it in advance and we can go through it together and make some changes. So there were some things that I made so where I wasn't as maybe as open as I was in the beginning. But he gave fair comments and I took them seriously and so I said, you know what, let's change that, maybe say it a little differently, because I don't want any harm to come to him or to my kids right. Well, hundred percent agree with that. Yeah, yeah, and in with anybody that there was anything that would have been harmful. I change their names because I my goal writing the book is, I mean that's something to the whole time I was writing this book I had to hold onto, always checking myself. What, why are you writing this? And if I ever felt any kind of like Ha, Gotcha, I stopped myself and change the tone and rewrite it or you know, because I never wanted it to be about hurting someone else. Right me,...

...the whole thing is goes to hell if I do that. So, but there are some people whose names I change, who, even though I change their names, they were so deeply offended. Yeah, and you know what, in a way that was a gift, because there were some friendships that needed to end, but just because they've gone on for so long, it's like, Oh, we've been friends for twenty years, you know, just keep on. And I'd had friends for years telling me like why are you friends with that person? I'm like, Gosh, she's like a sister, you know, and it just all came to a head and I realized wow, okay, so even even there was a gift from that me realizing that was just not a healthy relationship and I should have sent set a firmer boundary a long time ago. Sure, but I never did anything overtly to hurt her. I never have shared you that person is and but the story itself, you know, is you know, I think she's offended that to her behavior is that bad, but it's the truth. I'm assuming, and you don't have to answer this, but I'm assuming it's one of the women from Your Book Club. But yeah, so, yeah, I could see. I could see that definitely and I definitely understand you're wanting to protect because there are sometimes when I am producing a podcast episode or writing it, even when I'm beginning to write it, that I think, you know, there's a big part of this story that I'm leaving out that might be helpful to some woman because I'm protecting one of my children from saying something about their father. So I totally get that. At some point, you know, I'm going to sit down and really figure out what parts of my story to be told and what what parts can remain hidden. But you talk about that a lot in the in the book, about owning your story. So will you explain to the audience what that means to you personally. Yeah, well, I think one of the most damaging things that happens to us women in particular, is that whenever we share our story, our story is minimized. HMM, like sure, you know, I would share anything. I don't know what's I was talking about my mom's my mom made sick, or the rape or whatever it was, and I was Oh, it wasn't that bad. You get that all the time. And so for me owning my story, first of all it really started with writing it, because for me I learned that when I was writing I didn't have an audience that was present and they're immediately judging or minimizing me. So I spoke my truth without judgment or or minimization, and so that is me owning my story, because I didn't alter it in any way. I didn't minimize that, I didn't dump it down or, you know, for soft in it, and I expt especially in the rape chapter. I'm a I'm fairly graphic and I'm deliberate about that. I thought about should I change this, and I was like, you know, in the me to movement, the bad part of that movement is that there's so many people talking about sexual assault but it becomes Oh, it's just another sexual assault, and I wanted people to feel my pain and walk through that experience with me, because I didn't want them to be like, you know, I could have just said blabable and then I was raped. Right. I walked through that entire experience because I want to people to understand what that was how it impacted me at every level. Hmm, I had hard time reading that part. I my mom was sexually assaulted by my dad after after their divorce, and I was in the other room and I came running out and, you know, was witness to that, and so reading that part, you know, gave me a lot of feels. I probably still haven't worked through all of that myself, because my mom didn't talk about it, you know, much like your mom reaction when you told her, which I just found, oh, just so hard to read. But I found that part of your book hard to read, but I'm so glad that I...

...read it and then moved on from it. And so if there's anyone else out there listening that thinks, oh, I don't want to read about that, I think it needed to be told exactly the way you told it honestly, I do. I think it's set the tone for I mean, you have been through so much. Like I said, you know all the emotions that I experienced reading your book. I love how you were so in touch with things, not right away, but like later on as you really were starting to grow. You were so in touch with a lot of things. But back then you let a lot of people kind of push you around and I'm wondering how you escaped all that with your self esteem intact. H Well, I don't know that I really was intact. I mean, you know, I look at you know, but if you've read my book or what you have it's I always try to find the silver lining and everything shan the silver lining from my childhood experiences, or a number of them, that one of them is that my self esteem is not based on how I look. It's based on intelligence, because because I was told I wasn't pretty but my father, I really believed I wasn't pretty and in order to get praise or accolades, to feel good about myself, I was a straight a student and so you know, that really is the core of my self esteem and always has been. Now, being pretty was always very important to me, but it was, and it still is to this day, because of those soul wounds. But it's, you know, not the actual core of my sofesteem. Yeah, you have so much resilience there. There were so many times that you were starting to see like the light at the end of the tunnel and then Bam, something else would not be back down. And I'm thinking this woman, that the resilience that you have is incredible, admirable even, and just whole the way people responded to you. Your Memi, was it your Memi? That was the mean grandma. Yeah, I mean, I just can't imagine ever treating my grandson that way. You know I he's the light of my life and she was a horrible woman, because she's she's probably not alive anymore. I would just say now. In fact, when she died, I literally said to my sister, Ding Dong, the wicked which is dead, imagine. Yeah, imagine, you did. I was so glad to read that you and your sister have become really good friends and have yet other support system. Now you said you forgave your mom, which my God, and had to be terrible, terribly hard, but did you forgive your dad? Now. I mean I forgiven him right. So let's be I guess let's be clear on that. I have forgiven him. I have peace about in my heart, about my relationship with him, but I no longer speak to him. So there's a I think what's important, and I think again, this is something where I want to give people permission. I feel like society pressure pressures us to always be we have to have a relationship with our parents and if you don't, there's something wrong with you. It's short of your father being a murderer, child molester. People don't let you off the hook on that. So they blame you for me finally come to terms with the fact that he was so toxic that I could not have a relationship with him, and setting that boundary was so hard. But it wasn't until I set that boundary to that I really began to bloom and prosper. And so I realize, even there's times when I kind of think, Oh, maybe I should talk to him, that I know like every time I...

...interact with him, something horrible comes from it, and so I'm like, no, Carrie, be at peace, you've forgiven him, you don't have angered your heart towards them. You're good with God on that, but that boundary is a critical to my survival. Yeah, so I have to leave it in place. Yeah, forgiving someone doesn't mean you have to stay in relationship with them. I mean absolutely and I think that's what people need to understand. I absolutely agree. Um You, I love that you said I was not a victim, I was victimized. How did you come to that realization? Well, I think because I really struggle and never wanted to be a victim or be someone who was all about victimhood and everything that was happening to me. And I think that when somebody gets in particularly sexually assaulted people put them in the will, you're the victim, and I think people sometimes get typecast and they start kind of engaging in those behaviors. When I guess what I'm trying to say by I wasn't a victim, I was victimized is I have power. I did not give up my power. Something bad happened to me, but I still have power and the power of the choice to decide how this moment is going to be part of my life and what I'm going to do with it, and I think that is really a Victor Frankel saying. I mean he talks about the one thing that you have, even when you you're in a concentration camp, is how you view what's happening to you, what's going on side, inside of your head. And so for me, you know, just these little shifts and words change from being, you know, powerless to having power. So and that's so important to succeeding in life and getting through those kinds of things. Oh, yeah, for sure. So you were in the car with a date after your second divorce and and your day asked you what kind of music you liked and what were some of your favorite restaurants in Austin, and you had no idea. How old were you at this time? I think it's like forty two. Okay, so you were in Midlife. Yeah, so I work with a lot of women who probably couldn't answer that question. I mean yours comes from a different place from the abuse you suffered as a child and just sort of being constantly being pushed down, pushed down. Any kind of personality you had was being pushed down by different people in your life. But I mean, I I guess I don't even know what question I want to ask you, but it's just was it part midlife and part your childhood, or do you think it was just entirely your childhood, that you had no idea who you were and had to rediscover yourself in Midlife? Well, I think that we it's part of my childhood, but it's also the template of a relationship that I was given with my parents. HMM. My mother gave up her entire identity for my father. She had no preferences, or I mean he told her what to wear, you know, whether or not she have friends. I mean. So that was the template of a relationship that I was given, so that when I was married to my second husband, I not only did I engage in those codependent behaviors where whatever he went was what happened, but even started to dress like my mother and I talked about wearing Lillie Pulitzer and Cardigan sweaters, and nothing wrong with it, but it just for me, I would that's was what my mother would wear and I when I thought divorce, I had to get rid of those clothes because they were the very embodiment of that behavior for me, and so it was really important that I do that. But I adopted you know, I was just super easygoing and I thought being easygoing was a good thing, but it's not when it means you completely lack an identity of your own. And that's that's what the realization was in the car that day. I was like, Oh my God, I have no idea. So I had to go through some self discovery. Yeah,...

...so after my second divorce, so this is how I can relate to that. After my second divorce, my second husband was also, I would say, religious, but not in a healthy way. I would say that he picked and chose different parts of it that he used to control and manipulate me. Yeah, and one of them was what kind of Miss Music I listened to, what TV shows I watched and how I dressed. Like he would literally say to me, don't you wish you could wear a dress every day? My father made my mother way to wear dresses every day. Yeah, it's very controlling behavior. My youngest daughter does not listen to the PODCAST, so she will not hear this story. But yeah, so after, excuse me, after my second divorce, and you talked about this a little bit. You're none of your friends had been divorced yet and at the at the end of the day when they started going to the divorce, like you had this knowledge that people just they started need to like figure out who they are, you know, and after they'd get divorced and you're trying things, and I remember somebody said something to me after my divorce was the happiest I'd ever remember being in my entire life. I felt so free. I could relate to parts of the book where you just like talked about I had to figure out who I was. What did I believe? Did I believe this political thing or this religious thing, because it was something my dad had said. This is you talking and or is it? What do I really believe about these things? And someone said to me, you know, you've really changed, and I thought, thank God, I'm still that. Yeah, I'm still trying to figure out who I mean. And I probably was like forty two ish. You know, somewhere I'm there, and I thought thank God, because I don't think I liked that person. Yeah, I mean she did what she had to do and you know, I mean I wasn't a bad person, but I didn't know a lot about myself and it took a lot of years. So yeah, I could definitely relate to that part of the book. So you finally figured out some of your favorite restaurants. You figured out your own sense of style. I loved that you stood up to your friend in the BOO picture. I yes, that was so ridiculously. I saw the picture in the book. You looked fabulous your booking, you know, it's I mean, my goodness, people at the beach show more than what you were showing. It was really it was them rejecting me becoming this other person. Yeah, it was nothing to do that, but they tried to make it about that. That's why I had to put that picture in there, because it's so ridiculous. It really is. No, that's great what you just said. It's it's like they're they're rejecting who you're becoming. Right like they they wanted to keep you small, in a box where they feel comfortable knowing who you were, and when you were starting to bloom, they didn't like it. So they're trying to keep you back down. It's like a it's like a repetitive thing throughout your whole life. It is. Yeah, it really is. So can you explain how you were feeling when you bought that home and held that party and you said this is the new carry. So who was the new carry? I was independent, I had my own sense of style. I mean I was doing it on my own. I didn't, you know, another few of my life was men always telling me that I would be nothing without them, that I needed them. And so here I was. I had bought this house all on my own. I had it decorated, I had it catered, I mean I was like, you know, I had it going on and I was succeeding, and I think that, boy, that was threatening to a lot of people. Hmmm, yeah, so you have been through a lot, and I talked about your resilians a little bit earlier, and every time you bounced back, you always came out of it with a lesson. So if you had to narrow it down to your top three lessons that you think you've learned through all of this, what do you think? They were? Oh, good, our yeah, A. Yeah. Well, the first one...

...at is at with adversity comes opportunity, HMM, and the second one is that mindset is everything, and I'd like to combine those two because once I embrace the fact that with adversity comes opportunity, then every time something bad happened. I started looking for the opportunity. M and so even when covid hit, my perspective was, wow, this is one of those historic moments of a lifetime when, like during the Great Depression, most of the fortune five hundred companies were founded. Well, this is one of those moments and we get to experience it instead of this being horrible, we get to experience this moment. Yeah, and what's going to come out of it? And so then I was like, well, we're going to go in a lockdown. I suddenly have all this free time, but I didn't have I can write the book I always wanted to write. So it's because I had trained my mind at that point, after all the things that came before it, that when that horrible event, the pandemic, hit, I immediately saw the opportunity and immediately set goals related to the opportunities that were in front of me and executed on them. Instead of it read they were all the stories about people with the recycling containers outside their door full of wine bottles. You know, of data doing that. I was like, wait, this is this is not that moment, this is the other moment. This is the like, let's go and so those are the two, I think, most important pieces of advice to I've gotten in my life that I really embrace and I think maybe, I mean, I'm just kind of there's so many things in the book, I mean, I cover so many topics. One of the other ones is just that happiness is a choice. HMM. Yeah, and I think that for years I kept wondering, when is that good thing? It happen? When of prince charming going to show up, and when am I going to have that car, and when am I going to have that salary? And then when all that happens, then I'll be happy, right. And what I started to learn is that when I did start achieving some of these things, like getting that car or maybe thinking I had that guy or whatever it was, that didn't bring me happiness. Hmmm, and it really came down to I had to choose to be happy with. And so learning that whenever, again, whenever something bad is going on, I'm like, how do I find happiness in this moment? Going to a place of gratitude, giving thanks for if everything's breaking us all around, you're just even going to thank you God for my health, yes, thank you, thank you for my children. Thank you for just going to a place of gratitude, and when you feel grateful you feel happy, and so, yeah, it's so if there's three pieces you can take from the book, I think those would be the top three. There's lots of other good stuff in there too, but oh for sure, it's definitely a mustraid it really is, and it's you know, it's not my typical kind of book. I'm either doing something for personal growth or I'm, you know, reading fiction to scape my brain that's always full of all this stuff, and so I am very glad I read it and I will not shy away from these kind of books in the future now because of your book. So so we're coming near to the end of our time together here today. I want you to share where everybody can find you, your socials, your website. Yeah, so my personal website is Carrington and smithcom and on my social stuff is at Carrington Atx, which is stands for Austin Texas. So okay, yeah, and then you can find my book on Amazoncom and it's also available on audible. All right, I will put all those links in the show notes everybody can find it easily. So I've two more questions for you. Okay, I love to ask authors. Now that you've written one book, Do you think you'll write another one? I do. I've got at least two more books. Well,...

...yeah, that's awesome. You'll have to come back and share the next two with me as well. Yeah, and then my last question for you today, because of the name of the podcast. What women once day. What do you think women want today? Oh, well, in this moment of time and history, I think we want to be heard and I'm just thinking about the Rovy Wade situation. I'm thinking about what just happened with the shooting in Texas, and I can't speak for everyone. I need to speak for my friends crying out about you know what, are we going to take gun violence seriously? You know what are we? Why? Why is it once we win women's rights, or so willing to give them up? I mean so I think that there are a lot of women out there right now just saying just hear US recognize this as equals, and so I think that's a big part of what women want. Thank you for sharing that with me. All Right, Carrington, it was such a pleasure to have you to here today with us. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to join me today. Yes, this has been so much fun. I've really enjoyed it been fun for me to thank you so much for joining me. I hope you enjoyed today's conversation as much as I did. If you'd like to continue the conversation, come on over and join our private facebook group what women want today, and love to hang out with you some more there. Any resources mentioned in today's episode will be in the show notes. You can find me on facebook and Instagram at what women want to do podcast, or visit my website at what women want to Daycom. Please remember to subscribe, download and share. Leave me a review. It helps other amazing women find the show and become a member of our community. One last thing for you today. You are not alone. You are worthy of love and a fulfilled life. Now it's time to go after it. Te.

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