Stand Tall in Your Story - Emily Perry
Cameron Hession: (singing).
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Hi, I'm Rebecca Fleetwood Hession, host of The Badass Women's Council Podcast. I'm also the creator, founder, official dreamer- upper of a transformational experience called Rise and Thrive, a seven- month experience for seven career women to go through together. This culminates, after seven months, into a huge celebration called Stand Tall in Your Story, a night where we take these women's stories to the stage in full celebration with food, drinks, live music, a live audience, and a virtual one, with each woman giving a seven- minute TED- like talk where they share their story. These stories live on through video and this podcast for you to revisit, share with your team, your kids, your social media, because telling and sharing our stories is how we come together with true connection, and when we share these stories, we give others the courage and confidence to stand tall in their story. There's no mistake that the book that I'm launching in February of 2022 is called Write Your Own Story, and that the annual celebration event is called Stand Tall in Your Story, because y'all, it's tough to stand tall in a story you didn't write. I mean, think about it. Actors tell other people's stories. Do you feel like sometimes you're just acting out your life and not living it fully, authentically, genuinely, the one that's writing it?
Cameron Hession: (singing).
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Our brains are one big story center comprised of every story you've accumulated. Every TED Talk you've watched, every class taken, every dumb thing we've ever done, every shame- fueled experience we've ever had. It's all up there in this big library in our brains. Some of our most awful moments seem to be on instant recall, as much as we'd like them to disappear. Today's talk is Emily Perry, executive director of Susie's Place. Even though she's saved and changed lives of thousands of children with her work over the years, she still remembers the hurt of her own childhood experiences. Over the next six weeks, we will feature the talks from our annual Stand Tall in Your Story event. These are the talks from season two participants. Season three starts late October, and our next annual event is March 8, 2022. If you're a career woman in Indianapolis ready for an experience that's designed to help you ban burnout, build community and boost your business, go to wethrive. live and click on the Rise and Thrive tab, get some more info, schedule an info interview with me. Let's just chat about it. While you're there, at wethrive. live, click on the Stand Tall tab and you can watch all the videos from season one and season two. As you listen to Emily's talk, consider the possibility that Emily has such a rich and rewarding career serving children because of these childhood memories in her story center. Sometimes our struggle and our pain are the things that shape us and prepare us for our passion or our purpose. So the next time we feel that wash of shame of that current," Oh, shit," moment or our cheeks are flush from an old embarrassing moment that's risen back up, remember, there's not a single person alive over the age of 14 that doesn't have a shitty haircut story of some sort. Here we go.
Cameron Hession: (singing).
Emily Perry: My mom always gets mad at me when I talk about my horrible, terrible, no good, awful haircut that I had throughout my entire childhood. If you can imagine, I was a little on the shorter side, a little on the rounder side, and I had this thick, stick straight, dirty blonde hair and a legit bowl haircut. It looked like my mom had put a bowl on my head and hacked her way around my hair. It was awful. I don't think I realized at the time just how bad that haircut was, but I am a hundred percent sure that it is the number one reason for most of my childhood turmoil. When I was five or six years old, I was going to the library. I was being my kind little self, walking up to the library, and I held the door open for this little lady. She bent down as sweet as could be and patted me on the head and said," What a sweet little boy you are," and I was crushed. For my 12th birthday, and we went to Cheddar's restaurant. If you guys are from the Indianapolis area, it was the original Cheddar's over off West 38th Street, super cool restaurant, had these big fans in the ceiling and these giant fish tanks. I was so excited. We had gotten a new outfit, it was a little skirt and a top. I had just gotten my ears pierced, which was a super big deal. I was just on top of the world. The waiter came around, and since I was 12, I was ordering for myself. It was probably some chicken tenders and fries. The waiter said," Thank you, sir," and I was crushed. I had probably been called a boy maybe 50- ish times in my childhood and I blame it on that haircut. Remember at the beginning when I said I was a little on the rounder side? That may have been slightly understated. Growing up as a chubby kid with a bad haircut in the'80s was awful. I would actually probably say growing up as chubby kid with a bad haircut in any decade is probably awful, but the'80s was really tough for me. I will say, I did have a lot of friends, and when the'80s came, it really developed my affinity for talking on the phone and the introduction of three- way calling. Do y'all remember three- way calling? Oh yeah. You could talk to two friends at the same time when you were three- way calls, but three three- way calling did have a dark side, because you could three- way call someone and they didn't know the other person was on the phone. Y'all probably know where this is going, and you are correct. My friend and I decided that we would three- way call a boy. He was cool and I so wanted to be cool. The agreement was she was going to call and do all the talking and I was the listener. She called, they were chatting, he said," What are you doing tonight?" She said," I'm spending the night at Emily's house," and he said," How can you even fit in the house with her? She is so fat." It was tough, y'all. That one hurt. I had been called fat a lot of times in a lot of different ways, but that one really hurt. In all honesty, that shitty hair cut and that three- way call experience were just reminders of what was a really hard time in my life. It was littered with lots of hard things that were happening. I'm going to guess that each of you probably have a shitty haircut or a three- way call experience too. So, I will tell you what I did. I pushed down all of those really hard things and I just kept moving forward. I did not take time to investigate what those things meant for me, because I didn't want to feel it. I can not unpack for you in seven minutes all of the things that have led to this moment, but the first chance I got, I buried that little girl away and I focused my eyes forward and I just worked to start achieving. I played sports at the collegiate level, I got a master's degree, traveled across the country twice for my career. I got married, had two amazing boys. I started a nonprofit organization, you got to hear a little bit about it, called Susie's Place. It has grown and flourished because we have rockstar people on our board. I became noticeably accomplished in my field and I've won lots and lots of awards. Ironically, what I chose to do for a career is I am a child forensic interviewer, which means I investigate crimes against children. I talk to kids every day about their really shitty childhood experiences. Every time I go in the room with a kid, I want to be a hundred percent sure that they feel seen, that they feel heard, that they are safe, that they know that they are valued and important. For my own children, I know the greatest gift that I can give them is the gift of a childhood, a childhood where they know what it feels like to be loved and to love themselves wholeheartedly. I know that my parents wished that for me too, but somewhere between that haircut and that three- way call experience, I started to feel really ashamed of that little girl. When I was getting ready to tell this story, to prepare this, I was out to dinner with some of the ladies and I showed them a picture of that nine- year- old girl on my phone. One of the ladies was like," Why would you have that out? Why is that so easily accessible? Why are you showing that around?" I know she was saying that because she was trying to protect me from retraumatizing myself again and again by looking at that chubby little girl with the shitty haircut, but what she didn't know is that I don't want to forget that little girl. I don't want to look at that picture and feel sad or ashamed, embarrassed or upset. I want to look at that picture and I want to love that little girl. I want to love her because she's me. If I could go back and talk to her, this is what I would want her to know. She will make it through all of her hard times. I see her, I value her. She is a part of me that deserves love. She is kind and smart and strong and resilient. Above all, I'm going to make a promise to her that I'll never bury her away or feel ashamed of her again.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: A reflection question from Emily's story is, how are you using resilience or the skills gained from overcoming your own shitty haircut story? Because remember, the only thing we have in common is our imperfection. There's really no need to numb or hide our painful experiences. In fact, when we bring them out into the light, they can heal, grow, and we can use them to connect with each other. If you're looking for more connection, go to badasswomenscouncil. community. We have a regular weekly virtual session on Fridays at 11:00 AM Eastern time. It's super informal, you don't have to wear makeup or worry about any of that. We just come together to learn, grow, have a great discussion on topics designed to help you thrive in life and business. Many of the topics that we cover come from my soon to be book, coming out in February 2022, called Write Your Own Story: The Three Keys to Rise and Thrive in Life and Business. And you know? We just love to meet you, so come on over. Don't forget, the big annual event is March the 8th of 2022, which is actually International Women's Day. We'd love for you to mark your calendars to join us live at the Vogue Theater in Indianapolis, or host a virtual watch party for you, people in your organization. Would you like to be a sponsor? Let's come together and just do amazing things for International Women's Day next year. Thanks so much, make it a great day. When I work with my clients, I want them to discover their unique personal story so they can then stand tall in that story and live a life full of soul and emotions and their natural curiosity about their unique gifts, talents, and abilities so they can live a thriving life, because our brains are hardwired for stories and our brain wants us to thrive. I help my clients tap into that. I also have a sponsor for this podcast called Storybook, which is a unique and innovative platform that helps you bring your company's stories to life by tapping into the emotional flow and the natural curiosity that we have about your products and services. Check them out, you can go to my website, wethrive. live, click on the Stand Tall in Your Story link and see the kind of work they're doing for us, or go to their site, cantaloupe. tv. There's hundreds of stories there that they've created that you can experience. Check them out, we're so grateful to work with them and for them to sponsor the podcast. Please join the online community at badasswomenscouncil. community, where we can continue the conversation and you can meet other bad- ass high achievers like you. Thanks so much, make it a great day. If you like the music for the podcast, go to iTunes, Spotify, wherever you listen to your music and look up Cameron Hession Clouds, you can download the full song there. He's got some other stuff out there as well. Y'all, he's my son, it'd be great if you'd go and download some of his stuff.
Cameron Hession: (singing).
This week's episode is the first of six stories told at the Stand Tall in Your Story event. Today's empowering story is by Emily Perry who shares an event from childhood. Listen now, and don't forget about the reflection question provided by Rebecca at the end of our episode!