Posted on September 11, 2023
From surviving the storm to harnessing its power, every step is a choice to rewrite our story. In this special episode, Publisher Michelle Savage interviews our host Steph Silver about the launch of her memoir, Anywhere, USA, where survival and determination intertwine to paint a vivid tapestry of transformation. Steph dives into the book’s creation, its profound impact, and the personal journey that inspired its writing. She shares significant lessons throughout her journey such as: the power of adaptability, the depth behind her persona, the shift from a survival mindset to one of empowerment, and the importance of embracing change. Don’t miss out on this conversation that transcends challenges, celebrates growth, and reminds us that every story is a journey worth exploring. Tune in now and hear Steph Silver’s story.
Listen to the podcast here
Anywhere, USA: Steph Silver’s Memoir On Survival To Spiritual Awakening
In this episode, I am being interviewed again by the lovely Michelle Savage with Sulit Press.
It’s great to be back here.
The reason that I’m being interviewed is a big deal for me and for you. I finished writing my very first book, which is a memoir, and you are helping me publish it.
We’re excited to get this launched. The digital launch will be September 5th, 2023, so if you’re reading this now, it’s already live on Amazon and you should go get a copy. We’re going to talk a little bit about the meat of this book. What it’s about? Who it’s for? Why you wrote it? All the things. I’m excited to dig in and get started. Do you mind if I start off with a quick short review? We’ll talk about the book first. We’ll give a little intro about what it’s called.
The book is called Anywhere, USA. The reason for that is I moved more than 30 times before I turned 18 years old at the whim of my father on mostly adventure and a need to keep changing, I believe. Who knows? It’s a mystery. People ask me why we moved. It wasn’t because we were in the military or a job that required it. It was because my dad would say, “Why don’t we go to California tomorrow?”
One of the things I can say about the book without giving too much away, in addition to those moves being very abrupt, they did not always seem to be in better situations.
We went from living with my grandmother on the side of the road in California for a couple of weeks, to a shelter, living in a three-bedroom house in Arizona that we owned, and another campground.
There was no upward mobility or necessarily straight decline. It was all over the map, not to make a pun on it, but it was literally anywhere USA, all over the place all of the time. That is one throughline in your story and, along the way, so many things happened that challenged you to grow in some pretty tumultuous circumstances. One of the things that you wanted to shine through the book was that you have this light and optimism that continued to shine regardless of the challenges that you went through. That was your intention perhaps in writing the book. From the feedback we’ve gotten so far from our advanced readers or our early readers, that is one of the things that they keep coming back to. They’re saying, “I can’t believe you went through all of that. You are who you are.” It’s truly remarkable.
Let me put on my spectacles. Avery Brill was one of our first readers and she said, “Anywhere, USA is a captivatingly beautiful story that will send you through every emotion at least twice. A definite page-turner with some sadly relatable accounts of a girl who grew up faster than any kid should. It’s a remarkable story that defies the odds of growing up in unfavorable situations. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and I can’t wait to get my hands on the physical copy.”
That was one bit. I want to read this other review I have here. I’ll read a portion of it because he was so inspired to write a great and long review. Stephen Ryan writes, “Throughout the pages, Steph shares stories of alcohol-fueled violence, the challenges of a nomadic lifestyle, and the complexities of the only type of love she knows. Amid the struggles, her depth with a touch of humor adds depth to this compelling and gripping story. What sets this memoir apart is Steph’s unwavering resilience and optimism shining brightly in the face of daunting challenges.”
That encapsulates what the energy of the story is all about and the theme that runs throughout this story. Although, I have to say that in the first couple of chapters, it took me a minute to, “Is there going to be that light?” It’s because it’s heavy. It doesn’t start out with flowers and rainbows. There are some emotional pieces of that.
I want to say I heard you all. Once you start reading it, push forward. It does capture you in the beginning or trigger you. I’ve had a few people who couldn’t get through the first chapter because it was quite intense for them based on their own experiences in life. It’s not all that heavy, but there are some dark spots throughout the book. For me, one of the reasons that I wanted to write this book, which is one of your questions, is for at least twenty years, I have known that this book would exist at some point. I thought that was too wild and crazy of a journey to not share.
I would share my stories with my friends and they go, “No way. Not another story, Steph.” I’m the old sage grandma already at age 25. The people didn’t believe that those things had happened to me. As I got older and I got into my own life, I never thought of myself as a writer. Something happened in my life that made me say, “It’s time to get started.” I didn’t know where I started this book and where does it end.
As life progressed, she showed up for me. It became pretty clear and easy. This is where it starts and this is where it ends. Maybe there’s going to be a different book and they’ll come in different ways and maybe not in the memoir or a format, but it is the beginning of something new now. It’s a crazy wild story of not just the darkness that we talked about and not the light but adventure. The opportunities that this country provides to people is shown over and over again in this book. I want to inspire with this book more than anything.
You’ve definitely done that. When you were talking about opportunities in the country, another thing that stood out to me was the many individuals in your life who almost seemed like angels placed in your path to give you a little push or a lift up. It was remarkable how one kind comment changed everything about the way you saw yourself or believed something about yourself, or you had a handful of people who showed you a different way to live what was possible that was so far outside of maybe the way your family lived or the people in your immediate circle thought was possible.
There were those people that maybe took you on a trip or invited you to a dinner where you saw how other people shared a meal together in a different way that you weren’t used to. It was these little glimpses along the way. It was nuggets placed. It also reminded me that it felt like that lesson, even though you weren’t saying, “Here’s the lesson I got on how important it is that those small interactions with people and how much we can underestimate the impact that we have on other people when we extend ourselves a little bit bring a child under a wing a little bit. Give somebody a push, a plus, or a pull by the hand. Any little thing can make a much bigger impact than you perceive.” Did you intend to have that be a theme or was part of your life and you can look back on it?
It was part of my life. I couldn’t include all my years into one short memoir. I started by writing the most impactful timeline of everywhere I lived, and then for each place, that was most memorable and what are the most impactful things. I might cry several times. It turned out that it is a thing of life that the most impactful things for me were related to a kind word, a helpful hand, and a place to sleep that changed not only my trajectory but my view of the world. Now I was on my way to you listening to a book by Joe Dispenza and talking about how our minds are powerful things.
I’ve known this but fully realized that one of the reasons that I’ve been able to create a completely different life for myself and put myself into what I think is a totally different universe than I grew up in. We talk about alternate universes. I have gone back and forth between multiple parallel universes throughout my life. The reason that I’ve been able to do that is because I was able to see it. I was able to envision myself in a different place. It started with honestly watching the Cosby Show and afterschool television and saying, “You should talk to each other that way,” or, “It’s possible for life to be like that.”
Once I got into other people’s lives and homes or somebody told me I was pretty or whatever it might be, smiled at me, or was kind, when those things happened, it changed my world because it wasn’t the tube or in the TV. It was in real life that I was able to see a different version of reality. I always dreamed. I was thinking about this. My dad got the newspaper every Sunday morning. He would throw down the comics and all of the sales papers. He would read the important stuff and the sports page. I would start with reading the comics.
My dad always laughed that I would laugh out loud. He is like, “You’re the only person I know that laughs at the comics.” Also, I would spend hours looking at the catalogs and thinking about, “I knew we couldn’t afford anything in there.” I would spend hours looking at clothes, different kitchen appliances, or furniture and decorating these homes that I knew I couldn’t have. Now I’m living in a world where I can and I do. It’s because I imagined a world where I could.
Talk about manifestation 101, but it’s not only you lived this life in a vacuum. You did. You had television, these magazines, and glimpses through other people throughout your life, a different type of life that was comfortable and safe, even if your goal wasn’t to be incredibly insanely wealthy. The gap between where you started and what your goal was probably felt like a huge chasm.
It felt completely impossible.
It’s because nobody has quite read the book yet except for our early readers. What was the difference between those after-school program television families in your household? What was that like?
I’m looking at you trying to see how I can make that succinct. The chasm was intense on all levels. There was no predictability in my life at all. My kids started school and they’re going to a new school district. It’s the first time in six years that they’ve gone to a different school. I’m freaked out about it. I’m totally stressed. They’re feeling my stress probably but feeling fine. My oldest son was starting his first day of middle school and he’s having to change classes for the first time ever.
There are some students that he knows because he went to a private school, which I was able to pay for, and he now is going to public school. Some of those kids have already moved from this local private school over to the public school. He knows people who’ve gone there or changed over in years past. There are other students starting with him. We went to the orientation. We walked to the different hallways so he knew where his classes were. He has lunch paid for and all of those things. Most people are looking at me like, “That’s what happens when you have a kid starting.”
When they start school, you guide them through this process and then you let them go.
They’re okay. They know that they can talk to an adult, show them the paper, and say, “This is my next class. Where can I go?” I had an older brother and an older sister. We lived in this tiny little town at the top of a mountain in Nevada. We left there. We left my brother and my sister. They went in totally different directions. All of a sudden, I was an only child. We moved to a big city for me from this small town. I had to walk to school by myself.
I had never been to that school before. I was surprised that I was even registered there. I walked into the office and got my own printout of what my schedule was going to be. I had to find where my classes were in this huge school that was wall-to-wall kids and elbow-to-elbow in the hallway. I didn’t know if I could trust adults. That was eighth grade so I was fourteen or something like that. The difference was I was on my own. I raised myself since I can remember. I was running loose in the middle of the night at age seven smoking cigarettes and drinking liquor.
You had an official job at what age?
You started working in second grade.
It was third for me because I was a little young. My birthday is early but still. I either started in the summer, Christmas, or something like that.
At that age, it’s splitting hairs.
I was 8 years old and by 10, I had three jobs. I bought all my own school clothes. My parents loved me very much, and that’s something that I want to get crossed. They loved me and they were having fun with life. They were adventuring and trying to figure out their own way. I didn’t know what that meant then, of course, but I knew that I was loved. My brother and sister knew that they were loved. We all were raised differently. The whole concept that every child gets the same experience is completely wrong in all cases, especially in our cases. He also had different fathers. We had different dads.
The other big thing that was a big difference between what happened on the Cosby Show and in our life was that we weren’t talked to about anything. Especially if we did something wrong and we got in trouble, we would get yelled and screamed at, maybe spanked and sent to our room. I know that that is partially a generational thing but I remember watching these TV shows going, “They sit and talk to their kids like family meetings. They say, ‘This is what you did wrong and this is what you could have done better. This is what we expect from you.’” That didn’t happen with us.
There was also one thing we haven’t mentioned yet, which is a lot of substance abuse in your household. Being raised with parents who struggle with that, you’re not going to get the same energy in the household. It does create that unpredictability. One thing we don’t explicitly talk about in the book, or I say you in your writing, don’t explicitly write about is any potential mental disability. I feel like there are potentially some undiagnosed situations, particularly with your stepdad that you can’t know in retrospect. He wasn’t taken to a psychiatrist or psychologist and diagnosed. In retrospect, in reading your stories made me go, “I wonder if there were some, in addition to the substance abuse, untreated challenges that might have contributed.”
Sometimes, the behaviors seemed very unkind and erratic and at the same time, his love for you always came through. He loved you so much. You see that. You see the struggle within a man that is larger than life and the head of your family who cared for you in a way that your biological father couldn’t do or certainly would not have done. The readers see the complexity of him almost as a character because of the way you talk about him.
He was hilarious. When I thought about writing this book, I thought, “It’s going to be so funny. You’re going to laugh, cry, and do all the things.” You said this once in one of your posts on social media. You said, “Steph tells these stories as if she’s talking about her favorite ice cream but they’re tragic, dramatic, and dark.” It’s funny because my brother, sister, and I all talk about it like this.
After I got the stories together and collected them before editing and everything, I said, “Is there a lot darker when you put them on paper and you look at them from somebody else’s perspective? Maybe I’m missing something.” It’s like, “Conference call. Bobby and Michelle, let’s do this. Tell me all your memories.” We talked and laughed. I was like, “Dad getting found in a field by my sister’s friends who are volunteer fire department members. They thought he was dead.” He comes home with a stick in his hair and he is drunk and passed out in a field on his way home. It is hilarious.
Do you remember it being funny at that time?
It was a little bit of both. My sister was mortified. There’s these hot fireman guys that she liked and they’re like, “Here’s your dad. He is wasted. We thought he was dead.” It scared the crap out of them. Since it’s a tiny little town, the whole school knows that Michelle’s dad was found close to dead drunk in the field.
I feel like those close calls, when they turn out okay turn into funny stories for families. There’s still that trauma and fierce experience often in that moment of, “I can’t believe that this is happening.”
I opened the door. I was like, “Dad, where have you been and why is there a stick in your hair?” It was hilarious for me from the very beginning. Also, you have a standard of what you expect out of life.
You’re desensitized to a certain expectation.
That was the first time the fire department came. It wasn’t the first time the police had ever been to our house.
Do you know them by name at that point?
They knew us. The police would come and be like, “Byron, come on, are you going to calm down and be nice to Pat or are you going to sleep in your truck tonight? Are we going to have to take you to the station?” Especially in this little town in Virginia City, Nevada, they knew us and we knew them. It wasn’t the town drunk. They were all drunk. Your original question was my dad’s mental state. My dad never knew his dad. He met him once when he was fourteen. His mom was sixteen when she had him. He was raised his grandparents. We knew very few stories about my dad’s life and childhood or even his life before us. He told us five stories over and over again, the same proud stories. This isn’t in the book.
Byron, the person I call my dad, is my stepdad. He raised us. It wasn’t until I was in seventh grade that his biological father died. I learned anything about that guy at all. I don’t even know his name. I still don’t know his name. He didn’t put my dad in the will. He put his two step kids in the will. There was a lot of pain that he had grown up with. I always thought he was a brilliant man because that’s what he told me. I’ve known a few narcissists who tell me how smart they are. He’s definitely a narcissist. That one is for certain. The thing that we don’t realize is how much alcohol creates mental disabilities. Also, it switches them on if they weren’t already switched on or accentuates them.
Also, all of his potentially unhealed trauma. Fueled by alcohol and instability created a pretty unstable environment for you. Maybe from an adult, you look at it from a different, more compassionate perspective. You can empathize with who he was as a man, not so much looking to him as a father figure for what you need at this point. You’ve had to parent yourself through those things. I imagine.
I’ve done the same for my mom. Everybody has their traumas that they’re walking around with every day. I like to call them curses. That’s going to be my next book. Honestly, I’m going to go on a whole speaking tour about it because it’s one of the things that I’ve learned from writing this book. I knew the limiting beliefs that I was walking around with and the fears, but I didn’t understand how many verses were holding me back. The way I like to describe this to you is I heard it on a podcast a couple of years ago. On the podcast, someone asked, “How do you do energy spells or whatever?”
Instead of answering a question about spells, she said, “I don’t even want to get into that. People think about curses as something you see on TV that some little old woman with a hunched back and crooked fingers saying, ‘I cursed you in your future generations. You’ll never feel love again,’ or whatever it is that you get cursed with.” When actuality, we all walk around with curses and they are the things that we have experienced or hold in our lives that stick with us. Most of the time, they form by the age of seven because that’s when our neuroplasticity starts to sink in. Our vision of what we think of as reality becomes more solid. We can get cursed. We can curse ourselves or we can get cursed at any point in the road.
That sticks with us and shapes our actions and interactions for the rest of our lives. From that point forward, we don’t realize it, but we choose to stay stuck or interact with people every single moment of our lives. I believe that my father and my mom walked around with curses. My mom chose to live a life of being blind to anything bad and wanting to seek adventure. She had that total avoidance of reality and always looking to the future, which is cool. She was in the now and in the future. My dad was in the now and in the future because the past was too painful. Anything that they looked back on in the past was always wasn’t that great.
That’s when Bobby, Michelle, and I got this idea of like, “It wasn’t that great.” That time, we were living in the campground and we had nowhere to go. It was totally amazing because we were living in the now but our way of looking at it in the past was shaped by what we were told and how we were told to look at it. There are these curses and we can make them worse by piling on substances and eating away at our brain or not allowing our brain and our spiritual connection to function in the way that it should or we can address them. I didn’t realize the healing that would come from writing this book and seeing all of the different things that I’ve been working on. I’ve seen them in a totally different way, especially sharing them with friends, strangers, and family.
I can only imagine. There are so many pieces there that I feel we could do a whole episode on each piece. A couple of things come to mind is I want to get to other people’s reactions and how it felt to share this book with your family and your siblings who lived it with you, but also from different perspectives. Going back for a second talking about breaking those curses. You obviously have this bright, shiny spirit or a lightness about you that you were probably born with. Maybe you’re very neurotypical. It’s very easy for you. You have a lot of dopamine in your system. That’s not to say that you walked around in bliss all the time at all. There’s a lot of fear, but it seems like that is who you came to be in the world.
The other piece of it that I don’t want to gloss over in the book is that you worked your ass off to get where you are. This dogged tenacity and work ethic, in reading the book, helped you to break through the atmosphere that was holding you back. You had to get a running start that was the hardest, fastest sprint you could, looking forward, blinders on, and nothing else. It got you where you are and then it might not be what gets you to the next phase. Obviously, that forward momentum is not sustainable throughout an entire adult healthy life, but do you feel like you could have gotten where you are without that work and tenacity?
Absolutely not. Unless I had discovered quantum physics pretty early, epigenetics, and all the things that they say you can propel yourself. I’m not quite there but I had told my niece that my sister has a daughter. I told her years ago. I said, “The unfortunate reality of where we are and who we are is that we have to work ten times harder to get to the middle and average. If you want to be above average, you’re going to have to work your ass off.” It’s not fair but that’s not how life is. We are all born into a certain thing and then we have to figure it out from there. It is mindset, hard work, and who you surround yourself with. I honestly do believe that there are other things like overcoming your curses early, but we all get cursed daily. It’s how we choose to hang onto it or not.
I believe you’re right on time. You can look back and go, “I wouldn’t have made these mistakes had I resolved this issue earlier. If I’d known this then, I would’ve chosen differently.” That’s what life is about. We’re all on our own learning pathways. I believe we all come here with our own lessons to learn and there’s not a comparison that’s there. You can say, “I could have had I known quantum physics that I knew it. I manifest directly from the Cosby Show and the magazine into this life I have now. How great that would be?”
Also, you wouldn’t have become the you in the process and because of those experiences and the actual work you invested in becoming the now Steph, that is what motivates you, I’m imagining. It also gives you so much depth of knowledge on how you are able to lead as a speaker, as a coach at leading retreats, and helping other people to manage and navigate their own challenges to a better life. A lot of people try to skip to the front of the line. You can feel the difference as opposed to someone who’s actually done the work.
There are a couple of different things that come up for me when you say all that. One is Tony Robbins has quote. He says progress equals happiness. If we are not in growth then we are generally not happy as humans. That’s one of the things of the human condition. Some people need different levels of growth. Because I’ve experienced so much in my life, I do require quite a bit in order to feel like I’m still moving forward. The other thing is that I truly believe now that all the experiences that I’ve shared in this book and I wasn’t able to encapsulate are the foundation for me to help other people. As you said, if I hadn’t gone through all that, then I’d have to learn it through other people’s experiences, which are completely different.
You can feel the difference when someone’s like, “I’ve read a Brené Brown’s book and then I’ve regurgitated it and re-quote it.” Even if you feel it deeply, unless you’ve done whatever it is, you’re dealing with your own stuff. You have to dig deep and dig your own way out and truly go through what it takes to achieve the transformation yourself. You’re nipping and plucking from other people’s work, which is great in assisting you and educating you along the way. It’s giving you potentially a language to talk about what you’ve been through. It’s not that you should ignore all of that, but it gives depth to your work and credibility as well. It makes you far more effective as a leader when you’ve done the work yourself as opposed to someone who’s like, “I took a coaching class.”
I am constantly educating myself so that I understand the science and the behavioral explanations behind everything, but at the same time, I have experienced an insane amount of things compared to a lot of other people like floods, fires, incest, death, birth, loss of career, everything. All the transitions that we all go through. Obviously, I’m coming at this from a female body. It’s through that perspective. All of those major transition moments other than my own death, I have experienced myself. It does make it easier to not empathize but to understand. Going back to your point about the question earlier about my dad. I was born with optimism.
I was also a fiery, pissed off redhead. I had an attitude and now I don’t get that angry. I get anxious instead. In addition to the light that was in me, there has always been an ability to empathize, listen, and watch and see. Now every therapist will tell you that someone who grows up in an alcoholic home has an innate learned talent to watch, see, learn, how to please, how to avoid, how to figure out, how to read a person, and how to read a room.
I had a level of empathy. I don’t know if I was born with it or if I learned it from the youngest child of alcoholics that I was able to use it in a way that when I moved so much, I quickly knew what to say or how to fit in. I tried to fit in in ways that didn’t always work sometimes. I knew how to shift and change myself. It was a combination of empathy, work ethic, drive, and pure tenacity that got me from one end of the spectrum to the other.
All that speaks to adaptability. They say that the most adaptable people are highly intelligent. It’s this skill that helps you navigate so many situations. That is one of the things that helped you. It was either something you had a natural sense of adaptability that helped you move from one place to the next to the next, or you developed it because of your home life and your situations. That’s probably helped you to continue on that trajectory of growth.
At the beginning of the book, you mentioned it. You can pass as a “normal-looking” suburban or upper-middle-class mom. You’re a professional and you’ve got it together as anyone does have it together. A lot of people in your life who have known you for the last ten years, at least, of your life had no idea of the background that you’d overcome to step into this. Let’s speak to a couple of things. One of which is you never know what someone has been through or is going through to get to where they are and what they have going on behind the scenes.
Also, I’m so curious how it feels to share this part of your life. Not that you are hiding it, but before. It’s not the now. You’re busy with the now parenting two boys and running a business. How does it feel to share this part of your life with people who they think know you and now you’re revealing this whole other side of yourself?
It’s different than I thought it would be. I am an open book. I have a podcast. I tell lots of things on the podcast. I tell my stories all the time. Partially because I want people to know that I wasn’t born into this place and that I’ve worked hard to get here. It’s almost like I want to put that comma PhD because I earned it. I don’t have it but it’s that concept. I want my letters to be shown. I thought a lot of my friends had heard most of these stories. They haven’t heard them in sequence, which makes it different and altogether in compilation. There are some super intimate moments. That is difficult to share and know how many people that I don’t know are going to know these details about myself. I realized, “What am I going to talk about? Everybody is going to know my story.”
You don’t have to introduce yourself. We already know you.
What’s funny when I was a kid was all I wanted was to remember the when stories. I wanted to be able to say to somebody, “Remember when,” but nobody remembered anything with me except my brother, sister, my mom, and my dad.
I imagine that that brought you close together to have that small little family unit that had to remember your when stories, especially with Bobby and Michelle. Who do you feel like made you nervous to share this book with? Who were you afraid of sharing it with or you either don’t want them to read it, don’t listen to the podcast either then, or you feel like, “When they read it, I’m such an open book?”
I am such an open book that there wasn’t anybody in particular other than my ex-husband. I thought I was excited for my family to read it. I thought, “Now, here’s the complete compilation. You learned it from the other side or experienced it in your own way.” My sister was super proud and fine. My brother read most of it and trailed off. He’s like, “I know. I don’t care.” Sharing it with my aunts is harder than I thought it would be because I didn’t think about how hurtful it is for them to read their sister in this light.
Meaning your mom.
Right. That’s been the hardest part of this whole process. I thought they would be excited and proud. I thought I was going to go have a book release party up there and now I’m like, “I don’t know if they want anyone to read it.” They want to hide it, which I understand. The way I explain it to one of my aunts is I’m not telling this because I want everybody to look at stuff and say like, “You’re amazing.” I’m telling this story because I feel like it is beneficial and uplifting and it’s inspiring for people who are in a position that I was in or in any position at all that they think is lower at the bottom.
It shows to me that there’s always a choice and another corner you can turn. You can go lower or higher at any moment. Walk out the door and choose your own adventure. That, to me, is the story. It’s all this crazy stuff happens and there’s always another turn of like, “What the? Huh? Who? Why?” It’s because it’s always a choice. We get so caught up in our own minds and lives that we think that we’re stuck or we think that we’re on this perfect road and it’s never going to end. Neither one of those is true.We get so caught up in our own minds and our own lives that we think we're stuck, or we think that we're on this perfect road and it's never going to end. And neither one of those is true. Click To Tweet
What about your boys? Obviously, they’re a little young now to read the book or are they?
They are. My oldest son is eleven and he asked if he could read it. I said, “Not yet. There’s some sex, drugs, and rock and roll in here. I don’t think you’re quite ready.” I’ve already started to tell him a few things. I’ve always been honest. The life that my children have is freaking amazing. It is Disneyland compared to anything that I grew up with. That is what I’m absolutely most proud of, the life that my children have. Even though it’s far from perfect and we haven’t been to Disneyland yet, their level of safety, security, and feelings of love are off the charts. That’s what matters to me. I’m sure I’ve traumatized them in some way. That’s our job. My youngest is nine. He has no clue. My oldest is like, “Mom, how are we going to be richer?” He’s got all sorts of plans.
The point of your question is they’ll know. I want them to look at it as I look at it and as my sister looks at it, which is this wild, crazy adventure of opportunity and light and seeing America through a completely different lens, looking at nature, and being as this wonderful opportunity that we have as human animals that we shouldn’t be disconnected from it all the time. I’m looking at the human connection and our ability, opportunity, and necessity to connect, give, and love. As you were saying earlier, a smile and a compliment. You don’t have to be the president of the Boys and Girls Club or start your own nonprofit to make a difference in somebody’s life. Those are the types of things that I want my kids to read this book and learn. They’re going to learn to see other things.
They are and they’re also going to look at the different choices that you can make in life that you can. As you said, it is always a choice and they’ll see and learn that, but also, they might respect old mom a little bit more.
The whole concept of street cred. It’s like, “When I was a kid, they’re published.”
My son wants to be a professional fighter and then they fight in the USC. I said, “I’m concerned that this posh lifestyle you have, three squares a day, and a comfortable bed are holding you back. I feel like I should make your life harder so you can be more successful.” He said, “I’ve thought about that.” You need something to be angry about. A lot of these fighter have these terrible stories that they’ve overcome to become successful. I was like, “I should make your life harder so you can have something more to overcome.” He’s like, “My mom loved me so much and I had everything I needed.”
He’s got to dig into his past lives and pull those out.
He does have a few actually.
I wanted to bring this up real quick. You mentioned the fight and the hard work that has gotten me here. I have a business coach. I mentioned him on almost every episode. His name is Bill Small. One of the things that he mentioned early on is the practices that I have put in place that got me to where I am were amazing but are no longer serving me because now it’s a source of stress. I can’t go or excel at that speed and take care of my family at the same time or myself. I didn’t take care of myself at all for years. I didn’t even know what that was. My first assignment by my business coach was to take an hour for myself in one week and it took me two weeks to do it. I thought he was kidding at first. That’s crazy.
It’s a very different view of your life now.
It is, and then another business coach said this to me as I was talking about how I move onto this next level because I’m trying to figure out how to get past my own curses. He said, “Working with people like me is like working with war veterans. They come back from the war and they think that they behave. Their fight or flight is still in a position of, ‘I am at war.’” How do you calm that nervous system and say, “You don’t have to fight anymore or run? You are safe. You made yourself safe. There’s nothing to be afraid of anymore.”
I imagine that there’s a piece of you that feels like all this could go away because it did so many times.
It absolutely can. That’s one of the lessons of the book. If it does all go away, you’re still okay. We literally lived in campgrounds with nothing but a car and each other and they were still some of our best memories.
You’ve had each other, too.
Most of the time.
I know that from the time that you started writing the book until now publishing the book, your perception of your life has evolved and changed. One thing that you touch on more at the end and not so much at the beginning is the development of a spiritual perspective on your life. What can you say about the early version of that? You didn’t grow up in a religious family. You didn’t talk about God in your house, but now, in the very last chapter or so, you see this development in you personally and a connection with something outside yourself, a source or something divine.
It’s been developing for quite some time. It was always there and it crept in a little bit throughout my life. There’s a chapter that talks about going to church with my grandma and my cousin. When my grandma died, I started feeling, seeing, and hearing different things in my life that I couldn’t explain. Some people accepted it and some people didn’t. I didn’t know what to make of it, but I had always believed in ghosts because I grew up in Nevada. You have to because they’re there. You can’t deny it. They are everywhere, but some places embrace it.
You don’t have to convince me. I grew up in a Victorian house. I’ve woken many nights by the woman who shared it with us. You’re like, “Not tonight. I’m tired.”
It started to come into my life and then different circumstances that happened in my life and different deaths. These new portals were opened. I’ve always been interested in religion and world religions, but didn’t believe in God. I believed in energy as a scientific thing. I always believed and still believe that prayer is a real thing that is possible and it is an energy that moves through people. Putting hands on someone or multiple people praying about something at the same time, I thought that that was a scientific energy that moved particles and changed life.Prayer is a real thing that is possible, and it is an energy that moves through people. Click To Tweet
That turned into a concept of understanding that there are spirits. Not just ghosts but spirits that communicate with us and have relationships in different ways. They can be in multiple places at the same time. I thought that I was going crazy for a little while because I was like, “You can’t tell people you’re hearing voices. They’ll put you away.” I started thinking about it in a biblical sense. When people talk about hearing God or hearing different ways or directions to go with their life, whether it’s intuition, your inner voice, or God, that is an accepted communication path. One day, my oldest son said to me, “Mom, it seems like you believe in spirits and ghosts more than you believe in God.” I’m like, “Do I? That’s an excellent perception and let me think on this a little bit.”
That reflection from a young child, it’s like, “Here’s what you are showing me.” He’ll tell you exactly what you’re showing him.
He’s going to an episcopal school. They go to chapel every day. They talk about God in class every day. He has come to understand that he doesn’t have to be afraid of things because God is there always. If I had known as a kid or thought for a moment that I didn’t have to be afraid. It’s an ever-evolving relationship with God and spirit. What I do understand or what I know is that there is much more than our physical animal body in this version of reality that we’re living in.
When we settle into ourselves and trust, we can be guided. Sometimes, if we do things like drink alcohol, we can be guided in the wrong direction, but we are still guided. It’s not only us. When you are having an argument with yourself in your head, who are you arguing with? Sometimes, it’s multiple personalities, but why? What was that caused by? Was there a trauma?
It’s the ego part of your personality and then there’s the higher voices that maybe guide you in a more positive direction. We were at the end of the episode, so anybody reading, it’s bought in.
There are times that I was like, “What is that? Russian voice. That is weird. Where did that come from?” I don’t even remember it. It wasn’t a big profound like, “Go do this thing.” I remember I was having an internal conversation with myself. If I’m going to talk to myself in a different accent, it’s usually British.
Not entirely but differently.
I was like, “It’s weird.”
It must have a Russian guide and they were like, “You’re out of milk.”
It was asking me a question and I answered it in my voice. I was like, “Where did that come from?” I don’t know where that came from. I haven’t heard it since, but I promise you, I’m not crazy. I don’t know. I do tarot cards and I meditate regularly. I talk to the spirits every night and every morning and tell them what I’m grateful for and what I’m hoping for in the future. I ask them to guide me to connect, share love and insight, and help provide the service to the world that I am meant to provide. My thought in that is if there is no God or spirit, then that’s the proper way I should be talking to myself anyway.
Either way, you win. It’s the right mindset to stay in gratitude, be present, and set your intentions.
That’s exactly right. The other thing is getting myself into a place of peace because I realized that I had been afraid. One of my friends called it, “You never knew when your dad would be snuggle in love with the bear in the room. You never knew when that bear was going to show up so you had to be on watch. Be ready for the bear at all times.” That was the first twenty years of my life and beyond. I realized at the age of 42 that I didn’t have to fight anymore. Even if something comes to attack me, I know how to survive without fighting. I have to convince my body of that on a daily basis. That’s the work I’m doing for myself and part of the work that I’m doing with my clients as well. For everybody who knows me, I’m doing brand and marketing.
I’m working now and doing retreats and coaching. That’s a big part of it. Why I am moving into this new world is I’m able to see, like we talked about earlier, through my experiences and now through the study of not spiritual but of physical, metaphysical, biological, and psychological how to help people move through the transition. When I was a kid, I saw all these different places that I’d already been to at the top of what was an option for me. I had a home at the top of what was an option for me or a car that worked was the top. I made it. By the time I had a job for 14 years and then the same husband/boyfriend for 20 years, I was like, “Where else do I go from here? How do I unlock the next door?”
Is it like all the boxes checked or physical achievements? Not that those are unimportant because they’re important and they’re foundational, but it seems like at the end of this story, you’re opening that door to the next story. I can’t wait to read the next book, but we’re still here talking about Anywhere, USA. You show how much work you’ve done and are now poised. It’s just the beginning. I’m excited to see what you do next. I hope that everyone reading does pick up a copy of Anywhere, USA. Who do you think should read it specifically? Everyone. We want everyone to read the book, but who do you think would get the most out of this book?
Mostly women aged 16 to 50. Honestly, young women would get a lot. I wish I had read something like this before I had kids or read the next thing I’m going to write before I had kids because there’s a lot in there about raising children and the way that you feel. We’re all more similar than we think. One thing that I was surprised by is one of my biggest fans so far in the advanced reader copy distribution has been an ex-client of mine who’s a man.
He’s like, “I told my neighbor. I told my aunt and so-and-so. Can they get a copy too?” It’s an adventure and an overcoming story for everyone. Mostly, women who are going to connect and people who experienced some level of setback or challenge that can relate in some way are going to enjoy it the most. People who are in a place now of not knowing how to go to the next step or not seeing a clear path in the future. What do you think? You helped write it.
I agree with all the things you said, but I also think that even if you are someone who’s in that place where you’ve checked off your boxes, you might feel a little bit stagnant. Maybe you aren’t in it because you already have a happy marriage, a home, a job, and have kids and you’ve come into yourself. I still think it’s beneficial for the reasons that it reminds you that you don’t know, as we said, what someone else is going through and it touches that empathy heartstring to make you go, “We are all human. We do have these stories. We need to care for one another.” Also, no matter where you are, it reminds you that you always have a choice. You’re not ever at your top. There’s always growth that’s possible and you don’t have to remain stagnant or stuck.
There’s always like, “Byron might have known it best.” Life is a matter of choices and you can create and co-create. You can scrap it and start over. You don’t have to light the whole bridge on fire, but light parts of it on fire. It does remind you that you don’t need that much to live and survive and be happy. You get to pick it from wherever you are over and over again forever. If you’re a younger woman starting out, it will help you navigate what’s possible.
If you come from a place where you’re dealing with a lot or have dealt with a lot, it will make you feel seen and you can connect with that. It’s like, “I’m not the only one.” Also, as I said, if you’ve got your stuff together and you’re on a roll, you’ll still enjoy it, even from the story perspective. It’s a great story regardless if you’re looking for particular inspiration or not.
It’s my life. I’ve read it four times and am still entertained by it.
That’s great. I have loved working with you. I’m so excited to publish this book. I hope that everyone does go buy your copy on Amazon and please leave Steph a review on Amazon because it helps other people to know this is a great book and it’s worth reading. It’s also nice for all the work she’s put in, which has been a lot of work, to let her know what you think about it.
Anywhere, USA, find it on Amazon and hopefully, Barnes & Noble, and all your local book store. Ask for it.
Please ask your local bookstores for it as well. That will help get it onto as many shelves as possible.