Interview with the Alpha: Brandy’s Story | Episode 5

Interview with the Alpha: Brandy's Story | BMR 05

What does it mean to step into your story? Are you comparing yourself to other people? How can you embrace your trauma?

In this podcast, Billy and Brandy Eldridge share insight into Brandy’s story about being a latchkey kid, facing various types of insecurities, embracing trauma, and hustling for worthiness.

In This Podcast

Summary

  • Brandy’s story

You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for worthiness – Brené Brown

Brandy’s story

That’s my story, it’s all of the above, it’s a wrestle, it’s a push and pull, it’s an inner hippy wanting to get out, it’s this sense of responsibility to make the world a better place. It’s being insecure and living in all these insecurities that come up all the time, and it’s this constant struggle of pushing them back and being confident and being a world changer or trying to be. It’s a story like everybody else’s

At 10 years old Brandy moved to Texarkana, East Texas from San Franciso, California. She thinks to herself, “Where the hell am I in this God-forsaken land?” There were no sidewalks, no skyscrapers, people talked funny and she couldn’t understand what they were saying. There were traditions and there were old Southern roots that she knew nothing about. Brandy knew that this new place she found herself was worlds apart from the place she grew up in.

Growing up in California being raised by a single mom, she had an absent father as her parents divorced when she was very young, all Brandy knew was that her mother was a place of safety and she was resilient. They moved around a lot and Brandy was always in and out of schools. At the age of 5, Brandy was a latchkey kid and because of all her trauma, she deals with a lot of food, financial, and educational insecurity.

Brandy had never intended to go to college as she had always just thought she would go straight into work. But all of her friends started going to college so she applied for a scholarship and got one for voice, she wanted to sing on Broadway. She, however, decided against this as she was financially insecure and didn’t want to be poor so she went into education and became a teacher.

In her second year of teaching, at the age of 22, she took off to Europe for a year. Once she came back she got her Masters’s Degree and worked for a corporate company in Dallas. Brandy was paid really well for this job and she absolutely loved working there. At this point though, she was gaining weight and couldn’t lose it, despite working out and eating less, she thought it was because of stress so she went to the doctor and had some tests done. Her results came back showing that she had a brain tumor.

I don’t like being defined by my circumstances, that is not going to be who I am.

Brandy very quickly made peace with death, did chemo all by herself for 8 months, and then moved back to East Texas, had surgery to remove the tumor. Fast forward to later down the line, Billy married Brandy and was told she couldn’t have kids. They now have 3!

Are you ready to find the freedom to be yourself as a beta male? Do you want permission and tools to be your best beta? Are you ready to join the revolution to find strength as a beta? If you want to be comfortable in your skin and be the most authentic beta male, then our free beta revolution course is for you. Sign up for free.

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Meet Billy Eldridge

billy-eldridge

Meet Billy, the resident beta male. For Billy, this is a place to hang out with other beta males and the people who love them. We’re redefining what beta males look like in the world. I have learned to embrace my best beta self, and I can help you to do the same. As a therapist, I understand the need to belong. You belong here. Join the REVOLUTION.

 

Meet Brandy Eldridge

brandy-eldridge

Hello, Beta friends. I am an alpha personality who is embracing the beta way of life. I feel alive when connected with people, whether that is listening to their stories or learning about their passions. Forget small talk, let’s go deep together. Come to the table and let’s have some life-changing conversations.

 

Thanks for listening!

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Beta Male Revolution is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Podcast Transcription

[BILLY]:
Beta Male Revolution is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a family of podcasts seeking to change the world. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Welcome to the Beta Male Revolution. This is a podcast for Beta males, the people who love them, and the Alphas that enjoy their company.

Hey guys, so glad you’re here with us today. Billy Eldridge with the Beta Male Revolution podcast today. We have a guest that I have had to fight to interview. Couldn’t get this person to the table to save my life. I’ve got a long list of heroes that are women that stand, usually, above the men. I just don’t start with men when it comes to heroes. I go to people like Glennon Doyle Melton, Brenè Brown, the late great Rachel Held Evans, [unclear] Weber, Elizabeth Gilbert. I believe their writing, and their thought provoking, and their truths are pushing the world in a direction it needs to go. Out of all of those people, there’s someone who sits at the top of that list. That is our resident alpha, Brandy Eldridge; she’s here with us today. I’m going to pry her story out of her. She’s not into the touchy-feely stuff like me. She lives her story out through her actions. But I brought her in here. I’ve sat her down. I told her we need to talk. Brandy, thanks for being here today.

[BRANDY]:
I love that you gave me such a great invitation… what do you call it? Thank you. It’s off-putting because those are the greats. And your free pass is Brenè Brown, which I think is hilarious.

[BILLY]:
Yours is Dave Matthews. Mine is Brenè Brown.

[BRANDY]:
Brenè Brown – that just says so much about who you are. And that’s why I love you.

[BILLY]:
Well, I’m sorry. She…

[BRANDY]:
She does it for you.

[BILLY]:
She does it for me. Daring Greatly, she had me there.

[BRANDY]:
It’s disappointing to our listeners, though, when you give that sort of…

[BILLY]:
That list of greats. But I think, after they hear you and they hear your story, you know, hey, this podcast is about some quiet voices, some backstories that need to be heard. It’s about the beta guy that may not get out there and we’re going to give them a place to tell their story. But here today, I’m just honored that you’re here. The Beta Male Revolution would not exist without you, in fact, at a conference over a conversation with a podcaster, this was your idea. Crazy. Beta Male Revolution was your idea. Tell me a little bit about that.

[BRANDY]:
I just think that you have a voice and I think that you wouldn’t have done it by yourself. So, if I didn’t do it with you, it wouldn’t happen. And I hope that one day I don’t have to. I hope that one day it is just you, and you’re on your own, killing it. Because you have…

[BILLY]:
I hope not. I do not want to do this without you. And I’m glad we’re here. I’m just gonna jump right into your story. Brenè Brown says, you either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for worthiness.

[BRANDY]:
I think that, in telling my story, I’m both of those. Like, I’m living and I’m hustling, and I think that is my story, is just this juxtaposition of everything. This irony of everything. I’m a ball of insecurity and I’m confident.

[BILLY]:
Are you hustling for some worthiness?

[BRANDY]:
I’m absolutely out there hustling for worthiness.

[BILLY]:
It amazes me because I constantly see you as this beacon of confidence and ability.

[BRANDY]:
I’m that too.

[BILLY]:
You are. Let’s own that.

[BRANDY]:
I’m absolutely all over the place. I’m hyper, hyperactive and I am an introvert.

[BILLY]:
You wake up at a ten.

[BRANDY]:
I do.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, you’re ready to have a conversation. I wind into the morning slowly. So yeah, but, hey.

[BRANDY]:
And that’s my story. It’s all of the above; it’s a wrestle, it’s a push and pull, it’s an inner hippie wanting to get out in the sense of responsibility to make the world a better place, it’s being insecure and living in all these insecurities that come up all the time. And it’s this constant struggle of pushing them back and being confident and being a world changer, or trying to be, you know, I mean, it’s a story like everybody else’s.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, well, let’s get into yours, and maybe where some of those insecurities came from. You started out, 10 years old, you came to East Texas from San Francisco, California. You drive into Texarkana, Texas. What were your first thoughts?

[BRANDY]:
Where the hell am I in this godforsaken land? It was awful.

[BILLY]:
It’s God’s country, baby. Welcome.

[BRANDY]:
Oh my Gosh. There were no sidewalks, there were no skyscrapers. People talked funny. I couldn’t understand what they were saying; I still have a hard time understanding what they’re saying.

[BILLY]:
Oh, come on now, sweetheart, sit down right here and have yourself a glass of sweet tea.

[BRANDY]:
Sweet tea, which I love.

[BILLY]:
We converted you.

[BRANDY]:
There were traditions. And there were old Southern roots that I knew nothing about, good and bad. Some of the kindest, most wonderful, interesting people and their stories rooted in traditions and families and generations of stuff. And I was…

[BILLY]:
You didn’t come from that, though.

[BRANDY]:
I didn’t come from any of that.

[BILLY]:
Let’s go back to California, San Francisco. I think it’s where so much of your resilience lies. But there possibly is a lot of pain back there too. I don’t know. What was it like as a youngster growing up for you in California?

[BRANDY]:
My mom was a single mom. I had an absent father. They divorced when I was very young, maybe three or four. And my mom was just… she was safety, that’s for sure. No matter where I was, she was good to us. She was kind. She tried to make things fun. She was resilience. And she’s…

[BILLY]:
She’s a fighter.

[BRANDY]:
She’s a fighter, man. And you know, we moved a lot. We lived on wherever we could. So, I was always in and out of school. I don’t remember the schools I went to, I don’t remember friends, I don’t remember names of teachers, I don’t remember any of that. Like, you grew up knowing your kindergarten teacher and your babysitters. I don’t remember any of that. I don’t remember a thing about school.

[BILLY]:
What do you think that…?

[BRANDY]:
We were just highly mobile. You know, it was, sometimes we were living in someone’s garage. Sometimes it was in an apartment in the projects. I remember living in the Hispanic area of San Francisco, in the projects, where we didn’t have any furniture. And my mom had cans of peas, English peas, and to this day, I hate English peas because of it.

[BILLY]:
You hate vegetables.

[BRANDY]:
I don’t hate… ugh, I’m not even. I just remember, there are things…

[BILLY]:
Wanna eat some broccoli later?

[BRANDY]:
With lots of cheese. And I love government cheese.

[BILLY]:
Have you eaten government cheese?

[BRANDY]:
I have. We were on food stamps, and I remember getting cheese and baloney. And my sister and I would put… we had an Easy-Bake Oven and we would put the baloney in there and we would eat that all day long. Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of stuff that comes… I ration food. I have this fear of like, not having food in the house. So, you and I get in arguments about it.

[BILLY]:
You pack for the apocalypse.

[BRANDY]:
I do. I do. And I feel secure when I know we go on a trip and everybody’s got bottled water, and everybody has food. But you know what? You’ve made fun of me about this for years, but how many times…

[BILLY]:
I’ve never gone without.

[BRANDY]:
You’ve never gone without but how many times have we been on a plane that was delayed? We were on the tarmac for like eight hours one time, no joke, and I had food for everybody.

[BILLY]:
There’s always a little secret knapsack filled with beef jerky and protein bars. We aren’t gonna starve if Brandy’s around; that trauma just, it pays off well when you’re hungry on a long flight that gets stranded.

[BRANDY]:
That’s right. And everybody was happy. So, I mean, there’s that, there’s a lot of that, there’s a lot of educational insecurity, financial insecurity, food insecurity, scarcity, I’ve had to deal with that. You know, and you and I’ve talked about first part of life and second part of life.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. Coming into your own, to the fullness of the mature you, the adult you.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, and I look back on the first part of life and trying to overcome all these insecurities that I had, and where they came from. And now, just like embracing them, and it’s different now, just looking at it going, you know…

[BILLY]:
And I just see beauty and strength.

[BRANDY]:
Stop it, you’ll make me cry.

[BILLY]:
I love your story when you tell me about being a latchkey kid at how old?

[BRANDY]:
Five.

[BILLY]:
Five. Coming home and opening the door yourself and making yourself a lunch because your mom was at work, making a living so you guys could survive.

[BRANDY]:
It was tough for her. I was in kindergarten so I was five, six, and she would call me as soon as I came in, like, she knew what time I got home from the bus.

[BILLY]:
She’d call you from her job.

[BRANDY]:
She’d call me from her job and then my sister would come home an hour later. And so, my mom would have the TV on, and she would come home on her lunch break and leave me something to eat. And just tell me to sit by the TV, and it was usually Wienerschnitzel which, if you don’t know what it is, go look it up.

[BILLY]:
Every time we go by Wienerschnitzel we have to go through because it’s like nostalgia for Brandy.

[BRANDY]:
It is and my mom, she was doing her best and nowadays she’d be in trouble for it but, man, these single moms out there, it’s survival; she didn’t want to do that.

[BILLY]:
That’s the thing. You brought such awareness into my world. A two-parent home, middle class, privileged. I mean, I hate to say it now, I mean, we made jokes about government cheese. I mean, it was a very…

[BRANDY]:
We did too.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, but ours didn’t come from a place of… There’s a lot of stuff you helped whittle out of me that was generational, that was ingrained in me, that just… you opened my eyes to a world I didn’t know existed. And I’m so grateful, and that’s why I want people to hear your story. Because normally you don’t talk about it like me, you live your story out; you do social justice, fighting for children’s rights, you know, fighting against childhood abuse, in your work you do for your nonprofit that you’re with. That’s how you do your story. It was a little tougher to get you to sit down and talk about it.

[BRANDY]:
I think that it to me, it’s not a story. There is a gap in the haves and the have nots. And I am very privileged – I think I’ve told you I feel very privileged – because I had a lot of white privilege too.

[BILLY]:
Tell me about that, because a latchkey kid at five, government assistance, you come to Texas with your mom to live with a safe family, a secure family that had some security, and you say you’re privileged.

[BRANDY]:
Well, my mom, first of all, she’s beautiful, and she married my stepdad. And my stepdad, who I call dad, who raised me and who is the best father anybody could ever ask for.

[BILLY]:
He’s a wonderful man.

[BRANDY]:
Very wonderful. I don’t feel like I had that fatherless growing up. I had a better father than people that had two parent homes with stay at home moms and dads that provided – I had a better dad than that. So, I want to give a shout out to all the stepdads out there that are doing it right, because…

[BILLY]:
Stepping up and taking care of.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, it is hard to be a stepdad and he…

[BILLY]:
You’re his daughter and he’s your dad.

[BRANDY]:
Absolutely. And so, I didn’t have that fatherless childhood for one; I had a good dad.

[BILLY]:
But at ten you roll into Texarkana, East Texas from California. One thing that you’ve told me that blew my mind away, you had never heard… I mean, I grew up religious, in church every time the doors were open. You had never heard ‘Jesus’, at ten, never heard that name. Did that mean anything to you?

[BRANDY]:
Um, I just didn’t understand it. Like, I didn’t come from generations of going to church together on Easter at least, or Christmas; that was new to me.

[BILLY]:
Had you ever been to church?

[BRANDY]:
No, never been to church. Never been to church.

[BILLY]:
When was your first time? Ten, eleven?

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, around there. And it was good. People were kind and they were nice, and they were telling me, forgive people, and love people, and my mom was bought in. It was a safe place.

[BILLY]:
Did you have any folks you needed to forgive?

[BRANDY]:
I did. I forgave my father, my biological father, at a very young age. He had his own issues and couldn’t be a dad for me. And my mom was really good, always really good about talking about the good things that he did and the good person that he was and how she fell in love with this person. And he just, you know, he had his own issues, and I just forgave him. I remember holding hands in church and the preacher was telling us we have to forgive people, and I was like, I can forgive him. And I did, at a very young age and then I had my stepdad to kind of fill that role and do it better than most people could ever do it. So that was a fantastic way of growing up, with this community of people. I didn’t know community before that; I knew survival. And I don’t remember a lot of my early, early childhood, but I remember when I moved here, and stability came into my life. And school, you know, I’ve told you before, I couldn’t read and write when I came here, and I had a teacher that… sorry.

[BILLY]:
Tell me about her.

[BRANDY]:
She was good to me, and she knew I was behind and so she let me come in every morning, and she told me how to… she taught me how to read. And she was an old Southern woman that didn’t put up with a whole lot. And she would get on to me, and she showed me love in the same breath. And she taught me to read and write before and after school until I was ready. And it’s funny, it’s weird. I was so far behind and so educationally insecure and didn’t understand what these teachers were saying half the time either.

[BILLY]:
Tell me about the language barrier, just briefly.

[BRANDY]:
You know, they use words like ‘kinfolk’, are you kinfolk to so and so? Is your kinfolk so and so? And I didn’t know what that was and I remember a teacher asked me and I was like, the only Ken I know is Ken and Barbie, and she thought I was being a little smart mouth, and I got in trouble. And I wasn’t. I just didn’t understand what she was asking. She told us to lineup so we could go to the commodes and I was like, what are the commodes? And she was like, you know what the commodes are, and I was like, no, I really don’t. And they’d asked me questions, I’d say, yeah. I wouldn’t say yes, ma’am, and that was like, so disrespectful. I didn’t know that. And they’d say to me, you will say yes, ma’am. And I was like, yes, ma’am. And then they’d ask me a question and I’d go, oh, yeah. And they thought I was being a disrespectful little girl. And so, it was learning how this worked.

[BILLY]:
Oh, and the fight against certain systems runs deep in you, right?

[BRANDY]:
It does. I do. I have this fight in me since I was… and it was before I moved here. I mean, it was young. I remember having this rage inside of me when someone would lie, or someone would do something that wasn’t right. And I felt like I needed to fight for it. But especially from authority, and especially from men.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. Some of our biggest fights have come… I’ve really had to learn to stay regulated, and you know, I get afraid. And we’ve talked about our arguments. I feel that things are unfair, and I’ll swell up and try to make myself big, get loud. And that is like kryptonite; things really go to hell quickly when that takes place in our arguments.

[BRANDY]:
Or when you say something to me and go well, you know, you have that thing against male authority. So, anything I say on that…

[BILLY]:
I don’t know, I mean, I don’t know who that is. I would never say that. That sounds chauvinist and horrible.

[BRANDY]:
I do. I have a thing against… I have a hard time with male authority. Yeah, I do.

[BILLY]:
Oh, and rightfully so in a lot of ways.

[BRANDY]:
But I’ve also had some of the greatest mentors that were men, and they lead with a different way of thinking. One of my earliest mentors is a man named Roy Garcia. And he was kind and good and his ego didn’t get in the way of letting other people shine.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, I’ve heard you talk about him all through the years. He was superintendent in Dallas?

[BRANDY]:
He’s in Houston now. But he was my principal when I started teaching. And he was so kind and good to me and saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. And that is a pattern I’ve seen my whole life, of people, kind people seeing something in me I didn’t see in myself, and still to this day. My teacher who taught me how to read and write. I had another teacher who the next year said, I think you need to be tested for gifted and talented. And I didn’t even know what that was. And she told me I was smart. Nobody had ever told me I was smart before

[BILLY]:
It blew my mind you weren’t going to go to college; you didn’t know much about college.

[BRANDY]:
We never talked about college. It was just like the name of Jesus before the age of ten. College wasn’t talked about in my family; work was, and my family had amazing work ethic.

[BILLY]:
You just thought you were going to go to work, and all your friends started applying for college.

[BRANDY]:
I was dating somebody, and he was like, where are you going to college next year? And I’m, like, college? I don’t know, what am I going to do with college? I’m going to work; I’m going to work. And so, all of my friends started going off and I thought, well, I’ll apply for college, and I got a small little scholarship.

[BILLY]:
For what?

[BRANDY]:
For voice.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, what was your true passion?

[BRANDY]:
I wanted to sing on Broadway.

[BILLY]:
And before we leave today, I’ll give you the opportunity to do the Little Mermaid for us.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, thanks.

[BILLY]:
Will you, please?

[BRANDY]:
No. That’s funny. If I’m gonna do it, it’s Phantom of the Opera. No. I didn’t do it because I was financially insecure, and I knew I didn’t want to be poor. So, I went into education. I got an English degree.

[BILLY]:
So, I remember you telling me the two types of jobs that you knew.

[BRANDY]:
Nurses and teachers. Yeah, that’s what people told me.

[BILLY]:
You couldn’t give shots.

[BRANDY]:
I couldn’t. I couldn’t stand the sight of blood.

[BILLY]:
So, you became a teacher.

[BRANDY]:
So, I became a teacher. And it was fantastic for me. It was the best thing that could have happened. I could see how God and the universe had all made that happen, because I was able to work in inner cities. My first job was teaching in Kansas City in a very urban school district where there were no books; there were metal detectors when you walked in. And man, I loved those kids, because I saw myself in those kids, I was every one of those kids in my classroom. Didn’t matter if they were black, white, Hispanic, it didn’t matter; I saw myself in every one of them. And I wanted them to know that education would help them get out of there.

[BILLY]:
I remember coming to Kansas City to visit you at one of the schools you taught at, and being frisked, walking through the metal detectors. I’m not sure what grade it was, but I remember hearing just cuss words coming from the classroom, from the students. They were young. And I was just like, y’all let em cuss? And you began to explain to me, from my world of privilege and just unawareness, y’all chose your battles. You know, those kids had been through a lot of atrocities, the night before, most of them didn’t have families. Lots of trauma, and the fact that they were there, and they were open, you had to work within their world to some limit.

[BRANDY]:
I had a lot of mentors that helped me along the way. And one of them said to me, you need to know what your mission statement is as a teacher.

[BILLY]:
Did you have one?

[BRANDY]:
I did. It was, however long I’ve got these kids in my class, I’m going to love on them. I’m going to love on them, whatever that means for each one of them. And that’s what I did. Just loved on them in the way that they needed to be loved on. And maybe it was listening to them, maybe it was talking to them about how education could get them out of where they are, maybe it was just telling them that they were smart, like someone had told me, or they were good. And always telling them these things like, you can do it, I believe in you. And they passed tests, they passed state tests because of it. And so, it was great. And that’s where I had Roy Garcia, one of my mentors, came and said, you know, you’re really good at this and I want you to help teach people how to teach how you teach.

[BILLY]:
So, you’re out of the classroom and into administration.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah. So, then a couple years later, I went and got my master’s in At Risk, so I could help…

[BILLY]:
At what point did you quit everything and go to Europe? Cos there is that in there somewhere. You’re just that wild spirit.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah. So, my second year of teaching, I was like, screw this, like, I don’t… I loved it. But I was like, man, I’m too young to have all this responsibility. And I’d saved up money and I knew I’d get paid through the summer. So that was an extra paycheck and I took off to Europe by myself.

[BILLY]:
You went by yourself? How old were you?

[BRANDY]:
Twenty-two.

[BILLY]:
And where all did you go, just briefly?

[BRANDY]:
Like, twenty different countries. I just went all over Western Europe, and just backpacked for around a year; I just took a year off and just backpacked.

[BILLY]:
Oh, just took a year off, backpack by myself. No big deal. Not a beta move, that’s an alpha move. Never in a million years would I do that.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, I didn’t think anything of it. And you know what was so cool, was my parents, my parents didn’t think anything of it. And if they did, they didn’t tell me. They were like, if this is something you want to do, do it. And they never said, well, how are you gonna afford it? And what are you gonna do? You got this education. They didn’t care. They were like, go experience life; do what you need to do. And they allowed me to have that hippie spirit and that soul, be the wanderer, and it was great. It was tough and it was lonely, and it was beautiful. And I got to nanny for this family for a couple weeks and then leave and then I picked grapes in France for cash under the table and I bar tended and slept on this guy’s cot in a bar and never felt unsafe.

[BILLY]:
Who’s this guy – what’s his name? I’m just kidding.

[BRANDY]:
I can’t even remember, he was Irish. It was an Irish Pub and it’s how I learned to drink beer. It was just, it was a fantastic time. I came back, went back to teaching, got a master’s degree, and worked for this corporate company in Dallas and loved working for this corporate company in Dallas. I was the youngest one in the company, was paid really well to do what I did. And…

[BILLY]:
Yeah. Tell us what happened.

[BRANDY]:
I got diagnosed with a brain tumor.

[BILLY]:
What was that day like? Tell me about the phone call.

[BRANDY]:
I had gone to the doctor because I had started gaining weight, and I couldn’t lose it. I was down to eating like 500 calories a day and like working out twice a day, and I just thought it was stress. So I go to the doctor, and they take all these tests and blood and all this stuff, and I’m at work, working in downtown Dallas and I get a call from the doctor and she’s like, hey, I need you to step outside, or I need you to go somewhere I can talk to you. And I was like, okay, and so I walk out on the back patio, and we’ll never forget this day and I’m looking at the skyline. And she said, Brandi, you have a brain tumor. And I was like, huh, what? And she goes, I want you to repeat back to me everything I’m gonna say to you. You have a brain tumor. Repeat back to me, I have a brain tumor. And so I went, I have a brain tumor and everything just stood still and she said, I need you to go into your HR department right now when we hang up the phone, and I want you to ask them if you have cancer insurance, full coverage. I want you to find out about your benefits. Tomorrow we have an MRI; need you to come down to the hospital and we’re going to do an MRI. Need you to call your family and have somebody there with you. And so, I went in, did exactly what she told me to do. And then the next morning went in for an MRI and I was on a lot of medication, was doing some oral chemo and stuff. And just, I couldn’t do it.

[BILLY]:
I remember that. We weren’t married then.

[BRANDY]:
No, we were friends. And I didn’t tell anybody.

[BILLY]:
You didn’t. You were so reserved, like, you weren’t on any prayer chains in Texas. I would have known about it.

[BRANDY]:
No.

[BILLY]:
Why don’t you talk about that stuff? Normally people, like, on Facebook…

[BRANDY]:
Well, Facebook wasn’t a thing back then, but I still wouldn’t have posted…

[BILLY]:
Myspace. [Unclear]

[BRANDY]:
I don’t like being defined by my circumstances. That is not going to be who I am.

[BILLY]:
You had a damn brain tumor; you could’ve let your friend know.

[BRANDY]:
No, I don’t want people to know that… you know, you hear about these people that do that. And that’s all they are. That’s all they become. I don’t want that for myself and…

[BILLY]:
Brain tumor Brandy. That’s what I’m gonna call you.

[BRANDY]:
No. I am so much more than that. That was just something that happened.

[BILLY]:
Well, you’re here. You didn’t die.

[BRANDY]:
No, I made peace with that really quickly too.

[BILLY]:
What? Death?

[BRANDY]:
Death. Made peace with that very quickly. And you just, you know, I was young, I was 28. So, I wasn’t married, didn’t have any kids and that makes it a lot easier. And, anyway, I couldn’t do it anymore. I tried doing it for like eight months by myself.

[BILLY]:
Doing the chemo, living on your own.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, and it wasn’t getting better. So, I had to move back to East Texas.

[BILLY]:
It draws you back in once again.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, it’s a vortex. So, I came back, I bought a small little cute house in a historic district and started working, because I had to work, I needed insurance, needed money, needed to do all that and…

[BILLY]:
Funny story, your room needed to be painted in your new house; you had your brain tumor… well, this was post-surgery, we’ll get there. But I remember my ex-wife – she was my wife at the time – came to paint your room for you.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah. So, I had some really good friends in Texarkana and you and your ex-wife were some of my good friends and you guys were really kind to me and…

[BILLY]:
We still are, I mean I’m really your friend. She’s still your friend too.

[BRANDY]:
She’s still my friend and you guys were really kind to me.

[BILLY]:
Ain’t it wild how life works out?

[BRANDY]:
Yeah.

[BILLY]:
So how did you not die of a brain tumor?

[BRANDY]:
Well, I had surgery. So, I get a call. I was working here in East Texas. I get a call and they said… one of the doctors that I was seeing said, we don’t know what else to do for you. This isn’t what we thought it was. It’s not getting smaller. It’s not getting better. We don’t know what to do.

[BILLY]:
Starting to cause vision problems.

[BRANDY]:
It was causing all sorts of problems. I’d lost a lot of eyesight. Nothing was working.

[BILLY]:
You were gonna go blind.

[BRANDY]:
I don’t know what was gonna happen. My mom, though, hears this…

[BILLY]:
Your eyes were kind of bulging back then.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah. My mom hears this, and this is… I love my mom. I’m gonna rat her out. So, I go home, and I call her, and I tell her this. And she was like, no, that’s not happening. So, she gets on the phone and pretends that she’s a nurse and calls MD Anderson.

[BILLY]:
Back from that San Francisco [unclear].

[BRANDY]:
I’m telling you, she’s a fighter and she gets me into an appointment at MD Anderson, one of the best cancer hospitals, and they’re like, yeah, come on in. She faxes all my stuff, pretends that she’s a nurse doing all this because the guy that I was seeing was just, I don’t know what it was. Anyway. A lot of it was just kind of, I try putting pieces together but there’s a lot of like, shock, I think I was in for a little bit and just trying to figure out how I’m going to work and how I’m going to do this. And anyway, we go to MD Anderson. I get in and I see this brilliant surgeon.

[BILLY]:
You’ve told me about his handshake. I love his handshake. Tell me about his handshake.

[BRANDY]:
He didn’t handshake.

[BILLY]:
He wouldn’t touch your hands.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, because his hands were his instruments that kept people alive.

[BILLY]:
So, he just kind of softly held it out.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah. And it was almost like he was giving you the opportunity to kiss the ring.

[BILLY]:
Like a dead fish in your hand.

[BRANDY]:
Nothing like that. He was fantastic. Did the surgery. He had me in surgery two days after he read my results. He’s like, we got to go in and do this.

[BILLY]:
And they pulled that thing out.

[BRANDY]:
They pulled a lot of those things out. Anyway. Fast forward.

[BILLY]:
Anyway, enough of that. Let’s move on.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah. And then you and I get married and we have trauma and it goes on from there. But here’s the thing.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, we would never… you couldn’t have kids.

[BRANDY]:
They told me I probably couldn’t have kids, and now we have three. It’s all… just everything, life doesn’t make sense. And I’m now 42 years old and can embrace the trauma that I had. I can stop comparing myself to people and their stories. I was not raised the way a lot of people were raised. I’ve been in survival mode most of my life. I don’t know anything different. But I listened to people that were raised a lot like me, who have the similar personality styles, that just keep hustling, just keep going. Because they don’t know anything different.

[BILLY]:
It doesn’t seem to me though that you’re hustling for your worthiness anymore.

[BRANDY]:
I think it’s that second half of life when you just kind of rest in it and you go, it is what it is.

[BILLY]:
You stepped into your story.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, I think I’ve been open about it a lot more than I ever have been. It wasn’t that I was ashamed of it. I can’t understand it, I was just reserved. It’s almost like feelings and that kind of thing, or for the people that have time for it, and I don’t have time for it.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. When we look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and the lower level, I mean, food, shelter, nurturing. You don’t get to move up, and start doing ego work, and work towards self-actualization till you actually have all those base needs met. Then some of the most privileged people have the opportunity to do that work and they just don’t. They kind of rest on what’s been given to them, but I believe for me, the gift you’ve given me is not allow that. You wouldn’t settle for me being any less than my best. And that’s why I believe women are my heroes. You open my life up, and my eyes, to the strong, passionate, life giving women that I just stand in awe of, and you’re the one at the top of my list.

[BRANDY]:
Thank you.

[BILLY]:
I love your story. I think we skipped over. And I think we wouldn’t do the story justice if we didn’t go back and just briefly talk about your blended family.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah. I have two African American brothers. Yeah. Which is so funny in East Texas because…

[BILLY]:
So, you and your sister come here. Blond haired, blue eyed, California. Your mom marries a man, he’s got two children. So, you having this blended family, how has that colored the lens that you see the world through? Because you have taught me so much I can’t help but think there’s people on the other end. They can learn.

[BRANDY]:
Well, I think that it was normal for us. And I loved my brothers. And I love my dad.

[BILLY]:
Did you ever see racism?

[BRANDY]:
Yeah. Yeah, I remember I had a slumber party that I was going to, and it was some of the cheerleaders, and then they told me I couldn’t come over because I had black people in my family, so I didn’t get to go to the cheerleaders sleepover. And, I mean, I didn’t feel bad. I didn’t have that, like…

[BILLY]:
It’s like you felt bad for them.

[BRANDY]:
I was like, what? Y’all are… and I was like, that is sad. And I felt bad for my brothers. I felt bad for them.

[BILLY]:
And they are two amazing… one’s a nurse, one’s a marine. They’re…

[BRANDY]:
They’re just people.

[BILLY]:
They’re phenomenal human beings.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah. And that’s the thing, is people miss out on getting to know people, because they have these preconceived notions, and you still have a lot of preconceived notions about poor people. We talk about that all the time, just like…

[BILLY]:
It’s subtle, and it’s buried, but it’ll just come out in ignorant bumbling, and you’ll be able to point it out to me. And today, I think I have my ego regulated enough, I can say, oh, I’m sorry, I was so ignorant, and I even spoke that way. Because those words can be hurtful, and they don’t help anything, and they don’t move us forward. And guys like me, who grew up with everything, have a lot to learn, have a lot to unlearn. And you have participated in the unlearning of old, bad, ugly, nasty habits rooted in generations of keeping the playing field on level. Thank you so much.

[BRANDY]:
I think that’s the message, right? People are humans and we don’t know what they’ve been through. And I mean, I can sit here and say I struggled, and I’ve made all the right decisions and been somebody that’s doing right. I have done so much wrong and made so many mistakes and had just as many prejudice against rich people, and white people, and I’ve been cruel to people, and I’ve been mean, and I’ve made huge mistakes. I haven’t always been kind to people.

[BILLY]:
You haven’t always been kind to me. I’m just kidding, actually.

[BRANDY]:
I haven’t. I haven’t.

[BILLY]:
Oh, you’re a wrecking ball. You come in with passion and truth and you don’t mince words, and you haven’t had the luxury of laying back and being a more beta, in finding yourself along the way. You had to by necessity and, God, I don’t know what my life would be without that. I would just be humming along whistling in the dark, lost with no way to go and just be another ignorant person.

[BRANDY]:
Well, you’re not. And I don’t want to sit here and like keep doing this because I don’t like that.

[BILLY]:
What do you mean – feelings?

[BRANDY]:
Yes, I don’t want to do that. I want to get into some fun stuff, and happy things. But anyway, all this to say, the reason I am able to tell my story today so that you know who the other person is on the other side of the microphone. And you know a little bit about me. I think everyone’s got a story. Everybody’s got different trauma, everybody, it’s all relative. Mine is not a unique story. It is simply… it’s one, sadly enough, a lot of people have.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, but it’s your story. And it means a lot.

[BRANDY]:
It is. But I hope that people can identify with it and know where I’m coming from when I say some of the stuff and know that I’m processing through trauma and insecurities and bad habits I have and, you know, just processing through it and part of that is processing it through with you. You’ve taught me as much as I’ve taught you; we are good together, and we want to just help. We want to put good out there in the world. That’s it.

[BILLY]:
Let’s do that. I’m going to end on a quote. Another one from our Glennon Doyle Melton, love warrior, makes me think so much of you. She’s speaking of herself, but I read it and I hear you. It says, “I’m not a mess, but a deeply feeling person in a messy world. I explain that now, when someone asked me why I cry so often, I say, for the same reason I laugh so often, because I’m paying attention. I’ll tell them that we can choose to be perfect and admired or to be real in love. We must decide”.

And for me, you chose a long time ago to be real and loved. And I appreciate you, appreciate what you do in the world, and what you bring to this podcast. It’s as much yours as it is mine. It’s an exploration and a journey and we look at life through the lens of a beta male. And we talk to the alphas who love them, and you just happen to be the alpha that loves me. Thank you for your love and your generosity and graciousness.

[BRANDY]:
Love you, Boo.

[BILLY]:
I’ll talk to you soon. Talk to you right after we stop.

Are you ready to find freedom to be yourself as a Beta male? Do you want permission and tools to be your best Beta? Are you ready to join the revolution to find your strength as a Beta? If you want to be comfortable in your own skin and be the most authentic Beta male, then our free Beta Male Revolution course is for you. Sign up for free at betamalerevolution.com/course.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or the guest are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.

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