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March 12, 2024 52 mins

When darkness overshadows our past, it takes an extraordinary strength to step into the light. That's exactly what Acamea Deadwiler, our guest and survivor-author, embodies. Her raw account of rising beyond the confines of childhood trauma serves as a reminder that although scars may mark our history, they don't chart our future.

Love, in its endless complexity, is a language we never stop learning to speak. Our episode weaves through tales of affection whispered through acts of protection, the silent strength of friendships, and the purest expressions found in the eyes of a child.

Finally, we confront the chains that bind us—resentment, grudges, the silent barriers we erect against love's flow. Through personal revelations, we confront the arduous but essential journey toward forgiveness, not as an act of submission, but as the ultimate form of self-liberation. And as we round off our exploration with the soul-stirring power of music and the life-altering impact of volunteering, we're reminded that the paths we walk, the people we help, and the harmonies we embrace have the force to not only mend but to transform us. Join us on this transformative odyssey, and perhaps, find a piece of your own story reflected in ours.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to the Fuzzy Mike, the interview series, the
podcast, whatever Kevin wants tocall it.
It's Fuzzy Mike, hello, andthank you for joining me.
Today's episode is how to Healfrom Emotional Hurt, and my
guest is Akemiah Deadwiler, anauthor and survivor of extreme
childhood trauma.

But before we welcome Akemiah,I want to share something with
I received a lot of complimentson my episode with David
Shamsad that talked aboutovercoming an attempt of suicide
Yeah, there was one comment,quote I don't need to hear this
shit from someone who didn't usea name and, frankly, I'll never

understand the motivation orpurpose behind such a message.
If you don't like something,turn it off and go about your
Constructive criticism yes,share that.
I'm all about getting better.
Anything less, though, well, gofuck yourself.
There was one comment that wasdirect messaged to me and it

drove home one of the reasonsthat I do this podcast and why I
have a concentration on mentalhealth episodes.
I host this podcast because Ilove the art of the conversation
and when I'm talking with aguest, I get to practice that
art and at the same time, I getto learn about fascinating

I host this podcast because, asan early retiree, I have a lot
of free time and this helps mefill that time so that I don't
occupy my mind withself-loathing and harmful
When I post mental healthepisodes, I do it because I like
creating open dialogue on atopic that some see as weakness.

I appreciate learning new waysof coping with my own mental
issues and I also do it in thehope that if someone is
struggling, they can listen tothe fuzzy mic and maybe get an
answer they're looking for ormotivation to seek help or make
change on their own.
This is a message I got fromBrenda, and she granted me

permission to use her story andher name.
She wrote Hi, kevin Klein, Ijust wanted to let you know
about your last podcast youposted on Fuzzy Mic.
That show touched very close tohome.
I am a suicide survivor.
When I was 18, I was beaten andraped by someone that I thought

truly cared about me.
When all this happened, Ireally and truly thought
everything was over.
It's hard for me to get back tothe happy-go-lucky self.
I still have good and bad days,and sometimes rough weeks when
I think things aren't goingright.
I also have those days when Ijust want to give up on

everything and now I can stepback and see what I have to live
I wasn't supposed to see 30,but I will be 44 this year.
I mean, I think I'm doing good.
So again, thank you for yourpodcast this week, brenda.
Thank you for sharing yourstory and I am so happy that

you're doing good.
You'll find something in thisepisode that you can use to
continue your personal growth.
Here's how my guest AkameyaDeadwiler's personal story

Speaker 2 (03:25):
I don't want to be 60 years old still talking about
what happened to me when I was12.
I said this to my cousin who,though more than a decade
younger than me, held traumasjust as mature by the time she
graduated high school.
Sold at her mother, sold atmine.
Everything is relative.
If you've had a fairlycomfortable life, enduring

anguish may be more challengingthan it is for someone with more
I was listening to a podcastwhere a guest bemoaned the idea
of removing children fromabusive, unsafe, volatile home
environments and placing them inthe care of strangers
Part of their reasoningcentered on resilience and the

resourcefulness we gain inlearning to navigate difficult
Basically, the guest hung thisargument on the idea that we are
more likely to suffer anirrevocable break when we
haven't learned to bend.
This might be true.
Still, it led me to believethat the guest must have been
one who had a relatively stable,happy home life, because there

was no mention of how you breaka little more every night when
agony consumes most of your days.
They didn't speak on how yourheart is too busy holding sorrow
to save room for joy, or on howyou are as affected as anyone
You just keep it inside becauseyou're numb, because you're so
tired, because you don't believeanyone would care anyway.

You normalize suffering, whichbegets more and, yes, you may
bounce back quicker and appearto carry it well.
Because you believe sufferingto be inevitable, because you
expect it, you are prepared.
Pleasure becomes more shockingthan pain.
For a while I was addicted tomy story.
I didn't want to let it gobecause I believed it to be

crucial to who I am.
Now I know I am not my pain.
I am not simply the product ofsins committed against me.
Neither are you Think.
All that is righteous for this,because it means we can exist
beyond hurtful circumstances.
We can shape hours, then days,soon maybe months, next years

and decades outside the belly ofthe beast that is past trauma.

Speaker 1 (05:46):
Akemiah Deadwiler.
That is beautiful stuff.
We are talking with author andmotivational speaker and
childhood trauma survivor,Akemiah Deadwiler.
Thank you for joining me today.

Speaker 2 (05:57):
Thank you for having me.
I'm happy to be here.

Speaker 1 (06:00):
We're going to help a lot of people today.
I was just talking about Brenda, who emailed me earlier, and
she had some very seriouschildhood trauma that she
You did too, I know, inwatching a Fox television
program in Las Vegas.
You were on and you talkedabout being starved as a child.
Can you tell us a little bitmore about your background?

Speaker 2 (06:23):
Well, that particular segment refers to a time when I
was about five years old.
My mother, which I didn't knowat the time, was suffering from
mental illness and that's whatled to the starvation.
I'm originally from Indiana, soonce that happened, my
grandmother came and stepped in,brought us back to Indiana and

we went on to live our livesfrom there.
My mother fully recovered,she's fine, she's doing great.
Today Hasn't had anything likethat happen again.
Thankfully, we all survived andwe figured out how to make it

Speaker 1 (06:58):
Not only survived, but you're thriving.
Now you have a master's fromValparaiso University.
You have a brand new bookcoming out later this week, on
the 15th.
What's the title of the book?

Speaker 2 (07:09):
It's called Daddy's Little Stranger.
I actually have it right here.

Speaker 1 (07:12):
There it is.

Speaker 2 (07:14):
Daddy's Little Stranger will be out on March

Speaker 1 (07:17):
Tell us a little bit about Daddy's Little Stranger.

Speaker 2 (07:20):
Well, daddy's Little Stranger is about growing up
without a father as a girl.
I wrote it because when I did asearch for what the impact of
this might be, everything thatreturned revolved around female
sexuality and being promiscuousand things like that.
I'm sure these are veryresearched topics and effects.

I'm not saying that it's not afactor, but it's not the only
factor and it's not the onlyoutcome.
I didn't fit into this neatlittle box of what a fatherless
daughter is supposed to looklike.
I was like, hey, what about allthese other ways that having a
father can impact you?
What about all these otherthings that a father could give

to a little girl?
Instead of just always definingwomen or analyzing women in
terms of sexuality, I decided towrite about that from my
personal perspective and justthings I've witnessed in girls
who didn't have fathers.

Speaker 1 (08:18):
Okay, we've got a little bit of the backstory.
Now let's dig into the bones.
You are a survivor, and you'renot only a survivor from
personal standpoint, but fromwhere you grew up.
Gary, indiana, at the time youwere growing up, was the murder
capital of the nation.

Speaker 2 (08:37):
I'm about to show you guys where I grew up my
hometown, gary, indiana.
Population 74,000.
Birthplace of Michael Jackson.
I spent pretty much all of myadolescence and much of my adult

years here until I moved to theWest Coast.
It's not much here now.
That's the train we used totake during the summers to go to
Chicago is about a 30-minutetrain ride from Gary, 2300
Jackson Street.
It's the childhood home ofMichael Jackson.

Look how tiny it is for allthose kids.
This was the high school I wentto, lualas, the mighty Hornet.
This is a bad state of affairsnow.

Speaker 1 (09:37):
What did you see on a daily basis that you had to

Speaker 2 (09:42):
Gary is absolutely central tomy story.
Thankfully because I had adisciplinary and grandmother and
a mother who became reallyinvested into religion and
church and faith.
They sheltered me in a sense.
I wasn't allowed to go out anddo things.
I wasn't hanging out on thestreet where I could see all

these terrible things that werehappening.
I just heard about them.
A homecoming football game whenI was in high school, a pregnant
student was shot and killed inthe head between rival gunfire.
Of course they weren't shootingat her, but that's how it goes.
That is, the innocent peoplethat pay the price for these
violent acts.
I wasn't at the football gamebecause I wasn't allowed to be

out there At the time.
Of course, as a kid I'm upset,like why can't I do anything and
my friends are there and Ican't stand this.
But they actually protected mefrom some situations that I
probably would have found myselfin and not been able to
I mostly heard about it.
I saw some of it.
There were fights and thingslike that, but for the most part

I wasn't in the places wherethese murderous and more violent
acts were happening.
I just knew about them.

Speaker 1 (10:59):
So when you were being sheltered from this by
your grandmother and your mother, what kind of a loving
environment were you in then?

Speaker 2 (11:09):
I was in an environment where protection and
well-being were the ways thatlove was demonstrated to me.
I wasn't in a very affectionateor warm household where we told
each other I loved you, huggedand kissed like none of that.
It was more so like I'm goingto take care of your well-being,

I'm going to protect you andI'm going to discipline you, and
that's how I show love.

Speaker 1 (11:37):
So then, where does your concept of love and
acceptance come from?

Speaker 2 (11:42):
It's something I've had to develop over time.
It's so interesting you askedthat because I feel like I'm
still working on that daily.
I've come a very, very long wayjust through experience and
acquiring new experiences andinteracting with relationships
in different ways.
A lot of it has come from myfriends, my close friends.
I still have the same friends,the same four friends I had in

high school.
We're very close.
We're all spread all over thecountry now, but we travel for
each other's birthdays.
They're coming here for my booklaunch next week, so we're still
very close and I would say theywere probably the first to
really teach me about warm,affectionate love, where there
was a different side of it.
And then my niece my brotherhad a daughter when he was very

young and so she lived with mymother and I for a time when she
was a baby and it was just thisunconditional love, the way she
would rest her head on myshoulder, the way she would just
hug me, just because she didn'tknow any better.
She just naturally was likethis and it softened me a lot
and helped me get morecomfortable with warmer, more
affectionate displays of love.

Speaker 1 (12:52):
That's a beautiful story and it reminds me of
something that a collegepsychologist teacher told me,
and she said we're the onlyanimal not born with instincts.
I always have disagreed withher about that, because you're
telling me that your nieceautomatically just laid her head
on your shoulder.
That's a sign of love andaffection.
You can't teach that.

Speaker 2 (13:13):
Yeah, I teach that that is a natural instinct.
And she was a baby a few monthsold.
No one told her to do that, itwas just her natural instinct.
So, yeah, wholeheartedlydisagree with that.
Now, if you're born in solitudeand no one ever touches you or
anything like that, then I cansee how they say you know that
leads to developmental issuesand you never learn that.
But when you're in anenvironment where those

opportunities present themselves, it's very much a natural

Speaker 1 (13:38):
Well, and nobody teaches us how to cry.
We cry automatically as we'rechildren.
When we're infants, we cry andnobody teaches us that.
So are you?
Well, before I ask you thatquestion, if you go to your
Facebook page and I'm going toput the link up right here and
I'm going to share some of thesequotes, some of your quotes
that you have developed areabsolutely beautiful.

They're quotes that I'm goingto accept and use in my life on
a daily basis.

Speaker 2 (14:03):
Oh, well thank you?

Speaker 1 (14:05):
Where does your mind come from to be able to come up
with such beautiful prose?

Speaker 2 (14:10):
You know, I don't know when I was doing the quotes
thing, it was just somethingthat came.
It started coming to me, likeevery day I would wake up with
these ideas for quotes and theseideas that I wanted to
communicate and these kind ofuplifting messages.
They were just coming to me.
And I think that's how mostthings happen when you're open
to receiving, you know what youshould be doing or what's

meaningful to you.
And at that time in my life itwas developing these quotes.
You know, every morning I've Ijust had like a stash of them
and that's how I feel, likethat's how most of my prose come
I feel like that's when I'm atmy best is when I kind of get
into I don't know if you heard aflow state where, yeah, it's
when I kind of get into a flowstate when I feel like I'm

really just tapped in, tuned into, to my mindset and what I
want to communicate, and thenthe ideas just start flowing to
me and then, you know, I maycultivate them into something
more more tangible or somethingmore readable or digestible, but
the idea for what it is justjust kind of comes to me and I
think that comes from juststaying immersed in the field,

like I read a lot, I write a lot, and it's like when you're
doing those and you'reconstantly letting your brain
move with that type of energy,then things start to come to you

Speaker 1 (15:23):
Yeah, I mean it happens for all different kinds
of people in all different ways.
But yeah, like as a runner,when I'm in a flow, it just
everything feels natural,Everything feels good, easy.
I'm not thinking about theprocess.
Yeah, that's flow.

Speaker 2 (15:36):
Yeah, exactly.
And then when you're done, youmight be like, oh, my knee hurts
, but at the time you're justgoing and you're not thinking
about it, you're just going withthe flow, you know, so to speak

Speaker 1 (15:48):
Do you have a particular time of day when
you're more creative than others?

Speaker 2 (15:52):
You know it's changed .
For me it used to be thenighttime.
I used to be a night outsomeone who stayed up to two,
three in the morning writing andbeing creative, because that's
when my idea started to flow.
I used to be a big wine drinker, so I would come home, I would
pour a glass of wine and then,yeah, I have all these ideas and
I felt like, oh, I'm a betterwriter when I've drank wine.
But now it's kind of flipped.

Coffee really does it for me.
I'll go to a coffee shop in themorning and that caffeine
really helps me focus and, youknow, it gets my brain working.
So I'll say now it's maybemidday, like between the hours
of 11 and four, where I feel themost creative, and how long did
it take you to write daddy'slittle stranger?

It took me.
It took me a couple of yearsbecause it started out
completely different.
At first it was a collection ofessays and Then, when I signed
with the publisher, thepublisher Reddit and was like
I'm not gonna tell you what todo with your book, but I really
think this would work better asa cohesive story If you just
move some things around anddevelop, you know, connecting

I really think this is apowerful story and you don't
have to break it up into essays.
And he was right.
You know, I went back to it andread and I was like, wow, yeah,
this could go here and I couldexpand on this here and just
really developed a cohesivestory.

Speaker 1 (17:10):
How proud is your mom .

Speaker 2 (17:13):
She's very proud.
You know she's very proud.
Everyone you know heels andreconciles differently, so she
doesn't really like to talkabout things that we may have
endured or things that she hasbeen through, and I respect that
You know that's her story totell.
I'll only speak on the partsthat affected me or how they
affected me.
But, yeah, she's doing verywell, she's just and that's how

she coats is, she's forgivenherself and she's moved on and
and and that's her thing.
She doesn't like to talk aboutit and I respect that.

Speaker 1 (17:41):
Kind of goes back to what you said at the very
beginning, where you started thequote with I don't want to be
talking about my story when I'm60, but here we are still
talking about your story.
So how has the story changed sothat you're able to talk about
it in your 40s, 50s, 60s?

Speaker 2 (17:59):
That's a great question.
The story has changed in thesense that I now speak about it
from a place of love, like whenI was first, when I was very,
very young, I wrote a memoir.
It's out of print now, soplease, like no one, try to find
It's out of print for goodreason, like Kind of cringe
And and also when I wrote itinitially it was more like a

revenge tour.
It was like I'm gonna telleverything you did to me.
I'm gonna tell everything thathappened to me and I had no
regard for for making like thesepeople in my life, full body
Characters of full body people.
I had no grace for what theymay have been going through as
It was all about this is whatyou did and it's so terrible.

And so now I'm at a place where, even with my father, with
daddy's little stranger which isabout growing up, not knowing
him and not having him in mylife I still find areas where I
can show him some grace and saylike hey, I don't know where
you've been and what you've beenthrough, but I'm sure it was
something you know to keep afather from his child.

And so I think that's whereit's changed, where I'm not.
There is no vindictiveness inmy approach.
There there's intentionallylove and grace and understanding
, as far as I can pull it.

Speaker 1 (19:15):
Yeah, so it sounds to me like the story has maybe
changed from a vengeful story toone of sympathy and forgiveness
exactly, exactly, and.

Speaker 2 (19:25):
And a story now of I've healed and here's how I
healed and here's who I am now,instead of holding on to that
idea of who I was and the thingsthat happened to me is the
healing process ongoing or isthere a time where you're fully
healed and you don't have toworry about it anymore?
It's ongoing.
It's ongoing because I may feellike I'm fully healed and I

don't have to worry about it,and then something will happen
and I'll slip back into oldhabits, whether that's, you know
, kind of resistingvulnerability or like maybe
ending a relationship BecauseI'm afraid that it's going to
end anyway kind of a little bitof abandonment, fears and and
things like that.
So sometimes I have to catchmyself and Consciously go

against what my natural instinctgets to do.

Speaker 1 (20:12):
Do you think as because you mentioned very at
the very beginning, it happenedto your grandmother, it happened
to your mother Do you thinkyou're the end of the cycle?
Is that a role that you areaccepting?

Speaker 2 (20:24):
I hope I'm the end of the cycle.
That is my intent to be the endof the cycle.
I'm always those who are, youknow, receptive to what I'm
always talking about Not holdingon to these hurtful, traumatic
stories that weigh us down Like,yeah, if it happened, it
If it hurts you, it hurts you.
If it affects you, it affectsyou.
But I also want us to becognizant of looking toward the

people we want to become andLooking toward healing and how
we cannot just continue toregurgitate that story and talk
about how it's affected us, butlearn to get over it.
And I think a lot of times weresist that because we don't
know who we are outside of thatstory.
It's been so influential in ourlives we don't know who we

would be if we didn't tellpeople like, well, this happened
to me and so it made me thisway.
And it's about learning who youare outside of that situation
and who you can become later on.

Speaker 1 (21:19):
Okay, there's like three questions in there to
All right, that's a beautifulanswer.
So how do you not harbor agrudge against somebody who has
wronged you?
I am terrible at it, I oh mygod, I'm terrible at it, oh yeah

Speaker 2 (21:32):
It's very difficult is not something that I think.
Again, talking about naturalinstincts, I don't think our
natural instinct is to letpeople off the hook once they've
heard us, or or let go of thatgrudge.
It's very hard.
I I struggle with resentmentfor a very long time, you know,
without even knowing it could,because I wasn't actively like,
oh, I hate this person.
But I know I held resentment inmy heart because I couldn't

think about them.
I couldn't speak about themwithout saying something
negative or harboring, kind oflike a sour attitude whenever
they Try to talk to me or beingshort, you know.
So it kind of resonates inthose ways, even if you don't
know you're actively holding agrudge.
I was holding on to resentmentthat manifested in those ways
where I was just kind of, youknow, cold towards the person.
But I learned to start lettinggo because I realized that

forgiveness and letting go isn'tfor that person, it's for me,
you know, it's for you.
It doesn't feel good to hold agrudge against someone.
It doesn't feel good to harborthat resentment.
Nothing about it has you like,oh, I feel so great, hating this
person, you know.
So it's like you think about.
I want to heal, I want to be afull person, I want to live a

full life.
And you just kind of learn howto forgive and let go and move
on for your benefit.
Not thinking that you'reletting that person off the hook
, you're just releasing yourselffrom the burden of caring what
they did to you.

Speaker 1 (22:55):
Good, I have a good friend named Joe Martinez that
did a recent conversation withhim and he's a boxing cage
announcer and ring announcer andall that kind of stuff and he
said do you realize the amountof energy it takes to hate over?
The amount of energy it takesto love it's night and day.
He says you're killing yourselfif you hold on to this hate.

Speaker 2 (23:13):
Exactly exactly, and there's a middle ground, like
I'm not, I'm not a doormat oranything like that.
If you've wronged me, youprobably won't get that type of
access to me again.
So I'm not that type where I'mlike oh, let me, let me, let you
hurt me again.
I'm not on that level.
But there's a space in betweenwhere it's like I'm not holding
any animosity towards you,towards this situation.

I wish you well, but I'm goingto live in this space where I am
free, you know, and it doesn'taffect my ability to love and
care for, and I just otherpeople but myself.

Speaker 1 (23:44):
That was one of my questions.
How do you overcome, how do youlet it go and not become a
doormat, how do you not gettaken advantage of?
People see you as weak.

Speaker 2 (23:54):
Yeah, you stay in that space between.
I mean you remind yourself thatthis isn't for them, is for me.
And just because you forgivesomeone doesn't mean you
maintain the Relationship.
Those two things are not.
You know.
They don't have to go together.
They're not married.
I Can forgive you and decide Idon't want you in my life.
That doesn't mean I'm harboringresentment.

It just means I don't believethis relationship is good for me
So I think that's how you do it.
But I'm not angry with you.
I hold no animosity.
If you're, if you're on fire,I'll put the fire out, help fire
out, but I'm not going to, youknow, go out of my way to
Maintain any sense ofrelationship and I may flat out
tell you that I don't think weshould maintain a relationship.

So I think that's how you do it.
You don't have.
Don't think because you forgivesomeone or because you let
things go that they did to you,don't think that means you they
have to stay in your lifebecause they don't.

Speaker 1 (24:46):
Okay, me a dead.
Wiler is my guest.
She's a childhood traumasurvivor and she is the author
of the upcoming book Daddy'sLittle Stranger.
I want to go back to somethingyou just said right there, and
it's from a post that you madeon December 4th 2023.
It's on your blog.
As we heal, and you say in theblog Sometimes taking a break
from situations, from people, isa good thing, whether it's a
family member or a co-worker.

So when you take that break,how do you bring that person
back in?

Speaker 2 (25:12):
I Think it happens organically.
If it's supposed to happen,like I never forced
relationships, I never forcedreconciliations, I never forced
connections I think it happensorganically.
But if I take a break from asituation or a person and I
start to Miss them in healthyways, not in like the ways that

are like, oh, I feel likethere's a hole in me without
this person, because sometimesthat hole can be toxicity or
You know our trauma bond.
It doesn't necessarily meansthat person is good for you.
You're just used to having themin your life, you're
comfortable with them.
But if I take a break from asituation or a person and then I
realize like hey, I'm, I'mhappier with this person in my

life or I feel better in thissituation, then I'm open to
reconciliation or going back toit.
And I think it happensnaturally and organically.
You don't have to force it.

Speaker 1 (26:07):
Let me think about this quote I don't forgive, I
don't forget, I just move on.
Hmm that's what I told my mom.

Speaker 2 (26:16):
Hmm, wow, I like it.
I like it because sometimesthat's all you can do.
Depending on how deeply someonehas wounded you, you may not be
able to forgive them, even ifit's for your own benefit.
But, moving on in and of itselfand not continually revisiting
them or that situation, it stillbenefits you because you open

yourself up to greaterpossibilities and you can bring
in more love when you're notconstantly in the face of that
situation that makes you feelthat way.

Speaker 1 (26:46):
My thought behind that is that if time heals all
wounds, it'll work itself out.

Speaker 2 (26:50):
Exactly, exactly.
You don't have to do anything.

Speaker 1 (26:54):
Yeah, and you were talking about the toxicity of a
person, leaving a hole In theopening monologue that you had
you were talking about sometimeswe think that's what we deserve
We don't think we deserve love.
We don't think we deservepraise.
How do you get?

Speaker 2 (27:12):
over that thought.

Speaker 1 (27:13):
Because I harbor that thought, I don't think I'm ever
good enough.

Speaker 2 (27:16):
It's tough, especially if it was ingrained
in you that you weren't goodenough and you started to harbor
that idea.
It's tough but you have to.
I read a lot of books.
As an early reader I read a lotof self-help books and
psychology books.
Now, as a writer, I read morelike literary books, like

memoirs and fiction and creativeworks.
But before I was heavy onself-help and philosophy and
those books have helped me a lot.
I always recommend the fouragreements.
It's been life-changing for me.
The Emotionally Absent Motherwas another book that helped me
and could also help anyone whohas issues with their mother or

disconnect there or harboringany type of negative feelings.
It talks all about how itaffects you and what it did to
And I think that understandingis helpful Because then you
don't just think, oh, I'm notgood enough for this, and that
you start to see the patternsand what made you start to think
that about yourself.

And then, once you see that youcan start to unravel it, you can
peel back those layers and thenconsciously act as though you
are good enough.
And I think when you make thoseconscious decisions like how I
said before, going against mynatural instinct to pull away or
something like that.
You make the conscious decisionto act against your natural
I think soon the decisionstarts to become subconscious.

You don't have to think aboutit In the beginning.
It'll have to be a consciousdecision like I'm willfully
doing this against what I wantto do or how I feel, and then,
if you do that enough, thosebehaviors and reactions will
start to become subconscious.

Speaker 1 (28:57):
Because the brain is a muscle and it takes just a
certain amount of time toretrain a muscle or to train a
muscle, and so that's basicallywhat we would be doing with our
thought process.

Speaker 2 (29:08):
Exactly, exactly.
It is very much a muscle and ifyou keep telling it I'm going
to start this podcast and it'sgoing to be good, and I know I'm
good enough to do this you keeptelling yourself that and keep
doing it, eventually your brainwill, it'll adjust, it'll adapt
and it'll say, ok, I guess we'regood enough for this, you know.
So just take some learning wirethat way so you can unravel it

and then, consciously actingagainst that, Well, I'm reading
a quote from you right now.

Speaker 1 (29:35):
There is no more powerful tool at our disposal
than our minds, and I read thatthe other day and it got me
thinking about.
I'm going through physicaltherapy because, as a runner, I
pulled a muscle, I strained acalf muscle, and so I'm going to
physical therapy.
And before we even startedcorrecting problems, the
physical therapist had toidentify the problems and he
said here's what's going on.

Your body, your mind, hasdecided that this is your
running style, and so this ishow we have to compensate.
He said your mind is what'scausing the problem, because
it's so used to running this waythat it hasn't figured out how
to adapt yet.
That's what we have to teach it.

Speaker 2 (30:14):
Well, wow, that's really interesting, but it makes
a lot of sense.
You have to teach your brain.
Ok, we run this way now becausewe don't want to get hurt.

Speaker 1 (30:22):

Speaker 2 (30:23):
Yeah, and then after a while of doing it you know
running that way.
Then eventually it'll know itis kind of a muscle memory, a
brain memory.
It'll know like, ok, we runthis way now, but it's going to
take some conscious effort totrain it.

Speaker 1 (30:37):
And on an emotional level, what we're talking about
is kind of a self-fulfillingprophecy.
If you let your brain thinkthat way, if you've been told
this way and you let your brainthink that way, of course your
brain's going to think that way.

Speaker 2 (30:49):
Of course, because you've told it.
That is definitely aself-fulfilling prophecy.
If I wake up every day and say,oh, I'm going to trip over the
corner of my bed every singlemorning, I probably will,
because I'm telling myself I'mgoing to do that Like we really
don't understand, I think, howpowerful our mind is and what
you tell yourself is what youwill believe, and you will bring

that to fruition.
You'll make it happen somehow,even if you don't think you're
doing it, you're going to makeit happen.

Speaker 1 (31:19):
We were talking about quotes earlier.
What is your favorite quote,whether it's come from you or
whether it's one that you'veread?

Speaker 2 (31:25):
That's a great question, because I love quotes.

Speaker 1 (31:28):
I know you do.

Speaker 2 (31:30):
Right, I won't pick, choose my own.
Why not Because I'll let otherpeople have those and choose
their favorites.
There I'll be lessself-involved.
My favorite quote is from Rumi,where it says it says something
like your task is not to seekfor love, but to merely Find all

the barriers in yourself thatyou have built against it, or
remove all the barriers.
So your task is not to seek forlove, but to merely find and
remove all the barriers that youhave built against it.
That's my favorite quote.

Speaker 1 (32:08):
Yeah, it kind of reminds me of when you're
looking for love.
You're not going to find it inrelationships, but when it

Speaker 2 (32:17):
It's a testament to how we weretalking about natural instincts
, how our natural instinct is tolove and care and nurture.
That only doesn't happen whenwe put something in the way.
It only doesn't happen when wehave a barrier there.
So if we focus on removingthose barriers, that love will
naturally come in and flow out,because we don't have anything
standing in its way.

So it's not necessarily aboutfinding love, or finding love
that you can receive, or how togive it.
It's just take the barriers outand love will do what it's
supposed to do, which is to flowin and out of you.

Speaker 1 (32:50):
Is love universal or is there a different definition
for everybody?

Speaker 2 (33:01):
I think there is a universal idea of love.
The details may be differentfor everyone, like how you
receive love may be different,like if you've heard of the five
love languages.

Speaker 1 (33:14):
Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2 (33:16):
I do believe that the way I receive love may not be
the way you receive love.
You may need to be told I loveyou every day, whereas I may
need my partner to come set up abookshelf for me and that tells
me, oh, he loves me because hedid this, yeah.
So I think the way we receivelove can be different, but
universally, I think love ispure, love is patient, love is

I do believe in that universaldefinition.
But the way you receive it canbe different.

Speaker 1 (33:47):
You're smart.
Thank you so much for that.
That was awesome.

Speaker 2 (33:51):
So cool.
I love to think about love.

Speaker 1 (33:54):
I know you do.
And that leads me to yourpodcast.
Why haven't you done a lovelines recently?

Speaker 2 (34:02):
I have actually the last one.
I saw was 2023.

Speaker 1 (34:06):
Oh for the newsletter .
But what about where you tooklyrics of a song like India arey
and you dissect that into howit pertains to your life and how
it pertains to other people'slives?
That's the aspect that I wastalking about.
That's that was incredible.
Well, because I know music is abig part of your life.
You call yourself a music snob.
I want that definition.

Where does that come from?
What's that definition?

Speaker 2 (34:29):
I am a music snob, just it just means I'm very
particular about music.
The same thing with, like awine, kind of sore, like if you
give me a cheap wine, I'll knowjust because I've been a wine
drinker and it won't appeal tomy taste buds because you know
wine is an acquired taste, so itwon't appeal to what I've grown

accustomed to.
And it's the same thing withmusic.
Like I grew up in a musicalhousehold, like everyone in my
family can sing their inquiresand have recorded albums and
things like that.
I'm very snobbish about musicfrom an early age and just
appreciating real music, so tospeak.
You know.
So that's, that's just what itmeans.
I'm very particular about whatI listen to.

Speaker 1 (35:12):
How much did music help you escape your traumatic

Speaker 2 (35:16):
I helped a lot.
I mark in Daddy's LittleStranger I talk about a time
when I got a Sony Discman forChristmas.
I got to walk my first, ofcourse, because you know that
was a progression.

Speaker 1 (35:30):

Speaker 2 (35:31):
That opened me up to like a whole other world because
growing up in a religiousfamily, although we were musical
, I only listened to gospel.
Like I listened to gospel music.
And then once I got my Walkmanand my Discman, I started
listening to, you know, thesecular music stations where
these people were talking aboutpain and heartbreak and love and

feeling alone and things likethat and singing about that and
I was just like, oh my gosh.
So when I got older I startedfilling out those little cards
for, like, Columbia Music Houseand where you got the 12 CDs for
pinning or something like that.
So I started ordering CDs andone of my first ones was Whitney
Houston and her voice, ofcourse.

Her voice is just amazing andit just blew me away.
And then I saw the bodyguardand I was like, oh my gosh,
she's gorgeous.
So I would literally like sitand listen to Whitney Houston on
my headphones, just have heralbums on repeat, and I used to.
You know before I have a muchbetter relationship with my
mother now, but back then, whenwe were kind of disconnected, I

used to like I feel funny evensaying this now as an adult, but
as a child I used to kind oflike fantasize about her being
my mother and just loving me andcaring for me.
So music was a great escape forme, the way it just it gave me
something to identify with,where the air and sir wasn't
just strictly pray about it or,you know, go to church.

Speaker 1 (36:58):
It was like these people really they feel how I
feel and they're singing aboutthis and it just really helped
me feel seen, well one of theseminal music moments that I
think you talk about at leastI've read this anyway, and I
think it's Seminole is a TLCconcert in Gary, Indiana.
That changed you.

Speaker 2 (37:15):
It did change me.
It did change me.
It was my first concert.
It was an outdoor festival andTLC was one of the acts.
This was early TLC, so theyweren't the huge group that they
went on to become and they, youcould just tell they were just
so happy to be there and theywere defined and they were baggy
clothes and they wore condomson their eyeglasses and they

were just.
They were loud, they wereeverything.
You know that I wasn't and andshowed me.
You know this exuberance, thisjoy that you could have as a
young woman.

Speaker 1 (37:47):
Still a memorable experience.

Speaker 2 (37:49):
Still for sure, absolutely.
I've heard an essay about thatand it's also in Daddy's Little
The essay that you read is outof the book.

Speaker 1 (37:57):
Well, my wife and I often quote TLC because we'll
ask each other, you know, hey,do you want to go here?
And she'll be like I don't wantand I'm like what?
No scrub.

Speaker 2 (38:09):
No scrub.
See, it's funny when it's allin fun.
When you know that you know funis all playful, then it's funny
, it's not offensive at all?

Speaker 1 (38:22):
Not offensive at all.
In the, in the for those whohave had a rough year, you talk
about getting rid of socialmedia.
Why do we let negativity buryanything positive?
Because I'm guilty of that.

Speaker 2 (38:36):
Yeah, I don't know.
I don't know how much of it isletting it and how much of it is
just that negativity is sopowerful and resonant that if we
consume too much of it it justnaturally overshadows everything
So that's been kind of mysolution and approaches to limit

the negativity that I intake.
Like, I don't watch the news, Itry to avoid the news on social
media and Twitter unlessthere's something really going
on that I really want to knowabout, because 95% of it is
negative and if that's all I'mseeing, then that's how I'm
going to see the world Like.
So then when a couple ofpositive things come through,

it's like it doesn't meananything, because I've already
seen 20 negative things, youknow.
So it's hard to measure upagainst it and it kind of it
actually shapes your view of theworld and how you see things
and how you see people, andthat's very difficult to
So I address it by limiting thenegativity and consuming more
positivity than negativity.
So then when I do see a coupleof negative things, it can't

overpower the positivity.
It can't, you know, crush it,because I already have so much
more of it than the negativethat I'm, you know, ingesting.

Speaker 1 (39:50):
Well, the negativity and positivity that you just
talked about kind of leads me towhat you do voluntarily and you
volunteer with Boys and GirlsClub, with at-risk youth, and
negative situations that aretrying to be, or hopefully will
be, turned into positives.
How rewarding is it to connectwith an at-risk youth.

Speaker 2 (40:11):
It's very rewarding.
It's very rewarding.
Every year I was doing GirlsDay at the Boys and Girls Club.
I think they stopped doing itwhen the pandemic happened, just
because you know we weren'tallowed to be in four years and
they just started doing it again.
So I'll be there again this year.
But I was doing Girls Day everyyear, where you go and they

match you up with an at-risklittle girl.
They also have a guys night outor boys night out or something
where they do the same thingwith men and boys.
They match you with an at-riskyouth and you just spend the day
We play games, we eat, we docompetitions where we have to
work together, we talk and it is.
It's very rewarding, especiallyat the end when, like, the

little girls will run up andgive me a hug and they're so
happy and it just reminds you ofhow it doesn't take much to
impact someone's life,especially a child.
It doesn't take much at all toto give them, help them have a
good day and make them happy andgive them a little bit of fun.
So it's very rewarding to thinkthat I made an impact on

someone, even if just for a day.

Speaker 1 (41:17):
So I will use those children that you work with as
the backdrop.
But in an overall sense, howimportant is it for the people
to know that somebody cares?

Speaker 2 (41:30):
I think it's very important.
Like we all need to knowsomebody cares.
You know I've gone throughstages where I felt like, well,
I don't need anyone and I don't,I don't, I don't even need love
Like I don't care, I'm finealone, and so you know we go
through that.
But that's not.
That's not true.
Like we all need to knowsomeone cares.
We all need to feel likesomeone cares.

We feel better knowing thatsomeone cares and it helps you
keep a hold of yourself, likewhen you're especially for a
Like if you feel like no onecares about you and no one cares
what you do, it's difficult foryou to care about yourself.
You don't think that youractions are consequential and
you kind of feel like, why dothis?
Who cares anyway?
Or why not harm myself in thisway?

No one cares.
You know no one's going to missme.
You know no one loves me.
So it definitely has a hugeimpact on the way you see
yourself and the choices thatyou make.

Speaker 1 (42:22):
And my experience in volunteering is what you give,
you get back tenfold.

Speaker 2 (42:29):

Speaker 1 (42:29):
Exactly, you really do.
You really do so how?
When you look back on whereyou've come from, how surprised
are you at the success you'vehad and where you are in life.

Speaker 2 (42:46):
If I actually like stop and look back, I would be.
I am very surprised Because atfirst I feel like I'm just a
completely different person fromwho I used to be and the way I
used to see myself, and that'snot always something that we see
or something that we believe ispossible.

We kind of go through lifesaying you know, this is who I
am, this is just how I am.
So for me to kind of havetransformed myself in a sense to
where now I am confident in myability and my skill, I've
always been an achiever becausemy grandmother was a
She wasn't playing that.
I had to make the honor roll, Ihad to do bring home good

grades, I had to be the best ateverything.
So I've always been an achiever.
So I did have that.
But it's more so of defining myvoice like and seeing myself
outside of this idea ofperfectionism and understanding
that even if I wasn't perfect,even if I made the B honor
instead of the A honor roll, Iwas still good enough and I was
still deserving of love andattention.

So I'm very proud of where Icame, probably even more so than
a professional sense in apersonal sense, because I have
been able to kind of overcomethings that I've been through
and forgive people, and I holdthese grudges and this
I'm most proud of that becauseof how it's transformed me as a

I'm a much happier person, amuch more consent person than I
was when I had all this turmoilgoing around.
But I am also proud of myachievements and my
accomplishments and how I wasable to, how I am able to excel
as something I actually love,which is writing.

Speaker 1 (44:29):
You talked about grandma being somebody who
expected you to overachieve.
How did she take yourbasketball career?
You know what?

Speaker 2 (44:49):
She was actually excited about that because we
grew up watching, growing up inthe Chicago area.
We grew up watching the 90sChicago Bulls.
They were just the best team inthe league and just dominant.
Best team in the world Bestteam in the world.
We've never seen anyone likethem before or after.
Maybe the Warriors have gottenclosest when they had that run

and they went 72 and 10 one year, but we've never seen anyone
like Michael Jordan.
We've never seen a team asdominant as that team.
So that was one of our momentsof joy, where we gather around
her floor, model television andwatch the Chicago Bulls, and she
would just rave about how goodMichael Jordan was, and she
loved Scotty.

And then we got Rodman and itwas just like, wow, this is
So she actually lovedbasketball because we grew up in
the Chicago Bulls area and wewill watch games as a family.
So she was excited about mybasketball career.
She would ask about it.
By that time she was older,slowing down so she didn't come
to my games or anything likethat, but she was very excited

and would ask about it.

Speaker 1 (45:56):
When you tried out, you didn't initially make the
team correct.

Speaker 2 (45:59):
You didn't make the team.
I showed up thinking I can play, I'm going to make the team
because I was playing and thiswas based on playing in the
driveway with my brother everyday or my cousin, and I would
beat them.
So I was like I'm good, I'mgoing to go play basketball at
college, not really realizingthat that's a whole other world,

a whole other system.
It's not at all like streetball or pickup ball.
I was out of shape.
If I couldn't, we had to run amile and I couldn't.
I couldn't lift weights, Icouldn't do anything except
shoot the basketball.
And so, yeah, the coach cut me.
But that actually motivated meto get in shape.
Like I spent that entire summerjust getting into basketball,

shape and understanding where Ineeded to be.
In the next tryout I went and Iwas actually like beating
people when we ran the mile andall of that.
And I made the team.
And that's probably one of myproudest moments the fact that I
didn't achieve my goal.
I was cut, but then I workedhard and came back and got it
the next time.

Speaker 1 (46:58):
Personally, I think that probably goes back to your
upbringing and because we'realways presented with paths,
okay forks in the road.
And if you would have stayed onthe path of the traumatic
experiences that you had, youprobably would have never.
Well, you wouldn't haveovercome it.
And number two, you wouldn'thave made the basketball team.

But because you chose the otherpath of yeah, that's what I've
Now I know what I'm dealingwith.
I'm going to make that team.
You became a fighter.

Speaker 2 (47:30):
I agree, I agree Absolutely.
I would have never been able tomake that path and kind of
fallen into despair.
I would have never believed Icould achieve anything like that
I would have never believed Icould do anything like that.
Being cut would have crushed meand I would never pursued
anything else again and justprobably went into this dark
space in my head about how I'm aloser and I can't do this.

But I agree, since I did choosethe other path, it helped fuel
that motivation to say no, I cando this and I'm going to do

Speaker 1 (48:00):
Overcoming your childhood, your biggest

Speaker 2 (48:03):
Not at this point.
Not at this point.
It was then an early, early inmy life.
And then as I got older andstarted to even realize how it
had affected me because for awhile I didn't think it affected
me I was like I'm fine, youknow, I'm happy, I joke, I'm
funny, you know I have a goodlife.
But once I started to see theways that it affected me and how

it affected my ability toconnect with people and receive
love and give love and I startedto really unravel that, that's
when I realized how just evennot having my father, how that
affected the child version of meand how that child is still
inside of me, making decisions,you know, and thinking, thoughts

, and so addressing that helpedme become who I am today.
So for a while I didn't thinkit affected me at all.
So but early, once I started tosee the effects, it was a
motivating factor.
But at this point I feel likeI've done a good job of creating
this adult version of me whoisn't stifled or burdened by the

child and what happened to her.
So it's not as much of amotivating factor now as it once

Speaker 1 (49:14):
So what motivates you going forward?

Speaker 2 (49:17):
What motivates me going forward is just being the
best version of myself and beingthe best version that I want to
So if I want to be this personwho is kind and loving and
offers grace and has empathy andis driven and is determined and
confident in all these things,it's about nurturing this person

that I see myself as now andbeing the best version of those

Speaker 1 (49:45):
And it's easy to do because of where you've come
See what I mean by that isyou've seen how not to do it.
So now you can see now.
You know how to do it, you know.

Speaker 2 (49:59):
Yeah, I say that all the time, like I have a lot of
data on what not to do.
I say that all the time.
I have a lot of data on whatnot to do and it's helped me
learn what to do.
It's helped me learn who I wantto be.
It's helped me learn what Iwant to see happen in my life

and the decisions that I want tomake, because I don't want to
be here and I don't want toexperience this and I don't want
to inflict this type of pain onanyone.
So definitely like learningwhat I don't want, has taught me
what not to do, which gives methe other side of what to do.

Speaker 1 (50:38):
Exactly what you don't want to lead you to what
you do want.
Where can we get the book,these little stranger?

Speaker 2 (50:47):
Well, the book will be available wherever you order
your books Amazon, bookshop,barnes, noble.
If you want to order from yourlocal bookstore, they'll be able
to order it.
It's nationally distributedthrough a traditional publisher
so you can order it anywhere youorder your books.

Speaker 1 (51:03):
Well, we're looking forward to reading the book.
Congratulations on all of yoursuccess.
As I mentioned the other day, Ispent five hours with you,
researching you and hopefullythat hopefully you got that
impression, but I loveeverything about you.

Speaker 2 (51:18):
I really did.
Thank you so much.
I really have appreciated thisconversation.

Speaker 1 (51:22):
I enjoyed that and I hope youdid too.
My thanks to Akamia Deadwilerfor joining me.
Akamia's book Daddy's LittleStranger is out on March 15th
and it's available online and atbookstores nationwide.
Should you know someone whocould benefit from hearing
Akamia's story and advice,please by all means tell them

about the episode If you wouldbe so kind.
Sure could use more likes,reviews, ratings and subscribers
, growing the audience, but whatthat does it allows me to
continue attracting and bookingquality and helpful guests like
Thank you in advance for doingthat.
The Fuzzy Mic is hosted byKevin Klein, production elements

by Zach Sheesh at the RadioFarm.
Social media director is TrishKlein.
For a dose of laughter andunpredictability, please listen
to the Tuttle and Climb podcast,with new episodes every
I'll be back next Tuesday withan all new episode of the Fuzzy
Thank you for listening and forsharing your invaluable time
with the Fuzzy Mic.
I'm grateful.

That's it for the Fuzzy Mic.
Thank you, not Fuzzy Mic withKevin Klein.
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