Yes But Why ep 216 Carob Mars wants to make kids feel like stars!
This week on Yes But Why, we talk to podcaster, activist and arts educator, Carob Mars.
Carob Mars is the creator of “Age Out. Rise Up!”, a podcast by and for survivors of childhood trauma, especially former foster children, who refuse to let their past define them.
In our conversation, Carob shares with me some of the darker moments of her life and the ways in which she has used art to process them. She says, “there’s never been a time that [she hasn’t] been a storyteller and a performer.” She is also a great producer of plays. After going to an acting conservatory, Carob organized a Shakespeare in the Park series in Utah; she has directed her son’s elementary school play for many years; and, most recently, she has been teaching 4H performing arts via Zoom.
Carob launched “Age Out. Rise Up!” on Mother’s Day this year. Since then, she has populated her podcast feed and YouTube channel with an empowering message to disenfranchised youth, newly released from foster care. Age Out Rise Up‘s mission is to enable survivors to set and reach personal goals and live their best lives.
Support Carob Mars by subscribing to “Age Out. Rise Up!” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTube!
Yes But Why Podcast is a proud member of the HC Universal Network family of podcasts. Download the FREE HC Universal Network app for Android and iDevices or visit us at HCUniversalNetwork.com and join the fun.
This episode of Yes But Why podcast is sponsored by audible – get your FREE audiobook download and your 30 day free trial at http://www.audibletrial.com/YESBUTWHY.
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(production notes: recorded phone call with Rodecaster at the home studio on 5/27/2020)
TRANSCRIPT by Otter.ai
Hello, Yes But Why listeners, this is your host, Amy Jordan. Welcome to episode 216, my chat with podcaster, activist and arts educator, Carob Mars. But first, a bit about our sponsor. This episode of Yes But Why podcast is sponsored by audible. You can get your FREE audiobook download and your 30 day free trial at audibletrial.com/YESBUTWHY. In my conversation with Carob, we talk about healing trauma with art. So I looked that up here on Audible and I found “Healing Child and Family Trauma through Expressive and Play Therapies.” Seems like this book would be a good companion text to Carob’s podcast, “Age Out. Rise Up!”. Audible is available for your iPhone, Android, or Kindle. Download your free audiobook today at audibletrial.com/YESBUTWHY. In this episode, we talk to Carob Mars, the creator of “Age Out. Rise Up!”, a podcast by and for survivors of childhood trauma, especially former foster children, who refuse to let their past define them. Listen in as we chat about giving children a voice and about making art as a way of processing pain. Support Carob Mars by subscribing to “Age Out. Rise Up!” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Anchor, and YouTube! I now present to you: Yes But Why episode 216 Carob Mars wants to make kids feel like stars!
I’m Amy Jordan, and this is Yes But Why podcast yeah
There’s never been a time that I haven’t been a storyteller and a performer. And I loved Shirley Temple when I was little. And but it was the neverending story. When I saw the Empress at the end with I was like, I don’t want to be just like her. So that’s how those are the first two things that I saw and then what I actually performed. I remember like the little Christmas concerts that kids have. And I remember that this girl had the part I have no idea why she had the part. Probably because her I don’t know nepotism or something like that. And I remember she couldn’t say she couldn’t say chimney. She said chimney and I will so annoyed by the fact that she couldn’t say it right. And I was like, I was so much better. And then I just basically was in, in pretty much everything. So I’ve been acting
so like during this Christmas concert Did you like walk out and like kick her off the stage and you’re like, let me show you how it’s done.
No, but I do think I gave her the evil lie quite. It was just like, she didn’t even faze me. Right. And no, I, I definitely have this little bit of a competitive streak. Like I like to say that I would make a better Duchess than the current Duchess, right. So but I pretty much been in everything. So when I was little. I was in a lot of foster homes and all foster homes were religious, and so they would do like Vacation Bible School. I was always the first one up, and I always played the lead and all of those. And then I went to Christian School for my middle school and I started a drama club there. And then I got to high school and that was interesting because I was used to playing the lead and I was, how do I say it without being arrogant? I was talented enough to play those parts, but my drama teacher said the town that I lived in was not ready for a person of color to play lead. So, yeah. So So what happens there? I know. I know it was what happened there is there was an audition I remember the play was the bad seed. And she always she cast her niece the three years that she was in school her niece played the lead and she wished Finally she was just like, she told her and she was like, I’m not going to do this play. Because the truth is that we all know that Carob should have this role. So she’s still didn’t Give it to me, but the whole class was just like, this role should go to Carob. She’s, she’s the strongest actress here. And so and she never really saw that. So her name was Miss Mack. I’m not gonna say her full name, but we love
Let’s not. She’s clearly racist. So let’s not talk about her first name.
She was actually she’s old school. I wouldn’t call her
Oh bless your heart.
I just wouldn’t she. She treasured me. And she was a role model for me. But I did have to experience that that’s that was just what it was in the 90s. So it wasn’t even that super super long ago, but that’s what it was still in the 90s Yeah. And so she Like she wrote my recommendation letter for Cornish and I got in my junior year and everybody thought that I was going to go and be become famous. And I did go to Cornish and because of my emotions because of my background, and my inability to handle things emotionally of being completely on my own, I did not do well. And Cornish actually ended up trying to try to commit suicide. That’s how I left the school. So and that’s, and then the next year, I went to an acting conservatory in Seattle, and I finished their program and it was a better fit for me anyways, and so, that’s, that’s that that’s how I got started. I guess it’s the
in the northwest actors studio. no longer exists though. beautiful, amazing woman who ran it was an Graham. And she was just phenomenal. And I loved her. And she passed away. She was probably in her 80s in the 90s. Right? Yeah, sorry, the early 2000s. Yeah,
yeah. But when you went to when you went to the Conservatory, you were able to fit in better and get more settled.
Yeah, so yeah. So when I went to what I want to Cornish, it was a bunch of very wealthy kids. Yeah, like HBO producers, kids and things like that. And here I am. A foster kid with literally nothing. Like the way that it worked out for me is I turned eight teams. I made it into Cornish my junior year of high school. So my senior year was a breeze. In the newspapers, it was a pretty big deal. And as soon as school got out, they drove me to Seattle, they gave me a coupon book a food stamp, and paid for one month’s rent and said, Good luck. And that was it. And I had no one and nothing. And that’s a lot for, for a kid to take on. You know, like going off on your own is a lot to going off on your own and having no one no family, no therapists, which would have been amazing, you know, nothing to rely on was a really hard, hard experience. And then I got there and I’m from, I’m from this tiny town and from it, it’s called Moses Lake. It is tiny. And you know, and I get there and the culture is just so incredibly different. And I was religious at the time and I remember my teacher name was Dana. I cannot remember her last name. But I remember her the first day she was like, I’m going to teach you all to lock yourself. That means I want you to say fuck every situation every way. And I was just like, ah, I was I was so innocent. I was like, I can’t remember what it was the kids on the block, but I it might have been some of the points banned. But I wrote I love JC in my shoes, and I meant I love Jesus Christ. I mean, beyond super innocent, and I get into class and that’s what it’s like, and I’m just like, I have no idea why I am not Kansas anymore. And then like the kids, the kids can be cruel, like always right. And they threw a party, a drama party and I was the only person that invited Oh, and, and but it was okay. I mean, I wasn’t okay, because I thought it was going to be amazing all of these old, old people words, but I thought it was going to be like same. I thought that I was going to come to the school, and we were going to run down the streets, singing musical dancing in the streets jumping on top of cars. You know, what I expected it was going to be my family. And it just wasn’t. So
was the acting conservatory better. I mean, I believe in fame. It was a it wasn’t fame, a high school acting Conservatory. So yeah, I mean,
the thing about the acting studio is that there were there were in my class. I think there were nine people. Seven of them were male. One of them was a girl who, and I remember them saying something about yourself. And she said, Well, men want me and women want to be me. So I set the other role I put everything else so it was fantastic. I had a place Sure
play the nurse and Romeo and Juliet Yeah, I
mean yeah and it was it wasn’t even the nurse and Romeo and Juliet it was the nice girl. Yeah, I played it I played everybody who was nice I played smart women you know? So I got to play and I played a lot of options I just didn’t play the extremely conceited just I wasn’t that person. Yeah. Wow.
What’s crazy? Well, you know, don’t out her with her name or anything but is currently famous.
No, yeah. Okay.
Got a few of those in my past too. You know, I got a few people that are worked If along the way, who would really just put you down and act like they were better than you? And it’s like, yeah, I’ve never seen you again.
Like, come I remember I so I directed when I was in Utah, I started to Shakespeare in the Park group. And I remember, I mean, these are people who’ve never acted a day in their life. And they just want something new because they live in a tiny little town and this person sent in his resume to me via email. And he said, I’ve never had I’ve never done this a day in my life, but I have a really great body.
think they mean?
It was like, okay,
like, go to LA kiddo.
Well, he wasn’t a kid. He was like in his 40s at the time, oh, he wasn’t a kid. And he definitely thought that he was all of that. And then he opened up his mouth to act and I was like, All Oh, well, you could play the servant who comes in and carries. It was just like, and I addressed that immediately, like everything that I’ve ever passed since then has been. I do I do completely colorblind casting, I cast people who you would not look at and go, Oh, they should play that role. So because if they if they can carry it with the challenge, or if they’re going to be the ones who work the hardest, like when I do my son’s elementary school plays, we just did Charlie in the chocolate factories. I have moms calling me. Yeah, they’re calling me and they’re just like, I know you have a lot going on. And I know it’s 5am but my daughter has been taking singing lessons. And I’m like, okay, we’ll see an audition. I’m not going to be bribed not going to know because I will theater is about its art to me, to me, it’s about it’s art. It’s about the fact that, you know, these kids have a chance to express themselves. And for me, like, why I’m passionate about it at school is not everyone is going to be the champion on the sports field. So I want all of these kids to get an opportunity to shine. That’s just, that’s kind of my thing. And that was my thing in this small town, too. So I actually did take the guy with the good body, in his opinion, a better role than carrying the bread. But if I would have just went with my gut, probably would have said, I didn’t carry the bread, but I was like, I’ll work with him. I’ll teach him how to be more than the bread carrier and more
body. He clearly has the work ethic. You know what I mean? Like if he’s working out enough to be buff in his mid 40s A lot of effort, you know, like, yeah, most of us in our 40s are not buff. I mean, I’ve never been buff, not one day, not from zero to 41 right now, have I ever been buff? It wasn’t a day. But there are some people you know, who are a little older dude. Oh, we’re so that guy.
I mean you. He clearly I don’t put the work in. Yes. And he did. I will. I will tell you he put the work in. He really, really tried and he became significantly better than when he started. And that’s kind of the way that I look. It’s a journey. It’s a journey, though. You know, it’s like and that’s the way even when it’s the little kids. I cast every kid who auditions which means there is a lot of kindergarteners that I’m working with for six hours a week. You know, and teaching them like how to soft shoe and it’s adorable and they are so so cute, but Yeah. Like I’m not trying to raise stars here. I’m just trying to make the kids feel like stars in their own little hearts. That’s my thing.
So I want to ask you, you mentioned that you started the Shakespeare in the Park in Utah. What What got you to the point so you went to the acting conservatory what got you what got the like directing bugging you sounds like you are an organizer. You know, you’re like, you created this Shakespeare in the Park thing. Now you’re working to organize your kids play. You’re an organizer. So like, how did you get to
organizing which is actually kind of hilarious, by the way, like,
you’re the person I call if I want my closet
to better Uh huh. Go except for like, I don’t tell you to think your jewelry when you take it off. I love the concept that I recommend. Do it.
You’re like Maria. Under light, I like it. Yeah.
That’s one of the services you provide to the world. That’s wonderful.
I really enjoy it. And that came from a place of utter and complete chaos for myself. I know in my home, we have to be we have to be minimalist. And like now I’ve taken that to the next level of essential list. So what’s the most important things that that we do? And to me, one of the most important things is art. Because like I was telling you before I was growing up in the foster system, I didn’t have a voice. So I thought it was important to have a voice I thought it was important to have something that every person was good at. That was a great equalizer, and he didn’t have to come from money to be able to do does it help? Sure. But you don’t have to have it and if you have enough talent, you can you can change your circumstances. Not necessarily your financial circumstances, but the way that people see you, like you become more for me, I became more than just a foster kid. So I’m directing is something that in the places that I lived, including here, they didn’t have something they did not have a program for the kids. And my son came home. And he came home one day in third grade and he goes, Mom, I have an era guitarist, the school and the school concert. And I was like, really, you don’t have a single speaking word? Remember, this is the girl who like shimmy. She meant to have a bigger have a bigger, bigger role. And he made that error guitarist. I mean, he was doing Jimi Hendrix like spinning around on the floor as a third grader with an inflatable She rocked it. And then we get to a new school and he comes to me and he goes, Mom, I’d rather clean out the cars and go to tonight’s concert. And then I went to the concert and I was like, Oh, okay. Yeah, I see why. Like, I tried so hard to be that Pollyanna that keeps a smile. And I was just like, No, no, no, no, no. And so I went and I just walked up to the PTA or the CTO as we call it and push just like, we need more. And I’m willing to do it. And that year, it was a nice CPO president and she said, okay, but you’re on your own and I literally live on my own so it’s me I’m 60 Kids pulling a mouse Peter Pan. And it’s hilarious and I’ll never ever forget it. Makes you willing to do that like what what made me cry what I want to drive because I want these kids to have a voice because we’re so divided. I think we’re so divided as a country, and we’re divided in culture, and we’re divided economically. And some of the kids, that’s why I really wanted to do it is because I live in one of the more affluent areas of our town. And there is this one trailer park that, you know, just happens to be part of our group. And there’s nothing for those kids. And so I wanted to do it for them. And I said, I’ll bring my car down and I will pick up your kids bring them in, and it’s taken three years for any of them to to let me do it. And this year, I was able to bring a girl in and she gave me the biggest hug and it’s just giving kids a voice. I had another child who her mom came up to me and she goes, I don’t know if you know my daughter’s story, but we moved here from another state because she was abused by someone so badly that he’ll spend the rest of his life in jail. And she didn’t talk. And then she saw your play last year. And she was just like, I want to do this. And then she came out and she did the play, and she got her role. And I’m not gonna say anything for certain reasons, you know, but the tears streaming down her mom’s face when that little girl thing was that’s it like so. And it’s not because I’m like a saint, like it gives me joy to to keep it going for these kids. But it’s hard. It is really, really hard because the parents who aren’t part of it don’t want it and they are so against it. And they make it so difficult. When I decided to do Peter Pan. I had a woman come up to me and come up to me, she sent me an email, and it was all you know, how offensive it is that you’re doing? Peter Pan because of the natives, and I was like, I actually beat you on that. And I chose to make some native even though it means completely gutted their song to them what makes the Redman rate read to what makes the brave man brave? I’ve got it and I’ve made them Dr. Seuss characters. They’ve got nothing about them is Native American. And and she was like, Well, I think it’s important to listen to minority voices. itself be back.
You cannot win.
Like, I’m the only person who looks like me out here. Like,
listen to this.
Like, I understand. Yeah, yeah, you can’t win and it is very, very hard and just, um, but it feels like a win every year anyways, like, kids.
I was gonna say, you know, I feel like all making of all theater is kind of an uphill battle. Like oh, you’re the guy, the 40 year old, handsome, the buff guy and Shakespeare was not exactly easy to deal with. And I’m sure that once you got that Shakespeare in the Park thing going and like two people had read more than one Shakespeare play, they were like, you know, I really think we should use this one instead of the one you chose. So
like, or competing or just competing for the role, because not you know, they want to be the lead. Right? Yeah. And and just having to deal with people who, you know, or they think that because you’ve got the guts to make it happen, but you’re arrogant. And it’s like, I’m, I’m confident, but I wouldn’t. I try very hard not to be arrogant, like to explain that, like I, I just, I put work towards being gracious, that’s almost my religion. And so I feel like I’m You know, I give a lot of people more than they deserve, or at least I try to. But it doesn’t mean it’s not hard. It doesn’t mean that there’s not time when you sit. At least my shower, I have a seat in my shower, and I cry, because I just sit like, how is this so hard when I’m doing it for free, not only for free, but like, I’m sneaking money out of my own family account to pay for this bet. Yeah, I’m like, why is this such a hard thing for people? Why are they so opposed to it? And for me, it’s different because, like, I have friends who are so committed to making it they want to be celebrities, and it doesn’t matter that they’ve been working at this for 20 years. You know, and they haven’t had their big break. It’s what they want. They want they want and that drives them. I get joy just from the process. I get joy from having kids go. I want to do that too. Or like before Korean team, my son’s moving off into middle school next year. And one of the parents who has a daughter in middle school and then her other her other daughter was verruca came to me and she doesn’t care if you’ve got to eat you so badly. And then I watched him for the middle school and I saw their playing. And I was like, Oh, this is, this is grief, but it’s watered down. It was some random 50s musical and the kids were, and they weren’t having a good time. And so, so I got to come in there and like, like, teach them the hand jive and like, like get them to be very, very happy. And these kids who, again, don’t have voices, you know, one boy comes out to me and goes, Hey, can I tell you something? And he said, Sure. And I’ve known these kids for two weeks because this is right before quarantine. Right? And He felt comfortable enough. He does not know my stance on things. And he turns to me because I was back there, I found the most beautiful prom dress. And I tried it on it because I felt just like a princess. And I’m like, that’s why you do this. Because some people just need someone they need a person. And maybe it’s maybe I’m driven to it because I didn’t have a person. You know, but it’s very important to me that every single person has one. So
that’s so nice that you’re there for those kids, that you’re there to bother you. Yes, I’m here right now. And I thought, yeah,
really, really sucks. Because, like, I was only there for a couple of weeks when I was just starting to build those relationships. So it’s not like I have their email, say, hey, what I hang out with a four year old
are like, do you want to do a little dance time like you’re doing with your four h kids so it’s the year I mentioned, you’re teaching perform. regards to the four h kids. Is that like a difference at high school?
No. So there’s my youngest is five and my oldest is 16. Okay. Um, and so it’s about nine kids, and we get on zoo. And we just make whatever happened. happened. So like last night, it was a theme party. And I asked the kids to record themselves dancing to anything they wanted to dance to. And then I got on YouTube and I found different genres of dance to kind of expose them to different dances. And you can see some of them going, Oh my gosh, we’re dancing. Are you serious? What’s wrong with you? And then I show them hip hop, and some of them would like Lehman and others would be like, Oh, my gosh, what’s wrong with you? You know, and then I show them musical theater dancing. And so it’s nice to be able to connect with them. I think a lot of people are feel very threatened by this This new way of our new normal, right? And they’re like, we can’t we can’t do anything. We’re you know how that was my first thought was how, how do you do Performing Arts when it’s all about connection? You know, theater especially, because that’s really what I do. Like if they wanted to call it Performing Arts, I’m like, okay, but I don’t play an instrument. So I’m not going to be able to teach them how to do that. So I, so I’m just exposing them to anything really, and just connecting with them, and making the kids laugh. I wear like my hair in a funny way, or might wear a big flower on my head or something. You know, she’s something to connect with them, and let them know that they’re not being given up on because their program is the way it used to be.
Yeah. There’s been a lot of interesting resources about like online teaching via zoom, you know, and also like online performing. There’s like, yeah, I mean, I can’t tell you the number of discussion groups. I’ve been roped into recently about performing online and whatnot. And, you know, it’s an interesting new art. It’s like, we were all treading water and like, yeah, alright, I guess I’ll continue to do this same thing we’ve all been doing. I mean, even Shakespeare, I mean, God bless him. But you know, he’s been dead for a long time. And we’re still saying all his words, and I don’t know how I’d feel about that. You know, who knows? Maybe he’d be like, What? No way.
We don’t know.
But we’re continuing to do this continuing to do this over and over and like trying to find newness in it. Suddenly, we have this new technique.
He was about though. I mean, like building the legacy, right? I don’t know.
I mean, I don’t I legitimately he actually cared. There’s a lot. I mean, you know what I mean? Like,
he wrote a lot of stuff, and he got paid. And he was involved in the thing, but I don’t know if he was thinking about the long term of it. He knows I mean, a lot of
well, actually Sometimes, sometimes Let me read his plays and, and I love them. I very much enjoy his work. But sometimes they have exact same play different characters, but it’s so very similar. And so maybe he was just, you know, writing whatever paid the bills. I don’t know. But well, I’m sorry, you were adding me
will know what I’m saying is that like, it’s like a new medium. Like we’ve been doing Shakespeare all the time. But now we have this zoom teaching and it’s like a new media. It’s like a brand new thing that we get to try and learn and figure out and people are against. Yeah, of course you failing is the best though. Well, controlled, failing, controlled fail. I mean, regular failing is fine. It’s not awesome all the time, but like controlled failing and like a class or something. That’s awesome. You know, like, that’s legit. That’s what you need and life.
Well, and I tell the kids, I’m like, is this very at the end of our meeting? I’m just like, okay, so offensive. I think that this was a good meeting. And it’s okay if you didn’t, because I’m still figuring it out. Like, oh, that’s how you share sounds okay. Yeah, cuz I’m like, I don’t know. And I think that’s also super super good for them. I think. I think I probably should have been a teacher but there’s no way in hell I would be a teacher today. No, not now. Oh,
yeah, the, the, the landscape for public school teaching is not great. It’s not good.
It’s like I don’t get me wrong. I’m still totally going to throw my child in public school and let him be devoured by the wolves and be like, okay, go, but I I can’t imagine what they put them now. years ago. Oh my god. Like when I was growing up my mom from Boston, and my mom was like part of the business Teachers Union. For years, we held picket signs and disgust. You know, I was at events where they were discussing like new things for the teachers and like how to take care of them. And then years after she was a teacher, she became an advocate for teachers who would like go in and like argue, hey, you’re not treating them right in the school itself. And it’s like, down here in Texas, they’re not really into unions, but it’s that the idea of what I grew up with as a union was like, this is somebody who has your back in such a big way they will make sure that you have a good experience, they will make sure that you’re being appreciated. And so now when I see that teachers just being like, ripped apart and told like, you got to do it for no money and no breaks and everything it’s like, also, I just found out because my kids not old enough to be in school yet, but I just found out The the school doesn’t buy their supplies that they use with the students. And I was like, I’m sorry. That’s like working at McDonald’s and they’re like, cool. Did you bring the beef with you? Like, get out of here?
You know what I mean? Like, I don’t get it. Oh, yeah, no, no, we have to buy your child supplies. Um, yeah, that’s like every single year. Just just plan on that being about $200 to drop. So
the rug in the room and the like, Oh, yeah. Hello, alphabet on the wall. Like, are you kidding
me? Right? Yeah. Oh, yeah, I know. I know. They have to do it with their own their own tiny amount of money that they give them. They get their union. We got union out here. And we’re definitely Yeah, but it’s not that it’s the fact that that I can’t wrap my head around the fact that kids They’re not expected to be respectful anymore. Yeah, it’s really hard for me. But I also feel like it also has to do with your connection with the kids. And I don’t think it should, but it just does. So I know that this, the kid who said that would not have said it in my presence, because he knows that I just would not have been okay with it. You know, but for some kids, I mean, they’re, they will walk up to the teachers and literally tell them to shut the EFF up to their teacher, and they don’t get suspended. Yeah, so it’s an interesting. That’s why I couldn’t be a teacher. I love the kids for two hours after school.
That’s true. I’ve done an after school program. And I was a little like, wow, absolutely not like after I did that I called the camp that I worked at. I was like, just so we’re clear. It’s 11 and above. That’s, yeah, that’s my rule. I’m not teaching anyone under 11 feet. You got to say Yes. See you later go to daycare. I’m not right. That’s not my crowd. I’m actually usually better with 30 and above, but I’ll take 11
Yeah, I know. I know. So well.
So talk to me about your newest project, there is a project that you’re working on your blog, and you just launched a YouTube channel. Tell us a little bit about this creative project and, and you know how it’s been going.
Sure. Okay. So I only launched on Mother’s Day. So actually, that’ll there’ll be some good content right now. And it is, it’s called age out, rise up. And this is, this is why I think that I can do my art as, as that side hobby. And be completely content and actually find joy in it. Because I find my purpose in what I’m doing with HR rise up. So when a person aged out of foster care, that means they turn 18 and they’re never adopted, and they do not return home. So, one in three statistically in the United States become homeless. And only 3% of foster children go on to college. And that was my story. And so I have been fortunate enough to figure out a lot of things for myself, and I’m also a huge nerd. Totally own it. That’s why I said I don’t know that I want my son to be quite the nerd that I am. But I, I read a lot of self help and psychology books and that is how I I was able to escape a lot of things. You know, in my family’s background, there is something called the aces. And that’s a that is a trauma scale, zero to 10, or zero to 10 of how much trauma you experienced as a child, the adverse childhood effects of trauma. And I’m a nine on that scale. And according to the aces study, which is a medical study that was done anything over four, you are at risk for heart disease, depression, suicide, and obesity, you name it, you know, bad things. And I heard this, and I just thought, What a terrible label to give people just to sort of say, Oh, well, you had a sucky childhood so your life is going to suck the end. Yeah, it doesn’t completely say that. But that’s how it felt to me. hearing it I was just like, that’s beyond terrible. And so age out rise up is about teaching the lessons that I learned. So it’s three parts. One is building communities so i i do interviews with former foster carers in all their stages. So sometimes you might be listening to an addict who is just talking about how sad they are and how they just want a little bit of hope. All the way up to people like I just did. Ambition the poet and he is a relatively successful up and coming. He’s going on television. person who uses his time in foster care and eases the his anger, but also brings a lot of hope in poetry. He used to be a rapper, but now he does his poetry too. To let people have a voice and a healthy and positive way. And so all the whole gamut anybody, anyone who wants to be interviewed former foster, I’m collecting their stories so that other people can listen to them and realize, oh my gosh, I’m not alone. There’s a huge community have us. The other part of that is mentorship. And then I believe that the best people to to help those who are coming out are the people who’ve already been through it. Because we know what others need. We don’t just know what they want. We don’t it’s not a handout. I don’t believe in handouts, I believe in hands Hands up, I believe in teaching a person to fish basically. And then the other part is that that that will be getting stronger is I will be using my theater background to make more interesting film. Basically, like I’ll take TED talks and not film, just you know, YouTube, whatever. They are. YouTube videos.
You’re still filming?
Yeah, so, so. So so far, it’s been a bit of a hot mess. I got a green screen. Well actually, my green screen didn’t come in. And so I tried to get I tried to use something that was green screen, and my walls are blue. So it it picked up on the blue walls and not the green screen. All sorts of, you know, I look like a giant in some of the videos with standing in the kitchen that’s too small. I’ve got some figuring things out, but it’s new. But I know that I’ll be able to express these ideas in a way that’s relevant to my people. So
do you have like creative like, are you doing are you like writing narratives and then like having people act them out? Is that what because you said film and then you backtracked on film? Yeah. Do you think like are you writing scenes like drama like sketches or drama scenes for people? People can like perform something and it like shows how to deal with something in a right way or whatever.
So that’s, that isn’t an idea. Right now in quarantine, it’s just me. So I wrote a little piece for Mother’s Day. And all it is, is I tell a portion of my story. And I asked a few other people to tell. To tell the other side is Mother’s Day, because for a lot of people Mother’s Day is not just flowers, and I’m so lucky. You know, for some of us, like in my story, I talked about how when I was eight or younger, I don’t know. I was pretty young though. I was washing dishes and I wasn’t Washington fast enough. My mother walked into the kitchen and just nonchalantly turned on a pot of water. And I’m sitting there washing the dishes and I didn’t like to do the job because here I am, you know, probably seven, seven years old and I didn’t do them fast enough. And so she walked over and she poured the boiling water over my hands. That’s who I had for a mom. So. So I tell that story, but I also tell how it is like, I don’t just sit and wallow in that. And that is a big thing that a lot of people, not just foster people, but a lot of people sort of wallow in their victimhood. And what I do is, I tell that story, and then I say, you know, she told me, you’ll get used to it. But the fact is, is that I will never get used to being treated that badly. And because of that, it made me a person who wanted to seek out those who were hurting. And it made me also want to look for people and realize from a very young age, way too young, seven, that’s half the age where your son is where mine is, you know, and Look at that and go. There’s a way I don’t want to be in life. And then there’s the ways that I do want to be in life. And so that’s what I do with a jet. Right that sorry, that’s a long winded answer, but that’s what I’m doing.
No, that’s a good long winded answer. That’s nice.
you said that you’re probably going to you mentioned I’m going to involve my theater in it and whatnot. I just wondered what you’re hoping to create, do you have Do you have different you know, videos planned for things that you want to teach? Do you is it almost like you have a binder where it’s like, these are all the lessons that I need to impart because
it only came out on Mother’s Day, but I looked at the YouTube channel, there’s a lot there already. So like for Berger, clear, memory group interviews, so I can double my interviews, but I have things like setting boundaries, anger, forgiveness. Even minimalism, teaching people how to organize. But from that perspective, but it’s easier to deal with your life, it’s easier to deal with things in your life when you don’t have the clutter around. Whether that’s the mental clutter, or the physical clutter. It’s just easier to get a vision for your life. And these, these are people who don’t start with a vision in the first place. So one of the things that I imagined how I wanted to launch was to get a couple of little girls who could have represented me growing up through the, through the different stages until adulthood, you know, and then giving them like small parts of the scene. I actually hadn’t thought about, like, how it could be comedic and using other actors. But I’m sure
it doesn’t have to be, though. And I just figured, like, Well, you know, you could show
these sounds something that would you know, because the thing is, is that the subject matter It’s heavy, but it doesn’t have to be presented in a heavy way, like so when I’m saying about the mother facing the way that wraps up is that I, I didn’t want Mr. Rogers said to do, I looked for the heroes around me. And so it ends on this light mode. And so I always want things to end on that light. And, you know, takes it knowledge, put it in your head, tuck it away, and also walk away with some hope. So, that’s what I want to do. And I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to do that. I think that the green screen is going to get tucked away until I practice for a while and I think I’m just going to give some heartfelt you know, what a lot of people do on on YouTube. So I think I’ll just start with that. And then I know that like for Father’s Day, I want to honor men because I think that men in general are getting the short ends because we’re very, very, all empowering women right now and I don’t think there’s anything wrong With that, I think that everybody should be empowered. But I don’t want the pendulum to swing so far that my son feels ashamed of being a boy. Because people say, you know, white boys, which is what my son looks like whether or not he is, is irrelevant. And, you know, are basically the devil. Like
my husband is white and my husband and child are both white with red hair. So they actually are the devil. So it’s
very tough. Oh, yeah, mine. Oh, no.
Yeah, Liam’s got freckles.
We got him. Oh, dude, the redhead. They’re the downfall of us. Oh, man. It is hard, though. No, all jokes aside, you’re totally right. It’s nice to make sure that you know everybody feels like they have a voice. Even the people who you know you’re right. That A lot of times, you know, they’re trying to give power to one group. And people seem to think that if one group has power, that means that no other groups can or like, if this group, if these people are allowed to be a, b and c, then that means I can’t and you’re like, No, not really. Like, I don’t know where you thought that, like you were getting stuff. You know what I mean? Like, there’s just a lot of
I don’t know. Yeah,
no, privileges are proud. And
I try very, very hard to be non political, because I want everyone to feel like they are welcome. You know, and, you know, really,
you know, what, though relation to with relation to non political?
millennials who are going to be the senators when our kids are our age, are very political, deeply, deeply political. So I don’t think our kids are getting out of that. Like, I think it’s way more powerful, I think, in fact, through through our lives, like cuz I’m in my 40s I think I heard you say you’re in your 40s. Like, we’ve got a good chunk left, right. But I feel like yeah, it’s not like it’s not gonna get too intense like to the Oh, I mean, it’s totally gonna get very intense. But I just mean, like
that I sort of feel like I’m close to living in the hunger game. Sure, yeah.
Well, not yet. Almost. Yeah, we’re getting there to maybe today. I don’t know. I haven’t checked my news and an hour. So
going back. Yeah, I know. I think the pendulum might swing back. And I think that our kids might actually rebel against it. And so it’s interesting. I that is something that I think as an artist were gifted with is being able to step back and look at perspectives because, yeah, you know, what, if you’re handed a role of somebody who you absolutely can’t stay their values, you got to figure out a reason to justify who they are right? Like you have to. And so for me, I feel like that’s what I mean by I don’t I mean, I will fight to preserve theater, even when it’s really, really, really hard is because we’re teaching. We’re teaching kids to still feel and to see other to see from other people’s perspective. And I think that a lot when when politics get involved, people are only seeing from their own perspective. That’s how I feel personally. And you know, it’s not it’s not how everyone feels, but that’s just what I see a lot of a lot of, you know, like people just saying, you know, yeah, you’re beautiful, whatever you ever you want, but you’re totally wrong. Yeah, like what does that not become rude? I remember when we were decent towards each other, you know? And I don’t know. So for that reason,
you know what, though, I mean, you’re very sweet to say like, I just remember when we were decent to each other because it was like, I know we’ve only been talking to each other for about an hour and a half or something. But I feel pretty confident that most of the stories you’ve told me have been not nice people. So the fact that you are so sweet and have such kindness and hope in you, is you and probably God, but like your but the world it would seem has not presented you too many, like maybe a handful of people that where you could look at them and say like, yeah, they’re good. So I feel like it’s in you. Like you have something in you that shines out that is trying to, you know, that is going to be make people feel comfortable and help them and you’re right that it hasn’t everything to do with the creativity. And it has everything to do built out of
this, right? I mean, it has to do with purpose because guess I could absolutely and I have, I have definitely sat and gone. Are you freaking kidding me? One more really crappy person. Really, really. But in a way I actually had this kid this, this lady who’s a foster mom, she’s adopted mom. And she called me and she said, I need you to talk to my daughter. I’ve never met her daughter before. And a daughter has some serious anger issues going on. And I was like, here’s the thing. Sometimes you have to be selfish, and sometimes that selfishness is about your future. So do you want to be able to do these things? Do you want to be able to have this life? How do you want people to see you? Then you have to create that for yourself. And is it fair You know, she does not think it’s fair that she is adopted at all, you know, she’s very angry and she’s angry, but she’s in a transracial home and things like that, but it’s like I just I’ve seen I’ve had foster brothers and sisters who have just made a mess of things. I’m sorry. Like I said, I’m blunt. And it’s just like I knew what I wanted to create. And, and it is hard and it is not. I’m not just like I’m not just pretty lovely birds. I love you so much. Right?
I mean, you’re a little you’re a little bit. There’s definitely cartoon birds around you. I can tell right?
There actually is a bird but I’m very not in a big tree.
That’s showing address for you, isn’t it? What’s happening?
Same time I look at it and I go, this is how I feel about it. Like in a very big nutshell because I’ve talked forever is that anger is my birthright. You know, I was born into sexual abuse, physical abuse, extreme violence. My mother called me slave girl and made me call her Your Majesty. I mean, I was born into some extreme Lee awful situation. I get to choose whether or not I let that define me. And I just want because I don’t want to be miserable. And that makes me a little bit selfish and I’m okay with that kind of selfish. So like I said before, I try really hard not to be arrogant, but seems how I recognize and kind of recognize it because I’m like, you know, it’s a lot to deal with. And so you know, I know that I deal with it the best I can and I’m proud of the fact that I deal with it the best I can. And if that makes me a little bit arrogant live with it
but if you’re able to find a way to communicate with your videos and your you know your blog yet that you know to help people who are angry to like help them get through that because we’re all angry. Even people like me who don’t have anything to be angry about. We’re all angry now. I mean, no, I’m from Boston. My blood No, it’s just no I was just bred into me. It’s not it’s not No no, I’ve gone over the details of my life. There’s nothing real. I it’s that it’s just the Boston it was just they insert it into when you get born there. You’re like,
they put it in your blood. Biggest thing I used to have the biggest thing for boys from Boston, bald Irish boys from Boston. I married a Utah But my thing was Irish boy from Boston. So yeah. But yeah, I mean, it’s a very valid. I mean, I just see validating, validating brings peace. It also, I mean in the arts help, like I said before, I think I said it before we started recording, but every single person that I have seen, that has made it out has some artistic outlet, every one of them. And that is because it allows us to have a voice and it allows us to be truthful and raw. Like, I’m not my forte is not comedy, but I can definitely bring people to tears on a stage because email, I can be raw I can expose it all. I’ve got nothing to lose and If I can help other people do that, and feel safe about it, like create a community of people that let them feel safe in their wrongness, not trauma bond, not, you know, not getting off on people’s core, because there are people who do that. It’s really frustrating. But, but giving place people a true safe place. It’s not one sided is. I think that’s healing. So that’s why I do what I’m doing.
That’s so great. Listen, Carob, thank you so much for being on the podcast. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with me and I just, I haven’t talked to somebody who uses art in the way that you do and a long time and I’m just really glad that I got to talk to you because, you know, a lot of times my podcast can be a little you know, facing towards, you know, improv school. And people who went to Juilliard, and it’s nice to hear that art in its most pure form is, you know, helping helped you get through the tough times in your life and it’s helping you to help other people to empower them and get to a better state in their own lives. So thank you so much for the work that you’re doing and thank you for chatting with me on the podcast.
Oh, yeah, it was absolutely My pleasure. I’m so glad I didn’t have to tell a joke.
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