Spill The TEA

Soft Front, Strong Back: Navigating Emotional Resilience and Personal Transformation

June 23, 2024 TEA Sisters- Tracy, Kerri, Jennifer, Jodie, Mary Season 5 Episode 5
Soft Front, Strong Back: Navigating Emotional Resilience and Personal Transformation
Spill The TEA
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Spill The TEA
Soft Front, Strong Back: Navigating Emotional Resilience and Personal Transformation
Jun 23, 2024 Season 5 Episode 5
TEA Sisters- Tracy, Kerri, Jennifer, Jodie, Mary

What if finding the balance between vulnerability and strength could change your life? Join us on this week's episode of Spilled Tea as we dive into the transformative power of Dr. Brené Brown's quote, "Soft front, strong back, wild heart." We unpack our own interpretations of this mantra, sharing personal stories and even some humorous misquotes. Tracy gets candid about how this powerful phrase has helped her navigate the emotional rollercoaster of divorce, touching on themes of gender expectations, emotional intelligence, and personal growth.

Effective communication is the cornerstone of any relationship, but how do you balance firmness and empathy? We explore this tricky terrain with insights from therapists and our own lived experiences. Learn how to move beyond fight-or-flight reactions and engage your prefrontal cortex for more thoughtful, compassionate conversations. We discuss the value of active listening, the importance of processing before responding, and the concept of a "shitty first draft" in refining our thoughts. This episode is packed with practical advice that will help you become a better communicator and listener.

Tune in for a blend of deep insights and light-hearted moments designed to resonate with anyone navigating the ups and downs of life.

Grab a warm drink and join us- we saved a seat for you. Don't forget to stay updated with Spill the TEA by following us on Facebook at Women Gathering and Growing with TEA or on Instagram at Grow with TEA.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What if finding the balance between vulnerability and strength could change your life? Join us on this week's episode of Spilled Tea as we dive into the transformative power of Dr. Brené Brown's quote, "Soft front, strong back, wild heart." We unpack our own interpretations of this mantra, sharing personal stories and even some humorous misquotes. Tracy gets candid about how this powerful phrase has helped her navigate the emotional rollercoaster of divorce, touching on themes of gender expectations, emotional intelligence, and personal growth.

Effective communication is the cornerstone of any relationship, but how do you balance firmness and empathy? We explore this tricky terrain with insights from therapists and our own lived experiences. Learn how to move beyond fight-or-flight reactions and engage your prefrontal cortex for more thoughtful, compassionate conversations. We discuss the value of active listening, the importance of processing before responding, and the concept of a "shitty first draft" in refining our thoughts. This episode is packed with practical advice that will help you become a better communicator and listener.

Tune in for a blend of deep insights and light-hearted moments designed to resonate with anyone navigating the ups and downs of life.

Grab a warm drink and join us- we saved a seat for you. Don't forget to stay updated with Spill the TEA by following us on Facebook at Women Gathering and Growing with TEA or on Instagram at Grow with TEA.

Kerri:

Welcome back to Spilled Tea. Today we are going to talk about a quote, and I wasn't sure where the quote came from either, mary exactly, so I had to look it up, but I was sure you would know. The quote is Strong back, soft heart, wild heart, and I had to write it down because I kept wanting to say it differently. But it came from Brene Brown, and since you love Brene Brownie, I'm throwing it over to you.

Mary:

Thanks, Keri. Yes, I have quoted the phrase. I'm going to give you a Brene Brownie and that usually means a quote that I have memorized or written down that whoever I'm speaking to, I think would benefit from hearing the quote. So it is soft front, strong back, wild heart, and it comes from Braving the Wilderness, the book that, one of the books that Brene Brown has written. I should you know respectfully Dr Brene Brown. I'm always just too formal with her and I don't give her enough respect to say that she is a doctor and she is a social scientist out of Texas and I studied sociology in college. So I think that's why I really relate to the types of research and teaching that she does. She has studied, basically, human development and has unlocked the secrets of being human, and all of her research has to do with what it means to be human. We are going to dissect today what we think that phrase means Soft front, wild heart, strong back. Not in that order. I'm not sure what order the quote goes.

Tracy:

I think that's a good place to start, because each one of us maybe are saying it different based on how it resonates with us, because I always say strong back, soft front, wild heart okay somebody needs to google and I have it as strong back.

Kerri:

Soft heart, no wild front.

Tracy:

I like wild front and wild heart.

Kerri:

Yeah, be wild. Maybe that that is how I wrote it down.

Mary:

I have to say that is perfect the perverted um bernie brown, the very wild piece, piece with tassels.

Jodie:

That's pretty wild Woo.

Kerri:

I'm ruling out.

Mary:

It does say Brene on strong baths, soft fronts and wild hearts.

Mary:

Okay, so Tracy's remembered it accurately and Kira's remembered it wildly.

Mary:

I can't remember that wildly, of course. So when I'm not sure how Brene, dr Brene, defines each of the three, I just know how I think of it. I think of the masculine and the feminine and the entanglement of that and how. So I consider soft front to be feminine qualities, like relational, emotional intelligence, and I think of strong back as masculine and that's like the structure of things and being brave and then perhaps wild heart is trying to negotiate those two competing forces in a culture that really prefers the strong back only coming from males and expecting the soft front to only come from females, and when either male or female is doing the opposite, it is not well received, even though being human, I think, is having both qualities so I was thinking about it before we got on and the the strong back makes me think of like a yoga, like the mountain pose, like the yoga pose when you're standing strong, like that's what it makes me think of, but it really resonated like with um, like standing in your truth for me.

Kerri:

and then the soft front or how is right soft front made me think more of like being able to be like empathetic and compassionate and those types of things, but still standing in your truth, and I think that's what gives you the wild heart.

Tracy:

I love that, I think.

Tracy:

For me so just to like share with the audience, I've been going through a divorce and going through that for me, this has been a quote that has been an anchor for me, especially that first part, because when the, when it first happened and everything was really raw and really bad at the bottom of at the bare minimum, it felt like I had to find that strong back, like that's what I had to do first and that's what I like.

Tracy:

In the first week I just kept saying to myself strong back, strong back, strong back. And then I would visualize that I have a rod in my back, said scoliosis when I was little. So I would visualize the rod holding me up straight, strong, strong, strong. And then, as things started to progress and I started to heal and things started to get a little bit better, then I was able to like address the soft front again. And now, as things are getting really good in therapy and and I'm being able to get back in touch with myself and I'm really spending a lot of time with who I am and who I want to be and who I want to be in this next phase of my life, that wild heart it's, it's like, it's like I've been preparing for it with that strong back, soft front, and I've been preparing for the ability to honor that wild heart. Does that make sense?

Mary:

Yeah, it feels like maybe the wild heart is the adventure and the not knowing what's going to happen and just trusting in yourself as a human that I've got the other things. I got the strong back and the soft front, and so that's all I need to prepare me for whatever comes my way.

Jodie:

I think I need to hear it in the context of the book or just to use it again and again. I think it's more of a mantra that she talks about. What it says to me is I don't know, as women we have to be so strong, right, but we can't come across as strong, we have to come across as soft. That's where my brain takes me. But, like I said, I haven't read that in the context of the book, so I don't know if that's what she was going for. But we just have to be so, so strong all the time, but don't don't come across as strong, because then you're overbearing, you know, not too strong. Kind of reminds me of that whole barbie thing that america ferreira. You know, be be strong, but not too strong. You have to be skinny, but you can't say you want to be skinny. You have to say you want to be healthy, but you also have to be skinny.

Mary:

I just that whole quote, I just it taught me well, and you can't be too sensitive, because then you're just dramatic right yeah, hysterical, right yeah right, yes, so I'm looking at one of her definitions online. So the mark of a wild heart is living out the paradox of love in our lives. It's the ability to be tough and tender, excited and scared, brave and afraid all in the same moment. It's showing up in your vulnerability and our courage, being both fierce and kind.

Kerri:

I love that. I have something, too, that said being willing to disappoint other people said being willing to disappoint other people and I thought, oh, I like that. Like you know, you have to live, like I said, in your own truth and sometimes that does disappoint people, but it doesn't mean they don't like you. Like you know, all of those things like just being able to be authentically yourself, like saying no, that doesn't resonate with me.

Jodie:

Sorry or no, I don't want to do that thing and see I don't want to disappoint other people. Yeah, that's a huge fear for me. So, I'll do all the things.

Tracy:

Jodi, do you think you're more comfortable in the soft front than the strong back? Because I know for me I'm more comfortable in the strong back than the soft front.

Jodie:

I'm more comfortable in the soft front, for sure, and I think that's why I love you so much.

Tracy:

It's because you're so comfortable in that soft front and it's so hard for me to get there.

Jodie:

And I need people like you with a strong back, because that's not. That's not who I am at all.

Tracy:

I think I would disagree. I would disagree, jodi, but you have a strong back when you have to, oh yeah, but you're more comfortable think.

Mary:

Think about yours and my experience when you had learned about my adultering husband that was a brave conversation that you had, because it was the right thing to do. It, aligned with your values. To tell me what was happening. That took courage and that takes a strong back.

Jodie:

Mm-hmm. Okay, I guess I get that, but it also also it's the nurturing part of me that wanted to let you know, because I couldn't let you go through that, because that was just heartbreaking.

Mary:

I would say that's the soft front, that's what led you to have that really tough conversation.

Jodie:

OK, yeah conversation.

Kerri:

Okay, yeah, I guess you stood in that right and wrong and knowing what's right and wrong, and that's a very strong quality to have, and you took that knowledge and brought it to the soft front, met with Mary and had this compassionate, vulnerable conversation, because she could have been like who the hell is Jodi, why is she telling this about my husband? And that's not true, and blah, blah, blah. Right, it's not that way.

Jodie:

Yeah, that's true, yeah.

Mary:

I could have reacted really negatively.

Jodie:

Yeah.

Mary:

But you were willing to take that risk because you knew in your heart that it was a good thing to do and also because it was coming from your heart. It wasn't coming from, um. Oh, I heard this gossip and I and that's why I want to tell Mary because you know your intentions could have been more sinister just to, because you want to know, like the ugly ugly of it, you know who knows right?

Jodie:

and it all worked out great, because now you have it dead.

Mary:

I feel like there's more examples of you you having that balance of strong back, soft front, even though you think that you don't use your strong back as much as you do.

Tracy:

I just think you're more comfortable in your front, I'm more comfortable in my back. Okay, yeah, that makes sense.

Mary:

Yeah, for me it depends on the situation At work. I can definitely have strong back. Soft front. I mean, I cry at work. So when I hear a sad story like somebody's struggling, I'm not afraid to cry. But I'm also not afraid to have tough conversations of you know, with a say, it's a customer and there's body odor or something there. You know those are conversations to have those are tough and uh, or you know, discipline type things, if, if, uh, that's what I need to do I don't like it, but that's something that that's been a learn for me as a leader boy.

Tracy:

I used to go in with a hammer. I was it. I was all back. There was no soft front, there was no warm fuzzy there and not that you want to be warm fuzzy, but there is a way to be empathetic and nurturing and help somebody through an issue, versus coming in with a baseball bat and saying, but it's so true.

Mary:

Again back to the balance of masculine, feminine, the strong back, soft front, because there is a place for both.

Jodie:

Do you think that it more depends on the person you are dealing with rather than the person ourselves, like if you're dealing with someone and you have to have more of a strong back? You know, some people handle things better, or maybe they'll handle it better if you're a softer touch with them.

Tracy:

So I think if you're dealing with rather than us, I think if you can get to your prefrontal cortex and think about it, right, if you can get out of that animal brain where you're like fight or flight, then yes, 100%. But I think um, I do think we have predetermined pathways that if you have to just react, you might just react where it's most comfortable. But I think as we get older we learn to access that, that more thinking part of our brain.

Kerri:

I think too, like in those tough conversations, I think sometimes, like knowing how you're going to address someone, based on, maybe, who they are, their traits or whatever there's still an opportunity, like if you have taken the time to know where you're going to meet them with some compassion. Like you probably know enough about them to know that they're going to throw out some line of crap and you know, you know you can call them on it if you can meet them with some compassion. Like I hear what you're saying, but this is the other thing that you're sidestepping or ignoring, or that we need to get to the bottom of.

Tracy:

I just watched a reel. I've been following a couple of therapists and some of them have probably made it to the T page, but the one therapist that I've been following, she has a great series and she talks about defensiveness in that when two people come together and they're throwing up their defenses, right, nothing can get solved and somebody actually has to be the first to listen, and the first to listen without judgment, without interruption and allowing that person to just get out their feelings. Then you know asking the clarifying questions. This is what I heard. Is this what you're saying? Is this how you felt allows that person to drop their defenses? So then, in turn, can listen to how you felt and, being that bigger person, you know taking what is the Michelle Obama going high when they go low.

Kerri:

So, michelle Obama, I think that kind of I wouldn't say it exactly like that, but like one of the hardest things I think sometimes is is to just allow yourself some time before you react, because I don't know, maybe it's just like me personally, but my reaction sometime is to just snap back and say what I want to say, like you know, like I'm just gonna say it.

Kerri:

And I know that's true about myself because people always tell me that I'm very direct. And sometimes I do know that I cannot talk about something because I'm also someone who really likes to think about things before I respond to them. And if I respond immediately, I'm sometimes not real happy with what I gave someone because I just didn't allow that time. So I know for myself that's something I try to get better at is a little bit of space, like I heard what you're saying and I need some time to digest that before I can give you my yeah that's the best time for one of another Brene Brownian to do the shitty first draft yeah which I know you carry do on your phone.

Tracy:

Yeah, like, can you share? I don't know if you. I think you've shared that process before but, it's a great sfd. Um, you can say sfd instead of shitty first draft, which is another Dr Brene Brownie, not Tracy.

Kerri:

My phone is kind of like a journal, like whenever I've got something on my mind, I just write it in the notes app in my phone. I often see if anybody found my phone and could crack it. I'm just telling the world. Now my whole life is in there. You want my deep, dirty secrets?

Mary:

That's where they are, it's like the digital version of the burn book. Yeah, yeah.

Kerri:

So you know, luckily I'm okay with the truth most of the time. So if you steal it, I'm just going to be like yep, that's what it is. So don't try black. I do use it all the time. Sometimes, you know, when I know I have to have hard conversations, I like practice writing out a hard conversation and then I think about it for a while. Is that really what I want to say? Oh no, I don't want to say this part up here because it's negating what I want to say down here. Like I really do think about, I want to approach things in that way with my phone. That's how I write it out is.

Mary:

I've heard the it called the sacred pause. Pause is taking that time to not react immediately like a controlled reaction. I think about last year no, two years ago in our summer employment program and the kids I think. There were punches thrown, I think between a boy and a girl. A fight broke out and we're on like the last day. We've already told them that we're going to hire them, but then this is obviously workplace violence, which is a violation of one of the big policies. We weren't prepared to make a decision right then. So we took a sacred pause and it actually worked out really well because then they had to sweat about it the whole weekend. We'll get back to you on Monday morning with our decision, because I didn't want to react from how I was.

Mary:

I was feeling you know, because when you're dysregulated you make. When I'm dysregulated, I may not like my reaction and then I may regret it, and so, anyway, it allowed me time to get regulated so that I can make a really good decision that was in the best interest of our program, the kids that witnessed it as well as the kids that were part of it. You know, I was on a WebEx meeting for youth bureaus and come to find out, this woman was unmuted. She thought she had left the meeting, and so they kept saying now I can't remember the woman's name Like, just imagine that, tracy Broshar, you're on, please mute, please mute. You know People are saying nothing's happening.

Mary:

So this goes on and on and it's so frustrating because then they're doing a presentation and you can hear her saying disparaging things about why she was off of the meeting, which she really wasn't. And so then you see the office this is what the Office of Children and Family Services, right, ocfs and you see Sonia, she's on the phone and you can hear this Tracy picking up saying, hello, I'm not on, I'm not in the meeting. And she's saying, yes, you are, I am not on the meeting Because they couldn. Yes, you are, but you see you're doing this. I am not on the meeting because they couldn't mute her.

Kerri:

Oh my god did you all hear her go?

Mary:

holy shit I wish she was insistent, but then she finally disappeared. Whoa, be careful, because she obviously genuinely thought she was off mute. Oh, that's funny that was not Tracy Brochard in OCFS. It wasn't. Take it out of the recording.

Tracy:

We'll leave it in there. That's funny.

Mary:

Okay, this was across the state Youth bureaus across the state OCFS across the state. I'm so across the state, ocfs across the state.

Kerri:

I'm so sorry I missed that meeting.

Tracy:

Whatever it was that one would have been worth it Dang.

Mary:

Oh my gosh, I'm like oh my gosh, sonia's on the phone with her. You see her putting her in. She's. Maybe it's good. I didn't remember the woman's name and I used Tracy. Oh my.

Tracy:

God.

Mary:

Did I call you Brochar? For God's sakes.

Tracy:

You know we could talk about this on the podcast. My ex wants me to change my name and I've been sitting here thinking at first I was like, well, all right, what do I go back to? Do I go back to Brochar. My kids are Brochars and I like being Tracy Brochar. I was Tracy Brochar for for like 18, 19 years. So most people, if you don't know me by Bradshaw, you know me by brochure, unless you grew up with me, you know me by Burdick. But even then that was my mom's maiden name. That wasn't my birth name. On my birth certificate my original name would have been Tracy Reddy, so I have had four last names, only two husbands. So this whole, like you should change your name. I expect you to change your name. I'm like original name would have been Tracy Reddy, so I have had four last names, only two husbands. So this whole, like you should change your name. I expect you to change your name.

Mary:

I'm like. I don't think so. I'm a published author under my last name.

Tracy:

I'm. No, it's a pain, I'm not doing it. Yeah, that's your final decision. Final decision. I almost, I almost went back to my original last name, tracydy, just because I was like, okay, that was the original, nobody's gonna bitch about that. It's like, no, I am a published author under this name, I am a professional person. Who? How on earth would I let everybody know that? No, I did. I did not get married and like it's just, it requires this whole conversation I don't want to have with people. I don't want to have it with I mean otherwise, other than I'm having it on this podcast with the world.

Mary:

Well then they're on notice. But you're right, because you have to explain there has to be a story around why you're changing your name, and then you have to tell your vulnerable story of going through a divorce. That's not fair.

Tracy:

Not only is it not fair, it's just silly.

Mary:

Why is it an issue? Why is it an issue? Well, I don't, I mean he's he's got, has his issue because it's it's a possession of his right. That, oh that last name was a possession, but he has no say in the matter. No, no although okay. So I'm thinking of the who? I wish I could come up with names. Who was the woman that um hiked the trail in california? And reese witherspoon was the actress in the movie cheryl stray hat strand strayed she came up with that name.

Mary:

She made a name. Oh, I couldn't make a new name what new name should I have?

Tracy:

that could be. That is our poll what that?

Mary:

that is going to how you make, going to be how you make tea yeah, so it wasn't last name.

Tracy:

What would it be and why?

Mary:

Tracy badass, if you're going to stay with the B it would have to be French, but if it was badass, she'd get, she'd get beat and no one would ever hear her name, because it was a swear word, but yet Cheryl Strayed. So Strayed wasn't a name of a person, she was, you know, choosing like to be named after it. I think it was what the the word meant to her, and and what she?

Kerri:

was going through and so I just thought she had a cool ass name no, I did not remember that oh my gosh yeah, you should go to Starbucks and just try out a few. Say what is your name.

Mary:

That is a great idea. And then you see how it sounds in public, how people react oh my gosh. Yes, so, so you could be OK. So you're a published author, tracy Wordsmith. I don't like it. I said it I don't like it, but maybe it could be something like that you could be Tracy Shakespeare.

Tracy:

You know, in my mind Shakespeare is a short little dude, so that would always be in my mind. Shakespeare is a short little dude, so that would always be in my mind. Okay, um, your word for the retreat was catalyst. I you know, tracy, catalyst would be a super cool name.

Kerri:

Yes that would be a super cool name okay, we'll try it at starbucks and see how it goes tracy catalyst they'll be like how do you spell that Tracy's cat?

Mary:

is what it actually somewhat it goes with because of the Y in it and how you spelled Aaron's name oh yeah so there's some alignment there.

Tracy:

Catalyst. It would be kind of nice to own my own last name, Like screw y'all yeah.

Mary:

You totally reinvented yourself.

Kerri:

I like it. That's a good plan.

Mary:

I think that would take a strong back.

Tracy:

That was a wild part for me too.

Kerri:

That's a great story for you. A bunch of shitty last names and since that happened, I decided I would just create my own.

Mary:

I'm done what is that spell? I'm thinking acronyms, that's a ph.

Tracy:

What is that spell that's?

Mary:

a pH so your. So your last name would be fed Tracy Fid F double I D.

Kerri:

Oh my gosh, that's hilarious. That is All right, y'all, are we wrapping this up?

Tracy:

We're wrapping it. This was great. It was a great conversation. It was Help me make tea, guys. Tell me how to make tea. I'll make your name for sure.

Mary:

I'll try it out I'll test them all out. So, but the question is do you like starbucks? Are you going to be going on starbucks? Okay, so you will go on missions I will test out the names that people submit for a last name.

Tracy:

Yeah, if you submit me last names, I will take pictures of the cups and put them on our social oh, I love that.

Mary:

Where else do?

Tracy:

you get announced, as long as they're not dirty words, guys, come on, ladies, no dirty words. I mean funny, funny but not dirty. We don't want a whole bus. Yeah, Tracy Bulba's not nice.

Kerri:

Okay, that's a wrap.

Jodie:

Thank you.

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