#69 - Parenting, past, and personal growth with Mary Marantz

May 14, 2024
Mary Marantz

Episode Summary

This week on The Aro Podcast, Joey sits down with Mary Marantz, bestselling author of Dirt: Growing Strong Roots in What Makes the Broken Beautiful and host of The Mary Marantz Show. They dive into Mary's life story as portrayed in her book, sharing insights from her journey growing up in rural West Virginia to attending Yale Law School. Mary opens up about the process of writing her story, emphasizing the importance of authenticity over originality. Throughout the episode, they explore themes of reconciliation and understanding, particularly in the context of parent-child relationships, underscoring the significance of extending grace to our parents. Mary offers valuable reflections on personal growth, emphasizing that we can appreciate our past selves while embracing change. As the conversation unfolds, Mary shares wisdom on resilience, highlighting how challenges contribute to our strength and empathy.

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Episode Transcript

Mary Marantz (00:00):

Every single day driving down to class, we had the Socratic method, which meant you got questioned to failure, which is super fun, by the way. Sure,

Joey Odom (00:06):

Sounds great.

Mary Marantz (00:08):

There's a reason Socrates was executed, and so it was basically to teach young lawyers some humility that it's okay not to have the answers, but I would get so nervous about not having the right answer in my, had an ulcer, my forming in my stomach. I would turn around and go back home and not have attendance that day. I would not show up rather than risk showing up and getting it wrong. And that's what I would say. That's what I would say for everybody to take away from this is that you could spend your whole life that way, not showing up for fear of getting it wrong, but it was not a mistake that you were asked to show up here and we're all waiting for the answer that you contribute to the story, right? So that's what I'd say about fear. Show up. Anybody.

Joey Odom (00:53):

Welcome back to The Aro Podcast. Hey, it's your good friend, Joey Odom, Co-Founder of Aro, and you are in for a little bit of a different conversation today. It's a really beautiful conversation. A lot of times in The Aro Podcast, we'll talk about technology or parenting. This what you can hear today is a story. This is a story from my new friend Mary Marantz, who wrote a book called Dirt and the story is her story. This is a story of a little girl who grew up in a single wide trailer in West Virginia and ended up at Yale Law School and the story along the way is really beautiful. She classifies her life in into two pieces. It was the girl in the trailer and the girl after the trailer and the girl after the trailer doesn't leave the trailer behind. She reconciles that life that she had of dirt.

She talks about dirt, obviously the book is called Dirt. She reconciles dirt and then the mud that the mud that it takes to create our lives. It's really beautiful. And we had probably over an hour conversation, it felt like 10 minutes hearing her story, hearing about her parents, hearing about her grandma, hearing about growing up in West Virginia and all the twists and turns there. But then all along the way, things like things like fear and hard work and belief and transformation and the pain of transformation and then reconciliation at the end of all of it. Now I will warn you, it's going to get cringey right at the beginning and that's my fault. So I love my introductions. This one was an all singing introduction and I've already given you a little clue, just a teeny clue of what the song is. But I promise you this, it took a lot of thought on my part and you are going to cringe, but I promise you Mary makes up for it. For now, sit back, relax, and enjoy my beautiful conversation with Mary Marantz. Oh, almost Renata, but changed to Mary Girl in the trailer up on Fenwick Mountain, a laggers daughter. That's a fact. Morgantown to Bingham's, crew to Connecticut. Goldie's girl Jay, yours kid. Justin's gal, your new pants, Mary Ellen. Best the girl after the trailer.

Mary Marantz (03:21):

Oh my God, wow. This may be my favorite moment I've ever experienced, period, let alone on a podcast that made me teary to even start this. Holy moly,

Joey Odom (03:35):

I feel flushed. That was a stretch, but you deserved

Mary Marantz (03:41):

It. That was incredible. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. First of all, that song, can I just tell you how many people connect with that song? This is a true story in the book. I go to England for a year and I got to go there on a rotary scholarship and they had the year kicked off with this huge, all the scholars gathered in Scotland, like 800 of us, and we're down in this pub in Scotland with a little dance room and the dance techno mix of country roads came along. What are the odds?

Joey Odom (04:12):

That's wild.

Mary Marantz (04:14):

Oh my gosh. But I got to tell you, as I bleed blue and gold WVU West Virginia fan like man, we are going to be pals forever.

Joey Odom (04:25):

We are going to be pals everybody's new pal. And I'm telling you that was, I was thinking last night, it's funny you said that, how that song connects. I was thinking about did John Denver have any idea what he was doing because it's such an iconic song. I sang this earlier for Heath, our co-founder in the office and the receptionist outside. She goes, were you singing country Roads in there? But everybody knows that. Everybody feels that it's just such a beautiful song. So you were like we said, you were almost Renata, but you changed to Mary. But Mary Marantz, I'm so excited to have you. This book, dirt, I have devoured and it's all about your upbringing and I wanted to spend some time talking about it. This is just this story in and of itself. I have about 11 themes that I want to go through as well, but I'm going to just be quiet. Will you take us back to the girl in the trailer?

Mary Marantz (05:22):

Yeah, yeah. Well, I'll start by saying this. For everybody listening, there's probably going to be a sense as I start to describe this, of I feel like I've seen this movie or I feel like I've read this book because in one sense it's not unusual to have this story of growing up with very little and then ending up at the Ivy League. So in the shortest five second elevator pitch of this book, it's grew up in a single wide trailer in very rural West Virginia, ended up at Yale for law school and it's like, oh yeah, we've seen that movie, Mary. We read that book, which for everybody listening, the reason I start there is the biggest thing I want you to take from that is that when you begin to ghost share your story in the world, the first lie fear is going to hit you with is it's all been done.

It's all been done better. It's all been done by somebody in the world wants to pay attention to. And you cannot get too worried about whether your story or what you have lived has been done before. You focus less on being original and focus more on telling the truth. That's an adaptation of a CS Lewis quote that basically says, anybody who sets out to be original, it's not going to work. But if you set out to tell the truth, nine times out of 10, you will become original without ever knowing it. And so when I set out to write Dirt, hillbilly Elegy had already come out, educated had already come out. Glass Castle had already come out, homeless to Harvard had already come out. There were a lot of versions of this story, which is ironic for something that doesn't feel like it happens that often and it doesn't, right?

It's not that common for somebody to start a single wide trailer and end up at the Ivy League, but Hollywood and the books that are out there would tell us otherwise. And so when I set out to write this book, I said to myself, most of the time with these stories, what ends up happening is that the story becomes, it sort of ends in estrangement a little bit, and that is not a criticism of any of those other stories. That was their story, that was their truth for me. I said, what does it look like to write this book in such a way that a friend of mine said this to me? It leaves reconciliation on the table. It doesn't rule out reconciliation. And the first draft of dirt that I put together did not do that. The first draft was for me, the first draft was getting all of that poison out.

It was the first time I was really talking about it anywhere, and I turned it in Joey to my editor and I thought, we're going to fix some comments, but we're basically done for first draft, like classic first time author over confidence. And as soon as I did, what happened was she was still wrapping up a project so she couldn't get back to me right away. And I had this 24 hours and I call it kind of my Christmas Carol Ebenezer Scrooge moment where I had seen a future I was not proud of. And I woke up and I said, is there still time? Is it still Christmas? Essentially? Ironically, I did turn it in December, so it really did feel like that. And I immediately wrote her in and said, this is not it. I'm going to gut this book and we're going to start again this time through the lens of grace.

What does my story look like through the lens of grace? And I gutted and rewrote. I turned in 50,000, I gutted 30,000 and wrote 50,000 more. So it netted 70,000 words in two months. She said, that's fine. You can do it bore hand in this book off February 10th or whatever it was at that point. And I mean we could get into this for a long time, but that is the most tangible experience of God I have ever had in my life because I was already exhausted from writing this first draft and I said, I have nothing else in me. And every day like Manna, 750 more words, 1500 more words would show up. And so the book that you hold, the book that you read is my story, which was true. Everything I wrote in the first draft was true. But then we go to truer, what was it like from other people's experience and Truist, what does God have to say about this through the lens of grace?

Joey Odom (09:17):

Wow, I got to think that that first experience when you just described, I'm glad that it was you who felt that and not your publisher coming in. That would've felt, that would've been really hard to hear like, wait a second, I just gave you all of everything in me and you're telling me it's not pretty enough. That would've been really the fact that you're the one that recognized it and changed it. What a great gift to have not been someone else. Luckily it wasn't from Justin. He would've probably been sleeping on the couch for a few months, so it's probably even better. It wasn't him. But it's funny, going back to what you said about it, it not feeling original to me. Your take on it, obviously it's your story. It is an original story. It is your story and then just the way that you've, the book is called Dirt, but you say, and I want you to dive into this a little bit more, just the way you said that is it always started with dirt. I just love that there's just something, I don't know, it just takes you back to childhood or you can just picture, you can picture what it was like on Fenwick Mountain. Will you talk about that? Just it all started with dirt?

Mary Marantz (10:29):

Yeah, so I mean that on both of, I'm going to pull out some econ 1 0 1 here for us. I mean it on a micro and a macro level. So I literally mean it in the most practical specific way because I grew up in the trailer. My dad's a logger like his dad and granddad and great-granddad, like eight generations deep. We literally have pictures of in the 18 hundreds, our ancestors McClung with their horses giant saws. Gosh, by the way, my dad started logging in the woods when he was 12, Joey, and they still used horses at the time. Gosh, you can believe that. And so we'll probably get into more of this later, but my mom does leave when I'm nine, and so I kind of become the woman of the house when I'm nine and I'm trying to take care of this trailer. And I was always, always, always trying to make a better life, even from being a kid.

I would hot glue bows on these curtains and try to clean it every day, and I would sweep these little chevron shaped piles of mud because they would dry out of the bottom of my dad's boots and leave these crumbles on the floor, and I would just get it clean after getting home from school, and then he would come home and track dirt in all over again. And so it felt like there was just this dirt on my story no matter what I did. And one of my favorite parts in the book is I'm talking about the God I knew when I was before other people told me who he was and that he would start by coming down to my window in the nighttime, close enough to leave fog marks on the glass. But then pretty soon he started showing up in the daytime in the yard, and he was the color of the grass down to the pigment.

He was the bird stepping off the branch into flight. He was the kind of sun on your face that you could still feel when you closed your eyes. He was the mud, the cold heart ground when you dug in with your hands that even after it dried, even if you washed your hands a couple of times, you could still feel it on your hands that once you dug in, you couldn't forget how it felt. He was color and freedom and fire and dirt. And so it becomes this thing about my story that I hated that actually starts to show me a bit about the character of God. And in the macro level, coming back to our econ 1 0 1, when we think about how of all the elements available to God, we have air and water and minerals and unicorn fur, which I'm convinced they were there in the beginning. That's not biblical.

He chose the dust of the ground, which was really just dirt. And I think about this, he breathed life, this vapor of his breath mixing with the dirt and the mud that resulted. And if this is what he chose to create his most beloved, I believe, creation out of to make man out of and then make woman out of man, what can you do with the mud in our story, right? So it's this idea of we start to get really shame filled about the muddy parts of our story. I call trauma and hard parts of our story muddy, but then we forget that that's where God does some of his most creative work.

Joey Odom (13:41):

So when you were young, so I love how in the book you talk about the girl in the trailer and the girl after the trailer, the girl in the trailer. When did, you said this parts of your life that you hated or you kind of alluded to maybe feeling ashamed of. When did you first maybe recognize that I don't like this, or even maybe feeling a little bit embarrassed or ashamed. What was that like growing up in that situation and when did you start to feel maybe that first little tinge of shame or dislike for what you saw around you?

Mary Marantz (14:13):

I feel like it was pretty young. Was

Joey Odom (14:15):

It really?

Mary Marantz (14:16):

I'm trying to even imagine or think of the specific first time we could, gosh, we could get into all kinds of conversations here because on the one hand, my family owned best logging company and there were 10 men that worked for my dad. And so every year in a small town that I grew up in Richwood, West Virginia, they would have the Cherry River Festival and we would have all of our trucks in the parade and we would ride on the backs of the trucks and throw candy. And we were sort of known in town as business owners and the boss and well-known, and my dad won 1990 West Virginia Logger of the year, and you would've thought he'd want president. He was the grand marshal of the parade. That's so cool. This huge public facing persona. And any small business owners listening, you know that when you have 10 employees, you're going to always make sure that they're paid first.

I mean, I'm not recommending that necessarily as a business plan, but the hard is that you take care of your people. And so yes, we had 10 people working for us and 10 families depending on us, but that often meant that it went to them first. And so it was very hard to reconcile and listen, an Appalachia, a pride and people don't need to know your business kind of applies. It was very hard to reconcile for people to see we had a business and he was the boss. And then I lived in this trailer and that trailer on the cover of the book is what it looked like my senior year of the high school. Justin actually took that picture the first time I took him home and it still looked that way. And so I think as soon as I started bringing people home from school, if we were having sleepovers or whatever the case was, I think there was this, oh, and nobody was filthy rich in that area, but there used to, it became clear that there were people who lived in houses and there were people who lived in trailers.

Joey Odom (16:12):

There were the times in this book where I found the most here string down my face was, and I'm going to get choked about talking about it, was reading about your dad, reading about jr. Will you tell me about, maybe not the, I don't want to get yet to the softer side of him, but will you tell me about the hard work in him that you saw when you were young, when you were the girl in the trailer? Will you just tell us about jr?

Mary Marantz (16:38):

Yeah, like I mentioned, he went to work when he was 12. And most of my life I actually, Joey told myself a story that he was forced to go to work when he was 12, that he didn't have a choice. And that's the difference between a true story and a truer story when you start to actually have those conversations. And what I realized from talking to him is that he basically begged his dad and his grandpa until they just let him start working to shut him up basically. Was there an element that he was probably also told, he grew up in the fifties and sixties in West Virginia where if you've seen the movie October Sky, you basically work in the coal mines or the woods and you only go to college on a football scholarship.

But he started working, he was 12 and he's now 67, I want to say this year. So what is that, 55 years? He's still logging, still working in the woods, and just a very strong work ethic in my entire family. I tell a very quick story in the book about me and my mom and my grandma cleaned houses for a while before my mom left and they would take me with them, they'd clean houses and businesses like they cleaned this beauty parlor and they took me with them in the middle of the night to clean this beauty parlor. I'm four years old and they had me do the dishes in the little kitchenette and they'd had spaghetti that day for lunch apparently. And so I just rinsed the plates instead of washing them properly and you could still feel it. It's not what's seen, it's what's felt.

And they just sat down and waited and made me rewash every single one of them properly as God intended by hand with joy, dish, soap and water. So hot, your hands turned bright red of course. And so that's the kind of work ethic that I was born into. And my dad was very, very tough on me in a very loving way, but in a very tough way. And so story in the book real quick is that I'm again four years old and he decides, just gets a whim that I'm going to recite from memory, not even reading the entire verse of TW the night before Christmas in front of the entire PACT community for the Christmas Eve service or whatever at church. And I'd do it start to finish without skipping a beat. And he said to me before I went on, don't fidget and don't mess it up.

And that sort of became the standard of my life. Don't fidget and don't mess it up. So he was determined that I was going to get out and I was going to go to college. He didn't feel like he had that opportunity and he thought the only way to do that is through education and through pushing me really young. So by the time I started kindergarten, he actually had me in these workbooks, you go up a grade, you go up a grade as you finish them. I started kindergarten at a sixth grade reading and fifth grade math level. And that's kind of the domino that started my life. So our lives were very parallel. We're in the same trailer, we're in the same yard, we're going to the same church. And he said it ends here,

Joey Odom (19:36):

Which is such a, you hear so many stories, it's almost like the more common story you hear Mary is the story of the parents feeling like the daughter is, you think you're better than me type of thing, not actually pushing. That was one thing that I was so interested in this. Why was it, do you think that he saw that future or how, maybe not why, but how do you think he could possibly see that future? And do you think it required him to remove some pride in saying, I want better for you than maybe you have here with me?

Mary Marantz (20:16):

I love that question and I think that that's a hundred percent right. And I love questions like this because they really start to delve into the gray. So one of the things that was a big goal for me in writing Dirt was that it was not a black and white story, that it really lived in the shades of gray. And so my dad wanted me to get out, but by get out, he meant go to WVU for college and not any further. He did not want me to leave

Joey Odom (20:40):

This state test fine, right? Yeah,

Mary Marantz (20:41):

That's right. Got it. I talk about this kind of undulating heartbeat that is the border of West Virginia. He felt like that within those mountains he could keep me safe and the rest of the world was this really scary place. And so I actually ended up getting a scholarship to go to England a week after nine 11, and he was not pleased. And so there has been this tension when I told him I was going to go to law school or that my dream was to go to law school, this was just as I was starting college actually without thinking about it, sort of blurted out You'll never stay in school that long. And he has later many times over apologized for that. He just said, I just couldn't see it for myself, so I couldn't see it for you. And so I think there is this, the short easy 15 second version of the story is, oh yeah, he wanted different for me, but it was different up to a point, different up to a point of where he keep me safe and different up to a point of what he could wrap his mind around.

Joey Odom (21:36):

What a great answer because it's easy again in reading this and you talk later in the book about when you can actually start seeing your parents for what they are, which is imperfect humans basically. And you can start to reconcile that, but it's easy in this to just look at him and be like, oh, what an amazing guy who pulled up by Boots Strip. But no, I get it. There was also some piece of him as much as the fact that he could see beyond your town over to Morgantown, but maybe no further, that's a lot easier, more gratifying answer than just saying no, he knew. He knew it all. I could see it all. So I love that. I love that it just exists in the gray. And you, okay, so you transitioned from the girl in the trailer to the girl after the trailer. And what was a little bit, there was this line of delineation in the book where you put that, but that had to have been a process, right? Because you were still probably come back in the summers that will you tell us and speak as abstractly as you want to about leaving for college, but then still kind of in that middle time, that middle time where you were the girls still in one foot, in one foot out of the trailer?

Mary Marantz (22:48):

Yeah, for sure. So kind of as a setup for this, the very beginning of the book, the prologue is talking about my dad being sick and being in the hospital and I hadn't been home in five years and I go and I'm standing in this hospital room at this threshold moment in my life where I had now equally spent as much time in the trailer as I had spent out of it. I was like 50 50 divided this girl in the trailer and this girl who came after this woman who came after and just from a pure writing perspective like, oh, that was really good, is this moment where I talk about hearing the nurses at their station in the hallway and their accents sounded both foreign and familiar at the same time that you truly are kind of embodying these two halves of yourself.

And up until that point in my life and even up until actually sitting down to write dirt, I had very much treated them as separate compartmentalized entities. It's like that book, women are spaghetti, men are waffles. I was super waffling on the this is who I was and this is who I am. And they're separate and nothing about that defines who I am now. And so when we talk about this process of transitioning, this process of becoming one of my majors in undergrad was philosophy. I did political science and philosophy because what are you going to do with those except go to law school, may as well add more degrees on that. The only thing you can do is become a professor or go to law school. And so one of my favorite classes in philosophy was metaphysics and it's just the philosophy of identity and transitive properties and things like that.

And so there's this great example called basically the problem of thesis' ship and the paradox of thesis' ship. And so everybody listening at home who didn't study philosophy, essentially a ship leaves the shore, it's an entirely all wooden boat and it begins sailing across a grate divide to shore on the farthest inside. And as it goes though a wooden plank, a single wooden plank springs a leak. And luckily this particular ship has this stockpile of metal, metal planks in the storage. There's a word I can't think of, cargo hold, we'll call it. And so we replaced that one plank done. Would you say that's a totally different ship? Most people would say, no, come on, that's one plank. It's still basically the same as it continues sailing. The problem, the paradox goes plank after plank after plank spring, a leak and has to be replaced mid sail.

And the question becomes at which point is it no longer the original ship? Is it at the 51% when the majority is now new? Is it only when the final plank is replaced and there's nothing remaining of who it once was and what happens if it gets to the other shore looking so different and unrecognizable to everyone who once knew it, they ran around to the other side to meet it, but through the process it knows itself. And that's what I felt like you talked about going back home. That's what it felt like. It's felt like to go home and feel, oh, you've changed, or oh, you're higher than you're raising, or oh, you're bigger than your butches or whatever. Not to everybody, just the very few to be clear that most people at home have been very supportive, but to know that you know yourself through all of this process of change, you have been becoming all along and you can still honor what came before by keeping those stockpiles of planks with you while saying leaving was not a betrayal, becoming something new does not imply something was inherently wrong about what was the old, so that's a hundred percent a very abstract way of answering.

Yeah, I love it that it very much was a process and I've now lived in Connecticut 21 years and the year in England that I talked about and being a college even was very different. Morgantown is a whole different world than where I grew up in more southern West Virginia. So I now feel like Connecticut is my home, even though West Virginia will always, always, always be a very special place to me and my original home. It's sort of a both end, but we can honor what came before without feeling like we have to stay there, stay who we were, we can become a new thing and still honor what started us.

Joey Odom (27:17):

I feel like people probably need to hear that and I want to take that even a step further. You say later in the book that you say that I think transformation hurts, and that's maybe for somebody right now who's in the middle of a transformation. Will you talk about that you have the beautiful picture you just put of honoring where you've come from, but then accept embracing who you're becoming or who you've become. What about that interim pain? Will you talk a little bit about what that feels like and maybe someone just needs to recognize that it also hurts in the meantime?

Mary Marantz (27:50):

Yeah, so Joey, I gave this talk at a conference once and I was so proud of this metaphor. I was like, yeah, I'm going to own this. I'm going to go 110% with this. I was talking about that saying that floats around on Pinterest or Facebook sometimes, and it says just when the caterpillar thought her life was ending, that was then she became a butterfly. I know that's supposed to be inspirational, but all I could ever think was, I bet it hurts the caterpillar. And so in this talk I'm given this dramatic interpretation like X-Men style of wings, feathered wings growing out of your back, scratching and clawing at these old skins that never fit just to fulfill your own propensity to fly raw and bleeding and whatever. Feathers poking. And I gave this whole talk and I was like, yeah, and then the sound guy who I kid you not, his name was Mike, which was hilarious to me, came up to me and said, actually, that's not how caterpillar's become butterflies at all. And I was like, oh geez,

Joey Odom (28:51):

Come on sound guy.

Mary Marantz (28:54):

And he sent me some articles afterwards that actually what happens if you were to cut open a chrysalis mid transformation, you do not find a caterpillar with wings growing out of its back. What you actually find is caterpillar soup. It's like goo that this thing that you once has to disintegrate entirely for a new thing to take flight. And you would never say this butterfly was never that caterpillar. You know that it was so, it's not about can you recognize it or can you track this transitive property of, I think of from my lawyer background chain of custody kind of deal. It's not about being able to say you always knew exactly where you were in the process. And so anyway, all of that to say we disintegrate, we become a new thing, this death to self before the thrill of hope takes flight. And when you're doing that, you're literally breaking yourself down to nothing just to be made new into a new creation.

And I think about the potter in the wheel and this idea of like, well, that's what you were for a while, but the same raw materials are going to be there, but we're going to make you into a new vessel and this pressure that you go under and the reshaping and it can feel like it all just kind of got destroyed before you're built into something new. When you're going through some of the most painful transformation of your life, the hardest part of that can be while you're doing that, it can feel like a betrayal to the people and the places that raised you. It can feel like by you saying, I want to become something new or I want to leave this place, or I'm going to be the break in these chains in my family tree, I'm going to be a generation changer.

Can you live in the tension of saying, I love you, I see you, I know that you did the best that you could. I have empathy beyond empathy for what it was like because I'm 40 and I still have, I'm actually 44 as we record this, let's be honest. And I still struggle with things that you struggle with and you were 17 when you got married. You were 20 when you had me. And so can I live in this tension of I love you and I honor you and I know you are doing the best that you could. And also I want better. I want different.

Joey Odom (31:12):

Yeah, it reminds me that, do you know Marie Kondo? So the life changing magic of tidying up, the thing that she says, and this is relative to clothes, but you can apply in all areas when she encouraged you to discard of things, only keep things that give joy to you. But you say to that thing, to that shirt that you say, you just say basically, thank it. Thank you for what you served in my life. Thank you for that great 70% off deal. You gave me that one day at TJ Maxx that felt great or thank you, thank you for that memory I have with this and when you can thank it. It's so much easier to then set that thing aside, but be grateful for, I believe that's what you're describing. It's just this moment of I'm so grateful for what you've given me.

And another tie in that comes with all of this is you were, and I want people to go buy the book, so I don't want to give away all of it, but from the single wide trailer to Morgantown, West Virginia, to England to New Haven, Connecticut, at Yale Law School, in the midst of all that, there had to have been this enormous amount of fear. And you talk about that some, and I love a line you say in the book, you say, what if we felt the fear but showed up? Anyway, so will you talk about that interim fear in the transition? And this is in the Girl after the trailer, the main theme that there for me was this feeling of transformation. But what about that interim fear that you felt all along the way of what's the next step going to look like? It's all easy now when you reflect on it, but in the meantime, what does that fear?

Mary Marantz (32:46):

I'll tell you what, none of it feels easy.

Joey Odom (32:48):

Yeah, good point.

Mary Marantz (32:50):

No, no. What I'm laughing at here is that word interim because I wake up every single day in my life and I'm afraid. And what that tells me, that sounds like a really negative thing, but what it tells me is every single day I'm doing stuff way outside of my comfort zone. Even sitting down now and having this conversation about the book or having you on the show right before we recorded this, it's my goodness, the people I get to sit down and talk with or the things I get to do or all of it feels like, woo. It's like you're on the rollercoaster 24 7 and that actually feels exhilarating. The fear tells me I'm not complacent. The fear tells me I'm doing really cool stuff, really dope stuff with my life as they would say. And so we'll start with that. I think that's the biggest thing for me. I'm actually working on my third book and part of it is about one of the taglines on my podcast is feel the fear and move forward anyway. So I don't mean listen, if you are listening and you are in the absence of fear, fearless man, come to a show and tell us all how to do it.

But for me, I actually have made friends with the fear in the sense that when it shows up with its very boring, repetitive scripts, it's all been done. It's all been done better. It's all been done by somebody the world wants to pay attention to. I can't start until it's perfect. What if I start and I don't have the bandwidth? What if I start and I can't stay consistent with it? What if I start and the critics come? What if they say, who does she think she is? What if it's already too late? What if my voice doesn't matter? What if I don't matter? Pretty much chances are I hit most of them for people listening right there. When fear shows up and starts being really boring, I go, cool, cool, cool. I'm doing something I'm supposed to because you wouldn't care if I wasn't right.

Fear wouldn't be bothered to show up if I wasn't doing something important. So yes, let's rewind a little bit to, I get this letter, I get this phone call, you're going to Yale Law School, you have two weeks to get out of here, whatever. It was a little more than that, but it was a tight turnaround. I'd already accepted to another school and had my housing and my financial aid all lined up. And so my very first visit to Yale Law School in my entire life is me, Jr. Best my dad and my grandma, Goldie, five foot two towering force in our family tree in his filthy red pickup truck with Dr. Pepper cans and chainsaws in the back. And when I say filthy, I'm talking encased in mud and we're literally on the corner of how street how in New York. And I'm looking up at these gargoyles just staring down at me like You do not belong here.

And this is so much information, but they'd had a bomb that previous May, and so the whole place was locked down and you couldn't get inside. And so I'm just with my face pressed up against the stained glass window looking in at the carved wood mahogany and my dad's truck behind me and he's in his muddy dirty jeans and whatever. And I was just like, well, this was a mistake. Not that I accepted, but that they chose me. And here's something really interesting, Joey, is that when we had our orientation and we're all in this big auditorium, all the stain glass in the auditorium are the seals of the states. And I could see basically 49 states, but I couldn't see West Virginia from where I was sitting and it was so metaphorical and what have you, the writer in me was loving that, but they said in the very first words out of their mouth in the orientation, they said, every single one of you right now is sitting there feeling like we made a mistake.

We made a mistake in picking you, and we want to start right here, that you were chosen on purpose for a reason for the story that you bring to this class and the way that you round it out. And if anything's telling you that, just don't believe it. And I was sitting there thinking everybody but me still thinking it even after they said that. And so I think that's just for somebody. I really do. That's the first thing we think is who am I? They want somebody else. It's all been done what have you. And if you do get those opportunities, you feel like it's a mistake. You feel like that imposter syndrome. So yeah, I talk about in the book that every single day driving down to class, we had the Socratic method, which meant you got questioned to failure, which is super fun, by the way.

Joey Odom (37:08):

Sounds great.

Mary Marantz (37:10):

There's a reason Socrates was executed. And so it was basically to teach young lawyers some humility that it's okay not to have the answers, but I would get so nervous about not having the right answer. I had an ulcer, my forming in my stomach. I would turn around and go back home and not have attendance that day. I would not show up rather than risk showing up and getting it wrong. And that's what I would say, that's what I'd say for everybody to take away from this is that you could spend your whole life that way, not showing up for fear of getting it wrong, but it was not a mistake that you were asked to show up here and we're all waiting for the answer that you contribute to the story. So that's what I'd say about fear is 20 minutes later, tell me if you ever get over it, it's boring and show up anyway.

Joey Odom (37:58):

And I think any great moment is preceded by fear. I think this is the first time I've tried this one out, but I was watching my daughter and I were watching Harry Potter, the last Harry Potter the other day, and this is the one where the gang goes and they destroy the hor cruxes, right? If you remember, if you're a Harry Potter fan, forgive me for the geek out for a moment, and the hor cruxes are little pieces of Voldemort soul. And right before they destroy ahor crux, all of a sudden the hor crux doesn't physically fight back. It begins to accuse the person who's about to destroy it. It begins to make accusations and it begin to accusations about them, not about the task, but it begins to prey on their own insecurities. And I think there's just such a beautiful analogy here. The moment before we do something great, we are going to feel accused. We are going to feel attacked. We are going to feel fearful. And so look at where you are if you would've cowered that fear or God forbid, we live in a world ruled by Voldemort. So we're thankful they killed the horse crisises. Right? I'm sorry, I think we can now. I can't remember if we can say it or we can't, but I think we're good now.

It's those moments right before I'm going to transition to the,

Mary Marantz (39:13):

Well hold on. I feel like you got to just let that float in the air

Joey Odom (39:16):

For people going to

Mary Marantz (39:17):

That's too

Joey Odom (39:18):

Good. That's a little mic drop. Yeah, pause it. That

Mary Marantz (39:20):

Was too good. I got to, I'm like, let me just absorb that a little bit more for myself. That was so good and it's a hundred percent true. As I mentioned, and I won't talk for very long about this, but as I mentioned, I'm writing a third book and it is comical and terrifying how much that accusation shows up. Only comical in the sense that it's predictable, but when you're in the thick of it, it's real, real hard to remember. No, you're not a bad person. No, it hasn't all been said before. No, you're not an original or whatever. I mean the things that I get accused of when I'm writing a book any other time I would be like, I know that's not true. I know I'm a person of excellence. I know I'm an original person. I know that I don't stop until I move the conversation forward. But when you're in the thick of it, it is like hissing. It's like hissing in your ears. Was the snake, was the snake a horse rock or

Joey Odom (40:10):

Was it the Nini? The snake was ahorre, yes. Very good. We didn't even rehearse this listener. Yeah, exactly. And I love that the hissing, just the hissing at you. What if we could train, this is probably just very Pollyanna maybe, but what if we could train ourselves in that? Let that be a little bit of an excitement to us when we feel accusations or fear or insecurity be like, Ooh, I'm onto something. Ooh, this must be a horse crux. Ooh, this must be something big enough for me to be accused by it, right? How cool would that be if we could begin to train ourselves that way? I've never tried it. It may not work, but that's just an idea.

Mary Marantz (40:44):

It is a hundred percent the work of my life right now. A hundred percent. It's a huge part of what this book is about. It's about going actually, okay, I'm going to give you a little inside scoop. This was one that made me really happy. What if fear is attacks creatives? Because it itself is not creative and it's jealous. Let's just hang out there for a while. It inherently itself is not creative. It uses all these same scripts. It does not access muse or divine creation or anything like that. And so it's just this repetitive, boring bully who spends its whole life going after creatives. They have this gift, it doesn't.

Joey Odom (41:26):

And what's interesting about that too, fear can then co-opt with you and use your creative mind to create this horrendous ending that's really good,

Aro Member (41:45):

That time building relationships with your kids, you don't really get back. And that's one of those things you think about being present with your kids and I'm spending this time with my kids, but really are you present? Because from the outside you say, oh yeah, you're home. You're home with your kids. You knew he was having cereal. You were there with him. You were having breakfast. I wasn't having breakfast. I was doing my thing on my phone while he was eating and I was not engaging. So those are those minutes you can't get back. And I think those culminate into stronger relationships with your family and that bond that when they do leave the house or they do go off into their own space, they have those connections with you and they have the capacities and the wisdom that you help instill with them to go be the better person to their community, their society, and their kids. So it was really a kind of powerful reflection and moment for me.

Joey Odom (42:31):

We love hearing stories from the Aro community. The one you just heard actually comes from our Voices of Aro episodes where I sit down with Aro members and they share about their stories and their lives with Aro. Make sure to check out the Voices of Aro episodes, and if you're a member who would like to share your own story with Aro, please email us stories@goaro.com.

I want to go, to me, this was of all the themes in the book, this to me, and this had to have been with your rewrite, but I have the most notes on the theme of reconciliation. That to me was you reconciling with your mom. She left when you were nine, you reconciling with your dad, you reconciling with your past, you reconciling with being after your grandma, Goldie passed, of just reconciling with where you were in that interim time you were even reconciling. And right at the end of the book, you have this beautiful picture of your dad's hands, muddy, scarred, and broken. You say you used to be embarrassed, but not anymore. You reconciled all these things. I don't want to direct it too much, but will you just talk generally about what that process of reconciliation was like and maybe even through the lens of somebody who just doesn't know what to do with all this stuff and how you got through that process of reconciliation. Take that whatever direction you want.

Mary Marantz (43:52):

Yeah, I love this question and I think I'm actually going to, if it's okay, I'm going to read a passage that I think really gets to the heart of it and then I'll riff on that a little bit. But it is this idea of not just a sympathy, right? I think there's a big difference between sympathy and empathy, right? Sympathy is, oh, I feel sorry for you, but that's not my story. And empathy is like, let me stand in your shoes. And so I'm just going to read this part about when I think when I really turned the corner for reconciliation, this was it. It says, here's the thing, you go into the world and you start to think the right couch or car or clothes will be your redemption. That a happy marriage. The 2.7 kids, a mortgage, an SUV and the right school district with the gluten-free cupcakes will somehow you free.

They don't, none of it changes your story and you have to find a way to make peace with that, or it will be the undoing of the rest of your life. You get older and you realize just how hard being an adult really is. You get older and you turn the same age your parents were when you were born, when you took your first steps, when you started kindergarten, you get older and you realize that all the time you were growing up, maybe they were just trying to grow up too, two kids doing the best they could. You get older and you mess up a lot. You realize just how often you need mercy too. And empathy floods like warm golden light where once the stark winter landscape of bitterness used to reside like sparks of understanding, lighting up the night sky, guiding your way back home for the first time ever, you see things from their perspective.

It's messy and hard, gritty and imperfect. That part you always knew. But now a new kaleidoscope of color glows in the darkness, reflecting scenes of your life, your life on a white linen sheet of undisturbed snow, a string of grace, shedding light on a different part of the story, one of love and sacrifice and always doing the best they could of sometimes coming up short just like you have, but never for lack of trying and never for lack of love. Once you see it, you can't look away. It's hypnotic, it's humbling, it's haunting. It's almost beautiful.

Joey Odom (45:48):

I will show you this. This was all starred and underlined in my book. Oh my gosh. Can I read the very first part of that one more time? I just with respect to your parents, it was just so beautiful. You get older and you realize that all the time you were growing up, maybe they were just trying to grow up to two kids doing the best they could.

Mary Marantz (46:14):

You know what? I saw something on Instagram just this morning, and man, I really wish I could remember who said it. I always try to give credit. It's probably me. I'm just kidding. Yeah, Joey. But it said something to the effect of, you remember your parents were just living this one life. They get to, we sometimes think that they've gone, they should have the wisdom of the sages and the ages because they've gone through it like 14 times. But we all just are doing this one time, at least as far as we know. So I mean, that just really hit me because it's like, right, if I keep making the same mistakes twice their age and letting the boulder roll all the way back down the mountain, starting over, starting over. I mean, what was I doing when I was 20? I was in college. What was I doing when I was 12? I certainly wasn't cutting trees down. So I think it's powerful. Yeah,

Joey Odom (47:06):

It is so true. And I hope everybody does come to that moment where you can, and my parents, my parents, like I said, they're just wonderful. Or I mentioned on your podcast, wonderful, but you know that these memories you have of them coming up short and then you can kind of think through, they've probably had a lot going on right? Then I can relate to that moment with my parents. I can relate to that. And so it really is a freeing thing when you can do that and when you can put yourselves in those shoes and you can sit beside them. And there's one part. Will you tell me the part about when you found yourself, you're at this time, you're the girl after the trailer and you're thinking about back to yourself, the girl in the trailer where you felt like you could kind of just sit next to her, your own self, where you reconciled with yourself. Will you tell us about what that process was like?

Mary Marantz (48:01):

Yeah, real quick, even before I dig into that, just something that I thought of that I think is really important and is probably for somebody listening, is I have this other part in dirt where I talk about my very unscientific theory that we're all born into the world with these hard plastic edges basically, and we're walking around bumping into each other without even realizing or noticing it, relieving these cuts on one another, both just through our lack of empathy or a lack of noticing another human looking them in the eye at the grocery store or whatever, and the sort of death by a thousand cuts. We're not even aware of how we hurt other people because we haven't borne empathy yet. And I say in the book that pain like progressively finer grits of sandpaper carves off these hard edges. It rounds off these hard edges.

Until through that process of our muddy stories, we actually become a soft place to land for other people that ironically, our hard stories make us both stronger and softer for other people. And so one way that we get empathy with this and reconciliation with our hard stories is through this empathy we've talked about. But another way, I think there's this moment, this day when you go, I actually wouldn't trade this hard story if it meant I had to give up the empathy, the kindness, the gentle heart that I now have. I think that's where wisdom begins, where it's like who we became through the heart story becomes more valuable to us than ease of life. And so for me, that's easy to say. As a grownup, that's easy to say to me As a woman who lives in Connecticut by the water with golden retrievers and pink gingham shirts, it all worked out great.

You see the happy ending, you're fine. It's a whole other thing to go back and think those sorts of things in the presence of little me. And there is this scene, there's actually these parallel scenes in the book. First you see me sitting crisscross with this picture in my mind of God and how we're sitting knee to knee and close to close enough where he could play the hand slap game if he wanted, where he sees every flaw on my face and I confess all the ways I've tried and failed to find belonging. And he just puts a cold hand, a cool hand on my forehead, and the pain begins to reside. He says, that's okay. You just forgot who you were there for a little while. And then the parallel scene as the book is wrapping up is me sitting crisscross on the floor with little Mary Dang it, and we're going to pretend this is vodka right here.

And it's looking at her and sort of seeing she's at peace, she's at, she's playing now right's, dancing around the room, she's at peace. She's playing as an Anne Lamott line talking about what it's like to write and to interact with Muse, and you're just sort of like the transcriptionist, little you at peace and playing with the force of creation. And so it is this picture of sitting across and apologizing for all the things I couldn't protect her from, and also for just dragging her by the hand behind me as we were trying to get to this place called safety in my head, red faced and hollering like, hurry up. You can't slow down. You can't stop. It's not safe. And never just turning around and leaning down and looking her in the face and saying, I'm here for you. And in the book, she kind of puts a hand on either one of my cheeks and sort of dries the tears and is like, I'm so proud of both of us of where we've come.

And there is this line from Viola Davis, actually, I read it in a people magazine and they were saying to her, do you feel like grownup Viola has healed little viola? And she's like, are you kidding me? She's healing me. She's dancing around my kitchen going, look at our refrigerator. I'm like, this is amazing. I think I really try to connect with the littlest version of me every day as often as I can. Look at our life. This is amazing. Look how far we've come. And here's a really interesting story. I was telling you this, I think when you were on my show, that Justin and I were known for black and white photography. We were known for this very moody, iconic vanity fair sort of brand. Everything was black and white, everything was black and white. And when I wrote dirt and released it into the world, Joey, I could not find enough rainbow color to wear. It was like little Mary and Punky Brewster were coming out. It was like rainbow sweaters, rainbow tennis shoes, all of that. And so I do think there's something really beautiful when you make peace with that version of yourself and where the story began. Life becomes technic color, right? Life. We start to live that in color technicolor in the best way, not the fake way. So I dunno, I don't even know if that came close to answering that

Joey Odom (52:45):

Question. It did. And it's probably something I need to spend a little more time on is looking back on talking a little Joey a little bit. I think if it's something we can all do because we look back on things that little dumb things we've done. I don't know about you, but I'll have memories from 30 or 40 years before of something I said or a situation that I probably look back and like, oh, it was kind of cringey. But you think, hold on one second, i's just a little kid. I was just figuring it all out.

Mary Marantz (53:15):

Yes, a hundred percent at three in the morning typically,

Joey Odom (53:18):

Right? Yeah, exactly. It was that part where you talk about going to the littlest version of yourself, that really such a beautiful, beautiful piece of the story. And then talking about going to the littlest versions of your mom and dad both. I'm curious, as an aside here, what did your parents think of this book? A great to be tough. I mean, literally, this is terrible. I expect at the end that they, because it started with your dad in the hospital room, I expected that he was going to pass. But your mom and dad are both still alive and you talk very openly about your upbringing and you talk about great things, but then you tell some truth in the meantime.

Mary Marantz (53:56):

Yeah. Well, I'll tell you, I'll start with my mom. I'll tell you a very cool thing that came out of all this. I already sort of mentioned the first draft Christmas carol moment. Like, whoa, we got to strip this down to the studs and start over. And in a really, just as an aside, a very cool parallel, when Justin and I bought our first house, which now is still current house that we're in, the reason we were able to buy it is it was in foreclosure. A pipe burst, the whole house flooded, the bank turned off the pipe and then let it set for months and it got mold and mildew. And so I grew up in this trailer, that wreaked of mildew and said, clung to your clothes, your very dignity. And then I end up getting to buy my dream house on the water.

That's my first house in Connecticut. My first house ever happens to be on the water in Connecticut because of mildew. So there's a sense of humor there. It's pretty great. But one of the things I talked about is that because of how that house was built and when it was built and the construction materials they used at the time, 12 by 12 solid beams, the contractors told us that the mold and mildew didn't get into the structure of the house, the construction of the house because of the integrity with which it was raised. The bad stuff never truly got in. And so when I talk about that, the first thing we had to do with this house was get the mold remediated. You couldn't just start ripping it out because it would go airborne and get into everything. You had to get the poison out before you could build something new.

And it's very similar with the conversation with my mom. And with that first draft, you had to get the poison out to build something new. And so one of the true truer, truest exercises I did is I said, can I do this call with you? Mom and I had started a podcast in September of 2019. This was December of 2019. And the gift of that is that I had on the headphones, I had on the microphone, told her We're going to be recording it. I was able to slip into investigative journalist, Mary podcast, Mary, curiosity, not judgment, Mary, I could just stay very calm and neutral and curious. Well, tell me more about that. Turned into a three hour phone call and I learned stuff. I never knew I saw things. I thought I knew from a totally different perspective. When she left, she wasn't just gone.

She left for a job that had her come home every couple of months. But she said, your dad's job didn't have health insurance, but this job did. That was a component of it. And so there were shades of gray. I said, but you also left because you were tired of just defined as Jr's wife and my mom. Well, I guess there's truth to that too. There's truth in tears and there's this great moment in the book of That's okay, you're still here and I'm still here and we're still family and there's still a chance. And so that was the big reconciliation moment for us, not just in the book, but in the process of writing the book. And so that dream, that prayer of could a book like this actually bring people together was played out there. And then for my dad, he very much took the tack, the approach of, I love you. I'm support you. I'm going to be the biggest cheerleader. I'm nervous.

He never said that, but I knew he was. And I don't think he's to this day ever read it, come on. But what happened is that all the people in my hometown read it and they started to tell him just how it portrayed him and how good it was and how he was sort of this Paul bunion, folklore legend in the book. I think it was just too painful for him to read personally, but I think he now knows what it was. But anyway, going back to my mom actually really quickly. I called her the day before the book came out and I was crying my eyes out and I said, I'm so scared that I just got you back into my life and I'm going to end up losing you after it comes out, and I just need you to know my heart. And she said to me, actually, I was able to go on Amazon and they had the preview, and I read the prologue where you talk about I should have come to the hospital sooner and I could tell that you were going to, you weren't going to throw anybody under the bus just from that tone.

And Mary Carr for everybody listening, wrote a book called The Art of Memoir. She said, the best memoirists are willing to punch themselves in the face first. And they don't pretend to be perfect. They don't pretend anybody's all good and anybody else is all bad. They live in those shades of gray. And I think she could tell that. And so she had already made a decision that she was going to trust me with it.

Joey Odom (58:21):

There are a couple stories I'm leaving out. There are three particular ones with your dad that I was in tears on each one. One was you and then we'll just leave these as teasers. One was when you went to England, one was when you and Justin got engaged, and one was a Christmas that related to a Hawaii trip that I'll leave at that. That just about broke me. It was just the sweetest, sweetest moment. So I thought, I didn't think in any of this in asking how it was with your parents. I wasn't in any way thinking that you disparage them. I didn't think you did in any way. I thought you told your story. And again, the fact that reconciliation was the biggest theme to me in the book, I think speaks a lot.

I have one last question as when I drive my kids to school, they go to a great school in here in Tennessee. But before we get to this beautiful entrance of the school, there's a little trailer park and it's a little bit of a dichotomy between this beautiful school and then a trailer park right next to it. And I've been thinking about that trailer park since I read dirt. And I've just been wondering to myself if there's another Mary Bess in there. And I think about the people who are entrusted with those kids. I think about school teachers and Sunday school teachers and mentors. And I don't know if I have a real question, but maybe it's just if you had maybe a little bit of a message for those people, maybe it's people even homeschooling their own kids, but people who are entrusted with kids and knowing that you just don't know what's in that child or what that child's future looks like. I'd be curious if you have, I haven't prepped you for this question, but if you had some message for those people who are entrusted with children and not knowing what those futures could look like.

Mary Marantz (01:00:11):

Yeah, I do actually. There is a study that says if a child, no matter the hardest of circumstances that they're in, if a child will have just one adult take an interest in them, it can change the entire trajectory of their life. That can be a parent or it can be a teacher or a grandparent or what have you. And so I think when we start to see the weight of responsibility we have or the weight of possibility we have there, this goes back to our conversation with you on my show of what happens when we actually take notice. What happens when we actually make eye contact and we lean in when we're so tempted to just sort of plug into our phones and look away or what have you. And so I would just say one of the biggest things when I look back on the earliest dominoes that must have fallen in my life for the trail to end up with me at Yale Law School or me sitting down with you right now, it's this idea of words have the power to speak life or death, and the labels that get put on us can change everything.

And so I mentioned earlier my dad wanted to change everything. So we brought these workbooks home. I don't know if you remember these, maybe they were before your time. I don't know. They were like matrix printing on the front, and they used little letters and symbols to form the shape of it like a kid's face. And it was like reading and math. And the idea was that maybe they were just in rural areas that you would get the workbook for the grade your kid was about to enter. But my dad was like, that was the expectation. We don't live with expectations. So you finish that one, you're doing the next one. He would have me write reports on Spain. I was summer and whatever. And so like I said, it was sixth grade reading, fifth grade math. And so I go to kindergarten and they go, oh, she's smart.

Oh, she's gifted. Oh, we might want to skip a grade. And suddenly the labels that got put on me, I went, oh, okay. That's what we're going to live up to. And there have been studies where they've done that with control groups. And then they would tell the other group, you're gifted, you're smart. Even if it was just random and those kids would outperform. And so I would say that take the interest, lean in, make the eye contact, see that person, see what they could be, not just what they are. And realize that your words and the labels you put on that child have the power to change. A generation. A family tree could be completely altered because you spoke life into what you saw.

Joey Odom (01:02:33):

Wow, that is a perfect place to end. Mary. This is wonderful. I do want everybody, if you're watching on video, here's the book. It's Dirt and it's so beautiful. You've also written a book called Slow Growth, slow Growth equals Strong Roots. That's your most recent book. You're writing your third. Now you have the Mary Marantz podcast, which is terrific, top 200 podcast. And you're at Mary Marantz on Instagram. What have I left out?

Mary Marantz (01:03:08):

I have a fun one for you actually. Okay. So with Slow Growth equals Strong Roots, I actually put together what I call the achiever quiz. So if Dirt is about making peace with your past, slow growth is about giving up, achieving for your worth. And as I was writing that book, I was coming up with all these very lyrical ways to describe all the different ways I've tried to perform my way into Worth. And I'm talking about being a tightrope walker. I'm up and I'm down. I'm everywhere in between. My life is defined as good or bad by the latest good thing that's happened, and a performer being on my toes and a mass creator hiding in plain sight. Well, we actually took that and turned it into a quiz. It's like two minutes or less if you don't overthink it. And it will tell you which one of the five performer types you are, achiever types.

You are so performer always on your toes trying to show other people how far you've come doing it for yourself. Tightrope walker, you don't care who's clapping. You just need a bigger and bigger highs to feel the same amount of good masquerader hides in plain sight. Illusionists in the distance waits to start until they're perfect, and the Contortionists twist themselves up into tiny tethered knots to avoid being criticized. And so you can go to achiever quiz.com to take that and it will tell you the type and it will tell you how you get unstuck to move forward in your purpose.

Joey Odom (01:04:15):

I love that Achiever quiz.com.

Mary Marantz (01:04:18):

That's right,

Joey Odom (01:04:21):

Mary. Thank you. This was wonderful. We will link all of those in the show notes for everybody. But thank you so much for this book. Thank you for joining us. Please will you give JR a hug for me when you see him next, please? I will. He needs a hug. Tell him. It's from a tall, long-haired guy in Tennessee. He'll probably stop hugging me when he's telling that. But thank you so much for joining us today.

Mary Marantz (01:04:41):

Thank you so much for having me.

Joey Odom (01:04:44):

I want to leave you with a line that Mary gave at the end, and it begins with this idea that we all have such major potential for impact, especially in the life of a child. And I want you to think about this, whether it's raising your kids or maybe you're a volunteer, maybe you're a teacher, maybe you're a Sunday school teacher, maybe you're a little bit of all those things. But I want you to remember this what Mary said. She said the words have the power to speak, life and death that you today can initiate a multi-generational change by the words that you use. That's power that we have, and I hope that we can all wield it. Well, hope we can remember that we have it. Sometimes we can do it very kind of casually throw out words that we maybe didn't intend, but understand our words carry the power of life and death. So grateful to Mary Marantz. Please go get a copy of the book Dirt. I loved it so much. I know you are going. I know you're going to as well. Thank you so much for joining us this week on The Aro Podcast. We can't wait to see you again next week. The Aro Podcast is produced and edited by the team at Palm Tree Pod co. Special thanks to Emily Miles for video and digital support, and to our executive producer Aro's own, Katelyn Farley.