Breaking Barriers

Drive On Podcast With Scott DeLuzio
Drive On Podcast
Breaking Barriers

Jodi Watkins is a veteran, author, and host of the Breaking Barriers Now podcast, which has a similar mission to this podcast in that they talk about real life issues and stories to lift others up and support each other on their journeys.

In this episode we talk about how sharing your story can help others, Jodi's podcast and book, as well as her own struggle with PTSD.

Links & Resources


Scott DeLuzio:    00:00:03    Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast, where we talk about issues affecting Veterans after they get out of the military. Before we get started, I'd like to ask a favor if you haven't done so already, please rate and review the show on Apple podcasts. If you've already done that, thank you. These ratings help the show get discovered so it can reach a wider audience. And while you're there click the subscribe button so that you get notified of new episodes as soon as they come out; if you don't use Apple podcasts, you can visit to find other ways of subscribing, including our email lists. I'm your host, Scott DeLuzio and now let's get on with the show. Everyone today, my guest is Jody Watkins. Jodie is a Veteran author and host of the Breaking Barriers Now podcast, which has a similar mission to this podcast.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:00:54    They talk about real life issues and stories to lift up others and support each other on their journeys, through whatever they happen to be going through. I have Jodi on the show today, which actually is Election Day and Jody told me before we started recording that she has a funny story about Election Day. Hopefully by the time this episode comes out, we have a clear winner of this election, but today is actually the Election Day. So we're sitting here in ignorance of what the outcome is on this particular election. Anyways, welcome to the show, Jody; why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Jodi Watkins:    00:01:33    Well, Scott, thank you. I just want to say, I appreciate you for even allowing me on here. That means a lot. I saw that alignment as well when I was looking into your podcast and what it was about. And especially with me being a Veteran that definitely hit home with me. So my name is Jody Watkins. I was born Jodie Cheryl, from Fernandina Beach, Florida, which is a very small town, North of Jacksonville, Florida. I was born and raised there. I grew up there until I moved when I was 18. I moved down to Gainesville, Florida. I got into a lot of debt, learned how college life was not the greatest thing for me; I ended up in the military. Prior to that, just a little bit of my background.

Jodi Watkins:    00:02:19    I did grow up around domestic violence. There was a lot of just chaos. I watched my mom get beaten up pretty much every day. So that's just what I grew up around, and it was kind of just normal to me. There was a lot of drugs, a lot of alcohol. There was some abuse in there and it was just life, and I never really thought anything of it. I just was very good at just keep going. I always just kept going. And so throughout my college years, and then the military, I never had actually healed from a lot of things and it finally showed up when I was 41, which was last year. I was that good at just continue; I tell people now I was just a professional at suppressing things and keep going and we learned that resilience in the military, but I already had it; so, then I just got even more.

Jodi Watkins:    00:03:19    I was like, okay, so now I really just have to hide it and keep going and so that was the backstory. Through that, I published a book and when COVID started, I said, Hey, I guess I'll try this podcast thing out. And so, we did that and it is called Breaking Barriers Now. The premise behind it, like I said, it was the COVID times. And a lot of parents were learning how to homeschool. I had a friend, she was a homeschool mom and she was actually homeless and she was out on the road and they were in a truck. And I said, well, who better to have on the first show than a homeschool mom of two, who is actually having to homeschool on the road and she'd been doing it already.

Jodi Watkins:    00:04:04    So that was the first show. And it just progressed from there. I think I got into about seven episodes and I realized just how hard it was to keep a podcast going, and by that time there was a lot of other things going on in my life as well. So I digressed just a little bit and I just waited for a little bit better circumstances. So lo and behold, I have an amazing friend, her name is Jada. She is not a Veteran, but she is a mom of a six year old. And she was actually coming out of a relationship that involved domestic violence and she and I just really connected and I said, hey, anything that I do, I always love having others involved. That's just something, I don't know if I played team sports all my life, I was in the military and we had to work as a team.

Jodi Watkins:    00:05:00    You all worked on airplanes and it was never just Jodi. And anytime it was, it was a failure. I'm not even going to lie. So I started realizing that and I said, I would love to have you as my cohost. So we began this season talking about her nonprofit. And she started out of her circumstance, which is called Transitioning Queens, Inc. to help women coming out of toxic relationships and their children. And also during that time, my good friend who happened to be on that first podcast ended up deciding to leave her husband, but that left her nowhere to stay. So guess where she is still she's in our home. So this is our first case study for that. So the second season of the podcast is more geared towards real life, real stories. We have some amazing people coming on and sharing their backstory. It's not just for Veterans, but it's really just for anybody who needs hope at this point.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:06:08    Which I think is quite a few people.

Jodi Watkins:    00:06:12    Even with me, I tell people, I really just had to choose what I was going to focus on. I can focus on all the mistakes that I made and all the fear, or I can say, you know what, if I got time for that, but let's press forward because I can't go backwards. And this is something that I coach people on too. I can't go, we can't go back in time. I can't change any of those mistakes. What I can do is I can learn from them and I can go forward and that's all we can all do.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:06:43    Right. And so you talked a little bit about your background and how in your childhood, your upbringing, there was some abusive situations. There was drug use, alcohol use, things like that. And a lot of times that stuff, when it goes left unchecked, it just compounds on top of itself. And then you add in joining the military and that's stressful in and of itself. Right?

Jodi Watkins:    00:07:15    Let me just throw this in right before I joined the military, I had an abortion. I blame myself for that for the next 20 years and I don't blame myself anymore because I didn't know any better. I just knew I was supposed to go to the military and this is happening. And I don't know what to do. I have no support. I had no money. I had just lost my job. I had my car break down. Like literally everything was just, and then, what am I going to do? If I don't do this, I did that. And I actually ended up on stage last year and I spoke about that in front of a pro-life arena.

Jodi Watkins:    00:07:57    And what came out of that is I support people's decision. However, what they don't get is the information of this doesn't just go away when you have it, right. It stays with you forever. I blame myself. I self-sabotage. I definitely was just not in a good place. And then I joined the military and I never told anybody when I joined the military, my recruiter didn't know, nobody knew, and I kept it to myself and only very close friends. My husband now, because we have known each other for 20 years, but he knew, but it's just one of those things. I don't know how men are. I know a lot of women who are like this and that's when I started sharing the journey and I think everybody just thought there was some magic. When I was in my best physical shape, I was not happy. And it doesn't matter what you look like on the outside. I was dying on the inside.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:09:10    And so you've talked about your book and that you wrote about this and you're telling your story about the struggles that you've had with all of this, and we don't need to get into all the details on that background, but what I'm most interested in is hearing about how it's affected you and how you found your way out on the other side and maybe seeing the light, if that's the right phrase to use.

Jodi Watkins:    00:09:45    Well, there was actually two books that came out within the timeframe of last year, I wrote one solely by myself. I ended up adding another story in there from a good friend of mine who was also a military Vet. And then there was another, I had a huge opportunity to share the real down and dirty, very small. It was something I had already wrote a long time ago, but I never shared it. And that was the part where I literally just shared everything. So that's a book called “If She Can” that came out this year. I was one of 16 authors and I'll tell you when I started reading their stories, mine looked like nothing. And that was even more encouraging though, because we all have stuff and I think sometimes we're just so afraid to share it.

Jodi Watkins:    00:10:37    But when we do, not only is it freeing as hell, when I got off that stage last year, and I talked about that situation, I was on stage for three minutes, three minutes, that's all I had. I was not the keynote speaker. I was just the speaker who got invited to talk about it because I made a connection with an amazing woman. And she allowed me to do that. And I tell you, though, when I got off that stage, I felt like I lost 50 pounds of burden. I got off that stage. All the emotion came, I was crying. I was just like, God how amazing; it's just that release. And if we go back to last year, so my husband and I were not so great at the end of 2018, but it was because of me.

Jodi Watkins:    00:11:26    I had a lot of work to do. And both of us were stubborn, but a lot of me, I will go ahead and throw that out there. It was a lot of me. And when we left, we were in Okinawa, Japan, I had actually gone into the Reserves in 2013. I really want to help people. So I wanted to go into medical. I had tried a couple of other things that didn't work out. And so I finally found a medical lab tech opening. So I went from working on airplanes to going into medical labs. And I went through the tech school for 13 years, came out and my husband gets orders to Japan.

Jodi Watkins:    00:12:01    And I found out there, the Reserves was not pretty. They were not nice. So, I thought active duty was harsh. Reserves was a whole new ballgame. I ended up in Japan and we did okay. But I think that's when, not only was I now learning how to be a civilian, which I hadn't been in quite some time, but I really just felt no self-worth at that time either. And I think this is something a lot of Veterans feel, especially if they're not planning on getting out, I didn't plan on getting out at that time. I planned on retiring. And so it was like, well, what am I doing with my life at this point? And then here I am, I'm in a different country, which I loved.

Jodi Watkins:    00:12:49    I loved Okinawa, but it was just, what am I doing? I had worked so hard towards so many things and then it all just came crashing down. So I think that began a journey that I didn't even know was there. So being me that suppression is what did I do? I just started working out like crazy. I got into bodybuilding. I don't know, my body's falling apart. Let's do bodybuilding. What? No, but I did. And I'm grateful and it was fun, but, like I said, it didn't matter what I looked like. The pain was still there and I felt good. And I was helping people because I was doing personal training and nutrition coaching. I learned all that and I was helping other people, but I wasn't digging deep enough in myself.

Jodi Watkins:    00:13:35    So, when we came back to the States, my husband actually got stationed out in New Mexico and I had a lot of friends out there because we were both aircraft maintenance. So I knew a lot of people that he knew; it's a very small world. And so some of them, a couple of the wives were like, don’t come out here, the school system sucks, the crime rates are horrible. And I'm just like, okay, now what? So he didn't know if he was going to retire or not. So he was at 19 years at that point and I said, well, there's no point in us going out there and then moving our daughter again. I knew that I needed to do some internal work. So I ended up coming back to Jacksonville, Florida. I hadn’t lived here in 20 years and I brought our daughter and I knew which side of town to stay away from.

Jodi Watkins:    00:14:17    So, that was good. So I got her in school and then it just began this journey and I really just started falling apart at the seams. I had never had to market anything in my business. I never had to do any of that. I really just started the business because again, that's what I did. One thing stopped, I just started something else, just what I do. And one day my daughter was at school and I just finally dropped to my knees. And I said, if you're there, I got nothing. It was that bad. By that time, it was probably a couple of weeks, I don't even know to be honest, it was just this downward spiral that was happening, where I would put on this mask to take my daughter to the bus stop and make sure that I didn't want her to see anything; she's not old enough.

Jodi Watkins:    00:15:11    She was nine at the time. And when I would get back to the apartment, I was falling apart. I wasn't able to help people. I didn't have any clients. I tried personal training at a gym. I hated it. It was horrible. It was very impersonal. I never operated like that. So I just felt like I was contributing to the problems. So that lasted two weeks. And here I am, and then I'm paying money that I didn't have the business coaches and bringing myself further down and financially didn't know if I was going to be able to pay the rent. I'm having to ask my husband for help. And I never was like that. I never had to depend on anybody my whole life. And here I am; I was almost 41 years old and I'm just like, Oh my God, what is going on?

Jodi Watkins:    00:16:00    I always was a believer, but I never knew how to build a relationship and then I had trust issues, like believing, trusting something that I can’t see; who does that? That was really where I was. I had nothing left. And I said, well, you know what, no matter what, if reading these scriptures is going to help me pull out whatever I'm in right now, let me do that. Because that's one thing I haven't tried yet. And I did, I got around the right people. I got around people who supported me and really just helped me grow in that area. And I will tell you, I attribute it all to that because it allowed me to move out of my way, allowed me to forgive myself, forgive others. There was a scripture do it. And I said, well, “I guess I'll try that. Because I haven't done that either.” Love others, be kind, and here I am a services business. So I need to know how to serve people. It wasn't working out because I always was so guarded. I always thought that I was going to get hurt all the time because I was always like that my whole life. Even my husband, I honestly don't even know why he stuck with me.

Jodi Watkins:    00:17:25    Well, I know now because we have our daughter, but if we hadn't had her, he probably would, he even said it. H would have been gone a long time ago. I know, I'm sorry. You know, like you said, we struggle with that, but we're good now. We're building that relationship now. He retired and I'm just grateful that I was able to go on that journey before he got back and we were able to live together because honestly our whole military career we didn't have a relationship, we were gone. He would deploy, I would deploy. I would PCOC with PCA, we were always apart. Our daughter came out of a deployment that couple of weeks in between, and it was just that now we're learning how to be married after almost 15 years.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:18:12    That's a real struggle that a lot of people go through.

Jodi Watkins:    00:18:15    Isn't it though. I will say my daughter is my WHY; she is my everything. She's on the cover of my book. She's why I didn't give up. She's why I'm still here. She's why I learned how to work from the inside out. And so when I started doing that, I started realizing a lot more people needed that. And so who cares if you can work out and eat. If your mind's not in the right place, we're in trouble. You're never going to be able to get the results that you want. And I had to learn that, and mine wasn't necessarily the health results because that stuff was easy to me by then. It was how do I sustain a business? How do I take care of my family? Those are the results that I desired at that point. But lo and behold, you use the same stuff. It's the same. I really just had to turn the mirror around and use the same coaching I was giving everybody else on myself.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:19:17    Yeah. Sometimes it's just that easy. It sounds easy when you say it that way, but when you're doing it for yourself, it's when you're looking in the mirror. It's a whole lot.

Jodi Watkins:    00:19:28    Oh man. Oh yeah. And when you're ready to go on this journey, you gotta be ready. Especially if anybody's been in the military; you're going to battle right now, you're going to battle yourself. We are our own worst enemy. We put labels on these things, PTSD, depression, all that stuff. I truly believe now because I've been able to come out of that stuff. I was doing it to myself?

Scott DeLuzio:    00:20:00    Yeah. That's all

Jodi Watkins:    00:20:01    The one who was blaming myself, comparing myself to my past self. How did I let myself get in this situation type of thing, you can't do that.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:20:11    Right? Yeah. A lot of it is partially the environment that you're in, you said you started hanging out with different people and they were supportive and helpful. It's also the way you think about yourself and about the world around you. One thing I had mentioned this probably a year ago or so on this podcast, but I had read a study about Veterans who came back from Vietnam, where there was drug use rampant over there amongst soldiers that were overseas and people who had never used drugs before, they'd go over there and they would use the drugs for one reason or another. And the medical professionals who were evaluating them, said, well, from what we know about these drugs, once in you're hooked on them, it's hard to get off.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:21:08    There's probably no chance of you actually getting off. But the thing was once when they came back home and they went back to their families or their hometowns they came from, and all that stuff where they were removed from that environment where they were constantly exposed to the drugs and the type of people who were providing it to them or encouraging them to take it wasn't they got away from that environment. The desire to use those drugs just faded in a good number of those people. So it's probably very similar to what happened with you, where you were in an environment that maybe wasn't the healthiest environment, but then you manage to find a different environment, and that helped you along the way in your journey.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:21:55    And I guess the reason why I bring that up is because people might be listening out there who are in this routine where they're constantly around the same people and constantly doing the same things and all that kind of stuff. And it just winds up getting to the point where they don't know how to stop doing that stuff. If they can break that cycle, if they can find a new environment, even if that means pack up and move to another state, another town, just move. One guy I had on the podcast last year, Seth Schultz, he was struggling in his hometown. His friends, his family, all toxic relationships, they were all encouraging him to do all these bad things. He packed up and he moved and now he's a successful business owner. He's got a team of people working for him and everything like that. And life is good. He has a family and wife and kids and everything.

Jodi Watkins:    00:22:56    They've proven that so many times. I know when I first heard that, I guess I hadn't really thought about, but even some of my clients were sucking the life out of me. I love them. But I had to really be careful because it was like, okay, if I haven't worked on me, I can't really show up for you. And now I can work with different people, right? I have worked with people that have PTSD and things like that. I've helped them get over some of those things, but they have to be open to it too. When they're so guarded, you're not going to get anywhere. And, and sometimes I just have to say, you know what, I'm here. If you need somebody to talk to, but let's come back when you're really ready.

Jodi Watkins:    00:23:43    I can't change you. Nobody else could have changed Jodi Walker. Because, like I said, I'm stubborn, and I had to do it. And it is hard. It's very uncomfortable. I didn't like it at all, but as I was going through that, and I actually took about a month off for my business, like everything, I had to be a mom, stuff like that, but I really just had to digress from all the chatter that was just too much chaos. I have all these business people telling me how I should run my business. And none of it was in alignment with what I love, I just loved to pour into people and really help people and had these people “Oh, you have to market this.”

Jodi Watkins:    00:24:37    And put your price point here and stuff like this. I still tell people that I started comparing it to when someone's on their health journey and you got 50 million gurus out there telling you what to do, eat this, have this diet, drink this shake, blah, blah, blah. And then you wonder why.  And then the new year comes, people are like on that kick, I'm going to get in shape. And then they lost two months then because they didn't have the proper support system. If we don't have that and we're not open to it, that's the key too. I had to become open to it. I could have had these people in my life the whole time, but I wasn't open to it.

Jodi Watkins:    00:25:24    I was more comfortable being around the toxic people. I was toxic, I was hurt. I was broken. I was whatever you want to call it. And so I was just reading a book about this too.  I started gravitating towards that but there was the other people that I could have gravitated towards, but I did it. So when I was going through this journey just last year, it was like I have to choose new people. I got to be around different people. And then I had to stop forcing the people; because not everybody you think is good is good.

Jodi Watkins:    00:26:07    And you probably know this. So know you just have to learn how to be patient; that was another thing I had to work on. I wasn't a very patient person and I just had to learn how to be for a little bit. And I think sometimes because our world gets so chaotic and we're so stressed about, especially right now with COVID or anything, business owners are losing their businesses. And then we get so caught up in that, that we forget what we have to be grateful for. So I had to switch my thinking. I don't know how the rent is going to get paid next month. Hopefully we don't end up on the street, but I have a beautiful daughter who was really depending on me right now. And Oh, by the way, I do have a roof over my head, there's homeless shelters downtown.

Jodi Watkins:    00:26:53    My daughter had never seen one before. And when we were driving around one time down there, she was like, why are they just standing outside? And it dawned on me, we're privileged. I grew up seeing that stuff, but she had never seen that at nine years old. She never saw that. And here she is finally just learning about that. So that was humbling, I think for both of us, and we just get so caught up in our day-to-day and I tell people all the time. I go to the gym early in the morning and the people that I've developed a pretty good relationship with most of the people that are in there are the same people and I tell them, “you know what? I wake up a little bit earlier.” I got to work on me before I can even show up here now. And I used to not do that. I used to go straight to the gym because suppressionist, Jodi just suppress it. No big deal. Just suppress it. Keep going. No, face it every day you gotta face it. And you gotta make that new journey every single day.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:27:53    Because if you ignore it, it'll actually feel good for a short amount of time because we're lazy creatures as humans. We like to do the easy things and it's easier to just ignore some of the things that we're going through and just let them go. But once when you let too many things go and they just go and go and go, they build up to a point where you can't manage them anymore. And you start to notice yourself unraveling and falling apart. And that's like you said, if you can't take care of yourself, on the mental side, you're not going to be able to really enjoy the physical side even if you're on the top of your game.

Jodi Watkins:    00:28:43    Right. And when I was on top of my game, I felt like I still had these struggles. And I will say that was when I started to work on it, but I still wasn't quite there. I needed to really be knocked down like that. Stubborn, Jody, I gotta be knocked to the ground before I'm finally going to say, okay, well what are we doing.  I will say, it's been about four years, my daughter technically got diagnosed with ADHD. So, they wanted her on the meds and I don't want anybody to misinterpret what I'm saying. Those labels do exist. I will never say that PTSD does not exist. Please don't ever think that Jodi ever said that.

Jodi Watkins:    00:29:28    It does. What I will say is it doesn't always take medication to get you out of it. And so when my daughter got diagnosed with ADHD, of course, that's the first thing they want to do. Doctors prescribed meds. They don't get nutrition background lists. They go to do that. But for the most part, they don't look at those things. So anyway, she's on these meds and I really hated doing that. I was just like, this is horrible. I felt like the worst mom in the world. And she would come home and she would just be like, mom was my stomach hurts and we tried three different medications. And finally I just started digging in. I said, well, I'm a researcher. Let me research this. And lo and behold, I found some studies they had done on ADHD and autism where it was just a simple lack of protein in kids.

Jodi Watkins:    00:30:16    And I started thinking about it. I was like, well, okay, I'm looking at these medications that they're giving her and they give them energy to balance it out. And I started looking, there's branch chain, amino acids. I don't know if you've ever heard of BCAs. Well, it's not just for muscle building. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Protein are for hormones. They're for brain function. They're for all kinds of different things. And so as I was doing that research, I reached out to her pediatrician and the pediatrician was like, well, you would know more than that. More than I would on that. And I'm like, well, golly, all right, we're taking her off of the meds and I'm going to try this stuff. So that's what we did. Out of that journey with her, she was going to counseling for that and they would tell me things to help her with schedules, time management, staying consistent.

Jodi Watkins:    00:31:05    And I started realizing that I had those same tendencies. So, back in the day they didn't diagnose anything. I am 42 right now, they didn’t diagnose stuff back then, like whatever, you're a kid, but I had those tendencies. So I was all over the place back then and I still can be, but I've learned how to become aware of it. And that goes back to the people you keep around you. I keep people around me that will tell me, right? Like you got to pull back a little bit, Jodi. And I need those people. My husband's one of them. He's like, you're doing too much. Thanks. And we need those people around. But where I was getting with that is the time management and the scheduling is something that I've been able to now help other people with too.

Jodi Watkins:    00:31:52    Because I think when we become busy, especially as entrepreneurs or people coming out of the military, it's like that. Now what? Right now, what do I do? Or they go back to work and then their life is like falling apart because now I have nothing, some people just feel like they don't have that same thing that they had. Or like when I came out, I had a higher rank. I was in a leadership position. Now what? Now I'm just one of the regular people, I got to start all over. And so, the time management, the scheduling, the learning how to say affirmations in the mirror, which I felt so stupid doing, but it was so helpful because eventually if you tell yourself something over and over and over and over, guess what you believe it.

Jodi Watkins:    00:32:39    But here's the thing about that. That can go either way. If you tell yourself you're ugly, you tell yourself you're fat. If you tell yourself that you suck at something, when my daughter says stuff like that, I say, Oh no, you will not tell yourself those things. And it's just that, Oh my God, I can't even explain the whole, there's going to have to be another book eventually. So I have like five more book titles there in there because, the journey just keeps going and yes, PTSD does exist. Depression does exist. But the best way to get the suicide rate down is for people to just stop being so about themselves and start looking at the rest of the world; I had to do that. I had to make it stop being so much about Jody and what Jody was going through and how are you doing today?

Jodi Watkins:    00:33:39    How's your day going? And just being more intentional and I learned how to remember people's names. I was horrible at that, but I learned how to do it. Stop your brain from working for just a split second so you can actually remember their name. It was just all these little things. And I think because we're habitual creatures, right? We just go about our day to day, we do the same thing over and over and over and we just keep doing it. And it doesn't matter if it's a negative thing or a positive thing; if it's positive, awesome. Keep going, make it better if it's negative. That's it definitely just a recipe for disaster. I'm telling you if it wasn't for my daughter, I don't know if I would be here because I was doing that.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:34:28    Right. And you get into a cycle where you keep doing that and if you don't have that positive influence in your life, in your case, your daughter, but I'm sure other people have other people, other things in their life that keeps them from going down that path. If you didn't have that positive influence, you wouldn't really have a reason to start thinking more positively, to do that for them, thinking about it that way. And sometimes that's just a little kick start that you need to start doing it to just say, I'm going to do this for my daughter to make sure that she has a happy mom and a happy house to live in, so she doesn't have to know about the homeless shelters or the other bad things that are out there. I don't want to say homeless shelters are a bad thing.

Jodi Watkins:    00:35:27    I know exactly what you're saying. You don't want them to experience that, right? Like you want them to be able to help those people. And that's exactly what it was. It was just I never tried to shelter her. Eventually, I'm going to tell her the stuff that I had to deal with, and she does know some of it, but she’ll be 11 in December. So I have to keep it PG?

Jodi Watkins:    00:35:55    So, she does know some; she knows that my mom passed away when I was pregnant with her. She knows that I did grow up with violence and she knows that I did grow up with a lot of drinking and drugs and things like that. And we've talked about drugs, so they talk about it at school. So, they're growing up really fast these days too. I don't know about all that, but we do have this whole journey and if people can get one thing out of this whole conversation, I hope that they can at least get this. You can show up for people so much better when you stop making it about you all the time. I can honestly say, I am such a better mom.

Jodi Watkins:    00:36:42    I'm a much better wife these days. And it's because I let go. I just got out of my way.  Someone asked me that not too long ago, what changed? I just said, I just got out of my way. I got out of the way; I removed myself, bye. I don't know if you've ever done any reading on quantum physics, but I'm really enjoying that. I hated science when I was growing up, but I really like it now. It's so interesting. And we have the shield, right. And if we're operating in that place, or I'll say that space, that state of mind where we're just not accepting of anything good in our lives, then anytime something good tries to happen, we're blocking it.

Jodi Watkins:    00:37:36    It can't even penetrate. There's the shield. And then we wonder why we are just falling apart. We're dying inside, but it's when we finally and it does take a lot of work. You guys like it, but once you make that decision, like I had to make a hard decision and I refuse to keep going like this, right? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over. You've heard this doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting a different result. It will not happen if you wake up depressed because you're stressed out and you're worried about, maybe you should not do that tomorrow. And one of the things that are explained I wrote about in the book is the first thing I had to start doing in the morning, as soon as I wake up, thank you all for waking me up. I'm grateful. I just wake up and you don't have to believe in God, just wake up grateful. I have my arms and okay I still have my leg. And I still got my voice. I have a lot to be grateful for. And if it's just those things, guess what? I still got a lot to be grateful for it because some people don't have any of that and they're still doing whatever they want to do because they're not limiting themselves paraplegics that are changing the world. We're so stuck in ourselves.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:39:15    I've had people on this podcast who have lost both legs and have climbed some of the tallest mountain peaks in the world and they're still managing to do this. So, if they can get out of bed and find a reason to keep going and train for these types of things and find some motivation in life, I think we can figure it out too. Now, Jodi, this has been a great conversation and I know on your podcast, you have similar conversations with other people. I just wanted to talk a little bit about your podcast and how the stories that you share on your podcasts are helping people find hope. How do you think that's happening on your podcast?

Jodi Watkins:    00:40:06    Well, we're still in the beginning stages, like I said, this is really the second season. I'm still trying to fill it out and maybe I can learn some things for people like you that have been doing it for a little bit longer, but it's really just that conversation that has to happen in the sharing of the stories. And I'm involved in another; there's a retired Marine who started a platform called, Can be in Communities and he's allowed me to come in. I'm the wellness community leader and that's been amazing. But with that, sharing those experiences sometimes people just need to hear it. I had my friend Jayda on. And then I had my friend Kelly, who is staying here with us right now.

Jodi Watkins:    00:40:47    And we came on and talked about being taken advantage of in the military. We never talked about that stuff. But how many women don't say anything? I was one of them. And like I said, I just suppressed everything. So it didn't matter. Just go on and keep going. It does matter.  And it's just allowing yourself, like with Jayda, like with her story, she's revealing the system. And the fact that the courts are allowing this abuser to possibly get her daughter, who threw them both out by the way, come on, I think we're outing some things and we're letting people know that it's okay. You are not, like I say, I'm perfectly imperfect. Like you're not a bad person.

Jodi Watkins:    00:41:45    If something happened to you. And I think we get so caught up in that, and then we start placement. It's just those negative things that we tell ourselves. We say it, nobody else has to tell me I'm a bad person. If I'm saying it to myself, I've already got it covered. It don't matter what you tell me. I've already got it covered. I'm already telling myself, nothing is going to come out now. It's not going to matter. Okay, cool. I'm going to go try to lose weight at the gym. Well, two months later I quit because I suck. Oh, no stop. And I think when we finally just start sharing those things, so that's what I've really just been valuing, even with the coaching that I do and being that accountability partner for people is just allowing them to have a safe place to share.

Jodi Watkins:    00:42:31    I tell them it's a hundred percent confidential. I'm not a licensed therapist yet. It's going to come, but I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. But it's just that safe space, I think. And then when people realize that they can relate to you, you're speaking their language or I'm not the only person that grew up with a paranoid schizophrenia who beat on my mom like that. I'm not the only person when I was a kid. I thought I was, but I wasn't. But, in me sharing that, then I've been able to meet other amazing people who are like, Oh my God, I went through that too. And then we just lock arms and we all thrive because we're not broken. We tell ourselves we're broken, but we're not broken.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:43:20    And it's great to know that you're not alone in whatever it is that you're going through, and this is a point that I like to make with the people that I talk to on this podcast is that, if you're experiencing this stuff, like in your case, you had a lot of trauma from when you were growing up, and then that continued and just never was really resolved that going through your military career and then afterwards and all that stuff, and it just kept building and building and building. Well, guess what, you're not the only one either. There's other people who are out there who had a messed up childhood who had trouble in the military. They went through some various traumas

Scott DeLuzio:    00:44:05    and none of that stuff got resolved. They never went and talked to anybody, saw a therapist or anything like that. And those things just build up and build up and build up. And that's why you start seeing the issues that we have with PTSD and the suicide rates with Veterans and homelessness and all these other issues. Just think they come from all of this, drug and alcohol abuses and all that kind of stuff. And it's good to know that you're not alone with all this stuff. It's not great to know that there's other people suffering. You obviously don't want that.

Jodi Watkins:    00:44:41    So we all do at some extent, even though the wealthiest of people have suffering, right? I think social media plays a huge part in this. We just look at people and think they are perfect. They have their whole life together. And then we don't know anything that's going on behind the scenes. Nobody knew that I was falling apart. “Oh, you look like you're doing great.” “Oh yeah, I'm doing great.” I was horrible. Things were not good, but of course I'm not going to go blast that on social media. So I think we are just so prone to looking at the outside of people and thinking that we already know what they got to give, but when you start talking to them, so that's why I stopped wearing headphones in the gym.

Jodi Watkins:    00:45:28    I talked to people more and I go to work out, but I do like to have conversations too. And it will be like working out and cocky at the same time. And you really can get to know people when you do that. And again, it's just taking yourself out of the equation and actually being intentional, being genuine. And like I said at the beginning of this, I'm an open book. I just stopped caring what people think, because I used to think that, especially with what I do, “Oh, I gotta be a certain way. I gotta talk our way. I want everybody to like me. I used to always try to fit in my whole life. That's all it's ever been. I just always wanted to fit in because I never did. So how do I fit in? Well, here's the thing. And this is another thing where I say about reading the scriptures has taught me is I'm not meant to fit in. I'm not meant to fit in, stop trying. That's why it hasn't worked this whole entire time. So just be yourself.  So that's what I'm doing. Take this podcast. I don't study anything and I'll turn or I don't need to study how to be me. I just be me.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:46:33    Exactly. And that's the best way to do it is just be you. To wrap this up for the listeners who are listening to this podcast, I will have links to all the stuff that we talked about in the show notes for this episode of links to Jodi's podcasts, the Breaking Barriers Now podcast, and you can also search for it on your favorite podcast player. You could probably find it there. I'll also link to the book and everything else that we talked about today in the show notes for this episode.

Jodi Watkins:    00:47:12    Real quick before I do, because I mentioned it briefly. Matthew Kernan, he's an amazing person, retired Marine. I would love to connect you with him. He's a good person to have on the show. He's got some stories too, but he and I connected and that's why I don't believe in coincidence anymore. He and I connected through someone else and he has this platform, it's called Convenient Communities. I'll send you the link for that too. He did allow me to be the wellness community leader after we developed a really good relationship. But the great thing about that is when we talk about that, the confidentiality and people not really wanting to open up, there's a reason why I don't really get a whole lot of engagement as much on social media because people just don't want it.

Jodi Watkins:    00:47:51    They don't feel comfortable opening up, well, guess what? You can go on here and you can be anonymous. Nobody knows you, so I love how his team put all that together. He has an amazing team. They're all Veterans, and it's just this great support system, we just all encourage and empower each other. And if nothing else being around them, that's enough for me. I'm just like, Oh, so I just wanted to make sure I do have that plug in there because that's another place that I can be found. And then also there's a ton of connections in there for anybody out there. There's a ton of groups, a ton of community leaders, amazing people and there's something for everyone. So I definitely want to make sure that I put that out there.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:48:35    And before we close this out, at the beginning, I mentioned that you had an election based story, today is Election Day. And you said it was going to be a funny one. So I want to make sure.

Jodi Watkins:    00:48:46    Okay. So I just want to say, since I have been in the military pretty much this whole time, and then I was overseas. I haven't really voted in the States for 20 years. So I didn't know what the heck I was doing. The problem was I got my mail-in ballot, but life has just been busy and I didn't have it on my schedule to send it. I filled it out, but I didn't send it. And so I said, okay, well now I just gotta go. And I love talking to people anyway. So I just decided I was going to go. So I had something I had to do beforehand. And then I went to this one place and they were like, Oh, you're in the wrong place.

Jodi Watkins:    00:49:18    You got to go to this other one. Okay. All right, cool. So I go to the other one, it's like this really little small church right down the street from her house. And I have my mail-in ballot in my hand. Right. Because I already have that filled out and I don't feel like having to remember what answers already because I researched them. I'm taking that in with me because I've copied everything over as I have. I walk in and it's real small, hardly anybody in there. So I go to the first little desk and he takes my ID and he's like, okay, cool. And he puts my information in. Well he gives me the slip. All right, cool. So go to the next table and they gave me the ballot or whatever.

Jodi Watkins:    00:49:54    Okay, cool. So I go to this thing, I'm looking around. Okay. Oh, okay. I see this private thing then you'd go there. So I open up my mail-in ballot because I got a copy of the answers. And so I got to ballot sitting right there and I'm copying the answers over. I was like, well, it's the same ballot, but they won't take this one. I'll just copy them over. No big deal.  So then when I got done, I rip it up. I put it back in the envelope. I'm just going to shred it when I get home. No big deal. So I come around the corner, I go around to the other lady, the very last lady come to find out like four people didn't do their job.

Jodi Watkins:    00:50:30    And she's like, what's that in your hand, as you look at the mail and as well, what's on your hand, I'm like, that was my mail in ballot so I'd make sure I put the same stuff. And she was just like, Oh no, you weren't supposed to have that. They were supposed to collect that over there. And I'm looking at her like, don't know what really I'm laughing. I'm like, okay, cool. And I was like, we're going to shred it. No big deal. She was just like, Oh, it is a big deal. And I'm like, Oh, okay, cool. And then she saw that I still had the ticket in my hand. And she like, right in your hand, they were supposed to take that before they gave you the other ballot. I didn't know that. I'm like laughing hysterically. She walks me around to the other side and I have my mail in ballot in my hand.

Jodi Watkins:    00:51:09    Still I've already turned it. Now. I will say, I have already scanned my other ones. I'm good. I've already voted by this time. And so she walks me around to the other end and she's like, did you guys see that she had a mail in ballot? Does she have it in her pocket? She was like, did you have it in your pocket? I'm like, no, it doesn't fit in my pocket. And then I look up at the guy and you know, we're all in masks. Right. So it was really funny when you can still see everybody's expressions.

Jodi Watkins:    00:51:34    But I look over it and she’s like, did you guys not see this? Does she have it in her pocket? And the guy was just like shaking his head, like looking at me, shaking his head, like, please don't tell her that. I was like, ma'am look, I've been in the military. I can't even tell you the last, I don't even know if I've ever really voted. I think in high school we did it for the fun of it. But I don't think I ever really had absentee ballots. <inaudible>

Jodi Watkins:    00:52:07    I'm just learning this stuff. I was like, man, I'm back in the States now. And I just made it fun. And so everybody's sorry. Even the lady who was being all serious, she started laughing a little bit, a little bit. Not too much, but yeah, she was just like, well, she has to take that ballot because you can't take it home. And I was just like, okay, cool. Here have it. I've already ripped it up for you. And then the other guy, she was just like, well, you gotta make sure you take their ticket before they give a ballot. And I was like, Oh, it was probably hiding it or something. And I was like, you know what? I'm standing there. And I'm like, yeah, well, am I good?

Jodi Watkins:    00:52:42    They all just looked at me. And this one lady she's like laughing hysterically by now. She was just like, yeah, you're good. You're good. Welcome home. And I was like, thank you. I was like, have a great day. It's just so funny because you know, and I think about this a lot because we are, especially driving as a white guy, and you live in Arizona. I don't know how people are out there. I know New Mexico, they were always angry. Jacksonville, Florida, there's some angry people here, but it's funny because it's that reactivity. We are so reactive. I wrote a blog about this and I was too. And so I always tell him I'm not judging anybody. With me, everything that I write about was me, but I noticed that a lot more in other people now.

Jodi Watkins:    00:53:28    So as soon as I notice it, now I try to flip the switch because either I can be reactive with them, because what it would have helped if I had just got a bad attitude and been like arguing with the lady, no, why even go there? That's a waste of my energy.  It is going to waste more of her energy at the end of the day. I'm just trying to vote. So, I just made it fun and that's what I try to do now. People will say, who haven't seen me in a while. They're like, you just light up the room when you walk in. And I'm like, well, that's a good thing. You don't know me now because I probably didn't do that back then. But that's just because I'm just this person now I don't choose to live in a negative state anymore. I've been there. It didn't work out for me. And so I had to choose to make different choices. And I'm going to say that word all the time, because it's always a choice. We have one over here. Remember the devil and the angel. It’s so true. Who knows? I thought it was like a funny ha ha thing, but no, it's true.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:54:31    Yeah, you definitely do. And you have choices to make all the time with this type of stuff.

Jodi Watkins:    00:54:36    And every split second I've learned to, instead of just being so reactive to just step back, take a deep breath and say, okay, how am I going to move forward now? And I never used to do that either. So it's just really that self-awareness self-analyzing. And just saying, okay, what do I need to work on so I can change it. But you got to get rid of the pride. You gotta get rid of the ego, ask for help. Sometimes that's something else I struggled with and just be vulnerable.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:55:09    And you have to be willing to change too.

Jodi Watkins:    00:55:11    You have to be

Scott DeLuzio:    00:55:14    Well again, this has been a great conversation. I really enjoyed it. And I really did enjoy having you on. For everyone who's listening, links to everything that we talked about today will be in the show notes. And Jodi it's been an absolute pleasure speaking with you today.

Jodi Watkins:    00:55:34    Oh, well, thank you. I really want to acknowledge you because everybody that's doing this type of thing is helping people. And what I told you earlier, if we all just collaborate and work together on this, guess how many more people we can help. So I love it. So keep doing what you're doing, man, and I love, of course that you're targeting, but it's because I am one, we all go through these things and you know what, sharing these stories and just getting it out there and just letting people know Hey, you're not the only one. And I think that's just huge. So it doesn't matter what platform we do that on.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:56:11    Absolutely. All right. Thank you. Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more or learn more about

Scott DeLuzio:    00:56:24    the show, you can visit our website. We're on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at driveonpodcast.

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