The 2% Solution: 30 Minutes to Transform Your Life

From Darkness to Light: Confronting Trauma and Finding Resilience with Amanda Blackwood

November 29, 2023 Amanda Blackwood Season 1 Episode 23
The 2% Solution: 30 Minutes to Transform Your Life
From Darkness to Light: Confronting Trauma and Finding Resilience with Amanda Blackwood
The 2% Solution with Dai Manuel
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Prepare yourself for a journey of extraordinary courage and transformation with our guest, Amanda Blackwood.

Amanda's tale draws a stark picture of the brutal realities of human trafficking and domestic violence, but her story doesn't end there.

She shares her journey of finding the strength to escape, surviving the aftermath, and ultimately rebuilding her life from the ground up. Amanda's spirit of resilience, evident in every word she speaks, is a reminder of the human capacity to overcome adversity and find healing.

We take a deep dive into her process of confronting her trauma, the power of writing in her healing journey, and how she turned her pain into power. Amanda not only gives voice to her own experiences, but she also highlights the signs of trafficking and emphasizes the importance of awareness. Her story is a testament that transformation, growth, and healing are possible even in the most dire situations. 

Grab a copy of Amanda's book here.

Amanda's Bio

Amanda Blackwood is an accomplished artist and author, public speaker, podcast host, trauma recovery mentor, and a survivor of human trafficking. Amanda has spoken on many stages, international summits, and radio programs and has published over a dozen books. She launched two podcasts - one that focuses on interviewing other authors of trauma and the other that discusses the long-term consequences of trauma and how to fight back for a better life. A portion of every book sale goes to help fight human trafficking. Amanda lives in Denver, Colorado, with her rescue cats and supportive husband, who keep her sane.

Connect with Amanda

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Dai Manuel:

Hello, wonderful listeners, and welcome to another inspiring episode of the 2% Solution Podcast. I'm Dai Manuel, your host and fellow traveler on this incredible personal growth and transformation journey, and today I'm thrilled to share a conversation that will ignite a spark within you. The extraordinary Amanda Blackwood joins us. It's been a while since Amanda and I had last connected, but her profound insights and remarkable journey have stayed with me. To all of you tuning in, amanda's life story embodies resilience, triumph over adversity and transformative power. Her experience weave a story of immense strength and the capacity to overcome even the most challenging of obstacles.

Dai Manuel:

In this episode, we're delving into the immense power of small, consistent changes and their ability to bring about significant shifts in our lives. Amanda's life is a living testament to this principle. She's a survivor of harrowing experiences who has emerged to rebuild her life and shine as a beacon of hope and inspiration to countless others. Her resilience is more than inspiring. It's a profound lesson in the indomitable strength of the human spirit. Amanda's journey from escaping human trafficking to rebuilding her life and aiding others is a story of persistence and courage. As we engage in this conversation, I invite you to listen with open hearts and minds.

Dai Manuel:

This episode is more than just sharing a story. It's about understanding the essence of personal transformations. Amanda will share her incredible backstory, pivotal moments and daily habits that have helped her transition from a place of darkness to one of extraordinary light and impact. No matter where you are in life or the challenges you may face, this episode stands as a powerful reminder Change, growth and healing are always within our reach. It's all about taking those daily 2% steps forward a life filled with purpose and fulfillment. So let's get ready to be moved, motivated and, per se, even transformed by Amanda's incredible journey. Here we go Today. As you heard in the intro, I'm talking to the amazing Amanda Blackwood. Hello, amanda, it's been so long since I've seen you. I think it's been like six months since I was on your podcast.

Amanda Blackwood:

Yeah, it's been something about like that. It's been a while, but I always have your book handy over here on my table, so I have your you as my company.

Dai Manuel:

Well, look at that, and I didn't even ask you to do that. That was a great plug. Thank you, amanda.

Amanda Blackwood:

I mean, this thing is amazing.

Dai Manuel:

I did an.

Amanda Blackwood:

Amazon review for it. But I absolutely love this book and the only critique that I had was that I don't have enough space to keep writing everything in there, so I had to make some of my own forms. But I love this. Your book is amazing. It's changing things for me.

Dai Manuel:

Well, amanda, thank you, and you know, to be fair, I'm so excited to have this, as I was making note to you before we hit record today and for everybody listening, amanda is actually my first guest officially on my podcast, very first. So this is a big deal and I could have asked her a better person to have that first interview with, because Amanda's got an amazing story, as you alluded to in the intro, and so to just get into it and before we dive into that, the serious stuff, I mean, I was like open and sort of a fun question to start with. You know, like share one surprising fact about yourself that most people might not know.

Amanda Blackwood:

When I was born, me and another little girl both lost our bracelets in the hospital, and my mother only knew that I was her child because of the shape of my ears that looked just like my dad's.

Dai Manuel:

I didn't turn double, I didn't go in completely different direction. Oh, absolutely, your mom. That's awesome. I've heard of footprints, right and fingerprints, but ears, that's a very distinct feature. That's cool, very cool. I would have known that.

Dai Manuel:

Well, you know, before we dive in, I think giving people a little bit of a quick overview on your journey, and then we're going to dive into some specifics of your story, because when we talk about this idea of small minute shifts or changes and changes that we repeat on the regular, it's amazing that the impact that makes long term and I think your story gosh is one of resilience but also one of persistence and, to be fair, a story of overcoming.

Dai Manuel:

You know, and I just think it's so remarkable, and I know you know, in the format of this show I wish it was hours that we had, because, truthfully, your story requires hours and it's worth the hour. For those that aren't familiar with Amanda's backstory, but I hope you get excited because I'm going to be sharing a bunch of links so you can listen in on the whole story. But let's talk about your journey. You know, can you walk us through how you've arrived at where you are today and maybe just give us the last sort of the arc of that journey. Do you know what I mean? Because I think a lot of people don't really know your backstory and if you think, a few minutes just sort of give us the highlights, and then I've got some very specific questions to get us into the weeds.

Amanda Blackwood:

Yeah, absolutely. I grew up in an extremely abusive household and I learned at a very young age that I didn't have the authority or the ability to say no and because of that it led to a lot of really uncomfortable situations in my life and eventually, starting at the age of 18, I was trafficked three different times in three different parts of the country or world. It was kind of a crazy existence. The last time I was trafficked this always shocks people I was 31 years old and I was trafficked by a police officer.

Amanda Blackwood:

And it wasn't until I was out for about 10 years when I finally made the move to really heal myself and to dig into what trauma meant and to learn from my past.

Dai Manuel:

Can you share, like? I think this is very important to mention because I know I've had this conversation with you before in our previous conversations because, being a father of two daughters, young adults, the story that you shared is my worst nightmare. Do you know what I mean Like? It's like, oh my gosh, I could just my heart sinks when I hear it and I'm so happy that you've been able to come forward and be where you are today but also be able to help others with this. Now, I mean, how does one find themselves in that situation? I'm just really curious what were the? You know specifically what happened for you to find yourself in that situation? And then, you know, were there any warning signs that people like myself with kids or daughters or young adults that were responsible for it, like? What are the telltale signs to be aware of?

Amanda Blackwood:

So to find out, to really understand how somebody ends up in that world, it's really important to also debunk a few myths. So I always tell people if you want to know more about human trafficking, you want to look at a reputable source. You don't want to look at this on Wikipedia, you don't want to Google this. These definitions are going to be fallible because they can be altered and changed by people all over the world. So I tell people to look at the Department of Homeland Security.

Amanda Blackwood:

Their definition of human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain commercial sex acts or labor from another person.

Amanda Blackwood:

There's no mention of money and even though human trafficking we think of traffic, there's no mention of transportation and there's no mention of age. So we automatically think that trafficking only happens to people under the age of 18. They had only makes up one quarter of all victims worldwide. We also think immediately of sex trafficking, because that's what's most sensationalized here in the US. That makes up approximately 14% of all trafficking. Most is labor trafficking and we think of being in traffic trafficking. You do not have to transport a person from one place to another to traffic them. So the act of transporting a person anywhere is human smuggling, not human trafficking and there's a huge overlap in these two worlds. But we have to understand and treat them as two separate entities because otherwise we're focusing on the wrong problems and we're seeing people who have gone through trafficking and they identify as somebody who is a survivor of human trafficking or a survivor of domestic violence, but they don't understand that they were actually trafficked because it doesn't look like how the media is portraying it.

Amanda Blackwood:

And that's exactly how I ended up in that world. So, growing up in that abusive world and abusive family dynamic, I was the youngest of the family. My father was physically abusive, my mother was mentally and emotionally abusive and my brother was my first molester when I was four. When you grow up like that, you grow up feeling like I don't have any control over my life whatsoever. And these things continued to happen repeatedly from different people. And as I was experiencing all of this, I felt like people were going to do this to me. Whether I received anything in return or not. I started running away from home. I was very much a little rebel. I very much fit with my red hair. It was all my attitude.

Amanda Blackwood:

But when I was 18, I was trafficked by a man who was more than twice my age. He was my boyfriend and I was living with him at the time. When I was 19, I was basically homeless. A young couple took me in and this young couple he was in his early 20s and she was 15, looked 18. They sold me to the highest bidder. His name was Esteban and I got out.

Amanda Blackwood:

And the third time I was trafficked. I had made a change in my life. I had started to put up healthy boundaries and started to understand that I could say no. I was going to be more restrictive over the people that I trusted. And over a period of seven years I got to know this police officer in Scotland who eventually he came to visit me. I went to go and visit him. We fell in love and he asked me to get a fiance visa and move to Scotland to be with him. And it took him seven years to be able to get that kind of control over me and it took him seven days to start trafficking me once I got there.

Dai Manuel:

Man, is there any signs that now, knowing what you know and after experiencing what you experienced, was there any signs that popped up? I'm just curious, I'm just excited when you know what to look for.

Amanda Blackwood:

The things that you would look for with human trafficking are very similar to the things that you would look for within a controlling or abusive relationship Domestic violence, mental and emotional abuse. One of the biggest signs that I'm looking back on now were the moments when he would try to guilt me into doing something or saying something or stop being friends with somebody or breaking some kind of a connection to somebody that he wasn't approving of. Any signs of somebody wanting to control somebody else's life in any way when you're an adult is not a good thing.

Dai Manuel:

I got to ask how did you get away? I know people are thinking that right now they're listening to this story and I'm sure they're just like me right now holding the breath and she's like I can't believe this is happening and this happens in the world and some of the data and the stats that you just shared. I have to admit I had a completely wrong idea about this and I imagine that's the majority of us in the world just were uneducated or ignorant when it comes to this idea of trafficking. So I appreciate you sharing that and sharing the resources, which I'll link in the show notes, of course. But I know people are wondering like wow, the heck did you get into that? Because you weren't even in your home country. I mean, you were over in Ireland, for Pete's sake. Yeah, scotland, sorry Scotland, but with a cop like and that's a person of like professional authority as well.

Dai Manuel:

Right, Like it's just right.

Amanda Blackwood:

What the heck did you do? And I trusted him. So the first time I got away, I just had to put up with what was being done for a period of 52 hours and get back and get my stuff and get out. I ran away. I'd gotten very good at that because I was a teenage runaway the second time I got out. I grew up in the 80s. My favorite TV show in the late 80s and early 90s was MacGyver and I sat down in that room and I thought to myself what would MacGyver do? Because that man could fix anything with a paper clip and a rubber band. And I specifically remember an episode where he used his shoelace to last a rat and have it drag dynamite through a wall. So there was something that I could do. Right, I'm not going to be lassoing rats, but I'm going to do something.

Dai Manuel:

Sure sure.

Amanda Blackwood:

And I got out. But the third time I got out it was quite a bit more intensive. There were several attempts. First, normally, when I attempted to get out of somewhere, I was successful. I always had been.

Amanda Blackwood:

When I got there, things started getting really bad and he had already taken away my passport, my driver's license, debit card, all that stuff. And I conned him one night during the abuse by continuing to make sure that he never saw the bottom of his whiskey glass Kept on keeping that one full. At the end of the night he was so plastered that I remember asking him "'Hey, I still have money in my bank that's in the US. "'and if you give me back my documents, "'i can go down to the bank and go draw that money out, "'so we can spend it. "'otherwise he's just gonna sit there forever "'and do nothing'. And he gave me back my passport and my debit card.

Amanda Blackwood:

That was all I needed to be able to get out. And I looked on the computer to be able to purchase a flight and the first flight out was too expensive. I couldn't afford it. So it was the second one or the third one, and then the second day and then the third day. I could not afford to buy a flight until I was looking at five days out.

Amanda Blackwood:

But I did one of the most dangerous things that I ever did to myself and one of the most horrible things we could ever do to ourselves or anyone else. I told myself I've been through worse, I can get through this too.

Dai Manuel:

We've got to stop saying that it's not how Can you expand on that? Can you expand on that? Because I think that's I mean what you're saying right now that it's a cord. I mean I know that I've caught myself saying that because I think that's it's almost a cliche right, like I mean we hear that regularly, like, so it's like just sort of a you know. So I'd love to hear your perspective on that and how you challenge that. Or really, how can we reframe that to be a much healthier for not only supporting others, but also for supporting ourselves? Yeah, I wanna hear, please floor is yours? Expand, expand.

Amanda Blackwood:

So the thing that I noticed at the time was that I was telling myself that I'd been through worse, when in reality, looking back, I actually hadn't been through worse. I'd been through some terrible stuff, but everything. Every single time I went through something terrible, it was different, not worse, not better still trauma and different. I had to stop telling myself that I'd been through worse, because every time I did that, things would get worse. We also have to recognize that there is another famous saying the straw that broke the camel's back. If you pile too many stones together, eventually you create a mountain you're no longer able to climb. You will reach that breaking point. It doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter what you've been through. If you're sitting there trying to climb this mountain by yourself every single day and you keep facing trauma after trauma after trauma, problem after problem after problem, and you still haven't been able to find the help or ask for the help that you need, you will find your breaking point.

Dai Manuel:

Wisdom bombs. I think we'd be really helpful, and I think this is also because of my own position and misunderstanding, I think more so for myself not truly understanding what is the science of trauma. Do you mind just touching on that a little bit, because I know you've gone? I mean, you're very much an authority on trauma Well, personally, but also very much professionally. You speak to this and write to this and gosh, you've done 200 podcasts and so you're speaking about this subject matter. So maybe you could just take a minute to share just the science of trauma, like what's happening to us when we're dealing with trauma, and just your two cents around that.

Amanda Blackwood:

There are so many different trauma reactions that I've been able to dig into and research and learn about. We all act differently based on the traumas that interact with our lives and how they change our brains. And that's what trauma does. Trauma changes your brain. You change your life. We build up these neurosynapses as a reaction to the trauma that we are experiencing. Later on, when we experience something that might be reminiscent of or remind us of the trauma that we went through, we're gonna have very similar reactions to that.

Amanda Blackwood:

These are called trauma reactions. As long as we allow these trauma reactions to exist, even after we're no longer in this dangerous space, we are reinforcing bad behaviors. These neurosynapses that have been created in our brains get stronger with use, kind of like the muscles in your body. You can retrain your brain by recognizing that this is a trauma reaction, slowing down, understanding that there are long-term consequences to not dealing with them and then figuring out what is a better way for me to be able to reframe this and to think about it and slow down. How should I react? Where am I? Am I safe? Recognizing these things can really help to massively change our lives. It's important that we start doing that. A lot of people believe that-.

Dai Manuel:

Please go ahead, go ahead. Sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off there, amanda.

Amanda Blackwood:

Please go ahead, please. Probably one of the biggest ones is empathy. A lot of people believe themselves to be an empath when in reality, what they're dealing with is hypervigilance. They are not actually an empath. They are a survivor of early childhood trauma and their brain has created this neuropath the neurosynapses in your brain to seek out. When you walk into a room, to seek out the most dangerous or frightening person there, so that you can predict what they are going to do or say, so that you might alter the outcome for your own safety. The majority of people who believe their impacts are not. It's the same with ADHD. This is something that I only learned recently. The large majority 95% of the kids that were my age my generation, growing up in the 80s and 90s, that were diagnosed with ADHD or ADD, did not have these illnesses or brain problems. What they had was early childhood trauma and they were being treated with band-aids instead of giving a shovel to dig out the darkness.

Dai Manuel:

I love that visual. It's like it hits all the fields right. I had this. Thank you for sharing this. Especially, I'm going to make sure that I link back to your sites and your platform because I know you've put a lot of great content there that speaks to what we're talking about today.

Dai Manuel:

Because I know there's people listening like whoa, feeling that emotional response we're having just in you sharing about trauma, because you can't help but think about your own life and your own experiences and how it shaped who we are today. But also there's things that we would love to reshape, if we could, or reframe. I know that's where expert guidance is required. But I'm curious for yourself because, since escaping the situation and surviving the situation that you found yourself in Scotland and then getting back stateside and starting to obviously try to rebuild your life and your independence and get away from those years of continuous compounding trauma, what was that like? What's your life look like since you were able to break free from that? Because I think, if you don't like touching on that a bit, because I can only imagine the healing journey you've had to go on to be able to end up where you are now today, openly talking not only about these traumatic experiences, but also sharing, quite frankly, a path for all of us to potentially follow, so we too can experience growth beyond trauma.

Dai Manuel:

So do you mind just taking a few minutes to share about that, because I think that's the good stuff that I want to hear. We want to hear about that. What's on the inside of the rainbow? What does your life look like now? Because I can imagine this is just my opinion. You can correct me if I'm wrong, but I get the feeling like your trauma has become almost a superpower now, or at least your ability to take what happened and turn it into something powerful and impactful is making a huge impact in people's lives around the world right now, and I'd love for you to speak to that specifically, because I just think you're such a wonderful advocate for this. So I'm going to shut up and I just want to hear you talk.

Amanda Blackwood:

I have always been of the impression if something exists, it needs to have a good side to it. Also, all things are like this, including having come out of such a world of pain. A lot of people don't realize the most dangerous point in domestic violence or trafficking is when you leave. A lot of people say why don't you just leave us? Because the highest mortality rate of somebody who's been in domestic violence or trafficking is at that point of leaving. Less than 2% of all victims of human trafficking get out with their lives. The fact that I was able to get out was an absolute miracle. The fact that I got out three times is really really tiny percentage, but the average number of times that somebody's trafficked is seven. So there's another miracle for you. It only happened three times, so getting out of it, I was terrified. He did come looking for me.

Amanda Blackwood:

He hunted me down as though he were stalking his prey, and I tried to go into hiding. At the time I had super short hair. I tried to grow my hair out. I wore wigs for a little while, trying to be somebody else. They were brown instead of being myself. I did whatever. I even had colored contacts at one point because I didn't want people to know who I was anymore. I went into hiding. I lived that way for a while and finally it's like you know what. I can't do this anymore. This isn't who I am and I stopped wearing the wigs. I didn't care about dyeing my hair. I stopped putting in the contacts because they hurt my eyes anyway. And things didn't really get better just because I stopped hiding. They did a little bit and I kept on trying to figure out my path.

Amanda Blackwood:

Finally, I found out that he was sharing photos and videos of me in these compromising positions with bosses and with friends. I lost jobs, I lost friendships, and this was I was still living in California at the time. Eventually, I packed up and moved out to Colorado. It's like you know. I need to start over because obviously I'm not getting anywhere out here. I never did, anyway. It's California. So I moved out here to Colorado and I really started finding my footing, and I was working for a really great company for about two and a half years when I found out that he made me famous on a pornography website. Overnight my entire life was turned upside down. I was fired from my job where I'd been working for two and a half years, because they found out that I was a survivor of human trafficking.

Amanda Blackwood:

They didn't want that kind of drama in the workplace. I'd already been there for two and a half years. It had never been drama before but whatever. And I sat by myself. It's like something needs to change, something's got to give, because I can't keep going on like this. I don't want to keep going on like this, so reached out to an anti-trafficking organization. They paired me up with a therapist that I then traumatized. She left the industry.

Dai Manuel:

What? No way. Wow, sorry to laugh. I mean I shouldn't be laughing at that, but I mean, like whoa.

Amanda Blackwood:

It's pretty funny yeah.

Amanda Blackwood:

I mean, it's not exactly something to be proud of, but it's definitely humorous, sure Gosh. So they paired me up with another therapist and she was phenomenal. We went into the discussion. I told her right off the bat do not start prescribing me any kind of medications, because I'm not looking for a band-aid, I'm looking for a shovel, and do not treat me like I am some fragile porcelain doll. If I was going to break, I'd have done it already. And we got busy. And that same organization paired me up with somebody else who was able to connect me to pro bono lawyers who were then going out and contacting these pornography websites to have this stuff pulled down. Every time one came down, two more went up. This man was determined to make money off of me. So finally I decided, and he was also including all of my social media information on these websites too.

Amanda Blackwood:

Oh, my gosh so people find him again, follow me. I was recognized in a grocery store and asked for my autograph.

Dai Manuel:

No way, oh man, amanda, I'm sorry.

Amanda Blackwood:

When I was living in LA. I had been on Alias and Will and Grace and I modeled for Harley Davidson. So at first I was wondering if it was one of those things. And it wasn't that and it just. It just was like excuse me. So I said if people are going to find me anyway, they're going to find out why.

Dai Manuel:

Yes, and when.

Amanda Blackwood:

I first started speaking about it, my voice came out really small. I was terrified. People are going to blame me. I blame me. I made bad decisions. This is all on me, it's all my fault, but I need to tell the story anyway.

Amanda Blackwood:

And taking ownership of that story allowed me to let go of that self-blame.

Amanda Blackwood:

The more I talked about it, the more I shared, the more people would want to support me and they started bolstering me up and they wanted to know more and they really they did such a great job of supporting me that I was able to say maybe it wasn't all my fault and I could talk to this therapist a bit more and be more open about it.

Amanda Blackwood:

And she really helped me to understand that no abuse of any point in time is the very victim's fault. That is a reflection of the abuser. She helped me so much that after a year and a half I had already written several books by the time we met. But after a year and a half I finally wrote my autobiography and I let go of stuff that I thought I would never be able to talk about as long as I live, and the book was published on my 10 year anniversary of freedom from trafficking. And a month later is when I met the man that's now my husband. I gave the trauma a physical body separate from my own, and I was able to set it down on a shelf and walk away from it. It still was there, it still existed, it just no longer controlled my life.

Dai Manuel:

Oh man, I wish I had a sound effect machine. This is where I'd have the applause going. You know, it's like standing ovation now. I mean, it's just what a beautiful image I mean just writing that book. I can imagine how cathartic that was. But also, did you find it triggering as well to relive those stories? But I mean, I guess you've been through a lot of therapy, right? You've already been having a lot of these conversations sharing these stories. But regardless, there's something about writing and capturing something like that to be shared in perpetuity, right. And I'm just curious, how was that experience, like just writing it, like I mean, my goodness, I've must've been a hell of a journey.

Amanda Blackwood:

I've always used writing as a form of therapy of my own, and doing as much research into how the brain works as I have, I understand now that when we remember something, we are not remembering that original instance. We are remembering the last time we remembered it. So each time we think of and remember something, we're diluting that memory. That's why, if you lost your mother at a young age by the time you're 20, you have a hard time remembering what she looked like. Unless you have a photo. You have a really difficult time recalling stuff that you have recalled multiple times. It is so helpful to just go get into the trenches to write down all the gritty, gross stuff in your life and let it go, edit it for later so that if you decide that you're gonna publish this as an actual book, you're not gonna be traumatizing your readers. But get in there, do the hard work and let it go. The more detail you put in, the more you release of everything that you've kept inside you.

Dai Manuel:

Oh, I think that's just so empowering, and I imagine this probably piggybacks, actually, into one of the last questions I have for you before we get into some quick fire.

Dai Manuel:

But also, more importantly, I think you have an opportunity to share the titles of your book, but also the best places for people to connect with you, because I know we've just barely touched the tip of the iceberg on this conversation and your stories and there's so much more details and well, quite frankly, I think that's why everyone's gotta go get the book or at least start listening to your podcast.

Dai Manuel:

But regardless of that, the 2% solution is all based on the small daily habits that we do consistently and frequently enough to make positive shifts and adaptations in our life. And I'm just curious what would you attribute to that's brought you to this place today? Is there any one or handful of habits that you would attribute to being that saving grace in a way? You know that one thing that sort of carried you through that might have a positive effect on others. Is there one habit that you feel that or invite the listeners maybe to get more consistent with? Because I'm hearing what you're saying about the writing. I almost wonder if there's like do you do a lot of daily journaling, like that's what just comes to mind for me, based on your love of writing and what you were sharing, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Amanda Blackwood:

I try to do something creative every single day. If I don't, my nightmares take revenge on me. I do love to write. When I don't have the ability to write, I will go and paint. I have one of my own paintings actually hanging up behind me here.

Amanda Blackwood:

It has a young lady standing on just about the center of the cliff here and she's standing there with her arms outstretched and her hair blowing back behind her, and the significance there is that I was the tree that's hanging onto the very edge of the cliff. At one time I was reaching for whatever little, tiny bit of sunlight I could get and fighting everybody else for it. I was ready to fall off the edge looking for what I needed. Now I'm the young lady who's standing in the middle of the cliff who's just enjoying whatever sunlight she gets and loving life for everything that it is.

Amanda Blackwood:

I love to paint. I love to write. Another creative outlet is I love to cook. I love to be big on that, and the reason I gravitate towards these things is because one of the major trauma responses that people have is a need for control. We control such a small percentage of anything that happens in our life. It's like riding on a bus all the way in the back and trying to avoid the potholes with a steering wheel you can't grab. You cannot control whether, if you're going to hit those potholes. All you can do is control how you react to them.

Dai Manuel:

Right.

Amanda Blackwood:

That's what life is. So find the little creative outlets that you can have control over and exercise that need for control in healthy ways. Another big one for me was learning.

Amanda Blackwood:

I needed to learn why do I react this way? What is wrong with me? I am safe right now. I should not have screamed it so and so, because they did something that had nothing to do with anything dangerous or frightening. I needed to understand. So I started to research trauma reactions and I spend about a month on every different trauma reaction that I find I really dig into it. I want to understand everything about it. I want to understand how many other people have experienced it and how they've experienced it, and this is why I talk to all the people I do on my podcast.

Dai Manuel:

I love this, oh my gosh. So I think that's a really cool action list, you know, or an action item. As far as that idea of doing something creative every day, there's a certain part of our brain that gets recruited when you do creative things, right Like there is, there's a grounding that happens when you do that, and I know for myself, writing is similar. Or speaking, you know, talking, especially public speaking, that's very cathartic for me. I love telling a story, so to speak, and because I also know it uses that creative storytelling piece that's in my brain, you know, and I do find it's very calming, as much as sometimes it's very nerve creating as well, but it's a good nervous. I love that and I think the action sheet which will be available if we will give them some ideas on different ways and concepts around how to implement more creativity in their day to day. I'm reminded a bit of the artist's way I think you make me smelly with that where it talks a lot about this idea of tapping into that as a part of us. You know, that creative side that makes us who we are, you know, it's that it gives us the different hues of our personality. A great storyteller as well, man, I've been sorry because you've told the story a few times now, obviously not as detailed today as normal, but I hope everyone that's listening.

Dai Manuel:

Please take note that in the notes we're going to have links to a lot of Amanda's other content piece where she goes much deeper into the story, as well as links to her books, which I highly endorse and recommend picking up in case. They're just wonderful resourceness, especially for anyone that's dealing with trauma or dealing with people that deal with trauma. I think it's just an essential reading for them. You know, is there anything that we forgot to mention before we hop into the rapid fire? Because I'd love to talk about that? But is there anything that we wanted to say today that maybe I forgot to ask you, any questions that you would have loved for me to ask you? Because, again, I'm new to this interview and I'm used to being on the opposite side of the chair, you know like I used to be the one being interviewed and so I want to ensure that you know. Is there a message that you were burning to tell today, you shared today, that maybe I forgot to ask you?

Amanda Blackwood:

There is something that I can think of.

Dai Manuel:

Oh, let's go.

Amanda Blackwood:

We've been talking about common phrases and things that we've heard and things that we've told ourselves all of our lives. Right, one of the biggest messages that we've heard all of our lives is what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And it's a lie. It is an absolute lie. So this was a phrase that was coined by a guy by the name of Frederick Nietzsche in 1800s, before he died in an insane asylum. It's okay to let this one go. The truth is, it is not the abuse and it is not the past, it is not the anger, it is not the pain that makes us who we are. That is not where we find the strength. Do not give them credit. The credit belongs to you. You are the one who got yourself back up time and again. After you fell, nobody held a hand out for you.

Amanda Blackwood:

You dug deep, you found the strength, and that strength was always there inside you.

Dai Manuel:

Oh my gosh, I love that. I love that, and it's like we'd be a big, strong background in fitness. No pain, no gain. I mean, that was the same sort of concept, right, and I appreciate what you just shared. Oh, this is great. I'm so excited to share this with everyone because I think there's some wonderful snippets here. I need that actually on a screen saver. I mean, I'm in the black screen saver.

Dai Manuel:

I'm going to ask you some rapid fires right now, okay, amanda, and then we'll get into sort of some closing remarks here today. These are fun questions, but again, it's the shine of light on you and your personality, because I know that that is the part that I find is so enduring, because someone that's navigated as much trauma in their lives, and for you to be such a positive and optimistic force now, I think it just gives all of us wonderful hope. It shows what's possible when we navigate the challenges, and it's just fear, resiliency and action. It's awesome. So let's use a couple quick questions for you, amanda. All right, if you were stranded on the desert island, which three items would you absolutely need to have with you?

Amanda Blackwood:

A generator, a laptop and some kind of satellite Wi-Fi, because I am happy being out there on that island, but when it's time to go, it's time to go, oh I love my edge.

Dai Manuel:

I wasn't expecting that, you know, and actually that's the most logical, safe, specific answer, because you can enjoy the beach, enjoy everything you're doing, but then at the same time, you get an Uber boat, right. Yeah, I love that. I think that was great. Okay, your dream dinner guest? Right, who would be your dream dinner guest? You know they can be living or deceased, doesn't matter, but just who would that guest be and why?

Amanda Blackwood:

Her name was Ruby Catherine Stevens. Nobody's ever heard of Ruby Catherine.

Dai Manuel:

Stevens, I'm John the Blank.

Amanda Blackwood:

Her parents died when she was quite young and she had a very traumatic upbringing. Her older sister was on vaudeville and her sister made her promise never to become an actress. And she promised, but she lied and eventually Ruby Catherine Stevens changed her name to Barbara Stanwyck. I would love to have met her. She was the matron on Big Valley. She was the star of my favorite film that made 1941, called the Lady Eve. With her and Henry Fonda, she was a phenomenal actress, but more than that, she was an incredible human being. I would have loved to have met her while she was still alive.

Dai Manuel:

Oh, that's so cool. I love that connection there too. The personal connection Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies that might surprise all of us?

Amanda Blackwood:

I do have some hidden talents. I cannot read music at all, but I could. When I was younger I could play almost any Disney film song on the piano, If you give me an hour with a piano.

Dai Manuel:

That's that I'll tell you right now my daughters would be very happy. They would love you entertaining them.

Amanda Blackwood:

I still remember keys for playing the theme song from Pocahontas Time travel trip.

Dai Manuel:

Okay. So if you could travel, you know, if you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future, and where specifically?

Amanda Blackwood:

Specifically to E Day in 1945,. I want to see the celebration at the end of World War II and realizing that the Nazis had been defeated.

Dai Manuel:

Wow, that is so specific and I love it. That is really cool. What a neat answer. I mean, what a party that would have been. I just thought, oh, I have a background for that too.

Amanda Blackwood:

I used to be a museum guide at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. I specialized in the Holocaust exhibit and the Anne Frank exhibit. I went wearing 1940s ladies' business suits and dresses and heels and the hats and the handbags and I've got a huge 1940s collection. It started because of that passion. I became a part of the exhibit, so that I could have more of an impact on the people who were there.

Dai Manuel:

Oh man, I swear I just keep peeling back the layers. I guess that's so cool. I mean you're back and so amazing. Okay, Well, last one. It's a pleasure you can't live without.

Amanda Blackwood:

Pizza. Well, that in ice cream probably a tie, yeah.

Dai Manuel:

I always follow the ice cream with the pizza. I'm the kind of guy that go I'll eat the ice cream first because I prefer the flavor profile and then I'll water it down with the pizza. I can relate to that. Those are good guilty pleasures, and all with the balance and reason, of course. This has been such a fun conversation, but also very educational and inspirational.

Dai Manuel:

Amanda, I just want to thank you. You know, really I feel I'm in gratitude for you and especially that first conversation we had where you were such a generous listener and so kind in your interview of me, and I'm excited to be sharing that podcast link as well as in the notes. So if you're listening, be sure to check that stuff out. In the community section we'll have a nice one-pager that talks about how to get creative and different ideas around creativity as well as that will be branded with all of Amanda's contact info and your book links. But before we leave, is there any last word you have for the listeners? But especially, how can we connect with you? You know what's the best way for them to really tap into the world of you and what you're sharing and throwing down, for them to stay in the know of what's coming next for Amanda.

Amanda Blackwood:

So there's two really good ways of getting in contact with me. One is through the website growthfromdarkmisscom and the other one is through Facebook, because if I wasn't as active on Facebook as I am, I would probably write more than two books a year. I'm very active on Facebook. It's kind of embarrassing. I love it Other people's dramas, right. Anyways, the last words that I really want to leave people with is not knowing what resources are available to you if you're in a place of trouble is the same as not having those resources. So jump on a computer, use your smart device you're listening on a phone right now, more than likely. Use that device to look up what resources are available and recognize that asking for help is not a weakness, it is a strength, and that's why it's so hard to do. You have to exercise that muscle too.

Dai Manuel:

You and I can both speak to that topic a lot. You know vulnerability is not something easy to tap into for a lot of us, especially that asking for help piece. I know that's challenging and thank you for being a reminder of what's possible if we ask for help but also seek support and, more importantly, seek understanding first, right Understanding yourself especially, and today you've just provided some wonderful examples and resources, but, more importantly, your inspiring story, and I just wanted to again acknowledge you, amanda, and say thank you. I know there will be future conversations. I'm going to want to have you back to go a little bit deeper in some of your learnings. But specifically, I know you are a pretty deep dives in psychology and the psychology of being and what I mean by being. Just how do we develop as human beings? You know where are the things that hold us back from optimal development, and I'd love to have you back to really talk about your hacks and your your learnings as far as psychology is concerned, but that will have to be another day. Again, thank you so much for being here.

Dai Manuel:

For those listening. Please check out the links. Be sure to check out Amanda's podcast, her books, a follower on Facebook or any other social and do do, please reach out to her. You know, if you're dealing with any trauma or you're working with people that deal with trauma or specifically you're looking for a great speaker. I know, amanda, you know she'll put bums and seeds, but she's also going to inspire that audience to reach out. I know that she's a wonderful speaker and I'm sure she'd be absolutely ecstatic to come and participate in your event. I don't hesitate to reach out and beyond that, I just want to let the last remarks with you, amanda, any last last words.

Amanda Blackwood:

Just for you specifically, dai. You are such an incredible human being and I love you to pieces and thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited. You're the best, thank you.

Dai Manuel:

Amanda, and that my friends, wraps up our incredible conversation with Amanda Blackwood. What a journey we've traveled today, from deep trauma to soaring triumph. Amanda, thank you for being a beacon of hope and a living, breathing testament to the power of resilience and transformation To all our listeners. If Amanda's story has touched, moved or inspired you, I encourage you to connect with her, follow her journey on social media, where she continues to share her insights and inspirations. Also, don't forget to check out her impactful books. They're not just read well, they are experiences that could change your perspective on life and resilience. I've been sure to include all the show notes links so you can find anything and everything about Amanda online.

Dai Manuel:

Remember, amanda's story goes from trauma to triumph. It's a narrative that so many can find strength and solace in, so I urge you to share this episode with your friends, family or anyone who could benefit from hearing this powerful message. Let's spread the word and collectively transform lives, 2% at a time. As we close today's episode, let's carry with us the reminder that, no matter our past challenges or struggles, there is always a path forward. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, and often it's brighter than we could ever imagine. Thank you for joining us on the 2% Solution Podcast. Until next time, keep taking those small steps towards your triumphs, keep growing, keep believing and, most importantly, keep pushing beyond your boundaries. You are capable of extraordinary things. This is Diamondwell signing off. Remember life is a journey best traveled together. Stay inspired and let's make everyday count.

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