Today, I am chatting with Christina Robinson Race about how her traumatic childhood in a tight-lipped Evangelical Christian household filled with secrets, abuse, and conditional love affected the way she raised her children. We talk about surrounding yourself with the kind of people you’d like to become, managing your professional reputation, and always finding the silver lining. Plus Christina shares a bit about how much her mom loves shopping at Target.
Christina passionately believes in living a life of kindness and grace. She describes herself as a mom, wife, and salesperson and notes being a salesperson is both a description of her career and her personality. After living in five different states, she calls the mountains of NC her happy place.
In addition to traveling and cooking, Christina’s obsessed with plants and indoor gardening after managing to keep a plant alive for more than a year in 2021. She had strong motivation because it came from her biological father, whom she finally found two and a half years ago, thanks to a common home DNA test.
Christina's hype song is Whatever it Takes by Imagine Dragons.
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Christina Robinson Race transcript[:
[00:00:08] Christina Robinson Race: I'm excited to be here.[:
[00:00:28] Christina Robinson Race: Oh, this is a hard one. I was actually raised with a completely different set of beliefs and values than what I became. They definitely formed who I am. I was raised in a very right-wing evangelical Christian home where the Everything was perfect on the outside and everything was horrible on the inside.
I had a traumatic childhood and that led me to know what I wanted to be as a person, the beliefs that I saw, that I didn't agree with, how I felt things should be. It was a real struggle inside of my head. Like, am I wrong? Is there something wrong here? And It also gave me purpose for what kind of mom I wanted to be, that I didn't, I wanted to have a better relationship with my kids.
And it's helped me see that, you know, everything doesn't have to be perfect. You can be authentic. And it's made me want to be my authentic self because I don't want to live in a world of hypocracy.[:
If that's what we were doing there,[:
And that I knew I wanted to keep you know, that sense of family, that sense of tradition. I I grew up in a household where they wanted to do and they still deal without us. All of their holidays are. Just tiny. They don't want to have anybody else in their bubble. And so I prefer to do everything big.
Like my grandfather was like, I just want to like welcome everybody and I want to do and be nice to everybody. Everybody is my family. As soon as I meet them, I want to take care of them and help them. And I just have no walls, I guess that I just used to love people, but I think also a little bit I did, I'm not I'm not, not religious.
I I just am not the. Degree that my parents were, but I do, it was my mom and my stepfather, but I do believe that I have a sense of like, I think this is how Jesus actually would act. And I think this is how God would do things. And I don't see it as like, I see it as love and hope and enjoy not all of the doom and gloom of evangelicalism.
And so that's kinda what I took with me. Like, this is what I believe, and I want to pass this on to my. And grace. Oh, sorry. I was just gonna say grace has been a word that's in my head for my entire life and that's, what's been my driving factor. I have it on a stone on my desk and that's just, it's always there.[:
[00:03:41] Christina Robinson Race: It was actually a really difficult, well I knew I wanted something different. I grew up in a house with my mom and my stepfather. I didn't know my real father at the time.
And he was, he was very abusive and she ignored it all and would go to bed for days. And then I was sexually abused by a neighbor and I didn't tell her right away, but I did tell her when I was 15 and she looked at me and said she couldn't deal with. And so we didn’t. And right then I knew that that wasn't the mom I was going to be, I was going to have an open relationship.
I, she, I got in trouble when I was 10. We were at a burger king drive through and I still remember it to this day. I said that boy's hot and I was grounded for that. And I never wanted my kids to feel that way because I couldn't talk to them. Especially, couldn't talk to them after I told them something monumentally huge and traumatic for me.
In addition to the abuse I was living with and I always, my parents had thought, or my mom and my stepfather had lied about him being my real father until I was in my twenties and they, she wrapped it up and she wrote it out. Piece of paper, the share, give you the truth, gave it to me and I, as a Christmas gift wrapped up.
And that's how I found out, but I'd always known because they had always referred to this great sin and it was always however old I was. And then I found some other things that had shown they lied. So I had grew up with real trust issues too. So I wanted my children to have this world where they trusted people and they could be themselves.
Even if they didn't agree with me. And so we had a thing in our household called immunity. And so if you came to me and, or my husband and you told us what really happened if you did something or whatever, we could talk it through and make it a learning moment, then you were not grounded. And but if I found out about it later, you would be in trouble.
And I don't know that my kids were ever actually grounded for anything. And so they've always been open almost to open you know my oldest isn't as open, but my middle and my youngest will call me, I mean, from college and tell me everything about who they're dating and their problems that they have.
And it's, it's amazing. I love that.[:
[00:05:52] Christina Robinson Race: exactly it was might not to do list basically. So like you see something being done and you just decided that's not going to be me. Also. I had done a lot of studying and reading, trying to heal myself from my trauma, since it wasn't given to me.
And I knew that that trauma and abuse can either It either makes you to continue the cycle or you, or you break, you choose to break the cycle. And I chose to break the cycle. That was not something I ever wanted my children to have to go through. And I also didn't want them to have to be somebody else for me.
And you know, my. Mom goes through a periods where she just goes to you and doesn't talk to you for months at a time because she's mad. And I recently this week put my foot down about that and said, you know, I I'm, I'm off this roller coasters. This is the last part I needed to break. And, and I'm off the roller coaster.
I can't do this.[:
[00:06:49] Christina Robinson Race: Children. I don't want them to see that as a model, but it's okay to ghost your child and to, to treat your child this way. I have a sibling that is, her was raised to be her best friend.
She was homeschooled all through life and she always played us off of each other and they are thick as thieves. They live next door to each other and they prefer to just for that to be their immediate family Can not everything that I do. All of my beliefs are some highly personal rebuke of her.
And it says that everything's about hers. It's very much a narcissist, but it's about her, how much she, you know, if I had pain, she will cry that she regrets what happened to me well, and how she handled it. I was trying to talk about my pain, like, you know, and then or if I, you know, I'm not going to be Republican, that doesn't mean that I hate you.
And she's coming to my house. My children will never forget. She came into my house when they were in middle school and she was visiting and you know, that song Stacy's mom, like I cannot sing, so I'm not going to, I don't want to freak anybody out. Okay. I know that was on the radio and my kids were singing on to it.
Cause it's really catchy. Right. And. She proceeded to scream at me for, I don't know, an hour about how I was a horrible mom and my kids were going to hell and I was allowing that by letting them and using that song as an example of my just completely lack, complete lack of values and ability to be a mom.
And they overheard that. And you know, they have a very guarded relationship with her. And I'm glad they have a relationship because they should have a grandmother. And in all honesty, she's a much better grandmother than she. As ever been a mom. And so she, like, I just, I can't let them think that that's.[:
[00:08:35] Christina Robinson Race: that it did a lot of therapy and I read a lot of books. I I. I read, I read books on to teach myself everything before I guess YouTube, and now it's like in YouTube something, but you know, I really worked on that and I surrounded myself with the kind of people that I wanted to be.
And I wanted that energy. So I've been really, really grateful to have friends that are closer than. Then, you know, my sibling is to me. And so that has been, you know, a tremendous value to me is to be surrounded by this village of amazing women. And I've always been and made sure I was surrounded by village of amazing women, some men, but mainly women who would understand and who would know what I've gotten.
Greg, this is two separate breakouts, above and below.
And I've always been open about it. I don't hide it. I'm never going to hide my abuse and my traumatic childhood. I never hid it from my children, my husband, my friends. I'll tell you I'll stand on the stage and you know, the super bowl and tell everybody because that is me and that's what made me me.
And if you hide stuff like that, then you're just doing what I grew up with.[:
[00:09:48] Christina Robinson Race: And so it doesn't it made me resilient. It made me, you know, more empathetic. I will cry. We saw a screen with my, the new Scream with my daughter a couple of weeks ago.
I called it. I cried through parties, scream. I mean, I will cry through any movie. It's my youngest son's favorite thing to do is to watch TV with me or a movie, and then check me 50 times to see from crying because the slightest emotion will bring me like I'm like way too empathetic. I've even, I've researched that.
And that's, I guess, a normal thing of a traumatic childhood is that high level of empathy. So yeah, like I just embrace those things. I don't try to be shut out. And yeah, maybe I'll be a little too much oversharing, but I'd rather do that than ever. Try to be something I'm not, or pretend that my life is going okay or fine when it's not fine.
I just can't do that.[:
So tell me a little bit about how you've managed to manage your reputation as a professional.[:
Surrounded by people even professionally that way. But also being an authentic person with my clients. I'm very honest. I'm open. If something goes wrong, I'm going to tell you what's wrong and I'm going to help you solve it and tell you what we're going to do to make it better. I'm never going to say that everything's going to be okay.
If a, if I'm working and I have worked previously at companies where the development wasn't there, or there were internal problems with departments and everything was failing and going wrong. And it's not me to be able to go to. Client and pretend that it is because every job that I've gotten has been based on my reputation, they've known me from somewhere else and they've known my work since I was 25.
So I am not willing to risk that. And so it, it always leads to a greater thing. And so I can't compromise that, but it also like LinkedIn, I'm very aware of what I share and what kinds of things I post, because I want people to be able to get a reflection of who I really am, because if it's an employee, it's a potential employer and they're looking at that.
I want them to know that I'm a relationship person. I'm going to make these relationships with clients. I, you know, believe in this and that and want me for me. I don't want to form to what a company wants, because then you are just saying, you're fine. And you never are.[:
[00:13:26] Christina Robinson Race: it's got healthy and it's not going to help your business because you don't want people that don't share your values working for you or representing your product.
And you, they're not going to be able to get along with your client base. And so you want, I can I don't need you to be. Into the product I'm selling as much as I need you to buy into me, I need you to trust me and to build that kind of long-term relationship, because then when I come to you and I say, something's not working, or I come with you with another product to buy, or you introduce me because you trust me to another.
Person at another company or in another department, you're not going to do that. Even if it was the best product in the world, you are not going to recommend it and, you know, be a cheerleader and a champion for it. If you don't like and trust the sales person. And I've been in situations where I've seen that happen, where clients are like, I don't trust you at all.
Please. Don't I've been on call. I was on a company before where I had a supervisor. They would not let on a client call because that client was so turned off by that person's integrity. And it was the same product. It was just the integrity of that person.[:
Oh, let me see. Let me see your humanity. And that's what makes a connection. So, you know, we talk a lot about how connected everybody is in our world. You know, we're all connected on social media. You and I met through Lincoln. We're connected, but we're not really at a heart level until we have conversations like this until we have, until you can share.[:
But if I know that that person's going to be kind of energizing to talk to that, I'm going to, like, it's going to feed my day in a positive way, then I'm not going to ditch that call. I'm going to take it. And so it's allowed me, I mean, I have great relationships. You know, my previous places I've worked with coworkers and people above me, and it's really kind of helped drive that.[:
[00:15:59] Christina Robinson Race: your belief. I, and I think I told you this on our call earlier, but I it's my med form of meditation. It is when I wake up in the morning you know, and I look at my day and I'm, I'm grateful to be there.
I'm grateful for this, but every night before I go to bed I guess like when a lot of people would pray before they go to bed, I do a. I'm grateful for these things in my life. Kind of monologue in my head and that keeps me centered. Like I am never I think we talked about this too. I'm married to someone who doesn't have as bright of an S of bright, of is an outlook on life.
And we were actually in marriage counseling for a while and he told the therapist that the fact that I'm able to just be okay in every moment and I'm happy and content and every moment and that, I always think that things are gonna work out. Bothers him because he thought that that was like no grounding in reality.
But in reality, I know that things can get a whole lot worse and I am grateful for the life I have. I'm grateful that I gave my kids, you know, this great education after college, that I'm sending them to college, that they have this family that they can turn to. And I was even grateful for the pandemic because.
I had teenagers that I had college kids and boarding high schools, and we all got to come home and they were forced to spend five months with me during a time when most of the time you don't get that time with your college kid. And so to me, that was the best thing of the pandemic was just that I got to be and have those extra times.
So I always see a positive to things. And it's not that I don't have the reality. I know that there's bad out there. I, I know. But I also think that we are so grateful. I am so grateful and we are so, you know, Immensely. I don't like the word blessed because I don't like it to seem like something's been, you know, like handed down to you or whatever, because I know that that has, I'm not any different and I, don't not any more deserving of the life that I have than anybody else.[:
Viewpoint. I've gotten that too. Like you look at life through rose colored glasses. I see what's happening. I just choose to put a more positive spin on it. And that's not negating when I feel angry or sad or upset at the same time. I'd rather live in a world where there is gratitude. Grace and[:
You know, just reading the news can be it can be horribly painful, but I don't look at it as, oh my God. The world's ending. This is horrible. This horrible thing happened. What can I do? How can I contribute to this? What can I do to make it better? Can I, you know, post encouraging things online? Can I volunteer my time here?
Can I donate to this? Cause Penzy’s Spices did a thing recently where they held a a, you know Republicans are racist, fail and pissed off half of their clientele. And I turned around that night. $158 for the spices, because I felt that's something I could do. They were really, they've been really big on black lives matters, which is a personal thing for me in my life.
And so I bought a bunch of spices from them that day. It doesn't mean that I don't respect Republicans, that I don't work with Republicans. I love them, but I'm also going to spend my money where my, where my heart and my, my conscience is.[:
It did, because I felt like it was promoting the threatened that they don't stand for it, like promoting division, which is not normally what they stand for. And so that, but that particular campaign stood out to me cause I was like, oh, I don't like it. I like what they stand for.[:
And it's not all Republicans are racist. I. Biological father is a Republican and his family in my, you know, and people are in my other segment. Like I have a lot of family that are Republican, but they are good people. But it's bringing out the worst, like the brand, I think Republican has been tarnished really badly and the world right now.
And so I took that as a, you know, somebody has got to kind of say to kind of counteract the, you know, the people melting down over candy, changing styles and stuff like that. Like a company's got to stand up and. And to put their values and it wasn't even as much as what they were saying, but they were willing to risk customers for what they believed.
And so that kind of resonated with me that they were willing to put it all out there.[:
And these are the people you're, you're attracting and repelling attracting the ones you want, repelling, the ones you don't want.[:
So, I mean, you don't have to go there in person and tell Target manager that you're never going to shop there. They don't care. So like, I it's, so it's not, I don't know. I believe in that whole cancel culture either. I don't necessarily like you know, there's some companies like I still eat Chick-fil-A sometimes never eat their gluten-free bun, but I do eat to play.
You know what I mean? So, I mean, there are things that I do but it's, it's where you put most of your attention. So anyway, sorry to get off on that tangent.[:
[00:22:10] Christina Robinson Race: and doing something. I think that changes your outlook on life too, when you're actually doing your proactively.something. So even as much in:
So, I mean, that didn't change it. He didn't win. But he did go on then to start a whole social media and you know, Highlighting what goes on at Tennessee to other people. So it branched out from there. So and so doing something, if you see a friend who's down, I love sending emails, or there's an app you can send you know, little gifts to, or from, so sending something to make people feel better and, and taking control of your life.
And I really think that that's, it's the difference between people who look at the world negatively and people who look at it positively is do you feel in control and how do you get that control?[:
And being, and walking around, being angry all the time, which is not good for your physical, mental, psychological health in any way, but what are you doing about it? And even if it is something as let's say as small, but I just, I don't want to make small is not insignificant something as small as reaching out to a friend that came through your mind.
And saying, Hey, everything good. I haven't heard from you in a while. Hope. Hope you're okay. I'm here for you. Like that could be an enormous gesture to the person who's received. And it's just a S a small amusing,[:
I have a candle that I actually sent to a client to you on my desk, but it is my last fuck. Oh, look, it's on fire. And so
hard to get. It sold out on. It was an Instagram thing I saw and then it was sold on Etsy forever, but I finally got a couple, so I sent one to a client and when I'm having a day and I just went to like scream, I liked that. And just lighting that candle. It's like letting myself go, like, there's my last fuck.
I don't care. And move on. Like, I'm not going to hold something. Forever. I will, you know, you could be, you could totally screw me over yesterday and I'm going to be wary of you. But I don't have time to have any kind of grudges against you. Cause that's going to put a lot of negative in my life that I don't need.[:
[00:25:20] Christina Robinson Race: I got exactly. And it's just, and it's so therapeutic to light it, and that can be like your official letting go, you know, like it, they, people will do those things where they write things down and burn them.
This is kind of like that, but a lot easier.[:
[00:25:44] Christina Robinson Race: And it, and I don't think that I don't pretend to think that I like drive my entire, you know, future and like everything I do, but I believe.
I watched rewatched The Secret this weekend which I love because it is the more you put out on those positive, the more you're going to get back to you that is positive. And it's just a giant like hamster wheel, acute just keeps growing and growing and going and going. And so those are what, that's, how I can control and make my life positive by putting out positive.
And then it helps me. It protects me from seeing so much negative if I'm, you know, I don't have time for that. And I don't. I also probably it's, I feel like there's, I can help something, everything in a little way. And in big ways we, you know, I volunteered as a foster advocate Acosta for years.
And I ended up getting guardianship recently of the first case I had. Because he needed me and and he needed what we could provide as guardians. And so those things, like, I don't believe that and holding myself back, you know what I mean? Like being reserved as far as emotions and feelings I don't have time to sensor that and S and play the game of how much am I doing too much to my, you know, I don't want to like, show too much of myself or whatever.
Like, you either really liked me or you really don't like me, and this is what you're getting.[:
[00:27:24] Christina Robinson Race: Yeah. Yeah. And I think that's something that, yeah, I, husband, I were talking to my 22 year old about this week.
I really wish that we had been able to be that aware of what we know in our forties. Like if we could. I get, I mean, cause I really, I think that I've see so many of my female friends that we, you know, we're all in the same position in life, you know, like some of them have young kids now, even. So it's not like where you are in motherhood or where you are in your career.
You know, the stay-at-home moms too, professional women. But you just get to this point where you realize that you're the only person you can be and to stop trying to be somebody else and stop trying to please people because we're not, we're the center of our own movie. And so we're very much about us, but other people just don't care.
They don't give a shit. You know what I mean? Like, I mean they care, but you know, they're, hyper-focused on you is just seem to think they are.[: [:
Because I know that they're having, they have a really hard job and I want to do something from right off the bat to like, make this flight better for them, you know? So maybe they can take that with them the whole time. It's my trade show approach. As people walk by, I find something about, you can find something genuine.
Don't do it as a dumb bullshit people because they'll see it, but find something genuine to compliment people about. And that's going to bring them in and have them talking to you and bring you the success in life to professionally.[:
[00:29:27] Christina Robinson Race: Sharing. I just, I am so, so grateful for the life that I have. It's not what I envisioned. I was originally, you know, I started in my industry because I took my son to preschool or for, to daycare for the first time and decided I could not do that again. That was way too hard on me. I wanted to you know, be home with him all the time as my first child.
And then I. I happened into a position that became you know, a full-time position. And like, I, it was a pioneer in the remote working back then. I, you know, I keep telling people I'm so grateful. Everybody else caught up with me during the pandemic for where I am in my life. But I was able to grow that as a full career.
And you know, I kept up with my husband's career, even though I was also juggling being a mom. And you know, having a career and doing all the things and I, you know, I've done my fair share of bitching about doing all the things, but I am incredibly grateful that I've had that opportunity.[:
Well, I have so much enjoyed talking to you before. Tell me your hype song. Cause you see energy to start with, but when you need an extra boost,[:
No matter how much I have to give, to get where I want to go personally and professionally.[:
[00:31:03] Christina Robinson Race: connect with you on LinkedIn and I'm on Facebook. So either one of those you can reach out to me and it's one of the things only Christina Robinson Races out there.
So it's not like I have a name that everybody's going to have. And so you can do that. I can also give you my Gmail account cause it's not a hidden thing and I have no problem with people reaching out, but it's Chris firstname.lastname@example.org.[:
And thanks so[:
[00:31:37] Lori Saitz: Thank you. We'll see you next time on Fine is a 4-Letter Word.