Welcome to the Pretty Powerful Podcast with Angela Gennari
May 17, 2022

Episode 11: Tammy Green

What would happen if you decided to embrace vulnerability instead of fearing it? You might find that it is a superpower that allows you to break free from the shame and guilt that holds us back from being our authentic self. Tammy Green, Author of Living Without Skin, tells us her story of breaking free from the fear of being vulnerable, while having the courage to live authentically.

What would happen if you decided to embrace vulnerability instead of fearing it? You might find that it is a superpower that allows you to break free from the shame and guilt that holds us back from being our authentic self. Tammy Green, Author of Living Without Skin, tells us her story of breaking free from the fear of being vulnerable, while having the courage to live authentically. 


Pretty Powerful Podcast with Angela Gennari: Episode 11 Tammy Green

Welcome to the Pretty Powerful Podcast. Where powerful women are interviewed every week to share real inspiring stories and incredible insight to help women or anyone break the barriers, be a part of innovation, shatter the glass ceiling and dominate to the top of their sports industry or life's mission. Join us as we celebrate exceptional women and step into our power. And now here's your host. Angela Gennari.

Angela Gennari: Thank you for joining us. This is a pretty powerful podcast and I am Angela Gennari, and I am sitting here with Tammy Green. Thank you so much for joining us, Tammy.

Tammy Green: Thank you. I'm so happy to be here.

Angela Gennari: Awesome. So, I wanted to tell our audience a little bit about Tammy. So, Tammy is the author of Living Without Skin. A haphazard blogger and thinker of surprisingly deep, sometimes wide thoughts, a real estate professional and healthcare worker by day author by night, and has also written articles for elephant journal. She resides in Memphis, Tennessee with her wife, exceptionally perfect dogs, and a boss cat. She is the lover of words, her grand kitten caramel cake, and saving items for later in her Amazon shopping cart. I can relate to that. You can chat with Tammy at www.wordsofgreen or on social media via Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or TikTok at Tammy Green Author. Thank you for joining us.

Tammy Green: Thank you.

Angela Gennari: So, I wanted to first let everybody know that we are in the presence of real life. Supergirl. And I know this because I am listening to your audible version of your book and I love what you've written, and I love that you spent your childhood with a blanket as a Cape, as a super girl. And I love that you talk about yourself as I'm not a princess, I'm a super girl, and everything that you talked about in terms of vulnerability and in terms of being vulnerable, but also having superpowers and the superpowers that you've learned from your vulnerability really spoke to me because I think we all grow up and you say this in the very beginning of your book don't cry or I'll give you something to cry about.

Tammy Green: Who hasn't heard that.

Angela Gennari: Right. And so, I think we all kind of grew up with that. So, because you were taught, the vulnerability was bad and as you've grown up, vulnerability has become a superpower. So, tell me a little bit about your book and what led you to write this book?

Tammy Green: So, I've always felt like I had a book inside but never really knew how to start it when it started, what it was going to be about for probably three or so years before I actually wrote it. I was trying to decide whether to do non-fiction versus a fiction story. Because I had an idea, and it just sort of came to me that I should probably write about what I know best, and what I know best is my own experiences. So, that's the inspiration behind it. I got kicked into gear because my grandmother who has been a very important part of my life was getting older. She was 95, I believe at the time she was my in, she taught me to read. At age three. And so that's what we always did is read together, and I thought I really need to do this before much longer.

She's not going to be here forever. So, I had written a few articles in the elephant journal. One was about her specifically. And I started the book and then in 2020 shed a stroke in January, and I stayed with her for six weeks, the last six weeks of her life. I took care of her. And I was very grateful for that opportunity. It was a very special time to be with her and to take care of her and to give back to her what she had given to me my whole life. So, that was the impetus for getting that finished. She didn't make it to see the book actually published. But I know she's watching.

Angela Gennari: Yeah, absolutely. And did she know that you were writing it?

Tammy Green: Yes.

Angela Gennari: Aw. Did she know she had a special place in that book?

Tammy Green: Yes.

Angela Gennari: Aw, that's amazing. So, you wrote the book just kind of a bio, an autobiography of your life. But what I love about how you wrote the book is that you really don't just talk about what your life was like. You talk about all the lessons and you say, this is me living without skin and this is my new skin. So, tell me what that means?

Tammy Green: So, I think we all end up here with our experiences. It depends on how we react to what happens to us in life. And for me, there were so many instances throughout my life where I had to turn my skin inside out in order to survive. It wasn't a voluntary choice. Some of the experiences that I went through were forced on me and I wouldn't choose it again if I had the choice, but I can see now how necessary it was to point me toward where I'm supposed to be. And for me, I think it was important to embrace the living inside out, and I don't know that a lot of people really understand that.

Angela Gennari: Well, and I a hundred percent agree with you because I think you talk a little bit in your book about the shield of armor that you have worn and I think that we all do that at SP at some point, especially through those, those formative years in our late teens, early twenties, when we're trying to figure out who are we? And what we do is we become whoever the world wants us to be versus who we are. And it's not until we're really in our thirties that we start figuring out like, this doesn't feel right. Something's not right. And that's when we start digging in and figuring out who are we really? And I think that the times that we know who we are really is when we're children and then once we've reached that 35, 40 years old you say in there and this was funny and I can relate to this as well. The hardest part of childhood is the first 50 years.

Tammy Green: Absolutely.

Angela Gennari: It's a heck of a childhood. We're all getting there.

Tammy Green: And so, I think we also grow up believing what other people tell us about ourselves. And other people's perceptions become our own perceptions that we form and in my own experience, that's just not the truth. All the time.

Angela Gennari: Yeah, absolutely. And I think people project onto us and then we start to own that. I remember, um, when I was younger, I've always been defiant kind of like you, you talk about how you were always defiant and it would ask a lot of questions and people would lose their patience with you because you were always asking why? But why are we doing it this way? But why is this happening? And I was similar and people would say, you know, she just likes to argue, and it's not that I was arguing. I was a curious child. If you're going to tell me to do something, tell me why I need to do it. And so, my family would always say, she's going to be an attorney. We just know it.

And so, I started owning that, and that was the only thing that I was ever going to be. Not because it felt like that was where I wanted to go, but that's because that was what was projected on me. And that was the expectation of me. And once again, I've defied, everybody went in a different direction, but that was what I wanted to be all through college. That was what I wanted to do. All as I was a teenager, that's, that's the only thing I felt could be an inappropriate career path for me. So, sorry, go ahead.

Tammy Green: No, it's still that way for me, that behavioral trait still gets me in trouble today. And I try to be cognizant of that and tell people, especially if it's someone I'm working on a project with like, I'm going to ask you why a million times, but I'm not questioning your method or your technique or your knowledge or your wisdom. I just need to understand why.

Angela Gennari: Yes. Yeah. Well, and my mom is like that too. And she makes me crazy sometimes, but I get it honest because she'll say, you know I'll tell her a story about something and she'll ask the most obscure questions, you know? Well, what color was the room? She'll say, well, and so, you know, I'll say, oh, and then this happened and this happened. And then she'll ask a question that I could not have any possible knowledge of well, did, did this person tell that person? Well, I don't know. I'm not in their room, I don't hear their conversations, but like she needs the full story. She's full, like from every angle. And so, I always start I'm like, mom, keep the questions to the things that I've already told you. Is it because I'm telling you exactly what there is to know

Tammy Green: So, I know nothing other than what I've said.

Angela Gennari: So, but yes, I understand the asking? Why? So, tell me a little bit more about why you should not read bumper stickers out loud?

Tammy Green: Yeah. There are a whole lot of stories like that.

Angela Gennari: I love it.

Tammy Green: Unfortunately, from my childhood I was precocious and I read everything. Cereal boxes, you know, everything, I could get my hands on and I guess I was what, 10. Something like that. And on the motorcycle and I just thought I was being cute and adorable when I honked the horn and yelled to the neighbor, just honk if you’re horny.

Angela Gennari: I love that.

Tammy Green: And of course, my mother, was not appreciative of that cuteness when the neighbor called to report that. So, I wasn't allowed to quote bumper stickers after that.

Angela Gennari: But did they honk?

Tammy Green: No, he just waved at me and looked at me kind of strange.

Angela Gennari: That's awesome.

Tammy Green: As he should have.

Angela Gennari: So, tell me a little bit more about some of these stories, because I love what you go into in your book and the things that you've learned and really like, that's when you talk about, this is me without skin and then this is me with vulnerability and this is my new skin. So, tell me about the things that you've learned from those moments?

Tammy Green: So, as I said, you know, I wouldn't say that my childhood was ideal. My mother and I had a very volatile relationship, I was an accidental pregnancy and they did what they were supposed to do at that time, and they got married and started a family, and I just don't think either of them was very prepared for that. They did the best they could with what they had. But as a result, I felt like I was a burden to my mother, for most of my life. And as a result, that's been chaotic and volatile for the rest of my life. From there I kind of launched into college at 17 and the whole if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with everything is what I, that was how I launched out. And I discovered alcohol in college. And so, all the things that felt wrong with me that I had been told were wrong with me, my entire life, alcohol just wiped all of that away. And I was perfect and I was strong and I was invincible and smart, and I knew everything, and it was great, and it worked until it didn't. And then when it didn't, I had purchased my own home and had a great job with a local bank and was on the rise. And I had an experience and a blackout from alcohol and it was not a good experience. Which made me question everything. And so, from there, it's just been like that for most of my life. I have encountered situations that some have been of my own choosing some have been as a result of choices that I've made. There's a lesson in there and I'm not supposed to be on that path, and unfortunately for a lot of years, I had to take the butt whipping to get to that conclusion. I've never been one who could hear someone else's experience and say, oh, I should learn from that and do it differently. That's not me.

Angela Gennari: I need to do it the hard way.

Tammy Green: Right. I need to have that butt whipping to truly drive it home.

Angela Gennari: I understand. I say the same thing with business. I say, you know, an MBA wouldn't have worked for me. I listen to business classes online or I'll go in and I'll sit in classes and I hear the information, but it's not resonating with me. It's not until I lose my actual money, and I lose my actual time that I learn that lesson. So, for me getting the information out of a book is not how I need to learn. I need real-life to teach me, and it does, it's a hard lesson and I can know the right thing to do going in, but I still may not make the choice until it hurts me a little bit to make the wrong choice.

Tammy Green: You know? And some of those choices have not been mine. When I got into real estate, I did it for all the right reasons wanted to take care of my family, wanted to provide for my family and who saw the bubble burst coming? You know, in 2008. So, I lost everything, and that was, of course, I chose to invest in real estate, which historically has been the best investment you could ever make. But when I did it, I caused the whole world to like lose money.

Angela Gennari: So, it was your fault. I see.

Tammy Green: It's my fault that everything just went upside down. So, there are things that have happened just as a result of being where I am at the exact wrong time.

Angela Gennari: Yeah. So, what do you think some of the hardest lessons are that you've learned that you've carried with you?

Tammy Green: To pay attention to my own intuition. To listen. When, one of the first things I learned in recovery was that if I am pushing on a path, and I'm meeting obstacle after obstacle, after obstacle, it's probably not where I'm supposed to be. But if I start down a path and things fall into place without me, melding without me interfering without me trying to push my will onto it. That's probably where I'm supposed to be, and that's something I'm still learning today.

Angela Gennari: I think we all are, I think, every single day, and I've said with this podcast, I thought I would start this podcast. I kind of thought, well, we'll give it a go and see if anything happens. I don't even know if anyone will let me interview them. I don't know if you know, I'll stumble over my words. I'll sound ridiculous, and I'll probably quit after a week or two but I had to get out of my own way, and when I did, when I got through the insecurity of being on camera or talking into a microphone, and I got through the insecurity of what if I don't know the right questions to ask, what if they think I'm not as smart as they are? What if you know, what if, what if, what if? Once I was able to do that, the doors just opened and we're several weeks ahead in terms of our podcast episodes. Right now, we are getting more and more positive feedback. And it's crazy how quickly fit things fell into place. When the only thing that was holding us back was me. And I think you start realizing that if everything is happening for you, that that's a sign that you're on the right path.

Tammy Green: I totally suffer from imposter syndrome. Yes. This is my very first book. I had no idea what I was doing. I've learned a tremendous amount since I started on the journey. But in I'm publishing a sequel to the book later this year. That is where I'm going to tell other people's stories of vulnerability.

Angela Gennari: Oh, I love it.

Tammy Green: Which is just mine. So, I'm really excited about that. And then I'm also starting a fiction series. And so, the same kind of fears, I mean, who's going to buy my book. What do I have to tell people? But I get feedback from people who, and this has happened mostly my whole life like you're so easy to talk to and you understand what's going on with me. And so, I've gotten that same kind of feedback. And I love it. I feel very honored that people trust me with their vulnerability.

Angela Gennari: Absolutely.

Tammy Green: I think that's a gift. It to me,

Angela Gennari: Well, and I was sitting in church one day and we had a pastor come on. Well, he wasn't a pastor. He was our guest speaker. And I almost got up and walked out. And I've been trying to write a book for 20 years now, and it's the same thing. Like, do I have anything worthy? Just say, who's going to read this thing. Like, I don't know if I should do this. And I remember sitting in this church and it's one of these big megachurches here in Atlanta and I love it. And I love our pastor and I was waiting for him to come on stage. And it was some other guy and I'm like, oh no, not another person. Like, I don't want to listen to anyone else. I really want Andy Stanley up there. And so, anyway, this guy comes up and he's like in his mid-twenties and immediately I'm judging him. What am I going to learn from somebody in their twenties?

What he has nothing to tell me. And so, I'm almost ready to get up and walk out. And all of a sudden, he starts telling a story about how he had stepped out of his comfort zone. And I think he had produced a film or a video or something, and it exploded. And he said I had this fear that what I was going to say, wasn't relevant to anyone. And that I was nobody was going to listen. He was like, but I can promise you, somebody out there is waiting to hear your story. And that story is, what's going to allow them the courage to take the next step in their life. And that's exactly how I felt reading your book. Your courageousness and putting a pen to paper and writing this book is going to allow somebody else to feel like, hey, you know what? I can be vulnerable too. That is a strength. And I love that the subtitle of your book is everything I never knew about fierce vulnerability.

Tammy Green: Yeah. That's hard to say quickly.

Angela Gennari: It is you really have to sound... So, but yes, it's so true vulnerability. I mean, that's what I think we're all afraid of. We're so afraid to be vulnerable because like you said, we grew up with this stop. You're crying, or I'll give you something to cry about. It's bad to be vulnerable. It's bad. You say a lot in your book that you are very sensitive and you're a Virgo. And I get that, like, you have this sensitivity and this empathy and you want people to feel better and you're the one you said I can share my Cape, you're superhero Cape with others. And you have a lot of stories about that. And I can totally appreciate that.

Tammy Green: I had some really good role models for learning how to share my Cape. My grandmother and my Lala, they've been amazing.

Angela Gennari: And you talk about a woman who was like a big sister to you, but wasn't a sister. And tell me a little bit about her.

Tammy Green: So that is my Lala. That's my daddy's youngest sister. Okay. She was 16 when I was born. So, I was the first baby of the family on that side. And everything that went with that. Which is probably why my grandmother laughed at everything I did. So, I was 16 when she was born and I kind of was her first baby, I was the practice baby. And I was four, I think when she married my uncle and just a huge part of their lives, I spent the night with them all the time. We were at their house all the time. And I'm so grateful for both their influence and impact. In my life. And they've, they've touched so many lives in the small town where they are it's, I'm very grateful for that.

Angela Gennari: So, I think that as women, we have to have these great role models, in order for us to feel the courage, to step into our power. And I know that there are so many instances where we give away our power, can you tell me about a time that you've given away your power and then tell me about a time that you've stepped into your power and what was the difference between them?

Tammy Green: Absolutely. So, every time that I've given away my power, it has been associated with a fear of abandonment. And that's a trigger that I carry from my childhood and in every relationship with anyone that I have ever loved when it has not been the right relationship for me, I do that. I just give it away and I do everything in my power to make another person happy. And I forget about who I am and myself and that whole process from my mother to my ex-husband, to my previous love interest, my brother, and at one point, even my daughter. So, those have been the times when I have, you know, just willingly unconsciously given away my power and I try to be completely aware of that trigger. Now, I know what it feels like when it's coming. So, I try to own that and acknowledge it and then work through it before I get to the point of that.

Angela Gennari: So, you're fearing that they're going to leave you or not accept you. So, you go above and beyond to transition to them, having the power over you.

Tammy Green: I do everything I can to earn that love yeah. In that position. And anytime that I have gotten my power back, it has come at a cost of losing. Pretty much everything, you know? I have lived through hell. I have lived through a three-year period of being afraid of being homeless with my kid and living out of my car. and I, every... you, can't be powerful when you've lived through hell and survived it. There's really not a whole lot on this earth that I'm afraid of anymore. There's just not a whole lot.

Angela Gennari: Yeah. Well, and you have a resilience that you cannot understand your power and your resilience until you've recovered from something that tried to hurt you or tried to kill you in some way. And so, once you understand your power and your resilience, I think it's a lot easier to step into that power because, at the end of this, you will be okay. Even if it takes reinventing yourself, I have a quote on my desk, at my house, in my home office and it says right now is the time to reinvent yourself. And I look at it every day. I'm like, yep, today's another day, reinvent myself again, because again, it's okay. I may have gone through a couple of difficulties, but that's not who I am. Today is a new day to reinvent me and to create this power and create this resilience and tenacity that you need to keep pushing forward.

Tammy Green: Well, excuse me, people who have lived, I mean, people who knew me when I was in high school or even in college would not recognize me today. I'm confident really of that.

Angela Gennari: Why do you say that?

Tammy Green: Well, because of that very thing, I've reinvented myself time after time after time. I was going to be a successful entrepreneur in college and I got a corporate job straight out of college and I was well on my way to that. And then I got married and then I was a wife and a mother and then I got divorced and I was, oh, who the heck am I now? After 14 years of marriage and then I was a business owner and then I was not a business owner and it's just it's been amazing. And every point of that has produced another challenge that goes along with it. When, after I divorced about a year after the divorce, I discovered that I probably hadn't been on my true path all along. Because I'm actually attracted to women and not men. And learning that about oneself at age 44. Is pretty profound. And then there's a whole different set of challenges because now who's going to abandon me right now.

Angela Gennari: Well, having the courage to say that out loud and confront the people in your life and say, this is who I really am. Do you still love me? Do you still accept me? Especially for somebody like you, who spent their life wanting people to not abandon them and not be disappointed. So, tell me what that was like?

Tammy Green: Oh gosh! That was so frightening. So, when I discovered it, of course, I had to go through this complete process of checking in with everything I had been taught about homosexuality yes. In my church. And in my town and in my childhood and all of that.

Angela Gennari: And I small town, Mississippi.

Tammy Green: Oh, my goodness! Yeah. So, I spent a year doing all of that and coming to the place where I believe that God loves me and made me exactly the way that I am. And I'm okay with that. Well, then I had, I was worried about my kid because she was nine. I didn't want to impact her negatively. With her friends and their parents.

So, there's a whole different side of that. And then my own family. So, my dad and my Lala, I told my dad and of course, his reaction was funny as usual but sincere. And I think maybe the scariest thing I ever did was, was tell my Lala. Because she was so important to me. And so, she's had such an impact on my life and I could not imagine the rest of my life without her.

Angela Gennari: Oh, wow. I just couldn't.

Tammy Green: Yeah. And her reaction was you better not ever wait a year and a half to tell me something again.

Angela Gennari: Oh my gosh! So, that's amazing.

Tammy Green: So, my mom did not take it so well.

Angela Gennari: But you've had a volatile relationship with her from when you were a child right?

Tammy Green: Yes. We haven't spoken since 2012. And that's her choice. And that's okay. I love her, I understand that she did the best she could with what she had. And she raised me and I just have to love her from afar. So, that's what we do.

Angela Gennari: And sometimes you do that for your own self-protection too.

Tammy Green: That's exactly right.

Angela Gennari: Yeah. And you have to, you know, if there's toxicity in your life, even if it's from a family member, um, sometimes for your own good and your own energy and your own peace, you just have to that's to love afar you can still love them, but you don't have to have them in your life all, all the time.

Tammy Green: Well, at this point I have more years behind me than I do ahead of me. And I'm just not willing to give my energy to someone who is negative or perceives me as negative or my life is negative or my family is negative. Just not going to do that.

Angela Gennari: Absolutely, a hundred percent. And how was your dad?

Tammy Green: Oh, my dad. So, I told him and his response was I said, well, that this person and I are more than friends. And he said, well, hell yeah, I know that. Do you think I'm dumb? And that he's very blustery and mouthy and funny. And I said, no, I don't think that. And I asked him, well, do you still love me? And he goes, girl, there's nothing you could ever do. That would make me not love you.

Angela Gennari: Aw. I love that.

Tammy Green: And that, you know, it still brings tears to my eyes when I think about that. It was just important

Angela Gennari: Well, and I listening to your story and hearing the stories of your dad and you riding in the pickup truck and how you would snuggle up with him and in the front and he would make room for you under his arm. And he would take you to preschool and grab some donuts on the way I love these stories. I think that there's just so amazing. And I love that you're sharing these very intimate moments in your story, because that is vulnerability, right.

Tammy Green: It's very much is. And writing these stories about family members. Who may or may not of course I had to clear all that, but my dad who has never really been a big reader reads a whole lot more now in his older age than he ever has, but he's read it twice and oh, both times he said, you know, there were a few parts that made my eyes leak a little bit? And I try to press him on what that is. And he's like, whoa, I don't remember.

Angela Gennari: That's amazing. But yeah, it's funny. Okay. So, as you're coming out to your family and so what was your wife's family like? Were they accepting, had she already been out like, tell me how that worked.

Tammy Green: Yes. So, she had been out since high school and college. I don't know if she was out to her family sure. Early, but she has sort of always known, I think.

Angela Gennari: Did help you maybe?

Tammy Green: Honestly, I think it's sort of been the opposite really. I think with me not realizing this until I was older, I had a lot more confidence and courage because I've walked in the hetero world for so long. It was very easy for me to see the difference between the two worlds.

Angela Gennari: Interesting.

Tammy Green: Very different. And this was before same-sex marriage was legal. There were 1,173 rights that I had married to a man that I didn't have married to a woman. So, that was very enlightening. And I came out at a time when the world was a lot more accepting of that, even though it's still scary, but in college, she had difficulties with her family and walked through some pretty challenging times with them. And there were times when she was alone and that breaks my heart today to think about that. Today that's not the story. And they're a very close family and they have accepted me and my daughter without hesitation and they love us to pieces and I love them to pieces and...

Angela Gennari: That's awesome.

Tammy Green: They're very, it's good. It's a good thing.

Angela Gennari: Well, that's wonderful. I'm very happy to hear that. So, who inspires you?

Tammy Green: So, I would probably have to say my grandmother was the biggest inspiration of my life. She was very much a feminist in a time when that was not acceptable. She was a single mother of two very young children. My daddy was 10 months old when my grandfather Jessie was killed on an oil truck. So, she remarried and had two more children, and right after that, she went through nursing school on her own. Ended up divorcing my grandfather and struck out again on another life, and she's probably the one in my life who has done most of the things that inspire me to do you know stick my hand and dabble in all these little things. She's flipped houses. She was a nurse she sat with, well, at 83, she was someone who did private nursing and sat with elderly people in their homes and, and that kind of thing. And if you ask her what she did, she said, well, I sit for older people, and she was home. She was 83. I babysit old people. So, and she's always, she's super smart, super-intelligent way beyond her wise, and then probably next would be my Lala. She was always been the love backbone of our family, and there's not a person that crosses her threshold who leaves without knowing that they are loved and cared for.

Angela Gennari: That unconditional love that everybody needs.

Tammy Green: Absolutely.

Angela Gennari: That's wonderful. My great-grandmother was the same. She was 86 years old when she passed away. And she worked right up until she passed. And when she worked at a senior living center and I don't even think she got paid for it. I think she was volunteering, but she would say, I've got to go play games with the old folks. So, the old folks home.

Angela Gennari: I love that. Like, she, I love it, you know, and that was just... I am just so, impressed with that generation that they are just, yeah, that whole, I don't know. What is it before baby boomers? Really? What is the grandparents' generation, but they are...

Tammy Green: Depression-era.

Angela Gennari: Yeah, just the tenacity and the ETH the work ethic and of their generation is mind-blowing? So, what advice would you give to your 18-year-old self setting out on your journey?

Tammy Green: Well, first of all, my 18-year-old self would probably tell me to F off

Angela Gennari: gain, that resistance to authority.

Tammy Green: She would tell me, I don't have time for you. Just go do your thing and leave me alone, but I would probably tell her to pay close attention to her intuition. And to trust it, I would probably tell her to maybe try running or biking instead of alcohol, to try to fill that void inside. And I think that I would just tell her that she is not what everyone else has told her that she is and that she's so much more than that. And that she can trust that and that she can trust that someday she's going to give birth to a child who will be the entire joy of her life. And someday she's going to meet the love of her life, who will show her all the parts that she was meant to be.

Angela Gennari: Wow. I love it. So, of all the obstacles and the challenges that you've been through your life, and I mean, you know, you tell the stories in your book and you can really connect with people through your book. Tell me, what do you think is the most challenging obstacle that you've had to overcome and how you got through it? Tell me about what kind of resilience you had to have the courage to have in order to get through that?

Tammy Green: The surviving, the complete collapse of my financial independence was probably part...

Angela Gennari: And this is after your divorce, right?

Tammy Green: This is after, well, this was kind of leading up to the divorce. I was 13 years sober. So, I was already sober. And I had purchased 18 rental properties in a matter of a year and a half and was well on my way. And of course, you know, the market tanked and I lost everything. I couldn't sell the homes for what I had borrowed them for. And I had bought them at 80 cents on the dollar when I bought them. So, I couldn't sell them for the mortgages that I had on them. I was working as a realtor as well, helping other people, and then I had the investment business and both of those businesses tanked. So, I really was, I was so afraid that I was going to have to move back to chunky Mississippi with my daughter and live in my dad's basement. I was petrified of that. So, I ended up going back to school. I had reached a point where I couldn't handle any more collection calls. And I had a moral opposition to bankruptcy because I felt like that was a failing. And I did not want to go back on the promise that I had made to the people who had financed the houses. And I finally got to the point where I had to do something different. And so, I filed for bankruptcy and divorce on the same day. My ex-husband had moved to the coast after Hurricane Katrina and started a building business there. So, he was coming home once a month on the weekend, and I was here trying to survive, trying to single parent working any odd job that I could possibly find, and it was just too much, it was taking a big toll on my health. So, I filed for bankruptcy. I filed for divorce and I enrolled in a two-year program to learn how to take x-rays. So, I could get another job. This was 20 years after I had a bachelor's degree in accounting.

Angela Gennari: Talk about reinventing yourself, right?

Tammy Green: Yeah. So, I spent the next two years going to school and digging myself out of the hole that I had been in. And it felt like the universe had a complete stink eye out for me. The whole time. And then finally it broke. It just broke, and I got a job. I graduated, I got a job at a hospital and was earning money again, and the property management business was doing okay. It had put groceries on the table for the last two years. So, it was doing okay, good. My daughter was thriving. It was just good. And that in and of itself, I spent a three-year period going to AA meetings daily and sitting in there and crying for an hour each day. And the only reason that I didn't take a drink during all of that is because I knew that I wouldn't put it down until I died. If I took one drink, I was going to do it until I died. And the thought of leaving my daughter behind broke my heart. So, she's heard me say this before, but she saved my life. She really did. And just by existing.

Angela Gennari: Yeah. Just for something to live for, you've had something to live for bigger than you. And now you're an author and you've created this incredible book, telling a story that I think is going to resonate with so many people. And you have no idea how many people you will save through this. So, congratulations on that. That's amazing.

Tammy Green: So that's very exciting.

Angela Gennari: It's more reason than ever for you to have gotten through all that you've gotten through because your story, you have no idea who it's going to connect with. Absolutely. And who it may save in the future. Who is going through something similar? Afraid to be vulnerable, afraid that they're not going to come back from this. I mean, when you can file for divorce and bankruptcy on the same day, and not know if you're going to get through it and you're in recovery at the same time and you made it through and you are sitting here today, the author of a book. So, congratulations on this incredible journey.

Tammy Green: Thank you.

Angela Gennari: So, one last question for you. What do you wish people knew? What do you wish people knew in any way that you want to answer?

Tammy Green: I wish people knew that financial success is not the ruler for measuring success. I think that we are all subjected to that, especially in this country. Because we're so capitalistic and we're trained for that as children. And I wish that people knew that that's not where your self-worth comes from. Because I was full for... by that for so long. I wish that people knew that, that they are more powerful than they could ever imagine. And that they could use that power to create communities in yes. A world that is so good for all of us. That's what I wish.

Angela Gennari: Yeah. I love it. Yeah. I agree. People are so much more powerful than they give themselves credit for. And if you only knew, if you like we were saying earlier, you have no idea. Who's waiting to hear the words that you have to say. So, get out there and be vulnerable. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you being here. I love your story and highly encourage everyone to go read Living Without Skin. I think it's an incredible book and I can't wait for this sequel.

Tammy Green: Thank you so much for having me.

Angela Gennari: Absolutely.

Thank you for joining our guests on the Pretty Powerful Podcast. And we hope you've gained new insight and learned from exceptional women. Remember to subscribe or check out this and all episodes on prettypowerfulpodcast.com visit us next time and until then step into your own power.

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Tammy Green


Tammy Green is the author of Living without Skin, a haphazard blogger, and a thinker of surprisingly deep, sometimes wide, thoughts. A real estate professional and healthcare worker by day, author by night, she has also written articles for Elephant Journal. She resides in Memphis, TN, with her wife, two exceptionally perfect dogs, and a boss cat. She is a lover of words, her grandkitten, caramel cake, and saving items for later in her Amazon shopping cart. You can chat with Tammy at www.wordsofgreen.com, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram@wordsofgreen, and Twitter@wordsofgreen1.