154 – This is Not My Beautiful Life with Victoria Fedden

Hello! Welcome back to The David Madow Lifestyle Show. This is the show where I help you live stronger, thinner, healthier, and happier. I’ve got a great show for you today. I know I pretty much always say that or almost always say that. I think every show is great. I really do! I wouldn’t publish it or broadcast it if I didn’t think it was great. This show is going to be incredibly great. Make sure you are in a quiet place and listen to this from start to finish. I promise you, this is going to be a life changer!

Before I bring her on, I do want to remind you that I have a VIP list. It’s totally FREE! If you haven’t signed up yet, go to my website at www.davidmadow.com and on the right hand side you will see “Join my VIP list”. All you have to do is type your email address and click submit. The reason I have a VIP list is that I try to say as much as I can on my podcasts, on my Periscope broadcasts, on social media, or wherever I am giving information. But sometimes there are some things that I don’t want to say out to the universe and I kind of keep a few things privately to people on my VIP list. I will never sell your name or spam you.

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Let me explain what the show is going to be about today. Those of you that listened to me last week, I talked a little bit about this last week. It’s about a book I read a short time ago. It changed my life. The book is called “This Is Not My Beautiful Life”. I’ve got the author of the book on the show today as my guest. Her name is Victoria Fedden.

Dr. Dave: “There’s no time like now to bring her in. Victoria are you there and how are you doing?”

Victoria: “I’m here and I’m doing great! Thank you! How are you?”

Dr. Dave: “Victoria, I’m doing great! I’m up in the Maryland area. And I know you’re in Florida but let me tell you we’ve been having this summer that’s a killer. It’s been super hot and humid here every day so I feel like I need an ocean here next to me. It’s just crazy. It’s been super super hot. It’s probably cooler where you are. I think you are in South Florida right?”

Victoria: “Yeah, I’m in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and I assure you it is not cooler. [Laughing in the background] It is like living in a sauna. It is really hot!”

Dr. Dave: “We’re going to have to have a little face off here. I bet you that it’s hotter here. [Dave giggling] Anyway,so I want to talk to you about this book you wrote. I want to let you know and I don’t think I have ever told you this before but I am not really a serious reader. I read business books and self-help books and motivational but I’m an outdoors guy and I like running and stuff like that. Typically, I will buy a book on my Kindle and after a few chapters, I just kind of stop and I am on to the next thing. But I talked to you on, Facebook I think, for a short time about this book that you just came out with. And I think I said something like Victoria do you think this would be a good book for me? And right away you replied and said absolutely! So I downloaded it and once I downloaded it and started reading it, let me tell you something, from the very first page or two I was sucked into this thing. I could not put it down. I remember right from the first chapter, you were in your parents house and their was a knock on the door. You were in your pajamas and were like 8 or 9 months pregnant. And the knock on the door that you described went on to change your life forever.”

Victoria: “Yes, it did!”

Dr. Dave: “It did change your life forever. And I couldn’t put the book down. I think I messaged you somewhere along the road as I was reading it. I remember I was busy, I was in Colorado and had a full schedule and I said Victoria, it will probably take me a long time to read this book because I will probably read a little at a time. But I finished this book in world record David Madow time. This is really weird. I don’t know if anyone has told you yet but I was really hoping there was more. I read the epilogue and the note from the publisher. I just kept reading this thing and I kept hoping that it keep going on forever but it didn’t. I just want to let you know that this is really special because it kept my attention the entire time.”

Victoria: “Well thank you so much! I’m really really flattered to hear that.”

Dr. Dave: “And not only that, when I was probably half way through, I did a Periscope broadcast and insisted that my viewers buy this book and read it. I made it their homework. Seriously. And to make it easier for them I put an Amazon link on my website and told them to go there and read it. And many of them have bought it. No one has finished it yet because it was just last week that I told them about it. But somebody on Periscope today told me that he was on chapter 20 and was loving it. So again, I want to thank you so much. But I’ve got a bunch of things I’ve got to ask you about with this book.”

Victoria: “Ok perfect! Ask away.”

Dr. Dave: “Well I guess the first question is, you definitely did something magical here. I want to hear from you. Why did you write this book?”

Victoria: “I wrote the book because I knew I had a good story. On the day of the raid, I actually told my parents, one day I am going to write a memoir about this and it better be a best seller. And everybody laughed and me and was like haha, Ok Victoria Ok. But I knew from day one. I didn’t know what was going to happen but I knew that I was going to have a good story and one day I was going to write that memoir. But that doesn’t necessarily answer the question of why. Besides being a good story, I felt that I needed to get the story out of me. I felt that I had grown and changed so much as a person and that I had learned so many lessons that although it was an unusual situation the lessons I learned were universal. And I really felt like what my family and I had been through I needed to use that in some way to help other people out there.”

Dr. Dave: “Incredible! Now I have to be very careful, as I told you before we chatted a little bit before I pressed record and to be fair to our listeners I don’t want to give too many things away because I really want them to read this book from start to finish and I don’t want to tell them what it’s about or what happened. But it is totally a life changer. I am going to recommend it. You basically talked about a 4 year slice of your life and what happened. It’s not only about you but it changed my life. It got me to look at my life a different way and realize that everybody, and I mean everybody, has stuff going on in their lives. Maybe on different levels but everybody’s got something going on. When you were going through this 4-year ordeal, I noticed that you talked about yoga a lot maybe half way through the book. You started going to a yoga class and you hated it as first. You made it very clear that you were horrible at yoga and you were not like the other people in the class. But then as the book went on and progressed, you became a lot more comfortable about yoga and the poses and it started really changing your life. I would like to talk to you a little about yoga. I am in the same situation. I definitely practice yoga. I’ve been doing it for 6 or 7 years now and when I first started I was kinda like you were. I just felt really uncomfortable with it. But once you keep doing it, it really really is a life changer. So tell me why you think yoga was really a major player in getting you through this 4-year period of your life?”

Victoria: “I think what it was is that is really helped me to calm down. I also met a lot of other people that were really going through tough times too. Many of them far tougher than what I was going through. So I started to see that everybody was there for healing. Everybody was trying to get by. Everybody was trying to learn skills to cope with their life and it wasn’t just me. It’s hard to explain how just stretching for an hour and a half in a dark room, but it’s life changing. I’ve tried to put my finger on what exactly it is about it but I think a lot of it has to do with focus. It helped me to focus. It helped me learn to set intentions. Not just while I was in class but every day. Because at the beginning of every yoga class they say, Ok now set your intention. I never quite understood how to do that in class so I started making it up on my own. I would say Ok today I am going to stop fighting. Today I am going to love myself more. Today I am going to just try a little bit harder. Or today I am going to be more open minded. I’m still not entirely sure if that’s what the teachers want us to do but that’s what I do and that’s what works for me. So I started doing that off of my mat too. So every morning now when I wake up, I set an intention for the day. It’s not the same as a to do list where my intention is to go to the grocery store or go to the post office. It’s not that kind of intention. It’s an intention to be more mindful, be more compassionate, or to be more open-hearted.”

Dr. Dave: “Now you didn’t really make it clear in the book and when I was reading about the yoga part which I loved hearing about. You definitely talked about the hot room but you didn’t make it clear so is it truly like the hot yoga (Bikram yoga) that you were doing or just regular yoga and the room was warm?”

Victoria: “Not Bikram no. But I think they keep it between 95 and 97 degrees in there.”

Dr. Dave: “Ok that’s definitely hot. [Dave laughs]”

Victoria: “Well yeah. I live in Florida so I guess I am used to the heat. In the beginning I felt like it was hot but now when I go in and take a yoga class, I don’t really think about the temperature anymore. It doesn’t phase me too much.”

Dr. Dave: “Ah excellent. I remember something else that I’ll never forget and I believe it was when you were sending your daughter to a private school and you were noticing how the other mothers would being their kids in and they would be these perfect looking women, and everything was great, and it looked like they had all this money and their lives were just so simple. And then you started to get together with some of them and you started to go around the room and some of the women started to open up and it was like they all had pretty big problems. And they started talking about them. And oh my god it was unbelievable.”

Victoria: “Oh it was! That was a completely life changing moment for me. And I have to continually remind myself of that moment because thinking that other people have perfect lives. It’s actually something that I still struggle with. I call it my tragic downfall that I will always idolize other people without really getting to know them. So that’s something that I am still working on. But when that happened, I was in this room and they all had their hair perfectly highlighted, and drove really nice cars, and they all had their Starbuck’s cups, and their kids were always adorably dressed. I felt like I was a big mess. When they started talking about the truth of their lives, I saw that I was definitely not alone. I was in very good company. And some of those women are my very best friends to this day and I am so thankful for them.”

Dr. Dave: “Wow! I learned a lot from that. I am kinda the same as you are. You look around and you see some of these people that are just making so much money, and they live in these mansions, and they are driving the fanciest cars. But guess what their lives are probably just as screwed up as anybody else. They just don’t really show it or talk about it. So I thought that was an amazing part and I will never forget that part of your book. It was really really cool. So I was on Periscope this morning Victoria, and maybe I’m obsessed because I talk about your book a lot, I mentioned that I was going to be interviewing you today and one of my viewers typed in a question and said can you please ask Victoria this question? And I said type it in and let me see what it is. So if it’s Ok I want to ask this question? It’s actually from Steve, one of my viewers and listener of my podcast also. He said that it seemed like your husband was almost in the background when you were going through this crazy crazy 4-year ordeal and he wasn’t all that involved. He wanted to know did you look to your husband for support or did he not give you support? What was the story there? Did he maybe give you support that you didn’t write about. He wanted to know a little more about that.”

Victoria: “He did give me support that I didn’t write about. There was a large period of time there where he wasn’t physically around. I mention it very briefly a few times in the book that because of his job he was travelling a lot. So we spent several weeks apart. There were a few times when I went up to Delaware for a couple months at a time. So there were parts when we really were not together. But we did speak every day and we Facetimed every day. So he was there and he was giving me emotional support. But also I think that a struggle that we have had in our marriage is that he is more introverted than I am about making things like this public. And I think it can be hard for someone who is much more private and much more guarded to be married to a person like me who is not guarded at all and has zero secrets whatsoever. So I need to respect that boundary with him as much as possible all the time. So I try not to write about him too much.”

Dr. Dave: “Ok that totally makes sense then. And I understand. The reason I understand is as you know my life is really out there and it seems like if something happens crazy in my life, I share it. I think there’s always a learning experience. I feel that if something happens to me in my life I share it with my listeners, my followers, my viewers. If I can help one person in their lives then I feel good about that and I kinda suspect I help a lot more than one. So I totally understand. My life is really out there as well. You mentioned several times in the book about being from Delaware and there were at least one or two times that you went back there to visit some family. And it’s funny some of the things that you mention, being in Maryland and having lived in Maryland for most of my life, a lot of that sounded very familiar to me especially some of the things you talked about being at the beach. But I was curious. You talked about being at the beach but you never mentioned the beach by name. I’m guessing it might have been Rehoboth Beach but am I right or am I off?”

Victoria: “Yes, it was Rehoboth Beach.”

Dr. Dave: “Ok. I have so many childhood memories there so a lot of the things you were talking about that I could totally identify with. It was amazing.”

Victoria: “Oh I loved writing that section too because I have so many fond wonderful memories of Rehoboth. It’s easily one of my top five favorite places on Earth.”

Dr. Dave: “It’s a great place! And I loved when you wrote about being in Delaware one winter and I think you said basically the beach isn’t open and there was nothing going on. And you kind of painted it as though there was nothing going on very cold there when there’s not a lot of people going to the beach. So I could totally identify with that and really loved it. There were many times in the book where you questioned yourself whether you’re a good mother or a good wife. And we’re not going to give too many things away because I want everyone to read this book. So how are you doing with being a mom and being a wife now that this ordeal has passed and you are in another phase of your life? Are things going ok with that?”

Victoria: “Yeah they are. I think I’ve healed a lot. I still have a lot more healing to go of course. I think that’s a lifelong process for anybody. Anybody who’s self aware at least. So I’m always going to be working on myself and I’m always going through some sort of a healing process I think. I don’t really see myself and seeing enlightenment in this lifetime but you never know. [giggling] But I’m in a much better place. I have good days and bad days. Depression and anxiety is something that I still struggle with. In the book, I was actually medicated for part of the book. But I am no longer taking any kind of medication now. I try to control all of my depression and anxiety with yoga, meditation, exercise, and eating halfway decently most of the time.”

Dr. Dave: “I like that. I like that. Eating halfway decently most of the time. [Dr. Dave laughs] That gives you a lot of leeway there Victoria.”

Victoria: [giggling] “I’m just trying to be honest.”

Dr. Dave: “No, no. I like that. You’re totally honest. In this book you talked about some of the foods you ate and let’s face it a lot of them were not very healthy. And you talked about your depression and how your doctor finally put you on medication. You really were out there and talked about your life. I think that’s one of the reasons that I couldn’t put the book down. It was so real. It was not a made up story. It was a true story. And you pretty much didn’t hold anything back. It was really greatly appreciated. For someone that is reading this book, what is the take away? What would be the one thing that you want people to learn from this book?”

Victoria: “I have a lot of takeaways actually. One thing that I really want people to take away from it is that other people are not perfect. What we see on Facebook and social media, or what we see during brief interactions such as preschool drop off, that’s not real people’s lives. That’s just a very very tiny part of people’s lives. And we all have hard things happen to us and we can all get through them. It’s best not to hide what we’re going through. And it’s best to be open and honest and not be ashamed of your story.”

Dr. Dave: “You know it’s funny that you said that. I talk about this so often on my podcast and on Periscope as well. It’s so easy. On Facebook, no one’s going to put a bad picture of themselves, they’re going to put the absolute best pictures taken from the absolute best angles possible so they look great. And they’re not going to post that they’ve had a horrible depressing day. They’re going to post something from a beautiful restaurant or their vacation or a brand new car. Something like that. So what you said is so true. And you’re kind of preaching to the choir because it’s almost unfair to look at Facebook or some type of social media platform and see everybody out there because you’re not seeing the real thing. It’s probably something else that just attracted to your book and got me hooked. I think I’m probably going to read it again. Unless you’re going to write something really quickly. Because I’ve got to read something else from Victoria Fedden. I’m just curious. Talking about your writing a little bit. I don’t think this is your first book. You’ve had at least another book or so. But I’m guessing that based on what I’m seeing on Facebook and hearing, this book has exceeded your wildest expectation and dreams. If I’m right on that I would love to know a little more about that. What’s it like to be this author that’s now famous and getting this recognition? It must be incredible.”

Victoria: “It is incredible and a lot of times it doesn’t even feel real to me. I have a lot of people emailing me, texting me sending me Facebook messages, and many of them are total strangers. And they’re telling me that my book has helped them so much, and it’s changed their lives, and taught them lessons. That is what really blows my mind. It’s not so much seeing the book in all the airport bookstores or anything like that. I’ve got people that I really don’t know contacting me and saying, hey I’ve read your book and it really affected me. And I really needed this and needed to hear your words. That has just been mind blowing for me.”

Dr. Dave: “Isn’t that a great feeling? That must be amazing.”

Victoria: “It is! It is amazing. I had a few moments of insecurity where I felt like maybe I wasn’t worthy of that. Because I still feel like me who’s really bad at yoga and doesn’t always eat the best food. [Dave laughs] I’m still that person. Sometimes I feel like oh my gosh am I up for this? Am I worthy of this? But yes I feel like the universe chose me for this mission and I will do my best.”

Dr. Dave: “That’s amazing! Do you have time to answer everybody that messages you?”

Victoria: “Not always. A few times I’ve gotten very overwhelmed with it. But what I do when that happens is that I just set everything to the side. I’ll take a break. I’ll read. I’ll go for a walk. I’ll go to yoga. And then I’ll come back to it later. But I feel very very grateful for every person that buys my book and reads my book. And I feel like I need to acknowledge my readers. So yes I do message everybody back as best as I can but not always immediately.”

Dr. Dave: “No no. Good for you. You probably don’t even know how many people you are helping out there. That’s great! So Victoria the book is titled This Is Not My Beautiful Life. I actually put a couple links to the Kindle version and to the hard copy version on my website. So if my listeners want to go there, I just like to make it easy for people. It is one of the recommended products. Sometimes I speak to authors Victoria and they prefer that people go into a regular store and buy it and give the brick and mortar places business. Does it matter to you where people get it?”

Victoria: “It doesn’t necessarily matter to me. Wherever people get it. Whatever is most convenient for the reader, I think is best. But I do strongly support independent bookstores.”

Dr. Dave: “Sure. I know down in South Florida there are a bunch. So what’s you next project? Anything on the horizon at all?”

Victoria: “Oh yeah, I never stop writing. I write for hours at a time. I write every single day even on the weekends sometimes and I do a lot of freelance work. I write a lot of articles. I have my own website at www.victoriafedden.com. I write for www.babble.com. I’ve written a few pieces for www.scarymommy.com. On www.elephantjournal.com, I’m a regular contributor. I love that website. And I’m hoping to add a few more. In addition to that, I am working on another memoir. I have two self published books from a few years ago that I actually took off the market and I have a lot of ideas for what I want to do with those. I would like to re-edit those and make those a lot better and try to do something else with them. I think they were great books with a lot of good stories but I feel that now I am a better writer and I can actually improve those two books. So I am working on that too.”

Dr. Dave: “You are a really really busy person. So I recommend that everyone go to my website. As I said I want to make it really easy. Victoria’s book is there. Both versions whether you want it on Kindle or hard copy. But Victoria if someone wants to know more about you should they just go to your website? Can they connect with you there?”

Victoria: “They can connect with me there but I really feel that the best place to connect with me and see everything that I am doing is by going to my Facebook page.”

Dr. Dave: “Ok and share with us how they can find you on Facebook?”

Victoria: “It’s www.facebook.com/victoriacfedden. And on my Facebook page I put links to every single article I write from every site. I write several posts a day. I do a thing called Morning Pages which is really a journaling exercise that I do most days. I started making my morning pages public because I felt like a lot of really interesting things were coming through that could really be of service to others. So those have been really popular too. I get very raw with those. I definitely expose a lot of my personal truths in those. So that’s there. I write inspirational quotes. I also share others people’s articles and things. So I think that’s probably the best place. And readers comment and interact there a lot and I always try to comment back to everyone.”

Dr. Dave: “That’s fantastic! So as your homework, you’ve gotta read the book, This Is Not My Beautiful Life. I’ve shared with you where to get that. And make sure you connect with Victoria on her Facebook page. I have to admit I knew you had a page there but I probably haven’t spent as much time as I should. You made it really enticing for me to go check some stuff out there too. So I’m going to do that as well Victoria. Listen we went way over but I’m not complaining because this has been incredible. I really appreciate your time. I just want to ask you one final question. And I want to thank you so much for being here too. You can come back anytime Victoria. This has been awesome! And I know I am going to get a lot of listeners. But my last question for you is, is this your beautiful life?”

Victoria: “Yes definitely! This is definitely my beautiful life even the parts of it that are ugly.”

Dr. Dave: “I love it! I am glad to hear that! From what I’m seeing you are absolutely living a beautiful life. I congratulate you on all your success and your writing. I can’t wait until the next one comes out because I’m going to absolutely be the first in line to read your next book. I promise you! But until then I invite you to come back anytime Victoria. Thanks so much for your time and we will talk to you soon for sure.”

Victoria: “Oh I hope so. I absolutely loved this! And thank you so much for having me on. It was such a wonderful experience.”

Dr. Dave: “Your welcome anytime.”

Victoria: “Alright, thank you!”

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