Toby Dorr
Episode 13

Episode 13

Toby Dorr: Hello, and welcome to Fierce Conversations with Toby, the show where we talk about the hard things. I’m Toby Dorr. In today’s episode, Living Louder, we will be discussing how we all have the power to envision a new life. Our guest today is Portia Louder, who shares her story of triumph against the odds. Her memoir is called Living Louder, which is an excellent book, I just finished it. And she is an advocate for incarcerated women. Portia is working on her second book, Born to Be Brave. After meeting Portia, you won’t look at your world in the same way. Hi, Portia. I’m so excited to have you here with us. Thanks for joining us today.

Portia Louder: Thank you, Toby. I am excited to be here.

Toby Dorr: We have such similar stories. I think we connect on a lot of levels. I like to ask a question at the beginning the same as every guest that kind of gets us to know a little bit more about You and that question is pretty simple. What’s your favorite color? And what does that color tell us about you?

Portia Louder: That’s a great question. My favorite color is blue. And, the way I describe blue is soft, kind, and strong. And I love my husband’s eyes are blue and, and we’ve been married for 25 years and. You know, that, I mean, my favorite color has evolved over time, but while I was in prison, blue was my color, because I just remembered,

Toby Dorr: I think I do remember reading that in your book before I even ask. I mean, when you started saying that, I remembered, oh yeah, her husband’s eyes. That’s her favorite color.

Portia Louder: yeah.

Toby Dorr: That’s pretty cool. I love that you said it’s kind and soft, I think that’s beautiful.

Portia Louder: Thank you.

Toby Dorr: Can you tell us about a crossroads in your life that pushed you in a different direction?

Portia Louder: Oh, goodness. Um, just one.

Toby Dorr: Well, I know there are many, so you can tell us about as many as you’d like, actually.

Portia Louder: Um,

Toby Dorr: Go!

Portia Louder: I look at my life as two major crossroads. And I mean, there’s more, but the main two, in my twenties, I was a single mother and was struggling with addiction. And so, at that point, I hit a bottom and really reached out for support and my life changed. And so that was a major crossroads for me. I walked away from the things that were causing me harm and my family harm and started to live a more principle-centered life. And that was a big transition for me. I built a company at that point. I married my husband and it just was a, it was a big change. It was the hardest thing I had done up to that point in my life was to make those changes.

So that was a crossroads for me. And, you know, years later, I would draw on that when I went to prison because You know, and it took some time in prison for me to realize that the way out was within my power that I could decide to do the work and see myself in a different way and empower myself through honesty and accountability.

And so that I would say, you know, obviously prison was a crossroads, but even more. So when I decided, in prison to change my life and to take, you know, take ownership of where I was. I feel like that was a big crossroads for me. And, you know, my life has never been the same, but it was devastating and painful, of course, but it was so empowering and it’s given me the life I have today.

Toby Dorr: You know, I think some of the most empowering things in our lives are devastating and painful because if we never changed and just stayed the same, we just have the same life. But I think change requires pain so I can relate. And I read in your book, you know, one thing really stuck out to me that you said you realized that you were keeping yourself busy so you didn’t have to face your pain. And I can so relate to that. And I think that was the biggest indicator to me that I needed to make a change. So can you tell us a little bit more about that and how you, what you did when you realized you needed to do something different?

Portia Louder: right. Yeah. So before, you know, climbing out of being a single mom and addiction, you know, I spent. Five years just working, working, working to build me, to build my company, to be a mom and, and. I was working 18 hours a day. I mean, I was just working and working because I, you know, hard work is, but I lost myself in that. And you know for different reasons, prison’s painful for different reasons. For me, it was easier than my life out here because I was so busy. And, when I got to prison, it was so painful because I had been using being busy to avoid the feelings that I had. To really take a look at my life and develop that self-awareness. And so, you know, I got there and I had the time, but I was in just total pain because I had been avoiding it for so long. And, you know, even in prison, you can find a way to stay busy. They call it institutionalized where you, you know, you get up, you do the same thing every day, so you don’t have to feel your feelings. And I found myself even doing that in prison. I started working as a photographer. I was working in education. I was getting up at four in the morning and I created this routine to keep myself so busy. And then I got to that place where I realized, and I got some good advice too, but I realized, like, if things are going to be different for me. Man, I need to do the work while I’m here. And I feel like that’s a huge accomplishment to be willing to walk through your pain, you know.

Toby Dorr: I can so relate to that. Before I went to prison, I had a checklist and at the end of the day, if I could check 17 things off my list, I felt like it’d been a good day. 17 – so ridiculous, you know, and I remember sitting in prison going, wow, no deadlines, no projects, no emails. I have time. And so, you know, I can relate to that because I decided to, to use that time to reflect and make a difference at change, go in a different direction in my life. So, you know, time can be a gift. It is difficult. Time in prison is difficult and the clock feels like it never moves, but there is a way you can use that time to your advantage. And I love that.

Portia Louder: well, I was just gonna say it’s interesting because you know, a lot of people in prison feel like I’m just gonna sleep my time away or waste my time, you know, and there I was with the reality of how valuable time is really hit me while setting in prison. I decided like, I am never going to sell my time for money like I did before. You know, I’m going to enjoy it. And now I’m really like, I value my time so much. So, I was grateful for that shift versus a lot of people looking at it as a waste of time. For me, it was so valuable that I didn’t want to, when I got out, I didn’t want to keep myself busy anymore because I felt like that internal work. Once you get going on that, it’s like, I, you know, it’s, it’s everything.

Toby Dorr: It’s, it’s just vital to who we are, I think. Yeah. So, and I, you know, I found that a lot of that internal work is what gave me the courage to tell my story and write my book and, and I think you’ve done the same thing. With your book. So, one of the other lines (in your book), that really stuck out to me and I think this is so true, is that sometimes we’re keeping secrets, but those secrets are actually keeping us. Can you expand on that a little bit and tell us, you know, the cost of having secrets?

Portia Louder: You know, um, I was so worried about what people thought of me before I went to prison, you know, always trying to, the last thing you want to do is admit your mistakes, right? Now, I see how powerful it is to openly admit your mistakes because you really do let go of all your fears of what people think and start to get down. That stuff doesn’t have power over you anymore. Like, right? As long as you’re keeping those secrets, it all has power over you. And so I think I shared in the book where I was in a class and this woman gets up and she openly admits all of her mistakes. This is in prison. And she had… she had suffered a lot. She’d made a lot of really bad choices, but to see somebody take complete ownership of those choices and acknowledge all of those things, there was just this power in the room. And that’s when I decided I’m going to do that. Like I’m going to make a spreadsheet. I’m going to identify all the things that I did because it’s also that self-awareness and objectivity to be able to take a look at it without judgment. And like, it really allowed me to have compassion for myself to reach out and allow people to tell me how I hurt them. And that’s empowering. And when you don’t care what people think, isn’t that so empowering? I mean, instead, I don’t feel like, I mean, I guess going to prison is kind of a, you know, it’s kind of death to your former self. At least it was for me. And. I got to the point where There was a group of us in prison that were really so determined to do the work And so they would wake me up at night and say hey Miss Louder (or Portia) Can I tell you another thing that happened that I forgot like we wanted to just share it with each other – get it out because it’s like purging and cleansing to just say it and then move on And so that that was opposite where you want to convince everyone you’re okay and openly admit your mistakes. That’s freedom.

Toby Dorr: Yes, I so agree with you because if you can’t admit your mistakes, then you can’t move past them. And, and I know in my case, my judge, my attorney, my family, my friends, even the warden at the jail tried to get me to say I was a victim and that I was manipulated into, uh, my act. And I knew that if I… took that way out, I’d be trapped forever as a victim. And so it was really important to me to stand up and say, no, I made a choice and this was my choice and it was not a good choice. But nevertheless, it was my choice and I felt empowered by doing that. So I can really relate to that. I think that’s beautiful.

Portia Louder: I love that because that’s, that’s true power is when you own where you are, because then you can choose something different. Right?

Toby Dorr: Yes, exactly. Exactly. And you know, I had this next line I wanted to share that from your book was almost exactly the line that was in my book. So I truly related to it. And that was, you will get through this and someday you’ll help others. And I had that line. I believe God spoke it to me when I was on suicide watch about two years into my prison stay and I thought, you know, here I am. I’m almost at the end and I’m getting through this, but I wasn’t and I heard that voice tell me that and then I read that very same line in your book and you are actually out there doing exactly what you promised, you know, like I’m doing as well. And I think that’s pretty powerful.

Could you tell our reader or listeners some of the things you’re doing today to help incarcerated women I think it’s such a beautiful story.

Portia Louder: Thank you. Yeah. Well, I get to go in and speak with women that are incarcerated, and I work with women in a treatment center, but I also do, which is so cool because, you know, there you are at your lowest moment in prison, and feeling like, you’re here, I mean, you can’t see how beautiful it’s going to get walking through that pain, and I think in my book, I had this, she was a woman that was a little older than me that was one of my coworkers. And she just, she said, Portia, I can see you suffering, but you, you know, you are, you have this important purpose on this earth. And I think that’s what we do for each other. And so yesterday I was speaking at a boys’ detention center and, you know, I thanked the boys for coming in and they just seemed like they weren’t happy to be there. I said, Hey, boys, thanks for coming. Of course, you had to be here. So I said, but thanks for listening. If you choose to, then you guys will benefit today. You know, it’s your choice. You get to decide. You have to be here, but you get to decide whether you listen. And so as I shared my story, I told them, I said, you know, each one of you has this unique purpose on this earth. And each one of you has this story that can be your strength, that can be a triumph or a tragedy, you get to decide. And one of the boys said I want to tell my story someday. I want to help people. I said I love that because I think what you’ve been through needs to be shared. And then another boy looked at me and said, I’m dead already. How am I going to tell my story? You know? And I said, friend, you have to decide to live. You have to be willing to face this, your pain, you know so that you can give someone else hope. But I mean, I feel like it’s so important for us when we’re walking through that hard stuff. To come to know who we are and to be able to recognize that strengthen us that that purpose that we have on this earth and to believe that the world is cheering us on. I think that’s important. It won’t help us not to believe that you know, regardless of what people think. I got to the place where I just thought everybody wants me to succeed. The world is cheering me on. I have an important purpose. And I feel like it was somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy. You know, I got out and immediately people started asking me to serve in ways that have been so meaningful. And so, yeah, I work with people that are incarcerated. I write content for prisons and the same thing you do, and it’s beautiful. And it isn’t about making money. It’s about something so much bigger than that.

Toby Dorr: That’s right. It’s about changing the world. And I love what you said in that story because I do think all of us have a story to tell and the world needs to hear each one of our stories. And you may have a hundred people who tell a story about coming out of addiction, but they’re all gonna tell it in a slightly different way.  And, this story is going to reach this person and that story about the same thing is going to reach a different person. So, we need all those flavors of all those stories in order to go out and make a difference in the world. I think that’s really beautiful and prophetic. There was another part in your book that at the very beginning of your book, you wrote, “Sometimes denial is a safe place to keep your heart.” And then later, almost at the end of the book, you said, “Yet denial is unhealthy.” So how did you make that transition from feeling safe and in denial to feeling like that wasn’t where you wanted to stay?

Portia Louder: There’s no growth in denial at all. Denial is terrifying for me because I spent so much time leading up to going to prison that I had 10 years that I was fighting this and, and not taking ownership. So all that wasted time. Um, but when I first got there, you know, if you look at the stages of grief, I mean, denials early on, right? Like, you go through that, but that’s, there’s no growth there. It’s just like a safe landing. Even with PTSD, when you want to move through it and start, you know, get past the trauma. There’s the denial phase, but a lot of people get stuck there and I watched that. You probably did too in prison. There were people that were very smart. I had a woman that was, she had her doctorate degree in political science and she would just sit there in front of the TV and she would not acknowledge why she, you know, it wasn’t her fault. It was the government’s fault. And then she could feel like. ‘everyone else is a mess and I’m ok’, but I watched her for a while and I was like, Oh man, and I started noticing that people are stuck. And I thought, if I choose not to acknowledge what I’ve done, which is really painful to acknowledge, I’m not going to grow. And I wanted to grow, I was willing to walk through it.

Toby Dorr: That is so true. Yeah, I do think prison is a great opportunity for growth because you certainly can’t get any lower than you already are. So you can either just stay there on the bottom or you can move forward.

Portia Louder: But how many don’t grow? You know, how many?

Toby Dorr: Oh, so many of them, and if we could put programs into all those prisons that show women and men how to move through that denial and own their story and move forward with it, the world would be a better place. Most people are going to be released from prison, and I believe we should release healthy people instead of people who are more broken than them when they went in so I think it’s awesome that you’re putting together programs to help get them there. I think that’s beautiful.

Portia Louder: My book is available in prisons right now on tablets, and I had this guy reach out to me on, he sent me an email request, because, in the back of my book, there’s a place, you know, I have. That takes emails and so his email said, you know, thank you so much. This gave me hope. I’m excited. And, you know, I’m in the SHU. I got in a fight or whatever, but I’m trying to change my life. So, my response back to him was, ‘I’m so proud of you for owning where you are. I’m cheering you on. I believe in you. I’m glad that you enjoyed the book.’ And then he sent me back an email that said, how can you think that I’m going to be successful when my, you know, and he just listed everything that’s against him, but nobody’s trying to help me. Nobody’s this nobody. And by the time I got done reading it, I was heavy. I was exhausted, you know, and I thought, friends, somewhere you got to find your power. You got to say, I’m here because I chose it. I, you know, and it was, I don’t know how to get people there other than to model it. You model it, you give content that allows them to, but there’s still a choice. They have to choose. We all do. When we’re ready to say, I’m not going to try to hustle this person to get a few bucks. I’m going to take ownership of my life instead of that quick fix of, you know. In prison, it’s like, send me five bucks so I can get a bag of Doritos versus be my friend and tell me the truth, you know,

Toby Dorr: Yes. Yes. Tell me how to get through this. Yeah, that is so powerful. And I just want to kind of clarify a SHU is also maybe sometimes called being in the hole, but it’s a special housing unit where it’s their punishment inside prison and they put you in a very small cell all alone with no interaction with anybody or anything and it’s it’s jail inside of jail. It’s really difficult. It’s a terrible place to be. I watched a documentary a little while back about some prisons that keep people in the SHU for years at a time. This documentary is about a prison in Colorado that eliminated the SHU altogether and how different it’s made the whole prison environment. So it was pretty eye-opening, I think. Another thing that you said in your book is, ‘When you got out of prison, you were kind of evaluating your life, and you said, I had nothing, yet I had everything.’

Portia Louder: Yeah.

Toby Dorr: Can you expand on that?

Portia Louder: It was such a shift for me to be in prison and realize that I mean, when I was in prison, I didn’t miss, I didn’t miss vacations. I didn’t miss the money. I didn’t miss the comforts. I missed the time with my family. I didn’t, you know, my whole perspective shifted and I could see that I’m going to leave this earth with nothing. My soul and who I become, while I’m here, is what I’ll take with me. And that’s how it was in prison. Like, I’m not gonna, I mean, there’s what I could maybe run a store or run a hustle while I’m in prison and make a few hundred dollars or something. I mean, it’s no significance or I can use my time to educate myself and to connect with others and to serve. And my heart was so full of all of these experiences when I left that I felt like the wealthiest person on the planet. I mean, I just felt full like, I said, I have met people from all walks of life and seen a completely different view. So, everything important is inside of me. These experiences are so valuable, which is with you as well. It’s why we wrote a book. That’s why we share because it gave us that whole different view. And I live the same way. I live really simply out here. I don’t care about material things and accomplishments. I just try to connect because that was fulfilling to my soul.

Toby Dorr: Yeah, that is so important. And, I remember when I got out of prison, I went and lived with my mom. And she said, Toby, I just have the most fun every day just watching you. You open a door and walk outside and act like it’s the best gift in the world. She said you’ve made me change the way I look at things. Well, you know, walking through a door, is so powerful when you have never been able to open a door for years, you know, they’ve had to be opened for you and when they wanted them open, not when you wanted them open. So, I think it’s just beautiful to be able to take and appreciate the things that we do have that most people dismiss as taken for granted or not important.

Portia Louder: Yeah, I don’t know about you, but all I wanted to do was eat vegetables when I got out, you know.

Toby Dorr: Yeah, a fruit. I wanted fruit. We never had any fruit, you know, and it was like, oh my gosh, give me an apple, give me an orange, give me a banana. It was just like heaven, you know, the silly things that people don’t realize how much they mean to you. Yeah, it was just beautiful.

Portia Louder: Yeah, it’s such a blessing to have that reset and to appreciate things in a different way.

Toby Dorr: That’s so true. And you know, another sentence that you had in your book that I thought was so powerful. “I let go of who I was supposed to be and embraced who I really was.”

Portia Louder: I love that. I love that. Because again, before I went to prison, I was so worried about, you know, all these expectations. Well, I’m supposed to be this, and I’m a mom, and I’m supposed to be a business owner. And then I just realized, like, again, everything important is inside of me. You know, who I am is exactly who I’m supposed to be. Now, how do you figure that out in prison? You know, out here, you have all the money and the clothes and the things and the titles, and they take all that away, and you figure out who you really are. And I’m man, I can’t imagine, I never knew, like I’m so, I had this kid ask me yesterday, he’s like, Are you glad you went to prison?

Portia Louder: I said, So grateful, so grateful. I don’t know how other people figure out who they are without going, but that’s what it took for me. You know,

Toby Dorr: I so agree. You know, I tell people all the time, I had to go to prison, prison to be free.

Portia Louder: Right!

Toby Dorr: It’s the only place where I had the ability to be free and be myself. And it is just powerful. I don’t want to repeat it and I’m sure you don’t either, but you know, it, I am grateful that it was in my life. I think it gave me experiences that most people don’t have and I look at it as a gift.

Portia Louder: Me too. Yeah

Toby Dorr: I think it’s so important you said in your book that self-forgiveness is a journey, not a destination. I think women especially are so hard on themselves and I just recently taught a two-day seminar in Kansas City called Slaying Your Shame Dragon. It was so powerful and it connected with so many women, and I do think that you know, we need to keep in mind that just because we’ve accomplished something doesn’t mean we can’t quit working on it because it’s an ongoing process.

Portia Louder: You know the self-forgiveness process for me a big piece of that has been to be honest and open about my mistakes Because like we talked about then I don’t feel I feel very free. Because I’ve openly admitted them but it also in being willing to let other people tell me how I hurt them, especially my children. So what I do is I tell them “No, please tell me when you’re hurting or, or, it used to be if my daughter would say, ‘Hey, mom, this really hurt.’ I was too hurt inside to be able to accept that. But I feel and that’s why I think it is a journey. We forgive ourselves, and then we allow other people to feel their pain as well, which is so validating for them. I mean, isn’t it what we want? We want the people that love us to also grow and be healthy. And if we can open ourselves up and say. ‘Hey, I’m sorry. I hurt you share with me your pain.’ And that’s the beauty of being willing to forgive yourself. It’s like, I know I hurt you, but I’m okay with that because it’s your journey to now heal too.

Toby Dorr: I think that is beautiful. It’s not our responsibility to heal everyone from the pain that we’ve caused. We can be there with them as they walk through it, but it is their journey too.

Portia Louder: Absolutely. And I feel like. You know, my parents did the best they could, they made some mistakes, I did the best I could at the time and made some mistakes, but it’s my responsibility to deal with the pain that I have and it’s theirs. But the best thing I think we can do is just acknowledge that they have it and allow them to do it. We’re not here to fix it for them. They’ll figure it out.

Toby Dorr: We’re stealing their lesson if we try to do it for them. I think that’s just beautiful, and I know I saw on social media once that you posted you just came from the women’s prison somewhere doing something. And someone asked you where you’d been and you said, you know, I was at the women’s prison and they said, were you scared? And you said, no, those are my people! And I just love that because I don’t think that people understand, especially in the women’s prison. I spent a lot of time in the men’s prison as a volunteer, and I’ll tell you it’s totally different, but in the women’s prison, there is a sisterhood. Can you tell me a little bit more about how you experienced that?

Portia Louder: It’s crazy to me when I see stuff and the way they portray things on TV because what I experienced was this kindness and this tenderness and this, I mean, all we have is each other, you know, and we’re going through this stuff together. I remember, when I got to Victorville, there was a gal that was really sick, and her roommate was a heavier black lady, and she did, she read and, she didn’t leave the unit that often, probably health problems or whatever else, but her bunkie was really sick, and I looked out the unit one morning, and after they opened the door, and I saw her walking around, With her bunkie with her arm around her and I walked out and I watched her and she’s like, you’re going to be okay, honey. We just got to get you out and get you some fresh air. You’re going to be okay. And I’m like, I probably would have seen this woman on the street and think maybe been a little intimidated because she was tall and, you know, a little bit imposing. But here she is showing the most kindness to her cellie. She didn’t want to be out there. But she’s out there first thing in the morning helping her walk around. You know, that’s the power of stuff. I mean, just so much kindness and tenderness. And I’ve encountered that multiple times. I had a guy, actually, the taxi driver that picked me up and took me to, the camp in Victorville. And I said, can you take me to the prison? He’s like, why are you going to the prison? He’s all scared. You know, I said, ’cause I’m going to be living there. That’s my new home.

Toby Dorr: I can so relate. When I got out of prison, I was in Houston, Texas, and I took a Greyhound bus back to Kansas City, and then I had to get a taxicab to take me to the halfway house. And I got in the cab and the driver said this little bitty black guy all curled up, you know, and, and he said, where are you going? And I said, Oh, to this place in Leavenworth. I don’t know the address, but I know how to get there. And he said, well, tell me what it is. I probably know where it is. And I said, well, it’s the halfway house. And he said, oh, you work there. And I said, no, I’m going there to live. I said, I just got off the bus. I just got out of federal prison in Houston, Texas. And he laughed and I said, but I’m not gonna rob you or anything. I’m not dangerous. And he said I knowed all kinna folks that have been in prison. I’m not the least bit scared, I thought that was just so funny because the first person I ever had to tell that I just came from prison and it was this little taxi cab driver that thought it was the most funny thing he’d ever heard. So, I can so relate.

Portia Louder: Right. It’s just, it’s where we live and, and, um, Gosh, but when I left Wasika, the Minnesota prison, my heart was so full. I felt like I was, I mean, I felt sentimental. All these places, like I had eaten in the chow hall over and over and over. I had walked that track. And, you know, the education department that I worked in, I just walked around and I felt like, it was like leaving college or something. I mean, I had grown so much there that in my mind, I’m like, this is a sacred space for me. Like, this is where I figured out who I am. I did not feel at all, nothing but love for those women in that location, you know,

Toby Dorr: Have you been back to any of the prisons where you actually served time?

Portia Louder: No, but I’m going to, I’m going to go to all of them. That’s on my bucket list.

Toby Dorr: I’m interested to see how it feels when you go back into the same place because it’s a totally different viewpoint. So yeah, I know I felt, I’ve never felt such strong friendships as I had it with those women in prison. And the hard thing is when you get out of prison and you’re on paper, which is on probation or parole, and you’re not allowed to communicate with people that are in prison. And it’s like, I used to think, how can I get through this when the women who know me and know what I’m going through, I can’t talk to them? That, it just seemed like such a ridiculous requirement.

Portia Louder: I had the same challenge and I have broken that rule.

Toby Dorr: I did too.

Portia Louder: And I told my probation officer, I’m like, you can’t ask me. I mean, I was writing letters to my good friend. I just felt, I mean, it’s just, I struggled when I got out here. Because I didn’t feel that same connection because you live right next to people, you know, what’s going on now. I’ve gotten better now. And I’m more open to connecting with everyone. But at first, just like when you leave the military and you have this bond and this camaraderie and you’re supposed to go home and pretend it never happened. That was the other thing. I was like, wait a minute, people. Come home from like in our I’m LDS and so people come home from missions and everyone celebrates I’m like I come home from prison and we’re not supposed to talk about it. Forget that!

Toby Dorr: Yes. Nobody in my family ever asked me, what was it like in there. And it’s like, I want to scream about it. I want to tell the world what I went through. I want to tell them about these wonderful women I met. And it’s almost like, Oh, don’t talk about that.

Portia Louder: No way. I’m not willing to do that. I can’t do it. I don’t think it’s healthy for anyone. In fact, one of my visions is that we celebrate strength. How can we expect people to go to prison and change if they can’t come out and talk about these great changes that they’ve experienced? We need to celebrate that.

Toby Dorr: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. I felt like when I got out of prison, I was so proud of myself because I had survived it all. And I was still here. And I was me. Finally, I was me. After 48 years, I was who I was supposed to be.

Portia Louder: Right. And that needs to be celebrated.

Toby Dorr: That’s exactly right. I so agree. Maybe that’s what we should do let’s just have celebration parties every year for people getting out. I just think it’d be awesome.

Portia Louder: Agree.

Toby Dorr: Well, Portia, it has been awesome talking to you today. And I’m just curious, is there one question that you wish I’d asked you? And if so, how would you have answered it?

Portia Louder: I don’t think that there’s a question, but there’s something I would want to say and I think that I think I would just say “Don’t ever give up. Don’t ever ever ever give up. I could not see a life this beautiful when I was dealing with the legal process or even when I was a young single mother and walking through that has given me a completely different view.” And so whatever hard you may be going through, it holds the seeds to a beautiful future, to the best version of yourself. And I think your future self is truly cheering you on because I know that I’m cheering my old self on like. Thank you for doing it. Thank you for doing it. And it’s open to all of us. And I just don’t give up. I offend myself when I look back at my former self, the way I saw the world. I’m like, why did I see it that way? But yet here I am today. And it’s the best part of my life. And I think you, you’re experiencing that too. So don’t, don’t give up.

Toby Dorr: I love that so much, and the message that I always share with people is, remember, none of us is our worst mistake. We all have so much more to offer than just that one moment in our lives. Most of the time, those so-called mistakes are really blessed opportunities to learn and grow.

Portia Louder: Absolutely.

Toby Dorr: So, uh, next week we’ll continue to bring you inspiring stories by people who’ve identified a need for change and are working to make a difference in the world. Subscribe to our Patreon channel, Fierce Conversations, for special access and behind-the-scenes information. Go to Patreon. com slash fierce conversations or click on the link in the show notes.

You’ll also find links there to purchase my book, Living with Conviction, and there’ll be a link to purchase Portia’s book, Living Louder, and also a link to Portia’s website as well. In my memoir, Living with Conviction, I recount a conversation I had in prison where my friend Lisa told me, in here, we can talk about all the hard things.

In fact, I think we must, and so we shall. This is Fierce Conversations with Toby. Until next time.

Verified by ExactMetrics