Throughout the Journey
Ep. 111 ft. Kellee Forkenbrock
“Never ever discount your journey.”
After twenty years of working in the private sector (and as many years drinking to excess), Kellee turned forty and decided to do the work to change her life. She quit her employer of a decade and joined her local library as an assistant. Within four months of employment, she was promoted to her current role as Public Services Librarian, serving as the community engagement liaison for the library and assisting with the management of the library’s part-time staff.
Kellee holds a Bachelor’s in Marketing and is pursuing a Master’s in LIS from the University of Iowa. She is active in her community, lending her service to the Iowa City Public Library Board of Trustees, Girls on the Run of Eastern Iowa, and as an Ambassador for the Iowa City Area Business Partnership.
Looking for your next beach read? Author, student, librarian, and momma joins the podcast to talk about her journey through sobriety, career changes, and the impact of gratitude. This conversation highlights the reality of how we can get stuck following the expectations of others leaving us unfulfilled and the freedom found in making a change. The end is full of great book recommendations to add to your reading list!
If you have any comments or questions about the Be It pod shoot us a message at [email protected]. Or leave a comment below!
And as always, if you’re enjoying the show please share it with someone who you think would enjoy it as well. It is your continued support that will help us continue to help others. Thank you so much! Never miss another show by subscribing at LesleyLogan.co/subscribe.
In this episode you will learn about:
- What we talk ourselves into
- The two secrets to success
- Who is Eliza David
- Embracing uncertainty as the key to sanity
- Discerning the voice of fear vs the voice of reason
- The journey is not a waste
- Book recommendations to add to your list
- Learn to say thank you for every part of the journey
- Eliza David Books: https://amzn.to/3alWbD4
- Website: http://elizadavid.com/
- Kellee’s IG: https://www.instagram.com/writegirlproblems/
- Kellee’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/elizadwrites
- Kellee’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizadwrites
- Alice Walker: In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: https://amzn.to/3ayHbSz
- Judy Blume: Wifey: https://amzn.to/3N3haJy
- Selena Montgomery: Secrets and Lies: https://amzn.to/3NM4OFC
- Ethan Kross: Chatter The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It: https://amzn.to/3GLLd6c
Lesley Logan 0:00
Hey, Be It listener. How are you? How many times have you thought to yourself that it’s too late for you to do something? How many times have you thought, “Oh, what will people think if I do that?” How many times have you maybe not even approached your partner or your family? Like, “Hey, I have this dream. I’m thinking of doing.” How many times have we not done that? My guess is, it’s probably more than you can count. Because I definitely have done it too. And, I’m sure something’s come with age, for sure. But I wish they didn’t have to. I wish we could maybe know about them sooner. And maybe if we met more people like this week’s guest, we would, you know, and, and I know all of our parents did the best they could. So this is not a knock on anyone’s parenting but it is something that I think happens. We, we talk ourselves into a career because it feels safe, because it looks a certain way, because we think it’s going to give us what we wanted. And then we stay in it, maybe longer than we should. And everything happens the way it’s supposed to. So if you are someone who is 25 years into something, and you’re like just now getting the guts to want to change. Great, that’s the exact right time. But my guest this week, is an incredible, incredible woman who has a lot to share. Her name is Kellee Forkenbrock and she is a, well, she has many things. She’s a wife and a mother. She is a writer, she is a librarian. And she didn’t start out with all those like things right, obviously, obviously, the wife and mother thing, but I can’t wait for you to hear that her story of finding sobriety of changing career of how she’s able to do so much in a day. And it is a couple things that, you know what they actually they don’t cost any money. They just require communication, vulnerability, so I can’t wait to hear those. And I have to say one of the most unique BE IT action items I’ve ever heard. We’ve heard a lot. And this one, this one, I mean, I’m already using. I’m already going to use because it’s so beautiful and so special and life changing. So I can’t wait for you to hear it this episode. Kellee came to me, as you’ll hear in her intro, because I asked you listeners, who should I interview? Who do you want to, who do you want to hear on the pod? And if there are people that you want to hear on the pod? Just DM the @be_it_pod. Let us know, you know we’ll reach out to them if they’re aligned with the podcast and I am obsessed with getting to share amazing women, amazing humans with you and Kellee is just I’m really excited for you to dive into this episode. But I also would love to hear who you want to hear in your ears. So please let me know at the be at pop at the @be_it_pod. In the meantime, here is Kellee.
Lesley Logan 1:17
Welcome to the Be It Till You See It podcast where we talk about taking messy action, knowing that perfect is boring. I’m Lesley Logan, Pilates instructor and fitness business coach. I’ve trained thousands of people around the world and the number one thing I see stopping people from achieving anything is self doubt. My friends, action brings clarity and it’s the antidote to fear. Each week, my guest will bring Bold, Executable, Intrinsic and Targeted steps that you can use to put yourself first and Be It Till You See It. It’s a practice, not a perfect. Let’s get started.
Lesley Logan 3:45
Alright Be It listeners, I have a very special woman here she was actually sent my way by one of our listeners and OPC instructor Rachel Piper. So, I am so grateful. In fact, if you are listening to this, and you’re like, “Oh, I want Lesley to interview this person,” you can tell me and I will happily look into them and see if we can put them on the pod. Kellee Forkenbrock is here. Oh my goodness, I this woman has done a lot in her life. And I’m really excited to share it with, share her with you. And also I kind of love as I will get into this in a second. But I feel like we put ages on things, we think we can’t do something. And I remember hearing a lot of people think when they hit 40, they can’t do something. And like the life is different. And Kellee is here to share that, “No, but life does not stop at any certain number and you can have a lot more to whatever it is you want to do.” So Kellee, thanks for being here.
Kellee Forkenbrock 4:34
Thank you so much, Lesley. I’m so happy to be on your platform.
Lesley Logan 4:38
Oh, well. I’m really happy to hear your story and share it with all of our listeners. You are a force. So Kellee, can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you’re up to these days. I know you know, Rachel and I know you’re in Iowa but you are doing a lot over there. So what are you up to right now?
Kellee Forkenbrock 4:54
Well, so I’m Kellee Forkenbrock. I am a librarian, I am a wife and a mother. I’m a author, I am a yogi and Rachel is trying to get me to get closer to my Pilates. So I’m, I’m really stepping into my Pilates right now. And overall, I’m just, you know, a human. I love my life, I love where my life is going. And just as you said at the beginning, I’m in my 40s. And life for me really did begin at 40. It really sounds so cliche, but the amount of things that I’ve accomplished I’m 43, and the things that I’ve done over the past three, four years since I’ve entered my 40s, it’s it’s unexplainable, but I’m going to try my best to explain today but but yeah, that’s just a little bit about me. I work at North Liberty library here in North Liberty, Iowa. If you’re familiar with Iowa, we are just 15 minutes away from the University of Iowa in Iowa City. I am also an author, my author name is Eliza David, I have self published 12 titles. And I’ve been in several anthologies, my chosen genre is a romance, specifically romance with black characters feature prominently. I am working on my 13th novel right now, which I started in 2019. But then I decided to go to grad school. And now that I’ve finished my first year of grad school, I’m coming back to it. It is called Love in Reverse. It will be coming out this summer, it’s going to be just a little short novella. I’m just trying to get my feet wet again, with fiction writing, because I’ve spent the past year doing academic writing and working. (Lesley: Oh my God.) So yeah, I’m really trying to ease myself back into the romance fiction arena. But yeah, that’s just a little bit about me. I just, I love what I do. I’ve been a resident of Iowa for over 20 years, but I am born and bred from the south side of Chicago. That is my home. My mom and my brother are there. So I visit as frequently as I can. It’s not too far from here but …
Lesley Logan 7:08
It’s not. (Kellee: Yeah) I nev… like I’m from California, born and raised. And I just moved (Kellee: Right) to Las Vegas two years ago. And when I we’ve done for cross country trips now. And when I was driving through Iowa, and like Chicago is right there. It’s like (Kellee: Yeah) it’s you know, I don’t know, it’s like, you don’t know the map anymore when you live in a state that you drive eight hours, and you’re still in it. So it’s really shocking to me. (Lesley and Kellee laughs) When you’re like, “Oh, it’s just like it’s just right there.” So this is Kellee, you’re freaking, you are on your 13th romance novel. And you’ve gone to grad school and your library and you are a mom and a wife that I know our listeners are many of them are married, many of them are moms, many of them are trying or working for themselves or or work for someone for their work. And they’re probably like, “How are you writing so many books and going to school and do all these things?” So do you have a secret of like, you know, maximizing time or do you bend time? Does time standstill? How do you do it? (Kellee laughs)
Kellee Forkenbrock 7:13
Well, we all I know I hate to say it like this because this is so cliche, too, we all have the same 24 hours. But what I tried to do is and this is something that I’ve learned in my 40s. I really have to give myself grace, I’m very much a go getter, extroverted individual. So in my 20s, and 30s, I spent a lot of time just bop, bop, bop, trying to get work done. You know, this was before I became a librarian, I’ve only been a librarian for three years. But the first 20 years of my career was in the private sector. So I worked at companies in in the realm of sales and marketing and public relations and project management. So a lot of corporate duties. So I really got used to that nine to five, this is what I do from nine to five, this is what I can do after five. And when I started writing, I wrote my first book when I was 35 in 2014. And from there my first book, which is free on Amazon, it’s called the Cougarette under my writer name Eliza David. And I just kept writing from there. But I guess if I, if I can save what helps is one, I have such a supportive family. My husband and I have literally been together half my life, we’ve been we are coming up on 18 years of marriage.
Lesley Logan 9:21
Whoa, congratulations. (Lesley laughs)
Kellee Forkenbrock 9:24
I know. Thank you. We’re coming up on 18 years of marriage in October. And so he’s known me since the beginning of my career before that when I was in college, so he’s always known that I’m a go getter. He’s a go getter. So we really try to support each other in that way to make sure that we have the space to do the things that we want to do. And in my case, really allowing myself to you know, allowing me to have that space to write and still care for the children and care for him and do my professional work that brings in the real money. That’s been helpful. But again, I come back to just really giving myself grace, it was really hard for me to walk away from writing in 2019. I’ve started this novel that I’m currently working on. In 2019, I was about two months sober. And I still wasn’t convinced that I was going to stay sober. And then the pandemic happened six months later and …
Lesley Logan 10:18
Can I just say, if you could stay sober through a pandemic, you (Kellee: Man)… you’re gonna be fine. (Lesley laughs)
Kellee Forkenbrock 10:24
I’m writing that on my tombstone, “Here she lies. She stayed sober through the pandemic.” So whatever you else you have to say about me, ended with that because … (Lesley and Kellee laughs)
Lesley Logan 10:36
Because the reality is I don’t I don’t know the stats, but I feel like, like sales of alcohol went up.
Kellee Forkenbrock 10:43
Oh, yeah, I’m sure because I know that if I hadn’t started my sobriety journey, before the pandemic, I would have had a much harder bottom after the pandemic, if not during. (Lesley: Yeah) So I’m really thankful that I tapped into that part of my journey then. But tapping into my sobriety, so early in its infancy, really took a toll on my creativity. I didn’t feel like writing, I don’t think a lot of writers felt like writing, I was just talking with a writer, friend of mine yesterday, and we were talking about how while we’re coming back to projects that we started three years ago, because it just that all the creative juices out of me I couldn’t write. So, you know, I had to give myself grace in that moment to say, “Okay, writing is not the thing I want to do right now.” And it took me a long time to get to that place. (Lesley: Yeah) And then once I started grad school, I really had to give myself grace. So I would say those are the two kind of secrets behind my success, if you will, (Lesley: Yeah) is a supportive family unit. And the ability to allow myself to not do everything on my to do list to say, “You know what, this is what I got done today. This is good. Let’s rest now. Let’s put this away now.”
Lesley Logan 11:58
That’s beautiful. And I think like, I think a lot of people will be nodding along and it’s like, and then it’s like easier said than done, you know. (Kellee: It is.) I think … Thank you for being so honest because I do think a lot of people look at someone who’s writing, who’s written, you’re on your 13th novel, and you’re going to grad school, and you’re doing all these things. And it’s like, “Oh, it must be so easy for her.” And I, and I actually think it’s like, (Kellee: Oh God) it just looks easy unless you’re not doing it. If you’re the one doing it …
Kellee Forkenbrock 12:24
Exactly. (Lesley: It’s not easy.) Yeah, because it yeah, it looks it looks easy because I think another thing is that social media, which I’m a huge fan of social media, so you can always look me up under my writer name Eliza David on all the platforms, except Snapchat and TikTok because I refuse. My kids are obsessed with TikTok, I refuse. I get enough TikTok in my house. But I think that sometimes when we look at folks on social media, talking about their accolades, and what they’re doing, what we what we don’t see is the struggle, what we don’t see is the work, you don’t see the behind the scenes, you see what’s on stage. And that’s how social media set up to be.
Lesley Logan 13:01
It set up to be because I was just telling someone I was coaching today, because she was, you know, upset that she was wanting to record and film and she had three hours set aside for it. And then there wasn’t enough storage for the film. And then, like the lighting wasn’t right, or then this happened. And I said, “Just so you know, I have to record 30 new tutorials because I record all of them and the audio didn’t work.” And (Kellee: Yeah) I said, “When I don’t put it on there. I’m busy re recording. I’m not I don’t have the time to tell you, (Kellee: Yeah) I have to re record these things. I’ve got to re record them.” And also, I also think like you don’t want to hear that because you don’t want that negativity in your life. You don’t, like I don’t no one’s wants to go, “Oh,” or then it welcomes like, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” I don’t want to be sorry. This is not bad. This is like ya know…
Kellee Forkenbrock 13:43
Yeah … like, even when you try to be vulnerable on social media, it’s always a double edged sword because people want you to be vulnerable and be like, “Okay, girl, tell us the real story.” And then when you tell them the real story, then they say, “Oh, it’s not so bad” and then it becomes the oppression Olympics. So you know, at the end of the day, you really have to be grounded in yourself and especially when it comes to how you portray yourself on social media for me you know there are you know, I use my platforms, I talk, I always say I talk about books. I talk about men and I talk about Mariah Carey that’s really (Lesley laughs) the extent of what I have to contribute to social media and …
Lesley Logan 14:25
But we all need our pillars Kellee, we all need our pillars. (Kellee: We do, we do.) We are, these are our talking points. This is where I stand. (Kellee: Yeah) I love that you … that convo is like better than like appetizer to the party um. Okay, so I have to ask this because you have you have a writer and name you write under and then that’s what you are on social media. It can it can we talk about like, why did you come up with that name? Is there is there as a reason? And then also like, do you feel like you are a different person when you’re her or like, is it just you with a different name?
Kellee Forkenbrock 15:00
Okay, those are great questions. So, Eliza David is the combination of my two children’s middle names. I have a teen son and a tween daughter. So Eliza is my daughter’s middle name. David is my son’s. And I just thought that that was such a homage to my children because, well, you know, my husband and I have known each other literally over almost 25 years. So he knows what it’s like when I get into my busy mode, just like I know what he’s like when he gets in his. But this was like new for my children when I started writing because now all of a sudden, Mommy has worked time but now there’s this other element of writing and now that they’re older, you know, and a little bit more self sufficient they understand but that was kind of my homage to my children to call myself Eliza David and as far as Eliza David like, is it a Beyonce, Sasha Fierce situation? Sometimes I think so. Because although what I write, I write what I would read. And I love right, I love steamy romance. I love rom coms. So that’s what I write. So in a way, it’s kind of still Kellee in there. But the creativity and the stories that I pull from, that’s Eliza David really going in specilized, the David going into the minds going into the creative vault, to pull out these characters, to pull out these stories, to pull out the struggles. So it’s kind of a combination of both I think.
Lesley Logan 16:23
I love it. I love it so much. I think it’s, I think it’s great. And I think like, you know, there’s a there’s an author of the book Chatter and he talks about how a lot of people will you know, a lot of us actually have a Sasha Fierce of some kind, we might not call it a different name. But when we like go, “Okay Lesley, like you got this. Like that’s like the same thing. It’s like you being the other version of yourself that’s, like, more organized, more confident reminding you to do something.” So I think it’s, I think it’s really cool. And Stacey Abrams writes under a different name too, when I’m like, “Gosh…”
Kellee Forkenbrock 16:55
Yes, I am reading, I am reading her books. I’m reading Secrets and Lies right now. I just finished Reckless. I am obsessed with the way she writes. I love that she writes like this romantic thriller stuff. So as Selena Montgomery is her writers name. So (Lesley: Yeah) highly recommended.
Lesley Logan 17:11
Everyone you got to, I mean, I’m obsessed with her anyways. And then when I found and I was like, “Oh, I can I can take in more of her.” (Lesley laughs)
Kellee Forkenbrock 17:19
Mm-hmm. Yes. Highly recommended.
Lesley Logan 17:21
Okay, so you had a private sector job. We made a decision to switch careers get sober, all these things. What was the impetus, was it slowly like, like over a years ago, and I need to change this? Was there like a moment? What made you do that? And also, like, why why a librarian? Like was that because you’re writing?
Kellee Forkenbrock 17:42
That’s those are such a great questions. So my sober journey literally started from birth. I have in my family, alcohol was an issue. I grew up in a great family with people who loved and cared about me. But alcohol was an issue. And although I didn’t start, I started drinking. I never touched any alcohol, literally until freshman orientation in college. And from then on, you know, I went to college in the late 90s. So from then on, it was just this binge drinking culture. Because people, at people who are younger than 40 really don’t understand like, we were wild in the late 90s. We just didn’t have social media and camera phones to catch it. So it was just really buck wild, like my college and and I went to college in a small town in, I will call Clinton Iowa, which is about 90 miles east of here. And, you know, I went into, I literally went from binge drinking culture and college, to Sex in the City, Martini culture in my 20s, to wine, mommy wine culture in my 30. So I hit all three of the phases of drinking. (Lesley laughs) And a part of that was because I grew up in an environment where alcohol was accessible, where it was considered just part of life. (Lesley: Yeah) And what hit for me was I always said to myself, especially as my kids got older, you know, I’m gonna stop drinking because, you know, when my daughter she’s 10 now, but when she was a toddler, when I was still drinking, she would say, “Oh, it’s mommy juice.” You know, like, when I would pull out my wine, it was like she or if I was in a bad mood, if I was sitting down, if I was upset, she said, “Mommy, do you want some wine?” And it’s like, wow, my child at a very young ages already acquainting me not in a good mood with needing wine. So I knew then that I needed to change but I wasn’t ready. And during it was Labor Day, September 2nd 2019, was my first day of sobriety, I woke up it was Labor Day weekend, it was Sunday of the end of Labor Day weekend. And I looked in the mirror after two nights of binge drinking. And I just did not like the way I looked. And I told I said to myself, You know what, I just turned 46 months ago, my skin’s a mess. I’m exhausted. And I was in Chicago at the time. So I had to drive me and my husband, my family back to Iowa City. And I just said, You know what, “I’m not going to drink” and on the ride back to Iowa City, my husband and I were talking. And I said, “You know, I think I’m gonna stop drinking.” And I said, “You know, there’s a bottle of Pinot Grigio in the back of my refrigerator, the refrigerator that’s already opened, I should just finish that off.” And I still come to finish them all. Came home and I saw it. And I thought, “No, I’m literally going to stop drinking right now.” (Lesley: Wow!) And I have not had a drink since. And, for me, what really influences my journey is one, the health benefits, the you know, just, I lost eight pounds in my first month of sobriety, and I changed nothing else about my life, except not drinking. (Lesley: Wow!) That was, that was the only thing I changed, and I lost eight pounds. And it wasn’t just the weight loss, but my skin looked better. I felt better. I had better sleep, I had a better attitude. And it really forced me because I was already doing therapy at the time. But it really, it made my therapy stick because now I really did the homework because I don’t have the wine to, you know, help me work through life’s problems. (Lesley: Yeah) I have to look my problems in the face stone sober, and figure out what my next plan of action is. And that has been one of the biggest benefits of sobriety for me thus far.
Lesley Logan 21:27
I’m glad you said that because I’ve got to say, like, having having to work through the things. I think, if you can do it like that, if you can do it sober. If you can do it, there’s so much more clarity. And also it makes you probably feel really unstoppable and stronger. Like you, I don’t know, I’m maybe inferring. (Kellee: Yeah) I just feel like you, I think a lot of people’s hang ups are because they don’t do the work. And it’s hard to do the work when there’s a million things you’re already doing. And then (Kellee: Yeah) there are many hours of some days that you are not really completely there because you’ve had something to drink. So you know,
Kellee Forkenbrock 22:02
Yeah, it’s incredible, like I would not have and then that leads me to your second question about becoming a librarian. So it was through getting sober, that during my third month of sobriety. I was done working at my employer, and I thought, “You know, what, what? I’m 40 years old, what is it that I really want to do with my life?” And I had already written several books by this time, and I thought, “Okay, I want to work with books.” But I kept it just as at that, you know, I’d gone through my 20s and 30s, designing the career I wanted, and even saying, you know, counting out certain jobs because it didn’t fit the exact picture I created in my mind. So this time, I took a minimalist approach, I said, “I just want to work with books.” So if that means I’m working at Barnes and Noble, if that means I’m just going to be a writer for the rest of my life, if that means I’m going to work at RR Donnelley and make phone books for the rest of my life. That’s what I’m going to do. And I saw there (Lesley laughs) was a part time job at the library.
Lesley Logan 22:09
So glad you’re not making phone books.
Kellee Forkenbrock 22:59
I hope, I’m glad too because that would have been a short career. And I started part time at two libraries. Because I told my husband two part time, part time jobs equals one full time job, right, right. He didn’t really believe that. But oh, well. Those two part time jobs, one of them turned into the full time job that I do today. And that’s how I became a librarian. And at first I thought, you know, I’ve always loved libraries. I didn’t know that I could be a librarian. If you asked me five years ago when they said, “No, I love libraries, but not so much.” And here I am, I’ve just wrapped up my first year of grad school, I went back to school after 22 years away, I got my undergrad in 2000. So this was my, this has been my first time back in the classroom, in almost in over 21 years. So and now I’m heading into my second one, I, I couldn’t have crafted a better I spent so many years, my 20s and 30s, in particular crafting my career. And this by far, has been the best professional decision of my life. I am just so glad. And I don’t think I would have reached this conclusion if I wasn’t sober.
Lesley Logan 24:17
I also, I love the way you’re saying this, though, because I think so many of us like you said, you’re like I cry, I picked a job based on the picture that I thought it would be. And like we all I think, I think I think people in their 40s and 50s are still doing this. Like I think people … (Kellee: Yeah) they want so much certainty. So they’re like, “Okay, this person who is the CEO of this company, here’s what they do before this, and then before that, and before that.” And like I had a one of the girls I was teaching, she was 14 at the time and she’s like, “I’m going to go to Stanford,” and I said, “Okay, do we have any other options we want to apply to just like just as backups?” “No, I’m applying to Stanford.” I’m like, “Okay.” She’s like, “This is how I’m going to do it.” And she’s like listing off all the extracurricular activities she’s doing, all the clubs she’s doing, all the classes she’s taking, and then on this summer school to do this. And she’s 14. And I was just like, I looked at her mom, “I really hope you have a backup plan.”
Kellee Forkenbrock 25:10
Yeah. You know it’s uncertainty because groundlessness is scary. The ide… and Buddhist principles talk about groundlessness a lot, the ability to embrace uncertainty. And I think that especially after 2020, all of us have learned that embracing uncertainty is really the key to sanity. It truly is because you’re going to drive yourself mad, trying to plan out every intricate part of your life. And that and just like that 14 year old girl, she’s, she’s a girl after my own heart, because that’s what I did in my 20s. I said, “No.” I even planned my children. Okay, my children are exactly five years apart. And I planned it that way because and, I planned … I actually read one of those books about how to plan the gender of your child.
Lesley Logan 25:59
Oh, did you do sex positions? Because there’s …
Kellee Forkenbrock 26:01
Yeah, I did the I did the the ovulation. (Lesley: Okay) Because it’s like if you have sex before ovulation versus after ovulation. And it worked (Lesley laughs) because I got my girl, but still, like, that’s just how just analytical I was about it. And now in my 40s, I think the girl and the woman in my 20s would look at the woman in my 40s and be like, “Oh, you don’t have a plan B?” “Oh wait a minute. What’s the plan? Where are we going? What are we doing?” I have really did this and but I still I mean, I still have my moments. I mean, I have two children. So I have a teenage son, I have a tween daughter, I still have my moments of control. But I recognize that whenever I’m in those moods, that it’s just about control. And what is control about, fear. You know? It’s, those are interconnected. So being recognizing that, when you participate in it, is really key as well.
Lesley Logan 26:55
Yeah. And like, it’s hard to participate in that and have like, even a conversation with yourself about like, “Why am I having this? Why am I controlling this right now?” If you are not in tune with yourself in some way, whether it is through sobriety, or just even taking time to learn about who you are, and (Kellee: Yeah) what activates you, what makes you tick, like, and it’s so interesting. I grew up going to the library, like we couldn’t afford books, we couldn’t buy or like we could go to the bookstore, and that we were allowed to read, but we didn’t get to take them. (Kellee: Right right) So but we go to the library as much as we wanted. And, and I, I think that they’re just such a special place. And the people who always work with them are such, they’re always like such good hearted people like you don’t go work at the library if you don’t like books and people.
Kellee Forkenbrock 27:43
Exactly, exactly. At least I hope not.
Lesley Logan 27:46
I hope not. I hope… So you, you got this amazing promote, you’re like you’re the you’re the head librarian now and you decided to go back to grad school. Is that something you’ve always wanted to do? Is it for your writing? Is it for, is it for your career as a librarian, like what made you decide to do that? Because I think a lot of people would have that on their list and then think because of their age or because of their kids or because of all the all the all the responsibilities, they can’t do it. So what made you say, “I can do this.”
Kellee Forkenbrock 28:12
Well, when I when I became public services librarian, I thought to myself, “Let me see how this goes for the first year.” You know, I really love the people that I work with. I love my director. And I love the environment, especially as an extrovert who loves being around people. And after a year, I started thinking, maybe I could go to grad school, and I talked to my husband about it, my husband, you know, he has his master’s in his field. And, you know, he was completely on board. But then I started thinking, you know, the fear sets in. And I think that’s what happens with a lot of us is that we think about these things that we want to do. And then that voice of fear cat… catches in and says, “Oh, no, no, no, you have this, you have that, you have this, you have that.” And it’s hard to discern between the voice of fear and the voice of reason. Because the voice of fear and the voice of reason can sound very much alike. And what I had to do is think, “Okay, why am I going to grad school? Why am I interested in going to grad school? Is it because I want to say that I have a master’s? Is it because I feel like I’m not adequate enough in my job because I’m a librarian. Who has this is my first year of experience. Do I feel like I need to beef up my own experience? What are the reasons?” And and your ‘why’ can be valid because it’s your ‘why’. So I once I understood what my ‘why’ was, that’s what fueled me to apply, to get the scholarships that I had got. I’ve gotten two scholarships, two academic scholarships as a result of my career. I’m doing my practicum with Iowa City poetry next fall, and it’s really introduced me to so much, it’s so much more than the classroom work. It’s so much more than the academic side. It’s been the connections I’ve been able to make since I started in grad school, and how I use those to fuel my career, so they’re all interconnected. So knowing that my why is connected to my, to my sole purpose, which is to be of service, and to be around books all day. That is literally what I like, I love helping people and I love being around books. So that helped me fuel my decision to go to grad school. So I think for most of us, especially for women, we got to get out of them voice of you know, those voices of fear, and really get down to what your ‘why’ is like, “Why are you doing this?” And once you have that, that’s going to be the fuel that content that takes you through your journey.
Lesley Logan 30:40
You’re you’re spot on. And it’s true, because because there’s there’s going to be a lot of different things that come up along the way. And if you are not clear on why you’re doing it, you are not going to be able to face a fork in the road, you’re gonna get stuck at it, you’re going to, well you’re not going to do the thing and you’ll let fear win. Because you’re you aren’t were aware of your why and it’s not strong enough to go, “Yeah, it’s gonna be scary as fuck, but I’m going to do it anyways,” you know. I applied to grad school when I was in college, and I had to write this 60 page paper. (Kellee: Ah, oh!) And I, like to graduate my, my college my degree and I and so the this letter came in the mail after I turned that paper and I had to pull two all nighters and it was horrible this thing, and I was like, “I don’t even care this letter says I am not. I’m not going to another class. I am not writing another paper” because of course, my grad thing was in writing, it was in communications. And I was like, “No, I don’t even care.” And I just throw it away didn’t even open it. I’m imagining it was a probably a, “No, not at this time anyways,” becuase (Kellee: Right) like grad school taking, taking a girl just out of college hasn’t worked anything. But I’m also so grateful because it led me into what I do now. And I think we it’s like that being open to what what you can’t, what you couldn’t picture because when someone says I should be a Pilates instructor, I was like, “I could do that.” It’s kind of like when you would just that’s what made me think, and (Kellee: Yeah) be like, “I could I’m going to be around books. Oh, I could be a librarian.” Like, it’s like, I it’s like, it’s like, I don’t know, and maybe it’s our generation. I mean, I’m, I’m an elder millennial, but, but like, I feel like I grew up with parents who like they did this job. And then they stayed in that job forever and ever and ever. And so you had to pick your career. And that was like your career. And so I went to college for communication. And I was like, “Oh, that’s what I have to do.” And it’s like, so it’s like, “You can be a Pilates instructor.” And I’m like, “Really? I could?” (Lesley laughs)
Kellee Forkenbrock 32:39
Yeah, it’s weird, because we grow up with us, our parents mean well. I mean, I say this, from the seat of being a parent of a teen who is starting to look at what he wants to do with his life. And in the knee jerk reaction, even in my more enlightened state, my knee jerk reaction for my child is, “Go to college, pick a career, go to college get serious,” like that is still my knee jerk reaction. And I know that when I say that, I mean well, and our parents meant well, too, because that’s what they know. But I know I don’t want my children to have to wait as long as I had to wait (Lesley: Mm-hmm) for the light bulb to come on and say, “Hey, no, no, no, do what it is that’s in your heart to do.” And, and I think that’s sometimes in this very realistic concrete world, doing what’s in your heart and soul. And what you’re meant to do can be a little woowoo. And people think you’re living in a fantasy land. And I probably would have, I know, I would have been that person 20 years ago, even 10 years ago, to be like, you’re going to stop working at this nice corporate job?
Lesley Logan 33:53
It’s like all benefits (Kellee: to go) and all …
Kellee Forkenbrock 33:55
To go be with books, to do books all day. And the great thing is that I’m grateful. But then on the other hand, I’m grateful for that time, I’m grateful for the 20 plus years I spent, you know, climbing this, you know, corporate ladder, or what have you because those skills now helped me in my job, those management skills that I honed those marketing skills that I honed, I use those every day in my current position. The only difference is I’m doing something that is really from the heart. So I’m I’m taking all of those practical skills that I learned in my career and being grateful for that journey. Because if I didn’t have that journey, I would not be in the position I was in today.
Lesley Logan 34:37
You know, thank you for saying that because I think a lot of people go, “Gosh, I should have done that instead.” And not like maybe like, “I shouldn’t have wasted those years. I should have just done this thing.” And it’s like everything that you experienced all the jobs you did because you thought this is going to be the right job for me or this is going to be the most secure thing I can do. All those things even the people we dated that were like, “Gosh, that was a dumb decision.” (Kellee: Oh, don’t get me started.) (Lesley and Kellee laughs) I say all the time if I hadn’t been my ex I never would be with my husband. Because if I hadn’t met with like super secure lawyer person with all the check all the boxes, all the things I would never have been like, “Yeah, let me date a musician. That sounds like a good idea.” (Lesley and Kellee laughs) I was like, “You know what, let me just tell you security and a good career doesn’t mean anything. Give me the musician. Hold on, let me, let me check out him.” (Kellee: Yeah) But um, but I think, you know, every experience we have sets us up for the next one. And it’s like you, yeah, okay, maybe if your mom had told you, “You should be a librarian, Kellee. Like you love books.” Maybe … ” (Kellee: Oh, I wish she did it.) It maybe you … (Kellee: I wish she did.) and you wouldn’t have but maybe wouldn’t have been that where you are and doing the way you had. (Kellee: Yeah) Or maybe even like, “Oh, you know why, I really should try this corporate thing” because it feels like you pro… like now, you know, like, this is a job you want. (Kellee: Yeah) You know what I mean? Like, it’s more, there’s (Kellee: Yeah) more certainty and more in there. So I think, you know, we can’t let we can’t, we can’t be sad about the experiences we didn’t have earlier, because all the ones we (Kellee: Yeah) did have really do set us up to be where we are and have the experience we’re having now. And, and so I’m glad you mentioned, like your past job has allowed you to be more successful and even have more probably more impact at your current job because of those leadership and management skills, you know.
Kellee Forkenbrock 36:17
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, in my position as Public Services Librarian, one of the things I do is, you know, I do some community outreach. So I bring, I’m bringing with me 20 plus years of community experience throughout the corridor. 20 plus years of meeting and engaging business owners and creatives and, and cor… and organizations, I’m bringing those connections with me. And what’s more, is that I’m using those previous connections to build new ones. So never ever discount your journey. And that’s something I have to continue to remind myself of, like, even in my happiest days with my work. I’m always like, damn, I wish I had, you know, done this earlier. But then I have to catch myself and say, if I had done this earlier, you know, you know, I wouldn’t have had that bulk of experience to buoy my career like I can now so (Lesley: Yeah) never ever discount your journey.
Lesley Logan 37:13
Oh, I think I think that it’s like, I think we should all put that on a bumper sticker. So on a t-shirt, on a book. So Okay, before we take a break, I feel like I have to ask a librarian. Favorite books like books that like that, like you’re like, if someone’s like, “I need to read something.” Like what are your go to is right now aside from your own?
Kellee Forkenbrock 37:34
Yeah. Well, I have to say, my favorite, favorite writer is Alice Walker. I had the privilege of watching her live via zoom, but she she just released a collection of her letters. But my favorite book from Alice Walker – Is In Our Mother’s Gardens. And it is a collection of essays and letters that she wrote in the name of what what’s coined as womanism, which is black feminism, but I invite everyone, especially every woman to read ‘In Our Mother’s Garden’, and it is a fantastic, fantastic book, another book that I love. That always shocks people because they didn’t know that this writer would write something racy, but it’s the name of the book is called Wifey. And it’s written by Judy Blume. Yes, that Judy Blume. So Judy Blume has, you know, this great career of, you know, Dear God, It’s Me Margaret, and all of these wonderful children’s books, but she also writes some adult books and Wifey is a fantastic book about a housewife, a disgruntled housewife whose husband is cheating on her. And she begins an affair with a motorcycle, a motorcycle man who just visits her home and (Lesley laughs) the untoward thing. And yes, it is written by the Judy Blume and I have contacted Judy Blume on Twitter and told her how much I love that book. And she tweeted me back it was like one of the best moments on social media but she’s like, “Thank you. I don’t care enough about Wifey. But thank you so very much that makes me feel so good.” So I made Judy Blume feel great about that book. So Wifey by Judy Blume is like one of my favorite pieces of fiction that is …
Lesley Logan 39:26
I’m so excited, I’m so excited to read this because I miss Judy Blume. Like I like I read every I mean I’ve been sitting on the shelf, the library (Kellee: Yeah) and I’m like waiting for the book that I hadn’t read to come back yet. (Lesley laughs)
Kellee Forkenbrock 39:38
Yes, get you some Wifey. I would recommend all of her books. She also has a book called Summer Sisters that is an adult fiction novel. Her adult fiction is like it, so I would highly recommend you get some of that out of the box.
Lesley Logan 39:53
All right. I’m excited Alice Walker and the adult versions every one of your very favorite author who helped you through your teenage years … (Kellee: Yeah) She’s back for all of us. Oh my gosh. Yeah, I you’re amazing. I have to have you back. Okay, we’re gonna take a quick break and we’re gonna hear how we can read all your books and also your be it till you see it action items.
Lesley Logan 40:15
All right, Kellee, what do you, where can people find you, follow you go to the library? (Lesley and Kellee laughs)
Kellee Forkenbrock 40:22
Well, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. My Facebook and Twitter are both Eliza David. So you just look that up in the search bar. And you can find my author page there, as well as my Twitter, which is @elizadwrites. And then on Facebook, I mean on Instagram, I’m under the handle @writegirlproblems, write as a w r i t e girl problems. So you can find me there as well. You can also find my blog at elizadavid.com. And yeah, that’s how you can get in touch with me. I am highly accessed a little too accessible online. But I love social media, I love you know, checking people out, I love checking, you know, posting about myself and what I’m doing. So feel free to contact me on all of those platforms.
Lesley Logan 41:09
I love it. And are your books on your site? Or where do they find your books?
Kellee Forkenbrock 41:14
Oh, yes, my books on Amazon. So if you just google Eliza David, right now all of my books except for my first book, which is free on Amazon. The rest of my Kindle books are all 99 cents each. If you love steamy romance, I’ve written, I have the Cougarette which is a six book series about a 43 year old woman falling in love with a 26 year old man. I have ‘The Follow’ which is a trio of books. And it is about an R&B star who is suffering from a sex addiction. And he falls in love with his social media manager. So it’s about their relationship … (Lesle: You really do love social.) I do, don’t I? I’m ridiculous. And then I’m in several anthologies, which are also under my name. Those won’t be 99 cents because those are published by other folks, but I’m in Best Women’s Erotica, volume four. I’m in the naughty librarians of collections, (Lesley laughs) several collections. Yes, yes, I know right. So if you like this steamy romance with a side of great humor. Absolutely, look me up on Amazon at Eliza. Just look up Eliza David.
Lesley Logan 42:25
Perfect. Okay, this is amazing. I can’t wait. I read too many business books. So I’m like, very excited for those. (Kellee: Oh yeah.) I’m going to switch …
Kellee Forkenbrock 42:33
Give me that break. You deserve that break. Yeah.
Lesley Logan 42:36
So we asked everybody this bold, executable, intrinsic or targeted steps people can take to be it till they see it. What do you have for us?
Kellee Forkenbrock 42:44
All right. Number one, learn to say thank you. Learn to say thank you. I say it out loud. When I, if I see like, if I see like an ex, posting something that’s just not cool. I say, “Thank you for delivering me from that relationship with that person.” If I’m having a disagreement with my mother, “I say thank you for for allowing me the ability to even argue with my mama, that she is still here with me that I can have that dialogue. Even if it’s if it’s difficult in the moment.” Just learn to say ‘thank you’. That’s, that will be my number one thing, just really practice gratitude and every step of your way, it’s hard to practice gratitude, when we’re in those tough times. But know that when you’re in those tough times, the universe is trying to teach you something. God, whoever you believe in is trying to teach you something in that moment. Be grateful for that lesson. And be grateful for that breath that you’re breathing that you can even engage that lesson because a lot of people can’t right now. So say ‘thank you’, just say ‘thank you’ out loud, scare people. Say, ‘thank you’. Thank you. Yes. Thank you. (Lesley and Kellee laughs)
Lesley Logan 43:57
Oh my God. Thank you. Oh my, Kellee, thank you so much. This is a delight. I’m just I’m so glad we’ve met and I hope that my cross country tour friendly back through Iowa, have to see Rachel anyways. But I would love to meet you in real life because you are just (Kellee: Absolutely) your your energy and enthusiasm and love. Like, it’s like, I know we’re not in real life right now. But like it is contagious. I can’t stop smiling like I’ve just really enjoyed an entire conversation. Everyone listening, how are you going to use these tips in your life? Let us know, tag @writegirlpilates and the @be_it_pod on Instagram. Screenshot this, send it to a friend like text a friend the link if you have no idea how to share from the podcast world, but let them know that they can, that they should listen to this if they are needing to hear that somebody else … totally changed their career and change their life and got sober and whatever out of this that made me think of a friend just send it to them. You don’t have to say ‘hello’, you could just send them the link and people know what to do with those. So, thank you Kellee for being here. Thank you everyone for listening. Until next time, Be It Till You See It.
That’s all I’ve got for this episode of the Be It Till You See It podcast! One thing that would help both myself and future listeners is for you to rate this show and leave a review. And, follow or subscribe for free wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, make sure to introduce yourself over at the @be_it_pod on Instagram! I would love to know more about you. Share this episode with whoever you think needs to hear it. Help us help others to BE IT TILL YOU SEE IT. Have an awesome day!
‘Be It Till You See It’ is a production of ‘As The Crows Fly Media’.
It’s written, produced, filmed and recorded by your host, Lesley Logan and me, Brad Crowell. Our Associate Producer is Amanda Frattarelli.
Kevin Perez at Disenyo handles all of our audio editing.
Our theme music is by Ali at APEX Production Music. And our branding by designer and artist, Gianfranco Cioffi.
Special thanks to our designer Jaira Mandal for creating all of our visuals (which you can’t see because this is a podcast) and our digital producer, Jay Pedroso for editing all video each week so you can.
And to Angelina Herico for transcribing each of our episodes so you can find them on our website. And, finally to Meridith Crowell for keeping us all on point and on time.
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