LIFE OF BRIAN “SAIGON” CARENARD
August 25, 2021
I have known our guest for this episode during my short appearance in Love & Hip Hop New York a few years ago. Brian Carenard, also known as “Saigon”, has released an autobiography series entitled “Pain Peace & Prosperity” and I have asked him to be on the High Functioning Hotspot to talk all about it!
Listen to this episode for special insight from Brian on his upbringing, family life, and other contents of his book.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (00:03):
Hi and welcome to The High Functioning Hotspot with me, Dr. Chloe Carmichael, clinical psychologist, author of Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety, as well as Dr. Chloe's 10 Commandments of Dating, and of course your host of The High Functioning Hotspot. Today's guest is a really special person to me, both personally and professionally. His name is Brian Carenard though his rapper name is Saigon. Brian and I first connected when he actually made it happen that I got my TV break, where I got to appear on VH1 Love and Hip Hop because Brian selected me out of a long thing, it's a whole side story, but he selected me and he gave me a TV break and it led to a lot of other great opportunities for me. But on a personal level, he has such an amazing story professionally, as well as personally. He was actually incarcerated for murder in his teens, and he went on to become not only very successful in the rap industry.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (01:12):
He also started on the TV show Entourage. He's now gone on to write a trilogy of books. The first one has hit the stands so far and I've got my copy and I love it! It's a very interesting, very good book. And I think that would be true, even for people who don't know him personally. So I hope that you enjoy the episode. And I also want to invite you. I've been kind of trying to move this up to the front, I used to say it at the end but I want to encourage you as you watch. If you hear something you like, please do hit the like button, comment, share. The more that you interact with the episode, honestly, the more it helps me in the algorithms to try to get this story out so that you know, these types of whatever platform you're listening on will make sure to bump it up and show it and suggest it to other people, if you are liking or commenting or sharing or scribing you to whether you're watching on YouTube or whatever platform you're watching or listening on. So I really appreciate any interaction for many reasons, but also just because it helps to get the word out about this episode. So without further ado, I give you Brian Carenard, AKA Saigon.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (02:27):
I've got your book in my hands. I loved it!
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (02:28):
So that's why it's Pain, Peace, and Prosperity because the early part of my life was a lot of pain and a lot of family struggles and things of that nature. And I believe in book two is like where I find some peace of mind. I am at peace with myself and through incarceration, you know, I was incarcerated. That's when I found some peace of mind, ironically is when I was incarcerated in prison. That's in book two, when I stopped getting those little slaps on the wrists and they said they need me to sit down for a minute to really think about some of the decisions I'm making. And so when we get to book three, Prosperity, is when I get into the music business and I started to take all of this, all of my life struggles and put them into my art and then start to prosper and start to really, you know, everything comes together.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (03:30):
I know. I mean, you have so much to share. Book one again, truly. I really loved it as a psychologist, as just a person and on so many levels. But yes, of course it doesn't tell the stories yet. You know, of even really what led to the big incarceration or to the big change, or even of you becoming a father, which I know is such a big part of your life now.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (03:55):
Even, you know, losing my mom. A lot of things, because you know, my mom, you read book one. My mom, our relationship was always weird. And it was like that, but in hindsight, I got to see this. She was young. She was very young. So when I became a parent, I've seen how much it takes to really raise and nurture a child. It's a lot. So now there's so much that, but when my mother was alive and I was able to forgive her for some of the things because there was a point where I began to blame her for my mistakes and the things that I was doing. Because especially when I was in there, when I knew she was poor before we got locked up and I'm there, and now I'm in prison now and I have nothing and there's no commissary and there's nothing.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (04:42):
And I'm writing her like, "How? If you love me? Why would you leave me like this?" And she has to explain to me, like, "I didn't have anything when you were out here. This is why I was telling you to chill out, like with some of the decisions you're making, because if you do get in the situation, I can't be of any aid to you at all. I can't help you get a lawyer. I can't bail you out. I can't because I can't afford to". So yeah. And then I started, but in hindsight, when I'm going through it, I was, we used to write our letters and make them feel guilty. There are kids in there my age, and their mothers send them things. And, you know, I'm the only one in here with nothing. And it was like, you know, in hindsight, I wish I could apologize. I wish I could say "Mom, I'm so sorry because I didn't see it the way I see it now. Because now I understand everything you were trying to tell me. And it's not like you weren't telling me the right things. You are telling me the right things. I just was deciding to make bad choices."
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (05:47):
I'm really sorry. I know losing a parent is really hard. I really liked though, the way that you didn't hide anything. I can see the love that you feel for your mom, but at the same time, I can understand why there was a part of you, that you obviously, and I say this to myself as well. Like I certainly didn't have any kind of a perfect parenting situation that I grew up in. I mean, I know that you, although your mom, in her own way may have been doing the best she could. I know she told you that she didn't want to be a mom because you put that in your book. Right? So your mom, I love, again, I love the compassion that you've come to have and the maturity and everything else, but just, you know, for listeners that maybe haven't read the book yet, which I recommend they do.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (06:47):
One of the things that Brian is referring to is the life path. If you will, of having a mom, you know, that was doing drugs, having our own issues with the law, open about the fact that she didn't want to be a mom. As well as, you know, growing up with a father where, you know, your mom was actually the, maybe the second family, like there were, it sounds like multiple other families, you know, that your dad had. And so I just want people to know, I don't, you know, blame you at all for having had a time of feeling like you wanted a different kind of motherhood, at least from the start, when you were comparing that with what you saw other people having from their moms.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (07:36):
Yeah. Because when you're in it, you just don't realize, you just see it. You see other things and you see other people with toys and nicer house, nicer places, and then you become envious and say, "Hey, why don't we live like that? Why do I have dirty clothes to go to school? Why do we have to live in Hyenga Lake? Like, the old thing about Hyenga Lake in the book is like, I didn't want to live there cause that's where the kids who lived there got teased. And it was like living in the swamp, you know? And when you go to school and they say, "Ahh, you live in Hyenga Lake". And I used to tease the kids who live there. You know what I said? And then I had to move there. I'm like, "oh my God!".
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (08:16):
My mom was never really into drugs. I know you notice that she was just smoking weed. You know what I mean? But back then we thought it was a drug. You know what I mean? But some of my aunts and some of her sisters got into the heavier stuff. So she never really got to that. She just was very negligent. She was very negligent. She was very, it's almost like she left us. She left it to us to raise ourselves, you know? Me, I was influenced by the wrong people. My older cousins who let me drink. I was drinking every day at the age of 11 and 10. I have a 10 year old son and I couldn't even fathom him taking a sip of alcohol. And to think that I would come home drunk at 10 or 11 years old, it makes me cringe now. Like I couldn't imagine my son even thinking about alcohol. And I didn't know that right under my mother's nose, I was like a full-fledged alcoholic at that age, like drinking every day.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (09:22):
What is your policy with your children on drinking and drugs and sex?
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (09:27):
Oh, no, no, no, no. You know, now that they're old enough to learn, I just let them understand that, you know, extending your childhood for as long as you can. And you're going to have all of these years to be an adult and to make your own decisions. But while you're a child, think about what's important.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (09:43):
Well, you can let them know that, but I'm asking like, what's the consequences if they choose that they want to do something different. I'm just curious.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (09:53):
I'm strict. I'm a strict parent. So, you know, if for instance, if my daughter was even get caught, that means there's no technology, there's no phones. You're going to go back to the eighties. Your life is going to be, you're going to be so far from your friends, like what they're into. I'm going to bring you back to prehistoric times. Because you know, you just got to really, sometimes tough love is necessary. And I wish I would have had it more because the fact that my mom was negligent is the reason why I got into street gangs. I got into all of that stuff. I didn't have my father there, you know? And so if my mom, like my aunt, who was in the book, she was tough on my cousin, Jamie. And that's the reason why he wasn't there, he never went to prison. He went to prison when he was a grown man. I was in prison as a teenager, you know what I'm saying, and he was four years older than I was, you know, so, but his mom didn't play that. Like if he missed the curfew by 10 minutes, he was punished for a week.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (11:05):
I think when they're black and white and you can have like, you know, I know your children right now, we're at an age where it makes sense for you to just say like, "Look, if you're doing any of that, you're going back to prehistoric times". But like at what age do you see potentially your kids starting to grow up and have a little latitude to, you know, experiment. I'm just asking because I'm a parent myself, and I'm curious for your thoughts.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (11:37):
I say after high school. After high school, like let's get the work out the way. If you can get yourself you know, once you get yourself into a good school. And I mean, like, cause after high school, they're pretty much on their own. They're going to go to college and then they're going to go, you know, they fleeting next. So my job is to give you all the tools you're going to need to go out there and face the world. You know what I'm saying?
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (12:06):
So all the way through high school.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (12:10):
Yeah. I'm going to give you the tools. I got girls, I'm going to teach them the tricks, the boys, you know, the boy tricks and all that. The older things so they're very equipped when they go out into the world. So you're not going to be able to tell my girl, "Hey, look, you're beautiful", and she's going to put out, that's not going to be enough. You're going to have to, you know what I'm saying? A lot more things because girls grow up with these young men. I've been a male.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (12:34):
You are a male.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (12:36):
I mean a young male, like a young man. I've been a young guy who was, you know, up on it.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (12:47):
I'm sure you're still dangerous. So, but speaking of that, I'm curious then like and you know, if there's anything again, like I said, if you want to decline any question, I can cut anything, but I'm curious when it comes to your daughters, I listened and loved the song 2 for $5. I listened, I watched the video, I loved it. However I have to ask, you know, I mean, like there's a certain scene and a certain lyric about a girl, the lyric 2 for $5 comes into play. I'm curious, do you let your daughters listen to that kind of thing? Like would that you're singing and that you're writing? Is that part of that education that you give them?
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (13:35):
Yeah, absolutely. They are usually there when I'm creating it. They're in the studio with me a lot. And I explained to them what it means, because one thing about my music, I stand behind it, everything I say. And I do that. I'm cognizant when I'm making it, because my kids are there in that research age to where they go and they go on YouTube. And they can say, "Hey, you know my dad's a rapper. Let me see what he raps about. And let me see if I even like him or not". You know? So they're getting to that point. So everything that's out there, there were things that were out there though, that I did create prior to them being born. And I took it all off YouTube. So they can't find that stuff.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (14:16):
A lot of that stuff was when I was younger and making more ignorant, not thinking. But now that I'm aware of, you know, these kids. Kids follow whatever you say and you lead by example. A lot of times parents tell their kids, "Do what I say, not what I do". And that doesn't work like that. They're going to follow your footsteps. My mom used to tell me, "Go light the cigarette on the stove" when she didn't want to, you know, she'd be sitting down and watching television, smoking cigarettes and send me as a little kid to go light the cigarette for her and bring it to her. So as a little kid, I'm lighting a cigarette on the stove, but I'm taking little drags and I get a little head rush and I'm like, "Oh, I like this!"
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (14:57):
Next thing you know, I'm behind her back, I'm smoking. I'm stealing her cigarettes, smoking cigarettes when I was a little kid. And that's because I’ve seen her smoking them. If they weren't in the house and you weren't smoking them, I probably would've never picked it up. I would've never had the desire to do it, but I'm seeing you doing it. You used to telling me it's bad for me, but you're doing it. So I'm looking at you like, "If it was bad for me, why are you doing it?" I want to do it because you're doing it. So I'm not even hearing what you're saying. You know what I'm saying? You're actually leading by example. And that's a lot of times we do that and we're not cognizant of it, we're not aware of it, but we need to be more as parents because kids are like little ducklings. They emulate everything we say like they're parrots. I going to be careful. I noticed my kids speaking like me and talking like me without even me trying to like tell them to. So yeah, that's very, very important to lead by example. And you know, parenting doesn’t come with a handbook or rule book, it's going to be trial and error. You’re going to make mistakes.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (16:05):
Yeah, definitely. And again, I love as a psychologist, I have to admit, it's almost like catnip. If somebody writes a book with like a bunch of information about their mother and their childhood and everything. Of course, I also loved some of your stories, like, you shared, for example, at the age of three I believe that you said it was, I think your mom or somebody would love to say, "Brian, get out the Bible and read from the book of Genesis". And at this very young age that you were reading aloud from the book of Genesis. So who taught you how to read?
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (16:51):
My sister, Ladidra. So as Ladidra was learning, she would teach me. I was like her personal student. She's two years older than me. So when a regular normal kid is learning how to read around five and six years old, she's teaching me everything. She's teaching me how to sound out words. I remember she was teaching me vowels and the sounds that vowels make. As she's learning it, she's teaching it to me. I'm only three, but I'm her personal little student. So then once my mom realized I could read too, as Ladidra's learning how to read, it was like, "oh, like you're not even in kindergarten yet. Like, Ladidra is in kindergarten. They teach you how to read in school". So Ladrida taught me, I remember.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (17:39):
Being that this show is The High Functioning Hotspot, where I'm interested in people obviously that are high functioning. And, you know, you're high functioning on so many levels. As a business person you know, and in terms of also just overcoming issues in your life and everything else. But one of the things also that you mentioned in the book is the ability to see things that others can't, right? And again, just to kind of give people a tease about the book, I think they should read it, you know, this particular thing pops up where you were like pretty much about to have sex with a girl. And then you realized it wasn't the right time or place or situation. And even with, as you said, that, you know, kind of young man's drive, you were still able to say, "Okay, wait a minute, just take me home. Like, let's not do this right here". But you had that meta-awareness as you were writing the book to say, "I've always been somebody I've prided myself on being able to see things that others can't". So I'm linking that with the Bible thing and the reading, because there's this obvious intelligence there. But intelligence doesn't always come with insight and wisdom. And it seems like you have both, and as we've talked about, it's not like you necessarily had the perfect setup under which to absorb a bunch of wisdom about how to live a life. And so I'm just curious, where do you think that level of insight about life, how did you come to be somebody who could see things that others couldn't?
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (19:19):
I think it's partially genetic. I think it's my dad, right? My dad, I couldn't stand this guy. The guy's 82 years old. And he is one of the most stern, stubborn, intelligent human beings that I've ever met. And he's very, very bright. He's very bright. And I noticed that my mom has two children by my dad. And then she had three children by another man from a different relationship. And me and my sister from my dad's side, we excelled on another level. Even my sisters from my dad, from another woman, like I have a sister who has a law degree from Temple. She's very, very smart as a tack. Very, very, very smart. And I see the kids. I'm not going to say that they're not as smart as we were, but I see a huge difference.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (20:30):
And my siblings from another man that are not from my father, you understand, that's why I said a lot of it, I feel like is genetic. And all of our heads, and even my children were in the 99 percentile, we have big heads. You know what I'm saying? They were like, all three of my kids are 99 percentile and all of my kids are brilliant. So I think a lot of it has to do with, it's a genetic thing. I think there's a lot of it is genetic. And the other part of it is, you know, just upbringing. My mom was very smart as well, but my dad's side of my family is I think where we get our intelligence.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (21:12):
That's interesting. Yeah. Because you know, it's not only just intelligence. But it's also, again like emotional intelligence or something more.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (21:24):
Reasoning skills like common sense, the common thing being able to figure things out quicker. It's almost like you put a Rubik's cube in two different people's hands and see how fast one person can figure it out. One person might figure it out much faster than another person. That wouldn't make them smarter, they're just better at solving puzzles. You know what I'm saying? Like, I'm good at reasoning and puzzle solving and common sense, like common sense goes a long way. And sometimes, common knowledge is more effective than a lot of book knowledge where people will consider, you know, information they get from other sources. Sometimes it's internal and able to reason and figure things out and read people. Even in prison, you sharpen those tools because you have to do that to survive, because people come to you with a smile on their face and have very bad intentions.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (22:20):
So you have to learn. Yeah. You have to learn how to read through that. And it's something that you acquire by survival instinct, but a lot of people don't have it. You see people going in and they're oblivious that this guy's a predator. And they think this guy really likes him and they go up to him and they go, "Hey, man, you want to smoke a joint?" And you'll be like, "oh yeah". Next thing you know, you're smoking a joint with a guy cause you think the guy likes you, but now you owe him something.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (22:46):
I'm surprised anybody actually goes to prison and doesn't realize that in this day and age, you know what I mean? Like, I think that's even like on the Sopranos at this point, right? Like I thought everybody knew.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (22:58):
So you got to understand a lot of these guys use deceit. Deceit is very strong. This guy would woo you in. And loaned you on for a minute. So you'll think a guy really has good intentions because you're like, you're in there by yourself. So it's not like you have people in there. So you think, "Oh, this guy, you know, I found a friend". You got to know.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (23:18):
That's one thing I didn't see in your book though, unless I missed it. I'm curious. Did you have any of those kinds of stories in life where there was like this one time where like you got duped and it taught you something? Cause I don't think I saw that. Did that ever happen?
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (23:35):
That's in book two. The book one, I'm only like 14, 15 years old, you know? So the book two you get me growing into a man, and learning, coming into myself. Because I knew from growing up that I was super smart because all my teachers used to say, "Yo, what the hell is going on? Like you, you're my brightest kid and you don't want to come to school. You don't want to do the work. You can do this work so easily. It comes too easy to you. But you know, you'd rather go hang out in the hallways. Like, what's wrong with you, Brian? You have potential". They will pull me to the side and say, "Look, I don't say this to all my kids. Like you have potential to go be somebody great". And it always stays with me in the back of my mind. But you know, I loved the streets too much. I love the street light. I love that, the allure of the streets was too much.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (24:35):
Right. But it was interesting. I just want to say about your dad as well as you know, that there are, of course in what you mentioned about genetics. And of course, as a clinical psychologist, I can attest to that. It's not only just intelligence, but it's temperament and all kinds of things. And there's obviously also different kinds of intelligence. And, you know, there's that ability, as you said, to figure out a Rubik's cube quickly, but also interestingly enough, it's kind of an ironic thing. But with your dad, you know, he didn't just get a lot of different women pregnant. He set up families with them. He had this interpersonal depth with them, you know what I mean? And so it actually takes, I think a lot of interpersonal intelligence to kind of like get a woman on board with that, right? You know, there's a lot going on there.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (25:25):
A lot going on. It is funny because it's so much like how did this guy deal with 17, 18 children and from all of these women. And how did you not go crazy?
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (25:39):
Yeah. That's a whole other show.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (25:42):
And we all pretty much know each other. Like if I have 17 siblings, I know 12 or 13 of them personally, like on a personal level.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (25:56):
Which is a beautiful thing, I think. I want to ask you also, because I have so many questions, we may even have to do like an episode for every book or something if you'll come because I do truly find it so interesting and deep in so many ways. But on so many levels, one of which actually is the legal level. And so since for example, you mentioned your sister, I think it's your sister that you said had a degree from Temple Law a moment ago. But I was curious too, like, as you write and publish these types of stories about yourself and your past, did you have to run this thing by a lawyer before you published it? Were you a little worried about any kind of like, oops!
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (26:42):
Yeah, I did. I did. I talked to my attorney because I use people's names, like their real names. I didn't hide nothing. And he said like, "A person can only sue you for defamation if you're lying about them. If you could prove, if it's your life story and it's true, then you can't get sued for defamation. Now if you went in there and told some lies or said something that wasn't true about someone and it affected their livelihood then, yeah, they can come after you legally".
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (27:15):
There's also even about incriminating yourself.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (27:19):
Oh no, because when I copped out, I copped out to all known and unknown. And there's something that people don't know about the system, is when you plead bargain and you plead guilty to a crime, you were good cop out to all known and unknown. I mean, they can't come and convict you for something from prior to that, from prior to that conviction. That's a legal gem for you, for criminals out there!
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (27:46):
No, I mean, truly. Like I said, The High Functioning Hotspot, there are so many different levels of intelligence and levels of operation you know, and just levels of strategy, levels of maturity. You know, that I think are encapsulated and even honestly musical, like, you know, just excitement and I hope people do check out your music and your videos, I enjoyed it. And I know some of this might be coming up more in book two. But one of the other questions I had is, in the book, you acknowledge some early, like real struggles with tempers. Like it's one thing to be able to go wild on somebody when it strategically advantages you. It's another thing to sometimes have your own temper run you around. And in the book, you've kind of talked about how at first it would kind of come over you. Can you share or preview how you came to master that? Or if you have?
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (28:48):
I haven't yet. The thing is, I haven't yet. I almost found myself in a situation recently and luckily the right person was around me, who's like, "I will not let you throw everything you worked hard for away." And it surprised me, but yeah, I'm a work in progress when it comes to that. And it's something I've struggled with my whole life. And I think it's like, my dad, like when Prince says, "Maybe I'm just like my father, too bold". My dad is the same way, the guy is over the top. And that's another thing that I said temperaments and all that are genetic as well. I think that's another thing that I get from my father's side, because my sister, she's not violent but she has this thing where she could hold a grudge for like forever over the smallest thing. And she won't talk to you for like two, three years. And you know, I'm like, "You're still mad about that one little thing?". And it's a level of stubbornness that's excessive. It's like everything we do, it's excessive.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (29:59):
Well that's very interesting because again, like with high functioning people, and this is one of the things I talk about in my book, the ability to have a tenacious mind can be a strength and a weakness, right? That if your mind is like a dog with a bone once it gets on something, that can be helpful or it can flip on you, but I want to applaud you for what you just acknowledged there. That you're still struggling with the temper because that's high functioning right there. I think it takes a very high functioning person to be able to be aware to not have to pretend to others or to yourself.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (30:38):
You got to stop lying to yourself at some point. Stop looking for other people to blame. You look up, "Yo, it's here. You shouldn't have did this to me". At some point, you got to look and say, "Hey, I'm the common denominator here. I'm the problem. You know what I'm saying? I'm the problem. And I got in, and not only that, my actions only affecting me. I'm thinking of hurting somebody else. But at the end of the day, I'm hurting myself. Yeah. So now you got to really sit down with yourself and say, ``Hey, I need help".
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (31:10):
Sit down with Dr. Chloe. I love talking about anger management. I truly do. Like, I have this whole big thing about anger. I would love to talk about it, but it will be a whole other conversation. But some other time, like, I would seriously love to talk about anger with you. And like try some of my favorite little tricks on you and like, see if they work on you.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (31:30):
Have you find, have you got tricks? I love it. I would love to try them because I went through AV (Alternative to Violence) Behavior Programs, ART (Aggression Replacement Training). I've had it for years and years and years. And sometimes it works. But like I said, I come from one of those extremely excessive, over the top kind of lineages. So like, "Oh, pleasure and imagery is not working. Three or ten times to think about the night that was the best time you had in your life, and this is not going to work right. I still want to smash this guy in the head". You know what I'm saying?
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (32:05):
I totally agree with you. Could we talk about that some other time and reword it? I would love to do that because I totally hear you. I've heard all that kind of stuff before. And I would love to do that. So I'll follow up with you about that. But back to you and back to your book right now. So I just also want to know, like, was it therapeutic for you to like write this book, the process of writing and reflecting on it at all?
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (32:35):
Absolutely. It was very therapeutic because I got to not only travel back into time because I had to go think back of memories that were so far in the back of my mind, but I had to go back and pull them up to even be able to write them down. And then there was pain that was still there that I was able to deal with. You know what I'm saying? By reflecting and saying, "There was forgiveness that I forgave people for things that they'd done". And it was almost like when my family, when I was in jail with a thousand dollar bail for eight months. You know how unloved you feel? Like I was in jail with a whole big family, all this big family. I have nine aunts, a huge family, and they're all close knitted and I'm a kid.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (33:23):
It's not like I'm one of those guys who keep going in and out and never learning my lesson. I was a child and I'm in jail for eight months, when a thousand dollars could have got me home. And these guys could have put up $50 a piece and got me out. And they let me sit in there and that made me really resent them. And I grew up for a lot of years hating my family for that. But now, I don't feel that way anymore. Now it's like, I don't know what they were going through. I don't know. Maybe they didn't have $50 a piece? Maybe they didn't have it. Or maybe nobody is set in organizing and said, "Hey, let's come together and get Brian out". Maybe nobody did that. Like I had to really look at variables and other things that could have been instead of just sitting in, harboring and holding on to all of this anger for them. You understand?
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (34:12):
I can definitely understand why that would make you angry. But again, to me, there's something even just about a sense of personal responsibility that it's hard to understand, as you said, how this whole family of people that nobody was willing or able to figure that out, that makes me admire you all the more for just seeing, how did you come out of that? Like the way that you are with this level of functioning and organization and drive and everything else, you know.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (34:51):
It was a gift and a curse because it made me say, you know what, not that incident, but that incident stayed with me. And then the second time I went to jail for the long, that was the time I got out of there. I did eight months when I got out and I went right back and it was the same thing. I was like, okay, now so I'm going to make something of my life and I'm going to make them over grit, treat me like. So that was kind of my drive that gave me a drive to be like, oh, that everybody's counting me out. They just look like I'm a loser. Okay. I'm going to be somebody and I'm going to prove everybody wrong.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (35:30):
Well, to me, that is, that's beautiful, you know, just, I want to say a note to end on, because it's a 30 minute show and we're here at 45 minutes, you know, but I truly feel like I could talk to you all day. And I just, on that same note in that, like I saw so many parallels of that beautiful spirit in you. Like you shared this other story that I just have to share about the book that really touched me about your mom. You know, that as you were saying that you had, I think this understandable level of angst about your mom and the way that she was, you know, it would be hard to come to, as you said, there was a certain amount of neglect. But when you heard other people kind of trash-talking, your mom, and I have to say as a mom, myself, maybe there was also something like, you know, every mom wants to be loved and honored by their son.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (36:23):
I did not like that. When it was me, it was okay. Anybody else? No way. You know what I mean?
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (36:29):
And so for people that haven't read the book yet, I just want them to kind of like quickly get this. What happened is that you heard these people trash-talking your mom, even for things that you yourself kind of maybe had privately thought, and then you said, "Oh no, nobody's going to say my mom wasn't a good mom. I have to rise up and really kill it in life to show them that there's nothing wrong with my mom". And I just, I mean, I get chills thinking about it. I loved the book. I really hope people read it. Or if they don't want to "read, read", I love that there's also an audio book. Did you read the audiobook yourself?
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (37:11):
Yeah. I narrated it word for word.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (37:15):
Love that. Love that. I'm super excited to get that one.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (37:18):
They can go to Audible, iTunes. The book is in Barnes and Noble, it's in Walmart. You can go to Walmart and get the book. So I've done a good job as a first time publisher getting it out there. So now, I really like work backwards because it's my first time doing it. Cause I know how to market something. My whole thing was, let's make it available. Now let's go let people know they can go get it.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (37:42):
How did you get into Walmart? I'm curious.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (37:47):
A distributor, a cool distributor I found. Yeah, pretty good.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (37:52):
You'll have to hook me up.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (37:55):
Yeah, I will. My friend, Zach Tate is a guy I met in prison and he's a big author now and he's shown me a lot of tricks. He's a guy I met in prison and now he's like, "I'm so proud of you man", because he used to see me when I was a knucklehead and I was that extra angry young kid. And he's like, "Man, to see the strides that you made as a man and to see the father you became and the way you handled your career and the fact that you did it with integrity". It just makes him, it makes a lot of people say, you know, look at me in another light.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (38:30):
That is so cool. So you met him in prison and now the two of you both have gone on to become authors and he's giving you some business tips and I'm sure you're giving him some tips too.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (38:40):
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (38:43):
That is amazing. And by the way, I mean the idea, even as well as like how we met, you know, it's all just, it's such a funny story, but you know, I think you're such an amazing person.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (38:58):
I'm so proud of the mom (you are). To see you have your first child and to know you before you even were pregnant and then to see you, cause you were there dealing with me with my two year old boy, B was 18 months when we first brought him to you and now he's 10 years old, you know? So you got to meet my son when he's 18 months and now to see you with a little boy, you know, like, "Look, now she knows everything that I was trying to go through and she's going through it herself". And I love, cause I follow you on social media and I loved when you post with a little beautiful boy and I'm glad for you and Jim and I love you guys.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (39:35):
Well, thank you! Love you too, truly. Yeah. And you know, that's an interesting point that you make that. When we did meet and seeing that struggle, you know, that you were having and it's true, I honestly couldn't, I mean, as a psychologist, as a person, I could kind of see it and get it, but there's nothing like being a parent yourself. And then, you know, some of the issues that you described.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (40:00):
When you met me and Erica, we were in a relationship. So we were having that struggle where, you know, parenting and having two different points of views. And so that was a struggle within itself.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (40:14):
What a torture that must have been for you. I mean, again to feel like your child was in a certain situation that wasn't in your control, especially with your own history of having felt like there was this past of neglect.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (40:30):
And I think it was something that was embedded in me. I think that's the reason it started to become anger. You know what I'm saying? Like, let me take care of this. Why are you fighting me when I noticed this is what he needs? You know? And I need to be here because if I would've had this, I would have went, know what I'm saying? And we still have that same struggle to this day raising my son and instead of point where there are times where I want to give up, but my love for my son won't allow me to give up. So I have to stay in this struggle.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (41:00):
That's actually the healthy function of anger, which again, it's a whole other time to talk, but the healthy function of anger is actually to sense when there is an injustice and to feel a mobilization to, you know, get in there and fix that boundary or, you know, whatever it is. And so I think it's actually a gift that, you know, that you have the capacity to, you know, turn into the Hulk sometimes, so to speak.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (41:32):
I know you got to know where to channel it correctly. When you know how to channel that, then you're right, it is a good thing. Because it's like passion when you're compassionate about something. If it's something that's positive and good, then go for it, you know. Be as passionate as you can if it's something that's going to be productive and beneficial. But you can be passionate about the wrong things too. You know what I mean? And that's when it becomes no good. So it's kind of go hand and hand.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (41:58):
Well I'm really looking forward to reading, I know it sounds so cheesy, but like reading the journey, you know.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (42:05):
Yeah. I'll send it as soon as we get off. Send me your information and I'll send it to you.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (42:11):
Definitely. And I just want to hold this up one more time. I have a little blur going on here, so that's why I've got to get it in just the right spot, but it's Pain, Peace and Prosperity and by Brian D. Carenard aka Saigon, and we didn't even get to talk about you being in Entourage. All these things came about, but
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (42:32):
We got to do Part Two, we'll do Part Two. Yeah, we'll do more later on.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (42:36):
That would be wonderful. Sending you big hugs.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (42:40):
Well, thank you for everything. And like I said, send love to the family and, you know, we got to go out. You and Jim, we got to catch up one of these days now that this COVID thing is over.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (42:50):
Thank God, finally! And thank you for sharing the story, truly. Pain, Peace, and Prosperity Part One. Audible book, I'm definitely going to get that, too. I feel like there's something about hearing somebody tell the story that's exciting.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (43:05):
Just to anybody who hasn't read it yet to listen to it, because it's so much more, you know, easier to, not much easier to follow, but I'm was able to put a lot of my diction and a lot of my cadences to emphasize things that I'm saying, because when you read it, you might read it and it's not the way I probably meant it.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (43:28):
Well that's true. But I will say that there's so many names and faces that I kind of liked being able to stand back and be like, "What, who is this?" But I want both, you know, so thanks again for sharing it all. And I can't wait to talk again, and I'm definitely going to circle back to talk about the anger stuff, but also I want my part two and part three, I'm going to have my assistant get on you for that.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (43:53):
You got it. You got it. Thank you so much. Take care.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (43:58):
You too, Bye-bye.
Brian "Saigon" Carenard (43:59):
Dr. Chloe Carmichael (44:00):
Wow. What a great reconnection. It was really great to feel like I was connecting really with an old friend there. I think we've known each other now, I want to say since maybe 2013 or something like that. So I guess it's been about eight or nine years, and it's been such a gift really to get to know Brian even for myself, as we shared in the show, you know, through me becoming a parent myself, and he's such an amazing parent himself, but also an incredible businessman, as well as an incredible musician and an incredible writer. I mean, talk about high functioning, this guy's hitting on so many notes. And I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did. If you want to check him out on social media, we'll make sure to include all of his links in the show notes, as well as, of course, all of my links. Then if you have not already, I would encourage you, ask you again to please like, comment, subscribe, share, interact with this episode in some way, because it is just that I love to hear from you. And of course also it just helps to get the show out there and make sure that people are hearing about it. So thanks so much again for connecting on The High Functioning Hotspot today. And I can't wait to get together again. Take care!
- The High Functioning Podcast Homepage - www.TheHighFunctioningHotspot.com
- Dr. Chloe’s Homepage - http://drchloe.com/
- Pain Peace & Prosperity - https://www.saigonmerch.com/books/10-saigon-pain-peace-prosperity-book1-the-greatest-story-never-told.html
- Brain’s Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/saigon.nation
- Brian’s Twitter - https://twitter.com/TheRealSaigon
- Brian’s Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/saigon_nyc/
- Brain’s LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-saigon-carenard-946b87196/
- 13th Man Foundation - https://13thman.net/
- Hip Hop My Way - https://www.hiphopmyway.com/