The Tuesday Pod: Breaking Stigma While Making Art

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Call Your Girlfriend: WINTER BOOKS 2019

Why You Should Be Listening…

The other day I was talking to a coworker of mine, and he said I seemed really high-strung. I honestly started to laugh and was a bit shocked because I almost always get the opposite from people who aren’t my close friends; instead, they typically say I seem “really chill” and that’s always been the biggest comedy to me. I chalked it up to me being a “high-functioning” anxious person who did a great job of hiding everything in her head, yet in these past few weeks, I’ve found myself falter in that definition. While I’ve been feeling even more anxious and depressed in the last month, I started to wonder if I wasn’t as “high-functioning” as I thought and that that meant something bad. Though I identify as someone who is well-versed in regards to mental health issues, this week’s episode recommendation made me check myself a bit. It wasn’t until I listened to it for a second time that I began to think about how damaging certain categorization within mental health discourse can be and how little I knew about other mental health disorders outside the realm of anxiety and depression. 

This week’s Tuesday Pod is an episode of Call Your Girlfriend, which is hosted by Aminatou Sow, a writer, podcast host, and the co-founder of Tech LadyMafia (among other things), and Ann Friedman, a journalist, essayist, and media entrepreneur. These two cross-country best friends have created a podcast where they both are able to keep in touch and explore with each other. This episode, titled “Winter Books 2019,” surprised me. What I thought would be a literature-based episode focused mainly on books and their content, ended up being a deeply informative one about mental health, the liminality of being mixed race, and how to navigate your life alongside your creative pursuits. For this episode, we get to hear from not only one but two authors, Esmé Wang and Nikki Darling, about their newly released books and how their own lives impacted the creation of them. 

In the first section of the episode, Aminatou and Esmé discuss Esmé’s book, The Collected Schizophrenias, and break down the stigma that exists through low functioning and high functioning classification, the misconceptions about psychosis, and how Esmé navigates her own diagnoses in relation to her work. They also touch on the way cultural background, such as being a part of an immigrant family, can affect treatment. I appreciate how much Esmé dissects the many difficult factors that can come up with having a mental illness and how it doesn’t just affect your relationship with yourself but also with the people in your life that you love and care about. Her sharing her own experience allows not only for new discourse to emerge, it also provides helpful ways to think about either your own mental illness or a friend’s (whichever that is). I would describe this interview just as Aminatou first describes Esmé’s book: highly intelligent. There is a softness and strength in the way that Esmé speaks about this subject and it only makes me want to know more about the work that she is doing. 

In the latter section, which is a bit shorter than Esmé’s interview, we get to hear from Nikki Darling about her book Fade Into You, her time growing up in L.A., and how she navigates her mixed race heritage as a person who “passes” as white. Nikki is frank in her communication and adds an animated energy to the episode. She explains the New Narrative style of her book and reminds us creatives that not all the work we create is meant to be seen by the masses and that rejections may end up being blessings later on. Through that, both Esmé and Nikki address the conflict many artists face: where do you draw the line between your personal experience and the content of your art? And, by the end of the episode, Aminatou and Ann stay true to the title, offering up other great book recommendations along with Esmé and Nikki’s. If you’re looking to feel more informed, empathetic, and empowered, you’ll definitely want to check out this episode.

Listen here.

Quotes You’ll Want to Write Down

The Tuesday Pod: How to Get What You Want

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Second Life: Rebroadcast | Ellen Bennett: Hedley & Bennett Founder and CEO

Why You Should Be Listening…

“Baby, what do you think of this?” This was a question I was asking my partner a lot in the first month after launching this blog and its accompanying Instagram page. I was deep in the beginning stages and truthfully was feeling overwhelmed and full of imposter syndrome with all that I had to navigate, especially the Instagram aesthetic. I wondered if I was doing it “right” and putting out the “right” content when, really, there was no right way to do it. What I needed to figure out was my vision and then thoughtfully consider feedback rather than solely relying on it. Now, going on my third month, I’m feeling more sure of myself, and I trust my instincts more to create what matches my aesthetic rather than what I’m already seeing out there in the Insta-universe. Part of what has helped me reach that mindset is through this week’s Tuesday Pod, which I absolutely loooooove. Just talking about it gets me more excited and confident with what I’m doing—that’s how infectious Ellen Bennett’s energy is. 

So, you might be asking, “Who is Ellen Bennett?” She is a super successful entrepreneur who began as a line cook only to later create the multi-million dollar culinary lifestyle brand Hedley & Bennett. This interview takes place on the Second Life podcast, which is led by Hillary Kerr, the co-founder of three different companies: Who What Wear, My Domaine, and Byrdie. Hillary re-broadcasted this interview in August, but its initial release was back in September 2018. I can see why she chose to bring it back, and I’m grateful for it, otherwise I may have missed it. Hillary guides conversation well, allowing for honest reactions and exchanges, while also covering key topics about each guest’s journey into a new career. In this interview, Hillary’s love and amazement for Ellen is palpable through your headphones—or speakers.

Ellen discusses how she built up her company from an idea once viewed as silly by her peers and family. She tackles the question of what makes a good leader and the evolution of a growing business and how the life of it must be able to shift. She stresses that we can’t rely on anyone else to give purpose to what we are doing, and her story truly embodies the idea that you must work your ass off to get what you want and use the resources you have at whatever stage you are in. Throughout it all, Ellen’s motto seems to be to put intention and work into something, and the universe will begin to bring it to you. Like she describes, the more I see the uniqueness and worth in what I do and the more time and effort I have put into it, the more connections I have started to build. I have no doubt that this interview will invigorate you to do the same. 

Listen here.

Quotes You’ll Want To Write Down

The Tuesday Pod: Defining Success for Yourself

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Imperfectly Phenomenal Woman: Immigrant African American Woman: You Can('t) Succeed

Why You Should Be Listening…

How do you define success? I’ve noticed that this question has been asked more and more on many different podcasts that I’ve been listening to or has been reimagined in some cool, eye-catching graphic, either resting in a bed of flowers or written in neon letters or something like that, on Instagram. As a kid, I mostly defined success in two distinctive ways: first, through a practical, intellectual job that promised a set career path in place for you to follow, and second, way on the opposite end of the spectrum, was fame related to anything creative. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized my younger self believed fame to be the only way to have a successful creative career--anything else was too intangible. Too mysterious in how money could actually be made. What I recognized, too, was that much of my own definitions of success aligned with wanting to make my parents happy and proud of me, which to me had meant being practical and safe.

The moment I heard Sewit Mulat explain how our ideas of “success” are shaped by society and our parents, I knew what to make this week’s episode recommendation. Sewit stresses how we all have to find our own definition for success rather than relying on what was initially set up for us from either our parents or society. For this Tuesday Pod, host and producer Lauren Williams of the recently launched Imperfectly Phenomenal Woman podcast interviews Sewit Mulat. Sewit offers her perspective on work and life in America as an Ethiopian immigrant woman, commenting on the Ethiopian immigrant experience and misconceptions about American life. She also speaks on her intersectional identity as both an immigrant and African American woman and how certain American people neglect to recognize her intertwined identities. 

I came by this podcast because a past colleague of mine was interviewed (shout out to Cleo) on one episode. Lauren just launched her podcast this past June, and as she says in her own words, it’s a podcast for reminding women it’s okay to not be perfect, and I am here for it. She transitions from a sound bite of Sewit speaking some truth to an intro song that is a true bop. Right from the start, I felt transported to a mellow and welcoming atmosphere, which was only solidified when I heard Lauren’s voice and her attentive interview style. Lauren is both personal and professional as she guides us through Sewit’s life story and journey to success, and rather than feeling like an outsider listening in, I felt like I was being invited into a chill girls night that might include some rosé, movie watching, and a touch of fighting the patriarchy and white supremacy.

Meanwhile, Sewit does not sugar coat things. She is honest about her experiences, and she challenges the stereotype (which I learned more about via this podcast) that women from other countries can’t come to America and aspire to all sorts of jobs and lifestyles. Though Sewit at times is speaking directly to her fellow immigrant audience, each dosage of knowledge she administers in this interview is applicable to all of us at some level. I know I felt inspired and began to think more about my own definition of success once I finished the episode, and once you listen, I know it will get you to think more about yours so you can start making real moves towards your goals.

Listen here.

Quotes You’ll Want to Write Down

The Tuesday Pod: The Art and Politics of Pubes

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The Cut On Tuesdays: Beat Around the Bush: On Pubes

Why You Should Be Listening…

I will never forget in college when a guy ghosted me because I didn’t shave off all of my pubic hair. That might seem like a contradiction because, you know, if he ghosted me, how could I know the reason? Well, the problem with ghosting friends of friends is that information almost always gets out. When I finally found out why he was ignoring my texts after a great third date, I was uniquely devastated. Not so much because I had been super into him, but because he so blatantly found lack of pubic hair (that women are naturally meant to have) to be a number one priority over the full person he was getting to know. I guess you could say that I was offended and hurt for all women and the “pubic hair on women is gross” mentality that I was taught by plenty of media outlets growing up tried to emerge from that archived section in my head. Now, you might be wondering, what the hell does pubic hair have to do with the purpose of this blog? Well, think of it like this: the art and politics of the female bush. 

On this week’s episode recommendation, I give you no one-person interview but rather a compilation of women’s voices from an array of perspectives, some named and some left anonymous, who talk all about their pubic hair. The podcast that has blessed us with these frank anecdotes is The Cut on Tuesdays, which is hosted by writer and journalist Molly Fischer and produced by Kimmie Regler. It was truthfully so difficult to narrow down a first episode recommendation from this podcast channel. Molly is an excellent journalist and is both decisive and humorous in her delivery, and I never miss an episode. Sometimes the episodes are like this, shaped by caller messages, and sometimes it’s other forms of investigative journalism or the classic one-on-one interview. Either way, we always learn more about the world from women's perspectives.

In terms of pubic hair, they clearly have pulled from a diverse response pool and do a good job of representing as such. Molly weaves in and out of these responses, narrating us through the many realms in which pubic hair exists: beauty and trends, media, relationships, health, and politics. For women, I love this episode to specifically combat any shame or expectations that may be felt around the subject matter. I personally found my own experience in a few of the stories shared by different callers, and it was great to feel a sense of camaraderie with these other women. I kept thinking about how much I wished this episode existed ten years ago--or more. The only pre-college conversation about pubic hair with other girls that I remember was when my friends in 8th grade talked about how another girl wasn’t shaving it all off and that that was nasty. My 13-year-old self was like, shit, should I be doing this? I promptly did and didn’t look back until mid-college when I realized that I personally wanted a more mature look and wanted to cut out the health risk hazard of being completely bare.  

Despite some of the serious points made, the episode itself is entertaining. It’s honest and informative, and it feels like how you would talk to your supportive and loving female friends about body shit. Now, I have my own opinions about pubic hair, and sometimes I can get real deep with it and feel a lot of frustration. But, I needed the candor and humor in this episode because I can’t be serious about it all the time. I hope other women or young girls hear this episode and are able to just start having more conversations about their pubic hair rather than quietly shaming themselves about it or feeling alone in their curiosity or confusion. And for the men who don’t already know it (though I know many of you do), it’s up to the woman to decide her preference and none of it is gross. To quote The Cut, I’ll “see you next Tuesday.”

Listen here.

Quotes You’ll Want to Write Down

The Tuesday Pod: Are You Afraid of Curiosity?

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On Being: 610. [Unedited] Elizabeth Gilbert with Krista Tippett

Why You Should Be Listening…

Do you name yourself one of those people whose work is their identity? Or, do you find a way to keep it separate? Lately, I’ve been wondering if it is better to be the latter, but realistically I know I fall into the former. I want to make art that affects and changes things—and much of that is tied deeply into my own experience and who I am. The problem is, when the inspiration isn’t there or the achievement is lacking, that can make my whole self feel like a huge ass failure. I think back to when I was younger, when creating was a part of something simply fun. When my sister, cousin, and I would make up stories and perform them for our family or record them, later having a movie screening. Or maybe when I would write horror stories and draw strange pictures just for the hell of it. Yes, we wanted to impress our artist grandmother, but nothing was really depending on it. There was no real pressure to it. Part of me would like to go back to that.

But, the other part of me knows that isn’t how I want to move through the world. Ironically enough, when these feelings began to come up, I had realized that I wanted to jump into the unknown and bet on myself to create my own writing career, whatever and whichever way that led me. It’s part of what gets me talking about mental health on this blog, especially in conjunction with career life. So much of it is wrapped up together. Despite acknowledging this truth back then, I’m still figuring out how to navigate this whole creative pursuits, career, self-identity stuff in a way that is healthy. It’s also part of the reason why I love this week’s episode recommendation, where journalist Krista Tippett, host of the On Being podcast, interviews author Elizabeth Gilbert about life as a creative, the difference between curiosity and passion, and spirituality in artistic creation.

My friend Andrea, who is a beautiful collage artist, first introduced me to this podcast back when we were sitting down for tea one day at Maman, a french restaurant in New York City. We had been talking about podcasts, and I mentioned how I was looking for more hosted by women. Afterward, I listened to a few episodes from On Being, and the one with Elizabeth immediately struck me (though you may get a few more recs from it in the future). I first listened during that time when I was really trying to map out my whole work-life identity and had just proclaimed to my family that I was jumping into a completely unconventional path and was feeling both excited and fucking anxious. Right away, I was welcomed by Krista’s calm tone and attentive, thoughtful questions. She asks Elizabeth to speak on complex realities that creatives face, in which her responses address even bigger problems. 

Truthfully, I was surprised by Elizabeth’s answers. I hadn’t expected to be that into the episode since I hadn’t thought much about Elizabeth Gilbert since reading Eat Pray Love in college. I remember enjoying the book but also that it didn’t live up to the hype. I was also skeptical later on because of some controversy that came up regarding the story. I would have loved to see how Krista guided the conversation through this controversy, but that was one part that did not come up. Still, I became quickly hooked to their exchange. She opens with her quirky family history and a discussion of vocation, followed by a calling out of the problematic nature of privilege and expectation in western society’s typical identification of “a creative.” She debunks of the idea that only certain people are creatives and that a particular lifestyle or relationship to art is conducive to success or enjoyment. This culture of a “real artist” is something I have always found problematic, and I found her articulation of it helpful.

What really makes the episode, though, is that these conversations do not just exist within the realm of creation. Elizabeth’s advice is applicable to us on the core level of humanity and is so important, especially with all of the issues threatening to alienate us from each other. She even finds a way to briefly allude to Harry Potter and Practical Magic, and if you know me at all, you know I’m a sucker for anything witchcraft. I think if I stay in touch with my creative magic, as they call it, and allow my art to exist within and outside of the scope of my career, I may just be able to figure all this shit out. And I hope it helps you figure out yours, too. I’ve linked to both the unedited and edited version of this episode. I’m partial to the unedited version, but if you prefer podcasts an hour and under, the key parts are covered in the edited version.

Listen here for the unedited version or Listen here for the edited version.

Quotes You’ll Want to Write Down

The Tuesday Pod: Work-Life Trauma


How We’ll Live: Healing Trauma & How to Use Intuition as a Guide Through Life’s Most Difficult Transitions

Why You Should Be Listening…

“When you’re done, you’ll know.” I heard my mentor say these words to me after I had been trying to figure out why the hell I kept going back to the same guy, the same blackout hook ups, and the same awkward two-text sober interactions. I was in my junior year of college and had been back and forth with the same guy for three years. I was pissed at myself for not being able to release whatever hold this “relationship” had on me, but she told me with full confidence that I would know. It wasn’t until the following year that I got it. I had just come home from a weekend away, where he and I had been together, and I realized just that: I was done. No hard choice. No emotional outburst. Something had released me. But, it wasn’t until about four years later that I started consciously and actively connecting the dots of my behavioral patterns with sexual relationships to the sexual trauma I experienced as a child. My past had been impacting everything so much, and I was finally looking at it. As I listened again to this week’s rec, my mentor’s words kept echoing in my head, and I knew I had to suggest this one to you all. 

On this Tuesday Pod, Hailey Miller interviews Kate Van Horn, a wellness blogger, yoga instructor, and entrepreneur. I connected with Hailey through the Girlboss online community (side note: if you’re a woman looking to connect with other dope women, I highly suggest joining this platform). I knew from the episode title that I would be interested in the content; I am always doing more research on trauma, so I can understand my own experience and continue to heal and so I can help educate the people around me and communicate better with them. As I began to listen, I was pleased to hear a well-thought-out and well-handled conversation about some really difficult shit. Kate herself is a survivor of childhood sexual trauma and has undergone treatment for eating disorders, and she speaks about these topics with such care.

Hailey and Kate center around how to heal from past trauma, how trauma can impact daily (and work) life, and how intuition pathways can be identified. Truthfully, that last one had me the most skeptical. As someone who intensely experiences anxiety in her gut, I am always irritated when someone tells me to “trust my intuition” because if that was the case, then I would have died from an allergic reaction or some terrible disease or been attacked many times over by now and been right about it each time cause my body was saying “yes, this is the truth!!!” But, like Kate and Hailey discuss, there are ways to distinguish between patterns of chaos that have become comfort zones from choices that show care and attention to your body and soul. Rather than leading with the discourse of “gut feeling,” Kate talks through alternative ways to tap into that intuitive energy. 

And this is the shit that I find can be directly related to the other work we are out trying to achieve in the world. As I talked about in my first post, our career pursuits are not separate from ourselves—everything is intertwined and if you’re not right with yourself then it’s going to bleed into the professional work you are trying to do. Kate directly speaks to this as a blogger: how she creates a healthy balance between authenticity online and being mindful of her well-being and personal needs. She also talks about the inconsistency of healing (how my therapist always describes it to me). Some days you’re gonna be great and other days are going to be pretty fucking rough. Her candor is so welcome, especially from a fellow survivor who gets frustrated with herself when she’s hit a low moment again. 

This episode was another one that I really had to stop myself from writing down everything in the Quote Book. It is also one that you might have missed if you were just relying on the Apple podcast suggestion algorithm, or something else like it, so please share with others. I cannot stress enough how much I love this episode not only for anyone who has experienced serious trauma or is looking to understand someone who has been through it, but for anyone who is just looking to break unhealthy patterns or decipher how past pain has impacted the way they move in their present life. If anything I mentioned in this post resonates with you, no matter how big or small, I hope you’ll take a listen. 

Listen here.

Quotes You’ll Want to Write Down

The Tuesday Pod: Make That Money


Starving Artist: Episode 11: Taking Control Of Your Finances with Sarah Firth

Why You Should Be Listening…

When was the last time you really took a risk with your money? For me, it was when I started grad school. I would be attending school part-time, going into debt, and working part-time at my job so I could really put my all into school. I figured out alternative health care options in NYC, and I was lucky enough to have parents who could (and offered to) help with that financial burden. I grew up in a practical family, which definitely has helped with saving money. But, it also made me very afraid to leave the security of full-time work. After I made the leap, though, I figured something out: I could do this whole “non-traditional” route thing. I could make it work, and I could finally start pursuing my writing. 

On this week’s recommendation, artist and writer (and of course, podcast creator) Honor Eastly interviews artist, writer, and graphic recorder Sarah Firth about just that: finances as a creative. Now, when I use the term artist on this blog, I am typically referring to a large scope of art or creativity, but in reference to these two talented ladies, I specifically mean visual art (be it drawing, sculpting, etc.). I find that their advice is quite applicable to all realms of “art” and it has definitely helped me with my own. Throughout the episode, they discuss financial literacy, honing that skill, and how to tackle the existing tension between making money and creating art. It also helps that Honor is endearing and funny throughout every episode and Sarah is tactfully direct in her discussions about these topics.

Something I particularly like about this episode is that it doesn’t just lay out the numerical ways to handle your finances (though I have found really helpful advice on that here); rather, it prompts you to think deeply about -- and really look at -- your emotional relationship with money. Things like knowing your worth or seeing your rate as how you value the work you put out into the world. Sarah also breaks down money identities into four categories: money avoidance, money worship, status, and vigilance, so that you can begin to have a more honest conversation with yourself. I also love how they address privilege (such as how I’ve had the opportunity to build some savings since high school thanks to my parents helping me out with certain bills) and when to charge a day rate versus an hourly rate. 

Starving Artist was one of the first podcasts I listened to that was strictly focused on life as a creative and that really helped me believe that I could begin to pursue my writing. I hope it will help you at whatever stage you are in with your creative pursuits and add some insight and community into what you are doing. This episode is like an inception of resources; throughout, both women drop suggestions of where you can gain more knowledge about effectively building your life as a creative aaaaaaand Honor puts them all in the show notes for us (shoutout to Honor). Now that you know all that, make sure to listen to the episode, start figuring out your money identity, and then check out Sarah’s art on Instagram ‘cause her art is pretty fucking cool.

Listen here.

Quotes Your Should Write Down

The Tuesday Pod: When Purpose Outweighs Fear


In Progress: 10. Taking the plunge

Why You Should Be Listening…

I’m gonna be real with you, I compare a lot. Especially when I’m on social media. It’s not something I do that I like, but it is something that happens and something that I am working on. Even with this new blog, I noticed the comparison junkie creeping in last week as I tapped through grids of seemingly perfect content and mass followers (it fucking thrives on scrolling). I was looking for “inspiration” on how to curate POD.DRALAND’s Instagram page, but really I was looking for direction because I wasn’t trusting my own compass. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to do research and take notes, but it became a problem when I forgot my purpose (more on that later). 

If you’ve ever done CBT before (not to be confused with CBD -- though I’m sure that could help, too), then you’ll be familiar with distortions and comparing being one of them. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you identify these “distortions” that exist in our brains, particularly ones that have mapped themselves there for many, many years and cause us to get stuck into patterns of thinking. After identifying, you’re tasked with writing down all the thoughts that accompany a distortion, challenging those thoughts with questions, and then answering said questions with alternative ways of thinking. It’s helpful -- most of the time. Other times, I try to do distraction techniques like grounding exercises to keep me from spiraling. And other other times, I just really need to hear some badass, confident women speaking truth into my ears.

This week, I bring you just that: journalist and activist Noor Tagouri interviewing author, spiritual writer, and wellness educator Lalah Delia on In Progress from Girlboss Radio. Lalah talks about when she finally launched her website, Vibrate Higher Daily, which offers ways to grow and empower yourself, and everything that led up to that. This whole podcast is a series of ten episodes, all leading up to the final one for the season, your episode for the week: “Taking the Plunge.” This is the second In Progress episode that Lalah is on and it truly feels like a homecoming. Throughout the interview, Noor and Lalah engage in exactly what they express to us as essential in any type of partnership: an equal exchange. We get to hear about both of their journeys through resistance and you can tell how invested they are in each other’s stories.

They discuss this resistance and shame (from strangers to friends and family) and where that shame really comes from. They also talk about fear, finding the positive in it, and identifying your purpose (like my own that when forgotten let’s in those negative thoughts). Honestly, not all of the interviews I listen to have a mass amount of quote worthy lines, but I had to fight the urge to put the whole interview into the Quote Book. Instead, I’m going to let you listen to it and find out what meditative, encouraging gems are in there. Plus, there’s an Avengers reference and a Maya Angelou quote all in one interview. I mean, can it get any better?

Listen here.

Quotes You’ll Want to Write Down

The Tuesday Pod: "Live Out Loud Authentically"


Note to Self: “No Filter: Trace Lysette”

Why You Should Be Listening…

When you hear people talk about street harassment, how often do you just think about cis women having to deal with crude comments and nonconsensual touching? What about when you talk about body image and social media and how scrolling through Instagram can sometimes make you feel completely inadequate because your hips don’t do this or your hair doesn’t do that? I’ll be the first to admit — when I talk about these issues, my first instinct is to speak in terms of cis gender. I identify more quickly with other women that identify the same way, because I can more intimately know that experience. It certainly can cause me to miss out on the layers that must exist in these conversations, and so I’m doing my best to learn and educate myself.  

It’s part of the reason why I loved this Note to Self interview with Trace Lysette, a white trans woman and American actor, whose identity is key to the knowledge she drops in this episode. Interviewer Manoush Zomorodi dives in with direct questions that guide Trace’s identity growth in relation to social media. The whole podcast itself focuses on how technology impacts life, and the “No Filter” episodes specifically highlight women and their relationship with social media. I love Manoush’s interview style because you can tell she is not afraid to ask difficult questions or challenge an interviewee to go deeper. Thanks to that and Trace’s candor, we get to spend 20 minutes enthralled. 

If any of you have seen Transparent then you will know Trace Lysette well. You might also be familiar with her because as the #metoo movement gained traction, she was one of the individuals that led the sexual misconduct accusations against Jeffrey Tambor, another actor on the show (hell yeah, Trace, for speaking up). But, as she says, this is just one part of her story, not the main thing. That was another reason I loved hearing her speak. She weaves in and out of street harassment to #metoo to acting to social media and back, like roots intertwined.

One topic from this interview that I kept coming back to was their discussion of safety. Manoush points out that Trace speaks often of it, and as a survivor myself, I instantly connected. I have PTSD, and I struggle with feeling an incessant lack of safety. Not just when I’m walking down the street late at night, but when I’m doing mundane tasks and hyper-vigilance sneaks up and tells me to question whether I can trust the people I’m close to or even myself. I’m in awe of Trace because on top of her own experiences with sexual assault, she refuses to be anything but herself, despite the layered danger that may come along with that. 

She leaves us with powerful inspiration for any survivor of abuse or any member of a marginalized group. Especially for those a part of these communities who may not be “out” just yet. If you’re looking for some motivation this Tuesday, here it is.

Listen here.

Quotes You’ll Want To Write Down

The Tuesday Pod

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Good Company: “Nicole Gibbons on Life, Work and the Myth of Overnight Success”

Why You Should Be Listening…

At what point did you start caring about interior design and home decor? For me, it was probably about a year ago. I used to have these beautiful dishes and bowls from Anthropologie hiding in my childhood closet waiting to be used in my “real home.” You know, the one with your life partner, and the one you wouldn’t have to move out of in a year because your building’s management company decided to raise rent $400. My coveted dish-ware had been on the floor wrapped up since my time as a sales associate during college. It wasn’t until a couple months ago that I actually unearthed them and let food touch them. Let alone another person. I moved in with my boyfriend and figured, if he accidentally breaks one, at least I’m in love with him so I’d forgive him (theoretically).

One evening back in 2018, I happened upon this episode with Nicole Gibbons, the founder and CEO of Clare, a company changing up the paint shopping experience for interior design and home planning. It was right around the time I realized I needed to let loose the expectation of “real home” and start curating my space for me, regardless of how long I’d be there. Ironically, I was currently living in my second apartment within six months after an unexpected move out of Harlem. This place had a mold problem, the lease was month-to-month, and it was in a basement. I didn’t know how long I’d be there and at that point, I was anticipating a move before plans were even set into motion. Much of my things remained in boxes and almost nothing made it onto the wall. Three months later, I moved into another month-to-month and decided, fuck it, let’s decorate everything. Maybe I’ll leave in a month, maybe I’ll be here in a year, but at least I’ll like coming home. All my art was on the walls in a week.

This episode stuck with me, not just because of how inspired I felt about space curation, but because of Nicole’s realistic advice. She talks about the career moves that led her to become CEO and doesn’t shy away from the difficult parts. Her bright and candid energy mixes with her genuine excitement about the challenges in business development. Regardless of your business venture or side hustle, her journey also gives insight into one important thing: find what your community is craving and lacking, and then find a way to address it. Her path has been anything but linear and she’s gone through hours and years of side hustling that has actually paid off. Both Gibbons and Bonney get real about the behind the scenes work of building your own company and debunk the myth of “overnight success.” As someone who’s trying to start something from scratch, it’s encouraging to hear.

Whether you are looking for awesome business advice, are in need of intuitive and fun wall paint, or just love decor, this episode will definitely speak to you. I mean, check out these paint color names: Lemonade and Blue Ivy (shoutout to my fellow Beyoncé fans). There’s also Avocado Toast, Rosé Season (shoutout to my fellow rosé fans), and Nairobi Blue. Not only can she demystify paint buying, she adds personality into her business. The episode is on the short side, about 30 minutes. Perfect for a short commute, making dinner, or cleaning up your room. I also always love a good rapid fire question round at the end of an interview, and Bonney does not disappoint. 

Listen here.

Quotes You’ll Want To Write Down

The Tuesday Pod


THE TUESDAY POD: Another Round: “Episode 25: Stop Telling Women To Smile (with Tatyana Fazlalizadeh)”

Why You Should Be Listening…

One afternoon a few years back, I was walking home from the Rite Aid off Broadway on West 145th, and a guy told me that he “bet his dick was bigger than my boyfriend’s!” At the time, I was wearing oversized sweat pants, a tank top, and the face of a person with strep. Oh, and I didn’t have a boyfriend. I just told him that so he’d hopefully stop talking to me and leave me alone. Instead, he walked beside me for over two blocks until I irately told him to get the hell away from me. It was during the day, so I was able to muster up some sense of safety, enough to speak up. If it had been at night, I probably would have stayed quiet.

Like the other night when I was walking home just before 12:00 a.m. in Bushwick and a guy at least 15 years my senior said, “How’s your night going, baby?” after looking me up and down. When I walked through my apartment doors, I joked with my boyfriend how I mumbled, “Better before you started talking to me,” after passing him, but really I was enraged. I started thinking how awesome it would be to have glasses with side mirrors on it, you know like on a car, so I could make sure a guy wasn’t tracking me — and so I wouldn’t have to discretely turn my head to the side to check and have him realizing what I was doing.

Now, my experience isn’t special, and the conversation around street harassment (specifically men towards cis women) has been growing. This much needed discourse is one of the reasons why I love this particular episode of Another Round, an awesome podcast led by Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton, two hilarious and smart writers. They interview artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. The way I came to it was actually somewhat serendipitous. One night back in 2017, I was out with my boyfriend and his friends in Bushwick. On our way to a bar, we passed by a dumpster, and I spotted the small poster with the sketched image of a defiant woman of color with the words “Harassing women does not prove your masculinity” written underneath her. Immediately, I stopped to take a picture. Everyone else kept walking. In short, I fucking loved it. 

At the time, I didn’t know who the artist was — I didn’t see a byline on the portrait — so I filed it into my memory bank under the category of anonymous, cool artists seen around New York City and also posted the picture to Instagram. A few months after though, while binging on Another Round, I happened upon an episode with Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. Quickly, I realized she was the one who created this piece of art for her project Stop Telling Women to Smile. I was freaking out, in the best way. It was the same level of excitement as when I first saw the preserved Banksy art on West 79th after having done a whole paper on his residency in NYC during undergrad.

So here’s the thing: not only should you know about this artist and start following her on Instagram immediately, you also need to listen to this interview with her. She talks about her unconventional career path, how it works for her, and how she grapples with these issues through her art. Basically, she’s a badass, and Heben and Tracy are fun and hysterical (which helps navigate us through this frustrating topic). If you’re feeling antsy for the interview, it begins around the 12:00 minute point, but if you’re like me and enjoy Heben and Tracy’s banter, then stick around for the beginning. And I’ll just echo these three ladies; for this one, men, please just take some time to listen, and if you’re doing that already, we thank you.

Listen here.

Quotes You’ll Want To Write Down

The Tuesday Pod


THE TUESDAY POD: GirlBoss Radio: “Luvvie Ajayi - NY Times Best-Selling Author, Speaker, and Digital Strategist”

Why You Should Be Listening…

Earlier this year, I was talking with my boyfriend about wanting to create this blog and wanting to more actively explore freelance work. Though I have been writing and editing professionally for over five years, I found the words “imposter syndrome” passing through my lips. Afterward, he was confused and asked, “What’s that?” 

Honestly, I couldn’t help but laugh. I had always heard that men do not as often talk about imposter syndrome, if at all, and right in front of me was proof. I had also never heard any of my male friends speak about it, but I have encountered this phrase with my female friends often and have heard it discussed on many of the podcasts I listen to that are women-led; because we just get it. On this episode, author, speaker, and digital strategist Luvvie Ajayi speaks on it and gives advice and wisdom that actually feels tangible and not just rah-rah inspo speak. 

Her energy is infectious, and she is smart and funny in her delivery. When she talks about the importance of tact in truth and in owning the term “writer” for yourself, it doesn’t just feel like a cliché sentiment. Ajayi points out that the path to success or to a career as a writer is not always easy to identify. I would wager to say that’s true for any creative. She even helps us find the positive in imposter syndrome. After listening to this episode, I felt much more confident in owning the declaration “I am a writer” and acting on that identity. Even if I still feel slightly silly writing this blog. What’s even better is that she reminded me (and to those who listen to this episode) that a “linear career path” is not the only way to find success.  

And, hey, any men reading this (hi, baby, I see you, out here supporting me): I hope you will check out this episode. Maybe you’re dealing with these feelings and don’t have a name for it. Or, maybe you can start to understand what many of the women in your life may be dealing with. Not because we are in lack, but because of how we’ve been socialized.

Listen here.

Quotes You’ll Want To Write Down

Welcome to POD.DRALAND

Me with headphones and curls.JPG

Hello to my fellow creatives, side hustlers, learners, and all around curious people! Welcome to POD.DRALAND. My weekly recommendations of women-led podcasts

and more.

I have a question for all of you: has a friend of yours ever recommended a podcast and when you went to look it up, you were inundated with archives of old episodes and you felt too overwhelmed to even start on one? Or, have they ever sent you a specific episode, thinking you would love it, but when you listen, it’s subpar? Hell, I’ve given up whole channels in the past because I didn’t like the first episode I listened to (and then I missed out on a lot of good shit for a while). Alright, and how about this: you’ve found a podcast channel that you love, that you listen to every week, and everything’s good. But then, on last Sunday’s episode the host tells you that they are taking a break for the holidays and won’t be back for three whole freakin’ weeks. I’m not sure about you, but I know that I’ve experienced every single one of these scenarios, and they have all been frustrating and discouraging. In the end, it’s like my thumb begins to have a mind of its own, scrolling into a void of past episodes or new suggestions unable to land on one, and I ultimately end up back on Instagram (staring into a whole other kind of void).

Earlier this year, I began to think: why did it have to be so complicated? Especially for those of us who actually liked listening to podcasts. A friend of mine even said that her podcast cue started to scream failure at her when she was unable to keep up with the new downloads. Yet, these recommendation lists are supposed to be helpful but what if you don’t want to listen to every episode? In my opinion (the one infused with my high-key podcast obsession), all of these articles listing a podcast channel and a highlight episode aren’t enough, and at times feels like a mystery location without a map — pure anxiety. While we might not always be able to control the pressure we feel, I am hoping that this space will be something fun and inspiring for all of you.

Now, I couldn’t do all of this if I wasn’t planning on narrowing our search a bit. That’s why I am specifically calling out to all of you creatives, side-hustlers, entrepreneurs, and anything related. To be clear, I am not just talking about “creatives” whose work falls under typical “art.” If you are into tech, or baking pastries, or you-name-it, this space is for you. I am a big believer that everything is connected, and so my recommendations will serve as a reminder that anything we create is not separate from lived experiences. It is informed by culture, by our personal experience, by our mental health, by the real experiences of people who are different than us. All of that and more. You won’t just find dry interviews on here about copyright or how to build a company in three steps. You’ll get stories, dope advice, funny anecdotes, inspiring quotes, and concrete action plans.

Last year, I finally decided to invest in my writing and start freelancing. I became hungry for interviews with or insights from successful women who had embarked on an unconventional career path (or even women who were maybe a few steps further than me and were figuring it out) — it’s a path I once never thought I’d be able to pursue. Now, this is not to say that men can’t give vital advice or that this space isn’t for men. Rather, it’s simply a space to highlight the voices of dope women giving great-ass advice and who aren’t always represented as much as their male counterparts, especially in business. Women need advice from other women. But men also need to see how much they can learn from women or women-identifying individuals.

In this blog, you will find podcasts created by and/or hosted by women. Not only that, but every interviewee will be a woman. The occasional man may make it on here as a co-host or host, if the interview with or insight from a woman is too good to pass up. But, overall it will be for all the badass women out here rockin’ it. On Tuesdays, you’ll have The Tuesday Pod, where I detail my own experience alongside an episode and why I deem it “recommendation worthy.” At the end of each post, I’ll highlight some of my favorite quotes from the episode, all of which can be found in the Quote Book. But, I don’t plan to stop there. Just like with any land, there will be multiple destinations, and I cannot wait to explore them all here as this space continues to develop and expand.

So there you have it. My official invitation to you to POD.DRALAND, a space for highlighting the knowledge and insight that women have and the platforms in which they share it on. Thank you all for joining me, while I myself continue to learn and grow, one podcast episode at a time, and as I help you avoid the question, “Where do I begin?” as you plug in your headphones and walk out the door. For you, the answer will always be here