podcasts

All My Podcast Friends

A funny thing happened a few weeks ago. I wrote my first fan mail.

I’ve never been a fan mail writer, although it’s possible I wrote a love letter to Devon Sawa in my confused middle school days and have since blocked it out of my subconscious.  I do remember writing J.K. Rowling a very, very long letter in the spring of 2004, after I reread the first five Harry Potter books as a coping mechanism after my dad died.

I never sent that letter. I never saw the point in reaching out to famous individuals who probably receive a ton of fan mail. What would be the point?

I changed my mind recently. It happened after I finished binge-listening to all the archived episodes of a podcast called The Girl Next Door. This podcast was recommended to me by a dear college friend after I put out a Facebook post BEGGING for suggestions for non-news-and-politics podcasts.

This podcast was PERFECT. It’s my favorite format – two friends with great banter and wonderful insight talking about interesting topics.  The hosts, Kelsey and Erica, are wonderful and hilarious. I felt as if I knew them both by the time I finished bingeing – I related strongly to Erica, who is a Rebel (a la Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies) and an adoptive parent, and to Kelsey, a minimalist and an environmentalist.  PLUS they’re both writers.

So, when I finished listening, I decided to send them a Facebook message thanking them for their podcast.  AND ERICA WROTE BACK IMMEDIATELY. Like, within minutes of me pressing send.

Now, these girls are not J.K. Rowling. But I still thought of them as celebrities who possibly would not even read my message. I have complicated feelings of jealousy and insecurity when it comes to published writers and successful creatives that I read about or listen to.

But – they wrote back!  Because, as it turns out, they are just people, like me, and they are happy and excited to hear from readers and listeners, just as I am when someone comments on one of my blog posts.

I ended up following up with an e-mail to both Erica and Kelsey, asking for some writing advice.  They were incredibly sweet and helpful.

Since then, I have reached out to two other podcast hosts: Sarah of The Mom Hour, who gave me advice about an intro to freelance writing course I could take, and Jess Lahey of #AmWriting – I sent her a personal message and got a very sweet reply that same day.

This really warms my heart. First of all, it’s a wonderful example of Shine Theory.  This theory was coined by Ann Friedman, cohost of my first favorite podcast, Call Your Girlfriend, and is all about women helping other women, because “I don’t shine if you don’t shine.” Secondly – I really, really need help and advice! I’m taking steps toward following my dream of being a writer, but they’re baby steps and I have lots of questions. Even just hearing from these women reminds me that they are people, just like me. And that the success they’ve attained through hard work is obtainable for me, too.

 

parenting · podcasts

So Many Podcasts

So I’ve been busily and happily listening to podcasts lately. This is interfering with my reading game somewhat, but c’est la vie – four years’ worth of archive episodes of The Girl Next Door weren’t going to listen to themselves.

Now that I’m done with the GND archives, I’ve moved on to some other podcasts, and the category I’m most into right now is parenting podcasts – more specifically, podcasts that talk about parenting but also talk about how to do other things (creative projects, working, self-care) while also parenting.

I’ve been doing some soul-searching about what I want to do next, career-wise, and I’m really interested in hearing how other people have developed their freelance careers or monetized their side hustles – WHILE PARENTING. Because that part is key; I have career goals, but my number one goal is being a present and peaceful parent.

I’m also motivated to listen to podcasts and audiobooks on parenting toddlers; Teddy is starting to have some tantrums, and any and all tips from podcasts and books have been welcome.  I’m really interested in behavior management and parenting theories, but the thing is – during the adoption wait, I couldn’t really consume parenting books. It was too hard. I was thinking about the adoption all the time, and trying to distract myself from the difficulty of the wait. Reading a book about parenting would have been a constant reminder that I was oh-so-ready for something that was not yet happening for me.

I’m playing catch-up now, and podcasts are a little easier for me to digest than reading entire parenting books. I love reading fiction so much that I rarely want to take a break from it to read nonfiction. Listening to nonfiction audiobooks and podcasts is preferable for me.

My new favorite podcast is The Mom Hour – just two moms talking about all things parenting and otherwise. Super fun.  Happy listening!

 

podcasts

The Girl Next Door #mind

A few months ago, I got super burnt out on all my news and politics podcasts, so I crowd-sourced and got some recommendations for light, fun podcasts from friends.

SO MANY RECOMMENDATIONS. It was overwhelming! I still haven’t listened to them all.

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One of the recommended podcasts is The Girl Next Door, which is similar in structure to one of my faves, Call Your Girlfriend – two good friends chatting, usually with a topic or two on the agenda.  Unlike CYG, however, TGND (so far) does not seem to have a political or social activist lean, which makes it a good break from the other shows in my podcast diet.  (Don’t get me wrong – I WANT to hear about and talk about important political and social issues. But it’s nice to have at least one podcast that’s more focused on day-to-day living and happiness than the big picture of our troubled world.)

I’ve only listened to a few episodes of The Girl Next Door so far. One of the talks that really spoke to me was about “taking the temperature of your life” – evaluating how your life is going, how you’re feeling, what signs there are when you are NOT living your bliss.

I’ve been feeling a little off these past few weeks, so my temp is currently a little high – maybe around 100?  Here’s hoping it’ll go down with a little time and a lot of self-care.

 

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podcasts

Update: My Podcast Diet #mind

You guys – I have a new addition to my podcast diet.

Before today, my current podcast diet included the following: Call Your Girlfriend, NPR Politics, Slate’s Political Gabfest, Happier With Gretchen Rubin, NPR’s Sunday Puzzle, and The West Wing Weekly.  (Still waiting for the return of Invisibilia!)

Then, as if perfectly timed with my finishing the book on Notorious RBG, my podcasts app featured a recommendation – More Perfect, a new podcast from Radiolab about the Supreme Court.

(!!!!!!!!!)

It is awesome.  There are two episodes available so far.  Love.  Check it out!

podcasts

#mind #spirit

Yes, I’m still addicted to podcasts.

They’re my main source of news, which is great.  It used to be that I only found out about things going on around the world when I checked Facebook, which might only happen once or twice a week.  Then I’d look ridiculous when things came up at the proverbial water cooler at work.  Someone would say, “Did you hear about Brazil?”  And I’d have to frantically try to read their expression to see whether I should respond with an empathetic yes or an enthusiastic yeah or an outraged expletive.

Thanks to podcasts, I also get suggestions about pop culture phenomena that I might want to check out for myself.  I rarely do.  BUT last week, Tee and I heard about Ali Wong’s Netflix comedy special and decided to check it out.

IT IS HYSTERICAL.  YOU MUST WATCH IT.  IMMEDIATELY IF NOT SOONER.  Here’s a small taste of it – enjoy!

podcasts

#mind

twwYES!  There is now a weekly podcast about one of my favorite TV shows ever, The West Wing.

I didn’t even know I needed this podcast to exist until it existed.

For several years of my twenties, circa 2005/2006, I was borderline obsessed with TWW.  To date, all of my understanding of politics stems from either my friend Squid, who works in DC and whose word I take for fact, and/or TWW.

For this podcast, Joshua Malina (who starred as Will Bailey on TWW) partners with  Hrishikesh Hirway; they are re-watching all of TWW and discussing each episode on a weekly basis.  I have not been re-watching the episodes at this point because there’s no need; I pretty much know all these episodes by heart.

BUT that could change; I really don’t need much of an excuse to go back and re-watch a favorite TV show.  Currently I’ve been re-watching The Office for no reason other than I FORGOT HOW INCREDIBLY FUNNY IT IS.  So we’ll see if I decide to binge-watch TWW.  Anyway – what’s next?

podcasts

Embracing Shine Theory #mind

9edfd485-a150-4740-8416-0ee0ed03194a_13Tee is always recommending podcasts for me.  One she recently recommended is Call Your Girlfriend, a podcast with Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, long-distance best friends who talk about anything and everything.

I haven’t really given CYG that much of a chance – as previously discussed, I have a podcast diet and if I add too many podcasts into the rotation, I get overwhelmed and listen to nothing.

However, Tee filled me in on a recurring theme of CYG – Shine Theory – and I looooooove it.

You can read an article by Ann Friedman about Shine Theory here, but I will sum it up as best I can.  Friedman writes about cultivating friendships with smart, beautiful, successful women.  This may seem like a no-brainer or a nothing statement – why wouldn’t I want to be friends with someone who is smart, beautiful, and successful?

Jealousy.  Resentment.  A fear that being around people who
are awesome will make you seem less awesome by comparison.

9f7c4bb3946f029b56eebff3203cc5d5It can be really difficult to tame the jealousy we feel when someone with similar interests and goals to us is achieving success.  It feels as if there’s only a limited amount of success to go around, so if someone like us is making a ton of money, publishing a novel, appearing on a TV show, starting their own business – it’s easy to feel like their success means we are less likely to achieve our own personal goals, whatever they are.

The concept of Shine Theory, per Ann Friedman, “if I don’t shine, you don’t shine.”  When our friends or acquaintances achieve success, it helps us to shine more.  It doesn’t mean that there’s less room at the table of success for us – if anything, it means we have more of a chance at success.  Comparison2

But it sure doesn’t feel that way.

I definitely experience the sting of comparison and jealousy when it comes to my career and my writing.  However, it also sneaks up on me when I’m stressing about the adoption process.  It’s become increasingly difficult, as the adoption wait continues, to feel happy and not jealous or resentful when others announce their pregnancies.

I love the idea of Shine Theory, and I so want to embrace it.  But I acknowledge that it’s not as easy as it sounds.  Logically, I know that someone else’s success or addition to their family has absolutely nothing to do with my chances for success or for Our Baby coming home.

But emotionally – it’s hard to get to that logical place when you’re sitting in your pain, feeling vulnerable and exposed.

Friedman writes, “…in reality, we’ve all been both of the women in this scenario, the idealizer and the idealized, often simultaneously.  Foregoing the internal ranking system in favor of being your best self and helping your girlfriends do the same was a revelation to me.”

We can be both of these women – the one who’s jealous and the one inspiring jealousy in others.  We almost always are both of these women.  And even if it’s difficult, we can remember that there’s more than enough sunlight for all of us to shine, every single day.  My goal is to remember this, and to help shine a spotlight on other women when they achieve success rather than allowing jealousy or resentment to keep us all from shining.

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