I recently made a post on Facebook that ended up being a MUCH bigger personal challenge than I had expected. I decided to share racial related podcasts every day for five days. I typically listen to a lot of podcasts so this seemed like a simple enough project.
Day One was a Brene Brown podcast. She is smart, and she is a researcher. Finding her interview was simple. The interview itself was somewhat draining because it really made me think. I had to think about race relations, and the philosophical way her guest spoke had me thinking and seeing things from a different perspective. This was PERFECT! My intention for the week was simply to provide a different perspective for people. I had no intention of creating more of a divide, and I didn’t want to create more anger and frustration. I was going on this learning journey with my friends, and I had hopes that some would chose to join me.
Day Two was probably the most challenging day. It took me three podcasts, which consisted of almost four hours, to find the one that I wanted to share. All of the podcasts I listened to were insightful. In one, I felt like I was eaves-dropping on a conversation with two beautiful, black, very intelligent women. They know their stuff, and they know politics. They sounded much younger, hipper, and smarter than me. It was a very political podcast, so it did not make the cut. The other one was with an athlete, and I just didn’t feel right about sharing it either. I almost gave up with the Five Days of Podcasts after day two because I was mentally exhausted and emotionally drained. It was only Tuesday. That evening, I couldn’t find the right words to have even a simple conversation with my husband because I was so upset, but a friend thanked me for sharing the Brene Brown episode, so I figured that I was meeting my intention. I was making a positive impact on someone’s life by sharing something of value, so I pressed on.
Day Three required research before I could settle in on my first of many podcasts for the day. I listened to a few, and I ended up deciding on Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard; I felt like it would be a good share. He is funny, smart, and his self-deprecating humor made this very serious podcast one that I felt could resonate with someone. He and his guest, Heather McGhee, talked about a lot of things, and the topics were all important and insightful, but once again, after HOURS of racial conversations – some quite heated – I ended my day feeling a little helpless.
This leads me to my day of escape. Early in the morning on Thursday, Day Four, Gus, my dog, and I had a loosely chosen destination, but we had no schedule and no time constraints. I could drive as slow as I wanted, and I could stop as many times as I wanted. It was complete freedom. Our first stop was the closest military base. I know; this does not sound like a destination, but if I was going to “just drive,” I had better gas up, and if I was going to stick my boy in the car for a while, we needed to get rid of some of his energy. We found a lot, and we played some ball. We got gas, and we headed north.
It was a beautiful day for a drive. Our second stop was Hirugi Forest. It is a lovely forest of mangroves. Water filled the river, and my pup got to take a dip in the river before we began exploring. We found some paths, and enjoyed some fresh air. It was a lovely stop and the perfect place to stretch our legs before we headed up to Oku, which was our “destination.”
We drove through the windy roads, took some detours to see some of the country-side, and eventually, we made it up to Oku. Oku has a beautiful river which runs through it, and some trails along the river. After Gus took a couple of detours off the path and into the water, I figured that he was telling me something. It was hot, so we cut the walk short, and I let him lounge in the water. We loaded up, and we headed home.
As I drove, I enjoyed my book on Audible. I enjoyed having my hands occupied so that I couldn’t be on social media for several hours. I enjoyed the fresh air. I enjoyed giving my brain a rest, but the reality of it was that I knew that I needed to get back. I knew that I needed to find another podcast, and I knew that I could not stop sharing because I was mentally exhausted. If I was tired after three days of podcasts, I could not imagine how tired black people must be of a lifetime dealing with biases and racism. I returned home and found a podcast to share. Day Four’s podcast would be a history lesson. It was a devastating lesson, but I found it quickly. I was not near as exhausted as the day came to an end. I think all of the fresh air helped with the energy level.
My Friday, and fifth day’s podcast, was a conversation from two black preachers. It was insightful, and less emotional, because it was recorded a few years ago. Although they mentioned God and being followers, it was more of a conversation about friends, the media, biases, multiple sides to a story, and for some reason, it gave me hope. It made me realize that if we could all just open our perspectives a little bit, then we could possibly see change. I have hope. Change is possible. I was a little relieved and a little proud that I completed my five days. It was not easy, but boy was it eye-opening.
I encourage anyone who is going through any sort of journey to remember to take a break. Our lives are much more like marathons than sprints, and in marathon training, rest is key. I still don’t have any answers at this time; I don’t really have many recommendations. I guess if I had to recommend something it would be – keep learning. See a different perspective. Be prepared and confident for challenging conversations, and don’t forget to give yourself a break when you need it because if you are embarking on a new way of thinking, you are going to need a break.