Episode 131 feat. Alie B. Gorrie: Arts, Medicine, and Accesibility: Bushwick Variety Show
9:06PM Mar 28, 2021
Alec Stephens III
Alie B. Gorrie
Hello, hello, how are you?
I am great. A car alarm just started going off outside. So I apologize.
I don't hear it at all. on my end,
it just went off, it just went off like literally right when zoom was connecting, it was like emergency status. I'm gonna see if I can get my computer somewhere where I'm not a beam of sunlight Hold on. I went to my parents house today. And I just had my computer cuz sometimes when I do grad school stuff, I'll have to like get somewhere, like just go somewhere else. But I'm gonna just sit on the floor, because that's my jam.
And you're still a beam of sunlight. You're always a beam of sunlight. Don't forget that. Umm grad school. So you're in grad school?
I'm studying arts and medicine. So I'm loving it.
When did you start that?
started in August. And it was a program I've been looking into for like a year and a half. And then it kind of took the pandemic to be like, well, I can't use the excuse of not having like the time or like not having the whitespace on my calendar. And this is the first maybe time I've ever been able to add something on my plate with like, while still maintaining my mental health. Yeah, I was like, this sounds good. Um, so I applied and then the rest was history.
And where are you doing that through?
University of Florida, actually. So what's interesting is they kind of were the like, founders of this idea of arts and medicine, which is different from like music therapy or drama therapy. Because there's no, like, We're not trying to, as we're called artists and residents, which I love, it feels very Grey's Anatomy, but we're not trying to like fix someone's issue, we're not trying to be their mental health provider, like a drama therapist or a music therapist, we're like just trying to get patients engaged in like a flow state of creativity, while they might be at the hospital, or while they might be in like a any kind of treatment program. So it's more about like helping people express themselves and find themselves when they've like, become a patient. And their like identity feels stripped away. So it's really cool, because you're not you're just there to like be a source of like joy and fun and you know, maybe even distraction to folks when they're going through medical stuff, which I love.
A source of light, you might say.
The theme, the theme!
And so what are some of the ways that you do that? Because I know like with music? Yeah,
there's a ton of different ways, right. And like the reason I chose it too, because I have thought about yoga, music, art therapy is all of the alternative therapies. But I was like, I don't want to also like bound myself or bind myself to one medium. Like that doesn't feel good either. So for example, I just finished my my research paper for this course, I'm the class I'm in now. And it's talking about how, like, doctors in med school need improv classes. Like, like, so it can. So it's also like for the providers too it's not just patients, it's like very broad, was talking about how when doctors have access to improv training, they are more prepared for like the range of patient encounters that they're gonna have without like having a predicted outcome. And like a slick, it gives them the ability to learn how to actually like, listen to like, both verbal and nonverbal cues without making a snap assumption and like, you know, it teaches them like, how will you respond in a pandemic, you know, like to think and to think differently. So that was really fun, kind of using all the like, oh, all those years at UCB aren't a waste. Just kidding. But yeah, so that was what I was studying now. But then it also could be like, one of my favorite stories I saw is this dude was in the hospital, he'd had a heart transplant, he's at heart stuff for his whole life. And he loves to write lyrics. And so he wrote this like rap. And then, whereas like a music therapist might like, guide what the rap would be about, or like, talk about, like, how, like, like, the reasons behind the lyrics. This in this situation, artists and residents came in and they were like, Oh, well, you provided us with the lyrics. So we'll give you like the like the bass and the instruments, and we'll help you like compose like this thing. So they basically turned his hospital room into a recording studio and just like, made an album of his stuff. And so it was cool because he was the one driving the ship and they're just like, we got you.
So like, who, who is it like for and meaning like Do you have to have like, there's different levels of insurance during the pandemic, like I was, didn't have insurance for a while, because my last job, like my insurance have lapsed or whatever. And during the pandemic, like, I have insurance again, but like, so I've actually got checked out yesterday. And it was like one of those situations where the level of insurance like you can see the difference and like,
yeah, and like, this was like, rough. I'm, and I'm relatively healthy. So it doesn't really matter. But it just gets me thinking,
yeah, like, who gets this kind of treatment?
Yeah. And then like, for me, to like, No, I wasn't in any rush yesterday. So like to be patient and kind to everybody working there. Cuz they're dealing with a lot, like, you know, started trying to be a source of light.
they're so yeah. So just curious about that.
Yeah, yeah. And it all kind of depends on the hospital and like, the way it's structured. So like, for example, we couldn't really even apply for the program. And a lot of hospitals do have some kind of arts programming, but it depends on like, what type of hospital it is, like, who, who, you know, is paying for that programming, like in terms of donors, or, you know, because a lot of times any, like, additional programming like that is funded by like community funders, or in sometimes there's like, Grant, I mean, there's a ton of grants, obviously. But, um, so yeah, I really depends, but like, you know, we couldn't, I'm in Birmingham now. And we have a really amazing teaching hospital that has an arts and medicine program. So like, I can go do my internship, or like, whatever there. Um, but yeah, it really depends on like, where you can practice and who like where the resources are already, or if you just want to, like, dive in, and like, know that you're gonna be getting $0, but it's really for your heart. So I think there's a lot of different ways. And I think that's what is so interesting about it is like, you know, I was talking to Brandon from JW s, who works at hospital for special surgery, he's like, Oh, my God, like, this is something that like we need here. And like, we kind of have it. So like, it would be an easy addition. But like, it's because that hospital values that. So it really, it's I wish I had like a concrete answer. But
yeah, and you know, and these are all things to like, work for, but it just makes me think, actually, as we're sitting here talking, and sort of going through that yesterday, and sort of seeing just kind of, I don't know, being kind of detached from the situation, and then sort of like, being like, okay, like, I'm going to, I'm gonna go through this process as peacefully as I can, for my own sake, and hopefully, for the others working there. But then, but then kind of leaving and just sort of thinking, there's nothing I can really do about that. Short of changing the entire healthcare system, which I believe in, but then just thinking like talking with you, like maybe, as Jen (Waldman) always talks about bringing art into artists spaces. Yeah, these are places where, and I'm sure it'd be hard work. But if there's a way of, you know, it's just like a project in the back of my mind, but thinking, oh, maybe that place maybe there's a way to talk to somebody to get artists, volunteers who want to just do do that to like, brighten. brighten the mood of that place.
Yeah. I mean, it's so it's, that's exactly what so funny. You talked about art in artless spaces, because when I was applying, that's exactly what I talked about. I was like, you know, as an artist, there are so many, you know, it's like, there's a theater shutdown right now, like, we were, can we do our art? Well, let's we're creative people, where Can't we do our art, you know, where Can't we go? And then, you know, if one of the places because I know I've spent time in hospitals, like I've spent plenty of time in doctors offices, and if I know that that's somewhere where I've spent a good chunk of my days then and I'm also an artist as well, like, I know enough about how these places work and like where the like empathy gaps are and where the creativity gaps are to try and fill some of those so you know, and it might not be hospitals for some people, it might be something else. And that's cool, but yeah, I love that idea of of bridging the artless spaces gap for sure.
So you're in Birmingham, Alabama. You said,
Hi, I am it's
that's where you're from?
And I said I would never come back here.
And I'll be honest with you like that is somewhere that intellectually right now, I have no desire to go, it, because it scares me. Yeah. And I will say like I well my dad's from like Florida. So that's like kind of its own thing but it is also a lot of people think Florida is not the south, and people from Florida will tell you actually that it is it might be its own thing, but it's still the south, like my dad integrated his high school. And then when I went back to school actually went to Virginia Commonwealth University, which is was the capital of the Confederacy. But it's the also was like the northern most southern state. Yeah. So it's, it is a little bit unique, like some people call it like the gateway to the south. But I will say, going to school there was interesting, because there were things about it that I fell in love with that southern hospitality.
It doesn't hurt! It's amazing! I remember when I got to my office, I you know, I'm working a corporate job now too. And I was like, on my first day of work, I had like a, like a goodie basket on my desk in my cube. I was like, Oh, that is so charming in New York, that'd be like, sit down and shut up and do your work.
And that's so yeah, so that's, I guess, a question for you. I'm just kind of curious, like, Yeah, what do you love about your city, where you come from, especially being somebody who left maybe didn't want to go back?
And then now I think
it's, it's good that you're back Also, though, I mean, that's where your family is?
It is, yeah.
It's, we have this opportunity to do whatever right now. And one thing about getting older, like you're a little bit younger than me, but like, I'm getting to the point, like, where I'm just starting to realize my mortality, that I'm not going to be here forever, that there's like a really is a finite amount of time. And the reality of that just gets more real every year. But to be able to like, spend that time with your parents, you know what I mean? They're not going to be here forever. So. So it's good. You know what I mean, right now. Things are always moving forward. But we are in a moment of like reflection, like things are not like, things are not what they were before. And things aren't what they're going to be a few months to a few years from now. Whatever that looks like. So yeah, how are you doing? Like, tell me a little bit about where you come from? And like what you think about it now?
Yeah, totally. So it's, it's just such an interesting time to be back here. And I actually, you know, in an interesting sense, I am glad to be back here right now. And I would that's just never something I pictured myself saying, Yes, my entire family is here. Like, at least my whole dad's side. And I have a bunch of cousins. And you know, I still have both sets of grandparents. And they're both here. Like my mom's parents actually just we moved them here from Florida. So it's like, Okay, this is a very rare time in my life where like, I like, the gang's all here, you know, but it's, it's actually just it's so interesting. Being here in this in the way our world and our country is right now. And you know, and I've started this job in a corporate construction firm doing diversity and inclusion work. And that has been extremely. I always, I feel like I say eye opening all the time. And I'm like, I don't want to use an eye metaphor, because I'm like, legally blind, but I just felt like I just really opened my eyes, or whatever. I'm gonna use it a million times. But it has been very interesting and just like, like being able to be an observer for a little bit, because when we're in New York, to an extent, we're kind of in this like, an echo chamber sometimes with like, the folks who are around and we're all like, yeah, we believe this. We stand up for this. We fight for this. And like, we don't really challenge why. And being here, I'm listening to so many different perspectives. So many, like very opposite viewpoints. So many, just like folks that have never even thought to challenge their own beliefs or like where their beliefs even came from and like unpacking Not with people in a way that isn't judgmental, but it's like, oh, yeah, just like explain, like, think, tell me more about that. Or what do you mean by that, or, um, and, and then the other layer of that, too is, you know, in New York, I work so much in the disability community, and down here, you know, disability, it's still like, it feels like 10 years, a lot of things here feel like 10 years behind, which is actually Well, I could choose to get really frustrated with that, and like, frustrated with where people are in their own journey. As someone who loves to have these conversations and talk about just difficult things. I like it, because I feel like I can actually do work here that that is new, maybe. And that is like, actually, like, helpful. And it's not like someone's like, yeah, we get it. Like we know what accessibility is, or we know that we can talk about disability openly, or we know that we can ask questions about race, or it's kind of exciting to be able to facilitate some aha moments, whereas in New York, it's like, I feel like we were all just like on this. And you know, that was me assuming but it's like, everyone's just go in. And we're all like feeling the same, or maybe not the same. But similarly, in our views, and in our beliefs and in what we're fighting for. So I kind of love it, especially the disability work I do. I love it here because people are so focused on being polite down here, and not wanting to mess up and wanting to be like, considerate and sweet and like that no one does anything. And so it's exciting to sort of disrupt that and be like, no, like, make a choice. Like, like, try something new and get uncomfortable for a second. So weirdly enough, I'm actually grateful to be here right now. No, do I see myself here for the rest of my life? I really don't know. But I feel like the opportunity to reach folks and like to share things that maybe we haven't considered before down here. It's kind of exciting.
Yeah, that's an interesting, that's how I felt during, like the pandemic during like, the Black Lives Matter marches in New York. Like, there. I mean, there's plenty of racism to address in New York still and everywhere. But I also feel like, yeah, that conversation very much is happening here. And I also feel in this place of you were talking about frustration. And I'm sure it's not that you don't feel frustration, sometimes, like a
lot of frustration.
And I and I think that's good. And I think it's good to like acknowledge that and it's valid, but kind of what you're talking about is like, but by itself, it's not productive. That doesn't mean it's not valid to have that feeling. But it's like, so you're frustrated. So now what, like, Yeah, sometimes you just need to sit with how you're feeling. But like, at a certain point, if you've been like, dealing with it.
Now what? What are you gonna do about it? Are you do you want to do some work to try to do something about it? And yeah, Mike, so for me, it's like, thinking a lot about, what am I doing? What am I trying to say? How am I trying to say it? And how do I say it in a way that actually maybe can like, open somebody's mind up
rather than shutting them down? Yeah, I agree with you. I really hear you there.
Mm hmm.And you're in a place also where it's like, yeah, if people haven't been having these conversations, yeah, that's a great place to like, start the conversations. And hopefully, yeah, maybe open and change people's minds, you know?
Yeah, it's exciting. It is. It's, again, like I never pictured myself being here. And like, I wouldn't say I'm here for it right now. I'm not gonna say I love it. Or it's like the best thing ever. But yeah, it's, it's cool. It's neat to be here at this moment. And, you know, just just focus on staying present, staying here and listening to what people have to say.
So tell me a little bit about like the disability work you did in New York. Yeah. And how you got into it. And yeah,
yeah.So what's interesting isn't it took me till kind of, you know, coming to Jen (Waldman's) studio to connect a lot of the dots in my own like disability advocacy journey, but I've been doing disability advocacy work since I was a kid and I just didn't see it as that because I just was like, it's just what I do. Like I'm not a I don't I'm not advocate. I'm just Like, I see something that's not right, I want to fix it, like, let's do it. So I've lived with a low vision my whole life, the I'm legally blind. I, you know, when I was a kid, the doctors were like, maybe your daughter will be totally blind, or maybe she'll be able to see an m&m from across the street, like, we don't know. You know, I've always been sort of having to learn to navigate my own vision. But because I grew up, what got me into public school, like, was the only kid with low vision that I knew. And then when I got to be a teenager went to a specialist that told me that I could do a lot of things with some low vision technology, she was like, you could learn to drive, you could, you can use all this stuff with your studying, like, let me get all this stuff, it's on your computer, let me get you this special screen read stuff to you like, and like my world was open all these all these limits for me, you know, and the glasses I learned to drive in are glasses that I wear to the theater, and I all of a sudden have never seen facial expressions in a Broadway show before. And if I sit on the front row and wear these glasses, it's like, oh, my God, people have faces. So that was a cool moment for me as a teenager. And I realized I asked her, you know, like, how, how do other kids get this? Like, how many other kids do you see, like? And she said, Well, you know, it's kind of tricky, because insurance doesn't always cover this, like extra stuff. And there are a lot of kids in rural areas that don't even get to come see me. And I was like, well, that's bogus, like, no, we're gonna change that. And so, um, as a kid, I did a lot of work with her to like, raise awareness about her low vision center. And it's in the big teaching hospital where I'm actually going to be doing arts and medicine stuff. So it's kind of full circle, but created an organization that raise funds so that all kids and teenagers can get access to low vision technology, and then also have a place to come together and like talk about what it's like to have low vision because, like, all my you know, sighted friends can be like, God, that must be so hard. Like, yeah, it is, like you don't really know. And like, no shame to them, like, I love the the kindness. But it was, it's been great to have that kind of community. And so creating that as a young person sort of sowed seeds in me that like this is, I guess, what I love, it's what I felt the most alive doing. But you know, you go to musical theater school, you get trained to do only musical theater. And then if you want to do anything else, you're considered like not dedicated or not driven, or not like, Oh, you don't really want this. So, um, I feel like some of my advocacy work, just like was really quiet or just like, told that it had to take a break. And then I remember moving to New York, and going through my own journey of like, Oh, I really need some accommodations here. Like, I really need to figure out how to be successful, like, This is hard. I don't have an occupational therapist teaching me how to get around like I did at home. I mean, I could have, but sometimes my own independence gets in the way. Anyway, I was, you know, going through the auditions wasn't saying anyone else with any disabilities that I could like, talk to, or whatever, would ask for accommodations that like, you know, the equity building, and I'd be like, Can I get these sides in large print, and they're like, you can go make a copy of FedEx down the street. And I was like, Huh, that sucks. Weird, because, you know, when you're a kid, you get accommodations, like, if you're in a public school, if you're an adult, like, you got to be really crafty all the time. Because it's unless you're in like a constant office job, where it's like a requirement... No one cares. Unless you make them care, kinda. So anyway, saw that, and then it was just really realizing that like, I wasn't seeing a lot of disability representation, I wasn't able to talk to people about it. Um, and I had conversations with friends about it. And I was like, well, this is weird. And like, we don't have any tools to advocate for ourselves in the industry, like, I can advocate for myself in school, but it's different in a dance call, or it's different in this. And so I just started reaching out to folks in New York, there's an amazing woman named Christine Bruno, who she used to work with the National Alliance of inclusion in the arts, but that organization kind of like disbanded. And now she's a freelance inclusion consultant. And she's like, I, some, she's amazing, and she's like, my blind girl manager, because whenever there's a role that's like, We need someone with low vision, she'll send out an email blast to all the people with low vision and say, like, this is how you submit or if there's, you know, I mean, it could be any disability, but she's the she's the go to girl and everyone in industry, like goes to her to get the breakdowns out. And so I was like, oh, they're, they're more Christine's out there. And then I met these, like the disability community at large, which was exciting for me as someone who had been in like a low vision bubble, because once you learn about disability, like as a community and also as just learning about the various like, I don't want to say trials but just like the the, like the struggles the just the unfair stuff that everyone like in different groups has to go through but mobility be it you know i mean i could think of anything and there's just so like you can't not get frustrated and you can't not want to help and you can't not release i was i was like well this is this isn't like my friends in wheelchairs have showed up to auditions that are on the second floor and there's no elevator like what and so i was just enraged and so learning about all this made me want to get back in and meet more people doing this work and do the work in general well i'm talking a mile a minute so i'm sorry but that's just oh and then in 2017 i had this off broadway show called bastard jones and that like really changed stuff for me because the casting team wanted a cast that mirrored the the way that america like like they wanted their cast to look like america and race and disability and you know gender gender sexuality all of it so it was interesting we had a nine person cast and like because 25% of americans have a disability two out of the nine of us like had a disability um you know it was just the the cast was so dynamically representative of what our country looks like i'm in like race and age and what's interesting is it was like a rock musical set in the times of like powdered wigs and corsets um but the script never said anything about how we had the look or not look in the show never commented on how woke it was like they just made the choice and then we did the show and it was once as an actor i had an opportunity like that i thought in my head like i can never not do shows like this like once i worked with a cast like that and saw how like the creativity was like i mean explosive and the points of view are just so dynamic and it's so funny because when we would go out to meals and stuff as a cast it literally was like this is like this is the most like band of like like we just you know we just looked so like on the surface like how are all these people like you know we were just such a family and it was so exciting and so that was another opportunity that was like well every show should be like this and i'm not gonna stop until more shows are looking like this and be that in their casting do that who's behind the table be that who's creating the costumes and the sets and who's in the house and home so that really got my brain turning and then you know things just continued to evolve and the documentary series happened and then inclusion consulting kind of happened out of that as well
oh yeah so i have a series called abl and it was on amazon prime for about a year a year and we just actually are moving it to a different platform right now so i wish i could be like lincoln bio but we're moving into a different platform because folks from a lot of different countries have been wanting to use it in their curriculum and use it and it's not available to them so we're trying to and it's like everyone's like oh you're taking it off amazon like that was such a great opportunity for y'all and we're very thankful for it but if it's a show about accessibility then we need to make it accessible to literally anyone who wants to see it and we're not in it for the dollars we're in it for getting this truth out there so we're in the process of switching platforms and so i wish i had better info for y'all right now it's so hard to be like yeah we have this documentary series and it's been on amazon and now it's in the void
but it's coming where do you have a newsletter or do you
yeah i have stuff on my website i'll send out a newsletter and then also you can check out the abl website to abell a series.com and then alibaba.com but i send out little inclusion tidbits every now and then to just like you know here's how to make your social media accessible or here's how you know to talk about disability when someone in your family says something that is like real ablest like so yeah
so where's the best place for people to follow youand like from projects you might as well plug back now yeah
oh my god yeah aliebgorrie.com and then also i'm pretty active too with which is advocacy stuff too on instagram so if you follow @aliebg (instagram) i put in a lot of tidbits there too you get a lot of silliness there but you also get some tidbits
What kind of silliness?
oh i mean just i'm just not i mean i just Just, you know, anything from Birmingham adventures to like blind girl missteps to, you know, I mean, there's just so many things that we don't think about and you have to be able to laugh at yourself too, as someone with a disability, like there was an there was some time like one that I went to put on like ice cream before I went to bed. And then I had like toothpaste all over. Because I was like, oh, there we go again. I was like this people got to see like, this is funny, I just funny stuff. There's just so many things that you you know, that happen when you do have disability. And if you can't laugh at yourself, and it's all just like, sad, and like, Oh, another thing I can't do or like another time I messed up, like, whatever, you know, it's it's all about how you look at it. So I like to share some of those moments and like some of the moments that are like, really tough or like, Oh, you know, to share that, like, you know, they're more accessible ways to handle screen time. Or just get off your screen, to be honest. But
yeah, I like that saying, you should always take your work seriously, but never take yourself seriously. Something like Yeah,
Um, so what about artistically right now? Like, how are you? How's your artists self doing? I know you're doing now it's arts and medicine. That's what it's called in medicine.
Yeah, that's the that's the degrees called.
And how are you like nurturing your artistic self? Right now? Oh, that's
such a nice question. And it's something that is, it's been one of the best parts about grad school is we have to do this thing called a creative practice blog. And so each week we like, are studying our own creativity, basically, in documenting, like, what happens in our own creative process. So you can either participate in like one form of art, like one medium each week, so like, you know, just say there are dancers, and all they want to do is dance. Well, they can. But I'm specifically trying to engage in a different form of art each week. So like, one week, I might be working on, you know, we literally had to create one of the one of the projects was like, create a new original piece of work. And I was like, No, I'm an interpretive artist, like, I don't do that. And I was like, but I'm gonna try songwriting for a week and I play instruments, I saying, like, I know, chord structure, let's go and then, you know, so it's been interesting, because I don't know, without this degree, if I would be as this pursuit of this degree that I would be as like, willing to vary up my creative practices. Like, you know, I love to move. I love to take virtual dance class, I love to sing. But like, what I ever try painting, like, probably not, because I suck at it, but it's great. You know, you're also good at it, too. Like, I was doing a painting project last week. And all of a sudden, I was like, oh my god for an hour, like, I was in a zone, like I was in a zone, that nothing could touch me and nothing and get me out of it. And like, That's amazing. So it's, it's weird. You know, I think at the first part of of this quarantine time, you know, we were all doing zoom readings. And we were all like, maybe not, we were all but I was definitely like, let me do out, like 10 zoom plays. And like, you know, oh, my friend wrote a zoom pilot. I mean, I'm still doing a little bit of that, but I don't have to feel like I have to be doing that to be full or like to make meaning as an artist, I think it can come in like really subtle ways. And I'm learning especially being here where the pace is so slow, um, that like taking it slow, and like learning how to do some new you know, finger picking on your instrument or learning how to, you know, play this quarter or sing in this style. Like, that's just as exciting as like, like, Oh, well, I knocked out my goal role this month. And like, this month, I you know, got cast in this non union voiceover for yo play. Like it's just it's it's cool, because I feel like there's not a there's like no bounds on creativity right now. And it's fun to just like, test that.
Yeah. Yeah, that's been one of my favorite things is just like the space because also, it's like, yes, we York definitely does move at a fast pace. But also, like, we always have the option to take our time a little bit more than we
give ourselves permission to Yeah. Yeah, it's been so you know, when I first got to Birmingham, and really until maybe two or so months ago, I was struggling because I felt like I had all energy. And it wasn't like my internal world and my external world were like a total clash. And, and, you know, because in New York, the the high energy of the city like feeds my energy, so I don't ever feel like in a clash, right and here I was like, something is so wrong, like, I feel like I have all this to give and nowhere to go with it and all this stuff. And it's been interesting, the longer I'm here to, like, give myself permission to like, relax into it and to see into the pace here and to see how that actually really serves what I like, tried to create and like my ability to create things feels like there is more kindness and generosity and like ease in it, then like, you have to do this and you have to do that and like, hit this mark. And I love it. I love the ability to, like find, find more space and like be okay, with the time it takes to, to make or producer you know, create something?
Yeah. Yeah. Um, have there been any, like, favorite discoveries during this time of like, like, you mentioned painting, but I am like, Oh, I suck at it. But it's funny. Also, I find we don't have a lot of times, I'm really have like a, an objective view on like, our own work. Like, I think you develop that, like with acting and stuff like that you develop it over time, like how to analyze your work. But for things that you haven't really tried, you have like a subjective vision of what it is, but somebody else might see your painting and love it. You know what I mean? And
Yeah, you know? And then also, sometimes, you find, like, I find, Oh, actually, like, I think I am kind of good at this thing that I've never tried before, doesn't mean I'm doesn't mean, there's not plenty to learn. But it's like, this, that zone you're talking about, like when you get into us with something. I think there's something there, you know,
yeah. Yeah, definitely. I felt that in a sense with so in New York, I did a lot of teaching artists stuff, and taught with all types of kids, and in some adults too, but mostly kids. And it's been interesting, because I, I did it because I loved it. But I didn't realize like, Oh, this is like something that that is is a either like a gift or just something that like really, like gets me going. And I've recently had some opportunities to step back into teaching. And it just, it does something. And that's been something I've realized, during this time. I've started teaching, um, you know, some, some beginner theater classes, but also I teach yoga and pilates as well. And like, even stepping into those, those positions, and like, if I do that, before I go to my corporate job, if I teach a set yoga class at six in the morning, and then I walk into work, and I noticed that that hour I spent, like, you know, creating a sequence and teaching the class and then getting to like, be in community, even if it's virtual, or socially distant, you know, cuz I guess Alabama might be taking it a little faster than I should. But, uh, whoa, but even a socially distant class, right? Being in that kind of create, like, it's so it really like, I don't know it, like I can go into the rest of my day feeling this sense of fuel and like, I think I would if I got up and wrote or if I got up and, and, you know, did anything really creative, I would still be able to take that into work with me, but because that's so new in my own development of being here and taking those extra jobs. It's like, wow, engaging in that creative part of your brain before you have to like, do the like, cubicle kind of work. It makes the rest of your day just so much richer because you started it off and giving yourself the space to I don't know, it just you feel alive. You feel like you're doing what you're meant to be doing. So now I'm like, ooh, the artists way and maybe we'll step back around, but I get it. You know, I get wide start doing something creative early as to help.
I've started "The Artist's Way," many, many times. I'm like the first few chapters, many, many times and like, usually what happens, like or not usually, every time I've done it like something outside, shifted majorly, like in a, in a good way to the point where sometimes it was like things, something I was pursuing didn't work out the way I wanted it to. And hit a moment where I'm like, Alright, I'm gonna do some internal work. I'm gonna let like to kind of let that thing go. And I've had like, the literal thing, come back around, like to like to that point where it was like, Oh, the thing that launched me into doing this came back, but then I stopped doing it. But it's like, yeah, I think there's something about coming back to things is really what it's all about.
Yeah. Yes. Oh, my god, yes. Being here in Alabama to a lot of people in my family play bluegrass music. And it's like, coming back to the roots of that, and like singing that and like, you know, coming back to I mean, there's so many ways we can come back to our creativity, come back to reading a book for the eighth time. But you know, it is it gives us like, there's a familiar familiarity, when we come back to old practices, be that creative, be that just like ritual things that, like, we already start back, like with a sense of ease and comfort, because we've been there before. And so then we can like, we start from a different place, right, if that makes sense. Like, we can almost like increase our potential and possibility because we start with something we like, we're not reinventing the wheel. Yeah.
Some of them I've been thinking about, and I think this relates to like, disability inclusion and diversity, inclusion in general. And kind of the election that's coming up, not just kind of the state of politics. I feel like there's a question. But I've started to I'm trying to, like, get really clear on this question and this wording, and it's like, I definitely want to force our elected leaders and and our, anybody who wants to be a leader to answer this question, if I'm going to support them, and it's basically it's basically about empathy. But it's really basic, and it's just, do you care about people outside of yourself? Because I feel like most people, most religions, most like values, say that as like, a core thing is like care
A cornerstone. Yeah.
But it feels like, right now. Like it's been lost, or it's like a lot of
everyone's clinging to, like, just, oh, it drives me nuts. Especially. Yeah, yes. And it's interesting, you know, being back in Alabama, and also, you know, like, identify as a Christian, I always have and, you know, it's it's just, there's, there's even within every identity, there's like, a million subgroups and with every, you know, whatever, but, but being here, in this time, it's like, oh, my gosh, it's wild, how our identities blind us. And sometimes, like, we're so committed to, like, maintaining this, this, these ideals and these views, and then in our commitment to that we're leaving everyone else out. And I do I think that is such a great question. And, you know, of course, people would hear that'd be like, Well, of course, I but then when you really ask, like, think about it, soom on it, like write about it? Because like what are your action? hoarding?
Yeah, because, like, while I know the danger of a echo chamber, and I know New York is kind of a bubble. But one of the things specifically that I realized traveling, that I love about New York, which I'm sure like London has this a little bit but I think New York is unique in this way is that um, cuz I was gonna say Paris but Paris is a little bit interesting because like the language and good for good or bad, like English is kind of the right now the most universal language I think, as far as like that's the one people learn around the world. so i guess the thing i'm saying though is like the thing i noticed last time i was in amsterdam is that if i go into like a like more all white like dutch bar people when people find out that i'm a black dude from america and specifically live in new york then people like in Amsterdam say are like like that's pretty cool you know what i mean but when i walk into a bar and they just like there's like this look where it's sort of like the question of who are you because you're not you're definitely like maybe you're dutch but you're not like what a dutch person quote unquote looks like so what's your deal and the thing i love about new york is it to me new york represents the melting pot idea that was supposed to exist because and it's not a melting pot there's still culture clashes and there's still problems here but i don't think anybody can say that a new yorker looks like x y and z well yorker can be anybody
thank you yeah, i miss it so much yes you're really making me miss it now because i agree with you a bajillion percent
and so then like the other thing like kind of thinking about the upcoming election and diversity and how different places are and like how the views are it's like most people if you come from like different places and you come to new york maybe you had so for example mexicans it's like there are a lot of places in the country where immigration is on people's minds because the feel like jobs have left but they actually don't know any actual mexicans like so they have a fear of people that they've never met and so i think like living in a place like new york where you're around all kinds of different people in non COVID times you're on the subway sitting right next people of all classes all races all beliefs all different languages people come from all over the world here it's very hard to maintain stereotypes in your mind
that yeah they all get challenged they all get yeah and in the best possible way i mean that's why i'm so i like want everyone to spend time in new york because it just helps you i mean anyone i feel like just drop what you what you expect or what is the norm because like that doesn't exist like in a sense
mm hmm and then bridging that from like racism and accessibility for people with disabilities like whatever it is it's like how do we how do we get people to care about these things simply because like you should care about other people and people different people have different experiences and if people are hurting because of things like that's why we should care to make things better you know just because we care about people
yes exactly like you know there are certain things and that's what like i wish that we could i wish that like we could all just be like yep don't you care so like we're gonna we're gonna change or we're gonna work to be better and i wish it was like that i'm fine i find that sometimes with the disability community in general or not it's hard to make any generalizations because disability is so broad but like when i talk to people about it who just don't get it like they're like i don't get why we should have to pay disabled people the same amount as it gets like like you wouldn't believe from the conversations i've had but you know people don't realize too it's certain with certain like every i feel like every group or you know whatever group we're talking about or wanting to advocate for like there's certain like things that you just can't argue with like that i'm like if this doesn't help you build your empathy i don't know what well because any person like disabilities the only club that any person could join at any time and like once that is like i would hope that someone would hear that and be like well damn it Maybe I need to challenge what I think about disability because this could be me tomorrow, you know?
Yeah. Yeah. That was making me think also of just like the issue of minimum wage. Yeah. And I remember like, well, this job and it's like, Yeah, but like, basically, there should be no job that we look down on so much that like, you don't think somebody should like have a decent, livable wage. Like, if we say we value work. It's like, yeah, you know, it's just, yeah, anybody can lose their high paying job at any time. Like, yeah,
yeah. I think we just don't realize how temporary, everything is, right? It's like what you were saying earlier about realizing, you know, that you're aging, that we're all like, you know, everything is so temporary, and we get so attached to identity and, and roles and like, ideals that we forget the the ability for things to just change on a dime.
And then when when it does happen, we are like, just so struck by it, and we're not I, you know, I'm all about like, building resilience, and doing that kind of work now, like, love me, therapy, love me, like, you know, like, I love I mean, I'm always trying to read and learn just about, like, what can I be doing to like, work on my own ability to handle discomfort, distress, whatever it is, now, so that if something really wild happens, you know, it's not gonna take me down in a sense that like, that it might have before because I've done some more work
Yeah, like, that's been a big thing of mine, too. Like, when we're talking about mental health and stuff like that. It's like, I'm just kind of like, because again, I was at the, at the doctor yesterday. And like, they, like, a few years ago, the last time like, I'd have just a regular physical, they did a questionnaire on like, depression. And I knew I was like, a little bit depressed at the time, but they kind of said something about, like, you know, you don't, it's not that you don't have to be but like, there's, you can address this, you don't just have to just accept it. You can like, address it, which started like, before that I was diagnosed with, like, adult add, there's like this adult at the mental health is on my mind, but like, I kind of just said, with depression, just like, yeah, I, I've dealt with depression before, whatever. I'm just somebody who deals with that. But then thinking about mental health, it's like, the way that I think about it now is kind of like what you said, it's like, yoga, or the gym, or these things that we do for our bodies physically. Definitely, like, if you get an injury, a lot of times you're gonna have to do like physical therapy, you're gonna have to do some of these things. But if you do yoga, if you stretch, just if you take care of your body in general, you're less likely to get injured. And if you are quicker, exactly. And so similar. Yeah, with mental health. It's like yeah, like I am working on. Medi- meditating regularly.
And also for me, yeah, the martial arts. The those things are good for my mental health, too. But it's like yeah, I'm working. When I'm in a healthy mind state to build mental practices so that when, like, I'm not feeling my best mentally. Yeah, I'm able to like process it differently. You know?
Yes. Oh, is that your dog?
Yep. Yep, there you go.
That's my family even though
I'm gonna get them inside real quick.
Come on, Fozzy....When they did go and they just they keep going.
Well, my parents You know, I'm living in my own place in Birmingham and I lived with them for a while when I first got here. And they adopted two dogs, and it's so fun to come to their house and be surrounded Their names are jello and pepper and having because you know, they're older. So we Didn't get to pick, so I have a dog named jello now. And it's, it's great. Nice. But yeah, no, I'm just I'm so it's, I'm just thankful to be able to even have these kind of conversations to about about mental health in regards to a lot of this because I mean it is it is, I think the piece of the conversation that's missing in a lot of even like advocacy discussions and a lot of political discussions and a lot of the tough discussions like we're so quick to jump to our views and our thoughts and why but also like, like, what's happening up here, that's like, forming those views, right? Because like, we don't just have views, we have, like, these vast, rich life experiences that sometimes we don't even address. And they play a big impact. So yeah, doing that work of, of not necessarily just accepting everything you think to be true, but like challenging it, and then knowing that maybe there's there's ways of changing or shifting or, or I don't know, or, or, you know, believing even more, I don't know, but I'm glad that that we address that because I think that is this key and, and it's I think there's less stigma around, you know, talking about mental health as now than there was but there still is and so, so important to address. It's, it's it's again, like disability, it's like so intersectional you know, it doesn't, it doesn't matter.
Yeah, and, and all of it is like everything, everything is intersectional that's like the thing.
Frustrating, about, like, when I see apathy, it's like, you might think this stuff doesn't affect you. But it really does affect us all. Like it does.
Yes. Yeah. I do, you know, and it's Yeah, it's like, how do we help folks find the find those intersection points. And like, that's, that's something that I get to do a lot. And Alabama was in a book study this week. With with the company actually on the book, the person you mean to be, which I know, that you've talked about on this podcast before. But you know, there was like an old old white older white dude, that was like, so if I'm like, in this industry that's like, you know, dominated by like, white dudes, like, that means I have privilege. And we're like, yes. Yeah, it does. But like until you like, take that moment to be like, wait, okay. And then and then you say, and then he was like, but then he went further be like, oh, but like, I can do something. Here to help someone in a position where, like, they don't need to, like, feel like they have to speak up all the time. We were like, bingo, sir. But like, you know, even like facilitating those moments that like, take, it might feel like you're stepping back to 1901. To get there. But But yeah, it's just it's so it's so interesting. Yeah.
And on privilege, it's like that intersection. It's like, just, like, I think the thing about empathy and like about thinking about others, about gratitude, like this goes hand in hand with gratitude with me. So it's like, with privilege for white man in particular, because this is where, like, sometimes there's the biggest blind spot. Just because it's like, a straight white Christian man, that is the status quo American. Like that is that's just the fact. And, and but what it means it doesn't mean because you have privilege that you haven't had to work hard, it doesn't mean that you haven't faced like true adversity. It does not mean that like at all, like we all have challenges. We all deal with things that aren't fair. But like, yes, like, there's privilege that I have as a man like so it's like, if you start to like, like, just zoom out a little bit. Like it's like there is privilege that I have. And since I'm born in the USA, I'm a US citizen, I understand what the rights that I'm supposed to have under the law, or that I'm supposed to have the freedom of thought and freedom of speech. And so yes, like, I'm very critical of, of this place, and of the injustices that I see. But I also Yeah, I understand that I have the privilege. The privilege like I'm of being an American citizen, which people mourn in the third world countries do not have like the same same opportunity that I have, like, so it's just you know, you can just go And then it's like, as far as like gratitude, it's like, yes, I'm grateful to be alive right now be able to have this conversation with you over zoom. And guess what? Like, yeah. Another one, like, from being alive is like, yeah, I'm relatively healthy. Like, yeah, um, you know what I mean? Like, that's,
I really do. And I think that whole idea that you said, I'm just I'm, I keep thinking about it, but because I think that, you know, the word privilege makes a lot of people like, clench, you know, click everything in their body. And it's like, I want people to hear that word. And also think about, okay, how can I zoom out here? Because that's exactly I mean, you were talking about people need to learn to zoom out. Because when we do learn to zoom out, I mean, exactly, you can see privileges that you that you might have within, within a community that you're a part of, right, like, even one thing I've been thinking about a lot in the disability community and how folks have responded. Just to lots of things going on in the world lately is like, even within the disability community, there is, you know, walking privilege, talking privilege, like privilege to be able to live on your own, like privilege. Like, it's just, it's so interesting.
To be a huge one, like, as we were talking about it, like mental health.
To have access to that. Yeah.
And also like to be like, if you have, like a brain, like you have, like a certain level of IQ, like the ability to like, process process and think like, it's huge, you know, and like without that, yeah,
it's so not loaded, like it's not loaded, it's just the ability to zoom out. And I wish that so much of the conversations we're having, we could like, just like take the backpack of rocks that we're all wearing off about how you know, because it's, it's just like, a lot of times it's facts, and it's the ability to like, see a 360 degree picture.
And I was just thinking, because a lot of times people were like, well, what am I supposed to do, like give it up, like, it's not my fault and blah, blah, blah. But there's also another way, I think, to look at it, which sometimes gets me kind of charged up. And it's like when I think about the past when I think about heroes from the past. Couple were strong through my head. Since we've been talking today. One one I was thinking of was Martin Luther King, because of like the letters from Birmingham,
and then kind of like Malcolm X, you know, there's other like civil rights leaders, but then one that I think of a lot is like Muhammad Ali. Yeah, stand for like beliefs. He's like a championship athlete and sacrifice his career many times. Like, he kept winning the title back. And like that's, that's like, what his legacy is about, or like a Nelson Mandela, just basically, there are people who have done things that I believe in that came before me, who had it way harder than me, and maybe because of what they did. Maybe I don't have to do that same thing. But that's a privilege that I have right now that I'm not facing the exact same thing that they were like they did that thing it had,
your starting point is different because of what they did, right? It's like what I have to remind myself all the time, about any kind of advocacy work is that like, you have got to think about the millions of people that have been like busting their butts, so that you can even open your dang mouth.
And then we have the privilege to either carry that forward. or nothing
will just be like they did it like good. Right? Yeah. I think about that a lot with the ADA, right? Because, like, so many people fought for the Americans Disabilities Act. And then a lot of our like, businesses and organizations are like, yep, it's there. We did it. And I'm like, oh, what's so funny is that like, that is something that like, literally makes some places not even all places, but like some places accessible, but then access doesn't equal inclusion. So like, you know, it's an inclusion doesn't equal belonging. So it's like, okay, like, you know, we think we can't get lost and like, Oh, well, this law was passed, like, Yay.... And like, now what, you know, how are you going to continue that and then like, give back to those people that work so hard so that you could experience it, you know, enjoy what you're enjoying How can you not only like, live your day live, but like make sure that the people that come after you are going to have it better than you did?
I was listening to Michael Gervais is
yes. Oh, I love this podcast.
Yeah. But he has an audible playing, finding mastery, an audible version, like kind of the course that they do. And I'm listening to that. Going through like I, like, I need to go and sit down and do the exercises as they come. But one talks about is like planes when they're flying. Actually, the nose has to be pointed up to Maine to stay level. And even when planes land, a lot of times the nose has to be pointed out. So basically like thinking about that both for like goal setting like in that we have to like raise the bar for what where we want to go in order to even stay level. So we really need to raise the bar way higher. I'm sorry. Yeah. I've just been thinking about that a lot. Like
No, I also love that idea. Yeah, when we land, like when we think we've done thing, or like, whatever, like no, we got to keep our noses pointed up. Not Not Not sound snooty. No, not like turning, you know what I'm saying are metaphorical plane noses. Oh.
We have to keep aiming higher. Oh, yeah.
Yeah. So even at the landing, I love that I just love. I also love the idea of no arrival point, right? Like, I think that is the most universal thing that we can route and all this kind of work. Is that like, we're not doing it to like, check it off or or get to the finish line.
And that's a big one to me, because I was just thinking about that question. Because I feel like corporations a lot of times for the past 50 years have been focused on making more money. But it's like, need to think higher than that. Like what? Like about raising ideals, like there's more to life than making money.
Like, that's, I get it. Like that's a starting point for a company. But like, what about having impact? What about making change? I'm going off on tangents to
Oh, I'm here for it. I mean, yes, I'm so here for it.
Ah, is there anything else you want to talk about today?
I think I'm just this has been such good conversation. It's just, I'm just so thankful to get to chat with you. Um, you know, we've covered such good ground and so much that I feel like is so like, you can apply to so many different areas and avenues. It's like you can read, you know, you can look at things through different lenses, right? I always like to think, Okay, well, how can I use this principle that I learned and then apply it to this other thing. So I think there are just so many like, dot connecting opportunities that we got to go through today. And like, that is what's so exciting to me. I'm just, I'm so excited to be chatting with you. Because I've listened to your podcast and all the folks that you have on here are just some of my you know, I have learned so much from those I don't know. But then the ones that I do, I'm like God, these are like, just such such game changing people that are doing such good work. So I just it's exciting to get to you to follow some of those folks. Because I love
Shot out to Jen (Waldman) too for bringing
People together. Yeah, it's pretty amazing. Because I went there for acting and for acting business stuff and then like reconnected with like, my purpose.
My life's purpose! Jinx. Yeah, I feel the same way. It's been so interesting to like, feel more connected to myself than I ever have but not be performing for like the past. Almost. I mean, it's gonna be like a year soon, you know, I mean, it's not yet we're only like halfway to a year but still. It's just It is so interesting though, because of the the community that she has facilitated and the folks that we get to talk to and learn from like, artistry is like a bonus. Like getting to be an artist is like the bonus but like getting to learn how to like engage with the world and the people in it until like, find what you like find your own contribution so that you can go out and like shake it up. up, that's what it's about like that. And to have like a acting teacher teach that kind of stuff like what? So
I think it circles back around to because I think being better hum- like more empathetic, intelligent, human humans, the better you can approach and build characters you know, because you
doesn't that make you so excited about when we get to do this again, huh? I've been playing shuffle on my iPod or iPod what what year, my online 1991 I've been pressing shuffle on my music a lot these days. And, you know, I use Spotify for everything. But on my iPhone, like I would say the music hasn't been updated since like 2012. So it's like all my iTunes stuff. And it's all musicals, because I didn't know that other genres of music existed back then. But it makes me so like, I just get giddy when I go in the car. And I you know, asked to shuffle the songs. Because I'm like, Oh, my God, like this is I've never thought about applying this to that and this or that. And like, I can't, I'm so hungry to get back in. And like, there's been some amazing performances in the car lately. But it's just because life is so rich. Like, it's because like life is so we have this like space to really uncover a lot about our place in the world. And like, however big or small that is, in the moment, that we are going to be able to bring back to anything that we approach as an artist like it's, it's thrilling. It really is. Also thrilling for anyone who's on the highway at the stoplight to to watch the commitment level.
And are you involved? Like with the theater scene? in Birmingham?
Yeah, I am actually. So I when you It's so funny. We have a great scene here. And everyone's like, That's hilarious. You're from, you know, Alabama. And I'm like, no, it's Birmingham. Okay, it's different. But there's a great theater scene here. And I grew up in it. Um, and, you know, we would have like, the big the biggest regional theater here would be amazing. Like, as a 10 year old, like, we I'd be like, Oh, yeah, I sang in concert with Jason Robert Brown this year, or like, Oh, yeah, Billy Porter taught us today. And like, we didn't think anything of it, like this theater, just like gave, like, brought these opportunities down for the kids. And so, you know, I, one day, I would love to do things for this theater, like to give back to it, everything is given to me. But they actually have been doing really cool things here. There was they've been doing some driving performances where they pre record it, but they act like it's live. And it'll be like the symphony, the ballet, this theatre company, an opera here. And we'll, you know, piece together concerts I've gotten to perform in one of those. And then, you know, just different performances here like benefits for for different charities and organizations and trying to get involved in that space as well. Because I love I love benefits and like helping people plan those even if they're virtual. But yeah, theater here, I mean, any of the regional or like, you know, equity slash professional theaters, or, you know, not having any, any theater, you know, um, but I am, you know, doing teaching artists stuff for them on the weekends sometimes and anything via zoom just because I want to plug into the theater here. And like, they it really stunk because I was actually coming to do a series at the theater that I was just mentioning here about disability inclusion in the arts, and was going to show some of the documentary and have Josh Castiel, who's my friend who's a deaf performer, he was in Spring Awakening revival, he was going to come down, and we were going to do a cabaret together. And that literally, like he was down here, we were ready to go. And then the day of the show was like, the day that Alabama got the first like couple COVID cases and they cancelled it. Um, so, you know, I've been trying to plug in ever since that because I was like, well here, so, like, let's get to work. Um, but it's exciting. Like, there's a big Alabama Council of theater that's having a, they for the first time ever, which I mean, you know, it's happening. So I'm not gonna say, I'm just thrilled to be a part of it, but they have like a equity diversion, diversity and inclusion. You know, a team that's dedicated to changing like, their manual, how theaters here are being trained to, you know, train their staff and whatever. So I'm just excited to be able to plug in to that here. Because again, it feels like there's more work a little more work to do, but it's more exciting to be in a place where you can actually like, watch that happen instead of just being like, Yay, like, I'm, we're doing it, and you've already been doing it for 10 years. Like it's fun. It's fun to help something. And it's like beginning stages.
Yeah, yeah, that's, uh, I definitely get more excited. talking to people with different views versus preaching. acquire preaching the choir is fun.
But it's fun because like i love i mean Hello Broadway inspirational voices like, let's go. I love preaching to the choir, but like it is. And it's great to again hear people say like you are, yeah, like, let's do it. I've got your back. Um, but it's more exciting, I think. I mean that that is like energy, right? And I thrive on that high energy. But it's also exciting to be like, oh, I've never thought of it that way. Or like, Oh, that's a small change I can implement tomorrow. And then you're like, yes. Like, just to watch those like tiny milestones and changes begin to add up for folks. And and just to watch the aha moments. Like I think we all love to help. I think it's why Jen is so great. And why we all love her is because she fillets facilitate so many aha moments. And so then I think we as artists that have been trained and, you know, taught by her, it is our job to help facilitate more aha moments in the world.
Mm hmm. Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, so it's been great sitting talking with you. I'm talking to a fella lightbulb. Looks like things are getting a little choppy there. Am I coming through?
No, but if I'm choppy, it's because we're in like the middle of a nice rainstorm, a tender, tender, Alabama.
I will you're actually coming through clear. For some reason. I'm bouncing back through my speaker choppy, so I was worried I was trapping on your end, but you're actually coming Oh,
no. you're clear and smooth.
Um, so I wanted to just say thanks for sitting down. It's always good. Talking with another light bulb. For those listening. The Jen we were talking about, is Jen Waldman, and sometimes we call ourselves lightbulbs. And hopefully, yeah, you listening, you'll be other light bulbs, like Alie was saying, you know, like, we lift each other up, basically, is the idea.
Yeah. And illuminate possibilities for each other.
Mm hmm. Yes, yeah. Are there any final parting thoughts you have on? Like, things that have worked for you like, when you are feeling kind of down? I think you said like, maybe when you first moved there or whatever, but like, kind of when, when you kind of go on like a mental dip, what are some practices that have like helped you process out of that? And then also, people that want to, like, be more aware about disability inclusion? What are some things people can do? Or at least be aware of? To try to?
Yeah, yeah, well, I can, I can send you a handful of resources in terms of disability inclusion stuff, but one thing I'll encourage, because I know a lot of artists listen to this podcast, I encourage you to a great first step is to look at what you are consuming, content wise, play wise, musical wise, who's writing it, who's in it, and just notice where disability is, and you probably might not see it. But even like, have that awareness about disability in the world, and, and in your world where you are like, my disability awareness, like in New York is so different, because you see, I mean, just the hundreds of people you see, every day is so different than the people I see in Birmingham, Alabama, where there's not really public transportation, that, you know, everyone's taking all the time. There is but I mean, it's, it's not like the subway, or the bus or the whatever, in New York. So I would encourage you to just look at where you are seeing disability in your own life and the response you have when you do see it. And the kinds of stories if you're consuming it and your content. What is it? Like? What are the stories telling you about this ability? Are they like, a trope? Or is it like someone being pitted, pitied? Or is it a villain? Or is it like a, you know? Is it an archetype? Or is it just a person? Like, are you watching the politician and you see Ryan dad, like, you know, he's just like living his life and he happens to have a disability. I just encourage you to just look and take a take a little inventory of it in your life, because until you are really aware of maybe your own thoughts about it, um, it's hard to like want to step in. So I would just like tell you to zoom out again, we're gonna think about zooming out a lot in this episode, but I'm just like, have a general knowledge and then once you kind of understand where you are, then you know I can share with you Alex some resources on like, next steps or how to show up and advocate But it's got to start with the deeper inventory first. And then oh, gosh, I forgot your other question Oh practices to, to, for like, for, like self care and this time when like there's so much happening and like I have to remind myself and again, like we can choose how we want to view we can choose how we want to respond to things. So I really helps me to remind myself that the work of inclusion and belonging is infinite work. And like some people might hear that and be like, this is so stressful, like, you'll never be done, oh my god, but I actually find that to give, it gives me a sense of like breath, because it's not going to be done tomorrow. And like, I can go to bed without doing like, 44 things and like, it'll be okay. Because like, I'll never be done. So like, it doesn't give me a past and not do anything. Um, but it helps me a lot. And again, in times, like these two are our country's going through so much. Our friends and neighbors are going through so much mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally. You know, so much old, like trauma can be resurfaced in times like this, like, it's just tough to find grounding practices for yourself. Like, it's so important. And it can be like, just like a list of maybe five things. So that when you're getting to that point of like, this is too much. This is too overwhelming, like, you have a little autopilot list. So where you're not scrambling, when it gets to be too much or too hard. You're like, oh, but you know what I can do, I can meditate or you know what I love going out being outside and like engaging my senses and like feeling air on my skin and like crunching the leaves or like whatever it is. So to have that like thing, those things you can automatically go to to like, I don't want to say refill your well, because it's not going to do that all the time. But it'll get you back to your neutral. It'll get you back to your your ability to give and receive in all kinds of ways be that is an advocate or just a human being. But you've got to find those things that can just get you back to your baseline.
Cool. I love it!
yeah, Alec, I love talking with you. I'm so pumped to, to just keep listening to your show and keep hearing about what you're doing. It's been hard to be away from the JWS community, because I feel a little disconnected from folks. But then it's moments like these where I'm like, but but just to like have these conversations is so. So encouraging. And it fuels me for sure.
Yeah. And for the most part, even though you're physically away, we're all just a screen away. Anyway these days. Yeah. So you know,
we can get back anytime.
So it's good to see you as well. Always a pleasure. And yeah, let's keep the conversation going.
Let's keep it rolling. All righty. Well, I'll talk to you soon.