WHAT I’VE LEARNED SINCE SUPER NORMAL
Many of the folks who frequent this site know it from it’s former namesake, supernormalpodcast.com. If you’re not familiar, Super Normal was a podcast I created in 2017 which featured over 50 episodes. It’s intention was to highlight folks from all permutations and combinations of what life has to offer and show that, no matter what, those individuals and their identities were normal. The format of the show was such that I did not prepare questions, something to keep me from using my inherent biases to pound the guest with narratives they’ve heard throughout their lives. I am very proud of that premise, so why do I not continue to do the show?
Super Normal was born from my creativity being snuffed out at the media organizations I was working for at the time. These places were what I would have called “prestigious” while in college, but would now be classified as predators post the Me Too movement. I was a young, creative and ambitious person ready to share my ideas with the world. But no one wanted to hear what I had to say, of course. Thus, I created Super Normal, a weekly podcast that gave me the opportunity to show the world what amazing people were out there, folks who defied the status quo and explained their lives in their own voices on their own terms.
In many ways, I consider Super Normal the best education I have ever received. I learned more about myself, my community, and the world around me through chatting with these individuals than I ever did at college. It was the best experience I have ever had, but I still consider it a bit of a failed experiment.
I believe I treated each person on each episode with kindness, an open mind, and an open heart. I never received one negative piece of feedback from a guest. Actually, most of them called, emailed, or DMed me to tell me how amazing the episode was when they listened. Many of them cried, shared it with their friends and family as they had listening parties, and creating long-lasting friendships with me after our interviews. But today, three years after I created Super Normal, I cannot stand to listen to any of the episodes. Cringe-worthy would be a good descriptor.
I leave them up for the individuals who were so proud, so happy, or admired our time together. It would be a disservice to them to take it down and it would also not be reflective of my journey. I am not the person I was in 2017 and I am grateful for that. I have been much more open about my diagnoses. I have become comfortable with the fact that I am disabled. I have come out to many of the people in my life except those who would jeopardize my personal safety. All of these things have allowed me to accept and love myself in a way that I never thought was imaginable, but that is a journey I have been on and it has opened my eyes to how much more I have to go.
Super Normal’s intention was to create a space to tell the stories of the those who are marginalized. The podcast ended abruptly when I realized that I not only needed to share these stories, but I also needed to be educated on how to advocate for the groups each guest identified as. I do not think it is responsible of me to take up space in this world while I’m still learning how to do that.
Many people would and have disagreed with that statement. A lot of people want me to share my journey of learning with the world. And in some ways, I do that on my Instagram page. It’s a way I can update the people in my life on the stories of others as well as my continued research and education. But in that space I am sharing more than I am creating, and that’s the work I have been called to do these past few years since Super Normal has ended.
In all honesty, I believe I could do Super Normal today in a superior way; one that would provide amplification to much needed voices in an way that I would much more proud of. But the thing many folks didn’t know about Super Normal was that it was a one person show. I did have the help of a dear friend who swooped in when I needed her most to help me secure guests and giveaways. For the most part though, I was spending 30+ hours a week on top of a full-time media job and a part-time social media consulting role, and that was not sustainable for my health. In order to do these guests justice, I would need to dedicate more hours the second time around and that’s just not something my body is capable of right now.
Super Normal may come back one day. I have dreams of getting to a place in my career where I can create a network of podcasts, one that not only hosts Super Normal, but also features the podcasts of amazing voices in the community. There are so many Black, Indigenous, and POC voices who need an opportunity to be amplified in a way that serves them, not drains them. For now, I think the best thing I can do is to find an organization that already exists and share my skills with them in order to accomplish that goal of amplification and lead us closer to transformative justice. That is why Super Normal is no more.
I’ll leave you with a clear idea of what I stand for. There should be no borders on stolen land. All lives don’t matter until Black lives matter, and that includes universal health care and eradicating racism from our medical system. Slavery was never abolished, it was transformed into mass incarceration. Prison abolition is the next step after police abolition. The United States (Turtle Island) is currently operating concentration camps with our tax dollars. No one is illegal on stolen land. TGNC rights are human rights. It is impossible to uplift a community without uplifting disabled people. Climate change is real and so is environmental racism. We cannot have true justice under a capitalist system. And no one is free until we are all free.
Our liberation is more interconnected than many folks care to admit. We cannot just fight for our own identities and marginalizations because intersectional liberation is the only true liberation.