Conscious + Aligned Transcript

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01: Permission Slips and Traveling Intentionally

Conscious + Aligned with Chidimma (shortened to C+A)

Transcribed by Kimberly Gardner

Chidimma shortened to C, Kiona shortened to K

*intro music*

C: Hey friends, this is C and it’s so good to be back with you all. I am recording with a new friend, K and I will pass the mic over, the proverbial mic over, to her shortly. You’ are listening to “conscious + aligned with Chidimma.” It’s a new brand from theTYPEAhippy. I hope you’ve followed along on this journey of being more conscious and aligned and bringing you all alongside me and walking alongside you. So one of the first people that I thought, “let me reach out to this person and see if they are not too Hollywood to talk to somebody like me.” And I reached out to K and I was so excited that she was interested and willing and able to come on the podcast. So welcome to C+A with C. I’m so glad you’re here.

K: Thank you so much, C. It’s really awesome to be here. (laughs) It’s so funny to be described as Hollywood.

C: Right? No, totally. You’re definitely not, but you know how sometimes folks are like, “Oh, no…”

K: “Like, you only have 800 followers. I can’t…”

C: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So I stumbled upon your Instagram handle because I’m involved with an ethical fashion brand called “XXXXX Designs”and I went to Uganda a little over a year ago, about eight months ago and I’m actually Nigerian so I’ve been there several times and I’ve done a fair amount of travel but I love your perspective on travel and so we get too far down that – we’ll kind of circle back to that – I’d love for youto introduce yourself in your own worlds, briefly.

K: My name is K and I run a digital travel publication called, “How Not To Travel –“ are we allowed to curse?

C: Yes.

K: “How Not To Travel Like a Basic Bitch” but the title has grown with me as I’ve grown also. It’s about centering diverse perspectives and changing the narrative of “we’re traveling somewhere” to centering local voices and who we are encountering on our travels and what is us traveling to their country like for them. And by centering local voices or people from that place, I feel like travelers are able to more appropriately interact when they gothey learn so much more thatthey would not have gotten just going. Sometimes we don’t see things that affectother people and impact other people. It’s just going in with that knowledge because we can’t know everything of how people want to present their own countries, how they want to talk about it, where they suggest to go, any advice they have for travelers, and really it is a privilege for us even to be welcome in their land. So that’s what the publication is based off of, however,I want to say that it wasn’t always based off of that. It was centered on me and my own travels for a long time and so I feel like it is also a place where growth is remodeled – role modeled, sorry – where sometimes we learn through travel, through others, through interaction, and that is all showcased on the website as well as social media – where I learnin my own process of curation where I erased people, where I’ve silenced people, where I made a mistake and how to reclaim that and make a difference by disrupting the status quo and doing something about it.

C: Sure. So I’m so glad that you mentioned that it is an opportunity also for you, meaning that you’re not the expert on this. You are learning and growing, right? Just like many of us are. So when someone makes a mistake, or is there an example of a mistake that you’ve made that you realized after the fact “okay, this is an error” and how did you recover and how did you make it right if you were able to.

K: Yeah, that’s a really good question. So actually, just yesterday, I made a mistake. I was advocating for Indigenous peoples of what I call Asian-Pacific Islander. So I’m originally from Hawaii and I identify as an Asian-Pacific Islander in that I don’t really face the same struggles as the average Asian American because I was born on an island really, really far away and I face entirely different political or systematic struggles or oppressions and strengths. But when I said Asian-Pacific Islander I had a ton of people message me, saying “By calling us Asian Pacific Islander, you’re erasing the Pacific Islands outside of being Asian.” And so I had to present why that was problematic. By grouping Pacific Islanders with Asians it drowns out their XXX,it drowns out their experiences, it drowns out their voices because then people just think, “Asian” and not Pacific Island, just completely separate. So I went ahead and corrected that. I presented why that was wrong, and then apologized to the public and asked, “If you are suffering in silence, please let me know. I would like to offer you an article, a voice, a spacewhere you can present on your own struggles, separate ofbeing Asian.” So like that’s one example of one making a mistake that you didn’t know. Especially, like, it is my identity, too, right? But even within our own identity,we can erase people who are even more marginalized than us.

C: That’s true.

K: I made a mistake, I claimed it, I understood why they presented it and then made a solution. Offered a space for them to have what they asked for.

C: Yeah, and I appreciate you saying that because I often talk about onthe previous iteration of this podcast intent versus impact. And so that thought is that a lot of times I’ll hear folks say, “Well that wasn’t my intention.” And honestly? I want to say I don’t really give a crap what your intention wasbecause it still had impacton me and it was negativeimpact. Or it had impacton somebody else. So when we are able to kind of move away from our ego, which it sounds like is what you did, and realize, “Okay, let me step outside of myself” and honestly, goldenrule, right? Putting yourself in the shoes of somebody that is suffering in silence or someone that did, at that moment, have the courage to – I don’t know if call you out is the right way, I know that phrase has been thrown out and has gotten a lot of air time lately, but like, let you know that what you did, while you didn’t intend to cause harm, it did, at least for some. And some others may not have been harmed by it or may not felt the same way about it. I find that moving out of my own way and really hearing what is happening, or what’s happened and how it affected someone is so helpful.

K: Definitely. Actually, that’s a good point because some people did reach out and say, “Well, I’m both Asian and PacificIslander, thank you for calling us that.” As much as I’d love to only attach to the compliments, that I did marginalize somebody or silence somebody – those are the voices that you have to hear. And like you said, its courage to bring it up and it’s hard to assert yourself where you’ve always been marginalized and then you open yourself up to backlash. I could have been like, “Well I’m Asian-Pacific Islander; you’re erasing me by saying this.” No. I’ve erased them by saying that. And I did take two days to think about it as I do think that healing is a big part of this process. You have to take the time to sit with your emotions, your human emotions. Being defensive, or even saying “this wasn’t even my intention, I wish they could have seen past that.” But it’s like, no, you’ve gotta see past your intention and how you made other people feel. Without giving yourself space or time to really, truly grow and come from a place of authenticity when you then acknowledge your mistakes. I think it is a huge mistake and a lot of people show up online or in spaces inauthentically and that really – I feel like that’s when public apologies don’t work. Because we know you don’t really mean it. The apology was for you, not them.

C: That’s right. I totally can appreciate and relate to that. I recently told someone – I tend to be that person that is a listening ear and I can see a lot of different sides of the scenario or situation or issue and provide a different perspective. And so I was talking to someone yesterday about something that’s happening in their life – and this is a new friend. I’m that person that you, like, tell your life story to. And I’m just listening, thinking, “Do you want feedback or do you just want me to just listen?” So I said to her, “You know what I’ve learned? Unless it is an emergency – if it an emergency, please don’t call me, call 911, right? – if it’s not an emergency, which it normally isn’t, I don’t have to respond right away. I can take time to process on my own and be still and hear from the divine. I can also connect with close friends that are in my circle that will tell me the truth. They don’t just kiss my ass. K, they were tripping. Don’t they know how good you are? And good? We know a lot of good graces, don’t we?We know a lot of good folks that are good and they cause a lot of harm in a lot of different places. So you mentioned in your bio that initially this publication was centered around your own travels. At what point did it shift? And then I have a follow-upquestion.

K: That’s a really good question. So in the “Destination” post I still do center my voice when I travel to places and I give travel recommendations, but it is clear that that is my lens. I have another “Perspectives” section that is completely centered around local voices, or at least someone from that area or identifying as that. So for example, I have Liberia and it is a Liberian American who lives in Liberia, she’s American though, but she did present on Liberia. So I just want to make sure that there are nuances and identities and all of those lenses. I require my writers to state their lenses and their perspectives, where they are speaking from, what are their privileges so that we know there are still people that – like, even being showcased on a website is a form of privilege. There are so many people that we don’t hear from.

C: That’s true

K: But it actually started because I travel the most with my best friend Maya who is half Sudanese and half Haitian, and she is like 6 feet (tall), black goddess, and I’m just this short girl standing next to her, and when we travel she gets so much attention and it’s just a totally different experience when I travel with her than when I travel with other Asians or Latinas. I asked her, I was like, “Hey, do you want to write an article on how it is like to travel in your body because it is definitely different traveling with you than it is traveling in my body.” Or even the association with her. I get so many perks whenever I travel with her. And I also get so many people, like black followers, who are scared to travel because they feel like outside of the US is even scarier based offtheir interactions within the US. But if you talk to a lot of black travelers, it is actually the opposite. So now I have an entire “Traveling While Black” section where – basically my best friend said,“no, I’m not going to write for you” – so I went to the public and was like, I’m going to ask. I showcase black travelers and their experiences. It empowered a lot of other black travelers to then go forth and travel and see what destinations are safe for them, which aren’t, and what they can do to prep. I realize that just traveling with my best friend that beach destinations aren’t always their favorite. That’s not everybody, but sometimes, like I have just regular straight hair that I can air dry and that’s not the case for them. Giving advice for the black traveler, like what products to pack, where to get your hair done in southeast Asia, like things that are not part of my experience was able to be offered and it definitely wasn’t something that I could have ever offered to anybody, and so that’s where it started. Since then it has expanded to “traveling while queer”, “traveling while Muslim”, “traveling while native”. Now it’sjust a resource for all these different perspectives.

C: That’s awesome. I’m going to put you in contact with one of my friends whose Nigerian as wellbut was born on the continent and I think you all would have some fun conversations. So what are…actually, I’m going to ask you another question and then I’ll ask you about a pet peeve. Did you see – and I don’t know if it was on Instagram or if it was just online – but did you see a photographer had – it was largely American, and sadly I’m going to say that I’m not surprised by this – that weredoing selfies in really inappropriate places. And so somehow a photographer – when folks had posted selfies in inappropriate places – he did something with the image and he wouldn’t remove the images until they – I don’t know if reparations isthe right word – but they paid homage or did something. Did you hear about this?

K: I mean, I’ve seen for example there’s a Holocaustmemorial in Berlin and people take selfies there. Then I’ve seen a photographer place dead bodies (trouble understanding here) I don’t know, I just saw that as an article on Facebook.

C: It’s just, it leads into my next question. What are the most – and I don’t think ignorant is a strong enough word – so friends at home that are listening or in your car, ignorant doesn’t mean stupid, it means unaware of, it means misinformed. You’re not making the connection on some of the impact that something you’re doing or saying. You’re not aware. When I say that someone is ignorant or has done something ignorant it is not an indictment on their intelligence level, it is just an observation. So what are some of the most ignorant things that you’ve seen that folks have done or other disrespectful things, and that can also tie into some of your petpeeves that you see as you travel veryfrequently?

K: That’s a really good question. There’spet peeves that I have for travel and pet peeves that I have for travel social media or travel media. So just talking about social media, my pet peeve is seeing black and brown minority kids being showcasedon social media. I think that’s unethical. Especially in the “savior” post where you’re higher than them or you/the camera is looking down. There’s just a lot of embedded meanings in the way your camera is angled and how you’re showcasing them. They don’t have consent, their parents aren’t involved in this. That’s huge tome. I’ve hadonly once posted a picture of a minor and she was in a parade for Carnival and her mom gave consent. Her clothes aren’t tattered, I wasn’t even in the picture. I feel like that happens a lot where in particular white people will place themselves among black and brown children and be like, “these kids love me, they were smiling, they were so happy despite their conditions” and they don’t understand the implications of what that means and how they are crafting a narrative for these people. So that’s a huge pet peeve of mine. Also, I just talked one of my good friends (XXXX)on this, she called out World Nomads, which is a travel insurance company, who wrote about Senegal and said that it was a dangerous place because somebody got pickpocketed. And she said, “this is what happens when white people or non-Africans or non-black people write about Africa” it’s always about the negative, never exulting the positive, it is all to instill fear. Yet she said,“when I traveled to Italy that’s not the first thing I heard about even though people stared, peoplehave mocked me.” That’s just not how she portrays a country nor is that something that she would ever advocate for. So it’s a pet peeve of mine where companies pay people not from that country to describe the country and then form this narrative and profit off of fear about these countries and don’t understand the impact it has on an entire nation by putting that out there. So those are huge pet peeves of mine. They don’t do the work to find the people who can really expertly talk about, for example, Senegal. Regarding traveling it is my pet peeve when people who are monolingual – they only speak one language – make fun of others speaking English to them with an accent or not saying the right word or they don’t speak English at all. And are like, “You don’t speak English?” Are they supposed to? They are in their own countries and maybe it is you that doesn’tspeak Thai, or whatever it is.

C: EXACTLY! I mean, I just can’t sometimes. And oftentimes the folks will speak better English than you are attempting to speak their language, a), and they are at least extending themselves and I feel like that is an extension of grace, because they are attempting to reach you and have you understand and be with them and connect with you and you don’t even have the decency to understand that you don’t even know two words. Please.

K: Exactly! I hate that!

C: I just said basic and I wasn’t even trying to be funny. That is some basic you know what. Does anyone speak English? Where are you? And these are some of the same people who when someone comes to the US wants someone to immediately speak English as soon as they touch down, as soon as their foot touches American soil they want someone to speak Englishand you have just flown across to another part of the globe and you don’t speak their language and what happens? There’s no parity there. What’s going on? Our family we have this phrase, “You’re having a hard time.” You might hear, “you’re having a hard time” with anything, you know you drop something,if you stumble,if your argument doesn’t make sense. You’re having a hard time. And the truth is, it’s just not, I don’t know, I feel like – and I have for many years…part of it is because my parents are immigrants – as a global citizen I’ve definitely had some connection to other countries besides this country for a number of different reasons: racism, sexism, just we’re not all free here so I’ve felt that over the years. When I look at myself as a global citizen I’m more inclined to attempt to make those real connections with folks who come here as immigrants or when I go there I’m very mindful of how I’m interacting with folks because sometimes it is very clear from where people come based on their actions when they are somewhere else. It’s why I kind of chuckle when I hear my cousins, my family in more rural parts of Nigeria thinking that the US is like the golden ticket. And when I hear Americans say “God Bless America” and “this is the best place in the world”, it’slike anyone who says that has never been here or has never left here because they don’t have that point of reference. Sadly, they just can’t be trusted because you don’t have any basis of comparison. You’ve only been here. So you only think one thing. So where are you going next?

K: I’m going skiing in Austria in a coupleweeks. Well, I’m half Austrian. I’m visiting family.

C: I think that’s around the time of when I started following you and kind of keeping track of what you were up to and you were talking about dating. We don’t have to go into that. I actually dated an Austrian once and that’s why I also chuckled.

K: It was a difficult experience for me. I mean, I’m half Austrian but I think – I had this huge conversation this weekend about how when I’m in Austria I’m not Austrian to them. But when I’m in America, I benefit from some white privileges of having some European features or even having a white dad. There are privileges that come with that that I recognize. In Austria, those don’t really exist. And then I realized how not Austrian I was when I started dating one. I was so – I guess sometimes I feel envy for people who can date within their cultures because it is a sigh of relief. There are so many things that you don’t have to explain. And so I thought I was going to feel that, finally dating somebody within one of my cultures and I realized that, nope this ain’t it. I’m not culturally Austrian. So it really, really made me feel what I’m not.

C: So I wanted to ask you before I go on to this other thing. Because my parents were both born and raised in Nigeria but my siblings and I and my nephews and likely everyone else will just be born in the United States. There have been times that I’ve been in Nigerian and they’re like, “you’re so American” but then also growing up I was bullied mercilessly from white kids and black kids as well because I sound white, that’s what they said the black kids said I sounded white which I’m not sure what that means still to this day and the white kids, I’m not sure what their problem was. It could have been systemic racism, it could have been any number of things because I was academically gifted and winning a lot of scholarships but was a hard walk, and you might have experienced this as well, where you’re not enough of X, Y, and Z, or you’re too much X, Y, and Z here and so I’m really glad that even more recently for me, since like the 2016 election, some of my identities have become more strengthened and I don’t know if that’s been your experience too whether it’sbeen through your travels or through that dating experience or through anything else where you have become more okay with who you are in its entirety even though you’re part Austrian, part Asian dash Pacific Islander. How has that morphed for you over the years in terms of reconciling who you are and feeling at peace with that?Because you appear to be – and maybe some days are better – and you’re also on a podcast and you’ve also put yourself out there significantly via social media and I don’t mean to assume. So have you been able to reconcile that and if so, how?

K: Yeah, I mean that’s a really good question and something I’ve been grappling with recently because I do hit a bunch of ethnic intersections. And it’snot just one or two. It’smultiple. My dad married – I think I was like 12 – married a Palestinian woman. So none of my cousins live in the United States. They all live in other places around the world, and they were the only cousins that I have that cousin relationship with. So grew up with a lot of Palestinian, Lebanese influence as well. To say that “yeah, you’re culturally confused, your identity doesn’t have a box” – even when you feel like you’ve finally found your box, you realize your box is erasing other people – so it’s like this constant journey of adjusting myself to fit and not erase, and I just don’t fit. And I realize that that’s actually a gift. I realize the privilege of being intersectional because I was forced to be intersectional and it has been a lifelongjourney of grappling with how to interact with people from different cultures within my own family because the way we solve problems, the way we view conflict, the way we solve conflict, the way we exhibit love are all – not all, but – a lot culturally based. And some of those cultures don’t agree with some of my other cultures and so I’ve always had to adjust myself or re-understand myself. “Where is she coming from? Where is he coming from?” Is that him showing me love because I’m not receiving that as love, and how do I adjust myself so that I’m not hurting? And I realized how much that has affected me going into this in that – because I’ve always been forced to be intersectional – it’svery easy for me to accommodate other people when I’m trying to uplift marginalized and diverse voices because that’s just been a part of my lived experience. And it’sreally hard for people – like I get questions all of the time like, “what if I’ve never met a black person?” or “how do I talk about black history month and I don’t know anything about black people?” “How do I know if I love black people if I’ve never interacted with them?” I’m like, “these are all questions that are hard for me because when I moved from Hawaii my mom was a single mom and we lived in a community that was predominantly Latino and black so it’sjust always been a partof my experience.It’shard for me to put myself in a place where I wasn’t forced to be intersectional and how to reconcile that. It’sbeen such a gift to be around all of these different cultures and being able to move fluently among them, coming up against a lot of my own mistakes and my own privileges, but also having grace and being able to be accepted and forgiven for those things. I guess I would say that I haven’t completely reconciled with my identity. I also feel like my identity is constantly changing based on how many more people I meet and I realize I’m silencing or erasing in that process. I have definitely have felt comfortable with that process orbeing malleable to what I need to define myself as and where I am and where I’m not.

C: Awesome. So that leads me to another question. I think I have two more questions, and this is the second to last one. How have you been able to manage such a large following of folks Because sometimes I think myself, my own – we’ve talked about manifestation in our emails back and forth of like, “It’s coming for me, it’s coming” and you’re like, “yes, girl, it’scoming.” And at the same time, had mentioned that she doesn’t read comments on her YouTube videos or TED talks or whatever, but how do you navigate that? Because that’s its own world and its own beast in some ways. So while you have a platform, and I believe you’re one of the ones that’susing your platform for good, I’m sure it can be daunting at times.

K: Yeah, so that’s a really, really good question and it’s something I’m still learning how to navigate, especially if your growth is fast. I think I went from 10,000, which is pretty big, to 17,000 really, really quickly and I did not know how to manage that. I looked at my stats and it said that 700,000 people were interacting, whether they’re following or not, and people start following me at different places in your journey and things that you’ve already addressed and they’re now forcing or requiring you to go back to that space, or holding you accountable from a space you’ve moved on from and you’ve grown from. And yet it’s the internet, it’sout there forever, which is why I’m always terrified to do podcasts cos I’m like, I can’t edit these, I can’t take back what I said. These are there forever and it’s a snapshot or autobiography of who I am at this moment and I’m not going to be this person tomorrow. It’s when I started advocating for mental health. I mean, I’ve always gone to a therapist and have that privilege, but I realize that it’snot a normal thing to interact with 700,000 people in a week. I mean, our brains and our bodies and our mentalityare not built for that. As humans,we’ve never had to interact with that many people. And I have also thought similarly to Brenee whereI’m not going to take DMs, I know a ton of people don’t take DMs, I’m not going to read the comments, but honestly, that’s where all of my learning is done. It’sin the comments section, in the DMs, it helped me gauge whether my content is appropriate or not appropriate. It teaches me what I am or amnot doing well. With that said, there are a lot of people in the universe that don’t take care of their mental health and then come on to your page and unload it all over you. I have to put a stop to that by setting boundaries for interactions with me because I am a human and I have to take care of myself and people on the internet need to have the responsibility of taking care of each other. Especially in these dialogues where we’re coming from all of these different lenses and we’re trying to figure out how to best interact with each other and we have to take care in our communication skills. Ultimatelyif we want to know each other and love each other we have to always come from a place of empathy or a place of understanding. Communications isn’t taught to us and we all communicate in different ways. So I had to set boundaries on what I will and will not respond to, and what I will and will not ingest, if you’re allowed to dictate my content or not. It’s a constant process of putting those boundaries up because people will push them and you didn’t even know that that boundary existed and you’re like, “wow, nobody has neverasked me this!” I get this pretty frequently, people will say, “are you white?” Like that’s the first thing they say to me, “Aren’t you white? Why are you talking about this?” And I’m like, “If you would have followed, and clearly I don’t pass as white, I don’t even know why you’re asking me this question instead of ‘hi,’ ‘hello,’ ‘how are you?’” No introduction, nothing. It just throws off why whole day. I would never ask somebody that. I’m not ashamed of it, I can definitely answer it, but it’sjust like what is the purpose of your question, are you trying to come at me for something? It’s been tough to manage such a large following, I think boundaries are reallyimportant. Also taking time to heal offline. I know some people have a problem talking about it, like, “well it’sjust online” but it really does have a physical impact on who you are. I’ve been physically sick from conversations that have gone on online. I definitely recommend to only show up online when you are mentally healed so that you are not then unloading off onto everyone but then also understanding that people are mentally sick and will come to your page when you push their own triggers. And you are not responsible for those triggers. Just having the discernment to understand what healthy communication iswhen somebody is calling you in and not calling you out, and using healthy communication techniques to then tailor your content. Definitely set boundaries for your own mental health because that’s number one, no matter what.

C: So true. I remember that there was a time where I posted – what did I post? – I posted about Colin K and about if it was really about veterans. Then, if you have Nike stuff that you don’t want, donate. That’s a novel idea, right? One of my friends, who is no longer a friend on Facebook, came in and he happens to be a white man in his 50s, not formally educated, and we were in and still are in the same spiritual community and had been for a decade-plus at that point with no disagreements among us. I mean, minor disagreements. And I worked out that I remember seeing, I don’t know, 50 or so notifications in an hour period and he had come out swinging, had come out sideways. And I was just deleting comments because they had, I mean he was outing folks for mental health stuff, he was outing folks that are in recovery, like it turned into – and I was physically shaking so I can certainly relate to what you’re saying- and I’m a nine on the XXXXXX, I’ma peacemaker. So I don’t love conflict, but at the same time I will rise up and address it. He tried to send me a private message, condoning his own behavior and I shut it down. I was like, “absolutely not. In no land would this be acceptable.” I accept most things just because I accept it, it’s happened, but it doesn’t mean it’s acceptable and you know you were dead wrong. He blocked me I think and I was like, “good riddance.” Cause I cannot. He hurt so many folks in his wake of terror. That was just not, like, acceptable. I really had to just unplug that evening. Which leads me to my last question before we wrap up. I always like to ask guests how they self-care. I think sometimes self-care can be perceived – and it is sometimes – a privilege thing. And it can be a simple thing, too. It does have to be – and it can be – candles in the bath, drawing a bath. And it can be other things as well. So what do you do that is self-care for you.

K: Yeah, that’s a really good question. Self-care is definitely meeting with my therapist or my communications specialist and working things out that have happened online and how I can best respond to it. Travel is also a form of my self-care. Especially disconnecting and not having to check on my DMs all of the time. But also influencers especially don’t realize we also get self-care from our community, otherwise,we wouldn’t show up every day. Just putting out content that is unifying or funny or something like that and engaging in non-serious dialogue with people online is so healing to me also because then I can laugh with strangers or people I’ve met online and we can agree or just have some sort of community feelings. So to me, when you see me publishing funny things or memes or something like that –

C: Ass shots.

K: Yeah, ass shots, I’m in my self-care mode. Where I’m like, okay, I want to interact or engage in this way cause probably I’m reeling from something that was really intense. And also, self-care is silence. It took me a long time to realize that. I don’t have to respond – well, I’ve always been taught that if you don’t respond that’s rude, so I try to respond to everyone because I hate being ignored. Silence is a response in that I don’t want to talk about this and I don’t need to talkabout this. You need to do the work and I don’t need to put that work in. Being silent has also been a form of self-care. I can’t tell you how many people try to drag me into internet fights or drag me into their GoFundMesor stick up for them. I’m just not in the space mentally or I’m at work or I’m dealing with a health issue and nobody even asks me that. They don’t get to see the repercussions of what’s they’re dumping on to me. Sometimes silence is best. Sometimes silence is complicity but most of the time, when it’sme being silent, it’sme cheering for myself.

C: Awesome. Is there anything we haven’t covered that you’re like, “ughbefore we hang up or before we end or close, I need to get this off my chest or I need to share this”?

K: Well,what I would like is I’m going to advertise this to my viewers, I want them to know who you are.

C: Oh! That’s so sweet! So, I think that from an early age I have been one of those folks that really advocates. So I’m an empathy so I really feel deeply. I figured you were. I recently learned about Indigo and this notion of Indigo children that sometimes turn into Indigo adults. When I read the description I laughed, samething with the Enneagram, because I see a lot of different sides of situations. I do my best to extend grace in tough, thorny situations similar to the ones you described in my own circles. I founded the TYPEAhippie a few years ago, because at that time – and I am still am very Type Aand I’m very hippyand I teach yoga, use essential oils – and when I started talking about more serious things like the circus of an election cycle and the marginalization of folks people stopped really hearing what I had to say because it wasn’t about yoga and essential oils. I was kind of stunned by that. Recently, conscious + aligned feelsmore right –

K: You’ve changed your name

C: I rebranded, exactly. I rebranded to C+A and you’re my first guest on this new podcast. It’s like what you were talking about. Some of the beauty of keeping such careful records of our lives is that we can see the growth and we can wince sometimes at some of the follies of our youth. I’m working to be more conscious and aligned with who I am and be more of who I am because I’ve never been more me than I am at this moment. I think it’s a moving target. Tomorrow, like you said, hopefully,I’ve learned something today – and I have by talking to you – that will aid in my growth and I want others to come alongside me. I don’t live in a silo. This is not just me. I’m a firm believer in community and I have a new podcast microphone. I was telling Kiona in our pre-call and I get to pass the mic, and it’s what you’ve been doing as well. To someone who might not have the mic. I do have a few privileges – more than a few – and with that comes great responsibility. Even if I don’t have a platform that someone else does, it doesn’t matter. It starts right here in my home, it starts right now. I don’t have to wait until then to get my life in order and get myself on this right path of growing. You mentioned something and I’ll end with this. When we have trust and empathy and understanding and compassion for one another, we can garner and harness, hone this passion and this power and do really great things. But we have to get to a level where we’re trusting and extending grace. It doesn’t mean “don’t call people out” that’s not what I’m saying. I’m not going to tone-please you. If you’re pissed and angry and you want to cuss somebody out, I will stand with you if it’s the right thing to do. It’s a quote-unquote balancing act.

K: Exactly! If you want all that, I guess my last statement is, I feel such joy that a POC – specifically a black woman – is starting this. This is I want to say one of my first podcasts with a POC. Not a lot of 1) POC and 2) women have the courage to do what you’re doing. By doing that you give permission to others to do that. I love that you said “it has to start somewhere, it has to start with me. I was just discussing with an Indigenous podcaster who was saying he wasn’t worthy enough. “It’s so small, it’s so small, people aren’t going to sponsor me.” I was like, “why do people believe in themselves so much before they even have a podcast?” They’re asking for sponsorships before they even have one episode up. So listen, you already are ahead of it. You’re worthy. By showing up, you’re role modeling. And I love that you’re doing this. It’s been a privilege to 1) be your first but also be a guest on C+A, and I love the new brand. I just want to say I loved your energy and thank you for having me.

C: Oh my gosh! So, so amazing you are. Thank you so much, that is really meaningful. My dad always says, “??????” andI take that sentiment into everything I do because yes, I believe we can hear when we are in other worlds and other places. And at the same time,there is the beauty of really edifying someone. I appreciate it, I receive it. Thank you. Thank you for being here.

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