In early 2018, I began training for a marathon. It was my first marathon and you need to understand that I am not your average runner. I knew it would take some sort of herculean effort and a heck of a lot of luck for me to accomplish but I felt like I needed to do it. A few months before, my dad had passed away from cancer and in my quiet grief, I realized I craved an outlet, something that could push me to my limits and allow me to process it all.

I’m not the type to openly discuss my feelings. I have feelings, of course, but even my closest friends (including my husband) often have difficulty figuring them out because I’m really good at hiding them. This became kind of an issue when it came to my grief, though. Because as much as I wanted to hide it and pretend that everything was ok, it wasn’t. My grief would spill out in frustrated moments with my kids. It would come during arguments with my husband or silent moments when I wanted to be relaxed but instead would be flooded with anxiety or sadness.

So after a few months of this, I decided I needed something, anything, to help me process it all more effectively. That’s when I got the idea to train for a marathon. I signed up for a race, started a fundraiser for a foundation who researched my dad’s specific cancer, and printed out a training schedule. And it worked. The more I ran, the more I felt relief from all of these feelings I was holding inside. It was a physical outlet for an internal struggle and it felt amazing. The training took my grief and gave it permission. “Hey grief, you know that long run I have on Saturday? You are totally welcome to come out and say hello during that run. We’ll have a couple of hours to just hang out, you and me.” I found that giving my grief permission to come during specific times throughout the week helped me not be overwhelmed and surprised by it at other, less welcoming times.

In those many hours I spent processing and even more hours I spent in that “runner's high” kind of non-thinking bliss, I would often turn to podcasts to give my brain a connection to something. I learned about moms, about entrepreneurs, fellow therapists, business people. I listened to stories about refugees and went on a journey with the guy from S-Town.  I loved getting lost in these other, temporary worlds and learning about all of the interesting people outside of my own limited bubble. As I listened, I began to see a pattern in the type of podcast I was most drawn to. When I listened to podcasts about moms or women, I found that I craved a deep connection to their story. If the episode was too fluffy or surface-base my mind would immediately tune out and I would need to switch to something else. I assume that because I was listening to these podcasts during my “scheduled” grief time, surface-level content was just too foreign and unsatisfying for me. I found myself rolling my eyes, saying “Yeah, right. Why are you pretending that that’s what your life actually looks like?” In my moment of deep feeling I craved deep connection.

That process brought me here. After many, many hours of thinking about a better way to connect women on a deeper level and stop retreating with them to the surface, I decided to do a podcast. This podcast is all about connection and realness. I want a runner who is grieving the loss of her father to listen to these stories and think, “Ok, I’m not alone. They understand what it’s like to be real and to honor their emotions. I don’t have to hide on the surface anymore.” I want a mom, a wife, a high-level career woman, a single adult, and a college student to listen to the same podcast episode and feel connected to something. Regardless of where life takes you, you need to know that you aren’t alone in your imperfection. It’s my hope that this podcast will help women everywhere understand that they aren’t alone and that they can find strength and beauty through their imperfections.