Episode 1: She has me where she wants me
My great friend Athalie and I discuss how this podcast originated from what was initially meant to be an instagram sticker post. She teases out the various facets to things you don't say and the many meanings it can have. She gets vulnerable about the most tragic form of things you don't say, letting go of the past and saying goodbye. It's a fascinating journey that has led her away from a very conservative christian community and defining her future. This episode is so fun, Lots of giggles and shoutouts to an amazing group of friends that have supported me to this very point.
Ken: Hello? Hello, this is TWDS brought to you by Ken and Athalie. Today, I am really, really excited to first of all bring you this project. I cannot believe this is happening. It's really been a journey and I'm really proud of where we are today and being to the point where we are actually recording, but let me stop and present to you Athalie.
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Athalie: Hi. Hi.
Ken: Hi, welcome. We are recording together cause we happen to be in the same. Space and
Athalie: COVID bubble,
Ken: which is a blessing. Most of my episodes will generally come from people who are very far from here. So Athalie, tell me, what is a piece of art that inspires you these days?
Athalie: I recently discovered the artist Rupi Kaur.
I showed you some of her poetry and you went out and bought the book. So I'm now reading from your book. One of my favorite poems from her, because you just so happened to have great taste in poetry as well.
Ken: Thank you. Thank you.
Athalie: Just want to read a quick excerpt from one of her poems that I really like:
How is it so easy for you to be kind to people he asked?
Because people have not been kind to me.
Ken: Wow. It's just. The structure of it, she hits to the point straight away and doesn't bat around.
And that was really cool that you read that. Thank you so, so much.
Athalie: You're welcome. Thank you, Rupi.
Ken: One of my favorite poems ever now is something that she wrote. It's the one about the city.
Athalie: The one about not being someone's vacation.
Ken: Yeah. The one about not being someone's vacation, because it brings out this aspect of love being both a dream, a fantasy, but also. bludgeoning reality,
Athalie: I mean, I could read it.
Ken: Can you please,
“did you think i was a city
big enough for a weekend getaway
i am the town surrounding it
the one you've never heard of
but always pass through
there are no neon lights here
no skyscapers or statues
but there is thunder
for i make bridges tremble
i am not street meat i am homemade jam
thick enough to cut the sweetest
thing you lips will touch
i am not police sirens
i am the crackle of a fireplace
i'd burn you and you still
couldn't take your eyes off of me
cause i'd look so beautiful doing it
i am not a hotel room i am home
i am not the whiskey you want
i am the water you need
don't come here with expectations
and try to make a vacation out of me”
― Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey
Athalie: Your listeners are missing out on seeing your smile right now.
Ken: At times I read it out loud and now I appreciate it even more because I'm not the one reading it.
This was really cool. You should do like a children's reading books.
Athalie: Maybe there's an author out there somewhere who will wants me to read their audio book so that they don't have to record their own audio book.
Ken: Maybe after hearing this podcast, right?
Athalie: This is my future.
Ken: This is your introduction to the world pretty much.
So, one of the things that I wanted to talk to you about, was first kind of give the audience a little bit of a background on how this idea came to life. I think we were sitting in the car and I was telling you about how I just wanted to do an IG post, and I wanted this IG post to just be a question, like how they do those stickers with the little [poll]
Athalie: a poll thing.
Ken: Right. And when they do that, I would ask them what is something that you've been wanting to say that you don't say. I was hoping to get a bunch of fun responses and then just post it back.
But yeah, so I thought this was going to be a sticker thing. And then somebody stepped in.
Athalie: Well, as soon as you said that, I was like, this sounds like a podcast that I wouldn't 100% listen to.
You should make it into a podcast.
Ken: Exactly. But there was something that was real about me accepting it to be a podcast. I think it was because of the conversations we were having in the car. But you were saying a lot of cool things that I thought we could talk about in the podcast.
Athalie: Do you want to go into them now?
I think we're talking about a conversation I had with someone. Where, what I was trying to communicate. I tried to say it like three different ways. Their responses were always basically like they were hearing what I was saying, in a completely different and from my perspective inaccurate way.
So that led to a lengthier conversation about how we don't communicate well.
Sometimes people are not in a position to actually hear what we have to say. And so they're interpreting it through whatever experience is. And that led to this discussion of sometimes we don't say things. Sometimes we say them, they're not well-received, sometimes we say them and the person receives them in a completely different way,
Ken: or sometimes we hear them and we don't hear what the person actually has to say to us.
Athalie: Yeah. From both sides. So from the person who sharing and the person who's receiving, yeah.
Ken: I honestly really loved when you told me this could be a podcast because I thought it would be a growth opportunity for me because I thought I would learn different scenarios by listening to people say things that they want to say in a connected way, and maybe have that mirror back into my life.
So if I am faced with a situation that is very similar, or if I'm faced with different signals of things you don't say, I would be able to recognize it and be able to then open up the space for people in my life to be very transparent about it. And I think that idea is what really gained me over because I didn't think I would be recording I didn't think would be in a office studio, uh, doing this, but thank you so, so much for inspiring that.
And. Yeah, I think we went camping that weekend together. Right. That was the camping weekend.
Athalie: Yeah. We were driving to Oregon to camp on the beach.
Ken: Yeah. And I camped that night and from my phone and from the site, I just, I booked the domain, created the IG page, ordered the first gear.
I was just unstoppable. I just felt like I really could do this. This is something I could really do.
Athalie: Well, you also said you were looking, you were looking for kind of a creative outlet for things too. And meshes with a lot of aspects of your skills and your personality.
Ken: What part of my skill and personality.
Are we talking about?
Athalie: Well, I was talking about your computer skills. Then with your personality that you love talking with people and you like having non-trivial conversations with people.
Ken: So, yeah, absolutely. I hope this stays true through the podcast and that becomes my trademark. We come here and let's talk and let's get deep andlet me not accept just surface answers to anything. We are going to take a shovel and just go as deep as possible.
Athalie: Can't wait.
Ken: I seriously cannot wait, but we don't have to wait. Right. We can jump right into it.
Give me an idea of something that you don't say the full gamut. Give me a typical things we don't say story.
Athalie: I think for me, I'm typically the person who says the thing and then it may or may not land.
If I'm airing, I'm erring on the side of saying sharing more than is really necessary or possibly wanted. So I think I really dislike conflict and especially internal conflict.
So if I have like something that I'm thinking or processing. In my brain, especially relating to another person or relationship that I have. I find that very stressful to have that just stay inside of me. So I would rather deal with if there were some interpersonal conflict to sort that out rather than have that internal dissonance.
So I think that I talk about most things. Pretty easily.
Ken: So you've been building this skill of coming up with things that you don't want to sit on overnight that are upsetting.
Athalie: Well, the things that I imagine might be an awkward conversation, even if it's not necessarily upsetting, this will be weird.
And instead of stressing out about a future conversation, let's just have a conversation. And then I don't have to like, Stress about it anymore.
Ken: Wow. And how does that work for you generally? Like, is it generally well-received
Athalie: I think most people receive that pretty well. I think most of us would rather, and of course I'm speaking from my perspective as someone who, for sure values this,
but most of us would rather deal with things rather than having someone like upset with us or, and not addressing it. And then having that usually comes out and kind of snarky passive aggressive ways
Ken: You've definitely have had very hard conversations. And so this is probably something that you are getting successful at, but was there ever a moment where you felt whatever you're saying, whatever has been communicated is absolutely not well-received. And has that ever hampered your ability to one to deliver these messages openly?
Athalie: So I think in my childhood, I felt helpless a lot and where some of my siblings kind of fought back physically. I. Was a pretty short human until I was like 15.
I didn't grow, go through adolescence until I was like 15 years old. And so my weapon was being able to, I guess, I can use my words, which is so much preferable, but I also got pretty good at using them as weapons.
So especially with the frustrations with my parents and siblings, but it did help me, I think, develop that skill of not letting, not sitting on things.
And I think that's just also a personality trait. Like some people have more or less tolerance for holding onto something and thinking about it before they say it out loud.
Ken: That's that's actually very interesting. So you've reinforced your idea of this, this fight time when faced with adversity and situations where it was being perceived as unwanted, but still because it became your outlet, you made it part of your personality, not personality per se, but fabric or your way of approaching.
Athalie: I think since I've practiced taming that down. So I guess maybe the raw skill is just saying everything. I think part of maturing is choosing how to say something or the timing of when to say something or being more aware of how it's going to sound to another person instead of just spouting off all of my thoughts.
Ken: That's really interesting. So what do you mean by how you end up saying something? Do you generally feel like what you have to say is wildly different than what ends up being said?
Athalie: I think core parts of my Spiritual journey has been focusing on self-reflection and self-awareness. So the, how I say it is usually I focus on speaking of my experience and how that feels to me and not telling someone else, I guess that's using I statements instead of you statements.
So communicating about what I'm experiencing and not, because that's the thing that I can take responsibility for it. And I can't control how someone else's gonna receive that or the way that they experienced whatever the situation was that led to the conversation. And that's also reframing it in my mind, those two things that I have some agency over, which is myself and how I choose to respond to things.
Ken: I've actually been learning this specific skill, but it was being taught to me from a parenting skill perspective. I think I was playing with Ezra. Someone walked up to us and said, you know, you should tell him that if he throws something and hit somebody or hits you, you should tell him how you are feeling about it.
But can you give me an example of a recent time where you felt like there has been something that you have been struggling to express outwardly just in general or you've been successful at for me crafting and maybe delivering it, but it's still a struggle.
Athalie: A little background for your listeners. I grew up in a group that has a lot of cult-like tendencies, very conservative Anabaptist, Christian community that was pretty closed off to anybody who was unlike us in beliefs or the way they dress or other many, many other rules about how you present yourself in the world.
And I have been on a journey from that point and I continue hopefully for the rest of my life to be evolving and learning and growing.
I. Along the way I have had people that were very close friends. We had very vulnerable relationships, but as I moved in a more liberal, less religious and more spiritual direction were unable to follow me there. And it started to feel like we're speaking in different language.
We no longer had this thing in common, which was these beliefs that we agreed to. Conversations that I had were all filtered through this lens of trying to kind of win me back, evangelize me back, bring me back to God as it were, little did they know that she has me right where she wants me
there is that, but throughout the years, I've kind of had relationships that were for a phase of my life, then did not come with me to the next stage of my spiritual and personal growth, because either those people did not want to continue a relationship with me because I threatened their belief system in some way, or I just stopped. I think you liked this phrase when I said it before, I stopped tolerating, not being tolerated and I just stopped hanging out with people that couldn't accept me where I was.
Ken: Are there exceptional edge cases where you are connected to someone who is in your old belief system and that person knows you fully and still follows you through to your next phase of your journey?
Athalie: I think I have one person like that.
Athalie: In my life, like from childhood to now.
Athalie: And that person is still in that similar church setting.
Ken: Does that create conflict with the way you converse or are you finding commonality outside of that belief and it's other things that unite you?
Athalie: I think, well, the things we have in common are kind of our approach to the world through a lens of love and even though that is something that we both have in common, we're both nurses, we've both kind of committed ourselves to a lifestyle of caring for other people.
And even though that now stems from different beliefs for us, we still have that kind of approach of love and acceptance in the world.
She would probably say that that's based on her love of Jesus or her religion. Very similar to the poem I read earlier. That's. Now stems from a, "I want to treat people the way I want to be treated".
So we, I think we have different motivating things, but a lot of the, the way we want to show up in the world is still very similar.
Even though she wears and makes her dresses and still wears head coverings and all of these things
Ken: things tried and true.
Ken: Are there people that you absolutely miss from that time in your life, you would do anything, but obviously change your belief system since it has formed who you are today, but you would go back and try to rebuild a relationship with them while staying true to: Not yourselelf allowing to be, how do you say that?
Athalie: being intolerant of not being tolerated?
Ken: Exactly. Yeah. Is there one out there that you'd really want to go back to and try to convince them?
Athalie: One of my world, like philosophy things is to let things be what they are. Most of those relationships I look back on and I see the value and the connection and that that was mutual for a time.
And then as humans change over time, that became not the case anymore. So I don't feel a lot of desire to go back and try to undo that. I prefer to look back and appreciate the beauty of what was then.
And there's definitely some grieving and loss. Especially, I think leaving Christianity was hard, a lot of everything in my world was centered around that.
And so not being welcomed back into those spaces was definitely, there was hurt and there was loss, but I've also found like beautiful people in the place that I'm at now where that are not asking me to change or say words to make them feel comfortable.
Ken: Wow. That's that's pretty powerful.
I think I struggle with this myself a little bit in the sense of sometimes I don't know. Why relationships have phased out. But I think you, you put the words to it very nicely. The grief of letting go of, of those periods of your life and just understanding that, you know, different chapters mean different people and different exposures
Athalie: I mean, everybody is on their own journey, right?
So not everybody's going to be growing at the same pace as you, or moving in the exact same direction.
You can acknowledge that enjoy the times where you are overlapping with someone. And that the fact that eventually you're not in the same place doesn't mean that wasn't a valuable thing when you had it.
Ken: Yeah. It wasn't something that was not enriching you as a person necessarily. It just means that. I hate, I hate to say this because now it's it's it has a connotation, but it is what it is, right?
Athalie: Yeah. I think it's normal for there to not be a lot of people who are gonna grow on the same trajectory at the same speed as you for a long period of time.
Ken: I just hate to say goodbye.
Athalie: I know.
Ken: I absolutely loathe that. So sometimes he puts me in this situation where, I know this probably means it's something that I should completely let go of, but then I'm in there clawing back at memories and things that we may have shared, and it also comes from a good place.
Ken: I think it's come from the place of always thinking that it is possible for people to find a deep connection regardless of where they're coming from.
But like you said, in your story, like the realization of just Sherry connect. Sure. Um, being my orbit share, share things together, but maybe a different intensity in it and maybe bear a different meaning and a different time.
Athalie: Yeah. Yeah. Most people I have not actively kind of ended a relationship with that has happened very few times. Most people just kind of naturally, if you're in really different places, you just kind of naturally are gonna gravitate away from each other and just letting that, let it be what it is. I have people that I've kind of reconnected with that I knew in my very conservative Christian phase that have separately kind of gone through their own wild and crazy journey.
And then we randomly reconnect and find out we're now in very similar places again. It's not like I'm not open to that or don't want that. If that's a thing that happens, you can't force people to change.
Athalie: At your speed
Ken: Oh, wow. The simple question, just to ask you and just the simple thing to say, but it turned into this beautiful and deep thing and absolutely love it.
This is definitely not going to be the first and the last time you come on, right? Right.
Athalie: You have my word,
Ken: I am good record that, frame it and play to you every time so that you can remember that you said that,
Athalie: you know, I love talking to you so we can record it. We can not record it. I'm still planning to keep coming and hanging out and talking to you.
Ken: So we have this joke of getting like a recorder, because I think most of our conversations that are really fun, even for this and material for this, literally like they happen on the fly.
Athalie: And if I come over often enough, maybe your doorbell will eventually, actually know who I am, instead of discriminating against me and just saying somebody is at the door, I'm still a little bit upset about that, but I'll get over it eventually.
Ken: Okay. That's very funny. My, door bell is reverse racist.
Athalie: It can't recognize white.
Ken: Oh my God. That is so funny. Is there something that you, you felt like we should have gotten a lot deeper on?
Athalie: I don't think so. Other than we should definitely give a shout out to your cool equipment and. Mr Kevin.
Ken: Oh, yes, yes.
Yes. There's going to have to be the full episode where I just sit down there and call out peoples names. You know, I have such a village of folks who are just here supporting me and being, being super, super helpful. Today, I have a coworker, Kevin who's my sound engineer.
Athalie: Also his doorbell can recognize Kevin shout out to Kevin
Ken: doorbell is reverse racist.
Kevin has been, wow. He's just been a force to reckon with, and he picked most of the equipment and, I think he lives through me. He's like, I don't want to buy this for myself because I don't really have a use for it, but since I can give it to you, since you could use it, you should definitely get this stuff.
So he's been really cool. And then of course, we had a big shout out to you for, you know, For the idea stuff.
Athalie: I think all I did was reflect your idea back to you, and then you ran with it from there.
Ken: Thank you. Thank you for being humble that way. And then of course, there's somebody else that I want to shout out, but I'm not going to shout him out yet because there's going to be other episodes where he becomes the topic of our conversation. So we'll leave that as a little teaser. You'd have to tune in to figure out who is the mystery shout out. We're onto you little kiwi.
Athalie: did you say Kiwi
Ken: Oh man. Yes. Kiwi.
Athalie: Remember, you always get this wrong. The mystery invisible person has already offended.
Ken: Wallaby. Yeah, well, I mean,
Athalie: you know what? That was the right continent, at least you have that going for you at least say,
Ken: I think the entire southern hemisphere is.
Just one country, like springboks, Kiwis, or
Athalie: aren't you as an African supposed to have at least a small amount of loyalty to South Africa as being separate from other places. Is that where the spring books are from
Athalie: Oh, but I did know that. Please give me a Pat on the back.
Ken: You should definitely look up The captain of the Springboks right now.
Athalie: what sport is,
Ken: Springboks rugby.
Ken: I played rugby and this dude is not only very talented. He's just,
Athalie: I mean, he's yeah. He's nice to look at.
Ken: He's a sack of a man.
Athalie: He looks like someone who is very fit, but not the bodybuilder thing, which is not my type. I don't know what the different positions are,
Ken: but yeah, he's a flanker, I'm a tight head prop or sometimes loose head prop.
So he sometimes. Would have gotten to touch my butt.
Athalie: I wouldn't be so lucky.
Ken: You know, it's funny, like all of these things, I don't even think I'd have the courage to put it this out. This is what I mean, like I just, I just get into this fun phase and I just laugh. I laugh the whole time and I don't know if people have tolerence, like, especially if they're not in on the joke,
Athalie: If they don't have tolerance.
But for the things you find humorous, they can find one of the many other millions of podcasts to listen to.
Ken: There you go. Wait, where are we? We're giving shout outs. Yes, yes, yes.
Athalie: somehow the captain of the South African rugby team made it to the shout outs.
Ken: Oh my God.
Athalie: Purely because he's a beautiful human.
Is that where we arrived at here,
Ken: a great player
Athalie: and a great player.
Ken: Salute to you, captain. Weeebo, so, I mean just, wow. DJ nayiram, he sent me his DJ set for his, uh, single waiting outside. I will play that at some point in this episode too. Maybe at the very end, so, so thankful for him. MC bat / batowa_k or photophile228 he's multi-talented, he's both an MC DJ photograph or a videographer.
Like he's just all over the place. He's the one that did the song at the beginning. The one we turn up to, before we start the
Athalie: whichever one missed seeing you give your seat a lap dance, which is very sexy.
Ken: You know what, this is why we need to record this in the video too. I think it'll add some value to the comic relief and then,
Athalie: well then they have a visual for this, but, but mr.
Siya, whatever his
Ken: name is, is
Athalie: Siya Kolisi is apparently touching in his role. So let me give him the full, you know, so they can accurately visualize.
Athalie: That's it's really, accuracy is very important.
Ken: No, uhm precision and form too.
Athalie: especially when you're referring to butts
Ken: for anybody who doesn't know there's this scrum thing.
And sometimes when I'm playing #3 and my #7 is like right on my, uh, Right, butt cheek
Athalie: I think I'm going to need some educational video material after this, to understand this, since I have never watched rugby or have any idea what you're talking about.
Ken: We'll fix that, you know how Trevor Noah does this thing about like you never, you never, you never,
Athalie: well, now that you said it three times now, suddenly I have seen rugby.
Yes. That's a great special, by the way, shout out to Trevor Noah.
Ken: Yes. Yes. This is very like we're giving a shout out shout outs and then, I forgot. nutifafa_ great artist. I will link him pretty much in every single one of my, uh, credits because he did my logo.
He does amazing thing. He also did my tatoo, I mean he designed it. I've not done it yet. It's a great concern of a joke with him and I, and my sister too,
Athalie: She thinks youre not only you're going to get it?
Ken: nobody believes I'm going to get it. I need an artist to it, do you think I'm going to get it?
When the world opens, I'll go to New Zealand and I get it from a local tribe.
So if there are tribes out there who wants to adopt a little Togolese's guy who can, I mean, little is. I'm being cute with myself.
Athalie: I have, I know people in New Zealand that you could stay with while you're searching for your tribe.
Ken: Oh, really? I'll take you up on that. Now that you say that, did you know that I have like two New Zealand maps out there and I'm obsessed? Did you?
Athalie: I feel like we probably have discussed this, given that you can't tell them apart.
New Zealand, Australia part. And we definitely talked about that.
Yes. Well, that's also connected to rugby.
Ken: I'm stumping right now. I'm ready. I'm ready to do the haka.
Athalie: Sure we can hear that on the mic, but just in case you should probably do it. Repeat
Ken: This is amazing. Shout out to my sister, Karen doctor, she won't let me call her name without saying doctor dr. Massada
she just biggest supporter, but also keeps me in check
Irina for the, the many long walks on our beautiful trails out in the PNW. I hope this shout out forces you to want to record something with me, wink, wink, little pressure of nudge, nudge out there.
And to the world out there, you know?
I wanted to end with this very cheesy thing. So Lester Holt does this thing at the end of all of his streams, where he says, I hope you're safe out there and you stay good to one another. I love that. I really love that. It's just, especially right now. I feel like we all need it.
Athalie: We all need to be safe to ourselves and
Ken: the people around us.
Yeah. Yeah. Thank
Athalie: you. Thanks for having me.
Ken:** Yeah, we, we
Athalie: awesome. This is awesome.
Ken: It's yeah,
Athalie: it's going to be amazing. I'm super lucky to get to be a little part of it.
Ken: Oh, thank you so, so much. That means a lot to me. Thank you.