Perennials Podcast
Episode 27: And How Does That Make You Feel? with Jessica Gaeta

Episode 27: And How Does That Make You Feel? with Jessica Gaeta

August 12, 2019

Jessica Gaeta is your new favorite Jersey Italian mom. She's loud, she's funny, she makes a mean lasagna, and she's got the biggest heart. 

For almost ten years now, Jess has worked for the American Cancer Society, first in fundraising and income development and now as a Volunteer Care Manager. She received her Masters in Public Administration from Seton Hall University and lives in New Jersey with husband Alex and their adorable baby girl Addie. 

I sat down with Jess to pick her brain about her relationship to resiliency and adversity, how she coped after losing both of her parents by the time she was 20 years old, and how humor helps her find light even in dark times.

We dive deep talking about therapy and how it has helped us both to grow in self-awareness and self-love. We talk about the most helpful and unhelpful things we've experienced in therapy sessions, the ways in which therapy is a lot like dating, and how Jess's therapist's dog threw her for a self-esteem loop. We also discuss the importance of being seen, known and cared for by someone who offers us space to be ourselves, and learning to be more accepting of our feelings. 

Episode 26: The Nature of Presence with David Crews

Episode 26: The Nature of Presence with David Crews

August 6, 2019

In today’s episode, I’m talking to David Crews, author of Wander-Thrush: Lyric Essays of the Adirondacks and High Peaks, a poetry collection that catalogs his hiking of the “Adirondack 46ers” in upstate New York. 

David talks about his passion for wild and rugged terrain, why he doesn’t bring a phone or camera on his hikes, and how he strives to become more present in nature and in life.

We discuss the importance of retreating in order to reflect on how we can better engage with the world, especially in an age of rapid advances in technology and information. We talk about striving for balance and what it means to be in right relationship--with ourselves, each other and the planet. And we talk about love, a thread that runs through it all.

To learn more about David and the topics covered and references made in today's episode, visit the Shownotes page.

Episode 25: Belonging in Our Bodies with Cindy Goncalves

Episode 25: Belonging in Our Bodies with Cindy Goncalves

July 29, 2019

Cindy Goncalves is a Luso-American queer, feminist twenty-something, the daughter of immigrants currently working as a school counselor. 

In today's episode, she and I talk about her experience of sex education growing up, and what she later learned as a sex-positive educator. We talk about how she “stumbled upon” her own sexuality as a teenager, the symbolic power of cutting her hair short, and how she shows her students that queer people can lead happy, successful, meaningful lives full of love.

And we also talk about the hard stuff—her experience of being outed to her family, their long journey to acceptance, her struggles with body image, and experiencing burnout as a mental health professional.

We explore the limited and limiting messages our dominant culture perpetuates about what is “normal” sex and sexuality, and we discuss how sex is about so much more than a certain action or outcome.

We talk about feeling that we belong in our bodies and our bodies belong to us, and how we can all connect to a sense of creativity, intimacy and aliveness.

To learn more about Cindy and topics covered/references made in this episode, visit the Shownotes page.

Episode 24: Containing Multitudes with Grisel Acosta

Episode 24: Containing Multitudes with Grisel Acosta

July 22, 2019

Dr. Grisel Y. Acosta is a woman containing multitudes. She’s an Afro-Latina tattooed professor-poet, a leader and a loner, a fighter and lover who evades easy categorization.

In today's episode, we're talking about the influence of Grisel's activist parents and what it was like to grow up in Chicago as a minister's daughter and a punk rocker who loved sci-fi and dancing. We also talk about her life as a Latina intellectual and her new anthology, Latina Outsiders Remaking Latina Identity (Routledge 2019).

Grisel and I talk about what it's like to move fluidly among different communities and spaces, especially niche spaces that are often coded white and male--the punk rock movement, sci-fi, academia. We discuss the ways that diving deep into what you love, yet always standing a little apart from it, can allow you to freely explore and never lose your identity or sense of self.

Also, Grisel makes a ton of amazing references throughout the episode, by far the most of any guest yet--check them out on the Shownotes page

Episode 23: Spirals of Healing with Lauren Roberts

Episode 23: Spirals of Healing with Lauren Roberts

July 15, 2019

I don't know about you, but when I hear the word "healing" I often think of serene images: meditating on a beach at sunrise, receiving a gentle massage, drinking a cup of herbal tea.

But as Lauren Roberts says in today's episode, healing is not pretty. It's not linear, it's not easy, and it can be downright confusing, especially in the realms we're talking about today: substance abuse and sexual trauma. 

Lauren is a coach, facilitator, yoga teacher and trauma survivor who shares practices that she’s learned along the way for staying resilient, no matter what. After years of self-medicating with marijuana, Lauren decided to commit to sobriety; in this episode, she talks about her up-and-down, winding path of recovery and what she chooses to say "yes" to when she says "no" to numbing and avoiding pain.

To learn more about Lauren and today's episode, visit the Shownotes page.

Episode 22: Wisdom from the Lord of the Rings, Part One

Episode 22: Wisdom from the Lord of the Rings, Part One

July 5, 2019

In today's episode, I'm sharing some bits of wisdom from the book currently on my nightstand: The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. 

This weekend, I'll be making a trip to the White Mountains of New Hampshire and celebrating my 28th birthday. With thoughts about journeys and lessons and Tolkien's words all percolating in my mind, I decided to record an episode reflecting on some of my wisdom-takeaways from the book. I talk about the importance of accepting help and welcoming miracles, how some things are more important than being comfortable, learning to feast and rest whenever we can, and doing what we love even if it doesn't seem to matter. 

For more information about topics covered and references made in this episode, visit the Shownotes page.

Episode 21: Dog’s Best Friend with Catherine Gilmartin

Episode 21: Dog’s Best Friend with Catherine Gilmartin

June 12, 2019

In Episode 21, I'm talking to one of my best friends and my former college roommate, Catherine Gilmartin.

Catherine attended school for psychology with the intention of becoming a counselor, but felt unfulfilled and unhappy; then she realized she could combine her interest in working with people with her lifelong passion for dogs, and the rest is history. She has since started a petsitting business and is about to become a certified trainer. Her ultimate goal is to train service dogs and tap into the magical relationship between dog and human.

Catherine and I talk about the lessons she's learned about conflict, confidence and love through working with dogs; how limited our imaginations can be when we're young and think there's only one path forward; and her journey from struggling in college to creating a more authentic life. 

You learn more by visiting the Shownotes page.

Episode 20: Saheli Women with Madhu Vaishnav

Episode 20: Saheli Women with Madhu Vaishnav

May 23, 2019

It was a delight for me to talk to Madhu Vaishnav, founder and director of the Institute for Philanthropy and Humanitarian Development (IPHD), a Jodhpur-based community development non-profit that focuses on financial empowerment for women, girls' education and women's health in rural northern India. 

Madhu's story is one of strength, resilience, joy and humility. She talks openly about her experience of arranged marriage, her long journey to pursuing her passion of working in the social sector, what she has learned from the rural women that she serves, and her thoughts on spirituality and God as a mother. 

To learn more about Madhu and this episode, visit the Shownotes page.

Episode 19: Young Motherhood with Amanda Greatorex

Episode 19: Young Motherhood with Amanda Greatorex

May 14, 2019

Today, my big sister Amanda Greatorex and I talk about her life as a mother and a musician.

At 29 years old, Amanda is wife to her high school sweetheart Andy and mother to four children under the age of six. She describes how being the firstborn of five kids spurred her to be an independent forward-thinker who follows her gut--even when her gut leads her down paths that a lot of her peers aren't traveling yet.

We talk about her college experience studying Vocal Jazz at the University of North Texas, and what led her to move back to New Jersey shortly after graduation to get married and start a family. We also discuss the challenges of balancing a career as a musician with parenthood, as well as her recent experience with postpartum depression and the wisdom she's gleaned from the early years of motherhood.

We laugh, swap stories, talk about sibling dynamics, and discuss our differences in personality. 

You can learn more by visiting the Shownotes page.

Episode 18: Music & Creativity with Andy Feldman

Episode 18: Music & Creativity with Andy Feldman

April 4, 2019

Andy Feldman is a mechanical engineer and musician from New Jersey. He is the keyboardist for the Asbury Park-based jam band, Secret Sound, and regularly performs throughout New Jersey and New York. Andy also writes instrumental piano music and recently released his second EP, "Rest and Be Thankful," through Sonder House Records.

In today's episode, Andy and I talk about his love for music, the relationship between talent and discipline, the writing process, what it's like to share art with the world, and how Andy balances his full-time engineering job with his job as a musician.