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Lessons Learned

2022-02-0701:08:34

This week on The Tragedy Academy, Jay welcomes back musician and executive producer, Gary DeFranco, for a very special episode: The Tragedy Academy’s season finale! This is TA’s last episode before taking a short hiatus to come back even bigger and better. Jay covers some of the highlights from the past two seasons, lessons that have stuck with him the most, and sends out a huge thank you to everyone who has supported him on this journey. You also don’t want to miss out on the final reveal of all the exciting changes taking place at TA during the break, including new faces and new directions! Key Points 🤔 Reminisce on episodes past 🐶 Underdogs 👊 Bullying 😊 Gratitude 🎉 BIG Changes Coming… [3:17] - Jay explains that this episode will be a little different, beginning with some of the highlights of the season. First, he mentions the incredibly important lesson that he learned from guest, Brandon Lloyd. A veteran dealing with PTSD from his war experiences, Brandon explained that comparing trauma is not helpful. Jay’s conversation with Brandon led him to the realization that while we may all experience different traumas, they still have similar damage and we all carry similar burdens. [11:02] - After Gary mentions being inspired by a fighter who is trying to enter the professional ring later in life, Jay asks why we seem to like the underdog so much. Gary believes this comes from our own experiences as underdogs in various areas of our lives. [13:22] - Jay argues that you need confidence that you’ll succeed before you have achieved success. Gary agrees, elaborating that fear of success can be the biggest hindrance to people achieving their dreams. Instead of external forces putting up roadblocks in your path, sometimes you can be your own biggest enemy. [20:51] - Jay pays tribute to his dear friend, Garrett Dano, for inspiring him to start the show. Jay really broke down after he lost Garrett to suicide. The realization that Garrett felt he could not turn to Jay for help is part of what inspired Jay to tackle topics such as trauma and mental health on the podcast. Gary agrees with Jay that it can be impossible to tell from the outside that someone is struggling, which makes projects like The Tragedy Academy that open up with conversation all the more important. [32:32] - Jay and Gary take on the topic of cyberbullying. Gary notes how different things are today than when he was in school. The conflict was often resolved through quick physical fights, whereas now physical fighting seems to be obsolete. In contrast, today’s victims of bullying are subjected to harassment 24/7 through social media and the internet. Jay is only half-joking when he says he would prefer physical pain that fades with time to constant jabs of mental and emotional hurt from cyberbullying. [41:25] - Both Jay and Gary agree that an easy way to learn if a person is someone you want to associate with is to pay attention to how they treat others. Anyone who treats those in service positions poorly clearly values some people more highly than others and Gary and Jay have no time for this kind of thinking. [45:31] - To wrap up the episode, Jay gives thanks to everyone who has made Seasons 1 & 2 of The Tragedy Academy possible. Gary announces that he will be joining the show, and Jay talks about all the exciting changes coming up in TA’s future. Connect with The Tragedy Tragedy Academy Our Website | http://www.thetragedyacademy.com (www.thetragedyacademy.com) Our Merch | https://bit.ly/3uo3QJc (https://bit.ly/3uo3QJc) Instagram | https://bit.ly/35U8B31 (https://bit.ly/35U8B31) | @thetragedyacademypodcast Twitter | https://bit.ly/3osbEG0 (https://bit.ly/3osbEG0) | @tragedy_academy YouTube | https://bit.ly/3B8l4eT (https://bit.ly/3B8l4eT) TikTok | https://bit.ly/32ZIOVU (https://bit.ly/32ZIOVU) | @thetragedyacademy Facebook | https://bit.ly/3GukBVt (https://bit.ly/3GukBVt) | @TheTragedyAcademy dFdpiboR4fl1QbX4HPuz
Summary This week on the Tragedy Academy podcast, Jay rolls out a very big welcome for the talented multi-disciplinary artist, Katie Chonacas (aka KYRIAKI). Not only has Katie acted in numerous productions with A-list stars, but she also recently released a book of poetry and her debut album, Dreamland 1111. Jay and Katie dive deep into her musical inspirations, her revolutionary work creating NFTs and the future of art in the blockchain. Be sure you don’t miss out on this episode, and don’t forget to check out Katie’s podcast, She’s All Over The Place! Key Points 🧬Quantum Physics 🔊Healing Frequencies  😤Dealing with Toxic People 🧘🏿‍♀️Mindfulness 🔐NFT Art & The Blockchain   Episode Highlights [1:46] - Katie recounts her fond memories of growing up in Detroit’s EDM scene. Attending raves and after-parties until the early morning, Katie loved the incredible energy she felt and the connection with others in the crowd. The music of her childhood would go on to influence her own artistic journey. [6:12] - Katie explains that she has always been on a spiritual path, but after being introduced to https://www.instagram.com/subtle_energy/?hl=en (Eric Thompson), an energy scientist, she began to experiment putting certain frequencies in her music to promote emotional healing. [12:16] - Referencing Caroline Myss, author of https://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Spirit-Seven-Stages-Healing/dp/0609800140 (Anatomy of the Spirit) and https://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Contracts-Awakening-Divine-Potential/dp/0609810111 (Sacred Contracts), Katie discusses the misconception that most people have about micro versus macro choices. While people may assume that macro choices are what govern our lives, Katie argues instead that it is the daily micro choices that are most important. Micro choices build the habits and behaviors that shape our lives. [17:17] - Continuing on this theme of choices, Jay emphasizes the impact mindfulness and meditation have had on his ability to shape his own life. Cultivating mindfulness, allows us to take a step back from any situation and choose how we would like to respond. Katie agrees that meditation is vital in creating this “space in-between”. [27:13] - Katie points out that we typically only have the capacity to focus on one thing at a time, but if the thing that we are focusing on is negative, this serves to amplify that negativity in our lives. Katie recommends that if there are toxic people in your life, gradually limit the amount of time that you spend focusing on them. This isn’t about maliciously cutting people from your life, but lovingly letting go of emotions that do not serve you. [32:45] - Jay congratulates Katie on her success as an NFT artist. Katie is at the forefront of this new movement and works actively to get more people into the space. When she released her album, Dreamland 1111, on the blockchain, two of her songs were purchased by artist and NFT collector, Blake Jamieson. Jay also reveals some exciting new directions for the Tragedy Academy podcast. [40:23] - Jay and Katie discuss how the blockchain can be a difficult topic to discuss with others as it is still so new and not well understood. However, Katie emphasizes the incredible diversity and financial benefits that this space can have for artists. There are many options for people to support causes that are important to them, and not all platforms within the blockchain are destroying the planet. [48:23] - To finish out the episode, Jay and Katie discuss authenticity and gratitude. Katie mentions Miguel Ruiz’s book, https://www.amazon.com/Mastery-Love-Practical-Relationship-Toltec/dp/1878424424/ref=sr_1_1?crid=290ZHWN2R46LJ&keywords=the+mastery+of+love&qid=1643401859&s=books&sprefix=the+mastery+of+love%2Cstripbooks%2C53&sr=1-1 (Mastery of Love), which argues that at our most primal state we are beings of unconditional love, both for ourselves and the world at large. Finally, Jay reminds us of one very important part of life:...
Summary This week on the Tragedy Academy, Jay introduces Ben Dykstra, a.k.a. The Rolling Dragon. Born with Spastic Cerebral Palsy, Ben hasn’t let his disability limit his potential. Ben is a talented voice actor with tireless perseverance in a field that can be tough to break into. Ben is also in the midst of developing a new podcast that would highlight the stories, voices, and talents of the disabled. Tune in to hear Jay and Ben discuss everything from perspective and authenticity to the Metaverse and bonobos. Key Points 💪 Living with cerebral palsy 🎙Voice acting 🌤Silver linings 👏🏼Authenticity attracting opportunity ✊🏼Social media & advocacy Episode Highlights [2:35] - Jay introduces us to Ben, whose cerebral palsy has allowed him to develop a unique perspective on life. While Ben acknowledges that it is easy to get angry or bitter when dealing with disabilities, he also suggests that the universe gives even as it takes away. His own example of this “universal trade-off” is his outgoing personality and ability to use his voice. [11:21] - Ben comments on how he has gained a unique perspective on pursuing authenticity early in life. Jay explains that this is hardly a mystery because of what Ben has experienced so far. Each experience in our lives adds to the nuance of our worldview. [13:21] - Jay asks Ben about his podcast idea that centers around the universal trade-off. Ben explains that while the podcast is still under development, his goal is to create a space where he can showcase the hidden talents behind disabilities. While society often considers disabilities to be solely disadvantages, Ben wants to prove that there are many advantages to be found as well. [14:53] - Ben mentions his career as a voice actor allows him to conceal his disability from potential employers and therefore potential discrimination. Jay understands Ben’s perspective but encourages him to try to avoid doing this if possible in order to attract the best people and best opportunities into his life. [21:00] - Jay asks Ben what impact he thinks the Metaverse will have on the disabled community. Ben expresses his concerns that rather than solving any problems, the Metaverse could simply increase the presence that trolls have on social media. Jay counters that the Metaverse could be a way to move past society’s implicit bias against the disabled. [33:41] - Ben shares his experience with recent wind storms that hit the entire province of Ontario. With no power or Wifi, he had to cancel a scheduled performance, and many others in the province are still without power days later. Connect With Ben Instagram | https://bit.ly/3fISp67 | @_rollingdragon_ Twitter | https://bit.ly/3FJBcnH | @benendykstra Facebook | https://bit.ly/3IkrUQI | @rollingdragon-media Website | https://www.rollingdragonmedia.com/
In this episode of the Tragedy Academy, Jay brings trauma survivor and life coach, Michael Unbroken, on to the show. Michael is the host of his own podcast, “Think Unbroken”, where he invites experts, researchers, psychologists, and therapists to discuss healing from trauma and childhood PTSD. Michael himself is no stranger to this healing process. Growing up with two abusive parents, Michael was trapped in a nightmare familiar to many of his listeners. Having overcome his past to choose a brighter future of his own making, Michael hopes to inspire others to do the same. Key Points ✊🏼 Taking Action 😬 Mistakes & the Human Experience ❤️‍🩹 Forgiveness vs. Letting Go 😱 Facing Fear 🧐 Finding Your True Self 📲 Are we in the matrix? Episode Highlights [1:47] - Jay introduces Michael Unbroken, host of the Think Unbroken podcast. In addition to sharing about his own experiences of overcoming trauma, Michael sees his podcast as an opportunity to bring on other experts and inspire people to begin their own healing journey. Michael focuses on bringing raw, real experiences to his show so his listeners see that they are not alone. [6:14] - Michael explains that while he produces his podcast on mental health and healing, he’s never actually helped anyone change their life after trauma. This is because each person has their own individual responsibility to begin their healing journey. While Michael and his guest speakers may have built a roadmap for listeners, it is up to them to act and follow those instructions. [13:31] - Is letting go just a valid option as forgiveness? Does forgiveness always bring emotional healing? Michael points out that some events in his childhood are hard to forgive, but he has let them go because they are not the things that he wants holding him down in life.  [22:36] - Michael explains his worst fear: dying and being forced to watch a movie of his life - but all the things he didn’t do when he had the chance. While people may have the tendency to push off action until tomorrow, Michael urges listeners to overcome these fears and live the life they want now so they don’t have regrets later. [26:57] - Jay asks Michael to explain a term that comes up a lot in his work: the vortex. The vortex is a space of negativity that some people are drawn into. This space prevents them from taking action, from taking care of their health, from pursuing their authentic selves. [34:24] - As a biracial man, Michael has spent a great deal of time thinking about cultural and historical trauma, and how this trauma can be passed down over time. Michael believes that the energy of oppression and violence some groups have experienced in history can be transferred from generation to generation. This in turn combines with family systems that perpetuate trauma. [38:51] - Michael agrees with Jay that sometimes service to others can be ego-driven, but argues that this shouldn’t be seen in a negative light. Rather than being humble about what we do for others or what achievements we have, Michael suggests that we should embrace the fact that these actions provide us benefits as well as others. Connect With Michael: Blog | https://bit.ly/3r8wdYG (https://bit.ly/3r8wdYG) Think Unbroken Podcast | https://bit.ly/3GnztFK (https://bit.ly/3GnztFK) Instagram | https://bit.ly/34wdrmb (https://bit.ly/34wdrmb) | @michaelunbroken YouTube | https://bit.ly/3zP0X4C (https://bit.ly/3zP0X4C) Twitter | https://bit.ly/3r9anEr (https://bit.ly/3r9anEr) | @michaelunbroken  TikTok | @michaelunbroken
Summary In this episode of the Tragedy Academy, we sit down with Amir Yass, digital creator, and LGBTQ activist. As a queer Muslim man, Amir has faced discrimination from all sides - even from other LGBTQ individuals. This discrimination inspired him to affect change and begin a series of panels that address biases within the queer community. As host of "The Take On" podcast, Amir continues his work tackling the big topics while interviewing some of Bravo TV's brightest stars. Today, Amir lives out his authentic, unapologetic self, bringing him closer to his faith and reaffirming his belief that orientation and religion are not mutually exclusive. Through candor and humor, Amir paints how standing up for equality of all facets is how we bring about change.  Key Points📲Living unapologetically on social media 🏳️‍🌈Queer resiliency 🤣The power of humor 🚫Ignoring the hate 🎙Marrying religion with sexual orientation Episode Highlights[1:45] - Amir describes his experience on the gay dating app, Grinder. Even within this supposedly open community, he was surprised to find he was on the receiving end of racist bullying. These events inspired him to begin a series of panels on various forms of discrimination within the LGBTQ community. [5:36] - Amir discusses the unique position as gay and Muslim and how these communities interact. While many in the LGBTQ community have complicated relationships with religion, Amir believes that his relationship with God is very personal and doesn't need to involve his sexual orientation. The two are mutually exclusive to him. [12:05] - As a stand-up comedian, Amir has witnessed how jokes made at the expense of the LGBTQ community are still very funny to most people. He believes that while queer people are still the butt of the joke, bullying and homophobia will continue. It also means there is still a lot of work to do in our own country to address these attitudes. [18:47] - Jay points out that comedy can also be an excellent vehicle for change. While you have a captive audience, you can use humor to point out ignorance. Perhaps the ignorant minds in the audience will go home and begin to think differently without having been personally accosted.  [24:02] - Amir argues that coming out can almost be performative for straight people. Amir brings up the enormous pressure that is put on people within the LGBTQ community to come out as themselves for the benefit of their family and friends - something straight people will never experience. Amir believes this pressure can cause mental health issues that extend beyond coming out.  [30:45] - Toxic masculinity has recently been at the forefront of our social consciousness, but in Amir's experience, some of the most vitriolic comments surprisingly come from women. Amir suggests that these women feel threatened by effeminate men because they encroach on their territory of femininity. [40:55] - To wrap up the episode, Amir tells us it isn't rocket science. While some may confuse the issue by saying there are too many pronouns or genders to keep up with, Amir explains that all you need to do is just be kind. Connect with AmirInstagram | https://bit.ly/3JR9Krm (https://bit.ly/3JR9Krm) | @amiryassofficial Cameo | https://bit.ly/3pZyUwi (https://bit.ly/3pZyUwi) The Take On Podcast | https://bit.ly/3JRaoVO (https://bit.ly/3JRaoVO)
Summary: Welcome back to another episode of The Tragedy Academy; today, Jay meets Australian native Damien Boath. Damien shares with us his fascination for deep space and his love his pondering the unknown. Through his discovery of astrophotography, Damien can get a tiny glimpse of what is out there waiting for us to explore! Key Points: 🇦🇺 Asking an Aussie 🍊 Florida’s weird reputation 🌌 Astrophotography ❤️‍🔥 Discovering the passion for Astrophotography 👩‍🚀 Envisioning exploring space Episode Highlights: [00:00] Introduction to Damien Boathe  [06:01] Jay asks Damian what we all want to know about living in Australia. Damien sets the record straight on how common it is to see kangaroos in the wild, the truth behind koala’s deceiving cuddly face, and Aussie’s blunt banter. [11:21] Jay weighs in on Florida’s weird reputation; he attributes it to the Sunshine Law where every portion of every meeting of an agency shall be open to public observation – essentially, It is available records state. Jay continues by providing significant state pros, like no state tax, high tourism, diverse cultures, tropical weather year-round, and low cost of living.        [19:08] Damien shares his fascination in deep space and the unknown; so deep he shares his hobby of Astrophotography with his son. He admits that taking on this hobby can get quite expensive and has a steep learning curve, but getting a glimpse of deep space makes it all worth it. [24:10] Damien’s fascination with space deepened with the realization of knowing we are so minute compared to the universe. He points out that looking into space is like looking back in time. Similarly, he ponders how people in 1975 were able to look into space with limited technology. [29:31] Damien and Jay dwell on the idea of what it would look like if we ever made it into deep space. How would it look? Would our senses even be able to understand it? Is there life on other planets? If there are, are they even looking for us? [32:36] Damien shares an anecdote on how oblivious he is when women try to get his attention. He mentions his long marriage and recent divorce and notices a significant shift in dating culture. Time plus technology have made dating difficult in some ways and easy in others; etiquette and expectations are also different.  [49:04] Outro Connect with Damien:  https://twitter.com/DamienBoath (Twitter) https://www.instagram.com/damien.boath/ (Instagram) https://www.youtube.com/c/DamienBoath/videos (Youtube)
Summary: In this episode of The Tragedy Academy, we meet Christian Valera. Christian runs a YouTube channel where he dives deep into the Marvel and DC universe and details each superhero. Christian used art and superheroes to escape his reality, which later blossomed into a love for film and creating. His story is one of self-exploration and self-discovery; through years of being raised by movies, he takes a peek into the outside world and experiences the endless possibilities it holds. Key Points: 🎨 Dealing with loss in childhood and turning to art 🗡 The double-edged sword in life 👨‍👩‍👦 Surrogate parental figures 📈 Growing into the person you've become 🦸‍♂️ Entering the superhero world 🚚 Constantly moving as a child 🎭 Sadness to appreciate happiness  Episode Highlights: [00:03:33] Christian shares his experience growing up with parents who had children out of wedlock. His mother passed away at the age of 5, being raised by his father and grandmother. During this transitionary period, Christian had trouble comprehending the severity of losing a parent while rarely seeing his caretakers due to work. He grew a latchkey kid leaving tv to raise him.   [00:07:41] Christian credits his love of art to his art teacher. He describes being on a first-name basis with him and details a moment when he even helped him purchase a book at the scholastic book fair. His generosity made a lasting impact on Christian. In addition to his teacher's kindness, Christian also pulled his value from movies. He describes it as a window into other people's lives. [00:13:47] Christian describes being raised by tv as a double-edged sword; on the one hand, it gives you a peek into the world, and on the other hand, it gives unrealistic expectations. As he grew up, Christian realized that you could not apply everything to real life, one example being a hopeless romantic. He would obsess over girls, and it left him feeling confused and lost without reciprocation. [00:18:25] Growing up, Christian had different surrogate parental figures. His grandmother raised him until 15 and from there was raised by his aunt and uncle until he moved out. As a result, he never experienced a stable one-on-one connection with someone, which was amplified by constantly moving around. In addition to the loneliness, Christina had no one to turn to when he had felt to express and resulted in keeping everything bottled up. [00:24:44] The first film Christian ever saw in theatres was Spiderman in 2002; his father took him for his birthday. Since then, he fell in love with creating ideas in his head and seeing them come to fruition through self-directed videos. When he got to high school, Christian took every film class they had available to dig deeper and learn more about his passion. [00:28:17] Christian admits to being an impressionable kid with a good heart. He looks back to the people he has helped, even reluctantly. Jay points out the importance of allowing yourself first before helping others. [00:35:39] Moving a lot as a kid made a significant impact on Christian's life. It changed how he perceived himself; he often felt unwanted and homeless. During this time, he perfected the use of "the mask." Every time he moved found himself displaying different parts of himself to other people. [00:54:00] Jay points out the reality of needing to experience Sadness to appreciate happiness. Without adversity, joy loses its meaning and becomes a disposable feeling in life. [00:57:44] Christian shares the concept behind his YouTube videos. With his friends, he noticed a need for an explanation for superhero movies and their franchises. So, he starts from the very beginning. He begins a series where he goes into every movie's details.   [01:05:59] Connect with Christian Connect with Christian: Youtube | https://bit.ly/3ErXUA4 Instagram | https://bit.ly/30Yd3vv | @chris_valera12 Learn more about Bridges and Butterflies | https://bit.ly/3ppWeTu
Summary: This week on The Tragedy Academy, Jay invites Dee McB. Dee is a zookeeper and lover of all animals, and in this episode, we get into compassion fatigue and growing up with ADHD. Dee educates us on animal behaviors and touches on how her nurturing personality contributes to compassion burnout.  Key Points: 😪 Compassion fatigue 💨 ADHD ❤️ Nurturing 🦧 The difference between the four great apes 🐒 Howling monkeys and Macaques 🐈 Interacting with animals as with humans ⚱️ Death 🦇 Bats Episode Highlights: [00:01:55] Dee shares the concept of compassion fatigue or fatigue burnout; is mainly experienced by veterinarians or those in any form of medical care. She explains the toll animal care takes on people, specifically when euthanizing litters at a time. [00:14:20] Jay and Dee discuss Olympic athlete Simone Biles and her refusal to continue participating during the 2020 Olympics. They point out the strain in which athletes are put through both mentally and physically and point out that in the end, a life of stress is not sustainable. They also touch on the indifference people have toward athletes. [00:16:54] Dee gives some background on growing up with ADHD. During the first quarter of her life, Dee never considered having ADHD because she earned good grades in school – mainly because she had a teacher-parent. Naturally, Dee did not assume there was nothing to treat. It wasn't until a friend helped her recognize that her scatterbrain tendencies were a symptom of ADHD. [00:22:24] Dee describes herself as highly nurturing, even to her detriment. She notes that although she loves bringing joy to others, she recognizes that compassion fatigue is a symptom. Her zookeeping proclivities transferred over into helping her friends – an everybody keeper.  [00:27:14] Dee breaks down the difference between the four great apes; bonobos, gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans. Gorillas are the most loyal but not the brightest, orangutans are mechanically minded, bonobos are the "hippies" of the group, they solve everything with sex, and chimpanzees are the most aggressive. [00:37:04] Jay recalls his experience with Howler monkeys and Macaques. He details the piercing, screeching yells of howler monkeys and their constant movements through the jungle. Jay also gives an anecdote with a Macaques; he shares the story of almost getting his finger bitten off over a bag of Cheetos and a sprite.   [00:48:02] Dee shares the difficulty in trying not to form bonds with animals as a zookeeper. She notes that animals are frequently moved from zoo to sanctuary and vice versa, especially if the endangered ones. Dee describes how it's near impossible not to feel compassion and form a bond with the animals for which she cares. [00:51:00] Jay and Dee agree that we need to destigmatize Death. There is beauty in Death; it's the body decomposing and returning to mother earth to continue the circle of life. Dee also touches on the existence of conservation cemeteries. [01:05:00] Dee shares her experience dealing with a terrible waiter. She notes that her previous experience working in food service has the credentials to weigh in how a waiter should treat guests. Jay details the waiter's point of view and how we should have sympathy on what they might be going through. [01:24:50] Dee shares her love for her two favorite animals, bears and bats. Jay shares his disdain towards bats, specifically Vampire bats from Panama, due to their method of attacks and the contents of their tongues that can cause a numbing effect.   [01:34:25] Outro  Contact Dee:  Instagram | @thedeemcb https://bit.ly/3p5OvK3 TikTok | @deemcb https://bit.ly/3yCUWaN
thetragedyacademy.com Summary:  In this installment of the Tragedy, Academy Jay welcomes Aliza Sherman to the show. Aliza is an author, entrepreneur, and web pioneer. She has written 12 books and co-founded Ellementa, a company dedicated to educating women on the use of cannabis for wellness. In this episode, Aliza shares the most critical turning point in her life – the passing of both her parents. She unveils the grief behind death, that although we are aware of it, we are not prepared. Aliza reveals her treacherous journey of navigating the death of a parent while gathering the strength to remain sane and balanced. Key Points: 💔 Losing both parents ☠️ Toxic parents ❤️‍🩹 Connecting while separating 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Generational trauma 😪 Grief and fear 🧘‍♂️ Searching for moments of centralization ❤️‍🔥 Transforming anger into fuel 👼 End of life doula Episode Highlights: [07:15] Aliza shares her tragic past of losing both parents within two years. She describes it as a major turning point in her life; no one could prepare for it. Her father went to outpatient treatment for his liver only to be omitted to the emergency room 12 days later for liver failure. Due to the massive amount of antibiotics given, his kidneys also began to fail. Aliza describes this time as terrifying, stressful, and traumatic. [10:18] As her father’s end came near, Aliza became responsible for handling his finances. Not knowing anything about finances before, Aliza felt overwhelmed but grateful she spent time with her dad daily. At the time, she did not understand the impact this would have on her, watching her father die while simultaneously dealing with medical misconduct. She expresses that she has never recovered from the trauma and does not know if she ever will. [13:17] Aliza’s mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer soon after her father’s death. She was doing chemo for over two years until she decided to stop and let nature take its course. Aliza described this time as being much easier than the last; this time around, she learned how to die with more dignity and peace. [18:18] Aliza shares being very close to her father but not her mother. As an adult, she disowned her, which lasted six years. The time apart gave her the ability to heal and separate herself from the fear of turning out like her mom.    [20:40] Jay and Aliza agree that humans tend to allow people and experiences to rent space in our heads, often with those who have mistreated us. Aliza points out the difference between difficult and abusive and carries that logic to toxic parents. [24:17] Grief and fear manifest differently in people, but ultimately it makes you face your demise. Aliza shares watching her parents die made her recognize her mortality and accept that as a reality check. [26:41] During the intense years of dealing with Grief and trauma, Aliza made it a point to take a moment for herself. She would go outside every day to walk on the grass, sit under the sun and breathe. Most importantly, Aliza ensured her health was intact and fully hydrated to combat her body constantly being on overdrive. [33:33] Aliza shares the significance of turning her anger into fuel. She used her anger to articulate problems, find better support, and get out of her mental fog. In those moments of anger, Aliza describes it as opportunities to cut through the Grief and get things done with determination. [41:42] In the last hours of her father’s life, Aliza fulfilled his last request to order takeout from his favorite Thai retreatant. She turned every stone to make it happen, and as her dad went to sleep, she noticed an intense pain in her hips. Aliza later learned that women stored Grief in their hips and knew she needed to find a way to destress her body. [44:54] Aliza shares her discovery of end-of-life doulas. They are used as a guide for the terminally ill patient to transition to the other side.     [52:47] Connect with Aliza Connect with...
Summary: In this episode of The Tragedy Academy, we meet runway model and actor Max Eric Lemberger. Max's journey into acting and the fashion industry came later in life but with double the intensity. He is a true testament to time having no boundaries and an inspiration to those who have a dream to chase but think it's too late for them. Key Points: 💪 Acting at 69 🏡 Becoming an at-home dad 🔍 Getting discovered by being seen ⛹️ Multisport athlete 🤩 Breaking into the fashion industry 🚫 Being a part of a non-inclusive industry   Episode Highlights: [04:06] Max began acting at 69, but the journey started in 1959 when he saw Steve Reeves in Hercules. At the time, he felt that a career in acting was unachievable, but the desire never left his heart. In his early 60s, Max revisited his love for acting and decided to take the plunge. He did his research, took his headshots, and joined a modeling agency. [10:00] After losing his job and leaving a collapsing career, Max became a stay-at-home dad. Throughout the years, he started picking up handyman jobs and in his community. At 41 years old, Max discovered that he enjoyed handy work and felt he would have pursued a blue-collar career had he been exposed to it. Yet, through trial and error, he landed on his lifelong dream of acting. [18:57] Max shares that getting discovered is only part of the battle; another important factor is how you get found. He gives the example of filming adult movies as a bad way to get noticed. Conversely, Max has been given opportunities from other non-traditional forms of scouting – he's become a regular at a local shopping channel that has a reach of over 70 million homes. [23:43] Max shares his background in athleticism. He was a multisport athlete growing up, with his main focus being basketball. Max shares that although he was one of their top players, his 5'9" stature kept him from getting any scholarship offers. In his 30s, Max took up tennis and skiing while maintaining a consistent gym schedule throughout his whole life. [25:40] Max gives his experience breaking into the fashion industry. He recently signed with Naturally Fit Agency to join their campaign focused on hiring models of senior age with a goal to shift towards inclusivity. The fashion industry is known for being ageist, with editorial being the most ageist. Nonetheless, Max expresses being overwhelmed with pride and accomplishment. [33:00] Breaking stereotypes and becoming a part of a traditionally non-inclusive industry is inspiring. Max shares a similar story of a colleague who broke into fashion on similar terms but with different body types. He tells an example of a friend who is a plus-size model and dominating in her career, setting the standard that anyone has the potential to become a model.     [40:44] Jay describes the reason behind all the masks we wear in our lifetime; he notes that they each serve a purpose, and they each rose from a wound that wanted to remain hidden. Jay gives the example of growing up in poverty and having a false idea of what happiness is. He notes that pursuing other people's ideas of happiness will only overshadow your happiness. [48:18] Connect with Max Connect with Max: https://www.instagram.com/max.eric.lemberger/?hl=en (Instagram)
https://www.thetragedyacademy.com (The Tragedy Academy) Summary:  In this episode of the Tragedy Academy, Jay welcomes gymnast turned firefighter Alex Pacheco. Alex shares her journey battling with body dysmorphia on top of a slew of other medical conditions starting from a young age. Her story is a testament to what can happen when you fight for what's right no matter how much you're hurting inside. Key Points: 🪙 Shifting social currencies 💃 Getting into dance ⚕️ Medical diagnosis 🤘 Learning ASL 👩‍🚒 Pursuing firefighting 🥺 Changing your body due to body dysmorphia Episode Highlights: [01:44] Alex shares her background in gymnastics. She notes that for ten years of her life, gymnastics consumed her. She would attend programs that required homeschooling, one of which included 12-hour days. She would get there at 6 am and leave at 6 pm, with 3 hours allotted for schooling. During her time there, Alex reveals having multiple injuries from her toes to her hands. [06:14] Alex expresses having feelings of reservations towards gymnastics. She recalls breaking her foot the day before nationals and felt she could no longer continue living a life where she was prone to get hurt. Alex did a complete 180 when she entered middle school. A Charter School that required uniforms, and although she felt out of place, at least one girl she knew and became close friends with throughout her remaining middle school years. [11:40] Entering high school, Alex decided to pursue dance along with her sister. Although she loved the sport, this was around the time her body dysmorphia began to surface. Alex started to notice the difference between her body and her classmates. What she considered a compliment in the past (having a solid body) started becoming her insecurities. [16:55] Growing up, Alex was continually being diagnosed with different medical issues. Most notably, ovarian failure. Alex cannot have children and did not experience hormones until 10th grade, which meant she experienced puberty in one year. She had to take patches to produce hormones and went through high school as if she was going through menopause. Other diagnoses' included both her knee caps split in half as well as a broken elbow for three years. [24:59] Alex shares her decision behind switching from being a dance major wanting to go to medical school. She earned a scholarship and yet still decided to back out due to the massive amount of math classes she would have to take. In the end, Alex decided to become a firefighter. [32:08] Alex detailed the moment when she knew she wanted to become a firefighter. About a year ago, a driver t-boned her, causing the car to spin. Fortunately, neither she nor her sister sustained any severe injuries but what stood to Alex was the firefighter's ability to be on the scene fast and ready to help. [41:22] During the peak of Alex's body dysmorphia, she recalls feelings self-conscious and insecure. However, once she started firefighting and joined the circus, Alex was surrounded by people who shared similar body types as hers. She learned that everybody type serves a different purpose and that she's not so different after all. She no longer wastes her energy worrying about what others think and instead shifts that energy into herself and her skills.          [48:07] Alex and Jay agree that the essential thing in life is to embrace it, yourself, and be yourself. The emphasis on the importance of overcoming the fear of being judged because, in the end, the only person watching us is ourselves. Life is about laughing at your mistakes and learning from them. [58:00] Outro
Summary:  Welcome back to another episode of The Tragedy Academy; this week on the show, I welcome Zelda Black to discuss her new book, Butterfly Words. Zelda fearlessly shares her story of growing up ostracized and invites us to look deeper and empathize with the misunderstood. We get into the importance of being authentic and holding space for yourself and others around you. Key Points: 🦋 Book: Butterfly Words 🤯 Walking the mental health line 🖋 Using creativity as an escape 🏳️‍🌈 Diversity in our modern-day 🎙 Finding your modicum of commination to your peers 🍺 Turning away from drugs and alcohol   Episode Highlights:     [00:40] Introduction to Zelda Black [01:11] Zelda shares her passion for poetry, dating back to 2014. Growing up in a rural town made up of a majority Caucasian population, racist and prejudiced people surrounded her. It made it hard for her to seek mental health, and she had a fear of being ostracized for having progressive beliefs. [03:54] Zelda recognized the importance of mental health but not until she was out of grade school. She recalls feeling belittled and disparaged for being a woman. Having a unique sense of style was difficult for her considering the dress code was strict and beyond modest. If any of the girls broke the dress code, they would be shamed and sent home. Zelda found herself having to conform before gathering the courage to be authentic. [09:50] Zelda recalls never being great at math or science, but English was her safe space. It came naturally to her, and it was one of the few subjects that allowed her to express herself – mainly through poetry. This outlet became an expression from the heart.           [13:40] Today, people are fortunately more accepting of others - although it is still an uphill battle. Zelda expresses a fantasy of wanting to experience that growing up; she shares the tragedy of her middle school friend who committed suicide because of bullying, which haunts her to this day. [18:02] Zelda reveals that her objective in life is to provide kids with a safe space – something she could only have hoped for growing up. Poetry is the way she pays it forward. [22:07] Zelda expresses the importance of turning away from drugs and alcohol growing up not to use them as an outlet. She recalled witnessing destroyed people's lives around her from their vices and knew it was not a path she wanted to go down. What kept her going was hope, writing, and the ability to pretend to be someone else for a few moments with acting. [29:40] Connect with Zelda   Visit our site for more information and episodes. https://www.thetragedyacademy.com (https://www.thetragedyacademy.com)   Connect with Zelda: https://beacons.page/zeldablack (Beacons Page) / Zeldablack https://www.tiktok.com/@legendofzee (TikTok) - @legendofzee https://twitter.com/LegendofZee?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor (Twitter) - @legendofzee https://www.instagram.com/legendofzee/ (Instagram) - @legendofzee
Summary: On The Tragedy Academy; this week, we welcome Rachel McDonald to discuss her experience living with Endometriosis, a rarely diagnosed disorder targeting only women. Rachel walks us through her painstaking journey of getting diagnosed, the battle to get a prescription, and the hurdles she had to jump through to get a Hysterectomy.  Key Points:  ⚕️ Endometriosis 🏃‍♀️ Getting through everyday life 🤛 Battle to get a prescription  😰 Fear of missing out 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👨 Sex life having Endometriosis 🥺 Early Hysterectomy Episode Highlights: [00:01:27] Rachel gives a brief synopsis of Endometriosis and its effects. She notes that essentially, Endometriosis is uterine tissue that grows in the wrong place and can cause severe pain, much like cramping but 10x worse. Rachel expresses her frustration with the medical staff, both male and female, who would not take her pain seriously. There only was one medicine in the market that the FDA did not even fully approve.   [00:05:27] Rachel walks us through everyday life as an adolescent. She recalls experiencing embarrassment because the pain would make her feel irritable and make it difficult to control her emotions. Rachel felt misunderstood and overwhelmed with fear at the thought of experiencing severe pain every month for the next 50 years. [00:13:35] Rachel walks us through the uphill journey to get her Endometriosis prescription. She notes that she underwent a solo clinical trial since it was still considered an experimental drug. Since the FDA did not approve it, her insurance did not want to cover it. After six months of giving her severe side effects like chest pains, mood swings, and intense depressive symptoms, she had to see a psychiatrist. [00:18:12] Rachel recounts having a fear of missing out but also having the feeling of loneliness. She describes how tiresome it is having to re-explain her condition to everyone and the balance she had to keep between sounding “bitchy” and expressing how she feels. Rachel notes that you can only be diagnosed through surgery and feels fortunate enough to have parents that have good insurance and can afford the medical expenses. [00:24:54] Rachel’s sex life while having Endometriosis was almost nonexistent. She thought the pain was normal for the longest time, and everyone else was playing it up more than it should be. As an engaged woman, Rachel has feelings of guilt for not wanting to participate in sex. Still, she describes being lucky enough to have a fully understated partner who does not pressure her to do something she does not want to do. Nonetheless, the feelings of guilt are still there. [00:33:44] Rachel confesses wishing she had gone to therapy a lot earlier and pleaded with people to do the same. She recalls feeling disillusioned and giving up on herself to the point positive activity she did in her life was solely done for the benefit of others. [00:37:20] Seeing relationships in popular media affected what Rachel considered a healthy relationship. She felt terrible for not giving her fiancée sex, which made him feel bad, and it was a never-ending cycle. Eventually, Rachel learned that every relationship is different, and a healthy relationship exists by its unique perimeters.  [00:41:31] Rachel shares having to make the tough decision of getting an early Hysterectomy. It was tough for two reasons: First, being faced with the reality of never having children. The second was the constant judgment and deprecating reactions she would get from healthcare professionals. She notes that her decision was not made lightly. She met with insurance roadblocks, who would not cover the surgery because of her age and scheduling due to the pandemic, and because it was considered elective surgery. [00:55:14] Rachel shares the premise of her and her fiancé’s podcast, The Never-Ending Sleepover. She describes it as lighthearted and fun, with exciting stories of their childhood and conversations of new things they have...
Ep 102: Edison Jakupi - Questionable Behavior Summary:  On this installment of The Tragedy Academy, Jay is joined by actor, model, and podcaster Edison Jakupi. Edison is the host of Questionable Behavior, a podcast committed to helping creators elevate their careers and sharing their journey. In this episode, Edison invites us into his world of warfare and diligence. As a Kosovo refugee, Edison details a life of struggle. Now being on the other side of it, he's learned gratitude and developed a desire to help others in his community and industry.   Key Points: 🇽🇰 Refugee from Kosovo 🇦🇱 Son of an Albanian music legend 😖 Creating from struggle ☯️ Congruency in struggle and creation 🎗Giving back to the community 🧘🏿‍♀️ Creating mindful moments 🍄 Experimenting with psychedelics Episode Highlights: [00:03:04] In 1999, Edison, his family, and their entire community were kicked out of their home in Kosovo at gunpoint by the Serbian police. The Serbians gave them 15 minutes to gather possessions or risk death. Edison was lucky enough to have learned some English as a child to communicate when he arrived in America. His parents both had to go to college again, working minimum wage jobs in the process. Learning to restart was hellish, but they had no choice but to push forward. [00:06:57] Edison shares that he is the son of a famous Albanian musician, which helped the family when they came to the States. His father was hired to sing across many cities, and although that meant the family had to move a lot, it was a least putting food on the table. [00:09:33] Edison draws inspiration from an artist who shares his same background; Dua Lipa. Rita Ora and Action Bronson, all Albanian artists. He and Jay agree that struggle creates character and breeds creativity. Jay states that once you meet with obstacles, the next one is met with a changed perspective.  [00:14:43] Jay points out that The Questionable Behavior podcast interviews people who have faced some form of adversity. Edison concurs with that and adds that his whole purpose is to interview people as a storyteller. He likes to dissect people to understand who they are and why they are and get them to describe their journey. Edison notes that people often come back to thank him for allowing them to tell his story. [00:23:22] Edison and Jay agree that time helps all improve, especially in podcasting. Your conversation skills improve along with your editing skills. Edisons notes that his younger brother began editing for him at 12, and he hated it at first. But after a few months of practice and persistence, he became a pro and now entirely edits Questionable Behavior for audio and video.  [00:29:08] Edison feels there's an onus to give back to his community, specifically his family. He is still having good ties with his family back home and the culture. Initially, Edison was hiring his cousins and uncles back home to edit work for him. His goal is to build his podcast large enough to bring consistent work to people in his country. He notes that his people cannot quickly get visas in that country, so outsourcing and bringing opportunities is the goal.    [00:37:18] Creators write the future, so in 2-3 years, Edison has a goal of building a podcast that can change people's lives. His mission is to get to a point where the right people listen to his show, which can catapult people's careers from just being on the podcast. It's not about getting famous; it's about helping others. [00:45:15] Edisons describes his ayahuasca experience as life-changing but filled with overwhelming sadness. But, he took that as a learning experience and became a more enlightened person on the other side. [00:52:49] Edison shares a conversation he had with his siblings on self-esteem; he notes that no one can make you feel less than what you think about yourself. He explains how he had low self-esteem growing up, always trying to hide his body and allowing people's words to affect...
Summary: In today's episode of The Tragedy Academy, Jay welcomes actor, author, and former attorney Kirk Nurmi. Kirk has written numerous books on topics from the famous trial of Jodi Arias To pursuing a purposeful and fulfilled life by defending your greatness. Learn how he has taken on this treacherous journey of unfulfillment and feeling strayed from his Passion. Join us as he shares his moment of enlightenment and the transition of finally deciding to be happy! Key Points: 🤩 Finding your greatness ❤️‍🔥 Passion is born from your purpose 🎬 Getting into acting 💪 Escaping from the shackles of unhappiness 🤗 Gratitude 🤔 Thinking back to childhood  Episode Highlights: [02:25] Kirk was lead counsel for the Jodi Arias 2013 trial for the murder of Travis Alexander in 2008. He gave legal commentary on court tv and discussed his transformation of going from attorney to acting. [09:16] Jay relates finding your greatness to authenticity; both go hand in hand. Kirk builds on that by expounding on demon practicality. He notes how artists and creatives get steered away from their Passion for something that is considered "safe" by their parents. Traditional milestones like buying a house and getting married are often thought of as precursors for happiness when that has nothing to do with finding happiness. [15:08] Kirk highlights the significance of allowing the universe to guide you. He shares intimate details of being diagnosed and overcoming Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Kirk realizes that the 2.5 years of stress from the Arias trial contributed to his diagnosis and makes a pact to no return to that lifestyle if and when he recovers. Kirk knew that if he was going to survive, he could no longer live that life. [19:23] Kirk brings up a quote from Michelle Obama about the health crisis being obesity; he counters that by suggesting unhappiness as being the most significant health crisis. He notes that it can lead to obesity, substance abuse, and depression. [21:54] Kirk details his advantages as an actor that come from living life through different perspectives. He notes that although he might never be a Christian Bale, his ability to be present and connect with people sets him apart from other actors. He can empathize and portray that through the screen. [25:28] Kirk points out the importance of rejecting the premise that there is no happiness to pursue. Happy people surround us, but what we fail to consider is that the feeling is temporary. Transitioning into happiness is a matter of managing and starting in small increments. [31:13] Kirk highlights that we all have something to be grateful for, from having a shelter to seeing a sunset. He shares his daily gratitude routine of testing his gratitude buddy every morning to think of three things to express Gratitude. Kirk explains that expressing or writing down what you're grateful for does not have to be a grandiose thing; it can be simple and easy. [37:31] Jay thinks back to his childhood and remembers having a passion for music that he ignored as an adult. Kirk calls this arguing for your limitations, meaning you convince yourself of what you think you cannot do. Kirk shares the cathartic moment of burning his admission certification to practice law and releasing himself of what tied him to the past. [45:14] Jay and Kirk agree that feelings are meant to be felt. Kirk recalls suppressing his own feelings as a child, but now, he can take those feelings and sit with them as an adult. Kirk points out that experiencing what you are supposed to feel can serve as a gateway to move forward. Emotions help you reconnect with your greatness. [55:04] Outro   Connect with Kirk: https://www.instagram.com/nurmiunchained_/ (Instagram) | @nurmiunchained Website | kirknurmi.com Buy his books: https://www.amazon.com/Defend-Your-Greatness-Kirk-Nurmi/dp/1723908851 (Defend Your Greatness)https://www.amazon.com/Trapped-Ms-Arias-Getting-Being/dp/1517510996 (Trapped with Ms. Arias: Part 1
Summary: In this episode of the Tragedy Academy, we welcome Mirko Castagna to the show. Mirko is a recovering nicotine addict; he was a smoker for over 20 years, starting at 14. He shares his battle with addiction and details the most challenging parts of his journey and how that affected his mental health. With a new perspective, Mirko shares what it looks like for a person who restarts their lives at 33. Key Points: 🧠 Reeducating the brain 🚬 Discovering why you started smoking 🧘🏿‍♀️ Experiencing Mindfulness 🔁 Keep trying and keep going ⛑ Mental health   Episode Highlights: [01:08] Mirko started smoking at the age of 14 and continued smoking for 20 years. He notes that people generally start tobacco at a young age in Italy to impress their friends, but he didn’t know that he would develop an addiction that would be hard to beat. Yet, as of November of 2020, Mirko officially quit smoking. With the help of medicine and discipline, his cravings started to lessen until he got down to smoking a vape. While going to speak with a friend, he concluded that his vape was not a requirement to converse as he had been doing.  [06:38] Mirko reveals needing to reeducate the brain as a recovering nicotine addict, especially at parties and social settings when people step out to smoke. He also gets into the insane bargaining you have with yourself when the idea of quitting comes. You tell yourself you are willing to sacrifice years of your life to delay the quitting process.    [14:07] Mirko and Jay agree that the need for acceptance was a first step in taking on addictive behavior. You’re not only addicted to the nicotine but the need for acceptance as well. Mirko shares an anecdote of when he told his mother he started smoking. She proceeded to give him a good beating, not because he was smoking but because he would destroy her cigarettes as a child and beg her to stop smoking. [17:50] Mirko describes two different sides to Mindfulness: the way he views people who he sees smoking; this view is not one of judgment but of concern. Mirko now understands that smokers have laundry lists of issues that keep them going back, from stress to guilt to anxiety. The second is the substitution of one substance for another. Mirko is a big coffee drinker, but the difference is the drinks because he likes it and now because it has power over him. [20:30] Mirko and Jay both agree that the only way out is through when it comes to addiction. Keep trying to quit no matter how many times you fail, and if you do, take it easy on yourself; start again. Do whatever it takes to get better; for some, that might look like following a spiritual journey. For others, it’s with the help of medicine. While on your road to recovery, build healthy habits. [22:22] Jay dives deep into mental health; he notes that no one wants to discuss mental illness; we feel people will judge when they only wish to validate in reality. When you come to terms with your mental illness, the subsequent massive step is not to let it become your identity. Mirko shares the story of his good friend, who was diagnosed with a mental disorder, and because of it, she justifies her behavior and allows it to consume her life. She tries to manipulate her reality and makes herself the victim. [34:14] Jay discusses the importance of making amends with those who have not overcome their addiction. He states the need to accept their decisions and ride it out and hold no resentment because, in the end, they are sick and unable to pull themselves out of this situation. [42:34] Connect with Mirko Connect with Mirko:Link in bio |https://bit.ly/3qXodt5 (https://bit.ly/3qXodt5) Instagram | @Mr_Mirko_London https://bit.ly/2YLxLxv (https://bit.ly/2YLxLxv) Facebook | https://bit.ly/3FyiKj4 (https://bit.ly/3FyiKj4) Youtube | https://bit.ly/3pafXqP (https://bit.ly/3pafXqP) TikTok | @ Mr_Mirko_London https://bit.ly/2YFlv1D (https://bit.ly/2YFlv1D)
Summary: On this installment of the Tragedy Academy, writer, actor, and speaker Janet Conroy Quirk is in the studio. Janet is an advocate for the plus-sized community and is co-founder of National Plus Size, a directory that connects people with plus-friendly businesses. In this episode, we dig into the stereotypes surrounding plus-sized people and break antiquated ideology by providing real-world experiences, perspectives, and solutions!   Key Points: 🍎 Diet culture 🧐 Believing the stereotypes ✊🏼 Advocating for better representation 🧠 Mental health and weight 🧭 Skills for navigating life 🦺 Lack of safety ❤️ National Plus Guide   Episode Highlights: [00:02:21] Throughout her 41 years of life, Janet has been every size there is and has experienced different treatment at each one. She notes the differences in how people treat you in all settings, including politeness, romantically, career opportunities, and most notably in the acting space. [00:08:10] Jay and Janet discuss the media’s obsession with diet culture and the fit vs. fat stigma. Janet points out that weight size does not equal health, and even if it did, that is no reason to treat people without kindness. She emphasizes the importance of treating people equally and not project one’s bias. Most biases of overweight people imply that they are lazy and uneducated, which only undermines what a person has to offer. [00:13:11] Jay points out the internalized shame that comes with the stereotypes of fat people; often, people end up believing and accepted it. Janet adds by noting the concept of body positivity and the misconception of thinking that you wake up the next morning feeling great about yourself. Conversely, Janet notes that seeing more women who look like her in media has helped the size acceptance movement, yet she still does not have any plus-sized friends.    [00:20:33] Janet shares what better representation looks like for her. She lists the importance of seeing people play leading roles in tv, and representation in the clothing industry, but most notably telling stories of successful people. Several factors can define success, so the critical part is to break antiquated stereotypes of laziness and portray overweight people in leadership.   [00:26:08] Janet comments on the role mental health plays in fitness. She states that although she is happy for her loved ones, which makes it a point to exercise every day, talking to a therapist is just as important. Additionally. she points out the condescending comments people make when she is at the gym or swimming in a pool. [00:31:08] Janet shares some practices she puts in place to navigate life without too much negativity. She controls what she exposes herself to, including social media restrictions and not using the apps that much. She also chooses who she associates herself with and sets rigid boundaries and whoever does not want to comply is welcome to leave her life. But she also acknowledges that there are moments in which she has to pick her battles and not let something ruin her day. [00:40:22] Janet reveals the Lack of safety for plus-sized women, especially online. She gives the example of email tracking and escalating to the point of receiving death threats. A second example is a personal anecdote where Janet was assaulted while riding the subway, and no one came to her aid. As a result, she was afraid to use the subway again and took months to regain her confidence. She notes that the older generations are the cruelest, and conversely, the younger generations are more inclusive. [00:56:28] Janet talks about a project she co-founded called National Plus Guide. It is a directory that connects plus-sized people to business establishments that are plus-friendly and plus-accommodating.   [01:01:55] Connect with National Plus Guide   Connect with National Plus Guide:  https://www.nationalplusguide.com/ (Website)  https://twitter.com/NatlPlusGuide (Twitter)...
Summary: Today on The Tragedy Academy, I welcome Ryan Cooper, entrepreneur and author of the book Fuck It: Why Not Me. In this episode, Ryan wears his heart on his sleeve, walks us through the inspiration behind writing his book, and shares his experience growing up with a bipolar mother and later diagnosed with the same mental illness. Ryan's story is one of adversity and anguish yet, through perseverance, he can come out the other side full of gratitude and triumph.  Key Points: 💡 Inspiration for Fuck It: Why Not Me ⚕️ Life as a person diagnosed with Bipolar 😩 Managing stress 🧘 Working towards essential things and being mindful 😬 Animosity in the home   Episode Highlights: [01:03] Ryan was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. He attended Arizona State with honors and a desire to pursue football but recognizing he did not fit the weight requirements, Ryan decided to follow the business side of things. He is now working towards getting his MBA in the sports business. [02:37] After the passing of his father, Ryan vowed to leave a legacy honoring him. He wrote a book titled Fuck It: Why Not Me and released it on his father's death anniversary. The book is a novel that focuses on Life's hurdles and how he could push forward to become the entrepreneur he is today. [04:14] Ryan shares the bipolar diagnosis of his mother and himself. He admits to gaining some perspective after being diagnosed, changing his whole outlook on it. [07:00] Ryan dives deep into his diagnosis and confesses to the uncertainty of his future. Nonetheless, he is determined to be optimistic and recognizes that his diagnosis does not define him, nor will it hinder his Life. [13:24] Ryan shares his ways of managing stress. He emphasizes the importance of therapy and includes additional activities like exercising and journaling. [15:08] Ryan expounds on his love and passion for sports, especially now as a coach. He categorizes this as an essential aspect in his Life that provides moments of mindfulness. As a coach, he has the opportunity to help the younger generations get better at a skill while offering advice as both a coach and student.  [18:20] Ryan gives us a peek into his family life. He shares the moment of going from 100-0, having everything in one moment, then having everything taken away from you. While his father was sick, his mother had an accident that landed her in prison, so during this time, the family lost their house, but Ryan was still responsible for taking care of his father.  [27:33] Ryan admits to having no animosity towards his mom. Over the years, they have formed a stronger bond now that they understand their bipolar tendencies. Ryan confesses to resenting her in his late teenage years from fear of having to drop out of school and come back to Las Vegas to take care of her, but that has since dissipated, and now their relationship could not be stronger. [31:47] Connect with Ryan Connect with Ryan: Buy his book: https://www.amazon.com/FUCK-WHY-novel-Ryan-Cooper-ebook/dp/B098ZXQ7J2 (Fuck It: Why Not Me) http://ryancooper.co/ (Website) https://www.instagram.com/therwcooper/?hl=en (Instagram) | @therwcooper https://linkedin.com/in/therwcooper (LinkedIn)
Summary: In today's episode of The Tragedy Academy, Jay speaks to Jaymes The Face Anthony. Jaymes is the host of the YouTube show Jaymes Kickback, where he interviews celebrities, influencers, and artists to showcase their art and get to know them personally. Jaymes brings us on his self-discovery path and how he went from a sheltered child to live his most authentic life. Key Points: 🎬 Origins of Jaymes kickback 🧐 Discovering yourself through the pandemic 🌪 Pivotal moments that led to Jaymes Kickback 🎩 Pursuing modeling and booking a first fashion show 🧎 Feeling stagnant and crying for direction 🥸 What does authenticity mean to you? 🏳️‍🌈 What does it mean to be queer? ⛪️ Growing up in the church   Episode Highlights: [02:05] Jaymes knew that since he was a child, he wanted to be a superstar. He acknowledges that he knew he would not be a dancer nor singer; nevertheless, he felt the path to stardom was paved. [03:57] In college, Jaymes studied to become a broadcast journalist and eventually dropped out, but he held on to his interest in interviewing and talking. He had it on the back burner until the pandemic, where he went all in and revisited his skills. Jaymes discloses feeling empowered to follow his dreams.   [08:44] Growing up, Jaymes lived a sheltered life up until middle school. He shared a pivotal moment in his adolescent life when he knew he wanted to become a superstar. That moment came when he was watching cycle two of Americans Next Top Model with Tyra Banks. But he confesses to feeling hesitation at the lack of representation on the show. [11:14] With stardom on his mind, Jaymes decides to pursue modeling. He spent a couple of years building his portfolio with photographers and agents but not bite. He went to every modeling agency in San Francisco but found it hard to get representation until his 2-year mark. During that time, Jayme confesses to feeling confused and discouraged as to why no one would sign him. [15:36] Jaymes books his first fashion only after researching and learning that you do not need an agent to apply for shows. At his first runway show, Jaymes remembers being in awe of how beautiful everyone looked to the point that it brought up self-doubt. [17:48] When the pandemic hit, Jaymes' modeling career went with it. He began feeling stagnant, unmotivated, and overwhelming anxious from wasted time passing by. At this point, Jaymes' was 25 years old and not feeling any closer to stardom than before. Yet, during the pandemic, Jayme hit a critical point in his life where he felt depressed and in need of direction. [24:31] Jaymes shares what authenticity means to him; he describes it as something that comes naturally from you and is intentional. He also shares his experience of crying out for direction to God and finally having a light bulb moment where he realizes that his calling is in entertainment hosting. Once he got that vision, Jaymes immediately got to work. [29:17] Growing up gay and of color what difficult for Jaymes, but he was fortunate enough that his parents never shunned him out; at the very most, they thought he was a bit eccentric and made ignorant comments. [32:18] Jaymes defines what it means to be queer from his perspective. He describes the word as coinciding with the gay experience, and although people used it as an expletive, he embraced the word and took it back for himself.   [36:14] Jaymes shares his experience in growing up in Oakland and being raised by a preacher's father. He reveals never wanting to go to church because he did not want to face scrutiny from other members. Jaymes was a flamboyant gay, which made him an easy target. [42:20] Jaymes shares why he chose to interview people like his career path. He figures that if he is interested in knowing more about celebrities and influencer lives, then so are other people. He also acknowledges that watching other people's demise brings fear to heart but ultimately knows that the only way to...
Summary: In today’s episode of The Tragedy Academy, Jay speaks with the author, schoolteacher, and single father of three children, Kent Lawlor. Kent details his journey full of peaks and valleys, both figurately and literally. He shares his experiences in raising three children as a single father, how that affected his mental well-being, and his action to become a better person and parent. Key Points: 👎 There has never been a perfect parent 🤯 Information overload 🤬 Discussing tone when approaching children 📚 Books: Forever Forward and Perfectly Imperfect 🤩 Single dad with three kids 🧐 Path to self-discovery and insight 😰 Challenging yourself Episode Highlights: [00:05:38] Kent gives a synopsis of his book Perfectly Imperfect on Parenting. He makes a point to let everyone know that everyone parent messes up in some shape or form; no one has ever done it perfectly. The only important thing is that your try your best every morning. [00:07:22] Parenting in the internet age is extremely hard to navigate due to online bullying. Kent has experienced it first hand; even his 2nd-grade classroom children are concerned about their looks and how many likes they get. Statistics show that suicide rates in children have been getting younger over the years. [00:16:19] Kent gives us a quick overview of tone and the correct way to use it when approaching a child. He highlights the action of being mindful; it’s about how you say something, not what you’re saying. Meet the child at their level, place your hand on their arm to make a connection, and clearly and calmly tell them what you need them to do. [00:19:45] The impetus behind Kent’s first book, Forever Forward, came as a series of thoughts that he wanted to get down on paper while on his journey to getting in shape. He disclosures that he never intended on releasing or even publishing a book from it. After the birth of his twins, he noticed a decline in his mental health, and after 37 years of ignoring it, Kent finally decided to work on himself. [00:24:17] Kent tells the truth behind raising twins plus a 3-year-old. As a single father of three children, Kent confesses to the logistical, financial, mental toll raising toddlers has on the body. He noticed his mind heading towards a dark place, so he signed up for the gym as a means for a bit of escape. Exercising proved to lift the stress and improve mental health and was the impetus to writing Forever Forward. [00:31:24] Kent shares his perspective on self-discovery and insight. He gives the example of running a 15-mile marathon in the California desert. He admitted to not experiencing an epiphanic moment as he was running, yet he noticed a hard reset in the brain that allowed him to keep pushing and moving forward. [00:36:22] Kent quotes and defines psychologist Jordan Peterson’s phrase of “rescuing your father from the belly of the whale.” Essentially, he details that as you go through life and set goals, you want to reach and meet obstacles that need overcoming, which usually manifests as a new skill. As you continue on this path at the very end, you come out a better person. At some point, you will face the most challenging thing you can imagine; if you can overcome that, you will have reached your full potential. [00:44:55] Jay and Kent agree on the importance of wear your scars as it may sometimes cause shame and guilt. To be authentic means to wear your scars with pride and not let the judgments of others affect you. [00:50:00] Kent shares his intense journey of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, towering a massive 19,341 ft. The climb took a total of 8 days. He details his last night on the mountain, before reaching the top, as feeling nauseous, hallucinating, and experiencing severe headaches. He expresses the altitude as being the most challenging part of this hike. Still, in the end, he describes a feeling of being able to overcome anything yet feeling significantly small....
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