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This is a transcript from episode #1 of the Let the Verse Flow Podcast.

Is it just me or do you find yourself squirming whenever you have to introduce yourself to other people who you think you will come to care about? I can introduce myself at work quite easily, but ask me to introduce myself on my new podcast, Let the Verse Flow, and I start to squirm. Luckily it’s audio so you can’t see me. I hope you don’t hear it in my voice. I’m squirming because this is the part where I instinctively start tailoring my description to fit neatly into some pre-determined (and widely accepted) categories. We’ll talk about that later. For now, here are the facts as I’ve learned to tell them.

Host Intro: Who is Jill Hodge?

Honestly, I could give you a long list of credentials here, and most people do, but that doesn't tell you why I do this work and how it can help you.

If I tell you I'm a business writer, a former speech teacher and communications specialist, a researcher, and a poet, perhaps it conjures up some image. My professional credentials: a degree in broadcasting & film and master's degrees in European History and Speech-Language Pathology. They give you a hint at some of my interests, but we evolve every day. None of that is me. So here are the essentials about me, stripped down. Here's what I really want you to know about me.

I’m a woman. I’m a woman, and I take care of it all, and I know it. I work, I parent, I clean, I cook. But I won’t be defined by the box that sometimes tries to contain a woman. I will break free.

I’m biracial. There are two boxes to check off on those racial identity forms, so someone can add me to a graph to tell someone else what they’ve discovered. But they don’t use the word "discovered" they use the word “show.” As in: the data shows.

I’m a New Yorker. There’s an accent I’m supposed to have. Truthfully, I have it. I’m pushy and walk fast; apparently, that’s because I’m so rude and unconventional.

Close up picture of Jill Hodge, host of the Let the Verse Flow podcast.

I’m heterosexual. There’s me with a man, and he’s an interesting one. He’s an Arthur. Does that tell you anything about him? I didn’t think so.

I’m a daughter. There’s an expectation that I’ll give my mother flowers on Mother’s Day, but truth be told, I give her "her flowers" every day.

I’m a poet. There’s a word or two or twenty that, when put in a particular order or combination, conjures up what I want to say. That’s on my good days. No, I don’t wear a beret or cry every day, but I might cry today. The day’s not over.

But what I really want to tell you is I’m like you. I’m a human, and I hurt, I cry, I laugh, I try. And as a human, I don’t fit into any boxes neatly. I don’t think you do either. We're messy, and if you try to fit us in a box, the spillover oozes out. We can’t be contained, and I don’t really want to try.

I don’t think anyone fares well in boxes. In my podcast, I’m working through questions arising from my identity, experiences, thoughts and feelings. I’m working on getting through life and through struggle to find my personal strength. I’ve heard some of you want to come along for the ride. I have some ideas I think can help us.

Journaling Starts Today

Some of you may have come to Let the Verse Flow because you’re dealing with grief, and you heard I’ve been struggling too with my mom’s illness. Some of you have other struggles and want to hear that you will make it. Please know that with every fiber of my being, I want you to make it. And some of you want to get in touch with your thoughts and feelings so you can change some things up to make room for more purpose in your life. I’m down for that too.

To start, you’ll need a notebook or journal. I don’t care if it has flowers on it, comes with an embossed leather cover, or comes in a 10-pack from the 99-cent store. Whatever makes you comfortable and fits your style. The reason you’ll need this journal (and yes, this “any type-of-notebook" has officially become "a journal”) is because we’re gonna write. Don’t worry, it’s not essays; only you will see what you write. You’re writing because you want to start a deep conversation with yourself, and talking to yourself in public is frowned upon (because you might fall into one of the categories –the boxes I mentioned earlier–and it’s called “mentally unstable.” So that you don’t have to endure another label, let’s just say that you keep a journal.

Even Spongebob journals!

All kinds of people can keep journals—young teenage girls, overworked professionals, retired firemen. And the reason they can all keep journals is because they are all humans. As long as we have thoughts, feelings, impulses, and sensory experiences, we will have a use for a journal to capture our interactions and make sense of those experiences. In my podcast, I’m most concerned with you as a human. I don’t care what your work title is, what you look like, or how much education you have. I only ask that you be truthful with yourself in your journal.

As we journey toward finding our purpose and moving through challenges to get to our personal strengths, we’ll use our journal to think through:

  • how we feel,
  • what we want,
  • how we look at things, and
  • what we’ve accomplished.
Journaling 101: An Inspirational Guide to Start (or Revive) a Practice
Whether you write, doodle, draw, or keep memorable quotes, journaling uncovers YOU. Let your unconscious mind speak, download my free guide.

Sign up for the Let the Verse Flow Newsletter and get access to all my articles, including this free journaling guide.

Next Up: My mom's story (and your first journal prompts)

In the next few episodes of my podcast, Let the Verse Flow, I will tell you some stories about my mother [Episode 2: Losing My Mother: a Catalyst for Personal Growth]. Some of them are about the grief that I felt when she became ill. I promise you that there is a lesson to be learned and that there is joy and purpose, and meaning at the end of the story. Best of all, that grief led me to create this podcast so I could find you. And together, we’ll see if we can climb out of our box. How do we do that? By looking deep within to find our truths, give a strong voice to our thoughts and reframe things a bit so we can attain a higher level of positivity and purpose in our life.

Join me next time for some stories, some poetry, and of course, some music. Until then, don’t forget to stay on the bright side of the beat. 🌞

Music: My thanks to all the musicians who make incredible music and have the courage to put it out into the world. All music for my podcast is sourced and licensed for us via Soundstripe.

Songs in this episode:

Toronto Winters by Ghost Beatz; Winning Streak by JeesGuy; Path of Purpose by Cody Martin

Tune in to Let the Verse Flow: Here's How

Listen to Let the Verse Flow, completely free, wherever you get your podcasts. Share it with friends and family—anyone who wants to get off the hamster wheel of life to find more joy, positivity, and happiness.

Listen to Let the Verse Flow on Your Podcast Player of Choice

You can listen to LTVF on all major podcast apps like Apple, Google, and Spotify.

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Let the Verse Flow is an independent publication launched in June 2023 by Jill Hodge. If you subscribe today, you'll get full access to the website as well as email newsletters about new content when it's available. Members are vital to building a rich community of diverse voices. Join us by subscribing today; consider a paid subscription to support the community if possible. Thank you!