Growing up near Indianapolis in the '80s and '90s, Alice Wong was eager to leave. "I knew life was going to be so much better once I got into college," she said. Alice was raised in an immigrant household, and while there was a local Chinese-American community, she rarely saw people who looked like her in the mostly white community of disabled people she was also a part of.
Back in 2020, Alice and Anna talked about how she learned to advocate for herself as a young adult, finding a community that felt like home, and managing finances on Medicaid. Since then, Alice has published a new memoir, Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life, and then, last summer, faced a medical emergency that left her without the ability to speak or eat. She recorded an update for us using a text-to-speech app.
You can read more of Alice’s recent essays in Teen Vogue, for CNN, and on the Disability Visibility Project’s website.
Kate Bowler on Shame, Productivity, and Living with Chronic Pain
Kate Bowler has always worked extremely hard. As the daughter of two academics growing up in Canada, she preferred books to sports, and liked talking and thinking about the nuances of her faith. “I never really thought about my body very much in time and space,” Kate told Anna.
But while starting her career as an academic, Kate’s relationship with her body changed. She was diagnosed with a joint laxity disorder in her 20s. And at 35, not long after having her son, Kate was diagnosed with stage IV cancer, changing her relationship to productivity and rest once again, which she also chronicled in her New York Times best selling memoir, Everything Happens For A Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Loved). Kate tells Anna about the shame of not living up to her own expectations, learning to let go, and what brings her joy.
How to Face Your Fears With Steve-O, Laurel Braitman, and Rev. angel
We asked you to tell us about the fears in your life that are holding you back. In this episode, we share your stories and questions with Steve-O, Laurel Braitman, and Rev. angel Kyodo williams. Each of them, in one way or another, had fear and bravery inform their work and their lives. They offer advice and insights on what’s worked for them, and what they’ve learned from navigating fear.
Laurel Braitman is a writer, teacher and secular, clinical chaplain-in-training, who also has a PhD in the history and anthropology of science. She is the author of the NYT bestselling book Animal Madness: Inside Their Minds and the new memoir What Looks Like Bravery: An Epic Journey Through Loss to Love.
Reverend angel Kyodo williams is a Zen priest, activist, and teacher. She’s the author of Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace and Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation.
Steve-O is best known for his extreme stunts on MTV’s Jackass. He’s also a stand-up comedian, and an author most recently of A Hard Kick in the Nuts: What I’ve Learned from a Lifetime of Terrible Decisions.
A Trans Parent’s Adoption Journey
Liam Lowery and Marisa Carroll met in college, just as Liam began transitioning. Liam had been crushing on Marisa for a while, and one day, he spotted her on the subway. They came to his stop. And he stayed on the train. That led to coffee, Facebook flirting, making out, and as Liam says, fantastic sex.
Liam and Marisa got married in 2014, and right after that, we released an episode about their love story. Late last year, Anna got an email from Liam with an elated update that they are now parents. They worked with an agency to adopt their son Jude when he was a baby. Anna talks with them about this next chapter in their family’s story, and how they weighed sharing that Liam was trans in their story to introduce themselves to prospective birth parents, knowing that being totally honest could mean risking their chance of being picked.
Update: We changed the title of this episode after publishing to be more accurate. It was initially called "Adopting As A Trans Couple."
My Sex Life Became A Screenshot. Then I Lost My Job.
Erick Adame was a TV weatherman for over 15 years. Then in September 2022, he was fired after his employer received photos from an anonymous sender of Erick performing sex acts on a webcam. Erick had been camming for many years, doing it for pleasure, not for money, and even though strangers were watching him, Erick thought of camming as part of his private sex life.
In this episode, Anna and Erick talk about what led up to his firing, the lasting effects of shame, and how privacy changes when you're in the public eye. “I don't apologize for being sex positive," he said, "but basically what it comes to is, as a news person, I live under different rules. I don't think that's fair, but I think that we do.”