Around this time last year, I was at work sitting at my desk looking at my computer screen, with a million thoughts running through my mind. The issues of my life seemed to swirl in my head. Then a thought popped up,  I wondered how many people could relate to the same situations that affected me. If I could relate to things they may be going through or to a feeling that they might be feeling, then maybe I could help them with it. I spent a long time thinking of what I  might want to do in order to send positive messages out to people.

March arrived and the President announced the whole country was shutting down. All of us had to hunker down and life as we knew began to change. Once the restlessness of lockdown started kicking in, I realized that I needed to learn new skills to keep me sane. As the days went by, I started to notice something: there was a thing I do every-single-day that keeps me up and going. Podcasts! I fell in love with listening to podcasts. I first started listening to Anaya Ivy, Yo Quiero Dinero, Cory’s Podcast, and Listen Hunnay with Jeannie Mai. It gave me comfort hearing other people’s perspectives and to relate to a situation that I was also going through.

I thought to myself, I have so much to say and I want to use my voice too. That’s when it hit me; I could connect the dots and do a podcast myself. The idea of bonding with people and talking about topics that are relatable was enticing. My goal was to take all of the negatives of a situation and flip it to a positive. There were doubts, for sure. I was very uncertain where to start, I wasn’t sure if I needed fancy equipment, or if people were really going to listen to me.

And yet, lockdown felt like the perfect storm to start my research and create my podcast. Podcasting was a new beast but I was determined to tame it. With a tiny notebook at hand, I was ready for it all. First came the research of what apps to use. I stumbled upon Anchor and decided it was a perfect fit. Then I found fantastic articles on Medium about microphones and equipment. Lastly, it was up to me to figure out what topics to discuss on my podcast. With my tiny notebook in hand, I jotted down any and all ideas of material for the podcast.

Besides my school work and working from home, I spent my free time playing around with Anchor; striving to get a handle on the app. As the truly final step, I had to figure out a name for this new adventure. I constantly thought about the name. My first draft was something along the lines of “Chit-Chat and Sip”, but then memories of my younger self started flooding me. I remembered childhood ‘me’ was notoriously quiet and shy; everyone around me used to tell me how I needed to speak up and use my voice. If you come to think about it, in podcasting, there’s not much more than just your voice and the mic. If all I have is my voice, then why not speak up for me. That is when I came up with the name, “Speak Ya Mind”.

Around the end of May,  I finally received my microphone and started listing down topics to discuss. The pandemic came with so much uncertainty and anxiety for everything. Whether it was joblessness, worrying about the virus, or anything else; there was so much going on all at once. In my podcast, I chose to speak on all of those things. Whether it’s a conversation with my sister about her travels during a pandemic or discussing self-forgiveness; I try to encompass it all.

When July finally came around, I was consistently making podcast episodes and gained a lot of feedback. Turns out people did want to listen!. Starting my podcast was nerve-wracking, but hearing the optimistic response meant everything to me. It motivated me even more to continue; no stopping now! This pandemic taught me the value of those connections.

The feeling of helping others through similar issues was absolutely rewarding. Through it all, I’ve realized how much I came out of my comfort zone and put myself out there. I may be quiet, shy, and to myself but the podcast makes all of that melt-away. When I am in front of the mic,  my voice is being heard and I push myself to become more creative with my podcast. Best of all, I now know it is okay to take risks; there’s a high chance that it will pay off. If this resonates with you, maybe this is your sign to start a podcast too!