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Avery invited me to her podcast ‘The truth about burnout‘, during which we discussed the power of music, its healing effects, and its significance for introverted and sensitive individuals.
Music can be so powerful, and so healing especially for those of us that identify as being introverted, or more sensitive.
Listen to the episode here:
On her podcast, Avery always brings people on that are open to sharing a story of transition and transformation and she wonders how many people that are out there have discovered their highly sensitive nature much later in life, similar to my own personal story. So, let’s dive into it….
When did I, Birgit, realise that I am a highly sensitive person?
That’s actually not so long ago. I’ve walked more than half of my life around this planet not realising that I’m an introvert. It was about three, maybe four years ago (about 2020) when I heard the term ‘Introvert’ for the first time. And that was a massive revelation for me. And so many things just clicked into place. So that was when I finally found some answers for why I am the way I am and how I’ve walked through life feeling different to others.
A lot of things fell into place for me, a lot of things made sense. But what were those things?
The major realisation points are:
And obviously from there, you go into like a rabbit hole of: Am I weird? Am I crazy? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I do this? There must be something not quite right. Maybe I should go and get help.
And then that goes into maybe even bullying, things like that. It’s a huge rabbit hole when you don’t know. And then people think there’s something wrong with you because you’re not like everybody else. It’s just like a minefield you’re trying to walk through. And suddenly having this big sign staring in your face saying; maybe you’re an introvert, this is your answer. That’s just phenomenal when you finally know something about yourself that you didn’t know.
Being able to identify as having introverted tendencies, how did that change this me?
I’m not too keen on labels. But I think that they can be helpful at times. And honestly, I didn’t really think about labels when I discovered it, because that wasn’t important to me at the time.
For me, it was more important to actually know how I tick and then be able to start functioning in a way that helps me too. The label, I didn’t think about it at all. That just came a little bit later on. Once I’ve surrounded myself with quiet introverted females especially, that is when we started talking about labels, and it’s still going on to this day, we still have to kind of justify ourselves and explain ourselves a lot.
Still, and it can be a bit annoying, because for me, a label is only a way of describing how someone functions in this world, and how they can take advantage of that knowledge. And then the label just goes away. So that’s really what it is for me.
We can’t label a human in the same way that we can’t label a tree!
Avery had a great point when she said: Because we can say, that’s a tree. But you know, a poplar tree will be different than a pine tree or a palm tree, but they’re all trees. It’s still a label that works. But even within all of those things, even just calling it a palm tree, this palm tree is not going to look like this palm tree or this palm tree. It gives you an idea, but everybody has to then allow that awareness to expand a little bit to be able to take all those things in because introverted needs to you might be different than what it means to me. Actually, it likely is.
I absolutely agree with Avery. I think there will be certain nuances. Even identical twins aren’t 100% the same, they are not going to be 100% identical.
That step became crystal clear to me when I started to surround myself with especially female introverts. I mean, there’s so many different types and degrees of introversion. And I’m probably one that’s not necessarily, I don’t like to use the word extreme, but that’s really highly sensitive, I would say that’s highly introverted. I’m sort of more probably on the lower kind of spectrum of that, I suppose. But it just really helps to get to know oneself, and to then use that as kind of your superpower instead of a hindrance. So yeah, that’s when labels are good in that context.
How did growing up as a child not knowing that I was an introvert affect me?
My parents divorced when I was 12 and back in those days, divorce wasn’t very common. There was already kind of a judgement laid upon me and I felt that through school, and then throw introversion into the mix – It’s not a good recipe.
It just threw a lot of questions my way, I could never understand why I am the way I am. Why could I not be like that?! And Christine over there, she has many friends, and had no problem socialising and just being in this world and just walking through it confidently. I was more the at home type that is staring out of the window into the sky type of person. So, confusion, I think happened a lot for me, confusion around myself in my world, and then being judged by adults who should basically know better or should be more interested and curious to find out what really is going on.
When I started this whole introvert journey, and I’m still unpacking it, it’s like an onion layer, there’s always something else coming up. But it explained a hell of a lot. Once I’ve started to dig into that and looking back on this, particularly that phase of my life from like 12 years onwards, it really explained so much for me, and I was able to identify all that and say, okay, you know, you’re not that kid anymore, you now have answers, and you can now work through that. And this shyness is insecurity, you can kind of let that go now, because why would you have to be like that?
Of course, it’s not as simple as that. But these are sort of the answers I got. I don’t feel kind of lonely as such anymore. You know, when you sort of a 12/13 years old, you want to have friends, you want to have a good time and not be alone. That’s why music was like my best friend.
What role has music has played in my life growing up?
A huge one, and still does to this day, it blows my mind sometimes how it comes in, sometimes it even comes into my dreams, believe it or not! It was and is my go to thing. Because back in those days, we didn’t have the internet, it didn’t exist. I relied heavily on the radio, cassette tapes, and then on CDs.
And for me, it was a world I could get into and process my emotional state that I was going through and it felt like these artists and songs were telling the story of how I was feeling. And it really did help me to process a lot of the stuff that I was going through.
I’m a huge music lover from all variety of music. It can be hip hop, it can be rap, it can be pop, it can be rock, can be heavy metal, even a little bit of death metal thrown in at times. There was always something that resonated with me. And music just was such a nice companion to have, there was always this invisible friend that I’ve had, that could understand what I was going through. I’m not quite sure where I will be today without having it. So that’s how important it is to have it have music for me.
Which song is my go to song for when I need to just process?
I guess it depends on what I’m struggling with. For example, if I’m struggling to love myself, or accept myself, then there two songs I really like listening to: one is Hailee Steinfeld and the song’s called ‘Love Myself’ and the other one is ‘Me Too’ by Meghan Trainor.
These are the two songs I really love because one, they are upbeat songs. And also the lyrics are really like, I love myself and I really don’t need anyone else. I’m absolutely enough. So that’s one for self-love.
Which song sort of sums me up, which song is sort of ‘my song’?
That’s a funny thing, I don’t think I really have one. What I do have, though, is I have a theme song of the year. Every year I pick a theme song and a word that I try to hold up in like a corner and work towards to. And this year (2022), it’s from the greatest showmen. ‘This is me.’ It is a powerful song.
And it’s not just the song but also there is a YouTube clip of I think her name is called Kiera and she’s actually performing the song in like a test setting before they actually get the go ahead to do the movie. And she always stood behind this little podium. And she was too afraid to literally go out and just belt that song out, even though she’s amazing. And in that moment, it just kind of clicked in her head. And she just went out from behind that little podium, and she just belted it out. And that literally I think, for me personally, I feel like that was the moment that people were like ‘Okay, this, this movie has to be done just for that song alone’. And then obviously throw in the lyrics of it and the music, how powerful it is?!
This is what I want to live by this year (2022). I want to be true to myself. And so, this is me, accept me, accept myself. You can accept me if you like, and if not, that’s okay, too. But I’m here. And I want to show a little bit more of myself to the world.
What led me to create my own podcast?
For me, this is still an interesting story. I’m not confused, but I’m impressed by it, how it all came together.
The name Living on the B Side, which has two meanings, the first one is: my name is Birgit. And obviously the B-side is my life, how I walk through life. And then the other meaning of the title is the B- side have a record of the vinyl or cassette tape as well. I found that combination really cool.
I just got that thrown at me one morning when I woke up. And for a long time, I could not make sense what it should be. I left it on a mental shelf. And one day I realised I want to have a personal blog about music and artists and songs I love and why and just express myself through that. I guess it was a little bit of a security blanket as well. I don’t have to expose myself completely. I can use it through lyrics.
But in the end a business coach of mine picked me up on it and said “Look, what are you doing with this? Because this is a really cool idea. What are your plans?!” And I’m like, I don’t know, typical introvert. I don’t know. I don’t want to expose myself. I don’t want to put myself in the spotlight. And eventually, through a little bit of brainstorming, I decided to do a podcast about it and just ask other people that take his own music and how it impacted their lives.
And nearly 50 episodes in, I’m still going strong. So that’s really the short nutshell version of how it came to be.
Avery stated that she loves that it seems like such an interesting way but a safe way for people to talk more about themselves because again, they’re sharing it through the lens of the song so then it helps soften the vulnerability.
It’s also so powerful. I’m sure every one of you has a song that you remember it fondly, or you have a memory where you were really hurt or broken or so, everyone has it.
And using that to tell a story, and inspire others, I think is such a cool and incredible way. And there’s just so much that inspires me, you know, gives me hope and gives me strength to hear others talk about it. It’s this really community feel as well, that comes through it by just one person sharing. I love that, I have goosebumps every time I do something with other people or have an episode or whatever. It’s just incredible to me.
What do I want you (the reader) to take away from this conversation with Avery?
I think the only thing that I really would love for people to do is become more conscious of how music can support you in your daily life. It’s free and doesn’t cost you anything. And it can make you feel so freaking good, if you let it. So that’s kind of the only thing I want to say.
Check out Avery’s podcast ‘The Truth about Burnout’ for my chat with her and more incredible episodes about burnout, etc.