Me: “I should start a podcast.”
Also Me: *looks at calendar booked to infinity*
I have a bad habit of accidentally doing things.
Not anything bad. I’ve never been pregnant or on cocaine. Although I did spend two weeks in a rehab center one time. And I did do a lot of drugs while I was there. But that was kind of necessary considering my brain exploding and all.
When I say “accidentally” I mean I had no intention of doing these things. I didn’t put them on any sort of Bucket-List or 5 Year Plan. And even when I was actively doing them, I still didn’t really consider the fact that I was doing them.
Does that make any sense?
I wrote a book on accident because my friend told me it would be a good idea and that maybe Ellen would invite me to be on her TV show.
I thought that was cool.
So that night I went to my computer, pulled up a word document, and wrote the words “I am writing a book” under a title page. I had no credentials, skills, or writing experience. And four years later it’s no longer a silly punchline that I merely humor and joke about to my friends, but a real-life BOOK that you will be able to buy in three weeks. And read. With your real-life eyeballs.
I also accidentally started doing stand up comedy. Because a college buddy and I got drunk one time and signed up for an open mic. I was allotted three minutes and I performed eight, paying no mind to a person in the back of the room waving a phone light at me telling me to get the fuck off the stage.
And then four years later here I am in New York City telling jokes in big ol’ comedy clubs because that’s what real-life comedians do. One time I even got featured on a list called "New York City Comedians To Look Out For in 2018" which is strange considering I wasn't even trying to be a comedian at all ever. People still wave phone lights at me, but I’m part of a special club and I know what that means now.
And wouldn’t you know it a few months ago a friend told me to start a podcast and I bet you can guess the punchline to this joke.
Yep. I started a podcast.
Silly Mimi! Artistic projects are for…ARTISTS. Oh wait, you’re one of those too! This was not part of the plan!
I had a lot of plans growing up. Plans to be on Broadway and then more realistic plans to be a high school teacher. These things are still within reach for me, and I’m even still pursuing some of these things now.
But here’s the cool thing about “falling into” things: It’s way better than the shit I actually planned.
Why? Because planning comes with expectations. When I plan something, I set up an expectation in my brain of how that thing will turn out, so I obviously imagine the very best. I planned to be the best teacher imaginable, for every student to become a better person for having met me.
Now that’s not to say I wasn’t or am not currently a great teacher. Because I am.
But I’d be lying if I told you my expectations of clean cups of pencils and an organized classroom with zero questioning of my authority matched up perfectly with my reality of choking back tears in the teacher’s lounge in between class periods.
I was a hot mess.
And that’s fine because I’ve anchored that experience into what I’m currently doing, which is being a badass podcaster, writer, comedian, and human being. Hot-Mess to Bad-Ass: My Crazy Artist Life…anyone dare me to write another book?!
~SPOILER ALERT: I’M ALREADY WRITING LIKE FIVE~
I wasn’t really planning to be any of these things, so I have a very low bar when it comes to how successful I will be with them or what new opportunities will arise as a result. And when I say low bar I mean I practically trip over it on a daily basis.
It's a lot easier to succeed in something when you have zero concepts of what success looks like in that thing. For all you know, success means just not bursting into flames! Hey, good job! You're not on fire! You are slaying it at life!
Start a podcast, you say? Sure! Why not! What have I got to lose?! What’s one more thing I can immerse myself in that I know absolutely nothing about?
To be clear, I lacked all the necessary skills, equipment, and physical time to become a podcaster. It was only last year that I even KNEW what a podcast was, mmkay. I’d even been lightly nudged by other podcasters I'd met in New York not to start one because of how time-consuming they can become.
But that bar of expectations was already rolling around at my feet so I simply stepped over it and bought myself a copy of “Podcasting For Dummies” and binged more of my favorite podcasts on the subway and tried to learn their styles and techniques.
Up and Vanished especially taught me the power of a regular Joe starting a podcast. Now, Payne Lindsey was already a filmmaker before he started his podcast so I bet he had a nice network of sound people and fancy microphones, but still, he was just like me! A random human with a story to tell!
So I borrowed a couple mics from a friend of a friend (who later became the creator of my theme song, what up Lucas Murray Music you the MAN) and started fooling around with sound software.
I was still missing some things, though. Mainly a sound mixing device and knowledge of what the actual fuck I was doing.
But that was easy to find. And the story was already there. The story is me.
As many of you know, I’ve expertly branded my brain injury into some content that is oddly marketable, it turns out. Much like my brain injury itself, that was also an accident. And a happy one at that.
But I already had a whole book about me and my brain, right? What else is there to explore? Are you really about to be yet another friend I have with a silly podcast I have to listen to? You say as you scoff audibly into the air as you read this. Well, if we’re going to get into the brain itself, there’s quite a bit of crazy phenomena to try to understand.
Like why do eyeballs see double after a brain injury? What part of a brain is responsible for making someone a serial killer? Do we have any idea why it takes babies so long to stop putting Legos in their mouths and trying to kill themselves when my back is turned?
I’d like to know these things. And because I’m not a neuroscientist (or rather, I haven’t accidentally enrolled in medical school yet) I can’t answer these questions. But I bet there are people out there that can.
And there you have it, the birth of an accidental podcast.
Powered by sheer curiosity, lots of fumbling with microphone cords, and a can-do attitude!
The path to this podcast has been filled with many peaks and valleys; losing audio files, learning curves, and late nights spent reading lengthy science research trying not to look like a fool in front of my guests with Ph.D.’s, best-selling books, and award-winning research.
Mimi and The Brain is a science podcast, with a comedic twist. It’s a podcast about brains, for people that have them. In the first season, I will be interviewing top brain scientists, surgeons, and psychologists about the intricacies and mysteries of the human mind. I will tackle my confusion with real-life experts and have one heck of a fun time doing it!
Sound cool? It is. And guess what, it’s available now to listen!
Episodes 0 and 1 are now available to listen on Spotify, Apple iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and you can click here to find it on our host site Buzzsprout!
Join us every other week to learn about my brain and your brain, baby brains, and even monkey brains, all of the brains! And feel free to follow us on social media @mimiandthebrain on Instagram and Facebook and @mimiandbrain on Twitter for the latest updates on our journey to discover all things brainy!
I hope you enjoy this accidental endeavor as much as I do.
Bye now! Or as I say on my podcast signoff… “Catch you gooey brains later!”
Mimi and The Brain is brought to you by...
Kylie Holloway, Producer
Jose Manuel Alfonzo, Sound Editing
Lucas Murray Music, Theme Music
Joyah Love Spangler, Artwork
Gotham Sound, Equipment
and Mimi Hayes, Writing and Co-Producer