Facing Isolation and Discrimination with Jenn T. Grace, Tony Ferraiolo, and Jennifer Brown 

[00:00:00] Jenn: [00:00:00] Hello, how are you? 

[00:00:04] Jennifer B: [00:00:04] Hello, denti grace. I’m good. How are you? 

[00:00:08] Jenn: [00:00:08] I, you know, it’s just, just another week in the pandemic. 

[00:00:13] Jennifer B: [00:00:13] It’s a Wednesday hump day. Although every day is 

[00:00:18] Jenn: [00:00:18] every day is either Monday or every day is Friday and there’s no weekend and everything. It’s just, it’s a big blur 

[00:00:25] Jennifer B: [00:00:25] it’s holiday weekend is going to be so bizarre.

[00:00:28] I don’t even know how to think about it, 

[00:00:30] Jenn: [00:00:30] but I know I’ve scheduled my day as if it’s any other day. So it’s probably, I probably shouldn’t have done that, 

[00:00:35] Tony: [00:00:35] but 

[00:00:37] Jennifer B: [00:00:37] I know under achiever that you are. 

[00:00:39] Jenn: [00:00:39] Yes. Yes. Yeah. I’m fading fast. Let’s be honest, came out strong and now it’s going down, but that’s just being honest.

[00:00:51] So today we have once again our lesbian sandwich, but now we have Tony, if you’re yellow in the middle of our sandwich [00:01:00] today, which we. Love and adore. Hello. 

[00:01:03] Tony: [00:01:03] Hey, what’s going on? I’m happy to be in the sandwich 

[00:01:08] Jenn: [00:01:08] here. So we, I feel that this conversation can go in so many different directions, but Tony, maybe if you can just kind of start in talk to us, because obviously we titled this facing isolation and discrimination during the pandemic, but isolation and discrimination.

[00:01:28] Like in what context? So I would love to just kind of hear how you’re doing and how you’re feeling right now. And then Jen, and I will just start interrogating you from here. 

[00:01:36] Tony: [00:01:36] Oh, awesome. Yeah. Well, personally, I’m doing personally, I’m doing okay. I mean, you know, this is, I think a time where a lot of people are struggling.

[00:01:44] I live alone. Um, and before the pandemic, I was out every night and socializing and doing live trainings and you know, and now I’m sitting in my house most of the time alone with a very socially awkward fish. So that’s it. It’s only [00:02:00] me and the fish. Okay. Um, so I’m doing okay. Um, we’re, we’re, I’m finding comfort is helping others.

[00:02:05] Like I always do. So, you know, when, when we talk about, um, people being sheltered in place and people, even when the States start opening up a little bit, they really don’t want you to go out. My first thought immediately went to the LGBTQ youth who are in homes where they’re not accepted. It is, um, you know, I, I just worked groups in new Haven, been doing them since 2008.

[00:02:28] Um, we have helped over a thousand families now, uh, and our meetings did not stop. I immediately went into zoom and the first call, we had 25 kids on the zoom call, desperate to just talk about this. So what do we do? We talk about the hard stuff. What, what do you do when you’re in a home where you’re not accepted?

[00:02:49] And you have to stay in there. There’s no escape. So, you know, you know, the suicide rates, I know both of, you know, the suicide rates among LGBTQ youth, but especially trans youth [00:03:00] being so high on a normal day. You know, there’s been more hospitalizations because they have nowhere to turn to. So as a coach, I coach them to reach out, focus on what you have control over, know who you are.

[00:03:14] It will end someday. And I think that’s where people get stuck. I think people because the PR like the people that are autonomous what’s happening, aren’t sure. We can’t see this ending. And when we write that story of, Oh my God, I’m going to live like this forever. That’s when we’re not in the moment. And that’s when all the anxiety starts.

[00:03:34] Right. So I’m really super focused on keeping them in the moment. Uh, you know, I’m a, I’m a certified teacher of mindfulness and I really talk about meditation and just things that you have control over that might help them, um, make this a little bit easier for them.

[00:03:51] Jennifer B: [00:03:51] You know, I remind me of the, um, the fact that young people haven’t, they don’t know that, that the storm is weather [00:04:00] trouble, like older generations do. Um, and it strikes me that it’s so important to, for perspective right now. 

[00:04:06] Jenn: [00:04:06] That 

[00:04:07] Jennifer B: [00:04:07] perhaps us oldsters have, have some things to share about how it gets better or, you know, the, the like major moments, I guess, as we’ve grown up and had our formative years and as adults where we didn’t think we would make it.

[00:04:21] And we did. 

[00:04:23] Tony: [00:04:23] Yeah. 

[00:04:23] Jennifer B: [00:04:23] So, um, I’m sure that you’re just such a comfort to them. Um, and I’m sure it’s incredibly scary cause they don’t know, 

[00:04:29] Jenn: [00:04:29] they don’t know how these 

[00:04:30] Jennifer B: [00:04:30] things end. They don’t know that there’s a silver lining potentially. Um, and that it does get better. So thank you for the help 

[00:04:37] Tony: [00:04:37] anytime. And what really?

[00:04:39] I didn’t even think about when, when all this started was, you know, I have a lot of. Young humans. I like to call them. I like to call them kits. I have a, I have a lot of young humans that had surgery scheduled their gender affirming surgeries that they waited for for so long. And then all of a sudden they were canceled.

[00:04:55] Um, and of course I don’t like when health providers use this word [00:05:00] indefinitely. You know, and they’re like, Oh my God. And even though they know the reason and they understand the reason it’s still devastating. So, you know, I had to step in and say, you know what? They shouldn’t have said it indefinitely because it’s going to be, it’s going to happen.

[00:05:13] It’s just not going to happen now. You know, I’m happy to report that one, one kid reached out to me and said, Hey, guess what? They rescheduled my surgery. So. So we have group this Saturday and I said, please be on the call. So now he can announce that his surgery is going on so that if he give hope to the other, the other ones on the call, it’s so important that when youth youth need to support youth, you know, and I’m on the advisory committee for the Y two Y homeless shelter here.

[00:05:42] And. And new Haven and it’s youth to youth, right? They don’t have old people like me, you know, working with the kids, they have college aged kids working with teenagers. So when I’m doing the support group, same concept, I’m there as a facilitator. But they feed off of each other. It is. It’s amazing. So, [00:06:00] so Ali will come on the call and he’s going to announce everybody that has surgeries back on, and I’m hoping you will give hope to the others that they have a reschedule.

[00:06:08] You know, 

[00:06:09] Jennifer B: [00:06:09] Tony, what gives you hope about this younger generation of LGBTQ youth in terms of how they. Uh, no themselves how they embrace themselves, um, perhaps how their families are supporting them in, in, you know, better case scenarios you’re talking about. And I know it’s not rosy at all. Is there something about the GC, a different kind of resilience 

[00:06:30] Tony: [00:06:30] perhaps, or 

[00:06:32] Jennifer B: [00:06:32] like coping skills or, you know, what, how would you characterize it as different perhaps than the world that we all came of age?

[00:06:37] Um, 

[00:06:38] Tony: [00:06:38] yeah, you know, I, I think there’s more people that are out. Now at a younger age. So, so they have a community, even in middle school, they have GSS. We didn’t have that. We don’t have anything. Right. It was just like, Oh no. Well, you know, everybody knows my background. I’m a trans guy, but identified as a lesbian for 30 something years of my life.

[00:06:58] And yeah, it was like, [00:07:00] okay, there is somebody I think might be like me. I’m going to go like friend them. You know what I hope for anyone, anyone, not just kids, because I hope that. Even if you’re not LGBTQ, that you’d be the person that you are not the person you think everybody wants you to be the big deal.

[00:07:19] Right to sit in your own self and appreciate yourself and love yourself and share that with authentically with the world. And if people around you are trying to knock you down and make you something that you’re not, then you’re not surrounding yourself with the right people right now for kids, they have no choice.

[00:07:35] Sometimes their families are they’re too young to leave the home. And I always say to them, I do not want you to be homeless. So, what I need you to do now is to create a family outside your family. And cause if you can have them create a family outside of their family, where they can go and they need support, then you can elevate them to the next step of coming out to their family.

[00:07:55] If they’re not out already, right. Because if it’s out, if it doesn’t go good, they have [00:08:00] some people to fall back on. So it’s really being very mindful of each individual. Person, because everybody has their own uniqueness about their personality and their needs and their wants, but to be able to navigate them down the path of happiness without too many emotional interruptions, that’s the key.

[00:08:20] Jenn: [00:08:20] So how these young people now, or young humans now, while we’re in the middle of just this huge level of isolation for everyone, but like, like what are your tips or ideas or things that you’re helping them do to help find that connection that they otherwise would have been able to leave their house and find, especially if they’re in a home that is not.

[00:08:42] Super supportive of what’s going on. 

[00:08:44] Tony: [00:08:44] You know, I’m a big advocate of zooming it, man. Get on, get on face a bit, have that as, as close to a social connection that you can have hap you can sit in your yard and have a friend sit 10 feet away, you know, and it’s [00:09:00] acceptable. So it’s not like. We can’t add all gather, but we have to be very mindful of social distancing because you know, I live on a, on a street that is a block and a half from a beach, you know that, and there’s so many people walking up and down the street and I’m gonna tell you, a lot of people don’t have masks on them.

[00:09:16] They’re not socially distancing and I’m not screaming at them, but inside I’m saying, how selfish can you be? It’s the biggest act of selfishness to me is when you’re not doing something to protect other people, you know, before the, for the young humans, it’s like, get that social connection any way you can, any way you can.

[00:09:36] I got a call tonight with the kid whose parent reached out to me because the whole family was having a meltdown. There’s like seven of them or something. And I guess there was a big blow out. Everybody’s like get in each other’s way, but this kid took it the hardest. And he’s really having a hard time.

[00:09:51] So what, what, okay, fine. I’ll take 20 minutes out of my day, every day of a week, multiple times a day to help the kid. If talking to me is going [00:10:00] to help him feel better about himself and maybe have a better tomorrow. I’m giving it to him. Absolutely. 

[00:10:06] Jenn: [00:10:06] Is there something, for example, I have. I am a parent. Jen is not a parent.

[00:10:15] So is there something that I, as a parent could be doing to help other children? Is there something as Jen and others who aren’t parents, is there something they could also be doing that could help children right now? 

[00:10:26] Tony: [00:10:26] I think that anybody who’s open to, um, being there for somebody who, who needs, uh, like, uh, a mom figure or that a male figure, a female figure to be, um, Affirmative to them that there’s, there should be some, some Avenue that they can take out to reach that person.

[00:10:44] There should be that connection. Like, you know, like say Jen, you you’re, you don’t have kids, but you know, if you, I know you, I think I know you and you would give 10 minutes of your week to somebody or 15 minutes of your week to somebody to make them feel like, wow, somebody [00:11:00] believes in me because that’s the key.

[00:11:02] It takes one person. And in 2018, the American pediatric association came out with a study about, um, suicide attempts, right? That 51% of mascot transmasculine kids were attempting suicide. I think it was 29% of females and 41% of non binary kids. But what they found out is one. Supporting the adult in their lives drops it 39%.

[00:11:25] I believe it’s 39% one, and it doesn’t have to be their parents. They didn’t, and I can’t do it all. So any, like when I’m doing my trainings, even at the health provider, it could be anyone in their lives that says, you know what I believe in you. And you’re going to make it all right. I got your back. And that’s, if I have that, when I was younger, I wouldn’t have had so many hospitalizations.

[00:11:48] I wouldn’t know I had a suicide attempt. I wouldn’t have been a cutter. I wouldn’t have been, not that I don’t regret any of that. And you know that by the way, my journey, I honor, but it makes the, [00:12:00] it makes the heaviness of this trip and this journey a lot easier when somebody says, I believe in you. Right.

[00:12:08] And a lot of times I’m asked by parents though, Oh my God. How do you know, how do you know what to say to these kids? How do you know by saying to them what I needed to hear when I was younger and I didn’t have it. So if anybody’s out there and they’re thinking about being a mentor, or they’re thinking about maybe stepping in when you, because we know the kids that are struggling, you know, and you want to step in and you might be saying yourself, I have no idea what to say.

[00:12:29] Say what you would, what you would want people to say to you if you were in that situation.

[00:12:37] Jenn: [00:12:37] I’m curious as we’re talking, how. Because, you know, like I have a middle schooler. And so I’m thinking like, you know, if the middle school has a GSA, are they actually carrying on that service while we’re all quarantined? And I don’t know the answer to that. And it’s making 

[00:12:55] Tony: [00:12:55] how schools 

[00:12:55] Jenn: [00:12:55] are handling social, like, cause that counts as a social [00:13:00] club or social activity.

[00:13:01] I’m kind of curious how that’s being handled. 

[00:13:03] Tony: [00:13:03] Yeah, that’s a good 

[00:13:04] Jenn: [00:13:04] question. My town difference, but now I’m going to have to look into it. Cause now I’m curious, 

[00:13:08] Tony: [00:13:08] you know, I, I can tell you this and I’m starting to get like, you know, you’re genuine. I had accomplished Jen, Jen, I’ll just turn to the person like, okay, we had a conversation, we had a conversation the other, the other day.

[00:13:19] I mean, I lost in two days trainings, like, you know, I’m not sure I know both of you do trainings. I mean, it was like, you know, I had, I had seven school trainings. I have a big, you know, I’m, uh, I’m the, uh, cultural competency trainer for Yale new Haven health. So it was like no more. And now everybody’s doing everything zoom.

[00:13:35] So, you know, we’re changing all that, but now the trainings are starting to come back. So people are, are starting to realize that even though we’re not physically with each other and the schools aren’t started, we still need to train on cultural competency. And I really focus on trans youth and, you know, found buying every kid, you know?

[00:13:56] So that’s, that’s a good thing that they’re noticing it. So the GSA is, [00:14:00] I’m sure it’s not happening. I mean, my gut is that it’s a social group. Who’s in school. Who knows? I think it depends on the advisor. GSA advisor, if they thought, Oh, you know what, maybe we should keep this going. 

[00:14:14] Jenn: [00:14:14] Yeah. Chose that. They’re still in meat.

[00:14:17] It makes the void even bigger because that support system that those kids may have previously had within their school system is may or may not be an option right now for them too, which makes it important for us as adults, parents, or not to step in and be that beacon of hope. Or that shoulder to cry on or just vent, whatever might be going on in some young person’s life.

[00:14:39] And I also think that when we’re talking about young people, there’s such a, a gap of age ranges that we could be like anyone under my age, as a younger person than I am. But that doesn’t mean it like, just cause they’re not in elementary school or middle school or high school or even college doesn’t mean that there still aren’t people who are struggling throughout all of this.

[00:14:56] Tony: [00:14:56] Then there’s actually people who are struggling that are your age and older. [00:15:00] So, you know, um, it’s, it’s my hope is that. But like, I’ve never seen such a balance of tragedy and kindness since this pandemic started for such a long time, we kind of see it sometimes around the holidays, right? Like Christmas, everybody wants to buy gifts for the kids, you know?

[00:15:17] Oh my God, kids don’t have gifts. And then Thanksgiving, everybody’s throwing a Turkey at some trailer to feed the hungry. Right. But then it stopped. Now. It hasn’t stopped for a very long time. My concern is, is that when this, we go back to our norm, whatever that’s going to be. The elderly neighbor who you’ve been helping.

[00:15:36] Still needs help after this. And my concern is that people are going to stop being kind and we can, we have to keep being kind. This is a lesson, the I, I, my, my sources, the universe and my guides. And then sometimes God, you know, I’m a very. Whenever I need, I, I pick it. Um, but I’m hoping, I know that this is a lesson.

[00:15:57] Everybody feels good when they’re being kind, [00:16:00] you, if you help anyone through a struggle, you feel great. It’s just, it’s a really cool energy to have. It’s almost selfish. Right. I mean, you know, it like if you’ve ever given somebody money at a grocery store, because they were short money to buy something, the first thing you do is tell somebody about it.

[00:16:17] Right? Cause you feel good about it, right? You feel good. You just help somebody. And I just hope that people keep this track off with kindness and stuff. So reach out if you know, somebody that’s struggling, just reach out, checking in. 

[00:16:30] Jenn: [00:16:30] Yeah. 

[00:16:30] Jennifer B: [00:16:30] Tell me, do you think, um, so in the workplace context, we’ve been talking a lot about whether this only video only way of communicating and being seen by each other.

[00:16:42] We’re we’re debating whether that’s actually better for inclusion. 

[00:16:46] Tony: [00:16:46] Yeah. 

[00:16:47] Jennifer B: [00:16:47] And potentially what I see happening is we don’t have a choice to hide our lives from each other so much as we used to 

[00:16:54] Tony: [00:16:54] be able to 

[00:16:55] Jennifer B: [00:16:55] do. And now, you know, whether we like it or not emphasis on not for [00:17:00] some of us who were very much covering her in the closet, um, we’re sort of being forced to go to a more real place with each other in order to get work done.

[00:17:09] And, and so I just wonder, like, if you’ve noticed or thought about like, what might. What are the sort of pluses and minuses for LGBTQ people in this virtual only world? Is it like I had somebody who’s gender, non binary share with me that, um, it’s social relief to not be mis-gendered all the time, because it’s just me and, and my face, you know?

[00:17:31] And, um, and so in a, in a way, when we remove the physical. The impression that we make of each other and the stereotypes and the biases and all that, it actually somehow is liberating for some of us. Um, in terms of being seen, like in the way that we purely are wondered 

[00:17:48] Tony: [00:17:48] what you thought about that, isn’t that wonderful.

[00:17:51] Isn’t that sad though? That, that can’t like just meld into in-person stuff. Right. So I don’t know if you know this, Jen, but Jen knows that I’m a manufacturing [00:18:00] manager. I work full time. I have a full time job besides everything else that I do. And I lead about 65 people in a manufacturing setting. I’m the man, they have not stopped work since this started, you know, we’re, we’re an essential shop.

[00:18:14] We, we make parts for ventilators sometimes or make military parts, but I’ve been working remotely since March for March 11th. I haven’t been back there and I’ve led a team of 65 people from my dining room. Okay. I’m grateful for them. I lead as a coach by transitioned at the job I’ve been there 21 years.

[00:18:33] So, you know, but I gotta be honest with you for me. I would work from home and I know it’s not possible, but I would absolutely work from home. I’m less stressed. I am in my own element. I don’t feel like some, Oh, so overwhelmed. Um, but I agree. I think that it’s wonderful when you can have, you know, your signature block, have he, him, his too.

[00:18:55] Or whatever your, your pronoun, whatever pronouns you use, you know, [00:19:00] it’s so important that we add that. I know we couldn’t do it here, um, because of the space, but you don’t want a zoom call or whatever, or Emma’s team call everyone. Should I encourage it all the time? Put your pronouns there. You don’t assume my pronoun, you don’t know it, you know?

[00:19:18] So I think that for non binary people and trans people and LGB elemental P people. Sure. But I think it’s an individual choice. Some people like that social was Asian. Like some people, the only time they’re social is when they’re at work. Right. So this can be very, very like, Oh my God, because I’m telling you that there’s going to be, my guy is there’s a lot of companies who spend a lot of cash on office space that are now realizing, do we really need to spend that money?

[00:19:49] Right. So there might be people who aren’t going to go, ever go. Like my brother. Nick, he’s a, he works for a new chapter vitamins. Um, they’re a part of Proctor and gamble. He doesn’t think he’ll [00:20:00] ever go back to work. He thinks he’s going to be working remotely for, until he leaves or retires or whatever, you know, so who knows what’s going to happen.

[00:20:06] But again, this is going to have to be something that everybody adjusts to. Right. Except what is. So hard, right. If we accept what is and focus on what we have control over the stress in our lives almost disappear, right? So you live in the moment because, um, our past and our future is where stress lives.

[00:20:29] If you live in the moment, except what is, and you just kind of go with the flow. You can, you can live a little bit longer.

[00:20:38] Jenn: [00:20:38] I think it’s about proper expectations to such a degree. Right? So whatever. So yes, being in the moment is obviously helpful, but I also think just not. Having like such a firm grasp on what you think or what someone told you. So if we’re thinking about, in the context of the pandemic, I have gone into this and I think [00:21:00] I’ve said it on maybe another one of our live videos.

[00:21:02] I’ve just assumed that we were in this through my birthday, which happens to be the end of June. 

[00:21:07] Tony: [00:21:07] So 

[00:21:08] Jenn: [00:21:08] I’ve had zero, zero. My patients of things being sooner, and I’ve seen so many people kind of their emotions, rise and fall with like, we’re in this for another two weeks or now it’s another two weeks. And it’s just this constant like, battle with emotions.

[00:21:23] It’s like, I’ve just resigned. Like once we hit end of June, then we’ll see how I am. That’ll be, 

[00:21:29] Tony: [00:21:29] don’t be attached to the outcome. That’s really important 

[00:21:31] Jenn: [00:21:31] too. Yes. Yes. That was actually one of my writing tips recently is don’t be married to the outcome. 

[00:21:37] Tony: [00:21:37] Yeah, that’s a good tip. 

[00:21:39] Jenn: [00:21:39] Yeah.

[00:21:43] Jennifer B: [00:21:43] So much. Yeah. I mean, I loved your point, Tony, about like, like no pressure. Don’t put pressure on ourselves to be productive, like in the perhaps old way that we conceived of that and being really gentle on ourselves is such a, 

[00:21:56] Jenn: [00:21:56] why is 

[00:21:56] Jennifer B: [00:21:56] that such a hard concept for, 

[00:21:58] Jenn: [00:21:58] for some of us 

[00:22:00] [00:22:00] Tony: [00:22:00] judgment, we always, so judge ourselves and we have that, you know, self blame and shame, and I’m telling you, I was laying on my couch one Saturday.

[00:22:08] I. Didn’t feel like doing anything and in my brain, I’m like, my God, there’s so much to do. And it’s so nice outside. Why aren’t you outside? And I sounded like my parents, I was like, what are you doing? You can, you know what I mean? Like if you need it, give yourself what you need, you know, what you need and don’t have, don’t have any, like, again, be the person you are not the person you think everybody wants you to be.

[00:22:30] That’s so important. And when it comes to everything, you know, 

[00:22:35] Jenn: [00:22:35] My wife to lean into those emotions and feel the discomfort. That is what was her answer to everything is you just need to feel like lean into the discomfort instead of trying to just shoe it away or. Or, you know, be in a battle with yourself over whether or not you should be outside, just if you want to be lethargic and just chill out, just, just chill out.

[00:22:55] But I feel like for overachievers, such as maybe ourselves [00:23:00] here really hard, like that is a, that is a big internal battle I have on a regular basis of just slowing down. 

[00:23:08] Tony: [00:23:08] Yeah. And this train, you know, my wife, you know, we’re working full time, training, coaching, you know, writing, working on volume, three of artistic expressions, all that stuff.

[00:23:18] And then it was like, when this happened, I was like, you know what? I don’t want to do anything. And every time I hear I’m being very transparent, as you know, I always am. I, every time I hear of somebody young dying from this, I get really freaking angry. I get really angry and then I, then I emotionally eat and then I get, then I get shameful afterwards.

[00:23:38] It’s it’s a whole pattern I’m trying to, but man, when you read like 29 year olds with a year and a half old, it’s just like, why is this happening? Why is this happening? And why aren’t people like following the safety protocol? You know, when, when you see stuff like that. So, you know, Yeah, I, um, it’s, it’s a time.

[00:23:59] I don’t think we’ll ever [00:24:00] forget. I think we’re definitely, I know we’re going to get through this. Um, but we have to be there for each other and we have to, I just did a piece grief memo. Did you see that on Facebook? Jen Jen. So it’s an art piece about grieving and how, you know, I just started thinking about how a lot of people are grieving the loss of people these days, and a friend of mine, Rebecca and drew that Rebecca lost her 17 year old son.

[00:24:25] Through murder that murdered randomly, um, and people always try to hold you to their agenda when it comes to grieving. And even me, like when I break up with broke up with my last girlfriend who really was a hard breakup for me and people be like, you’re not over yet. And I would answer like, well, no. And I feel so ashamed of saying no.

[00:24:44] Right. We have to allow people to deal with this pandemic the way they have to deal with it. You know, some people will, will be isolated. Some people might not talk to you for a few days. Some people might be depressed. Some people might be eating everything in sight. Uh, we need to [00:25:00] support them, whoever, and on their agenda and their path, not on what we’d want them to be like so important.

[00:25:08] That’s why you support somebody. You say, Hey, listen, I’m 

[00:25:10] Jenn: [00:25:10] here for you. What do you need? 

[00:25:13] Tony: [00:25:13] And then listen

[00:25:19] Jenn: [00:25:19] and upset when people don’t respond to you quickly. Like, I, I definitely I’m really, I am completely overwhelmed with the amount of information coming at me right now. And it’s been so beautiful because. Everyone. I know, like someone texted me six days ago and I finally, it was like, Oh my God, I totally missed it.

[00:25:36] So I was like, I am sorry. And then I talked to her today and she’s like, I thought you were mad at me. I’m like, what, what is there to be mad about? Like one of those things that I think we also have, like this, this pressure that we have to be like on our a game and respond to everything as fast as it comes in.

[00:25:51] I think that adds like a whole other element to all of this like stress. So I just put an out of office up saying. Listen. I like periodical checking my [00:26:00] emails right now to just give myself a little more breathing room, to eliminate some more of that unnecessary stress that we as humans are adding on our own.

[00:26:08] No one else is putting the stress on us. Like we are, we are firmly putting the stress on ourselves and we have control over 

[00:26:14] Tony: [00:26:14] that. I actually thought you were on vacation. I was like, what is she on vacation again? What is she doing? You know, we’re we can work out from the same cloth. We’re procrastinators.

[00:26:25] No. I mean, like, you know, I I’ll hit I’ll, I’ll answer your email before you even send it to me sometimes, you know? And I’m like, what is she doing? She’s on vacation again. Oh, it must be nice. No, Kim take what take the time you need, I’m not judging. Take your time. You need 

[00:26:39] Jenn: [00:26:39] help. I just currently need six days to respond to a text that seems to be 

[00:26:45] Tony: [00:26:45] okay.

[00:26:46] Nothing wrong with it. 

[00:26:46] Jenn: [00:26:46] We just have to, we have to own it and be okay with it. 

[00:26:49] Tony: [00:26:49] Yeah, of course. Absolutely. 

[00:26:51] Jennifer B: [00:26:51] I hope we never go back and, you know, I hope we’re all learning lessons about not having needed to be like so hyperactive, [00:27:00] um, 

[00:27:00] Tony: [00:27:00] procrastinators, 

[00:27:02] Jennifer B: [00:27:02] um, and that, you know, for those of us who are entrepreneurs like Jen and me and you too, cause you are, you know, you’ve got multiple irons in the fire.

[00:27:11] We are, um, You know, I feel like I’m reaping and I’m sowing the seeds constantly. And I think this time has been about reaping and like sitting back and realizing that I’ve been sprinting for years 

[00:27:27] Tony: [00:27:27] sprinting, 

[00:27:28] Jennifer B: [00:27:28] and I’m just to be stopped like dead in your tracks. And I shouldn’t even say that phrase. I want to change that phrase.

[00:27:35] I don’t want to talk about. Death, but being stopped and then sort of forced to sit with the discomfort, Jen, and to change your pace. Um, and perhaps your output. Although I might argue for people like us is all of that output really? Like, is it necessary? And is it sustainable? Like what kind of the question to me is like, what pace is sustainable?

[00:27:57] What is healthy and feels good? Do [00:28:00] we even 

[00:28:00] Jenn: [00:28:00] know what that is? 

[00:28:02] Jennifer B: [00:28:02] Um, because we’re always running. And I mean, when you work for yourself, you’re running because, you know, we know like Jen, if we don’t run as fast as we can, like the money’s not going to come 

[00:28:11] Jenn: [00:28:11] in. 

[00:28:12] Jennifer B: [00:28:12] So it feels like a lot of pressure. But I do think too, that some of it is self-inflicted and not necessary.

[00:28:17] And I think can have like sort of a counter. Counter effect on us. So it’s just been really nice to just take stock and kind of have a chance to pick our heads up and reconnect, um, have more deep and meaningful and longer conversations with 

[00:28:32] Jenn: [00:28:32] people to be able to kind of 

[00:28:34] Jennifer B: [00:28:34] stretch into what’s going on personally.

[00:28:36] And not just like what’s on the agenda 

[00:28:38] Jenn: [00:28:38] to 

[00:28:39] Jennifer B: [00:28:39] Tony, you’re doing that with all your teams at work, you know, and probably reaching new level of intimacy with. With your 

[00:28:45] Tony: [00:28:45] coworkers. Absolutely. What I loved about the two of you, though, I got to share this really quick is that, you know, all of a sudden this pandemic happens and YouTube put this together like that, like.

[00:28:58] There’s there’s two ways you can [00:29:00] handle this. You can accept what is like you two did, and just, okay, what are we going to do? And create a, you know, a space for like this. And I thought, I really look up to you too. And everything that you’re doing, or you can sit down and fight it. And say, this is ridiculous.

[00:29:15] I’m going to wait until this is over. I’m going to go back. We’re never to go back to the way things were. Right. But, but for, for you to be open and accepting, then opening the space up to people that need it, because it really does help to listen to other people’s views on what’s happening and how everybody’s handling this.

[00:29:33] So thank you for doing this. It was awesome. Appreciate it. 

[00:29:37] Jenn: [00:29:37] I think it’s 

[00:29:39] Tony: [00:29:39] just new perspective 

[00:29:41] Jenn: [00:29:41] in general, we’ve talked about like perfectionism and like how it’s nice to just kind of feel like. Can let your hair down, which 

[00:29:47] Tony: [00:29:47] you know, I have hair your hair down, Jen, don’t let your hair gel.

[00:29:54] Jenn: [00:29:54] But one of the things that I just thought of as we’re talking is that in [00:30:00] 2018, I had a, I don’t want to call it a midlife crisis cause that’s a bit dramatic, but it definitely was like a lot of shit happening, which will be in my memoir coming out. So I’m not hiding anything. But my point is that I went six months without sleeping.

[00:30:13] Like 182 days without sleeping and the lesson I learned from that. And I’m almost thinking that, like, that was my, like my pandemic then. Right. So like I knew what it was like to go six months without sleeping. And I had to adapt because I had like, A finite period of time during the day where I was coherent enough to get anything done and everything else just kind of fell by the wayside.

[00:30:36] And yet my business did not suffer in the lease. So, Jen, as you were saying, like you’ve been sprinting for 10 years, like you would think that if I were like lethargic and I, I was able to like, Productively get like maybe 10 hours of work done a week that that would have like a huge impact. And it didn’t like if I look at the numbers, everything kind of remained the same, but I relied on the team and I relied on those around me.

[00:30:59] And I was just [00:31:00] honest saying like, listen, I am at a level of sleep deprivation that I cannot quite put into context for you. So I just need you to be patient with me. And so I feel like. That experience for me two years ago feels very similar to what’s happening right now. And I’m hoping that for those that don’t already have that perspective of what can I actually do or how productive can I actually be given the shitstorm.

[00:31:23] That’s kind of swirling around me like this. I’m hoping that we don’t lose that perspective at a later 

[00:31:27] Tony: [00:31:27] date. 

[00:31:28] Jenn: [00:31:28] So valuable in so many ways. Like it’s just helping us reconfigure and reimagine how we can get things done. But the question is Jen, like, are we. Just continuing to sprint on through it or are we slowing down enough to just kind of see like, all right, what would happen if I didn’t do the 73 items on my to do list today?

[00:31:48] What would happen? Probably like, I don’t, I don’t know the answer to that. And I think it’s different for everybody, but it’s just kind of interesting to think about, because I think we put so much pressure on ourselves to get things done [00:32:00] that like, maybe we don’t need to do whatever that thing is, is on our calendar.

[00:32:04] I don’t know. Just the thought. Yeah. 

[00:32:06] Jennifer B: [00:32:06] Yeah, 

[00:32:07] Tony: [00:32:07] this has been helping me like really balance a more balanced now than I was before all this happened, because at, at seven o’clock at night, I get up at five I’m at work at six and my diamond dining dining room table. My, my crew starts at six. I started six it’s only fair.

[00:32:23] Um, but at seven o’clock I go upstairs and I sit like I have a little meditation room and I sit there and I watch TV or just do something brainless I’m out of this area. I’m off, I’m off. And I try not to answer emails when they come through. I try really hard. But sometimes I do anyway, but you know, this is, this is a good way of like, I think it’s exciting.

[00:32:44] See, I’m trying to look at it as a way of excitement, you know, like I’m just developing the cultural competency trainings for the zoom thing for Yale. And I am looking at ways to make it really, really interactive putting people in chat rooms, doing polls, you know? So it’s, it’s different way of [00:33:00] training when I’m thinking, wow, this is really cool.

[00:33:03] It’s it’s exciting. It’s exciting for them. Like I’m, I’m up for the challenge and for the change 

[00:33:09] Jenn: [00:33:09] that is definitely, 

[00:33:13] Tony: [00:33:13] and the gas mileage now was nothing.

[00:33:18] Jenn: [00:33:18] I wasn’t filled my tank, which I don’t really don’t drive much anywhere unless, you know, there’s meetings and things, but it’s kinda, it’s a nice benefit. I feel like I haven’t spent as much money either, so that’s a good benefit. 

[00:33:31] Tony: [00:33:31] That 

[00:33:31] Jenn: [00:33:31] seems to be the big thing. 

[00:33:35] Tony: [00:33:35] Food paper, towels and 12. I remember when all this happened, I was at a conference.

[00:33:38] I was a keynote at a, at a conference in New Hampshire for, uh, the whole state, all special educators. Right. It was a two day conference. I thought they were to cancel it. And they did. And all of a sudden I’m hearing people are texting me. There’s no toilet paper left in Connecticut. There’s no, I’m like, well, what’s happening.

[00:33:54] Right? And I was like, Oh my God, there’s no toilet paper left thinking anything. So at midnight, one night, I don’t want to made [00:34:00] carte fun. And I’ve found 12 paper. I stole, I stole. Four roles from the hotel. But what I was telling people before my keynote, I said, Hey, listen, people, there’s a shortage onto paper towel.

[00:34:10] I’m 12 paper. So if you have to fly, I would go home and tear it and make two new girls out of one. Right. But it was crazy how. People went after TP, man. That could be a whole other show for you guys. I mean, honestly, 

[00:34:25] Jenn: [00:34:25] who lives in Branford is she posted a picture one day and she’s like, if anyone’s wondering where all of the people went on, the shoreline it’s in my neighbor’s garage.

[00:34:35] And it was like just blowing stacks of like 24 packs. And I’m like, you know, there’s always the one person that ruins it for everybody, right? 

[00:34:44] Tony: [00:34:44] Yes. Yes. That’s don’t give out the address. People go steal it.

[00:34:52] Jenn: [00:34:52] We don’t want to, we don’t want a revolt 

[00:34:55] Tony: [00:34:55] that would make the news. 

[00:34:56] Jenn: [00:34:56] We don’t need to end it that 

[00:34:57] Tony: [00:34:57] way. 

[00:35:00] [00:35:00] Jenn: [00:35:00] It’s been so good talking to you, 

[00:35:02] Tony: [00:35:02] always a 

[00:35:03] Jenn: [00:35:03] pleasure 

[00:35:06] Jennifer B: [00:35:06] hanging in there and amazing leader. You are coach as leader and a sustenance provider for. Our young, young humans. 

[00:35:16] Tony: [00:35:16] It’s an honor. It’s really an honor to do the work.

[00:35:18] I can tell you that. Well, thank you too. And keep up the good work and helping everybody through this. I, we really appreciate you. 

[00:35:26] Jenn: [00:35:26] You bet. Talk to you both soon. 

[00:35:29] Tony: [00:35:29] Okay.