Almost one year later and what I said was never going to return is returning haha. For those new to my website, my studio, blog or podcast: on May 2nd 2016 I started a podcast called Go Forth & Nerd. Originally it was just me ranting and raving about my favorite pop culture references and growing up as a nerd. It quickly evolved into guests and interviews across the globe, stories and even co-hosts. Voicing my experiences I wanted to identify with a group of people out there, basically nerds. In my opinion if you've ever felt like hiding your nerdiness then that's probably a badge of your authentic nerdiness. If you're a nerd and have always been loud and proud, good for you! However I have suspicions you'll truly understand the nuances of what it means if you haven't been mistreated for being one. It's not that I want people to have gone through the fire for being other it's just part of the reasons why I felt compelled to lift up fellow geeks. I'm a bit of a soap box preacher when it comes to things I care about, I think we all are. So you can understand where I'm coming from: the heart of why I started this podcast was specifically to try to encourage and unite people under the nerd banner. I also wanted a podcast that wasn't just an "Angry Nerd" talking about disappointments/or reinforcing negative stereotypes as well.
However I discovered something...
The podcast became a sort of public therapy for me. I unwrapped old wounds, expressed fears, trauma, and made a lot of personal confessions. This at times made me feel uncomfortable and even caused riffs in relationships that weren't fortified. Yet it was important for me to get those feelings and experiences off my chest. I experienced a profound sense of catharsis. Especially while I was searching for a good therapist. A good therapist, and I mean a good one because there's a lot of crummy therapists out there, is like finding your favorite tv show. They're rare and comforting. They're also relatable and hard to let go when the time ends. And finally they're always worth a revisit even when you're running through the same material, you've got layers of re-reads and new self discovery.
From between the time I had started the podcast to this day I've had a great deal of loss and growth. My grandpa, who was more like a father to me growing up, died. My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died shortly after. The relationship between my dad and I died, meaning I effectively lost both my parents in the same year. I had extreme financial and health turmoil. From theft to almost losing my business entirely! I suffered from intense anxiety and had to be prescribed meds to help me cope with PTSD, from deeply disturbing memories that unfortunately my mother's death released these repressed experiences like a floodgate. My anxiety was so extreme it was mimicking all the signs of a heart attack and I had to be rushed to the ER. Then the worst I could imagine; my wife and best friend of twelve years left me, took our bed and most of our possessions including my lovable cat and then quickly divorced me. I got severely depressed lost 25lbs in less than two months, and was so sad I actively wanted to kill myself. I had struggled with depression at points in my life before but none of it so prevalent. I wasn't just contemplating suicide I actively plotted realistic ways to end my life. It was dark. Ultimately I settled on stop eating until it was all over. Starvation is this weird sorta slow suicide that people often seem to completely ignore. You'll say you're depressed and you haven't been eating and they'll say "but you look so good, or thin". As if they rejected your actual message and are hyper focused on you loosing weight! There's a strange sickness to our society. Yet here I was ending my existence minus one meal at a time. Then a light appeared... A bright and somewhat distant light...
Through my tears I reached out to my friends, family and colleagues. A ray of hope appeared when I relayed my pain to a friend I made at Netflix which threw open doors in the most incredible way. All of a sudden people were taking my calls and career doors not only began to open but like a vortex pulled me through! My dearest friends proved again and again that they loved me and they were there for me! My mother in-law (hence forth my New Mom for all time!) surrounded me with the most beautiful love and support which was mirrored in my other sister in-law and her husband (henceforth now just my brother and sister of choice) threw their arms around me and just loved the crap out of me. My sisters reached out in the most amazing ways, my brothers too! My older sister Micah has been a rock to me be along with my wonderful friends Cody, David, Kevin and Mike. These saints pulled me out of the pit of pits! All the while Netflix, Nickelodeon, CBS, Disney and more said to me in no uncertain terms PLEASE WORK WITH US JESSE!!! It has been this overwhelming experience! When I felt my life was without worth, when I was at the emotional lowest I've ever been the hands, face and feet of God showed up in the love of these people. I had friends! I had people all across the globe that love me. And loved me for me!
So as this realization began to burn brighter and brighter I saw something missing. Something bigger than myself. The friendships I've built one at a time. That's what the podcast was for me. Building nerdy friendships. While all this support wasn't directly related to my podcast it was the fruit of love and friendships that has pulled me through. So I'm now reinvigorate to continue my nerdy mission to make friends of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and differences to truly Go Forth & Nerd! I'm excited looking forward to being your friend in your ear, online, in person or anywhere in between. While this relaunch won't be the same, perhaps it'll be a bit grittier but the heart and soul has more resolve than ever! To lift you up!!! To help you enjoy yourself as a part of a geeky family across all tribes and nations. Thank you for being you and let's be friends together!
Sincerely with nerdy platonic love,
Mr. Jesse Bray