If you’re not familiar with Nora McInerny or her podcast “Terrible, Thanks for Asking”, it features real people telling their stories - which are painstakingly honest, and very often tragic and heartbreaking.
A good friend introduced me to the podcast and shared this episode when I was going through a difficult time.
Initially, I had thought that it was definitely not for me. It seemed that listening to these stories would be incredibly depressing, and didn't I have enough sad stories in my own life?
And yet, the way Nora guides listeners through each guest’s story along with the details of how they’ve survived - it miraculously has the power to strengthen our resolve as we persist through our own suffering.
The podcast title comes from Nora’s idea of what a more accurate answer to the question, “How are you?” might sound like. Instead of responding with a generic, “I’m fine.” Nora suggests that maybe we should be more honest with each other, and respond with something more like, “Terrible. Thanks for Asking.”
This particular episode was not only incredibly affirming for me, but it is the most beautifully produced podcast I’ve ever heard. As someone who has listened to hundreds of podcast episodes across genres, producer Hans Buetow’s vision and imagination in this episode are a testament to the power of artistry, particularly in collaboration. (And it’s not only me who is mesmerized by his talent, because he has since moved on from TTFA and now works for The New York Times audio.)
At the very beginning of the podcast, when Alysha-Aubrey shares her story, she asks the question, “If everything ends up being okay and you're still not okay, is that okay? To feel those emotions? To feel that hurt? I don’t know….” In this episode, Nora and Hans give their listeners the opportunity to respond to her - and to let her know that it’s not only okay - it’s more than okay.
Once my friend shared it with me, I must have listened to this episode at least twenty times- particularly from minute 4:43 to minute 5:19. These collective voices soothed me, and made me feel less alone in my pain. I hope it can do the same for you.