Alexandria, VA – “We started this podcast because we want to have really honest, authentic, and even uncomfortable conversations about anything, but especially the things no one wants to talk about. And our hope is that these conversations can build a community of people who might feel less isolated and alone. So we are two Jesses, and this is We Should Talk About That.”
This introduction not only begins We Should Talk About That (WeSTAT), a hot new podcast by Alexandria residents Jessica Buchanan and Jessica Kidwell, but also sums up its mission statement and objective. The pilot was recorded six months to the day after the Jesses’ first meeting, an uncanny coincidence in their burgeoning friendship and creative collaboration.
With many overlapping friendships in their adjacent neighborhoods in the Fort Hunt section of Alexandria (they both work in local schools), news spread quickly about their new project. Bolstered by word of mouth and social media, a legion of fans grew as the January 6 launch date approached. Any opening night jitters were surely assuaged by the fact that their initial post led to 500 downloads and dozens of Facebook posts gushing warm wishes, congratulations, and heartfelt thanks.
Several listeners were new to the medium and, although the Jesses expected their audience would be mainly women in their 40s, they were delighted that a number of men tuned in as well. “My favorite posts were from these three guys in my neighborhood. I called them the triumvirate,” said Kidwell.
“They all said they’d never listened to a podcast before and thought they should listen to it together.”
If that pilot is a harbinger of success, WeSTAT is going to be a no-holds-barred discussion exploring, unpacking, and reframing the prickly issues that we tend to gloss over.
The women reject striving for perfection, celebrate how vulnerability can lead to connections, explore the belief that pain can be a gift, and seek authenticity in conversation. What can prevent that authentic dialogue? “Fear of judgment, fear of sounding stupid,” says Buchanan. “Busy-ness is a huge culprit. When we don’t even know ourselves because we’re so busy attending to everything and everybody else that we don’t take the time and energy for ourselves.”
The allure of WeSTAT lies in that candor, expressed through the intimacy of a podcast. Reading about meaningful issues is one thing, but hearing the inflection, tone, emphasis, and cadence of the spoken word commands more attention. It creates camaraderie not found in the written word.
The Jesses want to share their stories through WeSTAT, not to unburden themselves but hopefully to lighten the load of anyone feeling alone or marginalized. Their vision is to create an emotional village, with a well where listeners can fill their buckets with support and compassion.
Do they plan to have guests on their podcast? Possibly, in the future, when they’re comfortable in their new roles. Will they do a live podcast? Maybe. Do they have a list of topics lined up? Of course! Topics currently include, in no particular order, motherhood, autism, grief, body image, and PTSD and surviving survival (Buchanan is a New York Times best-selling author of a dramatic survival story*).
How do they not digress too far from the topic? They say they do digress, but then do a lot of editing. Still, they agree that digression often leads to real discovery and, of course, they should talk about that.
Subscribe to We Should Talk About That on Spotify and Apple iTunes, and follow it on Facebook. New episodes arrive every Monday.
*Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six, available on Amazon.