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EP 1 | Welcome to the Laurie Talks Podcast

Welcome to the inaugural episode of my podcast, where you can expect blunt honesty from me.

In this episode, you’ll learn about this podcast and what you can expect from future episodes, about my sister Louise, the family dance business that Louise spearheaded, why Louise declares that all dancers are special, and the recent graduate Louise approached in the airport.

Hey, everybody. This is Laurie Johnson. What’s happening?

OK, so what’s happening in my world? I’ve been working on creating a call-in podcast for I don’t know how long. And I’m setting up my life to transition into podcasting bliss. Last month I took calls because I’ve always wanted to host a call in show. I took the calls and made the conversations, had a jolly good time, sent the audio file to music man. He added the intro outro, and I was ready to send the files to Libsyn for the hosting, and I just happened to be on the phone with one of my nieces.

And of course we were talking about me and….kidding. But at that moment we were. We’re both getting excited. Yes I’ve got the calls. You’ve got the calls too, yes.

So I don’t know how I positioned it. I don’t know if I was like I’m going to allow you the privilege of listening to a few call or if it was, girl, let me know if I’m OK. You know. Help me limit my exposure.

Either way I sent her three files and it took a while to get back to me. Like 24 hours I hadn’t heard anything, but always remember that what you’re working on is a priority for you but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a priority in the life of others. So always be cognizant of that. And so you don’t blow up somebody’s phone like, “Did you listen, did you listen?”

So she calls finally and she says, “Auntie. you can’t talk to people like that.” So I was like, Oh here we go.

So she told me a lot of things. It was painful. I didn’t want to hear it but it was so horrific that I just had to listen. Like really. You know how when you’re surfing the web and those headlines are just so gripping. You just have to listen and you want to click but you don’t want to. It was like that. I had to listen. So it was hurtful.

And of course I’m like a regular human being defensive – nothing but excuses and explanations. But as I was giving her my excuses and explanations I was accessing the folders and the files in Dropbox and renaming the folder. SHUT DOWN.

And so sometimes when we hear something about ourselves it could bother us and bring us to our knees because either we can’t or we won’t accept what may have credence. We don’t want to hear it. My little tip is this: takes time to get used to hearing things about yourself so if people give you a little clues, listen. It doesn’t mean that they’re right. Just keep your mind open so you can have awareness about yourself.

So what my niece told me is what people have been telling me for years – the same old story. You’re rude, you’re abrupt You’re direct; you don’t have a filter, just bam, your breath stinks.

So I’m like, what’s wrong with that?

So I ended the phone call with my niece trying not to be mad at her. I had my own pity party for a few days, although I did remain optimistic while doing so, going through the phases anger, denial, finally get to acceptance. And then you have to consider your options moving forward.

And so my options were to quit…huh, keep whining…huh, worry about it — I don’t think so — proceed – but try something new. So that’s why I’m starting with interviews, and by doing a few interviews up front, people that don’t know me can get a feel for my quick talking pace and know that I really don’t mean any harm.

And you may be wondering, what kind of people are you going to interview. I’m interviewing anyone who is active in their life. That’s it. Like the guy who did my taxes the other day. Yes, it’s June, and I just did my taxes. He’s active in his life. I’m having him on that show. He’s like 27 years old and a real nerd.

And I do still plan to take phone calls. I’ll probably do something Iike, “Call-in Fridays.” I’ll keep you posted as to when the phone lines open and I’m going to try to be really nice. I really am. I’ll be gentle and tender. You know what though? The first week I met my wife, she was telling me the same things. She’s still around. How bad can I be really? I’m harmless.

Back to business. I’d be remiss if I didn’t think the individuals who called in. The three girls from the dance studio on a break. That was my favorite. I think there were like 12 and 14. I don’t know. But we just cackled a little bit. Lots of people who knew me called and I appreciate you taking that risk with me into that kind of unknown territory. Yeah that’s nice. Thank you.

And now without any further delay, allow me to introduce my first guest. She is my older sister. She’s pretty fantastic. She’s got some flaws but don’t we all. She’s the one that instilled in me my love for dance. We owned family run dance studio and my sister was the brains of the whole thing. She was the talent and the brains. She had this way of making every dancer feel like they were the most special person in the room and that their gift was theirs to own and that you had a certain responsibility because you were a dancer. So every life lesson she ever gave was typically followed by, “And why? Because you’re a dancer and dancers are extra special people; they’re extraordinary. They have a different standard to everything they do. They’re just like these regal kind of people.” And she’d say these things. And you’d believe her. And that would impact you and your life.

And subsequently she’s impacted the lives of many individuals. I probably will not even let her listen to the introduction nor will I tell her she’s my first guest because she’s so dramatic. She’ll spend 10 minutes saying thank you. To the outside world, she’s known as Mary. Inside the family and in the dance studio we call her Louise. Her birth name is Mary Louise Johnson. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, a round of applause.

[00:06:51 Music]

Hold on a minute headset. OK I have the headset in.

Louise: I didn’t have time to really do that. Can you hear me?

Laurie: What did you say?

Louise: II feel like I’m unprepared and you have to have it now, right?

Laurie: I have to have what now?

Louise: You have to have this interview now?

Laurie: Did I use the word interview?

Louise: OK. Well I call it interview. What do you title it? Is it a concept? I mean I am not quite sure what to say. I use the word “interview.” What is this?

Laurie: Let me explain what it is. Have you heard of a podcast?

Louise: Yes.

Laurie: You know what a podcast is?

Louise: Yes.

Laurie: So I have started a podcast.

Louise: Ok. Oh I have to do this today.

Laurie: Louise, there’s nothing for you to do.

Louise: Yeah that’s not what you want.

Laurie: You don’t even know what I want. I just texted you saying I need 20 minutes of your phone time right. And then I said we’re going to have a discussion about dancers so that you would know it wasn’t family related, that it was going to be about dance.

Louise: They’re so special.

Laurie: Yeah. That’s all I think because you do you realize that my whole life that you have pretty much prefaced every lesson you taught me, summing it up with, Lori Hello you have a certain responsibility because you’re a dancer so you have to walk a certain way carry yourself a certain way speak a certain way present yourself in a sexual way that signals to the world that you have some kind of special thing regal-ness or something. Do you realize you do that?

Louise: I’ve been told that, but I guess I’m more aware of it now than I was in the past. Because that’s who you are. You’re not just an average person. You’re a dancer. You understand who you are. You hold your head up. You walk a certain way; you push your shoulders down and back; you pull those stomach muscles in tight because you are a dancer, you’re not just anybody. You are a very unique special person. And there’s not a lot of people that can do this and have to stick-to-it-tive-ness and then are responsible to pull their hair up, to focus in the mirror and drill and drill. It takes a very special person to pursue dance and I can just go on and on and on about how it’s amazing it is and how it would change your life forever. I mean look at Misty Copeland. Look at her background. Oh my God there’s another girl from Africa.

Laurie: Michaela DePrince

Louise: Yes. Yes. She was adopted by those white parents and the mother just sat up all hours of the night making those costumes for her and just doing for her and doing. And she was just humiliated, just destroyed almost because of the spots on her body but that dance, and the discipline of that dance kept that girl focused, and she is just phenomenal. She’s got a story that the world needs to hear.

Laurie: So with that. Do you have any questions for me, sister?

Louise: Not at this point. I am going to follow up and get myself prepared to come back for this with my information and then maybe sit perhaps in a hotel room where you know it’s quiet and it’s pretty whatever whatever.

Laurie: In other words, you have to have the right environment.

Louise: That helps.

Laurie: Kevin is our brother and I told Kevin this morning, Louise, that I wasn’t going to tell you anything about the podcast because even though it’s audio only – you would have to do your hair and makeup and you’d have to have your nails done. You’d have to have the napkin folded. You’d have to have the proper outfit with no creases and all the little threads would have to be cut off. The buttons would have to be sewn on properly. You’d have to be by the lake, I’d imagine, in a sound booth; the security guard would be have been told and paid and everything would just be right. The thank you letters would already be hand written and stamped.

Louise: Those little things are so important. What you just said, just a thank you note show appreciation. Now people don’t even send a thank you note. The importance of it and it’s just such a little thing, just so miniscule, and it means so much.

Like I was telling Zaniyah. A please and a thank you go a long way. I’m digressing. Well we had had a blowout here last night with Zaniyah. The whole house left the kitchen because I was on her. I don’t know if you wanna hear about it now but I read her.

I’ve just been having this sequence of events and talking to people and I had an experience the other day in Fort Lauderdale Airport where there was a black girl just sitting in the terminal just crying her eyes out. And nobody goes over to speak to this girl. It didn’t matter that she was black and they were all white. This was somebody who was in distress, and she screaming, and nobody goes.

And I had a phone call with her, and I’m going to call her again. So long story short she missed the plane and it was her graduation. And you know what I said to her? And I didn’t even realize it.

I made her stand up and I put my arms around her and I whispered. I said you could be my sister. You are better than this. Did you get it? You’re better than this. And I looked at her, and I shook up body and said you’re better than that.

And when I called her, she got it together when she went to that gate. And then I called her later on that day and she said to me what got her was when I shook her and I said to her, “You could be my sister. You are better than that.” Yes. And she went on and she got on the plane and I told her to call the school and let them know what happened. Maybe they could send a car to the terminal to meet her, to escort her quickly to her graduation.

Just little things that she didn’t think about. And nobody would go over and see about thi girl. I’ll never forget it.

I guess it’s the sequence of events coming up in my life where I just say things to people. This girl was telling me the other day that she’s not Gen Z; She’s a millennial.

And she said, do you understand what I’m saying. Do you understand that I’m tired of people trying to classify me just because I look like this.

Am I like sweetie, let me tell you what you need to do. And I gave her a long spiel. Now here you come with this, and I’m like wow. So anyway I’m done. The other day I was in the flight deck while the other one stepped out because the flight attendant I to go in there, and I was in there and he was having moments with his kids. All right this is what you need to do is that you need to know. We had this and he gave me a big hug and said, “You could fly with me anytime, Miss Mary, anytime. I would consider it an honor you know.”

And now here you are approaching me with this and I guess it’s making me think.

Laurie: Here’s something else to make you think. The enthusiasm and gratitude that that girl showed you in the airport, she said that what got her was when you said you could be my sister.

Louise: And you’re better than that.

Laurie: Right but the sisterly part… I’m grateful to you as my older sister. This Louise is episode 1 of my podcast. And the reason I’ve been trying to get you on the phone for the past week is because you are my first guest. Calm yourself down. Are you still there.

Louise: Yes I’m trying to pinch myself. Yes.

Laurie: Oh yeah. So you are my first guest but I knew if I told you, you’d have to go to the supermarket and get the right lemon or something for your throat or something crazy. So anyway know that I love you. I appreciate you. I appreciate the influence you’ve had in my life, the lessons you taught me and the way you always are telling me about how to wear my crown and it’s paid for and its bought, all these things that you just say. You have a way of making people believe that what you’re saying is true and because you come off as so credible, it is true. And so you have impacted the lives of so many people. Thank you, first guest. It’s been a real pleasure.

Louise: You’re very welcome. And we’ll be in touch.

Laurie: Well there you have it. Episode one on the books. Thank you so much for listening. That call with my sister did last 50 minutes. I edited it down to 10 both for my sanity and your time.

A lot of what we talked about had to do with how successful she would be as a podcast host. More on that later. I appreciate you. Thank you for listening to LaurieTalks, the podcast. My name is Laurie Johnson and I shall return. And like any good host I should have a host of calls to action but I don’t. I don’t have anything to say about follow me here and subscribe to this there. I will tell you stay active in your own life – on and off the dance floor.

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