Jessica Osias opens up about podcasting, setting boundaries & putting God first

Welcome to the 12th edition of The Intellects. Today we’re chatting with an admirable storyteller who shares her life lessons through podcasting, Jessica Osias.

Jessica is the creator and host of Stories to Tell, an epic podcast that isn’t shy of hilarity, sincerity and integrity.

Picture provided by Jessica Osias

She’s just getting started and I’m already a fan. My favorite episode, so far, is Tell Me About Tobago Part 1. This episode dives deep into taking a solo trip and the unexpected things that unfold along the way.

This particular story made me laugh out loud, clap, and nod my head because Jessica keeps it unapologetically real. I am in total agreement with how she reacts to different scenarios. By the way, she incorporates characters and accents to help tell her story.

Listening to Jessica’s podcast is like listening to your best friend share a thought provoking story full of humor, great imagery, and valuable lessons. Each episode will only take 10 minutes of your time. It’s definitely worth it.

Visit @storiestotellpod on Instagram to stay updated with her journey and to view the many platforms her podcast is available on.

Q: Tell me about yourself and your podcast.

A: My name is Jessica and I’m the host and creator of a podcast called Stories to Tell. I initially came up with the idea to create my podcast because I love everything about storytelling, but I wasn’t finding podcasts that were about stories that I wanted to hear and in the format that I wanted to hear it.

Stories to Tell Podcast is about stories that I and [soon] other black women tell in a narrative style that showcases how multifaceted we are.

I believe in leveling the playing field, and I think having a platform that shares knowledge and strategies for us to advance as a group, without having to put on this façade, is what I want to express through storytelling.

Essentially, I want black women to be comfortable in all facets of themselves and embrace their duality.

Q: What compelled you to become a podcaster and share such personal stories?

A: Before starting my podcast, I was working in a very corporate environment that didn’t allow me to express my creativity what so ever, and I knew that I needed to tap into that side of me before I was caught up in being stagnant.

So I chose podcasting because it gave me the freedom to express myself while also helping me with writing and speaking. When I went into work Monday through Friday at a firm that had less than three black people, I always felt that I had to put on this persona or speak in a certain way so I would be less judged. But, anyone who has worked in that type of environment would tell you that it is TIRESOME.

I think it’s hard to be proudly black, work with people who unknowingly or knowingly say prejudice things, then go home and make sure you’re still being all of your black self.

So with experiencing all of that I wanted to have a platform where I shared stories of how black women can be the Twerker on Saturday, meditate on Sunday, and ask Meredith about the company’s budget on Monday. The spectrums of a black girl is what I love and love to share.

Q: Have you ever been reluctant to share certain stories because it may shine negative light on other people?

A: One of my upcoming stories I was feeling reluctant to share because I was nervous about how others were going to perceive me, or if my parents would disapprove because of how they may look. But I had to remind myself that I’m not telling these stories for anyone’s approval. Whatever story I choose to share, it is because I chose to share it. If someone doesn’t want their name to be said I’ll give them a pseudonym. I try to be considerate of how someone may feel when listening to a story, with that I also make sure that I’m not altering my truth for their comfort.

Q: Describe the behind the scenes work when it comes to producing content for your podcast. 

A: My workspace for my podcast is at a desk in my room with a water bottle, my laptop and mic, a word document of my story, and the will to sit there for hours to record over and over until it’s to my satisfaction. It’s still a process, I’m still trying to get used to the sound of my voice and getting rid of the need for perfection.

I’m a part of a podcasting group that helps me out a lot when it comes to stuff like which mic I should get, how should I market my podcast, or how do I get set up with a host to distribute the podcast on all major platforms. So networking with like-minded people really saved me from a lot of trials and errors and analysis paralysis. 

Picture provided by Jessica Osias

Q: I know how much you love Zora Neale Hurston. What intrigues you about her storytelling skills. 

A: The rawness and relatability. When you read her stories. She paints such a vivid picture and it’s so relatable. You’re either the main character or know someone just like her. I also love the fact that her stories are not always inspiring and motivational, it just is, but even that to me is inspiring because it can make a person feel seen. She makes her main characters in her stories their own hero, which I love. She also spent a lot of time in my parents’ country Haiti to learn more about our culture, at a time where being from the islands or Africa was not attractive. So for that I always admired her and her work.

Q: If you could rewind time and talk to your 12-year-old self, what would you tell her?

A: I would tell her to read, read, read as much as she could and especially from black authors.

I would tell her to challenge whatever she doesn’t agree with regardless of who said it and those insecurities of being a tall, heavy-set dark-skin girl will be one of the reasons why her confidence will blossom in the future.

To not worry about them boys making fun of you, some of them will slide in your DM’s when you grow up, and to always be respectful and keep being your funny self.

Q: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your life? 

The most important thing I’ve learned is to keep God first. 

Q: What are three things you can’t leave the house without?

A: Keys, phone, and wallet. I really feel like I’m missing a limb if I go out without even one of the three. 

Q: What takes you out of your comfort zone?

A: Speaking in public and putting my work out there. They’re both rooted in how people may perceive me, but I’m constantly trying to combat that to lessen my anxiety around it.

Some days are easier than others when it comes to putting myself out there, but I tell myself to “do it anyway” when I feel my nervous or anxious emotions overpowering my actions.

Q: How do you protect your peace?

By deciding what I’m not going to tolerate. When you establish boundaries you don’t have to worry about your peace being disturbed.

Q: What’s the first thing you do in the morning? 

A: Pray and thank God for the day. 

Q: How do you maintain a self-care routine when traveling?

A: Just by acting like I’m home. My self-care routines are more like habits so I can’t lose them just by being in a different location.

Q: What does self-care look like to you?

A: Sundays are my self-care days where I just allow myself to do whatever I want. I may want to binge watch 90s movies all day, listen to other podcasts, or read a book. I don’t judge myself at all on Sundays and I make sure that I’m only doing things that I enjoy. That’s probably one of the best self-care habits I’ve developed.

Q: What tips do you have on starting a podcast?

A: I would say to network with people in the podcast industry and join groups where other podcasters are starting out just like you. It’s super important to network with people starting out, not just the people who already have a big podcast because then you can share information that you’ve learned and vice versa. And most importantly be consistent. If you believe in your content and you’re consistent — you’re set, period.

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