Podcast Junkie: Dear Sugar

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“Dear Sugar Radio: Listen to your heart – Radically Empathic Advice from Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond.

The universe has good news for the lost, lonely and heartsick. Dear Sugar — the cult-favorite advice column from The Rumpus — is back, but this time speaking right into your ears. Hosted by the original Sugars, Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, the podcast fields all your questions — no matter how deep or dark — and offers radical empathy in return.” (For more info. click here.)

Have a burning question for Sugar? Email dearsugarradio@gmail.com


In my ongoing love affair with podcasts, I have recently discovered the Dear Sugar show and it is wonderful. The hosts are Steve Almond (how awesome is this guy’s name, am I right??) and the amazing Cheryl Strayed, author of the incredibly successful book, Wild, which was also made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon last year. The funny thing about this discovery is that I have actually never read anything written by Cheryl before, not that I haven’t seen the book all over though, and I also haven’t heard of Dear Sugar either, but while listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcasts (blog on that soon, I promise!), she had Cheryl on as a guest and I fell in love with her immediately. I mean, not only is one of my all time favorite people friends with her and singing her praises, but she is also mega talented and admirable in her own right. So, win-win, and after a quick search, I was subscribed to the Dear Sugar podcast and the rest is (recent) history.

The cool thing about the Dear Sugar podcast is that it is based on Steve and Cheryl’s old column of the same title. Steve was the original “Sugar” but then he began to realize that he just wasn’t the authentic fit for the role so, enter Cheryl, who came in to replace him. The column had the same vibe as Dear Abby where anyone can write in about virtually any topic and the answer would be written as a letter back to the person in the next issue. Well, the column is finished but these two people knew that the following wasn’t so they decided to bring it to life with a show instead. Now those letters that people send in to Sugar are read on air and answered on the spot. Where this column was once anonymous, listeners can now engage with the Sugars on a more personal level as they discuss their own lives in relation to the letters they receive. This new way of running an advice column is so clever and it gives people the ability to listen on the go, which is what we all love to do right? 🙂 I’m hooked and you should be too.

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[Steve Almond & Cheryl Strayed: The Sugars]


Because I am a new listener, I am slowly making my way through the series and episode #5 is my favorite one so far for two reasons. First, the Sugars called Elizabeth Gilbert, and second, because it was about something that’s been on my mind for a while now: having kids. The letter writer is about 31 years old and she believes in her gut that she doesn’t want to have kids. She has also recently begun dating a man who feels the same way, but she can’t shake the nagging feelings as to whether this decision is the right one. Will she regret not having children later on once it’s too late? Will she end up changing her mind after she is already committed to her current decision and budding relationship? And, if she doesn’t become a mom, will the people in her life ever be able to truly understand and respect her decision?

This really resonated with me because I am 32, married, and am currently at the beginning of changing every aspect of my life as I know it. When I think about my future, I can clearly see myself as a mother and my husband as a father, so I differ in the choice of the letter writer in that regard, but my dilemma over it is still the same. My possible future life feels so clear that I can describe every detail of my child’s face and the sound of their laughter and running feet filling our home; I can see the home we’re in too. But even with such a clear picture that feels like I’m looking into a crystal ball, it is sometimes impossible to believe that this will be my reality when I return to the present and remember how old I am getting or how far we still have to go to reach our career goals, and etc. The reality of the “American Dream” is no longer true for my generation as things are much harder today than they were back when my parents were chasing their dreams. My gut feeling is saying that this life that I am envisioning is absolutely for me though, but when I think about the “what if’s” and the “when will this happen” questions, I hit a roadblock.

I’m happy right now with the path that I’m on and I’m so beyond blessed to have the people and things that I do, but I know that I need more. The “more” is in my visions of the future for my husband and me. It’s as real as the keys that I am typing on to write this blog, so that has to mean something right? I think that the main problem is that time seems to be moving faster than we are and I’m not sure how to catch up or even keep the same pace. I know that I’m not supposed to be in that vision of our future yet, and that’s perfectly fine, but it doesn’t stop me from wondering whether any of it is going to happen at all. It also doesn’t stop me from comparing myself to my friends who have already surpassed me in these areas.

I know that anything can happen and I know that I am far from being too old to accomplish my dreams, there are 90 year old people in college for goodness sake, I’m just unsure about where my life is going. It’s a terrifying and completely exciting chaotic ball of emotions but I have faith that we will have a great future regardless of what happens, and I love coming across things like this podcast that make me take stock in my life. Our emotions are so important and they must work together in order to have balance, which reminds me of the movie Inside Out. With this thought so fresh, I also mentioned to my friend a little bit ago about how her own sadness must be loved as much as any other emotion she has because each one makes up the whole of who we are. In the movie, Sadness is the ultimate hero, where everyone originally thought Joy was, and it was the most beautifully organic truth that the movie writers could have come up with. We must trust ourselves enough to know that we can get through the merry-go-rounds within us, one up and down horse at a time. So ride on, my fellow Spirit Junkies! Ride on…and listen to some awesome podcasts along the way!

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4 thoughts on “Podcast Junkie: Dear Sugar

  1. The Guat says:

    Duuuuuuuude I’m a total podcast nerd! I just discovered them and I’m on listening marathons. I listen to Gilbert’s and a few others. I also heard the Cheryl Strayed talk and found her podcast and wanted to listen but was worried there’d be spoilers about the book, so I haven’t tuned into that one yet. I’m almost done with the book. Soooooo I started reading your post but stopped because I wasn’t sure if you had spoilers. If you don’t I’ll read on, if you do I’ll finish the book and come back to this awesome post. High-five!! To my awesome podcast junkie buddy 🙂

    Like

      • The Guat says:

        Ok since there are no spoilers I’m going to return 🙂 but as far as podcasts, I’m fairly new to the scene and so far I listen to Rob Bell, Gilbert, The Sugars, Joel Osteen and The Nerdist. How about you?

        Like

      • Krystal says:

        Well you already know that I listened to Liz Gilbert and I’m still making my way through The Sugars. I’ve also started The Academy of Miracles, Wellness Wonderland Radio, Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig, Bill Maher, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, and Gilmore Guys. I subscribed to The Lightmaker Podcast this week also. That one is brand new with only two episodes though so I am not sure what I think of it yet but I follow the host on Instagram so it should be good. 🙂

        Like

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