Allison has one of those voices that draws you in. A voice that makes you feel like you’re talking to a friend; like you could tell her your deepest, darkest secrets, and she’d understand. And that’s just what her newest podcast, Bodies, does; gets people to open up and reveal some raw, riveting, and deeply personal truths about their bodies.
On a scorching NYC summer day, I took the subway out to Brooklyn to meet Allison Behringer. Allison’s apartment has amazing AC… but, we have to turn it off to avoid the sound for our recording. The armpit stains were real - well, this is one way to instantly bond with someone, I thought.
Allison graduated like many of us - bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, tons of ideas of what we wanted to do - but then at the same time, completely overwhelmed with the amount of options. She was passionate about education, so she decided to take a job teaching English in Thailand. After that, she tiptoed in a few ponds to try to find the right temperature, teaching first in the South Bronx, then working for a women’s health non-profit in India, and eventually enrolling in the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Maine. After all that, she made her way back to NYC once again, at which point she admits that she just really, really struggled for a while.
Then, the perfect opportunity to get into documentary storytelling popped up in Allison’s inbox. The mandate? Create a podcast about her summer internship in NYC. Without any podcasting experience, Allison set about recording over the course of the next year, and packaged a year’s worth of recordings and interviews into an 8 episode podcast called The Intern. Yes, you heard that right - a whole year for eight 30-minute episodes.
As first jobs typically go, Allison’s provided her with amazing experience, but the next goal was to find a way to talk about the topics that she’s passionate about - which is where we come back to Bodies.
by Allison Behringer
Bodies is a podcast where each episode follows one person’s journey to solve a medical mystery about their body. It’s bold, it’s honest, and it might make you uncomfortable at times - but, above all else, it is important.
I had the unique opportunity to listen to Allison’s first episode before she released it, and I was stricken by her honesty and bravery. As you’ll find out, the first episode is about her own journey with an issue she solved about her body: painful sex. Most people cringe at the thought of talking about intimacy with other people - let alone with complete strangers. In our interview, I ask if she is nervous about the release and about people hearing her story, to which she replies “Sometimes when I go to sleep at night, I’m like.. am I really gonna publish this? Am I really gonna put that out there? But then I just like shove that thought back down and try to go to sleep.”
Part of what helps Allison fall asleep is knowing that she could be helping other people with similar conditions. Bodies is important because it allows people to tell their stories; stories about their health that have deeply impacted their lives, and stories which may inspire similarly affected people to seek help.
In addition to the unique stories, what sets Bodies apart is the production quality. As the savvy podcast ear will pick up on instantly, Bodies is incredibly well done. Allison artfully weaves together complicated human stories - and as you’ll hear in the interview, that’s part of what motivates Allison. She references a word that I’d never heard before:
Sonder: "the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own."
So – if you are interested in joining Allison and myself in the podcast world, here’s what you need:
A recording device
I had met Allison about a year ago through a coworker and reached out to her very early on to ask for her advice about starting a podcast. She told me that you can put as much or as little time into it as you want. People ask her a lot about how to get into podcasting and she remarks, it’s kind of like asking - “I want to write, how do I do it?” It varies a ton. Once you have the basic equipment - which can range from a $50 Snowball to a $300 Heil (I went with the middle ground, the $100 Yedi) you can then decide how much time you want to put into editing.
Allison inspires me. When she set out to make Bodies, she posted a note on her mirror that said, “make the thing.” 18 months later, Bodies was released. I hope she inspires you too, to go on and make the damn thing. I also hope that Bodies inspires you to be honest, to be brave, and to always consider *sonder*.