Avery – 00:01
Today we’re going to be talking with someone that I can really relate to on a lot of different levels.
She really talks about how music can be so powerful and so healing, especially for those of us that identify as being introverted or more sensitive.
And I would just really love to introduce you to Birgit.
She is the creator and host of the Living on the B-Side podcast, which is a place to showcase the power of music through people’s stories.
She’s been a music lover all of her life and in 2018, she took the leap to give her passion a voice in the world.
Going from an introverted teenager in Switzerland to a confident podcast host currently living in Melbourne, Australia, Birgit wants to share hers and others’ journeys through life with the help of music.
And when she isn’t on the bee side, she spends time with her hubby and senior cat Rico, enjoying nature and diving into all things personal development.

Avery – 00:59
And our conversation is really neat just in the different ways that we take things and I’m really grateful for Birgit’s vulnerability.
So let’s get into it.
Hi, I’m Avery Thatcher, a former ICU nurse, and this is not your standard stress management podcast where we just focus on those band-aid solutions like the benefits of meditation, mindfulness, and self-care.
You already know that you need some kind of recovery strategy to deal with your stressful life.
But what you may not know are all of the sneaky ways that society, our upbringing and our high achieving nature, and so many other factors contribute to our risk of burnout.
That, my friend, is what we talk about here on this podcast because you can’t do something about a situation that you’re not aware of, right?
So if you’re ready to get out of the pattern of burning out, feeling better, only to burn out again, it’s time for us to shut the light on the truth about burnout.

Avery – 01:57
Okay I am excited to talk to Birgit today because she and I had talked on her podcast a little while ago about the importance of music and I know that we’re going to dig into that a little bit today too but yeah there are so many other things that we’re going to be talking about so welcome Birgit.

Brigit – 02:15
Oh hello everybody thanks Avery for having me on your podcast this time.

Avery – 02:21
So I’m sure people are like, oh, there’s an accent there.
So can you tell us where you are in your corner of the world and sort of what, what you’re working on right now?

Brigit – 02:32
Um, I’m currently in Melbourne, Australia, so I’m down under, but I’m originally from Switzerland, so there might be a little bit of a German, um, I

Avery – 02:52
just was chatting with somebody this morning that joked that you had a pet wallaby named Pickles just to see if the group that we were in thought that all Australians had a pet wallaby and I was just like I don’t think so but okay so pet wallaby Well, no, I wouldn’t say pet wallaby, but we’ve got

Brigit – 03:14
several possums in our back garden that turn up every night and that have become like an extended family.
So if you look up Australian possums, look up the brush tail one, and then you’ll see which one, what kind of, yeah, visitors we have every night.

Avery – 03:30
Oh my goodness.
Okay, I’m going to put a picture of that in the show notes now, because that’s adorable and they are adorable.
I love that you have those little friends that stop by.

Brigit – 03:40
Yeah, and they’re different to, for example, the possums in, obviously, the states.
So that’s why I said look it up because there’s a bit of a difference there.

Avery – 03:49
Hmm, fair, fair.
Well, very interesting.
So, I always bring people here that are open to sharing a story of transition and transformation and yours is really interesting because I’ve actually talked to somebody recently that had a similar experience and I wonder how many people are out there that have discovered their highly sensitive
nature much later in life than when I knew.
So I just would love to hear a little bit about that.
So when did you realize that you were a highly sensitive person?

Brigit – 04:28
Well, that’s actually not so long ago.
I’ve walked more than half of my life around this planet not realizing that I’m an introvert.
So it was about three, maybe four-ish years ago when I heard the term introvert for the first time and that was a massive revelation for me and so many things just clicked into place.
So that was about, yeah, about four years ago when I finally found some answers for why am I the way I am and how I’ve walked through life feeling different to others.
So yeah, about four years ago.

Avery – 05:07
So you said that a lot of things fell into place, a lot of things made sense.
What were those things?

Brigit – 05:14
How my energy management is different to others?
Why I’m often alone, why I couldn’t make friends easy, why big crowds, they weren’t scaring me, they were draining me.
Small talk really wasn’t something that I was comfortable with.
I couldn’t do it and I seen other people do it and I’m like, why can’t I do it?
These are sort of the major points and obviously from there you go into like a rabbit hole of am I weird, am I crazy, what’s wrong with me, why can’t I do this, there must be something not quite right, maybe I should go and get help.
You know, and then that goes into maybe even bullying, things like that.
So it’s a huge rabbit hole when you don’t know, and then people think there’s something wrong with you because you’re not like everybody else.

Brigit – 06:06
So it’s just like a minefield you’re trying to walk through.
And then all of a sudden having this big sign staring in your face saying, Maybe your introvert is your answer.
That’s just phenomenal when you finally know something about yourself that you didn’t know.

Avery – 06:23
And it sounds like that, I don’t want to say label, because we can’t be labeled and put in a little box, but that word being able to identify as having introverted tendencies, does that, like, how did that change things for you?

Brigit – 06:40
I agree, I’m not too keen on labels but I think they can be helpful at times and honestly I didn’t really think about labels when I discovered it because That wasn’t important to me at the time.
For me it was more important to actually know how I tick and then be able to start functioning in a way that helps me.
So the label, I didn’t think about it at all.
That just came a little bit later on once I’ve surrounded myself with more sort of quiet, introverted females especially.
When we started talking about labels, and it’s still going on to this day, we still have to kind of justify ourselves and explain ourselves a lot.
I hear that a lot still.
And it can be a bit annoying because for me a label is only a way of describing how someone probably functions in this world and how they can take advantage of that knowledge and then the label just goes away.

Brigit – 07:39
So that’s really what it is for me.

Avery – 07:42
I really like how you said that it doesn’t really make me think of this one example that somebody shared with me ages ago about how we can’t label a human in the same way that we can’t label a tree because we can say that’s a tree but You know a poplar tree will be different than a pine tree or a
palm tree but they’re all trees so it’s still a label that works but even within all those things even just calling it a palm tree this palm tree is not going to look like this palm tree or this palm tree so it gives you an idea but everybody has to then allow that awareness to expand a little
bit to be able to take all those things in because what introversion means to you might be different than What it means to me, actually it likely is.

Brigit – 08:30
Yes, absolutely.
Because we’re not, there’s not, not one of the same that like, mean, there’s twins obviously, but I even think, and please correct me if I’m wrong here, but I even think with twins, there will be certain nuances.
They’re not going to be a hundred percent identical.
So yeah.
And that, that became crystal clear to me when, when I started surrounding myself with especially female introverts.
I mean, there’s so many different types of degrees of introversion.
And I’m probably one that’s not necessarily, I don’t like to use the word extreme, but that’s really highly sensitive.

Brigit – 09:05
I would say that’s really highly introverted.
I’m sort of more probably on the lower kind of spectrum of that, I suppose.
But it just really helps to, to get to know oneself and to then use that as kind of your superpower instead of a hindrance.
So yeah, that’s when labels are good in that context, I guess.

Avery – 09:29
So, can you talk about how growing up as a child, not knowing that you were introverted, how did that affect you and what things did you have to let go of as an adult once you could name those traits?

Brigit – 09:47
Well for me it was a funny time because my parents divorced when I was 12 so back in those days divorce wasn’t very common so there was already kind of a judgment laid upon me and I felt that through school and then throw introversion into the mix it’s not a good recipe I think it just threw me a
lot of questions my way and I still come back to this, I just could never understand why I am the way I am.
Why couldn’t I be like Christine over there?
She had many friends and had no problem socializing and just being in this world and just walking through it confidently.
I was more the at-home type of staring out the window into the sky type of person.
So confusion I think happened a lot for me, confusion around myself and my world and then being judged by adults who should basically know better or should be more interested and curious to find out what really is going on.
So it threw a lot of stuff my way which When I started this whole introvert journey, and I’m still unpacking it, it’s like an onion layer, there’s always something else coming up, but it explained a hell of a lot once I’ve started to dig into that.

Brigit – 11:16
Looking back on particularly that phase of my life from like 12 years onwards, it really explained so much for me and I was able to identify all that and say okay, You know, you’re not that kid anymore, you now have answers, you can now work through that.
And, you know, this shyness, this insecurity, you can kind of let that go now.
Because why would you have to be like that?
Of course, it’s not as simple as that, but these are sort of the answers I got.
Yeah, and I don’t feel kind of lonely as such anymore.
You know, when you’re sort of a 12, 13 year old, you want to have friends, you want to have a good time.
Being alone, that’s why music was like my best friend at that point.

Brigit – 12:07
Still is.

Avery – 12:09
That’s the perfect transition because I wanted to say what is the central piece that helped you move through this transition knowing that your answer is music.
So why don’t you tell us a little bit about the role that music has played in your life.

Brigit – 12:25
Oh, hugely.
Still does to this day.
It blows my mind sometimes how it comes in.
Sometimes it even comes into my dreams, believe it or not.
But it was just my go-to thing because back in those days we didn’t have, the internet didn’t exist.
So I relied heavily on the radio or cassette tapes and then later on CDs.
And for me it was a world I could get into And process my emotional state, what I was going through, and it felt like these artists and songs were telling the story of how I was feeling.

Brigit – 13:05
And it really did help me to process a lot of the stuff that I was going through.
And I’m a huge music lover from all variety of music, so it can be hip-hop, it can be rap, it can be pop, it can be rock, can be heavy metal, even a little bit of death metal thrown in at times.
So there was always something that resonated with me and that just was such a nice companion to have.
There was always this invisible fringe that I’ve had that could understood what I was going through.
And just having that, I’m not quite sure Where I will be today without having it, you know?
So that’s how important it is to have it, to have music for me.

Avery – 13:47
Yeah, I can definitely relate to that.
Like we talked about when I was on your podcast, it just unlocks a different level of processing that I think nothing else can touch.
So which song is your go-to song for when you need to just process?
And I know I put you on the spot so take a minute.

Brigit – 14:16
You have.
I guess it depends on what I’m struggling with.
So, for example, if I’m struggling to love myself or accept myself.
There’s two songs I really like listening to.
One is from, oh my god, I hope I pronounced her name correctly.
I’m so sorry if I don’t.
It’s Hayley Steinfeld, I think it is.

Avery – 14:39
It’s okay.

Brigit – 14:41
And the song’s called, is it Love?
Love Myself or Love Yourself or something like that.
I can’t remember it now.
Got a blank moment there.
And then the other one is, um, I wanna, oh god, I’m having a huge blank here.
I’m usually so good at remembering song titles, but now it’s Megan something rather, um, Wanna Be Me Too or something like that.
They’re just two really cool songs there.

Avery – 15:05
Oh yeah, Megan Trainor.
You wanna be, yeah, yeah.

Brigit – 15:10
That’s right, thank you very much.
God, I should know.

Avery – 15:16
That’s okay.
It’s one of those things where you’d like, as soon as you hear it, you’re like, yep, that’s the one, but it doesn’t always floss the tongue when you’re put on the spot on a podcast like this.
So that’s all good.
We will link to those in the show notes as well.

Brigit – 15:31
So these are the two songs I really love because one, they’re kind of an upbeat song.
It’s not a sad song.
And also the lyrics are really like, I love myself and I really don’t need anyone else.
I’m absolutely enough.
So that’s one for self-love and then there might be others for other sort of moments in time but yeah that’s just a couple of examples.

Avery – 15:55
Those are great examples.
Now when I was on your podcast you asked me which song sort of sums me up, which song is sort of my song.
I’m gonna throw that question back at you, which song is yours?

Brigit – 16:12
That’s a funny thing.
I don’t think I really have one.
What I do have, though, is I have a theme song of the year.

Avery – 16:22
Oh, okay!

Brigit – 16:26
Yeah, so every year I pick a theme song and a word that I try to hold up in like a corner and work towards to and with.
And this year it’s from The Greatest Showman, This Is Me.

Avery – 16:41
Mmm, such a powerful song.

Brigit – 16:44
It is, and it’s not just a song, but also, and I’ve talked about that with someone else in my podcast, about there is a YouTube clip of, I think her name is called Kira.
I’m so bad with names sometimes.
And she’s actually performing the song in like a test setting before they actually go ahead to do the movie.
And she always stood behind this little podium.
And she was too afraid to literally go out and just belt that song out even though she’s amazing.
And in that moment it just kind of clicked in her head and she just went out from behind that little podium and she just belted it out and that literally I think for me personally I feel like that was the moment when people were like okay this movie has to be done just for that song alone.
And then obviously throwing the lyrics of it and just the music, how powerful it is, I thought, yeah, this is what I want to live by this year.

Brigit – 17:47
I want to be true to myself and say, this is me, accept me.
I accept myself.
You can accept me if you like, and if not, that’s okay too.
But I’m here and I want to show a little bit more of myself to the world.

Avery – 18:04
Oh, it for sure does.
And I love the idea of having a theme song of the year.
I think that’s absolutely a practice I’m going to adopt.
I am going to create a theme song for the rest of this year, just to get me through until January.
And then, yeah.
And yes, I got chills just remembering that video of her stepping into it.
And you’re just like, oh, there it is.

Avery – 18:28
You just couldn’t see anybody else in that song when she stepped out.
So yes.
So we’ve hinted at it a little bit, Naomi hinted, we’ve just said it right out, that you have a podcast.
So what led you to create that?

Brigit – 18:45
Yeah, that’s for me still an interesting story.
I’m sort of, I’m not confused, but I’m impressed by how it all came together.
The name of it is Living on the B-side, which has two meanings.
One, my name is Birgit.
So I found that combination really cool and I just got that thrown at me one morning when I woke up.
And for a long time I could not make sense what it should be so I just left it on a mental shelf.
And one day I realised I want to have a personal blog about music and artists and songs I love and why, and just express myself through that.

Brigit – 19:37
I guess it was a little bit of a security blanket as well.
I don’t have to expose myself completely.
I can use it through lyrics.
But in the end, the business coach of mine picked me up on it and said, look, what are you doing with this?
Because this is a really cool idea.
What are your plans?
And I’m like, well, I don’t know.

Brigit – 19:55
Typical introvert, I don’t know, I don’t want to express myself, you know, I don’t want to put myself in the spotlight.
And eventually through a little bit of brainstorming, I decided to do a podcast about it and just ask other people what their take is on music and how it impacted their lives.
And yeah, nearly 50 episodes in, I’m still going strong.
So that’s really the short, nutshell version of how it came to be.

Avery – 20:25
I love that it seems like such an interesting way but a safe way for people to talk more about themselves because again like you said they’re sharing it through the lens of this song so that it helps soften the vulnerability I guess.

Brigit – 20:43
Yes, but it’s also so powerful.
I mean I’m sure every one of your listeners probably has a song that they remember either fondly or they have a memory where they were really hurt or broken or so everyone has it and using that to just tell a story And inspire others, I think is such a cool and incredible way.
And there’s just so much, you know, I could go into about like yourself when you came on my podcast, that just inspires me, you know, it gives me hope and gives me strength just to hear others talk about it.
So it’s this really community feel as well that comes through it, but just one person sharing.
So that’s, yeah, I just love that.
I have goosebumps every time I do something with other people or have an episode or whatever.
It’s just incredible to me.

Avery – 21:39
Oh, I love that.
So we will definitely link to that in the show notes.
It’s such a beautiful podcast.
I’ve listened to so many episodes and I’ve gotten so many new songs for my playlists, which has been great.
And I just love the conversations that you lead people through.
I just think it’s so beautiful.

Brigit – 22:00
Thank you very much.
That’s, that’s great feedback.
That’s my aim.
That’s what I want to achieve.

Avery – 22:12
Thank you.
Well, check.
I feel from my perspective, you are nailing it.
Thank you.

Brigit – 22:22
That just made my day.

Avery – 22:27
Oh, there you go.
Starting off your Wednesday strong over there.

Brigit – 22:30

Avery – 22:34
Well, thank you so much for sharing all this and sharing your story.
Is there anything else that you’d like to leave our listener with before we let you go?

Brigit – 22:48
I think the only thing that I really would love for people to do is become more conscious of how music can support you in your daily life.
It’s free, doesn’t cost you anything and it can make you feel so freaking good if you let it.
So that’s kind of the only thing I want to say.

Avery – 23:10
I love that challenge.
So you listening right now, that is your goal for today is just to look at how music is playing into your life today.
That’s it.
Don’t just change anything.
Don’t have to search out any particular song.
Just notice.

Brigit – 23:27
That’s it.

Avery – 23:33
Sounds wonderful.
Thank you so much.
This was such a wonderful conversation.
I appreciate you.

Brigit – 23:40
Oh, thank you so much for having me and yeah, I love all of our conversations and this one was so good.
Thank you so much.

Avery – 23:50
Excuse me, one second please before you skip on to the next podcast.
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Let’s join Avery as she engages in a heartfelt conversation with Birgit Livesey, the inspiring creator and host of the Living on the B-Side podcast. Discover the profound impact of music on Birgit’s life and her transformative journey from being an introverted teenager in Switzerland to a confident podcast host residing in Melbourne, Australia. Uncover the therapeutic power of music for introverts and highly sensitive individuals, as Birgit shares her personal story and insights. From the challenges she faced growing up to the creation of her podcast, this episode explores the healing nature of music and the resilient spirit that emerges through self-expression.

Episode Highlights:

Birgit’s Journey:

[00:01] Avery and Birgit discuss her personal journey, from being an introverted teenager to the creator of Living on the B-Side.
[05:07] The revelation of being an introvert and its impact on her self-perception.
[09:29] Birgit shares the challenges she faced growing up and the confusion she experienced before discovering her introverted nature.

The Role of Music:

[12:25] Birgit emphasizes the significant role music played in her life, especially during challenging times.
[13:47] The power of music as a form of emotional expression and a companion during moments of loneliness.
[15:55] Discussion on specific songs that have had a profound impact on Birgit’s self-love and acceptance journey.

Living on the B-Side Podcast:

[18:45] Birgit explains the inspiration behind her podcast and the unique perspective it offers through the lens of music.
[20:25] The importance of creating a community where introverted individuals can share their stories and experiences.
[21:39] Birgit’s approach to using music as a tool for resilience and overcoming struggles, as highlighted in her podcast episodes.

Theme Song of the Year:

[16:22] Birgit shares her practice of choosing a theme song and a word for each year, citing “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman as her current theme song.
[17:47] Discussion on the empowering nature of the song and its impact on Birgit’s mindset and self-acceptance.

Guest links:

Podcast: Living on the B-Side

Website:  livingonthebside.com

Birgit’s social media:
Facebook Group