“Love Songs and Fiction” with Dr. Tahira Chloe Mahdi on the Take Care Podcast

Listen to Episode 5 of Sierra’s new show on the McKissick Health Podcast Network.

Sierra J. McKissick


Do you resist past behaviors only to be trapped in the same situation?
Have you ever tried to outrun the voice of your parents or the ghost of expectations?

Getting into trouble is easy; getting out of it is tricky.

Photo by John Jennings on Unsplash

In Episode 5 of the Take Care podcast, I chatted with Dr. Tahira Chloe Mahdi, and she did not disappoint. As a community psychologist, screenwriter, and author, Dr. Mahdi effortlessly shares her wisdom on belonging and using empathy to manage mental health issues and design community-based interventions.

In her book, This Is Not How It Was Supposed to Go, we follow Roshawn through a journey back to her hometown as her life gets turned upside down again. In these naughty, explosive adventures, life in the suburbs spins way out of control, and the past always catches up to kick some ass.

One of this book's most significant aspects is the community members' role in each other's lives. Through unity, a little drama, and honesty, they begin to mend their relationships and work toward creating new expectations for themselves. Dr. Mahdi and I discuss the book alongside some of her thoughts on intergenerational harmony, belonging, cultural beliefs about grief and suffering, and uncensored self-concepts. This episode invites you to own your journey — even when it gets messy.

If you’re ready, this week’s podcast episode shares a message about finding power and hope for people who struggle with being the person other people want instead of the person they want to be, using fiction as a medium for real-life stories that sound like love songs.

Things I mention in this episode:

I have no rights to the audio in the intro and outro; its use is only for education. This audio includes: “Lotus Pond” song by Aakash Gandhi; a compilation of Maya Angelou interviews (The Paris Review as The Art of Fiction №119⁠ and Bill Moyers Journal, 1973); Midge’s Late Night TV Set Finale from the filmThe Marvelous Mrs. Maisel written and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino and produced by Amazon Studios, Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions, and Picrow.

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Sierra J. McKissick

I’m a writer and educator. I write about behavioral and spiritual health choices and inclusive creative strategies. @iamsierrajecre