A lot of people have told me that the tape that makes you cringe while listening is probably the best material to include.
While that's right, it doesn't make it easy to actually put in.
Episode 4 is an embodiment of that.
Tracking the episode included a lot of breaks and deep breathes. Logging the tape included a lot of breaks and, frankly, spiked cider at my fav bar/coffeeshop. I sent the episode several weeks early to my mom to make sure she was OK with it and texted other family members to see if they, too, would need a sneak peek.
Now, I've been through tough interviews before. Ones where the source cries and I write a note to remind myself that maybe some of the things they say after that will be too emotional to include in the article (HOT TAKE, I KNOW). But even the toughest of interviews with sources and strangers can't prepare you for what it's like to shape a family member's story.
If you've listened to episode 4, you know: my mom is my rock. So I worried a lot about how to frame this episode and whether or not it was the right way to officially pivot the show away from Akwesasne. What do I include? What background information do we need to help everyone understand each side? What holes do I point out? How do you dance this line when you've lived it too?
But, from the beginning, I've been making this show for myself first and foremost. It's a way to get myself to confront the questions I have and to have the conversations I've been putting off. So I told the story like I would tell any of my friends—only including the information that's vital for you all to know.
My mom listened and said she sounded justified for yelling and going off. And I feel justified, too.