meet the board

Jason Forges, Tell Us Something storyteller alumni and Board member sits down with Sierra Tai-Brownlee to talk about his impactful experiences for her podcast "Impactful Experiences with Sierra Tai-Brownlee."

Transcript : Meet the Tell Us Something Board - Jason Forges

Welcome to the tele hunting podcast. I’m Mark Moss. The next, tell us something live storytelling event is September 27th. At the Dennison theater. The theme is letting go eight storytellers. Take the stage to share their two personal stories from memory. Tickets are now on sale. For tell us something live at the Dennison theater, September 27th.

Get your [email protected]. We again, welcome our friends from the deaf C. By providing American sign language interpretation. See you September 27th for letting go stories at the Dennison theater, more information and tickets are [email protected]. The next six, tell us something podcast episodes are a little different than what you are used to.

You will meet each member of the, tell something board, former board member Sierra, Ty Brownley interviewed the tele something board. For her podcast, impactful experiences. Sierra believes that listening to meaningful stories, changes your ideas and makes you think and feel beyond what you may already accept.

This week. Sierra sits down with board member and tell us something, storytelling, alumni. Jason fors let’s


Welcome back

to impactful experiences with Sierra brown. I chat with a new guest

each episode and ask them to share one of their impactful experiences. This is your host Sierra, and I wanna thank you for listening and I hope you enjoy today. I’m joined by Jason forges, current program analyst at cognizant and tell us something board member living in Missoula, Montana.

Jason, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. Thank you for having me. Of course. I’m so happy. You’re here. I’d love to really just hop right in and hear a little bit about the experience you’d like to share.

Uh, well, when I’m thinking about experience that I like to share, um, mm-hmm, I realize, uh, the first thing that comes in my mind is I have experiences that I would like to share, but I think it comes off with a, a common theme.

Yes. Yes, yes, yes. But, um, I think overall the common theme is, um, learning how to listen to myself. Okay. I think that’s, uh, something that’s very impactful that I, uh, continue to do, but I started to notice that, uh, uh, along the way, so originally I’m from Florida, I went to school in Delaware. During my time in Delaware, I was playing, uh, basketball at the time, college basketball.

And then, uh, I ended up being a fifth year senior, and I was working at Amazon, uh, at the same time. So during my, uh, times at Amazon, which was, uh, very, uh, Big moment of my life. I was really trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I tried to move up in Amazon. I wasn’t getting, uh, I wasn’t getting the job for whatever reason.

I probably applied like three or four different times, long story short. I found myself thinking, wait, why am I trying to stay in Delaware? I’m not even from here. Yeah. So let me, uh, look for somewhere else to go. Um, I applied to a lot of different places. to figure out where I wanted to go, uh, through the AmeriCorps program.

Okay. Uh, overall, uh, I end up choosing to come to Montana. Mm-hmm now the theme of learning to listen to myself is when I wanted to come to Montana. Oh man. My relatives, friends, family. Uh, I had a opportunity to either, uh, do the AmeriCorps program cause I was offered to serve in Montana or serve in, um, California.

And when I was telling my family members, relatives like, oh yeah, you better pick Cali. I know what you’re doing. You better pick Cali. I’m like, nah, I’m gonna go to Montana. And it was kind of that sort of, uh, man, you crazy, what’s what’s going on with you. Like, what’s wrong with you? Even my mom. She’s like, why are you going all the way over there?

Mm-hmm, a sort of thing. But, um, I think that, that was like one of the pivotal moments is kind of like a, where I. and I’m still learning, but I learned in life is like small situations can have like big impacts. So even me trying to figure out what I wanted to do, I say, okay, you know what? I’m gonna choose Montana because why I want to learn how to listen to myself.

uh, I think I was definitely in a point of time in my life where even playing basketball or even in my personal life, I was doing, uh, what people wanted me to. mm-hmm and then wouldn’t stick up for myself on the things I wanted to do. So then I was left with oh, wow. Okay. Well, I did exactly the way that someone would want me to do it, but I don’t feel happy at the end actually feel terrible.

Mm-hmm so coming to Montana was kind of at that big push of like, oh yeah. Okay. Montana only has, uh, north of 1 million people. I’m in a small town. Mm-hmm town of, uh, a couple thousand. So, let me go there. It’s not gonna be a lot of people and all I can do is focus on myself.

Yeah. Okay. Interesting. And would you say that is kind of one of the experiences that started this theme and was it that decision where you really wanted to go to Montana already, but you just felt this pull to go to California and you chose to go to Montana.

You were listening to yourself?

I think it was, uh, I was trying to, I feel like it was like something within me was just telling me like, Hey, uh, well, what do you really want? I think that’s ultimately what it came down to. Uh, when I thought about California or Montana, I really thought about, well, what do I really want?

And mm-hmm . And when I was really trying to kind of, I was doing it in my mind, but it’s kind of like you do a checklist, like what’s the good, what’s the bad, what’s the. And when I was thinking of California, I was just thinking of fun. Oh, I can go here. I can go there. I’m a city boy at heart from Florida.

So I’m like, oh, what if it’s clubs around da? And I instantly stopped myself and like, wait, how is that helping me? and, uh, yeah, so then it kind of turned back to Montana. I’m like, okay. Uh, not a lot of people. I can really focus on myself and ultimately, um, again, I just graduated. Ultimately, I wanted to understand what I wanted to do in life.

And I felt like being alone will allow me the opportunity to not be distracted in the way I was mm-hmm in Delaware or Florida. Okay.

Yeah. Do you think that living in Montana has enabled you to accomplish kind of those, those goals?

Uh, yeah, I think Montana being in Montana, being a, being able to sit with myself alone, uh I think helped me afford a lot of things, which, uh, now I am in Montana and I am doing a lot of things, but, oh man, when I first came to Montana, it was, uh, rough.

So when I talk about finding that little voice inside me, say, oh, this is a great idea. Um, AmeriCorps is definitely a program that you don’t do it for the money and it doesn’t pay a lot of money either. Um, hence the service and I don’t have anything wrong with that, but, um, for my background AmeriCorps, the sector I was in, I was in the education sector and working with low income students and helping them get access to college.

If they chose to go that route for me, it was more about finding your passions and help broaden those passions. But I was. I’m the first one in my family to graduate college. Okay. Yes, yes. Yes. So when it comes to working with the first generation loan students, it’s like, oh yeah, that’s me. So with that being said, um, being able to save up a little money and then come to Montana, that’s all I really had like a little, uh, a little money mm-hmm so even though my, my, my heart or my mind or something in me said, yeah, go this Montana route.

Yeah, it definitely wasn’t a, oh, as soon as I got. It was rainbows and sunshine. I, I had to find a place to live mm-hmm uh, yeah, I, yeah, I’d had to find a place to live. I had to find a car it’s it’s close to wintertime, so I need to get things in order. So I’m like, yeah, that’s tough. I having people, um, hearing about my, my first month experience was rough and hearing people back at home telling me, man, you need to come back home.

What are you doing? Yeah. You need to come back home. But me saying no, but something’s telling me to stay here. I know it’s rough. Something’s telling me to stay here.

Okay. And at this point, how long have you been in Montana?

Ooh. Uh, now it’s like, I think so it’ll be north of four years, I think, close to five years.

And that’s the wow longest place. Uh, I never been in one area more than four years ever until Montana. Oh my gosh. Yeah.

Which is interesting. Okay. And how did you maybe kind of overcome or I guess push through those challenges and what really did keep you here if it was really tough at the beginning, and it seemed as though you could go back, but you still felt the need to stay in


Oh, man. BEC, uh, can you repeat the question? Cause I wanna make sure I answer it ly. Yeah.

Yeah. I think the main question is what was motivating you to stay in Montana, especially in that first short period of time when you maybe could have gone back. Um, but you still felt as though you needed to be here.

Mm, uh, focusing on, I think for me was like the feeling, just really trying to tap into the feeling I’m very an, uh, analytical, so I’m very, uh, brand oriented first mm-hmm and not really focusing on my feelings, but, um, this time around, I know I felt like I wanted to do the opposite. That’s the whole purpose of me coming here.

It was like, um, everyone keeps telling me what to do. And I’m always, I’ve always been told, especially for my coach in college. He always tell me, oh, Jason, everyone wants to go left. You wanna go? Right. Mm-hmm so it was just me, uh, living up to that moment, like, okay, everyone’s telling me I need to, uh, leave, but I have a feeling I should be here.

And, um, I remember my car car broke down in the middle of. Uh, oh, no, I was here in Darby, uh, Montana. That’s when I was doing my AmeriCorps service. Yeah, my first year, my second year I was in Missoula, but, um, my second year when I had to travel back and forth Uhhuh, my car broke down. So I had to go through the struggles of couch, surfing, meaning sleeping on my friends couch on the weekdays.

If they would allow me to. Or sometimes I had to sleep in my car, um, drive back home over to the weekend to spend the night to drive. And in doing that, uh, I had my friends here in Montana saying, Jason, why don’t you just move to Missoula at this point? Because man sleeping in your car in the middle of winter, doesn’t sound great.

And yeah, you sleeping on the couch, but that sort of thing. But for me, I’m like, I don’t know. Something’s telling me I need to stay. I’m like, I don’t know. It sounds crazy, but, uh, I’m like, man, I’ve been, I’ve been through worse, but, um, I wanna stick with this because I feel like it’s gonna be impactful for me.

Mm-hmm and at the time too, um, staying in Missoula, I was at the university. So again, I graduat from college and I’m like, okay, well, if I’m on college campus, now I can, um, I thought I wanted to get into consult. So I was, uh, sitting in on some consulting classes trying to figure out. So even though I was going through all that, that sleeping in the car, riding the bus, winter, the car broke down, all that stuff.

What was going through my mind is like, I’m going to make it. It’s no way I’m doing this for no reason. Yeah. Something’s gonna come out of it. So that’s kind of the mentality that I try to stay strong with.

Definitely. How would you describe, or how do you think Montana or being in Montana has changed you?

I would say

it changed me in two ways. Well, I don’t know of two ways, but I think Montana changed me in a way of how I view the world in regards to nature. Mm-hmm man. Uh, I remember my first camping trip was in Florida and it rained and it was like, wow, hogs running around. and I’m like, yeah, camping. I’m not built for it.

Yeah. but then coming to Montana, I’m always, uh, down to experience new things. Uh, something that Montana taught me is how disconnected I was with nature. Mm-hmm , which I never knew it was a disconnect, but as I was talking about focusing on my feelings, right, yeah. Uh, going into nature was that same thing.

It was like, wait, something’s not to say it’s calling me, but I feel at peace. Hmm. I never thought I would. Okay. So I think that’s something that, uh, Montana afforded me. I think Montana also taught me to learn to under the meaning of community, which I’m still trying to figure out, but I think, uh, coming from a big city and have, I don’t know, the way I view community is so different may it’s probably cuz the AmeriCorps experience as well.

Now being in the community in Missoula and like the art community and kind of figure out what’s going on here and figuring out that there’s always ways to tap in. And it’s, uh, small enough that when you tap into a lot of different places, you know, a lot of different people mm-hmm so then allows you to build, uh, relationships in a deeper way.

And I don’t think that’s something that I did when I was back in Florida or even Delaware. I wouldn’t put myself out there like that. Mm.

okay. You mentioned a little earlier that you were, or maybe still are a city person. Do you, would you still consider yourself a city person

now? I would consider myself a human being city person.

Uh, I don’t know. Um, that’s another thing. When it came to Montana, I remember going on this five day camping trip, it was like took eight hours just to get to our camping. and when I came out of it, uh, I realized I didn’t, I wasn’t connected to anything. I didn’t see a building or anything. And when I start seeing buildings, I’m like, oh, wow.

Um, I think it’s a verse from Frank ocean that always stay in my mind that, oh, it stays in my mind. But, uh, he said, I’m living on the idea, a idea from another man’s mind. So I’m like, man, me living in a city is not really there’s someone, something that someone thought. right? Yeah. So I’m like, someone’s creating this.

So what do I want to create? So, uh, long story short, I consider myself a human being at this point. Not a city boy. I think I can, uh, I’m almost like a chameleon. I feel like I can blend into many spaces. Yeah.

Yeah. Okay. Do you hope to stay in Montana? For the future

for the future? I feel like I would like a second home in Montana.

I wouldn’t wanna live in Montana. Okay. Interesting. I’ve been questioning what does home mean to me? And I’m still questioning that I know Montana has taught me a lot when it comes to community because I’ve been to places where I don’t know, like being young and growing up in big cities, like it’s glamor or I’ve been on vacations where.

uh, it can be the most beautiful place, but if you were terrible people, the it’s terrible. Yeah. Yeah. So, uh, to learn about, uh, to know that community starts with the people, uh, I learned that a lot in Montana, but something I just don’t feel fully at home. I, I can’t really explain it, but I definitely know that I would love a second home here.

Okay, very cool. Throughout our conversation thus far, you’ve talked a lot about like being in tune with yourself and knowing what you really want. How do you go about doing that? When I think it is quite hard to maybe distinguish that from other feelings or other

pressures, I feel like found finding the foundation of, uh, who I am was a, a big part of.

So being able to sit alone, to think with yourself. I remember I had a friend one time say, oh, I don’t like to be alone. I always have to be around people. But I feel like when you be around people so much, there’s nothing wrong with being around people. But when do you have time to think for yourself? So, um, being alone for a certain amount of time for me, uh, allowed me to really create that foundation of not allowing someone to tell me who I am when they know very little of me.

Mm-hmm . And, um, being able to be alone kind of helped with that, but ultimately I was been trying to learn self care. So, um, journaling is something that I got into poetry. Mm-hmm man, the, uh, the arts man, I, uh, just been deep diving into that. but, uh, I will say the number one thing for me personally is I never knew it, but taking baths, man.

Okay. Self care, self care. Self-care I’m not ashamed. I am not ashamed. So I’ll wake up early in the morning, have a nice bath at light up an Ince, play some jazz music, add some L E D lights, figure out what color, what vibe I’m feeling. And I just sit there and thought I might have a journal if I want a journal down, but I feel like, uh, overall.

Um, just trying to find opportunities to listen to myself. Uh, I’ve been tapping in, in so many different ways. I can throw out yoga. I can throw out a lot of things, but, um, overall, I would just say, uh, I sat with one idea and which was, what does it mean to be human mm-hmm I’m a hu what does it mean to be hu I’m like, wait it’s to create.

Okay. So that’s what I need to do. I need to figure out how I can create in a positive way. Mm-hmm. And, um, in listening to myself and trying out certain things, I start, uh, picking up on like, oh, wow, okay. I, I thought I was going crazy here, but something’s telling me I should go over here. So let me just do it.

And I end up doing it, something positive comes out of it. So then it makes me want to be more in tune with whatever allowed me to think of doing that particular thing. So I know I threw a lot at you. I hope you can catch something.

No, I think that’s all really helpful. And I think it’s, I don’t know something.

Yeah, definitely. I can take and use and hopefully implement and maybe listen myself a little bit more, like talking about maybe things you’re doing. What do you hope to work on in the future? Or like you just said. You feel as though being human is to create, what do you want to create in the future?

I would, I would like to be, I would love to be a part of something that I will not be around to see.

That’s fine with me. Um, I will, will wanna do something impactful. I’m all about people. And, um, I know when it comes to making change, uh, one thing I remember hearing, which always bother me is when someone says change is slow. Uh, huh. And I get the idea, but for me I’m like only if you let it be yeah. in certain ways, but for me, I’m like, uh, I also understand that, um, the changes that I will help hope to see, I guess, in the world, in the states, in the city and the community that I’m in to understand that, um, I D know, I just wanna be a part of something that I.

I won’t, uh, be around to see it until fruition, but to know that I’m a part of it. It’s uh, good enough for me Uhhuh okay. Mm-hmm . Wow.

All right. Well, I think that we’ve talked about quite a lot and I’ll start wrapping things up. But as a final question, I always just like to ask what’s the best piece of life advice you’ve been given.

Mm to get something you never had. You have to do something you never did. Okay. Yes. Yes. I think I saw a speech. It was probably like a Denzel speech, but it, it made me realize I’m like, oh, it’s something I never had. I had to do something I never did. So, um, I realized doing something I never did brings fear.

So now I’m trying to. Build a stronger relationship with fear in terms of like embracing fear, as opposed to, uh, not doing it or not embracing it. I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s, mm-hmm,

my thought. Well, that does make sense. And I think that’s funny because I spoke with Sarah a couple days ago and her piece of advice was something along the lines of you need.

Have fear in order to be brave. And so I think that’s kind of similar in the sense of you might be fearful, but that’s just an opportunity.

Mm yes, yes, yes. Oh for sure. And sometimes that fear can clutter, uh, clutter, your mind. I think the other day, uh, I was doing a poetry performance. Um, At an imagination brewery and doing that, I remember sitting next to my friend and I just got into the building and it was supposed to be me and my friend Elijah were supposed to perform.

And as soon as I sat down, she said, okay, you guys ready you about to go on right now? Like, What? So I remember looking at my friend Casper, I’m like, I am nervous right now. My heart’s pounded, like I’m nervous, but I said that in a way of, uh, I learned to say that because that’s how I’m feeling. It’s honestly, I don’t wanna like, keep all that energy in.

It’s like, I’m nervous, but I’m about to do this anyways. I’m gonna do it anyways. So, uh, embracing that fear mm-hmm

for sure. Okay. Well, Jason, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I really appreciate

it. Oh yeah. Thank you. Of

course. Well, I think we’ll end things here, but thank you guys for listening and take care.

Thanks Sierra and Jason, Jason for just is a community member that focuses on finding avenues to be open, authentic and artistic Jason’s goal is to create an entity titled appreciate color. That will leverage the arts to promote meaningful perspectives while provoking thought and encouraging actionable steps with himself and others.

You can listen to Jason forges, tell us something [email protected] Sierra. Ty Brownley is a curious individual with a never ending interest in people and their stories from asking 50 strangers for their best piece of life advice to sitting down, to hear about pivotal stories on her podcast, impactful experiences with Sierra Ty brown.

Sierra is always excited to meet new people and hear what they would like to share. You can find the impactful experiences podcast. Wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks to our inkind sponsors. Joyce of tile, gecko designs, float Missoula and Missoula broadcasting company. Thanks for listening to this week’s podcast.

Remember to get your ticket to the next event. September 27th, 2022. Live at the Dennison theater. The theme is letting go more information and tickets are [email protected].