Prickly and Blooming — The Society & Culture podcast with a Texan focus
The podcasting world can seem like an unnavigable ocean of choices for listeners. First, you select your preferred platform or domain. Then, when it comes to topics or fields of interest, you are completely spoiled for choice. Political or religious? Introspective or relationship advice? Skin care or motor vehicles? Radical or conservative? The options are simply endless. Once you have selected your topic, you then get to choose from dozens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of podcasters, each with their own cadence, personality, and degree of humour and intrigue.
Of course, some podcasters stand out more than others.
Well, when spotting Prickly and Blooming (available on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Owltail and various other platforms), with its distinct image of a flowering cactus, you cannot help but be intrigued. And the host is no other than Jessie Browning, referring to herself as an “indy-podcaster mama entrepreneur hustler”. But who is she really, who is the woman behind the voice?
Well, for starters, Browning wasn’t born in Texas. However, one of her favorite jokes is: How do you know somebody is from Texas? The answer: Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.
Originally from Massachusetts, Jessie moved to Texas around 20 years ago, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. She met her to-be husband in Austin, got married, and moved to the very remote town of Marfa, with it’s give-or-take 1800 residents, where they started their own business, and raised 4 children together.
Browning considers herself an “adopted Texan”. And to be honest, before listening to her podcast, I was curious about its purpose. A woman not originally from Texas, but is now a self-declared Texan? A podcast purely about being Texan, more specifically, about being a woman in Texas?
Well, let us advise you not to dismiss this podcast too quickly! You do not have to be from Texas (or even from the US for that matter) to fall in love with Prickly and Blooming.
Although Jessie also enjoys touching on lighter subjects and asking her guests about traditionally “Texan” practices, such as tubing, and soft white bread served with barbecue (trust us, apparently its a thing), making good chilli and measuring driving distances in hours (I mean… it’s a HUGE state), the majority of her podcast leans towards deep and enriching content. Jessie states that she “believes in the power of sharing stories.”
In fact, if you go and listen to some the guests that Jessie has interviewed on her show, you will notice two things:
- Jessie has an innate quality to draw out true stories from women.
- She doesn’t enjoy small talk. She goes for the “big talk” (anything from post-natal depression, struggles of the female entrepreneur or career woman, alcoholism, depression, etc), not for the sake of gossip, but because “there is POWER in sharing stories”.
Jessie knows that sometimes people’s hardships lead them to greater (dare we say, the greatest) decisions in life. She wants her guests to think of a time when they felt like “this just can’t be my life” or “just not this”, because that realization is just as important as what happened to them AFTER that.
Her podcast explores what it means for “everyday women” living in the state of Texas, although she herself says that she dislikes the term “everyday women”:
“Anyway, I hate the term everyday women, But I don’t know how else to explain the feeling of universality in our experiences and our lives.”
Browning believes that the magic doesn’t come from idolizing celebrities and their (often fabricated) media depictions of what kind of life to strive for and what success should look like; rather it comes from sitting down with the women from all areas, wherever she can find them: in her community, the women in her periphery, women she knows and women she has never met, and in her own words:
“the women who just stumbled upon me, and putting a microphone in front of them and saying, Tell me what makes you you. And I thank you so much, if you’ve gotten this far (i.e. appearing on her podcast), and thank you for your time.”
Her podcast covers the lives of these “everyday women”, but she also delves into the history of the women of Texas. Her motivation? Although her podcast started as a hobby, she soon became filled with intent, and she found that Prickly & Blooming became more than a pass-time. It brought her (and others) “joy amongst the dark cloud of chaos, that seems to be flowing over our world. And I want to lean into this, I want to lean into contributing and sharing stories and lifting women up, and I remembered why I started this”.
She loves nothing more than accepting the challenge of a woman, a new guest on the show, who will usually tell Jessie: “it’ll be short. I don’t have much to say, I don’t have much of a story.”
To which, Browning knowingly replies: “Yes, you do. You absolutely do”.
Being a verbal processor, Browning believes that she understands her world, her life in Texas, and also herself better through listening, through dialogue, and through communication. She has come to the conclusion that the deciding factor to whether or not you are a Texan, is whenever YOU decide you want to be a Texan.
And after listening to several episodes of her podcast, its actually got us wondering whether or not WE should be following suit and moving to Texas ourselves!