Linda - Exploring Misophonia Through Puppetry

S6 E21 - 1/19/2023
This episode features Linda, a professional puppeteer and multidisciplinary artist, discussing her experiences with misophonia and how it has been an integral part of her life. Linda discovered her sensitivity to sound at an early age during a church choir performance and has navigated through life feeling different due to her misophonia. She recalls her challenging childhood with an abusive stepfather and connects her heightened sensitivity to sounds with potential traumas from her past. Linda also reflects on her relationships, mentioning how misophonia caused a rift with her first partner and how her current husband's mindfulness has been incredibly supportive. A significant portion of the conversation explores Linda's artistic career, particularly her puppet-based short film titled 'Misophonia,' which she used as an avenue to explore and represent her experiences with the condition. The film features a mermaid character who is tortured by sounds, a representation Linda closely identifies with. Adeel and Linda also discuss the changing nature of libraries as public spaces and the importance of preserving quiet spaces in our communities. Linda emphasizes the value of connecting with others through platforms like the podcast to realize one isn't alone in experiencing misophonia.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast. This is Season 6, Episode 21. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week, I'm very excited that I finally get to talk to Linda, aka Polysonic, on Instagram. Linda is a professional puppeteer, and actually a multidisciplinary visual and performing artist. She created the nine-minute puppet-based short film called Misophonia, which has been going around independent film festivals over the past year. I had a chance to see it and was struck by how it captured a lot of aspects of Miso without actually saying any words. We get into a lot of different things in our conversation other than this film, such as using art to describe living with Misophonia. We talk about her childhood and an abusive stepfather at home. her mom potentially having it as well, marriage in Misophonia, her fear of psychologists, and we also talk about her other job as a librarian and the role of libraries and quiet public spaces. Let me know what you think. You can always reach out by email at hello at misophonia podcast dot com. or find me on Instagram or Facebook at Misophonia Podcast. By the way, please, if you haven't had a chance yet, wherever you listen to this show, you can leave a quick rating or even leave a full review. It helps us move up in the algorithms and reach more listeners who have misophonia. Thanks for the incredible ongoing support of all of our Patreon supporters. If you feel like contributing, you can read all about the various levels at slash misophonia podcast. All right. Now here's my conversation with Linda. Linda, welcome to the podcast. Good to finally have you here.

Linda [1:45]: Thank you, Adeel. I'm so happy to be here.

Adeel [1:47]: Yeah. So, yeah, I've been really looking forward to this and I'm glad you, because, well, we'll talk about kind of what you do for a living and what you've done related to Misophonia. But do you first kind of want to share with folks kind of about where you're located? You've heard me ask that question of people, I'm sure.

Linda [2:04]: Currently, I've only been here for five years, but I'm in the Finger Lakes area of upstate New York. Before that, I had settled in Connecticut for about 20 years in New Haven, so I feel like I'm still a New Havener. But I grew up in Vermont, Maine, and New Jersey, in backwards order. And I am an artist. I was born into a family of artists, so I've been in all different types of arts my whole life. specifically focusing on puppetry arts. And then I work part-time three nights a week in a library, which I'm happy to talk about libraries also.

Adeel [2:44]: Okay.

Linda [2:45]: So that's where I am and what I'm doing.

Adeel [2:48]: Awesome. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Fascinating stuff. So I guess maybe, yeah, maybe sometimes when I can go in many directions, I just like to go chronological. Do you want to talk about, yeah, back in the day for Linda, like when did you start to notice something was wrong?

Linda [3:07]: Well, I think that it really hit hard and I kind of noticed I was different probably in my late 20s. But after listening to your podcast, first of all, with Misophonia, I'm 50. So I spent many years before I knew there was a name for it, just kind of trying to deal with it and not knowing if I was different or not. So it's so integrated into my life that I don't really notice it too much until it becomes an issue. So my late 20s is when I was living with someone where it became very apparent that there was a problem. And I tend to avoid things. I never really looked into it. But then I found your podcast and listening to people. I had a memory, which I'd always remembered, but I never connected it to misophonia. When I was about five years old, I was supposed to sing in the church choir. And I had been doing that apparently since I could. My mom put me in the church choir. And my whole family had come to watch me during a service. And I refused to go on the on the stage and sing with everybody. And I do remember saying to the to the choir leader, I don't want to do it. I don't like hearing people singing close to me. And my mom made it was a whole big joke in my family. They were very they were irritated at a. And my family's great. But they were like, oh, Linda didn't want to sing in the choir because she doesn't like people singing close to her. And nobody could understand it.

Adeel [4:45]: Because that's hilarious.

Linda [4:46]: Yeah, it was hilarious. And nobody, you know, this is the early or the mid-70s at that point. Nobody really asked any questions. And I was such a good kid. This was my first act of rebellion that I can remember. So it must have been pretty bad where I was actually that brave to say to an adult, I'm not going on. And now I'm like, of course, that's what it was. And it was only when I heard you or one of your guests talking about not liking people's voice close, you know, that I was like, oh, that's obviously what it was. So I think I've had it at least since five years old. So that's a good 45 years that I've been dealing with it.

Adeel [5:27]: And after that, did it, in your childhood, did you do notice, did you think back and start to notice that it has expanded or you just didn't notice anything until the 20s?

Linda [5:37]: So I'll say, so I'm going to try to be as candid as possible because... people have been so great on your show and it's helped me so much and and these are all things i don't talk about much um i'm not i'm not hiding them but it's just not something i talk about very often so we'll see how it goes but sure i i have a pretty big block in the middle of my childhood because i i had an abusive stepfather and it was pretty severe from age 9 to 16. So I think that I've blocked, I mean, I have a lot of missing memories from that time. And I don't know, I definitely have memories of being irritated with him eating lobster. This was a thing. I can't even remember if it was sound or visual related. And it was also just him. He was a real monster of a person. So I'm kind of, you know, these things that, and there was a lot of sexual abuse as well as mental abuse. So I don't know. Like, I think when it started becoming a problem in my 20s, I worried that it was something that was coming out of that abuse. And there's so many quirky things about myself that I always worried, like, isn't my personality because of this terrible thing that happened? And so when I found this this five-year-old memory, I was so relieved in a way. I was like, oh, it's something that was before that time. And somehow, for some reason, that was a real relief. But it's hard to untangle this stuff and figure out what comes from what. But I think that's why I'm missing a big chunk. I don't have memories in college, which was a really good time for me. I don't have memories of anybody specifically bothering me because of sound. It really became when I lived with my first partner. And he is a very fidgety person. He is kind of the opposite of me. He's a great guy. I still love him very much. But Musophonia was a big... a big thing that caused a split in our relationship. And now he's remarried and he called me the other day saying, have you ever heard of misophonia? Because I think my wife has.

Adeel [8:00]: Oh.

Linda [8:01]: Yeah. So he married a second. Yeah.

Adeel [8:06]: Well, he can't get away. Once you go misophonia, you don't know.

Linda [8:09]: That could be. So I think, you know, he just the nature of him. He's an actor. He's a very physical person. He's always visiting, fidgeting with paper and doing all sorts of things. So that's it. It became obvious there was something unusual about me.

Adeel [8:26]: Wow. Okay. Well, thanks. Yeah. No, thanks for being candid. I'm sorry. That horrible stuff happened. But back in, um, well, I, so I guess you mentioned that, um, obviously this monster of a person was a stepfather, but so back when you were around five was, was there anything with your, um, I don't know, I'm making assumptions, but, uh, you, you probably with your biological father around that time, maybe was there any tension around the house or, or anything happening around the time that you, you know,

Linda [8:57]: start to do your rebellious act yeah well my my father died of cancer when I was four and I get you know I don't have much of a memory of that and I he had been sick I think for a couple of years and that it was of course my mom ended up being a single parent so I'm sure there was I mean she tried I she made my life it's Like she wanted to make my life so amazing. So she she did a lot for me. So I had, you know, it was a really good life for me, actually. Other than that pressure, which as a kid, I don't don't have too much memory other than her being sad. Like I remember his death. But yeah, I don't know. I don't know. Maybe there's some connection. Well, probably not. I believe after listening to this podcast that it is wired in their heart. But who knows if there's something that brings it out, like some sort of trauma like that.

Adeel [9:54]: Yeah, there's just, you know, it's very often that there is some kind of trauma is a loaded term, but there is a small, small T kind of trauma or things that you pick up from maybe observing other people that can kind of. uh, I don't want to say trigger, but, but just kind of like, um, help maybe how it helps not in good weather, but like helps it miss a point and kind of develop, um, uh, in, in, you know, in you, you're just kind of like, uh, there's, you know, there's the whole walking on eggshells, um, um, thing that happens to a lot of us early on when we're young. And so whether it's you don't want to set off, maybe you're making assumptions again, maybe you don't want to set off your mom who's already feeling sad or maybe there's some tension in the house. I'm just saying often there's this point that develops from situations like that. So yeah, I was just curious. We're all learning and this is something that we've noticed a lot. So I guess then, did you have any siblings around that time? Nope.

Linda [11:01]: Nope. They had planned on them, but I was the first and the last.

Adeel [11:06]: And then in, well, then maybe let's just talk about your twenties. So obviously with that partner just kind of came back with a vengeance in many different ways. Did you, did it, did it happen right away or was it once you'd kind of like committed? you start to notice stuff.

Linda [11:29]: Oh, you mean with my partner?

Adeel [11:31]: Yeah, right.

Linda [11:33]: You know, I can't... I mean, I definitely have always been a loner. And I'm an artist, I like to be alone a lot. And we lived in a tiny space for the first four years of our, when we were together. And I remember just, I just was trying to be, I was in a children's book illustrator right out of college. And I was so motivated and all I did was work towards that goal. And he is an actor and he was, we opened a small theater company together. So I don't, I don't feel like in the beginning, I mean, I definitely know he always, there were always things he did that I asked him to stop. But I think as we got older, and more, you know, became more repetitive, and he didn't stop, I think I started becoming more, you know, I'll just say my, in inside my head, I'm a tremendous asshole.

Adeel [12:32]: No, we all are.

Linda [12:33]: And I think that that just got as we were together longer and longer. And we also worked together with a theater company. And he was technically my boss. So I think a lot of that just exaggerated and made worse the situation. So, and I, and I also have anxiety in my twenties came up, I started having panic attacks and that's in my family. That's a, and I, I think that the stress also brings, brings this out more.

Adeel [13:06]: So I, I feel that's misphonia for sure.

Linda [13:10]: And I, and then I started going on meditation retreats later in my twenties. And that's when I started getting more demanding about having quiet time and things like this and he couldn't do it and that's kind of with the that was the end yeah but um yeah so and then i i i feel and definitely as i'm getting older it's getting worse and as i've been in we lived at a zen i have a new husband now who's great he's completely mindful um he's so careful it's i've never experienced anything like it before And we have meditation retreats and now we live in this quiet place. I think I'm just becoming less tolerant and I'm becoming more isolated, sadly, because of that. So it's been a steady, I think, pretty steady upward line on the graph.

Adeel [14:07]: Yeah, a lot of it tends to get worse. It's like the condition gets worse as we get older for one reason or another. But we also have a little bit more agency. We can make big decisions like splitting up with our partner or affording to go on meditation retreats or live in the right places. So it's kind of, yeah, there's... more demanding more demand yeah exactly um so oh okay interesting so um so in terms of things getting worse is like the types of triggers or just like your ability to your threshold is lower

Linda [14:47]: Yeah, I think there's more. There's more things. I mean, I definitely, it's funny, I went out, I haven't gone out much in the last two or three years, obviously. But I went out with a couple of friends who visited. to a cafe. And luckily, you know, everybody has outdoor seating now, which is fantastic. And I love this. So I was telling my friends that I'm so happy to eat outside. It's my favorite thing. And I haven't talked to anybody about misophonia until I made this little film that we can talk about. And that's brought up the conversation. It's kind of a side, a byproduct I didn't expect is that, oh, now I'll probably have to explain what this movie is to friends. And they said immediately, oh, do you like to eat outside because of the misophonia? And I was like, oh my gosh. I think you're right. I think that's a big part of it so i tend to i don't like restaurants inside too much but i love outdoor restaurants so um i think that uh like the eating thing is pretty much gone i just erased it i've been lucky i've been able to eradicate that out of my life and my current husband is so careful i don't have any issues unless he's eating by himself and i'm trying to concentrate He's eating on near me. Then I will just turn this game over Yeah, turn around and look at him and he knows immediately Usually he knows before I do actually he's so intuitive so now it's become things like people's speech patterns Repetitive words. It's going more into talking lately and I'm finding that really disturbing because now I does that mean I never talk to people or listen to the radio or so it's so that's worrisome and I had I did have the experience of triggering myself after I made this movie which I had to make the sounds that were in the movie and after hearing myself recording them through a little zoom handy handy recorder i had to listen to myself and then the next time i did the thing which usually i don't hear myself i heard it so there was a fear that i was gonna self-trigger myself for the rest of my life but luckily that's knock on wood that's that's been fading um but it's definitely i feel like more I don't know if they're they're making they're getting worse or if it's just I think it's that there's just more of them. And I don't know how much worse they could get, actually.

Adeel [17:39]: Yeah, let's not think about that, maybe. And when did you find out that it had a name, like it was a thing?

Linda [17:46]: Yeah, it's definitely that same article that everybody else with the picture of the apple or whatever. Is that when it came out? I mean, I don't remember.

Adeel [17:55]: That was a big one. There may have been more, but yeah, that was a major one.

Linda [17:59]: I think it was the title, like, Does the Sound of Eating Drive You Crazy?

Adeel [18:04]: Something like that. Yeah, that's this article, right, the article that didn't, the New York Times one from 2011 did not have the word misophony in the title, it had it in the text, but yeah, the title was kind of a question like that, so, yeah.

Linda [18:17]: yeah and and i can't remember if i found it or someone sent i it would have to be my partner who would have sent it to me because he's the only one who really knew about it i think or my mom but i so i must have found it by myself but yeah it was that and i and i was just kind of i think that i'm i'm still even all these years later surprised that not everybody has the same reaction to these sounds so I guess I was surprised it was a condition. But I mean, I mean, I really do know it's not everybody has this, but it's still always sort of like, really, it needs to be a condition. Just everybody should be quieter.

Adeel [19:02]: And how did you describe it before you knew it had a name like with your partner? How did you?

Linda [19:07]: I don't know. It usually focused on his eating and his paper wrapper. That was a big thing with him. I put it more on him. These things that you do, not so much myself. Because I just didn't have the skills of being in a good relationship that way. yeah so i i don't i mean i i definitely knew it was only me but i i still didn't um i didn't i didn't identify with it or call it anything did you said your mom may have sent you the article was um was she aware that you had some sense of other than that that moment when you were five years old I don't know if we talked about it at all. I mean, I have a lot of quirks that we do, as I call them, that we do talk about. I wonder if she has something like it because she's the one who always yelled at me for sniffling. She can't stand sniffling. She can't stand certain voice patterns. She doesn't have any issues that I know of with eating, things like that that are typical. But she definitely has a strong reaction and gets angry at a few very specific things.

Adeel [20:36]: And that's going back even from like... Forever. Forever.

Linda [20:40]: Yeah.

Adeel [20:41]: Interesting.

Linda [20:42]: So I don't know that she would have found it unusual that I didn't like a sound. Other than the close singing thing. That's when she did. But yeah, it was just her and me and then for a brief time for seven years, the stepfather. So we're a tiny family. We don't have cousins or brothers or sisters. So... So maybe, you know, that's part of it. I'm not practiced at tolerating people that I live with.

Adeel [21:12]: No, no, nothing like that. Gotcha. Okay. Well then, um, maybe I'm just like itching to get to your, uh, the Misophonia project, but, but maybe, um, yeah, do you want to talk about, but even like leading up to that, I'm just curious, like, what were you, what kind of projects do you typically work on? And, um, yeah, I'd love to hear about like, what, what, um, led you to come up with the idea of doing a film on Misophonia?

Linda [21:41]: um yeah i'm trying to figure that out too but um i so i i was a trained as a children's book illustrator which i did for a long time and i had like i think seven books published not writing just the illustrating part um so i did that full time for 15 years or so and so i worked alone also still like in my own studio as a freelancer But my grandparents were puppeteers. They started in the 1950s a little marionette company. So I grew up a lot with them after my father passed away. And so I grew up with puppet theater, and I didn't really think too much about it. It seemed kind of old-fashioned and not something I was way more into, the cutting-edge children's book market, I guess. And then a bunch of different things happened. I saw a puppet show. that was based in an Asian form of puppetry called Bunraku, which is a direct manipulation puppetry. And it was so beautiful. And I'd never seen anything like that before that I just fell in love with puppetry on my own. And this was when I was in college, I think. So my grandparents had already passed away. And I just went all in. I just found out that puppetry is not just Muppets, not just, you know, marionettes on strings. It actually is a very cutting-edge art form, especially in the U.S., where it doesn't have too much of a tradition. And I just saw like a whole world. I am a visual artist as well as a performing artist. I do some vaudeville. I do some fire spinning. I do some go-go dancing. And I've been a living statue. And I love that stuff. So this puppetry brings together the performing and the making into one art form. And so I've been full out dedicated to that for, I think, now probably another 15 years. And mostly that's been theater, live theater on a stage. And then I, it's a long story, I won't get too much into it, but I started getting into shadow puppetry because of just a bunch of things that happened right before the pandemic. And then the pandemic happened and it was the perfect time to try to explore putting that on film. because suddenly everybody needed content for their Zoom theater. So I started making little vignettes of shadow puppets that could be on a screen during the pandemic. And then I just got, I'd never done film before. And I got a commission from Heather Henson, who is one of the daughters of Jim Henson, to make a film. And part of that was going through a bit of a film school for six months with film professionals. And the project that I chose was Misophonia, which was an idea I'd had five years before. So I can tell you how that happened. I think that the idea started... as most of my ideas is just a visual picture um because i think mostly visually and it was of uh a mermaid on a bus i'm gonna spoil the end of the movie but that's okay because i don't think misophones don't want to watch this movie anyway But we'll get to that. So I had this image of a mermaid like commuting on a bus and slithering off a bus and going back into the ocean. And I thought I would try this for a conference that I go to where we workshop shows. And then that didn't happen. And over five years, it just started developing in my mind. And I love riding the bus and I love riding the train, but I can't stand the sound. Like it's almost unbearable. So all of a sudden, this mermaid in my mind was mesophonic and was going to be tortured by sound. And so when this project came up, I submitted it as an idea and they accepted it. unbelievably. I had already named it Misophonia, which most people don't know what that is. So it started with this image. And the mermaid is, I had been a mermaid as a living statue. So I think she was me already. And as a living statue, I don't speak. I'm mute. I do mime. So I think that her silent her silence of her character being this mermaid kind of invited a contradiction with the sounds that people would be making. So I didn't know if it would be a good movie. I don't know if it is, but I needed to make it to explore it. You know, art is my way of thinking and kind of roughing or smoothing out the rough edges between my inner life and the outer world. So for me, it was just amazing to really dive into thinking about this and then giving it an ending. I gave a source of misophonia by saying she's a mermaid, so she's just different. So even though there's no cause that we know of or we don't know why there is misophonia, I kind of satisfied myself by giving it a reason, I think. So I think that's the best thing about art is like you're able to create a world where something is resolved where it isn't in your life. So that's how it came about.

Adeel [27:40]: Yeah, it's a little magical realism kind of thing.

Linda [27:43]: It is. Yeah, that's exactly the category I would say.

Adeel [27:46]: Interesting. Okay. And when you say you were using it to explore, is exploring literally like misophonia? I haven't seen the film yet. I've been trying to, but I guess I think I missed when it was at that film festival.

Linda [28:03]: I haven't made the subtitled version yet. Oh, okay.

Adeel [28:06]: Well, yes. So you're saying you already think you don't recommend it for music films, I'm assuming, because there's tons of trigger sounds. Yeah.

Linda [28:16]: And I made them as gentle as I could, you know, so I could bear it. But yes. Anyway, continue. I'm sorry.

Adeel [28:23]: Yeah. So do you want to maybe talk through kind of the quote-unquote plot? Like, it's not like a two-hour...

Linda [28:31]: Yeah, no, it's pretty simple. It's it's nine minutes and you see a woman in a in front of a library reading a book which happens to be Moby Dick and She's waiting for the bus and the bus comes along and it's empty with a happy bus driver she gets on the bus and she's happily reading and the whole movie is the this bus moving through the city and picking up more and more people and And every time there's a bus stop, a new sound is introduced. So it starts with the crinkling paper, my ex's favorite. And then it goes through coffee slurping, a Game Boy, tapping, like kind of my mid-level. I didn't add any of my, I couldn't deal with eating, things like that. So I kept it in. No, there's no lobster in this movie. uh so and and it's a it's paper puppets so they they don't intrinsically have a lot of facial expressions so that was a challenge of trying to make her look like she's more and more distressed by these sounds and unable to concentrate on her book and then after the the bus is completely full and i had to build this soundscape of just a cacophony of sound and there is no dialogue there's no words the bus leaves the city and it goes to the sea where there's a bus stop that says see and she gets off the bus the bus leaves and all of the sound just disappears into the sound of waves And then we see that she's actually a mermaid holding her library book. And then she disappears into the ocean. And that is it.

Adeel [30:18]: Yeah. And is there any other like a music accompanying or is it mainly that the sound?

Linda [30:24]: Nope. All sound.

Adeel [30:26]: All sound.

Linda [30:27]: So it's all built from I found some. sounds online of old but vintage buses so there's a lot of bus sounds their city sounds and then it switches to the inside of the bus where you hear the people sound so I I had to I had to yeah I really I and I've never done this before in my life like make soundscape so this was a learning thing for me but but I'd say like half of the movie really is sound it really yeah

Adeel [30:59]: And you were building it in Parallel Logic Pro or Final Cut or something like that? And just kind of like looping stuff? Or Premiere? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Linda [31:07]: Yeah, I just did it. I didn't even have time to learn. What is the other Adobe? There's the other Adobe Audition or something like that?

Adeel [31:16]: Yeah, something like that.

Linda [31:17]: Yeah, that's on my list of things to learn because it wasn't too easy doing it in Premiere. But just it's about like 40 tracks in Premiere. Yeah. Yeah, and no, I would reuse the sounds, definitely.

Adeel [31:32]: So they're, and my... Because usually, you know, the sounds are very, like, spontaneous, like, they're very instantaneous. I'm curious, kind of, like, how did you... How did you make the cacophony? Because it's either copy and paste or something like that.

Linda [31:49]: Oh, it was so hard.

Adeel [31:50]: It must have been very tedious. Yeah.

Linda [31:52]: It was. It took forever. And I actually built the soundtrack before I filmed. I made an animatic. So I put my storyboard into Premiere and then built the soundtrack. And I thought that it was going to be just kind of a placeholder and I would learn better. how to grab sounds and that ended up being the final soundtrack and I it could be a lot better like there's definitely many things that could be better but it was really hard making the sounds um uh like you you could hear the individual sound and and relate it to a specific character without getting mushed together with all these other sounds that are are there right and I I am still looking to learn how to do that but but i i would you know up the volume on that particular moment and lower everything else probably in a pretty clumsy way but that was my idea but very hard especially especially if you hate the sound and you have to hear it

Adeel [33:00]: There's tricks you can do like that. You can change the EQ, change the reverb, maybe. Oh, gosh. On stuff that you want to focus on, things like that.

Linda [33:08]: See, I should talk to you beforehand.

Adeel [33:10]: I would love to work on your next project for sure. Anytime. And what was the kind of reaction you got?

Linda [33:18]: well my so we it was it was fantastic in making it we had a cohort um i think there were eight filmmakers who were mostly stage puppeteers moving into film for the first time like me and then we had three main advisors um and then we had guests who would come in and give us some advice and all the time i got that the sounds were not irritating enough And I just said, yeah, sure. And, you know, and that was and that was an issue. And then it became I realized on my own that I didn't know who I'm making this movie for other than myself, because I would never ask someone with misophonia to watch this movie until I have this subtitle or closed caption. But also, if you don't have, I mean, some people could relate to a few things. They'd say, oh, this really irritates me, you know, but it wasn't quite the same. So, you know, I think people understood it. I asked for feedback from friends who had never seen it, and they did get the, they got the plot. Yeah, yeah. But it's also, you know, puppets are not the most popular art form. And I'm pretty happy working in a weird medium that is pretty niche. So it's only been shown so far online. It is being submitted to film festivals. And it's going to be in a DVD collection coming out from Henson in the future at some point. So it hasn't been seen too much. So I haven't gotten a ton of feedback yet.

Adeel [35:02]: But hopefully soon. Yeah, I'll definitely buy that DVD and let me know if it gets... in any film festivals yeah definitely promote that uh have you ever thought about um i don't know doing a sequel or just or just maybe incorporating um other aspects of misophonia in so many other work i haven't yeah i mean this was so

Linda [35:27]: rough, like having to listen. Like having to listen to this. But I did, there is one character of this crowd that is on the bus who's a child. He has a fish. There's these little clues that she's from the ocean planted throughout the movie. So there's a fish store that people are waiting at the bus stop in front of. And he has a little bag holding a goldfish. And in my mind, he's concerned that this goldfish is trapped. And, you know, I think you even maybe pointed out, like, she's trapped on this bus very similarly as that fish. She's stuck in this glass, you know, enclosure, not able to get out.

Adeel [36:13]: Yeah.

Linda [36:14]: And she so I had this idea that this boy was really interesting because he he's the only one who notices her when the bus leaves. He's looking back to look at her. It's like nobody else really notices that there's this person that is so not even a person. It's a mermaid. And she looks different even from the get go, even before you see her tail. So nobody notices her this distress, which is my general experience. except for this boy so i i had the feeling that this boy might have uh some sort of sequel that might maybe he is reunited with her in some way and they they meet so i do have something in mind i don't know

Adeel [36:59]: what it would be yet but that yes that so there's a little spin-off that might oh i love that device of having that the parallel of the the goldfish that's trapped and she's also trapped in the bus yeah that's i think that's kind of referring to is like there's um there's i mean there's there's obviously so many aspects and secondary effects of having misophonia as you and your first partner have experienced and you know this there's so many different dimensions that i think there's like a very unexplored landscape of creative possibilities with misophonia, which, you know, non-misophones would listen to this and be like, what are you talking about? You're just annoying my sense.

Linda [37:37]: Yeah, but I think everyone could relate to the isolation.

Adeel [37:40]: Exactly.

Linda [37:41]: Yeah. Sometime in everyone's life, at some point, they must feel different and not understood or not noticed.

Adeel [37:52]: yeah different misunderstood have um feel like oh one thing um speaking of um uh you know niche art forms like i've only very recently become obsessed with uh musical theater partly because i was like you know i i made the connection between um you know musical theater being like you know breaking out into these outrageous song and dances related to you know the thoughts that go on in her head when we're triggered i mean it's so outrageous oh wow yeah so i that's why my natural thought has been to to make a musical about miss foyer not necessarily like a big song and dance like a vaudeville style but although that'd be ridiculous too i'm very interested in i mean i'm into like absurd um art forms and dadaism and whatever so i feel like this is kind of the direction i kind of want to explore um is to kind of like have musical theater as kind of a a metaphor parallel with the the thoughts the the other the parallel life that we have in our heads that's amazing that's the form that i was working in with my ex he was a musical theater person and he would write a lot of his own music but also some reviews

Linda [39:02]: I never thought of, I never made that connection before. That's very interesting. Yeah, it's an inner outburst.

Adeel [39:09]: Yeah, the inner monologue that we have is so crazy.

Linda [39:14]: It's as crazy as musical theater.

Adeel [39:16]: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And I never really, I was never into the, you know, to the theater kids when I was growing up, probably because growing up in an East Asian, South Asian, Indian culture, that's not really any kind of art form is not particularly recommended or encouraged. So, you know, theater just seemed really... kind of odd and out there and very much the white kids and so it's it's taken a while for me to like uh look at stuff from a different perspective and uh i don't know yeah this is when it was just kind of like oh okay wow i see i see a some somehow i can kind of connect with musical theater because uh at least from the you know this potential outlet or or way to express emotion is something i can relate to what about bollywood bollywood is is yeah i was like yeah It just seemed a little, yeah, it just seemed, yeah. Well, yeah, I was never into like Bollywood culture because it tended to, well, I was more into, I was into, you know, indie movies and different kinds of plots and themes. Let's just say Bollywood just seemed a little too cookie cutter and just everything seemed the same and kind of cheesy. Maybe I think, maybe I originally thought musical theater was kind of cheesy, but then I kind of, started to think a little bit more about what it could um well then I then I was introduced to literally in the last couple years like people like Stephen Sondheim and And, oh, okay, there's more of a psychological aspect, which I never realized before. I just thought it was, you know, just vaudeville entertainment. Which I don't mind anymore. I kind of, I don't know, I kind of get it. I just took my first tap dance lesson this week. No kidding. Just like, just doing stuff I never thought I'd do.

Linda [41:04]: Oh, that's so interesting.

Adeel [41:06]: Which we'll see how that works for my misspoke.

Linda [41:08]: Yeah, I was going to say, do you like the sound of tap?

Adeel [41:12]: We'll see. We'll see. I don't mind it so much because if it's done musically, it's kind of like playing drums with your feet, then I can see how it would be okay.

Linda [41:23]: That's true. Have you heard of this? I think it's Mr. Freer's Ears. I think that's his name.

Adeel [41:35]: Wait a minute.

Linda [41:36]: Okay, wait, are you the one who... I think I did message you. I think it's Nickelodeon or something like this.

Adeel [41:46]: I think it was you who sent it to me a while back. I totally forgot about it, but I did watch it. I can't believe it exists. Yeah. So listeners, what Linda's telling me about is, you can describe it as well, but now remember, it's from the 90s on Nickelodeon. I guess there was like a short, I think there were just five, 10 minute little clips of... Was it always somebody? I know one of them is somebody that the dude, it's like a guy who's going around. There's no words. But he goes to different situations and he just hears normal sounds, but in a rhythmic, almost like a beat. So I remember one where he's sitting in a barber's chair. And he hears the scissors and the comb and everything. And everything is kind of like played rhythmically. in kind of like a rhythmic performance kind of thing.

Linda [42:41]: But he is irritating. He always runs away. but he does hear it as if it's a percussive and it's, and I can listen to it that way. Like you were saying, like if it's musical, I can hear those sounds, but yet he, he has to run. And it always starts with the camera zeroing in on his ear. So it's so interesting. And that was another person, a sound designer pointed me to that. He, he loves this piece. So yeah.

Adeel [43:14]: Yeah, because obviously there was no term for Miss Pointy back then, so you've got to wonder if whoever did that was trying to get the point across.

Linda [43:21]: I think so. I think so. I should investigate more about who did it and find them.

Adeel [43:29]: Yeah, we'll go to IMDB and find that out. Sound designer. yeah that's super but that's also what i have so i mean i'm i'm you know writing as i'm writing songs i'm thinking about uh using triggers and um as like percussive elements like maybe hi-hats or parts of a snare if you add enough reverb and manipulate sounds enough you can um you can make them actually and there was uh marcello a recent episode you heard that one right that was great yeah so yeah so i think uh i think this is amazing that people are starting to to use uh start to um incorporate misophonia and not just like that obvious stuff like you know i'm annoyed by sounds but um it's trying to use it more i don't know just trying to explore creatively i think it's an untapped landscape i had there's a few film festivals that are will take a silent film and orchestrate live to the film

Linda [44:32]: And I want to submit Misophonia to a couple of those and see if anybody would be interested in making musical version of those sounds. in a way that I would be able to watch the movie. So we'll see if anybody bites on that one.

Adeel [44:50]: Yeah. That's the thing I was thinking about. Would a musical make sense? Or honestly, the No Miss ones would go see it. Not that I would want to put a lot of triggers into it, but I'm wondering if maybe just a film version, kind of like what you did. Yeah.

Linda [45:07]: I love it. I would go see it.

Adeel [45:10]: yeah yeah um yeah anyways uh no i'd love to yeah kind of like brainstorm some ideas about that that stuff later um so and when you when you released i guess you're still in the process of releasing it i guess um Has it kind of introduced you to other misophones in any way? It sounds like you haven't really talked about misophonia in general, right?

Linda [45:33]: Yeah, no. I think before I shared it with anybody with misophonia, I definitely want to take out. I'm so worried about bothering people. I would want to take out those sounds and make a little like this is, you know, I mean, you can see the action being done with by these paper puppets, but I, I wanted to leave the ambient soundtrack, but take out those particular sounds. So, but yeah, I don't, I don't have any that I know of misophones in my life in any case to talk to. So it's not, not come up and, and, and we're still trying to release this movie in different ways.

Adeel [46:17]: yeah gotcha okay okay cool i mean it's always gonna be recorded it's not like you're gonna i would imagine probably you would never want to do a live version of it no definitely well

Linda [46:29]: You know what? Who knows? Yeah, it could be. There could be an interesting way. But, you know, who would come to see it? Theater is rough. This is great. I can make it and just send it out. But, you know, you have to ask people to come to a live theater show. So it's a lot harder.

Adeel [46:47]: So what are your, maybe talk about, like, just kind of coping methods. It seems like, I mean, you said you've kind of almost eradicated the eating noises, mainly because, like, you eat outside at restaurants and then your husband's very attentive. Like, are you doing the headphones when you go in public, earplugs, things like that? Yeah.

Linda [47:08]: yeah my sony's that i'm wearing right now my sony noise canceling i i can't live without them i i work in a studio space with 44 other artists and uh it's called artist alley i have my own space but they're basically a giant cubicle with walls that are very tall but then it's open up above and you can hear everything that everybody does and there's there's rules there But people love to do things like play their music on their phone, make that tinny sound, or talk to their friends through speakerphone. And I couldn't survive. These headphones have saved my life. They're just fantastic. And then other places. I mean, so I work in a library three nights a week. Oh, yeah. That's actually the hardest part of my time. Yeah. it's not quiet in a library and if it is uh you hear everything double and also i think the expectation when you feel like you are uh owed quietness and you don't get it it's i have a worse reaction because i feel justified in my uh in my terrible thoughts yeah so um so there i mean usually i'm i'm a definite runaway i i don't confront i'm and i'm amazed yeah i'm a definite flight person and i'm amazed hearing your other guests who have the ability to go up to somebody and ask them i I just can't even imagine. And I'm so impressed. And when I get stuck, if I can't leave, I don't know what to do. I have, like, I just go crazy. Freeze.

Adeel [48:57]: Just fight, flight, or freeze. Yeah.

Linda [49:00]: Well, I've had incidents where I've just become like a toddler or something where if I was stuck in a situation and someone is doing something, I will take something and slam it down on the ground and not even engage that person just to let my anger be known. And they have no idea, I'm sure, of what my problem is. And then I'll run away in any way I can. So I have this weird... fights, but not really, and then flight. And it doesn't make any sense. I mean, I cannot... No amount of preparing myself seems to be able to... I can't grab myself back at that moment. I'm just lost in my... So I think there is some fight in there, but I'm so concerned about how I'm perceived. I don't want to be a terrible person. And my inner thoughts are terrible that I do this weird sort of thing, which just makes me look far worse, I'm sure.

Adeel [50:09]: Yeah. Does it take a while to come back down?

Linda [50:12]: yeah yeah yeah definitely i'd say hours depending on how bad it is yeah and i think how can that how could they not know you know how could anybody do that what is this terrible thing have you ever uh have you ever gone like have you ever has there has there ever been a time when you when you did kind of lose it um i mean i have lost it on a couple of people not because of misophonia in general i'm i restrain myself and you know i bury things until i can't stand it anymore but um and that comes i'm sure a lot from my past like just the inability to confront uh you know problems But I've never lost it, even though that's the worst reactions I probably have inwardly. I've never really lost it on it. I've never burst out, other than the slamming something down on the desk and walking away. That's as far as it's ever gone so far. Who knows? I don't know.

Adeel [51:17]: And did you, have you ever brought her up with a professional, like a therapist of any kind, psychologist or anything?

Linda [51:27]: I have a great fear of psychologists. I respect, but I'm fearful of going through my past. I'm always worried that this is going to be brought up again. But I did during COVID, when I had to work at the library at the front desk, we were having issues of what I felt was a lack of respect during that time before there were vaccines. We were being treated kind of poorly. so I did end up seeing our like a I guess it's like a workplace counselor through my job and I saw her maybe 10 times first time I've ever seen a therapist of any type pretty late in life yep I've never my family is very much like you don't bring your problems to anybody you just go on you know yeah and so i've i've never seen anybody until then and that was she i did mention it to her she was oh is that that thing where like sounds irritate you i'm like yeah but that's the thing we never talked about it again but i we did talk about my uh just in general of my uh inability to uh when people were doing things in the library that were related to COVID like problematic um this thing about me slamming things down and running away came up and we and that was the first time I had ever noticed and connected it to to my path but no we did I've never talked to anybody in any form about misophonia yeah yeah until you really and other than my poor ex and you know just people who might close to me

Adeel [53:16]: And our Instagram DMs where you're sharing clips of Nickelodeon videos and whatnot.

Linda [53:21]: Yeah, that's it. It's amazing.

Adeel [53:25]: It's amazing. And since listening to the podcast, listening to everybody, it seems like you've listened to a lot of episodes. What are some of the things that you've learned that you're now incorporating in your life or just kind of thinking about maybe that are helping?

Linda [53:40]: Yeah, just like this, you know, it's just been this dark... you know, cloud or like this closet I've never really looked into before. I knew it was there and I had to deal with it. And I and I'm lucky in that I have jobs often where I don't have to do anything about it, especially when I was working alone. But so listening to other people is just incredible because it's the first time where I was like, oh, You know, they thought so many people have thought about it so carefully. And and then when they say these things, I just and one of the one that I remember was people talking about dogs barking and then people talking about animals doing the same thing, not triggering you. And I was like, wow, I the only time an animal has bothered me is the dog barking. And I think it's because I feel like a human should do something about it. You know, i don't care when the coyotes we have a lot of coyotes we have cows they don't bother me but the dog barking i feel like well humans should do something like maybe the dog is unhappy or you know and then i get triggered but So it's so specific to human activity. And that, you know, I never even noticed that before. It never even occurred to me. So I think that listening, like things like that, I've gotten more curious about it rather than just in despair, I'd say.

Adeel [55:14]: Yeah, like I said, there's a lot of fascinating dimensions that you don't really think about necessarily when you first think of an annoyance to sound.

Linda [55:24]: And so now I just want to know more about it, you know, rather than just hating it. So it's really fantastic. It's such a great service that you've done. I can't even begin to tell you. It's wonderful, which is why I wanted to come on and add my contribution for posterity.

Adeel [55:45]: Yeah, well, no, I think you're making an ongoing contribution. Yeah, I love when it gets explored in art. It's out there in the world and people can... think about it and hopefully get inspired to create their own works as honestly that yours kind of inspired me to think about it i think it's one of the earlier versions of earlier instances of uh of you know something just being about misophonia so i think others will will will uh will do something as well i hope so and i hope um yeah i hope everybody makes art you know i think it's just good for everybody but i hope some people maybe make puppet art and then let me know no i think that that's that's a fascinating um i mean i'm sure uh you know that's probably cliche people mention that they love you know being about john mackovich is one of my favorite movies oh it's great

Linda [56:38]: No, that's a good one. I mean, usually people say, oh, the Muppets. You mean like them, which are great.

Adeel [56:42]: Oh, no. Yeah.

Linda [56:43]: But there there's so much more. And being John Malkovich is fantastic puppetry.

Adeel [56:48]: You know, and speaking of there's something I don't know. I don't know if this is similar. Have you seen the movie Magic with Anthony Hopkins? no oh okay well writing it down yeah yeah so it's not specifically uh puppet but it's it's uh he's a ventriloquist and um but he's is um it's it's kind of a i don't want to say a horror movie but it's he is uh anthony hopkins is he's obviously got some kind of uh well there's some mental issues and it's so i i would highly recommend watching it's from the 70s so it's even cooler because you get to see like uh life and um i think it's actually around your neck of the woods so somewhere in the northeast uh but um but uh yeah i mean you can see it uh you know a lot of old movies but uh yeah it's it's super interesting because it's he uh anthony hopkins obviously has uh clear mental issues and his ventriloquist doll is part of, let's just say it's part of the goings on in some of the bad stuff that happens. There's a decline. There's definitely a decline of mental state of Anthony Hopkins.

Linda [58:02]: I feel like if there's puppets in a movie, it's usually going to be bad.

Adeel [58:08]: Right, right.

Linda [58:09]: There's definitely a puppet fear in our culture. But I enjoy it nonetheless.

Adeel [58:17]: I think it's directed by some pretty big director. Oh, Richard Attenborough is actually. Yeah, he went on to then direct Gandhi next.

Linda [58:25]: Oh, wow.

Adeel [58:27]: so anyways but well yeah linda i mean yeah this is this is yes this has been fascinating um any yeah kind of about about an hour into it any any kind of thing else you want you want to share with people who are who are listening

Linda [58:44]: Oh, God, I feel like everybody knows more than I do. Like, I have no advice, except maybe don't, you know, live the life I did for 45 years of trying to bury misophonia. I mean, I don't know. I think now with the internet and your podcast, just people being able to connect and know that they're not, you know, terrible people is fantastic. And to be young and grow up that way, I think is really great. I would say about libraries, which I think a lot of people have complained. Libraries seem to be on a trend of becoming like modern and upbeat and therefore they think there needs to be a lot more noise and group activity in libraries.

Adeel [59:28]: Yeah, it's turning into maybe like a place to hang out and do different things.

Linda [59:33]: Yeah, which is great. I mean, I think that's wonderful, but they are doing it to stay relevant. But I, as I work the front desk, there's tons of people who wish that there were still quiet spaces, but they don't get really heard by... library staff so i would say if anyone wants to send a letter to your library asking to preserve quiet space i think it could be helpful it's definitely library administrators and i work in an academic library so maybe it's different but i would say ask for quiet space again and maybe if enough people make that voice heard we can get our quiet libraries back because they were so great

Adeel [60:15]: No, I was thinking about that. And recently, well, honestly, I was thinking about almost recording this episode in our local library because my neighbor is about to get his roof replaced. Oh. He's banging constantly, but luckily it was raining today, so he's not getting it replaced. But yeah, I mean, so I was thinking of going into one of those quiet rooms, which seem to like slowly disappear, like being able to like sign up. But even in those rooms, and I think even if you don't have to, even if you don't, if the library doesn't create, more more quiet spaces i mean i think there's a lot of people libraries can do in the architecture and the interior design to like soften yes like to put like soft uh know blanket or just carpet just kind of like think about those little details that that can absorb sound would make a big difference and they're not doing they're definitely not doing that now yeah no and then some of these i mean you know to your point of the the cubicles with the high walls i mean sometimes there's just too much space like for for somebody to cough and then it goes and reverberates uh you know all over the place um So, yeah, I think there's a lot that can be done there.

Linda [61:25]: If people know that it's needed. I think we just, in general, quietness has been really left behind. It's not a... Most people don't...

Adeel [61:37]: most people i think who want that uh don't speak it because they're quiet you know although and when you go to uh i mean a lot of theaters and art galleries around town here now have um you know the sensory hours or whatever like some grocery stores have heard of that so that seems to hopefully become more of a trend i think uh i think the autism community has been kind of spearheading that but i think we should kind of jump on that train and support that oh yeah that's great

Linda [62:08]: Yeah, we don't have that around here that I know of, but I hope that becomes more popular.

Adeel [62:12]: That's great. There might be some. Yeah, I don't know. Sometimes you see sensory-friendly hours pop up on Facebook for a gallery putting on an event. I think we should...

Linda [62:25]: Oh, that's fantastic.

Adeel [62:27]: Maybe do a search. I bet there is something with so many artists around your area.

Linda [62:32]: Yeah, it could be. I will look. And what's the typical phrase that's used?

Adeel [62:36]: Sensory friendly. Sensory friendly.

Linda [62:38]: Okay. Great.

Adeel [62:41]: So it's not just sound. And it happens. Honestly, it happens at grocery stores, too, where there'll be like an hour or two where they say they will turn down the lights. They will not collect the shopping carts. they will um turn off the beeps or lower the beeps of the cash register really no kidding that's amazing somebody's put a lot of thought into this wow and then uh and then in i'll go to a theater like a children's theater or whatever and then there's like um there's like a room at the back where you can um sit and it's usually for kids who might be hyperactive or might have be a autistic but uh but yeah, there's, I don't know, it's becoming more of a, more of a thing. Hopefully it'll come back to libraries.

Linda [63:23]: Yeah.

Adeel [63:24]: Maybe I'll submit that in our, you should, you should get a promotion and amazing ideas. Yeah. Cool. Well, yeah, Linda, thanks again. I think, yeah, I would love to talk. Yeah. Keep, keep, keep talking at a later date as well, but this is good to finally have you on and kind of hear your story from afar. Likewise.

Linda [63:47]: Yeah, and I really look forward to all the art you're going to make, too. I'm just really glad to meet you. I'm so glad that I found this podcast. Thank you for everything.

Adeel [63:58]: Thank you, Linda. It was a real joy talking to you and about this film, which I wish the best as it makes it through the world. If you liked this episode, don't forget to leave a quick review or just hit the five stars wherever you listen to this podcast. You can hit me up by email at or go to the website, It's easiest to just send a message on Instagram at facebook at misophonia podcast twitter at misophonia show support the show by visiting the patreon at slash misophonia podcast theme music as always is by monkey and until next week wishing you peace and quiet

Unknown Speaker [64:55]: It is a place where you can experience the beauty of nature and the beauty of nature itself. It is a place where you can experience the beauty of nature itself.