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May 24, 2023

Episode 81: Pursuing Life with Humor with Bee Baumann

On this episode of Pursuing Uncomfortable, we explore the idea that creativity has no age limit and can be expressed at any time in life. Our guest, Bee Baumann, a nontraditional midlife beginner, shares her journey of discovering her potential later in life and breaking free from limiting beliefs. We discuss the power of comedy as a tool for thinking outside the box and breaking routine, as well as the importance of diverse voices in promoting growth and survival. Bee also shares her experiences with mental illness and the need for neurodiverse thinkers to be included at the table. This episode is full of inspiring stories and insights that will encourage listeners to pursue their own creative passions and embrace their unique selves.

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As a comedian, writer, motivational speaker, and interculturalist, I bring my perspective to the world, as do you! My first humorous self-help book "Gurrl, You Ain't Crazy" was published in 2020, and I have published more than half a dozen literary short stories and essays. The topics I explore as a humorist and stand-up comedian include German society, African American culture, and belonging. As a comedian, I have spent the last three years honing my comedy skills and now I teach comedy. The goal of my work is to nurture and inspire aspiring comedians. The course will move you out of your comfort zone and into a space of possibility, regardless of whether you are improving your speaking, presentation, or even small talk and networking skills. I am a motivational speaker, and I speak on Living your Legend and being a midlife beginner.

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🎶 Podcast Intro: Welcome to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast, where we give you the encouragement you need to lean into the uncomfortable stuff life puts in front of you, so you can love your life. If you are ready to overcome all the yuck that keeps you up at night, you're in the right place. I am your host, Melissa Ebken let's get going. 🎶

🎶 Episode Intro: What does the world need more of right now? Well, if you ask Bee Baumann, that would be comedy and that's why she teaches it. Bee Baumann teaches comedy, she lives in Germany, and she has an incredible story of her own to share. Let's welcome Bee to the Pursuing Uncomfortable Podcast. 🎶  

Melissa Ebken  0:01  
The bow man, welcome to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast. Okay,

Unknown Speaker  0:08  
I'm doing great, really, thanks for inviting me now.

Melissa Ebken  0:13  
I was my pleasure. I think that the listeners here are going to adore you as much as I did. You are a delight to speak with. I love the sound of your voice, but even more, so I love your story. I love what you do. And I love the things that you share. So let's just get right into it, shall we?

Unknown Speaker  0:35  
Okay, well, I'll just start with who I am. So, like you said, I'm the Volman. I'm a communication trainer, a humorist and writer. And I have been living in outside of Heidelberg, Germany for the past 15 years. I have three children. And I do stand up comedy. That's who I am in a nutshell.

Melissa Ebken  1:00  
Now in your comedy, is that outside of your two children? Or is

Unknown Speaker  1:04  
it include films?

Melissa Ebken  1:07  
Because I know mindset. I feel like I do stand up comedy all the time. But it goes largely in wholly I would say unappreciated by

Unknown Speaker  1:18  
Oh, that's funny. Okay, so you're doing you're doing family jokes? No, actually, my two children are part of my material. And they live in Rhode Island. So I'm going to stand up on the road between within Germany and the UK area

Melissa Ebken  1:37  
of AES sounds like a blast. And now just to clarify, I feel like that when I speak to them, I am hilarious, but they don't.

Unknown Speaker  1:48  
Yeah, children don't find you funny, that that's what I hear. That's what seems to be a generalization that works. So your children, just across the board, do not think you are at all, you know, especially when you try to make a joke, you know, now if you're trying to be serious, or if you're you're trying to have some decorum, then they think you're hilarious.

Melissa Ebken  2:16  
Right? Absolutely. Frustrating. Anyway, you have a larger story to share also. So tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to the place where you are right now?

Unknown Speaker  2:30  
Yes. How I got here is a long story, but the shortest version is when I was a baby. So I'll start there.

Melissa Ebken  2:43  
Feel Hey, yeah, exactly.

Unknown Speaker  2:45  
You haven't got this all looked at me and smile. Unfortunately, my mother had a nervous breakdown. And it's part of a legend that she sort of had a nervous breakdown in the hospital. And so I immediately went into foster care. And I didn't reunite with my mother until I was 13. And I think that started me on a journey of not fitting in. That's why I start there, because I think that was sort of the fulcrum that started me feeling like I was outside of every relationship. And then I managed to be an emancipated adult at 16. And then, when I met my husband, my first has been in Colorado Springs where I was living with my family. My mother, or without my mother, I'm sorry, I was living alone. But I was limited Colorado Springs, and I met my first husband. And he took me to Germany, the first spring. And I loved it in Germany, I really thought a connection. Unfortunately, we divorced. And he helped me with the children because I wanted to go back to university. So he, my first husband did the father of the children healthy without, and I went back to university to get an English degree. And after I did that, I, of course, supported him and decided that I would move to Boston to be closer to my husband, my ex husband's family and the kids. And so, you know, we were able to have custody of the kids between us and that has always worked. And yeah, and then I was in college in New Mexico. That's where I went to college as a older, what they call non traditional student. And I have wanted to go to Mexico to write like, that was my big dream. But I of course, knew I had to support two kids and I So, when I moved to Boston, I became an assistant and then an executive assistant. And, and the one thing I'm leaving out is I came to Heidelberg, Germany was the National Guard because I joined the National Guard in college. And so this is the point that everyone should remember. Here's the red thread. Because of that, when I was in a small jazz bar here in Boston, and I heard my current husband speaking German, I said, Oh, expert that I'm Christian droids. And as they say, the rest is history. Well, that part of it.

Melissa Ebken  5:44  
Now, it served in the National Guard in Illinois. I was a helicopter mechanic.

Unknown Speaker  5:50  
Oh, cool. What I always wanted to be was a mechanic, but I honestly did not fall with my person. But did you do? Yeah, I think I was part of this generation that had a total Cinderella syndrome. So I just knew I was waiting on a prince and I was in home baking classes, like I had homemaking classes. And so I really had that person, I didn't have any perspective, greater than a black woman, perhaps as a nurse, like at the top of the pay scale. And, and so I Yeah, so I just abandoned myself as a, as a mother and as a wife. And so it was a long time for me to break out of that shell. And, and to find myself in fact, I, I kept hiding, I kept hiding, you know, in my marriage, and in my home, even physically, because he, for some reason, didn't feel like I was in now that I, that I had a voice that I should be sharing. And so that was a part of my journey is learning that, but, but I'm robbed, been being in the National Guard. And that's what made me speak to my second husband when I was out.

Melissa Ebken  7:17  
You know, you've lived on all other different things. And one thing I would like to highlight here, and it matters so much, to the point where many of us overlook it, and others never notice it. But our context and the framework from which we come matters so much. As a woman, I was given limits, I had a different perspective based on the fact that I was a woman. And you mentioned you were a black woman, and that adds another layer, or generations of another layer. So how do you package all of that, not only in your comedy, but in your books? And when you relate to others? They'll teach others? How do you layer that into, into your thoughts?

Unknown Speaker  8:08  
Well, I think about myself and the people I speak to, as non traditional midlife, beginners midlife beginners, because I feel like there's a generation like you said, there's a generation of us who didn't get the memo that we could be more like, we weren't told that there was sort of all of this potential that we had, especially coming from my demographic, which was a poor inner city child in Indiana. And so I tried to share that in my comedy that I was this, you know, poor inner city kid. And yeah, it was rough. And so it kind of seems like a fairy tale that I'm wearing, I'm now red. It also came with this understanding that I knew I had something inside. And I think a lot of people do. It's like, I had something inside that I need to share that I want to give to others. And we're just looking for, like, how do I do that? And that's why I wrote my book grow you and crazy, because also on top of my childhood alley, my non traditional childhood I was labeled with that mental illness like I went through cycles there. And once I read about non divergent thinkers, excuse me, neuro divergent thinkers, that really helped me this idea that you will I mean, the planet is neuro diverse, but there's people, people with autism, people with depression and other mental struggling with other mental challenges. For neuro divergent, and how do we bring ourselves forward so that we're part of the conversation as we are not trying to be something different or identify with saying I have these challenges. But I also deserve to be at the table. So that's why I wrote the book grow up and crazy. And to, to try to have a humorous self help book that says, you know, don't fire the help, and you are your health, so don't give up on you.

Melissa Ebken  10:38  
And not only are those voices needed, at the table, are welcomed at the table, they are desperately needed at the table. Because when one predominant voice is the only one that is given any sway, we lose so much. I have a biology background, my first go around in the world was my degree in biology. And one of the fundamental core principles of biology is the importance of diversity, if there is going to be life and if life is gonna survive any obstacles and hardships and diversity is necessary beyond necessary, it's a real fireman, or else it's going to be a short lives endeavor. To have neuro diverse voices to have diverse people behind those voices. Is what's the word I'm looking for us? National Credit Shal necessary to our survival and to getting through and I think we've seen in COVID that we need it people. You know, the pandemic taught us that when we get a rethink stripped systems and structures, we need those people who can think differently, and consider things from a different perspective, because that's where some great ideas come from. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker  11:59  
exactly. And, and mighty, say, we've known this, this idea that, that even nature is always looking to creatively adapt. And adaptability is is the key to being on this planet, another 1000 years. And part of adapting, like you just said, is this idea that we have diverse thinkers in all aspects of life. Because also the idea that we are, we're living on ourselves, I believe it was Albert Einstein, who said, You know what, the thinking that got us here won't get us there. And I'm not sure what's happened on set. But someone said, yes, the thinking that got us here won't get us there.

Melissa Ebken  12:49  
To grow into new thinking to solve a problem we'd never saw before.

Unknown Speaker  12:54  
Exactly. And exactly. And that's why we need creativity. And that's why I'm teach comedy. That's why I teach. And because I want people to realize, you know, that we, we need the ability to think, well, we always have to think outside of the box. But if we're not really actively trying to think outside the box, and look at things then that add to things. And we're not actually looking outside the box, we're just in our cubicles are now, you know, in our homes. But like you said, I think what the one thing that COVID taught us was, it doesn't matter when something comes we, we adapt, when we have to adapt, we do but we get so comfortable, that we just it's so easy to get into a routine. So breaking that routine is something that you learn with comedy. And so that's why I teach comedy.

Melissa Ebken  13:54  
And the funniest people, in my opinion, take my opinion for what it's worth, but the funniest people see the same things I see. But have that other perspective that I overlooked, or that I missed. That really brings out the funny.

Unknown Speaker  14:14  
Yeah, and it's really, I mean, there's different types of comedians and there's different kinds of humor. Like a George Carlin, the way he was able to really like bring the political, social, political topics, and a Jerry Seinfeld, who was able to really look at society and the little things that we do that are so idiosyncratic and, and crazy, actually, it was crazy that we were so worked tonight's our cultural lized to do

Melissa Ebken  14:54  
with a couple of lessons that you would love everyone to know. Through learning calm money, why should we all enroll in a course about it?

Unknown Speaker  15:05  
Well coordinate is great for teaching new small talk, it's great for increasing your presentation skills, and getting you out of your comfort zone. Because nothing great is going to happen inside your comfort zone. Because only thing that's in there is the things you know, you know. And so once you are able to break that, and at first, it feels really like oh uncomfortable. But once you get used to it, it gets bigger your area of comfort, and then you're in your area of growth. And that's what comedy classes can help us do is be in that growth space, which will help us with relationships help us with work will help us get on positions that we want to get to help us lead teams and lead companies, it just really is a foundational idea because laughter is a prone, primal, primal instinct that we have, like even kids, babies that cannot hear or see, not. It's just part of our inner makeup. And so in when we do math, or cause others to smile, I mean, it doesn't have to be to tell a joke, but just to share a light moment. And we cause others to smile, we immediately create a bond of trust. The it's, it's like cold for trust, when you can smile with someone else. And so that's also a great thing that comedy gives us this ability to create vibrance with others.

Melissa Ebken  17:03  
And I heard you say that pursuing uncomfortable is one of the most important things we can do.

Unknown Speaker  17:10  
Exactly, exactly. Because that is where the pot of gold is. That is where the learning is. It's outside of your comfort zone. Because area and not out so far that you're traumatized. I felt where you can say, I'm gonna try this. And it might not work out, Hey, you might flop you might fall on, but you won't die. And that's the thing once you see that you will survive. And then it's all carry. Yeah, yeah.

Melissa Ebken  17:48  
The death rate among comedians on stage I think is pretty minimal in our state.

Unknown Speaker  17:54  
Right. And, but everybody knows this statistic that people are like, I would rather be in the casket than giving the speech, you know, people are terrified of speaking in public. And, and I get it, because usually when a bunch of eyes are staring at you, you're like the meal you're in, you're actually about to become the meal. And so I think that's why the primal brain, which is still embedded in there, that primal brain that we put everything we can on top of, but that primal brain is still there, and it still is like I'm going to save you at all costs. You know? So you and you have to be able to Yeah, say you are not in danger here. You know, calm down from old brain. You are not in danger.

Melissa Ebken  18:50  
Yeah, get out of that fight or flight. Yeah. Yeah. Reconnect with that thinking part of your brain. And from give me a microphone and a roomful of people. I am good to go.

Unknown Speaker  19:03  
Yeah, good. Good. Yeah. And just have fun. Because there's so much in life that is, honestly, I'm trying to think of what you do. That isn't that you can't make finals that you can't just simply try to, to moves with because we're here for such a short time and we're on this blow God spinning and space. So really, anything is possible. You have to let it go a little bit. Don't take yourself too seriously.

Melissa Ebken  19:37  
For sure. You know, and there's such a, you know, people think, you know, I'm a spiritual leader. I'm a pastor, and people think you have to be very serious to be a pastor. And when I was called into this crazy business with let's just say I was happy being a biologist. Fine and dandy being a biologist, and I felt like Calling to something else. I was mad. I was not happy with it. And it took some time to reconcile that. And there was a conversation where I was having with who I call God, some people called Spirit higher power. What have you here, sir? Listen, you know, my lack of filter, you know, I'm gonna say something are you ticketless? I can't change who I am. This is just who I am. And frankly, you and I get along well, because I am who I am. Because you are who you are. And you made me this. And God's like that is who I want. That's exactly Cory. Oh, that's so beautiful. Now, and you know, we are who we are. And I think breathing is praying. And when we laugh, we do a lot of breathing. It's just two feet. 50 feet, it can sound great when you're laughing. When you're laughing your body refreshes itself and get this I read this is legit. It was on the internet, it has to be true. Okay, laughing for 30 minutes is just as good as cycling for 30 minutes, no body fat, check it if you do, I don't want to hear any negativity don't add the fact that I choose to live by. So Laugh it up and enjoy this life, cleanse your soul and have a better time. You know, if you hate snow in the winter, and we get a lot of snow where I live. If you're mad about it, or whether you're happy about it, he gets the same amount of snow. Right?

Unknown Speaker  21:40  
Exactly, exactly. And it's the same thing with any age, sometimes we get bothered by age, but regardless how old you are you gonna be that old. Regardless, if you return to schools, start a business, you know, open a daycare, wherever you want to do, there's now it's always the right time, you know, just start you know, like, like I said, I love Netflix, beginners, and I think like you said, being able to be in yourself and be in yours Your spirit and let that flow let people see that and let that come out. Like you said that is that that shine. And when you let that light shine like they say, once you let that light shine, then yeah. Spirit is is is wonderful thing to see. And everyone every

Melissa Ebken  22:43  
thank you it. No, I really admire people who can accomplish great things in their 20s and early 30s. I needed that time to figure out who I was not. And what I was terrible at the I am a person that can do things in midlife, there's a different understanding and a different perspective that columns once you hit 50, or there abouts. And that isn't available to you earlier on. So kudos to those who can do all those things earlier on. But for all of you who are listening, who are past that earlier on space in life,

Unknown Speaker  23:24  
so much goodness, every day. Now. Julie, and I'm just sitting here trying to think of the actor who played in Driving Miss Daisy, and Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman. Morgan Freeman. Yes. Morgan Brennan, I think didn't get discovered. And that's after years, of course of wealth working to be discovered until he was in his late 50s, I believe. And so, yeah, II and Oh, my goodness. Look, look at me just become quizzing you. This is the to me, I think it was though, the woman who did the quilt, my mother of Moser, Moses, your mother and Moses, I think she didn't start until 60s or 70s. So it's, you have something in you and whenever you bring it out, oh my goodness. It's amazing to all of us whenever it comes out, like you say if it comes out in a 10 year old, or comes out in a 99 year old, it's amazing.

Melissa Ebken  24:35  
You know, and it's funny that you said Morgan Freeman because I don't know if this was a regional TV program or what? But I grew up in central Illinois, and we watched the electric company. It came on after Sesame Street and Morgan Freeman was on the electric company after the 70s and in my childhood growing up there was Morgan Freeman and who did not know that okay. I say he was funny. He does a lot of things for the fixture. He's back there. He's

Unknown Speaker  25:06  
been there. But I think he wasn't his academy of board up here.

Melissa Ebken  25:13  
He was not the Morgan Freeman then that we know and adore now.

Unknown Speaker  25:18  
Yeah, but no, that's great that he was there. That's what I'm saying he was, he was there and and all these years, all these iterations of his life has brought him to where he is now. And that's all and that's all our backstory is meant to do is to be the building blocks that we use to get ourselves even further, I think.

Melissa Ebken  25:40  
Yeah, and without that, then he probably wouldn't have the now of the sack

Unknown Speaker  25:46  
we are throwing on reback. Yeah, you have to follow what made you you like you said there, you weren't doing biology in that world. And something sparks something else. And you knew that grew and grew you into who you are today. And you're of course still growing, we're all still growing. And that's what I think is so amazing is, is potential

Melissa Ebken  26:16  
is be you know, thinking back your story. 13 years in foster care to begin your life and her living in many different places New Mexico, Colorado Springs, Boston, Germany, all of these places, you know, through all of your story, I keep getting a sense of unrooted madness

Unknown Speaker  26:42  
and a lot

Melissa Ebken  26:45  
a lot of people wouldn't be able to bloom whether they're planted after experiencing so much and rootedness you but it seems like you have used that to plant roots wherever you are, if you

Unknown Speaker  27:00  
follow it and all what I what I have learned now what I think I've learned as I go along you know there's a song that says I've got no route I've got no route, you know, it's just this idea that you never had an routes you were always just l part of the part of the atmosphere part of the air part of the people that are around you, you know, and I know people who are rooted who are very voted, and your trees grow with those deep kinds of roots. And that's beautiful, but also the flowers that only last a day are the flowers that throw their seeds up into the air to go wherever they may go. Also beauty so that's yeah, the song is I got no wounds because my home has never been on the ground and after cantos thinks that I've gotten cuz my home has never been on the ground so it's a it's she is great as well the singer because she so like your your people listening are like god no lose his property, you know, bow. I mean, cuz I know that she used to be a teacher this that she's, she has. She has like phenomenally grown. Just singer. And maybe it'll come to me if we have a couple more minutes that aren't just thinking

Melissa Ebken  28:49  
about, it gives me a little space to think on that while I talk about the California redwood. Those are massive trees. And I just learned this not long ago. But when you think about a tree that massive you would think that their roots would come out the other side of the Earth, they have to think COVID I mean, they don't, they are hardly underground at all. They interconnect the roots with one red wood interconnect with other redwoods and they hold each other up. And they make it's one of the most beautiful concepts and bounded nature, that you're not going to find a redwood all by itself, because it can't stand but you get redwoods together or they hold each other.

Unknown Speaker  29:36  
Oh, that is a beautiful concept and metaphor and miracle of nature. Oh yeah, I can preach on that what

Melissa Ebken  29:48  
That'll preach. It will be as we close our time together here if at any time you remember fingers names just blurt it out, just blurt it out. But One other thoughts? Would you like to have us to have us ponder as we close today?

Unknown Speaker  30:08  
Think about what you are paying attention to, like, what are you paying attention to? Is it adding to your, to your life, to your love to your laughter, you know, your attitude. So your attention where your attention goes, where your attitude goes? And what is your intention? What is it you would like to accomplish today, this hour record as big or as large as you needed to be, and then put the steps in place to make it a reality. But I'd say, tension, attitude and intent. And if you concentrate on those three, then you can get yourself from here to there, from here to there. And just keep moving step by

Melissa Ebken  31:02  
attention, attitude. And I love that everybody needs to forget that immediately because I'm going to be using that in a sermon. And so just forget you heard it here, but I will give you credit. But he thank you for taking the time to join us today. And friends. Make sure you click the link in the show notes and check out her bug girl you ain't crazy. It is so worth the read. You'll enjoy every minute of it. And you'll want to follow me and find out everything she does that says because she is a jewel, and one you'll want to know. So click on that link and buy her book and then share it with someone

Unknown Speaker  31:48  
else. Oh, that sounds amazing. Do you have fun? Do you get messages on your on your channel?

Melissa Ebken  31:56  
Well, let's just say there's the capability to get messages on the on the cloud.

Unknown Speaker  32:01  
So it's all if someone knows the singer that I have been mentioning in this podcast, please leave us that note in that inner note so she can share with me Fiona

Melissa Ebken  32:13  
pursuing uncomfortable.com and in the episode you can comment on the blog that accompanies the episode you can comment or on the YouTube channel at at Melissa Ebken I you'll see the video there. Feel free to comment there too. And let's get this name out there. Thank you Bay.

Unknown Speaker  32:40  
Oh, thank you now, like I said for having me for having this conversation, because it's such a important conversation to have

🎶 Episode Outro:Thank you so much for tuning into today's episode. If this encouraged you, please consider subscribing to our show and leaving a rating and review so we can encourage even more people just like yourself. We drop a new episode every Wednesday so I hope you continue to drop in and be encouraged to lean into and overcome all the uncomfortable stuff life brings your way. 🎶


Annabelle "Bee" Baumann

Comedian/Motivational Speaker/Author/Communication Guide

As a comedian, writer, motivational speaker, and interculturalist, I bring my perspective to the world, as do you! My first humorous self-help book "Gurrl, You Ain't Crazy" was published in 2020, and I have published more than half a dozen literary short stories and essays. The topics I explore as a humorist and stand-up comedian include German society, African American culture, and belonging. As a comedian, I have spent the last three years honing my comedy skills and now I teach comedy. The goal of my work is to nurture and inspire aspiring comedians. The course will move you out of your comfort zone and into a space of possibility, regardless of whether you are improving your speaking, presentation, or even small talk and networking skills. I am a motivational speaker, and I speak on Living your Legend and being a midlife beginner.