That's What She Said

Episode 74: Visiting with Bonnie Newberry of Danville, IL and her story, “By My Bootstraps.”

woman smiles while holding microphone and standing on stage
                                    SSPP ep. 74 BONNIE NEWBERRY 

Hosts Kerry and Jenette could not be any more excited to welcome Bonnie Newberry into the studio to discuss her story "By My Bootstraps," which she shared in Danville's inaugural show one particularly stormy night in 2023. With conversation running the gamut from mental health, trauma and vulnerability to healing and self-discovery, Kerry becomes increasingly convinced Bonnie just might be her long lost bestie. 

ANNOUNCER 00:00 Raising women's voices. One story at a time.
Welcome to The She Said Project Podcast.

[Music: The She Said Project Podcast Theme]

JENETTE JURCZYK  00:29  So it's a great day in The She Said Project Podcast studio. Say that five times fast.
KERRY ROSSOW 00:33  No, because I just want to get to it because she doesn't know it yet, but my new best friend is in the house. So go ahead, go ahead.
JENETTE  00:40  Okay. I don't know how you think she's your new best friend. I spent months with this woman and the amazing cast in That's What She Said, Danville. This is Jenette Jurczyk, by the way, National Director of The She Said Project and I had the sheer privilege of directing this cast this past year.
KERRY  00:57  Yes. Well, I don't know why you're showing off and trying to make me feel bad right out the gates. I didn't spend months with these people. But I love the Danville show. This is Kerry Rossow by the way, I'm just trying to rush because I want her on the air. Kerry Rossow blah, blah, blah, co-founder,
JENETTE  01:09  Kerry, you're making me feel like you don't want to just talk to me.
KERRY  01:12 Well, I love you. And we can chat after the show. But I loved everything about the Danville show.
JENETTE  01:17  It was an absolutely magical night.
KERRY  01:19  I mean it really was! It was stormy, like the mood was set. And then I loved that show. But I have to tell you, our speaker, I feel like was one of my high school best friends.
JENETTE  01:30  She does have that vibe. Absolutely.
KERRY  01:32  Yes.
JENETTE  01:32  Like you've known her for years. You know, you maybe partied a little bit at some point in your life? I don't know.
KERRY  01:38  Yes, yes.
JENETTE  01:39  She is definitely an amazing human that I'm so grateful to know. And now I'm really grateful that our listeners are getting to know Bonnie Newberry from That's What She Said Danville Hi, Bonnie,
BONNIE NEWBERRY  01:49  Hi guys. Thanks for having me.
JENETTE  01:51  Welcome. Welcome. Welcome to our little chat fast.
KERRY  01:54  Hi Bonnie! I'm over here. I'm like so fangirling I feel like I'm like, (silly voice) "Hi Bonnie!"
BONNIE  02:01  Like, we gotta, we gotta link up soon.
KERRY  02:03  YES!! I'm like, you can come over, I'll brush your hair? We could try on each other's clothes and do each other's makeup. It's gonna be awesome.
BONNIE  02:11  What?!
JENETTE  02:11  If the next sentence is "Try on each other's skin." Seriously.
KERRY  02:14 Hey! And puts the lotion on
JENETTE  02:18 Kerry's gone too far. Too far. 
KERRY  02:20 I'm sorry. I hope I'm not scaring you, Bonnie. But I was just like, you have that ability. I've seen you in several different venues. And now it makes it sound like I'm stalking you at the grocery store.
I saw you sing.
JENETTE  02:25  She's a singer, yes.
KERRY  02:32 Yes, I saw you saw you sing at another event. But every single time I've noticed you just have that thing about you that makes people, you put people at ease and just it just everyone. I think everybody thinks of you like  their best friend.
JENETTE  02:44 Do you get that a lot, Bonnie?
BONNIE  02:45 I do. I do. I try to be, you know, everybody's best friend. Everybody needs a best friend. Even if they only need me for 10 minutes, that's fine.
KERRY  02:52 Hey! Hey! Hey! Whatever. it took a turn.  (laughing)
BONNIE  02:57  (laughing) Oh God!
KERRY  02:59 Sometimes it only takes 10 minutes, but whatever!
BONNIE  03:01 **indistinguishable** (speaking at same time as Kerry)
JENETTE  03:01 Okay. That's what she said. And Bonnie, I need you for a lot more than 10 minutes in my life. But you, you were so raw and vulnerable in your story. You had gone through a series of traumatic events, but you did not dwell on them. When you put your story together, you shared that they happened. And then you talked a lot about your healing journey. And what got you to know who you are today. And I got the impression that you have put a lot of those pieces together and you present in this world like a really together person who gives back to others. Do you think I captured that right?
BONNIE  03:40 I mean, I don't want anybody to think I have it together. Uh. (laughing)
JENETTE  03:43 Come on! I was trying to cover for you.
BONNIE  03:47  I have done a lot of emotional healing -- deliberately and intentionally. And I think that that's probably what people pick up on when they meet me because I'm not going to ever come from a place of judgment. I mean, you've heard my story. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. (laughs) Like, why in the world would I ever judge anyone when I've been in this situation where, you know, I just needed a hug. I just needed somebody to say, you know, you're not a terrible human being. So I just try to be that all the time. I don't that's just who I am. I just am.
KERRY  04:23 It translates that's exactly the impression that I think you give to everybody and you sort of gave people permission like whenever you see that because otherwise if someone is talking and you know, sometimes it can feel... it can feel a little judgy or it can feel like you know in it for $9.99 you can be perfect too. And...
BONNIE  04:41  Right.
KERRY  04:41 ...and you just make it feel like there's nothing that you can say -- everyone has a seat at this table. There's no judgement. Hugs all around.
BONNIE  04:48 Yes, about three years ago, as I was kind of a year into this healing journey, a friend of mine who's very, as I call him "neuro spicy" and he has like some social anxiety issues and he was like, "Bonnie, you make me feel like I can just be myself." And I was like, Oh, I didn't know that. But that's actually what I want everyone to feel when they are around me, because I don't want you to be fake. I'm not going to be fake. I couldn't be fake if I tried and I tried. (laughs) It just gets real awkward and stiff. So...
KERRY  05:23 That's what he said.
BONNIE  05:24 (laughs)
KERRY  05:24  Well, so how.. sorry, I couldn't. You, you tossed that right to me. Sorry.
BONNIE  05:29  I mean, I would expect it from my bestie. It's fine.
KERRY  05:31 Yep, yep,  that's all right. So how did you... How did you wind up on that stage that night?
BONNIE  05:36 So...
KERRY  05:37 Who roped you in?
BONNIE  05:38 It was Amanda, Amanda Crose. And actually, I had gone to school with her. But we were a few years separate. We went to a school called Bismarck. And there were maybe 50 kids in my graduating class. And I, my class graduated when both schools combined.
KERRY  05:54  Wow. Big time.
BONNIE  05:55  Yeah, so we all knew each other in passing, and one of Amanda's best friends is the sister of one of my good friends. And so when this opportunity came up, I guess Amanda told other Amanda, that they should have me, and I can only assume it is from the soliloquies that I would write on Facebook. (Kerry laughs) A lot of opinions about a lot of things...
JENETTE  06:16 Do you use Facebook as your outlet to speak to the world?
BONNIE  06:20 I don't anymore.
KERRY  06:23 (laughs) That sounds like a story.
JENETTE 06:25  Sounds like a lesson learned.
BONNIE  06:27  I'm trying to be professional. So...
KERRY  06:29  I'm a professional MF-er,
JENETTE  06:30  But what I took...
KERRY  06:31Sorry Jenette. Sorry. Sorry.
JENETTE  06:33  Oh, girl! Oh girl. What I took from that, though, is that women need an outlet. See my segue here?
BONNIE  06:38  So obviously, I've not been in any other she said, that would be weird. But Danville cast is, and we're still very close. I actually just caught up with Tierra last week, we had coffee. Ja'Naea and I catch up randomly. I just wrote an article about her for Smile Politely. Mary Catharine and I see each other pretty regularly at this point. But to kind of build on what you said, about an outlet for women. It was Hannah Landis on the first time that we got together, she said, "believe women when they tell you their stories,"
JENETTE  06:38  I've got a transitional moment here. Like to say something profound.  But women need an outlet to talk about the hard things. And I have seen friends use Facebook as that outlet because they don't have anything else. And Kerry, when you created That's What She Said you I don't know if that was the original goal. But that is what it is. It is that safe space for women to share those hard things. We have amazing conversations during the process. Not everything we talk about makes it to the stage. But man oh man, does it feel good to have like minded women in a room, we strip away all of the pretense, all of the small talk and we get to real hard topics and get to know each other and support each other. The sense of relief that you've been heard, and there's empathy and sympathy and all of the 'pathys' were just there. And I absolutely experienced that with your cast, Bonnie.
KERRY  06:38  Yeah. Yeah.
KERRY  08:11  amen.
BONNIE  08:12  And as a woman that has worked in male dominated industries my entire life, I like I got chills even just talking to you about it right now. Because that's the, it's it's not even just that we can't tell our stories. It's that they're not believed, all the time. You feel like, you have to back it up or you're overreacting or you're doing whatever if you're just speaking about what happened to you. So that when Hannah Landis said that that day, it's lived in the back of my mind since then.
KERRY  08:41 Wow, me too. I love that quote, and not even about being believed that but being valued. You know, when we started this, it was women in my neighborhood, we'd started something called a Moffice, the mom office, because we were saying when women either, you know, many of us had been used to talking to our women friends around the watercooler or working with them or collaborating. Or we had many of us had been on, you know, sports teams in high school in college, and then all of a sudden, you are working from home or you're raising babies and you don't you know, you're just talking gibberish with a two year old all day. And there's this just this strong need for women to be together and tell whether we're like yucking it up and making she said jokes or telling really deep stories from our past, knowing that we have women who aren't going to just believe us but value the importance of telling those stories. It's huge and so that was sort of like the beginning of wanting to do this is like having space for women to tell the funny ones in the the serious ones and because everybody who comes to us she said show they're there to laugh or support you everybody their values, you know, that's why they're there and it's just this magical magical thing and you know, I feel that way every show but man Danville was just it was so something special.
JENETTE  10:00  Let's cut to the chase.
KERRY  10:02  Yeah,
JENETTE  10:03  No, I just I literally just I'm so mesmerized by Kerry's soliloquy over here. I feel like we should share this treasure with our audience. So let's take a moment. Let's listen to Bonnie's performance from That's What She Said Danville on stage earlier this year, and her story, "By My Bootstraps." 

BONNIE NEWBERRY  10:25  I like to joke that I was born so poor, I had to sew the bootstraps on before I could pull myself up by them. I was born in Danville and grew up in Vermillion County. My parents got a divorce when I was seven, and my dad moved to St. Louis when I was nine. Yes, that did give me what some people might call daddy issues. But what I like to call trust, self worth, and self esteem issues.
10:51  I was bullied in grade school and junior high like a lot of other kids. I had coke bottle glasses. I've never been a thin girl by any means. And I had a gap so big in my front teeth, you could fit a couch through it according to my classmates. I experienced my first sexual assault when I was 14. My next one, I was 16. The man that assaulted me was 33 years old. I later had to change his oil when I worked at a quick change oil place in town. The first time he came in, I hid in the pit, told my coworker and had a panic attack about it. That second time, I may or may not have left his oil filter a little loose, but that's not the point.
11:39  I was 19 when I had my first baby, and I was 20 When my sister came home from her first heroin overdose. Six weeks later, I moved into a house with crooked floors and shag carpet, but no heroin. I worked a full time job a part time job. And I sang four to six nights a week for about three years to make the money I needed. I was diagnosed with depression and then later had bipolar disorder in my early 20s. Given some medication tone therapies, probably not what you need, and turned into a very numb robot for about five years of my life. By the way, everyone can benefit from therapy. (applause)
12:27  That doctor gave me a band aid for a gutshot I was married and divorced before I was 31. I had met someone that checked all of the boxes that society labels strong man. And it turns out, I also check the boxes that society labels strong man. (cheering) Yeah. Yeah.
12:53  And after years of trying to make myself fit into a box I was never made for making myself smaller and easier to consume for the male ego. I realized I could be myself and only have half the laundry of a married woman. I say all this to try to give an idea of how most of my life has been spent jumping from traumatic event to traumatic event. And therefore how little time I ever had to really process any of that. Hell, I didn't even know what trauma was until COVID. I had always heard if things are hard, grab them bootstraps. That's all it takes.
13:35  Then one summer night while everything was shut down, someone I thought I could trust drank way too much. He started getting more and more aggressive. And I remembered a time when I was a teenage girl and a grown man who was drunk told me he was gonna take my horse and tie her to his truck and drag her down the road. And I remember how after he said that my friend's mom physically removed him from that campground. And when she did that, I was like, that's a bad bitch. But then she looked at me and she said "when they're drunk, just do what they say. It will be easier. When you just do what they want. You will have a better chance of staying alive."
14:22  That night with everything shut down and everyone shut into their houses. I did everything he wanted. And I still ended up broken and bruised. I was compliant. I was smiling, and nothing went the way it was supposed to.
14:38  After that night I tried pretending everything was fine like I had my entire life. I thought if I just push through this I'll get over it and everything will go back to how it was. But this time was different. The Bonnie I was had gone. She was too damaged. She had been through her years of hell and retreated rightfully so. I was completely empty, a walking void. And really describing this feeling to you does not do it justice. It is overwhelming despair without the release of crying.
15:14  I took my first grippy sock vacation in August of that year, I made sure my kids would be with their dad, I didn't have any gigs lined up and the guys at the shop where I worked, they would figure that out. I went into the hospital with the intention of not just getting my head above water, but gaining tools to manage my mental health better. I left with my face barely breaking the surface and a whole lot of Led Zeppelin knowledge. I read their autobiography while I was in there, not a lot to do.
15:44  That's a long way of saying I felt like I haven't been given many tools. I had been given medication and a referral to see a psychiatrist. But unfortunately none we're accepting patients at that time. Now I've been poor my entire life. Poor white trash as my friend's mother once called me. But you know what poor people are good at grabbing those bootstraps and giving them a good tug. Even if people are better off than us don't think that's what we're doing.
16:15  I eventually found a doctor in Champaign, which was difficult to facilitate since I worked a full time job in Danville. But then my insurance didn't want to cover the medication I just spent six months trying to get. So I did the thing they say not to do: I started doing my own research. Bipolar disorder is something I will live with my entire life. I can either keep doing this exhausting and failing dance, or I can grab them bootstraps and pull myself to the next step. The thing about this mental illness is that yes, yes, you will cycle between moods. But they're not like regular moods. They are super extreme, all consuming moods. And as you grow, triggers get attached to these moods. So I have this knowledge and the will to be a functioning adult -- kinda. So I have to start learning my triggers and then battling my own brain response. While my brain is screaming, [in a character voice] "yes, burn it all down. You are beyond reproach." (audience laughing)
17:28  The first time I took on one of these triggers, I was getting ready for church. I had a terrible self image. I really, really hated my body. And so every time I would get dressed, to try and look nice, my brain would tell me how gross I looked. Why was I even trying? I'd never be pretty. I'm gross, poor fat white trash. But at that point in my life two and a half years ago, I was 20% body fat.
17:53  Elder-Beerman had recently shut down so I had some nice clothes. I decided this would be the first trigger to tackle. So one Sunday, I tell my family stay out of my room. I go into my room, put on an outfit, exhale. It was hard not to cry, not to scream and throw my clothes. But I breathed my way through it. And I've never felt that way again, getting dressed.
18:24  But I also stopped caring about what looked cool. Cuz me and Stevie Nicks think I look real cool. But I had a lot of little battles like that over the course of the last two and a half years, I still have them. They are just far fewer and more in between. But after I felt that emptiness, that nothingness, there was one thing I knew for sure. If I could help make sure that no one ever had to feel like that again. I'd do it.
18:56  So I try every day to encourage women around me. Sometimes they think I'm weird. Like the girl at my office that I invited to lunch on the second day. And then she told everybody in the office I was a weirdo. Joke's on her -- I am.
19:13  And stuff like that made me want to stop being kind to people. It really made me want to just not deal with society at all. But I just had to learn boundaries. I had to learn to really not expect myself from other people. And to just be kind with no expectation.
19:31 I think a lot of people are mean, because it's easier. But I'm poor. I'm not afraid of a challenge. During this time of inner work in my life, I found my circle of friends changing. I have an amazing group of friends that genuinely love and support each other. People I can lean on people that go Pokeman Go hunting with me, all the dopamine get me a Pikachu mm hmm but eventually I got tired of going around and farting rainbows and puking butterflies, and watching other people just be mean for sport mean for no reason or just because they're ignorant.
20:12 So I stopped letting that little stuff slide. I started addressing the people using slurs in front of me. I didn't keep quiet when people were speaking out of ignorance. [whispering] I started saying the quiet part [loud voice] out loud. I'm not mean about it, and I'll walk away rather than have a pointless debate. Because I know, no one listens to an emotional woman.
20:39  I just say the things that, to me, a decent human being would say, I'm a singer in a cover band. We do a Kacey Musgraves song I love and the chorus goes: "Make lots of noise, kiss lots of boys, or kiss lots of girls, if that's what you're into."
20:55 I have a few stories about this song. But the one that sticks with me the most was an Attica, Indiana. After our set, a woman came and hugged me crying, thanking us for doing that song there and telling me about her daughter's journey. And so when the opportunity to help organize the first Pride event in Vermillion County kind of landed in my lap, I knew I wanted to do it as best I could. If I could help create a safe place for people I wanted to be all in.
21:24  Our budget was $1,000. And we had three weeks. Let me grab them bootstraps. The day of pride it rained, which meant no bubble man. It was our hottest item. One of the author's skid plates fell off her car on her drive down from Chicago. One of our two drag queens canceled that morning, and I in the middle of the event had to come back here to watch my son play bass and then drove up to Rossville. But the community was more excited that the event existed than hearing what else we had planned for them.
22:00  I got to spend an amazing day with amazing people celebrating who we are. And I'll do it again this year, just bigger, better and gayer. (cheers and applause) 

JENETTE  22:19  Now we can talk in detail. And so your story ends that we're gonna do it again this year, just bigger, better and gayer...
BONNIE  22:26  Oh, girl. Did we though!
JENETTE  22:28  Did you? Did you get to organize pride again this past year?
BONNIE  22:32  So, are you ready?
JENETTE  22:33  I'm ready.
BONNIE  22:34  So I shared my story that initially it was me and two other ladies. The other lady that stuck with me through it is Lacy Miller and she was our hair and makeup artist for She Said Danville.
KERRY  22:44  What?
JENETTE  22:44  That's awesome.
BONNIE  22:45  Yeah, so after She Said, Lacy and I kind of put the call out to anybody who would be interested in helping and about nine people showed up. And it was just the nine correct people in the room at the right time. And we became a 501 3c nonprofit organization called the VC Pride Coalition.
KERRY  23:05  That’s great.
JENETTE  23:06  Oh my gosh!
BONNIE  23:06 and we started doing some fundraising. So again, Lacy and I had been paying out of pocket for everything. We hired Ja'Naea -- DJ Silkee -- to DJ for us. And I was going to I had played a gig and I was like, I'm gonna pay Ja'Naea for her gig with my gig money. And we got so many donations. We had to ask for more space. We had so many vendors, we had over 1000 people in attendance for the very first like real Pride Fest in Vermillion County. And it was like, I have chills telling you guys about it right now. It was magical. It was the hottest day of June. [Kerry laughs] We were running around, you know, making sure our vendors had water making sure everybody had you know, food and taking breaks if they needed it. And our vendors were like, we kept the fees low. Really, first of all, you guys kept it affordable. And you took care of us. And I was like I work in the entertainment industry. I know how to take care of you guys. So that you'll come back. It was fantastic. We had an after party. And then Lacy was actually crowned Queen of the Gays.
KERRY ROSSOW  24:06  [laughing] I'm coming for that title next.
JENETTE  24:10 What an honor. Yeah.
BONNIE  24:11  Next year! Yeah. It really catapulted after she said and it was definitely bigger, better and gayer.
KERRY  24:19  That is awesome.
JENETTE  24:20  That's amazing. And that stems from your commitment to give back to your community. And you know, to this, it sounds like this is like a perfect fit for your passion and your calling. It
BONNIE  24:32  It has been wonderful the opportunities to help the ways that we can show up the voices that we are giving people. I'm so excited that this, our tiny little let's throw a pride event in June has turned into an entire organization.
JENETTE  24:46  That is fantastic. Congratulations. And I know without a doubt, creating these safe spaces. Absolutely. Like you said, it gives people a voice, helps with mental health, anxiety, depression, things that we will struggle with because they feel so isolated and you have created community and taken all of your experiences and paid it forward. And that is just awesome to hear.
KERRY  25:09  And I hope it encourages people, like don't keep waiting for someone to come and save the day like we're no one's coming. It's us -- save the day.
JENETTE  25:17  Pull up those bootstraps
KERRY  25:18  Pull up your bootstraps. I love that.
JENETTE  25:21  I remember when we came up with the title, like it was just it's encapsulates everything that you had been through that you had to find a way that, like Kerry said, no one was going to show up, you had to suffer through push through and come out the other side, like your story about how you basically diagnosed your own mental health crisis and did your own research and you found your own ways to cope. That was an inspiration right there. Do you still think about those times in your life?
BONNIE  25:50  I do. I have a mental illness, I have bipolar disorder, and I have obsessive compulsive disorder. So I, knock on wood, okay, because I'm not manic right now. But it is something that I have to think about every single day, I have to make sure I'm eating because I will just forget to eat. Sometimes I will feel this anger that I just kind of described it in the story, like you feel it, it just consumes you. And instead of riding that wave, I have had to figure out, you know, some some ways to walk off breathe. You know, you're overreacting to this. So I think about it every day.
JENETTE  26:30  For a long time, though. You weren't overreacting, and people were telling you, you know, get over it, because things happened. And so, so to hear you say that you're now learning how to walk away and breathe through things. You know, like, that shouldn't always be the answer. People should recognize when there is a mental health crisis, and support women and people who need to talk to someone who need to get help. And I wish there was something we could do about that in not just community, but in this country, like mental health is a huge hot topic and a trigger topic right now. But you stood on stage and you shared it very, very briefly. And I totally commend you for that. 
BONNIE  27:13  I, I kind of knew I was bipolar in like the mid 90s. I remember when Alia died, the singer. And it was probably like 1230 in the morning and the radio station like cut out to announce that she had died. And you would have thought my mother died. That's actually the moment that I look back to now as an adult. And I'm like that was that was the first time I should maybe not have been that devastated about that.
KERRY  27:38  I think recognized like self regulating self awareness, knowing like, exactly that moment, being able to look back and go, You know what, that the ideally will be when you're in that moment and like, Okay, I'm having these big feelings. But I know, either it's not an overreaction, and I'm gonna stick to whatever path I'm on or recognizing, yep, this doesn't match. The emotions aren't matching the situation. And here are the things that others have taught me or that I've learned will help. I think exactly what you did getting up and talking about it helps to destigmatize conversations about it and sharing strategies that help and this is what I do when I feel this way. And, you know, guaranteed there are people out there like wow, someone who can talk openly and honestly and share their story. I think those are the things that are going to make an effect real change.
BONNIE  28:29  Yes, because I felt like once I had a diagnosis, and I can research the diagnosis, and I can understand the symptoms and whatnot, then I could adjust my reaction I could understand I had that knowledge. Without that knowledge. I was just flying off the handle. Just like, like I said, you know, I'm beyond reproach. And I know a lot of people get hung up on Oh, well, everybody's diagnosed with everything or whatever nowadays, but I look at a diagnosis as a tool. I know I have, I know I can function around this, or whatever it is I have to do. And medication isn't easily accessible at all. So if you can even get a prescription and trying to afford it, I had to come up with other ways because my medication is not covered by my insurance.
JENETTE  29:18  How does music play a role in your life and in your mental health?
BONNIE  29:22  I have loved music since before I really had memories. It is a part of just who I am. And this is another thing that I've sat and thought about because the amount of things that had to kind of quote perfectly aligned, I had to be able to hear music, the way that I hear music I have to be able to balance sound in my head the way I do all these things had to come together. And there's never been a point in my life where I have not been singing or acting. My acting is terrible, but I was doing it and there is a feeling that vibrates my entire body and It's just like it vibrates any negativity, it loosens everything up. I just feel this level of joy that I can't feel or find anywhere else than when I am singing or playing in a band. But I haven't played in a band in a while. It's something that is ingrained in me.
JENETTE  30:17  And we're so grateful you brought your talents to the She Said stage. So when we shared Bonnie's story, we cut it off before she did her grand finale performance. But Bonnie actually sang for us at the end of that show. And so you can go check it out on our YouTube channel. Or if we're lucky, maybe we can edit in a little bit of the song at the end of this episode, we'll see. But your voice is just so grounded. Your voice does that vibration thing for me. Like it vibrates in my soul and makes me happy. It makes me happy.
KERRY  30:47  It doesn't feel like a performance. It feels so genuine. And so, you know, when I walked into that event, and you were singing, I was like, I immediately knew like, I was like, wait, wait a dang minute. It's my bestie but like I knew it, just that genuine is the best way I can describe it. It didn't feel like Oh, someone's up there performing. It was like, oh, no, she's like, Hey, girl, I'm over here like that.
JENETTE  31:12  Why don't you jump up on stage with her, Kerry?
KERRY  31:16  Nobody needs to hear me. I have an awesome air guitar. But that's it.
JENETTE  31:21 So you play in a band in the Vermillion county Danville area called in Bloom. Tell us a little bit about that journey.
BONNIE  31:28  Well, about four years ago I started an electric band because I'd sing classic country forever. And I was getting real tired of Patsy and Loretta and I wanted to sing Barracuda just I just wanted to sing barracuda. Yeah, just just that. So I started a whole electric band called The Filthy Janes, but I was still getting phone calls from like, smaller venues to play acoustically. And so I was like, You know what, I like money. So we'll go do that and over time and especially like, as we're kind of we're not past COVID But you know, things are more open after COVID The loud rockin bands are not as in demand. People like the acoustic. We can still have a conversation over this music but if we want to listen we can. And so eventually In Bloom started getting way more phone calls and The Filthy Janes and there was some you know, band stuff as band stuff happens and The Filthy Janes just kind of went to the wayside. And I had every intention of starting another electric band but in Bloom has become everything. We do originals now we do the covers as well. We do everything from like corporate events to backyard parties, and our setlist is for the ladies, I keep joking. I'm gonna change our logo to say In Bloom - your wife will love it, but absolutely catered with like Alanis Morissette and Amy Winehouse, Kacey Musgraves, like music for women. And That's What She Said -- I honestly had people come to my shows and they're like, "What? You're that She Said Lady."
JENETTE  33:03 That's not a terrible association. I love that. Okay, I have a secret to share with you ladies. Okay. So long time ago, long time ago, long time ago, I dated a drummer and used to go and watch their band practice. And he was totally trying to get me to sing with the band and the song he wanted me to sing.... [pause] Barracuda.
KERRY  33:27  No! Did you do it?
JENETTE  33:30  So I would practice in my shower, bedroom, car. So I get horrible stage fright. When it comes to singing. I can speak in front of 1000s of people, but you play music and I go like numb and paralyzed because I have like no pitch. So I wanted to so badly and I would practice it in my car. But no, I never had the guts to do it. Nope. But that was the song I'll never forget. See full circle. It's a tough one. Oh, it's very tough, but they were looking for a female singer to do that song. And he was he was very encouraging. But I just that's never been. There's definitely a little secret dream about, you know, me singing in public one day, but I usually freeze up so that's me.
BONNIE  34:11  I'm hearing karaoke.
JENETTE  34:13  I just need a little liquid courage. Well, but but that's okay. No, but your singing is divine and so fun. And you're right. It's for the ladies. It was the perfect addition to That's What She Said and some other events that we've now gotten to enjoy you and we want to keep that going. We want to continue these relationships. When you talked earlier about Kerry you asked you know, is it true to do the cast bond and stick together? I had this little nugget in my head I wanted to save for the podcast. The Danville cast literally two days ago. We're having a whole text connection. Someone asked was it your body? Or was it Bricey? Someone asked you? Is it real? is that She Said sisterhood real? And the response was, yeah, it's a real thing. It's just like, you know the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but No Pants. And there's this whole text chain going. Well, I don't Yeah, there's no pants we don't need it's just it's just the Sisterhood of No Pants. And it became a whole so that's the Danville cast for you The Sisterhood of No Pants.
KERRY  35:14  See, I knew I liked that crew. Yeah, no, they're, they're all the things, love them. All right, well, it's not gonna be any better than that we may or may not have on pants right now, but it's time to wrap it up.
KERRY  35:23  Yeah, keep it coming...
JENETTE  35:23  Bonnie Newbery, thank you so much. We're so happy to have you in the She Said Sisterhood and now we get to share your very impactful story with a larger audience. Thanks to your time today and our amazing partners and sponsors I'd like to think Sterling Wealth Management and Carle Health. Thank you to our awesome team at Illinois Public Media and my beautiful amazing sidekick co host
JENETTE  35:24 Kerry Ross… [laughing hysterically]  I can't even say it with a straight face...
KERRY  35:32  You can say sexy ... I know you want to. Go ahead.
JENETTE  35:53  And thank you to our awesome awesome listeners out there for joining us today on The She Said Project Podcast
KERRY  35:59  Over and out 

36:14  [excerpt from In Bloom - Finale from the Danville show - vocals by Bonnie]



[Music: The She Said Project Podcast Theme]

ANNOUNCER 36:33 Thank you for listening to The She Said Project Podcast in partnership with Illinois Public Media. All materials contained in the podcast for the exclusive property of The She Said Project and That’s What She Said, LLC. For more information on our live shows go to [url=][/url]
This podcast was made possible with support from Carle and Health Alliance and presented by Sterling Wealth Management, empowering women to live their best lives.


BONNIE  37:22  Bye guys
KERRY  37:24  Bye Bestie!

Hosts Kerry and Jenette could not be any more excited to welcome Bonnie Newberry into the studio to discuss her story "By My Bootstraps," from the Danville's inaugural show one particularly stormy night in 2023. With conversation running the gamut from mental health, trauma and vulnerability to healing and self-discovery, Kerry becomes increasingly convinced Bonnie just might be her long lost bestie.

The She Said Project Podcast is recorded in partnership with Illinois Public Media. All materials contained in this podcast are the exclusive property of The She Said Project and That's What She Said, LLC. Learn more at