October 13, 2022
Singer-songwriter and friend, Monica Martin, joins Jameela this week to answer your questions on struggling with imposter syndrome, what is and isn’t appropriate to joke about, advice for going through EMDR, where to find hope, how to manage other people’s opinions of you, and more.
If you have a question for Jameela, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we may ask it in a future episode!
You can find transcripts for this episode here.
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132 — Ask Jameela Anything with Monica Martin
Jameela [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to another episode of I Weigh with Jameela Jamil, a podcast against shame. I hope you’re well and I hope you’re ready to hear the most beautiful speaking voice I’ve had on the show so far. And of course, it’s not mine. It is the voice of Monica Martin, who also happens to be, in my opinion, the most beautiful singer of our generation. I can’t get over her voice. It’s just all I listen to now. I knew her first as a singer, and then she became my friend. And then she became my confidant and just gives me very wholesome, honest, and beautifully put advice. So I figured she would be brilliant to help me answer some of your questions. So I put the call out and I asked you for questions about literally anything you want to talk about. And you sent in some great ones and some very deep and meaningful ones. Ones about hope, ones about fear. One’s about vulnerability and about mental health. And we did our best to tackle them all as honestly and integrily as we could. And I’d love to hear what you think, and I’d love to hear if you enjoy episodes like this and if you found this helpful, please, please, please go and follow Monica Martin online. She’s really funny. Her shows are the best and her music is so beautiful. She herself has struggled with her mental health a lot of her life and sings about it in the most stunningly relatable and unique way. I’m totally obsessed. I can’t believe she’s on the podcast and I can’t wait for you to meet her. This is Ask Me Anything with Jameela Jamil and more importantly, Monica Martin. Oh, also just want to warn you that there is a mention of suicide in this episode. So if you’re not ready to hear that, then absolutely feel free to skip this one. Monica fucking Martin. Welcome to I Weigh. How are you.
Monica [00:02:18] Hey I’m good. I’m good. This is going to happen. I’m good. How are you doing.
Jameela [00:02:22] I’m good. And when you say this, you mean your beautiful cat Shushi jumping all over you throught.
Monica [00:02:27] Yes.
Jameela [00:02:27] Over you throughout? Yeah.
Monica [00:02:29] She’s very sweet.
Jameela [00:02:31] I know, but it’s animals interrupting our zooms has been, I think, my favorite part of the pandemic.
Monica [00:02:37] I mean, they’ve also been such healing presences for so many people that. And I can never really be mad at her.
Jameela [00:02:44] No, they deserve their screen time. I think a more apporpriate way
Monica [00:02:47] Yeah honestly.
Jameela [00:02:47] way of putting it like these not all heroes wear capes.
Monica [00:02:51] Right? In fact, that was a lot of them here I was just trying to loop in because you’re right here. She’s boosting me up.
Jameela [00:02:59] Okay. So I asked you to come here because I was sent in a lot of questions by our listeners, and I don’t feel equipped to answer them all by myself. And for these episodes, I only ever ask people who I genuinely turn to for advice myself. And you are one of those people. We’ve only been friends for a few years, but it was sort of instant sisterhood with us. And I am I love and fear you at the same time, which is exactly the balance I have I like to have with all of my best friends.
Monica [00:03:33] Same honestly same. It’s it’s. It’s nice to be seen, but it’s also scary to finally be seen and I don’t know. Yeah. Being at multiple intersections where there’s really ability for you, it’s been really nice. I do cherish it and I’m glad that I’m here today. I’ll do my best.
Jameela [00:03:51] It’s also it’s also nice to feel someone because I feel as though because of our height and our stature and then our boldness, uh, sometimes people find us intimidating. And so for us to be intimidated by each other is actually quite refreshing.
Monica [00:04:05] Yeah, it’s.
Jameela [00:04:05] Nice.
Monica [00:04:06] We deserve that feeling.
Jameela [00:04:11] Yeah.
Monica [00:04:11] I also. I just want to. I want to let it be known I will always turn that. Turn that power into. What am I saying? I just.
Jameela [00:04:21] You’re trying to say that you love me. That’s what I’m picking up from this.
Monica [00:04:24] Yeah, it is going to be like, I’ll, I’ll protect you and I’ll just tackle. I want you to know that I would never I’d never tackle you.
Jameela [00:04:32] Oh, I have no doubt. Monica, you are the only person I want with me. If the apocalypse. The apocalypse hits like sorry, James.
Monica [00:04:44] Great. I’ve got my bat. You already know.
Jameela [00:04:48] All right, so we’ve got a shitload of questions and we have a lot to get through. So are you ready?
Monica [00:04:52] I’ll do my best. Yes. Let’s do it.
Jameela [00:04:54] Well, then this is. Ask me anything with Jameela and Monica. Okay. So the first one is my friend says it’s okay to joke about things that are very serious, such as crimes and just bad things in general. As long as you joke about them to people, it doesn’t really affect like it’s not something they’re going to get upset about. I think it’s still not right. But he says he takes those things seriously otherwise. Do you think it’s possible to joke about something, although you take it seriously in other contexts? I don’t personally think that those things are anything to joke about. Okay. I’m just. I’ll jump in shall I jump in first?
Monica [00:05:30] Yeah please.
Jameela [00:05:30] Because it feels like a scary one, right? I mean, it is what it is, right? This is a this is a podcast about wellbeing. However you get to that thing. I’m personally pro extremely dark jokes in private where it cannot hurt or harm anyone in the vicinity. I’ve had a devastatingly dark life and I don’t think I’d still be alive if I hadn’t learned how to laugh at those things and how to laugh at darkness in and of itself. Because otherwise I’d just be afraid all the time. There is something about humor that can destabilize something scary and demystify it, destigmatize it to you. And so while I totally feel you. If you are someone who feels hypersensitive to those things. I personally believe if someone else can’t hear it, it hurt them. And we shouldn’t get too far into thought policing. I think humor can be extremely helpful in such a traumatic world. Maybe I’m just an asshole, but so be it.
Monica [00:06:38] No, I. I’m. I’m feeling what you’re saying. And also, it’s. It’s hard. I wish I could, like, glean more from from the question because sometimes, you know, I come from a rural, rural space in Wisconsin. Like, it can be hurtful to see, say, like one of my white friends in front of at a family affair. And they totally regress or they omit their progressive thinking. And I feel and they’ll make a joke about this or that where I’m like, seems harmless to you, but you’re actually perpetuating like a bad thought about something or a stereotype or something like that. So it seems harmless because everyone gets the joke in that space, but it’s hard. Maybe like. It’s hard when when they’re breezy opportunities to just challenge certain things like I don’t really know, she says crimes. I mean, I really laugh at so much incredibly dark stuff as well. And I don’t. But.
Jameela [00:07:40] Yeah, I don’t think that’s happening. I don’t think I would ever laugh at like the refugee crisis, for example,.
Monica [00:07:46] Oh Jesus no.
Jameela [00:07:47] Or something like that, where where people have their rights being taken away. I literally don’t find any humor in that. But but there are certain things, especially things I myself have experienced, that I have just trained myself probably from a place of trauma to find a quick way to the dopamine reaction from the laughter rather than the tears. I actively I’m a very avoidant person. You know this you me.
Monica [00:08:15] [inaudlble] people don’t know they’ve never done that.
Jameela [00:08:17] Exactly. And so, yes, I totally agree. I think I think don’t be a monster. But I also think I think it’s important to just allow people to entertain their they’re kind of especially around their own circumstances, their own humor, around something, because I think stifling it doesn’t necessarily make it go away. I think it would be good for us to all have an outlet for all our bad or our naughty or our like sort of more mischievous thoughts. I think bottling them up entirely just makes them ping pong around your brain. So whether you have a therapist to talk to or a friend who won’t take those things personally, or most preferably a journal, everyone, then I, then I think that works. But I’m just, you know, maybe that’s because I work in comedy. Maybe that’s because I made a comedic satire about a lot of the darkest things in the world, you know, with The Good Place.
Monica [00:09:11] Yeah.
Jameela [00:09:11] And that’s where I stand. But it’s definitely an interesting one. It’s definitely subjective.
Monica [00:09:16] Hmm. Yeah. I wish I knew more context.
Jameela [00:09:18] within reason. Within reason I’m pro the joke.
Monica [00:09:22] Yeah within reason, I’m pro the joke. And also like if you really if it’s really, really upsetting to you or. Then draw a boundary.
Jameela [00:09:33] Yeah, 100%. 100%. Never in front of anyone who could be harmed by that joke.
Monica [00:09:38] Right.
Jameela [00:09:38] That’s not worth it. That’s just an attack. Okay, so we’re moving on. Any advice on going through EMDR? I just started it.
Monica [00:09:47] Wow.
Jameela [00:09:49] But shall I first quickly explain what EMDR is. If anyone hasn’t heard it, it’s a type of therapy. It’s called eye movement desensitization, reprocessing therapy. And it is basically a type of therapy that disconnects your thought processes from your feelings, essentially. So memories and thought processes from feelings that kind of detaches them. So it almost feels like and I don’t speak for you, but for me anyway, I felt like those things had happened to someone else. I was able to look at these things before that used to like decide every single moment for me, those things now don’t like have any. I feel as though I have agency. I get to look at them objectively.
Monica [00:10:29] I think, yeah, that’s spot on. And I think it’s when someone has, you know, complex PTSD and something is existing in their body, when it comes up, it kind of reverberates in you as if you were the child that it happened to being able to re process it through EMDR. I think it’s so useful because it changes the bodily response to it, which is so hard to to do. It’s like really fascinating that they.
Jameela [00:10:57] I’d say it’s almost impossible. It’s almost impossible to do, especially with something as simple as talk therapy. So, so, so difficult to be able to stop your inner child from popping up.
Monica [00:11:09] Oh, yeah, I’m taking the reins. It’s like you don’t. You don’t know how to drive. Sit down man.
Jameela [00:11:16] Exactly.
Monica [00:11:17] You’re not the one. So I’m sorry I cut you off.
Jameela [00:11:21] No, no, not at all. Not at all.
Monica [00:11:24] Yeah, to be able to reprocess it with, like, more understanding of, like, why you were under undernourished or not, your needs weren’t met and being able to. I feel like it helps you integrate, but somehow it just does it semantically. I mean it. I think what’s nice I’ve spent so much time trying to name these demons that puppeteer my ass. But for people who have had a really traumatic event and. They don’t know how to unlock the words or even name for themselves. EMDR can be really special because you don’t have to use. You don’t have to use words. You just let your body sort of take you there in that space. And I would say. I know that’s a little bit vague, but I would say if you’re going to those appointments, try not to think over and over and over again because this is my thing. Like I’m doing it wrong. Like, there’s no way to do it wrong. Like, you’re there and you just let your mind take you down down the path and trust. Trust your therapist.
Jameela [00:12:35] 100%. And I would also say something I found very helpful when I had EMDR I say it saved my life. And it’s not always the most accessible therapy, but it is now, you know, increasingly available all over the world. It saved my life. But the day of the therapy, I wouldn’t book in to do anything. I would book in a day of generally with any therapy, but especially EMDR, let you go right to the depths of your scariest and most most traumatic thoughts. Now, when you do that, they never go times up and send you out of the room. They always use the EMDR technique to make sure that by the time you leave that feeling that was traumatic and terrifying and made you almost feel like you’re going to shit yourself in the chair now feels quite mundane by the time you walk out of there, but still it is emotionally exhausting to go through that. And so just take care of you that day. Be super selfish and it can be, you know, my EMDR sessions or was on Tuesdays I just had super selfish Tuesday. It doesn’t roll off the tongue, but that’s how I would describe it. Everyone knew to leave me alone and I was going to watch old rom coms and I was going to eat whatever I wanted as a takeaway just for me. And I wasn’t going to text anyone back and I didn’t exist on Tuesdays. Tuesdays were my day where I was Tom Hanks in Castaway. And and and I would also I would also just I don’t know, I think I want to be too careful to not project my own experience onto it. But I would just say that it’s definitely one of the more intensive things to do. And it’s it’s not a slow burn. But for someone who’s just really fucking fed up with their old patterns like I was, it is so worth how tough it is in that in those few months because within 2 to 3 months you find yourself so transformed that for me, as an impatient, lazy woman, it was the ideal therapy.
Monica [00:14:33] I was just going to say I definitely feel more in my body because a lot of times when I would have an experience that would take me back, I would just fully dissociate. And, you know, if you’re and it can happen, you said at the end of the appointments they’ll sort of bring you don’t bring you back into your body in a way. And yeah. And if that happens, it’s. It’s okay. That’s all I was going to say.
Jameela [00:15:04] Someone says, How can I improve myself so women will look at me romantically and not as a friend? Oh, that really speaks to me because I was so friend zoned when I was younger. So, yeah, I really get it. Um. Were you friends around a lot when you were younger or were you.
Monica [00:15:21] Oh, my gosh. Yeah. Yes. Yes. People would be like, no way. And I put one little picture out. Nice try, fuckers. Nice try. And, you know, like, just like, late blooming in so many ways. And also being like a black girl in Wisconsin like I have. I’d had several people say say to me, like, you’re a little rough around the edges or my mom isn’t chill. I mean, I can think of three in my head where it’s like my parent wouldn’t be chill. But we’re not. That’s a whole other thing. We’re talking about the friendzone thing, which is just like oh it’s the worst. And I think it’s also, gosh, women are so terrifying because so much better inherently. It’s not sorry. Take that as a literal statement.
Jameela [00:16:12] Yeah.
Monica [00:16:13] But like. You have to maybe put yourself in a place to. To just assert right?
Jameela [00:16:20] Agreed. I was about to say that. I was about to say that. So if you aren’t interested in being someone’s friend, then at the point at which it becomes clear that they are not romantically attracted to you, it is likely it will be painful for you to continue on a relationship with them. And I know a lot of them, as I have said to people before, no, I don’t see you that way, but I’d love to be friends, but I don’t know if that’s necessarily, at least not immediately, a good idea for anyone involved because that person still has feelings for you. It’s going to be difficult for them. They’re going to have to watch you go on a date with other people, there’s just an awkward to it. There needs to be, I think, a clean break for a while until everyone’s had time to process and move on. So don’t do the thing where you allow yourself to be friend zoned like you have more agency than that, even if it’s going to suck being away from that person that you admire so much, you’ve got to go. You’ve got to get away. I also think there’s something in asking yourself who your choices are. Are you hanging around with the right people? Are you attracted to the people who are the healthiest for you to be attracted to? Do you need to do a little bit of deep digging? Because I found that it wasn’t so much me that changed as the people I surrounded myself with that really impacted my ability to have a relationship. But you know, I didn’t have my first kiss till I was 21, I didn’t lose my virginity till I was 22. I got a boyfriend around that age and so I didn’t really date people before then. And and I think that’s partly because I was attracted to the kind of people who wouldn’t want me, who actually I didn’t have that much in common with. And, and I think that’s always worth investigating. Maybe it’s not you that needs to change. Maybe you just need to alter who you surround yourself with.
Monica [00:18:09] Right like you’re never going to be good enough for the wrong person. So make sure, like, you know, before you are approaching someone that that they’re at least slightly open to receiving that affection or attention.
Jameela [00:18:24] I also think it’s really important and I, you know, I talk about this in multiple different ways, but we need to address our reaction to rejection. And I wish it could be taught at school from a really young age that we will see the rejection isn’t the end of the world. It just means if if a if someone says no, then they’re not the right person for you and therefore it’s not a good fit and therefore it’s a good thing you have a clear answer. But we look at rejection as so sodden with shame in a way that I find really stressful and really upsetting and responsible for so many of the most unpleasant interactions I’ve ever had with men. All because I simply said no in as many excusing ways that I can and as careful an eggshell treading away as I can. And it’s as though I’ve just stabbed them in the penis and.
Monica [00:19:11] Straight through it. Cut the tip straight gone.
Jameela [00:19:11] Yeah, a supermarket circumcision. Um, but I, uh, I would love for us to change our attitudes to rejection and, you know, I don’t, I know if I should say, if I think would be fine, I think he’s written fucking songs about it. But James was very, very direct with me when when he was sort of courting me at first for a little while we were friends, and then once he knew that I was available, he told me he had feelings for me and made it very clear in that same moment that he had no interest in just being my friend.
Monica [00:19:49] Um, I put my hat in the ring.
Jameela [00:19:51] Yeah. He he literally says the words. I’m throwing my hat in the ring. Like, that’s not just a poetic expression. That lyric from his song, I’ll Come Too. Yeah, that is a document of our relationship.
Monica [00:20:04] I love just. I love that scene. Yeah. It’s very intentional.
Jameela [00:20:09] Yeah. And I. No one had ever said that to me before. A lot of people would say, Yeah, yeah, we can be friends, and then we’d still be trying to date me or have sex with me.
Monica [00:20:18] Yeah always on the back burner of their mind, like just waiting for the opportunity to.
Jameela [00:20:22] Yeah. And so that was actually incredibly refreshing and incredibly attractive for someone just to say straight up, this is my intention and I would have to disappear from your life if that’s not how you feel. And that’s fine and no pressure.
Monica [00:20:39] That’s really nice. It’s so rare.
Jameela [00:20:40] And I did appreciate that. And I do think we could have a little bit more of that regardless of the gender of the person who’s saying this. It’s important to learn. And, you know, and I also hope I hope it’s a woman. I would love to hear of more women asserting themselves and and that being more acceptable and destigmatized.
Monica [00:20:59] I do feel like I hear this a lot. Like what? Like. And maybe because we are socialized to interact with women, I acquiesce and watch and be able for someone to. I don’t know. And then you sort of turn it in on another. And this is very oversimplified here, but.
Jameela [00:21:18] Well, I was going to say, it’s just that I. I think it’s a shame that women are discouraged socially from being the ones who pursue. And and I know a lot of men who would they would quite like to have the pressure taken off. But at the same time, there are also a lot of men who treat a woman as if she’s desperate if she does make the first move.
Monica [00:21:41] Oh I’ve alienated so many people. By just saying.
Jameela [00:21:46] Just by double texting. It’s very.
Monica [00:21:48] Oh the double text. Yeah, I’ll do the novella text. Okay.
Jameela [00:21:52] Right, exactly. I’ve even received a few of those from you.
Jameela [00:21:56] But I. But I do think that is something that I wish that we could just. There’s so many, so many things that we could deal with at the source, at the genesis of those misunderstandings with kids to say. Anyone can approach anyone. And if someone says, no, that’s fine. Move on. 8 billion people and growing in the world. Yeah, but anyway.
Monica [00:22:19] Yeah if it’s an if it’s not a good fit. Yeah, it’s.
Jameela [00:22:21] If it’s not a good fit then it’s good to know. Okay. So how do you hold onto hope? What makes getting up every day possible?
Monica [00:22:33] Now, why did you have me on for this question?
Jameela [00:22:35] I’m sorry.
Monica [00:22:37] No, I’m just. No. Okay. Sorry. Can you read it again? I think it’s lovely.
Jameela [00:22:41] Okay. How do you hold onto hope?
Monica [00:22:45] That’s so hard. It’s so hard right now for so many people. And we have access to so much information. This cat is killing me right now.
Jameela [00:22:52] But I was about to say your cat, I think, is one of them.
Monica [00:22:55] Honestly.
Jameela [00:22:56] Having pets forces you.
Monica [00:22:58] Yeah. Just pulling in all of the the existential heat. We take in so much information from every corner of the world. Um, I just. I have to think of the small stuff locally and close by having great conversations with you, my close friends, my sister. Like, it’s hard a lot of days. It’s mostly a lot of dread, but just chipping away, I. I am afraid this isn’t entirely inspiring. I just think it’s. You just have to be relentless about choosing to. To keep going. That’s. That’s kind of like lie to yourself. I wish I had a better. I feel like I’m just not even saying sorry, not lie.
Jameela [00:23:41] But I no, it’s a huge question. And like, by the way, 70% of the questions were about hope. Right? Hope is the thing that I think people are most struggling with right now. And I think that’s probably why it’s it’s it feels hard to even tangibly answer such a massive question. For me the thing that forces me out of bed every day is my dog, right? I have this little creature that depends on me. And it would just destroy him if I wasn’t there to look after him. Right. So on the days where I don’t care about myself, I’m always still able to care for the dog. And and I feel similarly of the fact that, you know, my my boyfriend and my roommates are the same. And so, also hilariously, uh, one of my roommates said to me that if I do kill myself, which, you know, I have had previous history of suicidal attempts and suicidal ideation, it’s like if you, if I, if if you kill yourself, will we’ll just have loads of lad time without you. And he knows that my biggest FOMO is that they have lad time and I’m not there because they’re three of the funniest people in the world. And I swear to God, during one of the most suicidal moments of my life, he pulled me out with that one sentence.
Monica [00:25:00] Wow with fomo?
Jameela [00:25:00] And so, so honestly, the idea of missing lad time, if that’s something that, you know, appeals to you, something that you love doing. I remember the things in my darkest moments that I loved that I wouldn’t get to do anymore if I wasn’t here and if I didn’t get out of bed and if I didn’t keep going. But then on an ultimately very dark note, Monica, because I have a dark brain. I don’t know how much hope I necessarily have left anymore. Maybe because I’m tired and that means generally in the world. And so I know that that is an appalling thing to say publicly. And for you to hear right now when you need the opposite message. But I have found an odd liberation in just going. You know, I think we might have gone too far. I think things might actually be fucked. And I think, therefore, it is my duty to see as much, do as much, enjoy as much, and witness as much as I can before it all goes away. And and I know that that sounds demotivating, but I find it actually the exact opposite. It becomes so untenable. The noise is so untenable, and. And everything isn’t bad, but it feels fucking terrible because all of the news, the only news that travels themselves is bad news, right? So we’re just pummeled with it. And I had to do something with my mentality. Otherwise, I was just exhausted and bogged down and going, god, I think we might actually, I think we’re all fucked has made me feel very driven to help who I can love who I can, tell everyone who matters to me that they matter to me and and spend each of my day as fully, even if that means staying in bed all day watching TV. That a full day for me covered in crumbs from great snacks. That’s it? It’s made me not want to work as hard. It’s made me not want to, like, be part of the hustle and the rat race. It’s made me want to just enjoy this this planet while you know I can. So sorry, everyone. Maybe you’ve switched off by now. If anyone’s still here.
Monica [00:27:06] I could chime in, but I think I would just, like, continue to paint the same. The same picture.
Jameela [00:27:11] Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s been oddly like a release of like. Okay, well, it’s fuck it bucket time.
Monica [00:27:16] Fuck it bucket in the same way. Like, since we’re all going to die, we might as well just, like, party with our ass out. Not really. I don’t like to, you know.
Jameela [00:27:26] I mean, it depends on the day. Okay, so we’re moving on. We’re moving on. How do you get yourself to want to be kind to yourself when you don’t think you deserve it? Like, can you feel your disordered eating coming back but you don’t want to stop it. What an interesting question.
Monica [00:27:45] But you don’t want to stop it. Mm.
Jameela [00:27:47] I think the important thing is to not wait until you want to be kind to yourself, considering the inner and outer committee that exists to make us hate ourselves and not love ourselves. And remember, it’s driven by capitalism, right? When people feel sad or like they’re not enough or they’re missing something, they go out and buy something to fix what they think has broken or to fill that void. I always online shop when I feel dissatisfied or afraid or depressed. I do not shop at all when I feel happy, fulfilled and motivated properly. So. So considering the fact that then everything is under a kind of capitalist structure and everyone and everything is mostly targeted at making us feel like we we aren’t enough right now. We need more stuff. We need more things. We need more skills. We need more something. We’re never taught about gratitude and appreciating what you have now. So to expect yourself to want to feel good or to want to look after yourself or be kind to yourself might be a bit too much. Which it kind of goes along with my whole body neutrality. I’m not going to tell myself to love my body, want to teach myself how to do, not think about my body, or wait to love my body. So with this, I would say, does it matter if you want to or not? You know, you have to in order to survive. And so if being kind to yourself is a fucking job, that is how it’s going to have to be until it becomes habit, until it becomes muscle memory. And then you go forth and you just do it. So eating disorder is coming back and you don’t want to stop. It doesn’t matter what you want. You don’t always get what you want. All right? Life’s not fair. You have to do it anyway.
Monica [00:29:32] I think that’s. I think that’s perfect. The compulsions can be soothing. We know this, but it’s short term. So just try to break the pattern as soon as you’re feeling it. Come back and break the pattern and make the other choice and. And just be relentless about it. It’s fucking. It is. I mean, you already said it all. And also be compassionate with yourself. The fact that we’re inundated with bullshit that makes us feel like we need to buy, buy, buy and fill, fill, fill and all that.
Jameela [00:30:04] And don’t feel bad about yourself with all the toxic positivity that’s being sent your way. Don’t feel like, oh, another thing I failed at is that I don’t want to get bet- like, it’s okay, it’s okay. You’re only fucking human. It’s really, really hard. And the path of least resistance is often the path that’s going to take you back into your worst habits. And I say this as myself, and I feel relatively safe in saying that you and I both have quite self-sabotaging streaks.
Monica [00:30:28] Absolutely.
Jameela [00:30:28] And we’ve bonded over that. And so we know how easy it is to slip, but it’s so fucking worth it in the end to just do it anyway. Just to fucking fight those demons anyway.
Monica [00:30:43] Yeah, I mean, uh vulnerability check. This morning I was showering, and I was thinking about this producer I’ve been meaning to reach out to who the line is open wants me to reach out, and I keep not doing it. I’m like. And then I find myself saying over and over and over again. Fucking coward, fucking coward, fucking coward. And then you have to sort of remember, we have a skewed sense of the, our frame of reference is totally skewed by whether it be complex PTSD or PPD or.
Jameela [00:31:22] Body dysmorphia.
Monica [00:31:23] Body dysmorphia and everything we we take in on a daily basis messaging and just feel like, okay, everything’s a damn lie. And then it feels corny. It, it feels like something like it’s hard to shake cynicism when it’s been a part of you for so long. It’s hard when you’re like someone who identified, like, as like Daria for so, so long. It’s a cartoon. I’m old, but. But then I just said all the things that I know are true, even if I can’t feel it in my body. Like, you’re doing great. You’re strong. Like, yeah. You know, it feels again. Live, laugh, love, corny. But if you’re just relentless, I have to be relentless about it. Otherwise that other voice will come through.
Jameela [00:32:09] Well, also, the other voice was learned from repetition. From the outside. Right. If we’re repeatedly told from the outside, then we start to believe these terrible things about ourselves. So we kind of have no choice but to combat it with the same thing, which is positivity. Until our brains start to learn it just the way they learned all the terrible negative things. I would also just like to remind everyone of a sentence that Matt Haig said on this podcast, which is that, you know, depression and the brain in general can give you fake news. And so that’s the other reason why you shouldn’t wait to want to get better. You just have to move. You have to not trust that brain of yours. It’s not always on your side, and you just have to look after you the way that you would look after anyone else that you love who’s in need. Okay, so we are moving on. Next, have you ever had imposter syndrome? And if you have, how have you managed to overcome it? I have said this before. You would have seen it on my fucking Instagram. You would have seen it and you would have heard it in previous episodes. But it’s always worth reminding people in case today is the day that you need this advice. I have learned to treat imposter syndrome because I find it entirely unhelpful. I have decided to treat it as a wedding that I am crashing. Any opportunity is a wedding I am crashing. I know I don’t deserve to be there. again. Leaning into the bad feelings. I like to lean in to the bad feelings. It’s the kind of thing within martial arts. I say sentences like that now because I did six months of training for Marvel. And so now I now I speak as if I’m an expert but in martial arts. Like a lot of the best martial arts, you use the weight of the enermy, the enemy’s weight against them and their strength and their weigh against them. And I kind of do the same with negative thought patterns where I kind of lean in and when my brain is going, You’re a piece of shit, you’re ugly. You can’t do this. You don’t deserve to be here. I’m like, Yeah so?
Monica [00:34:08] And bitch?
Jameela [00:34:09] Then what? Right, what are they what is your brain going to do with that information? So I lean in to the fact that, you know, I probably don’t fucking deserve to be here. But you know what? No one’s worked it out yet. And life is short. And it’s really fun that I’m here and it’s exciting. And if it goes really wrong, it’s going to be a great story to go and tell Monica right to come home and tell my roommates. And so my life is a kind of collage of ultimate triumphs or the best funny stories about my failures ever. And so lean in, you’re there, you’re at the wedding. Get the fucking cake. Snog a person at the wedding like snog a guest and then get the fuck out there.
Monica [00:34:55] Yeah. Do your damn biggest you. Do the damn thing.
Jameela [00:34:59] Wait until you are thrown out on your ass I that’s what I’m waiting for, that’s why I dare to continue in anything that I’m doing. So you’re going to have to remove me from the premises whether or not I’ve earned the right to be here.
Monica [00:35:13] Ma’am? it’s this isn’t and then we know, because we can see outside of your body in the or see outside of, you know, the lives that are you know.
Jameela [00:35:24] I can’t see outside the no I can’t see outside the body like I can’t see it outside the lies.
Monica [00:35:29] No I was saying that like me personally can.
Jameela [00:35:32] Right.
Monica [00:35:32] And like, well, you know, you’re not going to get kicked out of the party, but I understand like that that choice. And I want to take that and embody that and try that out sometime.
Jameela [00:35:43] And also I might get kicked out. I have been kicked out before, but I had a fucking brilliant time while I was in there and I learned a lot and I figured out the things that I was good at. And equally importantly, I learned the shit that I was bad at and. And I. Yeah, you know what the best thing is, Monica? I didn’t die. I didn’t die. I didn’t like the the world didn’t stop turning. The weather didn’t change. People didn’t. Not all people disowned me just, you know, I did and nothing horrendous happened from me just trying something that I wasn’t yet perfect at.
Monica [00:36:19] Yeah, I. We should allow ourselves more space to.
Jameela [00:36:24] Fail.
Monica [00:36:24] To fail to like, learn something to become good at something. I mean, yeah, I mean, I played, I played softball for like 16 years. And I realize that when, when I try other sports that I’ve been curious about, I become furious because I’m not as good at it. But then you really just think and you dissect, it it’s like bitch, why would you be good at golf? You’ve never been here. You don’t even go here. There’s no reason. You, you know, and it’s and but still, I’m like, I feel shame and embarrassment. It’s like, no, you should be able to to do that.
Jameela [00:36:58] It kind of harks back to the conversation of rejection as a form of rejection and failure.
Monica [00:37:03] Mmhmm.
Jameela [00:37:04] It’s kind of or there or at least sort of tangential or adjacent or some sort of shit big word that means similar. Um, but I, I think that that’s really important. I know that you struggled with imposter syndrome. Like I have been a big sort of cheerleader of yours because I know sometimes I have to step in and I’m not congratulating myself. Like, I’m very lucky. I’m very lucky to be your cheerleader, but. But I. I know I have to do it because sometimes I. I know that that voice is missing from your head. So I have to be that voice from the outside and think it’s really important to be that voice for your friends and do it enough that they hopefully learn those words of yours for themselves so that even when you’re not there, they can think about them.
Monica [00:37:53] Yeah. Thank you. And. Yeah, that’s tell your friends. Tell your friends. I don’t communicate it always.
Jameela [00:38:00] Can I ask you a personal question?
Monica [00:38:02] Yes.
Jameela [00:38:02] So you do not yet have my wedding crasher mentality, right? You don’t look at it yet with. And, we’re going to work on that together. You don’t yet look at it with the shamelessness and drive for a miserable, embarrassing story that I have. I have still watched you do some mega things right. And I’ve watched you sing on stage in front of 5000 people with my boyfriend. You are going on tour with Marcus Mumford. You’re also going to be doing some massive career things with my boyfriend, like I. I wonder how you’ve done it. How have you managed to take, considering the fact that I know how demonic the voice in your head is sometimes.
Monica [00:38:46] Such a rude bitch.
Jameela [00:38:47] It’s such a rude voice. How have you thus far done it? Just for the people out there who I also don’t share my mentality yet.
Monica [00:39:00] I think it’s sheer intellectual will. I mean, I really don’t someone described this for me as years and years ago when I was just starting out in songwriting and singing and I was trying to tell them that it was I was like, I don’t feel like I’m good. I feel like I’m all the things and they relate it to. Yeah, it’s like you have this vest. You have a vest on and you’re accumulating little accolades that are go and but they’re stickers and they’re like stickers on the vest. I think that’s how sometimes it can feel for people where they can point to like, Oh, I’ve done this or Oh, this person fucks with me. But having that visual is useful to me. And through time, I just when I had a bad feeling, I said, That’s a skewed perspective coming from a place of trauma. This is the reality. You would not be in this position if when you had the opportunity, you didn’t have the talent to actually participate. So just like removing yourself from from your body as much as you can and just saying these are these are the facts, you wouldn’t keep getting this opportunity. You wouldn’t be hired for this job. You wouldn’t be, you know, writing for this or that if you didn’t have the skill. So it’s slowly becoming integrated. I’m starting to believe it. Or at least that conversation is quicker.
Jameela [00:40:30] Yeah, cerebral overdrive, right? Like, it sounds like you have great advice for the people who have an inkling that they might be talented and and maybe they can’t be objective as to how talented they are. So your advice is to look at the things that you maybe have achieved or can do or have made other people happy with beforehand and use those things to drive you to believe that you could do it again or you can do it bigger, that you have potential. And my advice is good for the people who don’t actually think that they have potential people like me, who still don’t actually think they’re very talented or smart. And and that, you know what we still belong to, all right? Even if we’re not sure, even if we’ve never been given proof. No one before I did the good place had ever been like you should act. I’ve never been given any. I had no inclination that that would be something I could do. It was I was literally an imposter. Like it’s not imposter syndrome. It was very much the imposter reality. Being with Kristen Bell and like Ted Danson, all these people who are super talented. And so so if you are like me and you’re not sure and you’re trying something completely new. Wedding Crash. Alright? And if you’re if you suspect that you might actually be or something. Use Monica’s intellectual overriding. Hack your brain’s computer.
Monica [00:41:50] Hack it.
Jameela [00:41:56] Any advice to avoid overthinking things, especially what opinions other people have about you? Is this something you struggle with?
Monica [00:42:04] Oh, yeah.
Jameela [00:42:06] But especially regarding other people’s opinions. I only say this because you can be quite free and very, very funny. And I read you is even though I know you like I read you is quite confident in lots of wonderful ways. Obviously, I know that you have the things that make you feel self-conscious.
Monica [00:42:27] Yeah, sure.
Jameela [00:42:28] But do you do worry a lot about other people’s opinions?
Monica [00:42:32] I really, really do. I, I think I think I do more in my body, if that makes sense. Kind of the same thing where I know. I know because I did it for years, omitting parts of myself to pander to whatever scenario I was in and just be useful to the room. Be be liked, be welcome, find a home somewhere, you know. But what ends up that’s not sustainable you can’t do that to. Eventually you’ll be in a space where two different spaces that you’ve pandered to, they’ll be combined. And then who are you? You know, you can’t, like, carve so much of yourself out or off for someone’s comfort and still be true to yourself. So now when I’m out and I’m more brazen and I say things that, frankly, I’ve I’m kind of alienating, I’ll just I’ll say that. I’m kind of funny anyway. I can be both. But I realize at some point I need to lead with myself. If I alienate someone, they’re not for me. And that’s okay. Kind of in a rejection sense. Like, I think so much of my so much or so many of my choices for so long were based on finding a safe place where I could just be, but that I was forced to change the shape of myself. And I don’t have those confines anymore, but it’s still kind of you get used to doing that and. Forgive me. This has become sort of convoluted.
Jameela [00:44:11] No, I think what you said was super beautiful. It was really great. The fact that and I think perfectly worded it so succinctly, which is that we shape ourselves to in different ways, to different people according to what makes those individuals happy or comfortable. And then those worlds combine. And that is the perfect way of wording situations I found myself in so much of the time when I was younger because I’ve always been so socially inept and I’ve always struggled. So I kind of almost used to take on the I mean, sometimes the accent, not in a super problematic way, but like the accent, the mannerisms, the tonal inflections of people’s voices. I used to mirror people because I thought that would make them more comfortable with me. And so and so it was it took me a while to find people that I felt safe with, to not have to mirror them, or I could just be my full self. And once I did, once I had the sort of magical 12, my magical dozen, if that, of really close friends, one of whom you are. I was like, great. I you know what? I just needed a few people to see who I really am and be okay with that. And now I I’m not going now. I don’t need to keep trying. I think trying to impress strangers. I am trying to win the respect of people who you yourself don’t respect. Not even that you disrespect them because you don’t know them. Fucking exhausting as something that is heavily, heavily placed on women to have the responsibility of doing more so when it comes to, you know, genders. And so it feels like a, like a feminist decision to be like I will not make myself palatable and respectable and perfect to everyone I meet because everyone’s so fucking different. And a lot of them don’t have similar interests to me, and a lot of them carry themselves in ways that I don’t agree with and don’t aspire to. And maybe it’s okay for us just not to be friends, as you say. You know, it’s it’s the rejection thing of like the perhaps we’re not for each other. And that has been so liberating and taken up so much less of my time. And now when I’m interacting with people, I’m no longer thinking, Oh, God, what do they think of me? I’m thinking, what do I think of them? because, I mean, I’m a grown woman and I’m I know I don’t have time. So if I’m going to spend my time with someone, I would like to feel like it is a mutually nourishing relationship rather than an opportunity for me to perform.
Monica [00:46:37] Yeah.
Jameela [00:46:38] And so it’s very liberating. Slightly judgmental, obviously. But, you know, we know I’m not perfectly charming. You’ve been listening to this podcast maybe for a few years. Some of you, you get it. I’m flawed, but I’m wondering, what do I get from you? And women have never been taught to ask themselves, what do I get from this situation? What do I get from this person? What do I get from this thought process?
Monica [00:47:00] Yeah. Is it nourishing?
Jameela [00:47:01] How can I give? How can I nourish? Not can how can I be nourished?
Monica [00:47:06] Yeah.
Jameela [00:47:08] And so I highly recommend. Highly recommend. No longer trying to impress everyone because it’s absolutely impossible. And once you fucking start ice skate your way to that on the thinnest of ice to maybe fooling everyone into the fact that you fit all of their different facets. At some point the ice will break and the fall will be so tremendous. So why bother? Find a few people who love you and know you and accept you. And then keep it moving. Because as you get older, I promise you, you will not need more than, like, ten friends.
Monica [00:47:42] Right. It’s just too much.
Jameela [00:47:46] Maybe even five. Maybe three.
Monica [00:47:48] I need to you have to make some slices. I don’t want to scare some of my homies but.
Jameela [00:47:52] Yeah.
Monica [00:47:52] You get it. The social obligation I need. I need. I need peace.
Jameela [00:47:59] 100%. Okay. So, all right. Someone said I have complex PTSD from sexual, emotional and physical trauma. Any advice on how I should tell people? I think that’s a brilliant question. I think it’s a brilliant question that really needs to be asked and isn’t asked enough and a difficult one to answer. First and foremost, I guess we could both agree on the fact that you don’t have to tell everyone. You should tell the people that you gauged to be safe, not because you should feel bad for burdening anyone with that information, but just because not everyone is safe to receive delicate information. Not everyone has done the work or has read up or is emotionally maybe themselves stable enough. Yeah.
Monica [00:48:47] Mmhmm.
Jameela [00:48:47] What advice do you have?
Monica [00:48:52] I’m just thinking about all the time, like.
Jameela [00:48:54] Yeah.
Monica [00:48:55] I lead with it often.
Jameela [00:48:58] Right. Yeah.
Monica [00:48:59] Because so much and I know I that’s, you know, before I met you, before I knew you were an actor. Like, sorry I felt so freed by the way you talked about things. I know that’s not what the question is, but I.
Jameela [00:49:15] No we can hear some nice things about me. That’s fine.
Monica [00:49:19] But it’s just. I say that because the way I carry myself and the way I talk about things, it’s frequently there is a part of me that wants to, like, put people at ease, to disarm them, to feel free to talk about maybe more raw things or just let people. Because I think these things happen to way more people.
Jameela [00:49:45] Than not.
Monica [00:49:48] Than not. Yeah. And and if more people are free to talk about it in a more matter of fact way, then that’s more opportunities for people to connect and support each other. But it is it is hard. It’s. And it doesn’t always land. And. And it’s hard. It’s just hard. I wish I had advice.
Jameela [00:50:11] Isn’t it kind of isn’t it kind of special, right. So to know that it’s not always going to land and to know that maybe you can use that as a shitmus test. Right my version of a litmus test, and it is my shitness test of like if you cannot, I pretty much open with my, my, my, my, you know, most ultimate madness because I, I do the opposite of the kind of the sort of used car salesman routine that we’re all taught to do where you’re like, No, it’s great. It runs great. It’s got barely any mileage on it. I don’t really know anything about cars. I’ve never driven a car. I can’t drive a car. So I’m not going to I’m not going to go into this analogy too much. You know, otherwise it will sound really shit like the wheels are great. But my point is, is that, you know, we do this this is like song and dance of like, look at me, I’m so healthy, I’m great. I’m fun all the time. I love Reverse Cowgirl. I don’t find it stressful at all. My knees are fine.
Monica [00:51:08] My knees are fine and my anus is not in your face. It’s just right there. I’m so sorry.
Jameela [00:51:16] But that’s just never sustainable. You know, I. I can’t do reverse cow cowgirl. I get three pumps and then I’m out, you know, I have to tap out. And I’m not always up and I’m not always feeling very well. You know, I’ve got Ehlers Danlos syndrome I start every morning in pain. And my joints are all stiff, like little statue, you know? And so it’s just I’d I’d rather go in with this with without scaring the fucking shit out of someone, but I’d like to, I’d like to enter with the truth and see if someone else can handle it. And frankly, I have to live with this shit. All right? That makes me a legend. So, are you good enough to hack it me. All the fucking lunacy that is in my head that I have to get through every day in spite of and all the things that make me weird and difficult and all the pain that I’m in. It’s like I’m not going to spend time with you if you don’t like the shadowy part of me. If you don’t, you’re only there for the light and not the shade. So I, I like to go. I like to go in with it. And I tend to be like better and better at judging who is even worth revealing that stuff to me. But as soon as I like someone and I want them to like me back, I want them to like the realest me.
Monica [00:52:29] Me Absolutely. Yeah. Think of it less as like a burdensome thing to drop on someone and more like this is going to increase intimacy and their understanding of how I function and the people that meet you there, that’s who you fuck with. Then the people who are going to like that, ahh ahh you know. And, and that’s sometimes where people are at. And sometimes obviously that can be hard because you see other things, but they’re not maybe investigating the darker corners of themselves or maybe just don’t have the experience. But it’s again, it’s and it can feel like rejection, especially with all of that in your foundation. But yeah, when you lead with the truth then that you kind of, you get to your people faster.
Jameela [00:53:21] Yeah. And it also kind of gives people, as you kind of touched on there, a bit more context as to some of your behavioral patterns. You know, there are certain things about me that mean that I can’t make I can’t maintain eye contact for a while when I first see you and I need for us to go on a little walk together or I need to make you a cup of tea, or I need to briefly vacuum the house, but I need a bit of time, you know?
Monica [00:53:44] Yeah. One day Jameela we’ll have to tell people about our.
Jameela [00:53:48] Brains.
Monica [00:53:49] Our brains and also our mutual hangout where we both got together. And I think it was talking like, oh, let’s have a wild, like, not wild and crazy. Like, let’s have a weekend, baby girl, and then come over and we both sat in your bed looking at the wall in the same direction to look at each other and then alternated. Sorry, I don’t know. It’s just like one of the most peaceful, beautiful evenings of my life.
Jameela [00:54:13] Yeah.
Monica [00:54:14] You’re like oh, that’s why we’re friends right right right right. Yeah, that’s.
Jameela [00:54:17] Exactly. It puts you into context, right? It puts you into context. It helps people understand your behavior. And as again, you’ve touched on, it lets them feel maybe safe to tell you what’s wrong with them or not, what’s wrong with them, what’s right with them, what’s different about them? A big part of why you and I fell in love with each other so fast is because we bled out all over each other emotionally. It’s very quickly, within an hour or so of meeting each other. And.
Monica [00:54:49] Truly.
Jameela [00:54:49] And it was just one of those kind of like blood bonds then where forever I was like, right, you’re well, that’s it. Now you’re my sister and then I know you and.
Monica [00:54:59] Safe space.
Jameela [00:54:59] Yeah, and you’re my safe space and I’m going to know you till I die. And I don’t think we would have gotten to that place even by now, two or three years later, had had we not done that. So look at it as a beautiful opportunity to bond and a beautiful opportunity to like to figure out who who can’t hang, you know, weed out the weak.
Monica [00:55:20] Yes, weed out the weak. It’s it’s worth it. It’s scary. You do the hard work upfront, eat the frog, I guess they say.
Jameela [00:55:29] What does that mean?
Monica [00:55:31] Do the hard shit first. I think people usually use it for tasks. This is polluted your beautiful bow that you put on it and just like eat the frog like bitch why do you have to bring frog into this. So sorry.
Jameela [00:55:45] Well, frogs aside, this has been great. And I love you so much.
Monica [00:55:50] I love so much.
Jameela [00:55:51] Thank you for helping me answer these questions and. And for putting so much of yourself and your honest truth into your own answers. It’s always magical to me when people do that on these episodes. And so I love you and I want for everyone to go and follow you online and go to your shows. She’s she’s not only the best singer, she’s literally my favorite singer in the world, in the world, my favorite voice of all time. But she’s also she’s also brilliant and hilarious and amazing on stage. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.
Monica [00:56:27] You’re so sweet. Thank you.
Jameela [00:56:28] And so and so. Yeah. I wish you all the love and luck on your tour that’s coming up. And please come back again.
Monica [00:56:37] I absolutely.
Jameela [00:56:39] Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode. I Weigh with Jameela. Jamil is produced and research by myself, Jameela Jamil, Erin Finnegan and Kimmie Gregory. It is edited by Andrew Carson. And the beautiful music you’re hearing now is made by my boyfriend James Blake. If you haven’t already, please rate review and subscribe to the show. It’s a great way to show your support. We also have a bonus series exclusively on Stitcher Premium called Ask Jameela Anything check it out. You can get a free month Stitcher Premium by going to Stitcher.com/premium and using the promo code I Weigh. Lastly over at I Weigh, we would love to hear from you and share what you weigh at the end of this podcast. You can leave us a voicemail at 18186605543 or email us what you weigh at Iweighpodcast@Gmail.com and now we would love to pass the mic to one of our fabulous listeners.
Listener [00:57:32] I Weigh being passionate about helping people. I Weigh being resilient even in times when when all I wanted to do was give up. I Weigh loving people who may not love me back. I Weigh showing love to people who don’t show love to me.
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