On the most recent episode of Erin McGathy’s podcast, This Feels Terrible, she talks to author and comedian Jensen Karp about relationships and writing. Jensen says that for a lot of his life he had a hard time treating himself well. After relationships ended he would torture himself by checking in on exes through social media and forcing himself to see how happy they were. Erin jokes that no one would never be as mean to someone else in that same way as we are to ourselves, forcing the pain of dwelling on past relationships. She says that she also struggled with valuing herself; that she always put herself into situations where she could find martyrdom. She would seek out flawed relationships with boyfriends for whom she could try everything to stay together so that when they inevitably broke up she could say “but look how hard I tried.” Jensen says that he now finally feels like he has reached a point of comfortability with his self worth so that he can truly accept that he deserves things.
Jensen’s book, “Kanye West Owes Me $300,” is autobiographical and tells stories of his teen years as someone who almost became a famous rapper and ended up a successful comedian. Erin asks Jensen how he feels about people he knows reading his book, bringing up a date she once went on. She knew that a guy she was dating had a podcast, and she really liked his podcast, so she listened to every episode to get to know him. On their last date they got to talking about it and he said “can you imagine if you listened to every one of my podcasts? That would be so weird.” Erin tells the listener that she felt it was really unfair of her date to punish her for that, and I agree. Jensen adds that he did ask the girl he’s dating to read his book. His book is full of stories about how he became himself. Its written in his voice and he has worked hard on allowing it to reveal his essence. In that sense, he jokes, for a girl to like his book actually makes her extremely attractive to him. He says it’s like finding out that “they like you for the same reasons you like you.”
The theme song to This Feels Terrible goes “This feels terrible / this feels terrible / I don’t know the first thing about love.” It’s a podcast about relationships and the feelings that we know don’t make sense to feel but we still feel. The bit of gold in the conceit of the show is also in the theme song; Erin isn’t an expert about relationships, she’s actually just like everyone else: really bad at love. The show is almost always personal and revelatory. It goes to some intimate and even dark places. In one episode Erin plays back a recording she makes of herself after breaking down, crying and alone, during her divorce. The listener isn’t made to feel like her sadness is supposed to be funny in hindsight. In fact, the biggest feeling I got listening was how real her sadness was and still is, but how she is now okay enough to share her feelings in such a truthful way.
I’ll probably never write enough or well enough to fill up a book of myself like Jensen Karp. But this is my blog, and I’m going to keep writing here so that one day I can be an honest artist like Erin McGathy.