Listen to Episode #67 here:
Fearing Failure with Kym Terribile
Our guest is Kym Terribile. Kym is a writer, Reiki practitioner and certified yoga teacher. She’s a graduate of the University of Hawaii with a degree in English Literature. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her two dogs. Welcome, Kym.
You are the most loyal follower of the show so I’m not going to ask you my typical opening question. I figured you’re prepared for it. Instead, I want to know why you are not writing more often?
I have a laundry list of excuses that I can offer you.
What are the top three?
Reason number one is it’s summer and it’s so nice outside. I need to be outside. We do have winters here, so I have to take advantage of when it’s sunny and nice. Reason number two is probably because I’m afraid to sit down and commit myself to it. What if I fail? Reason number three is number two. We got there.
I want you to talk more about that. I don’t have that gene. You people talk about the fear of failure as a reason that people don’t do things. I don’t have that. I fail so it’s not that I’m unable to fail and thus not scared of this imaginary thing. There are plenty of reasons why I might procrastinate or I don’t get things done in the way that I do, but it’s never because I’m afraid that they’re not going to turn out well so I avoid doing it. Where does that come from?
At this point, I’ve realized that so much of my identity is attached to the success of being a writer of novels. If I take that out of the equation of my life, I’m afraid that there’s no other driving force of, “This is what I want to do. This is who I am.” Story and literature are deeply ingrained in my essence. It’s the only thing I ever thought that I would be. If I sit down and write and fail at it, I’m afraid I won’t know who I am.
What do you spend most of your time doing?
It’s walking my dogs. I’m trying to get in at least 20,000 steps a day before I walk into work. That’s my goal.
What is your work?
I wait tables at a restaurant in town.
That’s not on the bio.
I feel like it doesn’t define me in any way. It’s what I do for money. It has nothing to do with my identity.
When we met, you were not writing very much. Have you always considered yourself a writer since you were a teen?
Probably at twelve years old, I started carrying around this notebook. I would write down poems. They would come out of nowhere. I felt like I was channeling poetry onto the page. I thought it was the greatest thing that had ever been written at the time. I started taking writing classes in high school and junior high. We had those writing workshops that you could take. All you did was sit at a computer and write short stories or poetry for 45 minutes in three days a week and actively submit them. I was submitting a lot in high school.
Nobody is standing over me and making me write every day. I got to college. My concentration was in creative writing, which is good for me. I was producing a lot. I don’t know what happened.
I don’t know if this is a real story. I’ve heard this anecdote. If you go into a class of third graders and you say, “How many of you are artists?” Every kid raises their hand. If you go into seniors in high school and you say, “How many of you are artists?” Three kids raise their hand. I feel like there’s something along the line that’s either systemic. The world beats that out of us. There’s something individual that’s going on there too. You went from writing poems and like, “This is gold,” to you walking your dogs all the time because you’re afraid that your novels are not going to be good enough. Why? For the readers, Kym and I are friends. We know each other well. I’m not giving a stranger a hard time.
The reason I have started writing in my life is because of Peter. Thank you for that. You’re allowed to criticize.
I wasn’t fishing for a compliment. I feel like there’s a black box. On one side, there’s Kym the twelve-year-old or fifteen-year-old who’s writing poems and short stories and submitting them. There’s even Kym who goes off to college and studies creative writing and English literature more generally. There’s the Kym who I know now who’s older but not old. It’s not too late. She has the ability. If I could write like you, I’m wondering like, “Where’s the limit?” You were like, “I think I can get a draft of this novel by April.”
My goal is April 30th of 2019.
I was like, “Good for you. Good luck.” I’m thinking to myself, “It’s not going to happen.” This is my perspective on writing. As a writer, I’m slow. I edit too much. I don’t put enough ideas down. You’re like, “I got it done. I have a full draft of a novel.”
I subscribed to Stephen King. You have three months to write your draft and that’s it.
That’s an incredible feat. You hit your deadline. This is not a matter of inability.
I’m capable of doing this. If I decided to sit down, I could pursue this as a career path. What’s stopping me is fear of failure and shame. I sent you a short story. You said you didn’t get it. The whole time, I’ve been like, “It was that bad that he can’t even respond. I’m so ashamed.” It’s the fear of rejection. This is the thing that is nearest and dearest to my heart. It’s this creative aspect of myself. To let people read and see that is incredibly vulnerable. I write for myself every day. I journal every day. Even when I’m out walking my dogs, I have either my phone where I put into notes or index cards. That’s where I get most of my ideas. It’s when I’m out and not sitting in front of a computer. I don’t go and write them down. I don’t elaborate on them.
There’s this idea in psychology called empathy gaps. It’s difficult to put yourself in someone else’s situation. We think we can do it, but we’re terrible about it. If you’re in a hot state and someone else is in a cold state, there’s this big disconnect. It’s hard for you to override your emotions to be able to understand that person is in a different emotional state. I’m certain it’s true of a variety of things. In the world of comedy, it’s difficult to understand when you’re offended by a joke, why someone else could be laughing or vice versa. In the abstract, I get this idea but I don’t see it enough. I probably have a fear of failure in some ways in terms of producing things.
I’m writing fiction. I’m creating a story. Even with my personal life, it’s creative nonfiction. It is personal and it’s me. You’re writing more academic type things. There might not be that same emotional attachment to it that I have to my creativity.
The work I’m doing is less part of my identity. Even The Humor Code was co-written. My coauthor did the heavy lifting with the writing. I did work hard to not censor ideas. I can’t tell you the reason behind it if it’s right or wrong. It’s not too late. Was it you who said to me like, “Don’t die with the music in you?”
There’s this quote I found somewhere. It’s a quote for artists, which is, “Don’t die with the music in you.” I’m going to move on from this little therapy session. What would you have said?
I do have a candle company in my closet ready to go, that you talked me out of doing. You instead told me to write a novel. I can always fall back on pouring. Otherwise, I would do a bunch of part-time things. It would be fun to be a nursery school teacher for a day, go in and paint macaroni necklaces. A magician’s assistant for a day would be awesome if I could be the top half and not the legs of the girl who gets sawed. I always wanted to name paint colors. There are great names.
What’s your favorite?
I redid my apartment. If you’re looking for an awesome navy, get Starless Night BEHR MARQUEE. It is amazing. Pinterest it. It’s good. It’s a paint color. You can get it at Home Depot. BEHR MARQUEE makes it. It’s one coat and you’re done. It’s wonderful. Maybe they’ll sponsor you.It's very difficult to put yourself in someone else's situation. We think we can do it, but we're terrible about it. Click To Tweet
About the writing, you and I both are a fan of a book by Steven Pressfield called The War of Art. I usually bring that book with me when I’m on the road. It’s a light read. It has short sections. It’s a good travel book. It’s not a good vacation book. A big fat novel is what people like when they’re on vacation, but it’s a good travel book. You’re tired. You’re in an airport and so on. I’m still a reader more than a listener. That book comes in two parts. The first half of the book is what he calls resistance.
I’m stuck there.
I would think you would like the Pressfield book more than me because of the way he talks about the world. He’s not a scientist like I am who talks about procrastination and willpower and has all these fancy terms.
We have his experiences into it a little bit.
He says that if you try to create any major change in your life, if you try to do anything hairy and audacious, resistance will rise up inside of you and around you to try to thwart this. No one ever experiences resistance to play video games. No one ever has resistance when it comes to eating chocolate cake. If you want to lose ten pounds, if you want to write the next great American novel, if you want to launch a new podcast or something like that, resistance is going to show up. It’s going to show up in the form of, “There are these other things I need to do. I’ve got to get my steps in.” Your relationship will get in the way. He talks about all these different forms of resistance that’s there. I want to get your reaction to that idea of resistance.
You saw my apartment. It’s tiny. My computer, my writing spot, is right there. All I have to do is sit in the chair. Everything gets in the way of me getting there. My apartment is never cleaner than when it’s time to sit down and write. All the dishes get done. I take care of anything rather than that.
What’s fascinating is he has a solution to resistance.
I didn’t finish the whole book.
He’s like, “No matter what, you have to sit in the chair.” Whatever that thing is, you have to do that thing. Even if you sit there, you can’t do anything else. I can add a bunch of behavioral science stuff to this. Any of these endeavors are challenging. What happens is we try to regulate our emotions because it gives rise to negative emotions. We avoid those negative emotions. We do other things that are pleasurable instead. We might even procrastinate in a utilitarian way like tidy up the house, do dishes, fold laundry or whatever. The behavioral science take on the sit in the chair is you need to create a habit where no matter what, that’s what you do. Eventually, it becomes something that you have to do. It’s never going to be easy, but you have to create a habit. The habit is the buffer, imperfect as it may be, to resistance.
I’ve been hearing this for years. For some reason now, it feels like it’s the first time I’m hearing it. I’m like, “That is such a good idea,” even though I’ve heard it probably a thousand times. I’m like, “I need to sit in the chair for 25 minutes,” or sit there and stare at a blank screen.
I had Shane Mauss on. He and I talked about writing. Shane goes as far as using this program called Write or Die. I titled the episode Writing or Dying with Shane Mauss. Do you recall what Write or Die does?
It deletes your words. I would never.
It’s goal-focused. You log on, set a timer and set a number of words. If you have a good pace, if you’re going to hit your things, it gives you positive feedback. If you start falling short, it starts to warn you. The screen starts to flash and make these buzzing sounds and so on. There’s an annihilation setting you can put on. It’s not called that, but that’s the spirit of it.
I’m sure that’s what it feels like.
If you don’t keep the pace that you set, it starts deleting your previously written words.
I would never do that. I even keep a blank document for anything I cut out of what I write. I paste it over there. There’s no way I would ever use that program. I can’t do it.
It is a way to incentivize writing and dis-incentivize just sitting there.
Once I sit and start typing, I’m fine. It works.
My favorite part of the book is not about resistance. I don’t have that as much. It’s a problem. We all have it. Willpower is a problem. In the next section, he talks about turning pro. His thing is that you treat this endeavor like a professional treats it, not as an amateur treats it. He uses a sports analogy. The amateur plays for fun. The professional plays for keeps. The amateur does it for the love of the game and the professional does it for the money.
Am I on the bench because I’m not doing anything at all?
You’re doing it. You wrote a draft of a novel.
According to my timeline, I get to still bang this out and finish it by the end of 2019. That’s what I’m thinking might happen.
It’s Peter Thiel, leave it to these Aspergery tech moguls to become the modern-day philosophers and advice givers. For some reason, I understand why. They’ve accomplished something that’s difficult, becoming $100 million heir or whatever. The other one is they’re incredibly smart folks. Now they have a platform. They write books. There’s Twitter. They read blogs and all this stuff. They’re voracious readers. They hang out with a lot of other very smart people. The thing that they do that other smart people don’t do is they talk directly to people. They’re not writing in the New Yorker. They’re not writing academic articles. They’re available to the masses in any case. He has a series of questions and standards that he uses to evaluate businesses and so on. One of the things he says is suppose you think somebody is going to take ten or three years to do it. Can you do it in six months? Ask yourself, “Can I do it in six months? If so, how would I do it?” Look at a normal timeline for writing a book and so on. With your skills, why couldn’t you have a draft ready for an editor to give you feedback on by December?
As soon as the first snow hits and I’m inside, words are going to start flowing again.
That’s a painful delay. I like the idea of turning pro. I like the idea of professionalizing things. I wouldn’t use that analogy though I like it. I think of it as, “How do you become a craftsperson?” That’s the model by which to think about moving from being an apprentice to being a craftsperson. That is professionalism. That’s what craftspeople have. It’s a level of professionalism. The craftsperson mentality fits better.
I like that idea. This is how I’m interpreting it. I could be wrong. I feel I’ve spent a lot of my time starting literature, reading literature, taking classes and reading every self-help book on writing that there is. There has to come up to the point where I’m like, “I need to stop taking in and start putting out.”
Stop consuming and start creating.
I always had a question with that. If everyone is creating, who’s consuming?
It’s not to stop consuming. It’s getting the ratio right. For most people, the ratio of consuming to creating is ten to one or 100 to 1. Most people scroll through Instagram and aren’t making great posts. Most people are reading books but not writing books. Most people are listening to podcasts and not making podcasts. What I’d like to see is that ratio reverse or get equal. For every hour you spend consuming, you spend an hour creating.
You’re pretty good with that.
You need both. Consuming is like nutrition and creating is like working out. You need both of them. The consuming helps you with the creation. If you want to be a great writer, you have to read literature.
It can be bad literature.
I talk to a lot of comics. They say that it’s valuable to watch good comedy and bad comedy.
When you see something and you can look at it and be like, “This is how I would fix this.” It’s critiquing it as it’s happening.It's hard for you to override your emotions to be able to understand another person's different emotional state. Click To Tweet
Where I’ve seen this most is talking to film directors. Film directors watch a lot of bad movies. The idea is you learn more from bad movies than you learn from good movies. You see what doesn’t work. I hope you get through The War of Art.
There were so many big words in that book. I was circling words. My favorite writing book is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I love her. She’s my guru.
I’ve read that book.
It’s so good. It’s a lot of story.
For the readers, who is she?
Why is that so great?
I haven’t read it yet, but I love her. She’s an incredible person. Her Instagram, her posts and how she presents herself to the world, she’s inspiring to other people. I adore her.
It’s interesting where you get those. Stephen King has written a book on writing where these folks get to a point where they feel like they want to give back.
It has publishers probably. They’re all so different. That’s what I think I’ve learned. Everyone has a completely different technique for how they go about getting their draft down on paper.
There’s one thing in common.
What is it?
They write every day. That’s the one thing. Regardless of who you are, they write every day. I like Roy Peter Clark at Poynter Institute. He has a book. It’s a series of short lessons. Some of them are stylistic like, “Verbs are the engine of the sentence. You should start with your two most important words, your noun and your verb.” It’s basic word-smithing stuff. He also used to work as a reporter. He’s story-oriented. One of the lessons is like, “Get the name of the dog.” He tells a story about a report he was doing. He asked for the name of the dog. He put the name of the dog into the story. It adds a richness when you know that the dog’s name is Spot versus Harvey. When the dog’s name is Harvey, it tells you something about the people.
For me though, these books are almost like therapy psychology. I don’t need a technique. I need more like, “Let me cuddle you through this experience,” type thing.
I need both. I need more of the technique in some ways. You are my number one audience, as far as I know, no offense to any other number one audience out there. You regularly tell me what episodes you like and don’t like. I’m going to use you for your knowledge and opinions. Tell me about some episodes you like and what you like about them. Tell me about episodes you don’t like and what you don’t like about them, with the goal of helping me. I’ve got at least 35 more of these in me. I always said that I would do 100. Let’s say I have 35-ish left, two thirds of the way through. What should I keep doing that works? What should I stop doing that doesn’t work? Don’t hold back.
I like the episodes where you have females on a lot more. There is a better chemistry.
There’s a little something to that.
You’re a little flirty. Maybe that’s what it is.
I don’t know if that’s the case. Maybe I am.
I love more women. My favorite episode is with Jen O’Donnell.
That’s one of my favorites.
She was wonderful. She was very open and outgoing. She knew her craft well.
It’s not in this overbearing in-your-face way. She owned it.
That was a fun episode.
I love that one. That was one of my favorites. I feel like I know so much more about you from being a stalker now. You’re making it seem to everyone out there. When you tell stories that are relatable to people, you do a great job of providing context for what you’re talking about. You’re always addressing the listeners and being like, “For the listeners out there.”
I am sensitive when I talk too much. In this episode, I feel like I’m talking too much. There’s a sweet spot. In the ratio of the guest talking to me, I never wanted to be 90/10 because that’s an interview, not a podcast. I never wanted to be 60/40 or below.
It’s the conversation. It’s whatever happens. You just let it flow.
It’s a shortcut I use when I go, “I’m sitting back too much.” That has happened in a few episodes. In an episode like this, I feel like I’m Mr. Motor Mouth.
I like it when you have comedians on. I like people who are doing standup still. They’re funny and witty.
They’re smart, thoughtful and introspective.
I enjoy that.
I’ve been doing a lot of these from Boulder. There’s less access. We have to move to Los Angeles. For future episodes, we’re going to have a lot more professionals. I’ve had a lot of people who I think are funny people, people I like, which is my only standard.
You’ve had a lot of colleagues on too.You learn more from bad movies than you learn from good movies. Click To Tweet
Don’t you like those?
I don’t know. Those aren’t my favorites. Sometimes you get to talking about academic, very niche things that I don’t understand, don’t have the context for or don’t interest me. There are some episodes where you’ve talked about marketing and all that stuff. I don’t see how that links to being a funny, creative person.
Maybe you haven’t listened to the one with Stefanie Johnson. She’s my management colleague. It’s called Talking Inclusivity with Stephanie Johnson. She’s great. I did a lot of talking in that episode. I was terrible. I’m like, “Am I mansplaining right now?” I’m so excited about her work. I started talking about her own work and I should have let her talk about it. That’s my own mistake. That’s my one regret with that episode. That was a missed opportunity. What else is working? What’s not working?
That’s it. I enjoy your podcast. I’m not sure if it’s because I know you on a personal level and I’m excited that you’re doing something that I find cool and amazing. I’d been listening to a lot of podcasts. Every celebrity out there has a podcast now.
It’s not a high barrier to entry. It’s high enough that everybody doesn’t have one but there’s a lot out there.
I’ve been blowing off your podcast a little bit for Armchair Expert, Dax Shepard. I’m obsessed.
I’m not making any big plans to make changes to it. I could stand to try to aim higher with the stature of the guests.
No offense to anyone who’s been on here.
A lot of times, my favorite episodes are with the most successful people. There’s a reason they’re that successful. It’s not just luck.
They have practice doing that.
They give good podcasts. They’re talkers.
They’ve been interviewed before.
They have charisma and so on. I’m not announcing my secret project yet, but what’s interesting for the readers is if you do tune in to this other project when I launch it, I’ve enlisted Kym to be a cohost at times. I’m curious. We’ve already taped some episodes with you as the cohost. I’m going to have guest cohosts. You did a few and possibly more in the future. How do you feel about how that went? What would you do differently now in hindsight, having had some experience and had a chance to reflect on it?
It’s more of speaking what came into my mind. I didn’t push the boundaries and I didn’t say what I wanted to say because I didn’t know where that line was. I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. You were dealing with people that are respected individuals. I didn’t want to talk about things that might make them uncomfortable. You have to sometimes cross the boundary and push it.
You have to own it. Kym was telling me that she pulls tarot cards in the morning. She was hemming and hauling.
It wasn’t just tarot cards. I sat down and meditated with my mala. I saged my apartment. I was pulling tarot cards. I was embarrassed about it. I was blushing head down, covering my face like, “Why am I telling this person this?” It’s not something I normally share with anyone. It’s my personal pathway. If you want to find divinity, it’s tarot cards. That’s what I’m working on. I feel like I’ve gone through this transition where I’m like, “I’m an adult woman and not a girl anymore.” I didn’t realize that because there was no rite of passage. I didn’t get married and I didn’t have a baby. There was no Bat Mitzvah.
You use a lot of wrinkle creams. You still look young. I can’t take credit for that owning it idea. I could take credit for saying that to you at that moment, but that’s not my idea.
It was the right time. You said it at a moment where I was ready to hear it.
I’ve picked it up from comics. It’s easy to criticize comics. It’s easy to hold them up in high esteem because they have this seemingly magical ability. On the other hand, it’s easy to disparage them because, in some ways, it doesn’t feel like they ever grow up. One of the things that I find appealing about comedians is their authenticity. There’s this saying, and I think it’s Del Close, that comes out of the world of improv that says truth is comedy. I don’t believe that as someone who studies humor, but I believe that it’s a useful way to create comedy. It’s to find the things that are truthful in life. You can make a great comedy by fabrications so I don’t think it’s the only path. Shane Mauss talks about when he finds himself reluctant to talk about something on stage, he forces himself to talk about it. That’s his rule. If he’s embarrassed by something or something bad happens, he ended up in a psych ward. He immediately put it into his act.
When you think about it, that’s what we’re looking for in stories in life. You don’t want the watered-down, filtered version of it. You want the grit and the grind. You want the challenges, the whole hero’s journey. Literature is about the hard things that are there. The fact that you meditated, saged your apartment, pull tarot cards is what makes you interesting and different. I’ve talked about things on this podcast that I would talk with friends about but I wouldn’t talk about it in my class. I’ve talked about seeing a therapist, my anxiety and my childhood. I’m not a terribly broken person who has lots and lots of problems. They’re not scintillating details. I’m not getting arrested. I don’t have drug addictions or anything like that, but it’s my attempt to make this better. If I can’t talk about these things, how am I supposed to help other people?
You do a good job of opening up and, in times, being vulnerable.
I try. I’m working on it. We have this skewed version of bravery in the world. When you say, “What’s bravery?” You think of a firefighter going into a burning home or paratrooping behind enemy lines. It’s all this stereotypically masculine swaggery, robust, put-yourself-in-danger bravery. Women are way better at this than men. I might have even got this thing from you. It’s another path to bravery.
I got it from Brené Brown who I love.
Traditional views of masculinity don’t celebrate the bravery of being vulnerable as a man. Jen and I talked about the patriarchy a lot. One of the things that I like to say is that patriarchy oppresses men also. Women can perpetuate it. When a woman says to her man, “Man up,” that’s a manifestation of the patriarchy. If a man can’t be vulnerable and tell his partner or his friends, he’s scared. If he’s afraid, he needs to ask for help, he’s less of a man as a result of it because he’s not able to experience the full range of masculinity. These are small steps in a public sphere for me to only view bravery in one way.
Vulnerability is the most courageous thing that you can do.
A lot of men would rather run into a burning building than sit down and talk about feelings and to say, “I’m scared about this. I worry about these things.”
At the same time, I’ve had partners in the past where if they did that, I’d be like, “I don’t want to see you cry.” I don’t want to see those tears. It’s uncomfortable. You don’t know how to deal with it in a way.
I had an experience where I said to a woman who I was out with like, “I’m not sure if you’re attracted to me. I can’t make sense of this.” It was so scary to say that. It would either be easier to avoid it, but it was one of those things that I don’t know. I’m concerned and scared to ask.
Did you feel better after you asked?
I thought it was the right thing to do. A long time ago, I never would have done that, not even that long ago. It’s a powerful idea. It relates to fearing failure and your ability to recognize that.
Isn’t that what the whole problem is, “I’m afraid of being vulnerable,” in a way?
You’re able to be vulnerable in all these other places in your life.
I feel like the stakes aren’t as high.
The issue is your identity as a writer going all the way back to age twelve is threatened.Truth is comedy. Click To Tweet
I’ll be a writer. That’s what I’m going to be. That will be my career. If I fail, I’m like, “What is there?”
You have to start doing Reiki.
I love Reiki. It’s some good stuff. It’s good, energetic healing.
You had mentioned that you’re not married and have no kids. You have two dogs. You haven’t had this rite of passage, which is part of the American dream. You don’t own a home. You’re not pursuing those things. You’re not looking to get married or have children or buy a home. You have been doing something that I find fascinating.
Is it dating myself?
Yes, you started dating yourself. I want you to talk about that.
I decided that I needed a break from seeing men in my life. I feel like I’ve gone from serial monogamous, one guy to another. There’s never been any space for just me where I wasn’t even thinking about a guy. It’s a lot of energy you put towards dating. They’re fixed them uppers. They need work. That’s something to look at as well. I decided I’m going to take some space for myself. I’m at the point where a lot of my friends are married. They’re in serious relationships. I don’t want to miss out on doing things because I’m not dating someone and I don’t have a friend to go with.
The world is set up for groups, especially couples.
I started taking myself out. I’ll take myself out to dinner. I went to go see a talk, a Chautauqua by myself, which was super awkward. You needed to make friends in order to get the picnic lunch. I went to see a writer. I’ll go out to dinner, which is interesting to go out by yourself. I don’t want to be on my phone but I don’t want to bring a book because I’m trying to be with myself. I’ll bring in an index card and a pen and sit there.
I do that sometimes. I travel solo a lot. I’ll sometimes ask a bartender or a server, “Can I have a piece of paper and a pen?” I jot down ideas.
It’s been wonderful. I was supposed to go out and see a comedy show. I decided to stay in instead and self-care. One of my favorite things to do is set up my space, lighting candles and incense. I’m very indulgent. If I want to eat a pint of ice cream, my favorite place to do it is in the bathtub.
You’re like a scene from a movie.
It’s bubbles, Epsom salt, music, candles, essential oils and everything. I will take time to set a sacred space and hang out and listen to music in my bathtub.
That is so not me.
I’m a tourist though. I’m super indulgent and sensual.
I did an Epsom salt bath. I never do that thing. I think I was super sore. I’m in there with harsh lighting. There’s nothing sensuous about it. It’s like, “I’m going to sit in here for twenty minutes.”
That’s what my whole life has become. It’s sensually heightened. I am working on this article. It’s called Tantric Self-Love. It’s about taking the time to do things for yourself in a slow and present way. Elephant Journal, if you want it, give me a call.
I know Waylon. He would be a good person to have on here but I’m moving away. What do you want to talk about?
I’m not sure. This did not go at all how I thought it was going to go.
How did you think it was going to go?
I thought it was going to be more funny-wise cracks and us joking around in our adorable little band that we have. You hit my subjects. I’m feeling a little vulnerable.
For the readers, Kym’s on here because she’s very funny. She’s funnier than she thinks she is also. I get to decide who is on or not. You easily cleared the bar. I don’t think these things have to be funny to be successful.
We hit on some of the subject matter.
Do you want to stop talking?
Unless you have any other questions?
I have one more question. I didn’t know if there was something you wanted to talk about.
I don’t think so. Let me just say this. This has nothing to do with anything that we’re talking about. I’ve made a lot of major shifts in my life. I’ve started exercising, taking care of myself and making my self-love my mission. I was thinking about like, “What is the number one piece that’s most important to this puzzle?” It’s being conscious of what I’m grateful for. Every night before I go to sleep, I write down three things that I’m grateful for every day. It shifted my perspective on life. I got that from Oprah.
You’ve got it from my field. I came out of behavioral sciences. That’s a big win. It came out of the positive psychology research.
I know that this stuff works and I don’t do it.
You seem pretty put together. You’re doing it. You have your habits.
This is a gratitude journal. It’s neat you’re doing that. If I may put on my professor hat, the technical thing you’re supposed to do is write three things that went well and why. That’s the critical condition. These are things you are grateful for. When things go well, you’re grateful. The interesting thing is the why seems to matter in terms of recognizing that you have good luck, good skills and good friends sometimes. The why is about the process. Even talking about what went well is important because it’s our natural tendency as humans to be focused on the negative. We’re more vigilant about potential bad things happening than potential good things happening. When things are uncertain, we tend to think about the negatives associated with that uncertainty. For example, you allegedly sent me that short story, which I never received or overlooked. You had uncertainty and you went dark. It’s not because you’re a dark person, it’s just because you’re a person. One of the nice things about the gratitude journal is it forces you to focus on good things. It shifts the balance a little bit more towards the good.
I’ve been doing this practice where I have a word that I try and bring in for my week. It could be courage, trust or openness. My board says, “This week, live with blank.” I wanted to put live without expectations. I didn’t want to put that subtraction negative so I tried to reframe it. I put trust because that encompasses everything.
You’re doing all these things. You’re living a good, healthy and happy life.Vulnerability is the most courageous thing that you can do. Click To Tweet
The only thing missing from my life is that practice. At the same time, I would have to sacrifice because I only have so much time. One thing has to go. It’s this recipe that makes it so I can live in the happy place I am right now. I don’t know where that time for writing can come from right now.
That’s the problem.
It’s resistance excuse.
These are the trade-offs. Over the past years, I’ve sacrificed some of my health to do the things that I’ve done. I’m writing that shift a little bit. I’m super healthy, robust and so on, compared to how I used to be. I made a conscious decision to continue to exercise. It’s to exercise to feel better versus to build myself up.
I love how my ass looks at my running shorts, but I do it because it makes my brain feel good. I get so many amazing ideas when I’m out there. There are days where I’m stopping every twenty feet to jot something down. The writing doesn’t happen on the computer.
I have the same thing. What are you reading, watching or listening to that’s good? You can’t say Big Magic because you already said that.
For whoever’s reading, can you please listen to the Mila Kunis episode? Go 40 minutes in and listen to the story about the Jell-O and then email me at Hotmail. I need to talk to somebody about this.
It’s in Armchair Expert. What else?
Oprah has this book called The Wisdom of Sundays. It’s little excerpts from all these people she’s interviewed on Super Soul Sunday or in SuperSoul conversations. She has a lot of spiritual people on, people who have overcome obstacles. Listening to that podcast took me out of some dark places.
She has Steven Pressfield. I think the book is better than that conversation.
It wasn’t a strong conversation. I was just like, “Look at the synchronicity of all this coming into my life right now.”
Sometimes writers are best just writing.
Don’t talk. Just sit at your computer.
It’s like actors. Just act and say other people’s lines. Don’t say your own.
Oprah is great so I love that. I also read fiction.
Is there anything that stands out?
I started another book. It’s so good. I have a hard time starting a new book because I don’t like reading the first chapter. If a writer doesn’t get me on the first page, it is so hard for me to keep going, get into it and get to know a new character. It’s like meeting new people. It’s draining. It’s a lot. I started this book. It’s called something like Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows. I can’t tell you who the writer is but it’s great. It’s a pretty good start.
Kym, you are not consuming. You’re creating. Thank you for doing that.
Thanks for having me on.
It was fun.
- The Humor Code
- Starless Night
- The War of Art
- I’m Not Joking episode with Shane Mauss
- Big Magic
- Eat Pray Love
- City of Girls
- Roy Peter Clark
- I’m Not Joking episode with Jen O’Donnell
- I’m Not Joking episode with Stefanie Johnson
- Armchair Expert
- Armchair Expert episode with Mila Kunis
- The Wisdom of Sundays
- Super Soul Sunday
- Steven Pressfield on Super Soul
- Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows
About Kym Terribile
Kym Terribile is a writer, Reiki practitioner and a certified yoga teacher. She is a graduate of the University of Hawaii, with a degree in English Literature. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her two dogs.