I have always felt a disconnect between what I think I sound like and what I actually sound like.
I have always wanted, desperately, to be seen and heard and understood.
I have always wanted a sidekick, a creative partner.
I have always wanted to co-create something with someone – something of actual substance, around the shit that we ALL deal with but rarely talk about.
And while I’ve been REALLY good at amplifying voices and advocating for the causes I care about in writing, specifically online, I don’t get to do as much of it face-to-face – whether that’s live or virtually.
So when Jess Sells Wertman and I were chatting about how SHE should do a show to gain more visibility and SHE should do this to build her platform, she knew better.
She asked me to do it with her.
And at first I was like OH NO, I DON’T WANT TO, PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME, THIS IS SCARY. I CAN’T POSSIBLY PUT MYSELF OUT THERE LIKE THIS.
And then, seemingly out of nowhere (legit, I had to ask Jess to recount this for me because I don’t remember), I was into it.
And suddenly, my switch from “no this is scary” to a full-body “HELL YES” makes sense.
I’ve been here before.
I built my blog and a pretty significant following (at the time, nothing compared to today’s numbers) in 2008-2009, and then somewhere along the way, I lost my shine.
And if you’ve been around here lately, you know I’m working to reclaim my shine.
And suddenly, everything started lining up, clicking, coming together.
That’s what this is for me. Getting super fucking comfortable being uncomfortable. Because if we’re being honest, it feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest right now.
I am so fucking nervous about this.
I present to you, Unfuck Yourself, the show about reclaiming YOU.
This is Episode 1. If you’ve ever wanted to get in on the Ground Floor of Awkwardness, this is your chance!
In this episode, we introduce ourselves, the show (kinda, we’re figuring it out as we go), and a quick nod to our first guest, Staci Jordan Shelton.
And bloopers. Please, stick around for the bloopers.
Jess: Hi. Welcome to Unfuck Yourself.
Jess: The show about reclaiming you and me and all of us. This is episode 1. We are awkward as shit. I am Jess.
Sydney: I am Sydney and yes, this is like the 900th time we have started this thing. We are killing it so far on the podcast game because we don’t even know how to do a podcast. In fact, that was number 12 on our list of things to learn how to do before this episode and we haven’t done it yet.
Sydney: Yeah. So Jess, why are we here today?
Jess: So, the whole thesis behind this show- you like that big word: thesis-
Sydney: I do.
Jess: -is that we all have these stories to share. We all have bullshit that is engrained in us. You and I, as we have gone through our shit together, and we have been unlearning all these behaviors and just unpacking all the stories we’ve been carrying around, it all keeps coming back to the same fucking patriarchal bullshit. So, we are here to unfuck it. For ourselves, for everyone else. Middle fingers up. Yeah, that’s where we are. That’s why we are here. Unfuck yourself, the phrase was on my board of ideas for a year and a half now- didn’t know what it was going to be. And when we started talking about this, it all just clicked together. We are here. We are amazing. We are awkward. We hope we’re funny–we think we’re funny. We have some amazing guests lined up for the next couple of months. We are now going to tell you a little bit about who we are so you know who you are listening to. I’ll let Sydney start.
Sydney: Sweet. Hi guys. My name is Sydney. You can find me online- sydneyunfiltered on most things or sydneyowen, which is my maiden name. I live in sunny San Diego, California. I work at a marketing agency by day and the rest of the time when I’m not doing that, I write. I think. I reflect. I paddleboard. I eat stuff.
I met Jess 2 years ago in a women’s entrepreneurship program and we were in a group called the Sister Circle, where at the same time every week we have a call with some other women in the program just to talk about what is going on in the program, what’s going on in our lives as a result. All the stuff we were going through.
And Jess is like – I don’t know if you guys know this, people who maybe my friends who don’t know Jess yet – Jess is a big deal in that she is pure fire, and integrity, and truth. And she has been hinting at the idea of the show as a thing for her to do for a while. So, when she asked me if that was something that maybe we could do together, I was like, “Uhhh…Girl, I don’t need anybody staring in my face on the internet every week like a regular deal.”
So, I said yes. Because that was the thing to get over.
Jess: Well, first you said no. You said no for like every-
Sydney: You are right. First, I did say no.
Sydney: Something you will come to find out about me is that I like to go all the way around the block to get next door. And that applies with personal growth, that applies with relationships. That applies with deadlines for personal projects. I like to rework everything as many times as possible before I am ready to go.
And that is what a lot of this show is for me and I think Jess too. We haven’t really done any of the background that I would have normally done to do something like this.
We didn’t do a really big launch plan. I’m a marketer by trade. I launch shit all the time. I didn’t want to do that. I just want to drop it like an album overnight, show up and be like, “Yo. This is a thing that I think people are going to like. It’s a conversation that I can’t wait to have anymore and we need to start doing it now. I can’t wait to be proficient at podcasting or whatever the fuck it is to put this content out there. So here we are. I am Sydney. Say that again?
Jess: Do podcasts have video?
Sydney: Some do. [crosstalk] I don’t know what this is- is this a show? I keep calling it a podcast. We’ll see how it grows.
But I will say, the one thing that saved me and led me to say yes was that I went to go see the Minimalists speak in person at House of Blues in San Diego. And if you don’t know who they are, they started as a blog. It’s two guys from Ohio- I believe, sorry if I butchered that. They go and start selling all their stuff and they live a minimalist lifestyle. That was years ago. Now, they got a documentary on Netflix. They got a couple of books out. Their blog is insane. They got a podcast and they are on this speaking tour, which is what I went to go see.
One of those people in the audience had asked them, “Did you ever imagine this was going to be as much as it now?” He was like, “No. If I had sat down to write that first blog post about being a minimalist and thought I had to do a podcast, write books, do a speaking tour, do a documentary, I would have never done it.” That was the one tidbit aside from all the amazing things they had to say that I was like, “Yes Jess, I want to do this show and I want to do it starting in a week because we don’t have time to waste. This shit is important. So that’s a little bit about me. Jess, give me a break so I can reoxygenate here.
Jess: Get your water. Get your water.
Sydney: Get my water.
Jess: Wow, so yeah, we did meet- it was two and a half years ago. I remember I was so awestruck by you. [laughter] And just your profile picture at the time was you in front of the plane in your skydiving gear and you looked so fucking badass. I was like, “Wow, who is this girl?” Over the years obviously we’ve gotten a lot closer. A couple weeks ago, we were talking and it was like ” This is how I see you and this is how I see you.” It was like “Oh, we see each other really similarly.”
Sydney: We are so cool. In our own minds.
Jess: For each other. But I think that’s awesome and that so happens with other people too. Just in our world, we are like “Oh wow, look at this person that has this or has that or does this or does that.” We don’t realize how similar we are or how even as different we can be, how fucking awesome that is. How that other person may view us and see us and how much we could be inspiring them or doing something in some way. They’re like, “Oh yeah that person. That’s my person.”
Jess: That’s just so important. So, I’m Jess. I am a writer. I’m a coach. I want to have some big and fancy fun title but I haven’t really landed on one yet. So, I’m Jess. I live on the coast of South Carolina, almost exactly cross the United States from Sydney in sunny San Diego.
Jess: I am a Sagittarius sun, Gemini rising, Cancer moon. INFJ. I like long walks on the beach- which I actually don’t. I like to lay on the beach and read. [laughter] Yeah, that’s me. I’m excited for this. I’m very nervous about this. We have spent an hour now. Looking at my clock. We’ve spent an hour now, procrastinating. Like actually starting this.
Sydney: Can we talk about that? Just real quick? Like maybe some hesitancy to start stuff because I feel like we are probably not the only people that have ever felt that way. I would be willing to guarantee that we are not the only people that have delayed on some kind of dream, challenging thing that’s new. What is that for you and what does it mean for this show to be a thing that we do for you? How does it play into your thoughts about your own visibility and stuff like that?
Jess: Well, I mean, even just 20 minutes still, we were even going like, “We don’t really have to do video. We could just do audio. We’re too awkward. Like what am I doing with my face?” I stopped recording and I was like, ” What am I doing with my face?” We tried this view on the video or we’ll try that. Really it all just comes down to: ” Do I feel like I’ll be judged for how I look right now?” I just got this haircut yesterday- I’m not really loving it. Is how I look right now detract from what I have to say? Is that going to “do something”? I don’t know what that something is. This is just the shame in our head. That plays in a lot for me. I’m notoriously camera-shy, to begin with. I’ve always have been. Being on video for me is a whole other thing. It’s not even just a visibility thing. It’s just really uncomfortable for me to be seen- period. That’s why we are doing this on video and not just clipping the audio and throwing it out there, hoping people love our voices. Also, why I keep looking to the side.
Sydney: Looking for your lines? Lines, please.
Jess: Lines. Lines. Who’s got my lines? [laughter] Yeah, we were talking about that too. Can you tell if I am looking at your face? Or my face? Does this look okay-what I’m doing? That all goes back to the basis of what we are doing with this show which is like, “Fuck it.” You don’t have to look a certain way to be worthy of having things to say. I don’t have to look a certain way to be worthy of people listening or not listening. We don’t know what is going to happen with this, right. But I know that I am fucking awesome. I mean, I do know that. Why can’t I just be comfortable to sit here and say that? That was really hard to say.
Sydney: Yeah. Making shit happen! I love it.
Jess: It’s worth it. But flipping that question around, what is that for you? When we are sitting there for that last almost hour like “Oh, let’s stop the recording. Oh, that came out funny.”
Sydney: Yeah, for me, back in 2008/9/10/11, I was doing this. I spoke SXSW twice. I think there were podcasts back then but they weren’t as prevalent as they are now. So, I did similar to what we are doing right now, light chats that turned into interviews that we posted online back in the day. So, I hadn’t had a problem with visibility.
I left my job that afforded me the opportunities to go and speak at these types of conferences and have this type of confidence to go jump on a plane all the time. That part of my life I just put on pause.
It wasn’t like I didn’t want it anymore but I went from someone who knew a lot about something–at that time it was social media and PR because it was 2008/2009 and companies were just getting on board with it- to going into skydiving where I’m a fucking baby and I know nothing. There aren’t opportunities for me to speak with authority on that fort. So that part, I went down the learning curve a little bit to go like this–up the skydiving curve.
Weird. Sounds like exactly what I did. So, for me, the last hour or so before we actually started recording was a little bit feeling like- I don’t want to necessarily say Imposter Syndrome because I think the stuff you and I are talking about and what we will be talking about with our guests about on the show is something that I am super passionate about and I feel like I have the authority or the permission to talk about it.
But the part that was scary for me was getting back to being visible. I think it was a lot of maybe if I hadn’t done skydiving thing, where would I be now in my career with speaking, with writing, with everything else. If I didn’t jump out of a plane for 5 years although I really liked chasing the sunshine but at the same time I was like, “Alright, fuck it”, and we had to push record now.
I was like, “No. we can’t think about ‘What if?’ because all the stuff that I did in those years is exactly why I am sitting here right now today and I cannot play the ‘What if?’ game backwards.
I made the decision to go leave the corporate life, jump out of a plane, start my own business, be a consultant- I did all that. It got me to be sitting right here and I can’t play ‘What if?’ backwards.
I think that is something that is super important for literally anybody that is trying to start something. If you have done anything worthwhile with your life, if you have ever made any big decision where you are like, “Holy shit! This is super scary”, just decide to fucking do it instead of playing the mind games with yourself. That’s fucking everything. That’s all I can do right now. Just make the choice to continue to go on down this path that I don’t know what it looks like or what the fuck it even entails. Just keep going one foot in front of the other. That’s all I can do right now.
Jess: Totally gave you your air quotes on worthwhile.
Sydney: You can’t hear my air quotes.
Jess: Well, I can. I know your voice. I can hear your air quotes.
Sydney: Yeah. That’s mine.
Sydney: Who are we having?
Jess: First of all, for transparency purposes, we record these on Monday afternoons and we release them on Tuesday morning. The reason for the quick turnaround is because of a lot of our guests will be talking about things that touch on current events. This is not a current event show but current events come up. So we want it to stay current and in the news cycle of whatever it is we talk about. We are giving ourselves a little bit of lag time so that we can do some fun stuff with the video and cut out anything if we totally run off on a tangent for 20 mins, which is likely.
Sydney: Probably going to happen.
Jess: Yeah, just transparency sake. So our first guest next week is Staci Shelton, who we both just fucking adore. We have both go through her Unraveled program. Highly recommended. Hearts. Hearts. Staci’s in the main thing and I don’t even know really what she calls herself, what her title is. I just know that she is amazing and I would call her a writer. She is very much a writer. Her words are magic and I am just really excited to be the channel.
Sydney: Yeah. Ditto. That’s all I got. I’m excited so that’s Staci. Okay so like some housekeeping stuff- our hashtag is #unfuckyourselfshow , our Facebook page is called unfuckyourself , our Instagram is unfuckyourself without the u and the c.
Jess: Instagram and Facebook are both unfkyourselfshow and Twitter is unfkyourselfsho without the w.
Sydney: Yeah, because thanks Twitter. If we could just up the number of characters on a lot of usernames, you would make a lot of people happy.
Jess: Twitter is kinda dying anyway, right?
Sydney: I don’t know. Should we say that? Or is Twitter the thing that makes us huge? I don’t want to shit on a platform-
Jess: -I mean it’s the best platform program on the planet.
Jess: I mean, they’re not dying for news- the Electoral College president.
Sydney: And with that everybody-
Sydney: I think legit that’s probably- do we have anything else to talk on Unfuck Yourself or do we let them go about their day?
Jess: No, I mean, that’s the basis. Who are we, what we are doing. Why the fuck you should tune in every Tuesday at 11am Eastern.
Sydney: I think in one sentence why you should tune in because this shit will change your life if you let it. True story. Everybody we are having on here stands for what we stand for and without being super banner-statement about it like the content will speak for itself. We are really trying to amplify voices that need to be amplified including our own to be honest because there is a lot of noise out there.
Jess: It has changed one or both of our lives in some massive fucking way.
Sydney: Yeah so, I think as far as your next steps, if you have questions for Staci Shelton or for us, leave them in the comments wherever you are viewing this. Comments are usually down there. Maybe off to the side if you are doing this weird life. Yeah, ask questions. But if there is stuff you are dealing with, ask us a question about it and we can see if we can find somebody who can help you deal with that stuff. Between the two of us, we know a shitload of people who are doing some amazing work to help us on Unfuck Yourself and we are down for suggestions too. If you know people, if you have stuff specifically that you are working through that is killing you, hit us up. We can find some people that can help us get free. Do all the good stuff.
Jess: Do all the good stuff.
Sydney: Is that right? Is that it?
Jess: I love it. I think we are good.
Jess: We can turn off the recording, for real this time.
Sydney: Yeah. So, you guys, thank you for joining us. Thanks for your patience. We didn’t have to say that but I’m going to because it is going to be funny when we film or bloopers. You will understand why so thanks for your patience. Because if this was live, you would be done with your sandwich and out of here by now. Yeah, that’s all I got. Thanks for tuning in. We will see you next week with Staci Shelton. She is going to talk about Unraveling and if you have any questions, hit us up.
Sydney: Yeah, I just blew a kiss to the camera.
Jess: You totally did. That was great.