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Episode 18: Lisa Arch
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Paul’s former co-host from Dinner and a Movie reveals her fears, insecurities and gratitude for her late father.     Laughter,  tears and and self-loathing, what more could you ask for?


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Episode Transcript:
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Paul:      Welcome to Episode 18, with my guest Lisa. I’m Paul Gilmartin, this is the mental illness happy hour, an hour of honesty about all the battles in our heads, from medically diagnosed conditions to every day compulsive negative thinking. Feelings of dissatisfaction, disconnection, inadequacy, and that vague sinking feeling that the world is passing us by, not only passing us by, but passing us by and waving at us. Mocking us, like the queen with her fancy, fancy wave and her white gloves and her fancy queen hat and her private toilet seat. You give us an hour, we’ll give you a hot ladle of awkward and icky.

But first, a few notes. The web address for the show is mentalpod.com. That’s also the Twitter name to follow, and the Skype name if you want to leave me a me safe Skype to Skype. If you want to go phone to Skype, please wear a condom – if you want to go phone to Skype, the phone number is 818-575-7177. And that’s kind of a public voicemail that I have set up, so if you want to leave me a question or a comment or a fear, but that’s if it – if you don’t mind it being public. If you want it to get private, just send an email through the show. Check out the forum check out my blog, maybe I’ll bring my blog over and show it to you. How awkward would that be? Get each and every one of your addresses and one by one just show at your front door, “Hey, would you mind reading my blog? I’m feeling kind of needy today.” I have been that needy. I have been that needy, where I wouldn’t have ruled that out. Yeah. I may try to look like I’m all confident in my television gig, but I’m just a needy little 12 year old boy.

In fact, one of my first memories ever is a needy memory. I think I was like four years old, and I was sick, I had a cold or something, and one of my mom’s friends was coming by, I don’t know, to pick my mom up to gout and do something, and I was absolutely convinced that this woman was going to be bringing me presents because I was sick, and I was so disappointed when she showed up and she didn’t have presents. And I didn’t ask her, I didn’t say, ‘Why don’t you have presents for me? Don’t you know I’m sick? But that’s really what I wanted to scream out at her, and I probably should have done that to my dad, but I don’t know why I felt the need to share that. Oh, I know why, because it’s my fucking show.

And speaking of that, we do a fear-off sometimes on this show and I know a lot of you guys really like it. I enjoy it, I have a lot of fun doing it, but as you know, I’ve run out of fears. I’ve revealed 99% of my fears. The beauty of me being a nutjob is I will come up with more. But I had Lisa, my guest today, um, I had tweeted – let me back up – I had tweeted saying I was going to be interviewing Lisa would you guys tweet me your fears or email me your fears so that I can use them to compete in the fear-off with her. Turns out I just had her read all her fears to me and I didn’t interject any of yours so ha ha, you wasted your time tweeting to me. What I hope to do is give you a painful lesson in trust.

No, I – I felt like the show was running a little bit long and I guess what I’m doing is I’m apologizing in advance and I’m also letting you know that because we have listeners outside the United States, if you do want to bring me to justice, you’re probably going to have to go through the Haig, and that’s a big hassle because you’re going to have to fill out interactional paperwork and international paperwork is so much thicker than national paperwork.

Oh, I almost forgot, this Sunday, July 24 ,2011, I will be doing Adam Corolla’s live podcast taping at the Irvine Improv in Irvine California. It’s a matinee show, 5:30, so bring all the old people in your family and take your teeth out and have a great time. That podcast recoding is then going to air the very next day, Monday, the 25th on Adam Corolla's podcast, so apparently they have some editors hopped up on meth ready to slap that baby together.

Let’s kick things off with quote. Actually two quotes from Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth. The first one, he actually quotes another guy named Ram Dass, who – it sounds like somebody who should be spiritual, because his name’s kind of fucked up – Ram Dass. When you’ve got a name like Ram Dass, you gotta go sit on a cliff and overlook the valley and think about shit because you’re named Ram Dass. He’s probably some wonderful person that everybody workshops and here I am shitting on him, but it’s my show, fuck you. Ram Dass says, “If you think you are so enlightened go and spend a week with your parents.” I love that. Now I like him.

And the other quote is for parents and Eckhart Tolle says, “The more expectations you have of how your children’s life should unfold the more you are in your mind instead of being present to them. What, to you, is a mistake may be exactly what your children need to do or experience.”

[Show intro]

Paul:      I’m here with Lisa. I don’t even know where to begin, Lisa. Uh, formerly known as Lisa Kushell.

Lisa:       Yeah.

Paul:      My co-host from 2002 to 2005.

Lisa:       I think it was 2004, because I got let go right before – I mean right after we bought our house.

Paul:      Oh, okay.

Lisa:       Which was awesome

Paul:      That must have been fun. Lisa and I met – the first time we met actually was when you came in to audition for Dinner and a Movie, Annabelle had left the show and we were searching for a co-host and the moment I met you I was like, ‘This is the woman I want to do this show with.’ There was just something instant – I’ve told you this before, but there was just something instantly that I liked about you. I felt comfortable with you. And I think a lot of people feel that way about you.

Lisa:       Wow.

Paul:      My point is I feel differently today.

Lisa:       [Laughs]

Paul:      I feel distant, and I find you off-putting.

Lisa:       I understand.

Paul:      Thank you for listening.

Lisa:       [Laughing]

Paul:      You – besides my wife, there is no other woman that I share as much of the intimate details of my life with. You are my best female friend aside from my wife. That just – don’t take that as a compliment, it just means I need to get out more.

Lisa:       Right, totally.

Paul:      I don’t know why I’m deflecting all the earnestness.

Lisa:       Because it’s hard – it’s hard for you to just be honest and tell me you love me.

Paul:      It is – I do, I do, I love—but I tell you I love all the time

Lisa:       You tell me all the time.

Paul:      Yeah. That is is one of the things that I like about my relationship with you, is we are unafraid to be cheesy and affectionate and why should that even be called cheesy?

Lisa:       It’s not cheesy.

Paul:      Because that’s really how people should be, but I’m afraid that somebody listening to this is going to go, ‘Oh, that’s a bunch of Oprah horseshit. That guy’s a loser.’

Lisa:       Wow, really?

Paul:      Yeah.

Lisa:       Yeah. That’s a fear--

Paul:      --I have a very critical voice in my brain, as I think most people do.

Lisa:       I think yours is insanely critical.

Paul:      No.

Lisa:       But for me, yeah.

Paul:      We’re here to talk about you.

Lisa:       Yeah, well, okay.

Paul:      Little lady.

Lisa:       [Laughing] The only time I am uncomfortable when somebody tells me they love me is when I don’t love them back.

Paul:      Yeah.

Lisa:       So, you know, for me, with my friends and my family, I prefer to say it all the time, because—

Paul:      --can you think of an instance when somebody told you that they loved you and you couldn’t say it back?

Lisa:       Well, Russ can think of a time [laughs]

Paul:      Yeah?

Lisa:       My husband.

Paul:      Yeah.

Lisa:       I mean, it’s actually a really good example because—

Paul:      --wait, wait, wait, what do you mean by that?

Lisa:       When Russ and I had been dating a few months, I cared about him deeply and truly felt like this was the guy I was going to spend my life with.

Paul:      Yeah.

Lisa:       But I had been in so many long term relationships that ended poorly that when he told me he loved me I was not ready to say it back to him. And I said, ‘I am enjoying my time with you so much.’

Paul:      OH OH OH OHHHHHHH, OHHHHHHH!!!!

Lisa:       [Laughing] And to this day he says he fell in love with me first, but I don’t really think that’s true, I think I was just far more guarded and I didn’t want to – I was so terrified of saying it because I knew once it came out of my mouth, this was it forever.

Paul:      Yeah.

Lisa:       And I wasn’t ready for forever yet.

Paul:      Yeah.

Lisa:       I was four weeks later, but he will never let me live that down.

Paul:      That’s so awesome, and to me what is so necessary in a relationship is that willingness to be vulnerable, to put yourself out there.

Lisa:       Right.

Paul:      I don’t think you can have a great relationship with somebody if you’re not willing to do that. And he did that and it paid off.

Lisa:       Oh, completely.

Paul:      A lot of people do it and it doesn’t pay off.

Lisa:       No, but I was so in, I was so in from the beginning with him, but I just wasn’t ready to go there completely, but I think one thing—

Paul:      --that’s great that you didn’t say if it you didn’t mean it.

Lisa:       That’s what I was going to say, is I think one thing that – the one thing I want everybody to think about me I guess, not that that matters, the one thing that is the truest about me is I can’t lie. I cannot lie. I hate dishonestly. To me it’s not always a good thing to hear the truth about something, but I can take the pain that comes with the truth. I fear dishonesty. It terrifies me.

Paul:      Where do you think that comes from? Was there ever any dishonesty in your house growing up?

Lisa:       No. There was too much honesty in my house growing up to be honest with you. There was a lot of, you know, honesty to the point of, ‘Wow, you could have just given me a little punch on the arm and said good job, you didn’t have to—‘

Paul:      Was this your dad? Your mom?

Lisa:       Mostly my mom. But I think both of my parents were honest to a fault, which I’m grateful for in a lot of ways, but it’s also I think messed me up a little bit.

Paul:      Can you think of examples of that?

Lisa:       Like my mom would not say I was pretty until much later in life, but she would say things like – this is like such a [starts laughing] I think I’ve told you this before but she’d say, ‘You have beautiful eyebrows. They’re just like Brooke Shields’s eyebrows.’ And like as a kid you’re kind of like wait a minute, there’s something—

Paul:      --you’re qualifying.

Lisa:       Right. When I was 11 I decided I wanted to be an actress, and I went to theater camp and my mom and dad came to the first show I did, and my mom said, ‘You should be doing something else. You are really not good at this.’

Paul:      Really?

Lisa:       Yeah, but I wasn’t. I was terrible. I was terrified on stage, I hid behind people.

Paul:      But shouldn’t a kid be given a chance to get better at it?

Lisa:       Yes, yes, it should be, ‘Why were you hiding? You were so good but I couldn't see what you were doing.’ That would have been a more productive way to do it, but she literally just said, ‘You need to find something else to do.’ At 11. I was 11.

Paul:      Right.

Lisa:       Yeah. But when I was 11 my brother at 13 had already written a complete screenplay and knew exactly what he wanted to do and was already brilliant at it.

Paul:      so they were comparing you to that.

Lisa:       Yeah, I’m a slow learner.

Paul:      Yeah, that – and you have had a lot of success. You were the host of Clean House, you were on Mad TV. You have done commercials and voiceover work. You were on Seinfeld. What are some other things that people may know you from.

Lisa:       Dinner and a Movie.

Paul:      Dinner and a Movie, which we mentioned. Which by the way is not on your website bio, Flawless Mom, there’s no mention of Dinner and a Movie.

Lisa:       Oh, but I don’t have my bio on there do I?

Paul:      There’s an ‘About.’

Lisa:       Oh.

Paul:      And when I read that I was like is there a reason?

Lisa:       I’m ashamed.

Paul:      Yeah.

Lisa:       Can you hear my dog by the way? In the background?

Paul:      He’s attempting to blow himself.

Lisa:       Yeah. I don’t know why I would have omitted that, I’m very proud of Dinner and a Movie.

Paul:      Yeah.

Lisa:       That was one of the most fun jobs ever. I’ll add it if it will make you feel better.

Paul:      It might.

Lisa:       Okay, I will.

Paul:      Isn’t really the universe about making me feel better?

Lisa:       Yes. Always. When I pray at night I always end with, ‘And people help me to make Paul happier.’

Paul:      Yeah. Lisa and I had this great – we live a couple of blocks from each other and we had this awesome experience when we would go tape Dinner and a Movie. Our schedule for Dinner and a Movie is we get together every two months for four days and we shoot a half dozen episodes.

Lisa:       In Atlanta.

Paul:      In Atlanta.

Lisa:        So you’re stuck together.

Paul:      Yes. But we would ride to the airport together. One of the nice things about being in show business is they send a limo to pick you up, you get to fly first class, and I got to do this all with this person that I really like. And you and I – the car would come to pick us up, we would get in, and literally every single time you and I would look at each other and say, ‘We are the luckiest human beings on the planet. We get to get paid to talk about movies, eat food – have somebody bring food to you. We get to be the center of attention, which we’ve always wanted, and we get to hang out with people that we like. So of course you were immediately fired.

Lisa:       Exactly.

Paul:      No, two years in. But I don’t know why I brought that up, but it’s nice when you can be grateful about your life, it’s even better when you can have a friend to share it with who is equally grateful about it, because for much of my life I was not grateful for the stuff that I had, and there is a feeling – and I know there’s some listeners out there that can relate to this – this feeling when success comes your way but you can’t feel it. You feel like it’s on the other side of a Plexiglas window. Intellectually you can look at your life on paper and say, ‘I have all this stuff going on, why do I feel this gnawing emptiness inside me?’ And I got to a point in my life where I was just starting to learn how to be grateful, and that’s at the time that you came in and it just took it to another level. I guess that’s the point that I wanted to make, is that’s why you – I feel such a closeness to you is because I feel like you were a gift to me from the universe at a point in my life when I felt like there were no gifts

Lisa:       Wow, thank you.

Paul:      And now you’re a whore.

Lisa:       I was then too, Paul.

Paul:      So let’s talk about the whoring.

Lisa:       You really do feel the need to knock me down after you compliment me, is it because I’m so easy to –

Paul:      --it’s not about you, it’s about me afraid that I’m becoming Leo Buscalia, that’s what it’s about.

Lisa:       Got it.

Paul:      Let’s get back – we were talking about your family and the brutal honesty.

Lisa:       Yeah, and by the way, with the brutal honestly came insane support if they believed in anything you did, and very quickly my mom turned around and became a fan of me, because really really quick, I was 12 years old and I saw Whoopi Goldberg do her one-woman show on HBO when I was babysitting – who lets 12 year olds babysit – that’s a whole other story.

Paul:      Right.

Lisa:       I came home and I did her entire monologue about the abortion for my mom and dad and when I finished my mom was crying and my mom said, ‘Forget everything I’ve ever said, you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing.’

Paul:      Reall?

Lisa:       Yeah, because I figured out at the ripe old age of 12, that what I was good at and what I wanted to do was comedy, was make people laugh. Not serious acting or singing or dancing, which I am terrible at, but I figured out what my niche could be and it was like that changed everything.

Paul:      The bad part is that you’re uninteresting talking about anything other than abortions. That’s been the drawback.

Lisa:       Right, but I’ve managed to do it in so many different ways. My interpretative dance abortion show and my one-woman just monologue show bout abortions and then the movie I did.

Paul:      Are You There God? It’s Me, Abortion?

Lisa:       Exactly. And then when I did the sculptures, I thought that was cool, because it was just art, and you had come to look at the art and I wasn’t even there.

Paul:      So.

Lisa:       A lot of hangers.

Paul:      So Mom came around.

Lisa:       yeah, Mom came around, and my parents were very supportive and any show my brother and I were ever a part of my parents were there, literally every show. There were selling the concessions, they were pulling the curtains.

Paul:      Wow.

Lisa:       I’m not kidding. They didn’t furnish the biggest room in our house until we both graduated high school so we would have a rehearsal space. So they were so – my family is a family of extremes, and you know that I am a human of extremes. Everything is either the worst thing ever or the best thing ever, and that’s how I was raised.

Paul:      This is my impression of Lisa tasting something that she likes: ‘Oh. My. Are you kidding me? That That. Is. Awesome.’

Lisa:       [Laughing]

Paul:      I think that’s one of the reasons that I enjoy your friendship so much is growing up I had a family that was not necessarily always a great audience. A dad that kind of was just into his alcoholism at the end of the couch and you had to do something so spectacular to get his attention, and you react the way I always wanted my dad to react to stuff that I do.

Lisa:       Right.

Paul:      Whether it’s really or not.

Lisa:       But it’s never not real when I react. That’s the thing – you know I’ve also looked at you and gone, ‘Really?’ haven’t I?

Paul:      Oh, like, if I lay at joke out that’s horrible?

Lisa:       Right, yeah, so I don’t think I – I’m not a fake laugher, it just doesn’t happen.

Paul:      Yeah. So the family came round, they started supporting you.

Lisa:       Yeah, but still, always that underlying brutal honestly. If I took headshots my parents would look at the ones I picked and I mean without fail, ‘This is an awful picture of you, I don't know why you picked this one. Last night I cooked dinner for my brother and sister-in-law. And they ate and they had seconds and whatever and I said to my brother, ‘Did you like that dinner?’ And he goes, ‘Well, honestly, it wasn't my thing. It wasn’t terrible, but it just wasn’t my thing.’ That stung a little because I had them over and I made this special meal, and then I through, well, I would rather him say that to me. I know that when he says, ‘This is a great meal’ he means it, because he’s willing to be that honest. I don’t think a lot of people get that.

Paul:      The ability to be diplomatic, to be honest with diplomacy to me is always the goal. And it’s hard sometimes when you weren’t raised with people that did that to learn how to do that on your own, and to do it while somebody’s sitting there waiting for an answer, because a lot of times my brain just smokes and I just see a monkey playing a tambourine and shut down.

Lisa:       It’s hard on both sides. I think it’s hard to be that honest, I think it’s hard to hear that kind of honesty. But what's harder? That or hearing a year later that somebody said something about you or someone is walking on eggshells around you so they get tired of being around you. I just would prefer just spit it out and tell me.

Paul:      So one of the things that I asked you to do was jot down some highlights or lowlights, either one, from your life, little snapshots that give an insight into what made you the mess that you are looking – the mess across the table from me. No, you couldn’t be less of a mess.

Lisa:       What’s weird is when you say --- wouldn’t you say, I should say, that I’m a really – a pretty frickin’ happy person?

Paul:      Yeah.

Lisa:       And that’s the weird thing, is I genuinely see myself as a really happy person.

Paul:      Yeah, you’re one of the more positive people that I know, but there's also this—

Lisa:       --an underlying—

Paul:      --an underlying neuroses and I mean we’ll get into that, but – and you were one of these guests on the show that I hemmed and hawed about whether or not I should have you on because I knew you would be incredibly honest, but I didn't know whether or not you – crazy is not the right word, whether or not you have enough negative thoughts bouncing around in your brain for my listeners to be able to relate to or to go, ‘Wow, that’s so fucked up that’s entertaining.’

I think we get two people that listen to this show. We get people that get something out of this show because it makes them feel less alone, and I think we get people that just find it interesting. They’re not fucked up like I am and a lot of my guests are, but they just find the honesty compelling.

Lisa:       I think my fears and negative thoughts are those of a non-depressed person.

Paul:      You’ve never been on meds.

Lisa:       Never been on meds. Never truly been depressed. I’ve had some rough times.

Paul:      You don’t use drugs or alcohol to excess.

Lisa:       No.

Paul:      Hardly ever. I don't think I’ve ever seen you drunk.

Lisa:       I’ve been drunk a handful of times in my life. Never enjoy it. I do not like being out o control in any way. And so no I’ve never been on medication, I’ve never had a problem finding the positive side of things. I get that completely from my father.

Paul:      Yet you have this body image issue, which as we know is very rare in America with women.

Lisa:       Yeah, it’s so hard to find people with that problem.

Paul:      And it’s so deeply ingrained in you. I went to your website, you have a website, aflawlessmom.com. By the way, which is tongue-in-cheek.

Lisa:       Yes. Thank you.

Paul:      Don’t think that Lisa’s being arrogant. You can follow Lisa on Twitter at flawlessmom – is it flawless space?

Lisa:       It’s flawless underscore mom.

Paul:      Do you get people that think that you’re saying, ‘I’m flawless’?

Lisa:       I think so. I think there are people who think that I think that, and then I just think well, then they don’t get it and I don't really care. But I do find myself saying, ‘I’m being sarcastic by the way, I don’t think I’m a flawless mom, it’s quite the opposite.’

Paul:      Right. But you have this website flawlessmom.com, and you have a blog there and you were writing about summer is coming up.

Lisa:       Right. It’s a shame how much I think about how much I hate my body. I don't know what bothers me more, how much I hate my body or how angry I am at myself for hating myself so much.

Paul:      Isn’t that the beauty of the human mind is that you can actually go to two levels of hatred. You hate something about yourself and then hate you for hating it. The mind can actually multi-task in its trying to take you down.

Lisa:       In the most pathetic way.

Paul:      When are you first memories of being uncomfortable with your body?

Lisa:       When I was 11, 10 or 11.

Paul:      Had puberty started yet, or was this before puberty?

Lisa:       Puberty started when I was 12.

Paul:      Okay.

Lisa:       And before then I just never felt – I just never felt—

Paul:      --were other girls developing and you were comparing yourself to them? Where do you think it came from, those first thoughts?

Lisa:       I think it partly came from my parents, because whether they realized it or not, they are very – I come from a long line of vanity, and my parents—

Paul:      --and it sounds like also vocally critical.

Lisa:       Yes. No one’s ever told me I’m fat or said anything along those lines, but clearly there was an air of everybody wanting to maintain a specific weight in my house. And I don’t think it was even that out on the table, Paul, I really kind of thing it was just this underlying truth that I probably was just subconsciously taking in, because I didn’t know until years later that like my parents really had – like they had made a deal with each other when they got married that they would never gain more than ten pounds. And they say that they did that for each other, because they loved each other and they wanted to respect each other, and there’s outing great about that, but I’ve never heard of people doing that. Of making that kind of a vow to each other

Paul:      Was it in their wedding vows, ‘Until death do us part or one of you begins to look pudgy’?

Lisa:       [Laughing] Exactly.

Paul:      ‘Until you get a turkey neck, then I’m out the door’?

Lisa:       It’s so funny, I’m making my parents sound awful, they were so stupidly in love with each other and had such a good marriage until--

Paul:      --yeah, your father passed away—

Lisa:       -- a year ago.

Paul:      A year ago. When is the – have we passed the anniversary?

Lisa:       Yeah, the anniversary was five days ago.

Paul:      Five days ago, I’m sorry I didn’t call you.

Lisa:       That’s all right, but thank you. So I think that was there even if it wasn’t spoken, it was just sort of there. And then when I was in school -- I’ve always felt like a geek and an outcast and just not pretty and weird, and I think that just naturally became a hatred of my body, because I guess as a girl that’s where you go with it, and then I—

Paul:      --did kids say stuff to you growing up, was anybody like—

Lisa:       --no--

Paul:      --because I saw pictures, and you were, would gangly be the right word?

Lisa:       I was skinny.

Paul:      Yeah.

Lisa:       I mean, until I was about 11 I had a pot belly and a swayback, that’s just the way I was built, but I was skinny. I’ve never not been skinny until recently.

Paul:      But you had a fat issue even though you were skinny.

Lisa:       Yeah. I don’t know. This is when I really remember it fully manifesting itself, in Junior High I was probably five four and a half or five five and probably 95 pounds, so I would say I was a stick. I wore – dead of summer – leggings, boots, and frickin’ long Bill Cosby sweaters to cover up my entire body, and I look back and I can’t even figure out what the fuck I was thinking. I cannot figure it out. I was a stick. But then that’s been my whole life, so then I enter my late teens and—

Paul:      --how did you break into Bill Cosby’s house? That’s what I’d like to know.

Lisa:       [Laughs] I actually went to a garage sale, it was totally kosher, they were for sale.

Paul:      That was so not interrupting you for. Keep going.

Lisa:       That made me laugh. This is going to sound totally convoluted, but I’m just going to say it and see if it makes any sense to anyone but me. I developed pretty early, so I had boobs and I was thin. And I started being told by a lot of men that I had a great body. Older guys.

Paul:      This is at 12? 13?

Lisa:       Started at 12.

Paul:      So you went from not even in puberty at 11 to 12. Boom.

Lisa:       Boobs, yeah, everything.

Paul:      That would be a lot on any person’s plate.

Lisa:       But it wasn’t like I was one of those girls that gained a bunch of weight and got huge boobs or anything, I just got a normal B cup.

Paul:      Oh, okay, I thought you were saying that all of a sudden you were Jayne Mansfield overnight.

Lisa:       Not at all, but so I was getting approached by a lot of guys, and people – it was all positive reinforcement, ‘You’ve got an amazing body, you’re—‘

Paul:      --are these peers or are these older guys?

Lisa:       Some peers, but a lot of older guys. Mostly older guys.

Paul:      Like how much older, 14, 15, 16?

Lisa:       Probably more like late teens, early twenties.

Paul:      That’s really creepy.

Lisa:       Nothing inappropriate happened, that’s what’s so weird.

Paul:      How is that not inappropriate? They’re telling a 12 year old girl she’s got a great body.

Lisa:       I don’t think anybody thought I was 12. When I tell you I have not been carded since I was 17 years old, I never looked my age. I’m telling you in all honestly. And I’m not saying people thought I was 20, but they probably thought I was 16 or 17, I really did give an appearance of being much older.

Paul:      To me even a 20 year old telling a 16 year old she’s got an amazing body is inappropriate. And I’m not judging, because I probably did stuff way worse than that when I was in my twenties. That’s another show entirely.

Lisa:       Maybe it was inappropriate and maybe that’s why it fucked with me too, I don’t know, because it was pretty constant. And I think what happened was I started thinking I was putting something out that wasn’t real and that people would find me out.

Paul:      Oh.

Lisa:       Does that make sense?

Paul:      You’re like, ‘They don’t know the flaw, they’ve never seen me naked, they don’t know the real flaws.’

Lisa:       Exactly. They don’t really get what’s going on.

Paul:      ‘If they only knew.’

Lisa:       Yes. And so that put me even deeper into this weirdness and it’s so fucked up because I never appreciated even – so then I get older and then it’s my peers being very kind to me and I never could just say thank you, and I could never feel pretty, never for a fucking minute could I take it in. People that I really respected that I was in shows with would say, ‘Listen, I mean no disrespect but you’ve got an insane body and I probably shouldn’t say that to you because we’re changing back here together and I didn’t mean anything weird.’ That’s something that a 19, 20 year old woman should go, ‘Fuck, that’s awesome.’ I would literally—

Paul:      --but I think if you don’t feel – if you’re not okay with yourself psychically, or I don’t know if that’s the right word, mentally and emotionally, am I just putting words in your mouth here, or do you think to yourself, ‘That person just doesn’t know’?

Lisa:       Oh, no, that’s what I would think. I felt like I was lying to everyone.

Paul:      What is that about? Why do we – what? How can you get over that?

Lisa:       See, this is what kills me, because I look back now and I think I wasted so much time not being happy with myself. Not like I would have lived my life completely differently, but I would have maybe dressed a little less conservatively, or not been worried about being in a bathing suit, or allowed myself to feel good about myself for a minute, because feeling that way about yourself does stop you from doing creating things.

Paul:      Right.

Lisa:       And I hated myself, and so yeah, I feel like I wasted all this time, and then I look – so now I’m almost 40 and I look at me at 30 and think, ‘Fuck, why didn’t I appreciate that?’

Paul:      Right.

Lisa:       Because it doesn’t get better it gets worse.

Paul:      Right. So now the question is can you appreciate yourself at 40 – can you look at yourself with the eyes of a 50 year old and appreciate yourself at 40?

Lisa:       That’s what I try to do, and I also try – I think being a mom has made me a little better at going, ‘So you have a little cellulite, who gives a shit, get in the fucking pool, swim with your kid, that’s what life’s about, it’s not about’ –

Paul:      Which you do, you do get in the pool.

Lisa:       Which I do.

Paul:      In your blog you talk about just sucking it up and what are the things that you think that people are going to think or say when you—

Lisa:       --so now the psychosis gets worse, because now I worry about all the people who for my whole life have been saying I have such a good boy now seeing me in a bathing suit and going, ‘Oh, I guess she didn’t have such a good body.’ It’s so stupid. It’s all so stupid. And listen, I’m going to say this too, because this is actually a hard thing for me to say. First of all, I married a man who things I’m the hottest woman alive and I feel bad for him because he’s constantly complimenting me and he – when I shit on myself he goes, ‘Can you please not talk about my wife that way?’

Paul:      [Laughs]

Lisa:       Which is so sweet.

Paul:      That is so sweet.

Lisa:       It’s so lovely. But like he’ll see me at my most disgusting and say, ‘You are so hot right now.’ And instead of saying, ‘Aw, thank you.’ I go, ‘You just say that because you love me, if you really looked at me, you would see.’ And so but what I was going to say is so like in honor of him I will look at myself naked sometimes and I’ll just kind of stand there and go, ‘Hey, that’s actually not bad. I actually look pretty good. And I’m almost 40. This is okay.’ But I can only live in that happy space for about a minute before some horrible thought comes into my head.

Paul:      I know it’s been done to death by people, but is it the media’s portrayal of women, are there places in Western society where people are happy with how they look no matter?

Lisa:       I think so. Look, I’ll be very honest with you. Yes, I think it’s media. Every time I get a fucking Victoria’s Secret catalog, and then I go to Victoria’s Secret to try on something I think I might look good on me and it looks like shit on me, I think, ‘Well, duh, of course, they’re 80 pounds and they have fake boobs and no real human looks like that.’

Paul:      And they’re being airbrushed.

Lisa:       And they’re being airbrushed, exactly. So all of that I think fucks with us. I think just by nature of the fact of where we live and the business we’re in, it’s terrible.

Paul:      You mean this business that we call show?

Lisa:       This business that we call show. I will start feeling pretty okay about myself when I have those periods of not working, I’m Garrett’s mom, I’m cooking meals, I’m getting shit done, we’re going to the mall, we’re on play dates, I’m having a good time and I’m not going to any fittings and no one’s doing my hair and makeup and I’ll start going, ‘You know what? I’m okay. I don’t fucking care if I’ve gained five pounds. Nobody loves me any less.’ And I genuinely will start really feeling okay, and then I’ll get work and it all goes to shit. And I think, ‘Oh fuck, I think I’ve gone up a size and I’m going to go into this fitting and this person’s going to hate me because she’s going to have to shop for things that she’d rather not shop for because I’m not a size 2’ and it all goes haywire.

Paul:      And it isn’t the truth. The truth is she’s sitting there thinking, ‘I’ve gained weight. Why didn’t I go to the gym today.’

Lisa:       Right.

Paul:      Everybody’s so wrapped up in their own bullshit. We think that everybody’s thinking about us, and maybe that’s the real curse of narcissism. Because I hate to say it but that is – your low self-esteem about your body -- again, I’m not a psychiatrist, I’m not a psychologist, I’m just a jackass that tells dick jokes, but that seems to me to be narcissism.

Lisa:       It is.

Paul:      Because I think there’s the narcissism where you think you’re awesome, the grandiosity side of narcissism, and then I think there’s the low self-esteem, because they both are the double-edged sword of just being obsessed with self.

Lisa:       You’re so right. And it’s still about attention.

Paul:      It still is about attention, so the palkce – the solution for me is to not think more about self, but to get out of yourself and connect to other people and take the emphasis off of your shelf.

Lisa:       Well, isn’t it so funny that when I’m feeling good about myself it’s because I’m more entrenched in being a mom and a wife and a friend. Those are the times when I feel great about myself, but when the focus is going to be on me because I’m going to be on camera, that’s when I feel like shit about myself.

Paul:      So maybe it’s not focusing on your body, but focusing on what your body interacts with. [Laughs]

Lisa:       Yeah, absolutely.

Paul:      Other people.

Lisa:       Or just focusing on the work. If I got a job I got a job, so clearly I’m not being judged for my body, so go do the work and do it well and don’t hate yourself.

Paul:      Yes, and maybe try to focus on the craft of the work and not the result of it. I find I’m at my most miserable hewn I’m obsessed about what the result of something – whether I’m playing in a hockey game and I’m worried about whether or not the team is going to lose, or if I’m doing a show and I’m wondering is this going to lead to something else. If I can just concentrate on the joke or the puck that I’m handling or the woodworking that I’m doing, or the person that I’m interviewing, the quality just seems to go up, but when I obsess about how it’s going to be received – and that’s the narcissism. The fear that I’m not going to be enough.

Lisa:       You know what my new mantra’s going to be every time I feel bad about myself? Handle the puck. Just handle the puck. That’s what I’m going to start thinking.

Paul:      [Laughs]

Lisa:       Can I tell you a story I just thought of, because you asked me highlights and I did not write this down and I just thought of it, because this should have been the moment I changed I was 19 or 20, I was at a part at my then-boyfriend’s house, probably at one of the skinniest times of my life. Somebody complimented me in the kitchen and I went, ‘Ugh, I’m so fat right now.’ Which, by the way, I used to do all the time.

Paul:      And is insulting to them, because you’re telling them—

Lisa:       --‘you’re stupid.’

Paul:      ‘You’re dumb, you’re stupid.’

Lisa:       Absolutey.

Paul:      It’s so fucking rude.

Lisa:       Absolutely. So I go, ‘Ugh, I’m so fat right now’ and everybody’s like, ‘Oh, you’re not, blah blah blah.’ I leave, the kitchen window’s open, I’m out front with my boyfriend and I hear the girl say, ‘Lisa is such a stupid fucking bitch. We get it, you think you’re fat. Everybody knows she’s skinny, she knows she’s skinny, its’ such a fucking attention-getter, she needs to stop.’

Paul:      Wow.

Lisa:       And I looked at my boyfriend and I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ And he ran in and did this big rescuing Lisa angry, ‘We heard everything you said’ and I just went, ‘Oh my God, she’s totally fucking right.’

Paul:      Yeah.

Lisa:       ‘She’s so right.’ Didn’t change anything though, that moment should have been like the moment that changed y life. It wasn’t. I wasn’t ready for the lesson.

Paul:      And yet that makes sense to me because how do you --- self is the most alluring, shiny jewel – it seems counter-intuitive. I’m having problems with myself, how do I not concentrate more on myself to fix this ,but that’s not – it’s not.

Lisa:       Right, you’re so right.

Paul:      And there’s a time to think about self. When you’re in therapy, when you’re doing intensive work on yourself, there’s times for that, but it’s such a – it’s such just a shiny inviting dead end, and we have a survey on the website and thankfully I’ve had so many people contribute time to taking it, and you can look at the results and we’ve had about 800 people take the survey, and the think that people most consistently – people that are really unhappy with their lives, one of the things that they most consistently engage in is self-obsession.

Lisa:       Mmhmm.

Paul:      Because there’s a list of activities that I list that you engage in that you wish you didn’t engage in so much, but the one that far and away the most that people engage in is procrastination and the most common thought that they have towards themselves is the feeling that they’re not doing enough.

Lisa:       Oh wow, that’s so funny.

Paul:      IS that something?

Lisa:       That’s huge for me, yeah.

Paul:      And I think that's also something that our culture pounds into our head is – and I don’t think it’s intentional, but we kind of put these people up on a pedestal who are gazillionaires and sleep three hours a night and have these empires but what we never see really is what they feel inside, how their children feel towards them. I’ve always wished that there was – in Los Angeles, where you see an incredible amount of wealth, I’ve always wished that you had no control over what color your front door is, and it had to be the color of what your soul is, so you could see a $15 million dollar house and you see a black front door and you’d you’d go, ‘Oh, okay, I don’t feel bad about myself.’

Lisa:       Right.

Paul:      And I’m not saying that the accumulation of money is a bad thing, but I think if it’s to the detriment—

Lisa:       --if it’s at the expense of your family or your life.

Paul:      Yeah, or how you feel about yourself, or if it’s how you define yourself. Because I’ve had four times as much money as I have right now, and I thought about putting a gun in my mouth every day, so obviously, for me, money isn’t the answer. I’d love to have it, I think about having more of it almost every day, but I have to remind myself, ‘No, you had more than you needed before and you weren’t a happy person.’ And I have more than I need right now, but my brain tells me every day, ‘Until you get X amount of dollars in the bank you’re fucked. You are getting older and nobody is interested and blah blah blah me me me and the answer is never going to come from me sitting thinking about me.

Lisa:       But all of that stuff, like I equate money to fame and to how you look, it’s all the same thing. It’s kind of all about appearances and blockading yourself in a way or covering things up. Does that make sense?

Paul:      Do you think it’s the anticipation of how people are going to perceive us, and if we can present a good enough package than we’re going to be okay?

Lisa:       Yeah, or at least you’ll feel okay.

Paul:      For so much of my life, and I still can get into this, I think it’s where grandiosity comes from, is this belief that for me to be okay, to be accepted by people and be loved and taken care of you need to be impressed by me. And for so much of my life I went that route, trying to impress people, and if anything I reeked of desperation and patheticness and it pushed people away from me, but until I started being vulnerable and saying, ‘I’m scared, I’m confused, I feel alone’ – all these feelings that other people have, that has brought more people to me and brought more of the love that I wanted than anything – any – I used to think, ‘If I can get a really cool looking guitar collection and hang it up and that’s the first thing people see when they walk into my house they’ll know that I’m the shit and they should want to be friends’ – how fucked is that?

Lisa:       But that’s the thing, is good people are attracted to authenticism, and they don’t give a shit what your house looks like when they walk into it and they don’t care what your collections are.

Paul:      Some people do, and those people I think aren’t worth—

Lisa:       --that’s why I said good people.

Paul:      Oh, I’m sorry, you did.

Lisa:       Maybe you could become a better listener. [Laughs] but I think we spend so much time trying to impress the people who don’t fucking mean anything, who cannot bring anything into our lives, and that’s where the breakdown happens. Because if you really look, if you really look at the best people in your life, I don’t care if they’re incredibly wealthy or they have very little they’re not living to prove anything to you.

Paul:      Yes. And the people – and it’s not that those people don’t mean anything, they’re just not in a position to be – I don't know if the word enlightened is right, it sounds a little too new agey, they’re just on a wavelength that isn’t going to get it right now.

Lisa:       I think we live in a place where it's very hard to get it. I really do. And you know, in a lot of ways it’s become easier for me because I’m a mom and because my priorities truly have shifted, I think I’m the closest to being exactly who I am now than I ever have been. But at the same time, there’s this little – it’s a thing that sorts of shades everything for me, where like you’ll be at an event where there’s a bunch of kids and parents and people start talking bout private school, and then you instantly feel like, ‘Oh God, I’ve got to get Garrett into the best private school or who knows that will happen to him.’ And that is coming from the same place as the weight issues sand money issues and everything, it’s all – it’s so hard to whittle your thoughts down to just their purest form and what’s really best for me at this moment.

Paul:      To me the most painful feeling in the pit of my stomach, and it happens quite frequently, is the feeling that everybody else is passing me by and I’ve fucked up and I’ve made all the wrong choices and I’ve blown it and everybody else gets it, and they’re on their way to happiness and they’ve got it better and that’s a lie. It’s the biggest lie. Everybody is sitting thinking the same thing and making themselves miserable. We’re all so fucking connected and we can’t – we can't see it.

Lisa:       Absolutely.

Paul:      And one of the most gratifying things about doing his podcast is getting the emails from people. Please keep sending them because they make me feel so good. Selfishly, keep sending me the emails if you’re connecting to this podcast and it’s helping you feel less fucked up and less alone, I always say when I read an email and somebody tells me, ‘Thank you for your podcast’ I feel less crazy, I feel less alone. I usually send them an email back and say, ‘Thank you for saying that because now I feel less fucked up and I feel less alone.’ It’s the most satisfying feelings that I’ve ever had in my life. And it began with me saying, ‘I don’t know how to do this, and I need help.’ Who would have ever imagined that the –

Lisa         Absolutely.

Paul:      The key to unlocking the life I always wanted starts with saying, ‘I don’t know, and I need help.’

Lisa:       That is amazing, but the truth is if you try to do everything yourself and fix everything yourself, you’re just never ever well. Going to therapy was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

Paul:      Let’s talk about that for a little bit.

Lisa:       No.

[Laughter]

Lisa:       I went way early on when Russ and I first moved in together because I had some serious jealousy issues that had to be worked on so I went back—

Paul:      --really? I never knew you were jealous.

Lisa:       Oh my God. I was a disaster.

Paul:      Really?

Lisa:       Oh, so bad. So bad. Like, didn’t trust anything that Russ did.

Paul:      Had you had boyfriends cheat on you before?

Lisa:       No, I had been approached by more married men than I can count.

Paul:      Oh, so your image of men was that they’re—

Lisa:       --cheaters. That everybody cheats.

Paul:      And a lot are.

Lisa:       Oh yeah. And my feeling was everybody does. Just everybody does, men are fucking assholes and they all cheat and I don’t care how much you love me you are going to cheat on me.

Paul:      Right.

Lisa:       I had never been cheated on, but I had been approached to be the cheator – cheatee? – many many times. Never accepted by the way, but yeah, so I just had this horrible—

Paul:      --plus you throw in how you feel about your body you think, ‘Well, once he sees me me nude he’s going to want better if he’s got any sense in his head.’

Lisa:       Absolutely.

Paul:      That just seems like a natural progression.

Lisa:       Yes, oh yeah, I never felt like I was good enough for him, I still don’t. So yeah, so I dealt with those and really actually– the one thing I will say about me and therapy is I approach it like I’m going for a degree. You give me an assignment, I’m going to do it, and I really do feel like therapy for me – and I’ve been lucky enough to have an amazing therapist, but I feel like I fixed things, I changed things. So anyway, then years go by, and I had Garrett and my father was sick and all this stuff was happening, and I was in the worst spiral of anxiety that I had ever been in, just crazy behaviors.

Paul:      Like what?

Lisa:       Oh my God, like constant, horrifying thoughts. Terrifying thoughts of horrible things happening to Russ or Garrett or me or my family or you know, self-hatred and ‘I’m never going to work again but I never want to work again I just want to be at home but if I don’t work I’ll be invisible and everyone’ – you know, just—

Paul:      Like your mind turning on itself.

Lisa:       It was crazy. And yet part of me was having the happiest time of my life because I was a new mom and all that, but then my dad was dying and – so luckily I went to therapy about seven months before my dad passed away and really got a handle on things. And like praying obsessively which is something I’ve done my whole life whenever I’m in a bad spot, I start praying to the point where I’m praying more than I’m not praying during the day, which is not what prayer is about.

Paul:      Right.

Lisa:       You know, it’s—

Paul:      --I think especially if you’re praying for outcomes of certain things.

Lisa:       Oh no, it was more avoiding certain things, ‘Please God, don’t let all of these horrible things happen that I think are going to happen every five seconds.’

Paul:      Right. Which is praying for an outcome.

Lisa:       Oh yeah, I guess you’re right, that is. So yeah, so I went to therapy and was able to completely eliminate those behaviors, which was shocking to me, because I didn’t think it was possible. And then she really kind of helped me get strong and when my dad passed away, which was the most devastating thing that has ever happened to me, it was horrifying but I dealt with it so much better than I would have if I hadn’t already been in therapy. And I was able to sort of mourn and be devastated but still be there with Garrett and be truly happy, not fake being happy. So it was really great for me.

Paul:      It sounds cheesy, but it was the best of times and it was the worst of times in your life.

Lisa:       So true.

Paul:      It was an extreme. It was like the valley got as low as it can get and the mountain got as high as it could get.

Lisa:       That’s completely true.

Paul:      Yeah.

Lisa:       You know, there was no good thing that happened directly related to my father passing away. There just wasn’t. What I will say is my father was such a positive human being, and so true to himself and his life. I mean, talk about a man who was never really monetarily successful because he wanted to be at home with his family for dinner every night, like that is the core of who my father was and I don’t see a lot of that in society. I never have. I don’t think it’s a very common thing. My dad was like the epitome of not wasting a second of his life on anything that didn’t matter. And I mean, that’s the truth. So I will say -- forgive me for crying.

Paul:      I turned it off once you started crying.

Lisa:       [Laughs] That’s good, because nobody wants to hear this. Because my fucking body image shit was so interesting.

Paul:      Well, this show isn’t for weaklings, Lisa.

Lisa:       [Laughs] But—

Paul:      --and your dad told you all the time that he loved you.

Lisa:       Oh, not only told me all the time, Paul, but like showed me in ways that I cannot even count. We spoke every single day. He could put a positive spin on anything, anything. He knew when to shut up, you know, when I needed to just not hear anything. He knew when just to listen. He knew just what to say. And he loved his family with every ounce of his being. And his friends.

Paul:      Yes. And I have to say sometimes he could also be an asshole. He could be really abrupt.

Lisa:       Yes.

Paul:      And really rude.

Lisa:       Yeah.

Paul:      And really drive you nuts.

Lisa:       Yeah, he could be very very very rude.

Paul:      He was a human being.

Lisa:       Yes.

Paul:      He had -- yes, um—

Lisa:       --but here’s the thing about my dad.

Paul:      Yes.

Lisa:       Never rude to me.

Paul:      Yeah.

Lisa:       Never rude to my mom. I mean, believe me, they had huge fights.

Paul:      Right.

Lisa:       But I mean, my dad really could not give a shit about anyone that wasn’t in his immediate life. For better or worse.

Paul:      Get back to talk about the—

Lisa:       --get back to crying, Lisa.

Paul:      When you talked about the fact that your dad could have had a bigger career but he chose not to because he wanted to spend time with your family, that to me is a fucking hero, and those are the people that should be on the covers of magazines.

Lisa:       I agree.

Paul:      but there’s nothing inherently dramatic about it.

Lisa:       Right.

Paul:      It’s, you know, on the –

Lisa:       --and the only people that are affected by it are the people that that person loves.

Paul:      Yes. These people that build empires but never get to know their kids, it kills me, it makes me so angry, because I know a lot of these kids that are so fucked up because—

Lisa:       --oh yeah, desperate for love and attention.

Paul:      Desperate for love and attention. I’ve never seen anybody in therapy because their parents didn’t have more money.

Lisa:       Right. Absolutely.

Paul:      And I’m not saying people didn’t suffer because their parents didn’t have more money, but it doesn’t have that lingering, fucked-up affect that – that emptiness that can really almost destroy your life.

Lisa:       Absolutely.

Paul:      Or certainly make it difficult for you to ever be at peace with yourself.

Lisa:       Yeah.

Paul:      Because your message – your core message from you to as a child is ‘you aren’t as important as money.’

Lisa:       Right.

Paul:      ‘What is important is us having a bigger house for you to be lonely in.’

Lisa:       Right. [Laughs]. Exactly. And my dad was the opposite of all of that. Always. I never didn’t feel safe when he was around. Everything was better for me if my dad was there, period. And so the thing about my dad, and I know you heard me say this at the funeral is never didn’t say I love you, never left anything unsaid. He had zero regrets when he died. Two minutes after the doctor told him he was dying, my mom and I were there, he was laughing with my mom because he didn’t want to miss a second of being in love with my mom.

Paul:      Wow. WOW.

Lisa:       So the one thing I will say that I have always sort of taken with me because of my parents, but now it’s to a level that is huge is you never know when you’re going to die or when somebody that you love is going to die, and you have got to fucking love them with all of who you are and be the best friend and the best daughter and the best parent and wife or husband that you can be.

Paul:      Yes.

Lisa:       At every moment. And I do come back to that every day, at some point I remember that.

Paul:      And I’d like to tag that with you can’t let people love you – fully, truly love you if you’re not vulnerable with them. If you don’t let them know that you’re frightened or you’re hurting or you feel alone or you’re scared or you don’t know what to do. That is the door to open that allows real love, real three-dimensional love to take place.

Lisa:       Right.

Paul:      But it’s a leap of faith that you’re not going to get hurt and sometimes you will get hurt.

Lisa:       Yes.

Paul:      Because you will open up and be vulnerable to somebody who is not – doesn’t have the tools to do that, and it will hurt your feelings, but it is not the end of the world, keep going, keep searching, you will find somebody else who is on that same wavelength, and you will increase the quality of their lives. And since I started doing that, the quality of my life has exponentiated, and I wish I would have had a father like you had who could have done that, who could have taken an interest in me and made me feel like I mattered, made me feel like I was special. I didn’t and it didn’t ruin my life, it just delayed it for forty years until I could get it from people that did have the tools. That weren’t so broken that they were ready to give that. So that love is there in your life, you just have to search for it. Don’t sit in your La-Z-Boy waiting for people to come and ask you about yourself and love you, it’s a two-way street. You’ve got to pick up the phone, you’ve got to get out there, you’ve got to go to a coffee shop and shake people’s hands and introduce yourself, some of the best friends – best friends might be pushing it, but some of the coolest relationships I’ve had in my life, have come from me complimenting somebody – people in line in a coffee shop.

Lisa:       Oh, right.

Paul:      Or taking the – putting my newspaper down long enough to hear somebody interrupt it and comment on my t-shirt, and all of a sudden I’m going to see that person perform in a nightclub, or—

Lisa:       --it’s funny that you say that, because I think my favorite days, or my best days are the ones where I connect with strangers, with people – because I spent a lot of time – and I think you do too, or at least you used to, hating people—

Paul:      --mmhmmm--

Lisa:       --just hating people.

Paul:      Yes.

Lisa:       And actually saying, ‘I fucking hate people.’

Paul:      Yeah, ‘Because I’m not getting what I want and I blame you for not bringing it to me.’

Lisa:       Absolutely. And some of my favorite days are literally – and they’ll start with somebody holding the door open for you, and you going, ‘Thanks’ and them going ‘You’re welcome.’ And then you go and order a cup of coffee, and they’re like, ‘How is your day going?’ And you’re like, ‘It’s going pretty well, how is your day going?’

Paul:      Yes.

Lisa:       And then there’s this energy that happens.

Paul:      Yes.

Lisa:       Those are my favorite days.

Paul:      Yes. It’s so not hard to do that, but we have to get out of the obsession with self.

Lisa:       Yes.

Paul:      To being that.

Lisa:       Right.

Paul:      There is this woman named Sariyu.

Lisa:       That’s a real name?

Paul:      Real name. She was in front of me at line in my favorite coffee place, Peet’s Coffee, and I was just having this day where I was feeling kind of disconnected and I’m behind her in line, and she is – I forget what – I think she might be Sri Lankan. And I’m standing behind her, she had like a tank top on, and I was thinking to myself, ‘She has the most gorgeous color skin.’ It’s like caramel.

Lisa:       Uh-huh.

Paul:      Just beautiful. And soft and I thought, ‘I should tell her that she has beautiful skin.’ And then my next thought was, well—

Lisa:       --that might be creepy.

Paul:      That might be creepy. So I thought, ‘Well, why don’t you preface it by saying, listen, I’m married, I’m not trying to pick you up, I just thought you should know that another human being thinks that you have beautiful skin.’

Lisa:       Right.

Paul:      So I said it to her like that.

Lisa:       Wow.

Paul:      And she paused, and she exhaled and she said, ‘Thank you so much. I have been having the worst day.’

Lisa:       Wow.

Paul:      ‘And you just made my day.’ And now when we bump into each other at Peet’s coffee, we hug each other, ‘How are you?’ And this energy that just started with that little moment comes back and it kind of fills my heart and now – I saw her on a commercial, she’s doing a telephone commercial and I turned to my wife and I said, ‘There’s a woman I met at Peet’s. I told her I thought she had nice skin and now we’re friends.’ And I just feel connected, but if I don’t—

Lisa:       --that’s amazing.

Paul:      If I don’t get out of myself by saying something nice to somebody, in a non-creepy way.

Lisa:       Right.

Paul:      Because it could have totally, if I’d just gone, ‘Hey, sweet skin, caramel lady’ all of a sudden I’ve got hot coffee on my shirt and I’m sitting feeling sorry for myself. But I took that risk of being rejected by making that gesture.

Lisa:       For me, you know, I grew up hating women, just hating women, which was a byproduct of me hating myself. So a hot woman would walk into a room and I would go [whispers: ‘Fucking bitch’] and literally think that. That woman’s a bitch for being more attractive than me. So in the last ten years that has turned into, ‘She’s fucking beautiful. I’m going to go tell her.’

Paul:      Oh, that’s awesome.

Lisa:       Paul, that has changed everything for me. Everything. If I see a gorgeous woman walking down the street and she gets close enough to me that I can talk to her, I’ll go, ‘You are so fucking beautiful’ and that never gets a bad reaction coming from a woman, and it feels so good. And so because of that over the last ten years I have felt like I’m part of a sisterhood of women – sounds corny, I know – but instead of spending time hating women for being better than me, I now compliment women who I think have something special and that instantly makes me feel like a better person, a better woman. It’s the greatest feeling. And you know Twitter, as odd as it is, has made me love women even more, because I’m just interacting with them. I know what they look like for a little picture or whatever, but I don’t care if they’re 300 pounds, if they’re 90 pounds, if their hair is blond or brunette or whatever they are, they’re funny, they’re smart, they’re fucking fantastic and ten years ago I would not have been able to appreciate women on that level at all.

Paul:      Yeah, wow, that’s beautiful.

Lisa:       It’s pretty wild.

Paul:      Is there any other moment – I mean, this feels like a natural place to wrap up.

Lisa:       Sure.

Paul:      Because it, uh….

Lisa:       Because I bored you to death.

Paul:      No, you – it just confirms why I love you and why I consider you one of my best friends in the world. I recognized that in you even before I was able to recognize it – I really think there’s like a wavelength frequency that people have and – and it wasn’t a sexual thing when I – although I certainly thought you were lovely and attractive.

Lisa:       Well, of course.

Paul:      But there was just a—

Lisa:       --we both instantly felt it.

Paul:      Yeah.

Lisa:       I came home and said to Russ, ‘I feel like Paul and I have been friends forever.’

Paul:      Really?

Lisa:       Oh God, like, I connected with you immediately.

Paul:      Yeah.

Lisa:       Well, I came home and I said, ‘I have to get that job. I have to have that job. I’m supposed to have that job and I’m supposed to work with Paul.’

Paul:      Really?

Lisa:       Oh yeah. There was no question.

Paul:      I’m so glad you’re in my life and—

Lisa:       --likewise mister.

Paul:      And I’m so glad you’re my friend. And I tell you I love you all the time, but I’m going to tell you again, Goddammit I love you.

Lisa:       [Laughs] Love you too Paul.

Paul:      And thank you for opening up and I’m sure I’ll probably think of some questions that I wanted to ask you. I was going to do a fear-off today, but did you write any fears down?

Lisa:       No, only these.

Paul:      What are they?

Lisa:       Like a hundred of them.

Paul:      Oh, well, let’s do some fears.

Lisa:       No, we don’t have to do a fear-off.

Paul:      Let’s just do your side of the fears and—

Lisa:       --I feel like I sound so pathetic.

Paul:      Well, you’ve obviously not listened to any of my fears on previous fear-offs.

Lisa:       No, well, I mean, this whole interview, I feel a little pathetic. I really do. It’s awful.

Paul:      Really?

Lisa:       Yeah, this is – I’m going to walk away from this feeling a little insecure. But that’s okay.

Paul:      I get that every episode that I do. I think, ‘Oh, did I come across cheesy.’

Lisa:       Right.

Paul:      Did I come across pompous. Did I come across – and the emails that I get back from people confirm that I was.

Lisa:       [Laughs]

Paul:      [Laughs]

Lisa:       Well, here, I could absolutely list these and then you can cut them out of the show if you want.

Paul:      Let’s end it with some fears from Lisa Kushell, hit me with them.

Lisa:       That I’m not living life well enough. I don’t live up to my full potential. I’ll die young. I won’t have enough money to retire. I’m not memorable. I’m going to screw up my son. If I don’t have another kid I’m being unfair to my son. That Russ and I will fight one day about only having one kid even though we came to the mutual decision not to have another one. That Garrett will marry a bitch. That I’ll never be in shape again. Which indicates that I thought I was in shape at one time.

Paul:      Hmmm.

Lisa:       So I should look into that. I won’t get to show Garrett the world. That I’m boring, which this confirmed. That everyone in my life is going to die in a horrible crash. I’m not a good enough mom. I’m turning into my mom. I’ll be—

Paul:      --hold on.

Lisa:       What?

Paul:      Everyone is going to die in a horrible crash?

Lisa:       I always think that.

Paul:      So somebody’s going to create the world’s largest bus that the world is going to be in.

Lisa:       Just the people I care about.

Paul:      You have no idea how transportation works.

Lisa:       [Laughs] I really don’t.

Paul:      That’s what I took out of this interview, is she really needs to go to an auto showroom and see.

Lisa:       I’ll be a disaster of an old person. That I’m invisible. Oh, I’m terrified of heights, I don’t know if you knew that. I fear being lied to. I constantly think everyone’s judging me. I fear not being smart enough. I fear I’ll never be proud of my stuff, like the way I live and everything. That I won’t be able to give my son enough. I’ll never get in touch with what I really want. That I don’t do enough. I won’t be able to teach my son confidence. That I’ll never be able to give up enough control to have people really help me. That Russ settled for me. That I’m too honest. That my facial hair will finally get so out of control that people will start calling me Mom Wolf.

Paul:      [Cracks up]

Lisa:       [Laughs] Maybe I should end on the funny one.

Paul:      That’s awesome. Let’s end on that, because not only are we out of time, but a full moon is coming.

[Laughter]

Paul:      So if you’re out there, and you’re struggling, I think this last hour plus should confirm you are not the only one out there that might be a little nuts, that might be a little trapped in your head. There is hope. You are not alone. Thank you for listening.

[Outro Music]

 

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