1. It’s Important To Try Scary Things
Sometimes we don’t want to do things because they have a lot of uncertainty attached to them. We don’t know how they will turn out and that feels yucky inside. Scary. Dangerous. But it’s OK. You are strong and you can handle it. I promise you can.
2. Words Can’t Kill You
Howard can’t hurt you with his words. No one can hurt you with their words in a way you can’t recover from. Of course words have power. But they can’t cut you like a knife. They can’t give you a boo boo on your head. You will be OK.
3. It’s Good To Show People You’re You
It’s important to protect a lot about you. You’re modest. You are socially conservative. But you also are a rebel. You’re very liberal. You have big ideas and you know how to talk about them. Howard wants you to come on his show because he’s curious about you. It’s OK to show him who you are.
4. Feminists Can Have Dialogue
Howard often has naked women on his show and talks about big boy things that are really not things we are used to talking about in front of millions of people, if at all. Sure, Howard may not do that anymore, but he sure used to and it used to make you really mad. Yeah. But it’s powerful to put your feminism into the world and not hide it away. It’s important to show that women can use their voices to have dialogue. We can stand up to things that are problematic and we don’t have to hide like we’re told to by most of the patriarchy in the first place! We can go out there and show how engaging feminists can be. How unafraid. How truly kick-tuchus we can be. Rrraaahhhrrrr.
5. You Have Something To Offer
Just like your dear friend from Long Island tells you every time you get paralyzed by fear and you feel stuck, you are special. You have special talents and things you can offer. Maybe you are one of the 36 hidden tzaddikim (righteous people)! You have to be brave and put it out into the universe. You are not anyone’s savior, but you have been placed in a position to speak on large platforms about things that are important and meaningful to you and they have power. As it is written in Pirkei Avot (“Ethics of our Fathers”): Lo alecha hamlacha ligmor; v’lo atah ben chorine l’himatel mimenah. The task is not yours to complete. But neither is it yours to abandon. Wow. Yeah, that.
Did I just find a way to turn around a conversation with Howard Stern about my bra size, the shaving of armpits, how much money I made during my years on “Blossom” and theoretical concerns about men wanting to have sex with me because I’m famous into something profound? Yes, I did. Why?
Because we also discussed Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the complexity of the neurosis of a Jewish family, why safe bed-sharing and breast feeding are beneficial and evolutionarily beneficial, why it’s hard for me to trust people, why I feel like Sarah Silverman was more appealing when she wore jeans and T-shirts and sneakers as her celebrity uniform, and why I have repeatedly rejected material gains in favor of spiritual and intellectual growth.
Sometimes we have to muddle through some messy stuff in order to get to a message.
Purim approaches. We suffered a long time and were on the brink of extermination in Persia thousands of years ago. Our demise was imminent. The potential for redemption and salvation was barely a fantasy. It was almost all lost.
The point of this story is that as quickly as we can fall, we can be lifted up. Purim is a story likened to being at the bottom of a barrel. In one flip–180 degrees of rotation–we can be at the top of that same barrel.
The things I told my inner child in order to get my terrified self onto Howard Stern’s couch are the things that I carry with me every day. They are what get me through other people’s messes so I can hear their message and decipher and hone and convey mine as well.
As Purim approaches, I plan to try and find the message in the mess. I am so grateful to Howard Stern and his staff for helping me find the start of it this week in New York.
Listen to the show here: