Of Course I'm Not OK: Fighting Perfection & Doing The Thing [EPISODE 12]

of course I'm not OK

It’s our Season 1 Finale!

In this week’s episode, Karen & Katie reflect on the journey of starting this Audio Project, things they learned, & topics there were too afraid to discuss (sex, for one!). They talk about their process & comment on how wonderful it has been to just hit “play” & bust any perfectionism mindsets by trusting their creative processes. The pair also makes compelling cases for sponsorships from both Calm.com and Subaru. Of Course I’m Not Ok will be back with Season 2 on Oct. 19!

Resources from this episode: Check out Esther Perel’s work around intimacy/sex in quarantine (and her many amazing books); For more sex talk, make sure to subscribe to the Feminist Erotica podcast!

Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, and email us with questions/comments/concerns at notokpod@gmail.com. This episode is sponsored by Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. 

Keep in touch with co-hosts Karen Hawkins and Katie Morell on Twitter and Instagram.


Karen: Welcome.

Katie: Hi, I’m Katie Morrell. I’m a creative and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Karen: And I’m Karen Hawkins. I am the founder of Rebellious Magazine for Women and co-editor in chief of the Chicago Reader.

Katie: You are listening to Of Course I’m Not Okay: An Audio Project. Join us as we talk about mental health, coping with quarantine and what conversations we wish the world was having and isn’t.

Karen: For some of our episodes, we’ll chat with writers and creatives to get their take. Thank you for joining us on this journey.

Katie: It’s so great to see you as always.

Karen: God, Katie. I’m still laughing from the 10 minutes of pre-episode stretching that you and I just did before we hit record. Y’all, you would think that we’re about to run a 5K, running into a burning building to save somebody. We’re like legit, stretching, centering ourselves to hit record on Zoom.

Katie: Exactly. There’s some deep breathing happening. There’s some Zen Zen thoughts that are coming through. I get nervous every time, but I’m just, it’s like, that’s *exhales* just life, I guess. It’s okay. It’s okay to be nervous.

Karen: I think it’s okay. You see, what’s funny is that you are a calming presence for me. Like as soon as you hit record and you say, ‘Hello, Karen,’ I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s going to be okay. Katie’s here.’.

Katie: Okay. That’s completely reciprocated. Like, that’s exactly how I feel. I’ve actually had people tell me, ‘Karen seems really calm and just, like, really chill.’ And I’m like, she is, and I’m happy. That’s why I’m so happy to talk to her every, every week. So you do that for me as well. So thank you, whew. Well, today is a really special day because today’s our 12th episode and it’s our last one of season one. Woo.

Karen: We did it!

Katie: We did it! Round of applause!

Karen: Oh my God. That was very Elle Woods. I’m sorry. That was very- ‘we did it!’ Okay. Whatever she said. Okay. I’m sorry.

Katie: I need a little Chihuahua, but yes, I am Elle Woods-level excited that we are doing our final episode of season one. I’m just so proud of us for putting together 12 episodes without missing a beat.

Karen: I know. Same. I still can’t believe it either. It almost makes it sound like we know what we’re doing.

Katie: Yes! Seriously. We are so professional. So professional.

Karen: Yeah. I mean, basically yes, all sponsors are welcome. Not all. Most.

Karen: We should talk about our rules for sponsors. Cause I feel like my bar is pretty low, but.

Katie: That’s a good point. Yes.

Karen: And there are some, we mentioned every time. Calm app? We’re here for you.

Katie: Always. We’re always here for you. And listeners, don’t worry. We are not going away. This truly is the end of season one because it’s, we’re making these into seasons. We’re making a season two. We’re in the process of brainstorming what we’re going to do in season two. I’m super excited about it. And yeah, I mean, basically what we’re going to do is we’re going to take a little break, a two week break, and then we’ll be back in mid-October.

Karen: And we encourage you to listen to all, just binge listen to all of the episodes that week that we’re away.

Katie: Yes, please do. And also tweet at us while we’re away, any of your suggestions or people you’d love for us to talk to @not_okay_pod. And then the same on Instagram. It’s also notokaypod@gmail.com. I really feel like the season has had just so many highs. I don’t even want to say lows because I feel like it’s just been highs for me.

Karen: I completely agree with that. Even when we were talking about really hard things, I feel like that’s the whole point of this. We, we are doing what we set out to do. Even the hardest conversations are like, ‘Yep, no, this is really uncomfortable. Cheers.’.

Katie: Exactly.

Karen: That was totally the point. Great. We’re done. Yeah.

Katie: Right. Feelings. Sweet.

Karen: Oh my God. Rage.

Katie: Rage.

Karen: How to have conversations with people you don’t agree with politically at a time when the world is burning.

Katie: Yes. Yes. Uncertainty in quarantine and insomnia and, my gosh, self care tips and how to navigate your inner bully and, you know, kill it off. Or I don’t remember the right terminology. How to-

Karen: Fire.

Katie: Fire.

Karen: We went from firing it to just murdering it. Just kill it.

Katie: Yes. A small, small glimpse into my psyche. There’s a lot of killing of my inner bully, but yes. I mean, there’s just been so many great moments. Like I think, you know, it’s, I think one thing that I’ve learned from this is that like, I feel like we can just riff and have so much fun. This is kind of affirmation to me for like, cause we basically what we’ve done is hit record on our conversations. Like to take everybody back, if you haven’t heard all of our episodes, what we kind of explained early, early on is that you, Karen had this like genius idea years ago when we were in conversation normally just over the phone as friends and you’re like, ‘We need to record our conversations.’ And I was like, ‘Eh, I don’t know. How do I feel about a podcast?’ Like man. And then I finally got the stick out of my ass and I was like, ‘You know what, you’re right.’ And so then this year we press play and it’s been so much fun, but really what I’ve kind of realized is that like, this is just affirmation that everyone’s conversations matter. Like this is like, like all of you listening, like we’re just making this shit up. If you haven’t already been able to tell-

Karen: As we go.

Katie: Yes, we are making this up as we go. And it’s like, it kind of is just so empowering to think like anybody could make it up as they go, really.

Karen: I, we are making it up as we go. And one of the reasons I will say that I was so convinced that we needed to start recording our conversations is that, like I’ve said before, we, we always went immediately into the deep end. I mean, you listen to some people’s conversations and it’s like, did you just meet that person that was so surface? It was just like, ‘No, no, that’s my best friend of 30 years.’ But they weren’t actually saying anything. I feel like you and I, we’re saying a ton.

Katie: Yes.

Karen: Right? About a lot of very deep things. And I feel like not everybody does that. And to me, it’s really interesting to listen to.

Katie: Totally, totally. And I think that every time I talk to you, it makes me feel less alone. And I hope that people who are listening have felt less alone. Because I think all of us deal with every single emotion. And that’s really what this entire podcast is about the whole concept of, you know, being okay not being okay. I mean, that’s the whole thing. And it’s like, I mean, of course there’s, you know, you can find humor in things and you can find, you know, like joy and things, but sometimes things just suck and like that’s okay too.

Karen: It is absolutely okay. And it’s okay to not be like, yes, that you have to put on this smiling face all the time. I mean, I think that’s one of the things we’ve talked about is that quarantine is really stripped away people feeling like everything needs to be perfect and their lives need to look perfect. Like your kids showing up at your board, meeting on Zoom, everybody knows your life’s not perfect.

Katie: Yes!

Karen: You know, they’re showing up in the background naked when they’re supposed to be at school. Everybody knows your life’s not perfect. Like it’s stripped away that facade that like, ‘No, everything’s fine. I’ve compartmentalized my whole life. And it’s all perfect.’ Like, no, no we’re all in a shit show. We’re human beings. You are a human being in a situation at work. Human beings have emotions. I would rather have somebody get emotional about something at work than just be so checked out, they don’t give a shit. To me, that’s worse. Like, I don’t want you to be going through something upsetting at work. But I feel like having an emotion about something means that you’re like, there. You’re actually emotionally present at work. And I feel like that’s so much better than just being like, ‘Eh, I don’t give a shit.’

Katie: Totally, totally. And I mean, I think maybe, in some ways this experience is making us more human because it’s showing our humanity in such a, such a vulnerable, visceral way.

Karen: And I don’t know who I’m stealing this quote from, so I apologize, that like ‘We’ve gone from working at, working from home.’ No, wait, what is it? We’ve gone from working at home to living at work.’

Katie: Ooh.

Karen: Yeah. Which is like, yeah. I mean, it’s all out on the table. Like literally on the table, like people are working at their dinner table.

Katie: *laughs*

Karen: You know what I mean? Just these walls, all the walls are down and yeah. The whole living at work thing. I just, I did not like that at all. Cause it’s very true for me too.

Katie: Oh, that’s so true. Oh man.

[musical interlude]

Katie: To do a quick recap of the season, I mean, I think it’s interesting because we kind of, we really did wing it and I don’t want to diminish what we created. And I want to just acknowledge that like winging it, was okay. Like we, I mean our first episode, so full disclosure, we didn’t say this in the episode, but full disclosure – before that episode, which was about rage (actually, I think that’s technically our second episode, number two) but before that episode I was crying to you because I was so mad about something. Yeah. And so like I’m not going to reveal what I was mad about because that’s too vulnerable. But I was, I don’t really remember it super well, but anyway, I’m pretty sure I was mad at someone. And I-

Karen: And I know who you are.

Katie: And you know who you are, Listener. But it was a very human moment where we were just talking as friends, and that was what it was. And then we realized like, ‘Oh, this could be a good episode.’ And so we just press play and we talked about rage and that episode was awesome. And then moving to like insomnia, and then moving to like uncertainty, and then moving on to like Erinn Cox. My God, she’s so amazing. Like, hi Erinn, we love you.

Karen: We love you.

Katie: Yeah. It was just, I mean, I just feel like, and then we kind of got into like feelings. And we got into self care. And there’s just so many things. And the people who were willing to be our guests, I mean full on rock stars.

Karen: Full on rock stars. And I love that they, they just fit with our vibe so well. They’re therapists, they’re clinicians, but they’re also creative and they’re also really committed to wellness and really committed to getting people through this time in different ways, approaching it from all these different ways. Like I loved our guests. I feel like we did a really good job of, you did a really good job of curating this list of really interesting, really lovely people.

Karen: Yes. Same with you. I just feel like it was really fun and I feel like people were just willing to kind of go there and just chat and, you know, be willing to just kind of talk about almost anything. But I’m trying to think of some of my favorite moments. I think if I was to think of some, like, I do think that talking to Dr. Tania Israel was one of my favorites. What I really, really loved about that conversation was that she’s so incredibly calm and centered and approachable and just kind. Just like deep, deep kindness. And I felt like, you know, to be able to approach a topic that charged from a place of curiosity and kindness over judgment. And it was just, it was really astounding actually. Like I feel like I learned from her. I love that.

Karen: Absolutely. Yeah. I completely agree. I feel like, and I learned from all of our guests. I mean even Erinn Cox, who I’ve known forever. I learned about things that she is doing now that I didn’t know about. And also like more about her approach to life. I really, she has this ‘Burn the Ships’ kinda motto that I very much appreciate, but I feel like I learned from everyone. And I will say one of my favorite moments was during the Erinn Cox episode. Erinn is in Estonia. So I’m in Chicago, Katie’s in San Francisco area. Erinn is in Estonia, and we all dial into Zoom. And Katie is in a car. Sitting, not driving the car, sitting in a parked car and Erinn and I are like, ‘Wait, what?’.

Katie: That happened.

Karen: It was just this moment of like, ‘Wha-, what?’

Katie: Mhm. That is episode five, by the way. Oh my God. It just, it really showcased the level of technology that we really have. And like how so on point, all of our, all of our recordings are because that was like one of those like, make it work situations. So it was like, Oh my gosh, this is crazy. I also, because, Oh my God, that was fun. That was really, really fun. And the fact that Erinn just went with it was really fun.

Karen: Oh yeah.

Katie: Oh my God.

Karen: And I will say another favorite moment is your story about the Subaru, how you got the car you happened to be sitting in.

Katie: That was insane.

Karen: I love that story.

Katie: Oh my gosh. I mean, that was just such a manifestation story that could have gone way wrong. And thankfully we said goodbye to our Honda civic, right in the nick of time. Within minutes of it really, really dying on the side of the road. Oh. But I have to say like, now we’ve had our Subaru for about six, eight weeks and I’m a, I’m obsessed. It’s fantastic. I love it.

Karen: We would love for you to sponsor us. One of us is a lesbian. I’m a lesbian. I know you love lesbians. Listen, let’s make this work.

Katie: Dude, we are really your demo. I am a person that is moving to Oregon. I know that your sales are high in Oregon and I can make them higher. And Karen, it seems like your demo is perfect as well. You know what we, we, we check all the boxes.

Karen: It’s so true. There’s a great story. I can’t remember. I think it’s some, it might be a marketplace story. It’s an NPR story about how Subaru literally decided to start marketing specifically to lesbians.

Katie: Really?

Karen: Like they made this very-, Oh, yeah, yeah. Like that’s not even a joke. Like they made this very specific marketing decision and it was like all about how decided to do it. It was brilliant.

Katie: Oh my gosh. That’s amazing.

Karen: Yeah.

Katie: Wow. It sounds like it worked.

Karen: I mean it worked.

Katie: Great cars, great cars. So, so did we set out to do, did we do what we set out to do? Totally. Fuck. Yeah.

Karen: Oh yeah. A hundred percent.

Katie: A hundred percent.

Karen: A-plus.

Katie: A-plus. Like we did sit down every single Friday. We did put out a podcast every single Monday for three months. And yeah, I think listeners, if you’re listening and you’ve listened to a few of our episodes, I think that might be something we do. Like in terms of like, we might do 12 episodes a season, take two weeks off, another 12. So we’ll keep you posted, but that’s probably going to be what we aim for. But there are a few things, even though we did talk about a lot of, you know, listeners, if you know, kind of our M.O. in terms of talking about almost anything, I will say that the topic list that we had for this season was far more extensive than even what we covered. Which is not to say that we won’t cover things in season two and beyond, but there are a few topics that we just did not get to. And we’re not sure if we will get to them. One of them is about sex. And that just, there is a person that will cover this. Her name is Esther Perel, which I will put her information in the resources section of the, like the explanation of this podcast. But yeah, it’s kind of, it’s kind of a landmine.

Karen: It’s a giant landmine and it is a landmine that I feel like we can see, and we decided not to step on it. It’s like, ‘See that landmine over there? Yep, I see it. Should we step on it? I don’t know about that.’ Like, I feel like we are super aware of it, and I feel like you and I have both done this dance of being very vulnerable and being very personal without compromising the privacy of anyone else in our lives.

Katie: Yes.

Karen: And I feel like that is not, you can’t, you can’t really do that.

Katie: You can’t really do that. I mean, potentially, I could see a world in which we interview an author about sex in quarantine and just act like reporters and say nothing about our own lives, but I don’t really know if that would work. So, yeah, we’ll see.

Karen: We’ll see. I mean, this is a good place for me to plug. If you want to hear people talking about sex though, I also cohost a podcast. It’s the Feminist Erotica podcast and we talk about erotica. There are three of us who are hosts. You can hear a lovely voiceover artist reading erotica. So if that’s your jam, we have options for you.

Katie: Yes. A hundred percent. I will also put that in the resources because it’s an amazing podcast. You all do an incredible job and it’s absolutely worth listening to. So let’s see. So other topics that we didn’t discuss, one of them was grief. And I feel like there’s just, I think we wanted to keep it a little light in some ways. Grief is not super, super light. But yeah, I think, you know, all of these things are fair game for future episodes, future seasons. And we might kind of get creative in the way we cover different things, but we have a very, very long topic list, and so I think it’s great that we want to talk about so many things.

Katie: I mean, we haven’t really had anyone say no to being on the podcast. Like I think one thing I’ve learned is like, ‘You should just ask people,’ and people have been so generous with their time. And I think that is definitely one thing I’ve learned. I, you know, cause it’s interesting. Cause it’s different when you’re a reporter and you’re calling somebody for a story or you’re approaching them about a very specific story. The ratio of people who say yes to no is like not always in your favor.

Katie: Yeah, totally.

Karen: You know, they say no, they don’t get back to you in time. They have their publicists get back to you. You know? So I feel like this is, this has been an interesting platform for me that’s different than reporting that, that people are much more willing. We’re like, we’re not doing a ‘Gotcha!’ on this podcast right.

Katie: No.

Karen: Like, we’re having you on. We want to have a positive, nice conversation with you.

Katie: Yes like, it’s so beautiful how people have said yes. And people have just, I think they want to connect, too, honestly. Like that’s the thing. I think everyone wants to connect. And I think that’s the whole impetus for this entire project is just that we’re connecting. We want to connect with others. We want to connect with all of our listeners. Like, that’s something to learn. I think also one thing that I have definitely learned from this project, which I attribute to you, is to just do it. Honestly. Like I think in the very beginning, I mean, you had the idea, but then in the very beginning I was like, well, should we do five episodes first? And then edit them heavily? And then figure out when we should release them? And then maybe if they’re not very good, we could redo them? And then, you know, and you’re like, ‘Why don’t we just publish? Like, let’s just publish.’ Like, that’s it. And I was like *internal screams* I was terrified! But then it got easier. And it was one of those things where it’s like, okay, like we, I mean the frequency is so frequent. Like once a week is quite frequent. And so like it’s, it makes it so that you can’t really hold on to anything.

Karen: No, it’s very true. And I mean, I also, I feel like it, that is an interesting part of the – now we’re getting very meta – creative process of creating an auto audio project is like, the only perfect thing is the thing you’ve never created, right? It’s only ever perfect in your mind. And if you never put it out into the world, ‘Yeah, it’s perfect, but it also doesn’t exist anywhere.’ And so yeah, I agree. I mean, I do that to a fault in my life sometimes like, ‘Just send it out! It’s fine.’ I don’t know if it’s a former wire reporter thing where you’re just like, ‘The first draft is going to be ugly. We’re going to do it right through. We’re going to make it pretty. It’s fine.’

Katie: Exactly.

Karen: But yeah, I just would rather, let’s just get it out the door and iterate and grow and learn and make it better, then like never do it.

Katie: Totally. I mean, this is a lesson for all of our listeners, too. Like, if you have a project or anything that you’ve been like, kind of sitting on, like ‘It’s not perfect yet. It’s not beautiful yet. It’s not whatever.’ Just do it. Like just send it out. What’s the worst that can happen? Like, I mean, my gosh, like this has just been so much fun. It’s just, I don’t know, like, yeah, maybe we’re not on the Spotify #1 list. It will happen, but not yet. And that’s okay.

Karen: But I learned this from a radio person that if you make a mistake in radio, you’re just supposed to just keep moving, because you’re moving so quickly and there’s so much coming at people that people won’t dwell on it, if you don’t dwell on it. And I feel like there, we are all having so much stuff shot at us all the time. Like your thing, even if it’s shitty, who cares? No one’s even going to remember. The bad thing is that means they probably won’t remember it, even if it’s awesome. But they’re more likely to remember if it’s awesome. Like I just feel like, yeah, just do it. Put it out there. Do it for yourself. And don’t-, yeah, I also like that we really in a lot of ways are doing this for ourselves.

Katie: Yes.

Karen: It’s great to have listeners. And it’s great to hear from people who listen to the ridiculous things we say. It was great to include Erinn. It’s been great to meet people, but I feel like one of the things that’s meaningful about this to me is that like, yeah, we’re doing it for ourselves.

Katie: A hundred percent. I think that is honestly like the biggest takeaway. Because like, I think that if I do stuff for myself, then it has lasting power. If I’m thinking about someone else that I’m doing it for, or that I’m, it has to be a certain way. Like it just deflates the energy to me. Like it’s kind of like, it just drains it out of my body. And so, yeah. I mean, this is fun all the time, even if we have like zero people listening. So it’s just, it’s really, that’s such an interesting point. Like just part of the creative process. Like if you’re having fun, then that’s really all that matters. Who cares about anything else? But I’m so excited about season two. I think it will be really, really fun. But yeah, I think we have some, we have some fun and funny things cooking.

Karen: That was very Midwestern of you cooking. We’ve got some fun stuff cooking.

Katie: Got some good stuff cooking. Mac and cheese on the burner.

Karen: No, you don’t. No, you have to bake it.

Katie: You’re right? I have to bake it. I don’t even know how to make mac and cheese. No, I actually do know how to make mac and cheese, but I never baked it. I always used Kraft. And you just stir in the really sad, non-edible, I mean-

Karen: I mean, it’s not a food stuff I will say. So this is a joke actually in my family about black people mac and cheese and white people mac and cheese. Because black people always bake their mac and cheese. And I feel like white people are Stovetop people, and no.

Katie: Yeah. Yeah.

Karen: That’s part of the process, but then you gotta put it in the oven.

Katie: No-. Oh wait. So you make it on the stove and then you put it in, like-

Karen: You make the cheese sauce. So you make the pasta separately. You make the cheese sauce and then you combine them and then you put it in the oven, and it makes like a casserole.

Katie: Oh, damn. Can you still use Kraft? Like the fake cheese? Like the powdered stuff?

Karen: Absolutely not.

Katie: Oh no. You’re using real cheese.

Karen: Oh no, yeah no. My mother, at some point, she uses two different kinds. I have an aunt who uses four different kinds of cheese in her cheese sauce.

Katie: Oh wow.

Karen: Oh my God. It’s so good.

Katie: Oh my gosh.

Karen: Like, none of it’s like powdered or bright orange.

Katie: Okay. That sounds better in so many ways, but that sounds amazing. Although dairy is not awesome for my body, but I still, I might make an exception for your aunt’s four cheese Mac and cheese. What?! Sounds incredible. Wow. Oh, but yes, we do have some stuff cooking, and you’ll want to tune in in two weeks. I think it’s going to be really fun. We’re putting together some cool guests and cool topics and we will also be unveiling ourselves as a podcast on October 19th. What.

Karen: I mean manage your expectations, like let’s. Been feeling a little nervous about that. Like people are like, ‘Ohmygod, going to have your podcast now. How does it change anything?’ And it’s like, um, Well, Katie moved.

Katie: Yes.

Karen: And I still have the same problematic mic. Yeah.

Katie: You still look like someone who might work at Wendy’s and I, yeah. I mean, I’m just, I am. During these two weeks, I will be moving locations from the Bay Area to Oregon. So we will have a new jingle in the beginning, a new intro, which is very exciting. But yeah, we’ll be a podcast and-.

Karen: That’s right!

Katie: Yeah, cause it says, it says Bay Area. I can’t say Bay Area, we have to make everything different. The whole thing is going to be different. Just-

Karen: We’re getting body doubles for season two.

Katie: Oh my God. So many things. We might have some voiceover actors, you never know. Get excited. But this has been so much fun. This is just, I mean, season one, how cool is this? So if you’ve been listening, thank you for listening. We love you all. And we will see you in two weeks.

Karen: Bye.

Katie: Bye.

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