The Difference Between Self-Image and True Self, According to Sarah Jones

The last episode of The Call’s Season 3 features Erica in conversation with the wonderful writer and Tony Award-winning performer Sarah Jones. This episode isn’t just any episode (it’s the season finale, after all) and Sarah isn’t just any guest (you’ll see what I mean when you listen): It was recorded with a live audience at 72andSunny in Los Angeles, where friends of the show were able to come and see a performance by Sarah and some of the “characters” from her critically acclaimed one-woman show, “Sell/Buy/Date.”

If you’re familiar with Sarah, then you know that where she goes, an assortment of characters she’s created follows, popping up to lend a multitude of voices to her act. If you’re unfamiliar, her work sheds light on racial and ethnic issues in the United States, as well as the issues that surround economic disparities within the country. She’s a TED Talk regular and a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. She’s performed at The White House and United State of Women Summit for Barack and Michelle Obama, and for audiences around the world. Her iconic first show, the one-person Broadway hit, “Bridge & Tunnel,” was originally produced by Meryl Streep.

Currently, she’s gearing up for a new run of “Sell/Buy/Date,” a show based on “the real life experiences of people affected by the sex industry” (via Playbill), with performances starting September 27th. If you’re in the LA area, get your tickets here! And if you want to stop reading because you’re ready to start listening, you’re in luck (otherwise, meet you after the audio player):

In this episode of The Call, Sarah talks to Erica about the journey to create her own lane for herself and all of the lessons that she’s learned along the way. She discusses the difference between her own self-image and her true self, and how focusing on the self-image “is always gonna be a detour that knocks me off of the course that I really wanna be on.” She says that she had to learn that maturing, to her, is about being more available to her “inner, silly, embarrassing, super uncool little girl.”

And where maturing or growing up is concerned, she talks about how checking off those boxes of what she thought was important — “the car, the guy,” etc. — didn’t necessarily mean her problems were solved. “[T]hose things can all be in place and I can have a crisis of faith in myself and in life. And none of those things can be in place and I can feel sort of miraculously cool and connected.”

Despite being someone who thinks a lot about the future, she doesn’t try to measure the long-term impact of her own work or worry about what’s to come. She’s a firm believer in living in the moment, and offers up a phrase she once heard that I am probably going to scrawl inside my arm to remember forever: “[M]y life isn’t about feeling better, it’s about getting better at feeling whatever is here. Feeling my grief better, feeling my frustration better, feeling my joy better. Whatever it is … really getting present.”

So, are you ready to get present with this conversation? Great, me too. Enjoy — and thanks so much for following along this season!

Illustration by Anne Bentley

Amelia Diamond

Amelia Diamond

Amelia Diamond is a writer, creative consultant, and Man Repeller alumnus living in New York City.

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