Embrace It with Lainie & Estela - Smashing Disability Stigmas

Embrace It: Episode 54 Pamela Rae Schuller - Channel Your SH*T

January 05, 2024 Season 2 Episode 54
Embrace It with Lainie & Estela - Smashing Disability Stigmas
Embrace It: Episode 54 Pamela Rae Schuller - Channel Your SH*T
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this amusing and heartfelt episode, we explore the pivotal moments that turned a troubled and disabled middle schooler with Tourette’s syndrome into an international comedian and Netflix personality! Join us as Pamela Rae Schuller blends her skills of storytelling and comedy with disability advocacy into this fun and insightful EmBrace It conversation!

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Hosted by Lainie Ishbia and Estela Lugo.

Embrace It is produced by Launchpad 516 Studios.

For sponsorships and media inquiries, drop an email to: embraceit@lp516.com

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Embrace it series, where women with all types of disabilities can be real, resourceful and stylish. With each episode, you'll walk or roll away with everyday tips, life hacks and success stories from community leaders and influencers. So take off your leg braces and stay a while with Lainey and Estella.

Speaker 3:

Hi, I'm Lainey and I have CMT. I'm a neuro-muscular disorder affecting approximately 2.6 million people worldwide.

Speaker 2:

That's as many as MS. We believe disabilities should never get in the way of looking or feeling good. Both of us wear leg braces and have learned through our own personal journeys to embrace it Brought to you by Launchpad 516 Studios.

Speaker 3:

each episode is designed to challenge your own stigmas and beliefs around disability. We want our listeners to get the most value for their time spent with us, so we interview some of the most empowering disability badasses in the world. Through storytelling, personal experiences and tips, we're all reminded of our own strengths and endless potential.

Speaker 2:

For more information and exclusive resources, check out our websites at trend-ablecom and hnf-curorg, and don't forget to hit the subscribe button for future episodes and special promos. Hi, everyone, want to welcome you to another episode of Embrace it. Hi Estella.

Speaker 3:

Hey Lainey, How's it going? I like your background today. You're like floating around in the galaxy. I like it.

Speaker 2:

Oh, yes, it's well, because you have told me that the only room in my house that is good for me to record these without any major sound issues is my son's bedroom. So, yes, we do not need pictures of women and bathing suits in the background. So that is why I don't know. Yeah, do you have a good weekend?

Speaker 3:

Yes and no. We celebrated our seven-year anniversary and as I was getting ready to go out to dinner, I fell and broke my ankle, so I'm laid up here with my foot elevated.

Speaker 2:

So that's unfortunately how the weekend was spent, but I am so sorry, and I'm sure all of our listeners who know you and know that you have CMT and whatnot, are cringing, because I, you know, when you told me that last night I was like, oh my god can't even imagine because, as you know, my husband has spine surgery, emergency spine surgery, and he's using, you know, a walker and he's using a cane and he couldn't even get up or stand up and so I'm the one who's been helping him like try to get his shoes on. It's a joke, but I was thinking to myself, god, what would I do if, like, I had that extra, like extra challenges among my normal everyday challenges? So you, I guess, will, couple months from now, stella, you're going to tell us how you did it right.

Speaker 3:

We're figuring it out and I'll share some more about that on the Instagram, but today is not about me. It is about our amazing guests. So, leni, maybe you can introduce her, because I'm super excited for her.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely, and I'm actually super excited to want to welcome our guest today, and that is Pamela Ray Shuler, and she is a comedian and a speaker and a disability advocate, and I love her Instagram bio, which says I'm that short, twitchy girl from Netflix's Jewish matchmaking show and Dr Mike videos unless there's two of us, anyway. She probably says it much funnier than I just read her bio. But, pamela, I'm so happy to welcome you. Stella and I are, but me especially because I feel like I have so much in common with you.

Speaker 4:

Thanks. Thank you for having me. I'm excited to hang out with you both.

Speaker 2:

Yeah Well, we're so excited for you to be here and, before we get into all our commonalities, maybe you could just give like a little bit better bio about who you are and, if you're comfortable, what your disability is.

Speaker 4:

And, yeah, I'm an open book, I'm comfortable about sharing anything. So I have Tourette syndrome, I have obsessive compulsive disorder and I'm four foot six and a half and you're all like, oh my God, she's a triple threat. Thank you, I know, and I combine comedy and storytelling to talk about like embracing what makes you you. So I combine comedy and storytelling and I have a master's in advocacy certificates and executive coaching and so I work with everything from schools, companies, faith-based organizations, kind of everyone in between corporate I think I said corporate teams already like political events, and I really focus on getting people laughing and feeling and comfortable and then building on that to give everyone takeaways and concrete tips and tools to make this world more inclusive.

Speaker 3:

We are so excited to hear more about that, and I think I first saw you on Netflix the Jewish matchmaking show. I went a few months ago. I was like on a binge of all the Indian matchmaker and then the Jewish matchmaker and I was just like so obsessed with these shows and then you popped on the screen and I was like, oh my God, we need to have her on our show. You just lit up the screen, your energy was so like contagious and I just you were just like amazing. So I would love to hear a little bit more about. We usually start these shows with how, what your upbringing was like. Obviously, we'll fast forward at some point to how you ended up on Netflix, but let's take a little bit of a journey back to what it was like growing up for you when those diagnosis came about in your life and how you were able to manage that and navigate that.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, so I grew up in the Midwest and my Tourette's you're not going to see it as or, you know, hear it right now for people listening but it definitely has shifted the way it presents itself over time, although I still have what is considered a severe case. But I grew up in a small town in the Midwest where, like, being different wasn't a good thing and my Tourette's was both kind of severe in in how aggressive it was, how hard I did the movements and noises. I like broke bones from Tourette's from throwing my head back. I was out of school for years. It just it was. It was tough and I you know the messaging was really that I took away from the world, that I was a nuisance. You know, you see disability in the media as I don't know if I'm allowed to say this, but like inspiration porn, where people with disabilities only exist.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, we say it all the time. You're allowed to say anything. And Pam, can I pause for two seconds Because I'm curious too, I think, when people think about Tourette's, or at least when I think about Tourette's in the past before becoming a disability advocate, I think, oh, someone who's like fuck you, fuck you, fuck you. But I do know that Tourette's comes in many different forms, so can you tell us about that and like what type of Tourette's if you know you have, if that's the way it's worded and how it?

Speaker 4:

showed up, I like to say I do yell cuss words, just not from Tourette's. I do that for fun. Right, that's just. Yeah, that's just me. So the media likes us to think that Tourette's is just yelling cuss words. In reality, I might get the numbers wrong, but I think out of every five people with Tourette's, only one has that additional diagnosis of yelling words or phrases or repeating things. But all of us have uncontrollable and repetitive movements and noises. So for me at this point in my life it might be hissing or clearing my throat during COVID. You know I coughed through the whole thing because they told me not to, and you know movements and things like that. So every single person with Tourette's it looks so incredibly different. And not only that, but for most of us, our ticks that's what the movements and noses are called TICS are constantly changing and evolving. So there's a day, there are days, where I wake up and it's super noticeable and I live this life as someone with a very noticeable case of Tourette's. And then there are days, like today, where, like I've been chilling out in the Midwest for two days and breathing and calming down and petting dogs at my mother's house and eating her cooking and I'm like super calm right now. So Tourette's is a little bit less noticeable right now and it's kind of every day is an adventure, because every day looks different for me.

Speaker 3:

When were you diagnosed with Tourette's, and what was that journey like for you and your family?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, my mom saw an episode of the Maury Povit show on Tourette's and was like yes, that. And she went and got diagnosed like a week later.

Speaker 2:

How old were?

Speaker 4:

you Third grade, okay, got it. But like I used to do professional theater and like it was so clear I had TICS. I mean my 30s Tourette's was not diagnosed when I was a kid. That was such a new thing, my like. We're pretty sure it's genetic. My dad very clearly had Tourette's and died before he was ever diagnosed not of Tourette's, of cancer. I was like to clarify that when I tell people that they're always like, oh no, like Tourette's is neurological and is not gonna shorten my lifespan, my stupidity might shorten my lifespan, for us we'll not. I'm with you there, yeah.

Speaker 2:

So in third grade diagnosed okay, obviously you know your mom's watching Maury Povit and it's she's like ding, ding, that's my kid. Kids are so cruel, right Third grade especially. Like how were people at this point in your life Like, take us fast forward elementary, junior high, what was it like to like grow up with Tourette's?

Speaker 4:

Every year it was different. You know, I had like a third grade teacher who tried to train Tourette's out of me. It got significantly worse in middle school. I was lucky in that I was not bullied by my peers. I think they got that something was wrong, something was different, wrong. I don't believe anything is wrong, but you know what I mean. Something was different, something was going on, but I was isolated. I think the thing that really killed me and really pushed me deeper into depression is no one. My peers were not necessarily mean, but they also didn't understand and so I wasn't invited to birthday parties. I sat alone so many nights. I remember just, you know, sixth grade, calling any number in the little phone book, like praying for a friend, and just isolated and alone, and sitting alone at meals. And you know I also I used a wheelchair for a few years because I threw my neck back so hard. I broke my neck and I just have these memories of sitting alone in, you know, using a wheelchair at the school before I ended up going to boarding school and that's where my life really turned around.

Speaker 2:

So- and that's one of our ding ding ding commonalities. I also went to boarding school, did you? And when? Well, so I'm from the Midwest. So there's two. I live, I think you're, in Chicago area, right? No, ohio, indiana area? Oh, okay, so I'm in Michigan. I'm also Jewish and grew up in a very Jewish suburb of Michigan, small community as well, but my boarding school, by the way, it was Northern Michigan. I went to Leland, ah, and it was like a full on boarding school. But this isn't about me. I just wanted to say that who is who it is, but I don't know what was my point. Oh, yeah, my point was is that I too, like you know, with a physical disability that wasn't really noticeable, but I didn't really. I wasn't picked, you know, I was picked last for, you know, teams because I would be the worst player on any team, because I couldn't run, et cetera. That, you know, being left out is, you know, a form of bullying a lot of times, so like literally not being included, being feeling like no one wants you around, and it can be subtle and girls, you know, may not overtly be making fun of someone, but certainly by shunning someone, that is pretty intense, pretty damaging to a young child and growing adolescent self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. So what was your experience?

Speaker 4:

I'm like of like being left out and I don't know that I was like shunned. I really think there was just a level of like we don't get different, different to scary. I also think so many kids are in their own world. It's hard to be a kid and so you know for one kid not to include me. They probably assumed other people might be including me, but when everyone's doing that, it becomes really awful. I don't blame those kids. I think it starts at home. It starts at conversations, with conversations. I do think I do. I perform at so many middle schools and when I tell you, these kids line up to share their stories with me or, like ask me for my autograph, which I thought was not a thing anymore, and I'm obsessed that it still happens. And I think it's because suddenly I'm an adult who comes in and is like I am different. I have been through all of these things and I love it. I love what makes me me. I own it. Like they wanna tell me what they're learning to love about themselves and I think kids don't know what they don't know and the more we are just honest and teaching and including them in the conversations, I think it's gonna benefit other kids Totally.

Speaker 2:

But, pamela, like you are in our workshops that Estelle and I do, when we do them for people with disabilities, one of the main things we talk about is humor as a bridge right, and so like that obviously isn't is part of who you are. Is is using humor and, you know, hopefully not self-deprecating in a damaging way, but self-deprecating in a relatable way for other people. Like, look, I'm a person just like you and when someone doesn't focus themselves only on their stuff, then other people don't focus on it either as much. Right, like you clearly obviously now are speaking about it everywhere and very comfortable and that lets people feel like it's like safe for them to share their stuff with you. So can you kind of tell us all right, so obviously, as a kid, you you know people didn't really understand trash. Your family was learning it from more about it. You know you're living life, blah, blah, fast forward. You're in boarding school. How did you get into this comedy thing? And like, how did that, you know, spill over into your everyday world?

Speaker 4:

so boarding school was what saved me. I just like I'm joining their board of trustees, like I will do anything for this school. I think it's the greatest it was in Burlington, vermont. It was this hippie-dippy place. It was not a school for kids with disabilities, it was just a place that, like, celebrated individuality and creativity and whoever you are, added something to the community. And when, like it, just it was so beautifully set up and I was an asshole. Like I got to boarding school and I was mad at the world and I was snarky and I was funny but it wasn't channeled and I had more detention than anyone else the school ever had. And it was in detention where one day a teacher asked me to make a list of what I loved about myself. And the teacher was in the moment. He was present. He saw what I didn't know how to find the words for right. Like we tell kids ask for help if you're depressed, if you're experiencing suicide ideation, but it's so hard to ask for help. We don't teach people how to ask for help and it's it's a different right, it's a different tool for educators and people who work with young people to hear what we're not able to say. Yet I don't have the words, but I admitted that I had nothing about myself that I loved. And I admitted, by sitting in front of that list, terrified, like just an empty list of what I loved about myself, with truly nothing to write on it. And boarding school I won't tell the whole story, but boarding school put me on a journey to find what I loved about myself. Boarding school put me on a journey to realize that I added something to this world, even if I didn't know it yet, and so they were the ones that put me in in stand-up comedy. I think they realized I was. I mean, I look back at these. Boarding school made me write letters of apology to everyone. I was a jerk too, because, again, you know, I think when you think of me you might think of like poor, sad Pammy. In reality, I was mean, I was angry, I was like like a jerk, I was pushing the world away for me, and they forced me to write these letters of apology. And I found them in my mom's basement and they are hilarious. Like I had to have known I was. They saved them for me, so they must have known that I was, you know, creative and funny and all of these things and I'm so thankful that they, like, saw something that I didn't see yet.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, well, we're. What were some of those things that you were able to start adding to that list after reflecting and having that guidance from your, your, your, teachers so at first it was just that I had a sense of humor.

Speaker 4:

That was the first thing that I added to the list. That was the building block. Over years, I found more right, like at this point, I love that people feel safe with me to share what they're going through. Every night before I go to bed I look on my Instagram messages of people who have heard me speak or heard a podcast and like just want to connect and share with me and I love that, like just existing people are starting, like people are learning to love what makes them down, like by hearing my story or hearing me speak or hearing me own it. But humor was the first thing. That for me and I guess I didn't say it when you initially asked me the story, but that for me was the thing that started making me feel like I wanted to stay and it's so funny.

Speaker 3:

well, no pun intended, but I feel like humor is something that I have had to develop as well with a disability. I think with disability there's so many more opportunities to work that humor muscle because you kind of have to. It's like there's so many moments where like, well, I can cry about this or I can laugh about this, or sometimes you just have to use humor as whether it's a protective shield or to interact with people socially, with your peers, to laugh about the things that maybe are silly or look awkward. Or I remember for me my friends and I would be out and I would just wipe out and fall. Of course they would make sure I wasn't hurt and then we would laugh about it. Then I was able to laugh about it as well in a healthy way or just kind of like profundate each other. I found that to be something that was also a value to me growing up as a child with a disability, that I was usually the funny kid in the group because of the disability right, because I could laugh at myself, and then people felt safe to laugh about themselves with me.

Speaker 4:

Being a kid is hard and awkward. Being a human is funny and awkward. In all of these things I really appreciate that. I love finding moments of levity and humor. On the flip side, I acknowledge that not everyone is going to find this funny, especially if something is new and hard. I say it doesn't have to be comedy, it doesn't have to be humor, but do something creative, because I think finding a way to embrace your story is different for everyone and there's no right or wrong. I know people who it's never going to be funny to them, but they're painting or they're writing, or there's poetry, or I guess there are people who do athletic stuff. That will never be me, but great, I'm glad that. Going for a run is how you process. What does it look like to find it in a way that works for you?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, find your outlet. You made it through boarding school. When did you start stand up professionally?

Speaker 2:

Hold on, we need to go back to boarding school. That's my biggest fear. This boarding school that you're the board member of, or whatever, it's opposite of what I experienced. You went to a therapeutic environment, even if it wasn't not meant to be. It just was like just to hippie, chill, be yourself, everyone's accepted. I went to boarding school for kids who are in trouble or wealthy and their parents don't want them there, or kids who are locals and there's no good school. That's why they go there. We had very different experiences. As an example, I was the valedictorian. There were only 12 of us and I had a B average. That tells you anything. 12 people in my class co-ed 80 students on the beach in Lake Michigan beautiful. But I was the valedictorian with a B 3.0 average. That was like when teachers gave you points because you were curved. It was probably like a D or an E. Your school was bigger than mine. Before we move quickly past it, I think it's a really important point because in your TED Talk which, by the way, it was awesome we're going to put that in the show notes as well for people to be able to watch you and see you if they're able to and listen. It's really cool. One of the things that was a huge pivotal moment when that teacher had you write that list In your TED Talk you talked about it wasn't like you instantly were like oh yeah, I'm funny, it was a process. How did you and you start? You alluded to it when we were talking earlier about the funny part about channeling that funny. We'll be right back.

Speaker 6:

This is George, fred and Jason, the co-leaders of Speak, interrupting to say that we hope you're enjoying this episode, but please make sure to check out our new show, the Speak Podcast, another great show produced by Launchpad 516 Studios. New episodes available every week on all of your favorite podcast platforms.

Speaker 5:

Each Speak Talk is about six to ten minutes in length, and the talks are given in storytelling format. There are three key moments in each Speak Talk the moment of truth, the moment of transformation and the moment of impact. We host pop-up events all over the world, and now we're bringing our talks to your device.

Speaker 6:

Join us on the Speak Podcast as our speakers step onto the stage and into the spotlight with impactful ideas and stories.

Speaker 3:

We'll let you get back to the show you were listening to another great podcast from Launchpad 516 Studios. You're tuning in to embrace it with Laini Anastella, brought to you by Launchpad 516 Studios.

Speaker 2:

So how did you? I want people to think, okay, maybe funny, being a comedian isn't your thing, but everyone has a thing that they're really good at. Or people tell them you know, you're so thoughtful, you're the best gift giver, or you're so creative, whatever it may be, and they just never channeled it. They never, like, really honed in on that. So take us from writing getting in trouble and you know, getting. By the way, I also got in trouble, but it was like being in the woods doing things that kids do in boarding school, not for writing notes. I don't know, we went to totally different boarding schools. So, anyways, take us to how did you learn to channel your humor in a way that was positive for you and for other people? And, yeah, share that please.

Speaker 4:

I'm still a little bit on that journey, like I have jokes that still I probably can never do on stage because they're just mean, angry at the world, like they're a 15 year old Pam again. But boarding school signed me up for a ton of classes and workshops to see what I connected with, and they were the ones that put me in stand up and improv. I loved it. They got me writing jokes. But I think a big thing was, you know, I wasn't just in detention for those letters. Those letters were a result of like, in addition to detention, I had to read apology letters but I, you know, was snarky and mean and pushing back and the staff decided that anything goes, any bad language goes, if I put it in my art, and that to me like opened a world where I can. I cuss on here. Can I say bad? Yes, I wrote a whole series of poetry called shit. They told me I could use bad words and so I leaned in with the shit series and I was my favorite line. So in order to like get it, if you've gotten trouble during like, evenings and weekends, you had to clean, you had to work off, like your time cleaning. And I remember my favorite line in a poem was the shitty clock ticks as I tick and clean up shit. Wow, and like it opened, like to be able to know that I could, I could play and I could say the wrong thing. And I had a presentation in history where I was told I could be creative and it had words on a screen that I will never say out loud. It starts with a C, but it was like the dirtiest word I could think if I put a whole presentation together about it. And the history teacher I remember being like I'm uncomfortable, but you did the assignment. I think that was huge. They let me step over the line. They let me find my footing. They drove me to do stand up. They drove me to do slam poetry nights. Like it wasn't initially all stand up, it was just me being creative, I. They put me in a playwriting class after I knew I loved being funny. So in a playwriting class I used humor and I wrote a play and it won the Vermont Young Playwright Festival. Like I was just trying to find my voice in in, but I knew it was going to be through through humor. But they really supported it and cheered me on. They bought canvases and paint for my room. They mean, it was like they. If. I play the right of all yeah yeah, wow, really lucky, and a lot of the kids who were there had also gone to like wilderness programs, therapeutic boarding schools and instead of going home after it came here. So we had, you know, kids with varying needs. We had kids who had been in rehab programs and wilderness programs. Um, we, we had kids who were in the foster care system, and then we had kids whose parents were bajillionaires and kind of everyone in between, and it was really this, just yeah, it was just a really cool experience and I was there for all four years, wow, so your comedy that you do now because we definitely want to get to the Netflix thing, so we're going to get there.

Speaker 2:

But your comedy, your current profession is a comedian. Is that right? Like you make money as a man.

Speaker 4:

I do more as the comedy and storytelling with a message. So really what I do more of these days is work with schools, communities, corporate teams and I combine comedy and storytelling to share my story and then give concrete tips and tools to build a more inclusive office college. Whatever I still do, typical stand up my typical stand up is still filthy, like I do clean with this other piece that I do of really comedy storytelling. But when I'm back in New York I met the comedy clubs just working it out, you know.

Speaker 2:

I love what you're doing with this amazing touring helping kids, college students, whatever you know, telling your story to get them to not only understand what it's like to live with multiple disabilities yourself, but also to like channel their own. You know stuff right. So take us to the exciting part. Estella saw you on the Jewish Matchmaker show which I watched today. I'm a little bit over today, so I'm so curious. I was, you know, do you remember? Like the first? You're too young, but the first matchmaker on TV. I forgot what her name was. She was so funny and so pretty. Yeah, I do remember. Oh my God, what was that millionaire? It was millionaire matchmaker. Yeah, oh, I remember I remember, yeah, it was like yeah. But then you know, then I started watching the other ones and I was like, oh, this is so you know you kind of like watch shows at least I do based on like what you're doing in life, right? So, like when I was dating, I watched dating shows. When I was getting married it was all about like marriage and you know, whatever, and then it was like baby shows and now I have no interest in anything. It's not so old, it's like, oh, what is there to watch? That's shows, Like I don't even know, but anyways, Okay. So I want to ask you those. How did you get, like? Did you apply to be on the Jewish matchmaker show? Did Netflix find you? How did that happen.

Speaker 4:

Most people applied. I did a show I mean I tour and so, like seven years ago, aliza the matchmaker saw me perform in LA and ran up to me and was like can I match you and I'm? The journey to love Tourette's was different for me than the journey to love Tourette's in dating, and so at that point I was so career focused, I was I love Tourette's, but I wasn't so comfortable dating with it and I kind of laughed at her. I was like no, and we stayed in touch, though she, we Facebook friended each other. We had been kind of in touch through the years and she had seen some jokes I'd posted about dating now. So she knew now I was dating. And so when she got the show, she told Netflix about me and she called and said now are you dating? And I said no, I'm dating. And she gave me a call and said how would you feel about dating on camera?

Speaker 2:

Okay. So before we talk about the show you dating, we talk a little bit. You know, I think one of our episodes that's the most listened to was on dating. I mean, people are very interested whether they're single, whether they're newly single because they're divorced or whatever, trying to date. Do you do you assume, pam, that Pam I just said Pam, like we're buddies you go by, pam, I go by either. Okay so, pam, do you assume people have Googled you and like know about your stress, or do you not assume that, like, how do you approach dating with your disabilities?

Speaker 4:

So I think the biggest thing for me is that I don't. It's not a one size fits all for every date. For everything I do, I've given myself agency to decide. If I want to toning on a first date I have threats Great. If I don't, that's great too. I get to make a decision in the moment based on how I feel, and that, for me, was really freeing, because for a long time I was like trying to come up with the exact language and decide when I would do it. Was I going to do it before appetizers was going to? You know what I mean? Like when am I telling him? And once I was like I can be in the moment, like if we're bantering and it's great and I feel like I can, I want to say it Awesome, I'll tell them my threats If, if I'm uncomfortable, well, I'm not going to marry that dude anyway. So I like it. I don't have to. I don't have to be nervous or worried about that. I don't have to be worried. I don't have to, um, not share my worries or wonders. Why I'm winking him a little bit extra. Then that's on him. Great, am I working? Your favorite too? You never know, it absolutely has worked in my favor.

Speaker 2:

Tourette's has become what's the, not my sidekick, my, uh, oh, I'm just dropping. Oh, I know what you're gonna say.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I was just gonna say wingman, that's hilarious, that is absolutely hilarious. And I don't assume they've Googled me. I date a lot of comedians, which is like such a bad life decision. I'm aware, and I do know, that for the most part they know I have Tourette's because I'm an open book on stage, whether it's a Speaking gig or kind of stand-up gig. So, they know, although sometimes they don't. I like was on a show with a guy and Did a bunch of jokes about having Tourette's and at the end of it he was like funny stuff and I was like thanks, and he goes. And I saw you winking at me and I was like you don't even get right.

Speaker 3:

So what is Dating life like?

Speaker 4:

for you. Now I'm looking for the biggest thing is commitment to the bit. I need a guy who can like banter back and forth with me. I want, if we've got an inside joke, I want us to keep going with it until it isn't funny anymore and then keep going even more until it circles back to being funny again. I speak in sarcasm, so I want a guy who is sarcastic and can hold his own. I and besides that, I think I'm open to a lot of things and, like you know, I think we often think that people with disabilities are only dating other people with disabilities and For me that's like if he has a disability, okay, and if he doesn't, okay, like right. It's really about like the banter, and I hate small talk. I hate small talk.

Speaker 2:

So I'm who likes it? Who are there? People that like small talk?

Speaker 4:

I think people who are good at it, but like I want to crawl.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so yeah, I'm so love match on Netflix. I guess it was a friendship match.

Speaker 4:

We are, we keep in touch. Yeah, a little bit.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I don't want to. We don't want to spoil the episode for people because we're gonna include it, but so we're not gonna say okay, okay, whatever.

Speaker 4:

But Going back to what Estella asked you dating is can dating can be a nightmare, disability or not, like huge. I think there's just a level of like Rejection that you know, even like I'm, I'm friends with some really hot people and they also get rejected and they remind me of that and that makes me feel great like not great for that, you know, like.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we know what you mean, because a lot of times people are like, oh, it must have been my disability. Right when Estella and I do like skits in our workshops for, like you know, our our thoughts, if we're not in a place we, where we feel good about ourselves, where we're still. You know, in your TED talk you talked about people staring at you all the time and feeling like people were always staring. Like that woman is staring at me, she's staring at, she's staring at my tracks. She knows that I have trust. We, and when we're self-conscious and we're, like you know, we're focused on our Disability being a negative thing, then someone else is gonna see it as a negative thing. But it sounds like what you do is you just put it out there. It's part of your everyday life. And you know what was my point? Oh, I know. My point was is that a lot of times people use their disability as, like the excuse, like, oh, it must have been, I'm not going to put myself out there because no one would want me because of my disability, because I went on three dates and no one called me back, so it must be my disability. When, in fact, camilla, like what you said is like, oh, you're hot friends, they might not get called back either. They're not thinking, oh, it's because I'm hot, no one's calling me back, right, I'm?

Speaker 4:

too hot. I, you just in the dating world you're going to get rejected, and it might. It's the same as when I audition for things Like it might just have been that I like wasn't exactly what they wanted at that moment, but in six months, maybe I'm great for a different role or a different part. And I think in dating like, we often internalize the rejection instead of like no. And also I might be rejecting people Like I. You know, at some point this year broke up with a guy I'd been seeing, and it's because it's just, he might have been great, might have been great on paper, he might have been great, for sure he's great for someone else, but he wasn't my match and like it has nothing. Like you know, it's nothing bad or wrong about him, and so when I can put that in perspective, then when I get rejected, it's just I wasn't their match and that's like a learning curve. It's something I still struggle with. There are times where I am not dating because I don't feel like my self-esteem is gonna be great at handling rejection.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and it's all about going back to that list of things that you like about yourself and remembering that's the core of your most important relationship, right, and then from there you're able to kind of navigate your family relationships, romantic relationships. I think that's a great tool for anyone out there who, whether you're struggling with disability or something else or anything, it's just to have that list handy, maybe write it down. What are some other tools that you maybe share with the students that you speak with that we can share with our listeners today on how to kind of build that resilience as well?

Speaker 4:

So I wanna add one thing that with dating, I realized we all have something. Everyone has something that makes life feel scary or messy, or we're learning to love about ourselves, or hard or overwhelming, and so I go into every day like remembering that, that like, yeah, for me I've got a few things, and a lot of them are visible. Tourette's Four Foot Six Curvy Queen. There's a lot going on, but everyone is working through something. Everyone is on the journey to love themselves, whether they know it or not. And so, yeah, and that, because I knew I wanted to say that I absolutely forgot your question.

Speaker 3:

Oh, I was gonna say, are there any other tools that you share with the students?

Speaker 4:

So I think a big thing and not just the students with anyone is like what? Make a list of what you love about yourself. Start a list and if you have one thing amazing, if you have no things, that's also amazing. What an important thing to realize. Because realizing that you maybe don't know yet what you love about yourself is an indicator that, like, let's pull in some supports. Is it therapy? Is it letting a friend group know, or a friend know, or someone you care about, a teacher, if you're in school, right, like and I asked my friends that question Like I love knowing what my friends love about themselves, and if they're, by asking that question, and especially like I used to run a youth organization and I would ask all my teens this question because, on one hand, if I know it, when things are hard and they will get hard, I can reflect that back in them. And on the flip side, if someone doesn't have anything they love about themselves yet, I wanna help you pull in supports to find it, because it doesn't matter what age you are. There's no too late to start that journey and there are times in my life where I have to go back to the drawing board and say I'm not feeling funny right now. I but a year and a half ago had a death in the family and like just wasn't feeling funny or creative, and so I went back to the drawing board and I was like I wanna find something else. Let me go on a journey again to see something else that I connect with.

Speaker 2:

Okay, number five and six that we have in common. I always say everyone has something like don't I get the oh?

Speaker 3:

it does all the time.

Speaker 2:

And then, oh my God, I used to run a youth organization. I'm a social worker by background and my focus was on teen self-esteem and body image, and it then evolved to doing trendable and embrace it and all that. But we have so much in common.

Speaker 4:

I love it, that's amazing.

Speaker 3:

We're gonna have to hang out.

Speaker 2:

I mean, okay, I just used a bad. See, I just used a word that would be like ableist. I just said it's crazy and it is, but it's not. It is. You guys know what I mean. That was not good. Anyways, okay, how can people find you know more about you? We're gonna put all the links for your TED Talk, for the Jewish matchmaking episode, for your website. We're gonna put that in the show notes. But can you just let us know on Netflix, like, what is your? How do we find?

Speaker 4:

you there. So Netflix. I think I'm episode eight. I'm not Netflix. I'm sorry, I'm on.

Speaker 2:

Instagram, I'm not Netflix. How do we find you on Netflix?

Speaker 4:

Well, like Instagram. I'm at Pamela Comedy. My website is also at Pamela or PamelaComedycom. My TikTok is Pamela Comedy. So really, if you also literally I think if you search like Pamela Tourette's, you're gonna find me pretty quick If you forget the handle, yeah.

Speaker 3:

Okay, and I know Lainey mentioned that you used the phrase embrace it in your TED Talk a few times.

Speaker 2:

I'm mad at her.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, what is the term embrace? It personally mean to you now, looking back.

Speaker 4:

The term embrace. It is like I'm always gonna have Tourette's, I'm always gonna be four foot six and a half, like I'm likely always gonna have OCD. So it's kind of accepting the truth and building from there. I can struggle and love myself at the same time and so that's it. Love that, yeah.

Speaker 2:

So, it was so awesome having you on, pamela. I mean, like everyone can feel my enthusiasm for this because I mean, first of all, we learned a little bit. I didn't know much about Tourette's. I love to recap the fact that that boarding school experience that one teacher made such an impact by having you think about what you love about yourself and then molding that natural talent into something that helps people. And I was thinking, as you were doing that, like Astellah does, that she works for an organization that she cares about. She uses her creativity, her everything to do what we do. And like, if listeners wanna have a takeaway from this, it's like think about what it is about yourself that you appreciate that other. Maybe think about what would if you don't have that one thing. Think about what would someone else say about you is something they love about you? And then, if you don't love it, maybe start finding ways to accept it first and then love it, you know. So we loved having you, pamela, and we're gonna definitely connect again our past lacrosse with so many things we have in common. I mean we're bound to connect again right.

Speaker 4:

Thank you for the work you're both doing and for having me today. This was a ton of fun, thank you so much, pamela.

Speaker 3:

Well, thank you everyone for listening and we'll be back soon with another episode of Embrace it, but please check out the show notes and follow Pamela, and we'll speak soon. Bye, hey, embracers. Thank you so much for listening and supporting the Embrace it podcast Brought to you by Launchpad 516 Studios executive, produced by George Andreobelis and hosted by Laini Ispia and Estella Hugo. Our music and sound effects are licensed through Epidemic Sound. Embrace it is hosted with Buzzsprout. Do you have a?

Speaker 2:

disability related topic you'd love for us to feature, or could someone you know be a fabulous guest on our show? We would love to hear your comments and feature them on our next podcast. So leave us a voicemail or you can even send us a text to 631-517-0066.

Speaker 3:

Make sure to subscribe to this feed wherever podcasts are available and leave us a five star review on Apple Podcasts while you're at it, follow us at Embracet underscore podcast on Instagram and make sure to follow all the great podcasts produced by Launchpad 516.

Speaker 2:

Studios. We hope you join us next time and continue to Embrace it.

Embrace It
Humor and Self-Acceptance in Overcoming Challenges
Finding Humor and Love With Disabilities
Navigating Dating and Building Resilience