defeat asshole brain Archives - ⚡️Kristen Kalp

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Places the patriarchy is still strong within me (and probably you too, dammit)

When I sent a list of possible podcast topics to my peeps, this is what you all chose: Places The Patriarchy Is Still Strong Within Me (and probably you too, dammit)!

In this episode of That’s What She Said, I’ll walk you through many of the places I’m actively working to extract patriarchal conditioning from my being.

This podcast episode is a walk through trust and vulnerability.  It’s a revealing of the places where I’m actively working, not of places I’ve 100% mastered.  It’s a reckoning with the fact that unlearning is a process, not a destination, as well as an active celebration of all the places where I’ve gained ground, claimed victory, and kicked ass.

Spoiler alert, the 7 areas I’m working to clear are my inner voice, spoken voice, body, apologies, asking, imagination, and witch wound.  (You’ll have to listen for all the details!)

I hope that listening to it leaves you feeling more hopeful, more connected, and less alone than when you started.

This is less How to Fix/Solve X — and more a journey through the places where what we think is OUR PROBLEM ALONE is actually A MASSIVE SOCIETAL PROBLEM WITH NO CLEAR SOLUTION. 😉

P.S. My Receive breathwork class is an ideal place to start reclaiming your body, breath, and the critical feeling of your own worthiness to receive.

You don’t have to earn your keep.

Welcome to Microdose #2 in our 2022 podcast series!  You can start with Pandemic, Year Three, or dive in below for the most-relevant-to-this-moment wisdom I’ve got:

We begin with a poem.

When people ask how I am, I don’t want my first response to be “Tired.”

And so I am undoing
my life’s ley lines
around wonder and silence
stillness and depth

I am deleting apps,
banishing the phone to the furthest corners
of the house.

I am tossing big plastic rings
at the dog, who chases them
and chews them
and likes to see if he can dangle from them
by his teeth for just a second
before his grip fails.

I am learning not-tired the same way:
dangling, just barely
by my teeth

But I am learning, nonetheless.

There’s a portion of asshole brain that I call Resting Bitch Voice. It’s like Resting Bitch Face, only this doesn’t just make you look like you’re pissed when you’re in the latest edition of People magazine.

Resting Bitch Voice keeps you tired, overworked, stressed, steeped in martyrdom, and unable to articulate exactly why you feel like a bag of old turds. (This is covered in far greater detail in That’s What She Said episode #251, which you can find at

First, Resting Bitch Voice makes you EARN rest.

Resting Bitch Voice will also pipe up about how you’re doing rest WRONG.

It says things like…

Why can’t you do all these tasks on this very long list and THEN rest?

Why can’t you rest MORE PRODUCTIVELY?

Why aren’t you working ahead when you know you have [ENORMOUS LIST OF THINGS] to do next week?

Why is the pandemic STILL making you tired?

Why can’t you just HANDLE YOUR SHIT without having to sleep, chill, ask for help, or unplug?

Ultimately, Resting Bitch Voice continuously conveys that it is NOT OKAY to be human.

It NEVER stops questioning your Very Human Limitations.

I’m not telling you about Resting Bitch Voice because this is easy work.

Rather, I’m talking about the mechanics of rest because it’s hard for me. My natural tendency is to WAKE UP AND DO SHIT UNTIL I DROP.

I had to learn that Resting Bitch Voice a.) exists and b.) can singlehandedly ruin my health when I listen to it.

How many hours of sleep and/or downtime would you get if you allowed yourself to be fully human?

What would regular rest and downtime look like if you let yourself be fully human?

What would you put down, leave behind, stop doing, or start prioritizing from an allowed-to-be-fully-human space?

If all you do in 2022 is learn to rest with less guilt and more joy, YOU’RE FUCKING WINNING.

If you’d like to be supported as you learn to rest, slow down, do less, and generally un-capitalism yourself as much as possible, I invite you to join me at The Imaginarium!

During these live, in-person workshops for the fully vaccinated in Philadelphia, we’ll take a look at every aspect of your life during pandemic. Then, we’ll vote many of the things that keep you burned out and stretched thin off the table so that you have more space for occupying and enjoying your life. Bonus: you’ll have three months after the workshop to form new habits and to explore the world of whatever comes after hustling yourself into the ground. You’ll do this work in the company of myself and up to 6 other rad humans.

To talk with me about attending, hit up and book a call! If you’d like to do this work privately – just me and you in Philly on the dates of your choosing – book a call and ask about Solo.

P.S. Related to learning to rest and find the sweetness even here, in the midst of pandemic: it doesn’t count if you don’t enjoy it.

Don’t You Dare Settle for Fine

We were promised an end to the pandemic with the arrival of vaccinations, and that’s clearly not even close to happening.

What do we do now?

Don’t You Dare Settle for Fine is my answer.

Lemme help you identify both your pandemic feelings and needs in a space that’s full of laughter and the ridiculousness of being a human today.

This LIVE recording of That’s What She Said was made in the company of other humans who risked connection, emotions, and being seen — and it’s FUCKING GLORIOUS.

You can leave ‘fine’ behind with tiny, annoying progress, and you can start doing that shit TODAY.

Once you’ve listened, let me know what you discover!

🔥Book a call to talk with me about whatever you learn.

Questions, comments, ideas, epiphanies to share? Book a call!

P.S. When it comes to pandemic… Put it down.

I’m fine. It’s fine. Everything is fine.

We both know that anyone who says they’re ‘fine’ is absolutely anything BUT fine.

That’s why I want to address the places you’re ‘fine’ and help you kick ’em to the curb.

This is an episode of That’s What She Said!  Listen in for the extended version, or keep reading if you’re pressed for time.

Here are 5 spots where ‘fine’ could be tripping you up.

Which of these sound like you?

1 – “I’ll take care of everyone else, it’s fine.”

You might have succumbed to martyrdom, which those born female are trained for since birth. In my life, this looked like showing up as a perfect angel of productivity (and vacumming and cleaning and cooking!) while resenting everyone for not noticing how much I was struggling and how little energy I had to spend.

Nevermind that I never or rarely VERBALIZED my needs or desires or stunning exhaustion: it’s everyone else’s fault! They don’t understand! REAL HOUSEWIVES ARE THE ANSWER, I KNOW IT!

My martyrdom pushed me further into numbing out and trying to recover from life by…avoiding life altogether. I shoved pesky things like needs and feelings as far down as possible, piling reality TV on top of more reality TV.

👉🏻When people asked if I needed a break or would like some help, I’d say “No.” Because I was FINE.

Season 8 Whatever GIF

2 – “I’ll work even harder, it’s fine.”

If not martyrdom, you might be taking workaholism for a spin!

That looks like…

Resting: no.

Time off: nope!

Taking a break from thinking about work: never.


Work will help you numb out in the name of capitalism, which makes it harder for those around you to address directly. Society says you should be working! And you are! Nonstop! What could be better?

Except…you burst into tears at seemingly random times. You can’t figure out exactly why, so you figure it’s ‘for no reason.’ You beat yourself up for having bursts of emotion and then keep working.

In my life, workaholism showed up when I was MANY YEARS into a marriage I first got the impulse to end at the 6-week mark. Did I face that reality with grace and aplomb? Heeeeeeeell no.

I did what any self-respecting, overachieving woman does: I worked even harder.

I sat at my computer faithfully for 8 to 12 hours a day, 5 days a week and sometimes on weekends. I posted, I tweeted, I blogged, I emailed, I coached, I wrote…ANYTHING to avoid the fact that I didn’t actually like my husband or want to be near him. My work was as much an escape from myself as a way to make money and help others grow.

In 2021, workaholism means you’re stressed from making an extra 3,000 pandemic-based decisions a day. From making and canceling plans. From rescheduling and trying to navigate all things WTF IS EVEN HAPPENING in an unstable global year. From navigating the rapidly changing economic/social/educational/political landscape. From being ‘on’ at all times. From Zoom school. From mask mandates or the lack thereof. From waking up and finding the courage to face another day.

AND from doing all the work you normally do.

You’re overwhelmed, exhausted, and holding on by a thread.

👉🏻…but when people ask how you are? You’re FINE.

Real Housewives Cry GIF by Slice

3 – “Just keep swimming. The status quo is fine.”

If you haven’t turned to workaholism, you might feel…unmoored. Adrift. Distant from your being and your work. You find yourself asking existential questions like, what is it all for? What does it all mean? Why does this work matter? What difference does it make?

Asshole brain is quick to assure you that none of this matters. It pipes up that there’s no way [that idea you just had] will work, so you just keep swimming. All of your efforts are tilted toward surviving today, which means maintaining the status quo.

One day, then the next. No need to dream or plan or strategize. And those longings you feel for something different, wild, expansive, or imaginative? You shove those into a tiny box and banish it to the back of your brain.

👉🏻You’re stagnant but surviving. You’re FINE.

love actually GIF

4 – “Everything I want can happen…later. I’m fine.”

It might look like you’re functioning normally on the outside, but on the INSIDE. Your insides feel condensed and sometimes you don’t feel like you can breathe. You catch yourself holding your breath when you’re stressed.

You’re curled into a metaphorical ball and hoping this shit ends soon.

You’ll make up something new or get back to your business or career or art-making or idea-gathering…later. When pandemic ends. When your kids go to kindergarten/high school/college. When you lose 10 pounds. When you can hire way more childcare/an assistant/a manager/an accountant/a fully-staffed yacht.

👉🏻Your enthusiasm for life and for the future have experienced massive shrinkage — and that’s 100% OKAY BECAUSE YOU. ARE. FINE.

5 – “I can do it all by myself. I’m fine.”

Finally, and because we’ve faced social isolation like never before in the past few years, you might have slipped into I Can Do It All By Myself Syndrome. You don’t need child care or help taking care of your home or someone to help you process orders or send mail or respond to customers or build systems. You don’t need a sounding board or someone to support you as you take your next steps in business.

Your whole being is contracting in such a way that more and more responsibilities land on you — because you’re the only person you really trust to get the job done.

👉🏻You’re doing it all by yourself because YOU! ARE FINE.

Finding your ‘Fine’ life points will help you find spots where you’re lying to yourself, totally overwhelmed, or unable to handle facing some portion of your life directly.

We can’t talk solutions to these feelings without first identifying where ‘fine’ shows up in your life.

So…which sounds like you at the moment?

1 – I’ll keep taking care of everyone else, it’s fine.

2 – I’ll work even harder, it’s fine.

3 – Just keep swimming. The status quo is fine.

4 – Everything I want can happen…later. I’m fine.

5 – I can do it all by myself. I’m fine.

6 – All of these.

Let me know what you’re up against by shooting an email to with the corresponding number! I’d love to know how ‘fine’ is showing up for you.

I’ll use every response I receive anonymously to help make my next free live event even better. (Translation: talking to me helps everyone who listens to the podcast or reads these emails! Go, you!)

Once you’ve shot me an email, sign up for this magic 👇🏼


You’re invited to Don’t You Dare Settle for Fine, the next live podcast recording! (Why YES it IS inspired by Roy Kent’s famous lines from Ted Lasso, thanks for asking!)

Drink Drinking GIF by Apple TV

Don’t You Dare Settle for Fine goes down on September 15th at 11am ET.

⚽️If you’d like to talk about your version of ‘fine’ and get coached in real time, YES! Let’s do it! Talk to me and we’ll find a next step to start moving you out of ‘fine’ mode.

⚽️If you’d like to hear more about how to kick ‘fine’ to the curb and live a goddamn spectacular life in the midst of pandemic, yes! I’ll be talking about that! And you can play with me and ask questions in real time! (SPOILER ALERT: I WILL BE TALKING ABOUT SEEING BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY AND WHY WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE BOSS MATTERS TO YOU.)

⚽️If you’d like dibs on my live event in Philly this November, GET STOKED! I’ll give you details and a promo code at that time!

Pop your name in the magical form so I can send you details! 👇🏼



P.S. When you’re feeling ‘fine,’ you need simple and helpful ways to defeat asshole brain.

Energy is your friend.

Energy bio

Psst!  This is the final That’s What She Said episode about coming into right relationship with the things we spend: time, money, and energy.  Check out time is your friend and/or money is your friend

It’s Summer 2020, and I’m sitting on the back porch with my eyes leaking tears for minutes or perhaps hours at a time. When Bear asks what’s wrong, I say “I’m so tired.” This is the same thing I say every day, because this particular scene unfolds at the same time each afternoon.

For a lot of months when pandemic started, it felt like I was swiping my energetic credit card when I went to work in the morning: WELP you’ve no longer got actual energy, so we’ll pull from your reserves and see what happens. Future You will figure this out!

As evidenced by the daily tired cry, this strategy failed to work a few months into the crisis. My energy reserves were non-existent. I hit rock bottom energetically, day after day, unable to store up any scrap of energy to make tomorrow easier to survive.

If this has been happening to you, too: YUP I get it.

We humans are meant to have crises that last a few days or weeks, not global crises that unfold over the course of years, as pandemic is doing right now. (More about this from Brene Brown here! It’s genius!)

Pandemic life means our relationship with energy — how much of it we have, use, and need in any given day — has to change.

What was a-okay behavior for 2019-Me didn’t help me through pandemic. I was tired, I was lonely, I was recovering from having had Covid before it had a name, and I was in a new place entirely, having moved from Philly to Portland just before the virus was unleashed.

To build up energy, I had to get still and really listen to my body.

My body said it needed more sleep. And more time outside. And to do yoga every single day, no exceptions. I started doing those things, and in time I found that I was no longer hitting energetic rock bottom day after day. Three times a week, maybe. Four times, tops. OKAY FIVE TIMES A WEEK, MAX.

After moving back to Philly, body started asking to meditate. To which I reacted positively while screaming WHY GOD WHY internally. I’ve actively avoided having a meditation practice for a couple of decades, ’cause wow do I hate sitting still and watching my mind. I want to AVOID my mind most of the time, and now you want me to sit still and BE WITH IT?


Fine, I’ll do that, too.

Finding ways to produce and enjoy having enough energy often comes back to incredibly basic building blocks that we like to pretend don’t matter.

We like to think we’ve got shit figured out and we’re FINE GODDAMMIT, so why try improving anything at all? For me, the long journey to the body has meant that I’ve had to learn how to be in my body; ask my body what it needs; and stay tuned into my body while working out or even having sex.


How much energy have you got in your tanks right now?

I dare you to be honest about that information with yourself. And then with others.

To tell on myself, here: a lot of the reason that I broke down crying every day in Portland had nothing to do with being tired. I was often crying because I expected myself to be GREAT and I wasn’t feeling at all great. I conveniently ignored the fact that I was thousands of miles from all loved ones except Bear, trapped in the house during a pandemic without a vaccination, living in a city experiencing visits from the Proud Boys domestic terrorism organization, and acting as the breadwinner while a global crisis unfolded.

The expectation that I would be FANTASTIC EVEN THOUGH THE WORLD IS ON FIRE was actually more harmful than having very little energy.

I would beat myself up about how I SHOULD BE FEELING SO MUCH BETTER THAN I AM, which resulted in wasting energy on self attack instead of using that energy to…sleep. Or eat some vegetables.

That’s part of why this simple question — how much energy have you got in your tanks right now? — is so profound. We’re trained to ignore our bodies and pretend everything is okay, so being honest with yourself about how much energy you ACTUALLY POSSESS AT THIS MOMENT might feel incredibly vulnerable.

You might admit that you haven’t felt like yourself in weeks or months or years. You might be absolutely freaked out by how little energy you’ve got in the tank when you stop to check. Your asshole brain might have convinced you that there’s no use checking, ’cause it will always be this way. (And ‘this way’ is sleep-deprived, nutritionally deficient, overwhelmed, dehydrated, and/or stagnant.)

This is data. Just as an empty gas tank doesn’t mean the car has to be scrapped, an empty energy tank doesn’t mean you’re broken. It’s COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY UNDERSTANDABLE that you’re exhausted in this moment.

You are surviving an unprecedented global event that has left no one on the planet untouched.

That’s the good news: being tired is perfectly normal and there’s nothing wrong with you.

The bad news? Your exhaustion isn’t going to go away on its own.


Being with and caring for our bodies often means being with what our mind wants to write off as basic — and therefore unnecessary — needs. Our asshole brain scoffs as we throw back mountains of sugar and pretend there are no consequences. Asshole brain has NO interest in hydrating, spending time in nature, meditating, ending work at a reasonable hour, getting enough sleep, moving the body, or even having days off.

Asshole brain will whisper that you should be doing MORE, not less, and do you really need nine hours of sleep, lazy?

Uh…yes, you do.

When your energy levels are in the toilet, it’s your job to take care of your body in ways that might have seemed indulgent or silly or ‘unproductive’ in The Before.

You might need more sleep, more greens, more time outside, more time offline, and more white space in your mind. (I have yet to meet a human who doesn’t need more of these things at this moment in time!)

Asshole brain will say sleep, greens, nature, offline time, and white space are basic. THAT DOESN’T MAKE THEM UNIMPORTANT.

Sure, these are basic needs, but they’re also the answer to filling your wells again: making sure the basics aren’t leaking energy. (Show me a person who is hyper-productive but doesn’t sleep, and I’ll show you a person I’d rather avoid.)

Which actions help to fill your tank in the most basic (and therefore reliable) of ways?

To put this another way: what are you committed to?

At some points in my life, my commitments were to take a shower, brush my teeth, and leave the house before 10am. Your commitments don’t have to be enormous in order to count!

Which actions or habits can you commit to on a daily basis in the name of having more energy for the long term?

Again, telling on myself: when my beloved health care provider asked me what I was committed to, I’m pretty sure I swore and scoffed. Then came the whining: I DON’T WANT TO BE COMMITTED TO ANYTHING DURING A PANDEMIC! Then the eye rolling: COMMITMENT IS SO STUPID ANYWAY, I DON’T EVEN LIKE COMMITMENTS. (See asshole brain doing its thing?)

I finally settled on being committed to doing yoga, meditating, and having 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. UGH I HATED SAYING IT OUT LOUD. And I’ve resisted doing it even more! But the truth is, those three commitments have helped me SURVIVE. Yoga makes me dip into my body before my mind gets going, meditation makes sure I’ve had silence and stillness in my mind before my work starts, and we both know there’s no substitution for eating actual foods that grew in the earth.

What are you committed to, even if you have to announce your commitment whilst kicking and screaming internally?

Please don’t judge yourself for the basics that have lapsed in the past 18 months. It’s not helpful to beat yourself up for not getting sleep or for stress-eating muffins until you developed a muffin top. You did what you had to do in order to survive. And now, you’re free to make new choices.

TOTAL ASIDE THAT DIDN’T FIT ANYWHERE BUT FEELS LIKE IT NEEDS TO BE SAID: sometimes you’re committed to the exact wrong thing. I know this because, like always, I’m speaking from personal experience. 😉

When I thought I was getting ‘too big’ for my life — when I was so clearly outgrowing my marriage and some parts of my work — I thought it would be better to get smaller. Just…try and keep this shit under wraps, Kalp. (Notice that ‘thinking’ about a thing and ‘knowing’ a thing are actual literal worlds apart. My mind OWNED MY ASS for the first 3 decades of life.) Don’t swear too much or say too much and FOR GOD’S SAKE DON’T TELL YOUR HUSBAND’S ABUSIVE FATHER HE’S AN ASSHOLE. I failed on ALL COUNTS at getting smaller — I was just me-sized, but now angsty about being ‘too much.’ At some point I realized that my shrinking only made my husband shrink farther so as to not be bigger than me, thus making me angry, tired, frustrated, and downright mean to him. Internally screaming GET BIGGER MOTHERFUCKER at him didn’t work. Divorce did.

This is not about divorce so much as refusing to alter your DNA for anyone or anything — instead, growing bigger and accessing more energy to deal with the repercussions of being who you are, instead of wasting any energy at all on repression and refusing to feel what you feel.

Sure, some people will say shit about you, and some will roll their eyes, and OTHERS WILL GIVE YOU MANY DOLLARS FOR BEING EXACTLY WHO YOU ARE.

If you’re committed to getting or to being smaller, please please please knock that shit off.

Okay? Okay.


Yah, I know, talking about nurturing is even worse than handling the basics.


Yes. I know. You’re busy and you’re doing the best you can. You’re taking care of yourself and you’ve got responsibilities.

I know. And.

This crisis isn’t going anywhere.

We’ve got to find new ways to support ourselves and our resiliency as we move through the coming months and years.

Pretending that you aren’t tired, exhausted, wiped out, overwhelmed, or freaking out won’t make your exhaustion disappear.

A few questions to help you find what your body or being needs:

Is there anything your being or body has been asking for repeatedly? And can you give yourself the gift of that thing?

Is there any person, activity, event, or practice that you keep being drawn to? And can you let yourself explore that thing?

Do you keep finding links or books or videos or articles about a topic that makes you feel inexplicable joy or curiosity? And can you let yourself move toward that thing?

This is the big energetic secret: we’re nurtured by what we’re nurtured by. It’s not the same for everyone.

Move toward any and everything that nurtures your body, brain, or being. Without judgement.

Bear can listen to music for 12 hours a day. I shine in silence.
I paint to fill myself up with color and form and movement. Bear has never painted a thing.
Bear can work his body for hours a day and enjoy it. He’s hiked the Appalachian Trail just for fun. I can hike for about two miles before I hate everything and everyone in existence.

Let yourself embrace whatever it is that nurtures you most deeply.

Asshole brain will pipe up that you shouldn’t give a fuck about [thing you care about] because [arbitrary thing] is more important.

It will say that [thing you care about] is stupid, or that [thing you’d like to try] is impossible.

When you kill your curiosity, you kill off your life force. Let yourself try out painting and fly fishing and turning your phone off and camping and clubbing and WHATEVER THE FUCK IT IS THAT CONTAINS ENERGY, FOR YOU.

Move toward that which is alive, and you’ll get more alive — i.e. have more energy — yourself.

🔥If you’d like my help tracking your basics, staying committed to your aliveness, and nurturing habits so that you’ve actually got enough energy to enjoy your business, take a look at KK on Tap Biz Coaching.

I’ll help you end I Can Do It All By Myself Syndrome so that you can stop stressing about doing ALL THE THINGS and actually ENJOY having a soulful, profitable business. Details here.


🌈Be honest about your energy levels with those closest to you. Ask for help as needed.

🌈Cover the basics without shame or judgement: are you hydrating? Sleeping enough? Having nutrition? Moving your body in some way on the regular? Getting time offline and without screens? Having sex?

🌈Embrace whatever it is that nurtures you most deeply. (You need to go to a knitting retreat and get your yarn on for a week? Okay! Judging what you want is a fantastic way to make yourself miserable. Let’s skip it. 😉



P.S. Asshole brain came up a lot in this episode, here’s some more about it!