Laughing at embarrassing moments from awkward years isn’t always easy, but artist and comedian Katy Fishell makes it easy with her Instagram account Sex Is Weird. The account features illustrated comics from the artist to tell some of the most embarrassing stories from her formative years.
We talked to Katy about her how she started her unique account. She said Sex is Weird started for two reasons:
“First, because I was incredibly lost and had nothing else going on. I’d just gotten out of a very shitty relationship and had moved to Los Angeles to start doing stand-up, the most humiliating thing you can do. I had really bad stage fright and never quite figured it out. I’ve always drawn in my spare time, so it was way easier to translate jokes visually rather than pretend to have confidence in front of a crowd.
Second (the sad serious reason) is that I was in a pretty massive amount of pain from numerous traumatic events I’d never dealt with. I wasn’t in therapy and was carrying around a lot of rage. Most of the early comics I posted were from the most painful moments of my life, and it was just a way to process that rather than distract myself with unhealthy compulsive behaviors, which I was swimming in during my early 20’s.”
1. What it’s like to date an older guy:
Katy’s comics deal with hurdles many young people deal with growing up, like wearing makeup for the first time, going on uncomfortable dates, and all things about first sexual experiences. We asked Katy where she gets inspiration from and if she ever consults old diaries.
“I mostly make comics based on my experiences. Sometimes they’re direct play-by-plays of an event, or they are exaggerated interpretations of a feeling. I think I just explained what a joke is. Perfect. But basically I add visual jokes as I’m drawing, so the end result is often way different than what I’d first imagined. What’s great about drawing and animation is you can add as many telling details as you want, like posters on a wall or some mouth crust on someone’s lip or whatever. I wish I had journals that would be useful for my comics, but all of mine are sort of just me whining throughout time. It’s not funny or compelling, just sort of annoying.”
2. Her first phone sex experience:
3. Remembering the perfect body type:
4. The all-important decision of rubber bands on braces:
Katy like the rest of us, has spent the majority of the last year inside her house. We asked her if she felt like her art has changed due to having more free time.
“I think my art has changed a lot. I’ve just gotten way better at drawing, objectively. I do it every day, for hours and hours each day, and it just shows. But with the lockdown specifically, yeah I think I’ve tried to pull focus outside of myself a bit more.
I started making comics and animations with Theo Henderson, who runs the podcast We The Unhoused. He works so hard to make people see the Unhoused community as human beings rather than “failures who chose the wrong path” or whatever horse shit we’ve told ourselves over the years to be able to justify this insane crisis. I’ve also been able to work with The Bail Project, an organization focused on abolishing cash bail and aiding people who are currently being held in jail just for being poor.
Maybe this is cheesy or obvious, but a global pandemic definitely was a reminder of how fragile everything is at all times, and how taking yourself seriously is a massive waste of time. You’re not that important, so you can and should find time to help other people in whatever way you’re able. I hope that didn’t make me sound mean.”
5. First experiences wearing makeup:
6. Nailing the weird arm thing we all do:
7. Her submissions are hilarious too.
Katy talked about how she chooses which submitted stories to draw, saying:
>”The submission process is extremely loose and that’s what’s fun about it. People treat my DM’s like a dumping ground for stuff that’s happened to them which is very very very cool. I understand it sounds lame to be like “omg I love my internet community ????” but………. I’m truly so proud of the supportive and positive space these cartoons created. Everyone is so nice to each other and the best part of sharing someone’s story is knowing they’re about to see a bunch of comments from strangers that relate to their Big Dark Secret.”