My Bag


My name is Jameela Jamil. Welcome To I Weigh Community.

Two years ago we started an Instagram account to try to create a safe and radically inclusive space on social media. A lot of us want to help others and change the world for the better, but don’t know where to start.

Activism can seem daunting. Sometimes it’s just hard and lonely. At I Weigh Community, we don’t believe it has to be that way. We believe in brick-by-brick activism, and making a difference in large numbers. We’re going to have to come together and do this as one to really shift the narrative of our society.

I Weigh Community will introduce you to new voices, artists, activists and movements. These are the people we believe we need to listen to. We are still learning, and we’re inviting you to come and learn alongside us so we can all grow together. It’s never too late to want to help and understand each other better.

This movement is so important to me, and I look forward to getting to know you all.

Jam x

We seem to think the best way to combat boredom is to fill it with other people. Or we may be inclined to use it as an excuse to peacock for attention online.  It isn’t uncommon to see captions like “bored so took a selfie!” or “bored so ask me anything”. On closer inspection, boredom is often discreet procrastination. Many of us have dreams, goals and targets we wish to achieve. No matter how big or small, we have our minds set on honing in on a new skill, even if it’s just cleaning up after ourselves more.

There is a world of things I’d like to explore, and if I’m lucky, maybe even become good at. Over the years I’ve promised myself I’d learn to DJ, I’d pick up photography, learn a new language, and write more without the push and terror of an impending deadline. But the hard part about learning something new is the confirmation of our woeful ineptitude. 

Before we become good at anything, we often have to accept the gut-wrenching realisation that we’re going to be pretty bad at it. It is easier to put off things we suspect we will be bad at, than to try it and remove all doubt. This only reminds us that the route to progress is a difficult one. Why choose hard when an easy escape is just an app away? So many times I say I dislike something, when what I really mean is I’m bad at it. So rather than allowing myself to dwell in boredom, and quenching it with practising things that will find fulfilling, or at least helpful, I used to have the tendency to aimlessly escape it.

In the digital age, boredom is seemingly unacceptable and a burden that must be filled immediately. But our discomfort with boredom is not only a by-product of the digiscape.

In the digital age, boredom is seemingly unacceptable and a burden that must be filled immediately.

Betrand Russell reminds us,  “A wish to escape from boredom is natural, wars, pogroms, and persecutions have all been part of the flight from boredom; even quarrels with neighbours have been found better than nothing. Boredom is therefore a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.”

Our fear of the indecency of boredom and the roads it can lead us down is encapsulated by the Christian proverb “the devil makes work for idle hands.”

But boredom has its uses, and we benefit from entertaining it from time to time.

The Beauty of Nothingness

When we succumb to the grip of nothingness, we get the rare opportunity to check the interior of our beings. We can hear ourselves think, and traverse the same inner terrain some of us pay a fortune for therapists to listen to.

We can use this time to reflect, instead of relegating our most pressing thoughts to our subconscious. The voices we refuse to acknowledge have a curious way of directing our behaviour; we need them in plain sight if we are to ever manage them.

The voices we refused to acknowledge have a curious way of directing our behaviour.

It is understandable why we may feel pressure to escape boredom. The prospect of nothingness is daunting; in these times of boredom we become acquainted with an incessant mental chatter that is easily extinguished through engagement with others.

To many people, a schedule comprised of social, formal, familial and career-oriented necessities are the mark of a successful life. If we reply that we are “busy” when someone asks us how work is going, we are considered fortunate to be in demand, even if our busyness is keeping us from the most pressing things within ourselves. With no time to debrief, it is no wonder generalised anxiety is a symptom of our contemporary lives. 

I always dread seeing people the day after the weekend. It’s routine small talk to ask, “how was your weekend?” and a good weekend for me is often one to myself, where I can forget about the unspoken rules of social interaction and the effort it takes to be cheery in the name of preserving the ‘vibe’. But a weekend without plans is often interpreted as a kind of failure, a sentence of loneliness, as opposed to a choice to be alone. 

Alone Together

As we navigate the attention economy of social media, advertising and streaming services, and everything else competing for our data, it’s crucial to get intimate with boredom. But we must differentiate between being alone and being on your own. We may be on our own but we aren’t alone if we have a knee jerk reaction to reach for our phones and aimlessly and often fruitlessly scroll through social media. Instead we are in our rooms, mentally crowded by snapshots of someone’s night out which may convince us that we’re missing out. The time we spend “alone” on social media is actually time spent with others. There is a glaring contrast between how we publicly express an idea online and how we express ourselves privately in our journal. The difference lies not so much in character limit, but in our concern about how other people will respond.

When we think of boredom as something to be escaped instead of a feeling to indulge, we rob ourselves of the privilege of exploring our own thoughts. We often reflexively turn to the thoughts and expressions of others on social media and elsewhere, neglecting opportunities to find out what we think instead of what is most popular to believe. Only later do we encounter our own half-formed or rejected thoughts, as Emerson says, reflected back at us “with a certain alienated majesty.”

The awareness of life’s impermanence means we revel in a myriad of experiences, yet we seldom remember that the most transformative experiences are often presented in solitude.

The Importance of Unplugging

If we can embrace and harness the anxiety of boredom and turn it to our advantage, we can finish a draft, we start a project, or we can discover the life-admin we’ve avoided for five months takes five minutes to complete.

Six years ago I made the choice to stay reasonably unplugged. Not in the I’m-an-underground-edge-lord-allergic-to-mainstream-content type of way, but for my sanity. It is rare that I have a TV series to follow, it is unlikely that I’ve heard of your favourite artist, and there’s a 99.9% chance I’m unfamiliar with the meme you’re referencing. 

My choice to take refuge from the endless stream of what we ‘should’ be interested in is as an act of self-preservation. One way to feel content is to limit your wants, and to have less wants is to create less opportunity to be advertised to.

The more I’m bombarded with messages about what is cool, popular, trendy, important, beautiful, and interesting the harder it becomes for me to recognise my own voice. When plugged in it’s difficult to know if I genuinely like something, or if overexposure has created a tolerance for it.

Without a guide to the ‘in-thing,’ I’m forced to learn what’s my thing.

When plugged in it’s difficult to know if I genuinely like something, or if overexposure has created a tolerance for it.


Embracing boredom isn’t a pathway to ultimate Zen. I still have depressive days, anxiety-induced naps, intense bouts of procrastination and consequential guilt. I can feel isolated, classically misunderstood and overwhelmed. Boredom has only afforded me a chance to confront these feelings. It has given me the courage to ask what these feelings are trying to teach me, because I give myself uninterrupted time to think. Solitude is only boring to those who have yet to discover the wisdom of silence. I’ve granted myself the space to be seduced by my curiosity and to follow it wherever it leads. In boredom we can consider the why instead of the what.

Ever wonder why some of our best thinking is done in the shower? For most of us, this is the only time we are still with no distractions, we can’t bring a newspaper in, we can’t fiddle with our phones, many of us don’t have the facilities to listen to music whilst cleaning behind our ears. We should aim to create more shower-like moments throughout our days.

It’s in moments of boredom the mind roams free, where we can get on friendly terms with our imagination. It’s in moments without anything exciting to do that we can begin to hear ourselves. To meet ourselves entirely we should consider rethinking boredom as solitude. The most rewarding of all privileges is the time to simply be.


  • Ayishat Akanbi is a fashion stylist, writer, cultural commentator and artist based in London who made her entry into fashion styling in 2010. See more at


    Photo Credit: Sarah Brick


  • Sabrena Khadija is a Visual Artist and Illustrator whose work focuses on providing visibility to Women of Color by contributing to the representation she wants to see more of in the art that we consume as a society. She is constantly looking for ways to create work that can make others feel seen and inspired. See more at

    Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sabrena Khadija