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

Mona Chalabi

Sometimes, it’s hard to know which feelings propel us forward and which ones hold us back. Especially when we can’t quite distinguish what it is that we’re feeling in the first place. Here’s a guide that might help you figure things out.

Imagine a mouse and a rat – they’re easily confused but one is a whole lot more dangerous and destructive than the other. Those animals are guilt and shame.

These feelings can have different causes. Guilt is more likely when we’ve fallen short of other people’s standards (and sometimes those are standards that exist for a good reason – like don’t drive when you’re drunk). Shame often arises when we’ve transgressed standards that we’ve set for ourselves (often unrealistic standards!).

Our reactions can be different too. With helpful guilt, we can face the behaviors that hurt ourselves and others and, once we take responsibility and change that behavior, we can heal. Unhelpful guilt can lead us to try to punish ourselves and detach from others. If you’re feeling that way, try to separate out the helpful guilt and look at whatever’s left over. Can you show yourself some kindness?

Shame can lead to some of the most dangerous behaviors of all (if you haven’t guessed yet, it’s the rat in this metaphor). We end up seeing ourselves as deeply flawed, and so we fear that we’ll be rejected by others and disconnect to avoid that from happening. It’s a vicious cycle that can be terrible for your self-esteem.

Unhelpful guilt can lead us to try to punish ourselves and detach from others.

Shame is one of the most primal feelings we have. Studies have found that infants as young as 15 months can experience shame whereas guilt tends to come later, typically somewhere around 3-6 years old.

If you’re struggling with feelings of shame or unhelpful guilt, you can contact the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Helpline on 1-800-662-HELP (4357).


  • Mona Chalabi

    Mona Chalabi is a data journalist and illustrator. Her work has been published by The New York Times, New York Magazines, The Guardian, and the New York Review of Books, among others. You can see more of her work here.

    Photo Credit: Lizzy Johnston

  • Mary Kang

    Mary Inhea Kang is a South Korean American photographer driven by a desire to understand and document the identities we construct for ourselves.  Mary was born in Icheon, South Korea and later moved to Austin, TX where she often felt “in-between worlds,” and this feeling of liminality can be seen throughout her work.

    Photo Credit: Mary Kang