Why is Sadness So... Romantic?

Me and my very cute beau who I am very cute with and who is on a very cute trip to the UK right now did a very cute thing where we made each other mixtapes for when we respectively miss each other’s very cute face. Yeah, yeah,

  • vom

  • vom

  • vom.

Don’t fret, this post won’t be how fucking cute and honeymoon-y my man and I are. That’s for me, and me only, and also some of my coworkers and very good friends and mom.

Here’s the thing, actually — I’m totally head over heels for this guy, very much so in a way I’ve never experienced. Wholly, completely, and surely. I’m pretty sure I said this in my last sad grl post, but man, there is a happiness and a confidence I’ve felt with him immediately….

…and so as I’m curating this playlist (and let’s not forget I LOVE curating a good playlist), I’m going through all of my favorite love songs. This should be easy, right? There’s only a billion and a half love songs out there, and I’m deep deep in the puppy love feels — but all of the songs that are really resonating with me are… sad. Some lyrically, some tonally, some both. I guess this isn’t surprising. Historically, my favorite genre of both music and movie comes down to romance, but very rarely happy romance.

I’ve been happy in love before, but being as romantic of a person as I am, I have often struggled to see love without a cynical gaze. My parents are happily married still (though not without tribulation throughout time), and yet I’ve often been very doubtful of the idea of “forever.” Love to me has always felt like an intersection — not two beings moving parallel, but meeting at a crossroads, sharing a moment in time, and moving on their way. I love that, even though it is deeply sad, and makes me deeply sad. It’s what kept me consistently in relationships, and I think consistently in relationships where my heart is really in it (my therapist might have a field day with that one, though).

I can’t say I’ve loved everyone I’ve been in love with. But I do think I’ve fought for that brief connection, nominal intimacy, yknow? Even one night stands have been things I don’t take lightly. No matter the stranger, you’re experiencing them in an intimate light that even their closest pals likely haven’t. It’s amazing, and it only exists in that moment.

Music has a way to capture us in a way not all mediums can, because music can go beyond meaning and reach feelings; nostalgia, peace, fury. That’s amazing, and can only exist in the moment you’re listening to it.

Right now I’m listening to Sylvan Esso’s “Sound” on loop. I have goosebumps, and I’m near crying. The song only has two lines, essentially. The center of the song is about writing a song for a person that is entirely overwhelming. This idea is repeated, as the sound itself builds and recedes.

As so very often with my thoughts, I’m not sure I have a conclusion here, but I’m going to try my best — because right now I feel I am very much at an intersection of feelings. For once I feel I’m with someone — not at the wrong time, not to learn a lesson, not to work through my relationship with relationships or to sit in the romance of sadness and hurt. I feel I’m with someone because I should be with this someone.

I don’t think it’ll always be happy (although it really is now), but I think it’ll always be filled with liminal moments, feelings that are overwhelming and only exist within that time. I don’t know if it’s the sadness I’m in love with, as much as I’m in love with the brevity of honest presence — and I understand with that presence, all things pass. Honeymoon phases pass. The exhilarating weeks where we weren’t sure of each other’s feelings have already passed. Genuine sadness will come, and it will pass. New milestones will come and pass too. Each moment will be overwhelming and nonrepeatable. I think in past relationships, I understood there to be a whole lot more of a timeline, with an impending conclusion, and I came to understand love as sad. Sadness equates romantic.

I don’t know how this one ends, and it’s scary, but thrilling, and very present.

Since I started treating my depression, I’ve had to learn how to replace my sadness with more, and how to translate sadness into more. Is “Sound” a sad song? Maybe not. But it’s a vulnerable one.

I don’t know if all the songs I sent him are sad ones. Some of them are scared songs, and some of them are contemplative. Some nothing more than silly. Many vulnerable, many intimate — full of sound.

And that’s where I am in this moment.

Much Love,



Being a Happy Sad Girl

Because I am forever the worst, I recently bought this hat with my embarrassing Forever 21 credit card:


(cue the vomming)

…. made all the worse by Squarespace’s insistence that the image be as fucking huge as possible. (Yes, I know I can make it smaller, but I’d really lose the hat’s gravitas).

I’m not normally a hat girl. If anything, I am the opposite of a hat girl. I’m normally anti-hat. But I also have bangs, and sometimes having the time to wash those greasy little buggers daily is challenging, so I succumbed to the idea that maybe I should have a hat so I can still be #highfashion while also being greasy. But if I’m going to go against everything I believe in and wear hats, it was going to be a hat that you could look at and immediately think D A N I E L L A M A Z Z I O.

So here I am, at a table at The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square, in yoga pants and my Sad Girls hat on a rainy day, contemplating buying another $4 Chai Latte as I sweat into my stained sweater. This is a rare day — and maybe the only day in a long time — that I have no work scheduled today, and no plans either. My day is wide open. I’m tired (and greasy), it’s fucking cold, and I think I’m losing my voice.

This is the happiest I’ve been in a long, long time, y’all.

I can’t talk too much about many prospective things that are making me happy in detail, particularly because some of them are more possibilities than they are actualities yet, and some of the other things are on the down-low. Remarkably, as much as I love talking about my farts on stage, there are some things I keep private. To be quite honest, I hate keeping secrets about myself, but I think they’re good, and it’s a good thing for me to work on.

But there are a lot of great things right now that I want to scream about — mainly just because I can’t really recall ever having this sense of happiness in my life. In many ways my life right now isn’t any different than a life I’ve lived previously; a life where I am overworked and taking on seven hundred projects at once, a life where I am strapped for cash (yikes), a life where I am dating yet again, breaking other’s hearts once again, finding myself totally out of my element, finding myself plagued by caffeine headaches, and finding myself at a coffeeshop, writing, and working, because — well, that’s what I do.

But I can tell you the things that are different in my life. And here’s the beautiful thing — all the time I thought something was wrong with me or something was wrong with my life and my happiness, I always thought I needed to change what I was doing. Wrong jobs (not entirely untrue), wrong relationships (save that for another blog post), wrong aspirations, wrongful thinking in what skills I possessed, wrongful ambition — I need to read more, talk less, disappear, quit coffee (I mean,) move to a different city, change my major, start shit with friends,


The most wrong thing that has ever been true about me was my hatred towards myself. Hatred and distrust in my capabilities to do things properly, to earn or deserve things. A hatred of how I connect with people emotionally. A hatred of my exuberant personality — obnoxious, not engaging. Hatred of my writing. Hatred of my face (and why would anyone want more of my face in the world?)

I spent years cultivating my sad girl personality, because if the stuff that made my life was bad, I needed to replace it, and the only other thing I knew was my good old pal MDD — better known as Major Depressive Disorder. And that’s sort of the mood right now, isn’t it? Hate yourself, and wear that hatred like a badge of pride.

So I’m in this sweet moment where… my badge of pride is me (cue the vomming). Can you imagine that! All the stuff in my life wasn’t wrong, because I’m not wrong! I want that stuff in my life for a reason! And I just needed to believe that I was deserving enough that it wasn’t wrong for me to want those things. God, is this how non-depressed people feel? Is this how it feels to be a white man??? I just can be me and deserve things and that’s okay?! Wild.

My work with the Chicago Humanities Festival is a dream, and after months of imposter syndrome, I finally feel like I belong there — and that I can excel there. I am fortunate enough to also have coworkers who affirm that, but I don’t think they’d believe that if I didn’t already feel that about myself.

I’m proud of my super fucking cool house show. I’m proud of my performance work. I’m proud I’m finding a balance, and I’m proud of being confident enough in my varied skills to trust that I’ll find work I can stand behind. And I have.

I’m dating someone right now and I didn’t use sex as an in to feel like that’s how I had to get them to like me. I mean, that’s huge. I don’t know if I ever believed I could be more than that, and as a result I never knew if I truly liked anybody because I just cared so much about them wanting me.

(and between you and me, I really like this person, and I think they really like me. It’s wholesome, and it’s genuine, and I’ve felt sure in a person’s presence with a confidence that I’m not sure I’ve ever felt before, without a considerable amount of time and work).



I’m struggling y’all. We’re all struggling. I’m sitting at this bookstore contemplating blowing all my ComEd money on books (I won’t, but like … what if I did). The midterm was last night and like … y’know, those feelings are complicated. My belief in change is complicated. But it’s made a little bit stronger with the belief in my own change that I’ve possessed. And change starts locally, eh? We can be better, and then we can make our communities better, and our bettered communities can make the world better. At least I hope so. And if not, at least while the world is burning, I can smooch a cute boy, or witness art created by underheard voices, or make art and ideas more accessible. Connect, collaborate, breathe a little easier.

I dunno.

I think I’ll always be a sad girl at heart. It’s very gray outside right now, and it’s fairly tempting to go home and nap. But it’s also alluring to get another chai latte and answer some emails and write some reports. Being happy isn’t without effort, but it does start from the inside out.

Maybe today I’ll even wash my bangs.

(baby steps, y’all.)

Much Love,




Not Your Soccer Mom's Halloween Party Playlist

The producers at ‘Cago! in trying to cultivate our — (quote en quote) DIY feel — have lately been discussing ways to integrate other media into our brand beyond the show. I know, you’re already gagging because I said “DIY” and “brand” in the same sentence. Isn’t that the worst part of trying to make genuine art in 2018? There still has to be some curated component to it.

BUT don’t fret, because what we’re curating isn’t to brainwash you or get you to buy stuff, but instead it’s to get to know us, our show, and the general aesthetic we’re building with ‘Cago!

Part an experiment in cultivating our voice, and part an exercise in egoism that my music taste must be really superb, I’ve been curating playlists to be paired with each our house shows. The September playlist can be found here and is a balanced mix of nostalgia, change, sunshine, and rainy days ‘a’comin’.

But what I’m really here to share is my October companion piece, which would be inappropriate if it was anything other than a Halloween mix. However, I know all you nerds already have Monster Mash and Time Warp on your playlists — how about some deep cuts?

This mix has artists ranging from Franz Ferdinand to Katy Perry to Aretha Franklin, with the unifying theme being tracks that probably aren’t on your Halloween mix, but should be. At least, if you wanna be cool, like me 😎 (am I branding right?).

I’m already working on the companion playlist for next month. The working-title is also absurdly long and self-indulgent — “Your Cousin's Rooftop When You're Never Gonna Die.”

We’ll see if that one makes it past Halloween.

Stay spooky, y’all!

Much Love,