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 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.)