Last night I had a dream, in which someone kept telling me “Happiness isn’t enough!” I think it was a dog. A wise and stressing-me-out dog.
As I blinked awake from my angsty slumber, I said out loud to my empty studio apartment: “But I don’t even have happiness!”
Or do I?
I was recently taking a vintage BuzzFeed quiz (“What Grade Are You Getting in Life?”), ostensibly to quiet my mind while watching cartoons, and when asked “How would you rate your general happiness level on a scale of 1-10?” I chose the range “4-7.”
Even though I think of myself as depressed and sad, I realized rating my happiness at a 1-3 just wouldn’t be right.
Like wow though, 4-7?! That’s a pretty happy person, n’est-ce pas?
It doesn’t matter, because HAPPINESS ISN’T ENOUGH.
I have a couple hypotheses about what my brilliant mind was trying to tell me with that dream. If happiness isn’t enough, what else do I need?
- Success – duh. I have big dreams and tbh if I don’t become recognized in my field on some kind of large scale I will not feel I have succeeded. Which is a round-about way of me saying I want what the club kids wanted:
Or maybe the missing piece is:
- Making the world a better place – Here comes my altruism/self-serving commitment to social justice! For example: as a White person I feel a lot of guilt for my unfair advantages in a world built to protect and serve me to the disadvantage of everyone else. I would like to be actively working to change this. The guilt alone doesn’t fix anything, though it’s a natural feeling to have. So you gotta channel it into action. I do try to do this consistently in mundane ways (voting for the right people, talking to other white people about shit, spending my money in meaningful ways, changing my own day-to-day behaviors) even though taking action in general is not one of my greatest strengths. It can be very overwhelming but for me it’s just something I have to do–
So maybe my dreams are telling me that my pursuit of Tina Fey’s career (but with a more millennial tone duhhhhh) is selfish and I should have stayed in DC to devote my waking life to an urgent social cause instead of my own self-satisfaction?I do often tell myself that I don’t deserve an exciting entertainment career, cause it’s selfish and white people need to step back and sit down and make more room for others.But at this point I have also realized that I will always be consumed by the desire to pursue a creative career, and trying to talking myself out of it by focusing on this particular moral quandary is not going to accomplish anything but sinking me further into my hole of sad inactivity and lead to more regret later when I wish I would have gone for it.
So I’m gonna have to pursue BOTH (ugh two things to do?)
Anyway, perhaps my dream wasn’t about any of these dumb anxieties, and it just meant that:
- NOTHING IS ENOUGH AND LIFE IS POINTLESS. Not much more to say on that. If it’s true you just have to create your own meaning so it doesn’t change anything I already said.
Anyway I didn’t move to LA to be happy! I moved here to be very very famous which is a very different thing. And all this hemming and hawing and pointless sleep-dreaming is just an excuse for me to give up, sit down, and be sad about it!
I’ve been in a slump for nearly a week now, doing not much and filling my sadness hole with Reese’s Sticks–which are DEFINITIVELY the best Reese’s product. Definitively. And I am including the seasonal blobs.
I haven’t performed stand-up in exactly a week. 6 days ago I did try to get up at 2 comedy shows, but my name wasn’t picked. So I guess I’ve gone 5 whole days without even trying to perform, and for that I will guilt myself incessantly. What does that accomplish? Mostly it encourages me to continue feeling sorry for myself and order pizza when I’ve eaten too many Reese’s Sticks and I need to switch over to savory.
BUT In two hours I AM GOING to an open mic that I already paid $5 to sign up for a week ago. It’s also an audition–there will be 3 bookers there and the best set of the night will get added to one of their shows.
This morning I was all “oh I can’t do that, I haven’t practiced all week, how embarrassing, I’ll be terrible” BUT I have a set in my pocket that is solid enough, and ALSO, so far in my open mic experience there is always someone who is worse than you. So what’s the big deal?
I may not ever be happy, and I may not ever have enough, but in 90 minutes I’m leaving this McDonald’s to go practice my set on the street and then 30 minutes after that I’ll blow everyone away with my insightful witticisms.
In my memoir (the optimistic title of which is “Always Run for the Bus!” — and the pessimistic title of which is “The Crumbs in my Bed Exfoliate my Body” which is 100% stolen from a tweet I saw) this will SURELY be the pivotal moment of my MAJ career.