Welp, this month has been pretty amazing, to say the least.
A big thanks to friends and family who reached out after hearing my exciting news via facebook, email, or one of my few emotional and embarrassingly blubbering phone calls home. It was super fun to tell you and it was even more fun to feel like I made you all proud. I am nothing if not a people pleaser. So to those near and far, thank you. You’ve given me more drive and gumption in my pursuit of happiness than you’ll probably ever know.
For those of you in the dark, (like, how are you in the dark, MOM? I know you’re the only one that reads this blog and you were definitely one of my first phone calls…) the long and short of it is I am now doing the job I moved to LA to do. I get to write on a TV show. It’s a very hard feat and I’m super fucking stoked to get to do it. It’s called BoJack Horseman. Watch it. It’s great.
And now I just want to take a moment and spread out the joy and the support and the kindness I have received. Share the good juju wealth, if you will. Make the world a plate of happiness nachos, with motivation cheese and sentimental sour cream.
I’ve been asked for some advice, which feels weird. Because I’ve only just begun this job, and I still have a lot to prove. Truth be told, I’m kinda nervous as fuck all the time, and I don’t think that feeling will go away any time soon.
With great dreams comes great indigestion.
So, in short, I have no specific advice because at this point I have had no great epiphanies on this particular job. All I know is the show is awesome, the people I work with are wonderful, I am grateful to be here, and I’m just hoping I don’t screw it up.
But in my attempt to make Happiness Nachos for my mother who reads this blog, (FYI, Happiness Nachos are not to be confused with the amazing plate of nachos my boyfriend made in celebration of the new gig. The champagne was okay, but the nachos were SPECTACULAR!), I have read old blog posts and sifted through journals and tried to reflect at least a little bit on what has made me feel happy and fulfilled and what steps I’ve taken to make me feel, well, more.
You know, the whole “life is a journey about self discovery blah blah blah…”
And so, I think I’ve got something for you. Here goes.
The smartest thing I’ve ever done in my life was say: “I don’t know.” It’s a very simple and effective phrase. When used correctly, it can change your whole outlook.
The moment I was able to boldly announce that I didn’t know everything was the moment I truly learned more, conversed more, and was more.
To say, “I don’t know” is to finally be comfortable with who you are. Of course, it is near impossible to like yourself all the time. You probably shouldn’t, because narcissism is a real bitch. But to finally be at the very least comfortable with who you are, and what you are in the world, I think is the first giant step toward inner peace and happiness and tranquility and blah blah blah. And once you get the blah blah blah, then I kinda think it’s only a matter of time that your dreams come true.
Yep. I’ve re-written that paragraph multiple times, but there’s no way around it not sounding hokey. I’m hokey, I guess.
I don’t know.
To clarify, when I talk about saying “I don’t know,” I don’t mean it in a shrugging shoulders, who cares, I don’t give a fuck retort to a question. I am more meaning in a confident acknowledgment of your own imperfections and limitations, and then doing something about it to gain more insight, to be better. I’m more meaning, “I don’t know, but I want to find out.”
It’s the “yes, and” for the less intelligent soul.
A huge issue I’ve always had, especially when I was growing up, was this deep-rooted fear that people thought I was stupid. While I was a good student, I had to work really hard to be. I wasn’t naturally gifted, I didn’t have a high IQ, I wasn’t even really the true best at anything. But then I got good grades and did well in school so I felt people assumed I was gifted, and thus an endless cycle of “trying to prove I was smart and gifted all time because people thought I was smart and gifted” began, and by high school graduation I had a stick so far up my ass it was poking in my belly like an avocado tree. (That’s a Charming Cheetah joke, SHAMELESS PLUG, check out this link to get it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyZdqTOmxQY)
I think subconsciously I felt it was only a matter of time before people discovered I was a fraud. That I was never actually good enough to be pursuing the things I wanted to do. At ASU I was in the Honors College, and I just knew those mofos were operating at a different level than me. (Confession: I didn’t read Heart of Darkness, guys. I just read the sparknotes online and then bullshitted my way through class discussion.) I almost approached smartness/giftedness as a black and white scenario. You either were a savant, or you weren’t. And with that mentality, I tried to control everything in order to make people think I was a savant and not at all a dummy. I lied a lot, said I knew things that I didn’t, pretended I understood topics I didn’t, did a lot of dids when they should’ve been a didn’t.
If I couldn’t be the best, I sure as hell wanted to come across like I was.
I know how ridiculous it sounds now. It was absolutely unattainable to put that much pressure on myself. Also, it made me suck as a human.
Truth be told, I was pretty smart. Maybe not acing the SATs smart, but study-my-ass-off. performing-a-shit-ton, and writing-a-lot-of-silly-stuff smart. And I did have talents. I could act and sing and write. I just didn’t understand that refining and improving upon them took work. That getting good at something was a process. That the world wasn’t this black and white place with smart people and dumb people only. We have to open books and write on blank canvases (or whatever cool analogy you want) in order to really flourish.
We weren’t born flourished, you know?
So, after college, I tried something I never tried before.
Weed. (Jk, I did that way before graduation!)
No, I tried to say, “I don’t know” when I didn’t know.
I tried to quit putting my guard up, quit trying to impress people, take more deep breaths and be honest and simple and curious and me.
I stopped being ashamed that I didn’t know everything.
It took a while. It wasn’t with every interaction or on every day, but like changing how you dot your i’s and cross your t’s and strike through your 7’s (is that last one just me?), eventually it became effortless.
Saying “I don’t know” slowly sank into my being. And because of it, I have to say it less and less.
Because, like, I know things now?
“I don’t know” comes in many forms. It’s also: “What does that mean?” “Can you explain that?” “I didn’t catch that…” “That’s new to me.” and even “Wow! Interesting!”
I suddenly found the world so much more accessible. It seemed less daunting when it came to writing and experiences and relationships. Especially in my move out to LA. When I wrote new things I’d think, “Okay, I don’t know much about this topic, but I’m not going to let that stop me. I’m going to go for it, have fun with it, and research along the way.” When I consoled friends in need I would say, “I don’t have all the answers for you, but I can give you what I’ve got.”
And when I networked, I would eagerly say, “I’m new. I don’t know the business. Can you tell me about it?”
Even today I am saying that.
“I’m new. Any advice?”
So, again, thank you to my friends, family, and colleagues who have answered my questions and allowed me to be curious. Thank you for your guidance and your tidbits and for not laughing when I brought out a notebook and jotted what you said down. It has made all the difference in my life and today I feel happy and calm and joyful and playful and comfortable. And then all those things I think went into my writing and performing. Which in turn got me the dream job.
So, yeah. That’s what I’ve got for today. Enjoy this attempt at a Happiness Nacho. Or don’t.
I don’t know.
– One L
“I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but I know something’s starting right now…” – Ariel, I don’t know her last name.