I have made an art out of focusing on the bad things in my life. I analyze, I explain them to myself, I write them down, I cry about them and they consume my thoughts more often than they should. I could have a day full of smiles and positive affirmations, yet it takes a second for my mood to change. It can be anything; a small work mistake, a sly comment someone makes or the way my brother answers the phone. The way I spin a tragic tale out of a moment should really be considered a work of art.
So this year I am taking a deep breath and I am holding on to my happy place. I have brought you all here today to relive some of my happiest moments and it’s worth it to stay ’til the end.
I’ll get the proof that love-at-first-sight exists out of the way by sharing, once again, how Jake Gyllenhaal and I fell in love when we met in New York two years ago. I get that we’ve collectively relived this moment many times but it truly was one of the happiest moments of my life, she says trying not to sound crazy.
It took two hours of being online, my anxiety almost getting the best of me and three times that I almost gave up but I was one of the lucky people that got Adele concert tickets. Yes, it was just as powerful as you think that it was. She was the perfect amount of flawless, with wonderful comedic timing and a voice that threatened to blow the roof off the Staples Center.
Life was completely changed when Sophia Julianna Perez was born and these (almost) three years have been a wonderful and exciting adventure.
When rapist Brock Turner was sentenced to a few months in county jail after raping a woman; I was outraged. I grabbed the anger and I wrote down my thoughts, it was the first time I shared anything about sexual assault through my writing. In the last paragraph of the piece I shared that I too, had been sexually assaulted and it felt like a weight off my shoulders. I sent the post out into the world and suddenly Brie Larson was tweeting at me. It was the first time that an artist that I admired had read my writing and it felt like a bolt of lighting hit my body.
The following happy memory I’m about to share, is one that I’ve only told my closest friends. I was holding it close to my heart because it felt so absolutely special but I think it’s time to share my happiness because this particular thing has given me the energy to keep writing. This particular thing found the belief in myself and reinforced it 100 times over.
The best film of 2018 was Blindspotting. I watched the movie a few days after having lost my best friend from High School. I was in the confusing part of the grieving process and was struggling to reconcile my feelings. The movie helped me grieve; it helped me celebrate my friendship with Julian, it helped me cry, it filled me with nostalgia and I am eternally grateful for the cinematic journey that I went on. So that night, I came home and wrote it all down.
The post found its way to Daveed Diggs, writer and star of the film. I know he read my post because this kind and talented man took the time to send me a message on Instagram. I freaked out! I cried, I jumped up and down, I called my friends, I told my coworkers, I texted my brother; I felt a lot. Once my high (eventually) came down I calmly re-read his words.
I have looked at his message more times than I care to admit. This message has power; it reminded me of why I do what I do, it reminded me that I’m not just sending these posts into the void, it called my writing “profound”. PROFOUND. This message connected the loss of my friend to a happy memory and it allowed me to remember him with a smile on my face.
Life is a series of unfortunate events but it doesn’t take that long to find the magic within the mess. I am grateful for the complicated, for the tears (happy or otherwise) and for the memories. I am happy. I need to remember my happy place because it’s truly, so much better here.