Day 16: She’s Really Funny, but like Negative Funny.

Oh god.

First of all,
I’ve been in Park City for the past two weeks,
so I apologize for the absence,
but there is no way anyone cares,
so I’ll continue.

Prompt: Do you have a reputation? What is it, and where did it come from? Is it accurate? What do you think about it? 

That’s a lot of questions for this ungodly hour. I say ungodly because I woke up hating the world so all the hours of today will be ungodly.

Over Christmas I attended a few family parties, running into people I haven’t seen in a long time. Some on purpose, some not on purpose, one of which a friend of mine’s little sister who I believe remembers me as “the girl who can do the splits.” I haven’t grown up much since then, but she certainly has. (She’s beautiful and has a mind that wants celebrate the world in a way I’ve only seen in her older sister, which makes me grateful there can be at least two of those people in those world).

I’m not sure what I said to her at the party, but I remember she was laughing. It might’ve been something about Taylor Lautner or Lifetime movies, but I had been drinking red wine, so there’s no knowing.

The next day, this girl’s older sister, my dear friend, messaged me to say that she, the younger sister, had said, “Hilary is really funny. But like, negative funny.”

No one has ever described me more perfectly. 

Yes, okay, I’m funny, but more importantly, I’m negative. There’s the old, “it’s funny because it’s true” perspective, but the only way I like to make people laugh is to talk about all the ways I’m a terrible person. Or all the ways you’re a terrible person.

I’ve been working on a stand-up routine where
I play a Minnesotan girl whose husbands keep dying of sudden heart attacks.
And I think it’s hilarious.

So I like to talk about how messy my house is, or how I don’t remember what it feels like to have someone like you, or how I ate an entire package of goldfish crackers in one sitting, or how I was really drunk that one time and peed on the carpet. Some might find that sad, but I think it’s hilarious. And at this point, it’s what people expect of me. That, I find it comforting. If you can’t laugh at life what are you supposed to do.

Oh god Hilary, what have you done now?

Well, I fell down the stairs twice today, and the lights no longer work in my apartment, but I don’t want to fix it. I’m living with cockroaches and I’ve been eating guacamole as it’s own meal for 4 days. Oh, also, I hate my life.

I’m worried about you. 

Speaking in hyperboles. I’m always speaking in hyperboles. Last year, I was running down the street, intoxicated, when I tripped and fell, hit my cheek bone, and rolled into the gutter. The next morning I texted a picture of my black eye (I’m already exaggerating) to my siblings and said I “curb-stomped my own face.” Did I really curb stomp my own face? No. But it’s hilarious to say that I would be so terrible to my body.

Yes. I can be terrible to my body. I won’t deny it. Sometimes I’ll wake up to Diet Coke and I’ll fall asleep with chocolate in my bed. I’ve taken diet pills (2 weeks total) and I’ve purposefully thrown up after eating 2/3 of a jar of peanut butter. My senior year of college I was struggling with, things like self respect, and I’d passingly tell my friends I hadn’t eaten or slept or I was letting myself be emotionally abused by a 19-year-old and my writing teacher just told me I needed to dress to my full potential. At least I was laughing. When my friends expressed a concern about my mental health, I could only respond in the most Hannah Horvath way, “I’m trying to become who I’m supposed to be.” (That’s probably a misquote).

Behind every funny anecdote is a depressing reality. All realities are in fact, depressing (which is why I don’t understand utterly happy people, they cannot be trusted), so I don’t know what I would do without laughter. I’m aware my mental stability is sitting on a thick telephone wire, hanging between two sturdy poles. Sometimes a big bellowing bird joins me, leveling out the balancing act, and sometimes they fly away, in which case it takes me longer than others to roll back to center.

If I wasn’t constantly making fun of myself, I don’t know what people would think of me. They’d probably think I was a very negative person, not at all funny.


On Being (Un)Assigned

I was sitting at the old wooden table my parents bought from the Spanish furniture store on Broadway listening to cars pass while the NFL Redzone was the main focus of everyone else’s attention. My brother said, “All of my siblings are completely different.”

And I knew this, but hearing him say that, made it real. He is entirely correct.

He continued to assign our siblings, one of them “this perfect thing,” another, “who fuckin’ knows,” and then there was a pause. “And I’m a complete degenerate.” Everyone laughed, myself including.

But there it was. He didn’t assign me. Or, he wouldn’t assign me. Was it because his friends were present? Was it because I was present? Did he know exactly what he wanted to say but was avoiding hurting my feelings? Or, rather, did he not know at all. Did he find me unassignable?

In high school, I moved about from group to group. Everyone worked, but also didn’t at all. Mainly because I knew they didn’t really like me. I just knew it. I’ve had this inkling feeling since kindergarten that all of my friends talked about me behind my back. And most of the time it was true. I wouldn’t be invited, or I’d be there and no one wanted to talk to me, or if they did they were teasing me for laughing too loud or talking about movies no one had seen. I floated from theater kids to jocks to geeks to “goths” (people who know the world is insufferable). I was outcasted at one point, rejected, yelled at from the bleachers, forgotten, cheated, and on and on. It seemed I was always just one step outside the circle.

College made more sense. The film department, or so I thought.

I have made this joke to my brother at least once a year:

“If we went to high school together, you wouldn’t have been friends with me.”

He’s sick of it, but I still laugh uncontrollably after a few glasses of sauvignon blanc, because it is so terribly true. And I will forever be trying to prove him wrong by finding people like my brother, falling madly in love with them, and never being loved back.

And I know what I just said. I know what it sounds like. It sounds like I just said I’m in love with my brother, but that isn’t what I meant. Come on. He’s just so cool and I want to be cool and I never will be.

People love to talk about “their type.” My type is latinos..well my type are sad blonde boys… my type are overweight red heads. Hilary, what is your type? 

I have no idea.

Because I’m unassignable.

I’ve liked them all, but no one has really liked me. I’ve liked nerds, jocks, punks, skaters, stoners, freaks, drunks, druggies, jokers, red heads, foreigners, artists, space cadets, hikers, fools, models, jerks, snowmen, dancers, signers, dog owners, actors, haters, gamers, oldies, gym rats, and so on (many more to come).

I have no idea what I want. I can’t pick a type. I’ve heard over and over again you can’t find love until you love yourself. And I believe that, but, it seems near impossible. Sure I love myself but I also detest the reflection in the mirror. Do you have any idea how tiring it is to simultaneously hate yourself and think you’re better than everyone else? It’s exhausting.

I’ll bet you, if I ever got one of those brother-a-likes to like me, I’d lose interest immediately.

On New Year’s Eve, I sat on the couch with a friend of mine, reading horoscope. It was then and there I found out that I was almost entirely incompatible. Aquarius. Only gets a long with two other types of people. That’s it. Out of all of the signs, I only get two.

But it makes sense. It makes so much sense.

And this is why it is so hard to make friends. I’m sick of everyone immediately, but I want everyone to like me. My brother and I can sit in silence for a frightening amount of time, while I think desperately of something to say to him that will make him laugh or catch his interest. I know we have things in common, like blood, parents, love of white wine and dancing, but most of the time I feel I am worlds away from my family. And I’m so aware of it i consciously perpetuate it.

When I return home, I’m like this moldy jewel, sitting on a stool, in the middle of the room. I’m not that pretty to look at, but everyone is still staring, waiting for me to do something weird.

And it’s because I’m funny.

But the only reason I’m funny is because I point out everything that is wrong with me, at least in comparison to them. And there’s a lot. And if I can’t think of something I’ll lie and say, “Oh god I’ll never have kids.” and everyone laughs.

I’m both a terrible liar and a terrible liar. I do it often and I don’t do it well. I say things and think to myself, “That is simply not true.” But I’m so desperate for approval, or maybe comradery, that I’ll agree with everything.

Oh yes, you’re right, I agree. (I do not agree).

Yes, I’ve seen it! (No I haven’t). 

Oh yeah, I’ve been there too (I’ve never even heard of that place). 

I know! (I don’t know.)

You didn’t know that? (Neither did I, but I sound like I did).

Because I can’t say who I am. I am utterly clueless.

I do know what I like. 

The Ephron Girls
Meg Ryan
Nail Polish
Christmas Trees
Modest Mouse
Mysterious tattoos
Old photos
Family History
Grilled Cheese
Tap shoes
Fitted dresses
Curly hair
San Francisco
Traffic lights
The ocean
Soy Chai Lattes (from Starbucks)
Fluffy socks
Judy Garland’s voice
Diet Coke with goldfish crackers
Homemade chex mix
Erin, Jaclyn, Amanda, Anne, Katherine, Corie, Hannah, Elaine, Daryn, Simone, Allison
Minnesotan accents
And finally the fog, accompanied by coffee.

I was at a wrap party a couple of months ago when my boss said to me, “We need to find you a boyfriend.” and I shouted back over the music, “I’M TOO WEIRD.”

If you read this blog, you already know that, but it’s too perfect to use once. Because no one responded after I said it. They know it’s true. I had just spent the past week convincing everyone I was from Minnesota and laughing at myself to the point of tears.

And even worse than not knowing who I am, I don’t know where I want to be. Nothing adds up. People, places, careers, they’re all in different places. It’s a terrible thing to be in a place. I don’t want to be anywhere. And if I’m there I want to be somewhere else. Because, I don’t know what I want.

Besides attention. I will always want attention.

Every time I go home I think I want different things in my life. I want to marry someone I’ve known since kindergarten, I want to never want to make new friends, I want money and a big house and as always, I want all the cool kids to like me (you can imagine my lying streaks are off the wall). My unassigned behavior is off the wall, reassigning me with every new person standing in front of me. I start to believe I could actually be domesticated.

Until I hear people criticize my mother’s (un)organization skills and realize I’m worse than her.

“You guys are making me feel bad, I’m worse than Mom.”

“Well you better change.”

Oh dear.