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.