I saw the first Mamma Mia for the first time a weeks ago and apparently, I have terrible friends because it has taken me this long to experience this true masterpiece. Shortly after I went to the theater and forked over $12 of my hard earned money to see Mamma 2: Here We Go Again on the big screen.
And let me tell you: it was worth every single cent and so much more.
Now, you might say: “Sydelle, I think you’re going through a hard time and using the music of a Swedish pop band from 70s as a coping mechanism.” I could be drinking, or on drugs, or doing far more reprehensible and criminal acts so let me just listen to “Waterloo” for the 98th time in peace, ok?
And I know I’m not the only person who feels this strongly about the musical stylings of Amanda Seyfried and Meryl Streep. We needed this. Mamma Mia is a bright spot in an oftimes irredeemably dark and bleak world and we’re going to cling like mad to the hope it offers of a life where you can gallivant through Europe, getting impregnated by semi-strangers.
I am the same age as Donna Sheridan when all this drama went down. Armed with a brand-spanking new degree, I too, am searching for my place in this world, who I’m meant to and what purpose I’m meant to fill. Of course, I am *not* Donna Sheridan. Actually, if that Buzzfeed quiz is to be believed, I’m much more of a Tanya. In the midst of all this, one other post-grad question I’ve been wrestling with is the concept of self-worth.
Of course, every human being has intrinsic value, except for [redacted]. But in lieu of long-term gainful employment or a romantic life as exciting as young Donna’s, where are we supposed to see that value? We all want to feel cherished and chosen, ideally by someone more than our mothers. I mean that’s what friends are for, but your friends also have their own baggage and issues and lives, or maybe they’re currently thousands of miles away and can’t and shouldn’t be constantly responsible for reassuring you that your flesh bag and the brain that occupies it is worth something.
I’ve been dealing with a lot of rejection lately, both personal and professional, but being the emotionally mature adult that I am, I’m actually trying really hard to deal with it in a way that won’t traumatize me for decades to come. Isn’t personal growth awesome? But liking yourself when the world is trying its hardest to get you to do the opposite is a big job. So how do we find value in ourselves, just as we are?
Lately, for me, it’s just been in making the effort. As the effortlessly wise and beautiful Julie Delpy says in Before Sunrise, “the answer must be in the attempt”. I find my value in the fact that I am trying. Really hard. Yes, am a single, bipolar, brown gal who has to find long-term gainful employment. But I’m basically writing cover letters in my sleep at this point, I’ve started the law school application process, and I found a therapist to help keep me sane.
I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason, or that just because we deserve something the universe will give it to us, but what I do believe is trying anyway. And in the meantime, listen to some ABBA. I promise it will make you feel better.