It's hard going through a day without getting someone's approval. I have to leave every interaction with a gold star. As soon as I see that sweet smile on someone's face…my day is made. Sure, there are the occasional moments where I put myself first—during therapy, for example. However, my day-to-day is about making other people's days a little better, which in turn, makes mine better!
The first thing I do when I wake up is immediately check my texts and social media, just in case any of my friends had a rough day yesterday and need a good pick-me-up. This morning, I noticed my friend Stefania posted a very risqué mirror selfie at 3 a.m., captioned "It's me, myself and I for the night." This obviously indicated to me that she finally broke up with her toxic boyfriend. In this tumultuous time, she must be feeling empty, alone and unloved. I bet bringing her food and giving her all my attention will fix her—good thing I’m here to provide that.
Today's menu: Two tuna sandwiches, an entire pumpkin pie, homemade cookies my mom gave me this week and a $50 Starbucks gift card.
After getting ready to leave for class, I go downstairs to prepare breakfast and lunch. I make sure to cook a little extra breakfast and leave some coffee ready in the Keurig for when my roommates wake up. They all usually wake up after me and I always want to give them an extra reason to keep loving me. There are a bunch of dirty dishes in the sink, though. I wash them all before leaving the house.
I’m waiting at the bus stop when an old man approaches me. I take off my headphones—I’m listening to an…interesting song my friend Max just put out—so I can try to help him. The old man, who tells me in Spanish he’s Argentinian, barely speaks English. He tells me he wants to go to 5200 Yonge St., so I look up how to get there and try my best to give him directions in broken Spanish. After helping him cross the street, I'm ready to be on my way! Oh shit, there goes my bus.
I’m late to my 10 a.m. class, but the professor hasn't even started talking—I try to convince myself he doesn't hate me all that much. He starts the class by asking us to give peer feedback on the assignments we've been working on. The room falls silent for about 30 seconds and I immediately feel the urge to speak up. Otherwise, I'm certain the professor will feel bad. I give an update on my story and he says: "Great job, Mariana!" OMG, he knows my name?! I’ll thrive on that for the rest of the day.
Class is done and it’s time to meet Stefania for lunch. I'm walking into the Sheldon & Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre (SLC) with my hands full of food. I slightly nod to the person coming out of the building to ask them to hold the door open for me. They don't and I'm forcefully met with a door on my face. "Sorry!" I say. I put my stuff on the floor, open the door on my own and make my way to the fifth floor.
OH MY GOD. I forgot about my friend’s mom's birthday. Stefania and I had spent all afternoon at the SLC studying. As we’re getting up, she says out of nowhere, "Yeah, tonight I'm celebrating my mom's birthday with her." Immediately I freeze: I totally forgot about it. What a terrible friend I am. After a couple of minutes of silently freaking out, I write her mom a little letter telling her how amazing and gorgeous she is for her age. I’ll probably buy her something later, even though I can’t afford to keep buying people things. We keep talking and I give her all the food I had brought for her, plus half my lunch and then the other half after she tells me she didn’t eat breakfast.
I finally get home, exhausted after a long day of "good mornings" and smiles. After days like these, usually every day, my cheeks hurt from constantly hiding my true emotions and avoiding the usual resting bitch face. I do love this feeling, I’m not gonna lie. But I can finally walk home and rest my face now. Oops, my roommates are having dinner.
"Hey, lovelies! How's dinner?" I say putting on my best customer service smile. Despite having already eaten, I join them and, of course, offer to do all the cleanup. I love cleaning up after others, it makes me feel so useful.
After the kitchen and living room are squeaky clean, I finally walk into my own room. I call Max for feedback on that song—it wasn't their best, but I won't be the one crushing their spirits. Besides, a little motivation is great for improvement! I leave Stefania an uplifting voice memo for the morning and go down to the kitchen. I make tea for everyone and individually deliver it to each of my roommates. I then walk back to my room with a lukewarm cup of tea and a huge sense of accomplishment. As I prep my outfit and bag for the next day, I go over my mental notes for the day and write them down. A lot of shopping to be done this week. I hope my friends still love me tomorrow.
The day is done! But of course, as I lie in bed, I start inevitably recapping the day in my mind. Was I rude to my roommates about the dishes this morning by washing them without saying anything? I don’t want them to think I’m being passive-aggressive. I also hope I didn’t offend the Argentinian man with my broken Spanish. Oh, and I’m certain that my professor hates me for coming in late again this semester. Was I listening properly when Stefania was spilling the tea? Speaking of which, was the tea I made for my roommates hot enough? Did I talk too much today? Am I actually the worst person on earth? Oh well, either way, I’m ready to face another day tomorrow!