Student Blog: Happy Sad

If you’re familiar with the popular high school musical Addams Family, as I have become this year, you know the song titled “Happy Sad.” Gomez’s testament to Wednesday revealing how he is both happy and sad that she is growing up. As you may have guessed from the introduction, my high school’s spring musical this year was Addams Family. Though I wasn’t in the show, I was lucky enough to assist as the playwright of the production team. Not only was I happy to go back to an important place in my life, but I was also happy to see the kids that I performed with all grown up, specifically my sister, who is now a senior, as Wednesday Addams. So, as you can imagine, “Happy Sad” had a different meaning to me and my family. Our “Wednesday” is finally grown up.

Like the song, you have mixed feelings of being genuinely happy but also having it set in and being a little sad. This song applies to seeing my baby sister grow up, but it also brought up these feelings just being back in the theater – the last place I sat in before COVID closed schools. The theater has always been my home, but being back there is still bittersweet. March 13, 2020, we all sat at the edge of the stage after our dress rehearsal and listened to our production team explain the uncertainty we were about to face within the next week. That next week was also our show week, which never got to happen. We had all worked so hard and I waited so long to give my last performance on that stage as Sister Mary Robert in Sister Act, so it was really hard seeing all that resulted in nothing. The emotions still flood back – leaving high school as a senior without a proper last day, leaving our show as we were so close to the finish line, and leaving normalcy as we knew it. Though I didn’t get my senior show and was unable to perform with my sister and friends, getting the opportunity to come back and do something I love for those who are getting that chance to have their show, it was rewarding. I was happy to help and still be involved, but I was sad reflecting back on the two-year anniversary of that day and all the emotions that followed.

Because of this song, it’s made me think more about how there can be moments of being happy and sad, but that doesn’t mean it’s good or bad. Having these two emotions side-by-side is just a part of life. As Gomez sings, “life is full of contradictions,” it makes you think about how you may feel one way, but also feel the complete opposite at the same time. You’re seeing both sides of a situation, and it’s okay to have those mixed feelings. Similar to being a senior, you’re leaving your comfort zone and going onto an entirely new adventure. Even in college, you still feel tons of mixed emotions if you’re doing the right thing or if you made a mistake. You can be excited that you’re in a new city and having new experiences, but you can also miss the things you’re used to back at home. Life isn’t a simple thing, but realizing that feeling happy and sad simultaneously is normal, may help out a little bit. Nothing is entirely perfect because you can’t have it both ways, but learning to balance the happy and sad things makes you learn and feel appreciative of what you do have.

Moving onto a new chapter in life doesn’t mean you can never return to the old. Maybe it’s a place, like the theater for me, or a person you haven’t seen in a while. You also have the memories of all the things that made you happy in the past. Not everything is forever tangible, but telling stories and keeping those memories alive will bring back the happy and also some sad. “So let’s be happy, forever happy, completely happy, and a tiny bit sad.”

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