An Interview With @SoSadToday

by Safy-Hallan Farah

Geniuses is a series where we interview geniuses from all walks of life. For our first installment of Geniuses, we’re talking to Twitter sensation and sad girl @sosadtoday.

Do you consider yourself a genius?

When I see the word ‘genius’, what first comes to mind is the word ‘tortured.’ Someone who is ahead of his or her time, or operating in a different dimension, and this dimension is painful or difficult as a result. Like, I see Van Gogh alone in his room and the room is spinning and he’s like ‘help!’ I don’t want to say that you have to suffer to be a genius, but that’s what comes to mind. But I guess people who are good at reality are also geniuses. I don’t think I’m a genius. I think I’m verbally gifted. Do you think I’m a genius?

I do think you’re a genius. I don’t think every genius is tortured but I like your definition. When did you first notice you were verbally gifted and what did you to hone that ‘gift’?

A teacher in elementary school saw how uncomfortable I was in my body and in reality. She saw potential in my writing, so she gave me a special blank book in which to put everything I wrote. It was a hardcover book and it made me feel special. Ever since then, the act of writing down words, and then sharing some of them, has helped me feel a little less uncomfortable. Or at least, it makes me feel like the discomfort isn’t its own end. It can be transformed into something beautiful or funny. Later in life my mom told me that my childhood verbal IQ test came back very high. But I think the other part of my IQ was normcore.

american horror story: waking up

— so sad today (@sosadtoday) December 2, 2014

Do you think IQ is important?

I don’t know enough about it. I just googled it. In Wikipedia there seems to be a lot of criticism of IQ testing in terms of biases and outdated methodology. Also, I don’t think it accounts for emotional intelligence.

Would you say you’re emotionally intelligent? I get the sense, from your tweets, that you’re extremely self-aware and that your awareness intersects w/ emotional intelligence.

I can intellectualize a lot around my feelings. I can talk emotional truth. But when it comes to actually feeling feelings, I’m still pretty terrified of them. Yes, I’d say I’m very self-aware, but it doesn’t stop me from making the same emotional mistakes repeatedly. I love to feel high. And sometimes I reach for the wrong people to try and reach a certain emotional state — people who make me feel high or magic in the short term, but hurt me in the long term. Sometimes I am able to lie to myself. Sometimes I know what I’m doing and don’t care.

Do you consider you having a super popular Twitter another form of reaching for the wrong people? Does being vulnerable on Twitter hurt you in the long run?

I’m not sure. I was thinking more in romantic terms, but I guess any kind of attention-seeking is probably killing me. that being said, I feel just as much shame when I tweet something stupid from another way-less popular account of mine as I do when I tweet something stupid and/or vulnerable from so sad today (note: I’m not equating stupid with vulnerable) (but I feel like the most vulnerable tweets are either the best tweets or the worst tweets so there is always a chance of stupidity with vulnerable tweets) (but also a chance of “real” human connection by way of fake internet intimacy, which may not even be entirely fake — it’s just different). Like, the shame is equal for both accounts: the popular one and the way less popular one. So I don’t think it’s the popularity of the account that hurts me so much as using Twitter in general to get outside of myself. But Twitter also hath giveth me so much. It giveth and it taketh away.

your son doesn’t know where the clitoris is happy mother’s day

— so sad today (@sosadtoday) May 10, 2015

Do you ever feel like you’re uncategorizable and genreless?

Oh god, I hope I am. I remember at the end of 2014, people were like ‘2014 was the year of the sad, because of Yung Lean and stuff, but now that’ll be over.’ I was like uhhhh, I don’t know what body you’re living in or what planet you’re living on but my sadness is infinite.

So in that sense, I’m not a brand or a genre. I’m a primal feeling. And so sad today is still, more than anything, a coping mechanism.

When i was younger, I really wanted to fit into a category. Like, I never felt like enough anything, or maybe I felt like too much of the wrong thing, so I thought that if I could just get the costume right then I could find peace on the inside. I went through a few bad years of anorexia, but it didn’t make me feel like I always imagined the gamine waifs felt. I imagined they felt empowered. But I was just scared and freezing. Then I tried to be, like, a chill mountain stoner girl who went jeeping and was like ‘whatever dude.’ But I’m not chill. I’m deeply anxious. Then I tried to be a hipster but the hipsters were so mean and I’m kinda soft. Also, you couldn’t be a hipster without bangs at that time and my hair is naturally very thick, frizzy jew hair, so bangs would have been a disaster area.

I still fall into the trap of comparing my messy insides to other people’s put-together outsides, which I think is human — especially now with all the selfie filters and brows on fleek. And of course, I still don’t really feel like enough, but I don’t think I want to be anyone else, which is progress.