Let’s start on Wednesday

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This article is published in issue 2-3 of Vanity Fair on newsstands until 18 January 2023

«Close your eyes and imagine a joy, most likely you would think of a departure», sings Niccolò Fabi in To build. And yet, while on the one hand a new beginning brings with it the feeling of having a blank sheet, an entire pencil, a story to be written, on the other it generates performance anxiety and the fear that everything will go back to the way it was.

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It’s what happens at the beginning of the year and that grows with age, together with the awareness of how unlikely it is to achieve one’s good intentions. This is what happens to us too, as we inaugurate our column in this issue: although writing is an important part of our business, the fear of missing the target is always present, especially when embarking on a path that requires perseverance.

It’s hard to resist the temptation to find the perfect technique, the right Excel file to program and optimize anything, but there is another answer to performance anxiety, and it comes from a big trend of this period, the one related to Wednesday Addams.

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With over a billion hours watched, Wednesday by Tim Burton became the third most watched Netflix product ever (after Squid Game and Stranger Things 4). Driven by an excellent Jenna Ortega in the role of the protagonist, the series focuses on the events of the disenchanted, icy and sadistic teenager of the Addams family, outcast among the outcasts of Nevermore Academy, an educational institution for outcastsfreaks and various monsters.

The explosion of notoriety around the series has created widespread emulation by many people who have identified with the character of Ortega, in his sarcasm, his cynicism and his (little) white and (very) black, exterior and interior.

Wednesday is unique and extremely cool – so much so that many people argue that his character has romanticized and tamed the strangeness – but let’s look at one of the reasons why he was so impactful: what if he was the perfect manifestation of post-pandemic trauma? After years of forced isolation and grueling growth in social expectations, Wednesday made detachment and coldness glamorous, and allowed us to assume a protective posture towards the uncertainty of the world.

How would Wednesday look at our to-read lists, the ideal travel itineraries we mark on Google Maps, or the failed attempts to construct the perfect morning routine? No doubt with the smugness with which he looks at her nemesis, Enid, and none of us would want to be looked at that way.

Here because Wednesday we risk becoming us, to look ruthlessly and judiciously at our own desires and the little projects of the year, to keep emotions at bay.

So how do you find the right fit? Performance anxiety cannot be tackled by turning everything off: it can’t be overcome either by diving into the irenic and pastel world of Enid or into the warlike and black world of Wednesday, which in hindsight are two different ways of escaping from the same world. That anxiety is faced day after day, not accepting shortcuts and trivializations, and arranging for an intense, genuine, constant and radical rethinking of one’s life.

PS It so happens that this column begins exactly on Wednesday.

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Source: Vanity Fair

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