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Off with My Head: The Definitive Basic B*tch Handbook to Surviving Rock Bottom

Off with My Head: The Definitive Basic B*tch Handbook to Surviving Rock Bottom PDF

Author: Stassi Schroeder

Publisher: Gallery Books


Publish Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN-10: 1982142553

Pages: 288

File Type: Epub

Language: English

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Book Preface

The only way I can accurately describe the year 2020 is that, for the most part, it felt just like the final season of Game of Thrones. Yes, I’m still talking about GOT long after the show ended and everyone has now moved on to Bridgerton or Emily in Paris or whatever. I’ve seen all those tweets telling me to get a new television show shtick, but I am still not over the final season of Game of Thrones, and I may never be. Just let it be, people. Let me live out loud, even if I’m talking about this show for the next forty years.

Before it all went to hell, the year 2020 was going to be the best year of my life. I was going on my second national podcast tour, where I wore bedazzled tuxedo jackets and met amazing fans across the country. I was finishing my second book, which was going to be full of career and life advice about living your most badass basic bitch life. I was still on Vanderpump Rules, and we had big things planned for the show, but we all know how that turned out. I was also planning a fall 2020 wedding, but we all know how 2020 weddings turned out. Shout out to all my Covid brides. I see you, bitches.

To top it all off, I had also just sold the rights to Next Level Basic to turn it into an animated series (so major!). Besides getting engaged and being on top of the world career-wise, I bought a house for the first time, and I was busy morphing into a Bridezilla and planning my dream Italian wedding. 2020 showed so much freaking promise—so I probably should’ve known better. I should have read the signs. That shit was way too good to be true. With GOT, the final season was supposed to be the best season, right? Daenerys was supposed to marry Jon Snow, and they were supposed to have a little baby Khaleesi who would be the future ruler of pretty much everything. But that’s not what happened. AT ALL.

Instead, we were delivered the actual worst season of television in history, so much so that I have never seen our country more united and bonded in anything than we were with our collective distaste for the final season of Game of Thrones. Until I saw us all bonded in our stress over Covid. SPOILER ALERT: Daenerys did not give birth to a cute baby queen, and she did not marry Jon Snow. No, she burned down a city and got stabbed by her boo. BUZZ. KILL. And as if it couldn’t have gotten any worse, Bran ends up winning GOT and becoming the ruler? Bran? Bran, the little weasel who was the literal cause of every bad thing that ever happened? He became the three-eyed raven and has psychic visions, and he doesn’t use that gift to help his friends or family? What is your deal? I can’t. I. JUST. CAN’T. And that is exactly how I feel about 2020. There would be no magical Roman wedding for us in 2020. My tour was postponed one month in. Seriously, I was in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, about to go to my meet and greet before the show. I was putting on my glitter eyeshadow, and I was actually mid sparkle stroke when I received a call that the tour was canceled and I was to be flown home because of Covid.

I packed up my glitter and got on a plane two hours later, and that was the end of my national tour. Forever. My semi-not-quite Beyoncé moment was dunzo. That was tough to take, but little did I know that I was about to be a whole lot more dunzo in a mere three months. Like the most dunzo you could actually ever get besides passing away. CANCELED AF. Squared. Times a million. And squared again. I’m not saying I deserve sympathy or pity. I know I brought a lot of this on myself. I am just here to give the facts and share my math skills.

Yep, as you probably know since you’re reading this book, I was canceled in 2020… again. I do fully understand my part in all of this, and I am truly, deeply sorry. I also know that for some, “sorry” is just a word, and that I am not owed forgiveness by anyone. I realize that I hurt people like Faith, who you will hear more about, and though I’ve grown and learned from my mistakes, I realize there may not be forgiveness out there, and that’s your prerogative. I can only tell my story, as honestly as I can. Ironic tidbit? A week before I got canceled, I was recording an episode for Katie Maloney’s podcast You’re Gonna Love Me, and she asked me about the first time I got canceled, for remarks and photos I shared that, looking back, were insensitive and wrong. I wrote about this in Next Level Basic, but several years ago I posted a photo on Instagram with the caption “Nazi chic” (my initials are SS, and those initials were on my outfit, and well, I added an offensive hashtag as a poor attempt at a joke). I also made comments about the #MeToo movement that I quickly regretted, and learned from. Then there was an Oscars podcast where I said that “all lives matter.” All are examples of extreme ignorance. I was living a life of privilege where I never even thought about how jokes or comments like that would affect other people. I felt and still feel so strongly about how wrong I was, and clearly I still had a lot to learn. Kind of like Marie Antoinette, only instead of getting the chance to learn from her mistakes and step back and recognize her privilege, she had her beautifully coiffed head chopped off. (For this reason, I’ll be referencing her a lot in this book.)

On Katie’s podcast I remember telling her, “You know, I’m sure at some point I’ll be canceled again, and the next time I’ll know exactly how to deal with it.” Yes, I got canceled again, but no, turns out I still didn’t know how to deal with it. Being canceled once didn’t help or prepare me for this next one. The big one. The Avengers: Endgame of all cancels. (Beau would be so proud of me for that reference.) This cancellation was so big, it was like taking home the Emmy, the Golden Globe, the Oscar, and the Tony Award in one year, except, you know, the opposite. So yeah, you could say my 2020 was most definitely as horrible as the GOT final season.

Despite all that, there was one little sprinkle of joy among the horror. Okay, a big-ass sprinkle of joy: My pregnancy. I have hoped and prayed to be a mom my whole life, so getting pregnant was hands down the best thing that had ever happened to me. If we’re going to make sense of this for the sake of my GOT metaphor, I’d say this is like the moment Arya kills the Night King. Yes, I just compared the joy of discovering my pregnancy to the joy I felt when a Game of Thrones monster was killed. Let’s just roll with it. It’s a very trippy thing to go through the best thing that ever happened to you and the worst thing that ever happened to you at the same time. I feel like my pregnancy happened at the exact time it was supposed to, because my daughter was the main thing that got me through the hell that was watching my career and everything I had worked for implode. I’m not saying that my 2020 was worse than anyone else’s, because we collectively endured one of the toughest years of our lives. Parents had to juggle homeschooling and work, people lost jobs and homes and, most tragic of all, loved ones. There was so much grief and pain all over the world, so I understand I am a tiny drop of it. But still. It sucked.

I mean, like many of you, I truly was living my best life before Covid. I would’ve toured 365 days a year for the rest of my life if I was allowed to keep going (well, unless I got pregnant). I felt like Lady Gaga. I had my own tour bus, where I got to travel to all these different cities with my fiancé, Beau, and my best friend Taylor Strecker. I got to check into amazing hotels, get my hair done, meet so many of my Khaleesis (aka my podcast listeners) and be onstage in sparkly clothes, with an Aperol spritz in one hand and an engagement ring on the other. Life could not have gotten any better. I will cherish those times FOR-FREAKING-EVER. I just hope I get to do it again one day, and maybe baby Hartford can make some cameo appearances onstage.

The whole “be careful what you wish for” thing is real. In early 2020 I didn’t have a single day off, and I would complain about wanting to just sit on my couch and watch TV and have a break, even though I loved what I was doing. But it’s like that horror movie Fantasy Island (not the 1970s show), where they think all their fantasies are going to come true but then those fantasies go horribly wrong. My fantasy went horribly wrong. Instead of that one day on the couch I longed for, I got every single day of the year on the couch, on a loop, with nowhere to go because the country had shut down and there were paparazzi stalking my house. It was even scary ordering Postmates!

Like I said, most of us experienced some sort of rock bottom in 2020, whether it was losing loved ones or jobs, anxiety about the pandemic, dealing with kids being home all day, or canceling all your awesome trips and plans and weddings. I realize that there are varying degrees of rock bottom. I know that my situation could be so much worse, and that my rock bottom is not the same as someone else’s rock bottom. If you’ve listened to my podcast over the years, you’ll know that I’ve used this term to describe any time I’ve felt like I was in a seriously low place. I want to make it very clear that the way I’m referring to rock bottom in this book is to reference a generally shitty situation, and not to measure or diminish anyone’s personal experience. Listen, there’s a part of me that wants a little sympathy after a hard year, even though I know I was part of the problem. But I’m mainly writing this book because I’ve missed you, and I feel like I have some things to say about pulling yourself out of rock bottom and learning from your mistakes, and I hope you’ll go along for the ride. I may not know a lot, but I do feel like I’m somewhat of an authority on making mistakes, getting knocked down, trying to learn from what went wrong, and moving forward. I’ve been at rock bottom quite a few times, in ways that were so public and felt so final. Hopefully my stories can help someone else find their way out of their own worst times. Or maybe you’ll just read this book and then tweet about how much you hate me. And you know what—go ahead! I’ve heard it all before. I’m good.

In case some of you are worried that I have gone soft, I am still a proud basic bitch. I’m now just a basic bitch with a tiny basic bitch sidekick. I’m a mom who is a little more layered and who is trying to be better. I have more on my plate nowadays. My life isn’t simply fanciful and easy. I have a mortgage instead of rent. I have another human being to think about, and with that comes the responsibility to be the best version of myself. I need to be the best role model I can be for my daughter. Being a basic bitch is about embracing what you like regardless of what it looks like. My basic bitch tendencies just look a little different now. I think I’m learning that it’s not enough to just be a basic bitch. I want to be a basic bitch who lives in a way that contributes to the world in a positive way. I still love trash TV and monogrammed everything. During pregnancy I missed wine nights dearly. I still love pumpkin spice lattes in October, but I’m also very much into doing the work to better myself while I drink my latte or dip my pizza in Ranch. I guess you could say I’m a little more well-rounded? Being held accountable in such a public way changed me. Being pregnant changed me. Becoming a mom changed me. Life is still fun AF, but it’s a little more serious now, and trying to crawl out of what has felt like rock bottom has a way of putting life in perspective, and sometimes changing you for the better.

I also just miss the hell out of my Khaleesis. Hopefully by writing this book I can shed some light on what happened with me, have some fun, and put some good into the world. I’d love to prove that those Khaleesis weren’t wrong for giving me second (or third) chances. Some of this was written while I was heavily preggo, and some of it while I had a newborn who did mom-and-baby OOTDs with me. So, it has been, and still is, a journey.

All I can say is, I’m trying, and I hope these stories will make you laugh, make you feel understood, or just entertain you for a while. I did a lot of work on myself, looking at the ways I’d gone wrong in the past so I wouldn’t ever make the same mistakes again. I did a lot of that internal work while pregnant, without a single glass of pinot grigio or an Aperol spritz! I did it while waddling around, sober, wondering why my feet were getting so swollen and terrified I’d never fit into my cute shoes again. At least I didn’t suffer Marie Antoinette’s fate, because girlfriend supposedly lost one of her cute heels on the way to the guillotine to get beheaded. I just couldn’t fit into mine because I was pregnant, so I guess I should consider myself lucky. One thing I’ve learned, though, is that there are more important things in life than cute heels. Not many, but a few…

So, cheers to crawling out of rock bottom, together.

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