“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Most of the time, I feel ridiculous. This has been the one constant feeling throughout my life. I felt ridiculous at the school arts presentation, and I ceased painting. I felt ridiculous hearing a friend’s comment on my fairy tale, and I ceased writing. I ceased, I ceased, and I ceased, until I ceased being myself. To fit in. To not feel ridiculous. I pursued others’ view of success, and I strove to become reasonable, even admirable. And when I did, it felt worse than ever.

It took me 28 years, chronic anxiety, and a burnout to realize that beautiful things could come from embracing ridiculousness. It would expose me—the silly, unfitting, true me—to the world. But it would set me moving, at my own pace, baking my own recipe. And there lies the beauty of being ridiculous: it sets you free to create your own space in the world. So I ceased ceasing, and I started being.

Today I feel ridiculous telling my classmates I will leave HBS and open a bakery. But that doesn’t stop me anymore. Now I will live my life—my own silly, unfitting, true life—with a mission: showing people that they, too, can craft their way in this world being their own “ridiculous” self.

— Daniella Bertolotti