Friday, October 23, 2015

Furiously Happy.

I just finished reading Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, by Jenny Lawson. You may know Lawson by the moniker The Bloggess, under which she also tweets.

Here she is on Canada AM, promoting the book recently.

Reading Furiously Happy has been my introduction to Lawson. I laughed so hard on the bus once I had to hide my face in my scarf because I couldn't control the noises I was making, or the contorting of my face.

Stories involving shit do that to me. 

Lawson writes about her struggles with mental illness, namely anxiety and depression, but also trichotillomania and a few other disorders. So this book had a lot going for it. First, the cover "had me at hello," second, the book was by a woman living with mental illness, and third, she's funny. It's like the Three Musketeers of being right for me. 

First thing's first. The fucking cover.

Lawson's dad is a taxidermist, so taxidermy is an art form / skill she appreciates. The expression on this poor little guys face though, is just so extremely fantastic. I can't look away from it. Whoever made her this (she mentions it in the book) is just so successful.

Overall the book is funny, it's collection of stories and essays from her point of view. For me, I especially appreciate it because it's a woman, who is funny and who is writing, and is also ill. She's more than just one thing. She has many identifiers. She, like me, is funny. But being funny doesn't save you from feeling like shit, and being in pain.

She's pretty honest about her struggles, and every story that makes the best seller lists and features mental illness, comedy, and a woman's voice (three things that are rare as is) is a win for me and my team.

I read the book in 2-3 days. It was a real breath of fresh air, having just read a bunch of mental-illness-themed memoires that were dark as hell. That's fine. The dark stuff speaks to me too. That's part of my educating myself on my people and my place within a narrative. But this also speaks to me, because I am funny, and I am clever, and I do seek out humour in popular culture and art. These things are important to remember - the seeming duality of it. Because it isn't a duality. 

I think voicing someone's ability to be funny, bright, creative and part of the fucking world, while depressed, or sick is important. Policy is made, decisions are taken that directly affect us and we have to be visible. And right now, I'm on an up-swing. I'm feeling better. I am able to talk. To represent. 

Because how do you stand-up and scream for your rights when all you want to do is lay down and die? You don't. So with folks like Lawson, writing and representing us, it helps. 

There's never enough representation. We all have a story. 

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