From the forward by Joss Whedon to the last chapter filled with profound and inspiring thoughts, this book was a delight. I smiled, I laughed, I teared up at a few parts, and I even made it through descriptions of some of the more technical aspects of gaming (which I still have zero interest in) thanks to Felicia’s use of layman’s terms and analogies. I love most things nerd and geek and am a member of several different fandoms, but I still wasn’t sure that Felicia’s new memoir was for me- until I picked it up and started reading it. Before reading YNWOTI, I knew very little about Felicia Day aside from the fact that she appeared in Buffy and was on one of my favorite shows, Supernatural, for quite a while. I was also minimally aware of Geek & Sundry, her geek start up that provides reviews and new content on things from the geek world.
I thought I would be reading about a woman who, like me, is into things that many people may not consider “cool.” While that was true, it was much more profound than that. Felicia Day shared experiences from her off beat and atypical childhood, finding friends online, and what it was like to be an actress, producer, and small business start-up owner. The other thing she shared, that meant more to me (and probably many others) than she could possibly know, was her experience of mental illness. Specifically, she described her struggles with depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
While the first parts of the book about her early life were entertaining and enjoyable to read, the book really came into its own when Felicia got the most real and started talking about her struggles. The most important thing about this book is that it gave me hope and let me know that I’m certainly not alone. Felicia Day has mental illnesses, and she has still been wildly successful in creating a career doing something she loves. Maybe that means that there’s hope for me yet.
This is a must read for geeks who struggle for mental illness and also for other people who like to be entertained. The further I read into this book, the more clear it became that Felicia Day is my spirit animal.
Here are a few nuggets of things I love that Felicia shares in the book:
“There are enough negative forces in this world — don’t let the pessimistic voice that lives inside you get away with that stuff, too. That voice is NOT a good roommate.”
“I couldn’t trust my own mind anymore, which was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced.” (She hit the nail on the head there!)
“I discovered that, even though the feeling had ruled me my entire life, no one could make me be anxious without my consent.”
“You made something great. And something new will come around. Or not. Either way, do the work you love. And love yourself. That’s all you can do in this world in order to be happy.”
“I am determined to create something or express myself, no matter how hard it is, even if my mom is the only one who sees it!”
“Share something of yourself. If you enrich one other person’s life, it will be worth it. If you find one friend, it will be worth it.”
UPDATE: I just opened up my twitter app for a notification and Felicia Day made my whole world! Isn’t it amazing how literally a second of someone else’s time can make you feel so wonderful?