Ok. This is maybe less book review and more fan girl gush madness stream of consciousness. But there are very few books I’ve listened to in the past few years, which made me, literally, laugh, cry, and then want to be alive in the way that this particular book has. That book would be You’re Always Weird on the Internet (Almost), a memoir by Felicia Day. And you definitely need to listen to it, not read it—I can’t imagine how the experience would change without Felicia Day’s completely spot on intonation.
I came at my Felicia Day crush from, unsurprisingly, the Joss Whedon point of view, though slightly odd in that I first met her on Dollhouse, and then Dr. Horrible, and THEN Buffy, which to other nerds out there, is the wrong order. Oh and I think I watched the Guild and Geek and Sundry even before Buffy. What can I say. Weird.
I later came to realize that Felicia Day was an advocate for women in the “geek” world, a world which I have belonged to for a very long time, but have always felt more than a bit ostracized from. How could a girl love violent fantasy novels? How could a girl love video games? And most importantly, how could a girl consistently beat a guy in Star Wars trivia?
It’s hard to talk about this without massively associating and getting very autobiographical. Suffice to say, aside from going to auditions for commercials in LA (and being semi-famous), I associate with Day’s life experiences. It’s hard to be the weird kid. It’s hard to be raised on fantasy and sci fi and, sorry, be smarter than most of the other kids your age, and not feel like you are some nasty nonsense they found on the bottom of their shoe. It’s hard to be a woman in a male-dominated field of work, especially a woman who looks way younger than her age and therefore garners creepy amounts of attention, and not of the good kind.
I laughed at her anecdotes. Much more than I expected to. I loved hearing the background stories of The Guild and Geek and Sundry and felt all empowered and YAY I can do anything I want to as well! Girl power!
I cried my eyes out and realized I have been hiding for the past 20 or so years.
When Wil Wheaton came out with his video about his anxiety for Project UROK, I watched it and thought, I can never do that. I can never talk about my anxiety that way. When Felicia Day wrote an awesome book about her sometimes hilarious attempts to succeed in life, which I could completely relate to, and then turned the tables and talked very frankly about her anxiety and depression and how they affected her ability to work, I wanted to tell the world about how shitty it is to deal with depression and anxiety. I haven’t felt so inspired in years.
When she got into it, every word felt like something I had gone through. There’s anxiety. And there’s depression. And there’s this really toxic combination that causes you to wake up at 3 AM for months on end, and lay awake thinking of every little thing you failed to do, even the tiny things that no one else would ever notice, and then you are cracked out, wandering around like a zombie, completely incapable of remembering anything that happened, hurting every person you are close to, and spiraling further and further into a complete shutdown (where all your biological systems decide to stop working in protest! yay!), and you think, I must be the only person who has gone through this.
Then Felicia Day talks about it in her book while being humorous, sincere, and completely nerdy.
And suddenly you feel like there is hope in the universe again. I told you—I’m going complete fan girl on this one. Felicia Day just changed my life.
If I had any complaint at all (sorry, Felicia, it’s such a minor note), it’s that she barely references the Joss Whedon stuff, and I’m so curious for inside info on those days. Particularly, I wanted really juicy stories about being on the set of Dollhouse. Because I am a particular kind of nerd. But I get it—her story was about her success as a writer and a producer and not just a part on a show that a guy wrote. So I understand why she didn’t write about it. I just wanted to nerd out for at least a chapter.
Reasons this book is amazing:
- Girl power nerdiness, as in, why does it matter than I happen to be a girl and a nerd shouldn’t it be more important that I’m a nerd…?
- It’s feminist without hating on guys in general. Not even a little bit, which I really appreciate.
- Never gets along with other kids her age. I had that problem. Possibly still do.
- Random childhood obsession with astrology (happened). She’s a cancer too.
- Sticker books. ALSO HAPPENED.
- She’s frank when she gives advice, but because she does it with humor, it’s not preachy or condescending.
- It’s nerdy but not inaccessible if you happen to be a different kind of nerd.
- She has cats.
- It ends with the Gamer Gate thing and how ridiculously fucked up the whole situation is and at first I was like, whoa weird place to end because depressing, but she lands it. Positive ending. Go out and conquer the world.
- PS: There’s a PDF with illustrations of certain points of the story. Extra hilarious.