Friday, July 1, 2016

Don't Forget about the Good

Furiously Happy. Jenny Lawson. I can’t say I’d recommend the book. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend otherwise, either. I appreciate her profanity, but I feel she tries a little too hard to be “motherfucking” out there. I wish she talked more about her struggles with mental illness and less about her bat-shit crazy escapades in Australia. Maybe she gets (hypo)manic, and I’m just missing it, and she’s not admitting to it.

I do recommend her chapter on self-harm: “The Fear.” The one she starts with “(Note: this is where I’d put a mild trigger warning for self-harm, but frankly this whole damn book—and life in general—deserves a trigger warning. Sorry about that.)” Yes, I recommend it, very much so. Unless, of course, you’re easily triggered, like me, and are trying to be responsible by not getting overmuch triggered, unlike me.

I want to know what it’s like, for her, to be mentally ill and have a child. Is it doable? To be fighting against self-harm while loving another the way a parent loves her child? The pregnancy. Did she have to go off meds? If so, how did she survive?

Sometimes I want her to be serious. Less shits and giggles. I want to know about the deceit her depression speaks into her mind. Of course, that’s mighty personal. I too would rather laugh off the “crazy” than trigger someone into doing something terrible.

They say talking about suicide won’t make a person more suicidal. I don’t know. I guess, though, I would rather her write about the darkness than engage us in her tom-“fuckery.” (Funny as it may be.) Maybe she writes about it in her first book. Maybe not.

Maybe what is best of her book—well, second best, the chapter on self-harm wins all contest—is its advice to me as a writer:
Quit trying to be so damn funny. You’re funny by being a human being who does stupid shit like wear koala outfits and send taxidermied raccoons riding on the backs of house cats and not filter sarcasm and pick punk-assed elementary school peers up by their t-shirts. But you’re funny even without sharing every last one of those moments.
And keep being honest. About the stupid shit. About the blood. About the nitty gritty details that are inevitably judged to be too personal. And about the good. Don’t forget the good, Annie Williams. Don’t forget the good.

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