Hello readers and welcome to the second installment of our GeekyNerdy Book Club! As you may remember, since people seemed to be into the idea of alternating between fiction and non-fiction books, this month’s selection was You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day. It was a memoir that I had wanted to read for a while, so this gave me the perfect opportunity to finally crack it open! (Note: I didn’t buy the paperback version, which apparently has a bonus chapter in it, so if you read that, please share more about it in the comments below!)
Having not read a lot of memoirs, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the book, but I found the writing style to be incredibly engaging and personable. Felicia seemed to write the way she talks (at least based on what Joss Whedon wrote in the introduction, and what I know of her acting style), so the book felt more like a long conversation between good friends than anything else, which made it a fun and quick read.
Now as I was going over my notes, I was struck by how much of it focused on things I didn’t really know about Felicia, at least in terms of her childhood, education, anxiety, etc. I mean, yes, how many of us really know the celebrities who are out there? It’s more that I went into her memoir expecting it to be full of behind-the-scene details from her time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Eureka, how she met Joss, etc.
1. That said, I wasn’t disappointed when she didn’t really touch on those things and figured that was actually probably the point. Why write about the things that people already know (or think they know) about you or can easily find out with a quick Google search? Give them the things they don’t know, like how difficult but fulfilling it was to create your own web series or how anxious you feel in social settings? Felicia’s taking of the road less traveled gave us a more complete picture of who she is and how she got from Point A to Point Z. For instance, I had absolutely no clue that she had been homeschooled or that she had gotten a dual math/music degree and at such a young age! But what about you, was there anything in her background that surprised you, or are you a Felicia Day aficionado?
The other thing that surprised me was how candid she was about her anxiety and all of the stressful motivations that have propelled her forward through life. I think it is really easy to look at a celebrity and think, “God, they have it all/so easy,” and lose sight of whatever internal (or external) struggles they may be dealing with. I think that loss of perspective has become even more acute thanks to social media and all of the photo styling/filtering that goes on behind the scenes – which I am equally guilty of – so I definitely appreciated her admonitions to sign up for the daily work of whatever it is that inspires us, as opposed to the pay off.
2. But though this book was ostensibly about Felicia Day, it was also about the place where she found herself: the Internet. While I’ve never been a gamer (I can only play Mario Kart after spinning around and going the wrong way on the track!), I definitely know that the world wide web is a place where like-minded people can find each other and be themselves. Heck, that’s part of why I started this blog: to embrace my geekynerdy roots and encourage others to do the same! Likewise with fan conventions. I think that was one of the biggest takeaways from last year’s Awesome Con for the Mysterious Mr. C and I: we had found our people! Have you found a place like that too, one where you feel like you can just be yourself and no one is judging you because they are geeking out just as much as you are? If so, where? Are you a big gamer like Felicia, or do you have some other creative outlet that serves as your “happy place”?
Yet for all of Felicia’s talk about finding her niche and making it work for her, the parts that spoke to me the most were about her battles with perfection and her fear of putting herself out there. Those are two things that I struggle with the most and while I like to think of myself as a recovering perfectionist, I have become more aware in recent years of that crippling fear of failure and how it can prevent you from even starting something. Through all of this, I’ve been particularly hard on myself, thinking that I just need to push through it – which sometimes you do. But I appreciated knowing that I’m not the only one out there who battles these demons.
3. I also really appreciated Felicia’s various coffee mug slogans, which seemed to perfectly encapsulate her wry, witty take on life and all it has to offer. In fact, there were several that I would have bought, if they had been available, even though C and I already have more mugs than we know what to do with! Personally, my favorite phrase (though not advertised as a mug design) was “”Throw off the societal yoke of judgment.” I know I spend way too much time thinking about what other people might think about me, this blog, a whole host of things. So that would be a really good reminder to let all of that go. But what was yours? Did any particular line jump out at you?
Hopefully, like me, you saw some of yourself in Felicia’s experiences, interests, and mannerisms, but if not, please let me know that too! As for our next read, I am really in need of a fiction book, so even if we weren’t alternating, that’s the direction we would be headed in! Also, I know that the last two books I picked were hardbacks, so I’m trying to make sure I go with a paperback this time! I’m still leaning towards A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers or Leviathan Wakes by James A. Corey, but I am certainly open to your suggestions as well. If there’s a book on your list that you want to read, let me know in the comments below. I’ll look everything over this weekend and let you know what the plan is on Monday!