It seems to me the entire point of Furiously Happy is for Jenny Lawson to prove she is ‘crazier’ than you. Which is fine with me, because sometimes her train of thought hits a little too close to home, and other times it is so far out in left field I am left wondering if she is really playing the game to begin with – but as I think she might say, what’s the point of organized sports anyways? The winning homerun is realizing we’re all a little crazy, and we’re all a little a lot crazy. That’s okay, it can even be comfortable.
Lawson’s writing fills the room with her presence for each of her 321 pages. She covers severe depression, anxieties, phobias, attention deficit disorders, sleep disorders and a slew of other unsettling issues that require pills that work and pills that don’t. (Don’t worry you get to read all the strange adventures caused by the ones that don’t work.) She continues to win against all of them with a movement that manifests as a hashtag on her blog (The Bloggess) – #FURIOUSLYHAPPY means committing to being fly off the walls happy, in everyway possible, to hell with the negativity.
Furiously Happy is intelligent, in a mind racing put-the-book-down-to-catch-your-breath sort of way. As someone who went to school to learn how to ask questions, I loved that Lawson never really writes a complete thought without asking four or nine interrupting questions – but I wouldn’t recommend it for someone who has a shallower tolerance for nonsense.
Not to say that Furiously Happy is nonsense, in fact it’s inspiring. We live in a moment when mental illness is discussed and encountered every day, but somehow still isn’t accepted as ‘real’ and is locked away by guilt. We can’t admit that mental illness is a disease. We say someone committed suicide, not that they died of mental illness in a way we might if someone died of cancer. With the struggling awareness campaigns comes a miscalculated fear that the more we know, the more likely we might be able to diagnose ourselves. Does worrying too much mean that there is some sort of anxiety disorder lurking in the back of your brain? Honestly, it’s something we need to stop worrying about, for the sake of our own mental health. Lawson is one of the trailblazers who is keeping everyone honest about being mostly unstable and committable.
I’ve never been consciously jealous of someone who is nuttier than a taxidermy squirrel, to be frank. But being exactly who you are, as you are, for the whole world sounds remarkably liberating and terrifying both at once – and Lawson having the bravery to do it is incredible. Furiously Happy isn’t a self-help book, or maybe it is, but mostly it just makes you feel better – due in no small part to the fact that it is outrageously funny. Don’t take my word for it, read it yourself.
By Sarah Sobanski