Anna Akana’s book will definitely make you see your life from a whole different angle.
Don’t you just hate it when nothing in your life seems to make sense at all? Your family keeps asking you existential questions as soon as they have the chance to do so ("When are you getting married? Are you really not going to have children?"), your partner doesn't seem to get what you’re going through (that is, if you do have a partner), your friends are too busy to make plans, and to top it all off, you still haven’t found your dream job. You feel like there is nothing good to look forward to, no silver lining at all. Well, if any of these situations rings a bell, I have something that might help you get through hard times: humor. Before you say comedy is not the best solution to despair and sorrow, let me prove you wrong. Well, as a matter of fact, let Anna Akana, author of So Much I Want To Tell You, prove you wrong, because if she was able to recover from tragedy and depression, so can you.
Anna Akana had a pretty normal life until she found out that her thirteen-year-old sister Kristina had committed suicide. She was devastated and, understandably, went through the darkest episode of her life. Missing her little sister made her look for comfort in alcohol, drugs, and people who really didn’t help her get through with this. However, her turning point arrived a couple of years later, when she discovered that there was another way to address her sadness: comedy.
As an acting student, she thought it would be a good idea to apply her knowledge and skills in creative YouTube videos, which eventually became very popular. In these videos, Anna found a relief from her ongoing pain. Talking about life and death, the good and bad, resulted in her improving her emotional state. Anna’s growing popularity as a YouTuber turned into a step for something bigger in her professional career, and at the same time, it helped her overcome her unhappy state of mind.
Then, she decided to cope with her emotions through a book. Last year, Anna published So Much I Want To Tell You, a compilation of “letters” that include a lot of topics that she would’ve liked to share with Kristina. From love and heartbreak, to creativity and finding your voice as an artist, she shares everything she has been through since she lost her sister, and how all of her experiences shaped her into a version of herself she truly enjoys. As she does in her viral videos, in this book Anna looks at the humorous side of things, because laughing at your own luck can be a very nice way to make things a little more bearable.
"Why do people say ‘grow some balls’? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding."
What is truly admirable about Anna Akana’s book (and life overall) is how vulnerable and real she gets. She laughs at life itself, she knows there will be happy and sad moments, and she learned to be okay with that. Dealing with difficult topics such as suicide can leave a very heavy emotional scar that can end up messing with the future. But for Anna, hard times were a source of inspiration, a reason to keep on going. She used the past as a force to receive the struggles in life with arms wide open, and then, use them to fuel inner growth.
We all go through difficult moments. The key to leave them behind is how we tackle them. So, if you’re feeling like life’s giving you too much to handle, you should give this book a chance. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find something that speaks to you directly.
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Photo credit: Anna Akana