Spirit Animals

I love books that help me feel as if I am normal.

I received a few of these kinds of books for my birthday last week, and I wasted no time in reading two of them cover to cover. These were just the first two that I picked up to be read eagerly, hungrily, and obsessively: Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse by Alida Nugent and Mindy Kaling’s (I am just now discovering how awesome she is…how am I just now discovering this?) Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). 

Both were a comfort that helped quiet that little voice inside my head that I assume every twenty-something encounters: Despite all my weird tendencies, am I a normal, functioning, perfectly capable human being? Is this feeling of inadequacy and abnormality that I am sure I exude just a “me” thing? Do other people lay awake at night to contemplate the direction of their life, or do they just worry about the normal things? You know, the unknowns such as which Starbucks drink they’ll order in the morning instead of “What if all my dreams and hopes and other vague titles given to the future don’t work out?”

I have a very talkative inner voice, as you can tell.

Lets start of with Don’t Worry, It Get’s Worse.

Alida Nugent is a Spirt Animal of Mine

Let’s just talk about her bio at the very beginning of the book:

“A graduate of Emerson College, Nugent majored in writing and is as shocked as you are that, in this economy, she is able to find a living doing that. She currently resides in Brooklyn, where she stares at dogs and eats sandwiches and stoops and isn’t in a band.”

This style of writing–honest and funny and just plain awesome–continues throughout the entire book. There are moments that bring the audience back to heart of the book: what it feels like to be a twenty-something and struggling to find the balance between careless youth and thriving adult dominate the subject matter, but Nugent mixes in hilarious asides that exaggerate the awkwardness we all feel as ignorant “grown-ups.” There are chapters that are mostly rid of the jokes, but that doesn’t make them any less poignant and memorable.

My favorite chapter has to be “On Panic, or Conquering Fear Like a Child.” She recounts her struggle with recent panic attacks and compares it to her fear of sharks when she was younger. She was deathly afraid of those monsters of the sea until a fateful trip on Universal Orlando’s Jaws-themed ride. Once facing her fear, little Nugent wasn’t as afraid. At the conclusion of this chapter she decided that instead of masking her anxiety problem with pills and failed attempts of yoga and alcoholism (you just got to read…she does an excellent job of making light of scary situations) she decides that in order to conquer her fears, it was just time for her to just get in the water and take life day by day instead of incessantly worrying about the unknowns.

I loved this book. Do me a favor and go buy it.

Mindy Kaling is Also a Spirit Animal

I’ve always loved books written by the textbook “funny” women of the world: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Ellen DeGeneres, ect. Even though I had loved these books, I never really felt a deep connection to any of these women; there were no “She’s just like me!” revelations. Mindy Kaling changed the game for me–I feel as if I am very much like this adorable Hollywood misfit after reading her book.

Kaling grew up in a normal home, attended Dartmouth, failed miserably at a few jobs, and seemed relatively normal throughout her life, even after she found success writing and acting on The Office. Normal in the sense as no drugs, no underage drinking, and all of the awkwardness accompanied by adolescence and twenty-somethingness. She says in her book that her group of friends were the type to talk about going to grad school when they were only freshman in high school–she grew up relatively sheltered, as did I.

Being sheltered, however, didn’t stop her from writing one of the funniest and relatable books I’ve ever gotten my hands on. I loved this book, and I makes me want to binge watch every project she’s ever worked on. I even want to get my hands (or eyes) on the production of her first sort of success, her two-person play entitled Matt and Ben. You rock my socks off, Mindy Kaling.

In Conclusion, Being Scared and Odd is Completely Normal

There you have it, folks. While everyone thinks they’re odd and out of sorts every once in awhile, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone out there who is feeling exactly the same way you are. Picking up these two books helped me understand this, so I highly recommend them to you.

Happy reading, my friends!


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