Big birthday greeting to my birthday twin, MsWas, to Katie71483 whose birthday was on Sunday, and to Prolixity Julien whose birthday was some time ago and will happen again in the future. Happy birthday to Allie Brosh. I have no idea when her birthday is, but I’m glad she keeps having them. And happy birthday to you, do something nice for yourself. You can tell me about it in the comments, or any other place you might find me.
Last year, Katie71483, MsWas and Prolixity Julien got together and ordered a copy of Allie Brosh’s Solutions and Other Problems for my birthday. When it came, I was touched that these lovely people thought so much of me that they would go to the effort and expense. I also knew that I was not going to be able to read the book at that moment, and probably for many moments after that moment. In fact, it sat on my shelf for almost a whole year because I wasn’t ready to dive into the hard things I knew were in the book. The unread Solutions and Other Problems could have been a symbol of my guilt (and occasionally has been), but more recently when I have seen it on my shelf, it has been a talisman of friendship.
Solutions and Other Problems is Allie Brosh’s long awaited and much anticipated second book. After the release of her first book, Hyperbole and a Half, some unfair and bad things happened in Allie Brosh’s life. The sections in which she deals directly with her sister’s death, and other specific bad things are very short. Most of the focus is on the existential crisis she experienced and her efforts to be a better person. It is equally heartbreaking and hilarious and so very relatable.
I am grateful that at some point in my weird and chaotic childhood, I learned that the universe is not fair, everything is pointless, but keep trying anyway. A major motivator for me has often been that the universe is unfair, making it my job to bring things closer to fair. It’s a big job and I fail at it every single day. The corollary to that is the universe is unfair and random, so make that work for you. Chapter 14: Fairness might be my favorite chapter. I laughed so hard I may have peed a little and it spoke to me on a cellular level. So much of my life can be explained by the thesis of the chapter: “If you can’t win, start playing a different game and score just as many points.” I can’t recommend you follow my path in this. I am the proverbial cautionary tale.
I have promised MsWas that I will stop apologizing to her, but to be honest, I feel like everyone who interacts with me is owed a certain level of constant apology because I am just so weird and difficult. I’ve got the depression, the anxiety, the ADHD, and the after the last few years, I am at best, semi-feral. (This is not an invitation to tell me how great I am, because nothing will make me scuttle back into my cave faster than someone telling me I’m actually not that bad. I do like myself, but I’m the weirdo who would like a weirdo like me.) That said, there is a difference between liking yourself and being your own friend. Like Brosh, I am working on being my own friend. I hope that someday I will be a better friend to myself and by extension, to the people I love.