I’ve been putting this book off, even though I really wanted to read it, because I was told it deals a lot with video game addiction, something I wasn’t quite ready to face in written format. But I saw it pop up again and figured I shouldn’t be held back by an irrational fear of bad memories and got it.
Reading a lot of this book felt like reading my own memoir. I mean to the point of it being borderline plagiarism. I guess that means I don’t get to write one now. Thanks a lot, Felicia (I’m just kidding, please don’t hate me).
So many of her feelings and experiences are mirrored by my own. We were both child prodigies, though for me it was singing. We both have horrible anxiety that translates into becoming socially inept while still being able to perform in front of other people. It might seem hypocritical, but I totally understand what she’s talking about because I’ve been there. I also did not make it my career.
Another big similarity is the drive for perfection. She got a 4.0 in college because she wanted a 4.0 but it meant nothing afterwards. I felt the exact same way going through my business degrees. I counted every point to make sure I kept my 4.0 and in the end all I got for it was my adviser going ‘wow, you’re the first 4.0 I’ve ever had!’ Did it feel good? Yes. Was it worth the countless sleepless nights and anxiety?
Yes No. And what did I do after graduation? I decided to become a writer instead. Because I realized it would make me happy, just like she realized she wanted to be an actor.
Next is the crippling anxiety. Felicia’s struggle hits so close to home, I can’t even.
On the social front, let me give you an example. Yesterday I went to buy chocolate from ALDIs and I passed by an older man who yelled out ‘hey, you want my cart?’ I turned around and smiled and said ‘no thanks, I’m good!’ and kept walking. The problem? I did want the cart. But when he called out to me my brain went ‘OH GOD HE’S TALKING TO YOU GET OUT OF THIS SITUATION RIGHT NOW’ and in my panic I did. But that’s not all. After I said no, I felt so rude because should have at least offered to take the cart back since he was old. I was all ‘he probably thinks I’m a horrible person, but it’s too late to turn back now’. And then I proceeded to not get a cart and carry all the groceries I bought in my hands to punish myself. Yup. Go me. I can’t wait to see how I do at book signings. I’ll probably say things even Felicia would facepalm over.
I teared up at her chapter about other people’s feedback on her work and the anxiety that comes from it because I am in that place right now and it’s so bad it’s making me physically sick. I have a panic attack when deciding to click on Goodreads and seeing if any more Netgalley reviews pop up from my just posted book. Hell, I’m having a panic attack just thinking about it. So far the reviews have been positive, but even seeing things like ‘must read!’ and ‘Anna is a great writer’ all I really see is ‘not enough character development Anna should never write anything ever again’. And those times I actually believe what I wrote is good, I start panicking thinking I’ll never match it. It’s a constant struggle, and Felicia’s book showed me the most important thing of all – that I’m not alone.
And oh yes, the video game addition. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought to read about, mainly because of her carefree tone and witty narrative. For me, it could be summarized in two sentences: It was the best time of my life. It almost ruined my life. I look back at the period of my World of Warcraft addiction and I remember only the good because to me, I felt at the top of the world. I was wanted, revered even. I was in one of the top guilds in the world and I loved it.
Except I had a family. A husband and child. I had to eat and sleep and be a human being instead of an avatar. And I wasn’t. I look back and I see myself stuffing dinner in my face so I could get back online instead of talking to my husband about his day at work. I remember making promises and breaking them the next day because ‘my friends need me!’. It’s horrifying to look back at it now, how it affected everyone around me and how I lost myself completely to the game. Luckily, after a (deserved) ultimatum, I was able to get my life back. I still play, though only 2 nights a week now, but now I keep my priorities straight.
It’s pretty crazy how much we match up. Maybe she’s my long lost twin? Maybe not. Her hair is way prettier.
Well, that’s enough about me. I feel like this memoir will help a lot of people feel like what they’re going through, or have been though, is beatable. If I can relate, so can many others. I am so thankful that she wrote this and I can’t wait to see what she does in the future because I just know there’s a lot more creativity in her to show to the world.