The wildly popular YouTube personality and author of the New York Times bestseller My Drunk Kitchen is back! This time, she’s stirring up memories and tales from her past.
By combing through the journals that Hannah has kept for much of her life, this collection of narrative essays deliver a fuller picture of her life, her experiences, and the things she’s figured out about family, faith, love, sexuality, self-worth, friendship and fame.
Revealing what makes Hannah tick, this sometimes cringe-worthy, poignant collection of stories is sure to deliver plenty of Hannah’s wit and wisdom, and hopefully encourage you to try your hand at her patented brand of reckless optimism.
Hello, my darlings! I am incredibly pleased to present BUFFERING: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded!
As a big fan of memoirs, I wanted to try my hand at writing about the events of my life that deserve a little more consideration than can be accomplished in 140-characters or a 6-minute vlog. Now on the cusp of turning 30, I’m ready to expose some parts of my life that I haven’t shared before. Before, it was all about privacy, process and time. And now the time has come! I’m ready to put myself out there, for you.
I’m a little nervous about all these vulnerable words going into the world, these tales about my love life, the wrestling I’ve done with faith, how I feel about sex and my family and myself. I’ve had a lot of trials, a lot of errors, but also a lot of passion. Here’s the thing–I’ve always found comfort in the stories shared by others, so I hope my stories, now that I feel ready to tell them, will bring you some comfort too.
And when you read this book please remember: Buffering is just the time it takes to process.
Buffering was NOT the shortest YouTuber autobiography, which was shocking to me. While the books of some other YouTubers seemed to drag on for a long time, I finished this one within a day. I have read several other YouTuber autobiographies before, and Hannah is actually the one whom I watched least of. Yet her autobiography was my favourite out of all the YouTuber books I have read so far and it really stood out among them. It was the most honest autobiography I have read from a Youtuber, it is one of those few that actually give you a new perspective on the person you are reading about and not just an extension of what they are already doing on their YouTube channel. The book was also very well-written, which isn’t very common among YouTuber books.
Activism on mental illnesses
As an aspiring psychologist, I care about mental illness. It is going to be the main focus of my career life after-all. However, as someone who has never had personally experienced it, I had always been viewing it as a logical, technical problem that needs to be solved.
I realised how wrong I was after reading Buffering. Just professional help is not enough to help people with mental illness. Without a supportive system and a society that is free of stigmatisation, the people who needed help wouldn’t even be sent to the people who can help them, let alone receive treatment. Had all of these conditions be available when Hannah’s mother was suffering from the very early stages of schizophrenia, maybe she would have gotten help earlier and Hannah and her sibling would have had a happier childhood.
After reading about Hannah’s struggle as a child who had to take care of her own parent, I have also developed a new sense of responsibility to be the therapist/clinician that people need. Mental illness is a serious issue in our society that isn’t dealt with properly. By talking about her struggles, Hannah pointed out a very important problem in her country that needs addressing. Activism in an autobiography book is unique yet empowering.
Hannah’s attitude portrayed in this book was authentic and open. She managed to talk about her suffering without sounding sorry for herself (which she would be completely entitled to do so), and at the same time not sounding too overly optimistic to the point that she sounded fake. Instead of feeling sorry for her, I admire her for her strength.
Her sense of humour was positive but not forced. Even when describing the adversity she faced as a child, she managed to make a few light jokes before it got too depressing. Hannah also avoided being too self-deprecating in these jokes, which shows that she can look back and have a good chuckle at her past without selling herself low in the process.
Positivity is different from optimism. Instead of falling into the routine of wishful thinking and say “it would get better”, Hannah took it upon herself to make her own life better. She identified the problem and thought of ways to improve it. Teenagers and adults alike can learn a lesson from Hannah’s life: positivity and autonomy are much more helpful than optimism.
Hannah didn’t hold back when she decided that she would open up. She was completely open and honest about not only her experience but also what she thought of the experience. This included her history of self-harm, her relationship with religion and her sexuality among other things. This is another thing that isn’t also common in YouTuber autobiographies.
She also didn’t try to maintain her YouTuber persona in the book like some other YouTubers did. Let’s be honest, while a lot of YouTubers are not necessarily putting on a mask while filming, they definitely choose a few selective times when they are in a good mood to film themselves. The 10 minutes videos of them smiling and laughing are not their whole personality.
Instead of pretending to be a perfect human who is happy all the time, Hannah openly admitted that she has anger issues, she got stressed over her flight being getting stuck, she yelled at her sister across the phone. This is normal, human emotions that I, for some reasons, didn’t realise she could have until now.
While a lot of other YouTubers who claimed that they would ‘open up in their book were also pulling punches, probably being too embarrassed or afraid to completely open up, Hannah wasn’t. I believe the bravest thing you can ever do is to open up to the whole world, and I am appreciating her more because of this.