Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Mindy Kaling

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“I think sometimes people think cheerful is a synonym for dumb, so no one is ever cheerful.”

Here’s the thing – I basically worship Mindy Kaling.  So it comes as no surprise that I adored this book.  I love how much success she’s had as a woman in comedy, and she adds to my pool of women who I label “Women that are funnier than any man will ever be,” which also includes Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, and Wanda Sykes.  So to read her book, of course, was a hilarious pleasure.

My entire childhood and adolescence was marked by me not being the most popular girl in school, or the best looking, or the smartest, or the biggest boy-magnet, or the most talented musician, or the best dancer in ballet class.  The one thing I did have, however, was that I was funny.  “Funny” has forever been my thing, the one label people can immediately attach to my personality.  I don’t know how I became funny (it probably came from my dad, whose sense of humour is unmatched by anyone else I’ve ever met), but I think the first time someone told me I was funny it became a trope I clung to, a trait that I embellished and still work on to this day (whether I’m actually funny or been living a lie my whole life is up to interpretation).  As a result, female comedians are the famous people I look up to, aspire to be like, try to adopt their attitudes towards the shittiness that life is filled with.

I’m not saying that I’ve been without my dark days, and Mindy admits that she’s had dark periods too, but Mindy points out that there seems to be an idea that in order to be valued as an artist or any person of intellect, you have to have deep thoughts all of the time and be completely invested in your dark side.  Yes, her and I both put on Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” and cry for days, but I have learned through the study of these women I admire that reacting to life’s shittiness with a sense of humour and a generally positive outlook is a more successful approach than going full-blown deep and moody whenever you have an audience (again, not saying that I don’t do that, though I’d eventually like to wipe that whole bit from my persona).  Surrounding yourself with positive people also generally makes life easier to deal with, and as Mindy says, “I just want to meet a guy who has not been, at one point in his life, diagnosed with clinical depression. That [is] my only criterion.”

So yes.  If this book has taught me anything, is that life should be approached with a great sense of humour (and perhaps a bit of deep reflection every once in a while).  Bravo, Mindy.

Books read: 4

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