By Abby Lindenmeier, Photographer
Mental illness is often stigmatized and not talked about. In society today, we constantly prioritize our physical health: eating healthy and getting enough exercise or sleep. Unfortunately, though, mental health is a topic we choose not to talk about. It is common for people to go through the day putting on a brave face and not stepping up to talk about their history or their struggles.
Hannah Hart changed the game when she wrote her biography “Buffering.” For those of you who do not know Hart, she is an international YouTube sensation who made her claim to fame in 2011 for producing her episodes “My Drunk Kitchen,” where Hart cooks a meal while drinking, making sure to film every interesting moment.
She has gone on to write a cookbook, produce and act in a movie and she even got to star in a couple episodes of various shows on the Food Network. She has 2.4 million subscribers on YouTube and makes her viewers laugh on a daily basis with her quick wit and charisma.
If one were to look at Hart, they would see a renowned comedian with a bubbly personality and successful career. Little would one know that in Hart’s book, she would open up about her very difficult past, where she has struggled with her own history and problems with mental health.
This biography portrays the struggles that Hart had to face, going through her family history, getting her startup as a YouTube star, coming out and being able to handle everything just by practicing reckless optimism.
Just because one is successful, always seen with a smile on their face or always moving, doesn’t mean that they can’t be going through struggles in their own way.
This book is so real and relatable to our daily lives because as students, we could be sitting next to someone in class who is silent about their troubles. You never know who could be going through a tough time, especially because of the stigma that surrounds the discussion of mental health can make people scared to talk about it.
Hart’s poetic and sometimes comedic stance on her own mental health shows no matter how difficult, it is possible for people to open up about how they are feeling and seek the help that is needed.
In one chapter of the book, Hart talks about how she waited until she was a grown adult to acknowledge that something was not quite right. She struggled with her own identity for years, before she came to terms with her issues and sought to get the help that she needed. Hart had to go through times of reflection to come to a realization that something may need to be done, and that led to her seeking professional help.
We constantly go through our lives “buffering,” which is a great title chosen for this book. Hannah uses the term “buffering” to describe “that time you spend waiting for the pixels of your life to crystallize into a clearer picture; it is the time of reflection, a time of pause, a time for regaining your composure or re-adjusting your course.”
“That time you spend waiting for the pixels of your life to crystallize into a clearer picture; it is the time of reflection, a time of pause, a time for regaining your composure or re-adjusting your course.”
Everyone has a time period in their life where they’re “buffering” every once in a while. This can relate to all of us because no matter where you are in life, you take the time to look back and reflect on what you have done in your life so far. You pause and think about the next steps you must take in order to progress forward.
One of the terms that Hart brought to her story, and claims to be the way she progresses through life, is “practicing reckless optimism.” That means that one has to acknowledge the negativity in their life and then, in order to move past that, choose to practice optimism over the negativity. She coined the term to constantly remind herself that no matter how bad things were getting, it’s more fun and beneficial to practice reckless optimism.
Anyone who reads this book will be able to apply Hart’s same thoughts on their own life in one way or another, even though it is hard for one to acknowledge when they may need help, no matter what situation they are in.
Towards the end of the book, the reader is encouraged to seek help if they are struggling with any mental health issues, no matter how hard it may be. Hart is a prime example of how strenuous it can become to come to terms with struggles. However, no matter the level of difficulty, she encourages self-care above anything else. She encourages people to know that it’s okay to be a work in process, or in other words, to still be finding their way.
Hart brings light and her comedic tendencies into her writing. It makes the read very enjoyable and encourages readers to take action to improve their own lives.
Hart’s encouraging words wrap up this very remarkably well written piece in a simple quote; “Over the past ten years, I’ve processed a lot. I’m still processing. And there is more to be done. But I’m very proud of the person I am today. I’m proud to be a reckless optimist. I’m proud to keep learning and sharing what I’ve learned. I’m proud to be a work in process.”
“Over the past ten years, I’ve processed a lot. I’m still processing. And there is more to be done. But I’m very proud of the person I am today. I’m proud to be a reckless optimist. I’m proud to keep learning and sharing what I’ve learned. I’m proud to be a work in process.”