Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded – a book review

Book Reviews

I always say I’m not one for YouTuber books. It would really have to speak to me. I’ve bought some YouTube vegan cookbooks and one other biography. Hannah Hart’s book was always on my radar but due to preconceived ideas I never picked it up. That was until I wanted to read about someone’s path with mental health. Living in the centre of off kilter mental health I was desperate to reach out to someone else’s story. I have watched Hannah for years now, not regularly but there has always been something enticing about her abundant happiness – it’s infectious. I had so many ill preconceived notions about Hannah’s life – I assumed she had no problems, I assumed everything worked for her and with the help of hard work and positivity she got to where she is. Wow, was Buffering eye-opening for me!

From the first chapter we were introduced to her family. We got to know Annette, her mother, Naomi and Maggie, her sisters and the other prominent figures in her life. Her mother struggles with schizophrenia and due to that they lived through hardship that no child should experience. What stood out to me the most was how Hannah stepped forward to take care of Maggie. The strongest story in my head is Hannah as a child rushing home to find toddler Maggie eating cigarettes off the ground. Every time Hannah recounted an experience like this or telling the cops about her situation hoping her younger sister could have a better life it showed the immense courage and foresight Hannah had as a child. 

I related to Hannah in parts; mostly her struggle with guilt around religion and family as well as struggling with mental health. When Hannah spoke about flying on the plane and she was sure she was going to die because she enjoyed herself at Burning Man. I had this experience hugely through my teens. If I was able to enjoy myself without thinking of God then why shouldn’t I be punished for it? This is something I am coming to terms with but it has taken years. Hannah perfectly explained that overhanging guilt when it came to religion. Like Hannah, it took world experiences to question my thinking and realise something wasn’t adding up. It wasn’t comforting me and making me happy – it was terrifying me. 

When Hannah spoke about her struggle with coming to terms with her sexual orientation due to her ideas about sexuality it really opened my eyes. As a straight woman I never thought about the fact it was celebrated when I had a date to prom or when I had a first kiss. Hannah was expected to supress and ignore any feelings she had. That internal struggle with “right” and “wrong” must have been immense. Although I can’t understand the struggle it takes to come to terms of being gay, I can understand the strength and bravery it takes to be true to yourself and not become overwhelmed by the opinions of others. 

All in all this book is a gem. It is filled with knowledge and mistakes and love and hate and respect and emotions and self realisation. When I think of a biography I think of someone pouring their soul into it even if it is tough. Hannah did exactly that and more. Any ill preconceived notion I had about Hannah Hart was wiped away and now I see her as a hard working, determined, strong, caring individual. When she is struggling, she seems to struggle but not let it overwhelm her. That is something I am trying to learn. 

If I could talk to Hannah I would ask her what it must feel like bearing your thoughts on paper for the world. How she came to terms with religion ruling her thoughts and how she gets on with life even when it seems overwhelming. 

Selfcare

Life, thoughts

Selfcare is so important for your well-being. There is something so luxurious about taking time out and pampering yourself but in reality we should all put more effort into selfcare. If you’re wondering what I’m harping on about, selfcare is exactly what it says – caring for yourself. When you’re working or in school it is so easy to become rushed off your feet and unable to step back for a moment but your body needs it. These are my favourite things to do when my soul and body need extra care. 

Bath


It’s cliche and it’s everywhere but a Lush bath is everything. There is something so comforting and something so soul-appeasing about a bath filled with bath bombs. The colour, the scent, the warmth, the bubbles – everything needed to wash away stress. My favourite bath bomb is Lord of Misrule which is only a seasonal addition. I always mean to stock up but I always forget.  

Stock up

That leads me onto the point of stocking up on your faves. I’m not talking about going ‘Extreme Couponing’ but have three extras. I like to do this with bath bombs and face masks. Two things I never use together but always want one or the other. You’ll never know the day that just went wrong in more ways than one and you’ll crave something unwinding. You’ll thank your past self for thinking of this! I like the simple, cheap peel of masks. How good they actually are for your skin I haven’t a clue but I love them.

Smooth over

One routine I have tried to get into for years is moisturising before bed but I am always too lazy. (Quick anecdote; I did moisturise yesterday and ended up only doing one leg because I was so lazy…). My skin is very good at telling me when its needs something extra. It is lovely to sit after a shower and just slather on moisturiser. You’ll be happy and so will your skin!

Get out

Sometimes I find you just need to move to get rid of these thoughts. Whether that is going for a walk, run or doing yoga it is important to move. Put on earphones if you want but there is something liberating seeing everyone else plugged in and you are just there with your thoughts. I find this most helpful when my mind is in a stressful place. 

Tune out

I find listening to the radio or an audiobook is a great distraction. If you can’t listen to someone just talk then turn on music and just lie down. Let’s the melody or the words wash over you and try, for a few minutes, to not worry about anything else. I’m currently sick with vertigo and I am listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, it is so enjoyable to lie back and focus on words only. When I get sick I can get so obsessed with how I am feeling that I can’t focus on a show or music but with an audiobook I can imagine it all happening while the words are read to me. (Bonus points when it is Stephen Fry reading it!)

Be nice

We need to hear nice things from ourselves too. When I have messed up in work, felt inadequate or felt low I sat myself down and spoke kindly to myself. I do this internally but nothing is stopping you shouting it. You know your true intentions and this is important. 

Deep breathes

When things get stressful or when you need a break just take a moment and breathe. Breathe in and out slowly, and do so consciously. It helps to calm your mind and body as well as promote mindfulness. 

Do what you love

Do you love to knit or is singing tunes in the shower more your thing? Take a while out of the regular schedule and do it. For me I love writing so I’ll sit down and write while listening to music. It feels great to get it all out. (Though I am partial to Mariah Carey-ing it in the shower. Specifically to the song ‘Obsessed’.)

I’ve written these down but it is easier said than done. I am a huge culprit for ignoring myself until I am so stressed I could explode. That being said I have gotten better. It takes a while to form a habit but even if it was taking three deep breathes while in the queue for the post office it helps. Take care of yourself!

Resolutions

Life

Last year I spoke about making New Year resolutions in a simplified form; ignoring the traditional and looking to the contemporary. This year I’m stuck in some middle ground of wanting to make NY resolutions but with a mix of traditional and not so much.

For far too long I have done everything I was told to do – don’t wear that, go to college, get a job, don’t stay at home, get on with your life. I have done everything anyone has asked of me regardless of what I wanted. This year I am attempting to take back my life. If I want to do something I will do it and I have a few things in mind at the moment. I find it so easy (and at the same time extremely tiring) to be a people pleaser. A couple of months ago I got a stern talking to by someone about how I needed to work and if not, I needed to be volunteering in the very least. According to them I was practically wasting my life away and when the time would come for an employer they would glance at my CV and instantly reject me because I was sick for a year. As you can imagine that comment swam around in my mind for months. Then one day it clicked; just because that is how they lived their life didn’t mean that was how I was going to live mine. I started to think about all the times I have done something because I was told I *should* do it. I’m over it.

This year I want to go places, I want to drink and eat, I want to learn, and I want to live/do what I want to live/do. This is a mighty task for me. I am completely unable to go against the grain but I will do my best.

Save

I will save as much as I can for future events. I don’t need excessive money (nor do I have it) since I am living at home. I am going to try and save as much as possible. I have large plans for the end of 2017 and will need every penny. So, essentially, saving for a rainy day is my first resolution.

Learn

I have wanted to learn Italian for the longest time but I never did. After going to Italy last summer my obsession grew and now I am determined. I am currently watching Italian movies with English subtitles (I have been watching Il Viaggio today) and I am trying to learn one thing a day e.g. today was the alphabet and next will be numbers. Then I’ll go from there.

Live

Learn to say yes to situations that I know I would enjoy. Like I said I have large plans for the end of this year and that is keeping me motivated. I have never had a plan in place, something that I have truly wanted to do for years and I finally feel like I am ready. The first year I want to actually put a plan into motion rather than just talk about it.

Heal

I have been sick for four years and it was under control for two of those. This year has tested me, being at home for the past year, so I want to take this year to heal my physical health and mental health. I want to also heal myself out my body. I want to heal my relationship with food and exercise – to enjoy it without being focused on weight and to learn not to emotionally eat when I’m sad. 

I’m am filled with hope for the coming year and I just hope my motivation lasts. I deliberately chose nothing too severe so I have a good shot at each resolution.

What are your resolutions? Do you find New Years is the same as any other day or do you wait for the renewal it brings?

Wanderlust

thoughts

I have this unbelievable urge to travel at the moment. I want to go to Sweden, Iceland, America, and London but I can’t bring myself to book anything. That is because more than any of those places I want to go back to Italy. I want to eat pasta al fresco, I want to people watch on a piazza, I want to read in a cafe with a foamy cappuccino. I want to experience all the clichés I possibly can fit into the allotted time.

I think my love for Italy stems from having no expectations for it. When I went on holidays, I went more concentrated on my nerves for the flight rather than what I thought it would be like. My strongest memory was when the plane doors opened, I stood at the top of the steps and felt an unbelievable wave of heat. It was so comforting, I had made it onto a plane and managed to get off the other side. There is something so knowing and familiar about Italy for me. (Maybe I lived there in a past life? Or maybe I just really like pasta) I love the language (even though all I can say is the weather is warm/cold) and I really love the food.

In my idyllic Italian life I would wake up in my studio apartment right in the middle of a city. I would get dressed in light summer clothes because it is getting warm and I would make my way to the nearest cafe. I would order a cornetto con crema and a coffee. I would sit there taking in the atmosphere and I would watch people for some time. My days would be filled with reading, writing, photography, cooking, eating, and exploring – everything I want to do. When I think of moving I think what is actually stopping me and that spurs me into a flurry of reading Italian blogs and googling the remedies to my obstacles.

I am going to try and make it happen if only for a week but I really hope for longer.

Oh and who do I talk to in Ireland about importing pasta frita?

Does glitter hairspray directly correlate with heightened self esteem?

Beauty, Introductions

Every magazine I read while growing up, I felt, spoke about how these strong women grew out of self consciousness and began not caring what people thought of them the older they got. I have found this to be the opposite for me. Let me teleport you back to early 2000’s.

*air wavers*

It is the early 2000’s and I am wearing black O’Neills tracksuit bottoms with a fluorescent purple and white Nike hoodie. My hair is scraped back to a low ponytail with a harsh middle parting and two antlers ‘framing’ my face (antlers=two tiny strands of hair pulled down in front of your face).

To 2015 me I look shocking, what was she thinking with those cat-hair attracting pants, never mind the antlers! 2015 Lisa is mortified, 2000’s Lisa thinks she looks gorgeous and, let me tell you, she was kind of right! (cringe) Thankfully, come the mid 2000’s, due to overuse of crunchy curling mousse her antlers just broke off one day never to reappear again.

*air wavers once again*

Now that we are back to 2015, I wear all black with maybe a red tartan shirt or a white jumper but mostly black. This is because the ‘black is slimming’ mentality and my fear of attracting attention to myself. Do you think early 2000’s Lisa cared in the slightest. No! She would have said “put more fluorescent purple on my clothes!”.

(Be prepared this next part is dramatic)

I think the world has gotten to me a bit. It has made me feel not good enough and I do partially blame the internet showing me Tumblr ideals but, the rest is down to me allowing myself to think this critically as for one time I thought quite highly of myself. Early 2000’s Lisa didn’t care about all this because she didn’t have anything to compare herself to. Yes, there were magazines but I bought Bliss and Shout which told you how to apply your blue eyeshadow properly and how to get your glitter hairspray to shine the strongest. I have grown up critical of myself and I am really trying to not do that. It is so easy to doubt yourself and I find myself doing it with the smallest things. For example, people asking do I want a chewing gum my thought process is;

– No thanks, I hate chewing gum

– Wait are they saying that because my breath smells?

– Did I brush my teeth this morning?

– I did but maybe I didn’t do it right

– I need to buy floss.

– Actually I will have a chewing gum. -is nauseous until she gets to a bin to throw said gum out-

OR

They offered a chewing gum to be polite as they were taking one themselves.

 

I make everything more complicated than it needs to be (as you can see in this blog post by the impromptu conversation about gum). I need to take a breath and not let me get me (P!nk). I am trying to make a conscious effort to pick myself up rather than put myself down but, old habits die hard, it sounds easier than it looks, looks can be deceiving and, other cliches that make excuses. Thanks for listening!