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If the title character from Anne of Green Gables had never been orphaned, and born in modern times, she might have turned out a bit like Felicia Day. Redheaded, whimsical, and fully immersed in the process of creation, Day is who all creatives and daydreamers wish to become when they grow up. In a publishing market full of celebrity tell alls that contain horrifying stories of addiction, abuse, and just plain sorrow, Day’s lighthearted account of her loving, quirky childhood that blends seamlessly into her passionate creative adult life is an endearing account of the simple joy of living.
Day is also an inspiration for girl nerds everywhere, highly visible and feminine in a world dominated by pop culture nerd kings Joss Whedon, Wil Wheaton, Chris Hardwick, and Nathan Fillion, it’s delightful to see a female nerd, equal parts inspiration and aspiration, holding her own with the giants of nerd culture.
Of course, as much as Day inspires, she also reveals weightier subject matter. She came dangerously close to addiction with video games instead of chemical substances, which ran the risk of severely disabling her life. She writes candidly about her struggles with anxiety and depression, even as she is self-deprecating enough to see the humor in the ridiculousness of life. It’s less important that she is successful despite her struggles and more that she is open about them. So much of mental illness is coated in a veneer of shame that the simple expression of not being alone is a gift to whomever else hears the words. Creative people seemingly suffer higher rates of depression, which I think is less the idea of being a tortured artist and more likely the idea that creative outlets are the best pathway for managing depression issues.
Day also writes about her experiences being doxxed for daring to speak up about the hostility she faces being a girl in the boys’ club of nerd culture. Her address and photos of her house were released, among other personal information. It’s a scary way of controlling others, and women seem to get the brunt of it, simply for being opinionated while female.
Still, if Day can remain a joyful, blithe spirit and continue working and creating in the space she carved for herself, there’s no reason for readers and girl geeks everywhere not to take heart that the culture we love and contribute to will one day be as kind to us as we are to it.