G20Reads: Finding Joy and Identity in Hannah Hart’s “Buffering”
“If I hide in here for long enough, eventually I will sleep and the pain will stop.”
‘The pain will not stop. It will resume upon your waking. The answer is to learn to confront the pain and embrace it.’”
— Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded, by Hannah Hart
I remember watching Hannah Hart’s first few episodes of “My Drunk Kitchen,” on a family vacation. I was the last to fall asleep (as always), with my sister snoring next to me, and was scrolling through Tumblr. Somehow I ended up on her YouTube channel and watched her first eight episodes all in a row. I was instantly drawn to her positivity, humor, and authenticity as a person, which was obvious even in her first couple of videos.
According Hannah’s second book, Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded, she first started creating her videos as a way to cheer up a friend who lived across the country. The videos quickly caught on, bringing with them a following and a movement.
In Buffering, Hannah talks about family, mental illness, and coming to terms with your identity. She touches on uncertainty in your early adulthood, finding your voice, and the relationships between siblings and with parents. She does all this with honesty and vulnerability, exposing herself and her past in a way that makes you love her that much more.
A running theme in this book is family and its lasting effects on the rest of your life. The quote above is from an allegory she tells about her relationship with her sister: The General and the Monk. It tells the tale of two children, born to a witch with good magic and bad magic. It’s a direct reference to her childhood with a mother with severe mental illness and how it affected her relationship with her older sister.
Both now have been diagnosed with PTSD and have felt the lasting effects and habits of growing up in a dysfunctional household.
Despite the dysfunction, Hannah is a positive beacon and so full of love for other people. Her passion to help others, while still trying to figure herself out, is inspiring. It’s inspiring to have people like Hannah out in our world, to have someone who is so protective of the hurt and who just wants to make people laugh.
It’s also inspiring that she came from such humble beginnings and yet has built this incredible foundation only in the last six or so years. She didn’t even make her first video until her mid-twenties, a time when many of us are still figuring out ourselves and what paths we actually want to take.
Hannah, too, was still figuring herself out when she made her first few videos, having no idea that something she did to cheer up a friend would make such big waves. She was still struggling with figuring out her sexuality and dealing with confidence in herself and in her family dynamics.
I think the fact that the videos were made out of love for a friend set the stage for the more love and inspiration she continues to bring to anyone who has followed her since the start or is just joining the party.
Hannah’s story, through both what she wrote in her most recent book (I’m sure there will be more to come) and what she’s shown through her videos, emanates an authentic voice that resonates with anyone who is struggling to figure themselves out and struggling with their own mental illness struggles. It’s a story of identity, family ties, and childhood’s echoes into your adulthood.
Hannah says in her book that she loves making people laugh. In making people laugh, she not only helps them find joy, but also inspiration. I would recommend Buffering to anyone, but especially someone in their early to mid-twenties who is looking for a friend.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Finding Joy and Identity in Hannah Hart’s ‘Buffering'” quote=”Finding Joy and Identity in Hannah Hart’s ‘Buffering'”]