Kalliel (kalliel) wrote,

Recs: Anna Akana [Vlogs &c.], The Mental Illness Happy Hour [Podcast]

I've never been a big YouTube person. Like, I know that there's a culture out there filled with all of these neat people with vlogs, or YouTube music stars and stuff, but it's really not my scene, nor my medium. But I just fell completely in love with Anna Akana. She has a popular weekly YouTube channel with short slice-of-life kinds of videos, and there's just something about her that's so real and honest you completely lose track of whether you are her or you want to be her best friend.

She was one of the guests on the June 20 episode of Paul Gilmartin's The Mental Illness Happy Hour, which I'd not heard of before--is anyone else familiar with it? (TW for link: discussion of suicide, suicidal ideation, molestation, drug use, rape, rape fantasy, alcohol addiction, abuse, sex/sexuality, parahphilias, BDSM, and mental illness broadly speaking.) The Podcast is two hours long, so it's kind of a trek, but it's worth every single minute. I'm not even sure how much of that was Akana and how much of it was the nature of the Podcast as a whole, but it was such a completely mindblowing experience. There's just--and this is a completely inadequate description--but there's just so much honesty packed into it. About things that people generally jsut don't talk about, be it family, or mental illness, or traumatic experiences, or just things you really love, things you really hate, little thoughts and behaviors you have that aren't quintessential you, necessarily, but they're a part of you and they make you feel like you're a bad person. I want to pull quotes but I wasn't taking notes when I was listening, and there would just be too, too many.

And the way AA and Paul Gilmartin play off each other is so refreshing. So often when you listen to interviews, there's this disconnect, like it's not clear the people are having an actual conversation with each other, or are entirely on the same page with the subject they're talking about--particularly when the subject is as big and as deeply personal and hyperspecific as The Mental Illness Happy Hour's. But the whole thing was two hours of real dialogue, real engagement, real connection and active listening and ughhh--seriously, you have no idea how beautiful that is until you hear it and you realize how inadequate the rest of the world is to the task of knowing itself.

And like, they actually disagreed with each other, or PG would trouble AA's reaction to things, or press her further, quite often. But that disagreement never felt like an attack, or an awkwardness, or anything like that. (POSSIBLY YOU'VE NOTICED but I get very frantic when people disagree with me, or I disagree with other people, so their rapport with each other through this whole thing was just fucking amazing to me. Like, 'it's okay, we disagree with each other about this really important, really fucking personal topic, and it's okay; we can have this happen and we can still be friendly and respectful. This is a thing that is possible.)

Anyway, either Anna Akana, or this Podcast, or both is exactly what I needed in my life right now, and they are both fucking awesome, and I want to be like that when I grow up.
Tags: fandom recs, these things matter

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