I’m sure I’m not introducing you to Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half. The following isn’t the famous webcomic, but it’s my favorite:
So many things about this bring me joy. “We R sound-making buddies!” “Yaaeey! The ground is all weird! I’m a dog!” (That second one is the fundamental element of dogness right there: if God had to start over on a new planet and was like, “Wait, I forget how I made dogs last time, what was that again?” you could just show him that panel and he would be all, “Oh, riiiiiight, got it, thanks.”)
This one put her on the map, of course:
And it is brilliant, no two ways about it. I don’t know how we lived in a world without “CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!” Thank god we never have to go back.
But the endings of both were . . . not entirely satisfying. I suspect a lot of us looked away from that last “Internet! Forever . . . ” panel with some discomfort, unable to entirely laugh at it. A little too close, a little too dangerous: we recognized the outer edge of a spiral we knew. That’s why tips for how to get yourself off the Internet at night are likely to show up here not infrequently.
Churchill’s Black Dog understands basic concepts like moving but it doesn’t give a damn. And so Brosh went underground for over a year — at the same time brave and open about that spiral (Brave and open and underground? Yeah, oxymoron, I know, but I’m going with it, I’m a mad oxymoron-ing fool).
BUT! Now she is back, with an unflinching webcomic documentary of where she has been. It’s going to be a little scary for anyone who relates: it won’t quite match your experience (everybody’s depressive episode is its own special s.o.b. of a snowflake) — maybe you’ve got more paranoia, less emotional flatness, a little OCD or bipolar sprinkled in — but I suspect most will recognize something in it.
Look how welcome it is, how her comments practically weep with gratitude. There is this thirst to have this experience represented back to one’s self, such relief, as if a stranger confirmed your own Bigfoot sighting with not only video but DNA evidence.
Why do we want that representation so badly? I can think of a lot of reasons, but at the moment, they all boil down to the fact that today this one makes us laugh the scary victory laugh and say,