When your life begins, at no point does it come with a manual on how all of this work, but ‘Feel Good 101’ is pretty close to that. As Emma so straightforwardly explains, this book will not change your life. But will it impact it? I definitely believe so.
Being 22, I can remember my teens as they weren’t that long ago – they were hard, they were a struggle and they were dark. I was a total outcast, lost and confused in such a big changing point in life where you’re stuck between child and adult years. Your body changes, your emotions are everywhere and everything – and I mean everything – is a heightened drama where even the slightest issue was agonising. Because of how bad my teenage years turned out, I’ve not had the best start to adulthood and still feel very much tangled in webs that my teenhood spun me in. But reading this book, based on a YouTube series, made me realise – I’m not the only one who has been in this mess and it’s not something that will be permanent, despite the fact it can very much feel like your life will forever be this ridiculous mess that you’ll never be able to fathom out. Emma’s debut book is like a handwritten life guide from your older sister who has so much knowledge to share with you.
There’s a portion of the book which would be much more beneficial to teens nowadays than to me, but despite that, there was a lesson I could take from every single chapter. There’s no limits when it comes to the topics that Blackery discusses: life, work, love, relationships, friendships, parents, school, teachers, health, mental health – everything that could ever trouble you from your early adolescent right up to your mid 20s, maybe even older (we all bloom at different times) can be answered in this book.
I feel that out of all of this book, it was the mental health section I could relate to most. To begin with, Emma’s anxiety is quite specific and actually the first person I’ve ever known to have the same as me: relating to death. My mental health started relating to death with no explanation why this happened, but it spiraled from just being related to death to taking over every aspect of my life. I’ve ended up in a very bad situation from this and while it’s something I’m managing better now, Emma’s story and advice that accompanied her encounter with anxiety really spoke to me. I felt less alone and seeing that she is able to manage her own demons is proof that I can do it, too.
When I met Emma a few months ago to meet her for an interview for United By Pop, I had a bout of anxiety getting back into the journalistic world after so much time off from ill health. Knowing how understanding Emma is, I explained the situation and she helped me calm down and prepare to interview her and she was without a doubt the most relaxing and casual interview I’ve ever had. So, reading this chapter made it all the more relatable and realising how she was so understanding when I was in a fluster back then.
Emma went the extra mile with this book, providing a help sheet/PDF with as many helpline contacts as possible for all the various topics that were discussed in the book, as well as a letter Emma has written on behalf of the readers to give to their parents/guardians when they cannot find the words to ask for help. If I were in charge of the school education system, I’d put this book as a class read for every student, because it could be such a big help for those who are stuck in one of many situations we face as teens. It was always daunting to have a teacher half heartedly speak on these subjects in lessons, but to have someone inspiring and interesting such as Blackery to give this advice in a space where you feel you’re in a 1-2-1 heart-to-heart with the author, this honestly could point people in the right direction. Albeit, it won’t change their life, but it will give them more understandable and clearer advice than just having a person of authority just giving you such rehearsed information that they don’t even seem to be bothered about. No offence to teachers, this is just something that they should be required to do to help students, but Emma took months on end to construct a guide she felt could help others. I feel like there’s more passion in between these pages than anywhere else. in an educational environment.
Whether you’re 12 or 22, I highly recommend you give this book a read, regardless of whether you’re an avid fan of hers or have never heard of her before. This is real stuff. Real advice. From a real person with real experience, which is sometimes all any of us ever need.
Thank you, Emma, for using your platform for trying to help as many people possible. I definitely feel more understood with a clearer view of my journey in life.
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