It is a truth universally acknowledged that women adore Amy Poehler. It is also a truth universally acknowledged that if you are a funny female celebrity who also happens to be a writer, you should publish a somewhat confessional and definitely hilarious comic memoir. Enter Poehler's Yes Please.
Her voice is not the same as Tina Fey's in Bossypants or Mindy Kaling's in Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? or Lena Dunham's in Not That Kind Of Girl, though Poehler does admit to reading all three of these memoirs along with Nora Ephron's Heartburn while writing her book. The beauty is that a genre which celebrates and lifts up the voices of hilarious, interesting women is hard-pressed to feel over-saturated.
Equal parts memoir and self-help -- as Poehler puts it, she engages in some "light emotional sharing" -- I finished Yes Please feeling that I knew who Poehler was a little better, and convinced that under different circumstances we would be great friends. Because Amy Poehler is just like us -- except when she's not. She loves her children, has had a fair share of panic attacks and a bout of postpartum depression, and has tried cocaine and made mac and cheese while stoned, but she's also friends with Seth Meyers and Tina Fey and Spike Jonze and Martin Short and Rachel Dratch and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
I also learned that the author gives damn good advice. Bonus: She is correct about most things. She even told me (and by me, I mean everyone that reads her book) that "I have the Angelina Jolie of vaginas" should be a pullquote for any articles written. And since there are few one-liners that could top this one, I have decided to oblige Poehler's request:
"I have the Angelina Jolie of vaginas."
But beyond funny observations ("Keep your virginity for as long as you can, until it starts to feel weird to you. Then just get it over with.") and anecdotes about Poehler's celebrity pals ("Rashida Jones is the prettiest person I have ever met."), the best thing about Yes Please is just how very human it feels. And like life, it's not perfect, it moves quickly, it forces you to confront dark subjects, and it's deeply enjoyable along the way.
Without further ado, here are 32 pieces of excellent life advice, courtesy of Amy Poehler:
When in doubt, laugh.
"Going from crying to laughing that fast and hard happens maybe five times in your life and that extreme right turn is the reason why we are alive, and I believe it extends our life by many years."
Don't forget to have fun.
"Nobody looks stupid when they are having fun."
Remember to "scare yourself and feel alive."
"Adventure and danger can be good for your heart and soul."
Writing is work.
"The truth is, writing is this: hard and boring and occasionally great but usually not."
If you want to be a writer, you just have to f**king do it.
"And then you just do it. You just dig in and write it. You use your body ... You put your hand on your heart and feel it beating and decide if what you wrote feels true. You do it because the doing of it is the thing."
Writing is power.
"You can create something and the world will be forever indebted to and dependent on you."
Going through a divorce is a unique sort of pain.
"When you are a person going through a divorce you feel incredibly alone, yet you are constantly reminded by society how frequently divorce happens and how common it has become. You aren't allowed to feel special, but no one understands the specific ways you are in pain."
But that pain doesn't last forever.
"Someday you will wake up feeling 51 percent happy and slowly, molecule by molecule, you will feel like yourself again."
Don't bother fighting it.
"Fighting aging is like the War on Drugs. It's expensive, does more harm than good, and has been proven to never end."
Getting older gives you superpowers.
"Getting older also helps you develop X-ray vision. The strange thing is that the moment people start looking at you less is when you start being able to see through people more."
Find professional role models and soak up their wisdom.
"Watching great people do what you love is a good way to start learning how to do it yourself."
Own your success.
"[My friend] pointed out that people were really starting to know my name and asked me if I 'could believe it.' 'Yes,' I said. I had worked for over a decade to get to this moment."
But don't pin all of your happiness on career milestones.
"Try to care less. Practice ambivalence. Learn to let go of wanting it. Treat your career like a bad boyfriend."
You will probably deal with some bullshit when you turn 40.
"Once a woman turns 40 she has to start dealing with two things: younger men telling her they are proud of her and older men letting her know they would have sex with her."
Misogyny definitely exists. And if you are a woman, you will experience it in some form.
"I have been mugged but not raped, pushed and spit on by someone I knew, and forced to pull over in a road-rage incident where a man stuck his head into my car and told me he was going to 'cum in my face.' And I count myself very lucky. That is what 'very lucky' feels like."
Beauty isn't everything. Find your strength and own it.
"Decide what your currency is early. Let go of what you will never have. People who do this are happier and sexier."
Don't be afraid to make a fool of yourself.
"Looking silly can be very powerful. People who are committing and taking risks become the king and queen of my prom."
You don't need to apologize for everything. But be kind to yourself when you do.
"It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry for. It takes years to find your voice and seize your real estate."
Women are dangerous when they're pregnant -- in a good way.
"When you are pregnant you can get away with a lot of shit. Women really are at their most dangerous during this time. Your hormones are telling you that you are strong and sexy, everyone is scared of you, and you have a built-in sidekick who might come out at any minute."
Your birth plan, your choice.
"Good for her! Not for me. That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again."
Listen to your heart instead of your brain when you mess up.
"Your brain is not your friend when you need to apologize."
Learn to channel your shame productively.
"Shame is difficult. It's a weapon and a signal. It can paralyze or motivate."
Remember that apologizing isn't about you.
"Apologies have nothing to do with you. They are balloons in the sky. They may never land."
Working moms and stay-at-home moms don't need to be in opposition.
"There is an unspoken pact that women are supposed to follow. I am supposed to act like I constantly feel guilty about being away from my kids. (I don't. I love my job.) Mothers who stay at home are supposed to pretend they are bored and wish they were doing more corporate things. (They don't. They love their job.)"
"Every mother needs a wife."
"Every mother needs a wife who takes care of her and helps her become a better mother. The women who have helped me have stood in my kitchen and shared their lives."
Feel free to bribe your children.
"It's a wonderful day when your child gets old enough to be bribed. It's a whole new tool in your arsenal."
Female pleasure matters. Make sure you're getting it.
"God punished us with the gift of being able to fake it. Show God who the real boss is by getting off and getting yours."
But don't make sex only about the orgasm.
"You might not make it to the finish line every time. Don't worry about it. Each part of the journey can be great."
Embrace what turns you on.
"I am a fan of porn. It can be a very nice accompaniment to an evening of self-pleasure. It's as important as a good wine pairing."
Men and women approach friendship differently.
"I find that, in general, the amount of sharing men do with each other in one year is about the same as what I share with my female friends while we wait for our cars at the valet."
Female friends are your best moral support.
"Sometimes Tina [Fey] is like a very talented bungee-jumping expert. All it takes is for Tina to softly say, 'We can do this, right?' and I suddenly feel like I can jump off a bridge."
True love is in the details.
"I woke up apologizing for my snoring and he pulled out the two earplugs he had worn to bed so that he could hear what I was saying. It was one of the most romantic gestures I have ever seen."