‘My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness’ By Kabi Nagata Is A Beautiful Memoir, Written In The Form Of Manga.

This book is a perfect read for queer people and for those who are having difficulties with their mental wellbeing; I say this because the entire book is extremely cathartic and hits right at home.

[Author’s Note: The main themes of this memoir are sexual exploration, eating disorders, depression and anxiety. I would recommend going through the trigger and content warnings before starting this book.]

‘My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness’ is a beautiful memoir, written in the form of manga. The manga consists of one volume, home to 6 chapters filled with the author’s experiences with mental health, figuring out her sexuality and her personal feelings and thoughts about various important topics in her life. This book is a perfect read for queer people and for those who are having difficulties with their mental wellbeing; I say this because the entire book is extremely cathartic and hits right at home.

“The Beginning” starts readers off with a scene where the protagonist (the author) is engaging in sexual activities with a sex worker. The rest of the chapter explains how they ended up in a love hotel in the first place. Although quite short, I think this book is really wonderful with the way it is drawn and written. The only two colors used in this manga are white and pink and even if it doesn’t really have a meaning behind it, I thought that it was a powerful way to express emotion. The writing offers an honest and unfeigned narration of her life. She mentions in the end that she really wanted to write about something that is hidden from the rest of the world, and that something is clearly an individual’s personal life and all the “secrets” that they have in their closet to get through every day. The author achieves this by unapologetically writing about her journey of growing up with parents who only cared about a stable income and a “well settled life” and pretended to not see the fact that their child was having problems. To her, having depression and mental health issues felt like carrying a glass full of water on her head without spilling it even once; the hardest part of it was that her parents couldn’t really see the glass at all.

Like many people with depression, the author struggled with negative thoughts and poor self-esteem. We see the changes in her thought process, right from when her identity revolved only around the work she did (or didn’t do) to the point where she finally starts expanding her horizons and goes on to question her identity. At 28 years old, she finally decides to contact a lesbian escort service and tries to prepare herself thoroughly for her first time. After days of fretting, poor eating and repetitive thoughts, she decides to stop thinking and get into action. While the encounter itself doesn’t go as she expects, it changes a lot of important things for her and the experience proves to be crucial in her future decisions.

The author uses irony and humor to write about her otherwise loneliness and depressive moods. The first half of the book holds a certain gloom over it; through the chapters, it almost seemed as if she led a ‘hikikomori lifestyle’ for the majority of her young adult life. Her attachment style and abandonment issues are deeply examined through her relationship with her parents. Despite the dark themes that are constantly present in the author’s life, she also emphasizes self-love and embracing one’s true identity.

What I think really stands out in this memoir is how unflinchingly she writes about her thoughts and lived experiences. She is frank, open and honest but doesn’t overdo it at the same time. I think young queer and lesbian people specifically will really appreciate this book.

Everything about this memoir is beautiful and astounding. It provides a stark account of living life with mental health problems and eating disorders, moving away from the tide, love, sex and most importantly, living life unapologetically as your authentic self.

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Graduated with a degree in psychology but currently busy reading adult fantasy books and trying to write. When I'm not reading, I'm either baking or fantasizing about living in the mountains with an entire farm of animals.

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