I remember getting a B on that English paper back in 12th grade, a satire, something about dead skin cells, and it was my suggestion. “Ew!” my friend said. It was her immediate reaction. I didn’t know how to tell her that I see past all the “ewness” and I love it. I deal with stuff that’s not so pretty all the time. It’s a gift. Dealing with stuff that’s not so pretty is a beautiful thing and sometimes it feels like I’m one of the few people who understands this. Plus satires are meant to have gross things in them to use for exaggeration purposes and dead skin cells seemed like the perfect touch. I even kind of remember my English teacher commenting on the paper that she liked it. But who knows. My brain could be making up that memory just because it seems like that memory would make sense. I bet some Psych major out there knows exactly what this is called. But I’m no Psych major. I’m just the girl who can not flinch when people talk about dead skin cells.
I have experienced a couple of things lately I am excited about and I can’t wait to share with you all on here. I didn’t mean to go so long without posting, but lately I’ve had a lot of LIFE hit me in the face. Nothing to worry about, but I didn’t feel like composing a post just to post something just because I hadn’t posted in a while. Just to let you know.
If I take the highway to work, I’m always afraid I’ll run into traffic in the form of a car wreck, weather conditions, or road construction. If I take local roads to work, it takes longer to get to work and there’s always a possibility I might run some animal over. Either way there’s an underlying anxiety I will be late for work or hurt a living being and be late at the same time. Thus, most every weekday morning my stomach is in knots. I do this every morning for so long my stomach is used to it. Soy nerviosa doesn’t just describe my Amber Yang character, but describes me as well and is just one of the many characteristics I share with the girl from my first real novel.
The verdict is local roads. I’ve been avoiding the highway because I prefer going at a slower speed. That’s just me. (And if you catch my drift, you’ll know I’m not just talking about driving. But please don’t overanalyze that last statement into something dirty because that’s not what I was referring to either. I’m not that kinda girl.) Plus I’ve already been involved in my first car wreck on the highway last year so I’m not looking for another one. Lately local roads have had a lot of road construction going on and as a result some mornings I’ve had to take a detour unexpectedly. I’m also not that into surprises, but I can roll with them and get used to them pretty much like anything else out of the blue. This got me thinking about the roads life takes us. We may have that ultimate goal we want to reach. There may be one straight shot path to get there, but along that path there are going to be road blocks. These road blocks can be anything from distractions to physical injuries to monsters we invent in our minds that keep telling us we can’t do something to literally having to move away. Yet through all the obstacles, real or imagined, we can still find our way back down that straight shot path. It’s just up to us to find the detour that will get us back on track.
Our biggest fear is not to be needed anymore. It goes with not achieving what we really want to do in our lives. Just ask your parents or grandparents. If there was a dream they really wanted to realize, but didn’t get to after having kids or some other type of interruption, they probably are hoping their kids will realize it for them to kind of continue the journey, to keep the dream alive.
Then there are the parents who end up making their kids their life and when their kids no longer need financial support, the visits disappear completely. But enough about parents. I didn’t mean to make this about parents. Some people don’t have parents.
I wanted to focus on the idea of basing our self-worth on being needed. It could be a job we really value or a relationship with a family member where the family member depends on us to be there for them, anything like that. We get used to the job or family member being there, but then one day the job changes and maybe we find ourselves looking for new positions or the family member grows up or heals and doesn’t need us around anymore. What happens then?
Do we lose who we are or find something else to base our self-worth on? And if we do have to shift our focus, what should that be? Maybe the question isn’t what we should focus on. Maybe it’s simply let’s stop measuring and start living.
Book Riot recommended this novel via their YouTube channel several months ago and I ended up picking up my copy at the airport on the way to Cancún. I finished it within the week I spent on vacation last Thanksgiving with my parents. Yes, even while in Cancún, the novel grabbed my attention enough for me to make time to find out how it ends.
Where do I begin? I don’t want to say, “it’s sooooooo good,” and sound so basic, if you will, for lack of a better word, but that is one way to describe it. Now I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before and I haven’t searched my own blog to check, but thrillers are not my favorite thing to read or watch. Needless to say, I made an exception for this book. That black rose on the cover intrigued me, to say the least, in a way that I was drawn to the idea that pretty things like pretty girls have not just a layer of dark secrets, but a layer of ugly. This layer is hidden underneath, waiting to be pulled back. So you see, I had to turn the pages to find what I was looking for, especially when the back cover claimed this girl had the perfect life.
Spoiler alert: she did not. But she does break it down to you slowly what happened in her past, using flashbacks and jumping back and forth between the past and the present. When she gets to the “aha!” moment, you feel so bad for what happened to her, her secret layer, you wish no girl has to ever go through what she went through as a teen and you wonder if a girl like her is really lucky to be alive. But then again, if she had not survived, there’d be no girls out there who could lend a voice to all the other girls out there who experienced the same kind of horror.
Because you see, this book may have been fiction, and I have never met the author or was present in her life when she was younger, but there is some raw truth in here that if you have not gone through what she has gone through you would want to listen and reach out.
Show interest is what they said. But I would tell them there are certain moments in life you really wish you were inside a soundproof room so you could scream all your problems away. Or at least rid yourself of that nasty feeling in the pit of your stomach that seems to nag at you in the least convenient way possible at the most awkward moments in time. How do you do it?
There’s no way someone could see through to your thoughts. You have to express them in words, but what if there are no words to describe what you are going through? What if you must use dance or pictures, but you have none at hand and no footloose skills? Time. Someone would need to observe you when you don’t know they are watching. At the very least they would be able to deduce whether you have integrity or not. When you’re driving on the highway are you one of those who slows down as soon as a cop is driving by? Or do you follow the speed limit no matter what?
Don’t be too of anything. Too smart. Too skinny. Too boring. Too broken. We’re all broken though. Show me someone who’s not broken and I’ll show you someone who’s lying. Show interest is what they said. But I would tell them grab a parachute and just jump already.
Even the best doctor in the world doesn’t know you as well as you know you. A doctor has to ask you questions to get to the root of the problem if you have a health concern. And yeah, maybe you have no idea what’s wrong, but your doctor wasn’t there the night your father walked out on your mother, leaving a hole in your heart you will never be able to fill and a giant question mark in the pit of your stomach. Your doctor wasn’t there the night you got up to get some milk because you couldn’t sleep and then heard your mother weeping into her pillow. Don’t forget your doctor wasn’t there the time you slid down the slide backwards and landed on your neck. Or the time you stayed out all night driving around town just because you wanted to see what it was like at night. Your doctor wasn’t there when you got your first kiss at your sweet sixteen underneath the bleachers. Your doctor wasn’t there when you fell off the stage after tripping over your long dress. No, your doctor wasn’t there when you witnessed a boy getting beaten up by another boy for not liking girls the same way he does.
There are some things a doctor cannot explain or help you understand. There are some pains a doctor cannot treat. There are some moments in your life you will not be able to describe to your doctor unless they were there with you when it happened. The doctor just prescribes what you need based on what you tell him or her. It is up to you to take care of yourself. And sometimes that is the most confusing place to be.