I’m going to go ahead and assume that 95% of you iggles and miggles have read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. If you haven’t, where have you been? Get on it, like, now.
There’s a powerful line in that book and it describes perfectly my current state in regard to this month’s book, I Am Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell.
“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”
I put IANMTD on my TBA (To Be Audibled) list because Tyler Oakley raves about it and frankly, I wanted a deeper look inside his brain. That being said, I put it on my list without looking up a description. I didn’t want to be deterred if it was something that didn’t really interest me. That wasn’t the point of reading this. So I was in for quite the surprise. Let me first say that this book is not for the faint of heart. It’s about an alcoholic gay drag queen and the love of his life, a crack-addicted gay prostitute. No, I’m not joking. It’s about the roller coaster of their life for a few months in New York City. It’s about love. It’s about morals. It’s about a number of sordid things. Things I’m not used to reading about in such unforgiving detail. So as I listened, I wrote down my thoughts. Some are fragmented, some are fully formed. It’s my stream of consciousness as I tried to relate to this content. And what surprised me most was that I didn’t have much trouble relating to the emotional and psychological trials of these men. I had plenty of trouble relating to their actions, but somewhere between the sex scenes and the crack cooking in the kitchen, their inevitable humanity is revealed in disappointment, in joy, and in the miraculous complexity of the human relationship.
So I’ve decided to just let you see my thoughts. I haven’t altered them at all from the time I wrote them down. As unnerving as it is to open up your brain for public scrutiny, the beauty of knowing you are accountable to your own truth is more powerful.
Disclaimer: This book is NSFM (not safe for minors). In a really big way.
Seventeen Thoughts about I Am Not Myself These Days:
1. Passing and Reserving Judgment- what makes a person choose which option is relevant to which situation?
2. Different Variations of Normal- normal is not an absolute term. Every single human defines normal, at least internally, based on their own beliefs, morals, prejudices, desires, and knowledge base.
3. I’m feeling a whole bunch of different feels. From uncomfortability, to disgust, to happiness, to anger, to curiosity, to wonder, and beyond.
4. People go to truly extraordinary lengths not to feel alone.
5. How much are people willing to move the invisible “this is where I draw the line” line in the name of love? What pushes someone to not just step one foot over but leap over that line?
6. We are so small in the universe and it’s astounding how much we don’t know about the worlds that other people live within outside our own spheres
7. Perverted ritual of watching Blue’s Clues amidst a constant rage of alcoholism and drug addiction
8. Does the term ‘lesser evil’ really mean anything? Is alcoholism lesser than an addiction to crack?
9. Expanding drug repertoire- using drugs strategically…like a career skill as a resume booster.
10. Keep thinking he’s gonna die in one of these encounters but obviously he wrote this book so…
11. Mad at a significant other for protecting him from crack addiction. That’s messed up.
12. How far is acceptable to be ‘understanding’ of a loved ones problems when you have your own problems to deal with?
13. What does destructive behavior say about us as people? Why do we believe that further screwing up our own lives will somehow push someone else to save themselves?
14. Dispelling the idea that morning means rebirth or a new beginning. It is merely another day.
15. Self-deprecating cynicism is a shitty thing that exists.
16. Right and Wrong as myths. Right and Wrong are ambiguous. Right and Wrong are a purgatory of sorts, decided by each person given their environments and individual balance of brain chemicals.
17. I like an open-ended conclusion—because life is one giant open-ended story. Death is one giant open-ended story. We believe what we believe but no one really knows what happens to our souls when we die. It brings a rather poignant equality to the whole of humanity.
In the end, I understand why Tyler loves this book. No matter what issues you’re facing, a book like this reassures us that someone, somewhere is dealing with the same thing. And they might be losing their battle. Win yours. You DO NOT have to accept the destructive behavior of others. You ARE NOT trapped in your own destructive lifestyle. Decide you aren’t going to be party to your own demise. Decide to change. Decide to conquer addiction. Decide to eliminate the forces contributing to your stagnation. Decide to move forward. Decide to be master of your own mind and in turn, your own life. Decide to do the difficult thing because in your own version of right and wrong, it’s right. Decide to win. And go do it.
You can watch my video review here: Book Tubesday.
Love yourself, love your pals, and hold on to your butts.