Friday, April 3, 2015

Tiny Beautiful Things: Letter #2

After spending the past few days struggling with the moral dilemma presented by my decision to tackle the contents of this stupid book, I made a choice.  I concluded that people who are dumb enough to ask goddamned Cheryl Strayed for advice deserve no mercy.

Same format as last time.  I will paraphrase the question, but actual quotes will be in bold type (be advised, this question is very long).
Letter #2
Dear Sugar,
Almost two years ago, I got pregnant.  In a move that surprised both my boyfriend and me, we decided we wanted to keep the baby... When I was six and a half months pregnant, I miscarried.  Since then, I've struggled to get out of bed.
I'm having a very hard time with this and I think about my baby every single day, imagining all the different milestones that would now be happening, but aren't.  Sometimes, all I can think is the word "daughter" over and over and over.
Of course, it seems that everyone around me is having a baby and everywhere I go all I see are babies, so I have to force myself to be happy for them and swallow how empty I feel.  Most of my friends are total assholes and they're all "Meh" about it, and one of my asshole friends even went so far as to say, "It was only a miscarriage."  God, my friends are dickheads.  I also feel guilty about being so stuck, grieving for a child that never was when I should just walk it off or something.
I'm super good at repressing everything and I act like I'm totally fine, so even though my boyfriend is super great, I want to punch him in the head for not feeling the way I do despite the fact that I am in no way being honest with him and letting him know how I really feel.  Obviously, he's an asshole for not being able to read my mind. 
Then there's the reason I lost the baby.  In the hospital, my doctor said he wasn't surprised I lost the baby because my pregnancy was high risk because I was overweight.  It was not an easy thing to hear that the miscarriage was my fault.  Part of me thinks the doctor was a real asshole, but another part of me thinks, "Maybe he was right."  Stupid fucking doctor.  Who does he think he is?  How dare he say anything to help prevent me from having another miscarriage. 
Even though I said in the very first paragraph that I've struggled to get out of bed ever since the miscarriage, I will now claim that I got a personal trainer and went on a diet and started losing weight, and I will go on to explain that sometimes, I don't eat for days, and then sometimes I eat everything in sight and throw it all up.  Apparently, I also spend hours at the gym even though I can barely get out of bed because I can't remember what I wrote a couple minutes ago.
Everyone close to me thinks I'm doing super great because this is what I've led them to believe and also because they're horrible people who clearly aren't paying that much attention.  I completely blame myself for the miscarriage.  I am slowly killing myself with my eating disorder and my binge-exercising because I no longer care about my own well-being.
I want to know how to care again.  I want to know how to not feel so guilty, how to not feel like I killed my baby.
Okay, here's my very brief, relatively unhelpful advice:
Dear Stuck,
I'm so sorry.

Google "miscarriage support groups."  You will likely find dozens in your area.  You need to talk your feelings out with people who understand.  You might also want to consider finding a therapist who specializes in this sort of loss.  You need to seek help from people who understand what you're going through. 
Get better,
Sixty words.  That's my whole response.  Why?  I've never suffered a miscarriage, so I know exactly dick about what this woman is going through.  (Also, I don't believe for a second that Cheryl didn't write this question herself.)
How long is Bad Cheryl's response?  Go ahead.  Guess.  TEN FUCKING PAGES OF TOTAL INSANITY.  This is probably because Stuck's question took up two entire pages, and we know that Bad Cheryl cannot be outdone.

She starts the same way I did, by telling Stuck that she's sorry, but she can't even do this without sounding like an asshole.
"Though we live in a time and place and culture that tries to tell us otherwise, suffering is what happens when truly horrible things happen to us."
She then tells Stuck to ignore all the people who are telling her that she should be over her daughter's death because,
"They live on Planet Earth.  You live on Planet My Baby Died."
Oh, jesus.
She talks about how there are many women out there who have also experienced miscarriages and holy crap, it's almost like Bad Cheryl and I are saying the same thing, except she has to go Full Cheryl about it by saying things like, "You need to find these women.  They're your tribe." 
Then, inexplicably, this sentence happens:
"I know because I've lived on a few planets that aren't planet Earth myself."

That sentence, by the way, was also its own paragraph.  I have no fucking idea what it was supposed to bring to the table.
I once again wonder if the end is nigh because Bad Cheryl then suggests that Stuck should find local support groups and online communities and what the hell is going on.
She takes it one step further and also tells her to be honest with her boyfriend, which I think is fair because I suggested as much in my paraphrasing of the question.
She concludes with a bunch of flowery bullshit about grief and healing, the end.
The next paragraph starts with,
"To be Sugar is at times a daunting thing."

Everything HAS to be about her.  All the time.  That same paragraph ends with,

"And so while it's true that you should find your tribe and talk to your boyfriend and make an appointment with a therapist, there is something truer that I have to tell you and it is this."


I know you have problems and everything, but let's talk about me now.

Know that nothing-- NOTHING-- in the remaining eight pages of her response has ONE FUCKING THING TO DO WITH MISCARRIAGES.  It's just eight pages of CherylCherylCherylCherlCheryl.

Bad Cheryl decides to tell us about how she used to be a "youth advocate" for "poor white [girls] in seventh or eighth grade" and how all these girls were abused and on drugs and whores and I get the feeling she wrote this after she watched "Precious."  She explains how it was her "mission" to help these girls succeed in life, and then defines success:

"Succeeding in this context meant getting neither pregnant nor locked up before graduating high school.  It meant eventually holding down a job at Taco Bell or Walmart."

Motherfu-- I-- can't.  I just can't.  Just-- oh, forget it.

And then, when I thought it couldn't get worse, this paragraph:

"I was not technically qualified to be a youth advocate.  I'd never worked with youth or counseled anyone.  I had a degree in neither education nor psychology.  I'd been a waitress who wrote stories every chance I got for most of the preceding years.  But for some reason, I wanted this job and so I talked my way into it."

I literally just threw this book across the room.  Then I got up and threw it across the room again.  Then I seriously considered taking it outside and setting it on fire.  I wish I could tell you that I'm kidding.

So, what we're to believe is that a heroin-addicted waitress/whore was allowed to work with troubled youth because I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO FINISH THIS SENTENCE.  ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME.

I'm having a very hard time believing any of this.  Wait, what's the address for this blog?

Oh, that's right.
Fine.  Whatthefuckever.  Let's go with this.
So, Bad Cheryl explains how she tried to "silently, secretly, covertly empower them" by taking them to rock-climbing gyms and the ballet and how the fuck could she afford to do this with a group of girls while she was making waitress wages.  I call bullshit.  She makes a clumsy metaphor about rock-climbing and brings up Walmart again like it's everyone's dream in life to work at Walmart.  Get ready for another one of those punctuation-be-damned sentences:
"And while we did those empowering things, I was meant to talk to them about sex and drugs and boys and mothers and relationships and healthy homework habits and the importance of self-esteem and answer every question they had with honesty and affirm every story they told with unconditional positive regard."
She says that she was "scared of them at first.  Intimidated.  They were thirteen and I was twenty-eight."  Then this happens:
"They hated everything and everything was boring and stupid and either totally cool or totally gay, and I had to forbid them to use the word 'gay' in that context and explain to them why they shouldn't say the word 'gay' to mean stupid, and they thought I was a total fag for thinking that by 'gay' they actually meant gay and then I had to tell them not to say 'fag' and we laughed and after a while I passed around journals I'd purchased for them."

STOP.  JUST STOP, YOU STUPID MOTHERFUCKER.  There is no possible way I can address this without throwing my laptop out the fucking window, so we'll just move on.

So, she gives them these notebooks and they act like they've never seen notebooks before.  She then tells them to write down "three true things about themselves and one lie" in their special notebooks and then,

"...we read them out loud, going around in the circle, guessing which one was the lie, and by the time we were about halfway around the room they all loved me intensely."

Fuck this woman right in the face.  Once again, we are forced to believe that she is the new Jesus.

"I had never been the recipient of so much desire.  If I had a flower clip in my hair, they wanted to remove the flower clip and put it in their own hair.  If I had a pen, they asked if I would give it to them.  If I had a sandwich, they wondered if they could have a bite."

Goddamnit.  What the fuck does any of this have to do with Stuck's question.  Oh, that's right, nothing.

She then describes one of the girls in a way I find completely inappropriate:

"One of the girls was truly beautiful.  She resembled a young Elizabeth Taylor without the curvy hips.  Flawlessly luminescent skin.  Water-blue eyes.  Long shimmering black hair.  A D-cup rack and the rest of her model-thin.  She'd just turned thirteen when I met her."

You just referred to a thirteen-year-old's breasts as her "rack."  I will see you in Hell, Strayed.  Not okay.

So she takes Young Elizabeth Taylor to Planned Parenthood to get a Depo-Provera shot but the girl refuses to get the shot.  You'll never believe how Bad Cheryl describes what happened:

"She cried and cried and cried."

She describes another girl who wasn't nearly as fuckable as Young Elizabeth Taylor and compares her to "a feral cat."  Then she claims to have "tamed" this girl-- no, seriously, she says this--

"...when I tamed her, when she parted her hair and I saw her pale and fragile and acne-covered face..."

Fuck you.

This sort of bullshit goes on for three and a half more pages and it has nothing to do with anything, so I'm not going to address it.  She concludes with an awesome story about how, six years after she quit her fake job as a "youth advocate," she went to Taco Bell and holy fuck, one of her girls was working there-- the one she had "tamed."  The girl pretty much falls down and worships Bad Cheryl because omg SHE WORKED AT TACO BELL AND WE ALL KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS-- SUCCESS!!! 

And that's Letter #2.  Let's not forget the original question.

Your turn.  Go.


  1. Gah! She makes me so stabby!

  2. Why do I feel like I just read a satire of "Dangerous Minds?" Jesus. The only good thing about this is that Michelle Pfeiffer could totally kick Bad Cheryl's ass. Michelle Pfeiffer says: FUCK YOU, CHERYL.

    Also, apparently, only the pretty girls are "risky enough" to get a special trip to planned parenthood for birth control, because everyone knows that beauty = inability to govern oneself sexually. But we are talking about Cheryl here, so I guess that makes se- wait, what was the question?

  3. First: I believe the only "tiny, beautiful things" are YOUR tiny little comments like: "where the fuck do you live?". Your response to this letter & the 1st letter both indicate that you have given the best possible responses to these letters, had they been written by anyone other than Bad Cheryl. I agree, this one was totes made up by Bad Cheryl. Bad Cheryl loves to play all parts in the story: the troubled person and the one bestowing guidance. Blech.

    How can anyone think for a second, that she writes well? She rambles on, jumps all over the place and OF COURSE, just like in Wild, it is ALL ABOUT HER, all the time. She would never have been hired as a youth advocate - never! This is just more lies, just like her hiking lies. She believes that she is God's gift to humans everywhere. Those girls, in real life, would have ripped her a new one in no short order. They'd be laughing at her and she'd be slinking out of the room, never to return.

  4. So what makes Cheryl think she is qualified enough to address serious issues like eating disorders and grief/depression? Not to mention that even a qualified therapist would be found incompetent if they treated a random client, with one session only, and no history-gathering or treatment plan.

    But, oh, I forgot, Cheryl's short stroll on the PCT, her heroin use and indiscriminate sexual behaviors, and her incomplete college degree must have amounted to an internship.

    1. Pamela. Don't be silly. This is Cheryl Strayed we're talking about. Her short stroll on the PCT, heroin use, indiscriminate sexual behaviors and incomplete college degree must have amounted to a PhD and a Nobel Prize. I mean, you're forgetting that she was also a *waitress*.

  5. Is this book a real thing? Was it written just to make us all angry? I can not believe how she feels so above of anyone's judgement to be proudly admitting that she got this job without any qualification for it. If this was by any chance real, she'd be prosecuted or something. Irresponsible bitch.
    I'd feel sad for her if it weren't that this fucking asshole is making billions out of this piece of crap. Now I'm just mad.

    1. That is exactly how I feel, Jules!

    2. "Is this book a real thing? Was it written just to make us all angry?"



  6. Hello. Words fail me. Laughing and laughing and laughing. Maybe when I stop laughing I will have something to add to the conversation. For right now all I can say is ten pages??

  7. Also, what was the "something truer" supposed to be that Cheryl HAD to tell Stuck? Did I miss that? Because youth advocacy = miscarriage? What? How is that truer than support groups, honesty, and therapy - you know what, I can't do this anymore!

    1. Oh, you're so cute. Look at you trying to make logical sense of this.

    2. For real, since most of us (thankfully) are not reading this P.O.S. along with you, was there EVER another mention of the "something truer?" WTF was she talking about? Why is her story "truer" than what Stuck needs to get her shit together (talking to her bf, etc.)? I'm so confused.

    3. Only for you would I go back and read this chapter again.

      Okay, so, yeah, she sorta circled back at some point, but it got lost in all the bullshit and it still doesn't make much sense. She tells some story about a girl who was suffering some unspeakable terror in her life, and how she gave this girl the totes best advice ever.

      "She had to count the years and let them roll by, to grow up and then run as far as she could in the direction of her best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by her own desire to heal.

      "She seemed to listen, in that desultory wand dismissive way that teens do. I said it to every girl who came into m office and sat in the horrible-story chair. It became my gospel. It became the think I said most because it was the thing that was most true.

      "It is also the most true for you, Stuck, and for anyone who has ever had anything truly horrible happen to them."

      So, yeah. No matter what happens, just run in the direction of your dreams and BOOM, all better.

  8. has every one forgot she killed her baby because she had no clue who the daddy was

    1. We didn't forget, but did she write this book before or after "Wild" was published?

  9. That letter totally sounds just like her shitty writing. No one would really say such things unless they were Cheryl. Her phraseology is so distinctively horrible - it's easy to spot that these are letters SHE made up herself so SHE could answer them, with more made-up bullshit. Newsflash, Cheryl - any agency that works with youth requires all sorts of verification that you aren't a molester of children and even agencies that NEED volunteers do some sort of screening to see if you can really help them. NO AGENCY would allow you to come within 100 yards of their clients and you have NOTHING to offer any other living being, assuming we believe that you have a desire to help others, which we don't, not for one second.

    This letter is probably written out of guilt for her abortion. She's subconsciously grieving for her baby but she can't admit that, so she makes up another person and puts it down to miscarriage and not abortion. She's a pathetic person in need of redemption.

  10. I just read the full letter in my read-a-long Kindle copy. What is really awkward is to realize that this letter/question was really the best way Cheryl could think of to transition into her narcissistic self glorification of playing god to these teenage who loved her so intensely.

    FIND THE FERAL CAT GIRL! Let's ask her side of the story! ;-)

    1. "FIND THE FERAL CAT GIRL!" This cracks me up every single time I see it.

  11. I'm curious...does she actually say in her book that being Sugar at times is a daunting thing? In the actual Sugar article she says "haunting" which induced a eye roll so severe I felt it all the way down to my pudenda bits.

    Some time back I spent an afternoon copying & pasting every single Sugar article into a Word doc so I could search it for keywords and preserve the original text, as I had a feeling it might change over time.

    Note: not a single solitary word about her supposed abortion. Hm. Go figure. The Sugar articles were written long after the supposed Wild journey (to answer a question above)

    My favorite passage: "I was not technically qualified to be a youth advocate. I’d never worked with youth or counseled anyone. I had degrees in neither education nor psychology. I’d been a waitress who wrote stories every chance I got for most of the preceding years. But for some reason, I wanted this job and so I talked my way into it."

    DECEIVER! Your prevarications provoke profound repugnance! Your lying lies make Loki grimace in discomfort. You fat fibbing fabulist, get thee behind me!

    Havent you ever been talking to someone who suddenly realizes theyve gotten to a point in their BS story that makes no sense and they have to go back and re-build some salient point? Yeah, this.

    Fuck you Cheryl. Her name was Desire? Oh just fuck off. Your fiction isn't even believable.

    1. God damn it, Mercer, stop making me love you so much.

    2. You dont love me, Cheryl. You just love my Sacred Bob Marley T-shirt!


    3. Yep, it's "daunting" in the book. It's probably just a typo; I can't imagine that Robin Desser was all, "Oh, honey. You sound like an asshole. Let's change this," because Robin Desser.

  12. Oh btw, it's actually more interesting to read these chronologically in the Sugar columns, along with the other assorted random nonsense that I doubt make it into the book. If I remember she has to defend herself several times in at least two articles and some comments against accusations she made up the questions herself. The comments are a hoot. There were a few I stumbled on in which someone asks why their comment was deleted. Starved was editing her critics even way back when.

    1. Thanks, Mercer! I'm going to look up the Sugar columns, just to find the comments you speak of!

  13. What the actual fuck was that?? I LITERALLY WANT TO SMACK HER FACE OFF OF HER FUCKING FACE.

    Hello everyone!! My name is Sarah and I'm a big fan!! Literally stumbled across the link to this blog while laughing at some bad reviews on Amazon of her piece of dog shit book, wild. I have been binge reading this blog all week trying to catch up.
    Truth time. I had never heard of the book, but couldn't wait for the movie. I really got into hiking after my husband died very unexpectedly. Hiking was my little bit of relief from reality everyday, and it became a drug to me. So...grief, hiking.... I thought i could relate. WRONG!!! The movie made no fucking sense at all, so I read the book thinking it would be better, cause books usually are. DOUBLE WRONG!! I think I actually said "What the fuck is this shit?!?!" about a million times throughout. I couldn't put it down cause I was shocked at how this book was so popular, and how not everyone could see what a fucking joke it was. The fact that she is saying this is her memoir is just a big fucking slap in the face for a person who actually DID use hiking as a way to deal with grief. And an even bigger slap that she is using "grief" as a way to brainwash people into believing her and buying her fucking book, including me. I hate myself! lol


    I was happy to find a group of people was still left on this earth who weren't gullible fucktards, and weren't sucking her dick like everyone else seems to be doing.

    Thanking you for continuing the torture of reading her shitty excuses for books in order to make us laugh, and to restore our faith in mankind. :)

    1. Sarah! Welcome!

      Thank you reading. Judging by "I LITERALLY WANT TO SMACK HER FACE OFF OF HER FUCKING FACE," I can tell that you'll fit right in.

      I'm so sorry to hear about your husband. I don't know what more I can say; I'll just tell you that you have my sincerest sympathy. I'm honored to be in a position to bring you laughter.

      Again, welcome.

  14. When I first heard about the book "Wild," its general concept resonated with me because I struggle with depression and there have been times when I've fantasized about just walking out my front door and walking forever until I can't walk anymore.

    My initial hope for the book's potential came to a screeching halt when we learned that Cheryl was supposedly a hardcore heroin addict one day and en route to her coronation as Queen of the PCT the next. Just no. Withdrawal is a nasty bitch. If Cheryl had gone through anything close to heroin withdrawal, it would have rocked her world so much that she would've written books and books and books about it.

    That "nope, sorry, didn't happen" vibe, combined with the ungodly fluffy, horrible writing, left me disgusted with Cheryl, the asshole publishers who deemed her book worth publishing and all the people who were acting like "Wild" was God's second-greatest gift to Earth.

    So yeah, that book pretty much flooded my brain with a VAST OCEAN OF ANNOYANCE with Cheryl and her bullshit.

    But THIS STUFF? Congrats, Cheryl. I now officially loathe you. This is the most arrogant, self-serving, narcissistic ... I don't even have enough adjectives here. It's just vile. My God, she is unbearable.

    Get over yourself, Cheryl. SHEEEEEZUS.

  15. Oh no! No, no, no! HBO is doing something with Dear Sugar? No. Fucking. Way. Someone contact HBO and let them know that this is blog exists so they can see what a disaster Cheryl Strayed is.

  16. Your blog is so funny and accurate. I read Wild and like you I had some, er, questions. Your blog accurately defines what this book really is, a rather long and bizarre lie. Bravo.