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).
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:
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.
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."
WHERE THE FUCK DO YOU LIVE?
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."
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.
Oh, but wait-- it's not the end. SHE KEEPS WRITING FOR EIGHT MORE GODDAMNED PAGES ABOUT SHIT THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING.
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."
WHAT. THE FUCK. DID THAT WOMAN JUST SAY.
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."
I HATE YOU. I HATE YOU SO MUCH.
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..."
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.