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why i wasn’t “wild” for wild by cheryl strayed

*contains spoilers!*

One of my favorite types of books are the kinds where our main character is on a journey. From Into the Wild to the aptly named The Road, there is something fascinating to me about people who are en route. I loved Into the Wild because of McCandless’s spirit; his eagerness to live off of the land and desire to turn his back on the evils of money and society really appealed to me. The Road gripped me because, well duh. In a post- Apocalyptic society where danger lurks at every turn, how can you not be enthralled? Plus, tragedy. I’m a sucker for tragedy.

Anyway. Wild. Cheryl Strayed (which, by the way, that’s not her real last name. Get it? Strayed? Ha.) is a woman in her 20s whose life is falling apart. Her mother has been diagnosed with cancer (and subsequently dies), her marriage is in shambles, she begins dabbling in heroin, and her family is curtailing it out of her life. One day while she is in line at a drugstore for a pregnancy test (because OOPS!), she sees a book about the Pacific Crest Trail and an idea is formed.

A lot of people who dislike Cheryl cite her carelessness as one of the reasons. She just sells off her shit and decides to hike hundreds of miles alone. That didn’t bother me so much. I think she has moxie and I can respect a move like that. Besides, it’s not like she’s a complete amateur. She has hiked before, just nothing on that large of a scale. Her whining for the entire first half of the book is part of what turned me off. Her feet hurt. She’s getting abrasions on her body where her backpack is rubbing her skin. It’s so hot. Her feet. She’s hungry. Feet. Feet. Feet. I can only imagine how hard it must have been. I believe her. But that doesn’t mean I necessarily want to read about it for half of a book.

The other half consisted of her running into hikers along the trail and envisioning sexy time. Cheryl packs condoms in her backpack and seems to be under the impression she will be having some good times out there in the wilderness. But part of Cheryl’s problem is the way she uses sex as a coping mechanism. So when she has a fling with some guy that she meets on her journey, I can’t help but feel disappointed. Girlfriend needs to learn restraint.

Her writing style tended to be uninspiring. There were a few moments scattered throughout the book that DID grip me, like her flashbacks with her mom and the gut-wrenching horse story (which is seared into my mind). Those stories were painful and raw and unforgettable. I wanted more of those and less of the monotony of walking/pain descriptors/daydreaming about sex with everyone she met.

I applaud Cheryl for her determination to finish. I don’t think I could do the same. But upon the conclusion, I just didn’t get the impression that she learned the lessons she set out to learn. That was disheartening. I was rooting for her. I was hoping to get something out of the book and I just don’t feel like I got what I was looking for.

PS: I think the movie was better than the book. *gasp*


new post on AdiosBarbie

Please check out my latest piece on AdiosBarbie about racial profiling!

The White Lie of Post-Racial America

I promise to be back soon for updates. ❤

Writing the Wrongs: Sensationalism vs. Social Justice

Writing the Wrongs: Sensationalism vs. Social Justice.

adios barbie post

I am excited to be an intern for Adios Barbie and to present my first article as an intern!

Why The Media Still Doesn’t Get Lesbianism Right

Sorry I haven’t been posting to here lately. I’ve got a post in the works but I have been preoccupied with the AB internship and raising the kids. I’ll get it up soon!

shining a light on america’s dark history: japanese internment camps

internment camp

Can you imagine imprisoning an entire group of people based solely on their race? I mean, really, it’s not that far of a stretch considering America’s bleak history regarding slavery, but I digress. Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, that’s exactly what happened. Perpetuated by fear and the explosion of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the internment of thousands of Japanese- Americans. This wasn’t just a few citizens timidly questioning Japanese- Americans’ loyalty. This was mass hysteria. Newspapers called for their immediate removal, with abrasive headlines like “Get ’em Out!” and “A Jap’s a Jap”. White farmers, who once worked side by side with Japanese- Americans, had seemingly changed their tune overnight. Japs dominate the strawberry fields, they said. We can do twice as much work as them once those fields are handed back over to the rightful owners. Japanese- Americans were forced to sell their property and possessions for pennies on the dollar because they only had mere hours to relocate to internment camps. Children were also evacuated. As one former prisoner recalls, “…I remember my mother wrapping a blanket around me and pretending to fall asleep so she would be happy, though I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. I hear there were people herded into the Hastings Park like cattle. Families were made to move in two hours. Abandoned everything, leaving pets and possessions at gun point…”

Life in the internment camps was grim. The barracks were constructed with a simple frame and a tarpaper roof with no plumbing or heat source. Prisoners had to brave extreme temperatures, ranging from -35 degrees to as high as 115 degrees. Guards of the camp pushed for self- sufficiency by having prisoners grow most of their own food, but this was next to impossible for the camps situated in desert areas. They shared communal shower areas and non-partitioned toilet facilities. Families were torn apart as guards arranged activities within the camp for the children that required them to be separated from their parents for long periods of time and they were “promoted” while the elders were ignored. Medical care was poor; many Japanese died while in camp due to illness or stress.

Twice during the period of internment camps, Japanese Americans took their civil rights case to the Supreme Court. Both times, the Court ruled in favor of the government, citing the imprisonment as a necessity.

In 1945, after 3 years of imprisonment, Japanese- Americans were released. The freed prisoners were given a train ticket home, whatever that means. Many of them had sold all of their possessions before internment so they found themselves homeless and without a single item of value. In 1948, the US granted compensation for Japanese- Americans who had lost property but since many records showing former ownership were destroyed from the time before internment camps, Japanese- Americans found themselves only partially reimbursed. Though freed physically, many still faced an emotional prison, suffering from depression and PTSD. Some even committed suicide, unable to cope with the immense feelings of loss and hopelessness. With lingering feelings of shame and fear, many Japanese- Americans have a hard time recounting what happened to them during imprisonment. Moving forward, they encouraged their offspring to turn away from their Japanese heritage in an effort to “Americanize” their children and to forget the painful past.

In 1978, President Carter issued a formal apology and began implementing reparations for Japanese- Americans and their ancestors who faced internment. An official apology was issued along with monetary reparations in the amount of $20,000 per person.

Despite the efforts to reparate and make amends, the internment camps remain another strike against civil rights in America’s already stained history.

on ableism

Access for the disabled consistently reveals a very ableist society. A lack of ramps in front of stores, inconvenient buttons to open doors that require a firm push (and don’t always work, for that matter. Have you ever pushed one of those buttons and the door remains sealed? It takes an act of god to pry that door open, even for an able-bodied person. But I digress…) which can prove to be difficult for someone who needs the stability of a cane or walker, handicapped bathroom stalls that, for one, are ridiculously small for a disabled person who needs ample room to maneuver equipment and for two, aren’t always immediately available to the person who needs it most. I am guilty of this myself, regrettably. If there is a handicapped stall open, I am sure to take it. Imagine my embarrassment when I leave the stall and a disabled person is waiting on me to be able to use the bathroom while the rest of the stalls are completely empty.

Having a disability, be it physically or mentally, places you in the largest marginalized group in the United States. There is a direct link between disability and poverty; while the EEOC has an anti-discrimination clause, anonymous employers surveyed cited they will not hire someone due to disabilities because they believe they cannot efficiently complete tasks and they fear it will be costly due to special facilities. This leads to an astronomical rate of unemployed disabled people and the cycle continues. There are laws in place to protect people living with disabilities from education discrimination but it doesn’t mean that opportunities are equal. They are often abused or neglected under the care of a school and face horrors that many of us cannot even imagine. As s.e. smith stated in ou’s blog post about the discriminations disabled students face, “[I]f you don’t think an entire class of people is part of humanity, obviously you’re not going to understand why they deserve basic human rights like an education and the right to live without fear. The only way we’re going to address the problem of abuse of disabled students is to get people to admit that disabled people are human beings.”

It is our job, as compassionate human beings, to listen to marginalized voices and take their qualms seriously. By looking at a marginalized group square in the face and telling them that their problems aren’t real or not everyone is like that is derailment. You may think you are being optimistic or helpful by squashing their very real issues by telling them that the world is not out to get them but you are actually silencing them. You are silencing a group of people who are already silenced every day. If you don’t contribute to ableist behavior, then good for you! You get a cookie. When people with disabilities say they face discrimination, you can rest assured that you are not the one they speak of and with that, you can listen with both ears and take their complaints as a learning opportunity. It was certainly a learning opportunity for myself when a friend told me about some of the issues she faces every single day. As an able-bodied person, it is my job to simply listen and learn. That is the very least we can do and is essential if we wish to end discrimination.

not like other girls, or, special snowflake strikes again

I’m not like most girls. I’d rather catch a game with the guys and down a few beers in the process. I feel most comfortable in my tattered sweats with the little hole in the rear. Don’t even think about putting me in a dress. Hell no. I’m not like most girls, the kind who have to be all dolled up just to go to the mailbox. Those girls are so high-maintenance. I can’t even stand the feeling of makeup on my face. Puhlease. It’s just so unnatural! All I need is some Chapstick and I am out the door. Not like those other girls, who need hours to get ready every day. And the drama that comes with girls? Count me out! I refuse to surround myself with that cattiness. My best friends are all guys and we laugh at those girls who live for constant attention. It’s just so much more relaxed and carefree– hanging with the guys. Sure, they call girls “bitches” and “cunts”, but they mean those girls, not me. They say party girls have nothing going on in their brain but they aren’t talking about me. I’d rather stay in and watch Netflix on a Saturday night.

I could go on forever but I think you get my point. I want to make it clear I am separate from other girls. I’m different. Why are you looking at me like that?