Book: How To Be Alone by Lane Moore

I read Lane Moore’s book of essays “How To Be Alone (If You Want To And Even If You Don’t)” in the past few days and a) I loved it b) I couldn’t stop highlighting things from it.

Starting on the first damn page:

“There’s a very particular sort of no-man’s-land that comes with having alive parents who are technically there, could technically take you in if you really needed somewhere to go, but if you went there, you wouldn’t be any safer than anywhere else.”

I will share some more quotes here and they will probably be very random but they were all things that made my brain go: HI! and HELLO! and I LOVE YOU AND ALSO ME AND ALSO EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE WORLD!

On the “the Friend Zone”:

“In my experience, most queer women—and heterosexual women, for that matter, because women absolutely have crushes on guys who don’t see them that way—don’t get as pissy as some heterosexual dudes get about the Friend Zone. The Friend Zone, while not always ideal, is still a goddamn gift, and really, the definition of true love. If you love someone, or even just care about them, as you claim to, you don’t mind the Friend Zone at all, because sure, fine, you don’t get to French them and stuff, but you get to know them and be close to them and hear all the dumb things that run through their minds and all the brilliant things that they don’t even know are brilliant.”

On crap dudes who think their hobbies are the same as your career:

““Oh, cool. I’m in finance, but I also play a little guitar,” he said, in the way that square professional dudes always say to artistic girls.”

On narratives that tell you women can fix shitty dating partners if they try hard enough:

“And one lady at work said her husband was horrible to her for three years until she nursed him back to health and now they’re soul mates. And let me just say, lady at work, keep that shit to yourself.”

“If you see a woman who is working super hard to become who she’s meant to be and to achieve the things she wants to achieve, and you have nothing to add to her life or to give back to her in any way, please just leave her the fuck alone.”

“It’s like training a dog not to shit all over your house, but instead you’re training yourself not to be with someone who shit all over your life.”

On parents/raising ourselves:

“I know I loved all those fictional characters because I was a wild, inquisitive, messy-haired little creature who asked too many questions and loudly questioned her neglect and abuse, definitely not the agreeable living doll my parents seemingly had in mind when they decided to have a child.”

“It is so important to know we can hold our relatives, especially our parents, accountable. That regardless of “the best they could do,” if you were not fed or protected or held or shown affection and love and attention, if you did not feel safe, then their best was not good enough. It just wasn’t. And you are then free to do what you want with that information. Maybe that means you don’t talk to them anymore, or you talk to them like you would a coworker who used to steal your lunch from the fridge—with distance and hesitance, but you are allowed to choose your own safety and well-being over the comfort level of someone who did not properly parent you.”

“Still, it is very commonplace for abusive or absent parents, once their (technical) child grows up and becomes successful, to suddenly become Proud Parents! Because they know they can claim you as Theirs now and everyone will believe them.

“It will never occur to these people that you became the person you became despite them. That you, magical, wonderful, holy shit wow you, took the bag of rotting maggots they gave you and turned it into Disneyland.”

“So if you raised yourself, and you’re reading this, I am so proud of you. You raised a hell of a kid.”

On rewriting our stories:

“Sexual assault is not your “my first time” story if you don’t want it to be. Some creepy age-inappropriate piece of shit driving you to an underpass doesn’t have to be your first-date story if you don’t want it to be. Count what you want. You can’t change what they did, but you can change your landmarks. It’s not a rewriting of history.”

On what writing is for:

“I’m able to write things people want to read, and not only read like passive clickbait, but things that resonate with people and make a difference to them—the only kind of writing I ever gravitated toward, and the only kind of writing I ever wanted to do.”

I’m turning off comments for two reasons: 1) today is a writing day not a reading-the-internet day and 2) there is a shitty thing that happens here and on social media whenever I say I like a book, people feel compelled to tell me that they don’t like it or what they think is wrong with it. I don’t need people to like the same books as me  but it does actually literally ruin my day sometimes when people see that I am enjoying something and decide to drop whatever they are doing to try to talk me out of it.

Maybe this book is a book you were waiting for. I don’t know. It was a book I was waiting for. I am working collecting/pitching my own essays in book form and it was one of the books (like my friend Megan’s book, and Sam’s book) that made my own book feel more possible, more necessary, like I have permission to be messy and say anything I want. ❤

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