Over the past few weeks, I have finished reading two wonderful books. One was relaxing and one was truly inspiring. These two books were enjoyable for two totally different reasons.
Sisterhood Everlasting was a story that connected to past characters I fell in love with when I was in middle school: Carmen, Lena, Bridget and Tibby. If you were a pre-teen who loved reading, you probably fell across the “Sisterhood” series. I fell in love with each of the characters, relating to each one and admiring their courage and uniqueness. When I came across Ann Brashares’ most recent novel, I was thrilled. The book was written ten years after the series ended and was picked up as if the characters had aged just as much. It was so great to jump back into the shoes of the characters and relive their lives the way I had in the past.
The story was much more intense than I expected. Of course, lives change as one grows older – we all know that is true. Each girl had changed since they were nineteen years old in the last “Sisterhood” book which dragged me in more. Old characters returned and new ones came to the surface. Secrets were discovered and romance fluttered. The story was one I needed to read to simply enjoy the aspect of reading.
Stacy Pershall’s memoir truly changed my way of looking at mental illness. I have been given books by numerous therapists/psychiatrists. However, I have never truly pulled through and read them. This book was given to me by my current psychiatrist and without question, I kindly took it. I didn’t think I’d actually read it, but after the first chapter – I had to read on. Perhall’s novel showed the extreme ups and downs of eating disorders, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. Some of the scenes she explained, concerning her crazed moods and anxiety, described me to a tee – it was truly frightening. She suffered a lot and to see her come out of that hole alive, pushing forward, truly made me admire and adore her strength.
I’ve read about lots of individuals who suffered through mental illness, but this story stuck to me instantly. Each chapter opened up with a reason behind one of her many tattoos. Those excerpts were fascinating to begin with. I, being one who adores body ink, loved hearing about why she had gotten what she had – each tattoo relating to a life altering experience she had survived.
Pershall really inspired me to keep on writing and not to give up no matter the amount of rejection letters I receive. Like I do often, I tweeted her about how she found her agent and she tweeted back an article on how long it took her. I read it and felt certain that no matter how long it takes me, I will succeed. I have to – it’s my passion. No one gives up on their passion, no matter how much it hurts.
“I was the girl in whom most saw nothing and some saw everything.” Stacy’s quote made me look back and laugh at my past failures – at high school and how the divorce tortured me to the core; how being cheated on made me lose all hope in everyone around me; how sleepless nights took such a toll on my body; how my brother’s death made me constantly ask ‘Why?’ I’ve come to realize that you ‘just don’t ask why.’ That statement (‘Just don’t ask why’) is something that stands true for many things: Don’t ask why cancer attacked me as a toddler. Don’t ask why I acted the way I did after the divorce. Don’t ask why my moods fluctuate all the time. Don’t ask why my brother died. You just can’t ask why.
You need to live for your problems and overcome them.