Monday, May 14, 2012

Addicted to the past

I read an excerpt of This Is How on Saturday, found myself thinking about it all day Sunday and just bought it for my iPad-book-reading-machine-device this morning. Even if you're not a "self-help" kind of person, I suggest taking a moment to read the excerpt. Even in those few pages, Burroughs drops some major truth bombs. Like this one:

You must never allow something that happened to you to become a morbidly treasured heirloom that you carry around, show people occasionally, put back in its black velvet pouch, and then tuck back into your jacket where you can keep it close to your heart.

Boom. This sentiment (and the idea of reading a "self-help" book by the guy who wrote Running With Scissors and Dry) resonated with me for several reasons, not least of which is I kind of think Augusten Burroughs is a dick. And that's a good thing. Too often our friends and family are too nice and care too much about us personally to tell us when we need to snap the fuck out of it. They think they're "being there for you" by letting you rehash and rehash and wallow in a place of despair well beyond when this kind of behavior is useful. But these well meaning folks are really not "being there." They are enabling you. 

Sometimes you really need a mental ass kicking, and Mr. Burroughs isn't afraid to deliver a helpful boot to your wallowing-in-self-pity pants. And it's because he cares. I am sure parts of this book will piss me off, or I'll disagree with them, but I look forward to it. Sometimes you need to hear things you don't want to hear. Then you must resist the temptation to shut out those who stand up and challenge you. Because no matter how much it pisses you off, the people who are strong enough to do this probably care about you the most.

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