Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Things You Can't Un-see by Sarahbeth Caplin | ARC | A Book Review

Things You Can't Un-see by Sarahbeth Caplin | ARC | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I'm having a very bad day. It's a kind of bad day where in you can't do anything about it. I woke up today to a rejection phone call. The thing is, because of the call, I have more respect for the organization and its people because they have the decency to actually make that call. They didn't have to do that, but because they respected my time and the effort that I made to come to that appointment they set up a week ago, they believe that at least, I deserved that phone call to know how it went. Not all organizations have the courtesy to do that. An email would have sufficed and even others wouldn't even care to do at all. They leave their candidates waiting in agony to hear of the news. So, even if I were rejected, the more I wanted to be a part of that organization. It was unfortunate that I didn't get what I wanted but I was not sorry because I believe I have done my best. I have done everything I can to the point where I tried to clear out a misconception of one of the people who I happen to speak with. I had to. I had the same thing happen before and I regretted that I did not correct the person. So, when that situation happened again, I just can't let another person think the same. I had to explain to her the difference and I hope that I had at least made my point. These bad days have been happening a lot lately. It seemed like each month, something like this seems to happen and I'm left to wallow and stew. What did I do to deserve these misfortunes? Did I do something so terrible that I merited this painful and frustrating karmic repercussions? Maybe I am such a bad person, I just didn't realize it and the world is making me see myself clearly now by having me be the recipient of all these misfortunes one after the other. I thought they should have been over by now. They should run out, right? But they just kept on coming. I don't know now what to do because it seems like this black hole is so intent on swallowing me whole.

With this feeling of just wanting to crawl into this black hole and never come out again, I decided to review this book by Sarahbeth Caplin because it just fits my aura perfectly. The book is a collection of her writings online about a lot of social and personal issues. Some of the writings touched on exactly how I am feeling today or very close to it. Frustrations, anger, having to deal with issues, and all. I think, this is the perfect book where I could unleash my disappointments and feeling of unfairness.

I just finished watching the season 2 of Thirteen Reasons Why last night. The season ender was a shocker but at the same time, it wasn't that surprising at all. It was bound to happen, like a volcano just taking it's time to erupt. There was closure for some but I think, Bryce's character was left off easy. The good thing was he may have learned something from everything that happened, I hope. In some ways, I want to blame his parents because they were always absent. Bryce did not have people to guide him. He was left with too much freedom on his hands to abuse. At least, his mom felt guilty about what her son was turning into. There were some other things in the series that I wished were done differently, like the box of polaroids. I don't want to say more because I might spoil it. I know I have said too much already. But there were a lot of revelations about Hanna's character and the other characters in the story, like Zack and Justin. There was this very one notable character also--Scott. One of the members of the baseball team. 

The reason why I'm talking about the series is because the author talked about suicide in her essays also and the series was also mentioned as an example. At some point, we've all been teenagers and in high school. It was a point in our lives where we felt like the world is within our grasp and we were invincible. At least, to some who didn't have the misfortune of getting bullied and have to deal with a lot of issues at home or dealing with mental health issues. I can relate to a lot of what the author said because I have experienced these issues myself. I have been bullied. I have been harassed. I have been discriminated and have to deal with personal issues that I felt like there seems to be no point of living at all. I am not suicidal but I have those dark thoughts whirling in my mind. The only thing probably that's stopping me of committing the deed was my fear of feeling more pain. If I go, I wanted to go painlessly and without mess. No blood, or gagging or struggle. I want to go painlessly into the night, if there is such a way to go if I decide to act on it. In some way also, I may have had enough good experiences happen to me that they may have given me a little bit of strength to resist the temptation. I know I have gotten very close to the edge and have only to decide if I wanted to take that leap off the cliff. 

This book is not easy to read, in a sense, that it deals with a lot of real and painful issues. They are done in tidbits which allows the reader to pause and contemplate but the rawness of the emotions will hit you like a deer in a headlight. I know I have tears running down my face while reading some of these essays, especially those that talked about the issues that I'm currently dealing with. It's like finding a kindred spirit that understands the complexity and the intensity of these feelings that we all oftentimes tend to bear in silence. 

One of the things mentioned also was about names. Like the author, I too wanted to change my name because it's so common. Paired with a very common last name, also proved to be a very very common name. Last week, in the experience I mentioned earlier with the organization where I received the bad news from, someone commented that my name is very unique. I then had to explain to him that in the Philippines, it's not. In a way, I resent my mom for not being creative enough and coming up with a more unique name. If I could change my name, I would have done so, but in the Philippines, that's a tedious and a very expensive process. I remember having one classmate in grade school with the same first name and I hated that my classmates had to call me with my first and last name. 

The book talks about Trump and all the other issues that came with him taking the seat of power in the US. I agree with the author in all the things she said about this topic. It's just disheartening that there are just people who refuse to see the truth. Even here in the Philippines, my people are guilty of the same thing. Some of us continue to give power to those who only seek to enrich themselves from the country's coffers. There's a political family for example who have been proven to have done many atrocities when they were in power, yet they still continue to hold government positions. There's this public official who had been convicted of plunder and corruption, yet still won in the elections. Sometimes, we just never learn. Unless, we experience the atrocities and injustices first-hand, we chose to not believe the victims' stories. 

This is a book of collected essays. The essays are not long and the whole book itself is not that lengthy but it packs a lot of power. Sarahbeth Caplin is one very brave woman who stands by her convictions and have announced them to the world. I too would want to do the same. It takes a lot of courage to do just that, knowing a lot of people will react and easily condemn and judge you, especially with social media making it a lot easy with just a few stroke of the fingers. And I know, the author is not the only one. A lot of authors nowadays are very socially aware and are trying to do their share in making awareness about bullying, harassment, mental issues, and all other socially relevant issues experienced by teens and all ages alike. We can't all run for office and try to do the change we wished to see in the world, but we can each do our little share in our own little part of the world. Just by doing some random act of kindness and not throwing trash everywhere could actually help. It may not be that drastic or the instant major change that we wish to achieve, but little steps. As the saying in the movie Utopia says, "One drop raises the ocean." We are all that one drop and if each of those "one drop" come together to do something significant, then maybe we can create a tsunami that will change the world forever. 

I give this book 4/5 pictures of Joan of Arc. One of things that really hit me hard was one about someone telling the author that her experience was nothing compared to what happened to the other person. It's like a pissing contest of who got it worst. I totally can relate to that. Instead of finding a common ground with that person because you had the misfortune of having to go through a similar bad experience, some would invalidate your experience just because you did not have to go through a more excruciating pain than hers. Are we all masochist or sadist? Why does one person has to validate my experience or measure my pain from 1 to 10 just so I could join the club? It's sick. I felt so awful and angry reading this part. Right there, I felt like I was standing in the author's shoes and that awful thing was said right to my face. Maybe it's part of the human flaw to do that or maybe it's just in the DNA of that person. I don't know and I don't think there is any excuse for that person to say that. Just because we suffered worse than the other person, it doesn't mean we have the right to lash out and make others hurt the same way we did. I understand everybody has a tendency to do this, that's why when I'm angry or hurt, I'd rather be quiet and alone to stew because I don't want to regret anything I might do. Anything done out of extreme emotion does not excuse the deed and I'd rather wallow in my misery than cause someone else's. 

Thank you again, Sarahbeth Caplin for the ARC. This is very enlightening and brave. I commend you for coming up with this book and for giving me the opportunity to read this. This is very personal. It felt like reading through someone's journal. I had expected that this was one whole story and was very very slightly miffed it turned out to be individual essays. But then, it still fulfilled its purpose. The message was not lost and I wish a lot more people could read this. And I felt sorry for the woman who told you that your suffering were nothing compared to hers. She has no right to say that, no matter how badly wounded or broken she is. In some way, we are all broken but just because we are broken not in the same places, doesn't mean we didn't feel the pain. Pain is still pain, no matter what caused it or what the intensity. No one has the right to tell you that your pain does not count because you're not bleeding.

Many suicidal people don't want to die, per se; they just want the pain to stop.

It may be that those who lost the battle are the ones who fought the hardest. 
- Sarahbeth Caplin, Things You Can't Un-see - 

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