Despite NPR’s negative review of the book “How to Grow Up” by Michelle Tea, I’m actually gaining a lot of pleasure and insight from reading this book. Even if the lessons that she spells out seem to be quite obvious, I still feel the solidarity, like I’m not the only one who’s going to make those mistakes. Also, this book has been my first introduction to Michelle Tea as an author and role model. Yes, she has had a rough past, but that only makes me envy and respect her more.
“I was charmed by her sweetness and confidence. She absolutely did not have that thing that usually drew me to the people I dated, the dark cloud I’d mistaken as deep or sexy for so long.”- Michelle wrote in the chapter Beware of Sex and Other Rules for Love. Coming from an experienced queer lady who has experimented with many different types of relationships, the anecdote has affected my perspective. I’m going through a relationship transition right now, and the story really makes me think about what I want in a relationship (or whether I even want to be in a relationship at this age/ stage in my life). I’ve found myself attracted to that dark cloud of depression over my lover for the past few months, but I realize it may be time to let go of that for a little bit at least. I only hope that the seed of self-healing I’ve planted in the man with the dark cloud is starting to sprout. Also, I notice that he may not be the only one suffering. In following the dark cloud I may have created more suffering for myself than I needed to. I am not putting myself above him by any means, but I’m realizing that the distance may be healthy for me.
Anyway, I did not mean to say that Michelle Tea is old- she is much more young spirited than many people I know. But I do feel that she is very relatable. I know, I know, my Creative Writing professor always used to say “relatable” is such an over-used word, but I can’t think of a better synonym.
I’m just discovering RADAR Productions; Michelle’s non-profit organization. It seems like a great organization, housing things from a publishing imprint to a writing lab/ workshop and a poetry reading series. I’ll be doing some more browsing on the RADAR site in the future, and I hope to meet Michelle Tea one day and have her sign my chest.