“Every Day” Book Review

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*WARNING: Before you read there are some spoilers!

When it comes to reading, usually I just read for leisure. It is rare that I come across a book that gives me a completely new insight. However, David Levithan’s book, “Every Day” did just that, and even more. If you don’t know the story, I’ll break it down for you: “Every Day” is about a person, or a soul, shall I say that wakes up in a different body every single day. It has been this way all this person’s life, a new day, a new body. This person goes by A and A is only sixteen. A can only wake up in other bodies that are close to his age.

The gist of the story is that A falls in love with a girl after spending a day in her boyfriend’s body. After that day he spends the rest of his days trying to get back to her and eventually tries to find a way he can stay in one body. Now, you might be wondering what the appeal to this book is, besides the obvious, that A wakes up in a different body every day. Well at first I wasn’t quite sure either. This book had been on my must read for the longest time so I finally gave in and bought it.

At first I wondered how I would like this book. It had been a good few years since I was sixteen and I was wondering how I was going to relate to this protagonist (because let’s face it, anytime we read a book for fun, we search for a part of ourselves within the story). However, I quickly found out that it was easy to relate to A, especially as he jumped to different bodies. The thing about A living in a different body each day is that he can access memories of that person’s life. The person’s body that he’s in, their soul/mind doesn’t go away. It’s as if A is using their body as a host just for the day. A is kind and respects that person’s body, however when it comes to the body he inhabits for that day he only has so much control. For example, in the story it’s mentioned that he was once in the body of a person who was vegan. A, didn’t know that at first until they had McDonalds and became super sick. I found it interesting that the body still very much had control.

But it wasn’t until A woke up in the body of a person who had a mental illness did this book completely blow me away. Now I will say, I am no expert on depression. Sure, I’ve done my research and yes I know many people with it (including my Vietnam Veteran Dad, who has PTSD), but I’m not a doctor or anything. This is just my opinion on how this book explains depression. Anyways, back to the book!

The chapters are marked by days that he’s been waking up so in Day 6005 A wakes up in the body of a girl called Kelsea Cook. Kelsea Cook is not only severely depressed, but she is suicidal (A learns that throughout the day by going through her journal and finding that she has written graphically about ways to kill herself and even has a deadline). The thing that drew me in about this particular chapter was the way Levithan wrote it. Within the first page of the chapter he explains mental illness beautifully through A.

A says, “Some people think mental illness is a matter of mood, a matter of personality. They think depression is simply a form of being sad, that OCD is a form of being uptight. They think the soul is sick, not the body. It is, they believe something that you have some choice over. I know how wrong this is.” (Every Day, 119)

A then goes on to say, “It is a hard cycle to conquer. The body is working against you. And because of this, you feel even more despair. Which only amplifies the imbalance. It takes uncommon strength to live with these things. But I have seen that strength over and over again. When I fall into the life of someone grappling. I have to mirror their strength, and sometimes surpass it, because I am less prepared. I know the signs now. I know when to look for the pill bottles, when to let the body take its course. I have to keep reminding myself–-this is not me. It is chemistry. It is biology. It is not who I am. It is not who any of them are.” (Every Day, 119)

These two excerpts were so powerful to me that I dog-eared the pages. There is a stigma about mental illness that it is a choice. It is not. Clearly, it is not. As someone who has grown up with someone very close to them that lives with clinical depression and PTSD, I know for a fact that it is not a choice. If it were a choice, why would anyone choose to feel depressed? Why wouldn’t they choose happiness? It’s because it’s not something you can choose, nor is it something you have control over. Sure, there are things that can help you cope with it, but it is a mental illness and should be treated like any other illness, with care, compassion and consideration.

Another thing I like about these excerpts is that A says it’s not who they are. That is such a strong statement to me and such a great reminder that no matter what struggles you’re going through in life, it is important to remember that those things do not define you. Sure, they shape you and take part of who you are, but they are not the sole thing that define you. You are not your depression, you are not your anxiety, you are not your intrusive thoughts. You are strong, you persevere and you keep trying. That is who you are and Levithan does a great job of reminding us that.

Levithan also does an amazing job putting depression in a physical form, so readers can mentally picture it. A says, “Depression has been likened to both a black cloud and a black dog. For someone like Kelsea, the black cloud is the right metaphor. She is surrounded by it, immersed within it, and there is no way out. What she needs to do is try to contain it, get it into the form of the black dog. It will still follow her around wherever she goes; it will always be there. But at least it will be separate, and follow her lead.” (Every Day, 121)

I love this description of depression because it tells people that depression can change and shift. It is not always crippling and hindering. Some days are worse than others. Some days are manageable, some are not. I think that is something that people (even myself) tend to remain ignorant on. Depression is a spectrum and it doesn’t always look like the main symptoms Google provides when searched. It affects people differently, therefore one person’s depression won’t reflect someone else’s. The important thing is that when someone tells you something is wrong, whether it is a mental illness or their feelings are hurt, it is not up to you to decide if it’s valid or not. It’s up to you to be a good person and listen and hear them out, if that’s what they want.

All in all, through A’s journey, thanks to David Levithan, I now have a better understanding of depression as well as many other controversial topics. If you haven’t read this book, I highly encourage you to do so. It offers a beautiful, intriguing, heart-racing story, as well as many different perspectives on life. It’s rare when a book can change not only your mind, but your heart and this book has succeeded in doing so for me. I hope you read it with an open mind and reflect on the words that are written. It will change you, if you let it.

Talking Body

 

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It’s a wonderful thing to be comfortable in your own skin. I wouldn’t know, because I’m not quite there yet, but I’ve made huge strides in the journey of loving myself, and not just for who I am on the inside, but for everything I am.

About a year and a half ago I started a blog for when I studied abroad in London, England. When I went over there I had extremely high hopes of coming back as a completely different person, especially appearance wise. I was at a place where I not only despised who I was, but what I looked like. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I lost sight of who I was and I didn’t have any goals. I was disgusted with myself and spent way too much time hating what I saw in the mirror. I’ve always struggled with body image, but the past few years were probably the worst.

From a young age I was taught to hate your body. I was taught that your weight was to be kept a secret, a dirty little secret that you were to share with no one. I was taught that it was bad to be overweight and that you were seen as less desirable. I used to be so afraid that if people found out how much I weighed they would stop being my friend. When I went out with friends to eat I would pace myself with how they were eating, despite if I was still hungry. If they stopped eating because they got full, so did I and if anyone ever commented on how much I ate, I would almost instantly stop eating (I still do that). I rarely ever ate in front of boys; I was terrified they would find me absolutely disgusting. Eating is natural and something that shouldn’t cause anxiety, but it did for me.

From elementary to high school I hardly ever ate my school lunch. Mostly because it was disgusting and the other part because some of my friends never ate. I realize now that by skipping lunch from elementary school to high school I probably did some serious damage to my metabolism. But at the time I didn’t care. I just wanted to be seen as small and fragile, like all my friends. As the teenage years rolled around and puberty took its place, I began to hate shopping, especially with my friends. They were all so much tinier than me. I literally felt like a whale next to them. For the longest time I only liked shopping with my mom and whenever my friends would ask I would always say I hate shopping, just so I didn’t have to go with them. But on the off chance that I did go, I would wait for them to go off and find their size before sneaking off to mine. I made sure to hide the sizes on my tags when I shopped and avoided eye contract with the cashiers, afraid they would judge me for a silly tag. This may seem like tedious, over dramatized, but I did it to protect myself.

For those of you who haven’t been there, I’m happy for you, because it’s an awful thing to look in the mirror and not be comfortable in your own skin, to wish you looked like someone else. To pick, poke, prod and pull at your body, begging it to look different. Skinnier. Tinier. Better. I know many people will say “well if you hate what you look like, change it. Lose weight, eat healthier,” to that I have to say “easier said than done.” A lot of people are addicted to food or are emotional eaters, so to just cut out carbs or sugar is like asking a smoker to give up cigarettes, it’s simply not that easy. It is also easier for men to lose weight than women. Our bodies are built different and they naturally have a faster metabolism. If you don’t believe me, start a healthy life style with a guy friend. I guarantee you, he will see results faster. It’s not anything that is wrong with us, women’s bodies are just built differently.

Anyways, for the past two and a half years I have been making more of a conscious effort to not only be a healthier person, but be a better person. Two and a half years ago my brother encouraged me to join a gym. He worked with me and helped create a workout that would work well and benefit my body. He was a true friend and stuck with me until I got comfortable enough to work out alone. So shout out to Tony, thank you for introducing me to the gym life. I don’t hate it as much as I used to! 😛

Although I did not go to the gym as much as I wanted when I first started, I felt better for the times that I did go. Fast forward months later, I received an opportunity to study abroad in London for a semester. My time abroad not only helped me grow as a person, but it helped my health. When I lived in London, I easily walked five miles a day and I ate a lot healthier, as it easier to do in Europe. My legs were my transportation and my body benefited from it. I lost eleven pounds and came back lighter than I had been in a long time.

Now jump to a year and a half later that I’ve been home from Europe and sadly I’ve gained the weight back that I lost. However, I feel more comfortable in my body than I ever have before. Two summers ago I never would’ve even thought about trying on a two-piece swim suit that showed my stomach. My stomach is pale and I have little white stretch marks all over my stomach that run up and down my sides and go to my shoulders. It looks like lightening has kissed my stomach. It was never something I wanted to show anyone. However, last summer when I returned from England I felt better about my body. I was healthier than I had been in a long time, so when I went to Florida with a friend I tried on a pair of high waist bottoms and a bikini top. I remember looking in the mirror and being surprised by how much I didn’t despite it. Did I love it? Absolutely not! Did I still cringe? Of course, but I didn’t hate it and I knew that just with me trying it on that was a huge step for me. I’ve still got a long ways to go and I intend to continue take care of my body by exercising regularly and making a more conscious effort to eat better, but at the end of the day I know the most important thing is to love who I am and the body I’m in because in the end it’s all I have.

And now we’re here at this summer, summer 2017. The reason I am writing this. I, Lori Scoby bought a black bikini top and a pair of high waist bottoms and I almost love it! If you know me at all, you would know that I’m a modest person. I rarely show cleavage, if any at all and I definitely do not buy any clothes that reveal my stomach. However, I have been working on not caring what people think when it comes to my appearance. I always tell my friends that you can wear anything you want; you just have to have the confidence to do it. I’d like to think I am more confident when it comes to the clothes I wear. I even don’t mind shopping with my friends too much.

In fact, I even bought the swimsuit with my friend. She’s one of my oldest friends and I know that I could trust her opinion on this swimsuit. When I’m with her she makes me feel safe and sheltered from any judgement. I trusted her and sent her pictures, asking for her honest opinion. After a little while, I even called her up and we shopped together. It meant a lot to me that I could shop with her and not feel judged. It’s the best feeling ever when you have a friend like that. So shout out to Katrina for making me feel completely comfortable in my own skin. You have no idea how much that means to me.

Anyways, back to the swim suit. I found a two-piece swim suit that I like and I am so excited to wear it tomorrow at the lake. I know this might not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but to me it’s a huge deal. So for any of my beautiful people out there who struggle with body image; try on the swim suit. Buy the swim suit and go and show it off! Your body is beautiful no matter what size you are and it deserves to be shown some love. And remember that stretch marks are normal and most people have them. It just means that, that part of your body grew at a quicker rate. I have them on other places than my stomach that aren’t fatty areas (my shoulders and kneecaps for example). My friends that are really thin have them too. It’s normal and it’s natural.

However, if you are not ready take your time. If you are still getting upset in the dressing room, crying in front of the mirror or telling yourself negative things about your body, you are not ready and that’s okay. Don’t let anyone try to pressure you into wearing something you don’t feel comfortable in. Over the years I’ve learned that if I don’t feel 100% comfortable in it then I will never wear it and that’s money wasted. I know I need to practice what I preach and I’m doing my best, so hopefully, starting this blog it will help.

Just remember you are not your weight. You are not your pants size and you do not need to compare yourself to anyone else, except for the you that you were yesterday. You are your kind words.  You are your helpful actions and your beautiful smile. You are your heart and soul and your value comes from so much more than what your appearance has to offer. You are beautiful and you are loved. Please never forget that.

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Hello

For a while I’ve been wanting to start a blog, but I never knew where to start, so I kept putting it off. But enough is enough! It’s time for me to stop procrastinating, so I’ll start with a simple introduction. Hello! My name is Lori and I am a 23 year old, recent graduate with an English/Creative Writing emphasis degree. I currently reside in Missouri and have lived here my entire life, minus the first 5 months that I was in China before I was adopted.

I have a wonderful family; a hard working mother, a soft spoken, yet intelligent father, an ambitious older sister and an extremely talented younger brother. None of us look alike, due to my siblings and I being adopted. It’s great and completely throws everyone off. I also have two adorable hedgehogs, Hazel and Perri. I’m sure you’ll see and hear about them more.

As for the content of this blog I plan to cover topics such as body image, relationships, (whether it’s with friends, family or significant others), self-love and the occasional travel post every now and then.  I’m no expert by any means on any of these subjects, but I understand that as a human that these things are vital to our well-being and are worth talking about. So grab a snack and sit back because more posts are soon to come!

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