I fear I may have misunderstood my last challenge, which was:
Read 50 Shades 😉
I assumed that “50 Shades” was just a shortening of the first book’s title, 50 Shades of Grey, but apparently this story was written in its entirety first, and then literally split into thirds with almost zero regard for how thoughtfully composed books and stories are supposed to work (I say almost zero because they did at least bother to finish out the chapter as a stopping point). The ending of 50 Shades of Grey was absolutely ridiculous and lazy and I’ll leave the expression of my feelings for it at that.
Since 50 Shades of Grey is actually just a third of one larger book consisting of the entire 50 Shades “series,” I don’t really feel like I actually finished the book. Therefore, on my own time outside of my challenges, I feel like I have to read the other parts of the horribly-written, paradoxically dull and rage-inducing thing, 50 Shades Darker and 50 Shades Freed. I’ve begun 50 Shades Darker, and am even less happy than I expected to be.
I didn’t know that I had any actual triggers, but apparently the romanticization of emotional abuse causes a sharp downturn in my mood, ultimately making me depressed enough to want to cry. I became aware of this within the first 4% of 50 Shades Darker. To E.L. James’s credit, even though most of her writing is elementary-school simple at best and head-shakingly baffling/dreadful at worst, she does manage to depict the thought processes of an abuse victim shockingly accurately, at least compared to my own experiences.
Unfortunately for her, most of that credit will probably be cancelled out because although she is capable of making that part of her fiction startlingly realistic, as far as I can tell from the patterns in the story and foggy spoilers I’ve been exposed to since the books came out, I expect she does not offer a similarly realistic representation of her abused main character leaving their abuser and moving on to a healthy life. Instead, I expect James perpetuates the myth that the troubled, tortured man who lashes out to cope with the pain can be cured by the sheer staying-power of the one woman who suffers through it all until he finally realizes that she is worth changing for. That incredibly misinformed idea is why I spent five years in a relationship that should have lasted three or four months tops, and why I even have a trigger now in the first place.
I do still plan to produce the product I mentioned for this challenge. Even though the books have bummed me out enough that I don’t want to do anything silly regarding them, I think it will be therapeutic to undercut any credibility the books might have in whatever way I can. Therefore, I intend to fulfill that promise and will post it as soon as I can.
Moving on to happier things, I have a new challenge that began yesterday, put forth by my cousin Rachel:
You should write a letter to an inspirational person for you who is still alive and see if you get a response.
I beat her to the punch four years ago when I wrote a letter to J.K. Rowling–I got a response on her behalf as well as a small portrait of her, and I was so happy I cried.
This puts me at a disadvantage because it rules out the most obvious inspirational person for me who is still alive. Rachel also did not include a time frame for this challenge, so, again, I will update when I have it. I haven’t chosen who I will write a letter to yet, but obviously I will tell you once I have.
I am immensely appreciative of all of the support and feedback people have given me for these challenges, and I want you all to know that I am continuously offering my gratitude. I’m offering it this moment, and this one, and every other moment that will henceforth exist. Thank you all very much 🙂 ❤