Sparkling Memoir about Being Different
From Good Reads, a memoir about finding your place in the world and meaning in your existence. Thomas' experience as other and the sense of always looking in from the outside will resonate with many who grew up in cults. I instinctively knew to code switch before I knew there was a word for it. How I would have loved to talk with others in my community who needed to do this to avoid stigma. Fear is what made me code switch with those closest to me.
When my friend Bonita in Fort St. John, BC came to visit me in Oregon, I policed our discussions when others were around. For instance, in a conversation with my own husband present, I said people got engaged rather than walked out their year. She never said a thing, clearly understanding.
Being engaged means you have decided to get married. In Move parlance, Walking Out One's Year merely means the elders have agreed that you can get to know each other after seeking visions from the prophets and after you have agreed to not kiss or hold hands. If you still want to marry after your year is up, you must go to the elders and seeks more visions. In effect, you get to apply with mostly old white men for permission to marry, so clearly it's not the same thing as being engaged.
One of the purposes of this blog is to validate the experience of those struggling with their own history and to embolden them to speak their truth. If only in their own mind.
Good Reads Review;
R. Eric Thomas didn't know he was different until the world told him so. Everywhere he went—whether it was his rich, mostly white, suburban high school, his conservative black church, or his Ivy League college in a big city—he found himself on the outside looking in.
In essays by turns hysterical and heartfelt, Eric redefines what it means to be an "other" through the lens of his own life experience. He explores the two worlds of his childhood: the barren urban landscape where his parents' house was an anomalous bright spot, and the verdant school they sent him to in white suburbia. He writes about struggling to reconcile his Christian identity with his sexuality, about the exhaustion of code-switching in college, accidentally getting famous on the internet (for the wrong reason), and the surreal experience of covering the 2016 election as well as the seismic change that came thereafter. Ultimately, Eric seeks the answer to the ever more relevant question: Is the future worth it? Why do we bother when everything seems to be getting worse? As the world continues to shift in unpredictable ways, Eric finds the answers to these questions by re-envisioning what "normal" means, and in the powerful alchemy that occurs when you at last place yourself at the center of your own story.