The Perfection That Is Harry Styles

Harry Styles never goes out of style. And this is palpable in his alarmingly charming self-titled debut album, Harry Styles. 

To be honest, I never expected that it would be this good. Harry totally deviated from his pop-rock roots in 1D. Instead, we hear a Harry Styles going classic rock, tipping a hat for his childhood musical idols such as Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The White Stripes and Fleetwood Mac… And he does it oh-so-gracefully. Listening to the whole album feels like listening to those 70s and 80s artists that rocked their decades. I’m a fan of old classic rock music, and this album severely awakened my hungry, old soul. It was amazing. The production. The vast instrumentation. The lyrics. Harry’s voice. They all fit perfectly.

Most of the songs in the album, I think, talks about poor conversations in which people either talk too much, but don’t say what they really mean or they don’t talk at all even though they have so much important things to say.

1. Meet Me in the Hallway

Haunting. A nice intro song.

I walked the streets all day/ Running with the thieves/ ‘Cause you left me in the hallway

2. Sign of the Times

Anthemic. Instant classic. This is the most acclaimed single from the album. 11/10

We never learn, we’ve been here before/ Why are we always stuck and running from the bullets?

Will be ever learn? / We’ve been here before

∆ We don’t talk enough/We should open up/ Before it’s all too much

3. Carolina

 H tells in a BBC 1 interview that this is about a girl that he met who is from North Carolina, and her name is Townes.

Townes, better swim before you drown

How could I tell her that she’s all I think about? / Well, I guess she just found out

4. Two Ghosts 

This one is allegedly about Taylor Swift. The first verses responds to a lyric from TS’s song, Style, which is certainly about Harry Styles. This is my favorite song from the album, mainly because I ship Haylor so hard. But the song is so good, too, so there’s that.

We’re just two ghosts standing in the place of you and me/ Trying to remember how it feels to have a heartbeat

∆ Telling those stories we already told / ‘Cause we don’t say what we really mean

5. Sweet Creature

Beautiful. Reminisce of The Beatles’ Blackbird.

But we’re still young / We don’t know where we’re going / But we know where we belong

∆ I always think about you and how we don’t speak enough

6. Only Angel

Rock n’ roll!!!

Open up your eyes, shut your mouth and see / That I’m still the only one who’s been in love with me

7. Kiwi

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iScgCFyQ96A
The. Best. Headbang. Song. Ever.

Oh, I think she said, “I’m having your baby, it’s none of your business.”

8. Ever Since New York

Sad, and yearning.

Brooklyn saw me, empty at the news / There’s no water inside the swimming pool / Almost over, had enough from you

∆ Tell me something I don’t already know

9. Woman

I love the guitar solo in this one. And let’s not forget about the beloved duck sounds.

Tempted, you know / Apologies are never gonna fix this / I’m empty, I know / Promises are broken like a stich is

10. From the Dining Table

 Listening to this song feels like H is whispering a confession to my ears. I think this is the most honest song in the album. 

Maybe one day you’ll call me and tell me that you’re sorry too / But you, you never do

∆ Comfortable silence is so overrated / Why won’t you ever say what you want to say?

All in all, I would rate this album 4 out 5. Why not 5? I know. This album is perfect, musically wise. But, I feel that there’s something missing, from Harry especially. I can’t pinpoint what exactly, but I felt that sense of incompleteness when I replayed the whole album thrice. But, I still think this is a great debut for Harry. I love him and his music so much. I would recommend this to everyone. We deserve Harry Styles and his great music. 

Thank you very much for reading! 

(Credits to the owner of the pictures used.)

Advertisements

8 Reasons Why I Love 13 Reasons Why

“Hey, it’s Hannah.”

If you haven’t watched the series, you should really watch it now. I promise you that it would be a rollercoaster of feels experience. More importantly, you would find yourself more concerned than ever about certain issues that needs to be addressed again and again, such as bullying, rape, and suicide. I read the book, by Jay Asher, back in 2014, when I was 15, and I remember myself hating it, because it was too much. It was too sad, raw, honest, painful and beautiful. It left a novel kind of unease in my heart. Now that it is translated into a series, I was brought back again to that familiar unease that I felt before, after I finish watching the series. I still hated it for being too much, but it was for the same reason that I loved it. Here are the 8 reasons why:

1. The characters are diverse.

The characters are of different ethnicities, and sexualities. And you can really see that they fit naturally with their environment. They don’t seem to be placed there, just to prove a point. I love that it represents a society where variety is normalized.

2. The soundtrack is beautiful.

Aside from the mystery and the general beauty of the story, the music was also one of the major reasons why I was lured into series. The songs and music tie perfectly with the scenes. You would never question the placement of the pieces used, because it was just perfect. The music helped the viewers understand how Hannah and the other characters are feeling in particular moments. The absence of music was also equally beautiful, because it elevated the mystery and tension. 

Right after I finished watching it, I immediately downloaded the soundtrack, and it was one of the best decisions that I’ve made this week. It was 3 am then, and good music was plugged into my ears. It was a scary experience, but peaceful at the same time. All songs in the album are great, but my favorites are the cover of Echo & the Bunnymen’s song The Killing Moon by Roman Remains (it was the song used for the scene where Hannah is already preparing her suicide), Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division, and A 1000 Times – Hamilton Leithuster + Rostam.

“I had a dream that you are mine / I’ve had that dream / A thousand times”

Lyrics from “A 1000 Times” by Hamilton Leithuster + Rostam

3. It was loyal to the book.

Although there were some little changes, the storyline was pretty much the same as the book. I think the changes contributed greatly to the story, in a positive manner, such as how Clay took so much time in listening to the tapes. In the book, it didn’t take him days to listen. I personally loved the way Clay visits the places that Hannah narrates, and how he imagined her being there. This strategy helps the viewer to take Hannah’s experience slowly, too, and to really think about the consequences of the experiences that happened to her to her spirit.

Another change was the insertion of social media. The book was published on 2007, and back then, social media wasn’t that huge as it is now. Rumors was passed on through notes, text messages, and whispers back then. Bullying was carried out through these, in the book. Now, gossip is more likely to be passed on to so many people through social media, and the series used this to explain how rumors about Hannah and the others characters are passed around so rapidly.

4. The characters are gray.

I love how they aren’t caged in the black and white, good and bad, dichotomy. They were portrayed as real human beings, capable of doing both good and evil things, capable of growing, and capable of changing. The people on the tapes aren’t portrayed as purely evil people, but people who made mistakes and recognizes these mistakes by exuding feelings of guilt and unease.

5. The script is brilliant.

It was not too melancholic, nor too angsty. It has just the right amount of humour, drama and mystery. It was very natural, and realistic.

6. The actors are brilliant.

Dylan Minnette did an excellent job as the quiet, introspective Clay. Watching Hannah’s experiences unfold partly became more intense for me, because of the quiet intensity that Dylan gives his character in following Hannah’s narration. Katherine Langfold is stellar as upbeat, and quick-witted Hannah. It’s amazing how she smoothly shifted this upbeat character into this hopeless and troubled girl, in the end. I cry every time Hannah cries, and I cringe every time she feels that she’s taken for granted. I stuck with Hannah throughout her rollercoaster, up until she cuts her wrists. I was a mess, and Katherine Langfold is responsible for this, because she made me stick with Hannah.

The other actors too are so naturally good, and subtle, and amazing. 

7. Bullying, rape, and suicide are portrayed explicitly.

It was all so real. Bullying was present in bathroom doors, walls, notes, stalking, hot-or-not lists, whispers, pictures, Facebook posts, and physical & verbal abuse. The series showed how Hannah was bullied through some of these things. It also showed how the other kids at school were also bullied and how they tend to lean on the Bystander Effect, and Peer Pressure.

Jessica and Hannah’s rape scenes were shown explicitly. I cried at both scenes, because they were so hard to watch, especially Hannah’s in particular, because the camera was so close to Hannah’s face while Bryce was raping her. The scene was very painful, but it was real and necessary. The series showed how the rape affected Jessica and Hannah severely. Jessica started drinking too much alcohol, while Hannah’s soul is broken by the rape, because by this time, Hannah’s problem are already piling heavily on top of another, and most important parts of her are already so broken. Both of them are reluctant to talk and share their experience to other people, because it was too traumatizing for them. 

It shocked me at first that they showed Hannah slitting her wrists, because I think that it was unnecessary, but I later realized that that particular scene was important for the viewers to understand the consequences of all the pain that Hannah has been through.

8. It stirs up the conversation on issues that matter.

 On bullying: Many people experience bullying every day especially students, and it manifests not just in physical but in verbal forms as well. It manifests in stalking, popularity polls, hot-or-not lists, etc. Every bullying experience is nasty for everybody. Bullying makes us feel less of what we are actually worth. It makes us lose self-esteem and self-confidence. It makes us question our value. It makes us fear people that we shouldn’t be afraid of. It jeopardizes how we interact with people.

On rape: We always tend to blame the victim — how his/her clothes attracted so much attention, how s/he should’ve dressed “decently” to not get raped, how s/he should’ve shouted and cried for help, or how s/he should’ve said “no,” how s/he should’ve clarified that s/he’s not giving a consent. Instead of helping him/her, we always point our fingers to the victim, without understanding that it took so much courage for him/her to speak out, and talk about such a traumatic experience. It would be hard for him/her to speak, because of the constant fear of being judged, ignored, shamed, and dismissed as “slut/weak/attention-seeker”. Instead of encouraging him/her to explain or talk, and stand on his two feet, we tend to encourage them to “move on” from the experience. This just make them belittle themselves and their value as a human being.

On suicide: We usually don’t notice people who are in the verge of doing this, until they do it. There are no definite signs, because every suicide is unique to every individual, but it is not unknowable.

Final Rating: 10/10

Notes/Side Comments

× I’ve read an article online that says that 13 Reasons Why simplifies suicide and perpetuates the idea that suicide has someone to blame. This comment really bothers me, because really, “simplify suicide”? How can suicide be simple to anyone? And how does this show simplify suicide? Hannah was betrayed by her friends a lot of times, bullied, and raped. She tried to reach out to people but every time she does, they let her down. And then her issues start to pile up, one on top of another, that it was all too much to bear. And at last, she felt so empty already. People have different degrees of sensitivity. Some people aren’t as emotionally strong as some people are, and it saddens me that some people accuse her of being an “overacting bitch.”  This is Hannah’s experience. She’s so young. And she’s also already mentally unstable, because of the abuses that she have experienced. Hannah’s story is just one of the many suicide cases/ stories in the world. Everybody has their own ‘reason’ of ending their life. There are so many other reasons. Sometimes it has no one to blame. Sometimes there is no reason at all. The show merely presented a small, but important fragment of a bigger issue, and I believe that they do not intend to perpetuate anything, rather than the idea that everything and everyone is connected and that we should be responsible and mindful on how our actions affect the lives of the people we interact with every day.

× If you have finished watching the series, and found yourself unconvinced with Hannah, her actions, and the show, in general, I suggest that you watch “Beyond the Reasons.” It is an episode where the producers, writers, creators, actors, and all the people behind the show explain the key points of the story.

Maude | OPM Artist Recommendation

​I fell in love with Maude the first time I’ve heard them on YouTube.

 It was serendipity. I was listening to Sud’s Sila on repeat but I accidentally pushed the ‘next’ button because I’m so sabaw and I don’t know what I’m doing (I’m doing an acads-related paper back then and I’m shifting from one tab to another and I’m doing escapist things). And then suddenly, a beautiful song fills my ears. It was the song, “Habol.”

I was immediately in love, particularly with the song’s main guitar riff. And so just like that, it replaced Sud’s Sila as my acads inspiration song. Maude’s Habol stayed with me longer, perhaps it’s because I’m too bitter and “halaman” to appreciate Sila’s joyous and lovely mood properly.

I loved that song because it uplifts my mood a little rather than annoy. But, Habol is just so genuine and just gorgeous. There’s something about the music that brings the lyrics a little more honesty.

Here’s the music video of the song, Habol by Maude: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Hhy2DdOMMCs

Lyrics:

Muling nabuklat ang kalungkutan mo.

Gaya ng librong may sagot sa tanong na
“Manatili o lumayo?”
Bakit hindi ka parin matalino?

Araw araw, pagkagising, tulala.
Bago matulog, umiiyak.

Tama bang manghabol sa tanging tao na
Kaya kang saktan?

Kung ito ay krimen, lahat tayo kulong.
Inalok, tumikim, nalulong, umiyak.
Kumapit sa pamilya bigla,
Sadyang walang saklolo sa pusong bulag.

Ano ka? Gamu-gamo?
Alam nang masakit, lapit pa ng lapit.

Tama bang manghabol sa tanging tao na
Kaya kang saktan?
Ang hilig kasi manghabol sa tanging tao
Na kaya kang saktan.

Tama bang manghabol sa tanging tao na
Kaya kang saktan?
Ang nag-iisang taong may alam kung paano
Ka saktan ay siya ring nag-iisang tao na
Hindi mo makayang iwan.

Itulog mo na yan.

And if you haven’t heard it yet (you probably have), here’s Sila by Sud: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4-aEEUaEQts

I’m so happy that I’ve discovered these two bands (Maude & Sud). Now I have found a new set of artists to follow locally, other than Up Dharma Down and Bullet Dumas. Maude reminds me of Eraserheads’ lyricism and I like Sud’s instrumental diveristy. 

I personally like Maude more because of Luis Azcona’s sweet and clean vocals.

Whenever I listen to their records, I suddenly just want to do something and just FEEL. I suddenly would want to hug or punch someone while walking along Gateway at 9 PM. I would want to throw and break fragile things and then fix them afterwards, or maybe lie on Sunken Garden to watch the glittering, lonely stars. And most importantly, their records inspire me to, surprisingly, just sit down and study. Their songs make me want to escape and face reality at the same time.

Maybe I’m attracted to them mostly because the genre of their music is somewhere between pop and indie rock which is my kind of hybrid genre. But what makes me stay with this band is how their music and the lyrics flawlessly fit together. Please do listen to them.

Photo sources:

https://plus.google.com/+Opm-musicsBlogspot/posts/e6cfve8HTwW

http://vandalsonthewall.com/100-essential-filipino-tracks-of-2015-80-61/

http://ternorecordings.com/artists/maude/

http://bakitwhy.com/articles/Indie-Expansion-Maude-Joins-Terno

@MAUDE_manila

2nd Liebster Award: Remembering Boo Radley, Singing With Our Neighbor’s Dogs, Etc.

Yay. I just received my 2nd Liebster Award. It is really nice to know that my blog is appreciated by bloggers who I also look up to. So much thanks again, filipinawriter for nominating me. I said thanks, for like, 3 times already haha. PLEASE go check out her site. Her entries never fail to amaze me, because they felt so genuine and emotional. She’s one of the many fascinating bloggers in WordPress who remains authentic no matter what.

Here are my answers to her questions.

If you would have to choose, poetry or novel? Why?

I’ll read both, but if I have to choose which one to write, it’s poetry. There’s something so authentic and selfless about writing poems that I really love. When I’m writing poems, I don’t just think about me. I think about other people as well, and how they can connect/empathize with me. Most poets only write for themselves. I often do too, because writing for oneself is a great way to vomit all those excess pleasures, bitterness, misery, and whatnot’s because their places in our hearts are just too much too bear. It is surely not a bad thing. Heck, it’s the major reason why all of us even write. But, most of the time, I write WITH people. Whenever I write, I want someone to connect with me, and when someone does, it offers me a very pleasant feeling. Poetry is, more often that not, very ambiguous, and it is always fun to experiment with ambiguity. I always ask myself when I’m writing: How can I empathize and be authentic, at the same time with this poem?

What’s your favorite book? Why?

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I first read it when I was in 2nd year high school, because it was a required reading. I didn’t finish reading it. I had an incredibly short attention span. I re-read it again in 4th year and I finished it in 3 days. I was hooked, needless to say. I still remember tomboyish Scout, stubborn Jem, righteous Atticus, and of course, the mysterious Boo Radley. Reading To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. This may sound pretentious and cliched, but really, that’s what I felt after reading that book. It was a real eye-opener, and I just wished I read that book when I was much younger. It changed the way I looked at the world and its people. It made me want to punch my angsty, nonchalant, and egoistic self in the past. The lessons that I’ve learned from the book are also the foundation of my efforts to transition from this selfish, super annoying kid to a person who actually cares for the people around her. Here are some of the best lines from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird that stayed with me up to this day:

1. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

2. “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

3. “Atticus said to Jem one day, “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. “Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

4. “Atticus, he was real nice.”
“Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.”

5. “Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)… There are just some kind of men who – who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.”

6. “You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let ’em get your goat. Try fightin’ with your head for a change.
-Atticus Finch”

7. “Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

8. “When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness sake. But don’t make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion faster than adults, and evasion simply muddles ’em.”
Would you like to share with your friends and even relatives your blog?

Yes. Everyone is allowed to see this blog, although I’m sure that they can’t really agree with all the things that I have to say, and all the things that I already did share here. It’s OK though. I’m just being me. They don’t have to understand me, because I’m trying hard to understand myself too.

Why do you choose to write or blog?

I write because I just have to, and just like what I’ve written many times in my past posts, writing gives me eudaemonia/happiness and catharsis/purgation. It helps me move on. I’m the type of person who finds it hard to let go of things, especially if those things gave me unpleasant or overwhelming feelings. I just have to vomit it all out, so that I can move forward, and so that I can constantly remind myself that I wouldn’t let the same mistakes to repeat themselves in the future. It also helps me connect with people who experienced/are experiencing problems and situations that I went/am going through.
What post of yours would you like to share to the world? Why?

This is not actually a post. but an answer to Juansen’s question in his Real Neat Blog Award questions which is : If the world suddenly paused just to listen to you—what would be your message to the world?

Stop being so discriminating and unreasonable. Stop making other people feel less human than they actually are, just because they’re different from what you’re accustomed to. Make some sense out of: “We’re all equal.” And just LOVE. Oh, and also, there are lots of people around you who need at least a 5 second hug. You are required to attend to those people.

What sad poem would you like to share with your partner or the person you like? Why?

Virginia Woolf’s Angels 1919

Five years after their rescue
Of troops beaten back in Mons,
She danced with them on the downs,
Their forms like kites she reeled in
With clouds, their haloes askew
On waves of green escarpments
Breaking into the sea. Beech-brown
The combes she looked down upon
While the angels held up her skirts,
Rode the rhythms of her walking feet –
Their wings no longer torn.
In a host they balanced, on the alert
For ancient armies in retreat
Squatting in hunched hawthorns.

One year after the armistice
In the steep slopes of her temperament
She kept them at her side, to banish
The simpering angels of the house
At whom, with the sedge, they would hiss.
Whenever an alien shadow bent
Over her page as she wrote, a swish
Of wings dipped in ink would douse
Its creeping insistence, despatch it
Into tumuli turfed over, into dew ponds.
The angels of Mons were her guides
Through plankton, fossils, flint; could fit
Into her psyche’s darkest corners beyond
Precipices chalked in over sucking tides.

If you could have one ability what would it be?

The ability to dance! Because I can’t. 😦

If you are another person, how would you describe your self?

I answered this particular question last because I can’t really think about that other possibility. This is so hard. Hmm. I don’t know tbh. It’s not that I’m too lazy to look for an answer. But yeah, maybe I’m lazy. But, I just can’t see myself as another person. And I love myself hahaha. I’m sorry if I can’t answer this.

When was the last time you sing to your self? To Someone? What song was it?

Just a while ago. My brothers and I are in the same room so whenever I sing, they can hear it. So, maybe, technically, I’m singing to them. I sang I See Fire by Ed Sheeran. I actually recorded it! hahaha. I did a duet with my neighbor’s dogs.XD The dogs were great, and they are really, really sensational. I’m really sorry for the low-quality sound, low-quality timing and low-quality voice. But, the dogs are still the best! Here it is: 

f there is a song that would best describe me, it would be Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan, because I feel lost most of the time. Like, when I’m doing something, some annoying part of me would ask, ‘Why am I doing this?’ or ‘What am I doing here?’ It just ruins the day whenever those thoughts come. It takes so much will power.

What constitute a perfect day for you?

I always consider it a perfect day if I had a long, intimate conversation with anyone. This and only this, and the day will be perfect.

Paper Boats and Tragedies

This is a piece I’ve written a year ago for our feature writing exercise in Journalism. I think that this is the only decent article that I’ve written for that class.

I used to like class suspensions when I was I kid, because to me, a class suspension is synonymous to a day of fun and play. But, as I get older, these class suspensions become atrocious to me. Watching the furious winds beat down the trees or roofs struggling to pull away from the beaten-down houses, is depressing. It is even more depressing to hear or watch news about landfalls, floods, evacuation centers, and casualties. A class suspension is really synonymous to tragedy. But, there is one important day when I temporarily disregarded this horrible truth.

We are mildly surprised that the mayor announced class suspension when there is actually no rain. There may be rain, but it falls then it stops falling again. Because of this, even after protests from my father, my mother and I went to the mall to accompany a relative. It was 2 in the afternoon when it started to rain really hard. We decided to stay near the gate of the mall and wait hopefully for the storm to stop. It was windy and unpleasant, and it seemed to be so determined to keep pouring more acidity.

I was unmindful of anything and I kept staring at the pouring of raindrops while my mother and the relative kept chattering behind me. I noticed a waterway at the edge of the steps, like a small river. I reached for a paper from my backpack and folded a paper boat. I placed it on the water and watched it sail away. I followed it with another one, then next. I stopped when I sailed six.

When I was young, I used to play that with my friends whenever it rains, whenever announcements say that kindergarten classes are suspended. We were innocent and oblivious. We did not know tragedies and landfalls. We just knew about play, curiosities and fun.

Maybe I had a temporary fun sailing the boats, back at the mall. Maybe I even temporarily forgot about shipwrecks, because of storms. One thing I am certain about is that there is a thick line between fantasies and realities. There is a thick line between paper boats and tragedies.

#LoveWins in David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing

David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing is one of the most honest books I’ve ever read so far and it is definitely one of the best. Showcasing a unique narration by the past generation for and about the present generation,  Two Boys Kissing sincerely and evenly explores recurring YA themes on love,  life,  sexuality,  gender, family, equality, and depression,  without deviating from its key binding points. Many other fiction books (YA or not) have delved into these similar themes and have attempted to hitch them collectively but, I can’t quite remember any books that may compete with such vast emotional intensity and honesty this book has triggered. When Levithan yoked these themes together, it was real magic and perfection. He touched cruelty, delusion, deviation, liberation, hope, love and isolation with equal fragility and sadism that effectively captures both the quotidian and the extraordinary lives of this generation’s homosexual young adults.

Everyone should read this book. The LGBT community will embrace the gentleness and sincerity of this book that is truly reflective of the experiences that LGBT individuals might be going through while growing up. Non-members of the LGBT community will be exposed to a nonetheless unique and realistic world, which is not quite different from the conventional. It genuinely depicts the struggles of being a gay teenager living in a world that “moves like an arrow” with the hovering hope that it “will get less stupid, less arbitrary, as time goes on.” Teenagers will appreciate the resemblance of the joys and struggles of the main characters of this book, with their own. Adults will be carefully guided into a new generation of an often stigmatized community by narrators whose generation might be more relatable to them.

Two Boys Kissing is an ingenious, poignant, romantic, and honest read that will introduce its readers into a place that remains hopeful and gay in spite of a largely cruel, unaccepting, and dismissively prejudiced society that blankets it.

My Rating: 4.00

Here are the most memorable lines I grabbed from Mr. Levithan’s book that lingered with me because they revealed often unexplored and dismissed truths about life and love that are worthy of contemplation.

On True Love

  1. Love is so painful, how can you ever wish it on anybody? And love is essential, how can you ever stand in its way?
  1. Avery considers his inner world to be a scary, convoluted place. It is one thing to show someone your best, cleanest version. It’s quite another to make him aware of your deeper, jagged self.
  1. We rarely recognize our own beauty unless someone else was recognizing it for us.
  1. For the past year, Neil has assumed that love was like a liquid pouring into a vessel, and that the longer you loved, the more full the vessel became, until it was entirely full. The truth is that over time, the vessel expands as well. You grow. Your life widens. And you can’t expect your partner’s love alone to fill you. There will always be space for other things.

On Depression and the Beauty of Vitality

  1. This is the problem with having a barrier between you and everyone else – you see it, but they don’t. They talk to you, but you can’t talk back to them. They care about things like the weather and what you’re shopping for, and you don’t care about a single thing.
  1. Death is hard, and facing death is painful. But even more painful is the feeling that no one cares. To not have a friend in the world. Some of us died surrounded by loved ones… But there are also those who can tell you what it’s like to have no one who you love, no one who loves you. It is very hard to be alive just for your own sake.
  1. Lives were short, and we never would have wanted to have them be shorter. Sometimes perspective comes far too late. You cannot trust yourself. You think you can but you can’t. Not because you’re selfish. You cannot live for anyone else’s sake. As much as you may want to, you can’t stay alive just because other people want you alive… you have no responsibility to stay alive for them. You have no responsibility to anyone but yourself to live.
  1. You have a responsibility to your future self, who is someone you might not even know, might not even understand yet. Because until you die, that future self has as much of a life as you do.
  1. He realizes: He is doing it for himself. Not for glory. Not for popularity. Not even for admiration. He is doing it because he feels alive. There are so many minutes and hours and days we spend taking life for granted, not feeling it so much as going along with it. But there are moments like this, when the aliveness of life is crystalline, palpable, undeniable. It is the ultimate buoy against drowning. It is the ever-saving grace.
  1. We saw our friends die. But we also see our friends live. So many of them live, and we often toast their long and full lives… We do not start as dust. We do not end as dust. We make more than dust. That’s all we ask of you. Make more than dust.

 

On Discrimination and Equality

  1.  There is no reason that we should ever be ashamed of our bodies or ashamed of our love. We are told to cover ourselves up, hide ourselves away, so that other people can have control over us, can make us follow their rules. It is a bastardization of the concept of morality, this rule of shame.
  1. “My hair can be pink because I’m a boy. Yours can be blue because you’re a girl. If you free yourself from all the stupid arbitrary shit that society controls us with, you feel more free, and if you feel more free, you can be happier.
  1. We did not choose our identity, but we were chosen to die by it. For stupid arbitrary reasons instilled by people who refused to see how arbitrary they were. We believe in the golden rule, but we also believe that people fail to live up to it, time and again. Because they fall prey to differences. Because some use the arbitrary very deliberately to keep their own power.
  1. He is almost used to it, but will never truly get used to it. The feeling that he’s trespassing. The feeling that the world is full of people who think different is synonymous with wrong.
  1. From all the camera crews, he knows the story is going to spread, and he hopes that maybe it’ll make people a little less scared of two boys kissing than they were before, and a little more welcoming to the idea that all people are, in fact, born equal, no matter what dreams they have or love they give.