everyone has one.

“’My pain is ugly, Angel Juan. I feel like I have so much ugly pain,’ says Witch Baby in a dream.

‘Everyone does,’ Angel Juan says. ‘My mother says that pain is hidden in everyone you see. She says try to imagine it like big bunches of flowers that everyone is carrying around with them. Think of your pain like a bunch of red roses, a beautiful thorn necklace. Everyone has one.’”

Witch Baby, Francesca Lia Block

i just reread my favorite book. dangerous angels by francesca lia block contains the first five “weetzie bat books,” weetzie bat, witch baby, cherokee bat and the goat guys, missing angel juan, and baby be-bop. it’s so good. so so so good.

and so so so problematic. it romanticizes everything, and since it’s written by a white person, the people of color can become caricatures and stereotypes, even when she’s trying to write about them with the utmost love. parts of it hurt me in a big way…

but it wouldn’t have the power to hurt me like it does if it wasn’t so fantastic and wise in so many other ways. it deals with queerness and love and pain and angst in this way that has healed me so many times. that quote at the top of this entry has effected me in so many ways since i first read it. it helped me stop hurting myself and now it reminds me of how to connect to people, how to be open, how to listen and not be afraid, how to love.

i want to give this book as a gift to everyone i love, and i also want to hide it. reading it feels like praying, and like a car wreck. i don’t know what to do with all that. for me it’s only 2% car wreck and 98% praying, but i’m in the dominant culture. how would my pain necklace stab me if other pains were reflected in this book over and over again?

Published in: on 1 June, 2008 at 9:00 pm  Comments (6)  

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  1. I’m always amazed, when I think about what has ended up influencing my ‘grown up’ life, how much those books did, and mostly it’s because of people like you. There are two people who I’ve kept in very good touch with (at least, as far as it goes), and both of whom have introduced me (virtually, in your case) to other people whose lives I’m now connected to. I have a hard time rereading those books, but really, I think about the odd and meaningful friendships that FLB gave me, and I am constantly grateful.
    I am grateful for you!

  2. There’s a book written by birthmothers to their children called I Wish For You a Beautiful Life. The letter from which they got that title also said, “You are a beautiful flower born out of pain.” I always remembered that.

  3. A lot of things I like aren’t very considerate of LGBTQ issues. I know it is something I take for granted as a rather conventional straight woman. I think it’s okay to like something that suits you while still being aware that it might not apply to everybody. What’s important is open access to other opinions so that nothing becomes The Only Way. On Racialicious there was a lot of talk about Harold & Kumar being misogynist. And it probably was, but you know what? Sometimes I just turn off the feminist brain and watch the movie. You gotta pick your battles…

  4. Wait. I don’t like what I wrote in the last comments. I don’t WANT to take for granted these things but I am aware that I do. And I’m trying to break that down. While forgiving myself along the way. Does that make any sense?

  5. lia! hi! i’m so glad to know you! i still have the notebook that you made for me with my old name on it. i never wound up using it before i changed my name, even though i always loved it, and now it’s at the top of my possible notebooks and i want to use it because it’s so nice and was made so lovingly, but i’m nervous. you are such a lovely person, and i’m glad i’ve made a good impact on your life. yay flb! 🙂

    self-forgiveness is really important. and this world is really imperfect. and that’s sort of the point of the quote, and it’s also really helpful to talk about with people… like you.

  6. you describe her writing so very well. praying and like a car wreck. exactly.

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