Author: Portia de Rossi
Publisher: Atria (November 1, 2010)
I have been caught in a reading frenzy since the start of the new year (blame the snow and frigid temperatures, as well as a little pregnancy nesting). Book after book passes through my hands. Sometimes, I merely skim the pages in an attempt to pass the time. Other books really hit home, inspiring me to reach for something deeper in life.
I requested Unbearable Lightness from the local library with undefined expectations. Reviewers seemed to give high praise to the book, yet I couldn’t help but wonder if the praise was rooted in something other than literary merit (say, stardom or–as ashamed as I am to admit this–a self-identification and level of personal acceptance found by the reviewers in discovering de Rossi’s darkest confessions).
While I am a little under halfway finished reading the book, the honest and genuine voice through which de Rossi takes readers on her journey of personal struggles provides an inspiration to move beyond a superficial existence of day to day living and create a better, more sincere version of myself.
Average. It was the worst, most disgusting word in the English language. Nothing meaningful or worthwhile ever came from that word (39).
From my first awareness of competition—that someone could win and another person could lose—the pressure to excel in everything I attempted was immense….Even when I took first prize, topped the class, won the race, I never really won anything. I was merely avoiding the embarrassment of losing (40).
When ability is matched by expectations, then anything less than an exceptional result was laziness. And laziness in my opinion was shameful (40).
I don’t know why I thought I’d be any more respected for simply pretending to be that which I didn’t have the stamina to become (79).
Since when did anyone feel good about being in the weight range that’s considered normal? A normal size for women in this country is a size 12 (81).
I loved interpreting meaning from words….I discovered that you could be someone other than who you were and get attention for it, be applauded for it. And all of that was very appealing to me–especially the part about being someone else (95).
I hated that zero. The zero is the worst part of the scale because [it] holds all the hope and excitement for what could be. It tells you that you can be anything you want if you work hard; that you make your own destiny. It tells you that every day is a new beginning (141).
How the hell was I not in control of the only thing I thought was possible to control in my life? (176)
There had been times when I looked in the mirror and thought I was too thin, but most times all I could see were the inches I still had to lose (198).
I love you too, Mom.
But I didn’t say that. I really wanted to, but it was too abstract, too heavy and emotional (199).
Effortlessness is an attractive thing. And it takes a lot of effort to achieve it (204).
Shame weighs a lot more than flesh and bone (234).
I wanted to escape just like my dad had escaped, to fly away, to fade gently into black (258).
Just be sure and tell the people that you’re not crazy anymore (277).
I felt as though I simply didn’t have a choice. I had to accept that the road I had chosen was the wrong road (278).
Whatever it was taht made you feel insecure, less than, or presssured to live in a way that was uncomfortable to you has to change before you want to go back there and start life over (279).
We talked about the idea that women in the postfeminist era, while supposedly strong and commanding and equal to men in every sense, looked weaker and smaller than ever before (286).