Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ALL THE RAGE APRIL: Guest Post from Susanne

Hello, everyone!

Welcome back to ALL THE RAGE APRIL! We've had a bit of a break, but don't expect more of that. If the schedule holds there will be posts coming your way from now until the end of April! I can't wait to share them!

Today, I have a guest post from the lovely Susanne (@opheliet on Twitter!) on trauma and All the Rage. Check it out!

Once you've experienced trauma, sometimes it can seem as though a wall has been built, between you and everyone else. They're still living in their world, happy and shiny as though nothing bad has ever happened. Meanwhile, your world has changed forever and why can't everyone see that? It's a lonely place, behind that wall.

I'm pretty sure Courtney Summers is determined to knock it down.

Trauma isn't pretty. Its reactions aren't neat and tidy, able to be folded away when convenient. It often presents at the worst times, in the worst ways. It's a beast of a thing, able to cause horrific reactions that can be debilitating.

And, perhaps worst of all- it's ugly.

I can only imagine how uncomfortable some people must be at the honesty portrayed in All the Rage.

How downright “unlikeable” Romy might appear (though I quite like her a lot, myself). She's impulsive, and selfish, liable to snap your head off for seemingly no reason, with little ability to follow social cues or accept help that is right there in front of her so why won't she just take it?

That's how it looks when you see it from the protection of the wall.

But when you keep reading, get inside her head, and you are face to face with the monster that is PTSD, it looks a bit different. Selfishness is due to the desperate need to survive, impulsivity comes from a reckless place of not always caring if you make it to the next day. Emotions swing wildly from one extreme to the other, and often no one notices that you're halfway to hyperventilating because you got triggered ten minutes ago. Accepting help, even help that's right in front of you, doesn't even seem like a possibility when your brain is telling you that you don't deserve it, or when everyone seems dangerous.

Maybe Romy is unlikeable. Maybe that's because she doesn't much like herself. Maybe it's because girls don't have to be likeable to be relatable.

I've worked with dozens of girls who have experienced trauma- some with stories eerily close to Romy's. Their parents would often say to me, “When will she be better?” 

And in my head, this would translate to, “When can we go back to pretending this never happened?”

Trauma isn't comfortable. It's not something that settles well in your stomach, that lets you sleep easy at night. And books like this remind us of that. They shove it in your face- that our girls are out there and they're vulnerable, and hurt, and dying. Courtney Summers doesn't want you to be comfortable because nothing about this is comfortable.

Romy experiences things far too many girls do. And yet, people still try so very hard to ignore that we as a society have a problem with protecting our girls. It's too hard to look at the problem, so just push it away. Paint it up pretty, and we can all just pretend it never happened.

All the Rage is a vital book, not just for teenagers, but for everyone. Because the thing is, it may not be comfortable, or pretty, but it's happening every day. And we've got to stop looking the other way. We've got to stop waiting for things to just “get better” so we can go back to pretending it never happened.

And Romy Grey is one step in making that happen. -

Thank you so much Susanne for your thoughtful guest post!

Stop by tomorrow for a guest review of All the Rage!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

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