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Reading Notes: Hello, Cruel World

Anne Dalke's picture

Reading Notes on
Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide
for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws

Staying alive..being interested in life's possibilities (22).

Everyone consciously or unconsciously changes who they are in response to their environment..every life form does that. It's a kind of phenotypic plasticity (24).

When we consciously evolve toward an identity that we can live with, life becomes more of a game or a sport (26).

Imagine the world as a place where anyone can safely and even joyfully express themselves the way they've always wanted to (27).

The Serenity Prayer is all about change (31).

Identities aren't meant to be permanent. They're like cars: they take us from one place to another...until they break down beyond repair. At that point, living well means finding a new model... (32)

most systems we've developed as a culture to classify ourselves--systems like sexuality, gender, race, class and age--are not typically questioned all that much....Are you with us, or against us?...These questions are make you not want to be the complex person that you are. Either/or questions are...asked by bullies....You don't need to use your imagination, because the question itself dictates your only options (33-35).

Our imaginations are in thrall to the institutions of oppression (35, Minnie Bruce Pratt).

we ought to be able to name ourselves, apart from the troublesome either/or language of the institutions that oppress us (36).

I call most of us transgressively gendered....each of us tends to break some rule of gender...the early feminists...the early gay rights activists....the Bisexual Movement....present-day gender transgressive politics...saying gender [is] fluid...mutable (38-43).

You are entitled to live bully-free (46).

Is there something about you that you can't hide?...oddballs...'re always gonna be there, pushign the borders of what's acceptable, pushing the culture to grow and test itself (53).

stop carrying forward the junior high school dynamic of excluding (54).

"Might I ask you what your life's been like? I think we could learn something from each other" (56).

What you desire exists just above or beyond you, and it always will....Desire is yearning for something you don't have....What is it that you want? (63)

the journey from one gender to another...the process by which people strive to make their bodies more congruent with the gender they perceive themselves to be...the art of selective serial suicide (74-75).