[Review] Dear Girls by Ali Wong

This book made me reminisce the days of my NYC life, including crazy, diverse, and funny people I met in the States.


As I got used to American culture (or that of East Coast), I became more comfortable talking about my feelings and thought process, which I rarely spoke out loud in Korean except with super close besties. I appreciated how I learned to be honest with my preference, opinion, and emotion. At the same time, as I met so many different people, I tried not to easily judge them because they would also have many layers and characters inside them - sometimes even willing to help them cope with their past traumas (but to be honest, you really don't need to do THAT much).

This month had been a huge self-reflective time for me. I have been coping well, thanks to bible, meditation app, friends, and family. But I still had concerns about how I can overcome something I cannot control or change.

In Dear Girls, Ali wong confesses about how she was dissatisfied with her parents. She had emotional problems with her mother. But in the book, she later says, the traits of her family shaped her powerful and she now appreciates that.

I love that my family taught me how to be refreshingly rude and honest. It also toughened me up and prepared me for bombing and criticism, because I had been humorelessly roasted by my family my whole life. ... But it's nothing compared to being hoorided constantly by the people who love you most and know you best. ... But she made me cheap, tough, and salty, like a steak from Sizzler.

I felt this paragrph would go along with the sermon of today's service - God loves you unconditionally. I need to accept big and small flaws of myself and family. Instead of focusing on fixing ugly stuff and trying to make a pure and innocent and gentle sweetheart family, I decided to think that my family gave me a thick-face and courage to confront struggles or haters - which I probably experienced a lot while surviving alone in my life abroad.

Few years ago, there was some huge life event to me, but surprisingly I have not held grudge against anyone or anything about it. After reading Dear Girls, I suddenly remembered how I was so calm about it. It was because I accepted it, digested it in an optimistic way, just like she accepted her parents.

Yet, I am not saying it is easy to change the perspective. I don't blame anyone who gets depressed. It is natural. Escaping from the emotion, intentionally avoiding to associate yourself from the problem IS not okay. When you confront the deep shit, it is painful but after you find your way to resolve, you can move on better, not stuck with it. That is why artists and musicians throw up their personal shit into their works - it's liberating. And therapists agree that is a good coping method.

Thesedays, I talk a lot, watch TV, laugh so much with my family. I try to say sweet words more often and honest self-reflection of myself. Before, I did not elaborate myself or my opinions to my parents as I would do to my friends. But once I started doing it, it liberated me. It definitely broke down the barrier between me and my family.

In the past, I tried to escape my home and spend lesser time with my family. I didn't want to see ugly parts or hear negative conversation at home. Now, I am just gonna learn to love my family as who they are. And if I want sweet words and expressions, then 'I' will do it to them, instead of changing them or getting disappointed with their indifference. Well, I have met so many crazy people out there, and strived not to judge them. So I believe I can totally do it at home. This would be the start of my deepest love.