My mother is my hero. My role model. The woman I aspire to be. She did put up with my father for seven years. Any woman who could make it that long deserves a medal of honor.
When I was offered the lead role of Gumshoe at the age of fourteen, she hesitated to let me take it. She hated the way my dad's career had forced him into the limelight. She absolutely hated the man it turned him into. She said before he became a household name, he was wonderful and charming. But once fame started getting to his head, she couldn't stand to be around him. She said 1993 was the year that led to the demise of their marriage, the rise to his fame, and the birth of their first and last child: Me.
So of course she did everything in her power not to let the same thing happen to me when I started acting. Imagine transitioning into the cusp of womanhood while being an up-and-coming actress in Los Angeles. It's pretty damn easy to lose sight of yourself. I saw it happen to a lot of my friends.
But my mother didn't allow it to happen to me. As soon as the director called wrap on set each day, I went home to a list of chores and a firm set of rules. I'm not saying my mother was strict. She just didn't show me any type of special treatment, no matter how popular I was becoming.
She also didn't allow me to date before I turned sixteen. So in the first few months after my sixteenth birthday, I went on three dates with three different guys. And it was fun. Two of them were coworkers I may or may not have already made out with once or twice in a dressing room on set. One of them was the brother of a friend of mine. And no matter who I went out with or how much fun I did or didn't have, my mother would have the same conversation with me every time I came home from a date, about the importance of not falling in love until I'm at an age where I genuinely know myself. She still has the same conversation with me, and I don't even date.
My mother went on a self-help book binge after she divorced my father. She read every book she could find on parenting, marriage, finding yourself as a woman. Through all of these books, she concluded that girls change more between the ages of sixteen and twenty-three than at any other time in their lives. And it's important to her that I don't spend any of these years in love with some guy, because if I do, she fears I'll never learn how to fall in love with myself.
I do find humor in the fact that she thinks there's this all-magical age when a woman finally has all her shit figured out. But I will admit that one of my favorite quotes is actually one she made up.
"You'll never be able to find yourself if you're lost in someone else."
My mother isn't famous. She doesn't have an incredible career. She isn't even married to the love of her life. But there's one thing she's always been . . .
And that's why, until I find reason otherwise, I'll listen to every word she says, however absurd it might seem. I've never once known her to give me bad advice, so despite the fact that Benton James Kessler could have walked right off the pages of one of the many romance novels I keep stocked on my bedroom shelf--the guy doesn't have a chance in hell with me for at least five more years.
But that's not to say I didn't want to crawl on his lap and straddle him right there on that park bench while I shoved my tongue down his throat. Because it was really hard to hold myself back after he admitted he thought I was beautiful.
Fucking beautiful were the exact words he used.
And while he does seem a little too good to be true, and he's probably full of flaws and annoying little habits, I'm still just greedy enough to want to spend the rest of the day with him. Because who knows? Even though I'm moving to New York, I might still straddle him tonight and stick my tongue down his throat.
About the book:
Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.
Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon's last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.
Excerpt from The Power
- Naomi Alderman
Excerpt from The Sandman
- E. T. A. Hoffmann