Intimate, painful truth
Anna Mitchael's Just Don't Call Me Ma'am: F-bomb laden memoir will take you outof the fetal position
At 29 years old, still favored with perky breasts and an appetite to climb the corporate ladder, I met my new BFF, a glimmer of hope and inspiration.
In paperback form.
Just Don’t Call Me Ma’am, a 239-page F-bomb laden memoir written by a woman with an eerily similar background chronicling our eerily similar perversely twisted lives, gave me the nudge I so desperately needed. The same nudge some many women desperately need.
Anna Mitchael, Texas native and author of the book, subtitled How I Ditched the South for the Big City, Forgot My Manners, and Managed to Survive My Twenties With (Most of) My Dignity Still Intact, surfaced in my predominately chaotic midlife crisis, which was in full swing 20 years too early. It’s important to note that a quarter-life crisis and a midlife crisis happening 20 years too early are entirely different crises.
Mitchael’s memoir of her not-so-glamorous life, which ironically enough may seem glamorous to some, is blunt. Just the way a memoir should be.
If you’re going to take the time to read someone’s memoir, especially one written at the ripe old age of 31 (note the sincere sarcasm), it better be painfully truthful, erotically embarrassing and painstakingly relatable. Mitchael’s escapades are all of the above. And then some.
By definition, a memoir is written by someone with “intimate knowledge,” and since when is intimate knowledge not embarrassing? Since when did intimate knowledge deviate from the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help you God kind of knowledge? If you’re going to take the time to read someone’s memoir, especially one written at the ripe old age of 31 (note the sincere sarcasm), it better be painfully truthful, erotically embarrassing and painstakingly relatable. Mitchael’s escapades are all of the above. And then some. You can’t help but fall in love with her frank and genuine demeanor. If you’ve never met an author who let it all hang out, let Mitchael be your first.
It gives me great pleasure after reading Mitchael’s anti-ma’am, that I am no longer a one-woman wolf pack in my thinking, “Everyone needs a vacation from themselves." It takes a damn strong woman to admit she needs a break from herself and an even stronger one to put it in writing. But Mitchael has no qualms about her vacation revelation.
Sorority pledge class leaders and lavaliere lovers, prepare yourselves for what I’m about to say. Earmuff it if you must. Mitchael is the first person I’ve ever witnessed strong enough to utter the words I’ve so been longing to say myself: SHE REGRETS PAYING FOR HER FRIENDS AND JOINING A SORORITY.
The parallels about wanting to walk away from her sorority like a bad one-night stand makes me shriek with delight and want to buy her an assortment of chocolate cupcakes for her brutal honesty. Can I get an Amen? (Sorry AOII.) I’ve been living the lie of a stereotypical sorority girl for longer than I’d like to admit, and finally, a sister dares renege her fraternal vows.
And that’s what this book is all about. A brazen young woman finally saying the words we’ve been too trite to say ourselves.
Mitchael deserves a heartfelt chest bump for her work. Not only is she completely and utterly non-PC in her book, she doesn't feel the need to sugarcoat her misfortunes and countless reckless and naïve actions (moving cross country simply because it wasn’t Texas, moving in with a boyfriend because maybe it made sense, or staying with a boyfriend because, well, what other options were there?). We all make life-altering decisions on a whim, but here's a moment’s-notice-turned-vegetarian bringing us together on a level playing field. It’s endearing to know I’m not the only one to have perfected the fetal position before the age of 25.
This isn’t a self-help book. Or a book meant to tell you how to or how not to live your life. It’s the kind of book to remind you it’s OK to make mistakes, and hell, everyone does. It’s OK to laugh at your own naivety or null bank accounts. It’s OK to write a book detailing your dirtiest darkest secrets letting others, and especially yourself, know that it’s worthwhile in the end because it gets you closer to where you’re supposed to be.
And remember, life isn’t perfect but you only have one so don’t spend too much time in the fetal position or you just may find it’s too hard to stand back up.
This writer, this woman, this Texan native lets it all hang out and inspires others to do so too. If enough women read this book, soon we’ll be a nation letting it all hang out. And I for one, cannot wait for that day.
Thank you for writing the first book I’m unwilling to let out of my collection for even a moment in fear it won’t be returned more so in fear that someone may read my embarrassing notes I’ve scribbled in the margins.