Look, I am all for a fucked up recap of someone’s life. One of my favourite books I’ve ever read was Jenna Jameson’s, ‘How to make love like a pornstar,’ which was ghost written by the fantastically talented writer, Neil Strauss. Holy shit she’s had a messy life. It was no surprise that Cat Marnell hit my radar one Sunday morning while scrolling through my Facebook feed with the release of her “tell all” book on her disjointed life, struggles with addictions and dream career as beauty editor at one of the world’s top media companies (the Google algorithm is kinda spooky). The classic tale of having it all, but not really and something that we can all relate to because essentially we all look like we have our shit together but a deeper look in reveals that we all share similar wounds.
A friend of mine in London messaged me randomly and said that I needed to get my hands on Cat Marnell’s book, How to Murder Your Life. I was already half way through and I enjoyed the beginning. That’s how I’ll start this, I did like it. She was impulsive, self sabotaging and an addict addicted to a cocktail of prescription pills, drugs and the wrong penises. I could relate on so many levels, except my cocktail of poison was alcohol, cocaine and also, many wrong penises who manipulated and exploited their way into my psyche. Cat and I had many things in common, this made me like her a little because I got it, I could read the faint text between the lines.
Now, towards the middle and nearing the end, I started to get bored. Very bored and found it difficult to feel sorry for Cat. I mean, she was in and out of rehab, granted chance after chance in life, society and work – I personally don’t know how she is still alive, which only proves that there is a god. Addiction is such a serious problem in our society and many addicts don’t have the “white girl privilege” that Cat Marnell had where she had access to luxury rehab centres, not once or twice- Whatever, I lost count of the amount of times she checked in to rehab. I wish my parents threw me into a rehab centre when I was 21 that costs $40,000 a month. I fucking wish.
I believe this is a book that appeals to people who have no idea what it’s like to live with chemicals constantly in their bloodstream, the kind of people who find erratic behaviour fascinating, not sad. People who have no idea what it’s like to rely on substances to get through the day and night or what it’s like to have another drink at 4:57am to kick on at the after party. This book is perfect for people who have no idea what perpetual self sabotage looks and feels like on a daily basis because it reminds them that no matter how “fucked up” they believe they are, Cat Marnell is worse, a lot worse.
The reoccurring theme is that Cat doesn’t want to face reality, clean. She hasn’t found the connection between self love and sobriety and does everything in her path to numb herself.
“Sobriety is serious, people in sobriety honour it as a miracle, as a gift. It’s a full time job in itself to stay clean because you’re constantly surrounded by temptations to relapse.”
But what about those who connect with Cat Marnell and who also, know how to murder their lives? Those who know exactly what she is going through? If they are anything like me, it becomes tiresome because I’ve gotten clean and sober and watching someone self destruct is not fun or entertaining, it’s exhausting to read. Sobriety is serious, people in sobriety honour it as a miracle, as a gift. It’s a full time job in itself to stay clean because you’re constantly surrounded by temptations to relapse.
I, like many addicts, didn’t have the luxury of rehab centres, I couldn’t just pause my life get clean and slip back into society like nothing happened. I had to stay in society, immerse myself among people who disrespected my new path and then go home and cry in my room alone when I realised this was the rest of my life.
I didn’t hop from party to party till the sunrise, hanging out with boys who mirrored my addiction problems and poor habits, waiting for the right moment to take advantage of me. I created a space of zen, then meditated, practised yoga and changed my diet. I looked for conversations with value about spirituality and how to add value in the world, instead of how to figure out the fastest possible route to eliminating another layer of myself for the worst. Most importantly, I started to say no more than I said yes because I wanted to break old bad habits, I wanted to change.
But sadly, this is what addiction is, this is why a lot of people struggle to stay sober. It’s easier to live with substances, it’s easier to cave into cravings. Habits are hard to break and while I understand Cat Marnell had no desire to sugar coat her past in this book, I wouldn’t either, I’d still rather see her stick to a path of sobriety. That’s when her life will truly begin.