Joseph Osmundson is a published writer, scientist, and self-proclaimed fag–often using the word so many from his past tortured him with as an act to take his power back. He is also one of the four hosts of the always iconic podcast Food4Thot.
His recently published book Inside/Out, available via amazon here, tackles an emotionally abusive relationship from Osmundson’s past. He writes, “I read an interview with an editor where he said never to write about your break up. What could you possibly add to that conversation by now, he said. Well, I don’t know, but I know this: I have to write about this, and I haven’t yet read much about how two boys can love and hate and abuse each other.” And that, that right there is why this narrative is so important.
To anyone reading Inside/out, whether for pleasure or review purposes, who has never been in an emotionally abusive relationship won’t fully understand it. A less than ideal relationship will play out in front of them, but the covert forms of abuse will be just that–covert–and they more than likely won’t see them. However, for someone like myself, these forms of abuse stand out on almost every single page. While reading I often found myself overcome with emotion–familiar narratives of my past playing out right before my eyes while I read. The sign of a good book is one that makes you feel. Inside/Out made me feel.
The openness of this book is both raw and real. Not shy to talk about things like sex, his own mistakes, and abuse is what makes this book an important message to a community that often mistakes mistreatment for love. In fact, he actually writes that, “We do everything but teach ourselves and one another how to have healthy relationships, then we pathologize abuse and abusers.”
In the end, Inside/Out is a book I would time and time again recommend. There aren’t enough books that correct the idea of mistreatment being love. This was and is a narrative that deserves to be told not only because the best revenge is success, but because it’s a story that is still so taboo. So many people get uncomfortable at the subject of abuse, but it is an important topic that we shouldn’t shed away from. If it were discussed more, for instance in more books like these, others may be able to better distinguish abuse from authentic love.
Note worthy quotes:
“And what is a muse but an unrequited love?”
“He said he would do anything to get me back….. When I brought up the past and my inability to believe that this change would mean something when all the others, all the supposed changes before, had not, he said I was living in the past.” — please note that I am not sure if Osmundson’s ex was a narcissist, but I do want to relay that Narcissist’s only respond to consequences. When reading, this seemed like one of those moments.
“I always thought I was smart. I always thought I was kind. I never thought I was beautiful. I never considered myself worthy of a certain type of embodied pleasure.”
“If I was upset about something, he thought I was putting him on punishment an would say so. No, I would always say, I’m just telling you how I feel. I have emotions, and here they are. If he was upset, he punished me by disappearing…” — also something a narcissist would do.
“I had gotten used to constant worry, and I only recognized it when it was gone. My chest had felt tight for a year–more. I only realized when I was free of it.”
Having had the pleasure of obtaining my book from a reading Osmundson had with some friends in Los Angeles, I was able to not just read his words, but hear them. If you ever have the opportunity to hear Joseph Osmundson speak from this book, do yourself a favor and go.