A blog about travel, books and navigating your twenties in one piece

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Recently I'm Reading // Places I Stopped On The Way Home by Meg Fee


I have read Meg Fee's blog for probably around seven years. In that time I have read of her ups and downs in New York City, how she's navigated both an eating disorder, dating and figuring out who she is. She has been my one of my favourite writers ever since I discovered her blog and, having been lucky enough to meet her when she was in London last year, I can confidently say that she's just as wonderful in person as she is in her words.

Two years ago she released an e-book consisting of sixteen essays which I devoured and wrote about here. Since then Meg has developed and extended those essays and in May of this year what was originally an e-book became a published book of the same title. I am a little bit obsessed with Meg's writing and so not only did I read this the month it came out, but I have just re-read it over the past couple of weeks. Now I very rarely re-read books and almost never re-read one so soon after my first reading of it. But Meg writes about navigating your twenties with such raw honesty that her words are such a comfort to me and while I'm currently at the start of my twenties and experiencing the uncertainty (and excitement) of them for the first time, I wanted to come back and lap up her writing all over again.

If you haven't heard of this book, here is its blurb: "In Places I Stopped on the Way Home, Meg Fee plots her life in New York City - from falling in love at the Lincoln Center to escaping the roommate (and bedbugs) from hell on Thompson Street, chasing false promises on 66th Street and the wrong men everywhere to finding true friendships over glasses of wine in Harlem and Greenwich Village. Weaving together her joys and sorrows, expectations and uncertainties, aspirations and realities, the result is an exhilarating collection of essays about love and friendship, failure and suffering, and above all hope. Join Meg on her heart-wrenching journey, as she cuts the difficult path to finding herself and finding home."

It is a stunningly beautiful book, split into chapters based on places Meg associates with what she's writing about. Everyone knows that living in New York in your twenties is something of a dream. I imagine it to be incredible, with opportunity on every corner and adventures wherever you look. But, like anything in life, the reality does not always live up to the dream. And this book feels like a love letter from Meg to this city in which she grew up and in which she learned some of the toughest lessons life can give. It is a love letter in which Meg writes about her journey to discovering what she deserves, what she wants out of life and love and how difficult it can be to honour that.

Along the way Meg describes friendships, both toxic and foundational, love that goes wrong, with men who are not in a place to love, and the searching for a home in the city that never sleeps. It is most simply an account of what it is like to go through your twenties as a woman in this world and I appreciate so much that Meg does not hold back in describing how difficult but also wonderful it can be at times. Meg writes:

"The twenties are hard. Everyone who is not in their twenties says this. And everyone who is in their twenties knows this. But when you are in the middle of it, hearing people who are not, say, 'Yeah it's rough', isn't terribly helpful. But then you start to crest upon a new decade and you think, 'Holy shit! The twenties are so, so hard, but the view from up here is incredible!'... There is not one thing I wish I had learned sooner. There is not one thing I think I was meant to know before I knew it. Because I learned about trusting my gut only after I didn't. And I learned about love in the trenches of heartbreak. And I understood the value of showing up only after I failed to do so. But it is how I learned each thing that has shaped the woman I am today, and the woman I'll be tomorrow, and the day after."

I can't recommend reading this book more highly. As the incredible Emma Gannon writes, "Reading Meg Fee's writing is like an act of self-care. Her words will fill you up and make you press pause." If you've ever felt unsure in life, uncertain of where you're going or what you're doing, you will relate to this book. If you've ever been through heartbreak, loved someone who for whatever reason doesn't have the capacity to love you back in the way you deserve, you will relate to this book. Above all, if you're wondering what your home will look like one day and what a sense of home even is, you will relate to this book.

Do yourself a favour and pick it up as soon as you can. And thank you Meg for having the courage to share your 'memoir of chaos and grace', I don't think I could love it more.

Sidenote: If you don't already, go and follow Meg's Instagram. She's currently studying for a Masters in Public Policy at Duke University and shares such important articles and opinions. She's just an all-round badass incredible woman.
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