A Word Of Advice, About A New Book Of Advice.
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
A word of advice about a new book of advice that I'll chance to utter in front of the author - Lane Moore's "How to Be Alone: If You Want To, And Even If You Don't" must be hard to read if you are alone. It's one woman's wry, wise, sometimes funny and often melancholy reminder that friends can be demanding and complicating, love is imperfect and obligating, and you can't count on a hard-charging cavalry of people who were just right for you to come riding over the hill and sweep you away. Maybe they should just keep on riding.
Lane Moore, a former intern and writer for The Onion, former sex and relationships editor at Cosmopolitan, creator of the comedy show "Tinder Live" and member of the band It Was Romance, joins us from New York. Thanks so much for being with us.
LANE MOORE: Oh, I'm thrilled. Thank you.
SIMON: Tell us what goes through you when you have to fill out that line we all confront at one point or another - who to contact in case of emergency.
MOORE: It's just always been one of the most painful things for me every single time I'm at the doctor's office and I have to put that down there because I have never felt like I had a really strong support system or anything like that. So when you don't have the usual suspects or when your parents or family aren't safe or present or consistent or anything like that, I think that can be something that's really challenging.
SIMON: Well, we should explain. You have a family, but they have not been - you know, they were not a source of support.
MOORE: For sure. Yeah, I was - you know, I was very careful with how I talked about it because the truth for so many people is that they have family but their family is not totally safe or their family is abusive or their family abandoned them or, you know, they chose to leave their family because their family wasn't safe. And, you know, a lot of it for me falls into that category.
But there were a lot of things I was not ready to talk about because it is so severe and so painful. But I just, at the very least, wanted to give people an idea of, you know, OK, it's not that there was just no one. I think in some ways, it's a lot less painful when there's just, you know - I think I have a tiny bit of envy when someone says like, I never met my dad. I'll never know. And I'm like, but at least you'll never know. Like, at least you don't - you know, I almost feel like - because then you can romanticize. And you can imagine what they'd maybe be like.
But, you know, to have them there and so close and to be so just lacking in all the things that, especially as children, you desperately need. You desperately need that care and that love and that protection and feeling seen.
SIMON: You write about one night when you thought you'd reached the end.
MOORE: Yeah, as a teenager. Yeah. I was living in my car. And after a few months of living in my car and being terrified every night, I was like, oh, I think I'm ready to die. I think I want to die now. This is, you know - and a bunch of other things that kind of happened around that time, too. And some of them I've kind of blocked out. And some of them I remember more than I want to.
And I didn't want to die. I just didn't want to be in pain anymore. It's a cliche. But it's a very painful, accurate cliche.
And I was driving. And I passed a church with their lights on. And it was a weeknight, so that seemed strange. And I, for whatever, reason turned in. And they very, very sweetly were like - you know, took me and were like, OK, come here. Like, this girl is bringing a lot into this room and were so sweet and kind and talked with me and prayed with me. And I was like, whatever, whatever.
And then, you know, I ended up living with these women for a while. And they, you know, took me in immediately - just like, we want you to be part of our family, which like, you know, still now, like, it makes me cry because I just was so aware that I did not deserve that. And I still struggle with that. When people are like, I'd love to be your family emergency contact, I'm like, what are you talking about? Because those wounds are so deep.
SIMON: I mean, of course you deserve it. You're a human being. And you make a lot of us laugh and - of course. But all that being said, why do you have a hard time accepting kindness from people?
MOORE: I didn't get it. For a really long time, I got really, really the hardcore opposite. I just - all I knew was pain and trauma and abuse and survival and not being good enough. And I spent most of my time feeling just exceptionally worthless. And it was reminded - I was reminded of that just really constantly for most of my life.
And, you know, it's easy to say like, oh, my childhood was tough, oh, well, but what do you do? And I think we all sweep it under the rug. And, you know, I've spent the last couple years just really realizing how much pain I was in as a child. And I think that's true for a lot of us.
SIMON: Lane, what are you doing for the holidays?
MOORE: You know I hate that question (laughter).
SIMON: Well, I'm prompted by the book. I didn't...
MOORE: I know.
SIMON: Not trying to be familiar. Yeah.
MOORE: I know. I know. You know what? I'm going to be optimistic about. This is the first holiday season I'll be spending with my rescue dog so...
MOORE: ...That's beautiful. Like, that's how I - I was thinking about and was like, how do I get you through the holidays, Lane? How do I do this? And I was like...
SIMON: Who is your rescue dog?
MOORE: I ended up rescuing a dog. And she is kind of the best thing that's ever happened to me.
MOORE: If you can find a connection with an animal and you rescue each other, like, that's incredibly beautiful. Like, that should not be a lazy punchline that we throw out.
SIMON: Well, I'm happy for you.
MOORE: Thank you. Thank you. Me too.
SIMON: And you've written a great book. Lane Moore - her book, "How to Be Alone: If You Want To, And Even If You Don't" - thanks so much for being with us.
MOORE: Thank you so much. This was really, really wonderful. Thank you.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.