The last ¾ of a year has caused me to need to do ALL of the things. Things that will attempt to calm the Covid anxiety, the divorce anguish...the heartache of closing the yoga studio, the work to sell the house and to promote the acceptance of the new life I am building for myself.
Some days, this means a warm bath, listening to podcasts, talking to my therapist, lighting candles, practicing yoga, having a glass of wine, making yummy food (or ALL of the above) and...always involves...reading. Reading has always been an escape for me - but lately - I have moved away from my typical historical fiction escape, and have started to seek reads to inspire - reads that I can relate to and that make me feel understood. I have found some AMAZING works of art that I am excited to share with you. If you haven’t read them - but have any anxiety/life changes/unhappiness/stress/trauma/a beating heart….these are the books for you!
Interestingly, if we developed a study out of both the text, and the timeline, we would find a picture of my emotional state at any given moment, as well as my progressing confidence along the way. It has been an awakening of epic proportions….and these books have been my trusty side-kicks along the way. Enjoy!
1. All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr (April)
Okay - I LOVE historical fiction as a genre - especially WWII era writings. This book is so beautifully written, so vivid, and its characters so intricately intertwined. It was not entirely predictable - it was REAL. The recurring themes of light, darkness, sight and clarity, mirrored my own state - as did the roller coaster of emotions I felt for our main characters. This book armed me with the confidence to delve deeply into the nonfiction reads you will see me turning to next.
2. Love Warrior - Glennon Doyle (June)
Let the emotional love affair with Glennon Doyle begin! This book, although not as mind blowing as Untamed (to come next) it was nonetheless mind blowing in its own right. If you have a best friend like mine, you will be familiar with the idea of sitting and chatting about the struggles to keep up, to make a relationship work, to find a sense of peace and calm and to somehow still do ALL the things we are “supposed” to do. Hearing someone else, from another state, tell stories that are JUST as relatable as my own is refreshing - and to know that she has made a career out of sharing her self-growth - is just plain awe-inspiring and such a relief.
She is vulnerable, she is honest, she is exhausted, she is seeking more, she is tired of shrinking….she is ME!
3. Untamed - Glennon Doyle (July)
I read this book in three days, then read it again. I gasped, in recognition, I cried, because so much of it was sad but true, I highlighted the shit out of this book. I committed the ultimate bibliophile sin….I dogeared pages I needed to return to. Practically the entire book is dog-earred. This is a book and a feeling and the strength that I will carry with me forever. This book reminded me of who I am - how powerful my heart is - and how critical it is that I remember myself and who I am.
“Can you imagine? The epitome of womanhood is to lose one’s self completely.”
“Maybe Eve was never meant to be our warning. Maybe she was meant to be our model. Own your wanting. Eat the apple. Let it burn.”
Spoiler Alert - I am buying this for Christmas gifts this year.
4. Magnolia Cookbook - Volume 2 - Joanna Gaines (August)
So….sometimes, when you have done a lot of big self-work….a girl just needs something delicious to eat….something comforting. So my next buy, was the second volume of the Magnolia Cookbook….because….Joanna Gaines...enough said. I am admittedly making my way through the book - one delicious idea at a time. It has yet to disappoint! (try the maple bourbon candied pecans!)
5. Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle - Emily and Amelia Nagoski (October)
This is a book that makes sense! I first became interested in it after listening to a podcast with the authors, who happen to be twin sisters. They were discussing the idea of “completing the cycle” of an emotion and of “Human Giver Syndrome” (which I absolutely have). This book did make me think - it connected some of the thread between the patterns by which I govern my life/thoughts/actions and the motivation behind those thoughts. I have come to realize that I do possess (despite my 21st century self actively fighting it) the belief that I should be ALL things. I should be able to cut the grass (I am strong - I don’t need a man), pay the bills, hold down several jobs, workout, plan meals, eat healthily, maintain friendships, keep the house clean, maintain creative outlets and hobbies, care for the dogs and be a loving wife - without having a nervous breakdown. I love reading things that make me feel less alone in the crazy that is my mind! This book accomplished that. : )
Come As You Are: Emily Nagoski
Complex PTSD - From Surviving to Thriving: Pete Walker