A book a week, tongue in cheek?
I've had friends recommend books to me before. Lots of times. And actually, when they recommend them to me it kind of turns me off to their recommendations. I don't know why. Maybe it's the stubborn youngest born syndrome making me objectively stick my toungue out at them and say "you can't make me" or "I won't just because you want me to" but when someone tells me to do something I purposefully put it off just to prove it's my decision. stupid. anyway I finally read #GirlWashYourFace by @msrachelhollis and guys- It's everything your girlfriend says it is. It's slap-your-knee laugh-out-loud-truth, its necessarily brutal, and it's tearjerkingly lovely.
Reading this book not only made me feel like I knew this author and "got her" but...like- we would be totally amazing friends. There were chapters I had to call up my mom and say "OMG, listen to what Rachel said today." Then we would both laugh, or get out our southern "ummm-hmmmm, you know that's right," and my mother would comment on how alike the author and I were. I now have "meet Rachel Hollis" on my bucket list. Along with Stephenie Meyer, and Marissa Meyer, visiting the Bronte's home, having one of my books made into a movie, and getting a literary agent (not in that order obviously).
I am now so pumped about...everything! I want to do it all and accomplish it all and sing at the top of may lungs in a golden egg factory, basically- "I WANT THE WHOLE WORLD!" But not in a snobby Baruka sort of way. In an optimistic, I-can-do-anything-be-anyone sort of way. And somehow, because becoming an author has finally made me realize my inner nerd, this new outlook has translated into "I'm going to read 50 books this year! And blog about it!" Tongue in cheek? No, I'm being totally serious and I know, it's not what you were thinking. A self help book where she talks about her half marathon goals, adopting babies, starting corporations from nothing, losing a bunch of weight etc. and I come up with "Imma read more books". It's weird- but I don't care!
I'm so excited about this and I'm determined to see it through. Fifty books in one year roughly translates to a book a week. It's daunting. It's crazy. It's perfect!
I'll start it off with Rachel's awesome book. Though I've never in my adult life peed my pants (thanks, 5 c-sections!) that was pretty much the only thing I could not relate to with her (well except for the starting my own big business, and adopting children, and moving to Hollywood and having agents contact her about publishing...ok there were quite a few things but that's not the point). I felt all the things she's felt even if for completely different reasons. Most of her "Aha moments" I feel like I'd already discovered myself, we're both around the same age and I think you just naturally learn certain things, but instead of rolling my eyes and feeling like saying "duh, I already know that," I found myself smiling, remembering my own trials that brought those same realizations, laughing with her and at myself for the same mistakes.
Her chapter pattern was pretty easy to follow and look forward to. Starting it off with the lie she told herself, sharing stories about how she came to think that, and then the truth that she learned was all so refreshing and wonderful. The points she was trying to make always made sense, made me contemplate my own life, and think about ways to change for the better. Closing each chapter with "What helped" and lists of suggestions and resources really had me jotting down ideas and things to do with my life.
Her journey through the writing world really made me cry. In the van by myself running errands, or parked at my crosswalk (I'm a crossing guard) I bawled tears of validation. She knew me and my struggles and she had ways to get me out of the rut I was in. In those tears I found trust in her, so that when she gave me permission to dream my dreams and not feel guilty I believed her. I stood up, saluted her, and began perusing them again.
Now my turn for storytime; my rut. My lie was "I'm not worth trusting". Even right now I'm not confident enough to claim that's exactly what the lie was that made things difficult but it's the best analysis I can come up with. In college I tried to sell Mary Kay. I held parties, we did facials and satin hands but I didn't last more than a couple of weeks. I hated the idea of using myself, my life and my skin, as a selling point. "Look how amazing my skin is because of this product. Look how amazing my life its because I sell this product." The luring in of friends and family in order to make myself succeed depressed me to no end. Why? because I'm not consistent. I'm not trustworthy. I have bipolar and so am not consistent at anything, therefore I'm not an accountable person that others can rely on. This was my lie that crushed my self confidence and made it completely impossible for me to accomplish certain things. Even right now as I share truths about my life I'm saying "Rachel can say these kind of things. She's already famous and millions of people will love her no matter what. I'm nobody. I've not accomplished amazing things and people are going to wonder why the heck would I listen to her. They'll judge me instead of love me for being honest." These are also the kind of thoughts that ran through my head when publishing my first book because when I first started considering the idea of publishing the things I had written I was determined to only get an agent so I could publish with big publishers, and sell books to strangers and only tell people I knew about them if my books did well.
When the big publishing day came, not with a huge publisher that got me into all the bookstores, or in all the languages but a small press that depended on me to sell it, my book actually disappeared. All pre-orders were canceled. Days were passing by and I not only had hardly any reviews but no book for the book tour I paid for to purchase and review. An author friend recommended doing a book bomb. I looked into it and without even thinking jumped right into asking friends and family for help. Friends shared things on their page, we orchestrated a plan and system. I was in combat mode while in the back of my mind a little voice was saying "This is just like Mary Kay. You're selling yourself, and you're not trustworthy. You're using friends and family to succeed and they're going to read your book first and know what an awful writer you are and then they won't leave reviews and sales will drop off and no one else will get to read it and this will have all been just that crazy thing I once did that flopped because I'm not consistent or trustworthy or good. How can you use other peoples trust that way?"
Then I had the fiasco with Provo library. They were mean and difficult and yelled at me over the phone several times about how I was trying to benefit from a nonprofit organization. I was trying to do the opposite. Help a nonprofit organization by sharing any publicity I got from my book signings. When they stalked me on Facebook and called Orem Library to tell them to never work with me I felt like their actions confirmed my lie. I wasn't trustworthy. And I crashed. Big Time. The world being in a full pandemic gave me a great setting to do it in. No friend get togethers, no family gatherings, only the stresses of our own home to never be able to escape from- without even something as simple as a grocery visit to sort out my thoughts? It was hard.
I immersed myself into only motherhood and told myself "See, this feels so good to only be a mother again. Writing was a waste of my time." But every day I had this nagging guilt that I had just given up on my favorite dream ever. A dream that made me feel more normal than I had ever felt in my life. And then thinking about writing made me angry. "I'm so busy I couldn't find time to write even if I wanted to! My life has made the choice for me! I'm just stuck here as the maid and chauffeur. There's no way I could be anything else."
Reading Rachels book couldn't have found me at a more needy time. (Actually I listened to it because if I had time to read I should have time to write, duh).
Listening to her chapters about her writing goals, her struggles, her mistakes and fears gave me a little courage again. The way she spoke about finding your tribe at first made me sad, because after this move, and the world ending, I haven't been able to make any friends. But then as I thought about it more I pondered on the book bomb. That was a large tribe of people. And as I looked over Facebook history I realized that I didn't have to convince anyone to support me. They wanted to. (OMG I'm dying saying that because that sounds so stuck-up and snobby to me but I'm trying to be brave here). I only had to post one thing one time and as I read through the many comments again I cried- again. These people trusted me. People who knew how scatter brained I am or had seen me grow through super awkward, awful questioning teen years, or knew the horrible sleep deprived-don't-know-how-to-make-full-sentences years and yet they still thought I was worth giving a shot. They thought I was worth their trust in this product because it was something that I had made.
And then Rachel drove it home with something she got from someone else and something I've quoted, no joke, 3 times to my kids in the past week. "What other people think of you is none of your business." Was that my problem? Was I really so worried about people thinking I was trustworthy or a good writer or consistent? And why did it matter if they thought so? If someone leaves a review or not, is kind of none of my business (oh I know it is a part of my writing business but not my personal business- reviews nor the number of them are not reflections of our friendships or their view of me as a person). If someone hates my book and wishes they could have their money back that's also none of my business. If someone broke out in rashes because of the Mary Kay I sold them that is still none of my business. The key is stepping back and letting other people make their own choices and not feeling responsible for them which maybe is closer to the lie I was I was telling myself in the first place. Caring for others does not mean taking responsibility for their actions or reactions. Being kind and respectful does not require us to put ourselves down or grovel in our weaknesses.
Well this turned into quite the confession session which I totally wasn't prepared for but something you should be ready for when reading this book. Girl Wash your face makes it impossible too not evaluate your own life and what's keeping you back from succeeding. I'm so glad I read it. You all should too!
Looking forward to 49 Moore books! Someone give me some suggestions on some catchy phrase to use. 50 books in a year sounds drab. A book a day sounds cheesy and isn't completely accurate. A book a week? tongue and cheek? should it rhyme? Give me your thoughts! Can't wait to talk about the next book next week!