Can you hear that? That’s me sighing so deeply that the roof is rattling. The past two weeks have been trying, tiring, and… good for my character. Two weeks ago I received a promotion at my day job. This was a position that I had been chasing for two years relentlessly. And now it’s here. And now it’s mine. And now I am hella tired.
Adjusting to my new role has, on the surface, been alright, I feel like I am where I need to be finally… however, I come home exhausted, I work later, and my balance of life has been thrown for a loop. It’s amazing how small changes affect our entire being.
At the same time as my promotion I really hurt a tendon in my left leg and had to stop training for my half marathon. I am unable to run. Running is my main source of stress relief so not only have I found myself coping with new issues but I do not have my usual coping tools available to me. It’s been a weird September.
I found myself going back to my bookshelf for comfort. Reading books I read a decade ago for the first time, to help relax me. I wanted to find a center and I hoped it would be in those pages. I read Kerouac’s On The Road, Hornby’s High Fidelity, and I’ve been eyeing my Fitzgerald collection (I own all of his books) with a hunger I usually reserve for pizza.
As a result of using texts to soothe me, where I would normally use my body, I’ve put together a list of books that have made me feel strong in the past and that deserve a re-read. I’m hoping you too will pick up on of these books and feel strong and centered.
Eat, Pray, Love I understand completely how cliche this makes me but I will not be shamed for a single book. Elizabeth Gilbert’s story of self discovery launched a thousand trips–they’re even a releasing a collection of essays based on the life changing things people did after reading her book. Make fun of it if you must, but those are some powerful words. My aim is always to change someone’s life with my writing and Gilbert changed thousands. That is strength and by feeling like I have a partner in crime while I try and figure out my own life, she makes me feel strong too.
I Remember Nothing Perhaps not Ephron’s most memorable piece of work but I found myself laughing and finding a piece of my soul in this book. Ephron mostly focuses on aging in this book and while some things I couldn’t exactly identify with, I did discover that aging isn’t inherently bad and there is a lot to come for me.
Yes Please I have always loved Amy Poehler’s brand of comedy and received her first book as a Christmas present from my little brother. It was even better than I imagined. I think Poehler can come off as a little gruff, so it was nice to hear from her more vulnerable side. It’s a great reminder that you can go out, kick ass and still have feelings through the whole process. Feelings are ok! And yeah, sometimes funny, too.
The Year of Magical Thinking Didion is a genius in my opinion, so it wasn’t a surprise that I loved this book so very much. The book is about her husband’s sudden death while her daughter was hospitalized. Didion is so brave and so poignant about her pain and grief that I have to wonder if I could ever be so strong. This is a story about love. About being practical. About facing death. A must.
Another Bullshit Night in Suck City If you know me well you know that I have a (stalker-ish) obsession with Nick Flynn. He is the only author I have seen read four times. And the only author that I keep count for… I first read this book in college and was so moved by Flynn’s ability to say it all about his life. This is brutal honesty and it pays off in such a big way. Whenever I re-read this book I remember that I can overcome a lot too, that no one has a perfect family, and that… you can write your first great book after 30.
You Are a Badass The holy grail of self help books! Sincero makes new-agey, hippie-dippie stuff seem important and within reach. This is about going out there and getting what’s yours, learning about yourself, and confronting the bad habits we get into that destroy our chances of ever being happy. This shit isn’t easy but it works. I am about to read it for a second time starting next week.
Tell me! What your favorite books that make you feel strong?!