Have you seen the movie, The Reader? It’s a strange movie, but I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it lately. It’s about a woman who is stuck in a figurative prison of isolation because she doesn’t know how to read. Then she is put into real prison and learns to read, and through reading she becomes connected to humanity and free.
My time in jail was not quite as productive, but still, this theme rings true to me.
Yesterday I explained that anxiety and fear were at the root of my destructive behaviors, so this week I’m writing about the things I do that help me relax and be brave. Remembering that there is enough and that I am enough is one thing that helps. Another is remembering that everyone else is enough, too, and that we are all connected. I try to remember that while other women might speak differently and act differently… on the inside we are more alike than different. And that if someone accidentally or purposefully hurts me, it’s usually not personal. It’s just that we all have our own sets of strengths, weaknesses, hurts, secrets, and fears. Believing that people generally do the best they can helps me be less suspicious, which is relaxing to me. Because it’s exhausting to be in charge of deciding who is good and bad, right and wrong, and worthy and unworthy all the time. It’s a heavy burden. Letting go and letting people be is crucial to my peace.
Now, please understand that it is important for me to appreciate humanity and all those lovely humans who make up humanity from a comfortable distance.Because, close up, they all tend to make me quite nervous and often, annoyed. This leads me to believe that I may be far from mastering the unity/connectedness concept . As I may have mentioned before, I am tired and socially anxious, so going to parties and showers and things such as this where I might actually be forced to sit next to and talk to humanity is really out of the question. So, I learn about love and humanity through books. I know it’s not a perfect plan. Sometimes I picture my funeral and I see the front row filled with my family and then I picture Chase putting books in all the other chairs so the church appears to be full of my friends. It’s fine, really. At least the catering will be cheap.
My point is that reading helps me relax and stay healthy, because it makes me feel less alone and less isolated. You know, while I am at home, alone and isolated.
Whatever. Sometimes I feel like I get to know more about a person from reading her story than I would if we met for coffee thirty times. Maybe because in person I am always meeting women’s public selves, but in books I get to meet their private selves, which are more interesting and make me feel more normal. In any case, reading is how I escape from myself in order to return to myself. Reading about other people’s fears and triumphs reminds me that I’m not alone, that we are all the same, and that helps me relax and breathe. While remaining in my jammies, which is crucial.
A while ago, Chimmy mentioned that she felt like Momastery was sort of her “book club.” And that got me thinking. I’ve always loved the idea of a book club.But not the idea of going to a book club. Book club meetings tend to be held in the evenings. I don’t really do evenings.Usually, when the sun sets, after a long day with the kids, I become sort of a reclusive crank. A hermit crab.
So, friends, I was wondering if any of you would be interested in joining a Momastery book club. I need someone to talk to about the books I read and the movies I watch, because Craig really doesn’t want to talk about it anymore. Just this weekend I was excitedly reviewing the symbolism in the film we’d just enjoyed together and he interrupted me, rolled his eyes and said “No, I don’t think Owen Wilson was a Christ figure. It was Wedding Crashers, Glennon.” And then he picked up his popcorn bowl andleft.And so I’d love to have some people to talk to about books and movies and art who are willing to be a little more patient andopen- minded.
If you’re a regular Momastery reader or would like to be, would you comment and let me know if you’re interested in joining a weekly book club? We will, obviously, call ourselves the Hermit Crabs. And we’ll meet online and say delicious and brilliant things. If you hate this idea, feel free to be honest about that, but nicely, so sister doesn’t hurt you.Also, share book and movie suggestions.
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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