Book Hugging…like Tree Hugging, only different

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If you’re in the market for quick, non-fiction books, then I have two to share. The first, Carry On Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton, well know blogger from Momastery. The second, Letters to my Daughter from Maya Angelou. In short, true greatness. Not like fictional Harry Potter greatness. More like getting letters from your best friend greatness…your funny, witty and honest best friend.

I’ve read some of Momastery’s blog posts. You may have too. Remember Don’t Carpe Diem? Moms everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief after reading that post. Then they possibly did some fist pumps, danced, and may have even shouted Damn Straight or Amen to no one in particular. For those that have read the post, it’s no wonder that it went viral. That single blog post gave some moms (even if only for a few seconds), the freedom to NOT enjoy some of those less enjoyable moments. It was like hearing from a trusted friend that it’s ok to realize that it all passes by so quickly, but that time you carried your screaming little out of Target was in fact, NOT an enjoyable moment. At all. Not only does your friend tell you it’s ok not to enjoy that moment, but she also admits that she doesn’t enjoy those moments either.  Sigh of relief.  I’m not the only one.  Or, how about when you became a mother for the first time?  Remember how the baby would seriously not stop crying regardless of what technique, advice, etc you tried?  That moment lasted forever.  Because 10 minutes or 10 seconds of a screaming baby can be forever.  That moment did not pass in a flash and quite possibly, has been tucked away in that part of your brain that registers trauma.  So that each time you hear a newborn cry you almost start crying yourself. Yeah, that moment was maybe not for seizing. Momastery not only admits these may not be the moments to enjoy, but also makes it safe for the rest of us to admit it too. Grace and mercy for us all.

Her honesty with her readers is no different in her book. Hilarious and heart wrenching. Warning: Glennon’s description of her life ring a little too true. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and sometimes downright scary how relatable it is.  After reading the book, you may find yourself secretly admitting, for the first time, that you too have struggled/are struggling to raise your children while maintaining sanity or that your marriage is or has been under fire, even though your Facebook or Instagram account say otherwise. Oh the joy and sadness of living out in the open. Maybe that’s why I love this book so much. It’s hard to live out in the open, but oh so worth it. If you need a little laughter and reassurance, Carry On Warrior is such a great, quick read.

I knew what I was getting into with Carry On Warrior. The Maya Angelou book, however, totally surprised me.

There’s something you must know about me, there are people in this world I like. Possibly even adore. They’re witty, funny, kind, and just plain awesome. Some of these people are close friends, some are pretend friends – bloggers that I’m are sure would be my friend if they only actually knew me or acquaintances I wish I knew better. The point is, this group is the easy group. I may share a lot of the same interests or we may be completely different in a we bring out the best in each other kind of way. Whatever it is, this group is easy to like.

There is of course the opposite group. This group of people rub me the wrong way. Maybe they remind me of someone from my past. Maybe I am morally opposed to them, we’re too different or maybe even too similar. Or it could be that they bring out the worst in me. No one wants that. Shockingly, there is almost a hundred percent chance that I fall into this group for someone else. No really. I am most likely on someone’s do not make eye contact or even think of inviting them to anything whatsoever because then I have to talk to them list. So, it’s in my best interest to be kind. Why?  Because kindness is passed on to others and may eventually get passed back to me.  Better yet, I try to be kind because we are all human and need a little kindness in our lives.  I think it makes us more human.

Then there is yet another group of people. This group initially falls into the I don’t want to like you category. And then as if by some miracle, I get to know them a bit and realize that I am WRONG, WRONG, SO VERY WRONG. These people are amazing and have been judged too quickly. It’s a great exercise in humility, you know, realizing that I don’t always know what I’m talking about.  And yes, I do consider this moment of humility nothing short of a miracle. I’m pretty sure my husband does too.  Because against all odds, I have a chance to discover these people in spite of my stubbornness.  I am blessed by the lessons they teach me.  This is yet another reason to be kind to the people you don’t like.  You never know when they will end up moving into this group of awesome people.  Imagine explaining how you used to NOT like them and that’s why you were not so kind, but now you think they are amazing and would love to be besties.  Awkward. So be as kind as you can.

As you may have guessed, Maya Angelou would belong in this third group. I don’t know why I didn’t want to like her.  It’s not like I knew her personally, and she somehow wronged me.  It could be her immense popularity. There are times that in a stubborn fit, I refuse to succumb to popular opinion. Usually my thoughts go something like this, so what if the whole world thinks she’s amazing? Doesn’t mean I have to like her. And then of course, there are times when I succumb blindly to popular opinion.  I won’t even name those moments, lest you question my judgement.  People, I’m immature at best. Now that I think about it, a well-respected colleague used to quote her. That should have made me sit up and take notice, but I persisted in my opinions.  Stubborn, right?  Then, I heard a speech Maya Angelou gave and thought, hmmm…maybe I should like this lady. Maybe all those people who said she is amazing have a point.

All that aside, I also have a habit of reading what other authors read. Guess what? Momastery has read Maya Angelou. So if Momastery likes Maya Angelou, then maybe I should give her a shot?  Enter Letters to my Daughter. PS…do you know she doesn’t have a daughter? Right. Who doesn’t love an author that considers herself as having thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanisk-speaking, Native American, and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you all. What’s not to love? The book is full of life lessons and as Angelou notes, the book is full of accounts of growing up, unexpected emergencies, a few poems, some light stories to make you laugh and others to make you meditate. I wouldn’t describe it any other way.  Thank God for humility.  I might have totally missed this book.

I loved both books so much, I hugged them when I finished reading them. No, really. I figured it was the closest I’ll ever get to hugging either author.   As you may or may not know, I’m not so great in the presence of those I admire. When I finished each book, I wanted to hug them for writing truth, their truth, and sharing it with the world, so I hugged the books and hoped that on that day, they felt a little love and kind thoughts from this reader.

PS.  Not sure how long it will last, but the e-book of Carry On, Warrior is only 3.79 on Amazon!!!  You can’t really hug an e-book, but you can hug your kindle, tablet, phone, computer, etc.

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