I’ve recently realised how much I have missed reading books. This is mainly because, I don’t get the luxury of sitting in a place more than 5 minutes, without being summoned or tugged at by my three delightful kids. I let my book reading obsession dwindle for a decade and only recently I thought you know what? I will be wild, and I will buy a book and see if I can manage to read it! I know, crazy mom living on the edge, right? I had deprived myself of books for so long that when I went in a bookstore I spent hours musing over shelves and shelves of books I want to read, I realised how much I missed it. It felt so satisfying to own a book after so long, with no added feeling of guilt that it won’t be used because I just couldn’t wait to sit and read and read and read. I romanticised in my head how I will read to the wee hours till I finish one in one sitting, like I did as a teenager. I would read one book after another like a monkey clasping at branches swinging through a jungle. Oh but wait, those days are gone! I barely read a sentence before getting interrupted. At night when I have less disturbances, all I can manage is a couple of pages before conking out, from sheer exhaustion of the long day.
I have been hunting out more bookstores and creeping on books that I want to read and absorb in an instant. Actually scrap that, I don’t want to absorb the words in an instant, I want to brew in the pages. I love the journey of growth and the change of mindset where you get the ‘ah ha’ moment. However, my list of things I want read is taking over my notes, I really need to increase my reading speed somewhere in between an instant and a page a day. So I have promised myself more reading, less Netflix and mindless social media trawling and instead, I will try to substitute it with clasping at my books.
Reading a book, an actual book with pages, no kindle nonsense, has such a calming effect on me. It might be because we are surrounded by touch screens and bright lights and gadgets and gizmos all the time, that a simple book gives a breathe of life to such tech concentrated lives. It maybe that its nostalgic and reminds me of my childhood. Or it could just be that I like the idea of being bookish and geeky. Whatever the reason it feels great to read. It feels like I’m actively participating in conjuring up images in my head. In grasping the ideas. There is no dumbing down of ideas to manipulate the masses, like news and social media. It doesn’t feel like I am cramming my brain with mindless junk.
So anyway the point to this isn’t that I love reading, of course l love it! It goes hand in hand with my coffee, like a perfect friendship. Not marriage, because I am married to coffee, no one and nothing can take that place. No, the reason why I write this is because books have filled that gapping hole in my life where I meet people that I actually want to be around. The like minded warrior women that I wish I was friends with. The women that inspire me to be better, to raise my standard, to aim higher, to not accept mediocre, to not sabotage myself and those women empower me, those women are my tribe. The books that I choose are full of information that I want to indulge in. I am learning, I’m surrounding myself with great thinkers, I’m being exposed by their life wisdom. When I pick up a book I hear the authors’ voice as they cram their lives into the little pages. I feel their presence, the books ARE the authors’, they ARE the people I want to hang out with.
So here’s my list of books/ people I’d most like to hang out with. No surprise then, my list comprises of non fiction books written by fierce influential women.
1. ‘I am Malala’ by Malala Yousafzai.
Wow this is such a powerful book. As a woman and a mother of two daughters I am drawn to Malala’s gutsy story naturally. At such a young age she is such a strong and bold thinker. I was curious to know how she was shaped into being so brave and outspoken. I wanted to know how she was different to any of the thousand of girls who were in her shoes. Out of so many pakistanis who duck their heads daily from menacing threats that hang over them for basic rights such as education how did she became so fearless? In the western world so many people live in a situation that they hate and it might not be life threatening but they just put up with it. Malala doesn’t. Even when it means risking her own life. She is a stark reminder to all of us that we do not have to go with the mainstream. We can fight against it, even if we are one voice. As long as we have free will we have choice and it might feel like a mammoth task but we should never forget that we have a voice and we should never fail to us it. The people of power threaten to silence one voice because they know it will lead to people raising their own voice. They go to so much trouble in weeding out people because they know the power of a single voice and what it inspires. So next time when you think that you are not enough to change your situation remind yourself that you are. One person can change your world don’t wait for a hero, be your own hero.
I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World
2. ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Ms Gilbert captivates the masses with her style of writing. I was hooked by ‘Eat Pray Love’ which I haven’t seen the movie or read the book but listened to the audio book, which I am not ashamed to admit. Im a obsessive book lover as you may have noticed and so didn’t think I would like audiobooks. So when I experienced my first audiobook with ‘Eat Pray Love’ I was like oh yes! Maybe because I had no time to read and thought this is a great way into listening to so many books in so little time. Or maybe because Lizzie is a badass story teller that she made the experience so much more enjoyable. So anyway I digress the fact is I became a fangirl of Liz and her great charismatic charm that I had to just know what she wants to say in Big Magic. This book may feel like that its just for creatives but its not. Its for everyone. Everyone, that is who wants to bring a dose of magic into their lives. She talks about creativeness as being spiritually guided and I can see how it is good for the soul. Her tone is conversational throughout and she gives a straight talk with no BS of how you shouldn’t fear living a creative life. We self sabotage ourselves into a negative spiral of how we cannot possibly do something before the idea even takes of the ground. We are our own worst enemy and we should silence that demon inside our head and do whatever we feel like doing that makes us feel alive. Run with an idea and see wear it leads you, take the leap you never know where you will end up without trying. Pick up passions that you left dormant its never to late. What is life if not a series of moments where we took chances than 70 years of doing the same thing over and over.
Being creative means letting go of your own fears of failing.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
3. ‘Rising Strong’ by Brene Brown.
I first stumbled across Brene on Ted Talks where she was total badass researcher. She’s a funny witty and strong woman, I was sold. I want her in my gang. So I picked up Rising Strong expecting it to be about how to raise my girls in a bold way. This book isn’t about how not to be vulnerable but by facing up to our vulnerability we conquer it and rise above it so that it doesn’t paralyse us. By showing our vulnerability we are being more open and genuine not just to other people but to ourselves. we are living a real life and not a charade of who we should be with an armour that shrouds us everyday that we are scared to be ourselves. i grew up in a home where we hardly talked about our feelings our emotions till it came catastrophically crashing down. We never gave out hugs to each other growing up or said I love you. If we had a problem we would bury it inside and deal with it ourselves thus never exposing our vulnerability. By doing this we isolated ourselves from the people that actually love us. This book brings back so many emotions for me of how vulnerability is not a bad thing and it can actually make you a better person.
No fear of being vulnerable, you are now unstoppable.
Those are my companions for now who hang with me in my down time. My tribe will grow and I will write about them if and when I meet them. Till then let me know in the comments who is in your gang? Who do you hang with and can I borrow them?