A friend of mine – a beautiful model friendfrom Kenya who now lives in Milan and has two gorgeous Kenyan
Italian boys – recently asked me if I could recommend any inspirational books to her. This got me thinking about books I’ve been reading recently and the fact that I haven’t finished a book in a long time. Likely because I tend to read 4 or 5 books at once, like old friends visiting who you keep encouraging to stay longer because you like their company. But when I really like a book – similar to when I really like a guy – velocity increases and all sense of time dissipates as I become more and more pulled into its (his) story.
I recommended to my friend two books that I came across a while back, neither of which I’ve actually finished (again, the old friends visiting philosophy), but both of which have managed to have a profound impact on me from just the portions I’ve read so far. These are Taking Time for Your Life by the extraordinary life coach Cheryl Richardson and The Four Agreements by the clairvoyant healer and teacher don Miguel Ruiz. The first is about how the art of extreme self care and the idea that you have more to give others when you feel fulfilled. The second is about how to establish and maintain relationships based on integrity and shared purpose. Both contain messages that I really needed to hear at the time and still benefit from now.
But something really special happened recently while at my new fav Flushing bakery, sipping on taro bubble tea (my new fav obsession). I got that timeless feeling, went into autopilot and…wait for it…wait for it…finished a book. It’s titled I Love You but I’m Leaving You Anyway by the hilarious and insightful Tracy McMillan. There are many little (and big) gems sprinkled throughout this book, but one that spoke to me most is this one – I’ll let Tracy tell it:
…my view of men was essentially self-centered: I looked at them with my self in mind. And that self wanted the men in my life to talk more, emote more, chill out, stop trying to fix everything… But when it comes right down to it… trying to turn one into the other [men into women, all the guys I’ve ever dated into me] is a waste of time compared to devising artful combinations of the two…
Well that was a revelation for me. Seriously. I’ve always been looking for the super emotive guy who loves taking Zumba classes and making palak paneer with chapati from scratch as much as I do or who loves long walks on hot summer days in the botanical gardens and drinking bubble tea, essentially a male replica of myself. While this is not only unrealistic, it would be utterly boring. Thanks Tracy for shedding some light on this issue. I look forward to going forth into the world with this clearer understanding. Sometimes the simplest bit of down home truth can be so eyeopening.