I took a few days off from my book recommendations and from writing my novel so that I could make some art that was swirling around in my head and needed to come out.
Now that I’ve fed the starving artist part of myself, I am back to writing my novel, and I am back with another book recommendation: The Sun and Her Flowers by rupi kaur. I had previously read her book of poems, Milk and Honey, and loved it, but the The Sun and Her Flowers reached me at my core. The poetry is as beautiful as it is brutal. It is about love, loss, and sexual assault. It is about the aftermath of sexual assault and how it affects every aspect of the self. It is about all the things we do because we believe we are not enough as we are. I related to so much of this book, and it worked like a salve for my soul.
My fifth book recommendation is one I read when I was going through a difficult breakup: A Hundred Names for Love
by Diane Ackerman. This book had sat on my shelf, unread, for many years, but for some reason, during this particularly difficult time in my life, it called out to me. I was hooked the moment I began reading it. The book takes a tender, but honest look at the inner workings of the author’s relationship with her husband, and what happened when the relationship and life routine they had settled into was abruptly and permanently altered by her husband’s stroke. This book really challenged my ideas about what a relationship should look like. I realized that I had held an idealized version of what I thought a relationship should look like in my mind, and that I had held all of my relationships up to that unattainable standard. The book shows in a beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking way, what most of us already know, that relationships are not easy, and just how far they can be pushed beyond tolerable limits and still survive. It shows how our relationships can be reshaped, redefined, remolded, sometimes without our wanting them to and still remain.
Today I thought about the journey…the artistic journey…the life journey we are all on…the way there are no straight lines, no direct route from point A to point B. There are times we fall off the path completely, then by magic or sheer will, we seem to pick back up right where we left off, sometimes many, many years later.
There are dark patches in our paths where it feels like we will never see light or vibrant colors again, but no matter how bad it’s been, the light and colors eventually come back as does the darkness. Again and again we follow this circuitous path towards what…well, I don’t know. Maybe, it is a journey back to ourselves, to our core, to our heart center.
I imagine it is a journey of shedding all we’ve been taught, those things that we believe blindly, that have become a part of who we are, but that do not serve us in any way except to keep us tethered to our feelings of worthlessness, of not being good enough, of not being deserving of all the goodness the Universe has to offer. I am starting to become aware of those beliefs, those messages that were given to me by family, advertising, friends, lovers, and so many others. It makes me angry that I so easily took them on as my own without question. What might my life look like if I excavated those beliefs and exposed them for the falsehoods that they are? Who might I be then? What might I create if my intention was to create only for the pleasure of creating and not for receiving validation, approval, and love from others?