While on a quest for the perfect stack of books for fall, I came across a book by Brené Brown. I had seen a lot of her quotes on my Instagram feed from a lot of the bloggers, mostly faith-based, that I follow. I assumed that Brown’s work was about Jesus and trusting Him, and finding faith. So, I plucked the only book left on the shelf that had her name on it and bought it. That book is called “I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Wasn’t)”. This post is about that book.
I was prepared to be blown away, awestruck, inspired and sucked in with the first few pages that were sure to be addicting and intriguing.
I was wrong. I was so wrong.
The book is a discussion about the word “shame” and, more importantly, the way shame manifests itself in women’s lives. I had never given shame much thought. However, after reading this book, I have come to understand that it’s a really big deal. No matter who you are, how nice your butt is or how much money you make- it’s a huge deal. Like, whoa. Holy moly whoa.
This book is nonfiction. It is not a novel or a love story. It’s not sexy. It won’t have you at the edge of your seat, with your heart beating faster. There are no characters with names and personalities. There is no setting, plot or twist. There just isn’t.
I won’t lie; there were some days when I didn’t really get too excited about reading this book. I would throw it in my purse, and pluck through a few pages during my lunch break or while I was waiting on a hair appointment.
This is not the book to read if you want to escape yourself and go somewhere else. It’s not the book for when you need a break from reality and just want to lose yourself. Those are valid reasons to read. They are. This just isn’t that book. It’s not.
However, this is ABSOLUTELY the book to read if you want to get really real with yourself. It’s the book to read for the moment in which you say, “You know what, I want to be better. I want to love myself better. I want to love others better. I want to shut the voice down that likes to tell me that I can’t, that I’m simultaneously too much and not enough at the same time.”
This is the book for the heart that is ready to get wrecked and poked and reconfigured.
I won’t give you a gallon of mush about how this book made me a new person or any of that, but I will say this…my interactions are changing.
The way I listen to the people I love, and the way I think about the people I don’t really like, has changed.
If there is one thing that I have taken from this book, it is this:
We will completely be able to live our lives from start to finish with the burden of feeling inadequate, unhappy, insecure and inferior weighing us down. No one will stop us. There is no guarantee that someone will come along and save us from any of these things. That is not how life works.
There are industries that make billions of dollars off of our own feelings of not adding up. It would be uneconomical for our culture to say,”You are enough, just as you are. Everything you struggle with is something that hundreds of people are also struggling with. You are not alone. You don’t have to lose weight, find a bae, grow your hair out or cover your face with goop to be lovely. You don’t have to do anything to be normal, because there is no normal.” It would be uneconomical for our culture to say those things, so please understand, that it won’t be a thing.
There will be movements. There will be good friends. There will be amazing moms. There will be your own moments of strength. There will be faith.
But there will not be a day when every single thing in your life points to you being okay as you are, so you need to decide to stand up and fight for that. Because regardless of the fact that the culture won’t tell you any of that, you need to know that it is true.
To me, this book is about a concept (shame) that we (women) often don’t think about. I, personally, had never thought about it. I, like most people mentioned in this book, always labeled my negative feelings as fleeting snippets of insecurity or issues with self-esteem. And, if you’re in the same boat, I really want to hug you and ask you to reconsider.
To me, this book is a victory cry for every single person who has beat the crap out of themselves and pinched their thighs and thrown their pants to the ground and blocked someone on social media because they just couldn’t figure out how to get past not loving themselves well, let alone navigating relationships with other people.
This book is a cry to stand up and understand. It’s a cry to start a conversation because shame doesn’t go away, and it grows bigger when it’s given the luxury of secrecy, darkness and isolation. It’s a battle cry for connection, understanding, compassion and love. It’s a plea for us to be better to each other. It’s a desperate sob for us to stop being so hard on ourselves.
It’s a reminder of how much we have to lose if we don’t do those things.
So, needless to say, I recommend this book for when you go through a season of wanting to grow. This book isn’t sexy, and that’s okay. Read it slowly with your coffee. Read it page by page, and let yourself stop to think.
Even if you never hold the book and flip through the pages, I encourage you to look into the actual definition of “shame” and really think about how it creeps into our lives every day. Then, I think you should fight back…because you’re worth it.
With Love & Glitter,
PS- "Gone Girl" is up next, and I am soooooo excited.