Of the way it changes everything.
Builds them into crescendos
Then drop kicks them into black holes millions of light years away.
Their ability to make you feel things.
To love you.
To stop loving you.
To suffocate you with their love until you no longer resemble the person they loved in the first place.
Of art. Of my heart. Of artists and surgeons and architects. Of brilliance. Of passion. Of everyone finding out that I have absolutely no idea about anything or anyone.
Of change. Of nothing ever changing. Of words. And the world. Of light and sound. Of sounds. Especially laughter. Especially the laughter of the ones I love.
Of the ones I love. Of lost. Of possibility. Of brilliance. Of mattering. Of pain. Of my restrictions. Of myself. Of people who say shit like “there’s nothing to fear except fear itself.” When I’m so terrified of every single thing, especially fear itself.
9/30 I have been writing every day I’m just terrified of sharing certain pieces. I’m only sharing this one because I’m terrified. #NaPoMo
She says that she has the best wife in the world and I won’t call her a liar. She’s speaking from her own experience. Her wife is graceful and difficult and thoughtful. She’s beautiful and funny in a snarky depressed writer kind of way. She’s supportive and she’s great but she’s not better than my wife. Nope.
My wife is the best wife. She’s funny and smart and driven. She’s supportive and encouraging and most of all she tries. She does things that are out of her comfort zone just to see me smile. That makes her the best wife.
Today I’m thankful for you. For contrast. For warm blankets and my salt lamp. For going with the flow. For resisting the bull. For discerning thoughts that help me decide what’s real, what’s fake, and what’s worth my time.
For books. For love. For my parents who instilled a work ethic in me that helps me deal with my current entrepreneur/writer/mom/wife/all other duties as assigned lifestyle.
For sleep. For great wine. For pie, wine, and ice cream for dinner eaten in the kitchen in the corner besides the fridge because I have no more in me for that day. For insane workouts that keep the aforementioned from catching up with me. (I know I said wine twice. I’m extremely grateful for wine.)
For Darian. For Ashley. For everyone who’s always checking for me. For light and love. For my breathe and my heart. For leather driving shoes, red blouses, and comfy yet professional jeans that I can wear to networking events when I’m too tired for anything else.
(Photo courtesy of MadKittyMedia)
I’m very aware of the things that I say out of my mouth, through my pen, or by virtue of my keyboard. I’m mindful of the pictures, books, images, audio- the everything that I both put into or out of my body. Which is why you will be hard pressed to see me share horrible videos or images. I never need to see the body of a dead person in order to empathize with their families. I don’t need to watch the video of someone being murdered in order to feel like the value that we as a society places on humans is far too little. I don’t believe that police nor civilians deserve to die. And I don’t spend my time sharing any of this on the internet.
Sometimes, on very rare occasions I wonder if people notice my silence. If they assume that I feel one way or the other. If they judge me because I’m not posting my outrage on the internet.
Sometimes, on very rare occasions I wonder if my absence is noted at the town halls or on the picket lines. If people judge me because I very rarely attend these types of things.
And then I wake up and remember that while some people are social media warriors and spreading knowledge on the internet my feet are actually on the ground. I have been doing things like putting on our Back to School Bash and Girl Talk in The Park for years. I have donated numerous times to way too many causes to name. Food, money, clothes, utilizing my network, etc etc etc. Most of the time without so much as a share from those same social media warriors. AND I don’t judge them. I understand that there is enough activism for all of us.
Whether you choose to be an internet activist or get your feet on the ground in your own town your work matters. We are all doing the work.This world/ our community needs the work of multiple people supporting multiple causes in multiple ways. Each of these causes is important and each of these people, no matter which way they choose to support them is important. The separation that is currently happening over who is the bigger activist and whose activism is better is utterly ludicrous and I for one wish that we would support each other as easily as we shade or look down on each other.I mean seriously don’t we all have BIGGER things to do?
As a constant reader your heart will be broken frequently. If you’ve been reading the way that I have been; constantly since I was four years old, then you are attuned to the impending heartbreak of a novel, usually from the moment that you open the book.
So when I opened Me Before You and met Lou I knew without a doubt that I was going to have my heart broken… splintered into a thousand teeny tiny pieces and I craved that heartbreak. Because the only way that my heart wouldn’t become broken would have been if the writer took the easy way out and made this story into one of those cliched, dreaded happy ending novels. You know the ones: girl meets assholish boy, girl changes/accepts boys assholish ways, and they live happily ever after.
Jojo Moyes does not disappoint. She has written a thoroughly researched novel about heartbreak, pain, love, and the transformation that all of these things will cause in a human’s life.
I know, I know, I’ve waxed on poetically and I haven’t even told you what the book is about. Probably because, I couldn’t describe it adequately in my current blubbery state but Goodreads does an amazing job:
“Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time. ”
And oh how they change. The journey that they take along their transformation is both annoying (because seriously Lou stop being so damned self involved. and Really Will you don’t have to be such an asshole all of the time) and amazing (when you realize that Will is the first person who’s ever really seen Lou your heart will stop) and I enjoyed every second of it.
You will see this book touted as a love story, it isn’t. It is in fact a social commentary on euthananasia, quality of life, and whether someone should be able to decide for themselves what they should or should not do about their life if they are unhappy with it. It is also an example of what happens when one becomes stuck in a certain lifestyle out of necessity and what can happen when one’s status quo abruptly changes.
As a nurse I struggled with the euthanasia subject because I have met people who have zero quality of life and are absolutely miserable, who are kept alive because someone loves them enough to think that they should be kept alive by any means necessary. And I’ve stated to myself and my co-workers how selfish those people are. BUT usually those people are older or not cognitively there. To be forced to face my prejudices on this subject with a young person who is fully there cognitively was such a great lesson for me.
There are a few areas where the author used her creative license ie: Louisa being hired to be someone’s companion even though she has no experience, the issues that Lou and her family have (two adult children arguing over clothes and who gets the bigger bed) but to me those things added to the story. Also my mother’s fully grown children still climb into her bed and are selfish as hell so *shrugs* I won’t ding her for those as I have seen others do. Besides if Louisa would have been the appropriate choice for the job Will would have never let her get so close to him and the story wouldn’t have progressed so I’m glad that he was the reason behind her growth.
For the first time in a long time I have used all of my stars and rated Me Before You 5 Stars!! ALL 5 of EM!
If you’ve read it let me know if you loved it as much as I did in the comments. Especially if you’re a caretaker, nurse, or a person with disabilities. (I think she did a pretty good job of describing all of the BS people with disabilities go through but even though I’m a nurse I’m an AB so I’m not an authority on this. )
Oh and Spoiler ALERT! There is a movie adaptation coming out on June 3rd and it looks sooooo good. Check out the trailer here: Me Before You and remember to #LiveBoldly
I rated this book: * * * * *
A Return to Arms is the story of Toya a black lesbian activist trying to navigate her way through both life and the passages of the Black Lives Matter movement. Her life is a daily struggle of a young person trying to convince the rest of America that Black Lives Matter while attempting to convince the Organization, Rise Up of which she is an active member, that ALL Black Lives Matter. That women, queer people, children, men, single, straight, asexual, all of the intersections of Black Lives must Matter.
As Toya navigates her way through the rising tension and societal that arises after the killing of an unarmed teen by a police officer and the subsequent unrest she deals with the uncertainty of her relationship with another activist who believes that the cause must come before anything else, even her love life.
I hate spoilers so I hope you can get the gyst of the story from what I’ve written above but in two sentences: A Return To Arms is a love story, Love of self, love of community. And a story about the measures so many under represented activists go through to demand equality both in their communities and in the world.
I’m a Sheree L Greer stan. I LOVE everything she writes. I’m sharing that with full disclosure mostly because during a conversation with Sheree about why I don’t really like to review books by people I love, I worry that that love will interfere with me giving an honest unbiased review and she advised me to do the review as authentically as I could, “You call yourself Authentically Adrien be authentic.” Or something like that. Anyways, This book is phenomenal. It is her best work. It is the work that I sit back and wait patiently to be dissected by major blogs. It is the book that should land her on the New York Times Bestsellers List. (If it doesn’t you hating)
From the opening paragraph through the last sentence THE LAST SENTENCE I was hooked. I followed Toya’s story like my life depended on it possibly because I am Toya, Black, Queer, Woman, Activist. But also because Toya is so well written. I read somewhere once that an author’s job is to make you feel something and OH did we Feel something. We felt ALL the things. Including the music. I couldn’t quite pinpoint the words to the soundtrack of this book but I could feel the rhythm in the center of my back. I could sense the tempo under my palms as I inhaled this novel from tense movement to sexual moment to heartbreaking earth shattering moment.
I lived through these characters. I understood every single one of them and I even empathized for the characters that I hated. Sheree’s writing makes sure that you understand and relate to both antagonists and protagonists alike. It took me to the different settings and left me with vivid guttural images of the protest scenes. If you have never been to a rally you can officially make that claim after you read this book and I hope that it will help you to understand the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement if you don’t already.
Be prepared to have some interesting dialogue after you read this book and if you know Sheree personally and you text her in the middle of the night to say things like “Seriously? I hate that dude.” or “OH MY GOD.” Let her know that you didn’t get the idea to do so from me.
Purchase A Return to Arms Here.
Read more by/about Sheree L Greer Here.
I received this book to review in exchange for an advanced copy of the book. (Ya’ll know I like books!)
I hate people. I’m not supposed to say that. I’m not living in the world of the ordinary and so I suppose I am supposed to love everyone… but for real, authentically; and that’s who I proclaim to be, I FUCKING hate people.
People are selfish
People are inconsistent
People only show up for you when they can gain something from you
People are people
But as I reflect on this I realize that we create these relationships with people. We teach them how to treat us, we let them know what they can expect from us, we accept their bullshit and we keep going back for more. We are addicted to whatever good feelings they give us so no matter what they put us through we keep playing their game.
So what then? It is statistically improbable that you can live an amazing life all alone and never depend on another person for anything. Name one person whose life you admire. Now look up their support system. Not one of those people is able to live that life without a significant amount of encouragement and support. We as people need people to survive.
Ok so now what Adrien, You’re going back and forth you hate people but you need them. What are you even talking about?
I’m talking about loving people as they are and making the necessary changes you need to survive. You can love your mother and be free of whatever pisses you off about her. Tell her what that is and get over it. The same goes for your best friend. Your aunt. Your mailman. Whoever. Have a conversation where you let them know what the issue is. Let them know that you’re not blaming them, you’re just informing them of what doesn’t work for you. From there move on. Strengthen your relationship or if that relationship no longer serves you let it go. There’s nothing wrong with ending a friendship that is no longer working for any of the people involved. Hell, Beyonce just fired her whole damn management team.
Oh yeah, And this is my When I get rich “You wasn’t with me when I was shooting in the gym.” Post
Cleaning my office I found a list of commandments that I created for myself while reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. I’m posting them here because I find a lot of inspiration from others and maybe you do too.
- Be Adrien
- Let it GO!
- Act they way you want to feel.
- Do it not.
- Be Polite. Be Fair.
- Enjoy the process.
- Spend Out
- Identify the problem.
- LIGHTEN UP.
- Do what needs to be done.
- No calculation.
- There is only one life. LIVE IT!!!