The Reading’s On the Wall

Considering the impact my second job had on my writing life for the latter half of 2019, it should be a surprise to absolutely no one that there was also a ripple effect on my reading goals for the year.

No Virginia, I did not read 75 books in 2019. Nor did I finish any of my three reading challenge lists.

miss-the-mark

(I suppose it would have been more appropriate to include a photo symbolizing “falling short” in some way, rather than an image of over-shooting. But when I searched for “missing the mark” this made me giggle out loud, so there.)

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200 Feet at a Time

There’s a metaphor I’ve been exceedingly fond of for quite a number of years. It’s an image that helps pop the balloon of any expectation that you need to have your entire journey mapped out in detail before you’re able to progress and grow and live and all that juicy stuff.

It’s this simple truth. When you’re driving at night, it’s not like the car headlights are showing you the entire route from Point A to Point B. They’re just showing you the next step on the road. But one after the other, seeing each next step a couple hundred feet at a time—well, that’s enough to get you wherever you need to go.

night-driving-black-and-white

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Couch and Kitchen Vegetables

I don’t exactly know what got into me this weekend. So many things I oughta/coulda been doing. Another business trip this week, this one including a presentation. So it might have been smart to be working on my slide-deck, or at least doing laundry and packing. Nope.

(Well, the laundry is in the dryer now, so that’s some small progress, I guess.)

The weekend is also a good time to be a bit more ambitious in my daily actions for the “Pleasure Project” (a.k.a. my RUHCUS). Another soak in the tub, a pedicure, or even the nice feeling of clearing all the uglies out of one of my dresser drawers. But nope.

My entire weekend agenda is pretty much summed up in three verbs: nap, read, watch TV. (1)

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Unapologetically Real

So, Sherri, how’s that RUHCUS thing going, four days in?

Well, Dear Reader, I am experiencing some of the bumpiness that occurs when the best of intentions collide with the realness of life.

I don’t think I’m alone if having that kind of work-based karmic payback that emerges after a 3-day weekend, when you realize that however much you enjoyed that extra day off, you’re now trying to do 5 full days of work in 4.(1) So between the office re-entry and the side gig(2), my Tuesday and Wednesday have not exactly been flush with time for self-pampering.

So I’ve had some real-world, real-time opportunities to practice living in my skin, and to find moments of sensory enjoyment even on the tilty-est of full-tilt days.

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Raising a RUHCUS

So last night, I mentioned that I was embarking on a project that was inspired by Sonya Renee Taylor’s body of work.(1) Me and some of my fellow Sister Goddesses(2) from Mastery are embarking on a RUHCUS—a structure Sonya created for a 30-day Radically Unapologetic Healing Challenge 4 Us.

Obviously, you’ll get a better explanation of a RUHCUS over on TBINAA, including how-to guides you can download. But the Sherri-level summary of the process is this: you choose some place of woundedness that you want to give attention. Maybe it’s a specific area of body shame, or old trauma, or emotional pain. Whatever it is, you choose to spend 30 days actively addressing this area of hurt every day. You also promise to do this in community, sharing your experiences, insights, and observations along the way.

Now, it feels a little scary to be so vulnerable and honest with people, but one thing that has been so meaningful to see during my first two weekends of Mastery is the healing, transformational impact of us bearing witness to one another. And so, even though it feels like an edge for shy/isolationist little old me, I absolutely get why the RUHCUS structure is built around being in community, and I am on board to push my edges in this valuable way.

So here we go.

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The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor

We had one main project for the holiday weekend, but we were able to wrap it up so quickly yesterday that I’ve had some extra-luxurious reading time on my Saturday and Sunday. Which means that after a long dry spell, I’ve finished yet another book—this one, the latest choice from my fat activist/HAES/body love reading list.

Sonya Renee Taylor and her radical self-love/liberationist platform, The Body is Not an Apology, has been on my radar for some years now. I think it was my friend Alice who first brought Sonya into my awareness. Even if I’m misremembering this detail, I am going to stand by this poetic retelling for the rest of my days. There is something so just and sacred and fitting in a poet of Alice’s caliber bringing me to learn about a poet of Sonya’s caliber.

So as soon as Sonya’s book was released last year, I bought myself a copy. And then I let it sit on my bookshelves with all the other body love/goddess power books I’ve been ignoring in my quest to be super smart and fulfill all these reading challenges.

My decision to abandon reading challenge perfection in 2019 to make more room for actively self-nurturing titles put Sonya’s book back on the priority list, and then a guest teacher call with Sonya as part of the Mastery curriculum put this at the very top of that list.

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Taking Responsibility

Full disclosure: I’m a little bit crabby tonight. I have beefs with last night’s GOT, I’m having my customary inadequacy/packing crisis in advance of an immersion weekend(1), and the endless rainy season we’re having up here in Boston is pissing me off.

So I expect I’m going to be a bit ranty.

Which, I’ll admit, is somewhat richly hypocritical, insofar as the topic that has me feeling most pissed off and ranty tonight is the topic of emotional responsibility.

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