Book Review: The Year of Yes

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I am a hard critic.  It takes a lot for me to be impressed with pretty much anything.  But, every now and then I run across something, watch a movie or read something that speaks to me on so many different levels.  This was this case with this book.  For me it encapsulated so much of what it is to be a woman, a mother, a creative, and a dreamer.  At parts it even hurt to acknowledge and admit some of the truths that it laid out.

This is the first book review that I have written here on the SP Blog.  Mostly because I never want to stop anyone from forming their own opinions or thwart their resolve to read any book, because I think that what you take away from every book you read can be such a singular experience.  But, I really wanted to share with you some of the things that spoke to me from this book.  And the reason for that is that we, (women), are complex beings and I think that in being caretakers and nurturers we sometimes lose sight of the fact that we are multi-dimensional.  A good amount of the time we adopt societies way of minimizing our feelings or chalking it up to being emotional or hormones, or whatever.

I know for me the older I get, the more I realize that when I feel cornered or stifled it is more than likely because of a box that I created for myself.  Not based on my feelings thoughts and aspirations, but based on what I think I should be.  I am a lover of spoken word, quotes, etc.  So it should come as no surprise that my favorite parts of this book, came from some of the Speeches that she gave.  In her Dartmouth Commencement Speech, Shonda (Yes, Shonda like I know her she could be “my bff” in my head) talked about the The Dreamer vs. Doer.  I swear I wanted to post pages and pages here instead of just a short excerpt, because I swear she was SCREAMING directly into my soul when she wrote these words.

“Maybe you know exactly what you dream of being.  Or maybe you’re paralyzed because you have no idea what your passion is.  The truth is it, doesn’t matter.  You don’t have to know.  You just have to keep moving forward.  You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to try something new…. Don’t sit at home waiting for the magic dream opportunity.  Who are you Prince William? No.  Get A job.  Work.  Do until you can do something else.”

Being a Creative Person while exhilarating, can be paralyzing.  Why?  Because you have a million thoughts going through your head at any time.  You dreams span from your garage to your international business and everything in between.  Often that great a dream, can be suffocating.  Not knowing what steps need to be taken can stop you dead in your tracks.  And, you forget that you can just take that first step.  It’s like me with exercising, as long as I am doing it consistently, I remember how good I feel afterwards and all the great effects that it has on my health and blood sugar.  But, let me get too many days in between, the aches creep in and my bed or the sofa seems like a much more gratifying option.  Our Etsy Store started out with pillows, I tell this story all the time.  And, now we have over 270 items available in our store.  It was a project that my husband and I could work on together.   So many people told me you don’t want to work with your husband, and not that it hasn’t come with its own set of challenges.  But, it has being a profitable venture, gave me an outlet for my creativity and drive and it’s been good for my marriage.

Then she talks about Balance.  And, God did I need to hear this one.  “ANYONE THAT TELLS YOU THEY ARE DOING IT ALL PERFECTLY IS A LIAR.”  Remember earlier, when I told you that I was a hard critic.  The person that I am hardest on is….. MYSELF.  I can’t sit on the couch and not think about all the things that I am not be doing.  Now, I am not saying that to say that I always get all these things done.  But, I am saying that they haunt me.  Now I will tell you straight up, I got this from my Momma.  But, she is clearly more adept than me, because she actually gets it done.  You can come to my mom’s house day and night and what you will walk right into is A Stepford Wife kitchen.  I know I just finished saying that I know I can’t do it all, and I do.  But, I still aspire to be that chick.  But, it’s true aside from the fact that there are only so many hours in the day.  Achieving balance is damn near impossible.

There is soo much more than I could share about this book, but I don’t want to give the whole thing away.  And, I don’t think I have any more library renewals left on this one.  But, I will say this.  It is worth the read.  I think we often look at celebrities, or writers, or politicians and believe that these people have it all together.  And, I am sure most of them have it more together than I do.  But, this book genuinely reminds me that we are all HUMAN, prone to err, fear, and a multitude of other emotions.  I will definitely be purchasing this book, because it bears re-reading or at the very least to be used as a reference tool.  If you happen to grab it and enjoy it.  Leave your comments below, I would love to hear what spoke to you.

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Shonda Rhimes Glowing from the Inside Out

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