Hi guys! I know it’s been a while and then some since I did a booklust post – not that there aren’t any amazing books that I have read in the last couple of months but more that there haven’t been any I thought particularly worthy of a post. That has changed a bit because in the last couple of weeks I have read several amazing books which I can’t wait to share with you! So, here’s a pinch and a punch for the first of the month, and starting off my booklust posts again -grab a cuppa, make yourself comfy and welcome again to my lil corner of the interwebs!
You have probably heard of the popular medical TV show Grays Anatomy, with Cristina Yang and Meredith Gray as the protagonists of this series. I was a huge fan of Grays until they decided to kill off McDreamy and then I lost interest because it became a tad bit too morbid for me. I’m not much of a medical thriller kind of person. Being an avid reader though, I do pick up the occasional Robin Cook novel (thanks to my sister who is into all that malarkey) but really, blood, guts and gore isn’t my thing. My husband mocks me and says that I live in a world where everyone eats rainbows, poops butterflies and we all ride unicorns. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with unicorns is there? Wink, wink!
I digress. Grays Anatomy is a show written by Shonda Rhimes, and while the medical jargon and ER drama flew over my head most episodes, I must say that I did enjoy Shonda’s scripting and many of the storylines in Grays and so when I came across her book “Year of Yes” in one of the bookstores in the duty free on my travels, I couldn’t resist buying it.
Best. Book. I. Have. Read. In. A. Long. Time. In a nutshell, despite being the writer of such a famous show, Shonda suffered from social anxiety and notwithstanding her success as a writer, said no to everything that involved getting out into the world and actually “doing” stuff. She lived life mainly through her characters whom she gave her voice to; women that she emulated and wished she could become but was too shy to in real life and so she breathed life into them on her shows: Cristina Yang in Grays Anatomy and Olivia Pope in Scandal. Consequently, her habits also spilled over into her characters and their lives – those of you that watch Scandal will be familiar with the evening habit of Oliva Pope: the glass of red wine that she indulges in. Well, that is one of the things that Shonda indulges in every evening too and calls it a “Shondaland” trait!
So, how does the “Year of Yes” fit into all this? Spurred on by a retort made by her sister that she never says yes to anything, this book is an ode to how Shonda’s life changes when she starts to say “yes” to everything, for a year, and learns how to take care of herself. It is everything you want from the pages of a good book: hilarious, heartwarming and thought provoking and one of those that you will find yourself coming back to time and time again. And If you love Cristina Yang and she’s your “person” then you will gain an insight to her character on Grays and you will appreciate the series and the book a little more.
I really don’t want to give you too many spoilers because that would be akin to taking the excitement of discovering the book away from you, and you really should have those moments where you squeal with delight or grunt with appreciation or whatever it is you do when the words on a page resonate with you!
Without giving too much away, these are a few of the themes that struck a chord with me.
The human race greatly underestimates the power of imagination and what it can achieve. Shonda spent her childhood days playing in her pantry with cans of vegetables, because she describes herself as an introverted and unusual kid. She created an imaginary world and named it “Shondaland” and this is where almost all her characters on her shows were first created. I felt a wave of nostalgia as I read this chapter because it took me right back to my own childhood. I was a very shy girl while growing up and I didn’t have too many friends (it is the total opposite now – I am a real chatty Cathy and have a whole bunch of friends!). I grew up in the suburbs of Karen, and until my sister came along, my only “real friend” at that time was my first cousin and he lived in a different area. Whilst we were inseparable on weekends, I had to keep myself occupied during the weekdays. Enter: my imagination. I was fortunate to grow up in a house where we had acres of grass and lawns with tall trees. There was a particular loquat tree that I loved because it was a little lower than the others and formed a canopy, much like a house. I would retreat under the shade of this loquat tree every day after school and “play” with my fictional friends which at the time were fairies and elves because I loved Enid Blyton and all her stories, in a land I created called “Barpapaland”. My Barpapaland sessions involved a lot of talking to myself and making up stories and I am pretty sure I distressed my poor mum who heard me talking one day and peeked into my little world and on seeing nobody there except me and my tea set laid out, said to me that if anyone heard me talking to myself they would think I had lost the plot! It didn’t stop my overactive imagination from pretending that I was having fairy and elf tea parties though! The difference between Shonda and I (and so many more like me) is that she went on to birth life into her characters and became a successful producer of Thursday night TV in America with Grays Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal. I grew up and the world of elves and fairies got morphed into reality, and whilst my world is still very fluffy and full of prancing unicorns, Barpapaland remains just that: a lovely childhood memory. I look back and think to myself whether with my overactive imagination I could have produced a show or something as great with all the malarkey going on inside my head? And I am sure I’m not the only one that has thoughts like these. But what this has done is spurred me on with my writing, even if it is just for me. Maybe I’ll just have a crack at writing a book? It has been a dream to do so, maybe I just need to say Yes?
On Owning your Greatness
Why is it so difficult for women to own their greatness? I am yet to come across someone, myself included that doesn’t try to downplay what she has achieved. Yes, there are those that are shameless plugs but there is a difference between being a shameless plug and owning your greatness. I think it boils down to the lack of ability of us as women to say Yes, we ARE deserving of certain things in life. There is an underlying notion that we grow up with, be it society, social conditioning or our circumstances that we are not “deserving” of good things or success. And so when good things happen, we downplay them and give them a lukewarm response. This then spirals into not being able to say a wholehearted YES to whatever good is being dispensed our way by the Universe. Bottom line: there is nothing wrong with owning your greatness, and this quote sums it all up:
“I try hard to think I’m special, to be in love with myself, to be into myself. I strive for badassery. Men do it all the time. Take the compliment and run. They don’t make themselves smaller. They don’t apologise for being powerful. They don’t downplay their accomplishments.”
On being your OWN person:
Finally, the most important snippet for me was that of being your OWN person. Happiness comes from being who you ARE instead of who you THINK you SHOULD be. This journey on this planet is about YOU. Not the hundreds of people in your life that think you should be a different version of you. These words, on this page right here have summed up the book for me:
So, fellow Wanderlusters – this is not a travel related book but then again, it is one that makes me think about what I want to be doing to live a holistic life and I do hope that you pick up this book and find some inspiration in it too. If you do, I’d love to hear from you on what you thought…leave me your thoughts in the comments below. As always, thank you SO much for spending a part of your day with me! xoxo