Brokenhearted. Brain fogged. Exhausted. Anxious.
Mid 2014 I found myself in a place I had never been before. I was suffering from severe depression.
I had swerved into unknown territory. It was scary and I was embarrassed. How did this happen? I kept working, writing, traveling, trying to be present at home with my family. But there wasn’t room for much else. Seasons like these can last for months and sometimes even years. I wondered when my mind would be free. I wondered when I could daydream again. I wondered if I’d ever get a glimpse of my old self. At the same time, I didn’t want to be my old self anymore. Some things had changed. A different version of me was developing but that too was scary. Would people even recognize me? The questions continued. The days passed.
It’s 2019 and I feel free.
One of my friends recently told me, “Brooklyn, you’re glowing.” And for the first time in a very long time, I believed it.
It’s not a shift that happens overnight and there’s a lot of back and forth involved. If I knew the way out, I would tell you. I would tell everyone. What I do know is that in the back and forth there are conversations you have with yourself about what brings you life. Listening to those answers is one of the ways we gently shake off fear and take the brave steps toward healing and wholeheartedness.
One of my answers was a return to reading. It was something that got sorted in the decisions about what I had time for in that season. It wasn’t a conscious decision but something that slowly happened over the days, weeks, and months that became my life.
I love to read. Finding an early night to read a book about something you’ve never thought about before can change the morning after (and every morning after that). Books have so much power to induce empathy, encourage learning, embolden us with new language or perspective.
Books were my friends that comforted me as a child, unlocked my imagination as a teenager, and broadened my worldview as an adult.
In January I noticed that I was becoming more efficient again, able to manage more, and seeing little pockets of time to develop habits of reading and listening to books again. There is a lot of time between connecting flights, while getting ready, during a long commute, or even in the car with others! Mya, my 9 year old, and I have had some really interesting conversations lately thanks to audiobooks.
These days you’ll rarely see me without headphones. They are my on call device for when the day shifts and I have a few hours to listen to a book. One of my comeback books was the auto-biography of Michelle O’Bama, Becoming. At first, the listen time (over 16 hours) seemed daunting. But after having her read her own story to me over all of those hours left me missing the moments where we “hung out” for a few minutes everyday. Indirectly, she mentored me over the month of January. I’m grateful for her yes.
Here are the books I’ve read January through March so far. You can click on the images to find out more about each.
I share them to encourage you and maybe give you some ideas of things you may want to read.
You should share about what you’re reading with us too! Let’s connect over at goodreads!
BECOMING BY MICHELLE O’BAMA
THE GENTLE ART OF SWEDISH DEATH CLEANING BY MARGARETA MAGNUSSON
WHITE AWAKE BY DANIEL HILL
VIRGINIA WOLF BY KYO MACLEAR AND ISABELLE ARSENAULT (CHILDREN’S BOOK)
THE WIZARD OF OZ BY L. FRANK BAUM (in honor of my late grandmother Twyla Meadows Stalder)
ANONYMOUS: JESUS’ HIDDEN YEARS…AND YOURS BY ALICIA BRITT CHLOE
ATOMIC HABITS BY JAMES CLEAR (AUDIBLE)
SHAKING THINGS UP -14 YOUNG WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD BY SUSAN HOOD The ensemble of illustrators that came together for this book is epic. Selina Alko, Sophie Blackall, Lisa Brown, Hadley Hooper, Emily Winfield Martin, Oge Mora, Julie Morstad, Sara Palacios, LeUyen Pham, Erin K. Robinson, Isabel Roxas, Shadra Strickland, Melissa Sweet
MARCH (WHAT I’M READING NOW)
I’LL PUSH YOU BY PATRICK GRAY AND JUSTIN SKEESUCK
THE LAST BLACK UNICORN BY TIFFANY HADDISH (AUDIBLE)
THE LIFE WITH GOD BIBLE (PREVIOUSLY THE RENOVARÉ SPIRITUAL FORMATION BIBLE) Richard J. Foster, Dallas Willard, Walter Brueggemann, Eugene H. Peterson