I have an insatiable desire to read.

I just finished The Day I Shot Cupid: Hello, My Name is Jennifer Love Hewitt (JLH) and I’m a Loveaholic. I have to say, it was actually really good. I thought her book was insightful and honest. In truth, I suppose it’s unfair to say “actually” as if I had assumed it wouldn’t be. As the executive producer and director of The Ghost Whisperer, I should have anticipated her skill. Anyway if you’re a woman, I would suggest it. Whether or not that questions my credibility to suggest books to you, I’m not sure but if you read it and hate it, I encourage you to let me know. You may just be surprised.

In flipping through the first few pages, this is how JLH hooked me; she’s describing coming off a breakup and her decision to write the book:

“And there it was, the new relationship that I would begin would be with me, my past, my present, my laughter, my pain, and most important, all of you.”

Kind of sounds like my blog to me.

She goes on to say: “I’m not gonna lie. I have had a few “everything is changing” panic attacks, but I also feel like I’m on the brink of real growth.” Okay, JLH, I’ll relate to that. I’m in.

So here are some things that struck a note with me from her book:

  • “Not my fate obviously.” She writes this with regards to the fact that she would’ve “loved to have met [her] soul mate in fourth grade and never looked back” but it just didn’t happen that way. Totally applicable to relationships, but I think we should adopt this attitude in everything we try to do that doesn’t work out. There are several things I would’ve loved to do or be known for or experienced so far in life. But when work ethic isn’t to blame, there’s nothing to say but “Not my fate obviously.” Why blame ourselves for luck falling short on us? You do what you can do, and then you appreciate the effort you put forth.
  • “We’ve all had breakups, but the worst ones are when someone not only hurts you, but does it in a way that makes you lose respect for them.” Wow. So true.
  • “He probably told you in his own way, or showed you those behaviors six months ago, while you were dressing him up in your mind in a Prince Charming outfit, white horse included, and his words were drowned out by the Bridget Jones soundtrack in your head.” So maybe things aren’t so surprising?
  • “There are a lot of people in the world to be with, and there will always be someone smarter, prettier, or more interesting.” When stated in this manner, doesn’t it sound so simple? Why freak out? If someone chooses to be with you, they choose to be with you. You could drive yourself crazy feeling insecure about every other person and for what? There’s always going to be someone better than you. Are you always going to be insecure?
  • “Some people think it’s the first impression that matters most, but I think it’s the last.”

And finally,

  • Quoted from Harold Lakes: “An act of love that fails is just as much a part of the divine life as an act of love that succeeds, for love is measured by fullness, not by reception.”

If you have the time, I suggest you listen to the following podcast. Whether or not you’re dealing or have dealt with a broken relationship, broken family, failed business, or simply a failed attempt – it will be applicable to you. Take the time to get through the first several minutes of history.

I think this is one of the most helpful things I’ve had the good fortune of stumbling across:

The Sacred Waste

The Power of Words. The Art of Class.

I honestly don’t know why I don’t read more often. I loved reading when I was a child. My library card was a prized possession of mine growing up. I got a thrill from using the self-checkout where I could slide the spine of the book across the block all by myself. I would gather books from the library and proceed to spend an entire day and night consuming the written words. A flashlight was a staple by my bed, enabling me to read under the covers until I was too tired to keep my eyes from jumping lines and I was always getting my hands on something too advanced for me. I would spend hours struggling page by page until a vague plot could rise up from the coded style of writing or plethora of large words in front of me.

Side note: An interesting challenge would be to re-read the Jane Austen novels or political/social novels such as The Jungle by Upton Sinclair that I read as a child to pick up on all of the intricacies of language that I missed in my younger days. Perhaps a future project…

I don’t know why I hadn’t been reading more often, so I started. At this time, I’m currently in the middle of two books, just finished one today, and have at least one more ready to start when I can finish off another. If you’re a steady reader here, you already know that I’m currently reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and Classy: Exceptional Advice for the Extremely Modern Lady by Derek Blasberg. Admittedly, there’s no reason not to have these two books finished by now but it will happen in time. I finished How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World by Jordan Christy today and have The Me I Want To Be by John Ortberg, which my mother recommended to me, on deck. Yes, it seems that I have established a pattern for myself. The books could be categorized as self-help or improvement reads, but not in the typical, depressing, the-world-is-over-and-I-need-someone-to-talk-me-through-it sort of way. Quite frankly, I think more of us should put some of the positive improvement reads in our arsenal. I can’t say that men would enjoy those that I’ve listed above, but I definitely encourage my female friends to leaf through a few. They’re good markers of where we are and where we ought to be as women or people, really.

How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World discusses many attributes of a woman of class that I’ve already fallen in love with, but struck me with a sad note that we really need to be doing more to instill these attributes in ourselves not only for our own lives but for the lives of those whom we influence, mentor, or parent. Thinking of the next generation lends an awareness to our actions which can help keep us in check when we feel compelled to throw caution to the wind and embrace a celebrity-type night out or engage in the latest gossip ring about one of our fringe-friends. I know that I find myself in these situations more than I would like to admit and have still not mastered the art of gracefully bowing out.

When I first picked up Blasberg’s Classy, I wrote about the timeless attributes of a classy woman without really mentioning any specifically. Well… Grace, I believe,  is one of the most identifiable traits of a woman with class. It enables a woman to tackle a difficult conversation, exit, or faux paus while simultaneously leaving people relatively good-natured about the ordeal. It’s also an area in which I have been found lacking in the past. My acquaintances from high school (and a great deal of college) would probably describe me as outspoken, confrontational, etc. I have gotten in people’s faces over trivial things or run my mouth over things that, while true, would’ve been better left unsaid. At the time, I believed that being right about something trumped the need to be discrete about it. Geesh. Although I suppose that’s not to say that I’m not still lacking, because that certainly isn’t the case. In fact, just this past weekend I let my frustration over something manifest in a very obvious harshness of tone which squashed the mood between a friend and me – but hopefully these occasions are now exhibited in a lesser degree (and frequency) than in the past (and with faster recovery). What can I say? I’m a work in progress. But I am progressing. Slowly but surely.

I suppose it can be summarized thusly: Class really is an art form requiring diligence and active pursuit in our every day lives. Better yet, Jordan Christy states that “class is not defined by our circumstances–it’s our reaction to those circumstances that defines who we are.”

Noted, Ms. Christy. Noted.