Kathy B suggested a few times that I read Expecting Adam by Martha Beck over the past several months....so I finally bought it off of Amazon for $4 big ones and brought it with me on my trip to Florida.
I read a good chunk of it in a four hour flurry and only dog earred one page that has a Chinese Philosophy quote so I have no quotes to share. However, it would sound almost like quoting myself. Except, OK, I don't have a PhD from Harvard and several published, best-selling books. So we're not exactly alike in that she is a genius but the subject matter of her book, at the heart of what she is really getting at, well... I relate. The things she talks about I have said and I didn't even know I said them. It's a little freaky to read your thoughts about angels and kindness and magic and vulnerability in someone else's story. How they chose the same words even before you had your own.
I read 200 pages of this book sitting in the middle seat of two Southwest flights on my trip to and from Tampa, mostly choking back either sobs or laughter depending on the story she was telling. Mostly tears. Not necessarily because every story is so absolutely sad, but because everything resonates so deeply. On the flight there it was two men I was between, both of them on their computers, one drinking beers and the other.... a diet coke? I don't know, I was trying not to crying, and they were trying not to notice. They most certainly did. Obviously they weren't reading the same book I was that applauds getting past the shame we cast on public tears.
Departing the plane and anxiously waiting for my checked bag, I finally actually cried, hugged my friend who had arrived to pick me up, and thoroughly confused her since this was a trip to hang out and care for HER, not poor baby Emma. Sigh. Life is different now. Until I started falling down and waking up to concerned faces in public, though, I wasn't fully committed to that icky, icky word vulnerability. I hate that word. I really do. I would rather just use something more like weak. wounded. needy. I used to think, I get it. I get we all need some help, sometimes. We all need friends and family and community and, uh, to be real with people.
Completely reliant upon another is a state we are supposed to move past after being a baby. And right. We are. If we can, if we got all the "right" stuff. But sometimes....sometimes... we need each other that much still. But we all were most likely taught to think we were supposed to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and just get over it already. That's what this book is about, her and her husband both with PhD's from Harvard. That's where they invented the phrase "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" among others, I'm pretty sure.
Since I haven't finished the book I don't know for sure, but I think she might be saying that she wants your world to be flipped upside down somehow. That the bad things can be good. That there is so much joy in what we once thought was terrible and scary.
I can't say for sure but I think I agree.