One of my goals this year was to start a book club with likeminded women. It’s item 22 on my Manifestation List. By the way, I need to look at that list and make some adjustments based on recent life developments. I should also probably start working on that 5-minute plank hold.
One of my lifelong struggles has been connecting with other women. My friendships have always been with men, and even then they’re spread thin because I don’t genuinely click with many people. Nurturing relationships is hard for me because I would almost always rather be at home with mammals that I can pet. As a result, I’ve literally never had close female friends, but I’ve always wanted them. So this year I am forcing it and using books as an excuse. Books are my love language. (Another 2018 goal is to read 50 books, so this book club serves multiple purposes.)
I invited 2 female acquaintances-soon-to-be-friends to join and they both said yes. Starting small is wise because I have no idea what book clubs actually do besides maybe drink wine, and the larger the group gets, the more likely I’ll cancel it out of social anxiety. Looming social obligations are the worst, but I refuse to cancel. 2018 Ashley doesn’t cancel on people. 2018 Ashley says yes and she means yes.
Why am I doing this again? I hate groups.
Our first meeting is the last Sunday of January, at my place. Or it was. Both women fucking canceled, which is typical California millennial behavior and I in no way take it personally. It’s just a reflection of the world we live in and it further solidifies my preference for felines. I would ask why everyone is a flaky fuck, but the answer is obvious: texting makes it so easy to cancel plans! Why socialize IRL when you have social media and Netflix to keep you company? In fact, why have friends at all? There should be an app that auto texts your friends to make plans, then auto cancels last minute. It’d take all the headache out of communication and yet feel authentic AF.
The book we are reading is “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. I started it on January 12 and finished it on January 13 because I’m an overachiever. But goddamn, I’m a little bit bitter that I actually read the entire book because not only do I not get to discuss it, but it also sucks. See what happened there? By canceling our January book club meeting, both of my acquaintances-soon-to-be-friends deprived me of what would surely have been a very spirited rant.
That might be a good thing though. Not everyone prefers the company of Opinionated Ashley, especially when it involves fierce and unrelenting negativity directed at something inherently uplifting and positive like a bestselling self-help book by Brene Brown. But fuck that book.
One of the other women recommended the book and I said yes because I wanted to make sure she joined the book club. I’d also heard of Brene Brown, seen her TED talk, and figured it couldn’t hurt to read her work and learn a little. That’s the kind of person I can be. A needy pushover. Why am I like this?
Since I lost my opportunity to discuss this book with my acquaintances-soon-to-be-friends, I’m going to share what I would have shared over tea and croissants this Sunday.
This book is 129 pages of pure fluff. The book opens with a self-congratulatory chapter about all of Brown’s research and experience. Ok, she’s a credible source. Got it. To be honest, I don’t care that she has a Ph.D. and has done a bunch of stuff. Just get to the point, woman!
Then it quickly declines to a level of fluffery I wasn’t emotionally prepared for. Brown says the “gifts of imperfection” are literally courage, compassion, and connection. Goddamnit, Brene, really? I want something a little more concrete than buzzwords and alliteration. You’ve lost me. But I kept reading because 2018 Ashley doesn’t give up that easily. Plus, 2018 Ashley is reading 50 books this year and if this still counts as a book, I’m finishing it.
I’m not sure what else to say about the book. The best part of reading it was finishing it and adding it to my 2018 reading list, which is really just a bunch of affiliate links that might make me a couple cents commission if someone makes the same mistake I did and buys the damn thing. Actually, I get all my books at the library. Life hack.