Read Memoirs

FROM HOW TO LIVE BOUGIE, WITHOUT REALLY TRYING

I’m a huge fan of memoirs. When I prop my feet up, light three different scented candles, click on the latest YouTube fireplace, and crack open a real pages-made-of-paper book, I almost always prefer it to be a memoir. I love learning about people’s unique life experiences, seeing how they got to where they are now and the obstacles they overcame along the way.

I don’t even have a specific preference when it comes to memoirs, from Joanna Gaines to Gucci Mane, I will read it all.

But there is one thing I think we all look for in a good memoir—relatability. No matter how far outside the tax bracket I will always be from Jane Lynch, I constantly strive to find something to relate to in these memoirs. Up until recently, these relations were generally rooted in adolescent development. The anxiety we feel to fit in, not disappoint our parents, funny stories about avoiding the gym and binge-watching Netflix.

While these forms of relatability are entertaining, I often find they are not the best when attempting to formulate a life plan—or even a next move. See, we read memoirs for two reasons:

  1. We are obsessed with the personal lives of celebrities.
  2. We are seeking guidance.

The first reason can explain itself. We’re are nosey AF.

The second reason is a bit more complex. We often seek guidance from the memoirs of celebrities because we ultimately want to feel as successful as they appear to be. A, “They can do it, so can I” mentality. We want to be able to glance through the pages and say to ourselves, “Here’s what their life was like at 24, 34, 44, and OMG it’s just like mine—minus some shiplap.”

Although the celebrity lifestyle is intriguing and the incredible sacrifice, talent, and occasional luck it takes to become one is admirable. They’re not exactly, relatable.

Here’s the problem, most memoirs I’ve read—celebrity or not—aren’t.

There is no memoir for the twenty-six year old, divorced, career-woman with a dog. There is no “How To” guide for navigating advanced financial planning on one income. No one has written “Lifestyles of the Almost Thirty and my Roommate Still Doesn’t Do the Dishes”. And I’ve yet to find a memoir explaining just when to finally take a leap of faith and leave the job you were supposed to have for thirty years.

I started to think, “How strange”. Surely, there are tons of women just like me out there. I know there are because I saw at least forty of them at the bar last weekend.

We are a generation of strong-willed, independent women, with perfectly captioned Instagram accounts detailing our blatantly obvious addictions to wine, cheese, and puppies with middle names. There must be a memoir for us!

There was not.

People don’t stop to think about how strange it is to be someone like us these days. They just don’t. Here is a narrative that may put it in perspective.

I am fortunate enough to have many “best friends”. They are my tribe of women who have walked beside me through all phases of life and have fundamentally shaped the person I am today.

One of these best friends was my second grade ride-or-die. Even after a transcontinental move, this girl has remained my rock, a never-wavering friendly “Hello” no matter how long it has been since we’ve had a real conversation. Our senior year of high school, she got pregnant. She is now the super cool, super involved Mom-Aunt who somehow manages to work full-time, be a dedicated single mother and still party harder than my best GNO. She’s a twenty-six year old, single mom making the most of life. There is a memoir for her.

One of my other best friends had her first child shortly after graduating college. She married her high school sweetheart and recently welcomed their second child into the fam. She is a high school art teacher, full-on Pinterest mom and upholds her family unit with strength and grace that I will always admire. She is a twenty-six year old, married Supermom of two who adores her family and attends church twice a week. There is a memoir for her.

Even my bestie who comes closest to the person I am now. She followed her dreams and moved to the Big Apple two years ago, ended a long-term relationship, and was partying it up NYC style. She recently caught cupid’s arrow with a former colleague, ten years her senior with two small children. She’s a twenty-six year old, career-oriented soon-to-be stepmom, chasing her greatest desires–family, love, and success.  There is a memoir for her.

All of these women are incredible in their own fiercely earned right and despite their seemingly obvious differences, one thing stands out, there is a memoir for them. There is a memoir for each of them because within their own spheres, each one walks boldly on a path that appears “normal” too all who witness.

You know what’s not “normal”?

Being twenty-six (four years from thirty) and the idea of a human evacuating your body making you want to vomit while you simultaneously take your a picture of your dog, for the twelfth time today.

That’s not normal.

At least that’s what we’ve been told.

But we are normal. In fact, I’d go as far as to say we are the new norm.

Here’s the best thing about How to Live Bougie, Without Really Trying. It is open to all kinds of norms. In this book, I hope you can laugh at the funny stories, tear up at the sentimental ones, and most importantly—relate.

Twenty-something year old Supermoms straight killing it day in and day out—this memoir is for you.

Twenty-something year old women who aren’t quite sure where life is going to take them yet—this memoir is for you.

And those who aren’t even twenty-something year old women. I can promise you—whether you are laughing at me or with me, this memoir is for you.

Turn on the YouTube fireplace, light three different scented candles, open your best bottle of wine (even if it was $5) and make the largest cheese plate you can handle. Kick your feet up—fuzzy slippers required, and dive into the pages of a woman trying to have it all, even though she has no idea what that even means.

 

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