It’s been a while since I’ve released a reading list. I have been reading! In fact, last month I put out a list of my current favorite books by women (which you should check out!) but in terms of recording and sharing, I’ll admit I need to do better. Putting together the June 2019 reading list was challenging. It meant unpacking, especially when I found something I resonated with.
Sometimes there’s a lot of introspection in putting together these lists that I’m not quite ready for. I’m pretty introspective as it is (read: always over-thinking). But then add a story that moves me, and I want to know why it does. I want to peel back my layers again and discover new parts of myself – and this takes work, and time.
But all ‘excuses’ aside, here is the June 2019 reading list.
I hope the content inspires and moves you, and if it does, leave a comment below!
1. On making hobbies into hustles.
I’ve always loved writing, and honestly, I’ve been doing it for years! When I first realized my dream of being a full-time freelancer and starting a writing coaching business, I was ecstatic! Finally I had the answer I’d been searching for, a way to combine what I loved with a means of making money.
This month I came across this powerful article, ‘The Modern Trap of Turning Hobbies Into Hustles.’ I was drawn to it, first, because I feel that my writing is both my passion and my hustle simultaneously. I’m always writing, which translates to always working. This can be both good and bad, but I was curious about what this article had to say about the ups and downs.
This quote stuck out to me the most:
“We live in the era of the hustle. Of following our dreams until the end, and then pushing ourselves more. And every time we feel beholden to capitalize on the rare places where our skills and our joy intersect, we underline the idea that financial gain is the ultimate pursuit. If we’re good at it, we should sell it. If we’re good at it and we love it, we should definitely sell it.
This seems to ring especially true in creative fields, where these days selling art is less likely to be considered “selling out” than self-actualization.”
It’s true, sometimes there’s a lack of enjoyment when finances take priority. I know that when I started working on really building my business I started throwing all my effort into the website, marketing, client relationships, social media, etc. and my writing (my true joy!) took a backseat. It’s interesting how certain things take priority. Is that a bad thing?
I laughed out loud at this section, “Adam J. Kurtz, author of Things Are What You Make of Them has rewritten the maxim for modern creatives: ‘Do what you love and you’ll
never work a day in your life work super fucking hard all the time with no separation or any boundaries and also take everything extremely personally.'” That’s hilarious. It’s hilarious because, in a sense, it’s true. But at the end of the day I’m so thankful that I get to do what I love. To me, that trumps everything.
2. On the addiction of social media stalking.
Have you ever stalked someone on social media? As hard as it is for us to admit, I’ve definitely done this a time or two… or three. This relevant article talks about it in a new light, though, with the payment app Venmo. Unlike PayPal, which has since shifted to more business transactions, Venmo can allow users to personalize their payments and even add identifying emojis.
This piece made me both laugh and think, as it’s pretty spot on with how we’ve become accustomed to creeping on one another’s activities. “Venmo is filled with intrigue and jealousy, like a psychological detective story,” and as the article dubs it, we have ‘venvy’ lol.
3. On visibility.
March 31, 2019 is TDOV (Transgender Day of Visibility. Among stumbling across some amazing poetry, pictures, and vulnerable thoughts, I also had the privilege of having this powerful photoshoot cross my feed.
The goal of this photoshoot by Broadly is to create a ‘Gender-Inclusive set of stock photos. As a writer who often uses stock photos for my pieces, I’m really excited about this! It’s something I’ve overlooked in the past, but want to make a genuine effort to include. I haven’t thought about how underrepresented transgender and non-binary individuals are in contemporary art and photography (especially in this area). This photoshoot has inspired me to be more tuned into underrepresented groups and make more of a conscious effort to be more inclusive in the work I create and share.
[Check out the entire FREE! gallery right here.]
4. On failure and what it really means.
I published a piece a few months ago on the up-side of failure. Ever since publication, I’ve been thinking about how we define failure and what it really means. This piece, written and illustrated by Juliana Castro, made me nod my head, laugh, and think about why we are so damn hard on ourselves.
It’s important to not only acknowledge and see failure as temporary but to not romanticize it either.
“Failure, by definition, is lacking success. Yet the word has transformed into a catch-all for “difficulty” and “setback,” from which an ultimate triumph must follow. In other words, when we talk about failure, we’re really talking about success, and how to get it.”
5. On health and the fragility of life.
Non-fiction stories always inspire me. People who are able to craft their experiences into beautiful pieces that we can read, resonate with, and cry with — it’s truly astounding. This essay by Ellen Adams is the winner of the Emerging Writer’s Award through Ploughshares. In this essay, Ellen writes about her experience in ‘coming undone’ with a brain tumor. She writes with honesty, authenticity, and strength that’s unmatched.
“There are phones ringing, and phones waiting to ring, and all of them are everywhere, and all of them are loud. When is the phone call that’s not contradiction? It is a lot of doom to wait for. To wander toward leaving when you are worried about dying is a shameful secret to keep.”
6. On love and sobriety.
Someone close to me is an alcoholic, someone that I used to love. Understanding the world through his eyes has always been a challenge, and if I were to be really honest with myself, for a long time, I was trying to help him ‘unsee’ what he saw in an effort to love him better. But that’s not how life works. And that’s not how alcoholism works.
What really struck me was when I came across this poignant piece about falling in love in sobriety. It made me realize that there are many things I will never understand about my friend’s experience or anyone who struggles with drinking. There are intricacies, difficulties that make love so vastly different and that’s not necessarily the other person’s (or lover’s) responsibility to ‘fix,’ but to simply understand.
“On our third date, I glanced longingly at the couple sitting a few tables away, sharing a bottle of wine. I didn’t actually want wine: I knew that, for me, drinking wine meant anxiety and a throbbing headache the next morning. Instead, I wanted the socially constructed ideal that every romantic comedy had drilled into me: a bottle of red wine over candlelight, fingers brushing as we clinked glasses. But as soon as I realized that our fingers still brushed and our glasses still clinked (mine just filled with seltzer), I became that much more comfortable with the exhausting exhilaration of falling in love in total present sobriety.”
7. On OCD and it’s painful truths.
Several months ago, I came across a powerful piece of writing titled “Split,” by young author Andrew Jason Jacono. I reached out to him over social media to thank him for his writing, and in turn, we became ‘internet friends,’ exchanging writing and inspiration through emails and comments. (So strange and wonderful how the internet connects us, isn’t it?!)
Andrew has written many strong pieces, but one I’m particularly drawn to this month is about OCD.
I would definitely consider myself an over-thinker, but what frustrates me is how many people associate themselves with OCD, not realizing how damaging this can be to someone who actually struggles. People will flippantly claim, “Oh, it’s just my OCD,” diminishing the real experiences. And as I read the honest, albeit painful words from Andrew’s story, “The What-If Disease”, I’m reminded that OCD isn’t just ‘worrying.’ It goes far beyond and truly changes the way people think, react, and walk through life.
PS: For more reading lists and other powerful pieces, click here.
Featured Image Credit: TONL