Sometimes you come across a book that you didn’t realize you needed to read until you’re in the middle of reading it, and you notice you’re running low on sticky notes because so many pages need to be marked.
That was my experience reading Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies: And Other Rituals to Fix Your Life From Someone Who’s Been There by Tara Schuster.
Ms. Schuster’s book is another wonderful example of how writing the specific actually makes it universal. Ms. Schuster and I had extremely different childhoods. Our adult life experiences are quite different as well. I’m older than she is, married, and the mother of a fifteen-year-old son. Yet, I found so much to love in this book. So much that spoke to me. So much that said, “Wendy try this. Wendy, you need to do this. Wendy, pay attention to this part.”
Here are just some of the passages that I found to be deserving of sticky notes:
“What you are about to read is a guide to healing your traumas, big and small, in the pursuit of creating a life you will adore and be proud of. You don’t need to have had a mess-wreck-disaster childhood like mine for these tools to work for you. These lessons in self-care will be useful even if you had super-stellar parents who nurtured the shit out of you. This book is for anyone who simply needs to take better care of themselves — anyone who wants to lead a life they choose, embrace, and fucking love.”
“But I decided it was time to stop comparing my pain to others’, time to quit telling myself that I shouldn’t feel this way, and time to start focusing on how I actually did feel, because that was real.”
“Buy the fucking lilies. You are worth seven-dollar lilies. You are worth the thing that instantly makes your life better. I’ve heard people talk about their favorite exercise class this way. I’ve heard people talk about an order of guacamole with their tacos this way. I’ve heard people talk about the ten-dollar, ten-minute massage at the nail salon this way. That small, pleasurable thing that makes you feel like you are treating yourself — do not deprive yourself of this. Buy the fucking lilies, take the class, order the guac, get the massage.”
“Above all else: You are worth the lilies. The small, attainable luxury of lilies is not something to stress about, it is not something to deny yourself, it is something to make plans for and embrace. Small things that make you happy ARE a part of taking care of yourself. If you can’t put your money where your mouth is and say, ‘I am worth the lilies,’ or ‘I am worth six-dollar beef jerky’ or ‘I am worth the almond butter that makes me actually look forward to the morning,’ then why are you working so hard at your job anyway? Seven-dollar lilies won’t ruin you and they won’t make you poor; they will make you stronger. You are stronger when you treat yourself well. What are your lilies? Please go buy them today. If you feel weird about it at all, just blame me and then enjoy the fuck out of your flowers.”
“What feeds your well? What’s the thing you love to do that makes your heart glad? Is it flower arranging? Is it people-watching at a café? Is it reading a book in a park without knowing what time it is? Is it going back to that dance class you used to love but for some reason stopped taking? What makes you so happy that it gives you rest and ease and feels so damn good that it sets your soul on fire with inspiration? These things that inspire us are often the easiest to lose sight of. We give them up because there is just so much ‘to do’ in a day. We are ‘very busy,’ after all. But you do not gain strength from denying yourself pleasure and being so serious about your life. Instead, keep your well full, and be astonished at the power, the motivation, the brilliance that you will inevitably find in the rest of your life.”
“What I have learned is that you are stronger when you give yourself incredible kindness.”
Many more pages are marked with a peach-colored sticky note. In fact, Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies inspired one of my April blog posts. (In case you missed it, you can read it by clicking here.)
There is just so much goodness in this book. Reading this book feels very much like having a super close friend right next to you, helping you to see your own wonderful-ness. A super close friend who wants you to see the sparkly brilliance within yourself. To which I say, “Thank you, Ms. Schuster. I’m working on it.”
One additional note, Ms. Schuster has written a second book titled, Glow in the F*cking Dark: Simple Practices to Heal Your Soul From Someone Who Learned the Hard Way. You can bet it’s on my wish list!