Rest is an integral season of Life... A review of the books I read on vacation pt 1.
I took a month off from work in Q4. I had not been on vacation for the entire year and my mind and body was feeling it. We've been under curfew from March 2020 up till present because of Covid-19. Weeks prior Sundays became no movement days along with shorter curfew hours on Saturday; In essence the weekend was slowly vanishing. You know I live for a good well planned weekend activity right and here I was unable to tell where the work week ended and the weekend started. It was a continuous flow of checking things of my to- do list, for work, home or family. Our weekends became a blur of trying as best as you can to catch the supermarket and the market early enough before the crowd, with just enough time to spare to do something fun and get back home all in the nick of time before curfew. Whew, an extreme sport, yes it was as exhausting as it sounds.
I needed a break, without work and curfews and constantly crossing things off a never ending to-do list. I am slowly realizing, in adulthood, the to-do list never go away! I went to the one place I would always go when I had a break from school or I just needed an escape. I wen to #New York for two weeks. It was also the first time I travelled in two years. I did not realize how tired I was. I was in an out of sleep for the first 48 hours, I kid you not, I slept, I ate and went back to sleep. Heavenly! By the third day I picked up the first out of the 4 books I consumed over my vacation.
Just as I Am, by Cicely Tyson:
I wanted to read this memoir for a while, so I was excited to dig in. It was a beautiful honest story of a life well lived, with ample time for reflection on the journey, to right wrongs, to forgive, to heal. There were points in the book where I got gooesbumps and lifted my hands to praise God. Ms. Tyson, is spiritual and she brilliantly looks back at her life, in wonder and thanksgiving to God. Reading this memoir reinforced my knowing that things do not just happen and moments in our lives are not happenstance but divine intervention from our heavenly Father.
I wish she elaborated more on her daughter and the relationship they had, the difficulties etc, but I understood her need for privacy. Because her life spanned decades, reading the memoir felt like a history lesson also. It was an insightful look into what life was like for West Indians who migrated to the United States in the early 1900's and life for black people.
I still roll my eye ever so slight when I think of her relationship with Miles Davis, but it is a life lesson that the heart wants what it wants and thou shall not interfere or try to understand who people love - be happy that they had an opportunity to experience it. Whenever I read memoirs, it is never lost on me the impact our childhood has on our lives. Ms. Tyson beautifully captured this. A life well lived. If you ever wondered what life was like in the early 90's for West Indians who migrated, you love history, love human stories, read this memoir. It will not disappoint.
Where you are is not who you are, by Ursula M. Burns.
I love #Ursula Burns. I have quoted her often, in school, placed her quotes on my Instagram page, you name it. She is direct, outspoken and super candid about her life and career. Who she was made me feel that it is ok to be frank and outspoken. So I absolutely had to read it. I am being honest, which is what Ursula would want *wink*. I hold writers in very high esteem, to bring to life the words in your head in such a fluid and riveting way is no easy feat. Writing a compelling story is an art and a touch of genius. In Ursula's book the story was told but the touch of genius for the art form of writing was not very evident. In true representation of who she is I can only assume, the book was direct and to the point. As memoirs goes it was a short read. She went into detail about her childhood, being raised by a single mother of Caribbean descent who worked as hard as she could to take care of her children and keep them safe in an unsafe neighborhood. What I really took from the book is, you have to use your voice as a woman. We have to be clear on what we want and say it. We also have to be willing to work hard, bet on ourselves and be open to constant feedback. One of my biggest lessons from this book is the importance of good managers and leadership. Man, no matter how clever or hard you work if you are not given opportunities to learn and be stretched by your leadership team your career will be limited. She makes this clear in the book, she does not possess and super woman attributes she is as smart and as hard working as the next black woman, she was given opportunities because she was outspoken and she was not afraid of challenges, most importantly her leadership embraced those qualities and groomed her for roles in various departments of the business. She spoke openly about her lapses of judgement, things she did wrong, how she attempted to balance her work and home life. I think all women of color in corporate world should read this book. It was eye opening.
Let me know your thoughts if you read them, and I would love if you could guess the other two books I read.