Thursday, October 29, 2015

"Rising Strong"

For a while, my newsfeed was divided between the people who talk to their socks and those who want to live wholeheartedly. (Perhaps if I have a wholehearted talk with my socks, they will find their matches and stay that way?) I was intrigued by "Daring Greatly" and put it on hold at the library. To my amazement, it came in pretty quickly, and just around the time that my baby was born. I thought all the nursing time would translate into reading time, but the calculation is different when there are four other kids and mommy is suddenly spending plenty of time on the couch. Also, "Daring Greatly" touched on a lot of deep conflicts and feelings, and did not make for a good discontinuous read. ("Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" was a perfect nursing read: so many places to stop and still be able to pick up the story). Being a popular book, I had to return "Daring Greatly" to the library before I even seriously got into it, but I made a mental bookmark to revisit it under different circumstances.

Lo and behold, "Rising Strong" came out, causing a new stir of conversation. Brene Brown seemed to be interviewed everywhere, and the idea of grit, persistence, and coping with failure seems so essential to healthy functioning. It is hard to learn if you can't cope with disappointment. It is hard to recoup, if you can't learn from failure. So once again, when I was in the library, I found myself putting a hold on a popular book.

It also arrived pretty quickly, and I knew that I have to retrieve it before it goes back in the system. Only this time I was shocked to find that I apparently put an audiobook on hold. I quickly flipped through: nine disks, hours and hours of listening The confusion of the moment almost lead me to leave the CDs in the library.

I hate listening to lectures. I am not an auditory learner, and I do not process info that way. I hate trying to pick out one voice to focus on from all the background noise. Today it would be called auditory processing disorder, but I just call it "avoidance of sound". I have a hard time carrying a conversation in a crowd. I listen to music only if I can put it as a background noise, not as something that I have to actively focus on.

Would I dare listen to a book on tape, all nine CDs? When would I find the time? Would I be able to gain anything? Is it a waste? I was making a call whether I would rise to an occasion, or whether I would admit defeat, say that this is not for me, that I am beat.

I decided to take it out, pop it into car's stereo, and hope to cobble enough time to listen to this book. I do drive afternoon carpool every day, and that is good twenty minutes alone. I can also rope the boys into listening with me, they need to learn how to get up after a failure just as much as I do.

I am on the second CD. The author is driving me nuts. She keeps listing points, and then going off on tangents. I cannot keep mental track of her lists, some of which contain seven or eight points. She keeps talking about herself, and her research, and how everything is so enlightening and important. I am lost in the forest of her words. Yes, she repeatedly brings up points which resonate with deep emotions, yet her examples are so mild and non-specific, that I keep on focusing on how inconsequential they are. I keep alternating between feeling that she is a genius, or a self-indulgent repetitive whiner.

Maybe I would process the book better if I could read it instead of constantly being subjected to the personal auditory hell. Maybe I am not emotionally ready to process these important ideas. Maybe the emperor has no clothes, and there is no step-by-step guide to getting up after a setback. We just have to decide to keep on going.

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