“Life is not a series of crises to be endured. Life is to be enjoyed.”
Friends, I recently read another collection of personal essays, and oh my GAWD, this one was GOOD. I really enjoy books like this, but I’ve never read one that hit so close to home before. Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies by Tara Schuster was like looking into a mirror, if a book can be a mirror. Does that make sense? I don’t even care.
As soon as I read the brief introduction where the author explains how she spent a full year accidentally telling people she was older than she actually was, I knew I would enjoy this book. I am constantly forgetting my age and telling people random numbers, only to later realize that I was in fact wrong.
Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies is, in many ways, a kind of self-help book. The author spends a lot of time talking about getting her anxiety in check, loving herself a little bit more every day, and fighting her vices with exercise, best friends, and writing in her journal daily. Of course, there’s wit and humor spread out among the pages, as well as personal stories and realistic tips and advice to help you conquer whatever issue you might be facing.
The book is divided into three parts: The Mind Rituals, The Body Rituals, and The Relationship Rituals. As you’ve probably assumed, each section acts as a “how-to” to help you get control of your thoughts, your physical self, and your relationships with friends, romantic partners, family, and ultimately, your relationship with yourself. One of my favorite parts of the book were lists that the author included at the end of certain chapters, providing actionable advice for how you can start healthy habits and stick to them.
As someone who has been regularly attending therapy for over a year, a lot of the advice was relatable because I’ve already started incorporating it into my life: gratitude journals, exercise, finding my people, and recognizing toxicity and removing it from wherever the hell it exists.
However, the narrative of this book was another wonderful reminder to stay on course, and not give up on “re-parenting” yourself. It’s a difficult journey, but reading about someone else’s experience helps. Plus, the personal anecdotes and stories were entertaining, too.
My absolute favorite chapter, though, was the second last one, “If You’re Not in Love in Paris, You’re Not in Love at All.” Similarly to the author, I spent a good chunk of my 20s saving up for a trip to Paris (I studied French history in university and HAD TO GO!). When I was finally able to, it was magical, and I sat in the basement of the Louvre for about an hour staring at the original foundation of the building. The footnote the author includes about the foundation of the Lourve had me in tears, because that experience, for me, had the same meaning as her experience purchasing a Chanel bag: I worked to get there. (If you read the book, you’ll understand what I mean.)
I’d recommend Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies to anyone who enjoys personal essays, memoirs, and/or narratives around mental health.
Thank you to the publisher for an electronic copy of this book via NetGalley. Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies comes out on February 18, 2020, and can be purchased wherever books are sold.