Book club was scheduled for Monday evening at 6pm. That was always book club, once a month or so on a Monday at about 6pm. Since the pandemic took hold, it has been via Zoom that the club meets versus someone’s house. As the group rotated from home to home, the appetizers and dinners would be different, the desserts to die for and the wine and conversation would flow.
On some Monday’s everyone would be there and of course there are many when one or two cannot join. The conversation is still robust and the books discussed, along with what is happening in each other’s lives and what is happening in the world. It is a day the group enjoys! There is no judgement and there is true care for each other.
This most recent Monday via Zoom was no different. There were 5 of the 7 present. The discussion began with my comments that I hadn’t finished the book as of yet. I was about 65% through it though and I am not one that minds if you talk about what will happen. I still read and I still enjoy. The group was shocked that I hadn’t finished given it was my recommendation and they thought it would be one I would like. My lack of enthusiasm for reading, as far as I was concerned, had nothing to do with the book and really all about timing. I was swamped with commitments and had just dealt with one of my besties losing her Mom. That triggers an awful lot, as well as focuses you on what you can do to help. Reading was not the respite I needed.
As the group began to discuss the book and what they thought of the “heroine,” my skin became clammy. I started to feel my heart race and realized that my thoughts were going bonkers. They were all over the place. Why? Why was I reacting to the discussion in such a visceral way? And then I heard someone say, “she really loathed herself, that was really sad.” I felt like I was punched in the gut.
I blurted out, “that is why I was having trouble with the book,” then I thought more silently ‘that is why it isn’t a respite for me’. It was a trigger for me. One very observant and compassionate member of the group asked me what it was bringing up for me. As I sat there I realized it was reminding me of who I have been, where I have been. It triggered all the ways I used to behave to feel loved, as I didn’t love me. It reminded me of how I used to talk about myself, think about myself and taught others to think about me. It wasn’t reminding me of how I have healed and dealt with all of that, it was just like ripping the scab off. I felt bare and bleeding.
I told the group I was fine, it just was a revelation, but I knew I wasn’t really fine. I didn’t want the trigger to become more, I knew I needed to deal with whatever was bothering me. Why did this actually trigger me. I would have thought by now, seeing and reading this character would have been inspiring to see how far I have come. It didn’t and I didn’t know why. I still don’t to be honest. I know I don’t feel that way about myself any longer and that I actually really like the person that I am and the person I continue to evolve to. I know that my behavior is no longer the behavior of someone who needs love, who doesn’t feel loved, who feels naked all of the time. Yet, this triggered some of that in me.
As I continue to work through this I am also still reading the book. I have put a filter on it that reminds me this is not my story. I am not Queenie. I am Suzy. I am not 20 year old Suzy either . I am 59 year old Suzy, wiser, more compassionate, and always evolving. I am no longer stuck in that cyclone of self-hate and self-loathing.
As I finish the book and continue to understand me, I look forward. I look forward to who I will be in the future. I look forward to our next book club and what revelations come up there!