I have a really long commute (60 miles each way to and from work). That means I listen to at least 10 audio books a month!
Recently I read / listened to “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes and I absolutely loved it. The conversational tone was very relaxing, but most of all, the honesty makes me feel like Shonda is my new bff!
Year of yes started when Sonda’s sister said the 6 magic words “you never say yes to anything”. Well, Shonda took the comment as a personal challenge and decided to accept all new opportunities coming her way. She said yes to Jimmy Kimmel Live, yes to speaking engagements, yes to interviews and red carpet events, yes to not getting married – I know there’s a negative in there but by saying no to marriage she said yes to the happily ever after of her choosing.
I can’t pick my favorite part of the book because there were so many empowering life lessons that I learned vocatiously through Shonda.
I love how candid she was about her weight and weight loss. She felt fat and she says it without shame, self pity, or self degradation. She tells us the problem is not being fat, but with her unhappiness with it. In so doing she became willing to do whatever it took to get to her healthy weight and she did it without surgery or going on a fad diet.
Shonda is a “first only different”. She’s a pioneer in her career and she’s making waves in her industry. People ask her what it’s like to be a black woman doing…xyz, and she’s honest yet again. There’s no real answer to that question because she’s never been anything else. In reality she’s doing what she loves and making the world a less lonely place in the process.
Shonda tells me not to be afraid of motherhood. She says that the stereotype of mothers who don’t take care of themselves or who give up living for their family sake is a huge misconception. It’s not the only reality for mothers. It’s okay to have help as a mother. She’s proud of her work and wouldn’t want her children to know the Shonda that doesn’t create.
At the end of the book Shonda’s sister says a few more magic words, “I’m your sister I gave you permission [to say yes]”. By reading this book Shonda has passed the baton to me. I can say yes! People always say you can be anything, but only as long as it fits within the acceptable categories in society. Well, Shonda says I choose my own categories and my own happiness!
Another take away is that I need to get into Grey’s Anatomy. I’m a devoted Scandal watcher and an avid How to Get Away with Murder viewer. I really want to get to know the Christina Yang that was Shonda’s ride or die for so many years.