Sunday, April 11, 2010

Where Your Butt Is Right Now

I have a half-filled journal that has inspirational quotes or portions of articles which I haven't laid hands on in ages but I went hunting for it this morning because half of the articles are excerpts from Anne Lamott's former Salon column Word by Word.

  • A Bad Thing Happened at the Beach

  • Diving Into The Wreckage

  • Into The Mouth of the Cave

  • Into Thin Mud

  • Jesus and the Lemon

  • The Things We Carry
  • I only cut out one line from her essay My Secret Body since I so related to that line at the time:

    I was once again the world's oldest toddler.
    This young lady, Ena, told me that Lamott would be in town. At first, I didn't feel like going but I've read several of Lamott's books and had never seen her before. I felt it was time to unplug anyway so I headed downtown last night.

    The clergyman who greeted everyone to the Christ Church Cathedral was very welcoming. He invited people to not only look around later but to come back saying that it was our house and what a beautiful house it is...

    Lamott is engaging and funny. She invited late folks to come to the front of the cathedral (with the other latecomers) saying that they could be closer to the M & M's and Hershey's Kisses. It was Lamott's birthday and I'm assuming the M & M's came with the balloons.

    Lamott covered a lot of ground -- talked about three things she did to raise her son right (raised him in a church in the presence of multi-racial and multi-generational people, was sober and didn't get him a Nintendo) and she talked a lot about friendship and the grace of God in friendships.

    During the Q & A, someone asked Lamott about her dimply thighs that she wrote about in Traveling Mercies. A light bulb finally went off in Lamott's head when she asked a dying friend if her thighs looked okay in a dress and her friend told her you just don't have that kind of time.

    Radical self-love came out of Lamott's mouth a lot. I also dug other things she said:

  • If you're not okay at 180 pounds, you're not going to be okay at 140.

  • You're only going to be okay where your butt is right now.

  • I'm so militant about self-care and self-love.

  • Diets will make you fat and crazy if you're not doing the spiritual work.

  • Some days are just going to be too long.

  • I just want to give people my strength, my light...

  • There's comfort in self-love and there's comfort in quiet.

  • We are preapproved.
  • A woman asked Lamott's advice on how to help the people in her life without being completely drained. Lamott took that time to tell people that she would not personalize books. She said I have an old hand and if I personalize books, I won't get back to my hotel room until 10:30 p.m. She did tell people that they could write whatever they wanted and she would sign it.

    Lamott addressed the woman's question by saying, in part, that no is a complete sentence and that so many sweet women get caught up in being the flight attendant for the world.

    How do you take care of yourself and do you feel as if you are preapproved? Who inspires you?


    1. Wow, I had never heard of Anne Lamott, but now I'm interested in learning more about her.

      Love her sayings.

    2. I wasn't sure who Lamott was until the line about the dimply thighs - I remember that clearly.

      I rarely feel preapproved, I rarely feel legitimate or valid. Wish I had a brilliant strategy about that I could share...

    3. Lamott is BRILLIANT. She published a piece about her over-eating disorder in Oprah's magazine a few years ago. Any chick w. food issues should read it. It's so honest and horrowing. She went on this CRAZY binge one afternoon. She was literally shoving bear claw doughnuts into her mouth, followed by an entire pint of Ben n' Jerrys, and a crapload of candy too. It's a huge eye-opener. She's BEEN THERE. She knows what she's talking about.

      Another one I love is Geneen Roth. :)

    4. @Fattie Fatterton,

      I would definitely recommend Lamott's work -- maybe even check out her Word by Word archives.

      Ironically, I haven't read any of her fiction but I plan to change that reality soon.


      You are tugging at my heartstrings...

      @Farty Girl,

      I missed that Oprah article -- gonna have to track it down.

      I haven't read anything by Roth so I'm going to put her on my list of must read authors. I'm starting to think that I need another 'Drea to help me with reading. :)

    5. I've never heard of her - she sounds so inspiring. I need to add some of your suggestions to my reading journal. I have to admit that I'm a bit "lighter" in my books - I need to do better.

    6. Love Anne Lamott's writing. Sharp. Poignant. Honest. Hard. Aching. Deeply Introspective. What a gift she has. Oh, to be so talented with pen & paper.

      Must have been a real inspiration and joy to hear her speak. Wish that I could have been there.

    7. @Diane Fit to the Finish,

      Yes, Anne Lamott is very inspiring and she's the kind of person who walks the walk and talks the talk...


      Lamott talked about restoration as well and I definitely felt restored and good after hearing her speak.