Happy Birthday, Book Two!
“This book is for all the girls who inspire me. The girls who struggle and still get up in the morning, the girls who shine in the darkest places, the girls with the amazing eyebrows, the girls with big hopes, the girls who blossom and change and grow. It’s for the girls who make noise, who tell their stories, who are scared, who fight, who are vulnerable, who are honest, who have more fire and light in their eyes than I ever knew could exist. To the girls who have made me feel so proud to be a girl myself, who redefine the word every day, and who keep me learning. You always give me something to strive for.” –a dedication from You Don’t Have To Like Me
One Year Ago Today, I released my second book, You Don’t Have To Like Me.
I loved writing this book, and I loved the result of it. I wrote this book late at night and early in the morning, a not-close-to-being-seasoned author who spent as many hours typing as I did thinking about how I didn’t know what to say. And then, with Sriracha-stained clothes and tired eyes, I did. I wrote a chapter about my eating disorder while drinking iced coffee and eating a bagel with one hand. I stayed in on weekends. I put in the work, and I was glad I did. I got to talk about being Latina, about my grandmother, about the time I was surrounded by men and had to duck under one of their arms while they grabbed at me and the air around them. I put a little bit of my soul in there—the part that wanted to talk about Plan B, and female friends, and learning how to be a feminist. The book gives me joy, and it humbles me for a few reasons: 1) when you realize what you want to do, you want to do it for a long time. 2) It didn’t do as well as I wanted it to. It did pre-tty, pre-tty good. But not in a way that satisfied me. Of course, I’m not surprised, given that I’m practically never satisfied. I really, really love writing books, and if you have a dream that eventually got realized, you might have learned the same lesson I did. It’s never, ever good enough when you get it.
365 days after releasing my second book, all I want is more. All I want is to take what I’ve done and make everything more fruitful, more lush, more MORE MORE. And that’s the thing with dreams, honestly. You keep reaching for them, because what else are you supposed to be doing here?
I think that I wouldn’t be who I was if I didn’t constantly yearn. So I try to find ways to be able to be better. I've spent a lot of the past year becoming better in ways that I wasn't when I wrote this book. I've spent a lot of this year gaining experience, of realizing things about me that were good and not so good. I still have some issues I need to deal with. I need to start tackling some little ankle-biting demons. I need to learn to be less afraid and more productive. But I'm glad I need to work on these things. If I stopped improving, I'd never become a better person. I would never write another book. And that’s the other thing with dreams. They take some planning and legwork and time. There is no Whitney Houston fairy godmother, waving a wand and all of a sudden you’re happy and satiated. It is never that feeling of being full so instantly. Most of my days are thinking about the next days ahead: how I can do better, how I can get more accomplished, how I can present my best foot forward, how I can be a better writer because it's my dream. I owe it to my dreams to get better at it. That’s where I’m at. I'm planning my next book proposal and upcoming things for this site, but that's not all. I'm also working on feeling a little more satisfied, and also never feeling satisfied because it keeps me working.
That being said, I still love this book. Oh man, I love this book. And I love it for what it is, and I love it because it is a promise of what is to come. We might not always be satisfied, but we must remain excited at our possibilities.
I suppose I can take one moment to be full. Happy birthday to my second book.