My mind in its natural state is closed. Tight as a fist in a left hook. But being the modern woman I am, I combat my innate inclination towards small-mindedness every chance I get.
Like last Monday when I saw a book on my public library’s “new arrivals” shelves. The book: Naomi Wolf’s Vagina A Biography.
Gripping I whispered to myself.
I grabbed it with the best of intentions. I’m going to read about my body! I’m going to be educated about the social constructs and biological ways in which I have misunderstood my vagina. It would be like graduate school without the $70 million student loans.
I’m going to open my mind.
For the first 6 days I talked about it. A lot. A picture on Facebook. An instagram. I enjoyed holding it–face out– on the train half hoping someone would engage me about my vagina book. (No one did.)
“What’s that book all about?” My husband asked. “I don’t know yet,” I said, even though I’d been escorting it from my bed to my purse to the couch for a week as “the book I am reading.”
I decided to start reading it. I read the intro. I was psyched– I like Naomi Wolf’s passion even if I don’t always agree with her positions. I admired the way she situated her research with a personal narrative. I hope to be that courageous and generous as a writer.
Y’all I wanted to tear through that book to prove to myself (1) that I care about social issues related to my body, (2) that I am interested in understanding my own sexual pleasure, (3) that I could, and (4) for the killer book review I would write of THE VAGINA BOOK, ya’ll!
I didn’t even realize how much I truly didn’t want to read the book– for reasons too complicated to get into here and now– until I walked by the library on the way to the train and popped the book in the return chute.
I felt so much relief as I watched the metal basket close and take that book out of my hands.
Walking away from the library, I felt lighter– and not just because a 400+ page book is heavy. It was also one less shackle, one less “should” that I put on my own shoulders.
Once on the train I settled in to read my other library book, the one I will never take a picture of and the one with the mundane title. The one that brings me pleasure and escape and is perfect for a train ride.
I felt grateful that project Open My Mind was closed for the day.