This is my Meema. And this is my new book, Permission Granted, AT A BOOKSTORE.
I will have you know, all the copies of Permission Granted at the Barnes & Noble in Temecula, California are now FACE OUT on the shelf so everyone can see the cover.
At the store Meema visited, Permission Granted is shelved under Inspirational. In some stores, it’s on the Christian Living shelf. I’ve heard that some of you have seen it on the Personal Growth shelf. At Amazon, it’s listed in the Self-Help category. Well okay then.
Every book has to sit on SOME shelf, and each shelf has a label. A book is THIS KIND of book, or it’s THAT KIND of book.
There are no shelves for “it’s kind of like this and kind of like that, but it doesn’t really fit neatly anywhere.”
Because it’s easier that way. (We could never find books if they weren’t shelved SOMEHOW. Bookstores are just trying to help us find more of what we like, and if you don’t spot what you want, the booksellers are happy to help you out.)
Okay, so, no big deal. The book gets shelved somewhere. I hope it’s on a shelf that makes you want to read it, but you know what?
Categories do not define us.
We can read what we like, whether we identify with that bookshelf or not.
(And if you’re wondering about the “Christian Living” shelf, I’ll tell you: Permission Granted is a book about giving yourself permission to be who you really are. It does not mention any religious figures at all, and doesn’t quote from any religion’s scriptures.
I do share wisdom from other people, like Glennon Doyle, Anne Lamott, Maya Angelou, Brene Brown, Kelly Corrigan, and Richard Rohr. And just like the stuff I share on the internet, the book is sometimes spiritual, but never specific to any one religious tradition. Which shelf does that belong on??)
The truth is, none of us, not one, fits into neat and tidy categories.
And sometimes you might even find yourself with a label that doesn’t quite fit.
Because it’s easier for other people to put you on a shelf in their mind and say: Aha! You fit here, and not there. Aha! I will expect THIS of you, but not THAT.
Sometimes those categories are comfortable! They help us feel like we fit in. And other times, they itch like a bad sweater in an overheated room. But either way, they’re never the whole story.
There is no category wide enough to encompass the truth of you.
You know the truth. Categories do not define you. You do not fit in a box, not even a really pretty handmade box with distressed edges.
Give yourself permission to step outside of what’s expected for your shelf. Give yourself permission to be who you really are.
The real story is always more interesting than the label on the outside.
If you feel like you don’t fit into the box the world expects you to, if you feel like you have to keep half of yourself out of sight if you’re going to fit in: I see you.
We’ll just be out here, doing what we do, and not worrying too much about which shelf we sit on. Good deal?