This past weekend, I hosted a brunch to celebrate the release of Leah’s book. She put together a list of guests from all stages and areas of her life. It was a solid curation of her people: family, friends, coworkers, her yoga teacher. Those who were nearby accepted the invitation and showed up to honor her accomplishment.
For me, it was delightful to meet her father and stepmother, her father in-law, who beautifully illustrated the book, and her brother in-law. Her mother’s sister and cousin made the trip from NY. Friends from childhood, high school, and work made appearances, bearing gifts and well wishes. After Bloody Marys and the ASAB signature cocktail, ham and eggs, and some delicious smoked salmon prepared by Leah’s husband, we all gathered in the living room for a reading.
I wasn’t expecting what happened there. I’d read that chapter many times – it’s one of my favorites – and knew it from beginning to end. It was the essay on conquering fear- Warrior I pose. Probably not the one I would have selected to read aloud to a group. Why? Because it may be the most raw of them all, the one that reflects on the author’s imperfections with bare honesty and no pretense. I might have decided on an easier one. It was brave to write it, quite another level of boldness to sit in front of your tribe and walk through it, word by word.
Leah read without limitation or pause. It sounded like poetry to me, and the room was astonishingly still and quiet, as I think everyone felt like they were present in a poem.
I worked hard to maintain my composure, the hostess, sitting up front next to Leah, so as to not embarrass her by crying. I felt proud of her, and glad in the arrival of the day. More than that, I was overcome by her words. I knew how hard she had worked to craft them, and the challenges she faced in understanding their content. As she read them aloud, I heard them on a different level, the warrior within myself tuned into the clear image she had created. A call to action. As simple as breathing.