Book of the Month: Finding Me by Viola Davis

I am excited to break the fiction streak of Book of the Month for THE Viola Davis. Her memoir, Finding Me, had a sixteen-week wait or thereabout at the library. And trust me when I say this book was worth all of that and more. 

This book tells the story of Viola Davis’s life from a crumbling apartment in Rhode Island to the world’s stage. In a lot of ways, it shows a path that normally wouldn’t make sense but can only be connected looking backwards. There is a lot about her life growing up, and the abject—and this is putting it mildly—poverty she and her siblings grew up in. This is a deep reflection of her life, a validation of her life, and an affirmation to 7-year-old Viola (who literally ran home every day from school because some boys chased her with sticks calling her the n-word and such). This is not a juicy book as much as it is a truly inspiring—if somewhat heartbreaking—memoir. It is a testament to resilience, hard work, and struggle. The honesty in this book is the best part of it. There are hard truths about her life, her family, and her mistakes that she sheds and presents to us. Yet, all of what she writes in this book only makes her more alluring, and you, more in love with her. In this book, her vulnerability is her power. 

What Does Love Look Like? Answering With Help from bell hooks

Love. Love. Love, baby. Let’s get all intellectual about love. If anything could both be underrated AND overrated, it would be this bad boy called love. Love encompasses our society. It touches our soul, and our heart, and yet, it is so delicate we don’t really know what to do with it. There is an implicit assumption that we just know how to love even though no one ever really teaches us how to. Enter bell hooks. Now, I have to preface this—especially as a Christian woman—by saying bell hooks is not the authority on love nor does she have the final say on love. Her book, All About Love, just shows she has given a lot of thought into love, and she shares those insights. She provides an intellectual take on the concept of love, but we are going to attempt to simplify it in this post so that every day we embody love to the best of our abilities.

Let's get started.  What is love? The biblical definition of love conceptualizes it as more than a feeling and more than an emotion. It is so much deeper and richer and involves how we relate to others around us. As 1 Corinthians 13 show us, love is patient, kind, bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things, never fails, rejoices with the truth, believes all things. Even writing this out is making me…cringe. Love can’t just be all these things because it almost feels like.. a LOT, right? Also how does this look like on a day to day basis? What does this mean for us? 

This is especially because, as bell hooks says in her book, it seems like people are afraid to love, afraid to give themselves completely to another person. But love—and apologies for how cringey this may sound—must overcome all your fears. You must never give up on love even in the face of astronomical odds. The risks of love have been framed as so significant that so many people encourage sexual pleasure without emotional investment. They relinquish the possibility of love and as a mechanism for the fear beneath this, they boast of seeking interactions without the investment of love; seeking sexual relations without intimacy and emotional connections; they adorn cynicism as a tool to shield disappointment and betrayal.  But in the long run, is it even worth it?