Friday, November 12, 2010

Hi. My name is Cayla and I read self-help books.

The cover of this book is None of Your Business

After a late night of drinks with my girls, I groggily woke up to the realization that I now possessed something so horrific, so personal, so unlike the well-adjusted, normal me that you all think I am, that I really deliberated about whether I should share it with you.  Will it reveal too much about me?  Will those who read this blog and know me personally, judge me?  After careful deliberation, I decided that it is my duty to share, to let others like me out there know they are not alone.

So here goes...

Hi.  I am Cayla Hochberg and I purchase and read Self Help books.

It started innocently enough when I was pregnant with my son, Billy; someone bought me a copy of What to Expect When Expecting.  I consider this my gateway book.  I devoured this book; I read it over and over for months (nine, to be exact), meticulously looking for one morsel I may have missed.  When I was done with that one, I began to hungrily gorge on more:  What to Expect the First Year, Raising a Son, and various other parenting books.  But then I began to become self conscious of my habit and hid it by instead reading self-help books disguised as other genres of literature:  picture books like Once Upon a Potty, books that I said I had to read for my job as a teacher, such as Who Moved My Cheese for Kids, and endless magazines (a separate addiction in itself).  I think that I hit rock bottom when I thought starting a shoe-exchange club, just like Lorna did in the chick-lit book, Shoe Addict Anonymous, was the answer to my compulsive shoe shopping issue (I don't feel that I have a problem but my husband would beg to differ). It was at that point that I decided to come clean and be honest about my infatuation with self-help books.  I started small by openly reading the memoirs of those who struggle with the same issues as me, such as Beautiful Boy and Year of Magical Thinking, two of my all-time favourite books.  I am not going to elaborate about what it was about these books that helped me, but if you read them, I am sure you will gain a little bit of insight into my daily struggles.  

But last night, I took my obsession to a whole new level, I actually ventured into the self-help section of the bookstore.  Not only that, but it was *gasp* in front of most of my friends!  I did experience a minor setback when I had to struggle with whether or not I would accept the sales clerk's offer for help because it would involve telling him the super-revealing title of the book I was searching for, but I was brave and accepted that I could not do it alone.  

This morning, I decided to come clean about my habit with my friends and family and was shocked by their responses.  Pleasantly shocked, that is.  After telling them the title of my book, almost every single one of them asked me to borrow it when I am done.  I am becoming teary-eyed, even now, as I reflect on the fact that there are so many others out there that are just like me.

So which self-help book did I buy?  I'm sorry, but although I am proud of my purchase and am learning so much with every page I read, I really don't think it is any of your business...that is why it is called SELF help...


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