Book Review · Books

Start Right Where You Are By Sam Bennett


The cover of this book is alright, but the title seemed just right for where I’m at in my life. I’ve gone through a lot in the past 2 years.  Coming out gay to family and friends has been quite an interesting journey. It has been a process of learning that not everyone is meant to go with me on my journey, or that they may not even want to. Not that they don’t care, but that they aren’t meant to. It’s not a bad thing. This book is slim, but is packed with a lot of helpful exercises and suggestions.  I didn’t agree with everything in this book, but 90% of it is wonderful.

Growing up I was always the well-behaved good girl. I’m still very nice. I’m naturally a happy and nice person. That’s who I am to my core, but I can stop acting like I have to prove myself 24/7. Being nice is great, but it can also be mask to avoid how you are truly feeling. I am a people pleasure which has its own set of back lashes, like being able to make my own decisions without having to get everyone’s green light that my decision is the right one. I hate to make waves.

Growing up my family life was always busy. The joys of being a PK. Having been married and choosing to not be over busy is a nice personal choice. it’s nice to not be overbooked. I know some might view it as being antisocial, but I do best interacting one on one or in a very small group. There are people are who energized by a whirlwind of activity and others who are recharged by having alone time. I am in the later camp. If I don’t get my ME time I get down right grumpy and cranky. One sentence I loved that Sam put in her book is, “Busy is not a virtue.” Amen. It’s not like you get awards for being busy and overworked. You might get rewards at work for overworking, but is your health worth a brief reward you might not be able to enjoy if your health goes south?

Looking my best is one thing I slack on.  I am a tomboy who is not a fan of dresses or skirts (unless they are floor length) and I rarely if ever wear makeup. Inside I want to be more feminine, but there’s that aversion to pink! Actually I just got my nails painted quite a vibrant pink, but in general I’m not that kind of girlie.  What outfit makes you feel the most comfortable and boosts your confidence? For me it’s a pair of skinny jeans with a cute top. I don’t wear dress shoes unless I have to and I don’t own heels.

Relationships take time, patience and understanding. Today’s world we are given instant gratification whether it be via checking our email, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever other social media outlet you use to communicate with the world.  We can’t rush relationships and if we try to well then they probably won’t be authentic or lasting ones. The problem with everything being instant in today’s world is its atrophied us from truly knowing how to have a real face to face conversation. We are too, tied up with checking the alerts on our phones. It’s sad that now we have to specify IRL (in real life) when mentioning a new friend or acquaintance. Sam mentioned that we need to be like the people we want to attract.  If we are constantly playing ourselves as the victim in our life then we’re going to attract fellow complainers and people who constantly bitch. Why attract angry bees when we can attract sweet, soul nourishing honey?  Another point Sam made is that everything we want in life we get through other people, so we have to get out of our comfort shell and socialize. Let’s just say getting out to try to  find a woman to date is very challenging. I’m trying to not get discouraged. Where does a bookworm go whose not into the bar or club scene?

I have never gone to AA before, but she shared one of their acronyms: HALT = Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. This spoke volumes to me because a lot of times we don’t deduce in  a simple way why we are feeling a particular way. I think if we took a brief moment to go over HALT we’d see what could possibly be causing us to feel gross or grumpy and be able to rectify it right away with rehydrating ourselves, getting better sleep and not having so much caffeine. I am guilty in the coffee department.

The author described our dreams being in a closet and figuring out which ones are still true for us and which have been assigned to us by family or friends. Some dreams we need to dust off and drag out of the closet while others we need to put back in till further notice, or let them go, so that someone else can fulfill that dream. Some dreams that have been in my closet are: being a pastor, a novelist, or a teacher. Dreams that have been passed down from family (expectations?) would be college degree, grandkids, etc. I did college for a few years, but then I got married young. College is expensive. It leaves you with a diploma that tells others that you know a body of information and that you can successfully take tests. It might give real world experience, but honestly I can learn things online for free or less that what college costs. Unless I want to become a very specific thing like a teacher in a particular topic, or a doctor, or counselor then I honestly don’t have a huge desire to return to classes and debt at the end. If you can afford to go that’s awesome, but sometimes I think it’s over glamorized.

I have quite a number of ideas. Writing them down in a little notebook is a great way for me to keep them near by for reference and to add when an idea strikes. Recently I was thinking of how I procrastinate writing and working on my novel ideas I have. I thought that even if I only spend 15 minutes a day that’s progress and it’s a small enough amount of time I can fit it in on break at work and work more on it on the weekends if I want or fit in the fifteen minutes. One suggestion Sam gives is for us to set: good, better and best goals. For example my good goal might be to write for 15 minutes a day, with the better goal being 30 minutes and my best goal being an hour, so even if I only sneak in 15 minutes of writing per day, I am still meeting a goal that does add up over time.

I use my Google calendar to keep track of taking my multi-vitamins. But Sam made a great point of writing down everything on my calendar of what I want to do. Even the little things besides appointments. Even writing in ME time is important because a lot of times if we don’t put it on our calendar it won’t happen.

Sam lists things for you to choose from that assist in your personal well-being. The ones that fit me are: aroused, at ease, at home, beaming, beautiful, blessed, calm, cheerful, comfortable, contented, delighted, dreamy, giggly, good-humored, grateful, happy, in-tune, joyous, laid back, laughing, lively, low-key, loving, nice, peaceful, playful, quiet, safe and sound, serene,  sweet-tempered, tranquil and unhurried. She also lists different things that make you who you are and these are the ones that I feel describe me: coloring, day dreaming, drawing, getting a massage, nature walking, organizing, photography, poetry, reading, spending time with animals, walking and writing.  What are things that assist in your well-being and what activities describe you the best?

I don’t want to give away the rest of the awesome exercises and suggestions that Sam offers in this book. If you are in a slump I highly recommend finding a copy of this book! Sometimes I think we like to complicate life to make it come across more exciting when all we’re really doing is stressing ourselves out when we don’t need to. So why don’t we start right where we are? Who wants to join me?

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