As a writer I am a living oxymoron. They say to become a better writer, you must read and read a lot. From newspapers to some of the hardest classics this has always been stressed to me and somehow I could never wrap my head around the idea. I like to read what interests me and keeps me engaged and that happens to be autobiographies. It’s not a secret that I am the biggest fan girl in the world. From musicians to actors and wrestlers to the most obscure YouTube star, there’s always somebody or something for me to obsess over and be a fan of. This fact tends to work against me all too often in looking for material because it takes away from my credibility in the art and paints a picture of a nosy girl looking into people’s business. You say to-ate-toe, and I say to-mot-toe. I find that autobiographical information tends to give me my BEST material because it is exactly the kick in the ass I need to explore myself in a truly vulnerable way. To learn from others is a truly powerful thing. For me seeing the experience from the outside looking in makes the self-experience a lot less daunting.

The latest book I’ve finished is True Love by Jennifer Lopez. Jennifer Lopez is known for not just her great movies and music but also for having some of the most high profile relationships in Hollywood. When you date men like Ben Affleck and Marc Anthony inquiring minds always want to know more. You would think that based off the title it would be the juicy tell-all about her life with these megastars. However, it was not the case. This book dives into portions of the obvious relationships she’s had, but is mostly written about the journey of self-discovery for Jennifer during her Dance Again World Tour in 2012. After reading this book, I found myself dipping into my own struggles with self-love and discovery. You wouldn’t think you’d find such a relatable figure in a Hollywood starlet but I found one. Everyone buys into the need for the fairy tale ending. Nice house, children, a husband or wife. Over the course of time there are always those people that make such things a priority. I’m not going to sit here and lie saying I don’t buy into it as well however after having a few days with this book, I found myself reflecting on much more.

Love outside of yourself is precious. Be it the love of a parent, the love of a family member or friend. The love of a significant other can be the most powerful feeling there is. However, what about the love you can give one self? After looking at the struggles Jennifer Lopez went through in her need for praise and positive reinforcement from others, I find myself relating.

Self-love is something I find myself lacking. I have an abundance of love in family and friends. I have an abundance of love in my relationship with my girlfriend. I am truly lucky in my relationships with others but taking a good look at my relationship with myself, I’m a bit worried. From an early age I’ve found myself aching for approval of others. Be it friends, my mother, or teachers; I always felt my best when I was getting praise. Now as an adult, I find myself struggling with self-confidence. While I know I am perfectly capable of a lot of things and in the last year alone I have proven that to myself, I still find myself second guessing my life too often and relying on the opinions or critique of those around me to get by.

Listening to Jennifer’s explanation of her journey, I want to be able to achieve such emotional and mental goals. While no one is ever perfect and self-doubt is inevitable, I want to be able to say way more often that I trust my gut and that I am fully capable of knowing what’s best for me better than anyone else. I spend far too much time at work and in daily life needy for praise. It’s always been a quality of mine that I don’t like and it’s something I want to work to change. The moral of the story being that sometimes we can find inspiration from the most unlikely of places.

Thank you, Jennifer.