Thursday, September 24, 2015

Syvlie Nathan Shares Young Woman's Self-Discovery in Breaking the Walls

Violently Happy

From inside the quiet safety of the coffee shop, the two women watched the crowded entrance to Dirty Franks. “I can’t believe how busy they are on a Monday night!” Eve put her cappuccino down on the table and gingerly sat down, trying not to spill the steaming liquid. 
Bridget wasn’t as cautious and her own drink sloshed about violently getting the table wet. “You look down. I mean, I know we just met and all but you seemed peppier yesterday.” 
Laughing Eve said, “I can’t imagine anyone looks peppy compared to you.” 
“Ha yeah. I get that a lot. I’m ‘violently happy’ as that old Bjork song goes. But you are totally changing the subject.”
Eve blurted, “Maddie kissed me.” And then shocked that she had actually said it aloud; she clapped her hands over her own mouth.
“No way. Explain!” Bridget demanded. 
Slowly at first, but then with increasing steam; Eve spilled the story. It felt good to have someone to talk; someone to share this crazy happening with. Yet, guilt encompassed her again… it was silly. It was private? “I shouldn’t have said anything…”
“Why not? It’s not like it’s a secret. Everyone in the bar saw, right?"
 “Yes…” shock. Does that make sense?” 
Bridget sighed wistfully and blew the steam from her coffee. “I’ve heard that.” 
Eve frowned “Now what do you mean?” 
Bridget sat up straight as if Eve had interrupted her daydreaming. “Nothing. People talk but I’m sure it doesn’t mean anything. Everyone wants her, of course. Guys, girls, I mean she’s hot, right? You think she’s sexy?” 
Of course. Silly to think she was the only one to feel that way when she saw Maddie. When she was slinging drinks she really owned the bar. It was her stage and all eyes on her. “So… she’s popular…” probably had a million girlfriends. Eve couldn’t believe she had let it mean something for even a second. How na├»ve and foolish could she be?

Breaking the Walls

By Sylvie Nathan

Finding yourself, and what your life will become, is hard. Many may choose a career goal for the future, but it is living life, and all that it entails, that is the hard part... 
Robin Sharma: The starting point of discovering who you are, your gifts, your talents, your dreams, is being comfortable with yourself. Spend time alone. Write in a journal. Take long walks in the woods.

I quickly bonded with Eve, our main character as she began her own road to self-discovery. Because she turned to appropriate books to gain knowledge and encouragement... Of course, if her brother hadn't left his books there when he moved, we don't know whether she would have read them--but we can surmise that the author did...LOL!She introduced Robin Sharma, who I'm choosing to spotlight a little as one of her mentors, but she spends time getting into a number of solid reference books, which she shares with readers... She had discovered one of the problems of reading, however. You spend a lot of time alone...

Of course, she had thought when they--Eve and her little brother, Michael--decided to move to the big city, that she would have his company. That was true, but soon he had moved on to his career goals and had enrolled in business school, which was far enough away that he'd have to move out... And two years had passed. Bad...especially since she had been the one who had dreamed of moving!

After Michael had left, she started reading his motivational books... 

Tim Ferriss: “What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”

Eve knew she was going to have to initiate her own actions, having gained no real friends, even at work, since she'd moved!

Straightening her spine, Eve closed her eyes and groped around in the box until she pulled out a book at random. “Unlimited Power” by Tony Robbins. Okay Tony, she thought as she flipped through the pages, tell me what to do. 
Her fingers came to rest at: “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” 
Eve frowned at the page. Invisible. That’s exactly how she felt: invisible in her own life. She was drifting unnoticed through the days; invisible to the happy crowds laughing and walking arm and arm down the street. What sort of goal should she set to become visible? Surely “become visible” was too nebulous and redundant a goal. You can’t use a word within its own definition. Perhaps “become less shy”? No… still too hard to quantify. Eve chewed on her thumb and thought.
What was the worst thing in her life right now? Annoyed, she slammed the book down and looked around her. “This!” she said aloud. The words sounded loud and awkward in the silent apartment. “Why I am I here, alone in this-- this box when I had all these plans?

So Eve set out to fulfill her plans! Right then, forgetting to even put down Tony's book, she took off and headed for the nearest social setting, a bar which she soon learned was called, "Dirty Frank's."

It was only 11 a.m. so there weren't too many people, still she hesitantly opened the door and went in...

And there she met Bridget...  

“Excuse me?” she called out to the bartender, desperately trying to wipe liquid off the cover. The bartender was at the back of the room, leaning over the bar and talking animatedly to the group in the booth by the jukebox. Eve tried again but her soft voice wasn’t getting anywhere. 
Suddenly, hands wrapped around her book. “Hey. I’ve got cocktail napkins,” said a chirpy voice. Eve turned to see a petite woman with a bright smile and a fun asymmetrical haircut. “Thank you” Eve murmured as together they mopped down the back cover and then the bar top. 
“Hey! No problem. It’s hard to start something new.” “How… how did you know?”
“I’m Bridget by the way,” “Eve” Bridget extended her hand and they shook. Wetly. Bridget started laughing. “Well, you are obviously new here or you would never put anything down without checking  first. This place is infamous for its wet tables. Everyone at the hospital calls it ‘Dirty Franks’.” 
“Oh” Eve said, pulling a face.

And then came the fateful night when Eve decided to invite Michael to meet with her and Bridget, who, when she had met Eve and learned that Michael was her brother, had admitted that she had a crush on Michael... Eve was thinking she was matchmaking; she learned, instead, that Bridget had once been involved with Maddie, the bartender. It wouldn't have been so bad if Bridget had told Eve, when she'd admitted that Maddie had kissed her. Now she was shocked, quickly apologized to her brother, and ran out of the bar...

Becoming friends is hard and Bridget had helped her with that... Could Eve accept what had happened and move on? Even then, was Eve interested in a relationship that involved public dating? I think the story presents a wonderful opportunity for young girls who are exploring their sexuality to check out many of the issues of becoming involved in a lesbian relationship. Especially when there are adult men who proved they can be just as rude, crude and arrogant as young bullies in grade school are!

Spending time developing Eve's insecurities as an invisible person first, I believe, is an important part of this book. Eve had to learn and develop her own self-esteem and acceptance before she would be able to deal with the many issues of becoming involved in a more intimate relationship. Nathan presents a sensitive, openly candid exploration of our insecurities, in all phases of our lives, and encourages motivational information through quotes from many different authors, appropriate to the issue the young girl, Eve, is facing. It is well-done and well-researched and I applaud the author for a book that is appropriate for teens on through to adults! After all we all have our own fears and need to learn how to break down our walls... don't we?

For young girls facing similar decisions as Eve, I call this a must-read...But no matter what, it's highly recommended.


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Sylvie Nathan was born in Toronto, Canada. Sylvie lives in Seaforth, Ontario with her wife, their child and two cats (George and Darya). Sylvie is an author of lesbian romance and thrillers. In her free time, she likes to meditate, read, draw, clean the house and go on trips with her family.

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