When I approached my book tour, I decided to focus on living in the moment. After all, how many people get to actually go on a 20 city book, traveling the country and meeting their readers? I wanted to really be present on this book tour, rather than freaking out about what might be ahead or reliving what might have already happened.
So when I finished my chat at Connecticut College in New London, I was shocked when Editor-in-Pink Lauren (who is also my roadie on this leg of the journey) said, “You can relax now. You don’t have to do any public speaking for the next week.” Say what? We were about to hop on a train to spend six days in New York City! What did she mean I didn’t have any public speaking? But apparently, she spoke the truth.Strangely blank
Because I hadn’t even looked ahead at my schedule more than one day at a time, I didn’t realize that we would be spending a whole week in Manhattan without one book signing, college chat, women’s conference, or other public venue. My New York friends on Twitter and Facebook and Owning Pink were all asking how they could come and see me speak, how they could buy a book and get it signed, how they could meet me in person -- but alas. My schedule was strangely blank.
Now, I won’t get into details to explain why I was spending a week in the same city where my publisher, my agent, my publicist, and a whole bunch of my peeps live. I won’t name names or play the blame game -- but clearly, the ball got dropped. Suffice it to say that the Universe must have wanted me to learn a lesson.
So what happened? Well, first, I had a much-needed meltdown and got very, very swampy (Mama Gena’s code word for “wading around in the swamp and crying”). I had just left my daughter that morning and after we’d been apart for three hours, she called me and said, “Mama, I’ve been crying for three days.” Uh, me too, darling.
So when I heard that my schedule was basically free with the exception of some radio shows that I could do from home and some social visits with people I love, I just wanted to go home. I wasn’t planning to give up on the whole book tour, but if I could spend those six days with my family instead of sharing a one-bedroom apartment with my lovely friend Wendy, why couldn’t I do that?I should be rejoicing
Then the junket juggernaut heard that Lissa was melting down and swooped in to give me pep talks. I should be so grateful. My book tour was going fabulously well. I was getting 60-70 people showing up at all my appearances, which is apparently kick-ass turnout (rumor has it that many book tours consist of five or six people showing up at some lame bookstore event where nobody really cares). Bottom line -- I should be rejoicing, rather than crying.
As you might imagine, the pep talks only led to more tears. By that point, I hadn’t slept more than five hours per night. I was eating lunch at 4:00pm and dinner at midnight. I was learning to navigate public speaking and sweet but confrontational stalkers and separation from my family, my bed, my green juice, and everything else in the world that grounds me. Needless to say, I wasn’t in a good place to get handled.
Some well-meaning members of my team intimated that I was sounding like a bratty diva, stomping my foot and begging to go home. Others felt like I was totally justified in feeling frustrated and validated my desire to go home. But long story short, those responsible for making this tour a success told me I had to just suck it up and make the best of a less than ideal situation.
So as the train rolled across the bridge into Manhattan, I faced the next week with firm resolve. And a commitment to realigning my expectations. Maybe the week wasn’t going to look the way I expected. Maybe I wouldn’t be doing a book signing at some cool indie bookstore and appearing on the Today Show and speaking to college women at NYU as part of the Monistat-sponsored Ask The Girlfriend Gyno tour. But I would take New York by the vagina nonetheless.So What Did I Do?
My first day in New York, I was scheduled to film a video with Regena Thomashauer of Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, and when I told her how swampy I was feeling, she turned into nurturing Mama Bear and helped me shift my whole attitude. Along with advice from Dr. Christiane Northrup, who wrote the foreword for What’s Up Down There?, I committed to DOING less and learning to RECEIVE more, to be less sperm, more egg. I also decided that I was going to ROCK New York City and have the time of my life, which I did!Mama Gena’s Inner Circle
Mama Gena invited me to answer Q&A for her Inner Circle, 60 Sister Goddesses who hugged me and loved me and infused me with exactly the kind of sisterly love I needed like a long, cool drink of water. The next day, my awesome literary agent Barbara Poelle arranged an impromptu book signing/ Q&A session at the Irene Goodman Agency where she works. We dressed in pink, sipped wine, giggled, and talk A LOT about vaginas. Mama Gena also arranged another book signing party at Kush, a night club right next to the Pussy Palace, Mama Gena’s headquarters. Lauren and I also hoofed it around to every Borders and Barnes & Noble in the city, signing their books so the red-cheeked, nervous clerks could slap an “Autographed Copy” sticker on the book. When I introduced myself to one of the clerks, she said, “OMG! You’re Lissa Rankin? I LOVE your book” and got all googly-eyed. She made my day. I felt like a total rock star.Kickin’ Connections
In addition to signing a bunch of books in spite of not having any official New York book signing, I hooked up with some awesome women to chat, laugh, network, conspire, collaborate, and basically have a grand-ol’-time. I had sushi with Anne Fulenwider and Sophia Moura, two killer, sassy, creative, inspiring editors at Marie Claire who are going to make sure Marie Claire writes something about vaginas and my book. I had dinner with Kamy Wicoff, the founder of SheWrites.com, an awesome site dedicated to the needs of female writers. I took a hike with Sister Goddess/advertising genius Danielle Vieth, had lunch with the lovely Kate Northrup Moller, laughed on a street corner with Stratejoy founder Molly Mahar, shared war stories and a meal with sassy sex therapist and fellow physician Madeleine Castellanos, went to the ballet with film producer/screenwriter/Sister Goddess Wendy Sax, went to a birthday party for my First For Women magazine editor Maressa Brown, got an energy healing/craniosacral/love session with Sister Goddess Melanie Ericksen, and got to be the first to hear the song that singer/songwriter Marissa Levy wrote for her biggest fan, my four year old daughter Siena. And had I had more time, I would have hung out with Peg Rosen, a vagina-friendly freelance writer who has interviewed me several times, Julie Ryan Evans, who writes for Café Mom, and maybe even Kris Carr, the crazy sexy goddess who founded CrazySexyLife.com who I just got introduced to today via email. Looking back at this paragraph, I’m blown away by how COOL my friends are. I mean -- seriously! And none of these pleasurable activities could have happened if I had the booked schedule I imagined having in NYC.Interviews
In addition to having a whole lotta fun (and maybe one too many margaritas), I also did a lot of media interviews. I got interviewed about some juicy “below the belt” stuff for Women’s Health magazine. I talked about vulvas and Volvos on an Irish radio station. I was interviewed for Blisstree.com about sex, aging, vaginas, and mojo. Al Cole’s Radio & Romance interviewed me about how we can love vaginas and treat them with reverence, honoring the divine feminine within us all. And I did a few blog interviews.Making The Most of Down Time
Most importantly, I slept eight hours a night, found time to pray, expressed gratitude, caught up on email, drank green juice, chatted with friends, hiked every day, celebrated with my agent and editor, and most importantly -- DIGESTED what had happened during the first week of my book tour. I spent a boatload of time in Central Park with filmmaker Jayne Jeffrey (who is interested in creating a documentary about my journey). She rolled camera while I cried, processed, reflected, and answered her very insightful questions. In other words, I got therapy on camera and got to heal in the process.Book Tour As Healing
What Lauren, Jayne and I all realized is that this book tour is, in many ways, a metaphor for our lives. We had no idea that this tour would also be a tour of self-discovery, that we would be challenged in ways we never imagined, pushed beyond our wildest limit,s and inspired to live more fully than we ever thought we could. In other words, we’re walking the walk, living our truth, and finding it harder than we ever thought it would be. But we’re also realizing we’re stronger than we ever imagined, that we’re more committed than we thought possible, that WE ARE WOMEN. HEAR US ROAR.Onward
Next up, we go to DC, then Baltimore, and then I have full schedule of book tour events in my neck of the woods -- the Bay area. Lauren will move on to grieve for her mother, who died a year ago and whose anniversary is soon approaching. Jayne will go back to her husband in San Diego and reconnect with me when I’m at the S Factor retreat October 21-24. And I will go home to my family, to kiss my daughter, take hikes on my home soil, get it on with my husband, sleep in my own bed, drink green juice, and ground into the touchstones that will fuel me to move forth.
But I discovered something crazy on this leg of the journey. Who knew I could find my grounding in New York City? I always said that putting Lissa in New York was like giving Lissa cocaine, when Lissa needs Valium. But this time, New York was my Valium. Who knew I could find my center in the midst of eight million people? But I did? How? I’m not exactly sure. But it had a lot to do with sisterhood.Highs and Lows
Lauren asked me today to share my highs and lows. What were the best parts of this week? What were the worst? For sure, the best part was watching my people rally to support me, in spite of the challenges. I felt SO supported, so LOVED, so honored and appreciated and nurtured. Mama Gena and my agent Barbara Poelle and Sister Goddess Wendy Sax, who put me up in her home and slept on a futon so I could catch up on sleep in her goddessy bed all made me feel so blessed (*wiping tears from my eyes*). Maybe this leg of the journey was necessary, to put me in touch with what I need to get me through the next two months, to remind me how much I have to be grateful for, to recharge me for what lies ahead.
New York was a transfusion for me. It was like blood, like oxygen, refilling me with exactly what I needed to move forward. So looking back, I can only smile, thinking back to my meltdown, reflecting upon what I thought was total failure. How brilliant am I to have conjured just exactly what I needed at just the time I needed it? How awesome am I to have invited my sisters to nurture me when I needed to be nurtured? How powerful am I to have created just the environment Jayne and Lauren and I all needed to recharge our batteries so we could plunge forth into the next few days and serve the mission we’re destined to fulfill?
In other words, how fabulous is the Universe for giving us just what we need, even when it didn’t look like what we expected?
Oh yeah, baby. BRING IT ON.
Dr. Lissa Rankin is an OB/GYN physician, an author, a nationally-represented professional artist, and the founder of Owning Pink, an online community committed to building authentic community and empowering women to get- and keep- their "mojo". Owning Pink is all about owning all the facets of what makes you whole- your health, your sexuality, your spirituality, your creativity, your career, your relationships, the planet, and YOU. Dr. Rankin is currently redefining women’s health at the Owning Pink Center, her practice in Mill Valley, California. She is the author of What's Up Down There? Questions You'd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend (St. Martin's Press, September 2010).
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