Dominique Browning's Journey to Slow Love
By Karen Ballum on September 07, 2011
BlogHer Original Post
Have you ever found yourself suddenly unemployed? I have. So has Dominique Browning. The difference between the two of us is that my reaction was to chop off my hair and Browning's was to write a book about it -- Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas and Found Happiness. She's clearly the more savvy of the two of us.
The first few days you are unemployed, you are kind of in a haze. This is not a good time to have an already scheduled appointment and make a somewhat drastic hair decision. The last job I left wasn't ... I was doing to say it wasn't an important job, but that's not what I really mean. It wasn't a defining job. It wasn't a career path for me. My rebound time was minimal. One bad hair decision (though it really was a lovely cut), a few days lounging on the couch watching movies, a few comfort food meals, and I was good to go again.
I was also lucky. I was already working another part-time job on the side and was working on a few short-term contracts. I put out feelers in my network, and I was able to get my feet back under me quickly. Browning didn't quite have that same advantage.
Instead she was in a role that really was defining. She had gone into work as the editor of the Conde Nast publication House & Garden and came out unemployed. It wasn't just that she found herself without a job -- the magazine folded. Her entire world ceased to exist. It's kind of hard not to want to wallow, just a bit, when that happens.
Browning is, in a way, lucky that she does get to wallow. She gets to be miserable and then find her way out of it. Most of us don't have the financial means to not work (or at least do only a bit of work) for the first year after our jobs disappear. It's not that she didn't try. Her unemployment also happened just as the bottom was falling out of the publishing industry. I guess that makes her extra lucky she had that financial cushion.
Through the year she learns to do so many things, often for the second time. She re-learns how to find the joy in a classic piece of music. She re-learns (or maybe really learns for the first time) how to cook for herself. She learns that she deserves more than a past relationship has given her ... even if you spend a long time thinking she's not going to get there. She sells a house. She plants a new garden.
Most of all, Dominique Browning takes you on a journey. It's not always a happy or easy journey. There are times when you want to hide her pajamas. There are times when you want to tell her that if you she mentions Stroller one more time you are going to scream. But there are truths in this memoir as well. Writing really is our therapy, and, in the end, Dominique finds the most important thing of all in her writing -- herself.
We're trying something a bit new in BlogHer Book Club this month. You're not going to see a bunch of reviews of Dominique Browning's Slow Love on BlogHer.com. What we're going to do is we're going to talk about this book. I'll be leading several discussions a week about Slow Love. Browning gave us plenty to discuss -- from gardening to love to slow-cookers -- because her book really is about life and finding our place in it. I hope that you'll hop on over to our Slow Love page and join in the conversation.
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