This week I read a recently published book that I found to be an extremely compelling, inspiring, and personal book called The Girl in the Red Boots by Dr. Judith Ruskay Rabinor. I finished it several days ago and I am still thinking about the valuable and insightful lessons I was able to glean from it. The book is officially about the authors journey with her mother and ultimately, how she made peace with her and their unique relationship. Interwoven throughout the book as well are vignettes from her clients. Dr. Rabinor is a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders and the patients she highlights in her book struggle with these devastating illnesses. There is so much to absorb and learn from the book. It is both painfully and refreshingly honest, with such candor and frankness.
One of the most meaningful realizations from the book for me was about perspective. We’ve talked before about how eating disorder risk factors influence people, how the same risk for one person may not result in an eating disorder, while for someone else, it can be volatile and dangerous. We’ve mentioned the idea of how a person internalizes a message or how an experience effects their understanding of it as well as how they respond to it. This book takes us on a journey of growth from the starting point of a limited, personal perspective of Dr. Rabinor for her mother, to a place of understanding, sympathy, and appreciation for her mother’s own journey into who she is and how she got there. The book makes us give pause and really think about our own relationships with our mothers. It allows us to appreciate and acknowledge their perspectives, experiences, and how they were raised in our valuation and judgement of them, but most importantly in how we relate to and love them. It allows us to take a step back from our interpretations and understandings of what transpired and see things as our mothers have, in a more holistic, complete way. This is such a beautiful and inspiring lesson.
Logically, of course, we understand that our mothers are the sum of their collective experiences, but practically we don’t often internalize or fully appreciate what that means or how we can internalize and harness that. The overall theme of compassion, not only for our mothers, but for ourselves and what we’ve each experienced is both refreshing and uplifting.
And this book is not just for applicable to the mothers and daughter relationship, rather it is for anyone in any type of relationship with another person. It acknowledges how painful experiences and circumstances can leave emotional scars, yet at the same time, gives us a refreshing and different perspective from which to approach these very real and legitimate traumas, how we can go from pain and grief to gratitude and acceptance.
My initial interest in this book was in reading about the eating disorder patients, their struggles, and how Dr. Rabinor helped them, but I feel like I learned so much more about my own life and journey as well the realization that healing is really a never-ending, ongoing process and that that is perfectly ok.
I highly recommend this book.