“Why Not Me?” is Mindy Kaling’s second book. This book has everything you want as Mindy writes short essays on just about every topic you can think of. There’s even a chapter about what to bring to one of her dinner parties. I would LOVE to go to a dinner party hosted by Mindy and now I know what to bring! So helpful!
There is some actual useful life advice Mindy includes in this book too. I related to almost everything she was saying. Mindy says some of the most real things that I’ve ever heard a celebrity say. She admits to her flaws and confesses to what she’s ashamed of. Nothing is off limits in the book.
Here’s some wisdom about life Mindy includes that I found most relatable:
“As I got older, I got craftier and less obvious, but I’ve always put a lot of energy and effort into people liking me. That’s why I’ve never understood the compliment “effortless.” People love to say: “She just walked into the party, charming people with her effortless beauty.” I don’t understand that at all. What’s so wrong with effort, anyway? It means you care.”
There will always be people who don’t like you and it’s important to accept that. However, it’s normal to want people to like you, and it’s important that you show effort into making people like you. This quote isn’t saying you should bend over backwards to try to force someone into liking you. Mindy says in the book that in the 7th grade she moved schools and on the first day she handed out Skittles to her classmates so they’d like her. You don’t have to hand out Skittles to make people like you (though I’m not opposed to the idea). You do, however, have to be a nice person and put in some effort if you want people to like you. You have to show some effort into being a decent person. It shows that you care. Who cares if it looks like you’re trying? People today think it’s wrong to show effort. Why? Who cares? Like Mindy says, showing effort means that you care, and there’s nothing wrong with showing that you care.
“If someone really wants to see you, they always find a way. Always.”
Sadly, this is all too true. Sometimes your “best friend” isn’t actually your best friend. You’ll learn that when the effort stops, and suddenly you’re not a priority anymore. It’s hard to accept, especially if you’re holding out hope that things will change. That boy you’ve been seeing who keeps putting you off on getting together, sadly, he probably really doesn’t want to see you as much as you do him. Same goes with friends. If they keep putting you off on hanging out, they really don’t care that much about hanging out with you. I’ve found that no one is really ever that busy. There’s always time in the day to fit someone into your schedule. If they really care about you, and want to see you, they’ll find a way to pencil you into their busy life.
It’s hard to come to this conclusion, but it’s an important conclusion to come to. There’s no point in wasting your time on someone who can’t make the time or effort into seeing you. There’s always time.
“The great thing about true best friends is that when you go MIA for a few months, they inquire but they don’t press. Best friends know the power of infatuation but also how quickly it dissipates. You just have to wait it out. And then afterward, tease them about it for decades.”
We all have these friends, and these friends are some of the best friends you’ll ever have. Being in college, I’ve been separated from my best friend for months on end. We’re both busy and sometimes get lost in our lives, but I take comfort in knowing that she’s always there and will always be there. Even if we do go months without talking, when we do talk, it’s like we haven’t been apart. If we haven’t talked in a while, one of us will always message the other to see what’s going on. I consider my closest friends the ones who’ll message me after not hearing from me for a while, just to see what’s going on in my life. That’s when you know you’ve got a friend that really cares about you.
“Soul mates” is what you aim for, but soup snakes is what you get sometimes.”
“Soup snakes” is a term used in “The Office” when Michael is reunited with his ex-girlfriend and is pretending he doesn’t have feelings for her anymore. He can’t read his own handwritten on a note he wants to give her. Instead it says: “Holly and I are…soup snakes.” Then Michael goes, “That doesn’t make sense […] we’re soul mates. Holly and I are soul mates.” Mindy is talking about the opposite side of this. She’s referring to her relationship with BJ Novak. They’re not soul mates because that doesn’t make sense for them. They’re soup snakes instead.
Some relationships are weird, especially relationships with guys. They’re not your boyfriend, but not exactly your best friend either. You’re not soul mates, because that doesn’t make sense. Instead you’re soup snakes. I had to read this section of the book several times before I figured it out. I have a soup snake in my life. We’re not soul mates because that doesn’t make sense for our relationship. Instead we’re soup snakes, a term to describe a relationship that you have no other words for.
I like this better than “just friends” because that sounds like something you tell your parents because you don’t want them to know you’re actually hooking up.
“Though I am a generally happy person who feels comfortable in my skin, I do beat myself up because I am influenced by a societal pressure to be thin. All the time. I feel it the same way anybody who picks up a magazine and sees Keira Knightley’s elegantly bony shoulder blades poking out of a backless dress does. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen my shoulder blades once. Honestly, I’m dubious that any part of my body could be so sharp and firm as to be described as a “blade.” I feel it when I wake up in the morning and try on every single pair of my jeans and everything looks bad and I just want to go back to sleep. But my secret is: even though I wish I could be thin, and that I could have the ease of lifestyle that I associate with being thin, I don’t wish for it with all of my heart. Because my heart is reserved for way more important things.”
I love how honest Mindy is about this subject. It’s great so many women celebrities are coming out saying they’re happy about the way they look even though they’re not perfect, but Mindy has a different opinion, a real opinion. No matter what you look like, you’re not always going to be comfortable with the way you look. That’s normal. What’s important is that you don’t let your appearance define you, or let it consume your life. It’s okay to have insecurities, but don’t let them take over your life.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished that I was thinner. What girl hasn’t? But we need to listen to Mindy. We don’t need to wish for it with all our heart. Our hearts should be reserved for important things. Our appearance is not one of these things.
“I can’t for the life of me not eat something that I want to eat. You know how if you turned on a faucet in your sink to wash your hands, the idea of leaving the bathroom without turning it off is insane? That’s how I am about ignoring delicious food.”
Mindy eats. Mindy LOVES to eat. She talks throughout the book about food. She’s practically keeping McDonald’s in business. All I have to say is, You go girl! You eat those nuggets and you enjoy them! We shouldn’t have to feel bad for loving food. Food is great! If you’re offered free cookies outside the library, take them! (If it is in fact legit cookies from a legit company. Not some weirdo handing out homemade cookies. Use common sense.)
Never feel bad about eating food, especially if you’re offered free food. If you want to eat it, eat it!
“Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled.”
One of the most important chapters in this book is about having confidence. I related the most to this chapter because I’ve never been the most confident person. Over the past few years, I’ve come a LONG way from where I used to be. I used to be the girl who would come over to your house and be afraid to ask for a glass of water even though I was dying of thirst. It’s hard to gain confidence, but Mindy shows us how to get it.
Work hard and you’ll get confidence. Mindy says she gets asked where she gets her confidence from. She gets it from working hard. Confidence is like respect; you have to earn it.
“People’s reaction to me is sometimes “Uch, I just don’t like her. I hate how she thinks she is so great.” But it’s not that I think I’m so great. I just don’t hate myself. I do idiotic things all the time and I say crazy stuff I regret, but I don’t let everything traumatize me. And the scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don’t hate themselves. So that’s why you need to be a little bit brave.”
Why is it that if you’re a woman and don’t hate some aspect of yourself, people are thrown off by you? Why do we have to hate something about ourselves? This isn’t a right of passage into womanhood. People are uncomfortable if you’re confident and don’t hate yourself. It’s like that scene in “Mean Girls” where they’re standing in front of the mirror and picking apart what they hate about their bodies. They stare at Caty, wanting her to say something and she feels pressured into saying something even though she really can’t think of anything she hates. She just knows she has to say something or be judged.
Mindy is saying that we need to be brave, and not follow the norm of hating ourselves. We can’t let petty things destroy us.
“People get scared when you try to do something, especially when it looks like you’re succeeding. People do not get scared when you’re failing. It calms them.”
Don’t let people stop you from achieving your dreams. They’re just scared that you’re succeeding.
Thanks, Mindy Kaling for this book full of wisdom. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out.