I have never been big on war movies, or books about weapons, planes, military experiences or the likes, but I saw this book at Barnes and Noble earlier this spring and it spoke to me, coaxing me to buy it and to explore the pages. Within the current climate I am actively in search of any of all things that will unlock new knowledge. I want to drink in the experiences of other Americans, other humans, I want to know their lives and build empathy for their struggles. 2017 has been a mental health nightmare for me but if anything is keeping me a float it is the new friends that I am able to know through the pages of books. There is no social anxiety in meeting these new people through their written stories, there is no getting dressed and leaving the house, there is no worrying about the facial reactions that I might have - in essence my books are friends with literary benefits.
So Mary Jennings Hegar and I are unlikely friends but I could not be more glad that I picked up her story. I flew through the book with voracity! Normally I am reading at least three books at a time (because #AdultADD) but once I picked this one up I basically didn't put it down until it was finished. The story hit nerves, produced tears and empowered my soul. I thank her for writing it, I thank the universe for putting it in my path and I urge you to pick it up. SHOOT LIKE A GIRL would be a great gift for a friend joining up, a retired vet or anyone who thinks that the military and the lives of it's soldiers doesn't have anything to do with them. Knowing human's experiences, learning about their motivations, triumphs, failures and what makes them tick is key to building bridges and bringing this country back together.
I don't like to give away a lot about the books I encourage others to read, I like to share my experience, the way it made me feel in hopes that someone else will want to explore it but here is a little nugget of why MJH's writing was so relatable to me and an example of the kinds of powerful sharing that she does in this autobiographical book.
It's an intense two and a half chapters that lead up to the following sentence,
"I would never again let someone convince me he could do whatever he wanted to my body against my will. I was truly free." Jennings and I are just two girls who might not have anything else in common but this, we both experienced turning points in our lives that symbolize the moment of conscious reality that our bodies shouldn't be sacrificial.
MJH is a woman who overcame countless obstacles in her dream towards becoming a pilot, she persisted and used her strength for so much good. I aspire to be as strong as her, I applaud that even after an epic career so chose to use her experiences to enhance the future for females serving our country. This book, as unlikely as the content was to resonate with me, touched a special part of my heart and I will forever feel a kindred connection to MJH.
MJH also has a TEDTALK! Which you should know by now I LOVE!