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Intro of A Self-Help Book

When I started writing this self help book, I was sitting on my $20 thrift-found sofa, with no pants and barely any plans on what I’d be doing with my life for the next 5 years. As I desperately attempted to squeeze all of my toothpaste out of its tube to avoid buying more due to unpaid overdraft fees, I realized I was done with this life. My financial mistakes would no longer define who I was, even though in the eyes of the government, some were punishable under criminal law. But I kept pushing.

white sofa in a living room with house plant

. . .

I started my one-figure business Yearn to Yarn, to give voice to a community of troubled people who longed to knit but felt embarrassed that they were like 32 and should definitely start taking their lives in another direction. But I fell in this category, and I knew I wasn't alone.

I will never forget my first customer. When my first customer inquired about my services (through a Craig’s list ad) it wasn’t obvious what he wanted- he kept sending requests for money, and I patiently explained to him what a business was, and that the money would be sent to me in exchange for exported yarn from Scotland. But he wanted to know me on a deeper level.

Since I was raised with the sentiment that the customer is always right, I listened to the gods reminding me so, and answered the series of questions this curious person kept asking me. We talked about my location, my address (down to the street number) and eventually my passwords and system preferences. It was as if we were connected. I felt like he knew everything about me.

We’re all humans trying to make it here, and he was, after all, my very first customer.

Call it a case of classic oversharing, and sure, maybe it was. But I owed him the world- he noticed me. The following morning, my credit card was compromised in a horrible coincidence.

Later that evening, the great creator spoke to me. Though his chosen mode of communication was through a fast food billboard, his message read “Free Bonus Pizza.” Free bonus pizza? I couldn’t have asked for a clearer sign. What I read that day was “Free yourself.” A free life to live, alive. To recklessly order takeout for the rest of time without repercussion. To smoke marijuana and feel something. To check in with my inner-critic and swear out loud at it, even if in a public restroom. To finally, finally, tailgate my enemy (my banker who won’t loan me $40,000) into the sunset.

The first lesson of this book? Advice will present itself, even when you’re riding the highway with an expired license and $45 to your name. Just don’t try too hard, but somehow work harder.

Copyright © 2023 Oona O'Brien. All rights reserved.


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