When I bought The Comfort Book by Matt Haigh, I bought myself some sunflowers at the same time in the spirit of comfort.
I look at sunflowers and immediately the world is brighter place, literally. I can’t help but smile, I can’t help but be cheered by how bold and bright they are, I love them. Yeah, I could have waited to have been bought a bunch of sunflowers but why wait? Why deny yourself something that brings a smile and brings comfort?
I’ve always found Matt Haig’s books comforting, The Midnight Library was beautiful, so, The Comfort Book was an auto buy for me.
It’s a series of reflections, it’s filled with things he’s learnt, thoughts, lists, quotes, one liners, philosophies, things he uses to comfort himself. For those who aren’t aware of Matt Haig, he suffered a breakdown in his twenties and planned to kill himself. He’s written and talked openly about his crippling depression and anxiety; The Comfort Book is filled with his ‘life rafts’ that keep him afloat.
It isn’t your average book, read it however the hell you like in whatever order you want, as his note says, “This is a book as messy as life”. There are no rules, read it in one go or dip in and out.
I read it in one go. It’s constantly reassuring, it feels like a warm hug, it now lives on my bedside table, ready to be picked up and thumbed through. It’ll make you smile and remind you that it’s okay to not have it all figured…. absolutely no one has it all figured out.
It’s filled with lines that we could all probably do with hearing, it’s okay to be a mess, it’s okay to be selfish, it’s okay to be bloody human – here’s some of my favourites.
“It’s okay not to make the most of every chunk of time” – a lot of us need to hear this, we live in a world where we’re under pressure to be doing something all the bloody time, it’s a trap I know I fall into.
“Crying releases stress hormones. Swearing increases pain tolerance. Fury can motivate us into action”. I can only assume my pain threshold is through the roof.
“You don’t have to be positive” – I don’t know why we think we have to be constant source of sunshine and lollipops, it is not normal.
“Don’t fear missing parties you would probably want to leave” – I’d like to have heard this in my twenties
“No physical appearance is worth not eating pasta for” – I absolutely concur, I don’t think I’ve ever related to a statement more in my entire life.
Obviously, I did think about the things that comfort me while making my through this book, like the sunflowers.
There’s music that instantly puts me at ease and makes me smile. I hear The Kinks Waterloo sunset and am instantly calm, The Cure will have me singing, Little Mix makes me dance, there’s thousands of indie hits that have me air drumming and bouncing around. Kate Bush Cloudbusting reminds that something good is going to happen, Jimmy Eat World The Middle has the same effect. As I write this, I’ve had Neil Diamond’s Cracklin’ Rosie stuck in my head for a good six hours, and though it is doing my head in, it’s also making laugh, I just keep bellowing “play it now, play it now, play it now my baby”.
There are films I never tire of watching, I could quite happily spend a rainy-day watching Labyrinth, Willow and Edward Scissorhands, even if the last one still manages to reduce me to a blubbering wreck.
I’m happy curled up on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket, with a book, while Scott rubs my feet. I’ll inevitably fall asleep, I’m content.
I comforted by food; she says salivating over the pork that’s currently in the oven. I love filling the end of a garlic bread with spaghetti Bolognese, I enjoy a huge bowl of pasta and pesto, I enjoy sucking the bone after devouring oxtail, I’m minger but it is comforting.
I’m comforted every time I go for walk in the countryside whatever the weather, in fact I quite enjoy walking in the rain.
I’m comforted by thousands of photos.
I’m comforted every time Goddaughter number one gives me a hug and Goddaughter number two doesn’t scream while I’m holding her.
I’m comforted by my friends and family every day. The lengthy phone calls, the funny messages, the silly memes and gifs, and the hugs.
The Comfort Book reminded me that are hundreds of moments of comfort every day, we just miss them or take them for granted, we’re often too busy waiting for the big things. They’re moments that are seemingly small, they aren’t big life changing events, that don’t present themselves as profound, they might feel mundane, it doesn’t mean they’re any less important.
I guess what I’m saying is, buy the damn sunflowers, remember your ‘life rafts’ and pick up this book.
Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear what your comforts are 🙂
Journalist, writer, traveller, music lover, collector of hats, news addict, bookworm