I’m flying home from Orlando, after finishing the initial leg of my very first book tour, and I have the song “I Can’t Do It Alone,” from the musical Chicago stuck in my head, particularly Velma Kelly’s line, “I simply cannot do it alone.”

I’ve talked quite a few times during these author events and on podcasts about my capital C: Community of Writers (the name of the first writing workshop I ever attended) and my little c: community of writers, who are the writer friends I’ve made over the past several years who have helped me and All I Know get to this point. And this tour has made me so appreciative for the additional, greater community of people I have in my life, all the friends and family who showed up for my book events, making me feel so supported and loved. The community that now includes readers of my book…how fun is that?

I’ve always been a person who values independence, who hates asking for help or relying on other people. For whatever reason, all of that felt weak and wrong and just icky for a long, long time. I’ve loved being the one providing help and being relied upon, so it’s not that I’ve ever felt it was wrong as a concept, just wrong for me.

I do not feel like that today.

Over the past few weeks, I have soaked in how good it feels NOT to do it alone. I was so moved by the impressive crowd who showed up in Fremont for my launch event. So appreciative to Caroline and Claire for leading interesting conversations about writing and the book…and for endorsing it…and for encouraging and guiding me in writing it in the first place! Grateful for my friends and family who turned out for my other events and who read the book and then shared their thoughts and feelings and reactions to it with me (and on Goodreads and Amazon and Instagram and Facebook).

It is so much more fun not to do it all alone! I get it now. It feels nice to be held and lifted up by others. And none more so than my husband and boys. Jake talking with me for an hour about the book and giving me feedback on plans for my readings. Casey texting me from Norway to wish me luck on events. Christopher leading a rich and wonderful discussion with me at Writers Block Bookstore (and my dad hosting another one at The Family Book Shop a few days later). And Ken in my corner the whole way, going above and beyond for me the past few months. It’s meant so much for him to be by my side.

What in the world was the appeal of trying to do it all myself?

I’ve found so much personal validation from being the one meeting others’ needs. Doing for others quelled the nagging, always right-below-the-surface shame that I might be selfish, which was always the worst possible thing to me. And I still do think that being selfish is a bad thing. But also, I am not selfish. I do sometimes choose myself, and that is not the same thing at all. I let Ken and my boys and my friends and my parents and siblings give to me, and it felt great! It FEELS great.

In a moment of synchronicity, as I was thinking through this blog on my flight home, I was also reading Taylor Jenkins’ Reid’s Malibu Rising, which has this quote on the next to last page, “letting people love and care for you is a part of how you love and care for them.” I couldn’t agree more.