What I’m Drinking: cheap Riesling. It’s a solid white and tastes like adjusted expectations.
I would be remiss to not begin this post with the admission that I am, indeed, a straight, cis, white, college-educated woman who is adding yet another voice to the tangled and problematic web that is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love. However, I humbly offer these reactions and thoughts on certain aspects of her work, while recognizing completely that this memoir was faux-travel writing, and used people of color and their cultures as a removed and exotic-ised background. There’s a fantastic article articulating this in the Boston Review. (Y’all, the Boston Review is dope; just found it!!!)
Okay!! So, I finished college in May 2016. Within the next six or so months, all of my closest friends and I experienced varying degrees of romantic heartache. At one point in my life, I was so proud of finally getting over one particular breakup that I wrote down what I thought were the big steps, the ultimate truths that would always help me heal. When faced with my last breakup, I couldn’t find that damn paper and I never typed it into my phone or anything so like an IDIOT I had to reinvent the wheel.
Here are all of the steps I remember:
1. step one: Demonize the person you broke up with.
I know, harsh, right? Many of my friends have balked and resisted this one, but I SWEAR that if you don’t remind yourself of their flaws, regardless of which one of you initiated it or did something “wrong” or whatever, you will never never ever ever ever never ever get over them and that’s a promise.
2. Re-read Eat Pray Love. Just do. It makes you feel good. She goes through a breakup, you’re going through a breakup, just read it.
3. don’t remember 🙂 but hey, that first step was gold. You’re welcome.
On to Liz, one of my idols.
I don’t tend to reread books often, because I’m addicted to acquiring new ones. Eat Pray Love
is an exception. (So is The Little Prince
, shoutout to Saint-Exupéry for this goodness).
Anyway, here are some passages I keep coming back to:
“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert
, Eat, Pray, Love
“When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert
, Eat, Pray, Love
Beyond the lush language and appealing escapism this book purports/actually has, the first time I read it was the first time I encountered a lot of the radical self-acceptance and search for inner peace-type stuff Gilbert embraces in her writing. Her book is undeniably self-absorbed, but sometimes don’t we need a little dose of that to be able to give of ourselves? Selfish self-love. You gotta be selfish to end a dying relationship. You gotta love yourself with an intensity that pulls you up out of the darkness. It’s not always enough, it’s not always the answer. However, it might be the first step to getting through dark times. You’ll always be stuck with yourself, blah blah other platitudes, etc.
If you don’t love yourself right now, and I mean down to your toes, every frizzy hair on your head, crazy, giddy, can’t stop smiling because you’re so great and you get to hang out with yourself love, then let me love you! I’m a lover by nature.
Did I make a point here? Will I ever stop being self-conscious about my writing? Stay tuned.
Gossip Girl, I mean Jen