Eat. Pray. Love.
If you work with me, chances are you’ve heard me raving about this book. It was a complete fluke that I bought it; I was at Naples airport on my way home (by myself) and I’d already finished my only book I hadn’t read on my iPad ( The Elegant Art of Falling Apart by Jessica Jones – AWESOME read) and I was bored waiting alone. So I wondered into the newsagents and bought the only 2 books that looked half decent that were written in English. One was ‘The a Day before Happiness’ by Erri de Luca, the second ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I knew there was a movie adaptation with the original pretty woman, one Ms. Julia Roberts. I’d seen bits and bobs of the movie, I knew it was about a woman who went travelling. But that was it. Now, I’m not gonna sit here and write a blurb on the book, that’d be a bit boring. I am however, gonna talk about how rad the book is.
I believe that Liz and I (that’s right, I call her Liz. We’re pals in my head) are kindred spirits. She goes off travelling in search of answers, in search of some kind of equilibrium. And, Lord knows, that is what I am always doing. She meets some weird and wonderful people along the way – travelling is awesome for that – and she learns some pretty cool tings too.
I love a book that makes me think, and EPL does just that. I felt like I was going on her journey with her and as she learnt lessons, so did I (I realise that sounds a bit cray cray but you know, I felt involved) There are some passages in there that really rang true with me. The first one is this…
“People think a soulmate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soulmate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soulmate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tears your walls down and smack you awake. But to live with a soulmate forever? Nah, too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life to reveal another layer of yourself to you and then they leave. And thank God for it”
As a girl, you are fed the “happily ever after” dream from when you are small. All the Disney movies have a ‘love story’ at the centre and it always seems to be a man who saves the poor, helpless woman. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie sums it up “ because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage, I am expected to make my life decisions always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important thing…” (Watch her whole speech on feminism here: http://youtu.be/hg3umXU_qWc – credit to Beyonce for bringing it to my attention).
We are sold this idea that every girl has her ‘one true love’ and that we won’t be complete until we find them. So, reading this view on ‘soul mates’ (which actually came from a dude) challenged everything that I’d been fed, but, for me, it actually makes better sense. You learn and you grow from every relationship (romantic or otherwise) and sometimes people are really crap, but them being crap to you teaches you about yourself and what you will or won’t accept from people, it reveals another layer of yourself. It also teaches you how to deal with assholes but that’s another story for another day.
The second passage is this…
“Only the young and stupid are confident about sex and romance. Do you think any of us know what we’re doing? Do you think humans can love each other without complication?… (Western men) think this pretty little girl will make them happy, make their lives easy. But whenever I see it happen, I always want to say the same thing ‘good luck’. Because you still have a woman in front of you, my friend. And you’re still a man. It’s still two human beings trying to get along, so it’s going to be complicated. And love is always complicated. But humans must still try to love each other, darling. We must get out hearts broken sometimes. This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something”.
Falling down in life and love, well, it sucks balls to be quite honest. But it does mean you’ve tried, you’re living. It would be so easy to not out ourselves out there for fear of getting hurt, or fear of not succeeding but, that would be boring. Like the fabulous Brazilian man said to Liz ‘it means we have tried for something’. And I’ll take a few failures, and a well lived life over a safe, unlived life any day. The only thing I disagree with is that love is ‘always complicated’, I think we MAKE it complicated. We play hard-to-get and a whole lot of other games, we don’t want to reply to a msg too soon for fear of seeming ‘keen’. I’m not being funny, but if I’ve given you my number in the first place then you can pretty much assume I’m interested or ‘keen’. I’m not gonna wait an extra 5 minutes to msg you back. If someone is put off because you reply to a msg quickly then I think it’s them that has the problem, I’m just sayin!
The final one (because I really this is going on for ages) is this…
“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and just to keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices”
This is the very last paragraph in the book.
I love this.
We can find help and support in places that you would never expect, from people you would never expect and we can then feel an overwhelming urge to make a big gesture to repay their help, to express our gratitude, when most of the time a genuine thank you is all that is needed.
I could go on. But I won’t.
Eat. Pray. Love.
this blog originally appeared on micksmusings.tumblr.com