Elizabeth Gilbert, I Owe You One

In 2012, I purchased a Netflix subscription. On the rare occasion that I felt compelled to watch a rom-com, I rented Eat, Pray, Love. At the time, I had no idea it was based on a book. As my girlfriends went on and on about their opinions of the story, I knew I had to watch it. What is it about women’s literature that brings out the opinionated female lit critic? I really enjoyed watching Julia Roberts prance around the globe. I lived vicariously through her for 133 minutes. In order to consider myself a true critic, I picked up the book. Technically, I sat on a waitlist for a couple of weeks in order to rent it from my local library. And I loved it! As crabby as everyone made Elizabeth Gilbert sound, the story really hit home for me. You see, I was on her side. I was rooting for her to leave a crummy marriage, to enjoy romantic worldly love affairs, and embrace the yogic lifestyle. I was comforted to see that someone could do it. I felt that same itch. The itch that says, “You deserve better”. So I took off too. I chose New Zealand over India and Peru over Italy. Nonetheless, my life has followed the same plot as a romantic comedy ever since then.

Two years since my journey began, I’m back stateside writing my memoirs and sharing my story with others. You could say Elizabeth Gilbert was a big influence on my plans and there’s no denying the influence she projects on me. I like to think we have a similar sarcastic tone and humor in our writing. Recently, a friend shared her TED talk about creative genius. She talks about how her best work may be behind her and her opinion on the pressure society puts on artists. I too struggled with my creativity and connected with the issues. Then, for whatever reason, the universe plopped her book Committed in my lap. And again, the parallels ran amok. She describes the adventures of loving and living with a non-US resident. Her deep dive into the history of marriage, commitment, fidelity, monogamy, and women’s rights was even closer to home for me, as someone who never cared for marriage. I related. So I read.

Perhaps my Elizabeth Gilbert web is strung pretty tight these days. She keeps popping up and I can’t ignore her. I have yet to read her latest or other friends’ favorites. It’s probably because they are less relatable to my current circumstances. You can love her or hate her, but it’s hard for me to ignore her influence in my life. The striking similarities are comforting. I am put at ease that crazy lives like ours can exist successfully.   

 

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