“I met an old lady once, almost a hundred years old, and she told me, ‘There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And who’s in charge?'” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
I read Eat, Pray, Love as a newly single 22-year-old.
I was folding envelopes to pay for a grad degree I wasn’t sure I wanted and I had just returned from a trip with a surprise final scene that left me sitting in an airport lobby drinking beers alone. If Coldplay has a marketing team, it missed an opportunity in that Charlotte airport.
But with one line, Elizabeth Gilbert kneaded a simple message into my brain: you’re not the first and you’re not the last, baby. Sure, the melody varies, Mr. Darcy goes by a different name, but the struggle to find meaningful, lasting love has always had a seat at the head table in the lives of women.
And with Ms. Gilbert’s glimpse of perspective, the uncertainty made a little more sense. It seemed a little more human and a little less like a problem that needed to be solved. What time will the trains pass each other? Who fucking cares?
I mean, imagine a world where Bubba gets the promotion and Bobby Jean never breaks his heart. Can’t happen. Dancehalls across the U.S. would be filled with flesh-covered robots aimlessly kicking and turning in circles to steel guitar instrumentals.
So with humanity as a foothold, why do we still hop from pad to pad to avoid the marsh?
Why Is It So Difficult to…
- Realize that without the gray it’s much more difficult to appreciate the 70 degrees and sunny?
- Appreciate that our wavering about, our travels through the gray skies are some of the most defining days of our lives? That these days are what separate us from the chips and processors that threaten to take our jobs?
- Be thankful the Tin Man is just a phenomenal idea for a Halloween costume, not reality?
- Remember which way you spell gray if you’re talking about skies (seriously, I mean, shit!)
Yes, I prefer purely positive emotion.
I’m no masochist, but there’s something refreshingly humiliating and awesome about the memory of a 19-year-old version of me performing the world’s worst rendition of Dido’s “White Flag” for my dorm roommate after some stupid guy decided to lose my phone number because I awkwardly gave one word answers throughout our entire date at Steak ‘n’ Shake.
There’s something refreshingly freeing about the memory of hiccupping through “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” on the ride home from a night out at the bars with my go-to grad school wing girl.
And there’s something refreshing about adopting a Pat Green-esque philosophy* during gray skies:
“Sometimes I sleep with all the lights on,
It helps me to appreciate the night,
I hear people talk about life all the time
All they remember are times so sad,
Don’t you thing that life would be awfully boring,
If the good time were all that we had.” – Pat Green, Crazy
I didn’t have it all together then, but I’m glad I took in the scenery. I think it’ll help me appreciate clear skies in the future.
What do you think?
Are you in the gray? Just make it back to the solid ground? What did you learn along the way?
Or are you hiding on the lily pads?
*Kelly, I so just introduced Texas country to your blogging community.
Jenny believes The Bloggess to be her mother and is mildly/aggressively angry about the abandonment, neglect and shit-ton of imaginary child support owed or would be if she didn’t want to follow her mother/lover around like a puppy dog/dog in heat when she’s not stalking Hugh McLeod by Twitter. True story.
I mean, that is what Jenny’s (not The Bloggess Jenny, her abandoned daughter Jenny, do you see how they have the same name? Not a coincidence, methinks) blog is all about, right?
Jenny (the daughter one who wrote this post, not The Bloggess) did not send me a bio. This is what happens when you do not include a bio with your guest post. PEOPLE TOTALLY MAKE ONE UP.
Jenny and I have an imaginary t-shirt business together. Mostly we buy the t-shirts ourselves, but you’re welcome to play, too.