Friday, September 17, 2010
How my life does not resemble Eat, Pray, Love
On the surface, there’s nothing similar there. But, underneath, the whole concept of longing to leave your comfort zone, and the nagging feeling that there is something else you have to do or find before you buy that leather sectional couch with matching recliner, or commit to another three years on the school board, is familiar to me.
The similarities kind of end there:
Elizabeth Gilbert really did leave it all behind: She gave up her home, marriage and the American Dream of 2.1 children-- to get out of Dodge. I rented my perfect house to three, 19-year-old Dead Heads. I left my dog with my mom. The rest, the husband and two kids are right here with me.
Elizabeth Gilbert packs lighter than I do: She brought her clothes and a yoga mat. I brought 7 suitcases on the plane, and shipped four boxes by boat-- including a bag of clothes for Isla to grow into, piles of childrens’ books, two hula hoops, six stuffed animals, a two pound pet rock and, yes, a yoga mat. (I've used the yoga mat about 20 times in the year and a half since we've been in France.)
While I’m always wondering if it’s the right time to kiss the other mothers at the school gate, Elizabeth Gilbert fantasizes about kissing her cute Italian conversation partner.
Elizabeth Gilbert noticed the Italian men weren’t whistling and cat calling her anymore, I am at least a decade beyond catcalls, but still wince a bit when people, especially cute young men, call me “Madame.”
I’m still struggling, daily, with the local language. Elizabeth Gilbert apparently had a much easier time of it. I could attribute this to several things, most of which would be a bit competitive and catty.
I haven’t ever, once, orgasmed while eating a meal in France. I have eaten some very good food, but this ain’t Italy.
I curse the very existence of golden croissants and perfect meringues calling to me from every bakery window, and refuse to buy bigger pants. Elizabeth Gilbert guiltlessly gorged on gelato, then splurged on Italian lingerie.
I don’t jump on trains to explore France, as much as I’d like, because by the time we got to our destination, it would be another school night.
I forgot to get a book advance before I came. But, if I understand correctly, book advances don’t grow on trees.
Elizabeth Gilbert couldn’t get over all the beautiful men in Rome. I cannot get over all the beautiful women in Paris.
We are both inspired by the remarkable amount of kissing that goes on on Main Street. Joni Mitchell was right. People are kissing everywhere. All kinds of people, not just the young and beautiful. And not just perfunctory pecking, but real kissing, mashing, snogging, making- out, sucking face kissing. The kind of kissing that makes you wonder why you don’t still do that, every chance you can, with your mate.
When Elizabeth Gilbert got to Italy, she was surprised to discover that depression knew her Italian address. I had that moment too. "How could one be in France and depressed?" I thought. The answer is, "same person, different address."
Elizabeth Gilbert found God on her journey. I found African Dance.
Elizabeth Gilbert had to let go of her dependence on men to discover herself on her journey. I had to let go of my independence and give myself permission to need my husband for everything, including, in the first half year, making doctor appointments and signing kids up for activities. You ain't seen nothing until you've filled out a French dossier.
Elizabeth Gilbert knew she was spending only a year abroad. I thought I was spending only a year abroad. Now I know that I know nothing. And I'm okay, for the most part, with that.
New BabyCenter post here.