It took me a while, but I remember the first night in my newly divorced singleness that I didn’t have any plans on a Friday and I was looking forward to staying home. I had such a crazy day at work all I wanted to do was make myself a good dinner and have a movie night. I chose Eat, Pray, Love. I had no idea what it was about but I knew it was a book and Julia Roberts was in it and Pretty Woman is awesome, soooo …
I finished making my fancy dinner and curled up on the couch armed with my blanket, my food, and most importantly- my wine. I hit play and after a few moments I stopped chewing. I glared at the TV with a mouth full of mashed potatoes, I didn’t need to hear the words to figure this out, I actually wasn’t even hearing the words; her facial expressions said it all. I was watching myself. Julia’s character wanted to be divorced, she was going to leave her husband, that’s what this movie was about. I swallowed, forcing the food in my mouth to get past the frog in my throat. I put my plate down, dinner tonight was now liquid.
Up until this point I had not seen, heard, nor read anything about any experience that was like mine. I had other divorced friends but they were the ones that got left, they didn’t do the leaving, like me. Every book I picked up I never finished, it was the same story. “You’re a girl that’s divorced, you’ll find love again, someone will love you and take care of you and all will be right with the world.” Gag me. Why did I need to find someone to be ok? I needed to be ok with me and at this point I just wasn’t. What I really needed was somebody to tell me at what point drinking excessively turns into actual alcoholism, how to turn your non-single friends into successful wingmen, and how many excuses as to why I couldn’t go on dates was too many excuses. I am still unclear about this.
So 10 minutes into this movie and I’m into it, and I am absolutely convinced that someone stole my thoughts and experiences and turned them into a movie because there is no way there was someone else out there like me. Then came, for me, the most significant scene of the movie; Julia’s character is lying in bed and she’s having an internal battle about whether or not to get divorced, all while her husband lays next to her. If she stays with him she won’t be happy, but if she stays with him he’ll be happy and she should feel good that he’ll be happy. Do you save yourself or do you sacrifice your own happiness to save someone else’s? It’s marriage and you are supposed to sacrifice the things you want so your significant other is happy, right? The thoughts became so much for her to internally deal with that she got out of bed, got down on her hands and knees and started praying, turning to God was her last ditch attempt.
Before I could realize, I was gasping for breath and my hands were aching from the death grip I had on my pillow. I couldn’t breathe and out of nowhere the tears began to fall, they kept falling and they wouldn’t stop and I couldn’t make them stop. I was shaking and grabbed the remote with my tear soaked hands to stop the movie. I took a solid 20 minute break and wailed like a three year old, it was all coming out. I hadn’t really cried since being divorced, I mean I cried, but I cried because I hurt someone’s feelings and I pissed off A LOT of people. I cried for other people, and now I was finally crying for myself. Because like Julia’s character I too laid in bed next to my husband and soaked the pillow with my tears as I screamed at God. I begged and I pleaded and I SCREAMED at God to tell me what to do. My actual conversation with God was so inappropriate that if he was standing in front of me he would have smacked the shit out of me, and I would have deserved it. And out of 13 years of Catholic school and the thousands of prayers I had ever said, this was the only time I ever remember truly praying.
I debated turning the movie back on, I felt awful. But I had to; I had to find out what happened to her. As I watched through blurry eyes I fell in love with her fearlessness, her spirit, and her commitment to figure out who she really was and how she would be defined. She was busy creating a life that she wanted to live, not the life that society said she should live. I wondered if I would meet wonderful people who would have some significant impact on my life. I wondered if I would find someone that would make me love them enough that I would want to get married again. I wondered if I could put faith in the unknown and face the future fearlessly. Above all, I wondered how this would ever happen for me. I was 30 years old living paycheck to paycheck and Lord knows I did not have the funds to quit my job and fly across the world to find myself through meditation. Plus, taking a vow of silence would not be an option for me; I have a lot of things to say.
As I wracked my brain and tried to figure out how I was going to be as equally successful as this woman without money and an instruction manual, my questions were soon answered in the last few lines of the film.
“…I’ve come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call “The Physics of The Quest” – a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: ‘If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself….then truth will not be withheld from you.’ Or so I’ve come to believe.”
In the short time that I had been divorced my life had become a complete whirlwind, I was meeting one amazing person after another, and the better I got to know all of them, the faster I was learning that it wasn’t just me that needed them, some of them actually needed me. I forced myself to take a lesson away from each person and each experience and use it to start creating a whole new me and the new life I wanted to live. I firmly believe that people come into your life for a reason (even the guy who only had any interest in texting me to ask what color thong I was wearing). My own journey was already happening I just didn’t realize it. I didn’t need the money to fly across the world; everything I needed was already here, right in front of me. I just needed to use and apply what people were giving me. Quest Physics is so real!
I’ve come to accept and appreciate that some journeys take longer than others, and one person’s journey can never be compared to another’s, it’s not a race, we each have something different we need to learn. So here it is, my own truth seeking journey about a girl who started dating a guy when she was 19, married him at 27 and got divorced by 30. A girl who had no money, never paid a bill, and spent 95% of her day with her head in the clouds. I’m happy to say I’m still experiencing my own Eat, Pray, Love, except my version is filled with Martinis and Pipe Dreams.