“One of the cruelest, most selfish things you can do to another human being is to use them to fill a void. Having learned this the hard way by being on the receiving end, I vow to never ever do that to anyone myself. The cycle ends at me. The next person I am with will get the full, complete version of me, and will not have to live in another’s shadow. This may take years to achieve. So be it. Until you are complete, you have nothing to give to anyone else. Remember that, and this world will be a happier place.” ~ Me
I put the above quote as my Facebook status message shortly after my recent breakup. And I’ve been giving it a lot of thought lately. I think it’s time to put my money where my mouth is.
As most of you probably know, I absolutely unashamedly adore Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love. I love her wisdom, her wit, her knack for seeing beyond the surface of things and discerning a lesson from the hard times. I adore her writings and am not ashamed to admit that I base my own stuff on her style and technique. I suppose you could say she’s my mentor (even though we’ve never met). Well, part of my obsession with Elizabeth Gilbert is my love of the movie Eat Pray Love that was made from her book of the same title, starring Julia Roberts. If you haven’t seen this before, and you know me at all, I’m not sure how we’re friends. I’ll give you time to go remedy this situation. Go on. Go watch it and come right back. I’ll wait.
Are you back? It was AWESOME, wasn’t it? See? I told you. And now you should read the book. Can’t afford to buy it? Don’t have a library nearby? Well, guess what. Here’s a link where you can read it for FREE. http://archive.org/details/EatPrayLove
Well, now that you’ve done all that – back to my blog…
After having watched the movie (and read the book!), I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this since you already know – but the movie is the true story about Elizabeth Gilbert’s “escape” from her life. She’s just coming out of a divorce and is already involved in another messy relationship. She finally just decides to chuck it all and go figure out who the heck she is. As her character in the movie describes it: “Since I was fifteen, I’ve either been with a guy or breaking up with a guy. I have not given myself two weeks of a breather just to deal with myself.”
(Boy, does that sound familiar….)
So, what she does is this. Rather than taking two weeks, she takes a year. She just leaves. She goes to Italy for four months, India for four months, and then finishes out the year in Bali. Wow.
Now, my finances and parental status don’t allow for such a drastic ‘escape,’ but the desire to do something similar has been pulling at me pretty strongly. During the second part of the movie, while Liz is visiting an ashram in India, she meets an American from Texas. His name is Richard, but for my own personal reasons, we’re going to call him Bob from this point on. Because I said so. Got it? Ok. So, “Bob” tells her this:
“If you clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using right now to obsess about this guy, you’ll have a vacuum there, an open spot – a doorway. And guess what the universe will do with that doorway? It will rush in – God will rush in – and fill you with more love that you ever dreamed.”
I want that. I want it bad.
So, here’s what’s going to happen. I’m gonna pull a Liz Gilbert. While I can’t escape from my life per se (nor do I want to), I’m going to escape from men. I need a break. I need to figure out who I am and why the heck I attach my happiness to whether or not I’m in a relationship. As Liz states in her book, “Desiring another person is perhaps the most risky endeavor of all. As soon as you want somebody—really want him—it is as though you have taken a surgical needle and sutured your happiness to the skin of that person, so that any separation will now cause a lacerating injury.”
Yeah. See, that crap’s gotta stop.
So, I’m taking a year off. Really. My relationship ended in January, so for the rest of 2013, I’m making it a point to be single. No dating, no flirting (well, except with the hot substitute mailman that comes to our office sometimes…hey, I’m not becoming a nun…), and no romantic relationships. It’s time to get to know myself again. Oh boy, here comes another Elizabeth Gilbert quote… “Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.” Hmmm. You know, I think I do remember a time like that. A time when I liked myself and didn’t base my worthiness on how much some guy does or doesn’t like me. I kinda liked that chick. I think it’s time we hang out again.
And no, this isn’t Elizabeth Gilbert (it’s actually John Mayer), but I’ll end on this note:
Let’s do this.
Wow! I can relate to this 100%. Was in this exact spot in Jan. 2010. Was inspired to take A break after a break-up to find myself and my balance again. Liz inspired me. After what turned out to be a 3 year break, I came back to my peace and genuine caring relationship with myself. Putting yourself first is contradictory to us mothers, but is necessary and crucial 🙂 So be brave & know that there is so much to love about the person you once knew as a friend! missy 😉
Thank you so much for your comment! It’s so nice to know I’m not alone … and that this may actually work! Thanks for reading my blog.