Some stories are worth a second read, listen or watch. I have often wondered why I tend to watch a specific movie more than once. There is one specific movie that I watch every time it comes on. It doesn’t matter how much of the movie there is left, I am still going to watch it. “Eat Pray Love,” is based on the memoir written by Elizabeth Gilbert. I can connect with the main character on a scary level.
For starters, she is a writer. I know that’s not much, but I think that when you feel connected to something, it starts at the basics. Julia Roberts’ character is trying to find her “balance.” She has made this fairy-tale life with her husband but she quickly realizes that she isn’t cut out for it. She decides to leave him and she travels around the world for a year looking for her balance.
I think at some point, we all feel like we have lost the balance. It is hard to maintain a working life, a social life, a family life and a spiritual life. There are no life-hacks or self-help books to teach us the way to deal with hard things. We either give ourselves the grace we need to figure it out or we lose our (excuse me) shit.
I feel connected to Gilbert because I feel this way. I want to do things, I want to accomplish things. Life is scary and life is quick. When you think you have the chance to find balance, you have to jump at it. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen this movie, but I watched it today. There are so many things I heard today that I have never heard. Maybe, I have heard them, but have not understood them. I am going to credit this to the fact that you have to have some life experience in order for some of the ideas to resonate with you.
One of my favorite scenes is when they are in the barber shop in Rome. The conversation that takes place with Luca Spaghetti when he tells Liz that Americans don’t know how to enjoy themselves. He says that Americans know about entertainment but they don’t know about pleasure. His reasoning is that Americans think they have to work hard in order to earn pleasure. Italians just take pleasure whenever they please. This applies to everything in life from food to relationships. Luca said that Americans work so hard all week that by the time the weekend comes, their idea of pleasure is sitting in their pajamas and watching television. What exactly do you think I did this weekend?
On her next leg of her trip, Gilbert visits India. She forms a bond with Richard from Texas. He teaches her to forgive herself. She is holding guilt from her failed marriage and he shares his story. He was an alcoholic who lost his family because he wouldn’t stop drinking. He pulled into his driveway drunk one day and almost ran over his child. It’s a very hard scene to watch because the actor, Richard Jenkins, is so emotional. He talks about his son growing up to be a sweet boy and how he missed all of it. Coming from a family with a father as an alcoholic, it’s hard to watch. It is hard to not have feelings of guilt. It is hard not to think (and hope) that maybe my dad had some guilt of his own.
The last thing that I connect with is the struggle. The main character or the author is struggling. She doesn’t want to lose herself while loving others. I feel the same way. I love being a mother and a wife. I love being a daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, friend, and teacher. Here is what I don’t love. I don’t love depleting my tank so that I have nothing left for myself. I don’t love giving up dreams because I think there is no room after everything else. The scariest thing to me is losing who I am because I have spread myself too thin. I don’t want to look ten years older than my actual age. I don’t want to be the person who is too tired to pick up the phone or go on a date.
The reason I connect to this movie is simple. It has valid points. The most valid point being this:
“Listen, balance, my darling, is not letting anybody love you less than you love yourself.”
Loving yourself to me, means not losing yourself. So, that is exactly what I plan to do, NEVER lose myself.