Eat. Prat. Love. But don’t run away.

4 Dec

I read the book Eat Pray Love last year. I savored it like a piece of candy. Because of the writerly aspect of it. I love how Elizabeth Gilbert puts words together. Sometimes it’s perfect, and it just feels so right, and it kind of makes you think what she’s saying must absolutely be true because of how wonderful she’s saying it. You get swept into the dream. I, like the many thousands of other women around the globe, nibbled it like expensive chocolate. Her chatty tones helps. But then I realized she’s so wrong. I cannot really relate to her. This crystallized for me when I saw the movie not long ago. Running away from life’s problems doesn’t make them go away. Essentially, this is what self-discovery means in the movie/book: running away. By doing something, in her case traveling, and getting away from what bothered her, she created a new self. It’s an attractive idea. Who wouldn’t want to run away from a marriage stuck in a rut and go find something more exciting? Who wouldn’t want to eat platefuls of spaghetti in Italy? OK, well that’s not so bad. But the running away is. If we split when things get hard, we never realize our own inner strength. Often we think if we change our surroundings, we ourselves will change. We will build new selves. It’s the American myth that movement brings a kind of salvation. But it’s ourselves we’re often battling. Making right decisions doesn’t mean being trapped. It means order, and in the end, that brings freedom.

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