Tonight, I went to see Eat, Pray, Love with four of my good girlfriends. Cliche, I know. It's only *the* chick flick of the summer.
As I'm not the greatest fan of books made into movies (name a movie that was better than the book--yeah, I thought so) AND I loathe traditional chick flicks, I was a bit hesitant about wasting $15 and three hours of my life on this movie. That, and this was the last night my husband would be home this week. But, I rarely get out with friends and just have fun, and I was in the mood for some escapism, so I decided to go.
So much for escapism.
About ten minutes into the movie, I realized why I'd been so resistant to it. It wasn't the overpriced tickets, the time away from work or my husband or the quality of the movie. No, it was fear. Of being reminded of myself. Of opening old wounds.
If you've read the book or seen the movie, you know about the scene on the bathroom floor. When in the middle of the night, Liz pleads for a sign from God, for a way out? I was there, paralyzed with fear and the chilling realization that the life I'd built for myself, the one I asked for and dreamed of, suddenly didn't fit any more. And just like Liz, I found myself on the cold bathroom floor at 2am, totally alone, then calmly crawled back into bed and asked for a divorce the way some people ask you to pass the salt.
That scene was so real and so raw, and it left me so shaken and vulnerable and guilt-ridden, that I nearly ran sobbing from the movie theatre. Instead, I sobbed silently in my seat, wondering if the pain of someone physically stabbing me could hurt as much.
I remember reading the book before I hit that phase of my life. I found it engaging and poignent, with much too tidy of an ending. I recognized myself in the bits about meditation (I'm notorious for my fidgeting and inability to sit still), and well, who wouldn't want to spend four months in Italy gorging on the food, language and culture.
And then I had my breakdown. My lonely, scary, life-changing bathroom moment, and I tried to read the book again. At first, I bawled. And then I got mad. What I wouldn't have given for even a week's vacation, let alone an entire YEAR to find myself, learning Italian, eating great food, meditating, studying life's secrets with medicine men and gurus and making out with a hot Brazilian man, all while getting PAID to write a best-selling memoir ?
It was all too self-indulgent. For most of us, life goes on. We can't escape the pain or shift it to a new locale. We face it every morning, living in the same neighborhoods and same cities, awkwardly running into mutal friends, recounting the story to everyone we've ever know, fighting back hysterical sobs at the slightest reminder, all while trying to "live" a normal life. The bills don't stop coming, the clients don't become less demanding, people don't stop asking nosy questions--life goes on and on, and while the pain becomes more distant, anything and everything can bring it bubbling to the surface.
Every time I think I've healed, that I've moved on, that I've grown onward and upward, an experience like this reminds me how freshly wounded and sad I still am.