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Freak Flee Regress

April 14, 2008


Last week I stumbled along a FANTASTIC article by the writer Elizabeth Gilbert called Thoughts on Writing. I encourage everyone who is a writer or who wants to be writing or publishing to read it. It’s just simple, loving, sweet, and right on. That being said, I’ve never read anything by Gilbert. I’ve been avoiding Eat Pray Love because it is just EVERYWHERE and well, there was this part of me that felt a little HUFFY and JEALOUS over the premise of someone having a breakdown and healing from it by spending a year traveling and experiencing exotic places. After this article I just felt compelled to read it.

What’s funny about reading this book so far is that I had a similar–or at least my own VERSION–of what Gilbert went through about the same time. I also had my entire life collapse in on itself at around 30—only I didn’t go to Indonesia, Italy, and India. I drove across the country in a car I bought at the last minute for $150 and moved in with my parents. My version of Eat Pray Love might be called Freak Flee Regress.

Reading Eat Pray Love has got me thinking a lot about the paths of life and why we choose what we choose. I could say that part of my life was the WORST EVER, but I also consider it probably the most IMPORTANT period of my life so far. I believe it was a—DARE I SAY IT?–a spiritual journey and so much of what I have now, I owe to that time and the rebuilding it forced me to do. Living with my folks certainly wasn’t Italy, but man, I ate well for the year I lived there. My guru was not in an ashram in remote India, but at a shabby natural food company, in the guise of a potty mouth blonde who gave me one of the greatest mantras I could learn at the time: “Fuck ‘em.” My medicine man in Indonesia were actually the friendships I both created and rekindled when I moved back home. I learned how to relate in a REAL, more IMMEDIATE way in my own world. I discovered through these relationships just what was possible when you aren’t afraid of WHAT IT MEANS or HOW IT LOOKS all the time.

I see how clearly I created what I believed at the time, just as I create what I believe now. My sense of life has changed dramatically and so has the SIZE. This is partly due to the deep work I did to heal and partly a natural outcropping of getting older. Life DOES get bigger. The stakes DO get higher. The time DOES get shorter. I take less for granted (well, sometimes). And when I get so caught up in my own existential angst worrying and worrying worrying about where I fit in this grand world, who will love me, what am I doing, I remember what my guru taught me. “Fuck ‘em.” I’m telling you, for me, more perfect words were never uttered.

  1. The Dan Ward permalink
    April 15, 2008 2:15 pm

    Great link – thanks so much for passing it along (and I love your mantra, btw).

  2. Kerstin permalink
    April 16, 2008 8:25 pm

    Personally I think the two greatest words are SCREW IT! 🙂 It’s kinda the same, isn’t it, and I still use them ever since you posted about them! This is a great post and I bet you could write a great book about your year, too.

  3. GreenishLady permalink
    April 20, 2008 8:02 pm

    Who sent me here? An angel in disguise, it must be! What a wonderful post at which to discover a blog! You’ve articulated some of my irritation with Gilbert’s book. (I’m meant to feel sorry for her? Why?), and your alternate book-cover is a work of genius indeed. Thank you for giving me a great laugh, and for your own serious description of what healed you. Yes, those “dark nights” wouldn’t be chosen by any of us, but looking back, we do find that we have gained from them. Your guru is wise indeed!

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