E-P-L

Right, I saw the movie today – not that I went in search of it mind you, only that it presented itself as a viable option after church and lunch (which btw was yummy kung pao chicken and the blandest fried rice ever created – seriously, where are the peas and carrots?).

Note – spoilers:

A 30something (I presume) y/o well-off white female finds herself distraught by the lack of depth in her life and goes in search of herself.

So at first, the cynic w/in me says – another movie about a rich empty white woman looking to other cultures to give her identity.  And yes, there is much of that.  She has to look outside of herself to find herself.  Ok, understood.  That’s not what impressed me – people have been searching for “it” since Adam and Eve.  No, what struck me were the pithy quotes that came flowing from the lips of the characters – descriptions of Americans and their inability to enjoy doing nothing “la dolce far niente” (the sweetness of doing nothing), reflections on family, on the ever present need to love and be loved and the daunting task of forgiving oneself.

I’ve always known that Americans have absolutely no understanding of relaxation and that I did – only I’ve struggled with it b/c I want to do it and find that career/academics have been staunch opponents.  Right, so that’s nothing new, merely reflection of what I know to be truth.  Americans don’t know how to relax.

Okay – let’s go beyond that to, oh I don’t know, the need to forgive oneself? Riight – deep. This is for me, more than just a saying but an absolute need.  Having spent the majority of my childhood sensitive to the underlying tension of my parent’s disappointments/discouragements, I somehow developed a fractured sense of what I should be and that sense has condemned me for years – even during the painful years after my Mommy’s death, when I struggled with myself b/c I couldn’t put myself together enough to deal with the strain of medical school.  It’s crazy, I know – college graduate loses her Mother a few weeks before graduation, ventures to medical school with her family in shambles, world cracked, falling into the chasm of depression, deeply bereaved and can’t figure out why on God’s green earth she’s failing her classes!  Wow –

Yeeeah, So, forgiving myself is a constant struggle.

What am I forgiving? I am forgiving myself for having created this monstrous idealized image of whom I should be and forgiving myself when I fall back into my old ways of lamenting its lack of existence in me.

Love?  So being on this interracial dating site has been interesting.  I don’t know if I talked about the conversation I had w/ the older gentleman in which we bemoaned the lack of creativity in the profiles?  Well, we did.  After watching the movie today though, I felt shamed.  Why?  B/c I realized that you know what, EVERYONE is searching for love and who am I to decry their attempts as being unoriginal?  Just b/c a whole lot of white guys are looking for their black “queen” to pamper and throw around a whole lot of cliches doesn’t make their intention or desire any less worthy than mine.  In the movie, our main character realizes that she doesn’t love her husband, divorces him (though he fights her), flits through a rebound relationship and eventually discovers love.

{Total side-note:  he still loves her!  For once, we have a divorce where nobody cheats and it’s the WOMAN who decides to leave.  Hmm, quite interesting.}

In a crucial scene where her new-found Brazilian love asks her to go w/ him on a boat ride, she panics and yells “I don’t have to love you to love myself” and just like that, the gossamer threads fall into place.  “I don’t have to love you to love myself!” Yes, and therein lays the whole problem, right? She hadn’t yet learned to love herself.  She is the physical incarnation of the permeable membrane, allowing herself to flow, unchecked into another person.  She has never known who she truly is because she’s spent a lifetime attached to another human.  And just at that precious moment when it seems that happiness is in her grasp, when she’s found her “balance”, the specter of her past dissolutions into another human, losing herself in another man, rears its ugly head and she runs.

And I too, am learning how to truly love myself.  Unlike our heroine, I haven’t been in relationships, but I have had to teach myself how to love myself.  And I still struggle with it.  I still struggle with the notion that Christ loves me totally and completely b/c I have for so many years felt that I was unloveable – and then He does something to remind me, “Yeah, little girl, I DO LOVE YOU and you are inherently worthy of my loving you.”  God has a lot of patience, you know?  Sigh.

I have sometimes wondered what I would be like in a relationship.  The color code says I’m a blue.  Okay.  I know that my tendency would be to give much of myself and sometimes, when I don’t think anyone is listening, I whisper to God that love is daunting to me.  I’ve seen too many women lose themselves in their relationships – culturally, all my Ghanaian and Nigerian aunties who are defined by their roles with others, not by who they are outside of those relationships – who take abuse b/c it’s all they know and sometimes explain it away with religion.  I’ve had too many female friends drop off the face of the earth when they date seriously or get married – leaving me wondering if our friendship was ever as profound to them as it was to me.  I don’t want to become “that woman”.

No matter where she went, women chided her for being single, for not having love.  The very thing that she felt was constraining her was the very thing others felt would free her.  She had to redefine it though – to see it through truer eyes and when she did, she saw the truth of their statements.  I just thought, you know, all these guys on the site with their cliches about wanting a queen, wanting to be romantic, hold hands, be with someone who is all-purpose – well, there is nothing inherently amusing about that!  There’s nothing to make fun of – really, if I think about it.  Granted, there’s a lot to find amusing but that’s not what I’m trying to say.

Eat Pray Love

Go see it.  Something will strike you.

About papillion

Intense Often Moody Transparent Exquisitely sensitive Animated Never satisfied Curious Eternal Romantic Creative Devotedly Christian Encouraging Multi-layered Loving Quick Judge Critical Forever evolving View all posts by papillion

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