~Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dark and Twisty

In the May 2010 issue, O Magazine ran a series of articles on what it means to be happy. Eat, Pray, Love's Elizabeth Gilbert contributed an article. So did beloved Grey's Anatomy creator, Shonda Rhimes.

Of course I skipped ahead to the Shonda Rhimes article first. Because what Shonda and I share that Elizabeth and I do not is the following phrase: Dark and twisty. While I wish that I could spend an all-expenses-paid year abroad after every breakup, it's Meredith Grey with whom I identify. Dark and twisty. Mer used to combat her problems with drinking too much tequila and sleeping with inappropriate men. Mer is jaded. Mer is me.

So what does the creator of TV's dark and twistiest character have to say about happiness? Give up.

She writes about it a little more eloquently. As women, we're told we should do it all: be an executive, raise children, have a great relationship with your husband, donate to charity, buy organic and train for that marathon. I was taken aback with how I have been trying to do all of those things without even realizing it. I'm in a battle at work for manager, I already do my charity work, I've spent this summer switching to organic and trying to psych myself up for that damn 5k. I don't even know why I've been trying to do all of these things. I might even blame O Magazine for touting mind, body, spirit health every issue.

Rhimes writes that wanting it all is the women's lament. And in her dark and twisty fashion, she reminds us that there are always going to be people better than we are at things. So, give up. Prioritize what you want out of life and let go of the rest. "Stop training for that marathon," she writes. (Mental note: check). "Let someone else have the great relationship."

My eyes stopped at those words, Let someone else have the great relationship. That's what I should do. I am so good at so many other things, I should have the career that I'm proud of and focus on my side knitting business I'm trying to get off the ground. Keep eating organic, 'cause I like it. Let go of running, because I don't. And let someone else have the love affair I've spent my entire life chasing.

I put the magazine down and picked up a dry erase marker and walked into the bathroom. Across the side of the mirror I don't use, I scrawled, Let someone else have the great relationship. And every time I brushed my teeth, brushed my hair or applied mascara before running out for the night, my eyes would trail across my new mantra.

I tried to embrace my dark and twisty, but it felt wrong. In the way that Elizabeth Gilbert writes about listening to your gut, it felt wrong. Lying- on- the- bathroom- floor- crying- because- you- don't- want- to- be- in- this- marriage- anymore wrong. For an entire month my stomach would sour every time I read it. It's a nice mantra, logically it should be my mantra, but I realized I can't give up.

I wiped the words off the mirror and replaced them with something that felt right: Someone, somewhere is going to love me.

And then I picked up my O Magazine and read Elizabeth Gilbert's view on happiness.

15 comments:

Dawn said...

I love this post.

parlezvousmoo.com said...

Someone, somewhere... is a much better thing to tell yourself. Leave dark and twisty to the TV. We all live in hope here in the real world.

AmyB said...

Yes. THIS! I think Dark and Twisty is good for a period of time, but then it's best to get back to that hopeful part before you appear jaded and out of touch with that "someone, somewhere." He's out there.

creativintage said...

i'm on day 3 of marathon training. shoot. me. now.

Erin said...

Love this post. Don't give up your inner optimist. He's out there.

preciousandpriceless said...

keep working on the relationship with yourself. to find true happiness with yourself. it's a work in progress. you can change whatever you want to do at anytime. [i've been trying to run the 10k sun run here in vancouver for the past five years....next year ;D0

the love affair you are looking for will then find you. will show up out of now where. be open to it. be open for yourself.

how about this for a mantra.

everyone deserves love. including me.

preciousandpriceless said...

keep working on the relationship with yourself. to find true happiness with yourself. it's a work in progress. you can change whatever you want to do at anytime. [i've been trying to run the 10k sun run here in vancouver for the past five years....next year ;D0

the love affair you are looking for will then find you. will show up out of now where. be open to it. be open for yourself.

how about this for a mantra -

"everyone deserves love. including me."

Curvy Jones said...

We all have our dark and twisty moments... I don't want to know the person who is perpetually happy and nothing is ever wrong and bluebirds perch on their windowsills.

I think what's great is, even if you ARE dark and twisty, if there's someone that doesn't mind your dark and twisty days and is there when you're not that person.

breezyallatsea said...

Good attitude! Dark and twisty is needed every once in awhile, but gotta be positive! He is out there :)

Bathwater said...

Very nice post, I wonder what men have to say about being happy. You never hear about us.

Lpeg said...

That's a much better saying to have. We can't give up - or else why would we blog about it?

prettylittletangents said...

I'm stealing/borrowing your mantra :) Awesome post!

Nicole C. said...

I hope you don't mind, but I am stealing your mantra, too. Maybe it will change and I'll eventually find my own, but right now I just don't have the energy.
Thanks for writing.

Sarah said...

Everybody is welcome to my mantra :)

cornflakegirl74 said...

I love this post. And it's so true. It's exhausting to try to do it all and I also find myself trying to accomplish so many things in this world. For what reason? Why do my friends tell me I should go online and find a boyfriend when I'm perfectly content living the life of a single gal? Why do I think I need to move up the corporate ladder when I am able to pay my bills each month with a little extra for concert tickets? Why do I feel guilty with a night on the couch when I could be out at a bar with my girlfriends, drinking overpriced cocktails in Manhattan and wearing uncomfortable shoes?

I like Shonda's advice, but I'm glad you rubbed out that mantra from your bathroom mirror. Because your view is healthier. We all deserve to find true love and you shouldn't tell yourself that someone else can have what you may want yourself. "To thine own self be true." Always. :)

 

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