Eat, Pray, Shut Up

I’m currently reading Eat, Pray, Love. To be completely honest, I’m kind of embarrassed to be reading this book. I even made a book cover out of a market bag (high school styles) so I could read it in public and not feel judged. Here’s the thing – Elizabeth Gilbert started coming out on a lot of podcasts I listen to and from what I’ve heard, I really like her, and what she has to say really resonates with me. But I have this problem with things that gain a certain level of mass appeal and popularity. Basically, I think there must be something wrong with whatever the thing is if that much of the public can appreciate it…because I think the public is generally stupid. I mean let’s just take a look at the current presidential election. Actually, let’s not…when I think about what’s going on, it just melts my mind. And heart.

Back to Eat, Pray, Love. I believe my curiosity was piqued back when the book first gained momentum, but books that get on Oprah’s bookclub or become movies starring Julia Roberts just confirm my decision to stay away. Yes, I can be quite judgmental and haughty at times. But after I heard some interviews with her, I realized that perhaps I had misjudged the situation.  Although I was most interested in reading her latest book (Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear), I happened upon a used copy of you know what at the library for $1. So I got it…and I love it (and admitting that still makes me cringe a little…I guess I still have a lot of that judgmental me I need to purge).

I just read this part where she commits to talking less: “No more scurrying, gossiping, joking. No more spotlight-hogging or conversation-dominating. No more verbal tap-dancing for pennies of affirmation. It’s time to change.” She then promptly and ironically gets her work detail changed (this is the part where she’s staying at an Ashram in India) to “Key Hostess.” This prompts her to realize that “if God wanted me to be a shy girl with thick, dark hair, He would have made me that way, but He didn’t. Useful, then, might be to accept how I was made and embody myself fully therein.”

I, too, suffer from verbal promiscuity. I talk too much and I say more than I know I should, mostly because I think it will get someone to like me a little bit more. I attempt to barter my words for incremental, and rarely ever expressed, increases in affection. I guess deep down inside, or maybe not even that deep, I just want people to like me and I think that if I say something funny or interesting, it’ll win their affection. Sometimes I’ll repeat petty gossip, but other times, against my better judgment, I’ll disclose more substantive material told to me in confidence because I think it’ll show the listener that I think they’re important enough for me to break my pledge of confidence. This in turn will, you guessed it, get them to like me more…but in reality, all it probably does is just show them that I can’t be trusted with a secret.

I’ve often fantasized about being the kind of person that is quiet, yet possesses an undeniable presence. The strong, quiet type who isn’t concerned about what others think of him or her. The first part will most likely never be me. I’m loud and can be opinionated to the brink of obnoxiousness. But I do think it’s possible for me to get to a place where I’m not so concerned about how others perceive me. Basically, I need to accept how I was made and feel secure enough to embody myself fully therein. I don’t need to say that offensive joke to capture the room’s attention. I don’t need to make that nasty remark about someone I know you don’t like to try to build a bond between us. I don’t need to keep spewing words that aren’t even really in line with how I truly feel inside to stand out, to get attention, to get people to like me.

I am good. I am fine. I am perfect(ly imperfect).


4 thoughts on “Eat, Pray, Shut Up

  1. I love your entire post, but the last sentence just hit me full on. I am perfect(ly imperfect). I’ve been looking for a way to convince myself of being perfect the way I am which is quite hard considering that I’m a perfectionist and nothing is ever just perfect. Made my day 🙂


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