Note to reader: I originally wrote this when "Eat Pray Love" was in the movie theaters. But I'm posting it today on what would have been my 8th wedding anniversary. Now, it's just another day on the calendar. And "Jack Ass 3" is number one at the box office. Onward.
If I see one more trailer for Eat, Pray, Love, I may throw up.
Author Elizabeth Gilbert has somehow managed to turn her messy divorce into a New York Times best-selling, box office-topping, Home Shopping Network accessorized gold mine. She's convinced six million, slightly daft, wayward, Oprahfied, single women across the globe, that the key to repair and regeneration after a monumentally failed relationship lies in exotic globe trotting and carbo loading.
If only all of us divorcees could be so lucky.
To wander the likes of Italy, India, and Bali.
To eat large quantities of pasta and never worry about the pounds.
To practice self-imposed abstinence, despite having attractive men throw themselves at our feet.
To reach a higher plane by meditating with random ashrams at our convenient disposal.
To be played by America's sweetheart, elephantine smile and all in the silver screen adaption of a seemingly unrealistic and self-indulgent portrayal of a post- matrimonial mourning period.
To the women who think that the aftermath of a marriage gone to hell is bicycle rides through open air markets, flowers in your hair, and spicy curry dripping from your lips - god speed and good luck to you.
Cuz it ain't nothing of the sort.
And to the women who believe that finding yourself before finding love again is essential, you're correct.
But if you honestly think you're going to find it in book clubs and kick boxing classes and poetry readings, you may be disappointed.
It's so much messier, and ordinary, and less dramatic than that.
It's about coming home at the end of the day and turning on the TV so the noise tricks you into thinking you're not going to eat dinner alone.
It's about learning to lie in the middle of the bed at night.
It's standing in front of the mirror naked in the morning, dripping wet and examining every paunch and wrinkle and mole and wondering what man will ever find it attractive enough again.
It's about hair dye, and too much ice cream, and puffy eyes, and Match.com.
It's about having the paper to yourself on Sunday and no one else to make the coffee.
It's about sorting out what friends will stand by your side and being dumb struck by the ones who don't.
It's about sad smiles from sympathetic aunts and cousins, pats on the shoulder, and offers to do lunch when they can spare time away from their own families and lives.
It's about having little to show for your adult life that doesn't somehow involve your ex-husband, your mutual friends, angry family members, and framed wedding photographs.
It's about trying to figure out what to do with your half of the loot, the monstrosity of a crystal bowl some cousin got for half price at an outlet store for your wedding gift, the baseball card that accidentally found it's way into your box of stuff, the Michael Bolton CD he refused to claim as his own when you were diving up your music collection.
It's learning to carry five bags of groceries with two hands, no one to bring the car around when it's raining so you don't ruin your hair, balancing your own checkbook with half the money and twice the bills.
It's about no one but you to make a midnight run for tampons and Baskin Robbins.
It's making your own chicken soup when you're down with the flu.
It's a life of where the inside jokes you both found hilarious lose context.
It's about fighting loneliness like you'd fight a war, with a little less blood, a lot more time on your hands, minus a band of brothers.
It's an army of one.
But as much as I long to tell the (newly remarried) Ms. Gilbert to choke on her words and flip Julia Roberts the bird every time I see her on E True Hollywood Story, I don't want to be a total naysayer.
While divorce is very much about being alone and starting over, it's also about grabbing onto the fleeting moments of exhilarating independence that somehow manage to sandwich their way in between the more oft occasions of isolation.
It's drinking boxed wine and smoking cigarettes in the bathtub.
It's never having to share the remote or TiVo the new episode of Mad Men during Sunday Night Football.
It's about buying ridiculously expensive dress and having no one to answer to but your wallet and the mirror.
It's about all the annoying little habits you hid or muffled because they got under his skin.
It's unapologetic open air farting.
And gum smacking.
It's squeezing the Colgate from the middle of the tube.
And never arguing over where to spend the holidays.
It's about never having to put up with his horrible bitch of a mother.
Or pretending to like the macramé sweater she bought you from Kohl's Department store, two sizes too small.
It's shaking your ass to Abba playing at a deafening roar.
It's kissing new boys
And making love to new men.
And not having to consult anyone but yourself when deciding to take the new job, in the new city, chasing an old ambition you had once put on hold.
It's a light at the end of a very long, dank tunnel.
It's scraping dog crap off the bottom of your favorite pumps.
And sometimes, for the luckiest of us, it's about chucking the shit-covered shoes for a brand new pair of shiny stilettos. Blisters and all.
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