Drink, Pray, Indifference – A Love Story for One

Let me start with a disclaimer. I am sure that Elizabeth Gilbert is a lovely woman. She writes well, she is absolutely charming and beautiful, and I am happy that everything worked out for her. However, I actually skimmed the book and got too aggravated to finish it. In addition, her engaging treatise on marriage – Committed, was well researched, but at the end of the day was just lots of evidence that was sculpted into a defense of her own decision to get remarried. But she seems lovely.

Several friends have called or texted – “Ram – just saw Eat, Pray, Love” – it’s you – you gotta see it. Maybe it will open your heart again.”

Maybe not – because a memoir about the last 2 years of my life would be entitled “Drink, Pray, Indifference”.

Disclaimer out of the way. So let me say – enough. Because really – the whole Eat, Pray, Love thing is a funny adventure in a woman just taking women back down the same old silly garden path.

Woman falls in love. Woman gets divorced. Woman is hurt. Woman takes trip. Woman wants to open herself to love. Woman gets independent and strong. Woman meets man. Woman falls in love.

Damn.

Woman has LUXURY OF TAKING ONE YEAR OFF FROM HER LIFE TO FIND HERSELF. And what does she find at the end of that year.

Another man.

For the past 2 years I too have gone through a divorce – it was final February, 2010. I moved out in Fall, 2008. I defied all cultural traditions, and my family of origin turned their backs on me (word – Gilbert’s family supported her through all of her loss and drama). And yes – I wanted to find myself. Desperately. But I, like most of the proletariat, had one of those jobs that would be impossible to leave without leaving me homeless, jobless, and penniless. I also have 2 magnificent kids. I made different choices than Ms. Gilbert – no doubt, and clearly her career choice and the freedoms entailed by not having children, allowed her to go on this journey of self-exploration. I applaud her on some level – I wish I could have done what she did, many of us do.

So what’s a gal to do who can’t take a year off? Who has kids? Who lost her foundations, direction, and a lot of weight? But who wants to find herself. And is firmly convinced that she will never find the wonder of love again.

Instead of praying in India, eating in Italy and loving in Bali. I ruminated while driving on the 405 freeway, meditated while taking a night job down near LAX to pay the bills (divorce is expensive), drank a wide variety of bars in Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, ate cereal in my kitchen, and found out that the warmest emotion I could evoke from a man was indifference.

Now, I was lucky compared to many other women – I didn’t have a year, but in the 2 years since I moved out – I have travelled to Greece, Berlin, Peru and on each journey met marvelous friends and had unforgettable experiences.

I don’t begrudge Ms. Gilbert her grand adventure – if I could I would. I begrudge the fact that so many of these “find myself” journeys – find the woman right back in a relationship. And that is supposed to be the happy ending?

What if a woman undergoes a painful divorce, spends 1-2 years on a journey of self-exploration and ends up with herself?

Ironically, I got a greater gift in the past few years – greater than any so called “soul mate”. I got male friends. Graduate study in psychology is a largely female enterprise, and my class was comprised of 9 women. Somehow I forgot to accumulate male friends, and then one day I found myself married and all of a sudden acquiring male friends became suspect. The last time I had close male friends was high school. During the past 2 years, these men – who live in London, Miami, throughout the US, and here in LA – both gay and straight – have wiped away tears, given me the male perspective, vowed to go to blows if necessary, and held me on nights when I just needed some comfort and closeness. They are keepers – so maybe not the romanticized stuff of Gilbert ‘s time in improbably beautiful places. But here in Sherman Oaks – it’s a pretty damned happy ending.

At the end of my 2 years, I am firmly single – and not always for want of trying. I learned about the baser side of men’s nature in my attempts to connect with men during the past few years. For example, the guy who told me he was in love with someone else – ON VALENTINE’S DAY. The guy who when I told him that I was falling in love with him said “…that’s troubling, because I really want to f**k other women”. Not exactly an elephant ride in Bali or gelato in Italy. And likely more congruent with the bleak landscape of post-divorce life and love.

So while Eat Pray Love gives us the escapism of a travelogue – it may not be the escape of reality. Most of us have to undertake the journey of self-exploration in our hometowns, in gritty American cities, in sleepy suburban towns. Sherman Oaks, California ain’t Tuscany. But it was here that I did find myself. Every divorce hurts – regardless of why the marriage ends. And sometimes that soul searching period – whether it be months or years – doesn’t always end in love – but ends with the woman standing strong, solid, and alone.

Gilbert’s story has a happy ending – and I am glad. Every person deserves one. Though it may be all spin. Perhaps we all have happy endings if we write them that way.

In my case – I am literally living a dream. The love thing doesn’t appear to be working out, nor did the marriage. But at my ripe old age I have 2 stunning children who have an amazing father as well, a rewarding career as a psychologist and professor, and my decades -long dream of breaking into a media career commences on September 6 when I debut as the psychologist on Jackie Warner’s THINtervention.

On Tuesday morning I depart for Lhasa, Tibet en route to Mt. Everest. I want to see the monasteries and try my hand at meditating with the masters. I want to be awestruck by my world and be as giddy as a child. And try to find those pieces of myself that I seem to have misplaced.

Now is the time for all of us to enact a dream. Whether it is laughing, loving, eating, drinking, climbing, trekking, or just living. Whether we have a year or a week. Whether alone or with others.

Sometimes the story ends with…….

SHE lived happily ever after.

Here’s hoping.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, August 15th, 2010 at 1:03 pm and is filed under Relationships and Sex, Travel. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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