Myself, too.

Part two of when Elizabeth Gilbert and I became besties.

Of course you all know how this story ends.  I do, in fact, meet Liz.  But it was EPIC and therefore I shall tell you the details.

Well, it was epic to me, anyway.

So the official "book reading," "Liz being an inspiring, charming, funny, brilliant human being speaking to her audience" portion was over.  And this is where it gets good.  The organizers of the event come out, that there is, in fact, a book signing.  Now, when The Signature of All Things came out, I had officially (EGADS!!) made the transition to the e-book (If you have not experienced the e-book on the kindle paperwhite that's why you haven't made the transistion, too.  It's THAT good).  But I bought TSOAT in the old school hardcover version because -- wait for it -- I thought, on the off chance that I did get Liz to sign my book, it would be rude to bring Eat, Pray, Love to a book signing for The Signature of All Things.  Yup, I'm that weird.  But we all know that on November 1 as I was running around like a mad woman trying to get myself to the Nashville Public Library, I said to myself, "F#$K it, this is the book that set me on this path" and I not only grabbed my well loved and worn copy of EPL, but yes folks, I wore my "Love" shirt, holes and all.  I'm THAT fan, what can I say?  (Don't worry I covered it with a cute sweater, holes not visible, shew!)

At this point my heart leaps into my chest.  Here it comes.  This is happenening.  They announce this new fangled way of doing a book signing.  There's an "express line" for those who just want a straight up autograph, and then there's the "personal experience" line.  I kid you not, there were 3 people in the "express" line and every.other.person. was in the "personal experience" line.  Somehow, I ended up in the first quarter of the line.

I've only been to one other book signing before and that was for children's book author, Mo Willems.  So I was somewhat familiar with the post it note concept.  This is where a "handler" comes through the line and hands you a post it note and you write your name on said note so that when you get to the front of the line and it's your turn, the author isn't all, "What do you want it to say?"  "Wait what?  How do you spell that?"  "Excuse me what did you say?" ad nausem.   You write your name on the post it note, author then writes something like........

To April
Elizabeth Gilbert

As if.

I'm in line and again I get that sinking "alone" feeling.  It's not "lonely" it's more sadness.  Sadness that I'm having a HUGE ASS LIFE MOMENT and I'm not sharing it with anyone!  It's just.......... me.  And listen.  I'm an only child.  I CAN DO ALONE.  In fact, I relish alone.  I need alone. I thrive on alone.  But this was somehow different.  I was reeling and emotionally broken from R forgetting.  The whole time I'm in this line he's still texting me about trick or treating and still absolutely clueless as to where I am.  This continues to sting and burn.

Here comes my post it note.  I break out into an instant sweat.  The line is moving fast and there is one thing I know for certain.  That post it note, will not, CANNOT say "April."   I instantly know in that moment that I need to write  something on that little 3X3 yellow square that will open up a.........doorway with Liz.  But I can't think.  I'm paralyzed.  The line is moving fast.  We are all sharing a pen.  The handler person is waiting on me.  I have mere SECONDS to have this conversation with myself in my head.  What should I write?  I'm creative!  I can think of something!

............
..............................
.............................................
(that signals the ETERNITY that was passing or so it felt)

I put the pen on the paper and the words are so obvious.

My handwriting was so wobbly.  I was a nervous wreck.

I'm so satisfied.

I'm now at a point in the line where I can see Liz and OH MY GOD she is taking pictures...... this is getting crazy.  Now this experience is exceeding my expectations.  And those of you who have read my blog before know that I have "exepectation issues" and they never get met and so for me to have mine exceeded on this night...........given the amount of disappointment and heartache I am carrying with me.... yeah, huge.

So I'm alone in this line and I'm kind of starting to settle into this.  This concept of "I am SO ok having this moment all to myself.  I so don't need anyone here with me."  "I made this happen.  I'm alone.  And I'm ok" But of course I wasn't alone.  I was with a room full of (mostly) women who love and adore Liz just as much as I do, which can only mean one thing.  They were touched by EPL just as I was, so surely every one of us in that room (and there were a lot of us) had something in common.

Getting closer now, I'm about 10 people away from Liz.  Remember that I'm "alone" so I turn to these becauitful women behind me and ask if they will take my picture with Liz.  I'm not above that.  I do it everywhere I go.  But there's no way I'm getting to the holy grail and leaving without the grail itself.

Well of course we start chatting.

To this day I can't remember why they called me "Las Vegas," (Dianne help me!) I can only assume I was wearing  big blingy earrings (duh) and approximatley 900 bracelets.   But I meet this amazing woman named Dianne Burch who is......... wait for it.............a children's book author............ and again my mind is racing.  Did God or Liz put me in this place, right here, right now, at this moment to meet and become friends with a children's book author?   Everything happens for a reason.  NOTHING is a mistake.  A good friend of mine says this,

“I've come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call "The Physics of The Quest" — a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: "If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself... then truth will not be withheld from you." Or so I've come to believe.”

Yeah, my friend said that when she wrote a little book called "Eat, Pray, Love."

To this day I'm not sure HOW Dianne and my lives will intersect but I know they will.  I also know I have never removed the bookmark she gave me and I know there's a reason it's on THIS page, I'm just not sure what yet.  Nothing is accidential.


Check out Dianne and her awesome book here.

The girls and I continue to talk about our love for Liz and make a pact to take pictures for each other and swap emails so that we can share said pictures with each other.  They brought a "real" camera whereas I was unprepared and only brought a phone.  I'm now about 2 people away from Liz.  Oh look, there's a "handler" (I have no idea what else to call these people.  Volunteers?  Angels from God?) and she takes your camera/phone for you and takes pictures for you while you meet your idol.  Bless you child!

Here we go.

Amazingly I'm not that nervous.  When you meet Elizabeth Gilbert, she is POURING out light.  That and she is the most humble, gracious, loving person you can imagine.  She's just........ real.  I can't think of a better word.  I don't know............I feel like if you know, Julia Roberts played me in the movie of the story of my life, I would think I was a pretty big damn deal.  Not Liz.  Gracious.  Exuding light.  Welcoming.

She reads my sticky note.

"You're welcome?"  She says questioningly.

And I lean in and I whisper right in her ear........

"Thank you for giving me the courage to change the course of the rest of my life."  

And now I can die.

Wait.  Liz drops her pen.  It was as if her whole life shifted, I swear to you.  She didn't hesitate for a single second and she looked me right in the eyes and wrapped me in her arms.

I love the look on her face.

And then we started talking ferverishly.  I swear to you, it's like I've known this woman my whole life.  And I remember nothing.  OK I remember bits and pieces.

She was intrigued with my Waxing Poetic necklace and  asked me what the J and L were for.  I told her about my boys and explained that yes, I was one of those moms who left their kids trick or treating without their mom so I could meet her.  We laughed.
Look at us, chatting like besties!

I didn't want to walk away.  I felt somewhat guilty because I knew I had taken up too much of her time (Which she willingly gave, but still).  But she wished me well on my journey, she wished me love.  She wished the best for my children.  

And she signed my book.


As I walked away, I stopped down the hallway a few feet down and turned to watch Dianne and her friend have their moment with Liz.  

We all find inspiration in different places.  Usually the most unlikely of places.  Some people go on  a search for things to inspire them, but in my life, I have found the things that get my fire going more than anything else are the little things.  Could be a kind word from a friend, a shared moment of understanding with a coworker, the hug of a loved one or simply the look in someone's eyes.  

Liz Gilbert is just a woman.  She's got an amazing gift with words and she had the courage to tell her story, as hard and as ugly as it was at times.  She was brave enough to walk away from the comfort of her life and travel the globe in order to seek something....something I believe she found in spades and found in the faces of the people she met along the way.

Hopefully even mine.  



..............



You may be wondering what happened between me and R.  I left the library, raced to get the boys (two different cities remember) and finally got myself settled into bed.  I was on a high.  Even Jared thought it was pretty darn cool, my whole experience.  I never said a word all night to R.  And as the evening drew to a close, a simply sent him the pictures.  His response was, "You need to leave me."

We all make mistakes.  This one stung quite a bit and in fact there is still a bruise on my heart and perhaps there always will be.  

I don't think I could ever choose a "favorite" quote from EPL but this one is pretty close.

"Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be."

I found my backbone that night.  I wanted something and I went out and got it, for myself.  But what I also did is I wished that R would have remembered.  I wished that R would have figured it out.  I have since learned that my backbone does a much better job of getting things done and have started to become diligent about not wishing, but asking for what I want and what I need.   It's become the best way I know to protect 

myself.

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