Myself.

If you've read my blog even one time, you know that I'm moderately obsessed with Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the book Eat, Pray Love.

This post is about that one time I got to meet dear Lizzie.

A little history.

I have to provide back story here because just knowing that I'm a fan of EG isn't nearly enough.  Readers, you must understand where my head and my heart were on this night.   You must understand just exactly how I got to this place.

I was the last person on the Eat, Pray, Love bandwagon.  What is interesting is that my mom recommended the book to me.  Seems innocuous enough but what you need to know is that my mom is not a huge reader so for her to recommend this book was a pretty big deal.  So I was at Costco and picked myself up a copy for about $8.  Here's a fact you may not know about me.  I don't actually read books.  I devour them.  I have been known on multiple occasions to sit down and not get back up until whatever book I am reading is done.  I have also been known to stay up quite literally all night long to get through a book.  Might have something to do with my obsessive nature.  Who knows.   So I now own the book and sat down and read the thing cover to cover in a matter of hours and it immediately changed my life.

Nope.  That's not at all how it went down.  The thing sat on my shelf for months and haunted me.  I started reading the beginning and really liked it but found it difficult to read (I realize now this is because it hit just too damn close to home).  And that's it.  I put it on the shelf.  And I didn't pick it up again.

And my marriage started to crumble and I was sad and depressed and in the hole and my mom and I were talking and she told me to just read the end, the "Love," part because it might make me happy and it was easier to read. (Such a typical mom response, sooth the boo-boo with something "happy")  So fine, I reluctantly  picked it up again after all those months and sure enough, gutted my way through.  And it was gutting.  I still didn't like this book.  I still had to PUSH my way through it.    Meanwhile, the movie came out. Which I saw and enjoyed but didn't LOVE-LOVE.

However, after seeing the movie, I decided to start the book over again.  And guess what I did? I devoured it.  And I've devoured it about 4 times since and more importantly, I've got the book marked and flagged and highlighted and I really do treat it as a bible of sorts.

A few safe places to land.


When I need something......... I just drop it open wherever it falls and I begin to read.  Liz has become my therapist.  Liz has become a wise voice in the night. Liz has become my friend.  And this is why it's important to know that when Richard from Texas tells Liz she is capable of loving the whole world, she does.  Liz REALLY does.  Because all you need to do is absorb her words like the sponge that you are and you will be loved instantly too.

The other day I'm talking to a friend about EPL.  He says he saw the movie and really liked it.  Not a typo, I said, "HE."  The more we talk, the more he's inching toward reading the book.  But he asks me, "Really? This is her TRUE. LIFE. STORY?"  (As if it were unbelievable)  And I responded, "Yes dear friend.  It's her story.  The wonderful thing about Elizabeth Gilbert is that she is an author, she is a writer, and she writes about the human condition.  In this case, she wrote about her human condition.  And those who love EPL love it because they can relate."   It reminds me of when Liz is talking to Giovanni in Rome -

“We were talking the other evening about the phrases one uses when trying to comfort someone who is in distress. I told him that in English we sometimes say, 'I've been there.' This was unclear to him at first-I've been where? But I explained that deep grief sometimes is almost like a specific location, a coordinate on a map of time. When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope.
'So sadness is a place?' Giovanni asked.
'Sometimes people live there for years,' I said.”

I'm starting to think I may need to split this post in two because I may overload the entire internet with the length of this story.

Now here we are, I'm an Eat, Pray, Love, ~  Elizabeth Gilbert devotee.

I have now been divorced and lived my life and been on my own spiritual journey (without leaving my backyard) and have even found my own Felipe.  "My Felipe" fully supports my obsession and has even read the book himself in an effort to just understand ME better.  We planned a trip to New York in the fall and were planning to drive.  It was his idea to reroute through Frenchtown, New Jersey so that we could stop and visit Liz and Felipe's (whose real name is Jose')  store, Two Buttons, on the off chance that Button #1 would just so happen to be in the shop having a cup of tea waiting to bestow her wisdom on me and become my BFF.  I mean, you know, just in case, we had to at least stop.  We ended up not going to New York at all and although I was crushed to give up my tickets to see Wicked on Broadway, I was more crushed about the notion of not meeting Liz.  Because there was simply no doubt in my mind that I would.

That's when Liz sent me a personal email (She calls it a "newsletter" but I'm pretty sure she only sends it to me), and  she announced her upcoming book tour to promote her novel, The Signature of All Things.  Lo and behold Nashville is on the list.

And this is where the story gets sticky and this is why it has taken so long to write this down for the world to see.  Something very yucky happens and my heart ends up broken.  But push through we shall......

I call R in a state of pure excitement.  He is excited too.  He can't wait to be with me when I see Liz.  Even if I don't actually MEET Liz, I'm going to be breathing the same air and that's one step closer to best friend-om.  So I set an alarm for the day the tickets go on sale, am sitting at my computer and promptly purchase 2 tickets.  One for me, one for R.  The countdown to Liz has begun.  I'm like a giddy child.  I'm more excited to see Liz that I was to see Rick Springfield when I was 10 and that's saying quite a lot.

So far, so good.

The week of Liz's visit arrives and it gets hairy as life is known to do.  She was in town on November 1 at the Nashville Public Library.  Be there at 6pm because the doors close, so being late is not an option.  For those of you in Tennessee you may remember what happened last Halloween.  The weather was CRAZY.  And they cancelled trick or treating.  And rescheduled it for............. November 1.  So now I'm faced with the choice:  Liz, or trick or treating with Jared?  In actuality, I'm more stressed about managing Luke because he is petrified of costumes so Halloween is a time of great "autism management."  But after thinking about it, I choose Liz.  No I don't.  I choose...

myself.

Because this is a dream.  This is a bucket list thing.  This is a big. damn. deal.  And I'm going to do it and my kids are going to be ok without me.  So I do the unthinkable.  I farm out my kids.  And those of you who know me know this is not something I do.  I called a mom of one of Jared's friends and I ask her if Jared can trick or treat with her family.  I called my ex husband and asked him to take Luke.  Now is the matter of getting off of work, fighting traffic, getting both kids where they need to go, fighting traffic the opposite way AGAIN and getting my butt in that seat by 6pm.

All while nursing a broken heart.

Did you notice a part of the story that disappeared?   R.  R disappeared.  R forgot about Liz.  Totally and completely.  Despite the talk, despite the excitement, despite the countdown, despite how totally, utterly, and completely important to me this was, he forgot.  And now trick or treating has been moved so I'm not even going to mention it because I can't ask him to miss out on his kids.  But still.  He forgot.  And so I press through and I dig deep, very deep and I make it happen.   Everything I have to do.  Cover the last hour of my shift at work, begin the "runaround Sue" driving insanity (my kids ended up in two different cities and Liz yet in a third), change my clothes, grab my book (just in case there's a signing!)  push through the Halloween mom guilt that is consuming me from the inside out and I race to the Nashville Public Library.

As I was parking my car and walking through the parking  garage alone I couldn't fight the sinking feeling,  "I should not be here alone."  "I should not be experiencing this without R."   And the best part was that R was communicating with me all night.  Telling me about trick or treating, etc and at no point did he ever realize where I was or what I was doing.  I text my best friend and tell her what's up.  And she responds as she always does.  She says, "You're going to meet Liz.  I know it.  I know it because you are April F#$king Schmidt.   Text me the picture of the two of you together.  I'll wait up."  There was no "What if" about it.  Period.  She declared it.  She threw out the challenge as if it wasn't one, and I accepted.

Because I am doing this for me, on my own, me, myself, and I. And when I meet Liz, and by golly I am going to meet Liz at this point, it's going to be MINE.   I decided right then and there that I didn't need R or anyone else by my side.  Isn't that the purpose of Eat, Pray, Love?  To find yourself, to love yourself, to not NEED anyone else as your "scratching post" as Liz puts it?  Liz traveled all over the world.  Surely I could march through this dark parking garage and wind my way through the maze of the public library to find this woman that I have looked to, this woman that I have considered my own personal guru, right?

I wasn't in the best place emotionally at this point.  I was frayed and broken hearted and disappointed and let down.  If you tell me that I'm the most important person in your life, then isn't what's important to me, important to you, too?  It's amazing where we can allow our minds to go once we jump down the rabbit hole of negativity and self doubt.

I get to the entrance of where Liz will be and guess what? I left my ticket in the car.  Now remember, I have broken the sound barrier to make it on time.  Going back to the car means that the door will be closed.  The woman taking tickets took absolute mercy on me - I believe simply from the look on my face - and allowed me in.  It was a small auditorium with a stage in which dearest Lizzie came out and read from her new book and talked about writing, and "the process" and answered questions and was charming and delightful and made me laugh and made me think and just inspired me.  She talked about life, love, being on the journey and trying to find balance and then tossing the concept right out the window and just breathing.  Oh, wise one.    But when it came time to ask questions I was completely paralyzed.  I was speechless.  The women on either side of me both asked questions while I sat there mute.  This isn't like me.  But I was awestruck, I realize that now. And so, I missed my opportunity to ask Liz a question.........

Or did I?

To be continued............................

Comments

  1. Las Vegas???? I am hanging on your every word here. I hope the "to be continued" will be continued VERY SOON!
    I'm telling you we are kindred spirits. And like you, I, uncharacteristically froze, too!!!!! Looking forward to Part II of your post. It was an amazing night and a definite bucket list moment.

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