Hi, my name is Ashley and I have a problem.
I’ve read Eat, Pray, Love at least three times.
Last night, I picked it up for a fourth read.
There are few books I’ll read like this. Of course, my dear Jane’s Persuasion is one of them… among others.
But there’s some sort of comfort in the pages of Eat, Pray, Love, that I cling to in times of uncertainty.
The first time I read it I was in the midst of a rather chaotic relationship that was always shifting. An off and on again, mostly off again, relationship that left me whirling. One I could never seen to cut off or walk away from. There’s something about my personality that is so drawn to the Willoughby’s of this world, to my detriment.
Yet, as Marianne Dashwood herself did indeed say: “A woman of seven and twenty, said Marianne, after pausing a moment, can never hope to feel or inspire affection again.”
I felt that upon entering my 30s I was hopelessly doomed for a life of solitude. This was either to my reading entirely too much Austen or my childhood in the South. I clung to my last hope of youthful love. But, I knew it wasn’t going anywhere and I had just been cut at a job I thought would promise a more sturdy future.
What was I to do? Where was I to go? I felt so utterly and completely lost. The author’s words of “I don’t want to be married anymore.” At the beginning of Eat, Pray, Love, rang true to me… in that “I don’t want to be this person anymore.” I didn’t know how to change, or where to go, or what that would like. I just didn’t want to be that Ashley anymore.
So… I took a big, scary huge step. I took a job in North Dakota. Granted, the furthest north I’d ever been was St. Louis and I think that was when I was about 12 years old. I’d lived in Denver, so I thought, it can’t be THAT much different, could it?
HA! It was, indeed, it was. But it was so healing. SO healing. I loved my job, I met a great group of people. I met someone who loved me for me, the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in-between. Who knew it could be so healing. I find myself in upheaval again… and wondering once again, Do I want to be the person I’ve become? Wondering how to change it. Wondering how any of us manage to survive the predictability, the cruelty, the toughness of our lives and the decisions we face. How do you toughen up and just.keep.going.
There’s something comforting in knowing you aren’t alone, and Eat, Pray, Love, helps me know someone else survived it. Indeed, I have survived it, and I will again. Indeed: “This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.”