Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Off topic: Eat Pray Love AKA Ponder Examine Change

An admission: I hate knitting bloggers who send me artsy-fartsy pictures of their picture-perfect lives. You know what I mean. Instead of blogging about knitting - which is why I subscribed! - they blather on instead about heirloom tomatoes, fig pudding recipes, boring summer vacations, additions to their already fabulous houses, and so on. YAWN. If you want my attention, write to me about knitting and save the rest of that crap for your best friend.

I try hard to stay on topic and for the most part, I do. But today I'm going to share some thoughts about one of my favorite books, Eat Pray Love. If you want knitting, come back tomorrow when I'll report on the completion of the Melrose Peacoat's first sleeve. But for now, I'm officially going off topic.

To me, Eat Pray Love - both the book and movie - ask the incredibly compelling question: who and what would I be if I hadn’t devoted my entire life in the quest of some dude? I come from a long line of women who made the man du jour the sun in their solar systems. My mother, grandmother, great-grandmother ad nauseum never lived in the center of their own lives. Instead, they revolved around some crazy/alcoholic/sex-addicted/abusive/obsessive man - and ruined their lives in the process. I'm no different. I've spent 51 years on this planet and have been obsessed with boys since kindergarten. There were a couple of gems along the way, but believe me when I tell you: the vast majority of men I've ever loved are utter swine.

Men aren’t perfect and I don’t expect them to be. It's way too much to assume someone with a penis can ever be a woman’s reason for being. But I’ve been guilty of this all my life, always expecting the next (more perfect) man to finally make me happy. Inevitably, if I'm lucky enough to land the dude, I discover almost instantly that he isn't remotely my Prince Charming. Instead he's just an irksome, mega-flawed man who didn't deserve me to begin with.

I do want a man in my life. I really do. But I don’t want him to BE my life. Tom, my beloved boyfriend, is a great guy and I enjoy spending my life with him. But believe me, in many ways I’ve got my act a lot more together than he does. I can neither make him the center of my life nor responsible for my happiness and growth. That’s my job.

Forever more, let me possess this profound wisdom: I can have a good man in my life without making him my life. To be honest with you, this is one reason I focus so much on knitting. Knitting is about me, my fascination, my education, my accomplishments. For the most part, knitting doesn't have anything to do with men - and that's a huge relief. Knitting - along with my business, creativity, and friendships -  makes me the sun in my own solar system. Brilliant.

I wish I'd read Eat Pray Love when I was 21. Maybe I could have saved myself 45 years of pain and suffering. But probably not. As Maya Angelou says, "I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better." Indeed.


  1. Well I loved this post (even with the art type non-knitting photos :)). I think if I had read it when I was 21 I wouldn't have gotten it. Age and time gives you different glasses.

  2. I agree, Julie. I only wish someone I trusted would have told me this when I was 15, although maybe it wouldn't have made a difference. As I get older, I grow increasingly cynical about men; I find myself suppressing the urge to roll my eyes rather too often--when do they ever stop posturing and get real? Like you, i feel pulled towards the fiber arts because it expresses ME, fulfills ME. Have you read Gilbert's earlier book, "The Last American Man"?

  3. Plain and simple; all men are just looking for a substitute for mother. Period.
    I care for an elderly father and even he needs a hint every now and then that 'I ain't her'.(he just chuckles 'cause he sees it is true)
    It can be demanding.

    I am still listening to the cd of the book and it foes go into more about the relationship with men. However, the parts about travel attracted me to both the movie and the book.

    I can't believe how fast you knit.
    I remember one person claiming she knit sweaters in a week.You are not far from that, J!

    Hey! I missed 2 new posts. What's up with Atom and RSS feed in Yahoo reader?
    My update reader notifications
    are so, so slow to come into my email.

  4. Thanks, girls. I keep coming back to the irony of "it's not him - it's me." Whatever Tom (or any other man)does or doesn't do, I've got to stay centered. My life is about me, not him. It's hard to do, but practice makes perfect, right?

    Lots of men long for their mothers - unless they hate her. How much passive aggressive horseshit comes our way because our men don't like their mothers? I know this happens in my world every day. Drives me nuts.