Yep, still talking about this.
I finished Committed last night just before bed. I let it settle in my mind. I avoided circular obsessive thoughts about it – circular, obsessive thoughts are usually how I handle most things from something someone said that day to mortgage payments to the last few sentences of whatever book I have just read (thank you, Codependent No More).
Amazing how I was able to sleep when I took some deep breaths and let it go. I’ll think about it tomorrow. I never tell myself I’ll think about it tomorrow. I always just think about it until tomorrow. This typically evolves into some kind of extreme emotion by morning – what Gilbert quotes the Gottman’s as calling “flooding.”
That being said, I don’t have any stunning perspective or revelation now that I have finished the book. I merely have some quotes that struck me as notable. So notable that I didn’t just underline them in the book like a maniac, I actually copied them down into my journal.
“My mother herself had probably given up long ago trying to draw tidy ultimate conclusions about her own existence, having abandoned (as so many of us must do, after a certain age) the luxuriously innocent fantasy that one is entitled to have unmixed feelings about one’s own life.” – pg. 201, Committed
Me of excessive and obsessive thought who feels passionately one way or another on almost EVERY topic found this relieving. Lately, I have felt passionately about opposing thoughts – as in I feel BOTH sides passionately and have felt that this means there is something wrong with me. Apparently what I have seen as the ultimate sin – a conflict of beliefs and ideas and feelings – are just the growing pains of adulthood.
“If there is one indignity I shall never endure gracefully, it is watching people mess around with my most cherished personal narratives about them.” – pg. 206, Committed
Yes! This enrages me! And that is ridiculous. Gilbert may profess to never endure it gracefully, but that is definitely an aspect of my character I want to learn to change. It was roughly around this point of my reading that Annie Lennox started singing “Fool on the Hill” with Paul McCartney in the front row of the audience on TV and I decided that there will be sins I can’t kick, feelings I can’t change, that I will take to my grave. But enduring other people being themselves, even if it is not how I view them, gracefully is something I would like to be able to do sometime. The thoughts and the song and Annie Lennox may be unrelated, but forever in my mind they will be synonymously seared into my brain… don’t be a fool, summon your grace.
There was also a bit about porcupines that intrigued me. It’s a blurb Gilbert writes about another author’s work, Deborah Luepnitz’s Schopenhauer’s Porcupines:
“[…] Arthur Schopenhauer told about the essential dilemma of modern human intimacy. Schopenhauer believed that humans, in their love relationships, were like porcupines out on a cold winter night. In order to keep from freezing, the animals huddle close together. But as soon as they are near enough to provide critical warmth, they get poked by each other’s quills. Reflexively, to stop the pain and irritation of too much closeness, the porcupines separate. But once they separate, they become cold again. The chill sends them back toward each other once more, only to be impaled all over again by each other’s quills. So they retreat again. And then approach again. Endlessly. ‘And the cycle repeats,’ Deborah wrote, ‘as they struggle to find a comfortable distance between entanglement and freezing.’ ” – pg. 223, Committed
I read that and immediately thought of heroine and addiction. No, I’m not a heroine addict. But I’ve seen them in action. And if I’m to be honest I have a tendency to feel like one in regards to the people I care about the most – all of whom I can count on fewer fingers than I have on one hand.
Gilbert’s book is lovely. I’m sorry I sharked her memoir and made it all about me. I hope if she ever stumbles across this blog, she will take it with a grain of salt and not see me as a pirate of some kind. I recommend reading this book, regardless of what you thought about the more famous Eat, Pray, Love.
If I’m to get one over all message from ALL of my reading this weekend/ week, it is this:
I really needed to get this message.