Op-Ed: Eat, Pray, Love and Keepin' It Real

Published August 12, 2010

A little over two years ago the girls at work started passing around this literary tale of triumph over the absolutely inevitable (no matter what your momma tells you) woes of a broken heart: Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love.”  Now, I always give a bit of the side-eye to these books about upper-class women attempting to school me on love.  However, after the book made its rounds, one girl moved in with her boyfriend (now husband!), another mailed out the last of her wedding invitations, and one was last seen rocking the most beautiful piece of promised matrimonial “bling” my wanting eyes had ever seen.  “Eat, Pray, Love” helped those three, so I just knew some of that relationship luck was in store for little ol’ me!

Julia Roberts plays Liz in the highly anticipated film version, which is in theaters tomorrow.  Liz appears to have the perfect life. A husband who adores her, a successful writing career, and a best friend (portrayed by the talented Viola Davis), who possesses the power to seamlessly sprinkle pearls of wisdom into their heart-to-heart conversations all while changing a baby diaper.

Liz’s life looks good on paper, but her inner-struggle leaves her sobbing on the floor in the fetal position. I have hugged the floor of my small Manhattan apartment so many times – there’s a faint outline of my momentarily defeated frame etched into the beige carpet!

So, what’s a girl to do when cupid stops taking her calls? Treat herself to an over-the-top, jaw-dropping, unimaginably expensive, yearlong vacation?  Of course!  Well that isn’t an option for this girl and isn’t an option for anyone I know.  Hollywood!  If I ever find myself blessed with a bountiful bank account and enough idle time to simply skip town for a year, I will gladly update my Facebook relationship status to “single” and wipe away any stray tears with crisp $20 bills.

Italy, India and Indonesia provided invaluable life and love lessons.  With the help of new friends she meets along the way, Liz is reminded that nothing lasts forever, and to simply let things be. As for me, I learned that I should allow myself to eat a little more without the guilt, but not get lost in the Hollywood fantasy. Putting on a few pounds just means there will be more of me to love, but I must acknowledge that I can’t carry the weight of script-writing escapism – that might throw me into an emotional eating disorder!  I already knew the values of “Eat, Pray, Love,” but I’m holding on to the value of keeping it crystal-clear real!

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 J’Nara Corbin is a New York City-based actress and model. She is starring in the film, Finding Me: Truth, which is in theaters later this year.  For more of her work, you can read her commentary on Princess and the Frog and Chris Rock’s Good Hair.

Written by J'Nara Corbin

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