I watched "Eat Pray Love" the movie last night and was left disappointed by the adaptation of the book. Like many of the book's fans, I was excited to watch Julia Roberts casted in the movie, she seemed like a perfect choice to play Elizabeth Gilbert.
Now it just seems like the movie audience is just going to think that Elizabeth Gilbert is selfish whiny b*tch. The movie left out important details of how she eventually made that decision to end the marriage. Or even start praying to God. I don't think it will eventually matter to Elizabeth Gilbert anyway. If she didn't make that "selfish" decision to go on her journey, I don't think she would have written that book which inspired many other women to do the same, or at least reflect on their lives. She wouldn't have gone on to speak at one of the most popular Ted talks – the talk that brought me to read her book in the first place. She needed to do what she had to do. Why is there such a negative connotation to pursuing your happiness?
No pulse left
When I first read the book I felt like I was reading myself. To be fair, there was a tiny part of the movie which made me feel like I was watching myself. The part when she tries to explain to her friend why she needed to go away for one entire year. She had no pulse left. I had no pulse left.
I don't think it is ever possible to explain this feeling to anyone else unless they have been through the same. The same feeling which makes you feel that you're suffering a fate worse than death. It makes you feel guilty for feeling that way, because there're tons of cancer patients or hungry war victims who are wishing they have a proper chance at life. But that's the thing you see, there is no feeling worse than being totally able and in supposed comfort and still feeling like you may be better off dead. At least the sick, poor and hungry have proper reasons to be angry with their lives. I had no reason to have felt this way, just like Elizabeth Gilbert had no reason to.
That guilt, eats you up inside. The desire to be truly alive, eats you up inside.
Each and every time I go through a transformative phase, I tell myself to learn from it and never make the same mistakes again. I have come to realise the way I am built mentally, emotionally and spiritually, I am destined for a life of change. Of movement, of desiring the feeling to truly be alive. This is who I am, but I've spent my life trying to shut that side of myself up. Yup, I am writing about this again. But I've only come to terms with this recently, it is really going to take a while before it entirely sinks in.
I just hope I don't sabotage myself in the process.
Sometimes it feels tiring and lonely. To be one of those misfits who cannot live life like how others do. I have had times wishing I could be less emotional, less perceptive or having an interest in numbers instead of visuals. I wish I would be excited by the prospect of being an auditor instead. I was actually wishing all my innate gifts away.
It feels really really lonely and tiring when nobody could empathise with this sort of self-introspection and dissatisfaction. Why I seem to be so hard upon myself. I'm sure there're tons of people who read this blog and decide that that the writer whines throughout.
Even I, myself, get sick of my own "principles". Why can't I just take work as work. Why do I feel so personally about every design decision I have made. The frustration I feel when a client prides the importance of the number of features rather than the value of design. Or when somebody thinks design is just making things pretty. Or when a developer writes inline styles into the html.
You know, I could live a lot better if I don't get all worked up over "trivial" things like that. But this is me. These are the qualities that I hope prospective clients would deem as strengths when they choose to hire me. There are tons of more gifted designers out there. I'll be the first to admit that. I don't write a design blog or speak at events, I don't network very well. But I bring myself completely into the work that I choose to do.
Just like this blog. I can't write about "25 tips to Zen Living", neither can I write about" 25 ways to become a better designer". There are better writers out there with these topics. But I can write honestly and openly about myself, by doing that I hope to share the best gift I can – my thoughts, emotions and experiences. Perhaps it would make some of you roll your eyes, but once in a while, I get a heartfelt email or comment about my writing, and to me these are what that counts.
True connections are the ones that matter to me. There will always be the ones disagreeing with you, your decisions, your product. There will even be the ones who think "Eat Pray Love" the book is a piece of crap. I cannot help but raise my eyebrows at those people who refuse to use an Apple product. But when you manage to genuinely touch the lives of those who can relate to you, your decisions, your product, you know that you have made a real difference to them. When this happens, they truly appreciate you or your work, not because it is something everyone uses (ahem. Windows) or admire.
Would you choose to be the spouse who stays out of responsibility or the one who leaves because you believe your partner deserves better? Would you design a product that the mass use out of necessity or a niche who truly loves it? Would you spend your life chasing stability and security or would you want to feel alive?
If you have the gift of foresight, and you know you will get paralysed in a year's time...Would you spend this year enjoying every moment of your life, or would you work really hard to have savings and buy insurance?
If you truly love and care for someone, wouldn't his/her happiness be the most important? Why can't we, as a society, encourage the individual to be happy, instead of being "responsible"? As a parent, would you wish your son or daughter to be truly happy, to be "responsible", stuck in jobs they do not love, just to be filial? Would you, want your wife to stick with you because she took a life vow, or do you want her to be with the person she truly loves?
We all make different decisions and respond differently to the same situation. While I used to believe everyone should live life with passion, I have come to accept, albeit a little unwillingly, that some people could be happier with security. The world needs diversity, but I do hope the world will come to love and be kinder to the minority as well. The ones who choose to live their dreams.
Reading a book like "Eat, Pray, Love" makes me feel less lonely, that somewhere in the world there are people like me, who stubbornly refuse to give up on their chosen dreams, no matter how painful or how stupid they can seem to be.
There have been countless times when I have felt like there's nothing left in me to go on, that I should just give it all up – and then almost like magic, a random book, video, blog post comes along to tell me, I am not that alone after all.
This is why I still choose to keep on writing my long, rambling, repetitive monologues. That somehow, somewhen, somewhere in this fragmented world, these words would mean something to somebody. That perhaps my writing could make a person feel a tad less lonely, less unsupported, less of a sore thumb sticking out.