I don’t watch a lot of television on the whole, and hour long dramas are not really my cup of tea, so I have missed most of Shonda Rimes’ work. Despite this, I do of course know who she is and admire her enormous success, talent and determination.
This is absolutely not the kind of book I would normally read; self-help, memoirs, etc are not my cup of tea, but someone left it in a pile of free books at work and I thought I could read it on my breaks. So, I took it to read, assuming I would just bring it back for someone else to read in a few days. Truthfully, I had trouble even getting started, because the writing seemed so stylized, with some passages seemingly designed for a Facebook post featuring an upward framed shot of a skinny woman doing mountain pose in an Arizona landscape:
Yes to everything scary.
Yes to everything that takes me out of my comfort zone.
Yes to everything that feels like it might be crazy.
Yes to everything that feels out of character.
Yes to everything that feels goofy.
Yes to everything.
Speak. Speak NOW.
“Yes,” I say. “Yes”
Despite sometimes having trouble reading it for all the eye-rolling, I kept at it, because it was clever and there were passages where it felt like Rimes was so revealing and honest, that she laid herself bare for us all to read. It was painful to read sometimes, and I wasn’t entirely sure why. By the end I realized that in some ways, Shonda Rimes is me – some of what she wrote hit so close to home. I am an introvert; I have a fairly successful career that I struggle with feeling confident about; I cannot believe a compliment when one is paid to me; I am a little depressed and a lot anxious and just generally inclined to say no to things. I notice it when I say “no” to my children for seemingly no good reason, and I say no to people who invite me to do things with them, and I say no to myself when I think about the future and opportunities and about my own self-worth. Why do I do this? What do I gain? Shonda forced herself to start saying yes to everything, and it changed her life. I decided to try and do the same. My best friend moved away and when acquaintances asked me to join them certain evenings to do pottery, I knew if I said no I would never go by myself, so I said yes. I got a health assessment and my only big risk factor that is within my control is my weight, so I asked myself if I wanted to do something about it so I don’t die early like my dad, and I said yes.
Saying yes . . . saying yes is courage. Saying yes is the sun. Saying yes is life.
I am trying, every day, to say yes more often, and this book helped me to take a long hard look at myself and accept that it was time. It’s time.