My Own 'Eat Pray Love' Journey: Very Little Eating But a Whole Lot of ...

Jennifer Cullen

CosmopolitanThis past week, I've been inundated with images of Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem. In the newspaper, on the television and even on this website. As a matter of fact, unless you've been holed up in a cave somewhere, you know Eat Pray Love opened this weekend. And you know what it's about.

I had my own EPL moment nine years ago when I went through a year of marital separation and subsequent divorce. Sure, there are parallels between Elizabeth Gilbert's experiences and mine. Divorce, loneliness, younger men.

But after the papers were signed, I didn't eat, pray or love much. Other than non-romantic love of my kids and immediate family and friends. And I didn't travel to exotic locales.

But this is what I did do: Drink Smoke F*@k. That's going to be the title of my memoir if I ever get around to writing it. And this is my outline.

Drink: I drank Cosmos and then Gimlets. Only on Thursdays and every other weekend when my kids were with their dad. And I never drove drunk. I walked a few miles drunk and called a few cabs when I was drunk. But the point is I drank. With my neighbors, with my friends and with half my town. 

Smoke: I smoked a lot. I had previously been a drinking-only smoker. But now I was drinking more. And I was smoking even when I wasn't drinking. My mornings went like this: Take the kids to school. Have a cup of coffee and a smoke. Go for a 4 mile run. Have another cup of coffee and another cigarette. Shower. Have a cigarette. You get the idea. This is why there wasn't much eating going on. I was looking good, the skinniest I had ever been in my adult life. Which helped me with the last part of my journey.

F@*k: After being sexually repressed in my unhappy marriage, I needed to make up for lost time. And I did. I had fun and my libido woke up. I felt more comfortable with my sexuality than I ever had. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

So there I was skinny, drunk, smoking and not eating much. And then I ended up in the hospital for four days with an abscess on my kidney. Probably, if I had been healthier, I wouldn't have ended up in the hospital. But the stay there cured me of my need for cigarettes. That, plus I had recently met my future husband, whose mother had lung cancer.

Once I got out of the hospital, I started eating more and drinking less. My life became more balanced. And a few years later, I re-married. Just like Elizabeth Gilbert, I needed my own journey after going through my divorce.

One thing didn't change though. I still F@*k. It's just that now I do it with my husband. And sometimes we call it making love.

Have you had an Eat Pray Love moment in your life? What would you call it?


Image via StuartWebster/Flickr

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