You probably have high expectations of a book written by TV god Shonda Rhimes. It's okay, you'll likely be satisfied. There are a million quotable lines and relatable feelings. It's neat to see into the fears and insecurities of a supremely confident and talented woman whose fears and insecurities are not impostor syndrome. Rhimes's fears and insecurities aren't rooted in feeling she's not good enough or hasn't earned her rewards. "I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard.
"Don't call me lucky.
"Call me a badass."
Like most of us, she's just a little bonkers is all, and deeply introverted. This book and the year it chronicles are about overcoming the introvert's "no" default. After having her "no" default exposed to her by her older sister Delorse, Rhimes challenges herself to accept all requests and opportunities.
I bookmarked 24 pages. Let's see if I can control myself in how many of them I share with you.
Can you guess why I tagged this sentiment? Just saying that because of the things I've made up I'm an unquiet librarian in NYC.
Some of what I appreciate about Rhimes's perspectives is that she's close to my age, so we share some of those perspectives.
We also share cultural references, "I am bringing home the bacon AND frying it up in the pan."
This sentiment surprised me:
But I guess it's strangely true, politicos believe in good and change; the movie industry, which portrays joy with the best of them, is entirely mercenary.
And here's Rhimes's joy:
There's a whole chapter where Rhimes shows the man behind the curtain of Whitney Houston's fabulous hair. It's a wig! Heroes have magic...and help. Rhimes does, too. Her spending a year saying yes to things is fraught. She is terrified in the beginning, and I appreciate that she figures out how to say yes on her own terms. Terrified of appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live but intent on keeping her yes promise, say digs in her heels on having the "Live" episode prerecorded. (And it's huge--Kimmel's first number one in the ratings.)
Should I stand around like Wonder Woman in the morning? Do I have to watch the TED Talk?
She goes on to mock a modest version of Wonder Woman, "'I mean, if I didn't have the lasso and these bracelets, I'd be totally lost . . . . I'm mean, I'm just a six-foot-tall Amazing girl with a dream.'
"Wonder Woman would kill that version of herself. She run over that meek, chaste Wonder Woman embarrassment with her invisible plane."
Even with her Wonder Woman therapy, Rhimes still has her an anti-heroine in her head.
Ugh, imaginary judgey bitches in our own guise! And speaking of mommies, Rhimes addresses the Mommy Wars and cops to being on the wrong side of them before she adopted her first baby.
My favorite thing Rhimes reveals about herself is her childhood love of reading. There are two (or more?) photos in the book of her where the caption tells us that Rhimes has a book hidden in her pants so she can read as soon as the photo is done.
Google Books doesn't want me screengrabbing any more pages, so I guess I'll have to paraphrase and quote from hereon out.
Rhimes claims that "The more I play, the happier I am at work. The happier I am at work, the more relaxed I become. The more relaxed I become, the happier I am at home. And the better I get at the playtime I have with the kids." I know I should believe that, practice that, but how? My work-life balance game is for shit, but I don't know what/how to be different.
There is a chapter on how Rhimes lost 100 pounds, but she excoriates the obnoxious saying that "nothing tastes as good as thin feels." That is the worst, isn't it, unless you think eating disorders are healthy.
There's lots of feminist goodness in the book, including when Rhimes ends a speech to the Hollywood Reporter Women in Entertainment to-do by thanking all the women in the room, and all the women who never made it into the room.
One of the more profound pieces of wisdom from one of the world's most successful women, "You know what happens when all of your dreams come true?
Whoa. That's so real. It seems like it should be true. I wonder though how you know when all of your dreams have come true.
Oh, and the other most profound pieces of wisdom in the book is that Rhimes is normalizing television, not diversifying it. Amen!