I watch too much TV. I’ve been told that that’s not a great thing, but is it really the worst thing in the world? I learn so much from TV. Don’t get me wrong, I read too. But tv has become my homeboy over the past year, living and working in boondock Albany. All the energy I have after working 13 hour shifts 2 days in a row can only be devoted to Netflix and chill. Or Hulu and chill. Or YouTube and chill. Or most recently, black & sexy TV and chill.
I say this because, over time, I’ve come across a lot of GREAT television. One of my favorite shows, and probably America’s favorite show, is Grey’s Anatomy. Created by none other than Ms. Shonda Rhimes. Have I told you how much I’ve come to stan for her over the last year? She created Thursday nights…Shondaland! But it’s not only because of shows. I’ve grown to really admire Ms. Rhimes as a person. As my person. She gets me and she doesn’t even know me. Let me explain.
Late last year, I came across a commencement speech Ms. Rhimes gave at a Dartmouth graduation on YouTube. While I was searching for my 2016 word, and verse, as so many of us do in place of resolutions, one word popped into my head as I was watching her speech. Rise. It made so much sense. Her speech was titled “Dreams are for losers” and it was about getting out of that dream sequence and taking action towards your goal. Rise, Kelechi, dang! Then when she came out with her book, The Year of Yes, I couldn’t help but get excited. So excited that I didn’t even consider buying it for 3 or 4 months. I’m the type of person to get swept up in the hype only to be let down towards the end. If only you knew how many blogging courses, master classes, etc I shelled out money for, only to not even have completed the course. It’s sad, and embarrassing.
So I waited until every review I came across of this book was nothing but 100% excellent. I thought about buying it online, but something about a print book makes my soul and eyes feel better. It’s almost like reading isn’t real unless you can hold the book in your hand and make notes. Although I’ve never been one to write in books until very recently, mainly because the books were never mine. I lived in the library up until pharmacy school. Then I lived in the library to study, and reading for fun fell by the wayside. But I digress.
But the reviews were great. So I headed to the nearest book store picked up a copy, and a few other books, and let it sit there for about 3 more weeks. Then slowly began reading chapters at a time. It wasn’t until I decided to head to Tallahassee for the weekend that I really dove into the book and discovered how much of Shonda Rhimes lies within me. I related so much to her story that I started recognizing why I do certain things or behaving certain ways, because of the way she described herself in her book.
I’ve always been an introvert. I never acknowledged that term until 2014ish. I realized how much I loved being left alone. I like the company of certain people, some times, but after a while I feel it’s too much. Being around certain types of people is draining. But I never knew what that was until I became close to a girl from my church, let’s call her Angela. She’s the exact opposite of me, in every way. She’s younger than me, daring, bold, flashy, stylish, confrontational, almost everything I wish I had the energy for on some days. But as much as I love her, being around her for an extended period of time made me realize how much I valued my time by myself. Between sleepovers and church events, we spent a lot of time together. And it was great to get out of my comfort bubble, but then I’d be exhausted by the end of the day, and she’d want to do more stuff. Like, girl…I’m tired lol but I was the type of person who didn’t want to let her down, so I played along and pushed my fatigue to the side.
I fear commitment. There are certain things I wouldn’t even do if I knew there wasn’t an easy way out. Cell phone contracts, for example are the most committed I can get. Yes, I’ve been in relationships that lasted a while, but after a certain mark (6 months, a year) I start getting antsy and wonder when the other shoe is going to drop so I can dash out of there like I’m sprinting a 100m relay. And it’s never the guy. Kind of. When the guy is a tool, it’s easy to run away and not look back. But when the guy is trying his hardest to do right, be open, make it work, running only makes you look like the jerk. And I’m a recovering people pleaser. That’s not a good look.
But Ms. Rhimes never said she feared commitment. She said she doesn’t want to get married. And it makes me wonder if I want to get married. I know I’m not ready now, even though according to my family, culture and society I’m in prime position, or as they like to call it “Ripe for marriage”. I graduated pharmacy school, got my doctorate, paying down my loans, living on my own, now all I need is a husband and everything will be alright. But I don’t want one right now. I want to quit my job. Travel the world, not in a cliché way, and write/work from my laptop. I want to live out of a fancy RV and live wherever there’s parking for a few days and move on. I’m not a rolling stone, just an unsettled, aspiring nomad. I can picture myself being with the one. I just don’t know who the one is and I’m not in any rush getting there. I cringe at the fact that I’ll be expected to give up my name, my place, my time, my body (for children that I’ve always wanted…3) for another man. It’s weirdly feminist of me. And I never really thought of myself as a feminist until late 2015. I just knew what I was comfortable with, and what I wasn’t comfortable with.
Anyway, Ms. Rhimes is me. I am Shonda. I see myself in her story and I’m clapping and doing the “Yes, girl!” all through her book. And she gets to the chapter of my favorite Grey’s Anatomy character, Christina Yang. I’ve always loved her. She was her own boss. She ran every room she entered, took no crap from the men in her life, she was human, strong and vulnerable, funny and intelligent, beautiful and domineering. She was everything I wished I was…still. And come to find out, she was Shonda Rhimes’ alter ego. Makes sense. Because I am Shonda. Shonda is Christina. So I am Christina Yang. I want to make the rules for my life, for myself. I don’t want to be coerced or *culturally* guilted into being someone I’m not. That was Christina. Even when she tried to make those sacrifices for Preston on their wedding day, it wasn’t her. He knew it. She knew it.
I thought about breaking into my own version of “Year of Yes”. But I kind of already started that. It’s called Rise. This is my year to Rise. And though we’re past a quarter into it and I haven’t really made my dent yet, there’s still time. Maybe I should start looking at things differently. Because I spent so much time giving up MY time for other people, I find it hard to take it back for myself. So if I start asking myself, WWCYD (What Would Christina Yang Do?), then I’d be the woman I admire so much. And rising won’t be such a challenge. She rose to every occasion she was faced with – good or bad. She’s the G.O.A.T (Greatest of all time). She is Shonda. Shonda is me. I am Christian Yang. G. O.A.T.
**Consider this my review of Year of Yes as well** :-)