The Year of Yes

yesI didn’t know much about Shonda before reading her book. Besides that she is a total Hollywood badass. Creator, Writer, Owner, Producer of highly successful television franchises.

…  And of course that she’s a woman and black which makes people do a double take simply because you don’t see too many non-white males occupying positions of power in showbusiness (or let’s face it in any business).

I am not a big fan of her shows. Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder. Not that I dislike them … For one reason or another, I just never watched any of them beyond a few episodes.

But by the time a smart friend told me to check out her book, Shonda had already won me over with two of the elements that help make TV shows hits: 1) positive Word of mouth and 2) a good title: The Year of Yes.

The book chronicles Ms. Rhimes’s efforts to spend an entire year outside of her comfort zone, creating positive changes in areas of her life that she had previously ignored or repressed. Her relationships, her body, her self-confidence and personal presentation. In situations where she’d reflexively have said “NO,” she challenged herself to instead say yes, potential humiliation be damned.

Wouldn’t you know it, turned out her biggest fears were never realized and she ended up pleasantly surprised by how much more fun and rich life could be. You can tell that’s where the book’s headed, but knowing it doesn’t make the reading process any less enjoyable. Ms. Rhimes brings us all along for the ride through the good, the bad and the horribly embarrassing in a way that’s familiar, soul-bearing and fun.

Beyond the basic self-help theme — which I loved and was ever receptive to having started the book during the first week of January — I identify with Shonda Rhimes on a personal level

1) she is a working woman in the TV biz who’s a mom to three

2) one moment she’s aware of her own narcissism, the next she’s insecure as a mofo

3) she gave her 3 daughters literary names. I especially love Emerson (my American lit hero and a name I always wanted for one of my children)

4) “veal practice” … this is how she describes periods of extreme inactivity in her past. My college bestie and I have discussed our own veal periods in the very same terms.

5) what a feminist she is, how she doesn’t force herself to conform to dominant social norms like marriage. How she honors and creates her own kind of life and own kind of happiness.

In short, the Year of Yes is now on my list of ride or die books, and Shonda Rhimes is a legit shero to me. Brava to speaking your truth for the benefit of others! yesyesyes!shonda

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