I am convinced Shonda Rhimes and I are twins separated at birth. No, really. I may be way older than she is and we’ve got different skin colors, but those are meaningless details compared to the way I heard myself in almost everything she says in this book. We both describe writers as professional liars, for heaven’s sake! That has to mean something, right?
My own identification aside, I’m wildly enthusiastic about Year of Yes because it is yet another of those wonderful, hilarious, thoughtful, positive books by women that I’ve been reading over the last months. And like those books, Year of Yes made me think hard about who I am and how I inhabit space in this world.
Long story short, Rhimes hears a hard truth from her older sister: “You never say yes to anything,” and has an epiphany. She is going to say yes to everything for a year. Why? Because she recognizes how small her life has become in spite of her fame. She recognizes that she is not happy which means that something about her life is out of whack, and she badly wants to fix it. She wants to be happy again, to enjoy who she is and what she does, to enjoy her children, her work, her friends, her family, herself.
It’s not an easy route, though her good humored account of that year and its terrors and accomplishments make it seem so. She’s so engaging that it’s easy to see why Shonda Rhimes is one of the most influential television writers working today. Listening to the audiobook, narrated by the author, does make me wonder how someone so open, so hilarious, so seemingly confident could think of herself as an introvert.
No, I lie. It’s not hard to see at all. I’m an introvert and within my chosen parameters I can be open and confident too. You just have to be comfortable enough to stop hiding. That’s what saying yes was about, she forced herself to stop hiding and find a comfort zone in every situation. That’s a lesson to this introvert who needs to learn to say yes more often.
Shonda, my fellow Chicagoan and fellow introverted writer, thank you for this book. Thank you for saying yes. Thank you.