Today marks the birthday of the most perfect woman to ever live, in my not so humble opinion. Miss Nora Ephron is not just the reason I wanted to write my heart out, but she is also the only reason I ever felt like falling in love was a good idea. And then a bad idea. And then potentially a good idea again, maybe one day. For me, Ephron normalized everything a woman feels–independence, dependence, struggles with food and the body, sex, and writing. She is everything, and I know I miss her every day. With no further ado:
Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From Nora Ephron
1. “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
Truer words have never been spoken. I am definitely not guilty of being the victim in my own life–I am queen of ownership. I have been known to say (even recently), “I don’t know how I get myself into these dramatic situations, but I know it must be my fault!” Because I also don’t believe in coincidences so there is just no way I have fallen into dramatic traps accidentally. Regardless, the word dramatic is a bit, well, dramatic considering the life “drama” is not actually “drama,” it is just life. Life is a big mess of confusion and heartbreak and fear and uncertainty. It is also beautiful, enlightening, encouraging, and above all, worth it. For any lady out there who is not letting herself own her own life, start today. Be your own heroine.
Also see: the scene from The Holiday where Arthur tells Iris to be the leading lady of her own life. Best words.
2. “Somewhere between 30 seconds and all night is your problem.”
Trust that it is hard–nearly impossible even–to pick just one quote from the most perfect movie ever written, When Harry Met Sally. In case you are nuts and don’t know important things about the world, Ephron wrote When Harry Met Sally, and also it is my favorite movie of all-time. (Titanic, I see you, and my heart does go on and on.) The reason WHMS finally creeped its way up into the number one spot in my heart is because I have noticed that I gain appreciation for it more and more every like…six months of my life. I watched it for the first time when I was seventeen years old and loved it, though back then it was just a cute romantic comedy. These days, I pick up new and important pieces of life advice that I hadn’t even noticed before. In fact, I watched it last night with a first timer and I couldn’t get over how much/how true this line is.
Of course, Sally says she does not have a problem, and I would say the same thing about myself but, well, I bet somewhere between 30 seconds and all night is my problem.
3. Diets are forever.
One of my favorite things about Ephron is her brutal honesty about women’s bodies. She never had shame in expressing the hilarious frustrations about being a woman, especially when getting older. I mean, she has a book called I Feel Bad About My Neck…and it is perfect. Within that book, there is a short story called “The Story of My Life in 3,500 Words or Less” in which she discusses gaining weight when she went to college. It is short story within a short story in a book of short stories, but this line has been stuck in my head for years:
“The next day I go on a diet. In six months my weight drops back to 106. I have been on a diet ever since.” Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck.
Don’t jump down my throat for talking about diets. I am queen of body confidence, I am not a skinny girl, I have never been a skinny girl, and I don’t want to ever weigh 106 pounds because I’d definitely be a dead person at that point. (I’m tall, so that’s scary to think about.) BUT. I eat cottage cheese and fruit, tuna fish and salads, celery and tomatoes, protein bars and shakes. I am the most boring eater in the world because I have to be, not because I don’t love the thought of swimming in Velveeta. I mean, you do you, girl…I just feel that “diet for life” thing.