Saying ‘Yes’ to ‘Year of YES’

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There are good TV writers, and then there are good writers. Shonda Rhimes is simply a good writer.

I had just started watching “Grey’s Anatomy,” when Shonda Rhimes’ book, “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person” came out, but I’ve always been a fan of her words. Occasionally, I would scroll through Google for words of wisdom from Meredith Grey and other characters from Seattle Grace Hospital.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this book. It’s more than just saying ‘yes’ to opportunities, it’s about saying ‘yes’ to yourself – giving yourself a chance to speak up, stand out and making the most of your life. Shonda is a writer and writers tend to be timid, quiet, shy and like being behind-the-scenes. But, in her “Year of Yes,” she decided to go on live talk shows, give speeches and speak her mind, not through a character, but as Shonda.

My favorite section, aside from her commencement speech at Dartmouth College would have to be when she said yes to not getting married. Her inner monologue has now become my new mantra.

“There is one rule.

The rule is: there are no rules.

Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.

Being traditional is not traditional anymore.

It’s funny that we still think of it that way.

Normalize your lives, people.

You don’t want to have a baby? Don’t have one.

I don’t want to get married? I won’t.

You want to live alone? Enjoy it.

You want to love someone? Love someone.

Don’t apologize. Don’t explain. Don’t ever feel less than.

When you feel the need to apologize or explain who you are, it means the voice in your head is telling you the wrong story. Wipe the slate clean. And rewrite it.

No fairy tales.

Be your own narrator.

And go for a happy ending.

One foot in front of the other.

You will make it.

Gosh, I love Shonda Rhimes. THAT IS SO IMPORTANT. And I wish every girl could read this book to feel empowered and inspired, especially young women in their 20s, embarking onto new paths and their careers. It’s not just another self-help book, it’s much more interactive and personal than just a list of steps to change your way of thinking.

Aside from the obvious of stepping out and taking chances, she discusses her family, friendship, life at work in the crazy world of Hollywood and how she’s a pro at making stuff up. Honestly, you don’t have to be a fan of any of her shows to read this book. Sure, it makes a little more sense when she references Christina, Meredith, Olivia and so on, but overall, it’s just about being a woman. A working woman finding her place in this world. I want to buy this book for every one of my gal pals.

Also, now that I’m watching “Grey’s” and “Scandal,” I noticed that “How to Dance It Out” and “Stand in the Sun” are nods towards phrases on the shows. Also also, I’m just jealous that she’s been able to call McDreamy and Captain Jake Ballard employees or co-workers. What a life she lives.

Right now, as I’m getting into my career path, whatever that might mean or look like years from now, I feel incredibly inspired to voice my opinions and to ask for what I want at work and in my personal life. If I don’t like something, I can address it or I don’t have to put up with it. The choice is mine. As a writer, I admire her imagination, creativity and the drive that it takes to keep up with that – THREE different shows under her production company, Shondaland?!?! HOW?!

But, the really exciting thing isn’t that she has all of these shows or is working with all of these incredible, attractive celebrities…is famous…has a lot of money…the list could go on and on. No, it’s about the fact that she took her life back or started to claim it and ran with it. She’s truly alive. I love her honesty and openness. That’s why I love her shows. her characters. Her worlds that she invites us into week after week on ABC. I also see which bits and pieces of her characters belong to her, and I feel like I’m a close personal friend of Shonda’s now. I mean, she has shared a lot of important details with me, so basically we are (don’t ruin my moment, anyone).

Also, I just finished it and now I’m sad. Like an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” or “Scandal,” I WANT MORE. Shonda, please write another book. SOON.

That’s all for now,

Shelby 🙂







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