Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 19th 2015 Contents B6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, November 19, 2015
Shonda Rhimes, who owns
ABC s Thursday night (with hit dra-
mas Grey s Anatomy, Scandal and
How to Get Away With Murder),
had found comfort and refuge in
ShondaLand, the dream factory she
rules as a mega-producer and
But otherwise she was a chronic
naysayer, which spurred her sister
to mutter as they cooked Thanks-
giving dinner in 2013, "You never
say yes to anything."
This stinging rebuke led Rhimes
to commit herself to a year of saying
"yes" to whatever came her way.
For Rhimes, who describes herself
back then as an introvert "to the
bone," this meant saying yes to
speaking engagements and social
invitations she would have turned
But that was just the start.
"I feel like a different person,"
Rhimes, 45, declared over tea Mon-
day morning at a New York hotel.
A television titan who not long ago
was legendary for shunning inter-
views and the media spotlight, she
was relaxed and reflective as she
shared with a reporter how "every-
body asks: What happened to you?
I don t know what to say, except
that I had this weird, transformative
experience and I feel like I ve com-
pletely changed my life from top to
Rhimes has chronicled this grand
transformation---and helped explain
it to herself---in her candid new
memoir, Year of Yes.
For Rhimes, saying yes didn t just
mean saying yes to Jimmy Kimmel
when asked to be on his show (which
terrified her, though it turned out
fine) or making time, no matter how
busy she was, for her three daughters
when they asked, "Wanna play?"
More than all that, "yes" meant
breaking her lifelong habit of avoiding
new possibilities and opportunities.
Writing Year of Yes itself became
a part of the transformation process,
which delivered her from being a
remarkably successful woman who
was, nonetheless, miserable, to new-
found standing as "a better mother,
a better friend, a happier boss, a
stronger leader, a more creative
writer," and someone who is kind,
no longer cruel, to herself.
"The more I wrote about what I
was doing, the more I got out of it,
and I ended up writing the book just
for me, which I think was a good
thing. If I had been thinking that
anybody else was going to read it,
I probably would have censored
myself so that what came out was
sanitised," she laughed, "for my pro-
It isn t. One of the more revealing
chapters recounts her relationship
with an ideal man who wanted mar-
riage and mistakenly got the idea
she did, too.
She ended up shutting the door
on that relationship while, free of
regret or self-recrimination, flinging
open a door to the notion that
choosing to stay single was the right
choice for her.
Writing that chapter sparked an
epiphany for Rhimes. She realised
she unwittingly had led him on.
"He had said, I thought you were
a traditional person, and suddenly
I realised that I had completely cre-
ated myself for him as someone who
seemed to want to get married. Up
until that moment, I thought, How
dare he say I m traditional?! But
then I realised, That was my doing. "
Another intimate section of the
book is devoted to her dropping more
than 100 pounds. In a painfully
funny account, she recalls being too
fat to connect an airline s seat belt---
then choosing to hide her beltless
state with a sweater in her lap rather
than ask for a seat belt extension.
Health concerns, not vanity, led
to her eventual weight loss. She
continues to say yes to food, but
now she also says yes to modera-
The creation of Year of Yes was
as swift as Rhimes punchy, often
stream-of-conscious writing style.
It poured out of her this summer
and the next thing she knew, she
was holding the book s galleys.
"That s when I freaked out. Sud-
denly this book was real, and I was
reminded that everybody in the
world is going to read it. So I had
my panic. And then I re-read it and
I felt OK. It s honest and wildly free-
And its publication finds her in a
place, she reports, "where needing
to say yes is less necessary, because
it s much more automatic. There s
not very many things that I m run-
ning from now." (AP)
Shonda Rhimes, second from left, poses with the star actresses from her hit
television programmes, Ellen Pompeo of Grey's Anatomy, left, Kerry Washington
from Scandal and Viola Davis of How To Get Away With Murder. AP PHOTOS
How Shonda Rhimes broke out of her shell
Shonda Rhimes' new book Year of
Yes which was recently released.
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