I like TED talks. They’re great for lunch – a break from work but not too long, and good for your philosophical advancement. Today I watched Shonda Rhimes ted-talking about her year of saying ‘yes to everything’. I have to say I didn’t actually know who she was but she looked sassy, I liked the title, and I thought she’d make the perfect accompaniment to the puff pastry tomato tart I had left over from dinner last night.
Shonda started. One minute in and she’d mentioned her three amazing children. Two minutes in and she’d mentioned her four television shows which are translated into sixty seven languages in two hundred and fifty six territories and watched by thirty million people – she calls herself a Titan. Three minutes in, well, I pretty much hated her and there were still fifteen minutes to go.
I waited for this clearly intelligent woman to subvert what appeared to be quite an ego. She talked about being driven by the ‘hum’ of the workaholic. She talked about the hum being the open road, a drug, music, God’s whisper in her ear. And then she said one day the hum stopped and the only way she got it back was by saying ‘yes’ to playing with her children. The moral of the story was that everyone should say ‘yes’ to playing with their children. But for some reason despite all that ‘leaning-in’ I talked about in my last blog, I couldn’t stop myself from shouting at the screen ‘F*** you Shonda Rhimes. What if you don’t have children to play with?’
Afterwards, angry, I Wikipediaed her. Shonda Rhimes, writer and producer of Grey’s Anatomy and other hit American TV shows does indeed have three children. Two are adopted, the other born by surrogate. I imagined her shouting back at me through the screen: ‘F*** you Jessica Hepburn, that will teach you to make assumptions. There are many ways to become a mother and play with your children if you want to.’
I laughed and hoped she couldn’t see the puff pastry crumbs cascading down my top.