I admit it. I am not a fan of “Girls.” I have a hard time empathizing with the show's characters but I’ve seen enough of their creator, Lena Dunham, and her oeuvre to be both captivated and confused by the persona she presents.
On the one hand, she “hates her body” but celebrates it with a mix of outré fashion and in-your-face styling (that is, when she’s not appearing nude). She is perceptive and self-aware yet clearly does not understand the concepts of over-sharing and boundaries. She’s been called a “creative wonder” by Judy Blume and been mentored by none other than Nora Ephron, but read at face value, the essays in “Not That Kind of Girl” are embarrassingly trite (to me anyway). Is this the real Lena Dunham or is there (in the words of David Sedaris) something more “subversive” at play? Is this all a put on? A satire? Performance art from The Onion? Whatever and whoever she really is in her heart of hearts, here are three lessons women of any age can take from her stories and confessions:
1. Be who you are and own it. In a world of look-alike show biz beauties, Lena makes the most of her distinctive appearance and singular point of view. She doesn’t hide who she is and seems impervious to judgments and shaming. Like her or loathe her, she's authentically herself. That takes guts.
2. Don’t be ashamed of your mistakes. Oy! Some of her experiences were wincingly familiar to me and will be to you. When you're confronted with similar disasters, ask yourself "why is this happening for me and what can I learn?" Then move on and make smarter choices.
3. Love generously. “There’s a certain grace,” she says, crediting her mother for the statement, “to having your heart broken.” What you learn about yourself and others can be priceless.
What do you think? Are you “that kind of girl” or not? And what does it all mean for you? Share here.