Elizabeth Gilbert, author of mega-hit Eat, Pray, Love (a.k.a. that book your mom and her friends all love) came out as queer via Facebook. She says that she is in love with Rayya Elias, her best friend of many years.
The announcement is equal parts beautiful and tragic, as Gilbert’s realization came only after Elias was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer.
On Facebook, Gilbert wrote,
Something happened to my heart and mind in the days and weeks following Rayya’s diagnosis. Death — or the prospect of death — has a way of clearing away everything that is not real, and in that space of stark and utter realness, I was faced with this truth: I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya. And I have no more time for denying that truth. The thought of someday sitting in a hospital room with her, holding her hand and watching her slide away, without ever having let her (or myself!) know the extent of my true feelings for her…well, that thought was unthinkable.
Gilbert added that this realization is why she left her husband, the man who inspired the character Felipe in Eat, Pray, Love.
Gilbert and Elias have been close for a long time. A Sydney Morning Herald article written about the pair titled Opposites Attract called them an “odd couple” and included the passage:
Elias says some of her friends refer to Gilbert as her wife. “Well, I’d rather go to the laundromat with you than go to, like, Prague with almost anybody else,” Gilbert says to Elias. “It’s just better. And that’s the great thing when you’re getting something so lovely out of being with somebody – it’s like, ‘Let’s hang out in the parking lot!’ ”
“I know it sounds like a love story and it totally is,” says Elias.
Sadly, pancreatic cancer has a grim prognosis. But Gilbert says she plans to make the most of things:
When people look at me, they will inevitably see me with Rayya, because — as God is my witness — whenever Rayya is healthy enough to be by my side, she will be by my side. (Trust me: We will not be wasting a moment of our time together, for as much time as we are given.)
(Featured image via Facebook)