Being Erica

Season 1, Episode 1, “Dr. Tom”

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” (Albert Einstein)

“We learn by doing. There is no other way.” (John Holt)

“Curiosity does no less than devotion pilgrims make.” (Abraham Kaley)

“Do not weep, do not wax, indignant, understand.” (Baruch Spinoza)

Dr. Tom: No one is ever stuck anywhere. You are where you need to be right now. And when you’re finished doing whatever it is that you’re meant to be doing, then you move on.

Dr. Tom: You didn’t fail, Erica. It’s your parents’ opinions and your friends’ opinions, of course they’re always gonna matter. They just don’t matter as much as your own.

Season 1, Episode 2, “What I Am Is What I Am”

Erica (voice-over): Choices. Look close enough, and you can see them everywhere. But what do you do when you see your life as a series of bad choices? When you would give anything to have made different ones, the question is, if you could go back and do it all differently, would you still be you?

“The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be to see them as they are.” (Samuel Johnson)

Dr. Tom: Our lives are like a house of cards. Some of the cards are cosmetic, while others are load-bearing walls. You remove one of those cards and the whole thing comes tumbling down.
Erica: Like the egg.
Dr. Tom: Like the egg. Chip away at what makes you you and you become something else. There are many ways to achieve our goals, but ignoring your inner voice is not one of them. So tell me, is this job the right job for you?

Erica (voice-over): The path you’re on, the choices you make define who you are. Choices – they’re the building blocks of our lives. They shape our past present and future. And despite all the mistakes I’ve made, every new day brings with it new choices and a whole new world of possibilities.

Season 1, Episode 3, “Plenty of Fish”

“Sarcasm – the last refuge of modest people when the privacy of their soul is intrusively invaded.” (Feodor Dostoyevsky)

“Let your net always be cast, and in the pool which you least expect there will be a fish.”(Ovid)

Dr. Tom: There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.
Erica: Isn’t that from the Matrix?
Dr. Tom: Morpheus – Lawrence Fishburn, man that’s a stellar performance.

Season 1, Episode 4, “The Secret of Now”

“You don’t miss your water till your well runs dry.” (William Bell)

Erica (voice-over): It seems that most of the time we walk around with the world on mute, but when you’re on the casp of something dramatic and maybe life-changing, it’s like a filter comes off. Suddenly everything comes alive. And even the smallest moment is imbued with magic possibility. And you think, this is the night when you drop your mask and reveal your true self. This is the night when everything is re-written.

Season 1, Episode 5, “Adultescence”

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” (Winston Churchill)

Dr. Tom: It’s like you are in a boat. You’ve got this one or over her and it’s just rowing and rowing and rowing, furiously fuelled by everyone else’s expectations. And that’s never gonna stop but it’s got you going around in circles. But if you wanna move forward, you also have to row with the or that represents how you see yourself.

“Learn to be what you are, and learn to resign with good grace all that you are not.” (Henri Frederic Emil)

“It takes a lot of courage to grow up and be who you really are.” (e.e.cummings)

Erica (voice over): Being grown-up is simply knowing who you are and having the courage to be that person. Worst and all.

Season 1, Episode 6, “Til Death”

“The most exhausting thing in life is being insincere.” (Anne Morrow-Lindberg)

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” (Leonard Cohen)

Season 1, Episode 7, “Such a Perfect Day”

“You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.” (Zig Ziglar)

Dr. Tom to Erica (when she goes back to a happy day with her siblings to find that it’s not that happy after all): Quantum mechanics: We can never know with any kind of certainly how an atom will behave naturally because the very instant that we look at an atom, we alter it. The very act of looking is never a passive thing, it has an effect. In fact, physicists tell us that reality at its deepest level is the response of the observer. … You know it’s kinda like you, reliving past events.

Season 1, Episode 8, “This Be the Verse”

Erica: I have tried, for weeks, to make things right with Sam.
Dr. Tom: As the wise master from the Dagobar swamp once said: There is no try, there is only do.
Erica: Did you just quote Yoda?
Dr. Tom: Aha, you know Yoda was drawn from a lot of Eastern religions, but primarily he was drawn Buddhism. And the Buddhists they spin these prayer wheels while they recite the mantra which is inscribed along the side, which they believe inspired the spirit of compassion, and of understanding and forgiveness.

Season 1, Episode 9, “Everything She Wants”

Dr. Tom: Jealousy – the great taboo emotion of our time. See Freud was all about uncovering feelings that people had but that they couldn’t talk about, so of course in his day it was sex. But these days it’s envy that we’ve renounced. No one talks about it and no one admits it, even to themselves.

Erica (voice-over): Feelings, so often we fool ourselves into thinking we can control them, until one day we’re ambushed, caught off guard by rage or jealousy or love. And we’re forced to face the truth. The truth is this: you can’t control how you feel.  Only what you do about it.

Season 1, Episode 11, “She’s Lost Control”

“We create our fate every day we live.” (Henry Miller)

“There is advantage from the wisdom won from pain.” (Aeschylus)

Season 1, Episode 12, “Erica the Vampire Slayer”

Dr. Tom: You say that you’re easy-going but not commanding, but those qualities are not mutually exclusive. Why can’t you be both?
Erica: I just keep remembering that quote you once said: “Learn to be what you are and learn to resign with good grace all that you are not” (Henri-Frederic Emil)

Season 1, Episode 13, “Leo”

“Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, but to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.” (Goethe)

Erica (voice over): At the end of the day it comes down to this: the way we choose to see ourselves limits who we can be. Step outside the box, and you might learn something. Because we are more capable than we imagine. Because we all have it in us to do things we’ve never done before. Because sometimes we can surprise even ourselves.

Season 2, Episode 1, “Being Dr. Tom”

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” (Buddhist proverb)

Season 2, Episode 2, “Battle Royale”

Dr. Tom: Do you know that talking as a means of resolving conflict actually goes against every biological instinct that we have? We feel threatened and so we fight, or if we don’t have the stomach for that, we run. […] sometimes we fight because we are unable to tell the other person how we really feel.

Erica (voice-over): Conflict – it’s everywhere you look, it touches everything we do, every relationship we have. Isn’t it funny how at their core all fights are the same? Two people yelling or accusing or running away. Two people doing anything to avoid telling each other what they really feel. Just talk, when you wanna run. Reveal when you wanna attack, it’s so simple, so obvious, and at the same time, so incredibly hard.

Season 2, Episode 3, “Mama Mia”

Erica (voice-over): Friendships like everything else are not immune to change. The question is how do you keep a friendship together when your lives are pulling you apart?

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: what, you too, I thought I was the only one.” (C.S. Lewis)

Erica (voice-over): When life tries to pull you apart, you have to work to stay close together, by putting yourself in each other’s shoes, by reminding each other of who you were, and who you are becoming. And by remembering that despite all the changes that come there are some things that will always remain the same.

Season 2, Episode 4, “Cultural Revolution”

Dr. Tom: Sometimes the biggest risk of all can be the willingness to say no.

Season 2, Episode 5, “Yes We Can”

“Nobody realizes that some people expand tremendous energy merely to be normal.”(Albert Camus)

“To succeed in life you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” (Mark Twain)

Season 2, Episode 6, “Shhh… Don’t Tell”

“There is no shame in not knowing. The shame lies in not finding out.” (Russian proverb)

Season 2, Episode 7, “The Unkindest Cut”

Erica: There is nothing wrong with trying to help the people you care about.
Dr. Tom: That’s true, but there is a line.
Erica: A line, what line, what are you talking about?
Dr. Tom: Imagine a parent, like a mother say, and she spends her entire life trying to protect her child from hardship. She rushes in to fix every little problem and fill in every little need. And then the child grows up and is left unable to cope.  You know, with life’s vicissitudes. And the parents’ defence is “well, we were only trying to help.”
Erica: I’m not doing that. Well, maybe a little bit, but it’s only because I want the people I care about to be happy.
Dr. Tom: I’m sure that’s true. But the thing is, what if their happiness is not your responsibility?

Erica voice-over: There is no question that when we help we feel valued, useful, and more connected to the people we care about. The question is, when is helping not helpful at all? Sometimes the way we help the most is to give others the space and support they need to help themselves.

Season 2, Episode 8, “Under My Thumb”

Erica (voice-over): Most of us think we know ourselves pretty well. Our hopes, dreams, desires. We cling so tightly to the stories we tell ourselves. Not realizing that what we really should do is let go. Let go of the belief that we are invincible. Let go of the idea that we can’t do it on our own. Let go of the fairy-tale. Because if we don’t let go, how can we move forward?

Season 2, Episode 9, “A River Runs Through It… It Being Egypt”

Erica (voice-over): They say the truth will set you free. But no one bothers to mention that the truth can be a tricky thing. The fact is that getting to the truth is not easily done. Too often it gets buried, misplaced, or tucked away where no one can find it. The real question is, if one day you stumble upon the truth, would you even know it, would you recognize it for what it was?

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered. The point is to discover.”(Galileo)

“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a while, but it ain’t going away.” (Elvis Presley)

Dr. Tom: It’s so much easier to live in denial. We do it to protect ourselves from the things that we don’t want to acknowledge.
Erica: But if we do that, then we’re just living a lie. No matter what we tell ourselves.

Erica (voice-over): They say that the truth will set you free, but I’m more interested in what they don’t say. And that is that the truth hurts. That it can be dangerous. Revealing the truth is like lighting a match. It can bring more light, help you see more clearly, or it can set your world on fire.

Season 2, Episode 10, “Papa Can You Hear Me?”

Erica (voice-over): Relationships, they feel so permanent, so solid, so why are we always surprised that we find out that like everything else, they are not immune to change.

“Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act.” (Bob Dylan)

Dr. Tom: They say: change or dye. Well, you know, that’s the same for relationships too. If we don’t allow them to change, then we run the risk of destroying them.

Erica (voice-over): Change is inevitable and the only constant is that nothing is constant. And our best defence is to change how we deal with that.

Season 2, Episode 11, “What Goes Up Must Come Down”

“Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” (Coco Chanel)

Barb (to Erica): But things don’t always turn out the way you imagine. Life deals you a hand, and no matter what cards you’re holding, you have to play them. And honey, it’s hard. And it never stops being hard. But you learn and you change and you grow, and even in my darkest moments I remind myself, it’s the reason we are all here. So you got fired, so you’re back down at the bottom again, it could be worse. So get back up. And keep fighting.

Erica (to Dr. Tom): All those hard years, all that struggle to find my way it made me different. It made me better.
Dr. Tom: Where would we be without struggle? Without hardship and pain. It’s easy to forget how much these moments teach and shape us. How different we would be without them.
Erica: I guess it’s hard to look at a setback as a gift.
Dr. Tom: Why? And that’s exactly what it is. “The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.” (Albert Camus)

Erica (voice-over): Setbacks – we face them every day. Some cause us to stumble. Others bring us to our knees. And along with pain and heart ache each setback brings the opportunity to rise up. To be stronger and better, and braver than before. But no sooner have we conquered a setback, we’ll find another. Just waiting to take its place.

Season 2 Episode 12, “The Importance of Being Erica”

“Every wall is a door.” (Emerson)

“This above else: to thine own self be true.” (Shakespeare)

“We can’t teach people anything. We can only help them discover it within themselves.”(Galileo)

Season 3, Episode 1, “The Rabbit Hole”

Erica (voice-over): From the first moment we come into this world we feel pain and joy and fear and rage. We learn to hide the feelings that frighten us. First from others, then from ourselves. Many of us live our lives distant from our deepest feelings, and never stop to wonder, what would happen if we allowed ourselves to feel them fully, to express and share them with the world?

Season 3, Episode 2, “Moving On Up”

Erica (voice-over): They say losing a lover is hard. Losing a friend is harder. And losing both is the hardest of all. What do you do when a piece of your life is suddenly missing? We know we’re supposed to move on, but how? How do you move on when there is a hole in your life that nothing can fill?

“Learning is finding out what you already know.” (Richard Bach)

Erica: You know, ten years ago in Claire’s shoes I might have made the same mistake – marrying the wrong person out of fear.
Dr. Tom: And what is it you think that Claire was afraid of?
Erica: Pain. How much it’d hurt to be without him. Breaking up with someone that you love, even if it is for the right reasons, it’s so incredibly hard. It was painful enough to make me reconsider my decision, which is crazy because I know that we’re not right together.
Dr. Tom: Claire thought that by marrying Ethan she could avoid the pain. Of course all she ended up doing was delaying it. She suffered through years of marriage and a difficult divorce rather than do the one thing that she should have done. The one thing that you have to do.
Erica: Which is?
Dr. Tom: Nothing.
Erica: I’m running around like a crazy woman, I’m crank-calling Ethan, I’m seducing juice guy, and all I had to do was nothing, I mean, come on, that sounds a little bit easy.
Dr. Tom: But no, Erica, it’s not easy at all. No. You hurt, and you hurt, and you live with it, and you sit in it, and you suffer until it stops. Until time takes it away.

Erica (voice-over): Sometimes the only way to move forward is to stop moving, to stand still, and to decide that no matter what happens, no matter how much it hurts, you’re exactly where you want to be.

Season 3, Episode 3, “Two Wrongs”

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” (Ghandi)

Adam: You take one step into that direction, it’s still a step. It opens the door to more. Violence is violence, whether it’s physical or not.
Dr. Tom: You do violence, to Jordan, to Brent, it might solve one problem but it creates a far more serious one. And acting counter to your own values will do more than just change your circumstances, it will change you. And you may not like what you’ll become.

Erica (voice-over): Some things are true, whether we want them to be or not. Thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits, habits become character. And character becomes destiny. It’s a hard thing to look deep down and examine our character. Will we do the right thing, even when no one is looking? When it’s not convenient? When it’s really hard? Will we do the right things simply because we have to? Because it’s who we are. Because it’s right.

Season 3, Episode 4, “Wash, Rinse, REPEAT”

Kai: Living in the past is exhausting. And I needed to get to a point where I needed to accept that the past is the past. And if I’m gonna get anywhere at all, I got to focus on the present.
Erica: It’s so hard.
Kai: What?
Erica: Being in the present.
Kai: Yeah, it’s really hard, cause your mind wants to live anywhere else, anywhere, everywhere, but here. Which is the only place that you’re supposed to be.

Dr. Tom: You get what everyone else gets, Erica, you get one life. and it’s not about how long or short it is.
Erica: It’s what you do with it.

Season 3, Episode 5, “Being Adam”

Erica (voice-over): Choices, they are life’s constant. The choice to be brave and push forward, to turn back and retreat, the choice to stand still and watch the world pass you by. Sometimes we tell ourselves that there is no choice when, in fact, the exact opposite is true. There is always a choice.

Season 3, Episode 6, “Bear Breasts”

“Running away will never make you free.” (Kenny Logins)

Dr.Tom: The Id lives in our subconscious. It is the force that drives our most primitive impulses.
Erica: And the Ego is the self, and the Superego keeps the Id in check.
Dr. Tom: Exactly. You see, we spend most of our lives stopping ourselves from doing what we really want to do. Which makes sense, obviously, if everyone did whatever they wanted, my God, there’d be chaos.
Erica: You’re not gonna ask me walk down Yonge Street naked, are you?
Dr.Tom: No, unless you want to.
Erica: No.
Dr.Tom: But, what I am gonna ask you to do is let today be your own personal inversion ritual. Today I want you to follow all of your impulses. No matter how uncomfortable they may make you.
Erica: Sounds terrifying.
Dr. Tom: Yeah, that’s the idea.

Cassidy (to Erica): When you go after what you want, sometimes it works out, and sometimes it ends up with an ice penis being smashed to smithereens.

Erica (voice-over): Desire, it is the most powerful force on earth. The seed from which everything begins. It uplands the best-laid plans. It challenges who we are. It defies what we think we need.

Season 3, Episode 7, “Jenny from the Block”

Erica (voice-over): Friendship – two people choose each other through some mysterious mix of alchemy and circumstance. On the surface the reason for our choice seems obvious: they share our interests, they make us laugh. But is there more to it than that? And do we even stop and wonder, why this person and not another?

Erica (voice-over): Friendship – it begins when two people choose each other. But what happens when we outgrow the choice? When little by little our paths diverge, our needs change, and one day we wake up and realize that we need to choose something different.

Season 3, Episode 10, “The Tribe Has Spoken”

Erica: Look, Adam, here is the reality, things between us have been weird, ever since I kissed you. I’m over it, so why aren’t you?
Adam: And calling me a coward is you being over it?
Erica: No, I called you a coward because you kept saying one thing and then acting the complete opposite. You said that you don’t think about me that way, that’s fine, I get it. But you have to respect there are limits on our relationship that you put there, so don’t show up on my front doorstep to start a conversation about who I should and shouldn’t sleep with.

Dr. Tom: The map is within you and your feelings are the guideposts. They tell you when to go left and when to go right. Often we tend not to listen because it’s hard, it’s scary. And we forget that there is no other path to happiness except for the one that we create for ourselves.

Season 3, Episode 11, “Adam’s Family”

Dr. Tom (to Adam): Garbage – you can put it out and some stranger comes along and tosses it into the back of a truck and takes it away. But even though it’s out of sight, and out of mind, it never actually disappears, does it? It just keeps building up.

Erica (voice-over): Life, they say, can turn on a dime. And in a world that constantly shifts beneath our feet, the only thing we can know for certain is how we feel. The love we have, the fear we hide from, the pain we push away, give it a voice. And the rewards are peace of mind and a peaceful heart.

Season 3, Episode 12, “Erica, Interrupted”

Leo (to Erica who is standing on a bridge): You know that friend you have,  the one that seems to have it all figured out, she’s got the great job, great guy, great life. Well, you’re not that girl. That’s what you keep telling yourself. That is what you fear is true. You’re afraid that you made up this other, this better you, and now all you’re left with is this. If this is all you are, Erica, all you’ll ever be, then you’re asking yourself, what’s the point.
Erica: Dr. Tom would say: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Even if it’s not real. Even if everything that I’ve experienced wasn’t real, I’ve been changed by it. And that’s real. I remember it all, Leo, every lesson, good and bad, every victory, every defeat, and I can’t just throw it away I can’t throw my life away. I would rather live, and try, and fail, than give up.

Dr. Tom: Now that you have passed you get to move on, to help in the same way that you yourself were helped.
Erica: What if I had failed?
Dr. Tom: Each phase builds in the last, Erica, you cannot enter group until you’re ready, and the same is true for doctor training, and that’s why we do the test. So that we can be sure that you have a solid foundation. And you proved back there that you do. Because you were able to hold on to yourself. When everything else was ripped away from you.

Season 3, Episode 13, “Fa La Erica”

“Christmas is a time when you get homesick, even when you’re home.” (Carol Nelson)

Dr. Tom (to Erica): Giuseppe Martini said that “family is the country of the heart.” We spend so much of our lives in exile, but on the holidays we make the pilgrimage home to the nation of our heart, where-ever that may be.

Season 4, Episode 1, “Doctor Who?”

Dr. Tom: You are a doctor in training and your first assignment is to help Josh to move on with his life.
Erica: Move on to what? How do I even do that?
Dr. Tom: You figure it out.
Erica: I feel like you’re setting me up to fail.
Dr. Tom: Well, “Failure is nature’s way to prepare you for great responsibilities.”(Napoleon Hill) And I think you should prepare to fail repeatedly. This process is not going to be easy. And it’s not meant to be.

“Life is too short to blend in.” (Paris Hilton)

Dr. Tom (to Erica): You place Josh down here, and you place yourself up here. And you say, I could never be like that. That person is other, is undeserving, a monster. It’s an old story, It’s how wars begin, it’s how people turn on each other. And you know, it starts so simply too. I am not you. I am nothing like you. And it is each time a lie. Because underneath all the layers of fear and protection we are at our core the same. We have the same needs, and we carry the same capacity for good and evil.

Erica: You are your patient.
Dr. Tom: You are every patient you will ever have. And every person you will ever meet. And until you acknowledge that you have the capacity not just for kindness and compassion, but also for heartlessness and cruelty, you will never be able to start from here (showing equal levels with both hands).

Josh: Erica, do you still feel trapped?
Erica: No.
Josh: What changed?
Erica: I did. I spent years holding on to regrets and wishing that things would have turned out differently. And once I let that go, things got a lot better.

Erica (voice-over): Have you ever felt at home in a crowd? Like you were part of something bigger? And you felt this amazing energy that happens when people come together. How despite the superficial differences you know that deep down we’re all the same. We have the same secret needs and the same wild dreams. We walk around thinking our secret pain, our secret joy is so unique, when really, we all just want the same things: to be happy, to be safe, to be loved.

Season 4, Episode 2, “Osso Barko”

Dr. Tom (to Erica): Feelings rarely make any rational sense until we understand why we have them.

Erica (voice-over): Insecurity. It’s in all of us. That voice inside us that tells us we can’t do something, that we’re not good enough, that we shouldn’t even try. And when we listen to that voice, we hold ourselves back in ways we don’t even realize. All because we’re scared. To take a chance. To face our fears. To see what we’re really capable of.

Season 4, Episode 3, “Baby Mama”

Erica (to her mother): It’s not the mistakes that define us. It’s how we deal with them.

Season 4, Episode 6, “If I Could Turn Back Time”

Dr. Tom: Relationships are difficult. You know we know this and yet we hope that with each new person that the honeymoon will last forever. But it doesn’t. It’s not supposed to be endlessly easy. “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.” (Thomas Payne) Relationships challenge us in ways that we don’t want to be challenged. Force us to see things that we don’t want to see. About our partner and about ourselves.

Erica (voice-over): With great power comes great responsibility. Why? Because power is an illusion. The desire to yield that is weakness and exercise of ego. And the fact is that all you really hold when you hold power, is all the rope you need to hang yourself.

Season 4, Episode 9, “Erica’s Adventures in Wonderland”

Erica: I know that there is no such thing as the perfect guy, and you didn’t have to send me to an alternate universe to figure that out.
Dr. Tom: So then, what are you looking for?
Erica: I think that I found what I’m looking for and I screwed it up. Really badly.
Dr. Tom: “We come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see and imperfect person perfectly.” (Sam Keen)
Erica: So, what do I do, Dr. Tom?
Dr. Tom: You do the one thing you can do, surrender.

Season 4, Episode 10, “Purim”

Erica: You can’t expect people to be like you. you are not your patient. It seems so obvious now.
Dr. Tom: It is obvious, but not withstanding that it has been one of the toughest lessons for me to learn.
Erica: For you?
Dr. Tom: We tend, Erica, all of us to see the world through the prism of our own reflection.  And we assume without even thinking that people are just like us. […] When the people that we care about let us down, when they disappoint us, we have trouble seeing that we are holding them to an impossible standard.
Erica: You are not your patient. But at the same time…
Dr. Tom: You are your patient.
Erica: The lessons they are two sides of the same coin. It’s about finding the balance.

Season 4, Episode 11, “Dr. Erica”

Dr. Naadiah: What happens when we don’t allow ourselves to change? […] When we resist the change that wants to happen, that needs to happen, we do more damage than we realize. We violate the natural order of life.
Erica: There is no constant but change.

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5 Responses to Being Erica

  1. Tiarien says:

    Nice collecting! A note, in Season 1, Episode 5, “Adultescence” Erica say “Worst and all” ;D

  2. mimsk82 says:

    Oh how I’d love a new season…. Thank you for the most beautifully compiled summery on the net.

  3. katie says:

    Just discovered the show. Thanks for listing all it’s great quotes, it’s an amazing series.

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