Friday, March 13, 2015

The Red Years: Redefining Life After Divorce


After a breakup, it's hard to figure out how to redefine not only yourself, but all the external memory triggers that surround you. 


Click over to my latest at the Huffington Post and read about how I worked on redefining my life.


(Featured on the HuffPost Divorce home page as "Redefining My Life After Divorce, One Paint Can At A Time.")


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

50 One-Word Resolutions for Life After Divorce



Did you make a one-word New Year's resolution this year? Well, since New Year's, I've collected a list of 50 one-word resolutions. These resolutions apply not just to my 2015, but to my life as a single woman in general.

Want to read the whole list? Click on over to the Huffington Post and check it out. And let me know if there are any words I should add to my list!




Monday, February 9, 2015

When a Writer Tries to Date: ‘Are You Going to Write About This?’



It’s usually asked with a chuckle. It’s usually asked with a hint of cautious curiosity. It’s usually asked with the expectation of reassurance that private moments won’t go public. And it’s usually asked on all my first dates:

“Are you going to write about this?”

Depending on the date, a variety of answers come to mind.

“You seem like a nice guy, so I’ll give it a proper waiting period before I include this date in a blog post.”

“Heck yeah I am. I can’t believe you just said that!”

“Huh? What was that? (Big gulp of wine.) Sorry, I just wrote a blog post in my head. Is this over yet so I can go home and publish?”

But because I’m a single woman who’s attempting to shed her dating cynicism, I usually just chuckle back with a flirty smile and say, “Of course not.” I figure that’s enough to appease their fear, but nowhere near a promise that they’re safe from becoming an example of a bad date in the Huffington Post.

I realize it’s tough dating a writer. We pull material from any life event, and our interpretations can be brutal. But I can tell you it’s not easy on the flip side either, being a writer trying to date. 

As much as I dread the “Are you going to write about this?” question, there’s another inevitable one I dread more:

“What do you write about?”

This is intended to be a simple question followed by a simple answer. When it comes to blind date ice-breakers, this is pretty much a no-brainer when all you know about a woman's professions is she's a writer.

However, the answer is not simple.

On one hand, I could say my job is to write about military discounts. But as exciting as military discounts may be for military families, it’s not exactly glamorous. Military discounts don’t scream, “This chick is cool!”

On the other hand, I could say I have my own blog, I’m a regular contributor at the Huffington Post and I’ve written for the New York Times. That would definitely up my coolness factor. But then I’d have to admit I write about divorce, single motherhood, how much I hate dating -- subjects that probably guarantee no second date.

Being vague and saying I write about military life doesn't satisfy the question either because then my date thinks I'm a service member. Explaining that I'm not leads to talk of my ex, and the last person I want invading my date is my ex.

I’ve finally discovered the best bet is to mention my interview with Gary Sinise. We’re off topic in no time.

Then there’s the Google factor. One guy I went out with was from my running group (always nice when a guy asks you out after he’s seen you sweaty with no makeup), so unlike guys from online dating sites, he knew my full name.

“I read your Veterans Day article,” he said as we sipped coffee.

My first instinct was to be flattered that this very young Navy guy enjoyed my article. But my next instinct was panic. If he read my article, that means he Googled me. And if he Googled me, that means he knows I write about really personal stuff. He knows details about my emotional journey through divorce. He knows about quirks and insecurities. He knows I have a tattoo on my ass.

That’s pretty heavy stuff for a first date. Plus, it means our relationship is already lopsided. He knows way more about me than I know about him.

Finally, being a writer might actually be preventing me from even getting to the first date. After communicating with one guy on Match and then exchanging a few texts, he asked the question even my friends ask:

“Are you mentally editing my texts?”

Well, of course I am. I edit for a living. I can’t help it. It’s instinctual. But I’m more than willing to ignore poor grammar if it’s overshadowed by impressive content.

I don’t remember how I responded, but shortly after that, he apparently lost interest and stopped texting before the mere suggestion of a date.

One of my friends analyzed my online dating profile and said maybe I’m too intimidating. She suggested I dumb myself down, maybe neglect to mention I have a Masters degree.

But I don’t want to dumb myself down. I’m an intelligent woman with an advanced degree, an enviable career and cool personal successes. If a man find that intimidating instead of attractive, I don’t want to date him anyway.

So what’s a writer to do in the dating world?

After two attempts at Match and a never-ending stretch on eHarmony because they won’t let me close my account, I’ve decided to laugh it off. 

Out of curiosity, I joined Tinder without bothering to create a profile other than a single old photo. I text my guy bestie screenshots of all the crazy rejects that I can’t imagine would ever get a swipe right from even the craziest of women.

“I hope you’re laughing at these,” my friend said after a batch of Tinder pics that included a dude with a crab on his groin, multiple men wearing masks, an overweight man holding a jumbo jar of Nutella, a man wearing women’s clothes and a group of young men passing a joint.

I do laugh.

Then I take a moment to appreciate both my single status and the men who provide all this writing material.

Sorry guys, I AM going to write about it.

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