The Girlfriend Mom Is A Top 20 Finalist!

SheWritesFinalist

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On a whim, I submitted The Girlfriend Mom book proposal to, She Writes Press‘s, (an independent publishing company), Memoir Discovery contest. I found out about them because several years ago, I started posting my work on She Writes.

I have been working long and hard, on and off, on the book proposal. In the last year, I had secured an agent, had several publishing houses pass, and then fired by said agent, who had once believed in me and thought I was funny and a good writer. I guess the rejections got to her. Clearly she didn’t have the tenacity or extensive experience with rejection like I do!

Thanks to a friend in San Francisco, from Midlife Mixtape, who tweeted congratulations to me, I learned that The Girlfriend Mom is a Top 20 Finalist! Take that agent lady. I forgive you.

It’s so cliche, but this is a lesson in never giving up. You don’t know where, or when, an opportunity will present itself. Hard work does pay off, even if it doesn’t feel like it, especially when you’re insides are knotted and bleeding, as you struggle to come up with the first line in Chapter Four.

Top 20 Finalist

Allison Merrill, Zhongshan Road
Angela Lam, Red Eggs and Good Luck
Angela Moscarella, Kill the Sun
Annette McGivney, Pure Land
Betsy Graziani Fasbinder, Filling Her Shoes
Candy Schulman, Raising My Mother
Dani Alpert, The Girlfriend Mom
Dhana Musil, These Little Earthquakes
Leigh Baker, Is My Crazy Showing?
Leslie Nack, Finding the Wind
Linda Morrow, Possibilities Not Disabilities
Loreen Lee, The Lava Never Sleeps
Lynnette Benton, My Mother’s Money
Mandy Smith, Secrets in Big Sky Country
Nga Nguyen, Narratives of a Vietnamese Boat Girl
Olivia Espin, My Native Land Is Memory
Preeva Tramiel, Shadow Sister
Risa Nye, There Was a Fire Here
Susan Swetnam, Idaho Elegy
Tara Shuman, Hope Is a Good Breakfast

Move Forward When You’re Ready

Move forward when ready

Why do some women get over, move past and proceed forward, quicker than others, after a divorce or breakup?

One can only move forward when they’re ready, and not because someone tells them to.

I admire people who seem to move forward with apparent ease, although I don’t necessarily understand how they do it. Just like I never understood how Sir Paul McCartney remarried, twice (or is it three times now?) after having being one half of one of the most romantic love stories in history.

Maybe this is how I want to remember it.

Sure I wanted him to be happy but what did it say about his love for Linda, that four years after she died, he quickly moved on. I know. We’re resilient. We’re capable of loving many. Yadi, yadi, yadi. Whatever. It still sucks.

There are those among us who have the capacity to fall in love over and over again, going from one relationship to the next, while some have never experienced even one true love. Why? How? That breaks my heart.

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m the only one that doesn’t get it. Am I naive? Probably. Maybe I’d rather believe in romance and passion, even if it’s delusional.

I understand that staying in the fetal position, cowering in the corner on the kitchen floor, after a break-up or divorce, isn’t the answer, but it’s also possible that all of this ‘moving forward’ hullabaloo can take an excruciatingly long time.

We are constantly being inundated with the notion that moving on is what must happen, and quickly. That somehow if you’re not over him or her and it, then there’s something mentally wrong with you.

I’m not advocating giving up and rotting in a corner like the month old sweet potato in my refrigerator, that I threw out this morning. Life goes on. We get up, we go about our business, we live, we love, we laugh. But what does it mean, (if anything at all) if we can’t (or don’t want to) disconnect completely?

While researching material for writing gigs recently, I read many posts about relationships, man-hating, spite, revenge, and oodles of advice on how to survive a break-up; including but not limited to, climbing into a stranger’s bed as soon as humanly possible. “Oh, Janet, just pick up some random guy and have sex. That’ll snap you out of it.”

This is by far, the best way to get over your ex. Everyone who’s anyone says so. Some of these publications read like the Teen Beat version of life.

Simply because one hasn’t detached, or doesn’t want to rip out one’s ex’s spleen, nor forgive and forget, why is this perceived by outsiders as being weak?

The more I read, the more inadequate and ‘wrong’ my feelings seemed. Pack up your toys and go home. Don’t look back. You can’t read the next chapter if you’re still reading the previous one. It wasn’t meant to be. Get over it. There were reasons. And on and on and on.

It’s hard enough to keep up with all of the social media, technology, and which Kardashian is doing what to whom (and what they’re wearing doing it) but now I also have to make sure that I know the, 5 Things You Shouldn’t Ever, No Never Do After a Break Up, and 6 Things You Must Do To Get The Rat Bastard Out of Your Life.

Shit, how would we possibly know how to live if it weren’t for these articles?

Answer: They call her Oprah. Hallowed be thy name.

Post Divorce: Where’s My Bubble Bath For Three?

Post Divorce

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Bravo is premiering it’s first scripted show in December called, The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, based off the books by Vicki Iovine. It promises to shed light on the bright sight of being single.

I have not seen the show in it’s entirety, nor have I read the book. My opinions are based solely on the show’s trailer. But from what I saw in the preview, “Damn, divorce looks sexy, fun and au courant.”

Shit, I want to get married again, just so I can get divorced. Who wouldn’t when you see the main character in the show, living in a beautiful house with a pool in the Hollywood Hills, with a 360 degree view of the city of angels, with all of it’s sparkling lights and broken dreams.

Of course, this is where sexy fun lives, so of course divorce, (and being single) looks fabulous. Our lead is a famous author, with a series of published books, a literary agent, book signings and money.

One of her quirky funny best friend is played by Janeane Garofalo. That has to help with the depression and sadness that, from the looks of it, only lasted a week, because Janeane will bring the comedy and lift her best friend’s spirits.

Her other best friend tells her that, since she’s now single, (although she’s seen with a father from her kid’s school), she should have a threesome. So easy, and breezy, that it looks as if one simply has to open their front door, and poof, bubblebath for three! I wish it were that easy. What?

This recently divorced playground portrayed in the show is insulting to those of us who have been divorced, or have had a break-up from a longterm relationship (or both) because the fallout from these intense events looked nothing like this impeccably dressed and fit author’s life.

The show is like one big ass cliche.

This recently divorced woman is now free, and did what we all did when we found ourselves single again; we went to a dance club, and hoofed it up to ear bleeding thumping and pumping dance beats, screaming, “Yeah, I’m free!” Then we picked up a random young guy and made out with them outside of the women’s bathroom. It’s uncanny how this show mirrors my own life. How did Bravo know?

Our lead character is shown swapping saliva with a complete stranger. Ew! Double ew! What is this, Studio 54, circa 1982? Helloooo, Ebola? Is anyone watching the news?

If the gals in Sex and The City got divorced, that’s what this show looks like. I never watched SATC when it first came out, but I’ve seen the reruns, and it’s depiction of single life in New York is just a wee bit far fetched, or rather, identifies only a teeny tiny faction of the population.

So it is the same with The Girlfriends Guide to Divorce. Yes, it’s television. Yes, it’s eye candy. Yes, it’s fantasy, but I wonder if divorced women watching, might not feel worse than they already do, because their post-divorce, or break-up, lives (for the most part) and I’m only guessing, looks nothing like the ones in this show.

Do these women watching now wonder, “Where are my champagne wishes and caviar dreams, with the hot bartender at the cocktail party, hosted by my famous friends in their Malibu beach house?

One of the tag lines is, “Sometimes you have to start over in order to find yourself.” I have done nothing but start over again, and again and again, throughout my life; men, marriage, jobs, locations. Starting over is exhausting. Besides, wouldn’t it be romantic if you could find yourself while in the company of someone else?

 

Letting Go Can Feel like Extreme Weight Loss. 

PhotoCredit:OwningPink

PhotoCredit:OwningPink

One of the perks of getting older is being able to let go; of friendships, dreams, expectations, without guilt, remorse or anxiety. It can actually feel good, like you’ve lost those last five pounds.

I went to an comedy open mic the other night with a friend, in a dark, dank, basement in the west village. She needed practice for an upcoming show and I was happy to hold her hand.

I sat amidst 40 or so prepubescent hipsters, who thought that working anything to do with ass-licking into their set was funny. It must be generational.

My friend and I were clearly the elders in the room, but instead of feeling nervous and scared, like I used to when I was doing stand-up, I was blanketed in relief and freedom; and not only because I wasn’t performing, but because I also didn’t care.

Physically, I had let go of this life many years ago, but it wasn’t until I sat in the uncomfortable chair, sipping my ten dollar club soda, surrounded by kids, that I realized that I had emotionally let go as well.

How and when did this happen? I have a history of holding on to things longer than is probably healthy, but in this case, I was able to let go, without losing a piece of myself. It was easy. I like easy.

 

Parenthood Doesn’t Come with A Manual

parenthooddoesn'tcomewithmanual

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A surprising thing happened when I became the Girlfriend Mom. I started to see my relationship with my parents in a whole new light. A softer light. Maybe this is obvious to people when they become parents, but since I never thought that I would ever become a parent, or parent-like, it was like sticker shock for me.

On my road trip last weekend with the GMD, we talked about parents, our expectations of them, falling short and forgiveness. Listening to her speak about her experiences, I empathized, as I put myself in the child role. I shared some of the same feelings; disappointment, frustration, and anger.

She asked me how often I speak to my parents. I didn’t really know. There are times when we speak several times a week, and times a couple of weeks will pass before we speak. I wasn’t entirely sure why she asked but I didn’t push.

It made me think about how daily calls were never our thing. It used to confuse me. I thought that they didn’t care. I wondered why they wouldn’t call. Wasn’t it their responsibility as parents? Wasn’t this listed in the How To Be A Good Parent Handbook? The simple fact is, we weren’t, nor are we, that family; no judgement, neither good nor bad. Just is.

I told her that when I was younger, I didn’t speak to my mother for an extended period of time. I was angry, as I was still wrestling childhood demons. I couldn’t have known it then, but my silence was hurtful and painful for my mother. I can now imagine that pain and hurt because of my experiences as the Girlfriend Mom. P.S. Mom and I have since made up!

As we continued driving, and talking, I started empathizing with the parents. Hers and mine. I don’t know where my profound wisdom came from, or if it would help her on her path, but like I always say, I’m a sharerer, so I offered the following.

I told her that no matter what, her parents love her, and her brother, intensely and that she should never doubt that. Humans are flawed (even parents) and they’re doing the best they can. I also added that, sometimes, their best isn’t good enough, and it sucks.

I now know (many years later) that my parents did the best that they could with what they had, and who they were at the time. Yes, at times their best didn’t cut it. Yes, they fucked up. And yes, they royally pissed me off when they called my theatrical endeavors a ‘hobby’.

However, how can you blame someone for their limitations or abilities?

I never doubted their love and as the years wore on, I learned to accept their shortcomings and focus on all that they can, and do, offer. I’ve embraced what they’ve given me and not what is lacking.

A parent may be incapable of giving you what you need. They may not be skilled in a particular area. Perhaps they didn’t grow up in an environment where they learned from their parents.

To this I say, speak up. Give them an opportunity to hear what you need— trust me, they don’t friggin’ know. After my parents called my theatrical passion a hobby, I had a temper tantrum in our den, screaming at the top of my lungs, sounding (and looking) like a mental patient. “It’s not a hobby. It’s my LIFE.”

I’m not suggesting that you have a hissy fit (although they shifted their attitude but quick), but I am suggesting communicating.

I ended my, sharing is caring moment, by letting her know that, in time, she’d learn how to work with what people, including her parents, can give her. That, hell yeah, her parent’s will disappoint her, just like she may disappoint them.

I told her that it wasn’t easy and can take years of practice, but that if she’s kind, and is open to acceptance, and forgiveness, then she would be way ahead of the game. And for the record, I told her that the, How To Be A Good Parent Handbook didn’t exist.