july don’t lie

In ALL, BOOK PUBLISHING by Stephanie Klein31 Comments

Straight Up and Dirty, now in paperback!Oliver.  I write about him in Straight Up and Dirty.  Each January he liked to begin the new year with a midnight run.  You know, for fun.  In Crapass Central Park.  In the cold.  With gloves on.  Sober.  I should have ended things just then, when learning of this entirely too healthy tradition of his.  There would be no midnight toasting of champagne, no caviar or kiss.  Just the sound of a gun and the smell of its powder as we leaned over a starting line, racing for a finish line we couldn’t see.  This just wouldn’t do.  None of it.  The running, the resolutions, and, dear God, the boys. 

New Year’s resolutions are aptly made at the beginning of the year.  July is the mid-way marker, serving as an indicator of our progress.  Have we stuck with it, our promises to ourselves made in the bitter cold of a hungover, or sore as he would have it, morning? 

I have and I haven’t, I suppose, stuck to anything aside from the couch because this year I didn’t have the slightest inclination to make any resolutions.  Much like therapy, resolutions are only useful if we really want to change.  You have to be pretty fed up, get to the point where you realize, "I don’t want to live like this anymore."  And only then will you change your behavior, when you’re pretty sick of who you are.  Which of course throws into shadow everything we’re taught about loving ourselves just as we are.   "Well, you can still love yourself and want to change.  You know, kind of accept your flaws and still make a commitment to changing them."  Yuh.  You might as well add, "Vow to stop lying to myself and others" to that neat little new year list of yours.  The only way you’re going to change is if you hate it.   And then, far harder, if you have the determination and patience to work on it, to change your habits, to really make an effort, especially after you fumble. 

I’m at the point, or maybe it’s the age, I don’t know, where I don’t really hate anything about myself.  Yeah, I suck about certain things, 100% suck.  But I’m okay with it.  So I have back fat and pretend it’s just a groove for the back of my bra, so it doesn’t ride up.  Whatever.  It’s not ideal, but I still make room for "but" in that sentence, so it ain’t changing anytime soon.   

I didn’t make a resolution this year, and if forced to come upon one now, I’m still left in a composed shrug.  I don’t want to make a commitment to myself because I’m content.  Some might say complacent.  There’s a fine line, I find between contentment and complacency.  Both are feelings of satisfaction that accompany an ease of mind, yet it’s deemed "complacency" if along with the quiet pleasures of security there comes a looming potential danger, as if to say, "You had it coming you smug sum-bitch.  How’s content feel up against you now?"    When I begin to feel content, I get a little nervous, as if by being completely at ease I’m inviting disaster to join us.  As though I’ve said how happy I am and forgotten to knock on wood.  Living in a superstitious fear, though, never allows for true contentment.  It’s when we flip fear the bird, that we’re finally free.

Independence day is soon approaching.  The day serves as a reminder for me of my own declaration of independence.  It wasn’t from Britain but from British boys (one titled The Eurosexual in my memoir), and from boys in general.    In the years where I’ve promised myself a gym and trim body, I did so because I was uncomfortable, disgusted really, in my own skin.  Yes, I’d lie to myself and others, I’d be doing it for "health reasons," not aesthetic ones.  Yeah, I sneeze bullshit on that one.  Or when I started this blog, the intent was to write every day.  It was a resolution to put energy where it belonged: not on dating and boys but inward, toward improving myself, growing, and investing my time and energy in something that would be around longer than the eventual, "I think we need some space" talk.  I committed myself to my own independence because I was so Les Miserables. 

It was my resolution, and come July 4th each year, I remember it.  I celebrate it.  And when the fireworks sound from afar, and I begin to grinch out on them, unsure what the whole appeal is, I’ll remind myself that I should be proud.  Proud that I cut myself off, forced myself to sever the bad ties and took steps toward my own independence.  And even though I’m married with children now, a mother with her own two dependents, I like to remember and honor the strides I took to get here.  And for me those steps required me to walk away, not toward, someone.   I like this idea, that the 4th of July should serve as a reminder not just of our country and those who fought for it, but should keep us in check, questioning our resolutions and reminding us where we want to go to feel our most free. And I feel free to plug my own book here, despite the people who’ll throw in a "is this a post or an advertisement that your book is now in paperback?" As if that’s something wretched for me to do.  I’m proud of what I’ve gone through to get here.  And when I say "here" I don’t mean married or mommy, I mean away from my sandbagging behaviors. I’m proud that I have the courage to live out loud, in the face of people who’ll always look to tear me down for doing just that.   And I sincerely hope in sharing how I got here it will encourage others to live their most free lives, free of the fear of what others might think.

*If you know someone, even if that someone is you, who could stand to learn a thing or two about independence, not just independence from relationships, but an independent life, free from the feared, "what will people think?" grab a copy of Straight Up and Dirty now that it’s in paperback, perfect for the beach or to make Crapass Central Park a bit more tolerable. 

In the Greek Tragedy archives: July 4th 2006, July 4th 2005, July 4th 2004

Comments

  1. Recently though you posted about how you wanted to make some changes, how you were sick of being "boring," as you put it. Not wanting to watch to much TV. Not wanting to lose that independant self of yours, or get lost in being known to new friends as part of a couple or family, not just Stephanie (incidentally, just yesterday my mother was telling me how a lot of her good friends, who she made in baby groups when my brother was born, still think of her as a stay-at-home-mom because that's what she was then — despite the fact that she's been working full time for the past 15 years again. Those things stick.) Anyway, those are resolutions of sorts.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Yes, you're right. I suppose I have been watching less TV. I think I've been getting out more… or less. I have to focus so much of my time on writing MOOSE right now. Once I hand it in come October, I'll be a tad more free to be out and about more. Well, come October I'll need to focus on NBC stuff. It never ends, that time of "someday." I've been working my somedays in a lot more lately. All seems good right now.

  2. Ummm- is this a post or an advertisement that your book is out in paperback? Sorry but I have to "sneeze bullshit" on this one.

  3. My question re: your book is, would you have felt as assured and independant if you did not meet Phil? Your epiphany re: the fact that it was ok to be alone seemed to come hand in hand with meeting Phil. Do you think you would have gotten to that place without meeting the person who assured that you would not have to actually be, alone? I just did not understand how that was proof of real growth.

  4. Can we all agree to vote Christina off the island? What a (fill in the blank)! SK is an author who only makes money selling her book. How dare she mention her book! I'd venture to say that as a brand and personality/author Stephanie Klein should be doing a lot more. I call bullshit on SK for not doing so. Out to buy paperback now… Happy 4th!

  5. I just read your book recently, and I really enjoyed it. I felt a kinship with you because of my first MIL was similar to yours. I'm looking forward to reading your next book.

    Mention your book as many times as you want to. It's a great book! Well done, Stephanie.

    Shash

  6. It's an interesting question Emma. I really do not believe, in fact, I know, that my feeling assured and independent did not come once I met Phil. It came before I ever met him. It came when I forced myself to break things off with Oliver… and then realized the earth continued to move. I began to go to bars by myself, not hoping to meet someone, but to satisfy my need for new… new observations, new stories. I became comfortable in my own skin when I forced myself to. I remember literally forcing myself, at some point, to go to the movies, a crowded popular theater actually, on a Saturday night, when the chances were good that I would bump into someone I knew. And they'd ask, "who are you here with?" And I'd have to respond, "I'm by myself." At one point, the idea of that happening kind of scared the shit out of me. Sure, I'd slip into a movie mid-week, but going to the movies on a Saturday night seemed to me to be something only a "loser" would do. I mean, if your Saturday night consists of that, surely you had nothing better planned or offered up. You sad person. You have no friends. That's what I thought people would think. In fact, when I did run into people in that exact situation, it happened just as I'd feared. "Who are you here with?" I'm here alone. "Well come sit with us." It was an invitation to leave alone… because we're taught at such a young age that alone is the equivalent to friendless. It means we've been excluded or discarded. We're a loser.

    I became comfortable in being alone, doing things alone, long before Phil came along. It was hard, cutting off my circulation of dates because that's from where I'd always gotten my esteem. But I poured myself into my interests and realized it was kind of liberating, very, "yeah, I'm alone by choice" empowering. It made me more interesting, and as a result, more people were interested in me. Who is this woman who couldn't give a shit what people think of her? And that is how I eventually met Phil. But I had to get there, to independent and self-assured, before I could get anything else. And you know what, there are no guarantees in life, I'm afraid. Phil could up and cheat on me. Or our marriage could end. And it wouldn't make me a failure, some girl who wrote a book about divorce who can't even stay married! It wouldn't make me any of those things. (And no, none of this is a hint that things are bad!) I'm just trying to say, you remind yourself of who you are, and if you find that you've stopped being that person, or don't know who you are, it's time to figure out why… why do you care so much what other people might think?

  7. "And I sincerely hope in sharing how I got here it will encourage others to live their most free lives, free of the fear of what others might think."

    You really have no idea. I hate how this is going to sound, written out, but I am pretty sure your book changed me. I don't quite know how or to what extent, but I know it did.

    Thank you. I'm sure you've heard it before, so just add my sincere gratitude to the pile.

  8. I'm so curious as to whether the Wasband or his mother ever contacted you. If not, have you at least heard through the grapevine what they thought of Straight Up and Dirty? I know that their reaction isn't the point, but I'm still dying to know.

  9. Stephanie, thanks for your response. I Think that is why I like the blog more than I liked the book — because your epiphanies either happen or seem to happen in "real time", making everything seem more organic and less rushed to fit chapters and page space.

  10. Why is it you seriously have a knack for writing exactly what I need to hear exactly when I eed to hear it?? My resolution, which I think I even commented about here, was to exercise. Okay that was bullshit, it was to lose weight. So I've been paying a personal trainer since Feb to do just that. Have I lost anything? I've gone down a pants size but 50lbs lighter I'm not. Me and my mom are discussing how the sessions are and how much they cost. When I tell her, my loving mother who is normally as sweet as pie, says "I can't believe you pay that much! No way! You're going to be mad at me but you need to hear this -but Youre still as fat as before. He is scamming you" Yeah, total bitch moment. So I'm sitting here wallowing in my own tears (trying not to post anything mean on my own blog) and lo and behold Ms Klein reminds me of whats important. I am doing it for ME! I can run a mile now without stopping, my health has improved tenfold, and I pay for it myself! All those days it would have been easier to stay in the bed or go home and sleep I went and my evil! trainer worked me HARD! Plus the most important thing: My ass is now amazing! So thanks, for this post and for being a light when its dark as hell! PS I own the hardcover and I will be pulling it out today!

  11. I really like the sentiment of doing something for yourself on Independence Day. It is what I did last year. I spent a day alone, didn't watch fireworks and didn't do anything tied to the 4th and it felt great.

  12. I bought your book the minute it came out – loved every single page. And I pick it up every once in a while when I need a chuckle.

    This week, I'm on vacation – and guess what's with me? You got it – Straight Up and Dirty. Thanks. I love it.

    I can't wait for Moose. Happy day and happy 4th to you.

  13. Been reading your blog for a while. Was in Borders Books yesterday and there it was! Front and center "New Paperback" table- Straight Up & Dirty. I yelped scaring the Harry Potter crowd in the corner. I'm on chapter thre and can't put it down. You are amazing!

  14. "Free of the fear of what others might think"… I love that you live and write in such a fearless way. I was brought up to never let anyone see anything but a white picket fence family, and no family is perfect. Your book and blog are refreshing reminders to keep it real because THAT is healthy living.

  15. Independence Day is my birthday.
    It's always been special, in a way, to have a holiday birthday. When I was a little girl my parents told me that all the fireworks were for me.
    In another way, it's always been a pain because everyone is out of town.
    Still, it's a fun day and I totally believe in using the 4th to examine your own independence.
    Have a great holiday with your family!

  16. Congrats on being a paperback writer. I like your idea. Pardon the pun, but it's novel. I also know, by reading your book and by knowing you, that indeed you found yourself and your independence pre-Phil. I only recently found the same independence. What a ride it took to get there, huh NYNY?

  17. I wasn't expecting to, but have to admit I found your book very entertaining and quite the page-turner. You might come off as egocentric at times (aren't we all?)but you simply have to be applauded for having the guts to let it all hang out. The good, the bad and the ugly.

  18. Just read the paperback and…wow! It's all in the telling and girl, you tell it like it is. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us go through but don't confront.

    Love the cover.

  19. And yet some of us are so used to being alone and relishing the experience that we fear not aloneness, but being part of an "us". I've always loved Independence Day and all its connotations for said reason – Valentine's Day, not so much. Having just had something major happen on the relationship front, I find myself trying to feel excited, when in actuality I'm nauseous and panicky. Who knows – maybe what it's about is breaking a pattern, whether that pattern consists of always flying solo or always having someone around.

  20. I bought your book on hardcover last year when it first came out and I loved it. I have a friend that I've recently decided to let go from my life. She determines her self-worth by the number of guys who ask her out. She was an easy lay for men because them wanting her was her source of validation. Now that she has a boyfriend, she has abandoned all of her friends. Her whole world is her boyfriend and she sees no point in maintaining her friendships. She is now a complete piece of sh*t.

    She could stand to benefit from reading your book, but then again, she sees nothing wrong with herself. That is exactly why I am no longer putting energy into her. I am done.

  21. I absolutely love your response to Emma. Like others, your book made me feel better and realize that there are others out there feeling the same way I do! I'm giving your book to my 26 yr old friend that is divorced; I'm sure she'll love it just as much as I do.

  22. I finally read Straight Up and Dirty. Wow!! I loved it and couldnt put it down! Cant wait for Moose. Any ideas of when that will be out??

  23. Now that it's in paperback (though I did give my mom the hardcover as a present) ive been buying them aas gifts
    as not ass and telling them about your blog.
    I wanna a cookie!

    Christina, I see you're still being a cunt. Lovely seeing you!

    I'ts not the age, Stephanie, it's becoming a mom. Another great thing about becoming a mom is how much you learn to appreciate your body. You look at old pics that you once thought you looked like shit in and realize how good you looked. And you're okay with that b/c you feel more like a woman now, at least I do.
    You appreciate how wonderful and amazing your body really is when life comes from it.
    Sounds hokey but you definitely appreciate being a woman.

    …until the ass acne starts :D

  24. I cannot believe that someone on this comments section gets called a 'cunt' by another reader for writing a critical comment.
    Nice.

  25. First of all, I think whoever it was who called someone else a cunt did a beautiful job of illustrating the concept of Independence Day. Speak your mind, honey.

    Second, and this is to Stephanie, thank you for reminding us what independence day is truly all about. It's not just about barbecues and digging beer out of a cooler. It's about our own personal triumphs in letting go of those things that keep us from being ourselves.

    I have so much in common with you I don't even know where to start. I, too, divorced young. Then, on what would have been my sixth anniversary, I was getting my first Brazilian bikini was at Silk for a date with someone I met on Nerve. Ugh! I've also since remarried and am now pregnant with our second child. Also, moved from NY to Austin. And we have the same name.

    I'm curious, how do you like it down here?

    Anyway, I'm not trying to be creepy, but feeling a kinship. Thanks for inspiring me to remember what I've been through to get all I have to be proud of today.

  26. the problems with the word cunt are a whole other discussion, but calling someone on the comments a cunt is hardly a beautiful expression of our freedoms. calling a political figure something pejorative in public, with your name linked to it, would be a strong, maybe even beautiful, statement of the freedom we have that so many others lack. and while during a time of war i think it's important to remember the political meaning behind independence day, i'd agree that it's also a day to celebrate our own independence, and as women the option to be independent of relationships, or to go into them of our own free will and desire, as equal partners. that's pretty special. a lot of women don't have that. the freedom to call another person a cunt, however, eh, not so special. just mean and boring.

  27. Alex and Uber, well, I guess you can be thankful I wasnt talking to either of you. :)
    Christina has a habit of being cuntly on this blog and I dont hesitate to call her out on it, b/c that was a cunty thing for her to post. Sooo, yeah, cunt seems appropriate.

    Stef with an f> thank you.

    Happy 4th to you, Stephanie, and all your readers!

  28. Julie, I have to disagree with you, I don't think what she said was that bad, therefore I am suggesting that calling her a cunt is an overreaction to say the least. Anyone expressing a criticism must be smacked down and put in their place! And the suggestion that your use of the insult is an illustration of the concept of independence day – well hopefully that was a joke, though I see you didn't take it that way. Perhaps if I feel like smacking someone in the face I should just go ahead and do it – it will show how liberated and in touch with my feelings I am. Exactly what the world needs more of.

  29. Ah, no. It was a rude and cunty thing to say on a person's blog who has every right to self promote if they so choose. Trying to pretty it up by putting some association with the meaning of Independence Day is just ignorant and you should be ashamed.
    It was a cunt thing to say. Maybe cunt is a harsh word for a lot of females but in this case for me, it aint.
    Happy Independence Day, btw. :)

    FROM STEPHANIE: Enough people. No more comments on the c u next Tuesday bit.

  30. My point from a few posts back, is exactly illustrated here through the response of a few comments…all of us ought to remain mindful of our obligations, as humans, of the impact our presumed freedoms have upon others. One should not be enjoyed without the other in place…otherwise, that may often be perceived as a "contradiction in terms."

    Good girl, Stephanie…for drawing this line on others' behavior.

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