I didn’t set out to write a D Magazine cover story. A year after my husband and I split, I took a series of notes I’d taken during the strangest, loneliest, most confusing moments of my divorce, and dumped them in a Word doc. I sent the piece to my editors and was like here’s a thing! And they were like, this thing needs more depth and maybe a focal point! And then I nodded and walked back to my desk and printed it out.
For months, I carried the pages around in a small, denim backpack that I wore most days.
I don’t know why I lugged around a stack of printed nonsense on folded papers for as long as I did. I guess as a way to keep myself in check. Every time I reached for my keys or wallet, I was reminded that this was something I had to finish. No matter the outcome. I had to take the fragments of my failed relationship and shape them into something that made sense. It was the only way to achieve closure. Sometimes you have to close things yourself.
One night, last fall, after everybody had gone home for the day and the office was empty and still, I started writing the story again. From scratch. I won’t get into the process because I don’t know how to explain it other than it just kind of came out of me like a bodily function I could no longer hold in. (Too gross? Sorry.)
Once the piece was done, I felt good. Really, really good. But then I had to decide if I wanted to send it to the people I interact with on a daily basis. And then I felt queasy. Really, really queasy. But I gave myself a pep talk. And hit send.
I spent the next day slumped at my desk wishing I were a Caribbean reef octopus who could camouflage herself against her swiveling computer chair. This didn’t work. My colleagues found me.
What made this story compelling enough to put on the cover of a city magazine? I don’t know. That’s a question for Tim Rogers and Kathy Wise. What I do know, is that sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that we’re not alone in our experiences. No matter how unique they may seem. Feelings of pain, joy, loss, humiliation, anger, and longing are universal.
I found comfort in reading other people’s brutally honest takes on their botched relationships when I was engulfed in mine. And so, I told myself, that if I was able to connect with one stranger, then sharing such a personal tale would be worth it. The story has been on newsstands for one week and I’ve already accomplished this.
So, yeah, I’d say it was totally worth it.
(It’s online today. You can read it here.)