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Cheering each other on


Love Yourself, Big C-Style

Friday, September 10th, 2010

I just started watching The Big C on Showtime—the new series starting Laura Linney as a woman dealing with Stage IV melanoma. (Yeah, that “big C” stands for cancer.) And as I Tweeted the other day, I love love love love love the show.

I heart this show. And so will you. (Image:

I get giddy watching Cathy Jameson (Laura Linney) embrace that she can and should be doing all the things she’s ever wanted. She tells off a snotty high school student (an awesome Gabourey Sidibe). She does cartwheels down the high school hallway where she teaches. And in one scene, she lies outside in her yard completely naked, like a woman she’d seen doing the same. (On a crazy-related note, check out my essay about learning to be comfortable with being naked in this month’s Health magazine.)

When Cathy’s husband finds her there, she brings up a memory of being afraid to go topless on a French beach because she thought she was ugly. But later, seeing photos of herself from that time, she realizes:

“I was pretty cute back then. But I didn’t feel it.”

How often does this happen, right? We think we’re not thin or curvy or buff or hot enough, and yet in a few years, we look back on photos of ourselves and realize how great we really looked! Like Cathy in The Big C, let’s give ourselves the gift of hindsight right now:

Imagine yourself in 10 years and look back at who you are now. What do you see? Is your 10-years-younger self cuter than you remember? Is your 10-years-younger self happy? Or is your 10-years-younger self wasting a lot of time groaning about themselves or being single when they should be appreciating some of the kick-ass things in their incredible life?

When's the last time you cartwheeled? (Image: Amy Spencer from "The Big C")

Your life is awesome in its own way, right now. And it’s vital that you see this, because once you meet the right person and grow a few years older, you will be different. You will gain or lose weight, you will gain or lose faith. Your living room will probably look different, your lunch order will be new, your workload will have altered, your health may be different and you will look back on your life right now, with a wistfulness, wishing you had appreciated it more.

Give your 10-years-older self the gift of being able to say you appreciated your life as best you could today. Body, attitude and all. Is there anything you can learn to appreciate now? Something your 10-years-older self, in hindsight, would be pretty damn proud of? Why should you, like Cathy, do cartwheels down a hallway?

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Big love,

Shame on You, Bachelor Pad!

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Note: I’ve waited an extra day to post this so TiVo viewers can catch up, but if you haven’t seen it, there’s a SPOILER giving away the first 15 minutes.

Even though Bachelor Pad isn’t as good as The Bachelor and The Bachelorette (shows I love so much I want to be buried with an ABC TV so I can keep watching from beyond) I’ve still thoroughly enjoyed the funny drama and antics of it all. Until this week.

They were cheering before they knew how shafted they'd be. (Image:

This was a show about a house where former singles from the former shows could mingle and goof off and hook up and battle each other with wits like a sexy single Survivor. At the end? A prize of $250,000. The rules of the show had the men and women competing for immunity, then voting each other off each week: The men voted off one woman and the women voted off one man. Fair enough. I was down with that. And throughout the show, some of the singles started coupling up. That happens, too. And I liked the competition that was brewing between the singles and the couples. Would the couples team up? Would the cozy couples be ousted by the singles who had more time to plot and prepare? I couldn’t wait to find out. And then the producers went and smacked the singles straight in the face.

Five minutes into the show, Chris Harrison unsympathetically told the group that to even the 4 guys and 7 girls head count, they’d even the playing field and send three girls home. Tension mounted. And I got excited: How would they decide?

Well, they decided in the lamest, grossest, shame-iest way: In a scene out of a school yard sports pick, the boys simply kissed girls they liked and asked them to stay. And since half the group had already coupled off, the men just asked the girls they’d been kissing all along, sending three cool girls who didn’t happen to have partners in the house off to the limos to head home.

Now, I’m an optimist and I like to look for the best in any situation. But this show twist pissed me the hell off. This wasn’t a contest called “Which girls hook up?” This was a competition for $250,000 big ones that could change some contestant’s bank account in a big way. And they let the decision of the final four girls hinge on the hormones of four typical guys? Come on! I cringed when one of the contestants (I think was Tenley) said something like, “Not only did they not find love here, but now they won’t be winning $250,000.” Exactly. And that’s just plain wrong.

Singles get ousted far too much like this in life. I remember one office job where I was often asked to forgo my plans for the plans of the wives and mothers I worked with. “My husband and I have dinner plans,” one would say. Or “I’ve got to get home to the baby.” So there I’d be, cancelling my dinner plans with my friends or cancelling my plans to go home to rest with the remote control because there was work to be finished in the office, and the choices of me as a single woman weren’t deemed as important as those in the coupled up world. And there are plenty of movie plots that revolve around some woman needing to show how settled they are in life by introducing their new husband or wife to the boss (Aniston’s Picture Perfect and Cameron’s What Happens in Vegas are two), so it must happen to other people, too. I’m sorry, but that just ain’t right. Single people should have just as much clout in this world as couples. If you’re single, you deserve as much of a shot to get a job, have a night to yourself or win $250,000 as the coupled up person next to you!

What should Bachelor Pad have done instead? Let the girls battle it out as individuals! Let the strongest or smartest or quickest decide. Have them race. Make them win a trivia contest about how much they learned about the others in the house. Hell, have the girls do some olive oil wrestling like the guys did on the last round of The Bachelorette. As long as the playing field was even. But to have the fate of these women’s $250,000 resting on what felt like a line-up at a grade school dance? Shame on you, Bachelor Pad. Next time, learn a little something from Survivor, which proves that it doesn’t matter what age, race, job or relationship status you are, because you can win the money at the end of the show if you can outwit and outplay the others. Here’s hoping life will be more like that, too.

I mean…am I wrong on this? Was this just supposed to be fluffy fun? What do you guys think?

You might also like:
11 Ways Being Single Beats Being in a Relationship

You’re So Hot

10 Reasons to Be Thankful for Being Single

Big love to all my cool singles!

The Bachelorette: The Way to Love, The Way to Lose

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

I'm hoping this happy ending with Roberto continues. (Image: Matt Klitscher, ABC)

Sigh. I loved last night’s episode of The Bachelorette. As we’ve all been saying, this was the first time in, like, forever that we would have been happy for both guys to win. And because both guys seemed like such pure-hearted, solid people, they each taught us something valuable about being on both sides of the love coin.

Whether you’re winning or losing in love (and whether or not you’re doing it on a national reality television show) on your path to meet your half-orange, here are four of my favorite quotes from last night on how to do it, which of course made me cry.

The Way to Love

When Roberto proposed, it seemed like he really spoke from his heart, which of course made me cry:

“You told me how important it was to you for your husband to love you unconditionally and to always be by your side no matter what,” said Roberto. “I just…I want to be that man for you. I want to be that man for you. I want to make you laugh, just like this. I want to make you smile. I want to make sure that you wake up every night, every morning for the rest of your life, knowing you’re so so loved.”

The Way to Lose

Chris L's great attitude will lead to a great love. (Image: ABC)

When Ali let Chris go and he looked up to see that rainbow—a sign of his mother looking down on him—it of course made me cry:

“In all this hurt and confusion and what the hell’s going on,” said Chris, “I was like, Wow, that’s just my mom saying, ‘You know what? When you put yourself out there for love, there’s always a chance you’re going to get hurt‘ and I did. I have allowed myself to open up and I’m not good at that, I’m not. And I know she’s like, ‘(clap clap) Good job Chris.’ As much as it sucks losing Ali, I know that’s my mom telling me it’s going to be okay.”

Now, we can’t always know what side of the coin we’ll end up with, which is why love is such a gamble. And so, here’s my favorite insight on…

The Way to Try

As Roberto said…

Even if there’s the slightest chance that I could end up with her and be happy with her, um, I’ll take it. Even if there’s a chance that I’ll, that my heart will end up broken. I mean, to me, that’s worth it, and I want to take that chance. Ali’s the kind of girl that you take that chance for.”

And while Chris did take that chance and it didn’t work out, remember what he said afterward…

“If I could do it all again,” said Chris, “I wouldn’t change a damn thing. I just have to learn from it and move on.”

I stand on the side of the fence hoping that Chris will move forward as the new Bachelor. In the meantime, I’ll try to move on from The Bachelorette—and yes, Bachelor Pad will help. Which of course makes me cry. But see? Even in the midst of cheesy television, there is some truth about life. Love’s tough, it’s always a gamble, but it’s worth going for in the end.

You might also like:
The Bachelor “Say It” Myth
Baseball and The Bachelor: Believe

Big love,

Like Jake & Vienna: You Deserve More!

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

I don’t know about you, but I was glued to my TV last night to watch both The Bachelorette and the Break-Up Special with Jake and Vienna. And by the way, the hilarity of the concept of a “break-up special” is not lost on me. I feel bad saying I loved it, but I did. (I also loved when Chris Harrison barked “We don’t care about your dog” but the dog is irrelevant here, too.)

Learn from Jake and Vienna's undone relationship (Image:

As I watched them tell their sides of the story, I so wished that each of them were handling the relationship—and breakdown of it—differently. Yes, Jake seemed controlling and appeared to be hiding something darker behind that smirk; and Vienna, for her part, seemed steam-rolley and not entirely honest about her desires to end up famous in L.A. herself. But the truth is, what he said and what she said isn’t important. Who’s “right” isn’t important. Because a healthy relationship isn’t about being right, it’s about being happy.

I point this out because I’ve seen and heard from halves of couples who have experienced their own head-butting and total communication breakdowns who see that not as a deal breaker, but as a necessary part of navigating a relationship. Couples will drag themselves back through the same relationship hellfire with the same partner or others determined to stick it out and settle down. “Relationships are hard,” they say. “It takes work.” Sure, it takes work, and they can be hard to upkeep. But not as hard as last night. So what I say is that if you’re not married, you deserve more than putting up with your own Jake & Vienna breakdown…and so do Jake and Vienna!

You deserve a relationship in which you feel heard, respected and appreciated. You deserve a relationship in which your partner takes your word for it when you swear you don’t need a GPS to get to your destination, a relationship in which your opinion on where the bed should go in the room is weighed as much as theirs. You deserve a relationship in which your partner listens to you, laughs at your jokes, loves being with you and treats you like the special human being that you are. You deserve it all. So if you’re not feeling that you’ll get it—and that a “break-up special” is in your future—say no to that final rose. There’s so much more out there for you in love and I hope you get it.

You might also like:

Baseball and The Bachelor: Believe

Big love,

Make Interesting Mistakes

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

I recently watched some episodes of HBO’s series Masterclass.

Playwright Edward Albee

If you have any special interest in an area of the arts, you might enjoy watching students meeting a master in the field for some personal mentoring of their craft. Artist Olafur Eliasson and singer Placido Domingo were two of the teachers. But my favorite, of course, was the episode when Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee met with four young writers to talk about his work.

And wouldn’t you know it, he said something wise enough about life that I had to share it with you. He was talking about one young writer he’d met in the show who left school for a year to tour and write in Paris. When asked if the kid was doing the right thing, Albee joked that he probably wasn’t, but that’s okay.

“I think people should be adventuresome,” Albee said. “I think people should make mistakes. Make the interesting mistakes. The trick is making more interesting mistakes and doing stuff that you may regret, but what’s wrong with that? There’s more regret in what you don’t do than what you do.”

Keep this in mind as you live and date. Date the wrong people, sure, but make them the wrong interesting people who provide you with an experience greater than a big yawn and wanting to crawl into bed early. Dating is all about trial and error, after all. That’s the point! The same way a writer should scrawl down their first draft without stopping to analyze and edit what they’re doing along the way, you, too, should follow your heart and date who feels right and who seems interesting. So what if each one isn’t The One? As Albee says, “What’s wrong with that?”

You might also like:
Harry Potter: The “Magic” of Optimism
Wise Words from an Undone She

Big love,