Happily Never After was more of a thought experiment than anything else. I worked as a research intern in a grieving center for families whilst in college, so I kind of wanted to see if it were possible to put a break up (a form of loss) through the same emotional trajectory as any other traumatic loss. It turns out, it worked.
First of all, I would say don’t be bashful about picking it up. What I’ve learned about the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon is that people don’t have to know you are reading it. You can download it to your Kindle or put it under your mattress and no one shall ever know. Interestingly enough, there’s been a large male population who have picked it up (it’s good insight into a female’s brain).
I would recommend reading the whole thing through (or at least skimming part of it). I will warn you–the beginning is very, very raw and very, very painful. Don’t stop there. What I think the inspiring thing about the whole project is watching that pain dissipate into something profoundly beautiful and enlightening. You kind of have to know what happened at the beginning so that you can track it through the middle and so you can understand the ending. But, this is kind of how life works; it’s a journey; we are always evolving, moving, changing, and the person we are in the morning is never the person we are when we lay our heads down at night.
If you are crunched for time, skip the blog posts that are interspersed throughout the chapters. I italicized those so they could be ‘optional’. As I wrote, I had to review myself from an outside perspective, so I turned on the music that reminded me of being in that time period, I asked my friends/family questions about how I was reacting at that moment, and I went back through my blog posts (and journal entries). What I thought was most interesting was, as I went through all of these visions of me, I could see the stages of grief coming out, chronologically.
Obviously, I wrote about what worked for me (and why that worked), but everyone is different and everyone is going to have their own preferences. You’ll notice many of my songs on my playlists are country, but perhaps for you, it’s EDM or some Celtic flow. I really liked hitting golf balls in my pasture because it was easily accessible and no one was in danger, but perhaps for you, its going to a kick boxing class or belting our some “Hello” by Adele or throwing some darts in the basement. You certainly are not going to find relief in the same things I did, but you certainly CAN find relief in something.
And, remember that like life, writing is also a journey. I’ve learned so much about myself and about the world since writing Happily Never After that, if I were to write it again today, I think it would be a completely different product. My thoughts on dating have matured; instead of being focused on the superficial aspects, such as “Do I prefer blondes or brunettes?”, I’m more focused on, “Does his moral code match mine?”. My goals for myself have changed, and I’ve had some really incredible experiences. I’m much more introverted. I found myself at a New Years’ celebration, having a difficult time explaining myself and what I really do to people; it’s actually a very complicated scenario to unravel completely (if we meet, I’m probably not going to tell you I wrote a book right off the bat because it does require some explanation, but if you have heard about it, and you are at all interested, don’t be shy to ask questions). My perspective of the world has shifted; I’m a little more cynical, a little less idealistic, and a whole lot more wiser.
As always, thank you to all of my readership! I love, love, love running into people and hearing how their stories are so similar to my own!
I am ordering another set of copies today, so if you don’t have yours already, shoot me your mailing address and I will send you an autographed copy once they come in. And, if you already have a copy, send me a picture of you reading, and I’ll post it on my InstaGram account (like you see Stephanie doing above–you’ll feel momentarily famous!)