In the spirit of ROMANCELANDIA, I thought I would share with you a little love story of mine. But because I’m an author, I’m giving you a plot twist. So grab the popcorn, pour yourself some wine, and allow me to tell you a story about lost love, disappointment, and turning that sh*t around and making something that helps you love yourself.
I had my first break-up way back in 2006. This was the only boyfriend I’d ever had, and we dated from when I was 18 until I was almost 24. I was one of those girls that people often look down their noses at because I had hung all of my hopes and dreams on that guy and that relationship lasting forever. I didn’t know what to do with myself (obviously), and so I drowned my sorrows for a while (even more obviously, DUH, that’s what you do when you’re young, dumb, and heartbroken). But while I was drowning my sorrows, I also started writing on the little square napkins they have at a bar. I have always been a writer. In fact, at the time, I was working as a freelance marketing copywriter, so I was already in a writing mindset to begin with.
But my little napkin scrawlings were not marketing copy. These little musings were the first foundations of all the books I would write later.
Fast forward about six months, and I’m suddenly in the middle of a whirlwind romance with a soldier whom I met literally the day after he returned from Iraq. This soldier—we’ll call him Sarge—was a New Orleans native, and he took me back to his hometown with him almost every single weekend during our six month relationship. Sarge lived in Algiers Point, which you might be familiar with if you’ve read any of my small-town southern romance series, Romance in New Orleans. He gave me my first introduction to his wild-as-hell and impossibly unique city by taking me to eat at this little legendary hole-in-the-wall bar called the Port-of-Call. I ate a burger and a loaded baked potato, drank a monsoon, and promptly forgot the rest of that day. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
That relationship ultimately ended in a spectacular fashion as all my relationships prior to my marriage had a tendency to do (it’s not YOU, it’s ME, I swear). But, as those sorts of things also have a tendency to do, it also left a mark on me, as did my first break-up, and I turned to writing again. At the bar, again. With the napkins, again. It was poetic, I’m telling you.
Anyway, fast forward again to four years ago (holy crap, how has it been that long?), and I wrote this book about New Orleans before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina. Due to my spending so much time there in the relatively recent aftermath of the storm, it affected me in a way I was never able to articulate, so I wrote a book. After writing that book, I decided it needed a sequel. So I wrote the second one.
That second book, aptly named MY FAVORITE MISTAKE, is 100% based on Sarge, who kept taking me back home to NOLA with him. All the way down to the male MC’s name, and the specific horrors that cause him to break up with the female MC in the first place. If you read that book, it is pretty much a peek at my naked soul and history with this guy. (There’s a reason people started calling me shameless. I’m basically the Taylor Swift of the book world.)
So, the point of this long-winded story is that even when love stinks, it can still be an opportunity. It could’ve been very easy for me to hate the entire city of New Orleans and all of its inherent magic just because I associated it with this one guy who broke my heart. But instead I managed to separate all the bad experiences from the good ones, and I turned it into a series of seven books that I honestly love. And even better than that, I went on to make a whole lot of wonderful new memories in that magical city with my family and my career.
So my question for you is:
when have you been severely disappointed (by love or anything else!) only to turn it around and turn it into something that helps you love yourself?
Post a comment below and let me know!