Exes. I have so many. Some I still think about, others, I can barely remember their last name. The ones I met in my early years, then school and college, and many in my early days of working life. Some made an impact on my life, both positively and negatively, many, like passing ships in the night, never to be seen again, and hardly memorable.
I’m talking about female friendships, and how they end sometimes. Many of my former friendships ended quietly, with the changing of life circumstances – changing jobs, moving away, getting married, having children. Most did not have a definitive ‘shelf life’, or an event that sparked the end. Some probably died because it felt one-sided (mostly on my part, because I throw myself into friendships, and get hurt easily when the other party does not reciprocate).
Some of my exes are not really exes. We are still Facebook ‘friends’, but we rarely interact, if at all. Some become mere acquaintances, someone I “used to know”. Those hurt less, because they went through a natural cycle of meeting, greeting, hanging out, and ending. We fit into each other’s lives at the time when we met. Once things changed, so did the friendship.
The exes that stick out are the ones who stuck around the longest, who defied the cycle, who then broke it, and everyone is left hanging and hurt. The ones who make us regret words we said, things we did, and the end of friendship itself. The ones who made us wish we’d never even met in the first place, and those who make us wish we’d never done that stupid thing that broke us up in the first place.
Female friendships are so complex, yet simple. They are endlessly fascinating because of the complexity. Women get entangled and enamoured with friends. We get emotionally involved. We invest so much of ourselves into it. And no matter how old we are, we almost always never handle friendship breakups as well as we think we should have.
All this to tell you that My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends, is launching today, September 15. I am immensely proud to have my essay among the 35 stories in the book, and am still pinching myself that I have an Amazon author page (!). My essay is about a new facet to female friendships – that of an online variety. Never having met someone, yet knowing so much about them (and vice versa), only to break up and make up? The stories I could tell, I can just hear my bloggy friends say! Well, I told mine. I hope you read it when you buy the book.
And friends? Once you’ve read it, an Amazon and/ or a Goodreads review is always lovely, and appreciated!
I would also love it if you check out The HerStories Project, who published this anthology – they’ve just put a call out for their next one, called Mothering Through The Darkness, seeking stories of women’s postpartum struggles with mental illness. It’s also a writing contest! If you question whether your story or writing is good enough – STOP. Yes, it is. Tell your story. Submit it to HerStories. The deadline is December 1. I hope to see YOUR name in the next book.
If you think you need help with writing, or want to know what editors are looking for with these submissions, Jessica Smock, one of the editors of My Other Ex, and co-founder of The HerStories Project, is conducting a personal essay writing class starting September 22! You can sign up here (affiliate link).