I had just secured not one, but two new writing jobs which thrilled me to no end. I’ve always wanted to write, and I could hardly believe I’d have the opportunity to do this so soon after I’d graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. I was riding home from Denver with my boyfriend of nearly two years in a state of happy disbelief when my life changed…even more dramatically.
My boyfriend has always been kind, romantic…and I’ve always bragged that he never made me cry. But that afternoon I learned he betrayed me in a way that made me feel like I was on a particularly shocking episode of The Jersey Shore. The worst part is that he tried to lie about it. I’ll spare all of us the sordid details but, needless to say, it was painful.
I’ve never had my heart taken out of my body, put over a hot flame and then pounded raw with a meat tenderizer—but now I know something about what it’s like. I just kept replaying the scene in my head, trying desperately to make sense of it. But I couldn’t, and can’t.
So there I was Monday night, balled up in bed in a wretched, sniffling heap when I remembered that I had bought New York PR mogul and general badass Kelly Cutrone’s book, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside. The book, that I purchased at the famous Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, is her life story woven with her own insights and advice.
I had seen Cutrone on the reality TV show The City, which like its predecessor The Hills follows the lives of several young women. Kelly is the boss at a PR company called People’s Revolution, and I’d always marveled at her no-bullshit attitude and general wisdom. Even though many people consider reality TV mindless, I feel I’ve gained some very real insight from her on the show. Her book came at exactly the right time for me, and I found that for every dilemma I was facing, Kelly had an answer…
Me: I feel so pathetic right now. Has this ever happened to you?
Cutrone: …Ronnie and I were headed for a divorce that left me clutching a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and a Marlboro in the other, sobbing and jumping up and down in my underwear on the bed and repeatedly singing “Nothing Compares to You” by Sinead O’Connor. But the death of my first love was just one of the many deaths I’ve survived so far in my life. (48)
Ah, so this little puddle of sorrow I’m in right now isn’t as pathetic as I think, but how long do I have to endure this pain?
Cutrone: Things will change: you won’t feel this way forever. And anyway, sometimes the hardest lessons to learn are the ones your soul needs most. I believe that you can’t feel real joy unless you’ve felt heartache. You can’t have a sense of victory unless you know what it means to fail. You can’t really know what it’s like to feel holy until you know what it’s like to feel really f*ing evil. And you can’t be birthed again until you’ve died. (57)
Ok, (deep breath) don’t panic. I just need to hunker down and move on. I’ll learn from this and be a deeper, stronger and more sympathetic woman. But at the same time why did God have to do this to me now? Things were going so well…
Cutrone: Often the goddess starts challenging this kind of complacency with gentle taps on your shoulder, asking quietly, “Do you want some help?” At which point, if you’re like I was you’ll say, “No thanks, I’m having a really good time!’ ….Finally she sticks her stiletto in your heart chakra like a pre-op transvestite while putting cigarettes out on your body and demands, “Okay, are you ready to change now?” Basically, when destiny calls, we don’t always go willingly. (67)
I’ve buried my head in my relationship instead of working on my goals. So I’ll focus on me now. What should I do now with my two new jobs?
Cutrone: If this book inspires you to do one thing, I hope it’s to take the years when you’re young–say, between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five, before you have a mortgage or kids or anything else that needs to be fed–and go balls out on intuition. (7)
I guess I have been ignoring the fact that my destiny is to be an independent woman. Right now I should use my power to be as successful and focused as I can be, because men come and go, but I’ll be with myself forever. I should work on becoming who I want to be.
Mallory Ayres is a Boulder native who just graduated with a degree in political science. She is passionate about journalism and has interned for Skiing Magazine in the past. She now is one of elephant journal’s new interns and works for the outdoor gear website ActiveJunky.com. She loves hot yoga, creative writing and loitering in Boulder’s coffee shops.