Monthly Archives: December 2013


This evening, walking back from the mailbox, I looked down into my hands to the large package of papers that were mailed to me by my ex.

You guessed it, after four years of waiting while he and the BHFB have been living happily ever after and buying a new house together, my divorce papers finally came.

As I was looking through them, I suddenly realized that I never really have coped full-on with the prospect of divorce itself. I mean, look at what happened…I caught him in bed with the BHFB, I tossed him out and then immediately (as in, didn’t stop, didn’t pass go, didn’t collect $200) enrolled at UNLV.  It wasn’t soon after that I got the news that he and the BHFB were packing up and moving to Kentucky of all places.

Now, to my folks and friends in Kentucky, no offense to you, but to my high-browed, educated-out-the-wazoo ex, well it might as well be ‘hillbilly hell’. Okay, do you one better: he’s Atheist in one of the most religious places in the world. You know what, I’m going to ice the cake for ya…he’s a French-Canadian, anti-gun, environmentalist, Atheist in a place where you either shoot it, stuff it or marry it; none of which is appealing to a guy with four college degrees and PhD work under his belt.

Oh, the stories that I’ve heard from him make me want to pee my pants. Just the looks he gets walking into church on Sundays is enough to get me rolling on the floor, but to hear his tales of ‘gravy that requires a chainsaw to get through that smothers everything’ from a guy who’s a marathon-running, ultra-fitness, symphony-loving, Pinot Noir snob, I cackle regularly on our bi-annual phone calls.  I mean, he’s the same guy that John L. Smith in the Review Journal took to task in his weekly column for calling Las Vegans uncultured and he ends up landing in the bluegrass, hell and gone from Louisville which is the nearest cultural center he can reasonably reach.

So with all that going on, school and me trying to get back on the horse after waiting for two years in my apartment alone, I never really did imagine what it would feel like when the papers finally came.

Looking back, I did do the Kubler-Ross model of the seven stages of grief. After all, getting abandoned, divorced or anything ground shaking like that, when you look at the empty side of the closet, when you have to teach yourself to once again sleep in the middle of the bed, and when you realize the promise you made that meant “forever” actually meant “for the time being” to your other half, you really do go through the non-linear process of going through what is logically likened to a death in the family.  When it’s all said and done, the person you loved has vanished like a puff of smoke leaving a trail of destruction behind them, leaving you standing in an empty house that used to contain your dreams.

But it’s like what KP kept insisting to me through those first two years: You’ve got to build a bridge and get over it. So, in my own way, I guess I did. Board by board, nail by nail and OOH did I smash my thumb with a hammer a few times along the way.  Well, KP never said building the bridge would be easy…

I got caught up in the fact that my life had to keep moving forward; a life filled to the brim with speed bumps along with a very large, bone-jarring pothole I had to get through to get to where I am now.

I keep thinking about the words of Atrus at the end of Myst IV: Revelation

I love that line Rand Miller speaks with such perfection: “The harder an end is to face, the more hope we take with us to the next beginning.”

Every time I’ve had to pick myself up and dust myself off (which is becoming a far, far too often occurrence), I try to concentrate on that phrase remembering a simple truth about my life that is on one part sad, but on another quite encouraging: I don’t do well in cages, no matter how gilded. Simply, I’m not the marrying type and even though I’m sure some other goofball is going to try their best to put me back into a cage (which they really say isn’t, but we all really know it is), looking at that pile of papers sitting across the room makes me realize that outside of financial benefits that come with marriage, I still believe with all my heart that it is a useless institution.

I think if you love someone that much, a piece of paper doesn’t mean anything. I mean seriously, the expense of a wedding is cost-prohibitive, from the engagement ring to the horrible cake everyone chokes down at the reception, not to mention the cost of a dress that you’re only supposed to wear once but some girls now have collections of them. That little piece of paper, that I view as the equivalent of ownership papers, only mean things to lawyers who want to be richer and vindictive people who didn’t earn a damn dime but try to take their partners for every dime they have  because they have neither the heart nor strength to put in the day-to-day work that is any serious relationship.

As far as relationships go, after my experiences and looking at that pile of papers, I’m to the point of saying “Thanks, I’m done” because in my estimation, it’s an experience I’ve had, and one I didn’t particularly like. So, I’m just going to make myself a t-shirt that reads: “Been married, learned my lesson.”

My friend Jamie once told me, “I could never imagine tying you down into a relationship.  It’s just not you. Every time you get into a relationship, the whole world watches in anguish as they see you wither and lose hope. When you’re left alone and free, you are like watching a wild horse running with all its’ grace and beauty; and things like that should never, never be caged.”

See?  That’s the beauty of NOT being a lemming…I don’t need someone else to be happy.  I’m good on my own. I’ve gone through enough experiences to know one thing about myself: I don’t do relationships because simply, they’re inconvenient. I am tired of being stressed out by other people’s drama that has nothing to do with me at all. I don’t have children and that means my life belongs to me and no one else.  So honestly, looking at that pile of papers…I’m getting that particular grin that means that I’ll finally be free. (And oooh!  That’s heady stuff!)

At the end of the day, I’m happy for my ex and the BHFB. There is someone for everyone out there. Like I always say, everyone deserves happiness, even if I still look at Chihuahua’s as footballs on feet that need to be punted or sucked up into vacuum cleaners.

I’m fortunate, I’m coming out of this as really good friends with my ex, which leaves me feeling really bad for those who are getting put through the Seven Sins wringer; having to endure the lust, gluttony, wrath, greed, envy, sloth, and pride from their exes who just won’t let up, no matter what they do. What’s sad is that you can see them out in the world every day walking around, their shoulders slumped, the light in their eyes merely a glimmer because they’re two-foot-six because of all the hammering they take from vindictive exes and their lawyers who, as KP preaches regularly, “Just need to build a bridge and get over it.”

Marriage isn’t for everyone. Certainly not for me. But for those of you who believe that the piece of paper means everything, I’ll share something my ex did with me: “It’s a formality, that’s all. Nothing changes,” which I found is the absolute truth. So really, what’s the point? Gifts? Materialistic gain? If you love someone with all your heart, reams of paper wouldn’t change that, would it?

So, I’m looking across the room at my divorce papers.  Life could be worse. At least I know I won’t ever have to go through this again. Once was plenty.

Overcoming Fear.

For the last four years, I’ve been writing about tackling some of the harder moments that life has to offer. Well, today has a bit of a twist: I’m tackling the biggest professional challenge I’ve ever had.

Yup, it’s time for me to put up or shut up because it’s time for me to take the last ten years of personal experience plus two-and-a-half years of full-time research and market analysis and pitch my company’s product for start-up funding.

To view it from my perspective, imagine five foot, six inch me looking up with my jaw gaping open in disbelief as I’m standing at the feet of an extremely large giant that could squash me like a grape without a second of hesitation.

As Bill Cosby once quipped about being in a car accident, “First you say it, then you do it.”

When I found out who I was going to be pitching to, I said it! Several times, as a matter of fact. Then I broke out into a cold sweat thinking to myself, “Oh my holy gods. Okay, they’ve got the wrong girl, this is way too big for me to handle.  Who am I?  I’m nobody!”

And there was my pothole du jour just waiting to be plowed through.

I’m talking about fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of rejection. Fear of something larger than yourself. Fear of success.  I know that last one seems odd, but just go with me, I’ll come back to it in a minute.  Along with all that, I’m tackling a healthy dose of self-doubt as well. (I’ve been self-contained and emotionally self-reliant for so long, I am having trouble tackling this one my own because it seems as everyone around me believes in me more than I do!)

However, this brings us to where I am now…absolutely petrified out of my mind. I mean, I’ve taught hundreds of students, I’ve got no problem public speaking, I’m usually really comfortable working a big room…

Here’s the catch…I am the concept designer of the product. Each piece of it was influenced by the people I work with and my uncanny ability to connect dots no one else can see. As is plainly obvious, this moment in my life is highly personal, it’s blood, sweat and tears not only from me, but from a whole lot of folks who are committed to supporting my concept to its’ realization and release to the public.

I know that most of you are curious as to how I got here, and I’d love to tell you what I’ve done and how I’ve basically made people facepalm with one of the biggest ‘duh’ moments some of them have had in a very long while.  But I can’t. Not yet.  If I let the cat out of the bag, the jig is up because someone would steal my concept in a heartbeat, it is that honestly good. To be perfectly frank, I’m shocked as all hell no one thought of it before I did, but you know what?  I’m glad they didn’t. <wink>

The best way I can explain it without giving it away is this:  Remember the movie Singles directed by Cameron Crowe? Well, in the film, the character “Steve” (played by Campbell Scott) works for the City of Seattle, and he’s basically in charge of solving Seattle’s traffic problem. The solution he comes up with is a “Supertrain.” He believes wholeheartedly that if the City of Seattle gave its’ residents great music and great coffee on a train that would ferry commuters into the city, they would “Park and Ride.”  Well, much less to say, when he first pitches the idea to his girlfriend “Linda” (played by Kyra Sedgwick), she hems and haws before telling him, “But I still love my car,” leaving Steve speechless and with no reply because he had a “one track” mind and didn’t come up with a contingency plan.

Later in the film, we watch Steve as he pitches the Mayor of Seattle (played by Tom Skerritt) his idea for the “Supertrain.” What does the mayor say? “People still love their cars.” Yep, you guessed it, after a devastating blow like that (because he didn’t listen to his girlfriend when she gave him the problem to solve and he didn’t tackle it) he quits his job because he basically realizes he’s not up for the task.

When I started with the company I work for, I got handed a similar problem as Steve’s “Supertrain,” and you guessed it, just like Steve, I got caught with my pants down with no contingency. I got saddled with that same kind of “people still love their cars” argument, and it left me sitting alone in my apartment feeling like a true bush-league hitter going up against a major league pitcher that just took my head off with a 105 mile-an-hour fast ball for the fun of it. I got sent back to the dugout, absolutely humiliated, doubting if I would ever be able step up to the plate again, much less knock one out of the park.

I was completely lost. I had the shell of something, but no filler, no direction, no clear goals. I sat on my living room sofa in my apartment with my head in my hands thinking, “Now what am I going to do? How am I going to save this project?”

This all went on directly after the Nissan debacle for the NSAC competition, so I was doubly crushed. I had worked so hard, and for what?  You should have seen the looks on faces when I found stats for the NSAC campaign that no one ever dreamed of finding.  A grown man my age told me that I was “creepy” and that I “freaked him out” by the accuracy of my insight because I could see and connect dots no one else could.  It didn’t help that I predicted the Boy Band reunion tours two whole years before anyone else did. No kidding. Ask any of my NSAC teammates or go back to the posts in May of 2011, sure enough, it’s there.

I learned through those experiences that I’m pretty lucky because I’ve been given a bizarre gift. Ever heard the expression, “Can’t see the forest for the trees” or “Can’t see the trees for the forest?” Well, I don’t know who came up with giving me the strange talents I have, but I can not only see the forest and the trees at the same time, but the log cabin beyond the forest on the other side of the road that has a yellow pick-up truck parked outside with a Chocolate Labrador Retriever running around, along with a fella in a yellow and blue flannel shirt poking his head out of the front door of the house waving “Howdy.”

Now, here we are two years later. Thanks to an obscure quote I found and unique insight that comes from eating, breathing and sleeping the genre, dots that no one else could see suddenly appeared painted in unmistakable, bright, neon paint. I couldn’t help it, an emotionless ‘oh my holy sh*t’ came out of my mouth at the sheer shock of what I had found.   It made not only a light bulb go off over my head but an entire set of stadium lights that illuminated the WHOLE playing field. When I researched my theory, I nearly about passed out, realizing what I had found no one had even thought of yet. I jumped, hollered, and sweet lordy, if someone would have walked into my apartment right then, they would have thought I had lost it for sure.  I didn’t only come up with a contingency for my own “Supertrain” issue, I re-wrote the rule book. The “Supertrain” I was dealing with is now hell and gone, a relic of 2003 as far as I’m concerned.

But here I am, product concept completely redone, research solid and water-tight, audiences defined, needs defined and met on multiple levels, illustrations, infographics, contingencies, everything wrapped up with a beautiful bow…

And now I’m on the actual brink of the big pitch and I caught myself doing something I have a tendency to do far too often: I psyche myself out.

Crying?  Oh yeah.

Nervous? Are you kidding? I could whip up 007’s favorite cocktail just by placing the shaker cup on my outstretched hand.  Thought of another way, a cat in a room full of rocking chairs would look at you while pointing to me saying, “She wins.”

Nauseous? Ya think? I was making sure the trashcan was lined and at the ready.

But then, out of nowhere as I was ready to have a long talk with the Tidy Bowl Man, a tune started playing in my head…

And half of you just went, “Oh hell, Sheri’s gone and lost it now…”

Not really.  Think about it in a Liz Gilbert-esque kind of way, those “endless waves of transformation” that we all dread.

Remember what Doc Kat says:

Change is not only possible, it’s probable.

To which I add:

It’s up to each of us to figure out how to deal with those changes when they happen. How we handle the situation is what defines us to ourselves and everyone around us.

Think about it: Whatever big change or challenge we fear facing literally becomes “the end of the world as we know it” for exactly that reason: we don’t know what’s next.  We fear facing any sort of emotional risk because we don’t know what’s going to happen afterwards! We don’t know how people will react to us, much less have any sort of awareness on how the experience will shape us in the future.

So, as I sat listening to Michael Stipe’s voice in my head singing, “It’s the end of the world as we know it,” suddenly the line “and I feel fine…” made perfect sense.  I guess I’m a bit slow because after 20 some-odd years, I finally get it. He’s just saying that no matter what, change is going to happen; you just have to find it within yourself to chill out, relax and just go with it because you never know what great things might be waiting for you in the aftermath.

I’ve used the expression “Emotional Base-Jumper” for a couple of years now. I use it to illustrate my readiness to take emotional risk when others chicken out and go running for the hills. So I guess you could say that Michael Stipe and R.E.M. get part of the credit for helping get me over my case of the jitters…

But I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about what my ex-husband said when I told him about what I’m about to do at work and how I think of myself as a human albatross: Clumsy and horrifying on take off and landing, but once in the air, a beauty to watch fly.

And while the allegory of the albatross is a fitting one, I think that what is going on is a metamorphosis into a butterfly beyond anything anybody could imagine. I'm pretty sure that the caterpillar is not sure what the hell is going on during the process, so the transformation must be darkest and at its most terrifying just before the universe takes on a whole new meaning. The world looks like it's ending just before the creature finds its wings...
You've always been as "larger-than-life" as I was. You just needed the opportunity to prove it to yourself. I'll always be not only an ally but a fan. Just a text/email/phone call away, I've continued to follow the story, and I can't wait to see the next chapter...

I guess I fear success the most because simply, if all goes well, my world will never be the same again.  Talk about the end of my world as I know it…

A few weeks ago a childhood friend told me a story I had forgotten. My friend found me sitting alone, crying because I had been bullied and torn down again. He looked at me and asked, “Are you okay?” My reply was one that even now at 42, I can not believe that much wisdom could come from a 15-year-old me:

“Not at the moment, but I’m going to be.”

Well, if that little girl can overcome all that she did, I think I can look that giant in the eye and give them the what-for.  Don’t you?