When Sascha Rothchild walks into a room heads turn. This Miami Beach-born green-eyed, majestic red-haired bombshell can knock you off your feet not only with her silver knee-high-heeled boots but also with her expertise in (unsuccessful) relationships. Rothchild’s book, How to Get Divorced by 30: My Misguided Attempt at a Starter Marriage, was released January 26, 2010, after Penguin Publishers came across the article and wanted to publish a memoir. Rothchild has also written for Psychology Today Magazine, Women’s Health Magazine, match.com and dippolitics.com. Although always busy freelancing articles for various publications, or flying out to book signings all over the country, Rothchild still finds time where she resides in Los Angeles for the little things in life like her cat, Spork, her love for frozen yogurt, and her obsession with vampires and black nail polish.
“I always knew that I wanted to be a writer,” said Rothchild. “When I was 11 or 12 years old, I read an ‘Interview with a Vampire.’ I was so completely immersed in those books that I realized if I can create my own world with my writing then I can control my own environment with my writing. I always had the habit to jot down funny conversations I heard while out with my parents. Because my father was a writer, it just made sense. I grew up surrounded by writing and watching him write. I must say it is probably the least glamorous job in the world because you sit alone in a room wearing sweatpants. But there is something glamorous to me about people reading what I write.”
From a very young age, encouraged by her father, this now 33-year-old Jewish Boston College graduate always felt the need to write. Her philosophy is that if she doesn’t write it, it isn’t real. Always propelled to write down everything, whether it is something that happened to her or a story idea, Rothchild’s mantra is about writing things down to define her reality. “The process of sitting down and writing can be very scary for a lot of people,” she said. “Some dread it and continue to put if off. For me, I’m not afraid of it. Maybe I’m afraid sometimes that the writing won’t be very good. You have to do a little bit everyday, and because I’ve been doing it since I was seven or eight years old, it comes naturally to me. I feel if I don’t write, my life isn’t complete. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? For me, if I live my life and I don’t write about it, I haven’t really lived my life.”
Moving to LA upon graduating with a degree in theater specializing in playwriting, Rothchild soon realized that living in LA and getting in touch with the big-screen people was more than just tough love. One night, prior to her moving to the west coast and while she was eating out for dinner with a few college friends, Rothchild was deep in conversation and David Black, the executive director of Law and Order, overheard her. At the end of dinner, he had given her his business card and told her that he liked her spunky personality and he would give her a job after she graduated. Thinking she would get many offers down the road, Rothchild didn’t find it necessary to keep track of the card and lost it within a few weeks. Years later, while struggling to balance freelance writing and waitressing, Rothchild had learned a valuable lesson and has kept every business card she’s received since.
The hardest part about being a freelance writer, according to Rothchild, is that the need to write should always be there. “If you don’t write all the time, then you aren’t a writer,” said Rothchild. Writing for at least five hours a day, six days a week, this freelancer, memoirist, and screenwriter calls writing her cardio. “I do write like it is a job and as if I have a deadline even if I don’t have a deadline because it forces me to produce good material, said Rothchild. “Eventually I hit a wall, but usually in five hours I accomplish a lot. You have to build up to writing a lot. When you get used to it and when you’re really feeling it – it zips right along. I enjoy writing in coffee shops because I can sit in a corner while there is this soft chatter around me and I don’t have to focus on it. If someone says something that gets my attention I’ll listen for a few seconds. Afterwards, what’s going on will have energized me and then I can get right back into what I’m writing.”
Rothchild has continued to freelance. After she pitched and published the LA Weekly article “How to Get Divorced by 30,” following her actual divorce from her husband of three years, both Penguin Publishers and Universal Studios showed an immense interest in getting a memoir and movie out of it. Readers can tell the article and memoir has proven anything but anti-male. “If anything, I’m hardest on myself,” she said. “The book is about not buckling under pressure to get married. The whole general response to the book has been that I have had such a weird life but that I’m really relatable.”
Now with the recent release of her book and meanwhile in the process of writing the script for Universal Studios, Rothchild feels like she has obtained the expert title in relationships. Although she does not have a psychology background, Rothchild claims that she has always been obsessed with analyzing people and relationships. Her regular columns for Psychology Today and How to Get Divorced by 30 – both the article and the book version- have gotten Rothchild labeled a professional and expert in this particular field. Having been asked to be on an episode of VH1’s Tough Love, which will air within the next few months, and constantly interviewing for many women’s websites and magazines, she has been deemed as the relationship expert. “By failure, I have been the expert.”
by Emily Herring Dunn
OK, so we were already in college. June of 2008, however, we were moving back to campus into the married housing. Yes, incredibly convenient. We were so ready to be out of our first apartment it wasn’t even funny, and the campus housing seemed like heaven.
This move we did on our own. Though we were expecting Clark’s family to visit at some point, we wanted to be self-sufficient. We took trip after trip moving our stuff from one place to the next. Living on the third floor in our new apartment didn’t help much, but what did help is that it was furnished. All of the stuff we had crammed into our tiny apartment was now to go into storage, save a few things that we needed to add a sense of home to the new place. That was where Clark’s family came in. They were going to come and help us transport things to their storage shed.
There was a lot of arguing, to be perfectly honest. Trying to take things up the stairs and see where I was going was not easy, so I tended to grab the lighter things and let Clark carry all the heavy stuff. It was difficult, because while we were moving he was still working full time and was now starting classes at the local community college. He was going back to school, which was an amazing thing, but the timing was so inconvenient.
Yes, those were my thoughts.
Yes, I know they were selfish.
Clark was stressed, and I wasn’t helping much. I was so focused on my upcoming trip in July to Germany and Paris that I didn’t care too much. I was excited about moving, but I was not excited about when we were doing it. I wanted to be with my family. It had been over six months since I had seen them, and I was “homesick.” I use quotations because Clark was my home, but we were still so young we were having a hard time separating from our parents.
Clark was going to hold up our new apartment. He was going to work, go to school, and provide for himself. I was nervous, but it had to be done.
When Clark’s parents finally arrived to take some of our things to Fayetteville, I was at work. I was hired as a temporary greeter at our local “theme park” called Tweetsie. It’s an old railroad that has been turned into an old Western-themed park. It’s pretty interesting. I worked from around seven or eight in the morning to six or seven in the evening ten days straight. It was tough, but it was worth it.
Anyway, Clark’s parents arrived and Clark told me it took all of him to keep his mom from unpacking my kitchen and putting it away, and to keep his dad from slipping him some cash. We were very grateful for all of their help, but this is when we began to attempt to make ourselves a little more independent. Our first year of marriage, or maybe even our first two, was pretty dependent on help from family. Getting married that young with no finances probably wasn’t the best plan, but we made it work.
The move was a success, and Clark continued to reassure me that everything would be fine while I was away. We were feeling more and more like we were finally out on our own. The first apartment had just shocked us into reality, but living on campus provided us with a stable place to live and the reassurance that everything would be provided to make school, and ultimately life, a lot easier. Oh, if only we knew what was ahead.
by Michelle Golden
Two summers ago my mother landed up in the emergency room; her heart rate was at a low four and the nurses were pumping something in her veins to reverse the drug effects of her attempted suicide. I remember staring at my mother, wondering if she was experiencing the same kind of internal emotional pain my sister and I were going through.
When she was later seen by a social worker we were told that she’s bipolar. My sister and I had been prepared for this answer for a while due to her years and years of destructive behavior. But when we finally had the answer in front of us, I don’t think either of us knew what to do next. Then, as if the social worker knew this was what we were thinking, she told us, “Your mother needs to get her self immediate help.”
We learned that bipolar disorder consists of disruptions in brain chemistry. The parts of the brain that control emotions don’t operate the way they should and because of this, individuals with the disorder experience certain moods more strongly and frequently than others for a longer period of time.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health approximately 5.7 million American adults or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year are affected by bipolar disorder, a disorder that severely affects mood swings. Out of the 5.7 million Americans who are affected by this disorder a lot of them are not aware of it and some may not even do anything to receive the right treatment.
For a number of reasons people who suffer from bipolar disorder don’t get the necessary help they need from a doctor. They may ignore their family and friend’s plea to seek treatment. Most of the time the number one reason for not seeing a doctor is fear. When people suffering from bipolar disorder live in denial they don’t have to face themselves, their fears, and reality. They can continue going about their everyday lives – even if their relationships with family, friends, and co-workers are at risk.
When getting treatment isn’t a priority people can risk becoming suicidal and one’s long-term physical health is at risk as well. And that’s the stage my mother was in when we found ourselves at her hospital bed. For years we didn’t know what the problem was and for years she never thought she had a problem.
Millions of Americans have bipolar disorder and it can develop at any point in an individual’s life. It’s not only a personality disorder but it is also a real disease. It requires medical attention just like cancer or diabetes requires treatment. The right treatment is out there for everybody. Medications are available to help stabilize moods and in therapy one can discuss feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Through seeking professional help people can learn to cope with the bipolar disorder and learn how to fully engage in ways to better live a more gratifying and functional life.
One thing to realize when you’re dealing with a family member who has the disorder is that it isn’t your fault. For years my mother put the blame on my sister and I for her divorce from my father, or for her health, or just for even being born. But it is important to understand that all of these are irrational thoughts and though they may hurt, it really is the bipolar disorder in the parent speaking. Sometimes I think that maybe there is hope and she will change. But then those thoughts are interrupted when I remember the harsh names, the hitting, the shoving, and the manic state she was capable of getting stuck in. I used to think I was just the bad daughter. But when I moved out and my sister then had to deal with it, I knew that I had been wrong for many years and my mother’s daughters weren’t the problem. The fact that she wasn’t getting the right help was.
Although it’s been two years after my mother’s diagnosis and she still isn’t seeking the right help, I know that it takes time. It is true that her life has gone in a downwards spiral since then. She isn’t emotionally and physically healthy and stable to have a job. My mother is still suffering from the tremendous effects of the disorder. But I do have faith that at some point she’ll be ready to take the right medication, to speak with the right professional, and to trust in her own self and others that there is a light at the end of the long and dark tunnel. Like with anything, the first step is admitting when there is a problem. And after that, it’s about taking one day at a time.
by Michelle Golden
One day my boyfriend said I had to wear more makeup, straighten my hair everyday, and wear heels weather permitting. I didn’t know whether to blame his idiocy or Heidi Montag and her fake sex appeal. All I knew was it seemed that my appearance wasn’t good enough and that he was instantly attracted to a certain type of Barbie girl. Then I thought back to my own Barbie dolls I used to play with. Their hair was always long and straight. Their skin was always soft and free of acne. Their eye makeup was always perfectly (and permanently) applied.
That’s when I realized it’s not poor Heidi Montag and her plastic bimbo self who is to blame for creating this unrealistic image. Of course she isn’t my number one role model and I wouldn’t bring my daughter if I had a daughter near her with a ten-foot pole. But Heidi doesn’t know any better. She, too, was probably brought up with Barbies.
I’m telling you, it’s Barbie. Barbie is to blame for some of women’s body image views and men’s distorted fantasies of what women should look like. Barbie and Photoshop. But Barbie came first.
As women, our expectations of what we should look like often mirror fantasies of what men and society want their girlfriends to look like. When we get older many of these artificial expectations are based on our ideals of women who come across as perfect on the television screen, in magazine spreads, or in movies. However, as a young girl playing with my Barbie doll collection, when Ken finished work for the day, he would come home to an attractive Barbie with big boobs, a small butt, a tight stomach, and a dress that slips over her slim (actually really, really skinny let-me-try-to-suck-in-my-tummy-like that) waist – and that’s what made a perfect girlfriend. Barbie wears high heels. She wears fancy dresses. And she also wears tight mini skirts. She would make the perfect trophy wife. Her plastic life was certainly fantastic.
Caitlin Boyle creator of the empowering movement “Operation Beautiful” focuses on forming positive messages for girls. “I think the core issue is that our society tells us over and over again that we’re never good enough the way we are. We are never thin enough or never pretty enough. It’s not only about being thin. It’s about being perfect in every single way.”
In my opinion, Barbie has been a silent, deadly, and far from innocent (and actually a rather false) advertisement for young girls for nearly fifty years. As young children we are sponges and we mimic a lot of what we see and interact with. Though this bendable doll seems like the perfect holiday gift to give to a little girl, it may actually cause more harm than good to her in the long run.
Why? She’s only plastic, you say. Well, so is tabloid queen Heidi Montag and look how great of a role model she turned out to be — ten plastic surgeries in less than a year.
Although only a toy and meant to only be a toy, Barbie, still, nonetheless, represents something that no girl can measure up to. Because of her “perfect” appearance, Barbie focuses too much on physical beauty and ignores a girl’s capability of developing intellectually and emotionally. I know she’s just a doll and she doesn’t know any better but think about how many little girls get Barbies for their birthday, for holidays, for just-because-they-won’t-be-quiet-in-the-grocery-store days. We didn’t mean for Myspace to be the spot for 40-year old men to prey on teenagers but it somehow happened. Barbie was just a doll and is still just a doll but packaged with a lot of internal messages of beauty and perfection.
Author and teen Katherine Schwarzenegger knows what it is like to struggle with body image issues and isn’t a stranger to girl’s lack of confidence. In her book, “Rock What You’ve Got” Katherine celebrates the female form. “I think it is important for girls to understand that the media puts a certain view of beauty out there and that it’s not realistic,” said Schwarzenegger. “Girls need to focus on their own unique beauty and not compare themselves to the views in the media.”
In her book Schwarzenegger cites studies that suggest Barbie’s proportions would be impossible to achieve by a real live woman. Finland’s University Central Hospital in Helsinki says “If Barbie were alive, she would lack the required 17 to 22 percent body fat required for a woman to have her period. Her measurements are certainly unhealthy and mostly unachievable.”
Maybe Barbie is unachievable. But some girls still try to be that perfect Barbie girl living in a Barbie World whether for their boyfriends, parents, peers, or for their worst enemy, the mirror. With Barbie Girl stuck in my head, I told my boyfriend, “If I’m not good enough the way I am, there’s the door.”
RCG Mag Editor-in-Chief, Nikki Roberti and her soon-to-be fiance are entered in an online contest to win a $10,000 engagement ring and $5,000 toward their wedding.
They are currently in first place in the Simon G. Jewelry “Perfect Proposal” competition, but other couples are not far behind. An eHarmony couple is just 60 votes away!
Please, please vote for them so they can get the wedding and engagement of their dreams! And spread the word! They announce the top 5 every Friday on the Simon G. Jewelry Facebook and the top three will be announced on Nov. 1st. If Roberti and her boyfriend make it to the top 3, they will have until Nov. 30th to get enough votes to win the ring!
To read their brief story and vote, click here.
Thank you again and please! Spread the word!
by Emily Herring Dunn
In October of 2008 we were starting to get iffy with transportation.
I was working, I had the sorority, I had school. Clark had work, he was taking classes at the community college, he was trying to go climbing more. It was a mess. We’d be trying to take turns with the van, considering I could just walk down a hill to get to class, but with the sorority, I needed to drive, too.
On top of all that, Clark was considering attending classes at another community college that was about 30 minutes away. We needed another mode of transportation, but there was no way we could afford a car.
Clark started looking into motorcycles. I was not pleased.
I thought just a bike would do, but then realized he couldn’t ride a bike to a college thirty minutes away down the mountain on a major highway.
It wouldn’t work.
I thought maybe we could ask his parents if they could loan us a car temporarily, like my parents had done with our lovely 1998 Mercury Villager van.
They couldn’t do it.
All things were pointing to a motorcycle, but it came down to finances once again. We couldn’t afford it. There was no way possible unless we got a loan.
We looked into a loan, but a motorcycle is considered a “leisure” loan, not a transportation loan. We would need a cosigner on top of that, because we had no credit history.
We were stuck.
We went to my older sister and her husband. They were very understanding of several situations due to the fact that they were young and married as well.
They offered to lend us money with a payment plan that would have us pay it off in a year.
It was agreed on, we made a sort of contract, and we received a check to go toward a motorcycle Clark had found.
We made payments to the man as well. We gave him most of it upfront with the check from my sister and her husband, and then made payments from our bank account as time went by.
The motorcycle started being worth it. It made things a lot easier, but it didn’t ease my mind that Clark was out on a bike driving around.
I knew he was a safe driver… it was other drivers that made me nervous.
One of my sorority sister’s boyfriend got into an accident on his bike, and it made my anxiety even worse.
But, it was a good investment. It made us able to be separate and not worry about time limits and things like that. We were able to focus on what we needed to do, without worrying about if we needed to pick the other person up.
Being in school, being married and attempting to have a social life was harder than imagined. It was only going to get harder as college progressed, but finding small solutions day by day definitely made it worthwhile.
by Emily Herring Dunn
In September 2008 Clark and I celebrated our one year anniversary.
We had successfully moved and survived one year of college. Clark was at a job that provided enough for us to live on, and I was working part time at a calling center on campus. We were flying high as newlyweds.
It just wasn’t quite enough.
While I had enjoyed my first year of school, and enjoyed my first year of marriage even more, something was missing.
I had a couple of college friends, but I was still closer with my high school group of girls. I needed girls to escape married life with. I needed girls to talk about boys with. After all, I was still only 19. I needed to be a normal college girl in one way or another.
I decided to rush, meaning I decided to join a sorority.
I had heard great things. My mom was in a sorority and my older sister was in a sorority. It just seemed a natural way to meet girls with the same interests and one major thing in common.
Clark was incredibly supportive. He was making work friends, and he knew I needed girls to hang out with. I think he was glad I was finding something else to do.
I was a bit demanding during our first year because I was so wrapped up in married life.
It happens to all of us. We are so enraptured with the person we’re spending the rest of our lives with that we forget about the other part of our lives.
While Clark is my best friend in the entire world, I needed an estrogen balance. It just took me a year to realize it.
So, I went through rush. I had an extraordinary time. I ended up with a sorority who was very accepting of my marital status.
Most sororities do not want a girl who is already married. I was lucky. I found one that wanted me precisely the way I was.
Girls need girl friends. There’s no way around it. You can spend day in and day out with your boyfriend or husband, but ultimately you need time with girls.
I hadn’t quite figured this out until I had been married for one year. I needed shopping, exercising, movies, coffee, and all the other wonderful things with a female friend. Not Clark.
Don’t get wrong. Clark is my best friend. I can talk to him about everyone and everything… except him.
I needed girls to talk to about him: when we disagreed, when he was wonderful, all of it. I had my sisters, I had my mom, but I needed friends who were in the vicinity.
Balancing was hard. Having time for friends who wanted to constantly do things, and spending time with Clark on top of school, work schedules, and now friends was exhausting. However, it was necessary.
While I wouldn’t say taking the sorority road is for everyone, I would say if you’re married while in college, you need to have girlfriends. Get together for coffee, lunch, manicures, or whatever your style is once a week or so. Get some time away from the home, school, and the husband, and enjoy being a girl.
by Emily Herring Dunn
I was headed to Germany. I was beyond excited to fly across the ocean on my own, see my family and take a train to Paris. I was excited and scared. It was the first time Clark and I would truly be apart. It was for almost three weeks. It was going to be a challenge.
As Clark drove me to the airport, we talked about when we would call. A six-hour time difference wasn’t going to help either of us, but if I got up super early I’d be able to call him right after he got off work and right before he went to bed. We could make it work, as we had everything else. Our new apartment was in a very convenient location for Clark, and if he needed anything he had a calling card. It was going to be fine.
When I was waiting on the plane, I wasn’t sure how it was going to work. The flying, I mean. I kept looking out the window and realizing how far I was going and who I was leaving behind. There were a few moments I considered just getting off, telling my parents I couldn’t come and calling Clark to come back for me. I had tears in my eyes. This was a first. It was a step on my own, which I really hadn’t had since that first month of college. I went straight from my parents’ house to my husband’s. This was the first time, for a brief time, I was alone.
I was in a window seat. If you’ve never flown international, there are two seats next to the windows on each side of the plan, and then something like four to six seats in the middle. I was sitting right next to the window, and the young gentleman next to me was clearly German. He didn’t want to speak to me, and anytime I had to get up to go to the bathroom he looked absolutely appalled that once again he had to get up as well. I eventually stayed in my seat and fell asleep against the window, watching movies over and over again.
Arriving in Germany was a relief. I knew just what to do, how to get my luggage, and so on. I had done it before. Yes, Clark had been with me, but if I had survived the plane ride next to some kid who didn’t want to even say a polite hello, I could survive pushing my way through people to get to my luggage. I had tied ribbon on my suitcases so I would recognize them; this was definitely helpful. I got out of there in good time, and emerged from behind glass doors to find my family waiting for me. I was exhausted, but it was so good to see familiar faces.
Calling Clark while in Germany was a breeze. I got up early, as we planned, and called him. While I had to stay on the phone with him longer than imagined, my parents had free international calling so it was okay. I felt so bad for him. I was with people who were familiar, and therefore I wasn’t as homesick for him. However, he was homesick for me. He probably wouldn’t like me sharing this, but there were several times on the phone that he was desperately emotional. It was even worse when I was in Paris.
Paris was enchanting. It made me miss Clark all the more, but I couldn’t help but enjoy myself. Visiting the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysees, the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, Notre Dame, Versailles… I was overwhelmed. More than anything I wanted Clark to be there with my family and me, but I grew to accept being there without him and took hundreds of pictures so he could experience my trip when I returned home.
In Paris we had a bit of a problem. There was miscommunication, and I was told that when I called out with a calling card there would be a onetime fee, which I was happy to pay. However, when my parents received the bill, the fee had been applied every single time I had called Clark. The manager ended up refunding half of what we were told to pay, but my mother was not exactly happy with me.
It was a necessary evil, I thought. If I hadn’t called Clark, I’m not sure what he would have done. It was impossible to do morning calls when I was in Paris, so I would call him in the evening, or whenever my little sister and I were in our room. He was even more miserable when we were in Paris. I think he sensed I was enjoying myself without him, and he was home being responsible. If we had known then what would be happening in a year, I don’t think he would have been quite as miserable.
When I returned home, Clark was waiting at the airport with flowers for me. It was one of the most romantic things he has done to date. We went out to a nice dinner, we returned home, and I crashed. I was, once again, exhausted… but it was so good to really be home.
Congratulations to the class of 2010! For most of you, the beginning of June will bring the freedom you’ve been waiting for since fall 2006: your high school or college days are behind you and it’s time to join the fabulous “real world” – almost. Graduating seniors have no doubt been told by now that it’s not quite all smooth sailing from here and yes, unfortunately, that is the case. However, there are lots of people who have been through it all before and who are more than willing to offer their insights and advice for the upcoming challenges.
One of these people is J. R. Parrish, author of “You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way: Making it in the Real World.” In his book, which he calls a “guide for graduates,” Parrish tackles many of the issues that arise after graduation. By combining stories from personal experience with general advice that could be applied to any life, Parrish offers a valuable resource for any graduate hoping to survive in the real world without, as he says, learning the hard way.
One of the first topics Parrish discusses in his book is how to achieve success or, as he puts it, how to “make your dreams come true.” Parrish relates a story about one of his first jobs and the struggle he went through to attain it. Because he did not graduate from college, Parrish was at first turned down for a job he wanted at Xerox. After that position was denied him, he went to Xerox’s main competitor, where he was given a job and enjoyed not a small amount of success. After some time at that job, Xerox got back in touch with him and offered him the job he had wanted originally, which he gladly took.
There are several lessons to be learned from Parrish’s experience with Xerox. The first is that it is highly unlikely that you will get the first job you inquire about; the second is that it is crucial not to give up. It is all too easy to experience a failure, such as Parrish’s with Xerox, and to decide that it would be pointless to keep trying. However, Parrish is right when he insists that you not give up so easily! Whether you choose to seek another route to your desired job, the way Parrish did, or to try a completely different job opportunity, the most important thing to remember is not to give up. As a graduate, you’ve put in a lot of hard work to this point and you deserve to land in a job that’s right for you.
Another main point in “You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way” is Parrish’s belief that marriage (or a serious dating relationship) is something best avoided at this stage of your life. Parrish shares his own experience in getting married early on: though his parents and other respected figures advised against it, he was sure at the age of nineteen that he was ready, and ignored their advice. His marriage lasted for seven years, during which time he and his wife grew increasingly distant from each other due to Parrish’s personal goals and ambition. At the end of those seven years, Parrish decided that his individual journey needed and deserved more time and attention than did his marriage.
Parrish’s includes a list of suggestions with his personal advice, to include “have at least a year-long engagement” and “take plenty of time before having children.” Though Parrish would certainly have benefited from his own advice, based on the outcome of his own experience with marriage, his counsel should perhaps be taken with a grain of salt. Some people are truly ready to get married at a young age and take great joy in facing this difficult stage of life with a spouse as a partner. It is important to keep in mind that what works for Parrish may not work for you, and what he counts as personal failures may be the brightest spots in your own life.
One piece of extremely valuable advice in this book is to “solicit, listen to, and weigh your parents’ advice carefully because they have your best interests at heart and can help you avoid costly mistakes.” For Parrish, that mistake was marriage; for you, it might be the wrong graduate program, the wrong career path, etc. Though it might feel great to finally be an adult and not have to listen to your parents anymore, it is important to realize that they have been a huge part of your life for the last however many years, and therefore are likely to be able to offer insights that you might not see for yourself.
J. R. Parrish’s “You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way” is ultimately a practical, concise guide for recent graduates who seek some advice on how to best reach the next stage of life. Find it in your local bookstore, and consider it as a gift for yourself or for a graduating loved one!
When Kelly Cutrone found out that a People’s Revolution intern had blogged about her working experience online (equating her internship with a “Devil Wears Prada”-type ordeal), Cutrone did not hesitate to pick up the phone, call the intern, and fire her on the spot—but not before threatening to sue her and her parents for every penny they owned. All interns who work at People’s Revolution are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which meant that this particular intern had breached her contract. Cutrone recalls how ten feet away from her office, the remaining interns sat frozen in their seats with their mouths hanging open, shocked at what had happened.
In Cutrone’s own words, “I believe in an occasional public firing (when deserved, of course) for exactly this reason. Usually, we hide consequences away, in prisons or in rehab. But telling seventh-graders that crime doesn’t pay is probably less effective than taking them to a prison to let them see for themselves…” This episode, which comes about three-quarters into the book, exemplifies Cutrone’s trademark no-nonsense attitude.
What makes If You Have to Cry, Go Outside an especially compelling read is the heartfelt advice Cutrone offers her readers. Young women especially have a lot to learn from this book. All too often, we second-guess ourselves and end up allowing others to make decisions for us. Even when these decisions are based in good intentions, they may not be the plan of action we need to move forward in the right direction. Cutrone recalls how even when her heart was set on her career, her parents were determined to pressure her into a domestic lifestyle, replete with marriage and children.
Cutrone devotes a solid amount of her book to lamenting the state of women in modern society. She is appalled by the way women treat each other, by how women seem to take every opportunity possible to criticize their female friends and colleagues with overused words like “bitch” and “slut.” What sets this book apart from so many of the other self-help books out there is the realization that career advancement means nothing if an individual is not also prepared body and spirit for the greater responsibility and hard work that lies ahead.
Cutrone understands that to be successful is first and foremost an inner battle with oneself. As one of the most powerful women in the fashion industry Cutrone is, of course, a shining example of this kind of spiritual awakening. In a few years’ time, she went from being a country bumpkin to a homeless, carless drug addict living in New York. She partied in New York’s most risqué clubs until 4 in the morning, drinking, taking on multiple lovers, and enjoying life in the Big Apple. There were essentially two turning points in Cutrone’s tumultuous rise to fame. The first was Cutrone’s accidental run-in with heroin, which led to her waking up unexpectedly in someone else’s bed. The second was Cutrone’s painful detox and the spiritual enlightenment that followed, in which she saw the Universal Mother floating above her body. However, these experiences constitute a small part of Cutrone’s larger message: that people should always listen to their inner voice, to their gut. We young women should not allow this instinct to be subdued by what we hear from friends, colleagues, coworkers, and family – no matter how much we love them.
The book, beyond being a celebration of women, is also a practical guide for recent grads still on the lookout for a job. Cutrone offers tips on what to wear, how to act in front of one’s superiors, and how lower-level employees can make the most of their job, even when all they seem to do is drudge work. Readers are guaranteed to take away an assortment of lessons and experiences from this book, among the most important of which is extracted right from the title: If you have to cry, go outside.