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.”