“How are you doin’?”
“I’m great, I got that ‘excited/scared’ feeling. Like 98% excited, 2% scared. Or maybe it’s more. It could be two; it could be 98% scared, 2% excited but that’s what makes it so intense, it’s so—confused. I can’t really figure it out.” – Oscar, just prior to being launched into space, in the movie Armageddon.
I’m planning to launch a podcast soon.
Like in weeks, not months.
I’ve got that ‘excited/scared’ feeling. And the 98-to-2 ratio swings wildly, depending on the moment.
It’s been a while since I’ve gone journal-style here. I really do try to keep this space about articles that are helpful, so I apologize for the interruption. This is my only effective means of telling you what’s going on.
Writing has always been easy for me. I don’t mean the quality of it. For everyone who likes it, someone else thinks it’s trash. What I mean is, I spent 10 years writing newspaper articles for public consumption, so the idea of putting words down and sharing with others wasn’t particularly scary—only the subject matter.
But this podcast project? It’s an entirely different proposition.
I have zero broadcast experience. There were a couple of times at the newspaper when a regional news station wanted to interview me about one of my stories I’d written live on television. Every time that happened, I would disappear and not answer my phone or texts until they found someone else to fill in.
That’s how afraid I was.
Because I’ve written a few semi-popular things, I’ve had the pleasure of being interviewed for a few radio and/or podcast shows, and in the process learned something I hadn’t previously considered: The ability to speak—to use tone and voice inflections to communicate ideas provides greater depth to the ideas I’m trying to share.
I can write a sentence, and it can be interpreted three different ways, and it’s sometimes frustrating as a writer to deal with feedback or criticism rooted in a fundamental lack of understanding what I’d intended to say.
Kind of like how I imagine most husbands and wives feel during every marital fight.
Why I’m Launching a Podcast
As afraid of this as I am, I am truly excited about the opportunity to communicate these things that matter so much to me, and that I believe so strongly in, in ways that I believe might resonate or connect more effectively with a particular listener.
Also, I’m just some schmoe. Some divorced guy. Some people inexplicably care what I have to say, and it’s my pleasure to keep talking about the stuff I talk about, but there’s a level of credibility I simply don’t possess to be able to legitimately help people struggling in their relationships.
And while I’ll continue to look for opportunities to share valuable insights from subject matter experts like my friend Jay Pyatt, who recently guest-posted on how to rebuild trust in a relationship following a betrayal, mostly this place is for me to tell the stories about my failed marriage that I hope some people can relate to and identify with in ways that might help them better understand their own marriage.
But the podcast? It’s an opportunity to feature experts, thought leaders, or even just really thoughtful or entertaining people I know who can have real conversations about real marriage that I hope people will like and connect with in ways not dissimilar from the feedback I’ve gotten here for the past five years.
On a Personal Note
Some of you know, but maybe most don’t: My parents split when I was 4, and then moved more than 400 miles apart.
Twice a year, my mom would drive to meet my dad, and I’d hug one parent goodbye and drive away with the other—sometimes for weeks; sometimes for many months.
Sometimes there were tears.
Sometimes I fucking broke. Just inconsolable in the backseat while one of my parents disappeared in the rear window, knowing it would be another half of the school year before I’d see them again.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. But the one thing I was totally certain about was that I’d never get divorced and put my future children in a position to feel anything like that.
I was certain.
Five years ago, almost exactly, my marriage officially ended when a court magistrate signed a piece of paper filed away in the downtown courthouse.
And even though I’m in a pretty solid place today—mentally and emotionally RE: my divorce—there are still these little moments.
When my son hugs me extra-tight because he knows it will be a few days.
When my ex-wife texts me photos of their family vacation on the very same beaches we used to frequent when we lived in Florida right after college.
When I attend a family reunion for the weekend—one where a bunch of us were aware that this is likely the last time we’ll all be together while my grandfather is alive. And when I go to hug him—the guy who was the first to assume the role of father-figure for me during my first year living far away from my dad; the guy who taught me to fish, and shoot a BB gun, and who fathered eight children—my mother, the eldest.
And when I go to hug him, he tells me he has a gift for me.
Then hands me a cigar.
Near as I can tell the man never smoked, and it was super-out-of-the-ordinary to be handed tobacco from him. So I just held it and stared for a moment, confused.
And this man, undergoing kidney failure, this physically weak and deteriorating version of a guy who was larger than life when I was 5 and needed him to be, tells me: “That’s the cigar your father handed me the day you were born.”
And now I own a nearly 40-year-old cigar that is one of the most precious objects in my life.
Because my grandfather—the father of my mother—kept a cigar given to him by the man she divorced who lives several hundreds of miles away for the better part of 40 years.
And then was somehow thoughtful enough amidst his uncomfortable life and failing health to dig it up and hand it to me.
And you might be wondering what the shit that has to do with MY divorce and MY son and MY ex-wife, and I can’t really answer that.
I just know it mattered.
I just know that family matters.
And that’s why I write things. And that’s why I’m starting this podcast.
About the Podcast—‘It’s Not About the Dishes’
It’s not the most amazing podcast title in the world, but it accomplishes one very important thing.
It automatically prompts the question: What does that mean?
And the answer is layered—just like all of these nuanced and complicated conversations we have about relationships, marriage and divorce here.
To many of you, the symbolism will be evident—in January 2016, I published an article called She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink, and several millions of people read it, and it’s basically the entire reason anyone gives a shit what I have to say.
There are more than 4,000 comments on that article. Most of them full of positive feedback. Others? Not.
I don’t need anyone to like it.
But the part that’s always eaten away at me are all of the people who totally missed the point. All of the people who didn’t get it.
There were all these people who said: “OMG! Your wife was such a control-freak! Who gets divorced because of the dishes? Your feelings about where to put that drinking glass matter just as much as hers! It’s your house too! You’re better off without her, dude! Grow some balls!”
The entire point sailed a thousand miles over their heads: It’s not about the dishes.
And that conversation is rife with peril.
The complex and layered nature of that conversation is the very reason we continue to see more than half of all relationships fail. (About half of all marriages end in divorce, and MOST dating relationships fail before marriage.)
I hesitate to make promises, but in an ideal world, there would be one episode published per week. I’m thinking 45 minutes each, with the majority of them featuring a guest who I perceive to be qualified or well-suited to discuss whatever the topic of the day may be.
I want it to matter to people. To be useful. And maybe even fun. We’ll see.
This is a subject I take personally—relationships. Marriage. Divorce.
My life has been defined by it.
It’s rarely been pleasant, but I usually try to make the best of things. And if my experiences can somehow help others avoid some of the negative consequences of broken homes and families, or if my experiences can make someone suffering from them feel less alone, then maybe I can die one day feeling like I did something worthwhile.
Something that mattered.
I hope this can be that—something that matters.
I’m really scared. But I’m also really looking forward to sharing it with you.
Thank you so much for being a part of it.
Here’s What I Sound Like
So, I had to do a mic test. It’s full of poorly calibrated mic settings, and contains some vocal flubs, but I recorded an audio version of You’re Right Guys—You Can’t Make Women Happy, and if you’re interested in hearing what the podcast will kind-of sound like (minus guests), you can find that recording here: