I begrudge no one their meh. It’s so hard won. But do me one favor as you move on to happier pastures — be the support you wish you had.
I trust that you are. I also know how hard it is to out yourself to the world as a chump. But maybe if more of us outed ourselves, or got uppity, or shamed Switzerland friends out of their complicity, the infidelity narrative would change.
I think we’ve moved the needle. When I imagine Chump Nation, I imagine a world of friends — the 3 a.m. raisin bran brigade — the friend who is with you at an ungodly hour, feeding you carbohydrates, urging you to leave the jerk. There’s a better life out there. Move toward it.
It’s important work, being there for each other. But you know what’s also important — and scary as hell? Outing yourself as a chump — to the unchumped. To those who don’t get it. Go show the world what resiliency and mighty look like. Be sane, measured, don’t wear the shame. Let them scratch their heads and wonder. Maybe they’ll rethink it all a bit.
I’m not saying go emotionally vomit all over someone’s shoes. Hey Bob, did I ever tell you about the time I found another woman’s thong in my bed? NO. DO NOT BE THAT PERSON. Just, if you get a chance, challenge the narrative.
“I think cheating sucks.”
“Would you want someone to do that to you?”
“That happened to me. I rebuilt.”
I bring up the topic of your post-chump life for a couple reasons. First, I expect you to graduate. People find this site, they lurk, they comment, they move on. Sometimes they stick around and help the newbies. (Yea!!! Thanks! We love you!) But I really get it when people move on and don’t need this place, and I also think there is zero shame whatsoever in coming here when you’re mostly (or even entirely) at meh. Maybe you chart how far you’ve come. Maybe it’s church. All are welcome.
But, I also bring it up because I outed myself last week as Chump Lady and got rattled.
Here’s the weird thing about running this site — I am super proud of it. So, SO PROUD. On Monday night the blog odometer flipped 21 million page views. I’m proud of this community, and from purely a professional perspective, I’m proud that a liberal arts major like me, built this monstrosity in Word Press and found success — IT success, a published book, film rights. Yea me. It grows and grows. The raisin bran flows.
But the worst thing about being Chump Lady is having to explain the subject matter. If I just met you, it is rather leading with the most humiliating thing that ever happened to me. People assume I write about myself, that it’s all one long pathetic recitation of my failed marriage, a personal journal, and for fuck’s sake GET A LIFE, woman!
This came up last week in a job interview. What? You have a job?! Yes, I work a full-time job when I’m not slaying trolls here and sorting through four hundred emails a day. I’m a journalist. Patreon is an absolute GODSEND — everyone thank your Patrons, WE LOVE YOU — but like most of you I earn a living beyond a virtual tip jar (WHICH PAYS MY IT BILLS with some leftover for me and the IRS, GOD BLESS YOU).
I was bragging on the blog. I AM SO PROUD. Also, hey, I have modern skills. I’m not Jude the Obscure here with the Oxford comma. And the man says:
“But really, how much longer can you really write about this?”
And it stopped me in my tracks. It was said kindly. I also expect he’s wondering how much this thing cuts into my 9-5 life (none at all — it’s entirely extracurricular). But I do believe the man was completely baffled by a public pronouncement of chumpdom.
Why would you write about something so embarrassing and painful? Why would you wade into that morass of hurt everyday? Haven’t you moved on?
I replied, “I don’t mean to sound hyperbolic, but people tell me I save their lives. It’s a support site.”
Which really begs the question — what kind of narcissist or codependent freak are you to think it’s your job to save people?
I don’t know. I just want to be the support I wish I’d had.
Lastly, as you know, I’m a fan of Jenny, the Happy Hausfrau. She had a good post yesterday on this very topic of changing the narrative. She asked:
What if one of the dozens of coworkers/friends who knew about my husband’s affair had spoken up? “uh you guys better hope HR doesn’t find out about this, just sayin”
What if one of her friends, instead of giggling with her about the naughty married dude, had said “you sure this is cool?” or “wait- doesn’t he have, like, four kids??”
What if someone, ANYONE, in either of their families had taken them aside and said “what you’re doing is shitty and mean and wrong. Stop it.”
What if, Chump Nation. What if?