Ever had your heart broken? Ever been dumped by a boyfriend? What did you do? Did you hide out for a few days and eat your favourite comfort food, watch weepy movies and talk lots to your sympathetic girlfriends? What did you do then? Did you dry you eyes, stand up tall and think, “Huh, he wants to break up with me? Fine. I’ll show him!”
So many women I know (myself included) have come out of a relationship determined to make a fresh start. They’ve lost five pounds, bought a new wardrobe (or at least one lovely new outfit), and cut/colour/changed their hair. It’s like this ‘reclamation of self’ or something. A kind of, ‘I’m more than fine without you thanks, I’m better and more beautiful and more confident’ mantra.
Sure, it may start out as bravado – a ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ band-aid. But there’s nothing wrong with a bit of pampering when your heart is feeling tender.
I do love a heroine with a bit of ‘gumption’ – someone who’s taken the knocks but who isn’t going to lie in a heap in the corner and cry – not for the rest of her story! Nope, she’s going to pick herself up and box on better and braver than before. And that may well include a little bit of beautification and maybe something even a little more radical. Maybe it’ll be the incentive to take life on and cross something off her ‘bucket’ list.
My heroine Ana in To Love, Honor & Disobey has taken a couple of hefty knocks because she fell very hard for the ultimate playboy, Sebastian. As gorgeous and irresistible as he is, he’s only ever about fun. So when their fling ends, Ana sheds more than a few tears and then knows she has to do something drastic to pull herself out of the funk. While she doesn’t go for the haircut, she does do a little personal redecoration and then takes off on a solo adventure – to Africa – to prove to herself that she’s strong and capable and totally over Sebastian.
Hmmm, two out of three isn’t bad, right?
Because Sebastian then turns up in the most unexpected of places and she is so not over him.
When writing her story, I had a lot of fun revisiting the trip I took through South East Africa. I joined a truck tour, as Ana does, but still, being a young woman back then, boarding a plane to Kenya alone was a big deal for me. And I must also confess, I booked my one way ticket to London on the back of a bad break-up. At the time it was the most empowering feeling!
So have you ever done the post-break-up radical change? Did you switch jobs/countries/hair style?
I have just been for the cut & colour routine – not because of any heartache thankfully – but because it is the Romance Writers of New Zealand annual conference this weekend! It feels like forever that I’ve been playing Cinderella – reading all about the RNA conference in the UK, The RWA in Orlando, USA and then the Australian RWA conference in Coogee last week-end… but now it is finally New Zealand’s turn. I’m very excited and am totally fan-girling it up because I’m so looking forward to meeting superstar Presents writer Jane Porter who is a guest speaker this year. New Zealand’s fabulous Presents trinity – Daphne Clair, Robyn Donald and Susan Napier – should be there too. I promise to take photos