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Thank You and So Long, Vanna White

To:  Bellville Bookclub
Subject: April (In-Person!) Meeting

Hi Ladies:

Now that we’ve all been vaccinated, we can ditch our Zoom accounts and return to our monthly, in-person meetings! It’s my turn to host, which means it’s also my turn to pick the book. I select “Stop Trying So G-D Hard And Just Be You,” a newly published self-help book written by yours truly.

Yes, I wrote a book during the pandemic. And yes, I know we rarely read self-help books, since we all agree that they tend to make us feel even worse about ourselves. Sure, we might get excited about a few new ideas for changing whatever bad habit we’re currently obsessing over. But then, after a week or two of trying to improve, we mostly go back to living our same old messed-up lives.

Anyway, you all know the rules and since I’m hosting, I get to pick. Plus, since I wrote it, I thought you’d be a bit more interested in reading it. (That’s just my ego talking–you’ll hear more about her in Chapter 1.) Besides, I could use the extra cash since I was fired from my job. Surprised? Yeah, I know. For far too long, I’ve projected an image of someone who has it all. Great husband, two well-adjusted kids, a nice house, and until a month ago, a successful career in accounting. Hell, even my dog is a beautiful, well-behaved, purebred Lab.

Read the book, and you’ll see a different side of me. My great husband? Well, remember the Caribbean cruise I told you about, the one hubby and I splurged on two years ago? Actually, we went to a couples’ therapy bootcamp in Cleveland for one very long week. The tan I came back with was sprayed on. That’s all in Chapter 2.

My kids? That’s Chapter 3. The Cliffs Notes version is this: My son went into therapy when he was six to overcome an enormous fear of rugs. Thank God our house has wall-to-wall carpeting, or I’d have lost my damn mind. My daughter started seeing a therapist for her issues the same time she started college. As some of you know, she just completed her undergrad in psychology and is on her way to grad school. Fingers crossed, she’ll finish therapy by the time she gets her master’s.

My nice house? I might have to put it on the market if I don’t sell enough copies of my book. Which, by the way, is one of the reasons why I got fired from my job. I spent more time writing the book than filing my clients’ tax returns. I always hated accounting anyway and truth be told, I sucked at it, which is why my boss finally kicked me to the curb.

My beautiful dog? She’s been peeing on my wall-to-wall carpeting since she was a pup and I haven’t been able to break her of it. (Chapter 4.)

As I’ve said, this is all in the book. Why, you might ask, would I pull back the curtain of my life and stand naked (well, at least in print) before the entire world? I did it because I finally realized that I’m exhausted, putting on a show all these years. It hit me months ago while I was watching Wheel of Fortune and downing a bottle of Chardonnay. There was Vanna White, wearing a beautiful dress, her hair and make-up so perfectly perfect, walking back and forth, turning all those letters and smiling all the while. Through my white-wine haze, I thought: I bet her friggin’ feet are killing her in those heels. Then, it hit me: I’m just another Vanna. All that perfect wife, mother, business professional, dog-owner stuff? All B.S. I pretended to be perfect, tried for years to turn all the letters of my life over and over again so well and so perfectly that people would admire me, even love me for it. But what I’ve discovered is that the people who really love me, not a studio audience full of strangers, but the people I love—they don’t give a rat’s ass about perfection. They love me for me, not for how I look or smile or dress, not for how many letters I can turn or for how long or how well I can turn them (and in heels, even). Who’d a thought?

In fact, I realized that I love me for me, too, as messed up as I am. I mean, I wouldn’t want my family, or my dog, not to love me. But to love me only because they think I’m perfect? That’s nuts, right? What kind of family is that?

Anyway, I’m kind of blowing it by giving away so much of the plot. Still, I want you to read the book, and not only because I need the money. I believe there are more than a few women out there who think, as I used to, that we need to be successful, perfect overachievers in every corner of our lives in order to feel good about ourselves. To earn the love of others. “Stop Trying So G-D Hard And Just Be You” describes my “awakening” if you want to call it that. My hope is that my experience can help anyone who might be where I was, especially women who are just plain sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I gotta tell ya (and I do in Chapter 5), it feels great to stop trying so hard to impress other people. To tell the truth—my truth. To simply be me.

So, bookclub at my house (yay!) on the 15th, 7pm, and just like we used to do, please bring a snack to share. But don’t feel like it has to be anything Martha Stewart-worthy. In fact, instead of my typical charcuterie plate, I plan on opening a bag of Doritos. And I may even serve boxed wine, although that might be trying a bit too hard to make my point, don’t you think?

Imperfectly Yours (and very happy about it)-


Photo by istock by Getty Images.


  1. Oh my god Jill. This is fabulous!! I feel like this is a new voice. But I risk saying that because I didn’t read your last blog post and maybe it entered last time…and now you’ll know I’m not perfect either! I guess you’re going to tell me that’s good.

    • Thanks! One of the reasons I started this blog was to find “my voice.” What I’m finding is that my lifelong ADD prevents me from settling on just one–I have a lot of different styles when it comes to my writing. Kind of like my shoe collection. Anyway, my past blog posts that attempt to be more humorous include “Leadership 101” (helps if you’re a Game of Thrones fan) and “How Many Boomers Does it Take?” As always, I appreciate the feedback.

  2. Now I have “So Long Frank Lloyd Wright” S&G, going thru my head!

    A lesson to be learned- the earlier the better!

    • Well, at least I inspired something to circle round that great, big, beautiful brain of yours, even if it was a dead architect. Next, I’ll work on an earworm for you. Thanks for checking in!

  3. Why didn’t I know this many years ago when I had to have the perfectly clean house kids husband , me? Well I’m going to have a liver sausage sandwich for lunch & the hell with it, thanks again Laurie ?

    • Liver sausage sandwiches fix everything! Enjoy!


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