My mother was at the house the other day relating some story of the early days of parenthood with my oldest brother Doug and something annoying that her ex-husband Lee had done. I interrupted to ask her, "did Lee have any good qualities?" I think the question caught her off guard. "Good qualities?" she said incredulously. "Yeah. You had to have married him for some reason. No one held a gun to your head." She laughed a little in surprise and relented, "well he had a few I guess, but not when it came to parenting" and continued on her story, undeterred. It got me to thinking that just because people end a relationship, it doesn't make either party 100% horrible. Sure, there usually is a person who did something a little bit more obnoxious or even reprehensible than the other, but very rarely is a person all bad.
Rich has a saying I'm fond of that "there are very few Hitlers in the world." There are very few people who are completely evil or worthless. There are a lot more people who try to do the right thing and occasionally make really poor decisions. A friend of mine used to call one of her ex-boyfriends her "favorite mistake", as the Sheryl Crow song describes. She recognized that they were horrible for each other but could still remember fondly some good memories they had.
This brings me to the theme for this month's Living Out Loud project. Tell me something nice about one or more of your exes. Maybe they wooed you with their love of music (and later turned you off with their inattention to hygiene or paying bills on time). Maybe they were good at organizing events (even if that meant they would flip out if something went outside that plan). This is your opportunity to focus on the good without getting into all the reasons he or she is an ex versus a current. They couldn't have been all bad, and if they were you might need to create a search committee to approve any future relationships you enter.
- Write something personal about yourself using the previous paragraphs as a guideline. Do not feel that you have to address each issue above. The spirit of this project is to share something about yourself; I'm just throwing out ideas.
- Once you have completed your entry and posted it, please email me the link at genie [at] inabottle [dot] org. Remember, if you don't email me, I'm likely to forget to include you in the recap!
- If you do not have a blog to host your story, you can email me the story directly and I will add it here as a guest post giving you credit. The more the merrier!
- The due date for entries is Sunday, January 3rd (the first Sunday of the month) at 5pm Eastern.
- Once I have collected all the entries, I will post a wrap-up to list them all and announce a winner. The winner will receive some sort of prize to be determined but all participants will receive fame and glory and a link on our Living Out Loud blogroll.
Interestingly, when I pitched this idea to Rich the other day he didn't like it. "What if someone read it?" Hearing that only further convinced me it should be our theme this month. Isn't that sort of the whole point of living out loud? So as we close out of first year of this project, I encourage you to go out on a limb and say something nice. It's all part of the holiday spirit and turning over new leaves in the new year.