It's the ultimate shot of adrenaline. More powerful than a combination of espresso with a Red Bull chaser. It's the 7 a.m. text from your mother: Tracy, you're a lead AOL news story this morning.
And sure enough. There I stood at the position of attention, wearing those giant 1980s' glasses, as my commanding officer promoted me to sergeant in front of my fellow Marines in our Okinawa, Japan, office. I'd just given birth to twins (nearly eight pounds each) only seven weeks earlier.
But the AOL headline...salacious for attention grabbing....oh, those marketing wizards. They certainly know how to spin a good tale.
The link took readers to an excerpt of Eyes Right on the Huffington Post blog. As of today, more than 400 readers have commented. Most of them so negative I had to warn my husband, my daughter, my ex-husbands, and my closest friends.
Actually, I agree with many of the negative comments. Those who complain the excerpt didn't tell them enough about the "affair" are absolutely right. Unfortunately, I wasn't involved in the shaping of this excerpt for HuffPo. Had I been, I'd have delivered a more direct read.
As for the comments about how dare I air my dirty laundry in public...I get those, too. This book took me nearly ten years to write for that very reason. To write a memoir -- a good one, anyway -- a writer must be willing to expose the dark side of her moon. I resisted for a long time. Instincts for self-preservation run deep, especially for a woman with an abusive childhood background.
Thankfully, writing mentors called me out for glossing over too many issues, and I forced myself to examine the motives behind my relentless drive to succeed in the Marines and the affair that ended such a promising career. Is this airing dirty laundry? Sure. As are addiction memoirs, grief memoirs, etc. Airing dirty laundry is inescapable in memoir.
So for the better part of yesterday, I was an AOL news story. My cell phone burned up with supportive calls from friends and family who thought I must be bruising from all the negativity. Sure, the exposure felt Jerry Springer like, but my calm about it all, my acceptance and even understanding for all the negativity, seemed to surprise everyone but me.
I wrote an entire book that exposes how I faced ten years of negativity as a U.S. Marine. I think I can handle one day as an AOL news story.