Cast Blog: #MISSADVISED

Fire Away

Wake-Up Call

Just Say Yes

Self Sabotage?

Breakdown Breakthrough

How Soon is Too Soon?

Changing for the Better

Dinner Date

Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde

In Treatment

Prom!

Blindsided

Threesomes Please Apply

Witchy Woman

The More the Merrier

Fear of Rejection

Great Lake State

Your Love is My Drug

Never Initiate

Horrifically Brutal

Stripped

Carrie Bradshaw Complex

You've Been Advised

No Exceptions

Fire Away

Julia Allison addresses her detractors. 

I’m not quite sure how other participants on documentary series (as the Powers That Be call what the rest of us hoi polloi know as “reality shows”) feel about watching themselves live out tiny fractions of our life experiences in front of an audience, but I know how I feel: mortified.

This mortification comes in waves. Some episodes, some moments, are more or less mortifying than others.  Last week, in Episode 2, I throw myself at a tall drink of water. Mortification (Scale of 1 to 10): 4

This week... and my stomach churns just thinking about it... the overall level was up there at a 10.  Individually, here’s how I’d break it down:

First, we see me at coffee with my manager Steven, in which a work discussion about my columns for ELLE was pre-empted by an email I had just received by the gossip column, "Page Six," accusing me of “stalking” my ex-boyfriend, Jack. As you can tell, the subject of Jack -- and anything surrounding it -- is still deeply painful to me, s ... well... I just found it horrible to watch. What you didn’t see on camera -- because the cameras were inside -- was me sobbing hysterically in my car right before I was to walk into that cafe, because I had to CALL MY EX in Guam (where he is stationed, as a Naval helicopter pilot) and connect him to the reporter to inform her it wasn’t true. He did, and they killed the story, but he doesn’t like gossip reporters and he was pissed that he had to do that.At the time, I was desperately (key word: desperately) trying to have an amicable friendship with this man I had loved so much, and this was the LAST experience I wanted him to have of me before he deployed just seven days later. What I felt it said to him (and perhaps what he felt, too): if we maintain a friendship -- which was very important to me (because I would feel like a failure if we didn’t) -- we’ll always have to be dealing with this nonsense: squelching rumors, dealing with reporters, all of the things he hates.  I was holding up a portrait of his worst nightmare. It was HUMILIATING. When I spoke with Jack two days ago, and told him about this portion of the episode, I was just as nervous as when I called him that day back in December with the reporter. His life is bigger than this crap -- he’s actually out there (just back from a seven month deployment) fighting for our country, and he doesn’t deserve to have to deal with questions about his past relationship. We ended our conversation amicably, but I feel deeply uncomfortable that he’ll be affected by my mentioning this on the show. I should have thought of that when I walked into that coffee shop. But I didn’t.  

That’s the problem inherent in reality shows: if you’re a conscientious human being, you try to take into account everyone’s feelings (“Should I say this, even if it’s what I’m going through, knowing that a mere mention of it will drag this person into a situation he might not want?”), and then you’re accused of not being authentic -- when really you’re trying to protect someone. So you start being honest and authentic -- and then people accuse you of NOT protecting the people you love or loved. It can be a horrible catch-22, and you just hope and pray that your loved ones -- whether they be your family or your friends or your exes -- understand your intentions, understand that you were doing the best you could with the emotional resources you had at the time.

I suppose that’s really all any of us can do.

So from there we move to this bike date with William. Now, a few things on this:

1) I look like a drunk cowboy riding a bike!

2) I will never again be filmed on a bike.

3) Have I mention that I look stupid while biking?On the date itself: William -- who is actually a sweetheart -- he sent me a congratulatory basket of gluten-free goodies from Healthy Surprise (HealthySurprise.com) just two weeks ago -- looks like he hates me. Fun!  He didn’t, to the best of my knowledge, hate me, although... yeah, it doesn’t really look like there’s much “chemistry” on this first date. This is where I have to say that I really enjoyed the disconnect between what I was experiencing (a massive rush of dopamine due to his intelligence and manly, tall, attractive appearance) and what actually happened: he sort of grilled me in an uncomfortable manner!

What I also realized, which I address in this week's ELLE Guinea Pig of Love column “Meet My Love Coach” is that I do have a dating “schtick” that holds me back from actually connecting with the young man on the other side of that table. I developed this schtick, as many of us do, in a not-entirely-misguided attempt protect myself from being hurt. Schticks are intended to keep others at arm’s length. If you can’t get to know me, you can’t reject me, right?  Or at least you can’t reject me for ME. Stopping those pre-programmed defense mechanisms was f---ing HARD. No more laughing because I was nervous. No more rapid fire interrogation.  No more hiding behind stock stories.

Dating well is the act of being vulnerable -- and there are many, many reasons I didn’t want to be vulnerable. I’ve had my heart pulverized in the past. After 15 years of repeatedly falling in love, only to watch it fall apart, my heart slowly rendered numb by the scar tissue, I had become a cynic.

So being vulnerable on a date felt incredibly unsafe. I didn’t want to go there. Why? To be hurt again? But as Annie Lalla (AnnieLalla.com), my love coach (yeah, that’s right, I have a love coach!!) says, when I ask her forlornly if I’ll ever recover from the insidious disease of disappointment, “Cynics are simply failed idealists. All cynics started out as romantics, but their dreams got bashed against the sidewalk.  So they give up, they say ‘F--- it, it’s never going to work. I’ll never find true love.’ But inside every cynic is this tiny burning ember of a romantic ideal. They’re just too terrified to reopen that dream.”And here is where the episode gets really painful for me. I’ve been hurt, not just by men, but by (mostly anonymous) commenters and bloggers. I didn’t think this episode fully captured the pain I’ve felt at their hands, but let’s put it this way: it hasn’t been pleasant. I wish we had talked about how I’ve heard that I’m fat, ugly, old, how my fingers are sausages and how my legs are tree stumps and how my face is deformed. How I look “like a dude” in person and how I am a failure of a woman and no man will want me because I can’t cook. (For the record, I make awesome omelets.  So. THERE.) Other reasons men won’t want me, according to these people: I am crazy, psychotic, a liar, my teeth are yellow, I am a fame whore, I am fat, I am a terrible writer, I am desperate loser whose ass looks, as they say, like a raft (that’s the only insult I don’t quite get... I think my giant ass looks more like... a giant ass.) Have I mentioned the fat comments enough yet? Yes, fat fat fat fat fat. And ugly! I am also, according to them, a terrible dog mother (they do not like it when I leave my dog with a responsible friend to travel, and then they don’t like it when I travel WITH my dog.  Apparently dog owners must only stay at home with their dogs 100% of the time), my friends all hate me and my family pities me (now, that last one might be 30% true). And, once again, I am fat and ugly.

I could go on, but I’m bored and I’m guessing you are too. What’s the deal behind this? I have lots of theories, but the deeper root in this: the deal behind this hate site -- behind any of the anger and angst we find directed at us throughout our lives -- is pain. Pain on my part, pain on theirs. I never felt good enough, growing up.  I never felt pretty enough. I would look in the mirror and hate my own face. I never felt popular. I felt like a fraud. I just wanted to be loved.

And I have played out that dynamic in my adult life. That’s what we all do with unhealed wounds. We play them out until we either go crazy or we get help.  The good news?  I finally got help. But it’s a process.  You don’t just heal decades old wounds in one day. The bad news?  A hell of a lot of other people are walking around wounded, too.If you’re one of them, like me, be kind to yourself today. And tomorrow. And the next day. And realize that we’re all going through this, playing out our issues and our insecurities in our relationships and our jobs and our families and the situations in which we find ourselves. Be kind to yourself and be kind to the people around you. They’re hurting too.

I know that’s a bit sappy at the end. I know. But this is what pain does. It demolishes you, and you rebuild. And when you rebuild you decide to add moats and drawbridges and cannons on every portico. And then you find that no one can reach you there. You’re lonely as hell. So you start to slowly, slowly, lay down your weapons and emerge from your fortress, blinking in the sun, terrified. You realize that everyone else built a fortress too, and that they’re lobbing their pain-filled cannonballs at you from theirs. And you have to make a decision -- are you going retreat to your fortress?  Or are you going to stand there, bravely owning your vulnerability?

I choose to stand here.

Fire away.

Just Say Yes

Emily Morse shares all the lessons she's learned this season.

Let’s sum up eight weeks of good times, shall we? A recap: threesome proposals, first date couples acrobatics, modeling for a kissing workshop, hilarious make out with Menace, hot make out with David, strip clubbing on a first date, and let’s not forget awkward phone sex -- we’ll always have that. Sigh.

Miss Advised brought a lot of dating challenges to the forefront, and I loved hearing from all of you about how you could relate to one or all of us in your own way.

So thanks for hanging out for the first season of Miss Advised. We’ve shared many cringe-worthy, awkward, inspiring, and hopefully relatable moments. So either you’re inspired or cringing, or both. Either way we’re all in this life learning together.

A theme in the premiere episode led me to conclude this: While my mom maintains that “never rely on man to take care of you” was sage advice to share with me at age fourteen, my brother doesn’t think it is the greatest advice. I think they’re both right -- I shouldn’t rely on anyone to take care of me entirely, but it’s okay to have a healthy dependence. That really got me to think.

See, I’ve always been a fiercely independent person, so much so that it’s been a struggle both for myself and others to accept that I haven’t made the most traditional life choices. This doesn’t make life easier by the way. In fact, my mom always says, “Emily, you didn’t choose the easy route.” It’s true.I’ve always put work first before relationships. I was raised and grew up thinking that I need to make it on my own without a man or anyone else taking care of me. Trying to make a living solving the world’s sex and relationship issues, getting my doctorate in Human Sexuality, and hoping to change the world so we’re all in better relationships has been exhilarating, challenging, and, well, sometimes downright difficult. I know this is my path, and I’ve been honored to share part of my journey with you.

Oh, you’re curious about David? Well, he is my childhood crush who was catapulted into my life at the perfect moment. I was actually excited about a guy, something I hadn’t felt in a while. It’s like quenching the best kind of thirst.

Things didn’t work out with David, but the most important thing is always this: what you do with the outcome. Whether you’re with someone for two months, two years, or 20 years, the key is to ask, “What can I learn from this experience?” and more importantly, “What was my part? What does this teach me about what I want in the future?”

The David experience made me realize that I am truly excited to find love. To find someone (or many ones). I’m not sure what my next “relationship” will look like: monogamy or some other new-fangled creation. I do know that whatever relationship I’m in I’ll create it with my own rules as we all should. What I was really trying to demonstrate is that monogamy isn’t the only answer. There are many different types of relationship models out there, and you need to find the one that works for you.

And finally, for the finale, some final points:

1. So you think dating sucks?: It doesn’t have to. Everyone says they live in the worst town in which to date. I promise you this: if you say yes to every offer you get for 30 days, you will increase your chances of meeting someone significantly. If you don’t put yourself out there, you can’t be found. Yes, here I go with my yes message, but it can’t hurt for 30 days. Try it. You’ll thank me.

3. Life is full of life lessons: Are you paying attention? Don’t view a relationship that ends as a failure. They’re golden opportunities to learn more about yourself and what you want in the next partner or don’t want: rinse, don’t repeat.

4. Life is a journey: I didn’t make this up. You’ve heard it before. Here’s the truth: your life is a journey and we’re all on our own path. Make it your life’s work to cultivate confidence and your own individuality. Get to know your own self and what you really and truly want in a relationship and in life. You have to TRULY love yourself before you find your true love.

5. What I’ve learned: Life is about experimenting with new experiences. Take what you like from each situation and leave the rest.

6. Say yes: I will always say yes to everything. OK, maybe not everything. But when I find myself saying no, I have to think why. I truly do say yes to many experiences that help me with my research for the Sex With Emily show and for life. I’ve learned so much this way, and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

My favorite part of the Miss Advised experience was communicating with new fans and welcoming new listeners to my show Sex With Emily, available to listen to for free anywhere you live. I loved tweeting  with you (let’s never stop). I’ve loved, loved, loved hearing from you on Twitter, Facebook and through my website. I read all your emails and enjoy receiving all your sex and relationship questions, which I answer on my Sex With Emily podcast and radio show.

To thank you for all your support, I’ll be giving away five copies of my book Hot Sex to the person who emails me their favorite line or lesson learned from Miss Advised to feedback@sexwithemily.com. Dying to hear your thoughts so please comment below or on my site, www.sexwithemily.com.

What's next for me? Well I’m going to continue on my journey -- pursuing my doctorate, doing my show (which you can listen to from anywhere), creating new apps. Kegel Camp anyone? Experiences make up your life, so get out there and start living. I’m open to finding love, and I know I’ll continue to find it. Love is truly infinite.