I have decided to do the ProBlogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog with the SITSGirls Challenge. How crazy is this I have no idea, but before I get started with my challenge I want to explain why I have not posted on my blog for almost three months.

“Ahhh, excuse me, Joanie,” my mother interrupts, “I really don’t think you need to explain why you haven’t been blogging.”

For those of you who are new to my blog that’s my dead mother speaking to me. Mother died almost nine years ago, but that doesn’t stop her from popping into my head and giving me her opinion about whatever she thinks I need an opinion about.

“But I need to say something about why I haven’t been blogging,” I answer Mother back.

“You don’t need to say anything,” Mother advises me. “Remember Kris Kristofferson’s song, Help Me Make It Through The Night?”

Of course I remembered it. I knew the exact lyrics Mother was about to refer to. It goes, “Yesterday is dead and gone and tomorrow’s out of sight.” A lump forms in my throat as I remember Mother strumming on her guitar and singing Help Me Make It Through The Night. Her voice as beautiful as a nightingale. Was it really 1970 when Kris Kristofferson released that song? Where had the time gone?

As if Mother could read my thoughts she says, “1970 is dead and gone – and even yesterday July 18th 2010 is dead and gone. No explanations are needed, Joanie. Explanations are a waste of time. Just get on with today. Today you are blogging.”

“Yes and it feels wonderful to be back writing again.”

If you have read my blog in the past then you already know that I have imaginary conversations with many people in my life, including my ex-husband Paul — the man who I say is the reason I got fat in the first place due to our unhappy marriage and his withholding sex from me. But I also have imaginary conversations with inanimate objects. I even had a conversation with my lover Sammy-the-Refrigerator called My Mad, Passionate, Wildly Sex-Crazed Nights With My Refrigerator. If you are a new reader and really want to know who I am then I suggest you go back to the beginning January 1st 2010 when I first started writing this blog — and wrote my first post called Reality Sucks.  If you continue reading you will soon learn that this is much more than a blog — it is a memoir in progress which I plan to publish.

So now on to my 31 Days To Build A Better Blog Challenge. Today’s challenge is to write an elevator pitch for my blog. Now what is an elevator pitch? “An elevator pitch is an overview of an idea for a product, service, or project. The name reflects the fact that an elevator pitch can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride (for example, thirty seconds or 100–150 words.” – Wikipedia.

Okay, so here is my elevator pitch: “Can a bad marriage really be fattening? You betcha! In my own bad marriage I went from 125 pounds to 275 pounds 20 years later. This is the story of how my unhappy marriage made me fat — and how I divorced my husband and moved on to a happier new life.”

Also in this challenge I am to write a short elevator pitch that could possible appear on my business card. Business card? That’s a laugh. My ex-husband, Paul, would be joyous if I had a business card and was earning money from my writing. But okay, I’m game. This would be my short elevator pitch to put on my business card: “Can a bad marriage be fattening? You betcha!”

Is that short enough? If it is, then maybe I’ll have 1,000 business cards printed up to give to who knows who?

Looking forward to tomorrow’s challenge

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The Blindsided Wives of America Club has now been changed to the Blindsided Wives Club (www.blindsidedwivesclub.com) — because many of you e-mailed me to point out that women are not just blindsided in America, they are blindsided all over the world.

Actually a friend of mine on Phitter, Kirstie Alley’s fitness community, pointed this out to me the day I posted my new website, Blindsided Wives of America Club. This woman divides her time between London, UK, Toronto and Los Angeles. She Phittered me, (Phittering is the same as Twittering) and said, “Love your new blog post. . . but why just America? I’m hurt!” She ended with a smiley face.

I jokingly Phittered her back, “I’m sorry for the slight. I’m going to change it to The Blindsided Wives of America/Canada Club.” And I ended with a smiley face too.

She then Phittered back, “Blindsided Wives of The World!”

Then a reader commented on my website, “I just wanted to let you know that your blindsided club should be global, it’s not just Americans who are blindsided 🙂 I am in Australia.”

Another smiley face! Yet, I knew from my own experience that there are no smiley faces when a woman learns that she has been blindsided by her husband or significant other.

Here’s what I did when I learned that my husband had blindsided me.

The first thing I did was cry. And then I cried and I cried and I cried. I was in an unhappy marriage, but I was completely devastated by being blindsided. To me it was the ultimate betrayal.

My ex-husband had me so snowed that I actually believed he had a very low sexual libido. To find out that not only could Paul get it up — but that he was having an affair — well, I felt like the biggest fool in the world.

In a million, billion, trillion years I never would have thought that my sixty-eight year old husband would cheat on me. Paul looked like everyone’s kindly, older, bespectacled uncle — the last person you thought who would be unfaithful to his wife. He was of average height, average build and had a head full of gray hair, his face was wrinkled and he had jowls. Not exactly pretty-boy status, but apparently there was another woman who thought my husband was the greatest thing she had ever met, and she was determined to become the next Mrs. Paul Stevens.

Of course the present Mrs. Paul Stevens, (which was me) had no idea her husband was such an irresistible babe magnet — but then the wife is the last to know. When I learned I had been blindsided instead of shouting, “Hallelujah and good riddance to you! And don’t let the door hit you in the rear as you leave!” I cried and begged my husband not to leave me. My pleading fell on deaf ears.

I was forced to find the courage and strength to step out of my emotionally abusive marriage. Up to that point I had no idea that I was an emotionally abused wife, or that I was living in an emotionally abusive marriage.

You see, I thought an emotionally abused wife was someone whose husband beat her. Paul never struck me physically. If he did that would have crossed my boundaries. I would have gone bolting from the marriage. But the way some men emotionally abuse their wives is much more subtle. They use their words to beat them up, to belittle them, to make their wives feel inadequate. There are no physical marks on the wife’s body — there are only the psychological scars that she carries around inside her mind, and which over a period of time wears away at her confidence like water over a period of time can grind down a stone.

Because of the way we women are emotionally, we are very adept at turning things inward. We are good at blaming ourselves for a multiple of things that goes wrong in our marriage. Believe me, I was no different. When I found out that my husband had cheated on me, in the beginning I secretly blamed myself for not being the wife Paul wanted me to be. But I learned a very important lesson that I would like to share with other women: No one is responsible for another person’s actions.

I did not ask for my husband to cheat on me. Paul did not come to me one day and ask for my advice:

“Joanie, should I cheat on you?”

“You’re asking me if you should cheat on me?”

“I just don’t think that you and I can ever be happy together.”

“But why?”

“Because I never really loved you.”

“But you married me.”

“Because at the time I thought I would never find anyone who would love me as much as you did, but I met this nurse. . .”

“How original. You’re a doctor and you met a nurse.”

“Don’t get uppity with me, I’m only asking for your advice.”

“Oh, you want my advice.”

“Should I cheat on you and let you know about it — or would you prefer that I blindside you?”

“Oh, blindside me, Paul. I love surprises!”

“Well, then you can look forward to a really big surprise, Joanie!”

As ridiculous as that conversation might sound, it is no more ridiculous than a woman blaming herself when she finds out that she has been blindsided. What a woman needs to do when she learns that she has been blindsided, (after she gets over crying), is to decide whether she wants to try and save her marriage, or if she wants to get a divorce. Either decision is not an easy decision to make.

And I can assure you that when a woman learns that she has been blindsided, anger is not the first emotion she feels. What she first feels is a sense of overwhelming sorrow and betrayal.

For me my anger came two weeks after I learned I had been blindsided. I considered my anger to be a positive sign. It said I was no longer willing to blame myself for my husband’s actions. It was not I who brought a third person into our marriage and muddied the waters. And let me tell you that was a very big step forward in my healing process. I refused to be a victim and blame myself. And that is a wonderful place to be.

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