Blog Posts by Heather Donahue

  • Dispatches from Jerktown: Why I Dated Against My Better Judgement

    (Corbis)What do I talk about when I talk about a jerk? Not just the unavailable man, but the unavailable man who in the midst of his breakup pursues you anyway. He wafts into your life on a cloud of Eau de Jerk; new-lips-on-neck is its bright top note, but there’s insecurity at its heart,and the pervasive stink of your mutual desperation on the drydown. It’s very seductive, if you are unavailable yourself. It smells like infinite drama and certain intrigue. It smells more interesting than everyday life.

    He sees your eyes light up at the first whiff. A micro-expression. Lasting only 1/25th of a second, this light stitches heart on sleeve in neon. You don’t realize you’ve shown it because you’re busy constructing boundaries to fence the scent. You’re building this fence because you know your pattern. Since you can’t actually fence a scent, it’s a good bet this fence will be penetrated. Likely you will be too.

    If you really thought you were just going to be friends, you wouldn’t have invited him

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  • In Praise of an Extra 20 pounds

    I carry an extra 20 pounds, which I prefer to the extra 40 that I used to have. I’ve come to think them as individuals, these 20 hangers-on, but when considered together they constitute my powerful Corps de Chub. Some of them leave for awhile then come back. I like to think they miss me. About a dozen of them don’t ever leave the house. I think they need a job, but maybe they’ve already found it. They stitch a cloak while I’m not looking.
    It took me awhile to realize I’d gained weight. It happened so fast that I would sometimes look down and wonder, “Whose body is this?” Which question coincided with losing myself almost completely, which loss prompted a depression. I very nearly lost my body altogether. My body’s question was an urgent one, powerful even. They often are. My body carries my story. Every heartbeat a syllable. Know your body, know yourself.
    I was told, “I’m your last chance to be a wife and a mother, so you better behave yourself.” He was a vegetarian, heavy on the

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  • Why You Should Hook Up With Your Ex: A Case Study

     My ex saw this movie and thought of me. (Universal Pictures)When he showed up on my birthday, the third anniversary of our broken engagement and about four months into our nameless, downgraded arrangement, my ex told me, "I watched that movie ‘The Five Year Engagement’ and thought of you." I lived off that for the next three months, regardless of the fact that the same encounter also included this exchange:

    "Oh no, I'm your country time booty call, aren't I?" I said, as he relaxed into my red velvet chaise longue. I livein the country, where we met. He lives in San Francisco, where we broke up. But before we were over for good, he bought the country house we got engaged and planned our future in. We were only renting it then. He showed me the completed escrow paperwork on Valentine’s Day. I had no idea. 

    I don’t live in that house. By silent, mutual agreement, my little barn cottage, three miles away, was where the hot ex-on-exaction happened when he came up from the city. “Is that what this is now? Is that what we are?” I asked. He was quiet.

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  • 10 Reasons I Ditched the City and Moved to the Country

    It's me, Heather! (Photo by Simon Weller)I'm Heather Donahue, previously known as The Girl from the Blair Witch Project. That was back when I was a city girl. Now I'm a country girl, living in a tiny Northern California town nestled in the Sierra foothills, and I'm mostly known as a friend, a neighbor and the lady who wrote that book about being a pot grower.

    When I burnt up my LA life out in the desert, (headshots, resumes, lingerie, lint--a flaming rainbow) and moved up here, friends and family were bewildered. Often they still are. Maybe you are too. Since I'm going to start regularly sharing some rural goodness on Shine (there's a small dating pool, but a big river to swim in) I thought maybe I should try to explain. Why do I think I live in some kind of magical land? How about just the top ten things?

    10. There's always parking. Really, do you know how nice that is? Not something I ever have to think about.

    9. It felt like home from the first minute. Once I trusted that I wanted to be here, even though it didn't look

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