Those who seem the toughest or the most reclusive on the outside are really struggling on the inside. We don’t want to distance ourselves from people or from relationships but we often retreat behind our walls where it feels safer. This is often the type of character I create in my fiction and throughout the novel, the protagonist seeks to overcome those issues.

Today I was inspired by “Real Housewives of Orange County,” but, first, let’s back up just a bit.

The “Starting Over” television show revealed to me how much a person’s facade comes crumbling down once they deal with those issues. These issues stem from not feeling loved or good enough from growing up in some type of chaotic or insecure environment. And, unless the cycle is broken, it is handed down from one generation to another.

This was Tamra’s story on “Real Housewives of Orange County” and I would suggest that more often than not, this is the experience of many people in Orange County. I observed many of the more obvious cases, but even the “smart, good girls” can suffer from one thing or another that they keep hidden. I documented much of this syndrome in Myths of the Fatherless.

Tamra, who often seems like the crass, vulgar, angry woman, was asked to speak at the L.A. Women’s Expo. She shared how not feeling loved affected her quest for love through relationships with men, and that her lack of confidence and low self-esteem issues, and poor marriage choices led to thoughts of suicide. But she inspired many women when she shared how she overcame all of that and started over, becoming the strong, successful woman she is today. “Strong is the new skinny” she said.