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Mia Hayes
My memoir ALWAYS YOURS, BEE was selected as one of “15 Powerful Memoirs to Read in 2021.” Love big. Love hard. Love you. www.miahayesauthor.com

Chapter 2 — BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Jason was late. As usual. I had fed the kids and gotten them ready for bed, and he still hadn’t arrived. He wasn’t answering his phone either which drove my mind to the absolute worst places. He knew not being able to reach him was one of my triggers, and yet it seemed to be happening more and more.

I clenched my phone before pulling up Facebook on the web browser. …


Why I chose to write a memoir and include the messy parts.

Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash

These are two truths I know: people love gossip, and they love it more when it’s not about them.

I’ve been on both sides of that equation as a novelist who writes fiction about upper-middle class women in a country club neighborhood. My characters deal in gossip, secrets, and maliciousness, and not a single one is likable, and yet my readers love them.

But I didn’t begin publishing those books until eight years after my husband suffered a traumatic brain injury in traffic accident, and my life took a long slide toward rock bottom. At first, my Type-A personality had…


What does being a friend mean in the social media age?

Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

“My friend said I need to cut my hair. It’s too long for someone my age.” Kelly tugged at a strand of her dark, just past-her-shoulders hair. “What do you think?”

I had always envied Kelly’s bouncy, full locks and had spent many hours in a salon chair trying to achieve what came naturally to her. “Who says you can’t have long hair over the age of forty?”

“Oh. Just this woman I know.” Kelly blew into her cappuccino. We’d been sitting in the coffee shop for over an hour, like we did every Thursday morning, discussing our lives and…


Chapter 1 — Surviving the Suburbs

The Secrets We Keep by Mia Hayes

Here’s a fact: In my suburb, everything you see — the perfection, the picket fences, the perky boobs — is fake.

Another fact: Popularity matters here. It’s the key to everything.

Last fact: My husband and kids love this place, so I’m toughing it out because the schools are excellent, the lawns are pristine, and my kids can bike to the local pool. Really, if I were a kid, I would think I lived in Nirvana, too.

As for me, I’m making the best of it. Or so I tell myself. I have “friends,”…


Re-evaluating our family priorities and learning to be a family again.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

8760 Days. That’s how long I’ve known my husband. 8760 Days.

After that long together, we had a solid routine. We knew how each other woke up, how long we took our showers, and who was going to make the kids’ lunches that day. We knew what to expect from our family routine.

But then the pandemic hit on day 8395, and that routine ceased to exist. We were thrown into survival mode. Our college-aged son moved home, my younger boys started online school, and my husband’s job fortunately…


How to turn the negative voice in your head into a positive one

Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

I love myself.

That’s a radical statement for me. After years of berating my decisions, doubting myself, invalidating my emotions, and hiding my true self, I feared showing a sliver of vulnerability would scare people away. But what I had actually created was an environment where I lost sight of who I truly was. With no sense of my authentic self, I floundered as I tried to be what other people expected of me.

I was a mess.

I listened to every “don’t” I told myself and heard others say. I even listened to Depression who told me “Don’t bother,”…


and our lives fell apart.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

There’s a song, “An Olive Grove Facing the Sea” by Snow Patrol, that will forever be seared into my brain. It played on repeat as I weaved my car from the west side of San Francisco over pothole roads to the southeast side. I couldn’t turn the song off because my phone was in the glove box and not easy to reach.

At a stoplight on Divisidero, my phone buzzed. I hesitated before diving across the seat. Answering it meant knowing. Did I want a world without James?

No.

It rang again…


How self-care is the best tool for fighting it

Photo by Olaia Irigoien on Unsplash

When my boys were small, we had frequent discussions about bullying — what to do if they saw it or experienced it. I laid out the different ways kids can be bullied: physically, mentally, and emotionally, and throughout their early school years, the other moms and I were always on high alert for anything that faintly whiffed of bullying. Once the kids hit high school, most of us believed we’d given our children a hefty toolbox that would help them combat bullying.

But what about us? Who prepared us for grown-up mean girls?

Through out most of my adult life…


Learning resilience in the aftermath of pain

Photo by Etienne Boulanger on Unsplash

The boys sat on the floor of our Parisian apartment, pushing die-cast cars around elegantly carved table legs and ignoring the tense conversation happening a few feet away. My three young sons knew about their father’s affair and that I had run away to Paris after sending them to my parents’ home in Michigan. I had justified my decision by telling myself that they were safer there than with me or my husband. After all, they had spent the summer climbing trees, swimming, fishing, and doing all they things I considered to be a typical Midwest kid summer.

But now…


Social media helped me deny the truth about our problems

The strawberries, champagne and sea (author’s own photo)
The strawberries, champagne and sea (author’s own photo)
The champagne, the strawberries, and the sea (author’s own photo)

**The events portrayed here took place 10 years ago and are from my memoir. My husband and I are doing great and made it through a difficult time.**

“Look this way, Bee.” My husband knelt next me with his phone positioned at eye level. The glittering Mediterranean Sea stretched behind him, and warm wind licked my skin.

I was sprawled stomach-side down on a sun chaise, my cheek pushed against a terry cloth towel. My head spun from drinking too much champagne, and I stared over my sunglasses, aware of the crowd around us. …

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