Being Real Without Being a Hot Mess – with Christine Wild

Do you show your true self on social media? Could you “put it all out there,” the good, the bad, and the ugly? As you shrink in horror at these questions, you’ll probably admit that you’ve bought into societal pressure to project that image of perfection. Today’s show is about being real, being raw, being open, and living fearlessly while doing it. You might be surprised at the response to living with no filter.

Christine Wild, like her namesake, is passionate both on paper and in life. She’s world-traveled, fiercely independent, and doesn’t let much get in her way. Wild was born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland, but shortly after turning 18, set off on a grand eight-month adventure around the globe, where she ultimately landed in Vancouver, British Columbia, for University. Since graduating, Wild has been up to all sorts of things in all kinds of places. She loves to eat, drink wine, and write in strange places. Just Bad Timing is Christine’s debut memoir. In this super-fun episode, Christine and I chat about how she transformed the worst breakup into a hilarious and notable blog, how she keeps it real with her readers without coming across as a mess, and what intimacy and modern relationships look like in the age of Tinder.

A melting pot

Christine’s mother is Serbian, her father is Croatian, she was born and raised in Switzerland, and she considers herself an adopted Canadian. Her parents have the quintessential romantic story of meeting on a bus in Belgrade, falling in love, and settling together in Geneva. At age 18, Christine Wild went off to travel the world and landed in Vancouver, where she stayed for several years. She chose Vancouver because it was far away and she liked the freedom of the North American educational system as opposed to the European. She wanted to study international relations, which is a branch of political science that focuses on how nations evolved and their defining philosophies. Little did she know how her Vancouver experiences would shape her life story.

Telling it all

While in university, Christine Wild met a guy just before the end of the term and then went through a bad breakup when he went back to his ex. She went home to Switzerland and then headed out on a car trip with her father to Croatia to visit family. Trapped in the car with no one to talk to except her father, she began writing long emails to her girlfriends back in Canada to get her feelings out and help her broken heart. One of them suggested that she start blogging, so she did! Christine welcomed the bigger platform and audience for her story.

A unique perspective

Christine’s background has deeply affected her thoughts on love and relationships and the way she dealt with the breakup. The Croatian people are very blunt, open, and straightforward—they hold nothing back. In Christine, this contrasts with the put-together, polished approach of the Swiss persona. She says that she would pretend that everything was great in public, but things were much different in private. Her roots make her fiery and protective of those she loves, and she also finds it easy to laugh at herself, make fun of herself, and approach life with humor. These traits blended perfectly to give her a unique perspective on life and its “lemons,” so she started writing. 

The blog

Although Christine admits that she still doesn’t really know what she’s doing with her blog, she started out on WordPress. She had the idea in mind for the writing to be a draft for a book someday, but the first blogs looked like an old newspaper from the 1920’s with columns of black and white text. She didn’t connect her blog to her social media, but thought of it as “a deep, dark corner of the web where I could spew out thoughts and random experiences.” It seemed funny to her when people started following and commenting and she was amazed that they were actually reading what she wrote! It all starts with an epic sex scene involving a mirror on the ceiling . . .

Authentic vulnerability

When she started her blog, Christine says it was easier to write about whatever she wanted before she knew people were following and paying attention. Once she started using the blog as a marketing tool to promote herself and the book, then she had to move things around and be more attentive and careful with what she wrote. She still wrote with no filter, though! Today, she’s more conscious of who is following her and it’s changed the dynamic somewhat. The whole point of the blog is to be who she is and be authentic in sharing a “real” life that isn’t focused on appearing a certain way. 

Refusing to “play pretend”

Christine WIld finds the balance between what interests people and the stories of her real and raw life. It’s a fight every day for her to live the way she wants and not give the appearance that her life is always great and glamorous. Sometimes we look at people’s posts and forget that there are bits of real life in there, even if most people are afraid to show it. Christine says that she refuses to “play pretend.” This is one writer who will tell it like it is!

Dating drama

Both men and women label dating as a scary and intimidating experience – 150% of the time! Christine calls herself fragile, even though people expect her to be strong. With her strong personality, she ways it would be hard to be with someone who tried to tame or quiet her. She admits that there are many sides to her personality and how she feels from day to day. She shares about the trap of that pivotal relationship from her college days in Vancouver. Because some people need to have a “project” to work on, they view their partner as “someone to rescue.” She went back to that guy and they dated awhile. Even though there was always a part of her that thought he wasn’t good enough for her, she was blissfully unaware of her feelings when they were together. They set off on an adventure because they were bored in Vancouver and ended up in the south of France with plans to settle there.  Fourteen days later he left to go back to Canada and left her alone. Chaos and drama followed, and then she went to Belgrade to write her book. 

The writing process

Christine’s blog posts helped her organize the skeleton of the book, listing key events and then filling in the scary details that she was originally afraid to write about. It was an emotional and therapeutic process. She says, “If you can’t afford a therapist, just write your memoirs because that works just fine.” She found an editor who helped her build the narrative. Soon after its publication, she received surprising feedback and comments, especially from one male reader.

Polarity in personality and sexuality

There is a polarity of our personalities when it comes to expressing the “real you.” Christine explains how she looks at the world not in a binary fashion, but as a spectrum. We aren’t one thing or another, but we are both and everything in between at different times. Christine Wild has learned to embrace and be empowered in her sexuality. This has become increasingly important in light of the Me Too movement. Her advice is to follow what you want. The more we talk about our sexuality, the more comfortable we will be. 

Highlights of the Episode:

  • 4:01 – Why she started blogging
  • 8:05 – Thoughts on love and relationships
  • 10:25 – How she used WordPress and started with a bang
  • 14:52 – Her most intriguing posts
  • 16:32 – The flavor of authentic vulnerability
  • 18:13 – Instagram life vs. real life
  • 22:18 – How she is labeled in her dating life
  • 27:35 – Her relationship: Part 1 and Part  2
  • 43:11 – Writing the book in Belgrade
  • 47:53 – Surprising feedback and comments
  • 52:53 – As real as you can possibly get
  • 57:37 – Embracing and empowering sexuality
  • 1:01:30 – The Fem Five.

Resources Mentioned

The Fem Five:

1. Favorite book for women:

“Mine! Just Bad Timing, available through Amazon and B & N in print and digital copies”

2. Favorite self-care hack?

“Wine and masturbation”

3. Best piece of advice and who gave it to you?

“Question your assumptions. Ask why.” – from a university class

4. Female thought leader or CEO you’re into right now?

“There isn’t really one. I’ll say my close female friends who stick together and help us all move forward.”

5. One piece of advice you’d give your five years younger self?

“Fasten your seat belt. It’ll be OK in the end. Write the book.”

Last Time on The NextFem Podcast

Making the Gig Economy Work for You – with Diane Mulcahy 

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