There are 47 million blogs at WordPress.com and every single one has a unique story to tell. Today, we’re proud to introduce you to WordPress.com blogger Matt, the man behind Must Be This Tall To Ride, a hilarious and often poignant chronicle of his life as a single divorced father. Matt took some time out to talk to us about where he gets his ideas, how he came up with the witty name for his site, and what blogging has meant to him.
How did you get started blogging?
Last April 1, my wife packed a suitcase and moved away forever. April Fools’ Day. Fitting. Her new boyfriend was a big shot. Tall. Successful. Rich. And I was just…me. Dumped. A nobody. And not just any nobody. An emotionally wrecked nobody who cried. What woman is going to ever date a dude who cries?
I felt really small. I tried online dating a month after she left. Because I make bad decisions. I’m 5’9”. I’m 34. I’m graying. I’m a dad. Basically all of the things women AREN’T looking for. Woot.
All the online-dating profiles — no matter how short in stature the women were — wanted tall guys. She was 5’2”. But she’d only date men taller than six feet. One time, I wrote one of these Match girls with the subject line: “Must Be This Tall To Ride.”
I smirked. A metaphor for my entire life. Not good enough. Not tall enough. Not smart enough. Not rich enough. Not funny enough. Two weeks later, I launched the blog, charting a new course. A single, divorced guy who made a bunch of bad decisions to get here. And spends every day exploring all the ways I can metaphorically be tall enough. A few people get it. And we’re all walking the path together. Trying to be better today than we were yesterday.
You’ve gone through some serious stuff in your life. Has blogging helped you cope through turmoil? How?
Divorce has defined my life from age four through this very moment. Trying to keep two parents happy 500 miles apart. And now, my own divorce. Feeling like a failure. Like a crappy father every time my young son vocalizes his desire for mommy and daddy to live together again. He deserves better than this.
Blogging has helped immensely. This is my therapy. This is my couch. And the readers listen. They’re amazing. Providing feedback. Providing concern. Providing support.
Blogging helps in the same ways as talking to my friends. Only I’m even more honest with readers than I am with people I speak with.
I embarrass easily, and even though I occasionally scare myself with the things I type, I tend to be much more forthcoming at the keyboard than I am face-to-face. It’s good to be honest. To unload some of that baggage. You tell stories people identify with. Then you find out dozens, hundreds, thousands of people feel just like you.
When I couldn’t breathe. When everything just felt…wrong. The thing that helped most was the realization that someone else knows the same pain. Sure, your married friends all feel bad for you. But they don’t get it. They don’t. But others? With the same pain? With the same scars?
What is the best thing that has happened to you as the result of writing your blog?
The human connections have been amazing. Emotionally? Spiritually? These people saved my life. But selfishly speaking? Writing has given me purpose again.
When it all breaks? When there’s no more family? That purpose follows them out the door, too. Bye purpose! Sorry I wasn’t good enough for you either!
This blog has given me something to do. It filled a void. It gave me something to love once I didn’t have a partner. And it gave me something to distract me from just how loud all the silence in my home had become.
Where do you get your ideas?
The thing that makes me pee my pants a little is my fear of running out of ideas. I often write during my lunch hour at work. I can get a little panicky when noon’s approaching and I have no idea what I’m going to post about that day. I usually luck out somehow and think of something last-minute.
But mostly I keep a running list of post ideas. It’s always shorter than I want it to be. I’ve only had a week’s worth of post ideas one time in seven months of doing this. It’s my biggest weakness as a blogger.
I like telling stories from my past. I like telling stories about what’s happening in my life right now. I like encouraging people struggling in marriage and life. And sometimes, I just like to goof off.
I don’t always succeed, but my goal is for the stories to always have a very human element. To have heart. To make people feel something.
What’s your advice to bloggers who are just getting started?
I don’t know that I’m in any position to be offering blogging advice. I don’t know if what I’m doing has merit. That’s for others to decide. And I also don’t know that I believe there’s a right or wrong way to do this.
But what would I tell a new blogger?
Make sure your soul lives in the words. Because I want to know you. As my favorite writer James Altucher would say: Always be as honest as you can without hurting other people. And if you’re not a little scared to hit that blue Publish button, you’re probably not trying hard enough.
You said you want to know these bloggers through their writing. What about you? Who are you?
A guy who does a lousy job keeping up with bills and cleaning the house.
A guy who failed at marriage. Who has trouble getting dates. Who often lacks the courage to talk to women. Who is afraid of being a lousy father. Who is afraid of people he knows in real life finding out just how weak and scared and flawed he is.
But that’s really the entire point of this. There are billions of us. Nobodies. We all want the same things. We’re all afraid of the same things. We just want to be happy.
That looks and feels different for each one of us.
And I want to tell stories that make people think and feel. I want to remind them they’re not alone. I want to encourage them to be hopeful in their individual pursuits of happiness.
Tomorrow is another opportunity to choose ourselves. To grow.
Because at the end of all this, I really want to be tall enough to ride.
- Jan 22, 2014 @ 8:01 pm
Ouch. Double-ouch. Been there, done that, got the Tee-shirt. Like Matt, I’ve been through divorce a few times, found that the dating scene is for somebody other than me and been riding the trail alone. I have no children though, so the single-Dad scene is one I can’t say I share. Maybe I’ll have to write a bit about it in my blog, though it seems I’m in no great hurry to write about something now 5 years in the past.
Isn’t talking about how hard it is to get dates on platforms like this just another version of Match.com? only, without paying? And to a vastly wider audience?
just a random thought. Love your blog. It’s awesome.
I will comment on my blog, MalcolmMillerspoems. I’m short, two divorces, etc, etc, so I feel qualified to comment on this one.
You are very courageous for sharing your thoughts and experiences with the world. I just got married for the first time a year and a half ago, and my husband is 5’8 (and a half), graying, and still has 2 years of College due to a recent career change. So needless to say, our income is not that great right now. We both thought we were doing EVERYTHING too late in life (including finding significant other), and were suffering and lonely due to crappy choices in the past. But in the end, a good heart, and perseverance of your character and beliefs will draw you to the right person. we are madly in love, and will do whatever it takes to love and support one another. There is always two sides to a story, but sounds like you probably dodged a bullet, and are now free to pursue true happiness. I wish you all the love and luck in the world.
Readers of this post – If for any reason, after reading this, you are still wondering if you should follow Matt’s blog – Do it! You won’t be disappointed. He’s an excellent writer and you won’t find much more honesty in the blogging world than you do with him.
Matt – Excellent interview. It is a privilege to be one of your readers and blogging ‘friends’.
Hi Matt — you are young at 34, I am 83 and I write what I think and do on my website which my son put up for me to play with, and I enjoy it, but I have not written anything for months and you Matt have got me to want to write again. I think I will. Thank you Matt. Good luck GHC my website is ‘ seniors for seniors only ‘ look it up some time.
Dude – yesterday I was looking at a truck – the sales guy was so positive! He told me a similar story but upbeat. I asked if he would date an Indian – ? He said two things – “I am down with the brown” (my brown wife laughed till she cried) and ” dot or feather?” I said feather and we all laughed – his motto “no wife = happy life”!
Peace my friend –
I started blogging eight months ago. I get my ideas when I wake up in the morning. Something triggers something in my brain and I go running with it. Sometimes I think it is good. I hope some of it puts a smile on someones face and that and a reflection of an idea is all I ask. I am retired so it keeps the gray matter going. It also lets me write my books as it makes me live the routine of a writer. Sorry for the dump but in my life there is an expression, “could have been worse:” Live with it and move on grasshopper or you will be eaten.
Seriously, good luck, Barry
As a newly single mom of 4, I can relate to the feelings of being an emotionally wrecked nobody … My thoughts were a little different … who wants to hang out with a single mom of 4 ? I cry, I scream into my pillow, I lash out irrationally when I’m sitting alone in my house …but my kids are awesome … and THEY want to hang out with this single mom of 4 …. !!!
This post inspired me to start blogging again … I had taken an almost 2 month break because I didn’t know what to blog about … now I know where I can start ….. by being more open about my life …
By the way .. not all women want tall men … some want a man they can see eye to eye with, both figuratively and literally … guess the real challenge is finding those women …
Thanks for the inspiration!
Matt I’ve just read your Interview and explanation of when, how, why you blog & I just get what you write so comfortably, easy to read, & connects easily with me that part where you have the freedom to say how your soul feels. Me too.
Emotions are common experiences regardless of one’s height & through the endless journey towards recovery from my pain I have arrived at an amazing place because the university of life with some academic refinement has delivered me to the amazing world of body sensitive psychotherapy, as A Hakomi therapist.
For now Hakomi is my Hubble to the complex inner universe of my fellow man & so I get out there & try to share a few sign posts as a blogger to help others find their own path.
Good fun, because it’s “out there” in print it may be of help to the folks who are searching to find what’s necessary to comfort their endless aching need.
This is in the self discovered magic hidden within our being by the sheer brilliance of the child’s psyche. And may be discovered, understood & let go so that we may all be good enough, tall enough, to discover our own self-loving respect & to mindfully release ourselves from ego’s snare.
Share on Matt. Thank you.
Very nice post, Matt! It’s very ‘human.’ You wrote, “And it gave me something to distract me from just how loud all the silence in my home had become.” Silence can be liberating, too. Many writers, just like you are now, consider it a commodity because it gives them a chance to reflect, to conjure ideas, to clear their mind of nonsense. I’m single (not divorced, though), and some people don’t get why I love seeking solace in being alone for stretches at a time. As I mentioned above, silence is fast becoming a commodity, what with mobile phones and laptops tempting you to go online and find the answers – or entertainment – you’re looking for there. Being online helps (like now), but not all the time. So treasure those opportunities; you don’t know how long they’ll last. As for being a “nobody,” we beg to disagree! You’re a dad, and THAT is a role not everyone’s privileged to assume. Cheers! And hey, keep up the excellent writing!
This is the best blog I have ever read. It has more feeling in it than any thing that I have ever seen and why any one would think that you are a nobody is beyond me completely. You keep up the good work and know this, people do love you, you are not a nobody, and anyone with a mind like yours can only go ahead in leaps and bounds and as you pick up a partner along the way, they will also benefit from the genuine outlook that you have displayed so perfectly in this blog. Regards, Brian.
Keep going Matt. You can do this :)
Ah, Matt! I think you sound wonderful!
I am new blogger! I love it! I pretend I am writing for this one friend I have. I mostly tell funny stories from my life. I agree with you that you Have to be honest. I would love to follow you. Hope you get the chance to read me. I would love your feedback!
Totally get all this. Im in a similar, i though when my relationship broke down, my kids were going to be troublesom, addicted to drugs, in with the wrong crowd etc. But i realise now that is nonsense. Just have a real good relationship with them, be there for them, support them.
Thanks for writing this. Great blog.
Hang in there, Matt. I have been there, with an ex-wife who asked for a divorce on my 40th birthday. The next day she was gone. I was a single father with two young kids. Your honesty with yourrseelf, and your outlook, will get you through it. I’m a big fan. Not to say that helps much…
Pressing ‘Publish’ can bring fear when you are sharing truths, personal or otherwise. There are a lot of scary people out there, and you never know when you may push their ‘panic’ button. Now that I have out lived some outstanding individuals by 30/40 years or more– each year I grow stronger at truth telling. 2014, I’m not holding back. And I’m one of those 5′ 6” guys whose wife after a 20+ relationship decided on divorce. Yes, I cried like a baby, at a best family friends house, in their bedroom, on their bed, in the darkness. Well! The world has not come to an end after all. Blogging is the most important thing I do, because we help each other online, bloggers and readers, we make a difference.
I married again…
Matt, don’t worry about dating. guess what? just about anyone over the age of 15 has had their heart broken (and worse). Its really cool that you have chosen to share your experiences with the ‘net. remember, as long as your son looks at you and smiles, you have nothing to worry about!
Okay. This just gave me goose-bumps! The transparency, the realness, the boldness, and I can’t forget to say, … your just a great writer!! I am so afraid to speak from personal experiences that expose the dark and ugly truth of my experiences in life and with people! Most of my real feelings and lessons learned are wrapped up in those stories though. I am still afraid of what some of my family may say if they read THAT blog…may start some uncomfortable stuff. Sigh—-, but KUDOS TO YOU!!
This is a nice story to feature. I like the fact that Matt uses writing to inspire his life. That’s how my blog came about as well. After I have had enough of every trouble I can think of, I decided, enough was really enough, and I decided to use my journal entries to write a book, and in the process started my blog. This has been an inspirational journey that helps me to express myself and help others in the process. I wish Matt all the best, as he continues to pursue his purpose.
Wow, Matt I had read some of your blog, but this is so full of emotion & honesty. I only hope I can learn to share like you do. When I was on the dating scene, I always felt very tender towards a man that was not embarrassed to cry. I do not say anything trite because nothing I can say will take a way the pain, just know there is a special person that will surface, see the value of a real man is not in his size but in the love you have to share. Thank you for sharing your heart, Kay
I think between writing, music and art- I have managed to survive two divorces ( of my own) my parent’s divorces, several deaths in the family, a daughter leaving for college and coming back…. ( not sure which is worse!) Needless to say, I’m so glad I was finally talked into starting a blog. It is not refined, but it is the one thing in my life where I don’t feel like I HAVE to refine it. I can just be me. Your writing is filled with heart and soul. I admire your ability to take that leap. I hope I start making the time to put all of my crazy ideas on my page every day. I know I will be grateful for it afterward.
Wow! Yes! No! … my reactions throughout your post. You are not alone, just check out the divorce rates. You are not nobody, you are vital as both an individual and as a father. You are new at this, the shock does wear off and the tears eventually slow down. Fifteen years have passed for me and I still have a cry on what should have been my wedding anniversary and I still miss the extended family that I should have been spending my life with and sometimes I really wish someone else would take some of the responsibility off my shoulders for just a few minutes.
If I could share only two pieces of divorcee wisdom with you: Always, always no matter how hard it pains you to do so, raise your children to believe in love and marriage and until they are old enough to face any truths of your separation and speak always of the other parent in a loving, nurturing way. It will pay dividends for their future… and… keep crying, it clears the soul.
I can really relate to the feeling of not being good enough. I’ve been divorced twice. Yay me!! Double wammy! I appreciate your openness. I just started to blog this month and it made me feel better. It gave me purpose too. It really made me not care so much about dating. Kind of freaking me out, but I’m going with it.
More success to you Matt, you are on your way to find your true self — don’t give up, believe in yourself, be strong, and stay creative. Remember, to make it in life you must not take it too seriously — everything happens for a reason — and you are finding your reason. Much blessings to you and your son.
Greetings from South Africa!
Also a single father here. I have gone and still do, go a lot of what you are experiencing. We decided to get a divorce when my daughter was just over 4 years old. She is turning 20 this year and I could not be a prouder father. What I’m trying to say is that the mere fact that you are worried about it, makes you a great father. Trust me, nobody has all the answers. You know what’s right in your heart. Keep it up!
You have three great things going for you. You have a job, a home and your child. I hope you and your former wife come to terms concerning your child so that the little one gets to know and love both of you, but a child knows who is the main caregiver. That seems to be you. If grandparents are involved, please be sure both sets get to be around your child. It’s so sad when grandparents don’t get to know their grandchildren.
Ouch. Double-ouch. Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt. Like Matt, I’ve been through divorce a few times, found that the dating scene is for somebody other than me and been riding the trail alone. I have no children though, so the single-dad scene is one I can’t say I share. Maybe I’ll have to write a bit about it in my blog, though it seems I’m in no great hurry to write about something now 5 years in the past.
Life’s a cycle – what goes around, comes around. I’m not sure if you get back exactly all that you lose, but it will give back something equally, if not more, precious and priceless. When your son reads about this, I hope your positive way of dealing with the difficult moments will be an inspiration for him. It’s not easy and I wish you all the best.
Just what the doctor ordered, I just got divorced and have tried to look for articles or writings from men who have or are going through the same, couldn’t find anything until I stumbled upon this piece. Every word minus have kids, relates to me, I couldn’t have written my story any better.
What a downer to find yourself alone after a long relationship and dedicating your life to someone who at the end of the day did not care. I just found out that in less than a year my ex is getting married and I am here trying to solve the ‘what did I do wrong’ jigsaw puzzle.
I thought about taking refuge in writing but afraid that no one will bother reading it but just writing this comment is therapeutic, society focuses on the emotional trauma that women go through but there is hardly any emphasis on what men have to go through.
Online dating I must say is the worst thing that ever happened, I read somewhere that only 30% of men get a response through online dating, 30%! Wow! I believe that most people on their websites have been through some tough times and are looking for that honest bloke but all they are interested is in looks. Before I get slaughtered on this comment, let me add a bit more detail. I suffering from what most men call ‘anxiety to approach’ find it difficult to approach women in real life (in a romantic context) ‘Loser!’ some would say, hence turned to online dating taking refuge behind the digital pixels.
I tried being honest and put up my best pictures, wrote all you needed to know about me ‘Test-A’, very very low response, most women were 10+ years older than me. I tried being charming nice, showed interest = not being a jerk :) results took a nose dive, total number of dates: 3.
A few months later, I decided to carry out ‘Test-B’, used the same profile replaced the pictures and acted like a complete jerk, making unruly remarks and shallow comments, percentage of responses was up to 80%. Got numbers left, right and centre — beat that! Even found this lovely lady who shared almost 95% of what I believed in, had the same passions in life and wanted to settle down once again. She adored every word I said and though I was potentially her missing half, nice result.
Tricky bit was that I didn’t use my own pictures, now I thought if she loved my personality and if I came clean with the fact that I wast that ‘good looking’ but have the same personality, thought personality, hopes and dreams, she would atleast give it a shot or try to meet me in person etc. but the moment I sent her my real pics, BOOM! she closed me out. Based on this incident, I’ve shut down my online profile and also come to a conclusion the probability of finding someone on the internet by being yourself is way too low! It is true that good guys finish last….
I sometimes feel that there is pressure on both genders to be someone that they aren’t and adhere to the commercial image of beauty, personality is a good to have in the online world but if you have a really good looking picture, nobody cares!
Anyway thanks for making my day and keep on writing, you’ve given me the motivation and courage to write my story and the journey I take from this point onwards.
A very well put together blog. The best thing I admire about your blog is your honesty and how you don’t hold back when you are talking about a subject. It makes your readers really connect with your blog and seem like they understand you a lot more even if it is in front of a computer screen. Kudos Matt! Keep up the great work!
Yep, I feel the same way; not tall enough to ride, on any level, not sure I believe that I’m tall enough to ride anymore anyway.
I have been more or less on my own with my kids since 2003, trying to keep it all together, actually my way of putting it..is treading water!
I’ve been treading water for 10 years, so you can only see my head! xx
I loved this. I’m writing for my business, but also because I have to write and yes – to be honest; writing from the very belly of my soul. I know just what you mean when you talk about being scared to click that publish button. So far my clients and friends love it. Just waiting for strangers to love me too. Sounds like you’ve just made a whole load of new friends out of strangers, Matt. Fabulous blog.
Oh, and I’m 5’1″, married to a 5’6″ guy and wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s plenty tall enough. Can’t dance cheek to cheek with a tall guy!
I am recently divorced too and I find the dating game is really difficult. I’m 6 feet tall and it isn’t any better for me. I want to blog about it but I find it totally humiliating to display in public. Althout this can be a good venue to meet people.
Thanks for your courage.
Yes, I agree with most here, Matt. I like your honesty, except for your thinking that you are a nobody. I don’t think you really believe that either. Therefore, you are not entirely honest, right? I am a bit concerned about people like Ali above. He wants to be honest, and yet he sent a false picture to someone he cared for. I would not consider that the best honesty. He should have known that one day he would have to admit to dishonesty. That’s just weird, man. Anyway, I wish you the best for your future. There is a good one waiting for you. BTW, my second marriage has lasted nearly 34 years at this point. Light on the horizon?
Wow I love your raw honesty and writing clarity, thank you! I feel the same way, though not as brave :) I’m encouraged to do more “brave” writing after reading this post…and processing my way through challenges of divorce, raising kids as single parent, and stepping into life again… All the best, will be checking in on your blog for sure.
Thanks for the insightful revelations – I had no idea. It’s good you’ve found an avenue to pour things out. That’s what led me to blogging in the first place and has kept me blogging for the past 4 years. I’m glad writing is having a positive impact on you which is obviously cascading to positive vibes in your readers/followers. Proud of you *thumbs up*
Matt, I am brand new to this blogging thing, and you have been a delight to read today, somewhat remind me of myself not trying to be anything or anyone…super honest and I think thats encouraging and very human of you.
thank you for this post.
Stop calling yourself a “nobody” by the way!
Great advice mate!
Good One Mate. It sure gives me some more ideas to write in my blog as well ; )