Write Here, Write Now: My Single Friend by Caitlin Fladager
In this episode of Write Here, Write Now: A Vocal Podcast, host Erica Wagner sits down with Caitlin Fladager, TikToker extraordinaire, passionate advocate for mental health—and a wife and mother.
From Write Here, Write Now: A Vocal Podcast, My Single Friend by Caitlin Fladager.
How do you keep that 'first date' feeling alive after 12 years of marriage? What happens when you start to yearn for your single days? In the inaugural episode of Write Here, Write Now, host Erica Wagner sits down with Caitlin Fladager, TikToker extraordinaire, passionate advocate for mental health—and a wife and mother. They cover everything from first date to first child to how her family is today.
CAITLIN FLADAGER: “It's like a separate side of me almost when I'm writing, another me just comes out and I'm ready to share it all.”
ERICA WAGNER: This is Write Here, Write Now, a podcast brought to you by Vocal, an online platform for creators of all kinds and all levels of experience. It’s a place to post, to read, to be inspired. I’m your host, Erica Wagner.
This season, we’ll hear eight essays, all posted to Vocal by independent creators. Afterwards, we get to hear from the creators themselves- about what inspired them, what they’re working on, and what keeps them going. If you have any questions that linger after the episode, head to vocal dot media to leave a comment for the authors, right on their essay. Who knows- you might be inspired to write something yourself.
Here’s Write Here, Write Now.
ERICA: Welcome to the inaugural episode of Write Here, Write Now. We have a whole host of unbelievably talented creators on Vocal, and we’re thrilled to be able to share them with you on this platform as well.
This week, we’ll be hearing from an essayist who’s not afraid to get personal. Caitlin Fladager’s “My Single Friend” is an intimate look inside her long-term relationship with her husband, and how their partnership has evolved through moves, children, and struggles with mental health. After the essay, we’ll hear from Caitlin herself. Here’s “My Single Friend.”
ERICA: That was “My Single Friend” by Caitlin Fladager. I was lucky enough to get the chance to speak with Caitlin. We talked about motherhood, butterflies, and taking care of oneself.
ERICA: That's right. We'll find that so let's just carry on and we'll get that done. So we'll start. Tell me a bit about yourself. Where did you grow up?
CAITLIN FLADAGER: So I was born in California actually, but I moved to Vancouver, Canada when I was very young. I was about four and I've lived here ever since then. Now, I'm 28 years old. It's beautiful, I love Canada. The people are so amazing here and I could not imagine living anywhere else.
I've always liked writing. Ever since I was in middle school, I would enter those essay contests about writing anything in your life. And I don't think I would ever win but I just really liked putting my ideas down on paper and reading it out loud. I really liked having a hook at the beginning to get people to want to read my stuff and keeping them interested throughout, but it became sort of a diary for me where thousands of people would read it, and sometimes, the words would just flow. After a bad day, I would just sit down, write, within five minutes and my post would be up. So it became just a therapeutic outlet as well for me to write down my thoughts as honest as they were, and share and hopefully connect with a few other people.
ERICA: What sets it apart from TikToks or YouTube videos?
CAITLIN FLADAGER: It's much more personal than videos, and I know you can make videos personal but for me, it is like a diary. Like I said before, I really like the idea of taking the thoughts in my brain and putting them on paper and trying to make them worded in a way that is going to capture people's attention and want to continue to read, but also sharing things that are really important in my heart and soul, to be honest. It's just another way of me letting out my thoughts and ideas in a very personalized way that I probably wouldn't be able to in a video.
CAITLIN FLADAGER: And Vocal, when Vocal came up and I was told about Vocal, I thought, this is the perfect opportunity for me to reach more people with my stories, to continue to write. Because all of the other social media platforms, I don't know if you've noticed but they've all moved towards videos or short videos, so writers are really getting pushed back. So this was the perfect platform for me to be like, I can still do those videos but I can still write and be passionate about that, and there's a place for me and that.
ERICA: A lot of what you're trying to convey, it seems to me, is quite complex, and so the longer form of writing is perhaps more suited to some of the things you want to say.
CAITLIN FLADAGER: Yes, that was a big pointer for me when I was told about Vocal, was I could write as long as I wanted, and actually, the pieces I had written before on other platforms, they weren't long enough for Vocal, they needed to be a bit longer. So I really liked that because I had shortened my words before. I've shortened paragraphs out of my writing before because it was too long, so this was just a perfect fit.
ERICA: Well, we are very glad to give you the room to move. And when you are not writing and making content for your Instagram and for YouTube, what do you do? How do you spend your time?
CAITLIN FLADAGER: I have a young dog at home so I take him for walks. I love to spend quality time with my kids and my husband where I'm not filming or making things with them. I really love to hang out with my family, I'm super close with my parents. They live about 10 minutes away from my house so every Sunday, we come for family dinners, we will hang out with the kids and just have family barbecues a lot of the time, so family time is really, really important to me.
ERICA: Tell me a little bit about your kids. How old are they?
CAITLIN FLADAGER: Oh my goodness. They just turned seven and nine. They are the greatest kids. They're so smart, they're so funny. They're so in tune with their emotions and everyone around them. They're just really special kids. They're just finally growing up and finding who they are within themselves and it's really beautiful to watch.
ERICA: So seven and nine. What stage of life are they in? What are they into at the moment?
CAITLIN FLADAGER: Saying no to mom and dad, they're into that stage right now.
ERICA: That's a very important stage of life.
CAITLIN FLADAGER: Yes. They're testing the boundaries, and I'm still learning how to be a parent myself with each new stage that comes so it's a challenge for both of us and we're all learning and growing and trying to figure that out together. But they're really into outside right now and dirt and worms, and all that kid stuff that I'm so glad they're still into too.
ERICA: You write about first dates, so I'd love to hear about the first time you met your husband.
CAITLIN FLADAGER: It feels so long ago. I met him in 2010. We met at the mall and that was where we actually had our first date. It was at the food court and we just got Chinese and ate that with our little pops and or sodas, we call it pop here in Canada, and that was our first date. It was about half an hour and I was nervous the whole time, I don't think I remember anything from that date, and now, here we are 12 years later with two kids.
ERICA: How did you find each other?
CAITLIN FLADAGER: My best friend at the time was seeing his best friend. So we were still super young, 15, 16. We weren't allowed to go on dates by ourselves so we had to bring a friend, so that's what they both did and then we were the friends that were brought.
ERICA: And how did you know? What did you feel when you met him?
CAITLIN FLADAGER: I remember I took my girlfriend's, the boy that she was interested in, I took his phone because that was his friend, my husband's friend, and I wrote on his phone on his notes and I said, "Your friend is so cute. Is he single?" And they just laughed at me and I just remember thinking, "Wow, that guy looks like Justin Bieber. He's so cute and I really want to get to know him better." He had that flippy hair and that was big back then, and I just felt something. Even still to this day, I remember those feelings, those butterflies in my stomach. I was so young, he was really my first real boyfriend, but I had never felt that before.
ERICA: Tell me why you wrote this particular piece. What inspired you to write about your relationship in this way?
CAITLIN FLADAGER: I think I just really like being honest about what I'm going through in the time and I'm not afraid to say or talk about things that a lot of people are. And I have friends that are married and I've heard them talk about this piece that I've written about before in the way that I talked about it, but they're almost scared to admit these feelings of jealousy or sadness or doubt or whatever it may be. And I took that as I'm not the only one that feels this way. Once in a while, I really want to connect with others who might be feeling this way, but there is always that fear of what if I'm the only one that feels this way? So that's why I do like writing, because I just go, "Okay, I'm putting it out there into the world, whoever connects with it, connects with it." And whoever needs to read it, then if it helps one person, then that's all I can ask for. It helped me by writing it.
ERICA: In your piece, you write about feeling jealous of someone having those first date butterflies, that feeling of excitement. Could you talk a bit more about the moment when you feel yourself go from jealousy to gratitude? What was that moment really like?
CAITLIN FLADAGER: I vividly remember that night. I was sitting with my single friend and she was telling me all about her stories and how she doesn't have a care in the world basically, and I just was thinking, okay, I got to go home. I have to do bedtime, I have to fight with my husband about who's going to put the kids to bed because they come out a million times, who's going to give them their cups of water that they keep coming out for, and I just sat there for a minute thinking, "I wish this wasn't my life honestly,". We were also going through a very hard time. My husband and I have had a ton of ups and downs in the 12 years we've been together so I feel like that was also, we were in a down moment.
CAITLIN FLADAGER: Around the birth of my kids was a really hard time for my son especially. He had colic so he cried nonstop for nine months. That put a real strain on our relationship. We were constantly putting our frustration on each other so that was really hard to come out of that after eight or nine months of doing that and trying to find the balance of, okay, our son doesn't cry all the time anymore. How are we going to get back to how we were before he was born? So that was a really, really hard challenge that we had to overcome. Also having kids so young too, that was really hard in our relationship, and living with our parents with a young kid, it was all just very, very challenging.
And also hearing all of her stories, I just let jealousy get the best of me and that's when I got home, and what I explained had happened, the kids were coming out a million times, but it was when I was washing the dishes, he came up and started helping me and he had a movie night planned for me. And not that I need those specific things to feel loved by him all the time. I think it was a bad week, it was a bad day hearing her stories, and then him doing that that exact day just reaffirmed, Caitlin grow up. This is silly. You have a great relationship, you have a great marriage, you have great kids. But I do still feel it is normal to feel those feelings in a long term relationship and a lot of people are scared to admit that they have or felt those feelings.
ERICA: When's the last time you felt those butterflies with him? Maybe you feel them all the time.
CAITLIN FLADAGER: I definitely don't feel them all the time. To be honest, it gets hard with kids and we have businesses and he's so busy, and I find I still get those butterflies but it takes work to get them. We need to schedule time away from the kids or we need to plan something. It's not so much an everyday thing but last night, we simply went out for dinner, and just having a conversation with him without kids interrupting or our phones going off, I felt those feelings come back again. They do come and go. It's not an everyday thing for me. I can't speak for everyone's marriage but we've been through a lot in the 12 years we've been together and it's just all about finding that balance of real life and then still wanting to feel those butterflies.
ERICA: It sounds to me like you've both recognized the importance of asking for what you want. Do you think that makes a difference in a relationship?
CAITLIN FLADAGER: Oh yes, and I feel like now, there's almost this stigma that you're not supposed to ask for what you want in a relationship. They're supposed to guess or it comes off as too rude or you're asking for too much, but they're never going to know what you really need to feel loved inside or appreciated unless you're vocalizing it to them. They're never going to be able to read your mind. No matter how long you've been together, they're not going to know, they're not inside your head.
I just really always want to be honest about my marriage and my mental health, and I really just want wives and mothers and husbands and whatever they may identify as, that they're really not alone in these situations that people are afraid to admit when they're struggling or when their marriage is going through a lull. It's normal and it can be saved, but you need to talk about it openly for that to happen.
ERICA: What makes you so confident in being transparent and honest about your fears and doubts? Was that a journey or have you always been this way? Because again, a lot of people keep this stuff inside, but you've chosen to share it really widely. And of course, people have responded to it so warmly.
CAITLIN FLADAGER: Yeah, which is so great. It definitely was a journey. I do struggle with anxiety and I struggle with making friends in real life and all that stuff, so writing definitely was a way for me to also make friends from all over the world on the internet. It's an easier way for me to connect with people with my anxiety, and when I'm writing, it's almost like I'm stepping outside of my anxious body and I'm stepping into someone who just knows it's okay to struggle, it's okay to admit when you're going through tough things. It's like a separate side of me almost when I'm writing, another me just comes out and I'm ready to share it all.
ERICA: Once again, that was Caitlin Fladager. All writing is in some way autobiographical, but it’s so admirable the degree to which Caitlin is willing to make her work so revealing. She does so, as she said, to connect; to let readers know that they are not alone.
Next time on Write Here, Write Now, we’ll hear an essay that encourages connection in its own way: by asking questions. That will be “Everyone Has a Yellow Coat” by Flora Weston.
ERICA: Whoever you are, whatever your story, Vocal belongs to you. If you liked the show, come be a part of where it all got started. Join me and the rest of our brilliant Creators on Vocal.media. We hope you'll join our community, where you can post, read and comment.
If you like what you hear, join us for season two of Write Here, Write Now, when we dive into stories from the Vocal plus Fiction Anthology. And of course- be sure to rate, review and subscribe to Write Here, Write Now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. I’m Erica Wagner- thanks for listening.
Write Here, Write Now is produced by Vocal in partnership with Pod People. Special thanks to our production team: Jacob Frommer and Andrew Herwitz and the team at Pod People: Rachael King, Matt Sav, Aimee Machado, Ashton Carter, Rebecca Chaisson, Carter Wogahn, and Morgane Fousse.
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About the Creator
Write Here, Write Now: A Vocal Podcast
Sex, death, relationships, nature, families... If you like to stop, think and consider things a little differently, join host Erica Wagner as she introduces a new Vocal creator’s story each week.
Nice article, love it
In life, we must not live to please others, otherwise we may end up losing our true selves.
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This very nice story, being confident is good