Tuesday, September 10, 2013

World Suicide Prevention Day 2013

My day has been totally hijacked because I can't look anywhere without seeing or hearing information about today, World Suicide Prevention Day.

I'm sad because instead of having a friend to help and comfort, I have lost a friend and have spent the day mourning him. But as I sit here with a tear-stained face and re-live all of the pain your absence has caused in my life, I cry more because I can't begin to understand the depths of your despair that led you to your final moments. I'll never understand how sad you were, even as you confided in me and asked for help. I'll never understand your desperation and your desires to end a life that was causing you so much pain.

If all I ever have is fond memories of you and an aching pain that never lets up, I'll gladly live with it because it was still worth the friendship and unconditional love you gave me for 11 years. I just wish you'd have given it one more chance, B. In fact, I wish so many things. I wish you had come to visit instead of canceling our plans. I wish you had thought to call me and let me talk you out of it one more time. I wish you had slept on the decision, and I wish you had chickened out at the last second.

I'll spend the rest of my life missing you and wishing I could have done more.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Best Gift

Anger is so exhausting.

I spent a lot of years being mad at someone and I was so convincing in my anger and outrage that even years after those feelings had subsided he was too terrified to apologize. A part of me wants to think, "job well done!" But I also think, "Oh sheesh, what a waste of time and energy that was."

Some backstory: 
When I was young and dumb I met an equally young and dumb guy. Awkward together and both lacking in the self esteem department, we embarked on a bizarre, thrilling, and sometimes frustrating and heartbreaking journey.

It's often hard to tell when I think back, but I think this guy really loved me. At least I felt like he did. And yet he did some really awful things. He wasn't supportive, he was lazy to reciprocate his feelings, he was selfish, he was secretive, he was angry... He was in his early 20's. I think that explains it all, really. I don't think he was any different from most guys his age but at the time it was something I couldn't wrap my head around.

So while we fell in love and things were mostly great in the beginning, we were young. I saw our paths joining into one and he saw them separating at some point. Or maybe he never saw them together at all! And the thing is, if someone offers you the chance to have your cake and eat it too, why would you turn it down? So all these years later when I think about who I am as a result of being deceived, who I am as a result of being rejected, I still like myself. How can I hate someone who helped shape who I am today? I can't say the memories of the bad times aren't there, or that they don't cause some continued aches and pains. But there are also lots of fond, fun memories we shared peppered in there, too.

Sometimes I think about relationships that followed and wonder if they were also abusive (in some form or another) because of the emotional damage I had suffered. It sounds harsh to say that about someone who didn't physically harm me, but it was textbook abuse in many other ways. I think there are just two sides to understand with situations like this and here's my personal perspective: (Note that it's always important to try to rationalize both why and how someone can cheat, and don't focus solely on the action of cheating.)

The boyfriend: Young, selfish, confused. He loved me, I know it. But he wasn't ready to make lifelong commitments or promises. He doubted himself, he felt pressured by me, by our friends, and by our families to make big decisions about his future when he hadn't even really thought that far ahead. So even though we had a solid friendship, even though he (presumably) cared deeply about me, he also wanted to know a life without me. A life where he could sleep with different people, flirt, explore and well, just be a guy in his 20's.

Me: Also confused. I think as a young woman I had been socialized to love love. I wanted love, I wanted life to be like a fairytale, and I had unrealistic expectations of life, love and monogamy because all I knew about relationships was what I'd seen on TV and watched in movies. I spent my childhood years trying to imagine what my future husband would look like. I spent my teenage years hoping he'd be Gavin Rossdale or Brad Pitt. Then I spent my early twenties hoping he'd finally just appear in my life. I'd have a boyfriend and think, "Is this it? Is he the one?" And being hopeful, I unintentionally tried to make that boyfriend the one. I didn't wait to see if he really fit the mold of what I was looking for, I didn't wait to mature and see if we really were truly compatible as partners. I just hoped that if I loved him hard enough, if I was loyal enough, and if I was pretty enough, he (whichever guy he was at the time) would realize I was a catch and agree that yes, we were perfect for each other. Then life would be, like... Totally perfect, right?! Duh!

So to cut to the end, our breakup was hard. It was drawn out. It was brought on by fighting, distrust, and eventually unintentionally really finally learning that he had cheated. After suspecting it for a while, after asking about it, after finding actual evidence (I know, I know...I'm dumb!), we finally had a talk about what what going on. Instead of facing me and admitting the worst, I suspect -as it would be for any person- that just breaking up and cutting ties would have been easiest for him. So that's what he attempted. But "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!" Already broken from my findings, it made sense at the time to want to piece this all together. Who's the first person you cheated with? When? Was she better than me? How long did this go on? Do all of your friends know? Is this why this other girl always hated me? Was it in our bed? Did you wear condoms?

Separating myself from the situation I can now understand that the answers to those questions don't actually matter. But at the time, especially when I was younger, it wasn't just about putting me at risk for STDs, it was about lying to my face; Telling me daily he loved me when he'd spent his workday messaging other women and arranging secret meet-ups. Telling me I was "crazy" and to stop "interrogating" him. Telling me he "needed space" when he really intended to use that space to see other people... It was a lot to absorb all at once. When people are cheated on it's actually more of an external issue than an internal one. I spent years of my life thinking, "what did I do wrong? What could I have done better? Am I unworthy of love? Am I not pretty enough? Am I not smart enough? Why did I drive him away?" I was losing not just a boyfriend, but my best friend. In fact, in the days following the break up, I also lost my job. Bosses don't tend to care much about emotional stress and the words, "this shouldn't get in the way of your ability to do your job" were left in a voicemail to me, telling me not to come back to work anymore.

It was a tough, and long recovery. I wanted to hate, I wanted to hurt, hell, I wanted to key his car and steal is damn dog! But as time wore on I realized that my best revenge was to just disappear. The less I knew about him, the better. And really, the less he knew about me, the better. If he could discard our relationship and move on, why give him the impression that my energy was being wasted crying over the loss of someone who didn't even want me? So I took that energy to exact my revenge. The revenge of the high road. I thought if he was left in the dark about what I was up to, if I was happy, if I was ok - it might be good for both of us. I didn't want to know if he was Googling me, I didn't want to know if he was missing me, and I certainly didn't want him to know I was still missing him.

As I've wised up a bit and realized that love is a selfish quest, I've also learned that love is difficult. The beauty of love is that you can lose it. It's often fleeting, it's lopsided, and it's unfair. But that's sort of awesome! In recent years I've come to actually look back fondly on that relationship and laugh about how I had blamed myself when it wasn't really about me at all. Was I perfect? No. I certainly didn't deserved to be lied to, but when I tried to understand the other side, I think I would have done the same thing. It's certainly far easier to tell someone a lie in an effort to keep them safe and happy than it is to devastate someone and say, "You know, I think I'd like to sleep around and this just isn't working."

I think sometimes too that maybe he was thinking, "Well, this other opportunity is exciting so I'll see where it goes. I don't want to break up with my girlfriend though, just in case this side project is a mistake. I do love her, but I just need some space and some other opportunities." Is it right? Certainly not. Not when at least one party is expecting the other to be monogamous. But is it common? Absolutely. I also think that it's difficult for people to be honest when the truth is painful. In other relationships I've evaded the truth to save from hurting someone when it wasn't necessary. The old, "it's not you, it's me" trick. Plus, if you tell someone you've cheated, chances are that they'll be pretty pissed and they'll dump you. So who knows, maybe he was planning to figure things out and if I left him, he'd lose that power he had if he'd just kept things a secret.

So where am I going with this long, drawn out story? He messaged me last night. After no calls, texts, emails, or any communication since 2006. And what followed was a two hour conversation and apology. It was intense, it was awesome, and it was stupid we didn't figure this out seven years ago.

It's been on my mind all day and while I feel a huge sense of relief, I have to admit a small part of me never wanted him to find out I had forgiven him. It's as if I've handed the power back to him and admitted that what he did was ok. And it's really not! But do I understand it? Sure. Do I blame him? Nah. I can be an intense person, I can be needy, and I just really wanted someone to love me. Anyone. But don't I deserve for the right person to love me? And doesn't he deserve the same?

I go back and forth. He said he felt relieved to know that I don't hate him and he's felt bad all these years later. Admittedly, I'm not 100% certain I really buy it but it felt good to hear. And I feel validated because he did take time to say nice things to me and attempt to make sure I understood that his intentions were never to hurt me. And that's the moral of all of this, I suppose. Mistakes or not, I know that at the time this all blew up he hadn't thought about the long term affects of his actions. He wasn't thinking about my experience or my self esteem - he was wrapped up in his own issues and insecurities. He lied because he was trying not to hurt me.

What's best is - he told me he felt good to know that I'm not mad anymore. But I had no idea that I would feel better finally admitting that to him. I feel like this was a gift. I got so much closure from our conversation and all day I've really felt at peace with everything. I feel good knowing we can look back and laugh about it. I feel good knowing that even if I wasn't the right person for him, I made a big enough impact that at some point he felt like it was important to tell me he was sorry. Wow.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bullet With Butterfly Wings

It's been more than 5 months since you fell dead into the Willamette River.

That sentence seems so harsh and the term "dead" seems so cold and abrupt. But that's how you left me. That's how you left us, your friends and family. Under the St. John's Bridge, in all its glory. You loved that bridge and it wasn't until you really did it that it all made sense to me.

In the days following your departure I spoke with a number of your Portland friends and family members. I want to be selfish and blame you for how alone I feel sometimes. I want to yell and scream at you for abandoning me and for suddenly being gone after eleven years. But I think and reflect on so many things you'd said to me and how in all the years I knew you, you had felt alone. Sometimes I feel like the most selfish person in the world because from you, I had it all. In you I had a true friend and confidant. In you I had someone to talk to, someone who listened, someone who made me laugh and someone who loved me unconditionally. But for you it wasn't enough and I feel like I failed you as a friend. Was I not all of those things to you? I failed to support you appropriately and I failed to save your life.

When I lay awake, haunted by images of the bridge, the police trying to save you, and then having to  drag your lifeless, bloodied body from water, I am in agony. I try to remind myself that the pain I feel as a result of your loss couldn't have compared to the pain you felt leading up to your final moments. But I tried hard to be a supportive, loving friend. Did you not call me because you thought I would change your mind? Did you not ask for my help because you no longer wanted it? We spoke days earlier and I begged you not to do it. I cried and pleaded and asked you never to do that to me or your family.

There were times during our friendship that I took advantage of your kindness. Remember that night you drove me to Fremont to collect my belongings from Alfredo's house? Remember how patiently you waited for me while I sobbed in the arms of someone who treated me like crap for all those years? And before that, all those fights he and I had, you were always the person who dropped everything to come help take care of me. The deliveries of Gushers and the handwritten letters and the card with the humpback whale... Oh! And Da Ali G Show.

Remember when you got in your car and drove from Santa Rosa to Santa Barbara in the middle of the night? And the 3-day road trip we had through Central California? I remember the Sleepy Hollow Motel in Solvang with its little yellow-tiled bathroom with a shower stall. I remember the double bed we shared as we spent our first night together since we had broken up a few years before. You always respected my space and made me feel comforted without even touching me. Just your presence was all I needed to feel safe. And the next day we stayed at The Madonna Inn! Remember the name of our room? She-Daisy! An all pink room. Bubblegum pink! You let me pick it out even though I know you wanted the blue room instead. We had a pink toilet, a pink tiled shower, (with a bench!) a pink bed with pink carpet, a pink couch, and those funny pink bathrobes. You even let me take your photo in that bathrobe after much convincing. Did you know that out of respect for you, I never developed that roll of film? You were terrified of being seen in that robe and I decided to keep those hysterical memories to myself. You had driven all that way to help me and when we fell asleep in SLO at The Madonna, we fell asleep holding hands. It was the simplest, kindest gesture. It was so you.

You even helped me move to Seattle and again we road tripped through CA and then Oregon. We stayed on a crummy air mattress and explored the city at night. You were always there for me.

I remember so much of all those years. I remember your first dorm room, your roommate's Bob Marley poster and his Irish flag. And you with your Nirvana poster! I remember your plans for your 27th birthday... You'll be 30 in just 29 days. Or you would have been, rather. Sometimes I am thankful for the extra two years you gave the world. Among all of the memories, I can still remember your smell, your super straight hair that stood right up, the twinkle in your eye and the feel of your hands in mine. And I don't think we've even held hands since that day back in 2006 at The Madonna! You always had super short nails. I remember you had even gotten blood poisoning from biting them so badly and getting hangnails. And your skin was always a little rough because you never used lotion. Ha!

Your sister has been so brave and so gracious towards me. She sent me a care package of items I requested that had belonged to you. I've also shared some of those things with Kay. We've become friends through this and her support has been immeasurable. One of the items in the box was a CD I had burned for you for your 21st birthday. In it I had left a note telling you, "I hope we'll be friends forever." What hurt more than re-reading that sentence was the fact that I had no memory of this gift. I don't remember if I made it in Boston, I don't remember how you got it, I don't remember any of it. I'm honored that you kept it all these years but I'm heartbroken to realize that if there are memories I no longer have, I can't count on you to help me remember. I never truly imagined a day where you weren't in my life and where I couldn't depend on you. And now, five months after you left, I have so many questions and so many fears about losing more memories from our friendship. Was I a good friend to you? Was I part of the reason you left? Is it something I said or did? Sometimes I feel responsible because I could be short with you or be too blunt. Sometimes I felt frustrated that you had been drinking and I lost patience with you. We never fought but I deeply regret not being kinder and more understanding. I was always there when you needed me and I answered your calls no matter what. But that doesn't mean that I couldn't have done more. I could have listened more intently. I could have tried harder to get you help. I should have told your family about the depths of your depression sooner and more often. I can think of a hundred "I could'ves." I wish you had come to Seattle for New Years and I should have insisted even though you backed out last minute. I had never known you to cancel plans and I knew when you flaked on me that something was wrong. Do you know that I actually expressed concern with other people? I thought you were going to do it on NYE. Then when you texted me the next morning I felt so relieved that I let my guard down. I thought it was a false alarm. I thought I overreacted. I thought that after eleven years of 'talk' you wouldn't really do it.

I was so frantic and panicked after finding out that I drove to Portland. I had initially wanted to wait to ensure that I respected your family and didn't disturb them by showing up to your house. But I became so hysterical and nervous that I made the trip one morning just to sit at the river's edge alone. I hadn't spoken to anyone at this point except for your sister. I just wanted to be near you and breathe the air you last breathed. Maybe step my foot in a footprint you drove into the ground with your shoe that day. I just needed to walk that same last walk you made to the river under the bridge. After reading the police reports I had known some of the details of the incident. I had known that you had left the house, walked past the police and calmly made your way to the water. I had known that you pulled out your gun. And from what I read it was instant. Knowing you, there was no turning back. There was no hoping to survive. You were always so black and white. I know now that you made the decision during our last phone call, you just hadn't decided when. I remember the calm that came over you when we spoke that night and how you said you felt better because we had talked. You thanked me for listening and you said goodbye. At the time I thought it was because I had convinced you to calm down and think about the consequences. To think about how it would hurt so many people that loved you. But now I realize you were calm because you were finally ready to go.

I'm so terrified of death. In recent years I've become so squeamish that I've almost fainted when getting my ears double-pierced. But when I followed that long winding path down to the river I looked for any signs of you. I looked for any signs of what could have been left behind. It's morbid I know, but I needed something to connect me to you. I needed evidence that you were there so I could be in that same spot and try to absorb some of the energy you had left behind. I can't explain what I needed but I just needed to be as close to you as I could be now that you were gone. I sat on benches, I looked in the grass, I looked for places that made sense. I know you did this for you, not for anyone else. I know you didn't want to hurt anyone, scare anyone or make a mess. I know you liked that Cathedral Park was a happy place for weddings and picnics It was a good place to take Jelly for walks. I kept looking for the spot where you fell until I reached the water's edge. That's when I found it. Standing on a concrete slab overlooking the water as it gently splashed up against the rocks, I looked down to my right along the shore and saw dozens of footsteps. Tracks like there had been a frenzy of activity on this small stretch of land that kissed the water. Less than ten square feet of wet dirt. My heart skipped a beat and I could feel my pulse in my throat. I noticed a wet, black shirt all balled up. Was it yours? Did they tear it off of you while they attempted to resuscitate you? You almost always wore black. Terrified, I left the shirt alone and tried to concentrate on you while people strolled past on their morning walks.

In the days and weeks that followed those moments I was so concerned about distance. The gap between when I had last heard you speak, when I had last seen you in person, when I had last hugged you and told you how much you meant to me. Now that gap widens everyday and instead of worrying about time elapsing, I've become afraid of you. That box with your CDs, the letters, your obituary, your photos, your t-shirts... I can't look at it anymore. I can't open in. Like a crazy person I put your shirts into Ziplock bags to preserve your scent. A few times I had opened them to smell them but now I won't. I can't wear them, touch them or even open the bags anymore. Instead of being sad and wanting to be near you, I'm so haunted and frightened and hurt that I want to push you away. I haven't talked to Kay or your sister in months. Sometimes I can't sleep at night because I lay awake thinking about what you looked like in the morgue. I think about how long you were in the refrigerator and how you were exposed, naked in there all alone. I think about your toe tag, I think about embalming fluids, and I think about your head.

Kay had mentioned to me a few months ago that you had written a blog. Why didn't you tell me?! I read all 200+ posts that night in the dark on my cellphone. Some were hysterical and they made me smile. (Like the one about tract houses or the one that simply said "bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb.") But many were sad. In one of them you specifically mentioned pointing a gun at your face. Did you do that on Jan 7th? I try to envision the moment of your death and I try to imagine whether you aimed at your temple, through your mouth or in your face. You were always so thorough and so black and white. I know you wanted this to be the end.

You and I never had fights or arguments but sometimes we disagreed. Do you remember the one thing we never agreed upon? Guns. I don't want to throw it in your face now but I'm so angry that you owned a gun. I'm so angry that you had access to one. And I was always angry about it. That's why we broke up all those years ago. I know you'd be here if you didn't have guns in your bedroom closet. In all of your talks about death you had never envisioned a scenario where you did it any other way. Not via tall buildings or bridges, no ropes or pills or knives. I can't think of any other way to say it but you wanted to go out with a bang. You wanted it to be shocking, you wanted it to be "manly" and you wanted it to be permanent. You wanted it to reflect just how agonizing life had been.

You and I don't believe in God but I do often wonder if there's an afterlife. I hope for it now that you're gone. Or at least some way for you to re-visit me, see me and know what I think and feel after your death. I want to be able to communicate with you and I want to know that you're finally at peace. And I want you to know how hard this is. I want you to witness the pain you've caused. But I am scared to find out that you regret what you did or that you wish things had been different.

In a letter your sister wrote to me she told me a story about a show-and-tell event at your middle school. You had brought Melancholy & The Infinite Sadness to class one day. The album (and its name especially) speak volumes to me about how long you had been sad. This must've been in 1996-1997, sixteen years ago. I owned that Pumpkin's album too but you had a special way of really understanding music and listening to the lyrics and the notes on a level deeper than most people. You played "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" to the class and the teacher turned the song off after just a few seconds. And now I wonder... Bullets seem so frightening to me but the bullet in the chamber of your gun set you free. A bullet was finally the one thing in life that ended your pain. It ended the darkness, it ended the drinking, it ended the heartbreak, it ended the job struggles, it ended the commitment to being a landlord, it ended everything that kept you down. The bullet lifted you up and let you escape. I can't be mad for that but I will always be mad that you're gone. I may be selfish for that but I want you to know that I'll never stop hurting. And maybe that's what I get for not truly understanding your pain until it was too late. I always loved you, B. More than you could ever understand.

Friday, April 12, 2013

For Bryan.

As a small addition to my most recent post, I thought of something new to add. I was ranting about how people should be cautious about what they say and post online and I realized that even though I often think, "Why share anything at all? You're not that important!" sometimes you never know how what you say can affect people. Or how far you'll reach with your words.

The example I'm thinking of is the sudden loss of my best friend. He passed away on January 7th, 2013 at 11:53am. Just typing that makes me sick. I've been so blessed to have never had such an experience until now. The loss of a loved one is a pain I cannot ever wish upon even my worst enemies. And while we were the closest of friends for 11 years, he never told me he had a blog. It wasn't until another friend had told me she'd been reading it that I found out.

Like a little gift, he left behind his words for us to see and read. His FB page is long gone, he didn't have other social media accounts or share much online, but he did have this blog. In fact, he had it for years. Some nights I lie in bed reading his posts just to re-connect with him and feel closer to the last day he was alive.

So yes. While I am always thinking about the negative consequences of sharing online, and while I miss the days where people actually interacted offline more than via cellphones and computers, I am so grateful that I have this little piece of my friend living on the internet forever. Maybe the takeaway here is, imagine if you were dead tomorrow. What are you leaving behind? Something that people want to read or something they'd wish they hadn't seen? Thank you for your never ending sense of humor, B. Like I wrote you in a note on your birthday 11 years ago, I love you and I hope we'll be friends forever.

I've Been Thinking...

Every so often I'll think of a topic I feel like dumping into this blog but I hesitate and put it off. I struggle a lot with social media and am always amazed at how ready people are to share their lives online with the whole world. It's not that I don't know how to use social media, it's actually a huge part of my job. Almost all of it, in fact. But I mean, here I am just writing to no one and everyone all at once. My posts are not directed at anyone nor are they for anyone but me, yet I feel compelled to write in a public space and not in a notebook tucked away in a desk. What's with that?

Part of me wants to promise you (or me?) that the reason is because I type so much faster than I write. And that's true. But I suppose there's a small piece of me that's not ready to admit that it feels both secure and a little risky to just do a mind dump online. It's not like I'm promoting this blog or even telling people it exists. But there are still thousands of page views. That boggles my mind! Some days I think that's pretty cool. Who are you people and why are you here? How'd you find this blog? What do you think of it? But then I also wonder why I care. Why do I want this kind of attention from anonymous strangers? Why am I so important that people should even bother reading this crap?

Point is, I definitely don't want to contradict myself here. I just can't decide which way to feel about it all. And so I suppose in the meantime I'll try to keep a balance. I'll share some things but not all things. In most cases I think before I act when it comes to using the internet. But here I am on the internet publicly talking about how stupid and risky it can be to just say whatever you want to the world. Sigh...

There are extreme examples like college kids going on racist rants on YouTube, teenaged boys sharing graphic photos of classmates online after partying too hard the night before, teachers sending students videos of themselves naked... But even if I'm not that stupid, I can still make some major mistakes. We all can. And that's what bothers me most. That and just the pure crap some people put out there.

Recently the company I work for subjected all employees to a class about Sexual Harassment. Every two years you've got to take a class. Sort of like a smog check for your car. This past March I attended the class and while most of the time I was thinking, "Yeah, no shit that's a bad idea!" I did have a few ah-ha moments. For example, did you know if you're friends with co-workers/employers on social media you can put yourself at risk online? You might think, "No, this coworker is also a great friend. They will totally laugh at this too!" But who knows, maybe posting lewd jokes or photos with nudity can get you into some deep waters. Even if it doesn't violate the terms of FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. And I'm not even saying crazy things like racist comments or photos of yourself... Photos of ANYONE naked. Even those silly celebrity pictures that float around where people are fascinated to see what's under so and so's skirt or some nipple slip. Things that to you might deem to be tame but to others might be really awful to look at.

And remember, what you see as racist or bigoted might not be the same as someone else. I'm especially sensitive to jokes about race, gender and sexuality while some people aren't. Does that make them racist or bigoted for sharing a joke? Depends on who you ask. It's like that old adage, "If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Well if you tell a racist joke about one race or ethnicity to a group of people who don't belong to that same race/ethnicity, is it offensive?

Aside from sexuality and race there are lots of other hot topics to watch out for. I know some people really hate to see the world become a more PC place as they think people are being "too sensitive" but in many ways I welcome the changes.

Yet another hot topic people seem to want to discuss at length in public forums is politics. Remember the famous Cheerios stunt some guy pulled last year online? A man created a protest video online about some issues and the video wound up becoming viral. He made a fool of himself and ended up causing unnecessary drama at his job because he was so easy to find online. The company didn't want to be associated with the stunt so they fired him and a week later he was dead. He died of a heart attack! And you've got to wonder whether the attention he got from millions of people and the loss of his career attributed to that. Surely it did.

So far I feel like I'm coming up with rather obvious examples but even smaller ones are out there. In fact, I recall writing a post on this blog a few years back about my hatred of Facebook. And you know, I still hate that site but because of my job I actually have to have an account. In order to manage a company page it's required that you attach a personal page to it. So now I have Facebook. Again. And while I feel smart about my own use of my personal page, I was really feeling emotionally drained because of all of the content being shared on my wall. Friends and acquaintances talking about things as pointless as daily bowel movements to complaining about being single. Just incessant, mindless blabber. I kept thinking, "WHO WANTS TO KNOW THIS ABOUT YOU?!" Especially when you consider that most people on FB are friends with some family members and coworkers. Do you really want your cousins and aunts and bosses to see you whine daily about your failed dates and your inability to connect with people in an offline setting? I hate to sound angry but that's how I was feeling. So I finally did it. I went through all of my connections and spent hours editing my feed options so that I didn't have to be bombarded with all of this crap I wasn't interested in reading. What's saddest is many of these people are friends and people I really do like! I didn't want to de-friend them online, I just don't want to see 10 updates from them every day. I giggle a little bit knowing that they have no idea that I've removed myself from their streams of nonsense. And hey, maybe people do that to me too! No one's perfect. Maybe I am driving my own friends nuts with photos of painted fingernails and cats. But the end result was that I feel like I've lost 20 lbs of virtual weight. Now I'm in control of the information that's on my page and instead of complainers and whiners, I'm connected with people who are passionate and funny and creative. All of the posts from people I had a hard time staying in touch with are finally finding their way into my feed because it's not clogged with posts from people I'm not interested in hearing from on a very regular basis.

So yeah... That's what I've been thinking. Be careful with what you put online. Some people are rolling their eyes and some people might even be offended. Not thinking about what you post can result in people distancing themselves (like I did) or worse, you can lose friends or even your job.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Why Can't I Keep This Up?

We're all busy these days, aren't we? Every time I think about this blog I try to make it a point to be more active and contribute more often. Not because of the people following (is there even anyone out there?) but because it's a great space to dump things that are on my mind.

So let's get to what's new, where I've been, what I'm up to now, etc.

In the last year my life has gone from great to fan-fucking-tastic. I can't stress enough how important it is to really be selfish in love and in life. A few weeks ago I turned 30 and as I embark on a journey into this new decade I feel really proud of not just where I am, but where I've been. After all, without each and every experience I've had thus far, be it good or bad, these events have made me who I am.

Almost exactly a year ago I met my best friend, the man of my dreams, and the only person I could ever envision spending every waking moment with. And I shouldn't say a year ago because we actually met almost two years ago! But it wasn't until late last Winter that he asked me on our first date. A date which changed our lives. At the time we'd initially met we were just two familiar faces who'd often bump into each other at local events and parties. He was always so kind and quick to say hi. Always remembering my name I really admired him and thought he was such an interesting and genuinely good hearted person. Whodathunk he thought the same of me?! So in this short period of time we've gone and done some really crazy (and fun) things together. We've fallen in love, we've moved in, and we've begun a life together as a unit and a family. And never in my life did I think I'd do all of this so fast! But as my father has always told me, "Katy, when it happens, you'll know. You just know. It hits you like a ton of bricks."

Years back I was devastated by a break up. I was in my early twenties and I fell hard for a creative, funny and outrageous guy. And call me naive or even dumb but the yellow and red flags were always there. From the get-go I wasn't initially interested but he was so keen on spending time with me and flirting with me that eventually I decided to give things a go. Within months we ended up in a serious relationship and as I look back I see that it was something I had really pushed for. This was clearly the beginning of the end because as a young man in his twenties, he obviously had another agenda. And as I've grown and matured, I don't feel mad about this at all. How he went about it though is what I take (or took) issue with. It's tough to be honest and it's tough not to want to have your cake and eat it too. Especially if you're 23 and you have a penis! So this guy just really wanted to live and love and try new things. But because monogamy has always been important to me, it wasn't easy for him to flat out tell me that a serious relationship wasn't something he was interested in. He'd lose me. And I know he loved me and I know the reasons he lied to me about cheating were about not wanting to hurt me. I get it now. But when I did find out I was absolutely crushed. Cheating can really devastate a person. Especially when they're young and insecure. You're left thinking, "What did I do wrong?", "What about me isn't good enough?", "Why is she better than me?" When the real answer is that it isn't about you at all. It's about the person who can't be honest. I look back on the last time we ever spoke or saw each other and I recall him crying and telling me he was sorry. He felt bad. He did care and he just messed up. And for years I was still angry because of the pain it caused. No one can ever quite get over being deceived. Especially for two whole years! But now, 7 years later we're both better off. I'm sure he's spent these past few years having and enjoying those experiences he was looking for and I've spent the past few years looking for someone who did want a meaningful and lasting relationship. It was never meant to be and I'm so glad to have lived through the heartache to fully appreciate actual mutual love and respect.

I did have a few other long term relationships peppered in between that one ex and my current boyfriend as well. In fact, I had two more two-year relationships! (Hey, that's not bad for 7 years.) And from each of those I've learned a great deal about what I want, what I deserve and what I need from a partner. And whaddayaknow - My dad was right all this time! In fact, when he first told me that I'd know when I met the right person, it was while he was consoling me as I sobbed over the loss of that relationship. And since then he's had to tell it to me a few more times. HA! Each time I'd go through a break up, (though in these more recent relationships I was the one to call it off) I had to be reminded that I would've known if I were dating the right guy. And it's true. Each time I've ever dated anyone, even if it was something that fizzled after a few weeks or months, I'd always ask myself, "Does he feel like the one?" And low and behold, each time a little voice in my head told me, "Nah. I don't think so..." But like I have been guilty of in the past, everything that seemed like a yellow flag at the time, was really a big ass red flag. I just didn't want to face it!

So enough about the Mr. Wrongs and back to Mr. Right...

I was cautious yet excited. We met up to go on our first date and not only was he right on time, he chose my absolute favorite Seattle restaurant to wine and dine me! And being that I've always been the breadwinner in my relationships, I was really impressed and giddy about a full dinner and drinks experience. I never expect a date to pay for everything. Even on the first date. But I guess it's because I've always dated people who were broke or selfish or just not that into me? So we sat down, we decided what to order and we had a lovely meal, a lovely bottle of wine and an even lovelier conversation. Coming from past experiences where guys had always been really cheap, I felt uncomfortable about having him foot the bill. Even though he invited me to dinner, chose the place and literally told me he wanted to take me out and treat me. How lame is this? I sat there and told myself, "Katy, enjoy this. He's paying for this experience because you're worth it. He wants to treat you and show you he's interested." And it felt so good!

With other great dates to follow, it was clear within no time that this was different. He was different.

Unlike past experiences, we took things really slow at first. I was coming out of a really strange break up situation and he was looking out for himself. Wanting to make sure that we were dating because there was mutual interest, it was important that we move slowly to make sure that this wasn't some strange rebound or way to get good attention after having gone through yet another break up. I appreciated his honesty about the issue and admired that he was looking out for his best interests. I didn't want to be on the rebound and I certainly wanted to like him for who he was, not because he was just some new guy. In no time it was apparent to us both that this was something much bigger. After weeks of being afraid to even hold hands we finally had a conversation about how we were feeling and how weighty it was. Like a big warm blanket, I could really feel love like I'd never had before. It was so comforting and so reassuring. The absolute best moment of my life came when we were watching a movie together. As we battled these intense feelings it became hard to express ourselves without just being honest. He looked at me and just said, "Katy, I've fallen in love with you." Feeling exactly the same way, we embraced and each let out a sigh of relief. I thought, "Good. It's not just me?!" Weeks and months passed and discussions of living together came up. (His idea, not mine!) So again we had really open conversations about this and ultimately decided it made perfect sense. But what was crazy was that neither of us had ever lived with a significant other before. This was a really big deal and when I broached the subject with my parents I expected them to be unhappy. But they were thrilled! And yet again, there was another solid sign that it wasn't just me that knew he was Mr. Right, even my friends and family did. Of the dozen or so men I'd introduced to friends and family over the years, this was the only man that genuinely impressed everyone. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe that if it came down to some freak break-up, my parents would choose him over me!

So here were are a year later. Very much in love, very comfortable with our life together and very sure of our future. The timing of when the next big steps occur is all up in the air. I think after such a great year, why rush into anything? I have told many friends, some who've even gotten separated and divorced since, "If he's the man you're planning to be with forever - why get married ASAP?" And that's how I feel. At this point in our life we have so much to look forward to. If we got engaged it'd be thrilling but it's literally an event and a moment I've been excited about for 30 years! Then it'll be a memory, not something to look forward to. Same with planning a wedding and getting married. An actual wedding ceremony takes place over the course of just a few hours. THEN WHAT? I love the idea of dreaming and fantasizing about those moments and that day. It's coming, and it's not far off, but it's so exciting that it's still not here yet. Right now we're enjoying what we have and it's also wise to be aware that things change. I'm confident that he's the one. I absolutely know it. But regardless of that we still have plenty to learn from one another before taking any other big steps in life. I once knew a gal who met a man, got engaged, moved in and got married all within the span of about 18 months. This rush to get everything done caused a lot of strain in their relationship. So much so that they were in couples therapy before they even got married! And to each his own, but doesn't that seem odd? If you can't have a successful, smooth and easy courtship, isn't that a sign that marriage is not in the cards? It's terribly sad it didn't last, but not terribly surprising. And though I feel bad that the relationship dissolved, I think a lot of the answers and red flags were in their faces the whole time. Yet who wants to face all of that pain? I've certainly tried to make broken relationships work! At the time it seems easier to try to fix something that's broken than to have to go start the dating process all over again. But in the long run it just doesn't work. And finally, FINALLY at 30 I've figured that out.

Love, when it's right, is easy. I don't feel insecure, I don't feel doubtful, and I don't question this relationship at all. For the first time I'm with someone who puts 100% into the relationship and tells me each day how much I mean to him. I literally lay awake at night and smile just looking at him and feeling thankful that he's a part of my life. And with absolute conviction I can say that I know there's someone out there for everyone. There were times that I felt hopeless. A good friend and I used to joke that my "picker" was broken and that for some reason I only knew how to date people that were wrong for me. I'm not sure whether it was age, experience, or fate, but I found my perfect match and boy was it obvious that he was the right one. I think the greatest gift my dad has ever given me was that advice he gave me way back when. Thank you, Dad.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Moving Time

After 4 years in the same little box I call an apartment, I'm FINALLY moving! It feels good. I'm upgrading in square footage, I'm getting a whole new view, and to go with it - brand new furniture! I've been hesitant to move for years because of how much I love my current apartment. But sometimes change is good and because I work from home I think it's important to have an office space in addition to a full bedroom. This will be such a big improvement from this teeny weeny studio! It's nearly 2am and all I can think about is packing boxes. I just hope Moxie will love the new place as much as I know I will. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


What's the deal with Facebook? I feel like the only person between 16-60 who doesn't have an account! And yes, I mean that.

People often take offense or give me a shocked look when I say, "I don't have a Facebook account." I'm not lying or boasting. I just hate that site.

Here's the deal. I'm not pretending to be too cool for it, I just get nothing from it. For a while I was good at managing the number of people on my friends list. I agree it's a fantastic way to keep in touch with people whom you haven't seen or talked to in a while. Old college roommates, kids from elementary school, people you've met abroad, etc. But it's also a silly way for ex-boyfriends to stalk you, employers to watch you, etc.

A couple of years ago when I had a profile I was able to manage the content quite easily. Whether I wanted to block specific people or be invisible to the general public, I felt quite well hidden. Then suddenly the ability to be private on Facebook went away and the site made it impossible for people to have private profiles. I don't consider myself to be too private of a person but I really didn't like that anyone could search for me, find me and send me a message.

I've heard they've made changes to the site yet again and you can go back to being invisible. It's too late though. As soon as I dumped FB I felt like I lost virtual weight. Suddenly people that always felt at arm's length were calling me and emailing me lengthy updates about themselves. It was great! All these years I felt like a 'status update' every few weeks was keeping me in-the-know about my friends but it was actually just keeping us from having real conversations. Good riddance FB!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Worst Roommate EVAR!

I know what you're thinking. Why do you have a roommate when you're 28 years old?

Well, here's the story.

I moved to Seattle to escape charges. No! Sorry, I meant to say to escape a relationship. We've all dated losers right? Well, I thought, "that's it. I'm starting over. New life, new job, new state!" I packed up and ditched that dirtbag.

Then low and behold, just 8 months after moving to Seattle I find myself stuck with another dud. This time it's not a partner but a roommate. After nearly 4 years we're still sharing a 450 sq ft studio in downtown Seattle. Why?

Well, let's start with the good things.

She is a good listener, she's very patient, she is a great secret keeper and she's there for me when I'm upset. I really do love her to pieces but there's just some obvious communication issues. I feel like I say something and it's in one ear and out the other. We don't always see eye to eye.

Sharing space with someone is about respecting privacy, about being quiet in the middle of the night and about sharing responsibilities.

At this very moment she's on my bed hogging the blankets. In almost 4 years of cohabitating she's never once offered to do me a favor, she's never thanked me for paying rent, for doing the dishes, the laundry, or buying the food. Yes, that's right - I buy the food! I also pay the rent and even do all of the cleaning.

She's got arms! But no, she can't so much as grab a mop or utter a thank you or even a simple hello when I come home from work. Some days I wonder why I take on all of this work when I have a job and she doesn't. It'd be one thing if she were the bread winner but I literally do everything.

So why bother?

Cuz she's the best cat ever!

And We're Back!

Wow! What a lame blogger I am. It's been just over a year since my last post. I need to get back to this dashboard more often and share some more stories to my audience of 8 out there :)

Maybe some of those stories will be about some of the following changes over the last year:

  • I'm no longer single (still unmarried!)
  • I'm the owner of a new car. And it WAS a good investment. Sorta.
  • I've got the best job in the world
  • I'm gonn wait a while before I try to buy a condo again...