I want to know your feelings, I want to know your name

As I mentioned in my last post, a guy at work has caught my eye. More than that, it seems like he (or my idea of him, which might be horribly misinformed) has decided to occupy my mind, leaned back in a chair, put its feet up, and made itself very comfortable there. I would use the word “obsessed,” but that doesn’t really fit. There’s nothing scary about it, I’m not about to set fire to his car if he won’t get coffee with me. I won’t be leaving strange gifts on his doorstep or driving by his house repeatedly (especially because I don’t know what/if he drives or where he lives.) We have spoken twice or maybe three times ever. I have no real expectations– he’s not my prince charming, I don’t expect him to be the love of my life, he’s just a ridiculously attractive and compelling person whose image is stuck in my mental overhead projector, which coincidentally I seem to be unable to turn off. So, not obsessed. Occupied. He disappeared for a month and then he came back, and Holy Crap, I couldn’t breathe when he walked in the room. I couldn’t make eye contact. I couldn’t say hello.

The other day, I wound up alone with a woman I know to be one of his friends, and screwed up the courage to ask if he is married and/or gay. He is neither.

He is mountains cooler than I am. Loads, tons, lots cooler than I am. And this… ahem, THIS… is not about him.

This is about me.

But here’s the background: A little over a month ago, I was at Radio Cab waiting to get assigned a car for the night. This involves waiting in a room with every other lease driver who wants a cab. And lo, Alex (his name is not actually Alex) turned around from a distance of approximately six feet and smiled at me. Like, a 180 degree turn. Smiled. At. Me. While looking directly at me. And the rest of the world stopped and I mumbled something about not remembering his name, and he said “I’m Alex. You’re Kate, right?” And I died and said something incredibly stupid, because I am Kate and he knew that. And I’m sure that for the rest of our time together waiting for cabs I smiled like someone who has been pleasantly lobotomized while internally berating myself for completely losing my cool.

So then I went out and bought new pants and broke up with my boyfriend. One smile from Alex, and the fact that he knew my name when I’d forgotten his (he is so pretty that I almost forgot my own name, too, so I’m glad he knew it) made me want to be a better person. It made me want to become the best version of myself I can be. Not so that he’ll like/love me. But so that I won’t feel so damned unworthy of that potential love. Because this guy– whoa Nelly, this guy is out of my goddamned league. I have fucked-up teeth, I’m fat, and I’m somewhat unhinged. I’m clawing my way out of madness and suicidal depression. I can be selfish, I have a temper, and sometimes my feet smell really bad.

The mixture of elation and hope combined with such a crushing sense of unworthiness really did a number on me. So I’ve been thinking very hard about where that insecurity comes from and what I can do to fix it.

And part of trying to fix it is figuring out how in the fuck I’m supposed to date now that I know I have borderline personality disorder.

Because, let’s say Alex agrees to go to coffee with me. How do I avoid coming off like a complete freak? How do I avoid letting him know that I know more about him that I rightfully should? How do I hide the fact that I’ve been thinking about him far more than I’m comfortable with since the middle of April?

How would knowing those things not terrify him, even if he did initially think that I’m ridiculously attractive and compelling? Would it even be fair to enter into a friendship/makeoutship without letting him know that I’m a bit prone to fixations and also, y’know, clinically emotionally unstable? How the hell am I supposed to ask somebody out when I’m reasonably confident that the truth would cause any man with a decent sense of self-preservation to bolt?

Is the solution to be single for awhile? I can handle that, I think, except that Alex is already wedged there in my mind and I know I’ll kick myself if I don’t get up the nerve to ask him to hang out sometime.

Is the solution to seek out people who have some understanding of my sort of issues who might not be immediately deterred by my intensity? Because I really don’t want to get into another relationship based around mutual brokenness.

And how do you just stop thinking about someone? Especially when you are prone to fixations, when crushes are your version of heroin, when you know that you’d be a fool to not at least try.

Every day he doesn’t show up at work (he doesn’t show up very often) I feel both relieved and disappointed. When he’s there, I’m almost paralyzed. Some days I spend time trying to become brave so that if he’s there, I’ll be able to sidle over and talk to him. But he’s only there when I’ve finally accepted that he probably won’t be.

If he, for whatever reason, declined the opportunity to get to know me better, I know that I would be disappointed and feel like an idiot for awhile. But at least I would have asked. At least I’d know and I wouldn’t have to wonder anymore. It’s the uncertainty that bothers me. The knowledge that there are only a few reasons why someone would turn around, look right at me, and smiiiile, and most of those reasons are good.

But whatever the reasons, whatever the outcome, this isn’t about him. Not really.

It’s about trying to be less intimidated, less scared of failure. It’s about realizing that risks are necessary for rewards. I’ve spent too long doubting myself, and I am really making good progress and doing well, and… maybe this guy isn’t so far out of my league after all. I have limited myself so much because I haven’t taken the leaps of faith necessary to start writing a book, working on my dreams, recording my music. This feeling of not-good-enough is keeping me from singing in public, building my media empire, living my dreams, and… talking to this hot guy at work.

So regardless of whether anything comes of it or not, this crush has inspired me to confront some of the self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that have been holding me back, and that is an amazing accidental gift that this guy has given me. I really hope he’ll let me express my gratitude with hot, caffeinated beverages, and possibly smooches.

give me a week or two to go absolutely cuckoo

I’ve been on an upswing. Not a steady one, and not without significant drop-offs here and there, but the last two years of my life have been a time of great improvement. I’m happier, more stable, and more at peace than I’ve ever been before or knew I could be.

Which is why today sucks so much.

Because, oh no, not again.

I have been depressed and anxious much of my life. Well-meaning friends sometimes ask “what are you depressed about?” which says, to me, that they’ve never been clinically depressed. I can always come up with reasons why I don’t feel good, but I’m depressed because I’m depressed because my brain is broken because the gods hate me because I was dropped on my head because my parents liked my brother better because the stars were misaligned on the day of my birth. Whatever. It’s biological. It’s no one’s fault. My body makes too many HOLY SHIT EVERYTHING IS FUCKED AND EVERYONE IS OUT TO GET YOU chemicals and LOVE IS DEAD AND YOU ARE UNLOVABLE AND ALSO UGLY chemicals and not enough YOU ARE HAPPY AND WARM AND EVERYTHING’S AWESOME chemicals to crowd out the screaming from the ones who are constantly flipping the fuck out or trying to get me to slit my wrists.

I take pills. I take them every day because they keep the evil brain chemicals at bay and let the happy brain chemicals skip through the alleys of my addled mind. I’m learning how to be an adult human! It’s interesting! Life is easier when your brain isn’t screaming at you or sobbing at you or telling you that the extremely attractive triathlete who is naked in bed next to you probably doesn’t want you there and wishes you’d go away even though he’s already invited you to stay for brunch in the morning.

The brunch went well. I hardly even embarrassed myself in front of his friends!

I am panicking, and it’s not the fault of or caused by the guy I’m seeing. He just happens to have come along at a time when I seem to be particularly susceptible to panicking.

From an IM conversation I’m having with my friend Michael:


So that’s happening. And I’m working a temp job, and I want to be working a non-temp job because I’d like to not be living in a garage anymore. And I should be sleeping right now but I’m not sleeping right now because panic attacks are like speed! Not that I’ve done speed! Hopefully getting my feelings out will allow me to relax. Sleep is important, even for the insane.

Last time I started losing my shit, about a year and a half ago, I knew I really needed help because I started feeling like my mom’s cleaning lady was deliberately following me around trying to annoy me by choosing to clean whatever room I was in. Also, I was bursting into tears all the time. That’s never a good sign. So I went back into therapy and got on pills. I think I need to find a doctor and a shrink here in Portland before I start to feel like my roommates are deliberately moving my stuff when I’m at work.

And I need to stop flipping out on the extremely attractive guy who’s been gracious enough to put up with the flipping out I’ve done so far. Awesome Stable Kate isn’t too distant a memory. I’m hoping she comes back soon and kicks Crazy Kate to the curb. For good this time.

only something new

For those of you new to my self-indulgent ramblings, here’s a summary:

Four and a half years ago, I met a guy and fell head-over-heels in love with the unfeeling bastard, and we dated for a year before I sabotaged the relationship on purpose because loving him and not being loved back was killing me.

Two years ago, after moving back to CA from Portland, I met someone else and dated him for 15 months before he suddenly and without explanation dumped me. That happened about ten months ago.

All caught up? Okay.

Well, for starters, I’m back in Portland. SURPRISE. I’ve been back for about a month. I love being here, and I plan to stay. I have a job, I’m staying with friends, life is good.

And I, uh, met someone, and he’s really neato, and I like him. It hasn’t been going on long enough for me to have any idea if it’s going anywhere, but caring about someone is dredging up a whole bunch of old shit that I apparently haven’t finished dealing with yet. Hooray.

So I’ve been watching Justified because it’s awesome, and Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins make it so I don’t have to think about how broken my heart still is, how sad I still am, how hard it is to trust, how much giving a shit about someone terrifies me.

But I realize that this isn’t about the guy I’m seeing. It’s about me. And I need to deal with my massive trust issues before I give myself an aneurysm or scare off this very nice person who seems rather fond of me.


But I’m back in Portland. I’ve gone swimming in rivers. I have a tan, or what passes for one. Life is good. I’m happy. And I believe that my life is going to go well, whether or not I have a boy to fawn over. Or even if I’m haunted by ghosts of lovers past.

whatever and ever, amen

So K is getting married. I know this because I am an idiot and I checked his Google+ page the other night.  And he’s getting married.  Whoop-dee-fucking-doo.  I’m happy for him.  But I don’t know whom to be more jealous of– her, because she has HIM, the love of my life, my cute geeky boy, blah blah blah– or HIM because he found someone he wants to spend the rest of his fucking life with and I’m alone, all alone, forever alone.

He was like my poly role model, people.  And then pretty much as soon as we broke it off, he hooked up with this [redacted], and now they’re getting MARRIED.

Yeah, yeah, move on.  I know.  I have.

But he’s seared into my soul.  Never loved anyone like that, not before, not since.  Blah blah blah.

I met someone.  He’s older than me.  He’s kind.  I don’t want to jinx it.  It’s new.  It’s open.

My poly role model is getting married, and here I am four years later, still doin’ the free-love thing.  Odd how things work out.

And it’s odd how meeting someone new can throw all these things from my past into such sharp relief.  I forgot what it feels like to let my guard down.  I forgot what it feels like to be adored back.  But now I remember.

One night with K, after some private adult aerobics, he rested his head on my chest for a few moments.  That may have been the closest he ever came to tenderness.  I can’t believe I was so in love with someone who wouldn’t/couldn’t/didn’t even hold me.  Or that I spent 15 months of the last two years with a guy– well, I’m done saying mean shit about Emery for now.  BUT I AM THINKING IT.

I deserve better.  I’m gonna go out and get it.

I really could use some emolliation right about now.

(Mr. E and I are playing a game of Lexulous on Facebook, and he’s winning.  The following conversation takes place)

Mr. E: prepare to be FB ameliorated
Kate: …honey?
ameliorated means “relieved.”
or eased.
Kate: http://www.merriam-webster.com/netdict/ameliorate
Mr. E: humm, sigh. facepalm
Kate: Now you know. Isn’t it nice to know?
Mr. E: I will *emolliate* you.
Mr. E:
and then ameliorate your ass.
Kate: You’re going to moisturize me?
Oh, honey.
Mr. E: With lotion.
Mr. E:
Kate: You mean “immolate.”
You sweet, precious thing.
Mr. E: fuck double facepalm
Kate: I feel great affection for you right now.
You know big words! Let’s just work on the definitions, shall we?

be my friend. hold me. wrap me up. unfold me.

I am happy.

This been going on for over a week now, so I feel like I have to comment on it.  It’s not like I’m gleeful every waking instant, but there’s a lot in my life right now to feel grateful for.

I found a job.  It doesn’t pay an awful lot, and the work itself isn’t anything special, but it’s a decent job indoors where I’m basically left alone, and everyone’s nice to me, and I can daydream all I want, and it gets me out of the house.

I have made friends in the last month.  Beautiful, amazing, wonderful friends.  Shout outs in particular to Cate and Danny, a big hearty thank-you to Michael, and hugs to all the other crazy-cool people I’ve met in the last month.  Has it only been a month?

And I’m seeing someone.  It’s very new and very undefined, but what it is mostly is very good.  I’ve decided to give him the blog-alias “Mr. E,” because it amuses me to do so.  He has an amazing smile and these crazy-blue eyes and we have a hell of a time together.  It’s good.  It’s so good.

I even made up with GT, such is the strength of my good will.

I’m happy.  I hope it lasts.

either i’m wrong or i’m perfectly right every time

I tend to freak out.


Something happened last night with GT.  And I don’t know how to say it here without scaring some of the more delicate members of my reading audience (sometimes a few dozen a day!) so let’s just say that I was upset by something that GT sent me.  And he wasn’t expecting me to freak out, but freak out I did.

So now I’m wondering whether he’s going to call it quits with me, and I hope he doesn’t, but… meh.  I feel like I’m being jerked around, and that’s one thing I really don’t need right now.  You either want me or you don’t.  There’s a point where flirting becomes cruel.  There’s a point where self-revelation is kind of callous if you’re not willing to back it up with actual intimacy.  I can’t sustain being in this much of a tizzy over someone who can’t get in touch with his own emotions to figure out what he wants from me.

He’s not a bad guy, and I don’t want to paint him as such.  But I don’t think he’s ready to take me on, and if he doesn’t decide soon whether he’s willing to try, I’m going to decide for him.  I’ve given him an out.

Now I’ve got to wait and see.

somehow i’m not impressed

For the last two and a half years, I’ve had an active profile on OkCupid.  When I first signed up, I was definitely not looking to get into another serious relationship.  After six years of solid couplehood (with Mike and his predecessors) I was ready to explore who I might be without a full-time boyfriend.

I met K on OkCupid, and he fit the requirements nicely: I had regular access to great company and really good sex, and I knew he’d run screaming if I tried to get him to settle down.  Perfect. I’d already had the idea of remaining autonomous, but meeting him really sealed it for me.  Here was someone who didn’t want to give up his freedom either.  He was both my role model and my consolation prize after years and years of trying to be somebody’s somebody.

I was free to date whomever I wanted, and I did.  Over time my ideas about what I wanted clarified, and my OkCupid profile changed as I figured out what did and did not work for me.  I had one date who seemed extremely nervous and wouldn’t even look at me, so that became part of the profile: must not be scared of girls.  Although I expressed my desire to remain single, a few people seemed to think they could convince me otherwise, so I made it extremely clear in my profile that I would not be swayed.

Time has passed.  K has an actual bonafide girlfriend now, which is so funny I could stab someone, and I’m in Carmel and thinking about my life and all the adventures/mistakes I’ve had/made and… reevaluating.

I’m thinking I might be ready to try to have an actual relationship again.  Gasp.  I’m not in a hurry and I won’t settle for just anyone.  I don’t want to repeat past mistakes.

There’s been this boy, whom I’ll  GT, and let me be clear, he is not currently in danger of becoming my one and only.  I’ve known GT for about a month and a half.  I met him, of course, on OkCupid, after I knew I was moving back down here but before I actually did, although I was down here (long story.)  We hung out once down here while I was visiting last month, and once in Portland (where he was visiting, long story) and once again here a couple of weeks ago. For awhile we were probably sending upwards of 100 texts back and forth each day. It was great!  So much flirting.  It got me through my move, having someone to text pictures of my cleavage to.  It gave me something to look forward to.

But I realized that I always sent the first text each day, I wrote the longer emails, I was the one asking when we could hang out again.  Just like I always do.  And although he returned my attention with a rewarding amount of enthusiasm, I couldn’t sustain it.  Trying to be clever, striving to be witty, always looking to get a different angle on the cleavage shots… it was exhausting.  Especially because I knew I was probably smothering him a bit.  Particularly because I knew I was making an absolute ass of myself.

To quote me:

I want someone who wants to be with me.  I don’t want to always be the one initiating contact.  I want to not be the one asking “when can I see you again?” while always suspicious that the other person would do just fine not seeing me again for awhile.  I’m tired of being the only one who calls, writes, plans because I fear that if I’m not the one to call or write or plan, the other person will just sort of forget about me.  If I don’t keep it going, it won’t go.  Why do I keep settling for that?

When I wrote that a couple of weeks ago, I was, of course, all in a tizzy about GT.  But I could have written that at so many points in my life, about K or several other people (“Amy” included.)  It’s a bad habit of mine, and I’ve made up my mind not to do it anymore.

It’s been three days since I’ve contacted GT.  I’m not ruling out seeing him again, but it’s gonna have to be his idea.  I’m done wanting people who don’t want me back.  It’s time to at least act like I have some goddamned self-respect.

But… but… I wrote this list awhile back of all the things I want in a man.  There’s, like, 70 things on the damned list and GT is about 65 of those things, and honestly, we’re grading on a fucking curve, so that’s an A+.  The list is based on all the things I’ve liked about all the boys I’ve loved, and… well, my brother pointed out to me recently that maybe looking for an amalgam of my exes isn’t such a stellar plan.  After all, it didn’t work out with any of them.   And though GT is a stunningly close approximation of what I’d imagine to be my perfect boyfriend, he’s missing one crucial part of it: he doesn’t want to be.  Just like K didn’t.  I find indifference so charming, don’t you?  No?  Maybe GT’s real role in my life is to be someone who reminds me of all the ways I’ve underestimated and undersold myself, the times I’ve thrown myself at people who didn’t really care about me, and to provide me with the opportunity to not do that this time.

…So I changed my OkCupid profile again.  And now it says, in part:

I want to be with someone who isn’t ambivalent about being with me. I’m tired of chasing after people and have decided not to do it anymore. If you want me, come get me.

I’ll try not to be hard to reach.

training myself not to care

I am intense.  While I think that’s an inherently stupid statement (what does it even mean?) it communicates an idea I don’t know how to say any other way.  I feel intensely, think intensely, express myself with great intensity.

It can be a great quality.  When I’m at my best, my intensity is like a turbo-charger for awesomeness.  But it can be overwhelming, how much I feel, think, talk… it can be a bad thing, too.

I’ve been throwing myself at someone for the last few weeks, seeing what sticks.  And he’s been remarkably game, very sweet and charming, and he hasn’t seemed too put-off by my obsessive late-night emails or my bizarre text messages.  I think I had him a little worried for a bit after I said I was going to drain his spinal fluid, but I convinced him that I wasn’t serious.  And there’s been a lot of flirting, racy (but not pornographic) photos exchanged, hundreds of text messages, several email exchanges, and we’ve hung out and had fun three times.  With kissing!

I’m fucking sick of this.

Not of the guy, he’s done nothing wrong.

I’m sick of settling for being tolerated and occasionally indulged but never, not really, cherished for my quirks.  I’m exhausted by my own desire to test people, to haze them by being as INTENSE as possible, to see… to see what?  If they can take it?  If they’ll return it?  I act crazier than I really am (quite a feat!) to see if they’ll be scared off, and if they aren’t, I act even crazier.

It’s easier to be a caricature of myself than it is to lay bare what I really am– scared.  And sad.  Weary and wary of the same mistakes I keep making, but still eager and willing to try again.  I’m looking for something real and sincere and, in its own odd way, wholesome.  So of course I make lots of jokes about chloroform and stealing sperm and strange sexual practices.  I’d rather be rejected for being too crazy for someone than for being, y’know, too me.

I have the ability to love with a great, big, forceful intensity.  I have a variety of awesome qualities that I’d like to believe more than compensate for my bad ones.  I’m very intelligent, I almost always smell good, I’m funny, and I try very hard to be kind.

What am I doing?  Why am I, once again, chasing after someone who doesn’t, when you get right down to it, want me?

So I’m trying very hard to scale it back a little.  Don’t bother the poor boy unless I have something to say.  Stop trying to test boundaries like a velociraptor throwing herself against an electrified fence in Jurassic Park, damn it, trying to find the weak spots.  I cannot trick anyone into wanting me.  I wouldn’t want to, even if I could.

And here’s the thing: I’m also afraid of commitment.  I don’t know that I’d want a serious relationship (with him or anyone) even if I could have it.  I don’t know how well I’d do living with someone again.  I don’t know if I want anyone having that much influence and control over my life again, and I don’t know how to be in a relationship without subjugating my will to the other person in all these huge and tiny ways until I lose myself, and lose all the qualities that drew my partner to me in the first place.

I could have a really cool friendship with this person, and instead I’m obsessing and worrying about what won’t or can’t be regardless of whether I’d actually want the things I can’t have.

I do want someone to love me back.  I want someone who wants to be with me.  I don’t want to always be the one initiating contact.  I want to not be the one asking “when can I see you again?” while always suspicious that the other person would do just fine not seeing me again for awhile.  I’m tired of being the only one who calls, writes, plans because I fear that if I’m not the one to call or write or plan, the other person will just sort of forget about me.  If I don’t keep it going, it won’t go.  Why do I keep settling for that?  Why don’t I just back off and wait and see instead of trying to force things?  It’s got to be easier than constantly throwing myself against that fucking electrified fence.

And it’s really not fair to the Object of My Affection, either.  Because rather than appreciating all the wonderful qualities of The Object, I’m just repeating the same behaviors that I act out for every boy.  Instead of approaching him as an individual, I’m treating him as just another boy.  Another object of fixation.  And that just isn’t very nice.  It could be awesome, even if it never goes anywhere.  And chances are, it isn’t going anywhere.

I stayed at his place Wednesday night, and when I was driving back down to Carmel, I had a lot of time to think.  Even though I’d had a great time, I felt very sad on that drive.  What I figured out is simple: I don’t want to keep making an ass of myself the way I have been.  Even though he’s been, as I said, lovely and game and all, I’m making myself sick.  I can’t do this anymore.

Someone will come along, eventually, who’ll appreciate my intensity.  Maybe what has to happen first is that I learn to give people enough room to walk away.  Otherwise I’m never going to stop thinking that the only reason these objects of my fixation spend time with me is that I’m bullying them into it.

I need to take people as they are.  And I need to stop being scared to show who I am.  Otherwise I’ll keep tearing myself apart trying to change things that are, in reality, kind of amazing just as they are.

don’t stand so close to me

A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about my attraction to the emotionally unavailable, and something I’ve sort of known for a long time became more lucid to me: involving myself with the emotionally unavailable frees me up to have a very active wish/hope/fantasy life.  Like this:

If I meet someone, and there’s a mutual attraction, and this fellow I’ve met happens to be really touchy-feely, and he wants to be with me, and he wants to move in and maybe talk about marriage and babies, that’s… horrifying.  I mean, nice, great, wonderful AT FIRST, but I don’t really know how to sustain that sort of relationship for longer than three months.  Whereas if I meet someone, and there’s a mutual attraction, and this fellow I’ve met happens to be more reserved, and he’s been burned in the past, and he doesn’t want to get married (and divorced [again]), well, it’s AWESOME.  And it might even stay awesome longer than three months!  Because here’s why:

I can still dream about marriage and babies and cohabitation and long walks on the whatever because IT IS NOT ACTUALLY HAPPENING, so there’s none of that tacky “reality” bullshit.  If you only see someone twice a week or three times a year, you don’t have as much exposure to all the profoundly disappointing/annoying aspects of their character, so it doesn’t bother you as much.  When one tries to actually build a life with someone else, there’s so much room for failure.  All that hope, just gone.  But if the Object of one’s affections always keeps one at arm’s length, well, one can dream of how lovely it would be if the Object would only let one a little closer.  One can enjoy a drink with the Object, and then go home by herself (maybe after a bit of shagging) and not have to deal with the Object’s gross drunk sleep farts.  Or the empty beer bottles the next day which the Object was too drunk to clean up.  Or the empty promises that the Object will stop drinking.

So when I meet someone whom I find fetching, and he happens to be emotionally unavailable, I want to say “OH THANK GOD, ME TOO.”  But the Object doesn’t ever believe me because here I am making uncomfortable jokes, and saying inappropriate things, and acting like any obsessive girl with a crush.  And what the Object might fail to realize is that my infatuation, as one might call it, is fed by the Object’s unavailability.  My crush, the feeling itself, needs air and light and *space* to survive.