Self-Indulgent Drivel

naked on the internet

Category: nostalgia

Pretty Good Year

So. A couple of weeks ago I posted about this great love I used to love and how I still love him.  And about a week after that I wrote him an email that basically said “Hey, what’s up, I miss you and hope you’re well.” And he wrote back:

Kate- 

When we went out, you worried me that you had an unhealthy obsession with me. I was reluctant to introduce you to friends and family because i worried that you would not respect boundaries. 

Three years later, you appear to be pining for me. I think it would be best if you don’t contact me anymore.

-[Redacted]

And… all of a sudden… I was free.

I’m not saying that I’ll never miss him, that I won’t think of him. But he’s right, I’ve been pining. For years.  And it’s time to stop now.  It’s time to let go.

I think I’ve been waiting for him to say that for a long time, without knowing that I was waiting or what I was waiting for.  So I wrote back to say I will honor his request, and then I said:

Thanks for finally saying it. I think this is what closure feels like.

He doesn’t know the person I’ve become in the last few years, and there’s no way I could possibly explain it to him. I believe that, when everything’s considered, he’s the one losing out. But hey, at least he’s finally told me to fuck off. I don’t know why he didn’t say it sooner, and I don’t know why I needed him to say it. It’s done now. I remember all the pain I was in when I was with him. I remember how the pain finally overwhelmed all the love, and I ended the relationship.  I ended it.  I saved myself.

I can walk away now, three years too late, but better than never.

Anyway.  It’s after midnight on April 17th, which means that yesterday was my thirty-first birthday. Turning 30 was really hard for me, but my 31st birthday was delightful.  I had a great party on Sunday, with great people, and I felt happy and blessed and all those gross, sappy feelings.  It was a good birthday.

But:

I got laid off on Friday. This is my last week at my boring, dead-end job. I’d already been looking to move on, but it’s happening sooner than I wanted and in a rather abrupt and unfair way. Maybe this is the fates kicking me in the ass. I’m choosing to take it that way, anyway.

Something I’m realizing is that we can choose our lives. I mean, things happen to us that we can’t control.   Sometimes terrible things happen to us. And a lot of the time, it’s hard to see anything good in these terrible things that are out of our control. But I’m discovering that there’s a lot of power in choosing to own our lives. To, instead of being sad about things or resisting change, to, just… well…  choose it.  Own it.

Redacted never loved me.  Emery doesn’t anymore. My job is phasing me out. I could sit around pitying myself, or I could see all of this as an opportunity to pick up the pieces and move onto something better. I have learned so much from loving these people.  I have gained so much from having held a steady job and showing up every day, even when I didn’t feel like it. I’m better for having loved, and I’m better for having lost.  I’m sorry if I’m a cliche factory today, but– well, usually we don’t feel any different on our birthday, even when we expect to.  But this year, I do.  I feel like I’ve turned a corner.

I am choosing to have an awesome year. I am choosing to own my life.  I am choosing to be grateful.  I am grateful that I finally have a choice. I’m no longer being strangled by depression.  I feel hopeful.  I don’t feel lost nearly so much as I feel that I’m on an adventure.

Happy Birthday, indeed.

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what i am now too smart to mention to you

[I didn’t send this.  Obviously. Instead I’m blogging it.  Because.]

K:

So you’re 33, as of yesterday.  The same age as Jesus when he died, almost a third of the way to 100. We met a bit over four years ago, and I’m still madly in love with your memory.  I don’t remember the sound of your voice or exactly how you smelled, just that I loved those things.  I do remember the way you look when you laugh, that your eyes sparkle, that you tend to look down and cover your mouth sometimes with your hand.

And I’ll be 31 in nineteen days, and I’ve been back in California for almost two years, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how time plays tricks on us, and how the things that’ll end up being important to us often seem so inconsequential at first.  We seldom know the things that will shape us and change us until we are shaped and changed.

But I knew about you.  I always knew, from the night we met.

For such an introspective person, I have an amazing capacity for self-deception. I firebombed our relationship because I thought I couldn’t live any longer in love with someone who’d never love me back.  But I didn’t realize that there wasn’t anything I could do about that fundamental flaw, that disparity in emotion. You will never love me.  I will always love you. And even though the memories have faded and I don’t actually think of you that often anymore, every year around this time, you haunt me. I don’t know how I ever could have believed that you’d stop.

It’s not your fault, of course.  And I’m sure that you wish it weren’t so.

I’m certainly not pleased that things between us ended up this way, but looking back now with a few more years’ perspective, I still can’t really say what either of us should have done differently.  I don’t know if you have hard feelings, but I don’t.  I did for awhile, but there are plenty of people in the world more deserving of my recrimination and regret than you are.   So my thoughts of you are overwhelmingly fond, if bittersweet.

And now I know what I’m looking for– someone who lights my heart on fire, but this time, someone who loves me back.  In the three years since we stopped seeing each other, I’ve dated several very special people who couldn’t hold a candle to you.  I’ve been whole-heartedly single now for over five months (a record for me!) and plan to stay this way for awhile.  Until, I guess, I meet someone who makes me feel like you did.  Or better!  Better could happen!

You’ve been with [redacted] for a long time now.  Living together, I gather.  Don’t worry, I’m not watching your every move.  But I do check in from time to time.  I wonder what she has that I don’t.  I wonder why you wanted to be with her, but not with me.  But then I think “Kate, NO CUDDLING FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE” and I feel better.  I don’t know what it was about you that got me so hooked.  I wish I knew, and could find it somewhere else.

As always, I hope that you are well.

Sincerely,

Kate

I’m not too sure, and I’m not too proud to say…

About a year ago, I was chatting with Austin, the boyfriend I had through most of high school, and I asked him if he had fond memories of me.  This is what he said:

We had some great times, some crazy times, and I think you’re a good person. And yeah, I focus on the good memories. Life’s better that way, I think. Those people that always say they have no regrets, bunch of people that lie to themselves, but damn they’re probably the happiest too.

I found this chat log yesterday, and it made me really happy.  So I thought I’d share.

Frailty

I’ve spent a lot of my life being really, really hard on myself.

I don’t think most people know that about me, even people who know me well.  I’m just starting to figure it out about myself.

Strange to think about.

It’s just me and my dog…

Mom asked if I’d take our dog, Lily, for a walk tonight.  I was wearing shoes and Mom wasn’t, and I never really mind getting  out and seeing the stars, so I agreed happily.

But we couldn’t find the leash.  It’s one of those nice, retractable ones, and it’s hot pink, so it should have been easy to spot.  But it just wasn’t there.  Mom went digging through a cabinet and found something that would do: Sam’s old leash.

Sam was the first dog I ever had, the only other dog I’ve had.  We got her when I was eight, when my family was living on a ranch in Hollister.  I think I must have named her, because “Samantha” seems like the kind of thing an eight-year-old girl would name a puppy.  She was a mutt, apparently part Husky and mostly Question-Mark, and she had the coloring of a German Shepherd, but the coarse hair of a Lab.  She weighd about 50 pounds and was good at responding to verbal commands.  You could walk her without a leash.  She had the softest ears I’d ever felt.  I called them “velvet ears.”  She got stinky when she didn’t have a bath for awhile.  Sometimes we’d let her wander the neighborhood, and I had a special way of calling her, almost a song.  “Sa-MAAAAAAAAN-thaaaa.  C’mere, c’mere puppy!  Saaaaaa-mmmmy!”  And she’d always come, and you could hear the fast beat of her paws seconds before you’d see her.

She was a damned good dog, was Sam.

She got old and she died.  She was a shell of herself by the time she finally went.  I was maybe 23 when I got a call saying that Sam had died.  By that point, she wasn’t fun anymore.  I hadn’t really cared about her in years, if we’re being honest.  She was more a stinky, incontinent burden than anything else.  And she just made me so sad, seeing her so old and feeble when she’d been the best dog a kid could hope for.  It was a relief when she finally died.

I hadn’t really thought about Sam for a long time until my mom pulled that leash out of the cabinet tonight.  And I attached it to the collar of my spunky little Lily-Pie, my sweet puppy who doesn’t always come when called, who you can’t even think of walking without a leash, and I thought about my first dog,  my Sammy.  And I remembered what a good dog she was, what a sweet dog, and how much I loved her.

And now I’m crying harder than I’ve cried in months.

Damned dog.

Vintage Post #2 (Early 2008)

[For an assignment in the greatest class I took in college, “Dangerous Words.”  We were supposed to write a cover letter for an imaginary job application.  This is mine.]

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am applying for your job as “Mattress Tester” which was listed in the Oregonian and on Craigslist.  As I have been sleeping in beds every night for nearly 27 years, I feel I am well and uniquely qualified for this job.

My parents raised me in a home in which beds were the norm.  I have slept on many different mattresses, and feel that I can distinguish not only good ones from bad ones, but which ones may be good for children or the elderly, due to issues of size and accessibility.  I can also evaluate frames as to their stability, durability and dimensions.  I have experience with cots, futons and the most luxurious of mattresses, including memory-foam mattresses, and can tell almost immediately whether a bed is comfortable or not.

In my past experience evaluating mattresses, I have often even worked double-shifts so that my assessments are thorough and detailed.  My dedication to sleep and the accoutrements that accompany it has been commented on many times by parents, friends and housemates.  Please consider me most seriously for this position.

Thank you for your time and kind attention.

Sincerely,

Kate Folsom

long, beautiful hair

I think I’m gonna grow my hair out again.

2004

2006

2007

I miss my hair.  I loved my hair.  It’s a fucking bitch, but I love it.  I’m growing it back out.  That’s that.

I found a picture of you, oh-oooo-oh, those were the happiest days of my liiiife

I love social media.   First it was Friendster (remember Friendster?) and then MySpace (eww) and now I’ve moved on to Facebook.  I know that there are some privacy rights issues, and I have never played Farmville or anything, but I love how Facebook reconnects people.  Instead of wondering what the hell so-and-so is up to these days, I can type in their name, send a friend request or message, and find out.

picture taken by Joey Shevelson

So take the picture above, which was snapped at my 10 year high school reunion.  The girl in the blue dress is me.  I’m dancing with Kersten W., and off to the right by himself is Austin L., who was my date that night.

I met Kersten in fifth grade.  And I hated her.  She was cool.  I was not cool.  She was blond and perfect and wore the right clothes and was popular and pretty… and I was dorky Kate from the sticks, who didn’t make any friends for the first three months I lived in Carmel.  All through middle and high school, if you’d asked me to name the girls in my class I liked least, Kersten’s name would be mentioned.

Sorry, Kersten.

Years later, she and I both commented on something a mutual friend said, and I realized… Kersten’s kind of awesome.  And then we chatted one night and I figured out that this person I’d decided years ago was never going to be my friend was actually smart, hilarious, and very genuine.  But I never knew, and I wouldn’t have ever known if it weren’t for Facebook.

Austin Lovell, the fetching lad to the right, is someone I met at 12 and crushed on for years.  We never went to the same school or had much contact, but whenever I ran into him, I had trouble not drooling.  He was/is that cute, and three years older, and… deliciously unattainable.  Kryptonite to an adolescent girl.  He, of course, barely knew I existed.  Until I found him on MySpace in 2008, that is.  And we became friends, talked on the phone sometimes, made vague plans to hang out if we were ever in town at the same time.  We also joked about coming up with some weird back-story and having him be my date to my reunion, but then we fell out of touch for awhile.

I was very, very poor last fall and didn’t think I was even going to get to go to my reunion, but my mom called me three days beforehand and said she’d bought me a last-minute ticket into Monterey, and that I’d land a few hours before the party began.  So I called Austin and asked him if he would still accompany me, and he was coincidentally going to be in town that weekend anyway, so he said yes, and…

God, we had so much fun.  We hadn’t seen each other in 13 years, but he somehow made me feel incredibly at-ease. He was the perfect date for my purposes, since what I really wanted was to show up with the hottest guy I knew and look fabulous and make an ass of myself.  We bought a bottle of Malibu Rum at Safeway and smuggled it into the party.  It was gone by the end of the night.  We made snarky comments about the other partiers, made out in front a table of “popular” girls (he just shoved his tongue in my mouth at the perfect time, and I did not object,) danced and chatted and ate the airplane-quality food we were served, and he helped my drunk ass back to the car when it was time to go home.  And he came home with me, and left the next morning, and… uh.  Yeah.  I basically high-fived my 12-year-old self after he left.  Because I totally hit that.

There are many other people I could give “Hey, I found you again on Facebook!” shout-outs to, but here’s justa few: Richard, who is the second boy I ever kissed and who rebuilt my computer last fall; Drew, who I hadn’t seen since I was 15 and visitied in Denver in May, which was awesome;  Todd, who I kinda-dated in 1999 and who I hung out with yesterday and am seeing again tomorrow; Sarah Adams (and the rest of the Adams family) who I’ve known since I was four; and a bunch of old friends and family members who I can easily check up on and keep in touch with.

I am glad to live in the age of social media, even with all its flaws.  It’s made moving back here a lot easier, scored me a trip to Colorado, and gotten me laid.  All you naysayers can go naysay to someone else, I’m gonna go have coffee with an old friend who I haven’t seen since Clinton was president.

a.l.t.a.w.u.t.b.f. PART DEUX

As an addendum to my last post, because I feel it needs to be said:

I certainly wasn’t all peaches and sunshine, either.  I am not blameless.  “Amy” is not, as far as I know, a bad person.  Ok?

a long time ago, we used to be friends

[I’ve done my best, but this whole thing sounds, well, pretty damned petty and high-school-ish.  I think that suits the story, though, so I’m done editing myself.  Names have been changed.]

I met Amy when I was a freshman in high school.  She was a sophomore, and I practically worshiped her.  She just had this air of cool about her, even though she wasn’t one of the popular crowd. She sat behind me in Biology, and we had a mutual friend, Hannah, so I got to know her pretty well before the year was over.  I never stopped thinking she was awesome.

Some of my best memories of high school are of hanging out with Hannah and Amy, although Hannah moved to Los Angeles after my freshman year.  Still, whenever Hannah visited, the three of us were tight.  And when she wasn’t around, it was Amy and I.  My junior year in particular, we spent every lunch period together, we formed our own club, hung out on weekends, dabbled in lesbianism…  high school stuff.

I broke up with my high school sweetheart right after Thanksgiving my senior year.  I was really broken up about it, because I’d thought he was the love of my life and we were going to get married and have babies, etc.  A couple months later, my dad was going on a business trip to L.A., and I convinced him to give Amy (who’d been away at college) and me a ride down to see Hannah.  When we got there, I was thrilled to be around my two best friends, and I (apparently) talked an awful lot about how upset I was that My One True Love and I had broken up.  I was told later that I talked constantly, no matter what else Hannah and Amy were trying to do or talk about.

Looking back, yeah, that sounds like me.  But my heart was broken, and I hadn’t seen either of them in awhile, and I had a lot on my mind.  So I talked.  A lot.  Whatever.

I didn’t see Hannah for three years after that, and I didn’t see Amy for a year and a half.  Such was their disgust at my behavior.  Neither of them told me why they were shunning me, they just wouldn’t call me back or see me at all.

When I finally ran into Amy again, it was because the boy she was dating had been in a play with my mother, and the cast party was at my house.  She didn’t  know that she was coming over here until they got to the door, basically.  I believe the first thing I said when I saw her was “YOU BITCH!!!”  But we hugged, and everything was ok, and we were friends again.  She told me the reason for her absence from my life, and although I didn’t think it was fair… well, if she was willing to forgive, so was I.

The next summer, when I was 20, I decided to take a trip to London.  I invited two of my cousins, a childhood friend, and Amy, and offered to buy everyone’s tickets. She resisted.  She said she wasn’t sure she could stand to hang around with me for two weeks straight.  That should have told me something.  But I insisted, she came along, and I did drive her nuts.  On her free trip to London.  Whatever.

That fall was a rocky one for me and Amy.  She did some shit I wasn’t too impressed by, I slept with a boy she had a crush on, and so we weren’t on great terms for awhile.  But the friendship puttered on, we made peace, things were ok even if we weren’t quite as close as we once were.  And a couple of years went by and I started noticing, again, that Amy wasn’t returning my calls.  She’d gotten her cosmetology license, so I saw her when I wanted a haircut or to have my eyebrows done, but we weren’t really hanging out anymore.  And then she moved to Portland without telling me, and I was a little sore about that, but I figured that we’d grown apart.  It happens.

When I moved to Portland, I made an effort to see her.  We hung out maybe ten times in four and a half years, if you count the times I had her cut my hair.  I went to one of her birthday parties, she came to one of mine.    It all seemed friendly enough.  I was sad about the distance between us, but sort of relieved too.  And here’s why:

I spent ten years of my life trying to make Amy like me as much as I liked her.  I’m really embarrassed about it now.  She didn’t want to come to London, even though I paid her way.  I had to talk her into it.  She’d written me off twice and hadn’t said why until later.  I was always chasing her.  I’d called her my best friend for years, and I don’t think she’d ever felt that way about me.  Yet I kept trying.  It was exhausting.

So…

I went to a club tonight where my old friend Julian was DJing.  He bought me a drink at the bar, and we got to talking about Amy.  Apparently she came down here for a visit recently, and said the reason we weren’t friends anymore, from her end anyway, was that I’d embarrassed her with old stories at my 27th birthday party.

Unless my memory fails me, which it seldom does, she never said anything to me about it.

I drove home tonight near-tears, thinking about this.  Even though I gave up years ago on Amy and I ever being close again, it made me feel like shit to know that she’d dropped me once again without ever having the courtesy to tell me why. I’m sure I did tell some old stories at that party, I was drunk and made an ass of myself that night.  And I am really sorry if I made her feel bad by flapping my jaw like I did.  But I wish that someone I’ve known for half my life would have told me about it instead of just writing me off.

Maybe I was a shitty friend.  At times, I’m sure I was.  Demanding, high-maintenance, bitchy, often drunk, a whole lot to take.  Ok, I get it.  But I think I also went out of my way to be a good friend to her when she’d let me.  I’m sure I managed to fuck up a lot in the last 15 years.  But I think I deserve(d) better than to be tossed out, like all the good times, and there were a lot of them, meant nothing.

It upsets me now to think of how she’s the most striking example of a very bad habit of mine: my self-destructive tendency to throw myself at people, hoping something will stick.  I am a faithful and persistent friend, even when it kills me.  And I’m astonished by how dense I can be when it comes to the indifference/ambivalence of the people I love.  It breaks my silly heart.

I don’t want to be that way anymore.

I should probably also work on the telling horrifying stories at parties thing, but, y’know, one step at a time.