What To Wait For

 

For the last, I don’t know, 12 years, I’ve been going on dates with men with who the only hurdle that they ever had to jump was the one where they liked me. Or claimed they liked me.

I remember in class when one of my friends would come over and say “Hey, SO AND SO really likes you!” and I would be so excited. Granted, I only saw so and so maybe for 30 seconds in the hallway so I’m not sure what he liked about me, but OMG HE LIKES ME. VALIDATION MEDAL ACHIEVED. CUE MCHAMMER DANCING. (I still do that.)

Looking back, it was likely the fact that I had a 36-C cup as a Freshman and that I could also read a book in about 50 minutes and ace the test on the book. I had a well paying job and bought all of the Cliff’s Notes. That Cliff, matchmaking since 1990. The attraction could maybe  have been that I had a kick-ass Dodge Shadow. Or that I had an older dad who would let us eat all of the swedish meatballs out of the refrigerator at 1AM. Or that I had a computer with Hearme.com and Soundblaster.

My point here is that the only qualification that I gave these men was that they liked something that I had that could benefit them. I probably had some Daddy-issues of my own that had me craving the attention of a male role model. Another day,another therapy session.

Whatever, my first few boyfriends made it off easy. They dictated what the relationship would be like, and I went along. After all, they were sacrificing their time to be with me, the least I could do was buy their meal, dress the way they wanted, wait for them to leave their girlfriend,  change my religious views, and accept their occasional drug use. Right?

I think this is the perfect time to call bullshit.

Wait, that bullshit isn’t big enough.

 

It’s BULLSHIT.

(If I knew more about WordPress and HTML, I’d make that so damn big, you don’t even know.)

In life there’s always going to be bullshit. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept it.

I know, I sound like such a therapist.  But I’m not. I’m a human who realizes that one of the top reasons you should date someone is not just because they like you.

 

A friend of mine was telling me about a conversation that she had with a guy she met on Tinder (I’m making the same face you are right now. Trust me.) and I asked “So, you know, what’s so great about him?” and she said “Well, he likes me.” I pushed it further and said “Well, why?” and she said “Come on! Do you have to ask?”

Girl. listen, they damn well better like you because you’re charming as fuck and when the light shines the right way, your eyes are golden brown. And the way that that tank top lies perfectly on your hips that makes you look like you have ass for days.And how when you’re so hungry you get really mad which you’ve cutely dubbed “the hangries” so he doesn’t want to murder you when you give the look of Satan that is really just the craving for food into your mouth.

And even those are just physical. Let’s not get into how big and sexy he should find your brain. ‘Cause damn girl. You so smart.

 

Saying the words “I like you” is actually adorable. But only if you have a firm understanding of why. A cute little “I like you” from your significant other in the middle of the day is endearing, because you should know the War and Peace version of why he/she does like you.

That was probably his gift to you last Valentines Day, you know. A  novel sized list of all of the reasons he likes you. At first you thought it was a book of cheesy- but then you realized this was more of a gift to him than it was to you and you think he’s so smart for it.

That way whenever you whip out that question “Why do you like me?”, he kind of just needs to point to the book that you keep dusted and displayed on the mantle. You think he’s taking the easy way out as he sits there and does his crossword puzzle. So you silently stomp over a bit disappointed when he suddenly says “Page 20. Reason 8.”  You look it up, because you don’t have them memorized. Yet. And read the words on page 20: “You always make me a perfect cocktail when I’m doing my crossword puzzle on Friday night and I don’t even have to ask.”

SEE? THAT’S CUTE.

“GET ME A BEER.” is not cute.

Know that difference. It’s kinda big.

 

When someone asks me why I like the person I like, I have a hard time knowing when the right time to stop listing things because there are so many reasons. I’m a tough cookie to crack, but once I’m cracked, I let all of the light in and can’t stop talking about his sense of humor or how he always has a way of making me grin, or asks the right question, or puts on an episode of Dexter I’ve seen a million times when he knows I’m miserable.

And if you ever do ask the seemingly silly question of “Why do you like me?” – You should never have to wait for an answer. Unless he thinks he’s being cute and teasing you with making you wait for his long, part silly part adorable list. But if he brushes you off, and makes you wait. You stand up, brush your tush off like a lady and walk out the door.

You should never have to wait for an answer like that.

…nor should you have to wait in front of a car door for it to be opened for you.

…or for  his hand to at LEAST TRY and grab the check from the table. (Even if he’s going to lose because your reflexes are like a jungle cat when it comes to grabbing the check.)

…or should you ever have to wait for the day that you’re going to be number one in someone’s life.

Guess what, pretty stuff. You already are number fucking one. Or you should be in your own life.

And one day, out of no where you’re going to come across a guy who reminds you why you put up with the bullshit of everyone else. It was training for this one. And he’ll be better than okay. He’ll be really good. 

His favorite thing to do with you isn’t going to fantasize and pretend what life will be like once he gets his shit together. Because it already is.

His favorite thing isn’t going to tell you how you could be better. Because you’re the absolute best you. And he knows it. And reminds you when you need to know.

His favorite thing to do is going to be simply talking to you about his day and the parts that you missed. Those are always the tough parts… the parts where you were missing.

And the absolute best part is that you’ll never have to wait for him.

Because  he  always  shows up.

Sometimes he’s late though because he went to THREE grocery stores to get the perfect whipped butter for your pancakes.

That’s one thing you always wait for.

 

What I Mean When I Say I Love You

 

Whenever I log into Facebook, it’s typically a crap shoot of whether I’ll see 20 consecutive selfies, a client embarrassingly ‘liking’ see through yoga pants, or a racially driven political rant. But today I logged in and hit the jackpot.

One of my dear friends shared this article, “Love Is Not Enough“. I recommend you go right now, ditch this blog post and make that one your read of the day.

But if you must stay, let me tell you that this article was probably one of the best things I’ve read this year. It got me to thinking about that little word LOVE, how much it means, and how much I use it.

If we’re friends, I tell you I love you. And if I haven’t recently, please know that I love you. (More on what that means soon.)

I’m a love whore. I love a lot of people. Granted, a lot of them are the wrong people that I shouldn’t love. I still love an ex boyfriend that is such a pain in my ass, but alas, I love him. But that love doesn’t rule my life, make it impossible for me to love other people, or more importantly, prohibit me from loving myself. It doesn’t take up enough space in my heart to be all consuming, but he has and always will have a little pesky place.

I feel like when we fall in love with someone, often times that relationship takes over our lives, and not always in a good way. We lose sight of the little things. Plans with your friends become fewer and farther between. You’re focused on spending every available moment with your new boo that you forget to go grocery shopping, mail out that bill, wish your friend a happy birthday. (Thank God for Facebook on that one!) We don’t realize this is even happening mostly because we’re so love drunk on the feelings of, well, love. It feels so good to be around him/her. Before you know it, when you’re not at work, you’re with them. And one day you realize you haven’t texted your BFF back in 6 weeks, all you have in your fridge is expired milk, and you’re paying some shitty interest on that credit card bill you forgot to mail out.

I don’t know about your credit card company, but they don’t buy it when I call and say “Oh, I’m just so in love, I forgot to mail it!” And my girlfriend would shit and entire brick if I said “Oh, I’ve been so in love I haven’t called you.”

I know this might make me sound like the girl who has been hurt by people who love this hard and forget their friends, but I’m honestly speaking as the person who historically loves someone else so hard and forgets to love herself first. My hair gets cut. My waxing gets done. I get a shower. But is that for ME? Or is that to ensure my dude isn’t like “Yo, you smell like a foot, and can you please move your leg hair braids? They’re in my frozen TV dinner.”

As the years have passed, I’ve become more aware of how I love, and making sure I keep myself in check, especially during that amazing obsession / honeymoon stage where everything that the other person does makes you feel like a million electric sparks are going through your body. Nothing else matters because DING DING DING, he just texted you and life is instantly better. About to get fired because of bad work performance. Who cares? Boo just sent me a selfie! Rent late? Life goes on, we’re going out for sushi tonight.

Love doesn’t solve anything. Love doesn’t fix broken lives. Attention and action  fix broken things. Some of my most healthy relationships have failed because I didn’t focus on the other part of my life – my life outside of the other person.

And that was a hard lesson for me to learn. But once I did, I realized that I truly do love the people in my life, no matter how miniscule their role is. If it wouldn’t make me look like a freak, I’d tell my barista I loved her every day.

Even if you’re not comfortable with saying “I love you”, or if you reserve the word for those really serious times, that’s okay too. I, myself am a writer and I feel like I can be more creative with “I love you” and make it more meaningful. For me, I use the term a lot. But it isn’t any less important. Nor does it mean that I want to intertwine my body with you forever and ever.

What I want you to know, internet, is that if I ever tell you I love you, here’s what I mean:

I love you. I love that I can love you and love myself at the same time and not feel guiltily pulled in either direction. Your mere existence makes my life better in either a big way, or a little way, but no matter, you’ve changed my life and are a part of my journey. I’ve learned something from you. I love you.

Even to the asshole ex that I still love, that entire statement still applies. I love that I don’t love him obsessively, nor does that love prevent me from loving myself or others. I love the lessons he taught me, and I love who I’ve become as a result of those lessons.

So, I love you and stuff. That’s all I’m trying to say.

 

Letting Go, Holding On, and Transitioning in 2013

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.”

This post is like, 1200 words. WTF. Katie got wordy. If you want a quick, blog a minute summary: 2013 started off sucking royally because I had an emotional collapse as a result of a lot of  emotions that I chose to ignore. But, I decided to get real with myself, accept reality, cut out some relationships that were no longer serving me (both biz and personal), and change the way I’m living my life. I’m now down 15 lbs, addicted to Zumba, learning to voice my feelings in a healthy way, accepting new projects, and sticking to taking natural supplements that treat my anxiety rather than mask it. (St. John and his Worts know their shit, yo!) I’m still the same Katie as I always have been, just a little more centered and accepting of the situations and people I can’t change. BOOM. POW. 

 

Now for the long version:

I’ve watched behind the scenes as so many of my friends have gone through some huge life transitions recently.

One of my friends moved around the world to chase happiness. She found it.

Another of my friends left a 5 year relationship because she realized she wasn’t getting what she wanted. She’s now tasting the sweet happiness of living HER life.

Yet another one of my friends left a 5 year relationship because it wasn’t growing anymore. She’s quickly learning that she’s worth way more than she settled for.

Then, there have been countless other bloggers, family members and friends who are going through their own transitions. I’ve seen them, I’ve cheered them on, I’ve been left in utter awe in how amazing they all are as I know first hand how crazy life can get.

I thought my one and only transition of my adult life came three years ago after my lay off, breakup, and life changing rock bottom.

Oh, Katie, you so silly.

Apparently life is filled with transition periods and they don’t always come one at a time nor do they come announced or planned so that you can prepare.. As my Grandmom would say, “Who’da thunk it?”

So. Yeah. I had another “transition” that came in the form of an unattractive emotional overload the day after Christmas. It was gross, scary, and  a whirlwind of other things that left me just… really scared.

In the days that followed, my friends and family came to my side. I was dealing with a mess of emotions that were hard for me to feel, let alone name. I felt an overwhelming amount of guilt, fear, loss, confusion, and generally just felt like I was waking up from a horrible nightmare. Which, in a way, I was. Why had this happened to me? Why couldn’t I remember the moments leading up to this? Why had I let my emotions sit so long? Exactly how long had I been sitting on all of these emotions?

I’ve had little warning episodes with these feelings over the last 8 months or so, but I was quick to chase them away instead of listen to them. These buried emotions were super angry about being ignored, and weren’t going to be unheard anymore.

Despite attempts at shutting them up with anxiety medication, they just overtook me. I was in a full blown anxiety attack meets emotional breakdown but I had no idea at the time. I just thought I was going crazy. That  I had some sort of medicinal dosage problem. It seemed like everyone had an opinion of what was wrong with me and what I needed to do. I easily could have adopted any of their opinions as my reality and went with it. Or, worse yet, wrote myself off as being crazy pants.

I made the decision quickly that I was going to figure out what had happened. I was going to ask the difficult questions, face the complicated answers, and take whatever steps necessary to prevent this from happening again. I wasn’t going to give up. I was going to stand up and walk on.


So began a week of doctor’s appointments, therapy sessions, and a few trips to a neurologist and another specialist. I cried when I was told that I had an acute emotional break down caused by high anxiety and stress levels. My blood pressure was also high. 

I don’t know if I was more relieved or afraid. I do know that I was happy to have a legitimate explanation for what I experienced. However, I knew changes needed to be made. Quickly.

I took a hard look at myself and at how I was living. There was a lot of stress in a lot of areas in my life. Granted, stress is inevitable, but much more of my own stress was in my hands than I had thought. Also, much less of the stress I put on myself was actually legit stress.

Projects were stressing me out. Fear of failing was stressing me out. Living up to expectations was stressing me out. Business relationships and pending partnerships were stressing me out. Personal relationships were stressing me out. People moving away were stressing me out. Being stressed was stressing me out.

I soul searched. I made lists. I kept some projects. I terminated some. I held onto relationships. I let others go for the simple reason that I had no belief that there was anything left. At the very least, I need people ready to fight life battles with me. When the going gets tough I need to be able to wrangle my troops.  Just as I’m ready to help fight alongside others.

I didn’t let go of these things and relationships to make others realize my self worth.  I did it because I finally realize my own.

Can I also just say that processing emotions is hard as hell? Especially when you’re so used to being all “Yeah, I don’t want to feel upset right now, I’m just going to, you know, bury it, buy someone a present, or focus on something else”  My new acquired skill is to feel emotions as they come. And because of that, I question each and every single thought that I have. “Should I be feeling this?” “What’s THIS feeling?” “Does this all stem from childhood?” “Should I have done this?” “What does THIS MEAN?”

Even my therapist said, “Katie, I think I’ve creative a cognitive behavioral monster!”  I basically took on a new skill, over killed it, and now I’m striking a balance between “Just feeling” and “Thinking about what I’m feeling.” It’s not an overnight transition, but I’ve made massive improvement.

So, the Katie today isn’t really much different than the Katie from nearly 3 weeks ago who collapsed from the weight of the words, emotions, and needs gone unspoken for months-years. I’m the same exact Katie. Awesome jokes and all. I’m far from perfect. I have a good side, and a not-so-good side. At my worst, I’m still Katie. And I still deserve the same understanding and respect I get when I’m at my best.

There’s an ache in my heart for those I have had to let go. Some instances (My Dad moving away, My Grandmom being so sick) are out of my control and I had no real decision to make other than ‘Let it go..”   Others were decisions that I had to make on my own. Realizing that things didn’t feel right and that I deserve better. Realizing that maybe people can’t give any more. Realizing that the way things should be is sometimes completely different than the way things are. Should be is a fantasy that I got lost in. The way things are is reality; something I’ve gotten good at making excuses for.

Now that the smoke has settled, and the dust has cleared. my true friends. business associates, family members, etc. are remaining. Others have crawled out of the woodwork to say “Katie, I’m here…I love having you in my corner, and I’m here in yours.” It’s always a nice reminder.

For those of you who have stuck around through it all through the years and are reading this right now, thank you. You are my people. Know that I will also never give up on you, and if you ever need me, at your worst, at your best, at 5AM,  I’m always here. ALWAYS.

I might not be the best role model in some of the life decisions that I have made, but I know I am one in my ability to get up after I fall, accept my responsibility, and dedication to living well and being the best damn Katie Colihan that I can be.

Life is tough. But I’m tougher.

I’m ready for you life, feel free to bring it on, yo.

 

The Moment

I’m someone’s girlfriend now.

I can hardly believe it either. Of course, I’ve been tight lipped about it, although I do have permission to blog whatever the hell I want directly from the guy. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I kind of like having a little privacy.

However, I’m a blogger. I’ll always be a blogger. I thrive on networking and sharing and exchanges. You really can’t tame this beast. *GRR BABY. VERY GRR*

So. Yeah. I’m a girlfriend.

It’s not a normal relationship, really. It happened fast and strong. I was swept off of my feet and then dropped on the ground right in the middle of this. I’ve told this story to the Guy before, so I’m okay sharing it with you. Even if I didn’t share it with him, I think he doesn’t read my blog so, WIN. Or if he does, (Hi, you!)

You know how there are decisions you make that you have no idea HOW you made them? Like, one minute you’re all drinking a latte and the next minute you’re sailing on a boat in France with some guy named Jaques Cousteau and he’s feeding you Creme Brulee and you have no fucking clue how you got there? Yeah. This is nothing like that. I know exactly the moment when I decided to enter this relationship with my head and my heart. And since I’m here right now, I’m going to be all share-y with you.

Mmkay?

So. Let’s jump right in…just like I did.

I got a phone call on August 31st from the Guy asking me to rush to the hospital because he had been hurt badly. How badly, I wouldn’t know until I got there. When I arrived at the hospital, I lied my way to the back. The last time I was in a hospital ER, it was with my grandmother after she had a stroke. Visions of that were going through my head at record speed. I put those aside when the security guard came over to me and led me back to the room in the Trauma unit where the Guy was being held.

It was an incubator type room where I could see him through a window. I took one look and turned away. He hadn’t seen me yet, it was just me and my thoughts. I couldn’t even hear the tons of doctors and nurses flying by me. Everything was silent. Totally like one of those sitcom scenes where some Kenny G is playing while everyone moves all slow-speed.

At this point the Guy and I had been on two dates. TWO. I knew that I could easily walk away and tell him I couldn’t make it. I could go home, resume my normal life, and try not to get involved. He wouldn’t know the difference. He wouldn’t know that I had been there. No harm. No foul. Everyone moves on. I don’t get involved. He doesn’t know the difference. No drama. No nada.

The other option would be to walk through the doors, let him see that I was there, and be committed to being there for him for whatever he might need. This wouldn’t be a one time visit. I would be walking into his life without any near intention of leaving. I’d have to be the one. To be the rock. To grow some thicker skin. To stand strong even when things are going tough. To suck back tears of fear. To say ‘It will all be okay’ and mean it. To take on the responsibility of someone’s go-to-person in a big way.

I toyed with the idea for a minute or two with tears streaming down my face. There was no one for me to call who could give me the right answer. Only I had that. But what was the right answer? Fuck if I knew. I was gross and sticky from a long day at work. My hair was all gross. My face was teary. I was nauseous. I couldn’t breathe. There was no one for me to lean on. Just me.

Out of no where, some kind of peace came over me. My tears dried. I stood up tall. I turned around and walked in the direction I had to go in. I walked through the doors, looked straight ahead, and didn’t look back.

I walked in, found his hand, smiled and said “I’m here.” And I continue to be ‘here’ as much as I can.

It’s not always easy, and it’s not always fun, and sometimes, I feel myself back outside the hospital room wondering if I should stay the storm, or leave. The answer always comes as a wave of peace, and I know that right now, staying is the answer.

There are times when it’s really hard. We fight like any normal duo. We have struggles. We have hard days. We’re not always on the same page. There’s a lot of my life that he still doesn’t know, though I try to share as much as possible. I struggle with being a burden on him since he has so much going on.

But we laugh. God, do we laugh. And it just feels right sometimes, you know? Even during the hard times, I’d rather go through those with him, than have great times with someone I don’t like nearly as much.

Even on nights like tonight where our Indian Date night has to be cancelled because he’s sleeping. Or on days where we have an off day because stress is present in both of our lives. Or on the days I want to strangle him silly… even on those days, I have faith that everything we’re going through right now is worth it, and there will be a time for us to really enjoy the us. 

It’s hard to keep the faith sometimes, but it’s all I have some days. And it has to be enough. When I doubt or fear or think that things might be taking a weird turn, I just go back to that moment in the hospital. That was the moment that I knew I wanted to walk into his life, and not walk out without a good fight.