Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Very Worst Kinds of Goodbyes

Non sequitur: Here's why I'm asking you to log in with Facebook.

As I sat in the Munich airport after Melanie dropped me off, I thought about how much saying goodbye sucks.

Melanie and I went to Verona, Italy, for two nights.
We just thought this staircase was cool,
so I thought you'd like to see it.
I had just spent a week with Melanie (my first college roommate and quite possibly a soulmate) and her family. We hadn’t seen each other in three years. We understood each other just like we always have, even though since our last visit I got divorced and she and her husband welcomed their second son (my absolutely delicious godson, who’s six months old).

During my visit, we strolled through city and country roads, blabbing nonstop about everything and nothing. Our lives are pretty different now, but that doesn’t matter when the love is there.

As tears rolled down my face and gate change announcements in German blared over the loud speaker, my heart ached terribly. (And why the hell don't I ever have tissues?) It had only been an hour and I already missed my friend something fierce.

What is worse than saying goodbye to someone when you have no idea when you might see them again?

I started thinking about some of my saddest farewells, all of which I now associate with moments of huge emotional growth:

  1. The last day of summer camp as a camper. There is something just magical about the friendships I formed at sleepaway camp, as if each day were a year of hugs and inside jokes and arguing. It didn’t matter what kind of towns were from or what sort of grades we got in school. At camp, those superficial barriers were all but gone so we could connect based on who we were on the inside. Oh, how I used to sob on the bus ride back home after camp!
  2. The last day of summer camp as a counselor. In 2002, I was a volunteer counselor at a camp for kids with HIV. There was one 13-year-old in particular with whom I really bonded (probably too much, in hindsight). I knew she had a really screwed up home life in addition to having HIV. She and I both cried our faces off on that last day of the session. To this day I still think of her and pray that she is healthy and that she stayed out of trouble. Sadly, I have no idea what happened to her.
  3. Leaving my exchange family in St. Petersburg, Russia. In high school, I participated in an exchange program with a family, and I really connected with the student, Yulia, who was my age. We were fortunate enough to see each other several times between 1996 and 2002, but I have not seen her in 13 years. I still remember Yulia’s blue eyes turning a stinging red with tears as we clung to each other, promising that this wasn’t good bye, it was “see you later.” (She did recently find me on Facebook! Praise the World Wide Web.)
  4. The day when Max and I sold our condo. After living in separate bedrooms for almost a year, our condo finally sold in September of 2013. After we signed the paperwork, we went to lunch a beerhouse that we used to frequent in our early days of dating. When it was time to go our truly separate ways with two separate sets of house keys, I cried in the parking lot. [Are you sensing a theme with all of this crying?] For the first time in eight years, I had no idea when I might see Max again. This wasn’t necessarily bad, but certainly unsettling.

As my plane flew west over Europe, I dabbed my eyes on my cocktail napkin.

I realized that there is something worse than saying goodbye when you don’t know when you’ll see them again.

Those other goodbyes were so difficult because I wasn’t just anxious wondering when I would see these people again – it was if I would see them again.

With certain people in your life, you know that it’s never a questions of if; it’s always a matter of when. Melanie is one of those people.

What are some of the hardest goodbyes that you have had to say?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Do You Miss Me? I'll Be Back Soon!

I am writing from one of my bestest friend's guest room in her home outside Munich, Germany!

My love affair with carbs goes international.
Leading up to this trip, I had a busy week with two dates with the same guy (!), figuring out where the heck I left my passport, and last ditch effort workouts before departing for my long awaited reunion with Melanie, one of my college roommates. And, I got to meet her six-month-old son -- my godson!

The last time I saw her in person was three years ago, right after my ex-husband told me he was not attracted to me and before I accepted the inevitability of divorce. Amazing how different my life is now.

Anyway, I miss you, dear readers, and I will post as soon as I return from my trip! Tschüss!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Want to Know Why You Have to Log In With Facebook?

Dear reader,

If you’re a returning reader of my blog, I love you!, and allow me to explain the new Facebook login.

As you might remember, I have had some issues in the past with people from my real life – and I’m not talking selected friends and family–  reading my blog. While this is certainly flattering, it also makes me very self-conscious.

The reason why I love blogging is because I don’t hold back. I have shared everything from my raw post-divorce pain to my first sex (finally!) to getting dumped (more than once!). For me to write freely about my life and the lessons I’m trying so hard to learn, I can’t be worrying about what others think. I need to write for me, and it’s a huge bonus if you read what I write and even more awesome if you connect to my words.

This is an icky way to feel when writing about
really personal crap.
The past few months, I have gotten word again that people who know me – but I don’t necessarily know them – are reading my blog. It's a mind fuck; this feels like a cross between being someone walking in on you masturbating and getting caught crying when you thought no one could hear you.

These are not people I would talk to about heartbreak or orgasms in real life, so I am not comfortable with those people reading my blog. 

Lucky for me, I have a genius programmer friend who would be an amazing criminal if he weren’t an upstanding guy. He has been super supportive of my writing and this blog. When I told him how upset I was about the situation and that I was considering pulling the plug on my blog, he wouldn’t have it. Instead, he came up with this great solution: require a Facebook login simply so I can know who’s stopping by my blog. If there are visitors that I’m not comfortable with, I can talk to them directly. He built it, and here we are! (I told you I have awesome friends.)

So, this is why you are now being asked to log in with your Facebook account. 

To be clear:
  • I will never friend you
  • I will never post anything on your wall
  • I will never invite you to play Candy Crush with me (is that what people are playing?)
I know it’s annoying to log in, but know how much I appreciate your readership and comments, so I hope you will stay with me despite this extra login step.

Have any questions or concerns about logging in? Leave them in the comments and either I or my genius friend will respond.

Love, 
Kat 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

From Happy Hour to a Lap Dance: How I Earned My Hangover

It started off innocently enough. On Friday after work , Yoshi, Connor, and I were going to happy hour at our neighborhood bar.

“Now, Yoshi, I only want like one glass of wine. Two at the most. Not our usual happy hour turns into staying out until 11.”

But do you think I’d be writing about a typical happy hour? Of course not.

One glass of wine turned into three. Oh, and there was some tequila. (The tequila wiped out poor Yoshi early.) By this point, my empty stomach and boozy head was up for anything.

Connor gave me a sly look.

“Want to go to a strip club?” 

I had never gone to a strip club, but I have always thought it could be fun under the right circumstances. My conservative, sexually mute ex-husband would never, ever have would have participated in something so sexually overt, so I never bothered to ask.

Going to a strip club on a random night with my friend and two of his buddies – were these the right circumstances for my strip club experience? Conditions were not totally ideal. I was in my work clothes; let's just say I wouldn't have picked a cardigan for the occasion. Also, I have been told it’s best to go see strippers with someone you’d want to get it on with later, but there was zero chance of that with the guys I was going with. No matter. You know how I answered Connor.

“Sure, let’s go!”

We grabbed some sandwiches then off we went. There I was, 35-years-old sitting the middle seat of a cab with three guys in their 20s. Going to a strip club. Because WHY THE HELL NOT.

As we walked in to the club I was excited but kind of nervous. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. 

Would it be skeevy? 
Was it weird that I was going and without a boyfriend/special friend? 
Was I going to feel ugly/fat/unsexy?

The answers turned out to be: no, no, and no! The place was remarkably not gross. It was pretty clean and the clientele mostly looked like normal guys. There were a handful of women, and they looked pretty normal too.

We took our seats next to the stage/walkway thing, right by the pole. (Wow, so stripper poles are a real thing?!) Connor handed me a gigantic pile of ones. I guess I had a confused expression on my face, because he felt the need to state the obvious.

“Kat, you tip with that.”

Oh, right. That.

With a couple of dollar bills in hand, I started watching nearly naked women strut, crawl, and pole dance. (I kept thinking of that Wyclef song, Perfect Gentleman.)


I turned to Connor, my eyes huge. “Holy shit! Look at her ass! Her legs! How can she do that in those shoes? I did NOT expect the women to be so hot!”

He grinned. Silly, naïve Kat!

I stared at the strippers. I stared at the patrons. I was utterly un-subtle about the entire experience, but I couldn’t stop! There was so much to take in.

At some point, I was told it was time to go to the VIP room. (Good thing I trust Connor, because I was so buzzed with booze and amazing people watching that all I could do was follow his lead.)

Next thing I knew, I was getting a lap dance from a beautiful Eastern European woman. 

There’s no doubt that I’m straight, but damn. She was insanely hot and it was a full contact lap dance. (But dammit, I was going to be going home alone!) I was too shy to get really into it but I have to say, I really enjoyed the experience!

After my lap dance, I took a moment to just look around this so-called VIP room. 

I have never seen anything like it. The room was electric with erotic energy. Gorgeous women were on top of men of all shapes and sizes, grinding, dancing, giving bedroom eyes. I was just fascinated. My sexual experiences have been at least somewhat private, and here were all these people getting themselves warmed up for who knows what.

It’s been almost three years since my ex-husband told me he was not attracted to me and I realized I had to get out of my sexless relationship. I guess I still have moments of shock that the world is indeed full of men who are comfortable with their sexuality and are not afraid to express their desires.

And thank goodness, because that is HOT!

At closing time, we hopped in a cab and headed back downtown for the food trucks. As we stood in line for gravy fries, I marveled at my totally unexpected evening. We started at my old reliable watering hole, then ended up getting a lap dance, and now we were back where we started getting snacks.

Walking arm-in-arm, Connor and I walked/stumbled back to our respective homes. I collapsed into bed. It had been a hell of a night.

The next day, when I was lying in bed hideously hungover, I kind of didn’t mind. I had earned this hangover! My hangover was the price you pay for a night of a new experience – one I never would have had if I were still with my ex.

What is a wild post-breakup experience you had?

Our Three Peas

Sunday, March 29, 2015

I'm Going to be a Fabulous Godmother

Here's my big sister and me chilling with my beloved godfather.
(Notice the beer and cigarettes behind me!)
In 1980, my Catholic parents asked their friend of a couple of years, Frank, to be my godfather. They could have asked one of my uncles, my Pop-Pop, or another friend, but no, they choose Frank. For the next 23 years, he truly never got over the thrill of having been asked.

Frank was an unlikely candidate for my parents’ friendship or my spiritual guide. He was a trucker who swore and cussed. He drank too much wine/margaritas/Tia Maria and lived in ratty t-shirts. He referred to his ex-wife only as The Bitch.

Despite that rough around the edges exterior, Frank had the biggest heart. Contrary to his politically incorrect humor, Frank viewed the world through his big blue eyes as being full of friends he had yet to meet. He loved and he loved big.

And he was my godfather. Mine! Of course he loved my parents and my siblings, but they could only call him “friend.” I got to call him “friend” AND “godfather.” That made me special.

Maybe in part because he didn’t have kids of his own, Frank always made me feel incredibly important, like no kid in the history of the universe was as awesome as I was. He would clap his hands together in delight and tell me how cool I was. He was endlessly amazed by my fabulousness. Can you imagine how that felt – for him and for me?

I have so many wonderful memories with Frank, like riding in his boat on the Atlantic Ocean, eating French toast at his house after my family had slept over, and smoking a cigarette with him and my dad (my dad! smoking!) on my 21st birthday.

But more than any of these moments, I will always remember Frank’s catchphrase with me.

Frank would ask me, “Who loves you?!” I would get super embarrassed and roll my eyes. So he’d say it again, amused by my embarrassment. “Who loves you?!” I would give in and say, “You do.”

As I got older, I wasn’t embarrassed to say I loved him. Instead, I would kind of shout my response! I wanted the world to know what Frank meant to me.

He would grin from ear to ear and laugh and say, “Ha! You’re cool.”

The day Frank died, I lost my number one fan. It's been 11 years and I still miss him terribly.

Given my relationship with my beloved godfather, I have always wanted to be a godmother. However, since realizing that I'm not down with Jesus and therefore am no longer religious, I figured I had no shot at being a godmother. 

I'll try to be as cool as this lady.
Well, I am honored to share that in the past five months, I have been asked twice to be a [non-Catholic] godmother!

The day her son was born – and what would have been my fifth wedding anniversary – my dear friend Melanie asked me over FaceTime from her hospital room in Germany if I would be her son’s godmother. (I will meet him in May!) And then, last week, I stood with my two-year-old niece during her child dedication ceremony and promised to love and support her through her spiritual journey.

It is a great honor of being asked to play a dedicated role in a person’s spirituality (Catholic or otherwise). Now, I am understanding more and more why Frank was so thrilled at having been asked to be my godfather. Especially since I don’t have children of my own, I am grateful for my roles as godmother and aunt.

Now it’s my turn to embarrass my godson, goddaughter, and nieces and nephews when I ask them, “Who loves you?!”

Have you been asked to play a special role in someone else's family? How did it make you feel?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Time to Stop Wasting My Precious Time on an Unworthy Guy

Do not squander time for that is the stuff life is made of.
-Ben Franklin
I loathe wasting time. Life can be wickedly and deliciously unpredictable, and I want to use every minute I have. There are many things I want to do and people I want to see, which require scheduling; ever since I can remember, when I see an empty space in my calendar, I am inclined to fill it.

I consider myself fortunate to have a job that doesn’t require me to be on call, a couple of extra dollars in the bank that I can choose to waste on my entertainment, an assortment of awesome friends to hang out with, and a healthy body that can exercise (I really appreciate this since my knee injury). So, I can and often do pack seven days a week with fun/fulfilling/intoxicating activities.

This is how I do my life and it works for my type-A self.

With this understanding of my values and personality, I have been struggling a bit the past few weeks. I have been seeing this guy, Mike, and thanks to him, I have realized that being with new people, particularly when dating, means gambling my most precious commodity. Sure, sometimes it pays off, but what if the guy sucks? That time spent with him could have been spent doing something that could have been guaranteed enjoyable time, and therefore my time can feel wasted. I HATE THAT.

(Yes, with an attitude like this one, I probably shouldn't be dating anyone right now. But anyway...)

Gambling My Time with a New Guy

Admittedly, from the start I described Mike as arrogant and spoiled, but also seeming to have a very sweet and generous side. So, why not give him a few tries?

A couple of dates later I was bored of hearing him talk about how super he was. I decided he was a good kisser but kind of a dick so I wanted out. I told him thanks but no thanks. Well, his response was so sweet that I completely second guessed myself and said nevermind, let's keep hanging out! This was extremely unlike me -- I'm usually quite decisive, almost to a fault.

What made me start accepting that Mike was not worthy of my time was when being with Mike meant losing time with people I care about.

A few days ago, I was hanging out with Pete and his best friend Kyle. These two guys have the most genuine bromance you have ever seen, so I love hanging out with them. (As a sidenote, I have a killer crush on Kyle, but of course he lives seven hours away. But I digress.) We spent a Sunday drinking bloody marys, eating french fries, and telling stupid stories about each other and just laughing a ton.

But, because I'm a compulsive calendar filler, I had plans to see Mike that evening. After Pete teased the hell out of me for double booking my Sunday, I had to tear myself away from him and Kyle. 

As I drove to Mike’s, all I could think was how much I was enjoying my minutes with Pete and Kyle, and now I was trading those minutes to be with a guy I was lukewarm about.

I was right. My time with Mike was fine, but whatever. My time with Pete and Kyle was great.

I gambled and I lost.

I saw Mike last night. I could have come home after my volunteering commitment and written a long overdue blog entry. I could have read for book club. I could have thrown in a load of laundry, caught up on People magazine, or gone to bed early. I could have done a bazillion other things that would have made me feel happy and/or productive. Instead, I spent a few hours with a guy who wasn’t that good of a match for me. I am now certain he isn’t going to be my boyfriend. And he was totally trying to pressure me in to having sex. What is this, West Beverly Hills High School?!

Why the hell did I bother? In my gut, I've known all along this wasn't a person I should choose to share my time with.

Again, I gambled and lost.

I’m done seeing Mike. He’s not worth the gamble.

Epic Mommy Adventures

Sunday, March 8, 2015

When Your Ex-Husband Tells You His Girlfriend is Pregnant

My ex-husband, Max, has brown eyes and long, black eyelashes. (I always said those eyelashes were wasted on a man.) Through our eight years together, I saw his eyes light up with joy. I saw them darken with secrecy. I saw them dull with shock and denial.

This time, I was seeing something I had not seen before. Could it be fear?

Max stood in front of me, shifting his weight, fidgeting his hands. He stood seven inches taller than me, but felt smaller. What was going on? We have been divorced for two years. What on earth was there for him to say to me that could reduce him to this?

“Kat,” his voice quivering ever so slightly, “I have to tell you something.”

“OK…” I replied. “Go ahead. You can tell me anything.”

“Well, we are engaged…”

Engaged?! I didn’t even know he was dating someone. In fact, I had assumed he hadn’t even kissed anyone since me. We got divorced because of his lack of desire for sex, so it didn’t occur to me that he would even want to date. He was so resistant to working on himself when we were in therapy. But I guessed this was good, right? Maybe this means he was coping with his problems and moving on? I can be brave and make myself happy for my ex-husband.

But there was more.

“…because she’s pregnant.”

Oh god. No. No. No!

Everything started flashing. I couldn’t breathe. My stomach filled with ice.

We were supposed to have children together. We were going to be amazing parents. When he took away sex, he took away our shared vision of parenthood. How the fuck could he already be in a romantic relationship complete with physical intimacy? Seven out of our eight years together I was desperate for intimacy. Five out of our eight years together we were in therapy. I wanted him to want me, and for seven years, he rejected me. 

Now I’m 35, single, and unsure if motherhood is something that even makes sense for me anymore. All because my husband would not (could not?) make love to his wife.

And now some other woman is pregnant with the child that was supposed to be mine?! It was more than I could bear. Like a pipe filling with ice, I was on the verge of bursting, a flood of fury and sadness and longing and jealousy.

I dropped my head in my hands as vertigo set in. 

“This isn’t real. This isn’t real. This isn’t real!” I shrieked.
I couldn’t tell if the words were firing in my brain or if they were escaping my mouth.

Then, I woke up.

My heart was pounding and tears hovered in my tear ducts. I was all alone in my bed

I was right. It wasn't real.

How do you feel about your ex moving on? Are you happy for him or her?