Tag Archives: friendship

The Girl through the Wires

She found me in the strangest way.

I didn’t have many friends left by the end of that summer. I had been looking forward to the sun but even blue skies couldn’t pull me out of myself. Instead I stayed in my childhood bedroom, still processing bruises that had long since healed. I can’t remember exactly when Sydney appeared in my life – I only posting on my blog and saying I was unequivocably done with friendship. I was tired of being hurt, after all. Then this beautiful, vibrant Minnesotan crawled through the internet and offered me her hand.

“You can’t give up on friendship! I’ll be your friend.”

We’ve talked about our origin at length in the four years since. It wasn’t like her to write to people, she says, and it wasn’t in my nature to respond so readily. Somehow, we just knew to speak.

Sydney kept my heart open and hopeful, despite my best efforts to shut the world out. We messaged on Tumblr back and forth, back and forth, discussing everything from Harry Potter to human rights to teen suicide to our favorite bands. I’m still unsure how we fell together so beautifully. That fall, I met Sydney’s celebrity crush. I hugged Ed Sheeran and told him all about my best friend across the country.. the best friend I had never met.

When we finally stepped on the same soil, it was like coming home. I’d never felt instantaneously at peace with another person, but Sydney is special. She and I watched Ed Sheeran, our hands intertwined . I still remember her nails digging into my palm as Ed plucked on his guitar.

Sydney turned 23 recently. I am so pleased to say that our friendship is as strong as ever – and I can’t express how much I owe her. Sydney has let me lean on her on my worst days and she’s made my best days possible. sydney.png

I can’t wait for our future adventures, Squiddy. Happy belated birthday. xx

 

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Infrastructure

I’ve spent the past week scooping broken expectations from my bedroom floor. They stick to the palms of my hand like jelly, almost immovable in their viscosity, until I am reminded how dangerous it is to see people as anything other than they are.

So it goes.

This week, I’ve leaned so heavily on my friends that if they were lesser people, they might have broken. I am consistently amazed that they hear me every time, through every pain, and still manage to love me at the end of the day. I often say I’ve stumbled ass-backward into the most beautiful friendships – and it’s more true than I could ever explain.

Today’s post is for the people who didn’t have to choose me, but decided to anyway. They have made it possible to breathe every single time. They root for me, support me, challenge me, inspire me, teach me. My friends verify the validity of my feelings and they ask me how I will move forward. There is no greater group of people on Earth.

Here’s to my Babes, to the beautiful people who swept my heart off their doorstops and let me inside.

To the Power Couple who have known me since I was 13 and edgeless, who have never once stopped loving me even though I constantly fall asleep on their sofa, who check in again and again to make sure I’m okay. Thank you for offering me a place to sleep, for laughing at my crudest jokes, for letting me cry endlessly and without judgment. Thank you for being some of the funniest, most loving people I know. And thank you for reminding me to be gentle with myself, especially when I’m struggling. I can’t believe I got so lucky.

To the Butter Cats who took my life by storm and haven’t stopped yet – thank you for showing me new parts of town, thank you for every adventure (even the ones where we forget our shoes), thank you for listening and signing and reminding me that there is more than one way out of any problem. Thank you for letting me tell you cringey stories a little too loudly. Thank you for mashed potatoes and waffles and showing you care every single time I reach out to you.

To my California Dreamer whose place in my life started with an incredible fashion choice – thank you for picking up the phone every time I call. Thank you for believing me, for hearing the good and the bad and somehow deciding I was still worth the hassle. Thank you for your relentless love, for the manifestation of your very being, for elephants and snails and cartoon hearts. Thank you for calling out every shitty behavior, for always teaching me something new, for your incredible taste in both media and other human beings alike. Thank you for choosing me to be a part of your world.

To my boo who calls at 6AM and doesn’t mind the sleep dripping from my voice – who held me on one of the worst nights of my life and made a joke so terrible that I forgot I was sad for a moment, for my singalong partner,  for the man who has never hit on me but still thinks my ass looks great in leather pants – thank you. Your advice is honest, yet kind and I always feel better after we speak. Your love is like coffee: strong, warm, and energizing. I am so grateful that the world can spin around us and yet we always find our way back to center. Thank you for  knowing when to coddle me and when to tell me to kick ass.

To my Moon and Sun, who are always a text away – thank you. Holy shit, thank you so much. When I first met you, I was shattered. Neither of you gave up on me. Instead we kept talking, kept laughing, kept fighting. Never in my life have I been so thankful for the internet as I am with you two. The odds of us finding each other were near impossible… and yet! And yet here we are, years later, your voices dormant in my throat so every time I speak like you, my heart jumps a little. Thank you for bearing every hurt long before I could share it with the world. Thank you for hearing the stories, for picking the glass from my skin, for offering me your homes and your grandparents and your cities.

To my other half, the one who has known me since I was 5, who has watched me break out of my skin more times than I can count. I don’t know if you’ll find a way to read this, but thank you for loving me at my most unlovable. I will never forget how you jumped in your car and drove two hours to see me after I called you. I wept into the phone as you sped to my apartment, our hearts beating to the same rhythm, and I realized that you were my sister just as much as any blood relative. There is always, always going to be a part of you in me. It makes me stronger than I ever imagined.

To the man I miss – I’m here.

and to Mani, to the star of my heart: I would give up every written word to have you back.

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23

I don’t know if anyone else thinks I’m as interesting as I do and it shows in the way I tell stories, which is to say constantly and with very dramatic pauses.

That might be a character flaw, but no one in my life has complained about it thus far. I don’t imagine they’d start today – but that’s because today is my birthday. I am twenty-three years old and I find that completely fascinating. Every year, I reflect on what I’ve learned, how I’ve stumbled, where I need to go, and every year I am surprised that I have reached this age.

It’s hard to explain without getting into the nitty and the gritty, the blood and tears and endless dark nights that threatened to over-saturate my personhood, but I never imagined reaching 19 years old. I’ve been shocked at every birthday since.

But this is not a sad story. This is a happy story because it leads to you and I, existing in this digital space, sharing in a positive revelation – I am twenty-three years old today. I have made it around the sun again.

I am pervasive. I, too, am amazed.

So yes, I talk about myself. I write about myself. It is the surest path to understanding and loving myself – which, at present moment, I do, but in the way one might love a painting or museum exhibit. I will only get better in time. Until then, I’d like to share a bit of silliness with you.

If you don’t know me outside of my blog or we rarely speak in the three-dimensional world, you probably don’t understand how much of a loon I am. Yesterday I burnt up the highway in an epic car dance party…by myself…while dressed as a stereotypical secretary. I make faces at babies, even when adults are trying to hold conversations with me. I think it’s important to tell animals how handsome they are, especially when they’re old, and I expect everyone in the vicinity to compliment my cat whenever she’s near. I always believe libraries, pharmacies, and grocery stores are closed on Sundays even though THAT’S ABSURD. When I want to express my love for my friends via pictures and SnapChat, I will inevitably close my eyes – because that’s how cats say I love you. I treat people like children, {hopefully} not in a condescending fashion, but instead like a proud first grade teacher who just wants you to know how wonderful you are.

I am unabashedly proud of the person I’m becoming. I am happy with the love I am able to give and the quality of the people who surround me. I cannot believe that I am here, that I am open, that I am loud and silly and kind. The best compliment I have ever received came from my therapist in college. I had just finished cry/laughing about trauma, as I am wont to do, and my therapist handed me a tissue.

“Wow,” he said. I’m blanking on his name now, but my therapist was so compassionate. He looked like a sweet badger, the kind that children faun over, and I felt safe in his office.

“What?” I wiped the mascara from under my eyes, my fingers coated in its black residue.

“Your experiences could’ve made you hard, they could’ve made you mean, but you took everything in and decided to become soft instead.”

I sat in his overstuffed armchair for a while, mouth open, as I processed his words. Before that moment, I had not realized that I had made any decision at all.

Here’s to another year of softness, of separating the ideas of vulnerability and weakness, of telling stories even when my voice shakes. Here’s to another year of pervasiveness, to growing beyond my wildest dreams, to taking the world piece by piece. Here’s to the people who got me here, to those who did not give up even when I had, to those who challenge me, to those who hear my stories first.

And, of course, here’s to you. Thank you so much for listening.

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Happy Little Life

I know, I know, this title is contradictory to last week’s title, but what can I say? I contain multitudes. Today’s post will be short and sweet. Thank you for respecting my wishes, for hearing me without demanding answers. Thank you for the love you have poured toward me, the undue kindness and restraint you have shown, the quiet support which I have seen even in the most unexpected places. I am so grateful.

I wrote about the Big Three because it’s important. I tell sad stories because they’re important. I run this blog because it’s important, if only to me. But you! You have come and sat alongside me, swallowing my words, digesting the tales and heartache and discovery just as fast as I can write them out. You are so good to me. Thank you.

Today I am off on an adventure, but before I go, I want to remind you that I am curating a beautiful, happy little life – and I could not do it without you.

Have a beautiful Sunday.

with love,
K

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The Anxiety of Happiness

This summer is, without a doubt, the best of my life.

I’m excelling at my job, I am surrounded by endlessly kind and supportive friends, I get to spend an inordinate amount of time with a thoroughly lovely man, my art is lighter… This is the life I could not imagine for myself on my best day as a child. I cannot believe it’s unfolding around me.

It scares me.

I am not used to experiencing so much goodness at once. Sometimes it doesn’t feel real, as if I’ve stepped into someone else’s life with both feet. My anxiety makes me glance over my shoulder, almost shaking as I wait for them to show up and demand their happy little life back.

I feel like I could ruin it at any moment.

I am clumsy and too talkative and oddly aloof, detached when I don’t mean to be, altogether too far to reach and too close to escape. I am worried that I don’t have the tools to maintain this happiness, or that my decision to move to Denver will rupture it prematurely. For the first time in five years, I don’t hate this town. We’ve walked under black skies, our hearts in our hands as we laugh into the moonlight. My people have made Fort Collins beautiful and now I have to leave. I’m scared of what’s to come.

There is no neat ending to this story, only a gentle recognition that I am trying my best – that what is coming will come and until then, I’ll keep holding hands and laughing too loudly and treasuring everyone who has painted my life in these brilliant shades. I never thought it was possible to feel this whole.

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I am so grateful.

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To Mani, with Love.

I am going to spend the rest of my life trying to be the person Mani thought I could be.

Her memory pushes me toward goodness, toward boldness, toward love and light alike. When I read her words, I can almost feel her arms around me – quiet, soft, the slightest shift in the universe that allows us to be together for a breath. Since her passing, a day has not moved forward without a moment for her and her alone. Usually I find those times when I’m outside. I trace her name in cloud formations. I hear her laugh in the rain.

Mani told me once that I would’ve liked the storms in Durango, the way the thunder ricocheted against the mountains. She invited me down and I intended to visit in the spring.

Her absence grants a new weight to the presence of my friends. I marvel more often at their existence – I am louder in my love than ever before. Her memory guides my self-love, too. The night before I left my abusive ex, I dreamt about her for the first time and her memory gave me the courage to go. My walk to work on the day I quit was filled with her voice, her words, her heart. I imagined what she would say about my manager’s cruelty. I knew she would never want me to suffer and, for that reason, I was strong enough to resign my position.

As I write this post, I am rereading the letter she gave me when I left high school and I am in awe. It almost feels like bragging to share her words, but I feel the intense desire to show how her love made me see myself differently – as if we could do anything, as if I could be anyone because of how she loved me.

“Dear Krista,

Hello! I just wanted to write you a little letter, mostly because I think you deserve it and I don’t know if you hear these things enough. I think you are one of the most beautiful people I know, not only on the outside (which you are) but inside. You are so good to everyone. You make me so envious – no that’s not the right word. You make me want to strive to be a better person. You just show me that there can be such beauty and kindness in the world, and every time I’m feeling like all there is badness and ugliness, I see you and I just know that there’s got to be something better out there. I know life isn’t perfect for you, and if I could take all the bad in your life and live it for you, I would. If I could carry all your burdens for you, I would. Because of every person I’ve met in my whole life deserves it it’s you. You deserve everything good life has to offer. And I wanted to tell you these things because your going to go to college soon, and I wanted you to sincerely know that you’ve changed my life. You’ve given me a goal to strive for, a person to want to be, and shown me that there is such beauty in the world. I didn’t want you to go without hearing these things because they are true, and I’m too much of a weenie to say them in person. I’m only sorry that I can’t give you more than this lousy note. I’ll always remember you, Krista Lee, and the profound significance you’ve had on my life.

Mani Nitara E.

PS – I know you’re not graduating for like two more months but my hope is that knowing these things will help you through those two months. It might not. And maybe you’ll read this and go “Gee that Mani is weird” but I thought you ought to know that someone thinks highly of you. I love you deeply, Krista. You’ll change the whole world someday just like you changed me.

PPS – That wasn’t supposed to sound so cheesy, but whatever.”

Mani, this wasn’t a lousy note. I am still becoming, but I promise I will carry you with me wherever I go. I’ll continue to seek you out in constellations, in clouds, in dreams. Soon enough, I’ll have your words etched into my skin with ink and we will never be apart again.

I love you, kiddo.

maniandme

I always will.

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The Mormons and a Profoundly Good Day

Kurt Vonnegut gave graduates the following advice during commencement speeches:

I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

As several of my friends have graduated this weekend, it only felt appropriate to pass that advice along. When a moment is so whole that you are taken by surprise, notice. Catalog every piece of it – the sounds, the smells, the very air that is holding it all together.

In this digital age, I like to share some of these moments on social media – not to brag, but instead to provide balance. I tell sad stories, but that’s not the entirety of my life. There are also wonderfully whole days and people and laughter.

Yesterday was one of those days.

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It was my first time at the drive-in. I set my anxiety aside as the Mormons welcomed me with open arms (and, as we layered eight grown adults in the car, closed legs). After ten minutes, we were all wrapped up in each other. A woman I had just met squeezed my hands in the tense moments, we laid across our friends, and we ate sour gummy worms until our tongues tingled. A former bishop invited us to his home after the credits rolled and soon we surrounded his fire pit. The stones glittered under the fire’s glow. We skewered marshmallows and set them aflame, tiny sweet torches burning against the cold black sky. I counted the stars above us before it started to drizzle.

I am so thankful for my friends and the amazing places we end up together. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Congratulations to the graduates – may you notice every beautiful moment.

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