Tag Archives: gratitude

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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Adoration

I’m trying to put into words this magnificent, strange chunk of time in which I’ve found myself.

Did your parents ever ask for a list of what you wanted for a holiday? And you thought of everything, every toy and ad and commercial, slowly eliminating anything that was too much (rude to ask, sours the holiday) or illogical (impossible to find, can’t be wrapped)? But there are a few items lingering beneath your tongue even after you turn in your list.

Christmas morning breaks. There is snow outside and no one’s fighting, it’s warm inside, Dad fixed the fireplace before Santa got there last night and! There are reindeer prints outside that you barely notice because Mom’s guiding you to the tree. Red flannel pajamas brush against your skin and you can’t articulate the magic that’s happening here, in your sweet little living room, hardwood floors gleaming.

You watch your siblings open their gifts. The joy is almost palpable. Your child tongue is afraid to explain how good this is, so you try to take everything in: your father’s morning stubble scratches your cheek, wrapping paper covers the ground like a patchwork rug, your brother sneaks another cookie and icing coats his fingers. This is the closest you’ve ever come to having God in your house but you don’t even mind.

Finally! There’s one more present under the tree. Pastel lights wink between branches, against your parents’ teeth, in your brother’s eyes. You don’t even want to breathe too fast, you might suck it all in. So you bend, slowly, fingers pressed to cool cardboard as everyone watches. Your nickname is on the tag and you can’t help but grin. It’s really for you.

Hungry hands tear the wrapping paper into careful strips, gentle, a quiet anticipation building in the pit of your stomach. When the box is bare, you almost stop – unveiling this last present marks the end, doesn’t it, and it’s so beautiful to be here that you almost don’t care what’s inside, it doesn’t matter, your heart is so full that it’s heavy against your ribs. But your mother rests a tan hand on your shoulder and you know it’s time.

Fingernails dig into the lid, prying the box apart, and you don’t even realize you’re holding your breath until it’s open, whoosh, the air escapes you. Your eyes are squeezed shut but you see with your hands. You’re not sure when you started crying, but you open your eyes to relieve the pressure and! Inside the box! You cannot believe it, you practically refuse, you look up at your overjoyed parents and they laugh and laugh and laugh like a song, like a hymn.

You didn’t tell anyone you wanted this. You were too ashamed, too afraid to even hope. It didn’t make your list. But here it was, pristine and beautiful in a box with your name! You’re afraid to hold it, almost, because your hands are clumsy and chubby fingers could break it all apart. So instead you press the box against your chest, heart thumping against the cardboard, and you cry grateful tears.

It’s not even the present (yes, it is wonderful, how did you know?), it’s not the day, but it’s the moment. The magic of it will never happen the same way and you know that, somehow, it never could but you’re so grateful that it unfolded around you like this – fragile but whole, enough to remember it for the rest of your days, enough to replay it when you’re older and lost and in pieces.

that’s how I feel about him.

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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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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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A Letter to Fort Collins

In the end, I didn’t hate you – or, to paraphrase,

it is the end and I am amazed.

You almost swallowed me whole, you know. And I was so angry because of it, so inwardly vicious, so poisonous. How else do you kill a thing with teeth?

Anyway.

Fort Collins, I met you at seventeen, pursuing you with hazy determination. I had chosen you at eight years old, promised to find your soil beneath my feet, planted myself amongst the mountains and trees and waited to feel… something. And I did.

I lost my friends here. I was stalked and lied to and assaulted here, twice. I was shamed and humiliated here. I hurt so badly here.

For the longest time, it felt like you hated me. Imagine that – a little girl dreams of escaping to a bustling town for nine years, only to have the city spit in her face. Only to be ripped apart and rearranged, to be called a whore and a liar, to be turned inside out by those she considered friends.

But change is always painful.

So maybe you didn’t hate me. Maybe you loved me like I loved loose teeth as a child – I yanked the teeth from my mouth, swallowing the blood as my tongue traced its old permiter. You ripped at my edges until it ached, yeah, but there was something stronger underneath. Or maybe you didn’t think of me at all and this story is one more broken narrative I’ll have to revisit later.

Maybe.

Just to be safe: thank you for what you gave me. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to build myself time and time again. Thank you for teaching me every lesson, especially the ones that ended poorly. Thank you for letting me leave with my dignity, my humor, my words. Thank you for the professors who changed my life. Thank you for letting me live. Thank you for my beautiful, strong friends who found me here, who kept me here – thank you for housing the man I love, thank you for bringing us all together. Thank you for being the last place I knew Mani alive. We used to conpare our mountain towns and I think she would’ve found so many places to love here.

Fort Collins, this is the first thing I remember writing about you:

“Temporary girl in a temporary town –
someday I’ll run away and burn it all down.”

It’s almost funny to read that couplet now. Neither of us is running, you’re still standing, and I’ve never felt more permanent.

Thank you.

xoxox

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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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