Saturday, January 03, 2004

I just finished watching a cute little Japanese movie called Shall We Dance? with Andy and Mary. Ah, what times we have!

Now off to food and drinks and games, and then later, Mary, her Alex, and I will join gay-Chris and Co. for a jaunt to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Oh happy, happy night.
Woah! The AP syndicated the article about my mother, and now she's in the news everywhere!
Don't Stand So Close to Me by The Police just came on the radio.

I was molested by a teacher in high school. It's been so long that it's nothing personal anymore, just a fact of my childhood that subtly influences who I am today.

Anyhow, it's been over nine years since that period of my life, but the song still gets to me the same as ever. I stop whatever I'm doing, my heart in my throat, caught up in a momentary flash of memories. I wonder how much all of that stuff still affects the way I approach intimacy and relationships now.

It used to be that I was unable to be intimate with anyone, sexually or otherwise. Eventually, I moved to on from that to a form of interaction where I was sexually intimate with a number of people, but I used sexuality to kill emotional intimacy and was even less able to be emotionally close to anyone.

The last five or six years, I have made a better effort towards attempting relationships that were both physically and emotionally intimate. Sometimes I've done alright. Other times I've failed miserably. There are still triggers that cause me to panic. I still act in ways that are completely destructive. I still oscillate between several poor behavioral patterns.

Sometimes I return to over-sexuality, using sexuality as an emotional barrier. There is an urge, when I feel myself becoming especially close to someone, to reach out and be sexual with others so as to wound and scare the one person away. Certainly not a healthy inclination. I am not proud to say that I have given into this inclination several times over the years. It generally has not ended the relationships, but it has damaged them so severely that they never really recovered.

Other times, I find myself unable to be sexual at the same time as I am emotionally intimate. During times like this I have forced my partners to deal with prolonged frigidity, even partners with whom I had previously been sexual. It seemed almost a test, to see if they could still care for me and be with me without my sexual side. Or maybe, again, I was subconsciously acting to wound and scare them away.

I don't oscillate back and forth as wildly as I once did, but I think that it's still there on a smaller scale. I believe I still do things to subtly damage relationships and push people away because, deep down, I'm still scared.

But then again, aren't we all scared? People who never had poor sexual experiences are still scared of intimacy, of commitment. Maybe I'm over-analyzing, being too ego-centric. I'm not sure.

It's strange, though, how a single song can churn up this whole mess of thoughts. Always, whenever I hear the song. And I almost never think of them otherwise.
Today feels like one of the longest days in history. Logically, I know that I spent the morning with Mary, Alex, and the other Alex, that we went to breakfast and to the dog park, but it feels so disconnected. I feel as if those events might have been days or even weeks ago. I didn't even fragment the day with naps; I meant to nap, but instead I stayed up reading and then watching Angels and Insects with Mary. Then there was dinner with Chris, Bo, Tim, Mary, and Alex, and desert at the B&O. After that, there was the movie with Tim and Chris. And it is a surreal movie.

I don't know. Maybe that was just a lot to fit into one day and my mind is rebelling at the thought that a single day could be so full. Maybe I've been stressed out and emotionally up and down enough these last few weeks that my inner clock and intuition are now malfunctioning? Or maybe I'm just tired. I am tired. That's for sure. I should sleep well tonight.

Friday, January 02, 2004

I get to hang out with gay-Chris tonight -- yay! We're all going to go eat Thai food. Later on, some of us are going to see the midnight showing of Donnie Darko at the Egyptian. Kick ass! Good friends, good food, good movies... good times.

I was complaining just a while ago that I haven't made it out to the Egyptian since I've lived in this apartment. It's about time.
Currently, I am reading The Third Life of Grange Copeland by Alice Walker. The main character, so far, is distinctly unpleasant.

It is difficult for me to read books that revolve around characters I find unlikable.

I want to like everyone. I want to see redeeming qualities and features in them, and I want this especially if I am going to immerse myself in their world. There is already so much unkindness and mean-spiritedness in the world. I dislike it, I do not understand it, and I'm not sure I want to spend my spare time reading stories about people who embody it.

Perhaps I'll change my mind about the book before the end, but right now plowing through the entirety of the book is tough going.
At the Family Pancake House today, we were discussing Moulin Rouge. I said something about the Tango scene, which starts out with one of the characters saying dramatically, "Never fall in love with a dancer!"

Mary's Alex said, "I already have," and leaned up against her, all google-eyed.

Yeah, Alex, I caught that. Too cute for words, in a sickeningly sweet sort of way.
Mary, the two Alex's, and I went to the Family Pancake House in Redmond today. At the pancake house, I had the best potato pancakes I've had yet in Seattle, with freshly made apple compote. Yum! Afterwards we headed around the block to the dog park.

The dog park was awesome. Today has been a perfect winter day!

There's still a dusting of snow covering the ground in Redmond. Every here and there are bits of ice on the walk, which crackle as you step on them. The snow crunches underfoot. It's cool, but not chilly, and a dry, crisp, clean sort of cold -- not the wet, heavy cold that typifies most Seattle winter days. The sun is out, reflecting off the snow. Everything seems so bright and perfect!

At the park, the light permeated my body and my psyche and I was happy. No reason other than the sunlight, the chill of the cool wafting up from the snow and caressing my cheeks, and the crunch of snow underfoot. And my dog added to the feeling, perhaps -- bounding here and there, an ecstatic ball of happy energy. I don't remember a winter day like this in Seattle for all the time I've been here; it felt as if this might have been the first snowfall in Minnesota. I felt so at home.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press has an article about my mother today! There's also a related article on pensions and cash balance plans by the same author.
I took Steve out to Rom Mai Thai tonight before our lesson. Yummy. He was impressed that they asked after my family.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

New Year's Resolution #2:

I resolve to stop a long-held pattern of jumping from relationship to relationship, always on the rebound. I resolve to spend some time on my own before letting myself become intimately involved with anybody else. I resolve to get over past relationships before starting new ones.

I have actually been contemplating this resolution for a while, but I didn't post it until now because I am afraid it will be difficult to keep. I am not good at being alone. I do, however, realize the necessity. I firmly believe that if I can wait until I am at peace at myself as an individual to start a new relationship, the relationship will ultimately have better grounding, will be healthier, and will be more likely to succeed.
Andy asks how I will make these expectations clear to myself and my friends.

For most of you, it won't be an issue. Following are some of the expectations:
  • I expect that friends will initiate contact with me sometimes, and will be warm towards me when I initiate contact with them.

  • I expect that, whatever else might be going on in their lives, friends will make at least some time for me. That they will do so without trying to make me feel guilty for asking time of them. I expect that they will not be resentful of me for time that they do choose to spend with me, that they will not be angry at me for keeping them from other better things that they might have been doing.

    This is not to say that I expect friends to always give me frequent and large amounts of time or that I cannot understand what it is to be busy. I can deal without seeing friends for a long time. If they are unable to make certain concessions in the meanwhile, though, such as finding a few moments every once in a while to at least chat on the phone or committing to a time in the future where we will be able to see each other, then it just doesn't work.

  • When there are issues with the relationship that I feel need to be addressed, I expect that my friends will find time to sit down and discuss those issues with me. I expect that they will try to keep an open mind and to keep from becoming closed and defensive, so that they can really hear what I am saying and can then help find ways to constructively address the problems. They should not see doing this as a chore to be avoided at all costs.

  • I expect that friends will greet or acknowledge me when they run across me in a social situation. That they will not walk past me, trying to act as if they did not see me.

  • I expect that my friends will be proud of me.

    Historically speaking, I have a tendency to continue nurturing relationships even when the friend or lover is ashamed of being involved with me. I overlook it when they choose to hide the relationship from at least some friends and/or family. Over time, this causes me underlying resentment and negative feelings, but I attempt to swallow them and deal with then on my own. Always, given a choice between allowing the behavior to persist and ending the friendship, I have allowed the behavior to continue.

    After putting some serious thought into this and talking the it over with some close friends, I have come to believe that this is not fair to me, that it is not fair to the friend, and that it is unhealthy. Most of the relationships where this has been a problem are long since over, but it still plays a role in one relationship that I have recently been trying to maintain.

95% of you meet all the expectations listed above without even thinking about it. Most of you far exceed them. The problem is with the remaining few who refuse to meet one or more of them.

In allowing this behavior to persist without consequence I inadvertently encourage it, and I create a cycle of hurt and disappointment on my part that is unhealthy and not fair to either of us. It eats away at my self-esteem, which ultimately makes me less able to be a real friend to anybody. It eats away at the foundations of the relationship and creates a pattern of denial. I deserve more than that. My friends deserve more than that.

I cannot continue to allow this sort of behavior just because I consider myself friends with someone -- I need to find a way to believe that, if we are really friends, they will want to address the behavior. That, if they are not willing, then it is not really a friendship to begin with.

I do realize that all friends will occasionally fail to meet even the simplest of expectations. I have always tried to be forgiving of that, and I plan to continue being forgiving of occasional shortcomings.

It's only when violating expectations such as these becomes chronic behavior that I need to start re-thinking the friendship. When the friend's behavior evolves into a pattern of continually letting me down, when that friend is unable or unwilling to discuss the problem and will not work to address the issues, then I need to find the strength to move on. I need to respect myself and respect them enough to be honest about when things are not working, I need to set limits, and I need to adhere to them. Really, ultimately, it becomes the other person's choice. Even if these needs are not being met, I will not turn away a friend who is willing to work with me to find ways to address them. At the same time, I cannot continue to cultivate friendships where the friend is unwilling to work with me and will not put a good faith effort toward meeting the needs listed above.

This is not something I have done in the past, but I resolve start doing it going forward. This is the plan for a better, healthier Kathy, and for more rewarding relationships between myself and everyone who remains a part of my life.
My New Year's Resolution:

I resolve to raise the bar for friends and lovers. I need to respect myself and to believe that I deserve friends who will treat me well.

There has to be a minimum set of expectations to which I can hold people who wish to be an important part of my life. If they are not willing to put a good faith effort into living up to those expectations, I must find a way to move on.

Right now, I feel that I have the almost stupid, undying loyalty of a dog. Kick me, curse me, spit on me, and I will still come running back with my tail between my legs. As Brian said to me, this can be a good trait if it is reserved for only the best of people, the few real and decent individuals you bump into and make friends. It is not healthy, however, for me to be indiscriminate about who I give that sort of loyalty to.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Happy New Years!
Alex read through several of my nightmare descriptions a while ago. He made the observation that, in all of them, I was trying to rescue something or someone.

He thinks that characters in dreams always somehow represent the dreamer, so his theory is that I had been trying to save some part of myself. I don't know if I buy that or not.

It was interesting to me, though, that he looked at the set of dreams as a whole. Rather than trying to analize any single dream, he looked for similarities across the lot of them. I would never have thought to do that.
Busy, busy, busy.
One drink to remember
And another to forget

Excuse me please, one more drink -
Could you make it strong
so I don't have to think?
She broke my heart
my Grace is Gone
One more drink and I'll move on

- from "Grace is Gone" by the Dave Matthews Band
As much as I write on here and as much as I blather on in person, I am insecure about my ability to express myself adequately via the English language.

Give me a canvas and some paints, or maybe a block of clay, and I'll happily create something that I feel suitably represents my thoughts or feelings. These are mediums in which I feel comfortable.

Words, though, leave too much room for imprecision. People can read so much into words that isn't meant, and they can miss so much even when the point has been said. I feel, with spoken or written language, like I'm wielding a sword that weighs twice as much as I do -- there is just no way for me to wield it effectively.

I am not able to be precise. The best words to capture a thought or the best way for structuring that thought often evade me.

Because I lack precision, I am not able to speak concisely. For fear that I'll leave out an idea or be misunderstood because I chose the wrong words or phrased them poorly, I instead swamp the recipient with more words than are necessary. I talk on and on. I fling adjectives here and there, hoping that one will be "the right one" and that my listener will catch my meaning. I fear that instead, this tactic often results in overloading them so that they tune out much of what I say.

I admire people who regularly manipulate language with precision -- who say what they mean, mean what they say, and convey their meaning such that it cannot be misunderstood. I almost idolize them. It's a skill that, more than anything, I wish I embodied.
Have you ever noticed strange similarities between yourself and someone else? First they get the same haircut you have. Then they start flirting with the same people that interest you. Especially if you don't know them all that well, it's a bit weird.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003


I just took two pictures off of my balcony. Whenever I get them developed I'll get them scanned and post them here.

I love looking out at the world I know and pass through every day to see it transformed! People always say to me, "It's only a short drive to see snow in the mountains so I don't understand why you miss the snow," but they just don't understand. The mountains aren't my home. The street I live on, the trees outside my window, the street lamps that light the alleyway where my car sits; these are the things that make up my world. It's magical, a soft layer of newly fallen snow covering it in a blanket of white. Everything that was so ordinary and commonplace is suddenly new and changed. It looks different, it feels different, it smells different. It is invigorating.

So, yeah...



The only downer is that work actually got busy this afternoon and I have to go in tomorrow. I can't just stay home and play in the snow.
To those of you who tell me I just need to ask in order to avoid misunderstandings -

The problem isn't so much that I don't ask; the problem is that I don't know when to ask. I don't catch that I've misinterpreted something. Rather, I think that the other person has been clear and unambiguous, that I have been clear, and that we are both on the same page.

That is, until I find out differently later on. IF I find out differently later on.

I don't know to ask for clarification if I think I understood completely. If, instead, I overcompensate and ask for clarification every time anybody tells me anything, that would get annoying, don't you think?

Example scenario:

"Hi! How are you?," Joe Blow asks me.

"Wait, what do you mean by that?"

"What do I mean by what? I was just asking how you are," he replies.

"Oh, I'm doing alright," I say. "I'm a little tired, but things are going well enough. How are you?"

"I'm fine."

Fine, he said. What does he mean by fine? Does it mean the same thing to him that it means to me? I ponder a minute, wondering if perhaps there was some meaning there that I'm missing or if I might be reading more into his words so far than has actually been there. "What do you mean by fine? Are you okay? There isn't anything you aren't telling me, is there?"

Joe looks at me strangely. "No, really, I'm doing well. What's with all the questions?"

"I'm just trying to understand you better."

"Do you think you've been misunderstanding me?" he asks, looking slightly confused.

"Yes. I mean, no. I mean, I don't know. That's what I'm trying to find out."

"Oh. Er... okay." He blinks. He says nothing.

Why isn't he saying anything?

Does he think it ISN'T okay?! Is he trying to mislead me somehow?

"Do you really think it's okay? What do you mean by okay?"

"Can't you just take anything at face value?" he asks with exasperation.

"Well, I'm just afraid that face value to me might not be face value to you, that something might get lost in translation. It's happened before."

"That's reasonable, but as friends I would think we would have some sort of understanding wherein you might just take what I say and leave it at that." He does not look happy with me. Things could be going better.

Shit! Wait a minute! He's questioning whether or not we're acting on terms that he expects from friends!

Is he questioning our friendship?

Does he view our friendship the same way I do?

What expectations does he really have of me? Does he want to change them?

"Um, I don't mean to be a pain, but I just want to understand what you mean when you say 'friendship'. Are we still friends? Do you want to still be friends? What, in your mind, does that entail?"

"What the fuck is up with all these questions?" His voice is becoming tighter, more constrained.

"I'm just, I mean, er, I don't want any misunderstandings, and- "

Is this some sort of perverted game?"

"No! Like I said, I'm just trying to unders- " He glares at me a moment and then storms off.

"Wait! Where are you going?"

He's at the door, but he pauses to look back at me. "I don't understand!," I tell him. "I just wanted to make sure I don't misunderstand anything you've said to me!"

"You're being such a pain! I don't know why you continue to aggrivate me like this," he growls. Joe turns and leaves, the door closing behind him with finality.


Joe Blow is gone, conversation over.

Sounds like fun, yeah?

I feel these days as if I'm searching for serenity. I am learning that there are many things I cannot change. This is difficult for me to accept; I get riled up and unhappy, obsessing over how things might be different if only I had the power to change them.

There are moments now and again where I feel a respite from the searching, wanting, wishing, and hoping, where I am content to let things be as they are. The agitation and disquietment briefly abate and I am tranquil for a time. Moving into the new year, I hope that I might grow and mature such that these moments become less the exception and more the rule.
I find I sometimes deceive myself.

For instance, someone says to me, "I want to be friends." In my mind, I translate their statement to "I want to be [close] friends."

Immediately I start expecting things of that person that I expect from close friends -- frequent communication, effort put into spending a fair bit of time together, open and frank dialogue -- and I am disappointed when I get less than that. I feel deceived.

The person might spend time with me now and again, talk to me a bit, keep up on some level with everything going on with me -- not necessarily acting as a close friend but certainly interacting with me as more than just a casual acquaintance.

In their mind, we have a friendship and it is exactly what they asked of me. They are living up to set expectations.

In my mind, however, because I read more into their original statement than they had meant, I feel let down.

I catch myself doing this sort of thing every now and again. It makes me wonder how often I do it without catching it. How many of my disappointments are really the product of my own internalizations? How often do I interpret things differently than they are meant and then feel misguidedly walked-upon when the situation doesn't pan out as I expect?

Once I realize my error (if I do realize my error), the negative feelings immediately begin to fade. The anger, hurt, and resentment slip away and I am more easily content.

I don't know how to make sure I understand people's statements more clearly. I think if I could do so, if I could be on the same page from the start, I would ultimately end up a happier person. Maybe people don't flake out as often as I tend to think they do? Perhaps instead, I misinterpret or misunderstand expectations that they communicate to me, which invariably leads to later misunderstandings and disappointments.
As I was heading out to walk my dog this morning, I heard a voice cursing in the hallway. "Bitch!" When I exited my apartment, I was surprised to see, of all people, my landlord --- a usually courteous and pleasant man. He was standing at a resident's door down the hallway from mine looking rather peevish. His demeanor changed, however, upon seeing my dog and me.

"Hi Louie," he called brightly. "Hi, Kathryn. How are you?"

"Good. And yourself?"


Louie and I walked on. As we were about to exit the front door of the building, I heard him cursing again. "Goddamnit," he muttered, "who does she think she is?"

Did he think I couldn't hear him? It's strange how people act one way when they perceive themselves to be alone but act another when in the company of others.

I wonder what was up with him, what had happened to make him so irate.

Monday, December 29, 2003

I've been reading Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence. Rather than associating with the heroine, I've found myself relating to her cuckolded husband, a worrisome and clingy creature. I'm not quite sure why.
Thank you to all of you who checked up on me this weekend, calling or writing consoling emails. Whatever else may go right or wrong in my life, I am blessed to have some of the best and dearest friends I could ever conceive. You are good to me and I am thankful.
A few nights ago, I visited a book store. I had a strange experience. Somehow I ended up in the Sociology section. It was a tiny section, spanning just a single bookshelf, but somehow it contained almost every book I ever remember Jeremy reading.

How odd.

I had started a few of them when he was around and had liked them, so I picked them up again now. Yay for books.
At the grocery store the other day, Mary picked up a super-hot pepper for making quesadillas. The weight of the pepper wouldn't even register on the scale when the checkout lady tried to ring it up, so she finally billed it at $.01. "All the heat you can handle for a penny," she joked.
On some level, I guess I feel like I deserve all the drama with Mike.

I'm a hypocrite. Over the last several months there have been a number of times where I have treated Chris as poorly as Mike has treated me. I was trying to create distance, and I did it in the ways that were easiest for me, not the ways that were fairest to him. I feel guilty about how I handled things and about how I have treated him; now, at least, it's finally out in the open.

Chris, I'm sorry.
Back to blogging, at least a bit from work. I still don't feel like being on much from home for now.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

I think it's best if I stay offline for a while, outside of work. Signing off now; best wishes to you all until I return.
I never thought anybody could hurt me so much that I wouldn't want to see them again.

Or, if it ever came to that, I thought it would only be because I hated them so much, because I couldn't stand the sight of them.

Ironic, then, that it's finally come that, but the reason I can't bear to see Mike anymore is that I love him. No hate at all. I can't see him anymore because he is far too inconsiderate. He walks all over my love and hurts me time and time again, and it tears me apart. I need to break away so that I can salvage something of myself, so that hopefully, somewhere down the line, I will be able to love someone else who will cherish and return my love. I'm afraid that if I continue to see Mike that resentment and bitterness would eventually consume me. I'm afraid that I would never move on, that I would never be able to give real love to anyone else again.

It would be easier if he had drawn the final boundaries and cut me off so that I wouldn't have to bear this burden. He doesn't love me now anyway -- it wouldn't have hurt him as much as it hurts me. I'm so scared that I'm throwing everything away, that things could work if I didn't push. I'm terrified that I'm sabotaging something really good, even though I know deep down that isn't the case. I'm second-guessing myself all the way and it's such a difficult decision to begin with.

My whole life feels like a waking nightmare right now. It's horrid, having to push away people that mean the world to you. They mean the world to you! The world! So when you push them away, what is left? Nothing at all. A complete void.

I know I can build up something again with time, that my life is not over, but it doesn't feel that way right now.

I feel as depressed as I can ever remember feeling. Part of me wishes I could sleep tonight, never to wake up again. I have a dog and birds that depend on me and several close friends who would miss me terribly should I die, so suicide is not an option. I can see the appeal, though. An easy out when nothing seems worthwhile and life and love seem merely a cruel farce.

I need some sort of serenity. I need to be able to accept letting him go. I wish I could have some sort of reassurance that this is the best thing to do, that it is the only thing to do, that he doesn't love me and won't love me again and there's nothing of any worth or promise to be thrown away. I wish I had some sort of assurance that I wasn't making a huge mistake. This has been building for so long now -- I think this is where the nightmares have been coming from, knowing deep down that things are as they are and that I would have to ultimately take this action -- and I think it was so upsetting because I've never really been certain enough to follow through. Still second-guessing. Still doubting, even as things have gotten so dire that I feel I have no choice but to take action and push.

And not for hate, but for love. For stupid, loyal, undying love.