Thursday, April 12, 2007

Paris In April

Please take this very, very long (serious) entry with a grain of salt. It's mostly un-edited, and just came right out, as if from out of nowhere. I'm sure I can be more articulate. Maybe later.


It's hard to write about my love life for many reasons. Probably the biggest reason is that Ish, the one I would be writing about, reads this blog. And it's not like I hide things from him, it's just--

--don't you think it would be weird for me to write about the sometimes-crippling anxiety that accompanies being in love with someone? Um, given that that someone is going to be reading it? Even if he already kind of knows?

* * * *

I know you know already, Internet, because I've told you a dozen times, but it bears repeating: When we met, Ish was separated. Not "getting divorced." Not even "probably" getting divorced. He was merely separated.

You know what I told my sister the day after our first date? I told her I'm glad he's married. I thought that we would have a good time together, but that his complete lack of real availability would force me to back off, take things slower than I usually do, relax, and simply enjoy the pleasure of his company.

I was right.

For a while.

* * * *

I am damn good at compartmentalizing. Scary good. After growing up with so many bad things happening, or maybe going to happen, that this is how I cope. When I cannot do anything to change a circumstance, I simply shrug and put it away, almost as though it doesn't exist. I don't know if it's denial, exactly, because I am aware of it.

Sometimes people think this is strength, that I am strong. Because bad things happen and I am still okay. I am genuinely functioning and okay, and not bitter and not angry. And not even on anti-depressants.

But once, quietly, after some guy I really liked but hardly knew broke up with me, my mom said to me that she worried. She feared that I was "cold."

Sometimes, quietly, I worry that she was right.

Mostly I know she wasn't, though. I am not cold, I just wear my heartbreak differently than she did.

* * *

I don't get to have this.

Here is the crux of my anxiety, and I don't want to hear your arguments. You may very well tell me that I am worth it. You may remind me that he isn't. And I at once know these things to be true, and will absolutely refuse to believe them. There is nothing to be said.

It started in the first few weeks of dating him. I don't know how early on. It was just a flicker and I refused to look at it.

We are just dating, we are just seeing each other, this is just fun. This is just another life experience. Just go with it. Just let go.

But I can tell you exactly where it happened, and exactly what I was doing the first time I felt the anxiety and hurt and pain and terror in a burst -- a wave of recognition that made me sick to my stomach. I tried to explain it to him and he couldn't understand and it subsided anyway and we went back to being nothing serious.

I was sitting on the floor of his apartment one weekend morning. It was sunny, and the whole place smelled like bacon, because it was tiny and had poor ventilation, and anytime we'd get the urge to cook bacon the scent would linger for days. (Sometimes bacon is worth it.)

Ish's studio apartment had low ceilings and shabby carpeting and no charm to speak of. And when clean, it looked like the kind of place someone on the down-low would stake out. Aside from a couple books and photos, you'd know nothing about Ish's "real" life.

I thought that was just fine.

I didn't have the torture of sitting in "their" furniture. I didn't have to be surrounded by a life that had nothing to do with me. I wasn't infiltrating sacred ground haunted by memories of happier times. His "happier times" existed somewhere else, and it was very easy for me to ignore them.

His stupid little apartment was in no way intimidating, and neither was he. He was confused and sad, and working out a lot of things. His relationship with his family was strained and difficult. His career was unfulfilling. His dreams were shapeless. His life path was completely unclear.

And that person? That person I can handle! That life I know! That mess of a situation, oh-ho! I get it...and I can hold your hand while we muddle through it together, because fella, you are speaking my language.

But the boxes had come. She'd started to send bits and pieces of his real life, his "happier times" life, all carefully wrapped with maybe some tenderness and tears or maybe bitterness or really, I have no idea what.

At first I didn't go near them, because there was no reason to. But he'd opened them and left them laying about (there was nowhere but "about" for them to go) and I noticed that one of them had all these funny square little boxes inside. I was curious.

Oh, those are my ties he said. Really? I asked increduously, because I didn't know ties could come in square little boxes, or that someone would be organized enough to keep the boxes, or that someone who doesn't even wear ties could have so many.

I asked if I could look at them, and he said sure and so I did.

Each one of his ties had been expertly folded and placed in its box of origin. And as I sat on his floor, slowly opening the lids, examining the contents, replacing the lids, and re-stacking the boxes, I nearly had a panic attack. That flicker I'd felt earlier became a burst, and I hugged my stomach and waited for my compartmentalized sense of whatever, this is just for fun to return.

* * * *

I will try and explain. Every time I write it, it seems stupid. I know it does. I see the words and I'm embarrassed about them because I sound like a teenager. Like I never learned a damn thing.

My father grew up if not wealthy, then certainly close to it. He was raised in a wealthy, white town, by smart, literate, liberal parents. He went to a college full of white, smart, literate (sometimes) liberal boys. And when he eventually settled down with my mother, they decided not to raise us there. Instead, we grew up one town over.

I went to a public school that was 50% non-white, and 80% non-wealthy. Except I spent my summers at the country club -- the one my grandparents and dad had belonged to for decades. It was a fascinating experiment in social anthropology I guess, spending my summers alongside the "other half."

Sometimes I think about writing an autobiography called "The Poorest Kid At The Country Club."

They were perfect, all of them. They had perfect bodies and perfect skin and hair and teeth. They had the latest everything. Their parents had nice cars and normal jobs and their houses were amazing.

I "blossomed" early. I had zits at age 9. I was a 36-B by at age 11. I had hairs I didn't know what to do with. I was disgusted by my body. I was fat by country club standards. I wasn't even blond enough.

And my house and home life was crazy. We had a big house, but it was always in disrepair. We didn't have nannies or housekeepers or anything like that. My mom drove a Jeep and my dad drove a Volkswagen Vanagon well before the "mini-van" existed. I went to a different school than everyone, and what was cool in Norwalk was definitely NOT cool in Darien.

It's not like I wished we were rich. That's overly simple. I just saw a different version of life, and I ached for it. I saw kids who were safe. Kids who worried about which great college they'd get into, instead of how they would ever pay for it. Kids who spent their summer vacations backpacking in Europe or interning for daddy, instead of schlepping ice cream to have enough money to afford a meal plan in college next semester. Kids whose parents were present and involved and nurturing in their development.

My parents were good, but I would be hard-pressed to say my upbringing was "stable."

No, stability was not ever a term you'd use to describe the Sammis Family Household. (Fun? Yes. But that's another story.)

* * * *

I was not cool in high school. I did not have a normal collegiate experience. And when I was old enough, I sunk every ounce of energy I had into trying to manufacture that life. I got married and got a house and tried to make it be that way. But I failed.

I'm just not built like that.

And I moved to San Francisco, and finally accepted that not being built like that is really just fine. I don't need That Life.

Well, and then That Life answered my Craigslist ad.

* * * *

He is the whole package, and then some. I made a list a hundred years ago of what The Perfect Guy for me should encompass. And while I've come all this way, that list has never really changed. Ish is it.

But he's more than just a list of things; he had all of That, too.

Stupid things I pretended I didn't want because I couldn't have. The perfect, clean house. Family vacations around the world. Slender, white-teethed friends who'd go to good schools.

That life, that safety. That amazing family. Those amazing parents, who could provide so much. Who even had amazing friends, who also had amazing children. Amazing daughters.

An amazing daughter, whom Ish would marry, and who -- perhaps even while embittered -- would still fold his ties into proper boxes.

* * * *

I'm lumpy.

I have many fabulous qualities, perhaps chief among them the likelihood that you will feel comfortable around me. Because how can you not because I am a mess.

My hair is not neat. My face is often broken out. My shirt is stained. My apartment will forever smell like cat pee, and it is going to be dusty in places because who cares? My socks will be white the day I purchase them and never again.

And that's just the outside.

Inside, I feel like my life's been broken into a million pieces. From my parents' sad endings to me and my sisters' new struggles with fertility and genetics, unfortunate things seem to befall my family more than is our fair share.

Maybe everyone feels that way.

But maybe that also makes you feel comfortable around me. Maybe knowing that there's been all this bad stuff in my life makes you want to give me a hug. Or maybe it makes you feel like your situation isn't so bad. Or maybe you just want to stand next to me in case a storm breaks out, because if a lightning bolt shoots from the sky you know which one of us it's going to hit.

Of course I'm the girl who will get hit.

But I don't know if that's the girl you want to marry.

* * * *

Things are going along very well with me and Ish, and do not think he isn't supportive or wonderful. He says all the right things and I believe that he means them.

It's just that I have a ton of baggage, and sometimes I realize I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

* * * *

We were in an art store approximately two months after we'd started dating. There was a beautiful calendar of Paris, and he pulled it down and started pointing to the pictures. He got a wistful look in his eye as he spoke of his favorite spots, how you can't go to Paris without spending at least part of every day in a museum.

The flicker happened then, too. I had never dated someone who knew Paris. Who would know which museums to go to. Who could speak french well enough to order food and pair it with the right wine.

I want to be with him so badly.

Shhh, this is just for fun.

Last August, on our year anniversary, we went to a french restaurant. He talked about Paris again, and how much I would love it. How it would be, if we were there together. He said I would be a lot of fun to go with, because I would get it and love it.

I knew we couldn't plan it, though. Not yet. Not then. He was still in the relatively early stages of his divorce, and planning a trip to Paris with his girlfriend was tactless and rude and not affordable anyway. Plus, who knew if we'd even still be together.

We are just dating.

A few months later, I don't remember why, it came up again. Maybe we were just discussing traveling in general. We agreed, mutually, that fall of 2007 might be a good time to go. But also that fall of 2006 was way too early to plan anything definitive.

He said we should revisit it in the spring.

We should discuss Paris in April, he'd said.

Ha.

* * * *

This entry doesn't end the way you might think.

It's April, and we have discussed it. And we are not going.

Understand that he has well reasoned, well grounded, perfectly good reasons for not being ready to go with me. Logistics aside, I think it simply means too much to me, while he is there, his divorce still not even final.

And of course I understand. But I have cried anyway.

Because here. Here it is.

To him, it is not about this. But to me, it represents everything I'm terrified about.

I know which fork to use and I can quote highbrow literature but I will still accidentally jab myself in the mouth with the fork and no one wants to hear a passage of Ondaatje through a fat, bloodied lip. And you know this. And I know this.

But, good God. I want to be the girl who gets taken to Paris.

I want to be good enough.

And I am afraid that no matter what, I cannot be. That people from Ish's circle will pity me and my baggage-ridden life, or pity Ish for getting suckered into dating me. I fear that his family will always feel pangs of disappointment about me, will always have wished it was someone else.

And that maybe he will, too.

I fear now as I have always feared, since the day I fondled his neatly packed boxes of ties, that this will end because it has to.

I don't get to have this.

The charade will be over, and he will inevitably wend his way back to a better, more worldly version of That Life without me.

He will take someone else to Paris.

And I, as I always have, will return to my lumpy life of bacon-scented apartments and compartmentalized pieces of my story that didn't quite go the way I'd hoped.

59 comments:

  1. Kristy,
    I totally know of which you speak. And on so many levels my life paralelles yours.
    You're right. I want to give you a hug. I want you to know that no one has a perfect life. Some people are just better and hiding their vulnerability.....

    Paris awaits. Go with out him.

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  2. Better AT hiding..not better and hiding

    Duh.

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  3. Take yourself to Paris, Kristy. Irene always wanted to go to Paris too. the closest she got was Epcot. Get your passport and figure out a way to take yourself -- fall in love with you! You're fabulous exactly as you are... it's scary sometimes traveling alone, but you could do it. it is more growthful than scary. you could write/blog too.

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  4. I agree--go to Paris by yourself.

    But the most important thing I want to add is this: I grew up down the street from a Nordstrom. Yes, THAT Nordstrom. They started in Seattle, you know, as a shoe shop.

    Kristy, I have seen money and "perfect" families, and let me tell you, unless you actually lived near heaven, then you are willfully blinding yourself, honey. Because I have never seen more unhappiness than I have seen in America's white upper-upper class. Those families that you saw were way, way more unhappy than you are today. Believe me.

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  5. I, too, am lumpy and disheveled and have long-despaired about the perpetual struggle to reinvent myself, my life, my world to make it "better".

    I read this post and it made me want to hug you. That sounds so condescending - hey, I can fix it all with a hug! - but holy crap, I know those feelings. I do.

    I married a man in order to try to make that perfect life. It not only failed, it failed SPECTACULARLY! (and dramatically, and horribly and.. and..)

    Now I'm married to a man who loves me. Lumpy, messy, covered in dog hair, uncoordinated and clumsy.. And somehow, that let me relax about my faults and who I'll never be. As cliched as it sounds, I woke up one day - literally - and thought, "Holy shit, I love my life!" and I do.

    I will never be tall and thin and white-toothed and eloquent. I will probably never be fabulously wealthy or a member of any group that could ever be considered "elite" but man, I am so friggin' happy.

    And you - I don't know you, we've never met - I know it will happen for you. Because you're introspective, you're intelligent, you're funny and you're honest. And that's all that's required to succeed in life - that, and changing your mind about what 'perfect' really is.

    Me telling you that? It doesn't help right now, I know. But know that there's a crowd of people out here who think you rock, who are in awe of your ability to write, and who - strangers and all - KNOW this will work out.

    And hell yeah, go to Paris. Take a friend who's never seen it before and explore together. You can always come home and share your adventure with Ish later..

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  6. Hi Guys,

    First, thanks for your comments. It's kind of completely terrifying to post something like this and wonder how it's being perceived.

    But also -- I know the post sounds otherwise, maybe, but this isn't really about whether or when I go to Paris. It's about him wanting to be the guy who gets to take me there. I think you can understand that.


    Aarwenn: I do know how unhappy those families were, are. I think that we all see some things when we're young that we want, though, and that those wishes shape us (whether we want them to or not). I also wanted to be Leisel from The Sound of Music. So you know.

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  7. p.s. Aarwenn - the tie boxes were from Nordstrom. Did you know that?

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  8. Kristy, are you breaking up with Ish? Is that what the Paris thing is about? it's true what the others have said... nobody else's life is perfect or more perfect than yours... everyone's got stuff. that's the good news. just grain of salt thinking ... Still, icelandair has really good rates. do you have your passport ready just in case?

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  9. I've been married to a wonderful man for almost eleven years, and I still find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. The funny thing is, it hasn't, mostly because I learned to put the shoes away.

    One of the most valuable lessons I have learned in life is that we create what we fear. My parents divorced when I was six, resulting in the estrangement of my father (I'll save that story for my own blog) for many years. I never realized how profoundly I was impacted by that experience until I was in a serious relationship. I found myself pushing my Man away, testing the limits of his love and patience, and, in a way, daring life to take this great Man from me, so that I could say, "See? I told you men suck!"

    Obviously I wasn't aware of this in the moment, but I realize now that I was creating what I feared--I was pushing this Man away because I was afraid he would leave me, because I was not worthy of his love. Allowing myself to be loved was a tough challenge for me, one I still struggle with from time to time. Fortunately, I found someone who truly loves me, lumps and all.

    I realize that what you share on your blog is only a pile of snapshots of your life, but it sounds like Ish really loves you. Maybe the road is taking an unexpected detour, but that doesn't mean it's a dead end. Relax and enjoy the ride—one way or another, I'm sure you'll end up in Paris some day.

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  10. I think people want to give you hugs not because you make them feel better about themselves by comparison or because they feel sorry for you. I want to give you a hug because you say these painful, private things that resonate with me so deeply. They hurt, I feel them so much. I don't write a whole lot about my past hurts or my family, at least not yet, but I connect with what you're saying on so many levels. And I'm going to bet that the bulk of your readers do, too. I don't know you, but I truly want you to be the girl that gets taken to Paris. Or wherever she wants. I want you to have what you want. That's the feeling you evoke.

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  11. They're right. Go by yourself. If my divorce taught me one, it's this: no one is coming. No one will save me. I'm it.

    And you know what? Yea me!

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  12. One thing, I meant.

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  13. K -

    Riveting post. Bravo - You are very brave to be that open to a bunch of strangers. Most people (myself included) could not be that open with their best friends.

    I think that you are slightly insulting to Ish and his friends if you think that they will be dissapointed by someone smart and nice and funny who is overweight w/a stained shirt. Who better - a manipulative person, but a blond size 4? ( I know..you said take it w/a grain of salt).

    Lastly, I like how you ended it on an ambiguous note. You and Ish are still fine, right? What was his reason for not being able to go?

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  14. But also -- I know the post sounds otherwise, maybe, but this isn't really about whether or when I go to Paris. It's about him wanting to be the guy who gets to take me there. I think you can understand that.

    I completely got that. I've felt that way about a few different guys. So far...nada.

    I hope things are still ok between you two, and maybe, just maybe, he's waiting for you to drop the other shoe.

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  15. Ish and I are still very much fine. We are not breaking up.

    The "truth" of the situation is that he is just simply not ready to take me to Paris. For lots of reasons, so doing would be a very big deal -- representative of the next step in our relationship -- and he's just not in that space yet. He may well be sooner than later. Just not right now, this month, today.

    Were I to summarize this post in a nutshell, I would say:
    I really want things to work out with me and Ish. And I am afraid they may not, simply because I am human and female and scared because they could be so, SO good. And when I start to worry that things won't work out, I wonder it it's because of me.

    Ish has never given me any reason to think my deep-seated fears are founded. They're just my own insecurities bubbling up, because that's what happens.

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  16. K-
    At least Ish knows you want to go to Paris and why. My husband can't get the hint and our house is decorated in "Paris" Hang in there and have your little slices of Paris along the way.
    XOXOX Meg

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  17. Hey Meg. Stop hinting.

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  18. Hello.. I stumbled onto your blog via CL. I want to tell you that I love the way you have written this piece and will probably look at some of your other posts.

    My advice is pretty useless but I think it's good that you have this bit of fear. It means you won't take for granted what you feel for him. As for his feelings, I can understand where he is coming from. Just because he isn't ready to move to that place (and who can blame him if he's going through a disolution of his first love?), that doesn't mean he doesn't love and care about you.

    Have patience and appreciate that he is all these lovely things and you've had the opportunity to meet him.

    Okay, enough rambling. If you ever do decide to come to Paris, swing by London on your way. Oh! And check out my blog if you want.

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  19. I'm likin' Skip's advice..

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  20. Your post made me happy. Does that sound cruel? I am not happy that you feel insecure or worried or scared, but happy reading that someone else feels the same way I have and, who am I kidding, still do.

    I could give advice or words of encouragement, but instead I just want to thank you for sharing. That was brave.

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  21. I wish I could tell you, you're wrong. But I know that feeling. That certainty inside that nothing, no one can say will change. My guy (if he is my guy) is 10 years younger and the happiest, nicest person I've ever met. While I am old, bitter, cynical and uglier(to be frank). Every moment I am in his life I feel I am poisoning him a little more with my "quirky personality" and excessive emotional baggage. I know everyone in his life looks askance upon us. They think WTF? Who does she think she is to have him? And usually I think it too. I know it will kill me when he moves on, but I also know it is inevitable. Because, who do I think I am to have this guy?

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  22. Kristy - I know know know how you feel. I teared up at work about this. I want to be that girl to go to Paris too...

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  23. Oh, sweetie - I know how you feel. It is hard, hard. Look, I'm coming up on the one-year anniversary of my best friend's death. Another close friend was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a little while ago; the doctors don't expect her to live more than two years at best. I was married in my twenties to a childhood friend turned boyfriend who refused to medicate his bipolar disorder and threatened suicide almost daily. I left him, despite the guilt of leaving someone who was mentally ill, and after a year got together with a man who was his opposite in every way. Where once there was emotion and drama, now there was stability and...coldness. You are not cold, I assure you. I spent seven years in the Artic, I know from cold. I just left him a month ago, and now I am thirty-five and single. I don't know another single person. All my friends are married to people they met in college or just after. They have houses, cars, security and someone to cuddle up to at night. I have my cats and the knowledge that I can survive almost anything. But just for once I would love to be taken care of. It's not a question of not being strong enough - I know I'm strong. I just wish I didn't always have to be.

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  24. wow, i am just blown away by this. such piercing honesty. boy can i relate :-)

    and just so very inspiring, the way great writers always make me feel.

    love,
    me

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  25. Kristy,

    I'm so sorry you're going through more heartache. You're not asking for advice, so please feel free to disregard the following.

    1) I'm sure you've considered this because you are a smart girl--but gosh, didn't you set yourself up for this? You might've thought you were "just having fun," but what you were really doing was sabotaging your poor little heart. Ish wasn't wholly available to you--and yet you let yourself fall in love with him. Can you think of some ways you could try to change this behavior--to be more gentle with your heart?

    2) You don't want to go to Paris with him. You might think you do, but you really don't. I think you should end your relationship with Ish. Don't wait it out, don't worry yourself sick with what might have been. He is fun and you may love him, but he is not the person you think he is (not that he's a bad person, just that he isn't a potential life partner.) If he were, you would be going to Paris. (Or--better yet--you would go together to a new, utterly romantic place.) And really, the travel is beside the point. The point is, he's not ready, and you've already given him a lot of time.

    3) I've been there and it's painful. I'm glad you have great friends, strong remaining family, and a terrific sense of humor. I'm not going to bolster you with You're Worth It (though of course you are) but I will say, act practically here. Act the way you would hope a friend would act in the same situation.

    Best of luck to you.

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  26. Re: Anon 10:18 the point of this post and what she is feeling is in no way connected to how the relationship started and the point certainly isn't whether he is the right guy or not. It's not really about him or Paris at all. There is no practical action to be taken. It is simply about how she feels. When we are honest about how we feel it sometimes sounds sadder and more dramatic then the situation really is. I personally don't understand how you can encourage her to end this relationship. I think you might want to re-read the post. Though I do agree with you that she is worth it and more.

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  27. If you are starting a club of women who want to be the girl who gets taken to paris, sign me up.

    I'm so you. I think you're missing one big piece in the puzzle though. You picked this man for very specific reasons. You fell for him for very specific reasons.

    Sometimes we pick the ones that reinforce our deepest fears. Not on purpose, not out of spite.

    If he's not in a place in his life to take you to Paris, then you've given creedence(?) to your theory. At least in the present. In the future it may turn out differently.

    Knowing why we pick who we pick helps in the whole scheme of things.

    I still need to join that club tho. Cause I'm you.

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  28. I recently read that baggage is not baggage unless you learn nothing from it. If you learn from it, it's not baggage, but experience. Sometimes I think that's deep and other times I think it's shit, but either way it's something to consider.

    I would have cried too. I hope some day Ish feels ready to take your relationship to the level of traveling out of the country together, and you feel ready to be That Girl with him. (Maybe you guys can pack plastic forks that won't leave such a big mark or something)

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  29. wow, what an amazing post. i relate on so many levels (even having been to paris).

    for what it's worth though, i think for the two weeks or so in the summer that we'd visit when we were living on the island as a lobsterman family, you may not have been the poorest kid at the club. it would be a close race at any rate. i don't so much miss the place as i miss the little booklet of tickets for the grill and the rum raisin ice cream.

    -cuznate

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  30. Martha in Kansas12:23 PM, April 13, 2007

    Dear, I got those heart-stabs too as I read. So many of us have been there. Or still are. Maybe aching is just part of life.

    And Ish, hopefully you're reading the comments too? You've got the unique chance for insight into your girl's mind -- not many guys get that opportunity. Take advantage. Sometimes all we need is reassurance. Regular and frequent reassurance.

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  31. All I can say is...you and your writing continue to amaze me. Lots of love and thanks for sharing.

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  32. Hey Pyewacket...
    They have houses, cars, security and someone to cuddle up to at night. I have my cats and the knowledge that I can survive almost anything. But just for once I would love to be taken care of. It's not a question of not being strong enough - I know I'm strong. I just wish I didn't always have to be.

    HELLS YES. That's what I'm talking about.

    And K, sweetie, we've all got baggage... Ours might be in beat up old Samsonite, and theirs might be in Louis Vuitton, but it doesn't make what's inside any better.

    Who's starting the "I wanted a man to take me to Paris, but eff that, I'm going myself!" club? Cause I am so in.

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  33. Kristy, that was beautiful. I think Ish will be the one to take you to Paris. You deserve to go.

    That said, I liked London soooo much better. I told Jay there was a reason I had waited twenty five years before returning.

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  34. Kristy - I want to hug you! I wish there were some quick & easy way you could just chuck your baggage out. You know those 1800-got-junk guys will haul your trash away? Too bad there's no 1800-got-baggage! You're smart and funny and have good friends and a good job that you enjoy and good life there in the chilly city. It sounds almost like you need to create a vision of your life as you want it to be, for you, and not for all those rich white kids you (sorta) grew up with. When I think of the happiest, most loving, most together families I've known... Mostly they were poorer, less "put together".....

    *hugs*

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  35. Is this a male-female thing? It seems that a lot of women want to be taken care of. What's with that? Are men allowed to hope for that, too?

    And if everyone wants to be taken care of, who is on the other side of that?

    I'm still sure no one is coming

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  36. RE:Skip's comments - I think everyone wants to be taken care of in some way. Every needs it in different aspects of their lives. As for who is on the other side, hopefully in a couple the two people compliment each other and sometimes one is being taken care of and then another time it's the other way. But I'm w/u no one's coming.

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  37. as always, k, this is beautifully written. and i sooo relate.

    i hope you get all you wish for.

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  38. Skip - I think it's just more socially acceptable for women to say they want to be taken care of, but everyone does. And Danielle is right, it's a back and forth thing. I've been in two long-term relationships with very needy men, who required more care than most children. I gave it - washed clothes, made dinner, listened to them, contributed equally or more financially - the whole nine yards, and got little back. I don't want to be taken care of ALL THE TIME; I'm not looking for a white knight to come and rescue me from the pain of being human or the plain old trouble of making a living and a home. But I want someone to have my back. I want to feel like if I stumble a little - get sick, or have to have a good cry, or lose my job or whatever - there will be someone there to hold me up, get me through. And I will be happy to do the same for him.

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  39. Very interesting. I see your point. I left my marriage when I realized that no one had my back and that I would have less work to do on a daily basis if I lived alone. Oh, and when I came home, no one would be mad at me.

    I'm pretty happy alone these days (with two dogs). I realize that even though it seems that no one has my back, no one ever did. In fact, I can't even imagine something different.

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  40. Bravo Kristy. What a beautiful post.
    Your ability to be so honest about your feelings without sounding self-pitying is the reason I want to give you a hug.
    Dana

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  41. wow, it's amazing how everyone's lives are so interchangeable. they say throw your problems into a pile with everyone else's and and either choose new ones or take your own...
    most people take their own...
    anyway, paris is waiting, come with me!

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  42. FINALLY! Someone normal. Someone real. Thank you for this post. You have so eloquently written what so many people feel and are afraid to say.

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  43. I used to have fear the drop of the other shoe. Now I worry I might be dropping it soon. Neither way is easy. I hope no more shoes fall for you.

    But perhaps in the next thunderstorm you should come stand by me. My friends all figure they're safest when I'm around...

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  44. Please accept these comments in the positive way I intend them.

    It's been this long and you aren't a true couple? He has issues that have nothing to do with you and you have expectations that have nothing to do with him. I would put a pause on it all and see what happens. Even though you don't want to believe it, there is more than one Ish in the sea.

    Best of luck!

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  45. Agreed with above. From your easy-breezy writing, it still reads like you two are a long-term couple and I for one feel like giving you a good girlfriend talkin' to over a box of wine (so imagine the following slurred)... you deserver better than what this guy is willing to give you, K. Hell-O? A YEAR! That's pretty patient. You're worried about if you're good enough for him? What?! He should be worried that you're going to kick his perfect behind to the curb if he doesn't shape up and start considering YOUR needs.

    "Just dating"? Pah. Sounds like both of you are strolling by that famed river de-nile.

    What do your friends see?

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  46. I find it hard to believe that no one has ever been in a good (maybe even great) relationship and still worried, sometimes, that they aren't good enough for their partner or that they don't actually deserve "that" kind of happiness.

    That's what this post is about.

    This post is not about Ish. The truth is, I have a great relationship with him. It's not light and breezy. It's real and complex and fantastic. And scary.

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  47. "They have houses, cars, security and someone to cuddle up to at night. I have my cats and the knowledge that I can survive almost anything. But just for once I would love to be taken care of. It's not a question of not being strong enough - I know I'm strong. I just wish I didn't always have to be."

    Wow. Between Kristy's post and this comment. Wow. I struggle with my boyfriend...walking the line between reasonable expectations and neediness. I worry, am I asking too much...then I remember that I am a caring, sensitive woman, and if I don't ask for emotional availability - I will end up in the same cold, loveless life I've had for years. But then again....I worry about "the crazy" kicking in. Am I asking too much....am I selling myself short....where is Baby Bear's just right bed, anyhow?

    I have my own house, my own cars, my own kids, my own empty bank account from making it all work on my own all the time...but yes, Kristy...I know what this post is about.

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  48. I love this post. I love how you can write in words those things that you feel in your soul. And some people will get it, and others won't. But I am touched.

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  49. I know exactly how you feel and exactly what you mean.

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  50. < /lurking >

    I can’t say I’m surprised by the deluge of comments this post has elicited. That’s what happens when someone is both a great writer and incredibly brave.

    Just a couple of comments:

    1. IIFs, please have no doubt – I know how great k is. She’s a remarkable person. She’s done some amazing things – moved across the country and started a new life and career; founded her own a cappella group; she’s become the focal point of an interesting, caring circle of friends of which I am now privileged to be a part. She’s also borne heart-wrenching tragedy with tremendous equanimity, and an absence of self-pity. She’s smart, funny, beautiful. She inspires me daily. She’s plenty good enough for me. That said…

    2. … I’m good enough for her, too. (Though I appreciate the concern shown by some of you on her behalf.)

    The point is, wondering about whether one is good enough is a natural emotion that people in relationships feel. It’s rarely a salient way to evaluate the quality of a relationship, however. Put another way: things between k and me may not work out for many reasons, but either of us not being good enough is not going to be one of them.

    Likewise with Paris - I want to take k to Paris! It would be a blast, no doubt. I think we will go. But in this case, going to Paris is a touchstone for the deeper point, which is the emotion, the desire to be good enough.

    K is good enough. She deserves to be taken to Paris. I’m good enough to deserve to be the one who gets to take her there.

    < lurking >

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  51. And, wondering if we are good enough for someone is what keeps us trying to be better--better listeners, better friends, better lovers, better human beings. When we stop trying to be better, we stop trying to be good enough. When we stop trying to be good enough, well, then we probably aren't good enough any more.

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  52. Yay Ish! Thanks for /lurking.

    And yay K! Thanks for writing what's REAL in such a beautiful way. We feel ya, and we heart ya! :)

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  53. I waited awhile to comment on this. Sometimes it's strange to know what goes on behind the scenes (even a snapshot) of a couple one knows. Blogs are weird.

    But here's my sage commentary that was not asked for: The people who are in the best couples I know feel lucky. They feel amazingly and spectacularly lucky that they ended up with this person. And if you guys have that, the rest is just therapy.

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  54. hi beth,

    thanks for chiming in. and you're completely right. (and we do have that.)

    of course, yours is the gold standard of relationships as far as i'm concerned, so you're welcome to provide commentary whenever you'd like.

    as for the therapy part - i'll reiterate; the point of the post has almost nothing to do with Ish himself, and everything to do with My Issues. so you're correct there, too. :)

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  55. Gah! I wrote you a big old I feel your pain comment yesterday but the comment monster seems to have eaten it. boo.

    Anyway, mostly it just said, "I TOTALLY understand where you are coming from. Big hugs."

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  56. Ericha@yahoo.com3:27 PM, April 17, 2007

    I just want to comment on the comment that someone up above said about a year being too long to decide if you're a real couple or not.

    I've been with my fiance for over 7 years. We just got engaged a year ago next month. We "dated" for a year and a half before we moved in together and we've spent the past 5 and a half years making sure we're right for each other. We're still not sure. I don't know if anyone ever is. We've been through a lot together (sicknesses, deaths, loss of jobs, loss of housing, depression, you name it) and I feel that if we've made it this far...we're meant to make it. But there are still days that I think I'm not good enough for him and he's totally going to dump my ass. And there are days I push him away because I can't possibly be good enough for any man to love. Time has nothing to do with it. Everyone has these feelings...I know he's had these feelings about me. We're just taking it day by day and letting the strength of our love pull us through.

    K...you are incredibly brave and much more eloquent than I can ever hope to be. Thank you for sharing this with us. Ish...not that it matters, because you don't know me and I don't know you but I never doubted your feelings for K or your reasoning for not being ready to take her to Paris. If it's meant to be, it will happen one day. When both of you are ready.

    Cheers!
    Erica

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  57. Krisi,

    My best girlfriend and I have a term for this over coming sense of not being good enough--"Armegeddoning". (Pardon me if this is misspelled.) Anyway, it's the sense that despite evidence to the contrary, the relationship is about to end or will end at some point in the future. I don't have any really great advice to offer, I can only speak from my own experience. But I know for me, being able to label something helps me recognize what's happening and step outside of myself for a moment.

    I think you're wonderful.
    Susanne

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  58. What a great post - thank you for being so brave.

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