Archive for the 'relationships' Category

getting behind the wheel (of a real car. But it’s also a little bit of a metaphor)

This post is a part of the Little Victories series. 

I love to drive.

I mean, obviously. I grew up in the suburbs where everything was a half an hour away, and there was no way in the world to get to your boyfriend’s house unless your mom drove you there or you walked all night alongside the road and almost stepped on a lot of bloody possums and risked your life at the hands of the men who your parents were pretty sure drove around late at night in NJ suburbs, waiting to steal a girl.

I got my license on my seventeenth birthday. It was sleeting and I had already aced the written exam. I drove around the course with a very serious gentleman who I hoped desperately to impress with my ability to brake fully at the stop sign.  I passed. The parallel parking gods smiled upon me. Just that once (later that year, in the minivan I borrowed constantly from my mom, they would cruelly punish me again and again).

(this was the car my mom had. A Toyota Previa. Amazingly ugly. Incredibly difficult to parallel park. source)

And then I was free! I was blaring Smashmouth, or whatever I listened to back then, and swinging around breathtaking corners and tearing off into the openness of the world.

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I love you, Carl Sagan

Last weekend I was at my parents’ house. My mom threw my brother a college graduation party. He went to conservatory for classical flute so he performed at the party, and it was really awesome. I am so proud of that kid.

Later that night, Bear and I were chilling in my childhood room, and suddenly, in a burst of inspiration/fearlessness, I decided to go through a few of my old journals, which are stacked in a big wooden trunk in the far corner.

It was a mistake, of course.

Who knows what I was thinking at any point between the ages of 13 and 22. Not me. Not my journal. But the whole time, it’s obvious I think I’m being very profound. Very, very profound. I make lots of observations about the way the light falls through the branches of the trees outside my window. And how this relates to the fleeting nature of existence. And then I go on to say  that so-and-so definitely still has a crush on me. I know, because he called and he said so. And the fact that I am bad at math is constantly making me cry. Also, oh my god, the color lavender is AMAZING. It is the BEST color. I am so depressed. Why do I have to be so mature in a world full of immature people?! Is my piano teacher mad at me for not practicing enough? Here is a list of all of my friends and their hair colors and their heights.

Two (related) themes that I didn’t expect and definitely didn’t remember emerged in my journals.

1. Outer space

2. Carl Sagan

Apparently, as a fourteen-year-old, I was obsessed with the idea of eventually ending up exploring outer space. I wrote all of these melodramatic things about how earth was too small for me, and I felt constrained by humanity, and the galaxy was swathed in mystery and my mom was being a pain and making me take this stupid class and it was all too much and I longed to be pushing the boundaries of human experience and knowledge, in space.

And a lot of this was probably because I was in love with Carl Sagan.

Yes. Carl Sagan.


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Kate on June 5th 2012 in relationships

a wife, a husband, and a roommate

There are lots of rules about marriage. Some are big and self-explanatory, like don’t cheat, don’t keep destructive secrets, and don’t always eat the last bite of the buffalo chicken salad. That stuff is amazing, but marriage is about sharing.

It’s not about sharing your house with your friend who needs a place to stay, though.

That’s one of the smaller rules.

Along with remind your partner to call their mom and don’t constantly mix up their friends and then crack yourself up trying to sort them out.

My friend from college needed a place to stay for about a month, in between apartments. Automatically, I said she should stay with us. There’s enough space, so it felt weird not to offer. I mentioned it to Bear. “Of course,” he said. Which was what I expected. I thought it would be weird if he said no.

My friend moved in.

And then everyone else was like, “Oh my god! Are you okay with that?! What about Bear? It’s his home! He must be so upset! Are you guys okay?”

Everyone said that at the same time. They hadn’t even met my friend. Or they had, and they liked her, but they couldn’t believe that this was happening. That I’d allowed this whole other person to move into my home, while I was in it. With my husband. All of us. Together.

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guy friends: i would like to have them

For the longest time, I have only had one guy friend. And I used to date him, in college. Which complicates things. It makes Bear uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable, too. Not the him being my friend part. That’s fine. It happened naturally. We’re horrible gossips together.  But I wish I could erase our dating past. I shouldn’t have dated him. Even while I was dating him, I was hazily aware of that.

I am bad at guy friends. I have only had a few. Which makes me totally uncool, I know.

Once, I had more than a few, very briefly, and then, when I met Bear, they all vanished. Which was too bad, because I like hanging out with guys.

The problem is, they always try to kiss me. Some of them try to kiss me right away. Some of them do it sneakily, much later. Some of them wait years and year, but then, predictably, they try to kiss me.

The guy I already dated—he will never try to kiss me again. If you mentioned the idea to him, he would look immediately ill. We went through that, we came out of it, and now we’re safe. Thank god.

I know that men and women can be friends. There are lots of movies and books about how, actually, they can’t. How it’s this big mystery that we probably need more books and movies about. The Man/Woman Friendship Conundrum: An Attempt At Solving the Unsolvable Mystery About Whether Or Not Men and Women Can Actually Be Friends Without Eventually Making Out (By someone with a PhD).

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Kate on May 14th 2012 in friendship, marriage, relationships


This is a guest post from Fraylie. I love the way she writes, which is why I have her on here so often.

Last week, my roommate, Jessica, and I sat in a Union Square coffee shop while donning two newly purchased felted wool hats. Jessica’s was a demure dusty rose with an elegant grosgrain hatband in “whiskey.” Mine looked like Indiana Jones had stumbled onto a Vogue cover shoot, unsuccessfully trying to appear brooding and coquettish. We were sipping hot chocolate (because that’s what damsels in hats drink) while waiting for a screening of The Hunger Games and my inevitable need to feel awkwardly attracted to the baby faced Peeta Mellark.

Forever alone, I joked. I exaggerated the sigh preceding my habitual quip with Jessica when we talk about our prolonged illness called singledom.

Two thirty-something women sat beside us. I heard one of them say to the other well why don’t you just try OkCupid? Jessica and I bit our lips and looked at each other sympathetically. We had both forayed into that online cornucopia of lovelorn couch surfers with poor results. Before I had time to put my foot in my mouth, I leaned over in their direction.

“Don’t do it,” I chirped, pulling at the brim of my hat. Half expecting my comment to go unnoticed, I was surprised by their enthusiasm during what became an hour-long conversation about finding love in New York City.

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Little Victories: how am I not jealous right now?

I have a history of being jealous. It’s not the sort of thing that’s cool to admit. Because jealousy is really petty and everyone knows it. Also, everyone knows it means you’re insecure. People who are secure do not feel jealous. They feel supportive and happy. Their neighbor wins the $389,000,000 lottery? Good for them! We’re planting a new garden!

That was based on my mom. She is the least jealous person ever, and she loves to garden.


Clearly, I am not very secure. I mean, clearly.

I’m working on it.

For a while, whenever I went to my writing group, I got jealous. We’d all show up, being fabulous and wearing interesting shoes, preening a little. And we’d report on our two weeks apart. Who was pitching where, getting accepted where, who had this amazing new opportunity, who had gotten this crazy gig. Quick, I thought frantically, think of something impressive you’ve done! I was deathly afraid that nothing would come to mind.

And sometimes I am so jealous I feel my smile get stuck on my face and I can hear my own voice, surprisingly squeaky, as though from a great distance, saying, “That’s great! That’s really great!” and in a second I think I might laugh like the laugh track on a bad sitcom. “Oh my god! I’m so happy for you! That’s really great! Oops! I tripped over my feet!” *laughter*

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I read this piece about time. It was by a girl who has cancer.

She writes about her new relationship with time, since her diagnoses, and as she waits for the bone marrow transplant that will either begin her life again or begin the process of her death.

There is a lot of attention reserved for children with cancer, and adults with cancer have documented their experiences extensively, but there isn’t too much about twenty-somethings with cancer; people who are already at a crossroads in their lives, and are now faced with a much larger one. People who are supposed to make something of themselves, and find a job and keep a job, and find a career, and date until they know what they want in a partner, and go to dive bars deep in Brooklyn, and try to piece together who they are and what they want from life. People who get cancer at much lower rates. People who are supposed to have so much time. 

I have a shaky relationship with time. We’ve never really sat down and talked, I guess, but I get the feeling we wouldn’t get along. I’m too pushy and vulnerable, and time—time is relentless.

When I was a kid, I climbed everything that would take me high up, even when the branches got thin and bendy. I wanted to see the distance. I thought I had forever. When I got married, suddenly, everything felt shorter, and more dangerous. My own mortality was brought into sharper focus by this sickeningly strong love for another person made out of fragile skin and just the right amount of blood, and millions of cells that were all trying to do the right thing. His cells were not all doing the right thing. Some of them were broken. And he carried his life around in a little black kit, with a vial of clear liquid that needed to be constantly injected, otherwise the balance tipped, and he would plummet.


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Kate on April 9th 2012 in body, life, relationships, work