I’m Not that Funny.

Hi, I’m Caitlin and I’m not that funny.

Many people would disagree. Hell, you don’t get “funniest” and “class clown” as your 8th and 12th grade superlatives if you aren’t funny, entertaining, and moderately quick witted.

I know this may sound arrogant or whatever you want to call it, but this is how I see myself. People can tell you something about yourself over and over again, but that’s all it is, what is important is how you perceive yourself. I take what people say to my to heart – far too often. Especially if I respect and care about you. At the end of the day, I wish I thought I was funny.

I guess in theory I am funny – as far as the definition goes. I’m always more than willing to be the butt of someones joke, do something, no matter how dumb it is, to get someone to smile, I say a lot of ridiculous things. For the most part, people enjoy me. I’ve been told countless times how funny I am. Yet, here I sit. Unwilling to admit it.

Flash forward to December 2017.

I’m an out woman to my best friends and closest family. I’ve gone on a few dates with women. I’m not “fully” out, but if anyone were to ask me it wasn’t something I planned to hide. I just didn’t feel the need to publicly broadcast it.

I’m at my friend “Leah”‘s house. I wanted to go out to a bar with her and tell her about me because she doesn’t know, but I want her to know. She’s the type of friend who would accept me know matter what, like I legit feel I could murder someone and her opinion of me wouldn’t change. I’ve known her since I was about 10 and she’s just always been one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. Knowing her is both an honor and a privilege.

It’s snowing pretty bad out and she lives close to me so we decide I’ll come over and have a few drinks there. I think that that’s fine. Except her mom, who LOVES me decides to hang out with us all night.

In my friend group, we’re all pretty close with our parents. We talk about things with/in front of our parents that a lot of people may not. For clarity on that, one time I said to my friend Jess (in front of my mom), “I’d rather be fingered by Edward Scissorhands than go on a date with him.” Laughter ensued.

Finally after 3 rum and cokes, I decide to out myself to Leah and her mom. They’re both supportive as hell, which I expect (I’ll be honest Leah’s mom is pretty religious so I was low key concerned, but she’s also a pretty forward thinking lady).

Leah and her mom both think I’m hilarious. In fact, most people in my life do. I have about 4 people in my life that I’m actually serious with. Everyone else gets the comedic “asshole” version of me. Even on serious topics, I just glaze over them – giving just enough information to keep me in the conversation, but not enough for questions or letting anyone get to invasive.

As we talk about me, because this is pretty big news to them, I become increasingly more uncomfortable, I’m cracking more and more jokes. Leah’s mom must have had enough and wanted the nitty gritty and calls me on it. I’ll never forget it.

“Caitlin why do you always use humor as a defense mechanism?”

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Mostly because it was true, but also because no one has ever called me on it. I think most people just don’t recognize it. Others probably just enjoy the fun I bring and don’t want to discuss it or won’t force me to. I need people to force me to.

I defend myself with humor without even thinking a lot of the time. What’s weird is that I genuinely think I am being open and honest with people. I legitimately think people know shit about me. Then someone asks a question that I find personal or too deep and I twist it into a joke. I sit here, oblivious to myself.

I’m not sure if it’s because I try to block out all the bad shit. Or like Tiffany Haddish said (I’m paraphrasing), “You can either let the pain of the past hurt you or laugh at it.” I guess the difference is she actually talks about the pain in a comedic way, whereas I avoid it with jokes.

Maybe I’m afraid of giving people too much of me out of fear that these people will judge me or leave me and I’m left with nothing. I know people talk about what we say to each other with other people. I don’t want the deepest parts of me shared with anyone other than who I’m sharing it with. I don’t know how I developed these deep, paralyzing trust issues.

I do feel like if asked, I will tell. Maybe not to the extent people want, but eventually I’ll get there. We all have our flaws. It’s important to find people who are willing to work with the flaws you present.

In the podcast, “Guys We Fucked,” Corrine stated something along the lines of how we are all adults now and we all have baggage. We aren’t these little high school romances and friends where the world hasn’t hurt us yet. Every relationship we get into, romantic or platonic, you have to accept there will be baggage. We have to learn what kind of baggage we can work with and can keep in our lives. The baggage she can work with is drug addicts or alcoholics. That is just some peoples cross to bear and she feels she can accept those people in her life, help them, without compromising herself. She however simply can NOT deal with people with family issues and mama’s boys. It annoys her and doesn’t want to be around people with those problems.

That being said, I suppose the people I surround myself with must be able to accept my baggage. The baggage that I want to tell people things, but I really need to trust you. The baggage of trust issues. I need to know you aren’t going to tell anyone. Even if you say you won’t, I need to truly believe it. I need people who will ask, but not pry. Continue to ask and continue to not pry. Eventually, I will let it all out. It’s just not easy for me. Shit, I stayed in the closet for 26 years because I was afraid of being that vulnerable, but here I am. FUCKING OUT and not giving a shit.

A lot of people just assume I’m this constantly happy person who doesn’t have a lot of bad things in her life. I think I’m happy most of the time. At least I try to be. However, talking about feelings and emotions makes me uncomfortable. It could be because every time I’ve tried in the past, it’s ruined a friendship or relationship, so I just let others express their feelings and I accept it without rebuttal. I also hate the fact that once you say something you can’t take it back. It’s out there. Then with feelings and emotions everything is so “high” that maybe things aren’t phrased appropriately. That’s why I like and prefer writing when it comes to more serious shit. Mainly because I don’t have to see or talk about it, but people can know what’s going on. Also, because I can edit it. Reword things. Have time to reflect on what I said. Respond – not react.

If I care about you, you’ll hear my voice. I can promise you that. As long as you’re willing to stick around. Which is my biggest fear. Loss of people.

 

 

Bad Days and Sad Days

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Let’s just jump right in because this is a subject very near and dear to my heart.

I personally believe, and also in my professional experience, that we feed off each others emotions whether we want to or not.  I can’t begin to tell you how many times my mood was in a flat lined state, meaning it could’ve gone up or down depending on who was coming in to resuscitate me. You kind of just sit there and expect to stay the same until someone comes in, also feeling the same, or lifts you up. However, there’s that other option, which is being attacked by a downer. It really irritates me when I’m in either a bleh or good mood and then someone comes in and is negative, angry, or just straight up unhappy and they try to put that onto you.

For me, if I’m having a bad day, I usually try to go into a room with the hopes that someone will cheer me up. Not everyone is like that though. Some people will have a bad day at work, walk into a room, and try to put everyone in a bad mood to justify their bad mood.

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That’s why I normally try to surround myself around positive, good hearted people. I get we all have our bad days, but if you’re having a bad day, it can legitimately be turned around so quick, you just have to “want” to not be in that bad mood anymore.

(Before I get attacked, I am not talking about serious shit like depression or PTSD or anything like that, I’m legit talking about “I spilled coffee at 9 am so the rest of the day is a bad day” attitude.)

Which leads me to me and my fatal flaw. I want everyone to be happy.  It’s almost sickening. I can’t tell you how many times people have come up to me after I smiled and said “Good Morning” and told me how they were having a terrible day, but I just made it better.

It literally makes me hurt that something so simple and easy to do happens so infrequently that it seems like a grand gesture.  I want to be a person that people are happy to see. I want to be a person that makes peoples day turn around. I read this quote:

“My goal in life is to be one of those people who are just—light. You see them and you suddenly feel so warm inside and all you want to do is hug them. And they look at you and smile with the warmest light in their eyes… and you love them. Maybe not in a romantic way, but you just want to be close to them and you hope some of their light transfers into you.”

It really spoke to me. This is a person I aspire to be. I want to work toward being this person every single day of my life. I never want to be a person that makes others feel sad, less, flatlined.  I always want to be the person that brings a smile to someones face, people want to be near, make them feel warm – wanted – visible.

Selfishly, this makes me feel good. Like, I want to make people feel good, which can’t be the worst thing to want, but that makes me feel good. Doing good makes me feel good. Seeing others smile makes me smile. Hearing others laugh makes me laugh. Why wouldn’t anyone want that?

Yet, it’s a blessing and a curse.

I feel as though I’m not allowed to have a bad day. I put too much pressure on myself to make others happy and smile that I tend to compromise my emotions.

The other morning, I was driving to work, sitting at a red light, and I just started to cry. Uncontrollably cry.  Deep belly sob – cry.  Nothing happened in that moment per say, but I tend to lock all my bad feelings deep inside, dark thoughts, bad experiences, I turn a blind eye to them. Then one day, your driving to work and it all festers up out of no where and sobs.

I called my friend when I pulled into work and was a little more in control of myself.  I told her how now I felt stupid and was going to have to paint on a smile to go in there and make everyone feel good. She asked why and I was like “because that’s what I do, I make others feel good about their bad day.” She was literally like, “You’re allowed to have a bad day too. You’re not responsible for making people feel better.  They’re mad because they have to work – they’re just negative, you’re sad because you have a lot going on.”

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She’s right. I do have a lot happening right now. I’m very zero or sixty when I deal with myself. The sick thing is though is now I feel like I’m expected to be in a good mood always. I’m not worthy of a bad day. I don’t want people to ask me what’s wrong. I don’t want people to know somethings wrong.

It’s like being good and positive most days tarnished me.

It’s pathetic.

I’m so fucking guarded – damaged. Why can’t I just let people see me sad? Why don’t I let people see me cry? Why is it that if I have a bad day, I can’t let others know?

I’m pretty sure I know the answer. I’ve seen a lot of these people I cheer up be upset over the dumbest fucking shit. I know they wouldn’t reciprocate what I’ve give them.

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So I pull up my big girl pants, walk in, and make everyones day.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to be the light of someones day. I truly think we should all try harder to help other people. We are what we put out into the world. I just feel if more people focused in more on positivity, everyone would be able to have their seldom bad day without feeling bad about having a bad day.

 

“I Wish I Was Straight.”

A thought that has crossed my mind hundreds of thousands of times.

“I wish I was straight.”

My whole life I always knew I was a little different from the other girls. I was a tomboy for sure. I grew up around boys. I wanted to emulate the looks and styles of my cousins and friends. I was a kid. My parents, mostly my mom, let me be me. For which I am eternally grateful. A tomboy in and of itself made me different from the other girls.

“I wish I was straight.”

I remember asking my mom if I could get a haircut like Todd or Kyle. Somehow my 6 year old self was able to swindle my parents into letting this happen. I assume they let me because, hey, I was 6. What’s the harm? That haircut and tomboy look lasted until I was 12. Honestly it may have lasted my whole life if I didn’t feel peer pressured to fit in with the other girls.

“I wish I was straight.”

I get asked a lot by people how I know I’m gay. For one, I’m not into labels. I know how pretentious that sounds, but it’s true. I say this because I know up until this point in my life and continually, I want to be with a woman.

“I wish I was straight.”

How do I know though? Well how do you know you’re straight? I get the pressure society puts on people to be straight, however, it’s that feeling you get when you’re around a certain person. I remember being in the third grade and my heart racing a little faster around my female friend. The way a crush would feel.

“I wish I was straight.”

I know because of the thoughts I had during puberty. Wanting the attention of female classmates while pretending to want to kiss the boys. I know because of the attraction I had toward friends in high school. I know because no man had made my emotions, feelings, heart, body, soul, and mind fluster the way any female has.

“I wish I was straight.”

I know because of the day dreams I’d have about the bartender at work. How we were barely even friends, yet I was drawn to her. How I’d think about cuddling with her in her dorm room. Long to see her. Smile like an idiot when she was at work. Try stupidly to get my shifts to line up with hers. While still being “straight” I’d ask my friends if they thought she was gay.

“I wish I was straight.”

I know because of that girl at work that made me question everything. She was the driving force in making me come out. My final straw in lying to myself.  How I long to see her laugh. How I want to be better for her. How seeing her when I get back to the office can make or break my entire work day – even if we don’t talk, how I want to talk to her, but her beauty paralyzes me. I want to touch her. Smell her. Hold her. Taste her. I know that just seeing her face, watching her smile, hearing her talk, makes me want to sit and stare for the rest of my life. I may love her. She will never know.

“I wish I was straight.”

I know because who in their right mind wants to disappoint their parents. I know because who wants to constantly hear how they’ve let down their family. I know because this was going to happen, but I said it anyway. It’s freeing. It’s also emotionally destructive.

“I wish I was straight.”

It’s funny how being who you were always meant to be can feel so liberating.  I have a confidence that is astonishingly noticeable.

“I wish I was straight.”

It’s insane all the attention I get from males now that I’m out. I’m told it’s because I now carry this noticeable confidence and pride. I smile and I’m outgoing. Apparently I’m also a tease or a flirt. I say, I’m me. You can interpret things as you please.

“I wish I was straight.”

As happy as I am to finally be me, being gay is hard.  Trying to flirt with girls only to find out they’re straight is hard. Rejection is hard. Trying to sort through the emotions and feelings women are having, and trust me, there are a lot, is hard.

“I wish I was straight.”

I can walk into almost any room and it most likely contains people who are predominantly straight. Being straight means being able to walk up to someone of the opposite sex and there is a strong chance they will be straight, worst case scenario, they’re just uninterested, but hey, there is still opportunity in the room.  Not being straight means if there is one other gay person in the room, that can be your only conquest of the night.

“I wish I was straight.”

Before coming out I did everyday things with my friends. Now, just to meet more gay people, I have to go to support groups and outings. Things many straight people don’t have to do. While I’ve met some great and not so great people at these events, sometimes I just miss my Tuesday nights of watching TV with friends or Friday night drinking and dancing. Not being straight means if I want to go to these “gay” outings, my friends really aren’t invited. Things straight people never have to worry about.

“I wish I was straight.”

If I was born normal, straight, I would’ve had all these emotions and feelings in the ritualistic timeline. If I were straight, I wouldn’t have gone through all those struggles, pain, denial, that I went through while Sally’s biggest concern was if Tommy was going to kiss her after the school dance.  I wouldn’t have had thoughts about life, death, do I deserve life, would my family prefer a dead Caitlin over a gay Caitlin, at 10-14-17-21-24-26-27.

“I wish I was straight.”

 

Trust me, I think I turned out to be a pretty ok lady. I think I have a lot to offer the world. I like who I am… most days… admittedly though, sometimes I wish I continued the lie… continued to be straight… continued to be who I was… it was easier… freeing as this new life before is, my old life was just… easier

“I was I was straight.”

 

 

Note: This post parallels something I wrote when I first came out that I’ve only ever allowed 2 people to read.  This is a much, much, MUCH lighter version of my thoughts from when I first came out.  I am happy to be out and I love who I am, but sometimes we all fall into that dark place. 

 

Dating Apps are the Worst.

Here comes a rant y’all! I’m also half a bottle deep in some white zinfandel, so cut mama some slack.

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So I’m a young, single, lady on the prowl trying to meet people.  I’m also a big old homo, who’s very new to the gay scene as I’ve only come out within the last year. My gaydar is what the kids might call… horrific. So here I am, relying on dating apps.

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Now to understand me, you gotta know, I’m very happy being single. I actually love it. I love not having to explain to anyone where I am, what I’m doing, and essentially being able to do what I want when I want. I masturbate a lot and I am so damn good at it that I’m not sure anyone can even compare. Just stating facts. I hold my hand game high.

However, I’m also a human fucking being. I’ve never been in a truly serious relationship, which I get is kind of weird for a 27 year old, but I just really like to do what I want without repercussions. Don’t get me wrong, their are a TON of things I like about dating. I like having someone to text, someone to talk to about shit that’s somewhat obligated to listen, I like cuddling. GOD DO I FUCKING LOVE CUDDLING. Human contact in general. I love that shit. (I’m such a fucking girl).

 

 

That being said, I’m getting kind of old. I don’t want to be single or short term dating people forever, although I’d rather do that than be in an unhappy unfulfilling marriage for the rest of my life.

You also have to understand that when it comes to dating, I’m kind of old school and frankly, a little conservative. I also fall hard, fast, and veryyyy easily. I’m not necessarily the heart on my sleeve kind of gal either, I’m actually very guarded (I’M WORKING ON IT OKAY). When I start to see someone I usually commit to only talking to only that person because I also just don’t have the time or energy to do more than that. I’d rather waste 1 month attempting to give someone my all and it not work, than to date 3 people for three months with added confusion and pressures for myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m also all for a good ol’ fashion one night stand, but even in that, I’d prefer it to be someone I know. I don’t necessarily have to want to date you to want to have sex with you.  In fact, I am 100% for the friends with benefits movement!

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So back to the dating apps. I can tell you with 100% confidence I have literally never met a single person in my life that I’ve had a crush on or wanted more than friendship with right off the bat. I mean obviously I’ve been sexually attracted to people when I just met them, but that’s different.  Right off the bat literally no one has given me butterflies – at least not in my heart, nah mean? I think because even though I don’t show it and I’m incredibly guarded, I’m an extremely emotionally driven person.

I fall for peoples quirks, their confidence, their sense of humor and how it’s tailored into mine.  I fall for peoples passions, their dreams, their work ethic, their drive. I fall for how people see the world, how they see themselves in the world, how they see others in the world. These are all things you don’t get from a first date with a stranger, a dating app, someone you only just met.

I like to start as friends. I know this sounds like it’s a “choice” which I know it isn’t because there are feelings and emotions which are out of our control. That’s just always how I’ve been. Wired that way I guess.

The dating apps can’t give me any of that. If anything I get a minor glimpse into someones personality from the 2 sentence description they give, if they give one at all. A majority of the time I feel like I’m just flipping through a magazine. Comparing perfumes, when a perfume that might not smell as good as another, but it’ll last longer gets overlooked because I can’t smell the fucking perfume. I hate it.

Then comes my next hatred toward it, if not my biggest hatred.  The expectations. I’d say a majority of people are there for 1 of 2 reasons. 1 being a hookup/one night stand/whatever you want to call it or 2 dating, usually relatively serious.  I can’t really pitch to people “I don’t want to hook up on the first date, but if we only make it to 3 and that’s when I want to do it, so be it” or “I’m not opposed to long term dating, but I don’t want it to be expected just because I’m on this app.” No one really swipes right to someone saying, “Looking for friends!”

But that’s what I am doing. Not to sound like a loser, but I really want to be your friend. I don’t want to sleep with you and flirt and buy you shit if I don’t know you (unless we’re just tryna get handsy for a night).

I’ve gone on my fair share of dates from these apps. The way people come into to them is a little different, but mostly end the same. I’ve had one girl who I talk to on the app, that is so funny and witty and alllllll I want to do is meet up with her because she seems like a person I could eventually fall for, and if not that, she’s cool as fuck and I wouldn’t hate a friend, but she always dodges the meet up question. I’ve had one girl send me legit 5 page papers for 3 days making me feel like I was applying for my dream job and then giving me her number to meet up. I’ve had one girl have a lot in common with, talk on the app normal for a week we exchange numbers after a week and then it’s all flirty (which is fine I like playfulness, but like it was 0-60 real quick). I’ve had girls give me their numbers to meet up and never actually follow through. I’ve asked people to meet up and the conversation end completely. I’ve had people tell me their life stories in the first two messages, I’ve had people where talking to them felt like pulling teeth. I’ve had so. many. tongue. emojis. and to that I figure, roll with it. I work on my sexting skills. Get riled up, flick the bean, and call it a convo.

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Point being that when I meet up with them, a majority of the time, the date could go well, but I’m just not 100% into dating the lady. I have a 3 date rule, where I’ll see anyone at least 3 times and then decide to continue or cut it because I don’t think you can get to know a person well enough in less than that, but anything more than that is getting too serious to not be sure and I’m not down with fucking with peoples emotions. Unless of course they’re a total dick or have questionable morals on the first date than it ends after the 1.

I just have this problem where, why is it expected to be a date. I’ve rarely talked to someone in a class and then hung out with them outside of class under the context that it’s a presumed date. I mean I’m also scarily oblivious so maybe they did think it was a date, but at least I’ve seen this person, talked to this person, laughed with this person. I’ve literally never done any of that with these bumble bitches.

Then comes the issue of when we meet and I’ll be honest, I’m a pretty good freakin date. I’m always willing to pay, if I don’t offer first. I always try to split if they insist. And finally, here is where my arrogance comes in, I’m good at making people feel good. I laugh a lot, I smile a lot, I talk a lot. I ask questions, I’m invested, I listen. I can see why anyone would think it went well. (As long as I don’t have to call them out for being a dick). Yet, sometimes, there isn’t even that spark in the sense that I know we won’t work. We don’t have similar goals, we don’t have similar life plans, we don’t have similar ideas of what’s fun.

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Prime example. One of my most recent dating app dates was with a lawyer who had the same name as me, spelled the same and everything. The narcissist in me had to meet her because I thought it’d be hot to date someone with the same name as me. I’m not going to deny getting off to the thought of me. I think I’m a catch. (I sound like such an ass right now, blame the wine). Anyway, we talked on the apps and she was so fucking smart. Such a turn on. Averagely attractive, not in a negative way, but in the kind of way that she didn’t really try to hard with her appearance and still was good looking, but most important to me, she was kind. With everything she told me, she was kind.

So we meet up for coffee, I get there first, grab a table, tell her where I am. She gets there, I’m a gentlemen and bought her her soy green tea latte, I had a black coffee. We hung out for like maybe 90 minutes. I can tell within the first 20 minutes that I don’t think we’ll work out, but we can definitely go out again. I say this because I am literally driving the conversation to an unbaringly rough point. Every silence, I filled. Every question I asked, gets a short answer, so I fill it in with my own answer and a story on top of it. I chalk it up to her having nerves.

As this “date” continues I know for a 100% fact this girl and I will never work. Our goals are different, our ideas of fun are different, our pasts are just too different. Then at about 10 o’clock she says something like, “Well I think we should head out it’s getting late.” In that moment I know we won’t line up romantically.

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Maybe that’s selfish of me. My best dates that I’ve been on are the ones where I literally lost track of time. It’s happened on first dates, second dates, all sorts of dates. My best times spent with someone are when I don’t want to go to sleep because I don’t want to stop listening to the sound of their voice. When I don’t care if I go into work exhausted the next day, running on 2 hours of sleep because I was laughing way too hard with the person I was with the night before. That’s not even to contradict myself in the sense of friends first, but that’s what I mean. Up until recently, when all my friends decided to grow up, we’d do exactly that, obviously with no romance involved, but that’s what I’m looking for in a person. I want to be your friend before I want anything from you. That can play into why I’m guarded or why most of my best friends are from childhood. It takes so much for me to give myself and my life story to someone. There are only 2 people I’ve dated that are still in my life, so if I told every person I dated my life, that makes my stomach turn. It’s no longer personal, its no longer me giving someone a piece of me. My friends know my shit because they are in my life for the long haul.

That’s why I want someone to be my friend first. Maybe that’s another insecurity I carry. If someone knows who I am, what I’ve done, good and bad, all of me, and still wants to date me, than I’m ready for that person.

I drifted.

Aside from a lot of other things she said on that date, I just knew. But at the same time, I did like some of the shit she was saying. I wasn’t opposed to hanging out again, but it had to be known that it wasn’t a date.

So when she texted me the next day, I was told by literally everyone, I had to ignore it. Anything else would be leading her on. Teasing her. Playing with her emotions. And that’s where my problem lies. She could’ve been a friend. Not one I’d hang out with very often, but maybe if I wanted to do a book club or go to a paint class, I’d hit her up. (I’m very well rounded). Just not if I wanted to do karaoke till 2 am, PR my deadlift, play pool with strangers, dance like an idiot to Journey, do the “Dougie” in the middle of a busy street, make a music video, go on adventures.

That’s what she wanted though – a person to date. Friendship isn’t something that was thought of. That’s why I hate the apps. I have soooooo much more to offer people than being their girlfriend or sex. I’m kind, I stand up for people, I’m funny, I want to bring out the best in people. If you only want that when it comes with a label, than frankly, it’s your loss.

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In closing, the apps serve their purpose, and I get that. I just kind of wish as an adult, we had the interactions with people that we did in our younger years. Or before technology, when it wasn’t weird to talk to someone at the grocery store and try to meet up in the future. I just hate, hate, did I say hate? – the expectation that we have to date, have sex, or be nothing.

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Car Rides and Late Nights

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One thing I’ll never understand are people who don’t like to drive. I know we all have our fears, our likes and dislikes, our fetishes.  There are morning and night people, sweet or savory people, winter (vomits) or summer people.

But to HATE car rides and driving is mind boggling to me.  I’ve grown somewhat of a personal attachment to driving. I remember my 16th birthday, sleeping by the fireplace in my childhood home, alarm going off at 6:15 AM on a Sunday, so that my mom and sister could take me to the DMV to get my permit.

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Driving has always felt like safety to me. I understand that there are bad drivers and many dangerous aspects to it.  Hell, right after getting my permit I recall one of my mom’s friends telling me how when she was my age and got her license, it felt like someone was handing her a loaded gun. However, I always felt strong and confident behind the wheel. I am in control. I am in charge. I am the person who decides where I am going.

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I’ve made some of my biggest life choices, had some of the most deep, meaningful conversations, ended up in some of the most peculiar places, and had some of my greatest thoughts and ideas come to me just because I decided to go for a ride.

I’ve had my biggest laughs, most outlandish performances, and greatest cups of coffee with friends simply because I said, “wanna go for a ride?”

Over the years, I’ve had many different cars, they all have a special place and significant memories for each stage of my life within my heart. When each one of these lovely lemons decided to take a lap around that big racetrack in the sky, it truly felt like I was losing a friend. (Now you can truly understand how much I value time spent in a car).

My first car was “given” to me by my Nanie. A true gem.  The year was 2007 and it was a 1991 Buick… We shared this car and then one happy day, the weekend of Junior Prom, an elderly man ran a stop sign, dented the wheel, thus totaling my little antique. I’d had my license for about 2 months at that point. It was a devastating blow.

With the money from the insurance on that car, a family “friend” sold me, by very definition, a lemon. I guess what can I expect for $1,000 car. This car was in fact the worst car I ever had the pleasure of driving, yet it gave me the most pre alcohol memories, while simultaneously providing me with the most near death experiences. Life man. That fucking car died at every stop sign/red light. It died in the middle of the 27A connector (mama kept her cool). It died just before going into the tunnel on the Merritt Parkway S. That car gave me patience. Just stop. Breathe. DEEP BREATH. Breathe again. Count to 15. Turn the key. And with that, keep on truckin.

After selling that hunk a junk to some moron, I bought my baby. My 2002 Hyundai Senata Hatchback. My angel. I didn’t know how much I loved that little nugget or how much bliss it would bring me. That car drove my friends and me to Nashville and back. That car experienced So. Much. Vomit. That car brought me road trips, my first ticket, casino rides, heart breaks, ice cream excursions, getting lost, and eventually tears. I won’t deny crying when she had to go. I drove that car to SCSU 4+ times a week. I made emotional mixtapes to destroy myself. I came out to myself (and then took it back) for the first time (and second and third) in that car. I became me after all the long nights, deep thoughts, and tears shed in that beautiful, piece of shit, car.

When the transmission went on my sweet little angel, I was at a crossroads.  Continue the path of physically damaged cars to coincide with my emotionally and mentally damaged self, or make a big move.

Mama made a big move.

For years I fantasized about my dream car. A four door, blue, Jeep Wrangler. After much research, many conversations, a HUGE debacle at Milford Jeep, I finally got it. My dream car.

Logically speaking, it made sense. I was 24, single, more than ready to mingle, and had no plans for a family for easily 6-10 years. I work hard, save, and rarely do things for me. This was for me. My dream car. While it took a few months to accept her as my own and move past the heartbreak of my Hyundai – I did. (RIP Hyundai – always in my heart).

I’ve already made so many memories with this sweet gift from the high heavens. I’ve had many talks, with people and also myself. I invested in me. *I’m truly hoping to avoid vomit in this one*

My long derailed point is that often we rush things. We don’t sit, think, contemplate. We aren’t willing to get lost in the process of finding ourselves.

Whenever I’m feeling contemplative, drained, or sad, my go to is to grab my keys, a coffee or soda, and blast the appropriate playlist, while only taking left turns just to figure shit out. Don’t rush the process.

Often time people will text me, “Where are you?” or “What are you doing?” I’ll respond with driving around. At first people don’t get it, they think that maybe it’s weird. But it’s my yoga, so to speak. It’s great to do things like this. Clear your mind. Think. Make choices. Write it down.

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The thing is though, while I often use this as a way to help me, it’s also a way to help my friends. People that are important in my life. It’s amazing to find people who can take in the views or even the silence with you. You can’t do that with just anyone.

There are times I’d go for a ride with friends, get back to their house, and instead of go in, we just sit in the car and talk for hours.  Confined spaces can be soothing when surrounded by the right people.

To be able to drive continuously or find a place to park, late at night, when the world seems dead, lower the music, have no distractions, but each other – that’s how you get to know someone. Hear their thoughts, dreams, passions, opinions. What’s stressing them out in the past, present, or future. Just to listen.

The world is ALWAYS moving. Our brains are subconsciously moving at 100 at all times. Our hearts constantly racing. To keep the car moving so our minds can stop or to stop the car and speak our minds, that’s when we get to slow down. Talk. Learn. Listen. Discover.

To me, this is my place, my world. Not everyone can do this. For me this has brought me closer to friends, family, and self. It brings in such an emotional intimacy that I can’t truly explain. There is nothing I find more unbearable than giving a ride to someone who just doesn’t talk, or sits there awkwardly, or you’re forced to discuss whatever One Direction song that’s being over played on the radio.

Confined spaces, that’s where it all comes together.

Namaste… behind the wheel.

The Call.

I’m just going to start this off by letting anyone who reads this know – this isn’t going to be funny. It’s going to be very serious, probably a little “rambly”, and coming from a strong emotional state so bear with me.

There are few calls we expect in our lives that we know we’re going to eventually get. Those calls that no one wants to ever receive. The loss of a parent, an emergency hospital trip for a child, a random health issue for a spouse.

Today, I received a call.  A call that no one wants to get. A call that happens, but I never expected would happen to me.

You see, this weekend was the weekend for a friend of mines bachelorette party. I’m not in the wedding, but my two absolute best friends on the planet – matching tattoos – never find another like them, friends are in it. Along with other long term, close friends, including the bride. I was invited to the bachelorette weekend, but had to decline because I had already planned a family trip to California this week.

My friends and I made jokes about how they were stuck in the cold, it was going to snow on the East Coast, I should be forced to be there, but noooo I chose sunny, 70 degree, snowless, California.

It seemed normal, aside from my confusion with the time change. I would watch their snap stories, check their instagrams, see all the fun they were having. Truthfully feeling a little jealous of the memories they were making without me.

I saw on many of their stories how the snow caused their party limo to be stuck on the side of a road because the road was shut down.  Knowing my friends though, they made the best of that situation too. I told my family and other friends who weren’t there about the limo. We were cracking jokes about their situation.

I’d noticed no one snapped in a while.  My texts weren’t being responded to. Again, I thought nothing of it.  I mean, my texts weren’t anything spectacular. Maybe they were living in the moment instead of snapping, there was a significant time change, and they were all likely hungover I assumed.

Then it happened.  The Call.

I want to preface that everything could be much much worse. I’ve actually seen it be much worse, but I’ll get to that.

The Call.

It was about 4:30 in sunny California.  My emotions were all over the place as they’ve been lately. I was driving with my family to meet my cousins to go take out a Duffy Boat. It was going to be a great night. Then I get a call from one of my two best friends. I almost send it to voicemail because I’m in a car and thought that it’d be weird to answer. But, this friend and I never really talk on the phone so I say F it and answer.

She gets right to the chase.

Emily: “Cait, before I say anything I want you to know everyone is fine.  “Sally” doesn’t feel comfortable talking about it so don’t mention it, “Jen” doesn’t want anyone to know yet, and “Alice” doesn’t want anyone to know what she did”

Me: “ok…”

Emily: “Last night, our party limo was stuck on a road and the driver decided to do a 3 point turn to get out of it.  There was a car coming, he was going really fast, especially in the snow, and he plowed into the limo, he t-boned us. Everyone is alive Cait, but it’s really bad.”

This is a call I never thought I’d get. This isn’t a call I should get. My friends are all great people, they contribute to society, they have well paying jobs, they work hard and party very infrequently.

Me: “Jesus Christ, how is everyone, what happened?!”

Emily: “Well I kind of blacked out, most of us have concussions. “Sally” saw the whole thing, she wasn’t drinking. She’s really scarred, she banged her head so hard on the windshield. “Jen” was screaming the whole time at the guy that hit us. She kept screaming “you killed her!” because “Alice” couldn’t find a pulse on “Mary.” She started doing CPR until the ambulance arrived. “Mary” broke her back in like 3 places. “Karen” was really messed up. She lost a bunch of teeth. Her face was covered in blood. I had to take off my clothes to apply pressure to the wound. There was just so much blood. Everyone is banged up, those two are still in the hospital, but the rest of us are going to be ok. It was scary though Cait, horrific.”

That’s the call I got. Here I am. Pining over minuscule things in my day to day life. Thinking about the girl on Bumble who won’t message me back when all I want to do is meet her. Taking in beautiful California. Not wanting to go back to work this week. Questioning why this post didn’t get that many likes on Facebook.  All the while, unbeknownst to me, I could’ve lost every friend that means the world to me, friends I could not live without, friends that are more than friends to me, all in one clean sweep.

I could’ve been in that limo. I should’ve been in that limo. Timing was the problem. I could’ve been sitting where Mary and Karen were sitting. I could’ve been where Jen was, causing her to be closer to Mary and Karen, causing her to get hurt as well.

My friends all saw something, experienced something, that I’ll never know.  All I have is this call.

This call is enough for me to put my life in perspective. To stop worrying about the social media, to take life less seriously, to truly experience things.

When my cousin was in college, ironically the one I came to visit in California, he went out with some friends on a snowy night in New Haven. He was supposed to go back to the dorms in the first car, but chose to go in the second. The first car got into a horrific accident. Some of his friends died, some have lifelong injuries. He made a call – to my mom. My mom had to go to Yale Hospital at 4 am to help my cousin because his friends were dead and dying, he could’ve been dead or dying, but he ended up going in the second car.

I don’t know how to feel.  I just know I needed to type this out.

I know I feel fragile. I know I feel helpless. I’m the mother to my friends. I’m the one they call when they need a ride, when their car broke down, (before Uber) when they had too much to drink. I’m the one they look to when they need someone to be strong. I’m the one who will lend money out whenever times are tough. I’m their protector. I feel like I wasn’t there to protect them.

I feel small.