Transient Friends

I try to keep my circle tight,
That way I avoid squares.
An introvert by nature,
People think they know me.
Quiet. Reserved. Happy.

Then they get to know me.
And what do you know?
Surprise!
I’ve changed.
Loud. Talkative. Cocky.

I’m too old for small talk.
Please, don’t waste my time.
Surrounding myself with intellects.
Discussing ideas – thoughts – opinions.
Not people.

It’s grounding.
Sometimes it makes me feel small.
Sometimes I want to be small.
Sometimes I need to be small.
Unseen. Hidden. Lost.

“We’re friends – you have to agree with me.”
I think, “Because we’re friends is why I don’t.”
But, now I revert.
The noiseless introvert that made you want me.
I want to be wanted.

So if you’re wrong I won’t vocalize it.
That’s how this happens,
I just nod.
There’s no need to speak.
Why bother? It falls onto deaf ears.

The tension remains.
“The air feels heavy now.”
I say it’s the humidity.
I leave.
Distant. Lonely. Empty.

Held at arms length – where I prefer to be.
Don’t cuddle me with your body.
Strangle me with your hands.
That’s where I belong.
Pain. Broken. Worthless.

“Don’t get to know me. You won’t like me.”
“That’s not true!”
But it is.
I don’t like me.
So why would you?

The closer we get.
The harder it is.
Vulnerability.
I hate it.
I just don’t want to be forgotten.

Take me forever or leave me for now.
Because once I give you me,
You’ll  eventually get all of me.
Because I don’t give myself to just anyone.
And I don’t want just anyone to give themselves to me.

Special. Unique. Friendship.

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. 

 

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.