I was with a friend last night. I guess we can call each other friends thanks to the auspices of Facebook. Then again, how can you not be friends when you lived in the same dorm Freshman year and went to school of 1500 people. That is about the size of one regional high school. Yes, we were a small college. Anyway, I was a J.R. Salinger style-recluse when I was in college. I ran from engagement of any kind. I was surprised that anyone would remember the likes of me. Some things have changed from back in the day, and others have not. In 2001/2 I was listening to Metallica, listening to Sevendust, Puddle of Mudd, WAAF (107.3), Opie and Anthony, Bill Evans (Pianist for Miles Davis for his ‘Kind of Blue’ Album), watching ER re-reuns and its current episodes, loving Fleetwood Mac because it reminded me of my Sunday morning rides to Weymouth Club with Dad, listening to James Taylor, and the Everly Brothers, for the same reason. TV and music were my constant companions. I listened to early Black Sabbath, Lyndard Skynard and, of course, my beloved, Staind, Staind, Staind. Staind forever and ever, until the day I die.
I question now, why was I so different from the people I went to school with. Yes, my musical tastes were different and I was ashamed to admit I was not a Dave Matthews Band fan. But there was more. I had lived a different life, a life that was difficult to explain to others. Surgeries, hospitals, X-Rays and dental visits every three weeks. Heck, I still had braces in college. I had suffered and overcome so much in the years leading up to my freshman year that I might as well have lived nine lives already. Yet, there was no way to verbalize that to my peers in a palatable manner. I held more angst than they all did, or at least I thought I did. I never opened myself up to enough people to truly know where they were coming from, everyone just scared me.
We may have been the same age, but I was still emotionally a child inside. Something that I still feel and work on to this day. The medical challenges forced insolation and still do because they limit what I am able to do, physically and mentally Medical problems are still a problem today. Only the body parts and ailments have changed.
Bottom line, despite all the things standing in my way, I needed to change.
I have put myself in this uncomfortable, place. A place that can quickly become comfortable with a change in perspective. Few people recognized me for what I was at college, because I was so afraid of exposing myself. It was scary and it still is, but less so, today. I am still a girl that loves her teddy bears, Ralph Lauren, and baths. I like to write, paint, draw, and sometimes worship the dark arts through music. Accept, thyself, dear Kara, accept. It’s okay to come out of the shadows and away from the warm, protective glow of the TV screen. It is okay to be part of the world, to throw myself in and fully participate without holding back. I need not legitimize myself to others, nor what I have overcome. I am who I am. The past has shaped me, but will never define me. I cannot escape or hide from it. It just is. It just sits by me, quietly, randomly tapping me on the shoulder at unwanted times. I can either choose to ignore it and continue to explore the world and the people in it, even, and most especially, former schoolmates. Or I can put on noise-canceling headphones and marinate in my past and painful present with the sounds of melancholy, emo-metal validating through my ears.
I think I will choose the former route, my “road less traveled,” once in a while, for a change.
2 thoughts on “Getting Out of My Own Way”
A beautifully written reflection. Your writing engages with a fluidity and authenticity the shows the strength and creativity that I always see in you. Funny . . . I have always found you to be one of the strongest most wonderful people I know. I know your reflection is true to how you feel. But isn’t it interesting that I see a person with a solid core — one with not just a little gold?
I am strong. I’m just not as strong as I appear to be. I suppose you could say I “guild the lily” a bit. I could be more authentically strong if I stopped thinking so much, stopped the self-consciousness, and took life by the horns. I get in my own way. Right now, I just need to get healthy.