April 20, 2006
to be continued

i apologize- or i don't.

i don't.

this post is a free write that i am forcing myself to publish because i am choosing to uncensor myself. i am always forgetting that i can make a choice.

have you ever had something happen to you and it was so funny or weird or amazing but you couldn’t tell anyone because in order for them to understand they would have to have been there for your whole life?

lately i feel anxious all the time. i can't make a simple decision because i'm so afraid to be wrong. i feel that i'm stagnating, stewing, maybe rotting.

i want to progess- i want to meet and exceed my potential. but i also want to be happy and not settle and not censor myself for the sake of that possible future. i don't ever want to wear a suit, but i don't ever want to struggle for money like i do now.

i don't want to be corporate- i fear the emptiness it brings. but i don't want to be a grunt so that i can present myself the way that i like. i know there are people who make it work- who are passionate about something creative and make their careers happen and shout fuck all to the people who have problems with their blue hair and tattoos. i used to have passion. now i just try to make it through a day. how do you get to be one of those people? how do you not get beaten down and tired of fighting?

yesterday morning i found three gray hairs and two white ones. i'm not really bothered by that- i'm hoping for a nice thick streak- but it made me acutely aware that, of course, i'm getting older. that i have a master's degree- i'm a writer- i'm a creative person- and i make photocopies and do mailings everyday? my ten year reunion is in two years and i have a million funny stories i could tell but nothing i'm particularly proud of.

so last night i spent some time on the worst site on earth looking up people i used to know. i added a few friends who i miss, but for the most part, i realized sometimes you're better off cutting people out of your life.

because with no effort at all i find all these people and i know that of course they can (and- i'm sure- have) found me and suddenly i am full of the same self-doubt, the discomfort, the unhappiness. the churning stomach, the panicked breaths. i hate that these people who i don’t even care for can make me feel this way- that i should edit my profile and re-read my blog because maybe i look stupid in this picture, or not pretty, or not hardcore.

i’m a complex person- many of us are. i am simultaneously a very soft and feminine woman who enjoys dresses and baking and yarn and maybe sometimes cries when a husband says something genuine to his wife; and also a tough calculating woman who doesn’t particularly care for traditional romance but likes rock and roll, vodka and ufc.

there are some people who make me feel like i should be ashamed of the softer part of me- that i have somehow sold out or become uncool by being happy.

and no matter how happy i am, i’m not sure i’ll ever be happy.

i’ve worked really hard and i work really hard to make it through everyday. i've accomplished something really spectacular by finding some happiness in a fucked up life in a fucked up world. but i feel penalized for that- like i’ve done something wrong.

was i never supposed to leave home? was i supposed to stay miserable and in my small town and at the local coffee shops, listening to that same unsigned band i listened to in highschool and whose front man tried to hook up with me when i was seventeen and he was twenty-seven and that was eight years ago and he's still in that band? is that the life that would have made me happy?

maybe. if i still lived at home or atleast in that small town i would probably be bartending, staying out late, having time for myself to read and make things and wearing my septum ring out instead of tucked in. and those things would make me happy.

but i'm glad i came to california, as hard as it's been. i'm still me here, and if me isn't happy, then how would that change it? it's not where i am that matters so much i think. it's maybe somewhat about what i do, but mostly what i do needs be listen to myself more and trust myself more and think about other people less. i am not defined by other people. what they think of me is their life, not mine.

i need to be more selfish.

i need to be more assertive.

i need to do the things i think about doing- i think about them all day long.

i need to make the choice.


to be continued...



37 Comments:

Blogger Thérèse said...

Kendra. I love seeing this side of you.

You are indeed a complex person. No interesting person can be anything but.

This particular post made me want to go out vintage dress shopping, dancing and people-watching with you. I don't know why. It makes no sense. It just did.

Blogger Knitty Kitty said...

you should be proud of the journey you took as well as where you came from. They all make up who you are and that is a fantastic, complex, beautiful person.
We all need some self examination and be a little more selfish.
great post!

Blogger Sarah Smile said...

*nods*

Blogger Libby said...

Kendra, I know this doesn't mean a whole lot, but fuckall, I wanted to say it - I feel like you are the only person I talk to who understands that maybe this is not all it's cracked up to be and to get more, you have to struggle.

And in that struggle, you find maybe who you are, and who/what/where makes you happy, and everybody else is a loser because they don't see what we all see in you.

Don't work at Disneyland. Whatever you do. Although, it is truly my belief that you would make the BEST Snow White :)

Blogger briana said...

Lady- as you well know and maybe sometimes don't know - you are exceptional strong and smart and wilfull and strangely enough you find you can eventually bend your exsistance to meet your wants and needs without compromising...

Send me your email address... I'm having a birthday shindig on Saturday with a few other ladies whom I've had this VERY conversation with many times. Would love it if you counld join in or drop by - briana007 at gmail dot com.

Blogger MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

Dude. You have come so far. Can you even imagine living the small mind life at this point?! you'd be so confined and doing the same danged thing for TEN YEARS. THAT is selling out. Settling for what is comfortable. As long as you're still asking questions, you're moving. Maybe backward, maybe forward. These people you worry about have no right or ability to judge you, and even if they tried, I'm sure you'd find that *you* are your own worst critic.

Undeservedly, I might add.

But I'm sure you know all that, you're just looking for confirmation. And you couldn't get it from a more varied, experienced, intelligent group of she-beasts. :)

BTW, just for my own edification, wtf is "ufc", as in "vodka and ufc"? Cuz, y'know, I gotta stay hip with the kiddies.

Blogger jiggs said...

monkeygurrrrrl: ufc is the ultimate fighting championship. I used to follow it extremely closely going as far as learning the basics of boxing and brazilian jiujitsu.

Blogger MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

Oooooooooooooooooooh. You'd think I'd know that, since I *just* listened to an interview with a dude from Huntington Beach (who was remarkably well-spoken). It was the use of lower case letters and conjunction with "vodka" that threw me off. Or at least, that's my excuse.

Blogger Spinning Girl said...

This post is so utterly and rawly true that it is fabu, and shows the many facets of being human. I think it is possible to be both happy and unhappy at once, to be content with one's decisions and at the same time doubt every single one. Isn't that what makes us alive, what makes us all kindred?

Every decision is a path, and to take one path is to abandon another. Regardless of where you end up, you are where you ought to be, and it is as horrible and as wonderful as all the other places you could have ended up.

But yes, be true to yourself, and yes, do the thing that scares you, for then you will be fully alive, every day.

Please continue!

Blogger Laurie Ann said...

Being from small town USA, I have always felt that I was meant for more, but it took me 30 years to leave that place. I think, from time to time, where I'd be if I had stayed, and the thought chills me to my very soul. LA hasn't been the golden destination that I thought it would be, but I'm a thousand times happier being me than being what I was presumed to be.

You're on the right path...you'll get there. I have a good feeling about you.

Blogger jiggs said...

It took me a long time to write this because people kept coming in and out of my office:

You are a unique gal, sassafras (and as I'm sure you know, that's not some backhanded compliment coming from me).

Thus I couldn't possibly have the exact same experience as you, but I will share a bit hoping that my experience is similar enough to be of some use.

My whole life I have been trying to balance competing internal and external expectations. Expectations with respect to religion, politics, social circles and profession. Prioritizing these expectations can be excruciating and I wish I had guidance on how to do it. Cuz I need such guidance.

Hand in hand with the problem of two many expectations is the problem of not easily fitting into predefined categories. Such categories have value because they build common ground (community), but they come with expectations that I don't often match.

I often feel as if I don't really have such a community --that I am relegated to the fringe of some orthogonal set of communities and never get a proper home. For the most part I have accepted this and basically just do my own thing. But it does make me feel uneasy.

Blogger d2ana said...

yes! yes! yes!

Blogger Egan said...

Wow, I love the spirit of this post. It's nice to see you throw it all out on the table. You do have a lot going for you Kendra. The money thing is tough, but it's not always going to grant you happiness. However, I'm sure you already know that.

Go with your heart. If I were in your shoes, I would pursue you passion to be a creative writer. (that is one of your passions right?). But you have tons of time ahead of you. I almost got ten years on you and have zero ideas on what I want to do for a career. Someday it will happen for you. Best of luck.

Blogger Übermilf said...

There is no "perfect place". You're only going to find happiness by being brave, paying attention to yourself and how different situations and people make you feel, and by making a lot of mistakes from which you will learn.

You'll do it. I have confidence in you.

Blogger LotusKnits said...

Kendra...thank you. For saying all the things I've been saying to myself but haven't written out in any form because they scare me on some level. Your openness is a cool spring breeze, baby. The whole damn universe loves you for exactly who you are, and where you are. Work it.

Blogger Moe said...

Hi, I keep trying to leave comments and blogger is having none of it. Ok, so now that I'm in...

Oh Miss Kendra. I don't even know you - but want SO much for you to find all the happiness you deserve (i.e., lots). I think everysingleoneofus feels the same way you do with respect to paths not taken, self-worth, wanting to belong, fear of being "exposed for the frauds that we are". (ok, maybe the last one is just me). Most people just hide it.

Funny (not ha ha the other kind) that these feelings are showing up with most of the people around me - we are all in that late 20's early 30's age group. Quarterlife crisis.

I am a follower of your blog because there is something about your personality and your way of communicating that is worth reading. (the only other non-knit blog I follow is Dooce). The fact that you are asking yourself these questions and looking for answers is a good indication that you will be ok...can you imagine what life is like for those who don't? (ignorant bliss I guess)

Blogger me said...

little positiveness?
i totally got the sweater today and later i'm going to blog about it. eee!
see... you probably do worry too much cuz there's a bunch of people who almost close to idolise you, which explains why you sold stuff on the internets because everyone wants just a little piece of the coolness that is you... :D

yugtesrr... sorta sounds like youngster. which you are...

Blogger Stacey Budge said...

Everything else I want to write sounds patronizing. What I really want to do is honor your path and your many facets.

Wait--is that patronizing too? Shit.

I think which ever you that writes this blog is way cool. Keeps me coming back. You'll find your tribe. (Really I am not a new age freak, but I do live in a town full of them and I think they are rubbing off on me. Help.)

Blogger Grend31 said...

"You are not your job.
You are not how much you have in the bank.
You are not the contents of your wallet."

~Tyler~

Blogger melissa.in.london said...

exactly.

perfection, really. exact perfection.

Blogger puck said...

you have spoken (or written, rather) my mind. i have written, and not posted, a couple of times,thoughts that echo everything you have just said. i think there comes a time when you realize life isn't all ahead of you, nothing but pure potential, as it may have been in college or grad school. there are no longer so many "paths not taken" available to us. we are adults with real jobs, and real responsibilities and it can really be a drag sometimes (most of the time) i don't have an answer, as this is something i am struggling through as well. at least you know after this you are not the only one. someone mentioned "finding your tribe" earlier. i found it an interesting concept. i think this weird little ring of blogs i read, these very tiny snipets that people i don't know share with the world, somehow are my tribe, or at least a small part of it (i have non imaginary friends too, ha ha) hooray to you for an uncensored, unedited post. we should all be so brave
also, this is a quote i like and it makes me feel better:
"Who am I?
My answer: I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all that I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me.
I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine.
I am everything that happens after I've gone that would not have happened if I had not come....
to understand me you must swallow a world."

Salman Rushdie, From Midnight's Children

Blogger Autumn said...

yeah, you're not alone in feeling that way. many of us do.

you're super duper. we love you. right guys?

Blogger FRITZ said...

For a moment, I thought you were talking about me. Oh, wait? You mean I'm not the only one steeped in doubt and debt? I'm not the only one who looks around and thinks, "Gee, I don't FIT anywhere."?

Good for you for embracing this huge, terrible, awful truth of humanity. We are all so lost in space, and in a consumer society, we are told to BLEND BLEND BLEND and make money and wear the right clothes and speak the right language. When we deviate, we take risks.

One of the biggest risks is finding out who we truly are--and that who we are is unstable, imperfect, and ultimately vulnerable.

But you, Miss Kendra, are absolutely beautiful in your vulnerability.
Thank you for laying it out in the open.

Blogger Krystle said...

Everyone feels like this at some point in time. You just need to push through the shit to reach the sunshine. I know it doesn't alway seem easy but life isn't about candy-lane. I know exactly how you feel though and thought the same thing many-a-times. I can be so naive sometimes and so sensitive that trying to be selfish makes me panic. I sometimes have a hard time not worrying about what others think of me. Time has weened me from that dependance a lot but I still feel the twinge from time to time. You'll make it.
I have faith.

You're great. Just wanted you to know.

Anonymous laurie said...

I agree -- you're great. And an amazing writer, miss k.

It was so nice to see you last night. I just wanted to hug you.

Blogger Lori said...

I totally relate to you, sister. I'm also from a small town with nothing exciting or artsy or the least bit "above average"--it's heaven if you are a hog farmer or a Republican but for me it just wasn't enough. I also have that big reunion coming up--I'm a law school grad currently working as a receptionist, my mama is so proud! Good for you being complex--you can bake and change a tire and anything else you want to do and don't let anyone tell you differently! You're smashing just the way you are...

Blogger lexer said...

I completely understand your feelings! Nice to know I'm not the only who doesn't like playing grown up and who hates feeling beige but doesn't know how to get the color back.

Blogger Auntie Sassy said...

Clearly, considering all of your comments so far, this is not an uncommon thing to go through. In fact, I think that if people don't go through this thought process they are in some serious denial about their life and their choices.

And making choices that change your life are tough. Getting up and doing what you need to do to make it through your day when you feel in your guts that you should be doing something else is tough. But we do it because we hope that at some point, something will happen which will make it all make sense.

I remember the day that I woke up, looked around and thought “Huh…this is it?” I called in sick, sat down and wrote a list of everything that I wanted to do with my life. From the ridiculous to the obtainable. And I realized that while the Rock Star thing probably wasn’t going to work out for me, there were PLENTY of things that I could do and still look back on my life and be proud of what I became. And I started doing those things. And sometimes they are not easy. But they have all been MY choices and I am happy with where those choices got me.

It’s not easy to care what people think when everything that you feel that you stand for is based upon being an individual. It sucks that one word from someone who knew who you were before you took charge of your life can make you doubt everything that you’ve done which has brought you to where you are.

But you empowered yourself and you did those things. You are an amazing woman who DOES love being edgy and girlie and hardcore and caring all at the same time. That is your path and you are walking it your way…and that my dear, is a most admirable thing in the whole wide world.

*end of chapter one*

Blogger kidcola61 said...

my god ms kendra, you've got ms. kidcola disease or rather louitis. Say three hail marys, no make that drink three
bloody marys (with or without alchohol - your pref) and call me in the morning. It should have worn off by then....

Blogger Tits McGee said...

What. A. Beautiful. Fucking. Post.

Blogger CommonWombat said...

I don't know what I could add that everyone else hasn't already said except that I think you're fucking cool.

Can I say a hardcore AMEN to MySpace being the worst site on earth?? Never mind I have one, I hate it.

So much of what you wrote struck a very raw nerve with me. It was nice to see it written out by someone else.

Blogger Spinning Girl said...

psst... I love you the most (don't tell DaMasta)

Anonymous myboyfriendiscrazy said...

Amazing post. I empathize with so much of it, I have similar thoughts all the time.

Blogger MadMeer said...

I relate to so many aspects of this post, I won't even get started.

All I know is you should embrace the many facets of your personality. Most people aren't lucky enough to have more than one side, and those are usually the dull assholes who are so eager to judge.

The world is always a tougher place for people who are willing to take chances and be happy, but the rewards are greater too. It will come around for you.

Blogger Mone said...

You have adressed the thougths I've been having... Do the things you want to do! Be yourself! but the most important thing, be honest to yourself! Reading this post I know you are. Everything is gonna be alright.

Blogger robiewankenobie said...

meeeeeeeeeeee toooooooooooooooo!

you know what i've learned though? it has taken me years to get this simple concept down: just make a decision. i've made some crappy ole decisions, and i just found out that i can change my mind and make whole new choices! go figure.

it's much like those corny "choose your own adventure" books. and if the next decision bites? i don't have to live with that, either!!!! this assertive stuff? it just takes practice.

these days i try to be as happy where i am as hope to be when i get to my destination. i try to enjoy the process.

hang in there sweet thang. don't question your gut.

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