2014 Wrap Up

I haven’t written in what I would describe as a long-ass-time. Ideally I would blame this all on having the hectic life of a business school student. However, this is simply not the case. First and foremost, I have just as much free time as I did while working my corporate gig. Although, now I’m in Boston which is lovely and daunting at the same time. Second, not writing was actually a conscious decision rather than something that just sort of happened.

One thing that happens in business school is you are introduced to hundreds of successful, brilliant, beautiful people. Somehow, it seems like most everyone else has things figured out, yet I am still floundering around. Soon, I began to question the “me” others saw. Was I too perceived to be smart and awesome? Or, was I sort of a nerdy introvert who wandered in off the street? I thought a lot about first impressions, and lasting ones too. When I first met people, did they want to get to know me more? Once they knew me, did they feel they could rely on me and did they have a desire to work with me in the future?

Interestingly, my communications professor described business school as a time to experiment and test out new styles. While liberating to an extent, testing out new things on people who will make up an extremely valuable network seemed… risky. Could my openness to the world about depression, my family, and other struggles make me weaker in the eyes of others? Probably, and I’m not writing today because I somehow stumbled upon all the answers. I’m writing because I realized that writing is an imperative characteristic of who I am, and getting feedback from others is just as crucial.

In September, I had penned the following:

Today was my first day of orientation. In a lot of ways, it was overwhelming. So many people, so much going on. I did realize however, that I need to let things go. I have a tendency to let small things bother me and I let them impact me in a larger way than any normal being would. Example number 1: the lady in front of me on our bus ride back from rafting this weekend reclined her seat. Not only did it jab into my knees, and I’m not that tall of a girl, but she was in the front and therefore had nearly unlimited space otherwise. Instead of politely asking her to move her seat, or ignoring it all together, I sulked for the next 2 hours until she moved to the back. Am I just overly reactive to small annoyances or do I have a complete tendency to avoided conflict?

Example 2: today we had our first class. It wasn’t an official class, but a first class nonetheless. At this point, we were already divided into our cohorts, meaning I was in the room with the 60+ others I will be attending class with for the next full semester. Every. Class. Next to me, a woman sat texting on her phone for literally the full hour and a half. Maybe a normal person could have ignored it, somehow tuned it out. I, however, was completely distracted by it. Things to say to her kept rushing through my head – “are you even paying attention?” “Are you not interested in this subject?” “Can you please put that away, it’s really distracting for me.”

I posted it here to highlight the difficulty of public self-reflection. The note was meant to be about me and how I deal with stuff. However, given the nature of my program and the fact that I share so much of myself online with people who may be mentioned, I risk offending others. This is never my intention and is just something I’ll need to continue to be mindful of as I press on writing.

To quickly summarize the last 4 months, let me just say and Joe and I are now engaged. I don’t plan on this being a wedding blog, but I will share the story of how it happened. After finally settling in to our new home, Joe and I decided to host a housewarming party. It was scheduled for Saturday December 13th, and the evening before we were just going to have a nice dinner with friends before going home to wrap up the final touches on the apartment.

When I arrived at the restaurant to meet Joe and the other couple, I was surprised to be handed a note from the matri de. All it said was “Jump in the Uber waiting for you outside. Love, Joe.” I nervously approached the black car and once I was inside, I called Joe to confirm I wasn’t in fact being abducted. Soon I could tell we were headed to the harbor.

I arrived at a boat that was beautifully lit in the Boston night sky. On board we just Joe, and I private table for two. We set sail and sat down for dinner and had a beautiful evening and in my cupcake dessert was the ring! I obviously said yes.

After that, we went back to the apartment and SURPRISE! All of my family had been flown in to celebrate with us. Good thing I didn’t say no.

Just kidding. None of that happened to us. Joe proposed while we were looking at Christmas lights around Boston (a holiday tradition of ours). We were walking down Commonwealth Avenue, which has a pedestrian median lined on both sides by huge trees. The trees were covered from trunk to tip in white Christmas lights and it looked like an infinite archway that clearly went on for blocks. He moved into it by readdressing a conversation we had been in the night before: if we got married, what last name would we go with? I was a little dead on the subject so I slightly zoned out and because I was getting cold, suggested we turn around. We were coming to the end of the block and there was a big statue at the end that we looped around. I wanted to read it so I stopped and it just happened to be a memorial for firemen that were killed many years ago. I was all like “oohh that’s so sad!” when I heard Joe summarize “and that’s why I want to marry you.” Then he took out the ring and asked “Will you marry me?”

I was definitely surprised. I think I just hugged him for a minute and then said “yes” and then tried on the most beautiful ring I have ever seen. We started to walk back because we had a dinner reservation but I think I was a little overwhelmed and made us stop to sit on a bench. I sat and hugged him and smiled and may have even cried a little, but chances are he was the one crying. Just sayin’.

We had a delicious dinner at a joint in the Four Seasons. Joe had reserved a table overlooking Boston Commons and it was just perfect.

(Regarding the fake story: this was actually a proposal story of a close friend that Joe had the dumb idea to tell me about as we walked to the restaurant. Really, Joe, you think that was the best time? I now like to throw him under the bus with it every now and again…)

We walked home and debated whether to tell people right away or maybe wait for Christmas (we’d be leaving in just a week). The excitement took over and right when we got home we started calling people.

First, it was my mom. We both sat on the couch with my phone set to speaker. Once it started ringing I got nervous and said “you have to tell her.” So she answered, we both said our hellos and then Joe went into it “Well, Sandy, I asked your daughter to marry me tonight.”

— Twenty second of silence — we thought we might have dropped her.

Finally, “… and what did she say?”

Joe clarified by stating I did in fact agree to marry him.

— Twenty more seconds of silence —

“Is she pregnant?” asked my mom in a way that I should have expected but threw Joe off guard.

In the end, it was a beautiful night and I’m excited to marry my best friend such a hot piece of ass.

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March Reading

So now that March is over, I’d like to give a recap of my resolution to read a book a week during March. Overall, I’d say it was a success. If you add it all up, I didn’t exactly read 4 complete books, but I finished 5 – so… winning.

Drinking, A Love Story by Caroline Knapp (30%) – This ended up being a really good memoir. It is about a woman who is an alcoholic and it follows her relationship with alcohol through the years. It ends with her going to rehab and re-entering life as a sober person. A few lines that really resonated with me:

Over time the drink itself becomes the reward, the great compensation for our ability to keep it all together during the day, and to keep it all together so well. (pg. 19)

 

‘My husband is acting like an idiot.’ a woman said at a meeting not long ago. ‘I have to remember that the resolution is not ‘Get a new husband” (pg. 61)

 

Addictions segue into one another with such ease: a bout of compulsive overeating fills you with shame and sexual inferiority, which fills you with self-loathing and doubt, which leads you to a drink, which temporarily counters the self-hatred and fills you with chemical confidence, which leads you to sleep with a man you don’t love, which leads you to circling back to shame and voila: the dance can begin again. (pg. 137).

Crash and Burn by Artie Lange (100%) – This was the only book of the five that brought me to tears. Most likely because it resonated with me so much. I’m not a closet heroin addict. Rather, I’ve had people in my life lose the battle to drugs and that has really stuck with me. It was so insightful to be in his head and to understand his perspective. I didn’t capture any life-changing or meaningful quotes though, I think because it engrossed me so wholly that I didn’t break out of that mindset.

The Corner Office by Adam Bryant (44%) – This book was full of insights from CEOs and other leaders from large organizations. I took a lot from it. First, it made me really excited for business school. Second, I picked up a lot of good insights that I think I can apply to my own leadership style. And third, I know I’m going to be a really good CEO one day. Here are my favorite quotes:

The qualities these executives share: Passionate curiosity. Battle-hardened confidence. Team smarts. A simple mindset. Fearlessness. (pg. 12)

 

They learn, they teach, and they understand people and the business world, and then bring all that knowledge together to drive their organizations forward. (pg. 13)

 

The people who truly succeed in business are the ones who actually have figured out how to mobilize people who are not their direct reports. (pg. 51)

Drinking and Tweeting by Brandi Granville (100%) – I picked this book because I really like drinking and tweeting both separately and at the same time. Therefore, I figured it would resonate with me. Right after I started reading it, I mentioned it to a coworker, and she knew of the woman who wrote it. I did not. So, having that additional insight was helpful, and gave me even more reason to follow her on Twitter afterwards. The gist of the story is after being married for 8+ years, Brandi finds out her husband is cheating on her, and always has been. This terrified the crap out of me, especially as I’m beginning to consider marriage more and more. It is crazy to think about being able to leave so much of your life in the hands of someone else who can just take it and kill it all if they want to. The happiness she described seemed like perfection, something that meant it was true – how could this lead to such destruction? Again, I was too absorbed in the book to record any quotes. It is a quick read though that I would recommend.

Ahead of the Curve by Philip Delves Broughton (30%) – A book written about a man’s two years at Harvard Business School. Although it’s just starting to pick up, it has A) made me happy I’m not going to Harvard and B) made me hope that MIT is at least a little bit different.

  • Apparently there is something called the Priscilla Ball at HSB. The men dress as women and the women dress as “sluts.” Seriously. And people have to pay $120/person to attend anyway. And people wonder why business school has such terrible rates of females.
  • “It felt as though HBD has two modes, deadly serious and frat boy, with little in between” – I’ve heard this elsewhere about HSB and other schools. I know it is partially the reality of business school, but I hope the people at MIT take it seriously too. And like to have fun, are cool and not misogynist. Just sayin’
  • The English journalist who wrote this book has an impressive vocabulary. I’ve learned 10+ new words all ready. High five.

Here’s to a month of no Caribou… Just kidding, turns out April is writing in my journal every day. Not really sure why I thought it was the former.

What it means to me to be engaged

Apparently more than one person thought that Joe and I would get engaged during our vacation in Jamaica. I know this because they told him and he in turn told me. He told me for multiple reasons, one of which is that it wasn’t his intention. Most on point though, this wasn’t the first time Joe received this same response upon explaining our position “that’s so unromantic!It sounds more like a business arrangement than a relationship!”

I’m not ready to be married. Sometimes I think it would be fun to have the wedding but my excitement is still so set on the event itself rather than life long commitment I’m making. I’ve written about marriage before, and ultimately I feel I’m too young to make such a life altering decision. I’ve at least got to get one masters degree under my belt before taking such a plunge. And Joe knows this.

He knows this because we communicate very openly in our relationship. We talk about marriage and the fact that we are not ready for it yet. We both have ideas of what marriage means, what a big commitment it is, and how open our communication needs to be in order for that to ever work out. I’m not saying I don’t see myself being with Joe longterm, I’m saying I can’t see far enough into the future to be sure.

Which, fine, may try to circumvent the leap of faith that a marriage is. But doesn’t neither of us being ready count for something? Screw ’em if they think talking about getting engaged is “unromantic” – to me, it’s the most romantic way to be. Being engaged is just the first step in a commitment I’m not ready to make.

The talk

But not that talk…

A few weeks ago, most likely after attending a wedding, Joe and I discussed our own future wedding plans. I stuck to my guns: 6/9/2018 and no sooner. He smiled and said “just let me know if anything changes.”

Well, maybe something has changed. As joyous as a 6/9 wedding date would be, I was reconsidering waiting 5 more years. Granted, 29 is a great age to get married, if he and I are still together (big IF!) (jk, I love him to death). There are probably two reasons for me wanting to wheel it in a little sooner – one, everyone is having babies and babies are super cute and I want one. But, having read one article 8 years ago about marriages lasting if they wait 5 years after marriage before having children, I’m committed to meeting that minimum. Two – I don’t know and I hate admitting this, but weddings are beautiful and I kind of just want that. Well, the wedding itself, but also having Joe be my husband. I mean, just kidding, I’m open to anyone being my husband.

I brought this up while making dinner tonight. “Joe, my timeline has shifted a bit and I’m not longer as gung-ho about the 6/9 date..” He played surprised for a reasonable amount of time and then said “you know… first, I wasn’t going to ever let you choose the date like that and figured I’d have some say when it came down to it. Second, I sensed your timeline was changing when I brought this up last time. So, let’s just say it’ll happen when we are both ready.”

And then I hate that. Because I hate the power being ripped from my hands and I like being the one always in control. But I also want to be surprised and it is that terrible space of like, you really want a surprise party but you are so damn excited for your birthday and no one else seems to be so you are all sad but then also super curious as to why no one cared and then you end up ruining your own party.

My thoughts on a wedding…

 

Kates thoughts on a wedding

A really good friend of mine recently got married. When she first told me she was engaged, I thought to myself “holy crap, aren’t you too young?” but I was happy for her if that was what she really wanted.

It was a rather quick engagement, so shortly after their engagement, we had the Bachelorette party. It was awesome. Hanging out with girlfriends and getting to wear cute dresses while doing silly things as directed by truth or dare… what could be better? So, I said “aww… I want to get married.” She was a good friend though and told me it isn’t wise to get married just because you want to have a bachelorette party… 

After getting home from the BlogHer conference, I was super excited to see my friends. First, I was looking forward to being around females I actually like, but I hadn’t seen some people in years and I was really hyped to be reconnecting.

Then I realized that everyone was in the wedding party but me and I felt pretty alone. I think a lot of it was that I was already feeling alone from being at the conference and yearning for that connection. This was just another opportunity to be reminded that I don’t have a lot of close connections. At the end of the day, I definitely don’t blame my friend for not having me in her wedding… rather, I just wish I was close enough to someone to warrant the opportunity.. I think I’d be pretty good at it :)

So then came the actual wedding day. I was probably more nervous than the bride. It’s hard to explain why. I feel like maybe I was scared for her committing herself to one person for the rest of her life? Terrified for me for having someone my age and close to me get married? Worried that society would start telling me to get married? Maybe even a little nervous that I would cry at the wedding and show emotion to others? (I sure do hate that…)

I don’t know if I’ve just never paid attention during weddings or if nothing really sunk in because I was too young… but this one was different. The whole time they were saying their vows and stuff I was thinking “Holy shit, a wedding is forever and isn’t just about the big day…” Which again, was super scary and reminded me it’s probably something I’m not ready for. Yet, I couldn’t stop thinking how beautiful it was. I had never seen my friend happier and they both had this amazing glow that brightened the entire evening. I hope that one day, if I do get married, that people feel that from us. 

51 questions

Santa left Joe and I two books. The first was about mini golden doodles, which is perfect because if Joe and I get a dog, that is the kind we want to get. The second book was titled “51 Things to Know Before Getting Engaged.” It isn’t a book about getting engaged. Well, it is, but just because Santa left us a book about getting engaged doesn’t mean we are going to.

The structure of the book is 51 chapters, which each contain a question, to discuss with your significant other. It has some of those big questions that people sometimes ignore or think don’t apply to them. Clearly none of them apply to Joe and I either, because we aren’t getting engaged, but we just think of it as a thought exercise.

So, in order to painfully force ourselves through the book, for no other reason than because Santa left it for us, we read a chapter each Sunday night. The key here is that it really draws out the process so no one gets any silly ideas about actually getting engaged because really, unless we make it through every question, one shouldn’t even think of that.

Some of the questions are dull. The first was what’s one thing you find annoying about your partner? When Joe read it aloud a gave a little chuckle and began listing the things. I don’t remember them off the top of my head now, but I’m sure they were along the lines of A) him wearing tents B) not always being assertive enough and C) not being able to hold his liquor. Then he told me my things. If I remember correctly they were A) I’m just so perfect sometimes it hurts and B) I’m always right which gives him no opportunity to be so.

The question from this past weekend was different though. It resonated quite a bit with me, facing one of the issues I consider a barrier to me thinking of marriage. The chapter was about how people expect their relationship to be like those in the movies, magical and shit. My interpretation of the image Hollywood sets fourth is that marriage is dull and sexless. Couples get bogged down with life and begin ignoring each other or just not caring. They never seem truly in love and act as if they just put up with each other because of their legal commitment to each other. [Except for Lily and Marshall because they are awesome.]

Well, if that’s what marriage is, that’s not what I want. I want happiness and excitement and someone that treats me like a princess. I want a guy that doesn’t always forget the milk [laugh track!] or sit in front of the TV watching sports and playing video games. The sentiment of the chapter was that marriage isn’t like TV though. Just like it isn’t the fairytale some expect, it also doesn’t have to be a horror either.

So, I dunno, if someone held a gun to my head and was like “you have to get married!” I wouldn’t absolutely choose the bullet.

Happy… even through the cold

Things have been really good for me lately, too good. So good that I think it’s probably one of the “high” phases in the great cycle of depression. Which to be fair, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It makes me not take it for granted one bit.

Joe and I were sitting on the couch the other Saturday night – I was nursing a cough and didn’t feel like going out after such a busy day. [Mark and my brothers came over to celebrate Christmas. I love all of them, but just having children around/in my apartment is a little stressful.] So, after having a nice dinner, complete with a slow-dance desert, we settled down to a lovely movie. Cuddled into his crook [the space between his arm and body] I felt so at peace. Happy with my job and happy with my relationship; happy to be sitting on my pink velvet couch wrapped up in the most comfy blanket in the world; proud of the progress I’ve made on my book and excited to make the next steps in applying for a writers grant; relaxed after a wonderful day with my family and just being.

Joe made it through draft 1 of my book. It made for a couple of silly moments – me waking up in the morning to him reading stories such as my birth or my first period. But overall, there is no one else that I would rather have the first read. It is no where near done. I left holes and mentioned random characters without any introductions. But, it has a beginning and an end and some stuff in the middle, so I consider it a draft. His “assignment” was to read through and tell me where he wanted more. I don’t always know how much detail to go into, either when explaining people or situations, so having an outsiders perspective is priceless. Just having someone read the draft though, makes me realize it is a real book. His ending comment, “As you’re aware, stories need fleshing out and more flow, and you need more of them – especially more stories from your Sam-and-older years. What you have is compelling and interesting, though. I think there’s definitely something here,” was all I needed to keep going. After a short break after NaNoWriMo, I’m back on the horse.

In other news, a friend and I went looking at wedding dresses the other day. Not because either of us are getting married, but because dresses are pretty and girls are allowed to day dream and stuff like that, and it is wedding dress season for some reason. But then some staff ladies (yes, multiple!) came in and were like “Can we help you?” and “what are you looking for?” and “oh you should try stuff on” and then I had a panic attack and needed to leave. Good thing I don’t need to wedding dress shop for realzies.

Volunteerism

Today was my first actual day of the Reading Corps program. I fricken loved it. It may be my most favorite volunteer activity ever and let me tell you why.

  1. I was back at my elementary school where I first learned how to spell “bitch.” I was lying in the nurses office, feeling ill, when I saw it written on the wall. I had never known how to spell it until that moment, when I just knew that’s what it was.
  2. I was “reviewed” by a “master reader” who wrote “perfect” on my scorecard. Brings me back to the good ole days, when I would get grades and stuff.
  3. I got to hang out with a bad ass little girl who was actually kind of cute. Having kids would not end my life if it happened in like, 10 years.

Other random note? A former fling of mine got married this last weekend, and I still continue to be weirded out by that happening (he’s not the first).

Sue Sylvester and I share a mother

So, I can’t find a decent clip of the video I want to show you, so if you are a fan of Glee and can remember back to the 13 minute 16 second mark of the 8th episode of season 2 (titled: Furt), continue reading. If not, maybe continue reading anyway.

I called my mom this evening because she sent me a text yesterday and was all like “I’m lonely, call me.” So I did, because I am nice like that. Somewhere between her telling me how bad she is at texting and me trying to convince her to move into a group home, she declared she would sing at my wedding. A wedding created in her own mind that is no way scheduled, planned, or in the near future, just so we are clear on that.

Anyway, this is more or less exactly what she said: “I was lying in bed the other day thinking of how I would style my hair for your wedding, and I realized I would not be able to wear my normal wedding-slash-funeral dress. I’ll have to actually go out and buy a nice one that is too expensive. I also know that I can’t drink or sneak out to smoke, and because I watch my weight, all I’ll be able to do is sing to you. I have the song picked out” and then she sampled it for me as I withdrew the iPhone from my ear.

The Glee episode that I am talking about is where Sue Sylvester is marrying herself, and her mom comes in and is all like “you poked my sternum.”  Then she says that if she cannot walk Sue down the aisle, she’ll have to just sing a song for her. The more I compare my mother to Carol Burnett the more my life makes sense.

A stab to the heart

Uhh! I just stabbed a man in the heart. Not literally, my lawyer has told me not to discuss ongoing cases, but in the figurative way. I’ll start from the beginning.

After work today, I met with my brand manager. We met to go over the redesign of my blog, and while it isn’t done yet… I will just say, keep an eye out for an inconspicuous penis. Because well, this is my blog after all.

After that, I went to a MBA program overview. Even though I’ve more or less semi-narrowed down my application list, I still entertain other schools. Meaning, if a top 15 is coming to town and offering to buy me drinks to listen to their spiel, I’ll bite.

It was actually really nice. While I don’t think that specifically this particular program is right for me, I can’t turn down the institution as a whole. More importantly, I met some really interesting people that have either attended B school, recently gotten in, or have lived a long enough life to where they are the kind of person I trust on some of the things they say. Unless it’s totally negative and in the realm of “uggghhh, never go to b-school because you’ll never earn a return on your investment, etc.” Because, well, they don’t understand how awesome I am and that I’m more likely than others to excel.

Anyway, flash forward to a little later in the evening and I’m walking out. This man walks out with me and we end up chatting the entire walk home. I emphasize “entire” because it was one block. He had been through law school, done the whole real estate thing, and now (umm.. in his late 50’s?) is considering business school. He name-dropped a couple of Macalester folk so I know he’s been around the block.

I always like getting people’s perspective on life. Everyone does it differently, yet, somehow it seems that we often find ourselves at the same conclusion. He got married in his early 30’s, had children before she had reached her 40’s (this was brought up in reference to me being interested in b-school now so that I can get married after and still have 5 years of being happily married before becoming infertile…) and still found himself divorced. His perspective was that it is more important to invest time/energy in finding a partner than it is to focus on business school. Where is this coming from? Years of fricken experience, that’s where.

After we had been chatting for a while, we parted ways and he asked me my name. I said “Kate” and to that, he grasped his chest and said “ugh, you just stabbed my heart.” I interpreted that to mean “Kate” is also his ex-wife’s name.

Anyway, I withdrew my $150 from the bank this morning to bribe Joe into forcing me to write. Meh heh heh. If tonight taught me anything it is that I need to be more active and involved in my community than I am currently. Get er done.