Monday, September 21, 2015

I Guess You'd Call This Regression

This weekend I dyed my hair. You wouldn't think it would be that difficult a decision, but let me tell you, it was super difficult, and that's one of the biggest understatements of the year.

From the time I bought the dye, which was about a month ago, to the second I washed it out of my hair Saturday afternoon, I agonized over whether or not it should be done (and yes, I'm well aware that once I got to the point of washing the dye out of my hair, the agonizing was a total waste of time (or depending how you look at, I suppose, any time spent in agony is just one big waste of time)). Considering, though, that up until the August before the one that just passed, my hair pretty much ran the gamut of colors in a more than semi-regular rotation, the hemming and hawing doesn't seem to make much sense; after all, before I went blond and stayed there last year, at any given time, I could look like this

 or this
 or maybe possibly this
 unless I looked like this

 or this

or maybe even this
(um...I'm on the right)

and seriously? All of those cuts and colors? Decisions pretty much made at the drop of a hat. I mean, it's only hair, people. Hair. It grows right back.


this time, the decision was in no way easy. This time, I looked up picture after picture and I worried about work and I worried about skin tone and I worried about

(not being pretty)

hair condition and I worried about whether the dye would take right and I worried about

(people thinking I'm not cute)

fading and the little hairs at the nape of my neck and then finally after worrying about everything I could possible worry about, I decided I'd do it, but unlike the drastic way I usually do things, I decided I'd do it get-in-a-cold-swimming-pool style, starting with a few pieces in my bangs, maybe a curl or two in the back, nothing too dramatic, and if after a week or two I felt comfortable, I'd do more and then let things progress from there. 

And in the beginning, that's how the dye went down.

In the beginning, I really did put the color just on my bangs, albeit not just a few pieces, and I really did only paint it onto a few curls in the back, but it wasn't long until old habits took over, and before I knew it, my whole entire head was covered in color, saturated from front to back.

I looked in the mirror and thought to myself, great googly moogly, Kelly, what have you done?

And in those few hours that the dye was on my head, I was insanely nervous and tense. While I sat there, I thought about a conversation I had with some guy a million years ago, a guy who had gotten his lip pierced and was worried about how people would perceive him. At the time, I told him I was used to such things because when I was younger my hair was always colored in some way weird and the next week, I dyed it purple and blue, but Saturday as I sat there with dye in my hair, I wasn't feeling nearly as secure as I did when I'd had that talk. I was nervous and unsure and anything but secure, and as I washed my hair, right before I looked in the mirror, I was afraid--like seriously scared. What if I hated it? What if I got in trouble at work? What if any number of things from a list in my head came to pass?

And then I looked in the mirror and all the worry was gone, dissipated in a second, if it even took that much time. As I stood there looking in the mirror, fresh from the shower, hair a perfect combination of silver and lavender, I felt like I once again was the way I was supposed to be. I felt like yeah, the blond was fun, and hell yeah, guys seemed to like it, but it wasn't truly me, at least not the me that I'm supposed to be, and that got me thinking about life and about how no matter how long I stray from certain things--running, Stephen King, writing, certain friendships, the Ramones, to name just a few--and how awkward and tentative or just unsure I feel going back, when I get back to the things that are me, it's just so clear what's supposed to be. 

And clarity? I'm not gonna lie. 
It feels pretty good.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Au Revoir, Au Revoir, You Probably Don't Even Know What That Means

"The past is only the future with the lights on."
                                                                   --Mark Hoppus

Irony--an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.

I've had a really hard week. Really hard. Harder than I've had in a long, long time.

For the first matter of hard, on Tuesday I got divorced. If you read my blog, you probably don't think that's a very big deal. You probably think I've entirely moved on and am super happy about things being over, and while yes, I'm happy to finally be able to move on once and for all, I'm not happy about saying an anticlimactic goodbye to somebody who was in more than half of my life, someone I kissed goodnight probably 6,500 times (times of separation and everyday fights were taken into account when calculations were made) between 1994 and 2014, someone I have two children with, someone I used to love. I'm not happy that relationship has evolved to a text-only relationship because my (not soon-to-be, not almost, but actual) ex-husband never wants to hear my voice again, that my sort-of happily ever after ended up not happy in the least, that for the first time in almost forever, I'm entirely alone. I'm not at all happy about any of those things.

But don't--really, don't!--think I think I've made a mistake. On Tuesday night, when I cried for the first time since last summer about all this; when I listened to the playlist I made about Glenn over a year ago, Songs That Make Me Want to Kill Myself; when, in my emotional, nostalgic funk, I picked up some old pictures lying around in an attempt to feed the sadness, instead of feeding it, and being all, Oh! I remember when we did this! And Omg, look at this picture of us in Chicago! We'll never go there together anymore, what went through my mind was, There I am, pregnant in Chicago. This is the time Glenn tried to kiss my sister, and There I am, with Glenn and my best friend when we were younger. He was fucking her right around the time this picture was taken. And I knew I didn't make a mistake. I knew I didn't feel sadness for the person I lost or the specific relationship that was over but for the unexpected, unwanted turn taken in my life.

Speaking of which--

In my last post, I wrote about the best time of my life, the summer when I was twelve, and the best time of my adult life, the summer that just passed. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned something about this before, but that summer, the one I was twelve, the best time of my life? It came to a screeching halt right around September 5 when those friends I loved so much and spent every minute with decided they no longer wanted me in their lives. The friendships that had meant so much, that had given me so much not only were gone, but in true twelve-and-thirteen-year-old-mean-girl style, they decided to make my life hell by starting horrible rumors about me and getting pretty much every person at HD Perry Middle to take part in my ostracization (because you know, abandoning me completely wasn't awful enough).

Well, this past summer, the one I loved so much? A lot of it was because of my new found independence, yes, but another big part of it came from a group of friends, who, while nowhere near as close of friends as that group of friends I had when I was twelve--one of them is North Star, after all--were maybe just as significant, maybe not for any reason other than the time they appeared in my life and what was happening during it, but really for reasons I can't--or choose not to--explain at all. Really, you probably wouldn't get it even if I did.

But, anyway, those friends? I guess mean girls don't have to be twelve and thirteen. Or, for that matter, girls at all.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

This Is Home

And now, like it does year after year, my summer has come to an end. School starts Monday, and as I greet it with not so open arms, I really have no choice but to face forward and tell my summer goodbye.

But first:

I'm pretty sure I've written in this blog about how much I loved being twelve, but really it's not all of twelve that I loved. It was actually only a few short months, the summer between seventh and eighth grade, that I loved and was almost definitely the best time of my life. With zero responsibility, a small group of super close friends who never left each other's sides for a second, and parents who worked all the time leaving us to do all the typical twelve-year-old stuff we did--you know, typical twelve-year-old stuff like sleeping till noon, watching hair metal videos, listening to tapes loud enough to bother the neighbors, trying to steal my father's car and drinking his Jack Daniels and little bottles of Bacardi in the middle of the day, smoking Marlboro reds that we somehow got the guy at Cumberland Farms to let us buy, sneaking out in the middle of the night, hanging out with much older boys--it's a time of my life I'll probably never top.

But this summer I very nearly did. In fact, I think it's safe to say that this summer, the summer I christened the Summer of Run, was the best time of my entire adult life.

Can I just--

(I can)

The Summer of Run

1. I'll start with the obvious. I ran. Literally, and not in the way everybody says literally now when literally isn't really what they mean. Just about every day, in fact, in almost every state up the East Coast as well as parts of the Midwest. And as you already know, it was the best.

2. I ran. Figuratively, in the sense that I was pretty much constantly having to get things done, things like searching for a hot water heater compatible with an out-of-date fuse box installed barely after I was born, taking sick dogs to the vet, going to my lawyer, going to court, running stupid errands that apparently parents have to run (who knew?) like going to two kids' worth of  pediatricians and orthodontists and dermatologists and dentists, driving Griffin all over Fort Lauderdale now that he's in love, shopping at three stupid grocery stores every stupid week, and really any other running around that comes to your mind? It was probably done.

3. I ran. Away from my marriage, away from the man I used to consider my Glenn. Away from that sadness, away from that conflict, away from that life.

4. I ran. To a new life, to a new light. To a new morning every day instead of the constant loop I used to live.

5. I ran. From here to Kansas City, to Boston and back, I went as far as I could as if distance traveled could somehow differentiate me from the girl I used to be, which in a way, it did.

6. I ran. With the new persona I created, the new Kelly I had no choice but to become. I just kept on keeping on. I made my own decisions and was entirely responsible for me, my kids, my house, my dogs, and a whole lot of stuff in between. Did it suck not having someone to help me with the day to day? Fucking duh. Do I care? Okay, well, yeah, maybe I do, maybe a lot of the time it really kinda sucks (it can't all be coffee and hydrangeas, people!).

But I'm pretty sure I'll be all right.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Don't Ever Look Back, Again

On July 7, what will be exactly a year ago tomorrow, I wrote about finishing the Runners World Run Streak and what I learned from it in the post Don't Ever Look Back. Well, this year I ran the Run Streak again, and--surprise, surprise--I'm going to do the exact same thing.  Like Happy Holiday, You Bastard! 2014Happy Holiday, You Bastard! Take Two, and Happy Holiday, You Bastard!, you can expect this to be a regular thing.

What I learned from running from the day before Memorial Day to the Fourth of July, forty-two--forty-two!--days in a row. In a list.

1. I am so much better than I was last year.

Last year when I wrote about the Run Streak, I talked about how incredibly injury prone I am and how I couldn't possibly run every day because if I did, I'd end up hurting myself and not be able to run at all, which was absolutely, positively true. Now, I'm not saying I no longer get hurt--dear God, I'm not saying that, and if I end up sidelined tomorrow, I suppose I have nobody to blame but myself for jinxing myself on this post--but the 55 miles I ran with some rest days last year did turn into 97 miles without rest this one. What I'm saying, I suppose, is that I'm stronger. I'm stronger than I was, and I'm also more determined, which brings me to number 2.

2. I'm ridiculously dedicated and pretty damn determined.

So during the Run Streak, this:

A. I went to Kansas City for eight days, where I worked from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. scoring hundreds of essays without a day off. Maybe that doesn't seem like such a big deal to you, but any teacher or professor reading this understands just how difficult a task it really is.

B. I drove over 3,000 miles, from South Florida to Charleston to Washington DC to Boston to Philadelphia, with two teenagers, one of whom wouldn't shut the fuck up about how much he missed his girlfriend and how he didn't appreciate my taking him on the trip, and two dogs who barked so much we almost got kicked out of a hotel. Both Boston and Philadelphia were grassless--grassless!--and I had to walk four blocks to a park each time the dogs needed to go out, in Boston through Florida-winter weather and pouring rain.

C. I experienced hill running for the first time. Kansas City, DC, Boston, Philadelphia, South Carolina--nothing but hills. Is Florida the only flat place on earth?

D. I totally twisted my ankle running down a hill in Santee, South Carolina, where we spent the night on the drive back home, badly enough that I had to sit down on the ground, force myself not to cry, and worry about how I was going to get back to the hotel. And you know how I did? I ran. Slowly. Three days away from the end of the streak with .65 miles completed for the day, no fucking way I was going to stop.

Despite A-D and anything else I didn't mention, I got my ass up, and I ran every motherfucking day. In Kansas City when I had to catch the bus by 7:30 to get to the scoring place by 8, I woke up by 6 so I could run, even on days when I'd run at midnight the night before; in Washington when I felt like my legs couldn't possibly carry me back up a hill, I ran up the goddamn motherfucking hill; in Boston, after sitting in a car for a thousand-plus-mile drive, I ran; when I got home with my twisted ankle, I wore the ankle brace I limped into CVS to buy, set the treadmill on a lower speed than normal, and I ran though the pain. Nothing, and I mean nothing, was going to get in the way of my finishing the Run Streak. And it didn't.

3. I can get accustomed to anything.

Okay, so I already said I'm a better runner than I was last year, but there's more. It's like, when I used to run, and when I say used to run, I mean prior to last year's streak and my final separation with Glenn because if I had to pick a distinct separation of my two (running) lives, that would be it, if I ran on the treadmill I set it at 5.5, and if I ran outside, my miles were somewhere around 11 minutes. I also missed days all the time. Now, if I run at 5.5 I pretty much feel like I'm walking, if I run an 11-minute mile I--actually, that would never happen, so I don't even know--and if I miss a day, I feel like something is wrong. I guess the lesson learned here is that if I stick to something--anything--I'll succeed.

4. Happy can be found in unexpected places.

I never thought running would be such a huge part of my life, that it would make me as happy as it does, because it's always been a struggle, but it is and it does. While I used to dread running, now I look forward to it every single day. I don't have very much to say about this one except that even something that initially causes despair can bring happiness if people let it.

5. No matter what's going wrong in my life, I always feel better after a run.

I often think while I'm running that I don't understand why in the world anybody would ever do a drug, that very little feels better than this. Of course my problems are still there after I finish, but they never look as bad.

6. The harder the better.

Yes, sometimes I run easy and sometimes I run long, but by far the runs that feel the most right to me are the runs when I run hard. Putting all my effort into something, pushing myself until I feel like I can't be pushed anymore just feels amazing.

Number 7 isn't really a lesson learned because I wrote the same thing last year, but it's something I must copy, paste, and repeat:

7. Running is a metaphor for absolutely everything.

But that one I already knew.

Monday, June 8, 2015

What Were You So Scared Of?

At twenty-one or twenty-two years old, I made North Star promise me she wouldn't let me marry Glenn. 

At twenty-three, I broke up with him for about the tenth time. Kicked him out of my parents' house and said it was time for us to move on. 

At twenty-three and about three months, we got back together. At twenty-three and about three months and a couple of weeks, I told him we should just get married because it seemed like no matter how many times I broke up with him, we ended up back together. 

A week before twenty-three and four months, our wedding.

Before two months had passed, I wanted a divorce. Got an apartment, packed up my stuff, and moved out.

Alone in an apartment and life for the first time ever, I freaked out. Glenn moved me back in the next day.

At twenty-seven, I had two kids under four and a strong desire for a divorce. My mother convinced me single motherhood would be too hard, and I needed to stay.

At thirty-four, Glenn and I finally separated for real. That one could have been for good if I didn't cave after finding out he had a girlfriend and ask him--beg him--to move back in. 

At thirty-five, Glenn and I separated again. Instead of my mother, it was a therapist's doing this time, but the result was the same: she told me life would be too hard on my own and I needed to stay.

At thirty-seven, the separation lasted two months. That time I even went so far as to pay for an attorney, but old habits, you know?

Not even six months later, when I was still thirty-seven years old, another separation. That one went for six months, but those goddamn motherfucking same old fears.

At thirty-nine, we separated for the last time. At forty, I'm waiting for the divorce to officially be a thing. 

I have never been so happy in my entire life.

Two weeks ago, while I was intensely making out with some super cute guy who I'd just met walking down the street--because I'm totally allowed to do that--a girl stopped and interrupted us while she was walking by.

I love your spark! she said. 
I looked over at her. What? I asked, surprised.
Your spark! she said to me, picking up her hand and waving it around as if to indicate an aura surrounding my being. Then she glanced at the guy I had been kissing seconds before. Yours is nice, too, but hers is amazing. I love it!

I love it, too. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Lie to Me

Every time I run, I start out with a plan. I have a set number of miles I intend to go, two to two-and-a-half for an easy run, three for a normal one, and five for a long. Sometimes my run unfolds in the best way imaginable, everything feeling perfect right from the start, my feet hitting the ground in sync with my music as I energetically bounce down the street or the belt of the treadmill at my stupid gym.

Sometimes, though--a lot of the time--that's not the case.

Sometimes--a lot of the time--things start out wrong. My gait feels awkward, my breathing doesn't feel right, the playlist I have on isn't working for the tempo my body chose. On days like this, I want to stop almost as soon as I start, so it's on days like this that I always end up doing the same thing:

I lie.

Depending on the distance, the numbers vary a little, but the inner dialogue pretty much stays the same. For the sake of a more thorough simulation, let's have a look at the convo I had during my last long run.

Okay, five miles is not going to happen. Just run for one, and you can make up the miles later in the week. 


You've already gone one mile, and you're not ever supposed to run less than two. Just run one more stupid mile, and then you can stop. A workout doesn't even do anything if it doesn't last for twenty minutes. Just keep running.


One more mile. One more stupid mile, and you can stop. What is that, ten minutes of your stupid life? Go the mile so you do at least three.


You can't stop in the middle of a song, and this is a pretty long one, so by the time it's over, you'll have gone three and a half. Just run for the rest of this song. It's like you're dancing!

Three and an almost half.

It's stupid to stop at a half. It's five measly minutes. Five minutes! Think about how little five minutes is. Imagine how fast five minutes would go if you were having sex.


Four miles! You've run four miles. Stopping now would be stupid when you're so close to your goal. Do you know how mad you'll be if you stop now?


You made it! Aren't you happy that you didn't stop?


Sometimes--not always, but a lot--it just doesn't behoove us to tell the truth, even

(especially especially especially especially especially especially)

to ourselves.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Not Feeling This

How did I love Tom DeLonge? Let me count the ways:

I loved him with black hair
I loved him with brown
I loved him on guitar
I loved him singing songs
I loved him with a lip ring
--actually, I loved him with a lip ring so much, we'll just stop right here, but in case you'd like a deeper look into my love, click on this handy dandy link to A Little Bit Peter and at the very least read the end.


if you're a reader of me, you probably know I'm as big on change as I am on the scale going up, and if you know me personally, you most likely know that I'd rather spend an afternoon being anally probed than experience change where relationships are concerned. I'm trying, if not to embrace the concept that not all people are meant to be in our lives forever, to at least accept it, but for some reason, for me, that truth is particularly hard. I feel like once a close relationship is established, the loss of that relationship is one of the worst things possible, and I'd be lying by omission if I didn't admit that I actually have the timeline of a former close friend hidden on Facebook because it pains me too much to see her living her life without me. Logically, I know that a Chasing Amy ending is often inevitable as people grow up and grow apart, but emotionally, it's something that for whatever reason, I'm not yet able to accept.

Obviously, I know Tom and I didn't have a relationship--I may be crazy, but I'm not delusional--
I followed him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter; watched interviews with him on YouTube; read articles about his life; listened to his songs; and yes, even have his words tattooed on my back. What he had to say actually meant that much.

Maybe Tom didn't know me, but I knew Tom.

And I fucking adored him.

But then one day, not so long ago, something changed. I was driving home from work and there in my Facebook feed came a post by Blink-182 about his leaving the band, and then, immediately after, there came a post by Tom himself stating it wasn't true. Internet drama ensued, and sure enough, when all was said and done, Tom was a part of Blink no more. AVA and other things were more important to him than Blink, and his attention was directed somewhere else.

Annoying, yes, but annoying enough to love Tom no more? As if! A love like mine for Tom couldn't be broken as easily as that.

But then one day, not so long after the whole forsaking-Blink-for-other-pursuits-and-then-being-a-lying-douche-about-it thing, the alien thing started to trend.

Okay, so those of you who don't know Tom as well as I do may not know this, but Tom is obsessed with life on other planets, and when I say obsessed, I mean obsessed with a big fat capital O. He wrote the song Aliens Exist years and years ago, which, whatever, it was a song and his preoccupation with aliens was cute, and he's openly expressed his interest in aliens ever since, which also wasn't a big deal, but then, in February, he came across as pretty insane, talking about being visited by aliens in Area 51, his phone being tapped by the government because of his deep knowledge of alien-related info, and being warned by some really smart engineer not to ever get into a stranger's car.

Apparently, Tom had gone bonkers.

So, if we add the abandoning-Blink thing to the crazy-alien thing and put it together with the business-magnate-Tom-has-become thing, selling absolutely anything and everything he possible could in the least punk rock way possible, and compound that with a bunch of other little things that have occurred throughout the years, what we essentially have is what I very regretfully find to be an unlovable Tom.


When I love, I love hard:

Someone I love can do one obnoxious or horrendous thing and my love will remain intact; someone I love can do two, maybe even three, or sadly, as I've shown in my day, a whole slew of obnoxious or horrendous things, and my love will never waver, but there comes a point when I just no longer can take anymore and just like that, well, poof!

My love is gone.

And as sad as it makes me, that's where I now am.

Things have gotten so bad, I scroll past his Facebook posts and sneer when I come across an Instagram picture. Everything he does makes me mad, and just hearing his name makes me roll my eyes.

All the love I had for him? Gone. The happy feeling he gave me on the inside? Memories.

And that--that change, that loss, that what-used-to-be-and-no-longer-is--

to me, that's the saddest thing that can be. It's not that I don't love him that hurts.

It's that I used to and no longer do.