Andrew and I have been rewatching The Office lately in the evenings, and I’d somehow forgotten how genius it is. We recently finished Booze Cruise, arguably one of the most memorable episodes of all time. It’s the one in which Michael takes the employees on an evening cruise for a camaraderie event and spends the whole night trying to find an opportunity to give them a motivational speech (about leaderSHIP, of course). But self-appointed party captain Michael keeps being thwarted by the more charismatic and authoritative actual captain, Jack, whom people would rather listen to.Read More
This blog is dedicated to everyone who was like, "Kate, it has been so long since you have blogged." (Nothing motivates me quite like remembering that I'm not the only person who reads what I write.) The longer I go without blogging, the harder it gets to start again because I become overwhelmed by all the things I should have said. But that's no way to live my life. Here’s a glimpse into what I should have blogged about these past few months.
1. Fall makes me happy and sad simultaneously.
Funny how fall ushers in both the most color of the year and the most darkness. I miss the leaves that have already fallen, and I miss the sunlight in the evenings, but I love the crispness of this season and the hints of the holidays ahead.
I always get all excited about fall and then fail to follow through with most of my autumnal plans. Exhibit A: I started carving a pumpkin the other day and only got this far.
I'm not letting myself feel guilty about buying a $4 pumpkin and then not carving it. In fact, I'm considering my failure to carve this pumpkin to be a victory over false guilt. There are more pressing things in life than making Pinterestastic pumpkins.
2. I'm over pants.
I used to be one of those people who was a hard pass on leggings as pants, but then I tried leggings as pants and repented of my legging-hating, pants-wearing ways. Here's how to make the transition smoothly:
- Invest in thick, non-see-through leggings.
- Make a friend confirm the non-see-through-ness of them.
- Stand in different lighting and make your friend confirm the non-see-through-ness of them again.
- Make another friend confirm the non-see-through-ness of them.
- Still wear a shirt long enough to cover your rear.
(I will debate you in the comments.)
3. My Facebook newsfeed is like babies babies babies babies BABIES.
Babies in Halloween costumes! Babies in their mamas' bellies—already in Halloween costumes! Babies with their baby friends! Babies holding other smaller babies!
Let it be known that when I finally have babies, Lord willing, I will ABSOLUTELY INUNDATE all of your newsfeeds with pictures of their little faces. Just returning the favor.
4. I am mad at every person who has ever heard of Greg Laswell and not told me about him.
Recently found his music on Spotify and cannot stop listening. This song at right + "New Year's Eve" + "That It Moves" + "And Then You" are my favorite songs of his. It’s the perfect writing music.
I found his music after hearing “Wonderful Unknown,” which he sang with his wife, Ingrid Michaelson, on her new CD. The bridge—“In the best way, you’ll be the death of me"—gets me every time. How countercultural.
5. I LOVE RUNNING. I LOVE RUNNNNNNING!!!!!
That is how I feel every Tuesday and Friday when I get to run and, consequently, get a crazy endorphin high. (Seriously never let me do drugs.)
This past month marked ten years since I quit running due to leg pain. Forty percent of my life. That old lower leg pain is almost entirely gone, but the knee pain plagues me still, and two runs per week is about all these knees can handle.
I'm still doing the run-walk intervals my PT recommended a couple of years ago. I stop every 90 seconds and walk for 30. I hated it when I first started; stopping and walking feels like the ultimate defeat to a runner. Runners are the ones who tell themselves it's all mental and I've totally got this and just push through. But I've found that forcing myself to rest throughout each run has been one of the biggest breakthroughs in my return to running. It improves my form and lessens the strain on my joints and enables me to run farther in the end.
It has actually reminded me of the principle of taking a sabbath, which seems counterproductive until you try it. But once you do, you realize that you needed this rest thing, that you are only human, that you were bearing burdens that weren't yours to bear.
I'm still recovering, still have good and bad days, still get discouraged and fearful about my legs and my running. But things are looking up, and the Lord still knows what he's doing. When I see other runners out and about, I pray the Lord will strengthen their joints and muscles and keep them running. Will you please pray for my little joints and muscles? They've been through so much.
6. I'm in the market for a bookshelf.
My bedside table is starting to get cray. Here are a few of the books stacked there currently:
- Knowing God by J.I. Packer
- I've been told approximately 10,000 times to read this book, SO I'M DOING IT. . . SUPER SLOWLY. I like it, but I find it hard to read more than a few pages at a time. It has reminded me of the fact that I am literally in a constant state of breaking the second commandment. PTL for the new covenant, amiright?
- Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner
- I'm almost finished with this, but I don't want it to end. It's sort of in the same vein as Blue Like Jazz or Surprised by Oxford because it's part memoir, part testimony. The author tells of her conversion to Christianity from Orthodox Judaism, and she structures the story around the church calendar. It's full of reflections on the sacraments, but because it's written like a story, it feels more accessible than a lot of Christian books that keep you in your head the whole time.
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
- Anne Lamott gets me. (Or maybe she just gets humans.) This book is full of her thoughts on writing and, by extension, on life. Her tone is so conversational that her writing sounds effortless at times, but this book confirms what I've heard before: The easier something is to read, the harder it was to write. This is my favorite bit: "People tend to look at successful writers . . . and think that they sit down at their desks every morning . . . feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have and what a great story they have to tell. . . . But this is just the fantasy of the uninitiated. . . . Very few writers really know what they are doing until they've done it. Nor do they go about their business feeling dewy and thrilled. . . . For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really $%@&!# first drafts." PREACH, Anne Lamott. I'm 25, completely done with school (maybe . . . er, probably) and still learning the merit of $%@&!# first drafts—in writing and otherwise.
7. BEING 25 IS HARD, but I’m trying to be 25 wisely.
I saw this on Pinterest today, and it made me want to bang my head against the wall. (Seriously, why do I even go on Pinterest?)
This whole "your twenties are all about yourself and your independence" nonsense makes me want to scream. If you have no obligations, grow up and get some obligations. If you work 24/7, chill out; your career will not keep you company when you're 80. And if you think you have nothing to lose, you’re likely to look back on this decade and realized you lost more than you bargained for.
Go ahead, sue me for saying it. I'M GETTING BOLD IN MY OLD AGE.
8. Mornings are so underrated.
Speaking of lies we unquestioningly accept from culture at large, perhaps one of the strangest is that mornings suck and we should all sleep as late as possible.
I have recently started getting up an hour earlier, and I’m finding that this 60 minutes of margin has become the most productive and cheerful part of my day. (You do have to go to bed an hour earlier for this to work. #math)
I was wide awake this morning (SATURDAY, whaa?) at 4:45, and I actually tried to go back to sleep, but my body was like, HELLO, WORLD. HELLO, SATURDAY. HELLO, LIFE. LET’S DO SOME CLEANING.
This is my get-out-of-bed-already mantra for the difficult days: Getting up early is hard, but being up early is worth it. Turn the light on, Kate.
Can anyone second me on this? Or at least try it and let me know how it goes?
9. A to Z is my new fave show.
I'm mad that no one is talking about it. This is the cutest show, you guys. Everyone please watch it and get back to me. Go. Watch. Now. While the early episodes are still on Hulu!
10. PTL for Skype.
I've been spending a lot of time on Skype lately. When I moved to Missouri, I used to talk to my parents on FaceTime all the time, and I remember chatting with them on my couch one time—by myself, eight hours from home—and just marveling over the fact that there was technology that would let me see their faces and hear their voices and that I had it in my hands. Does that sound stupid?
I remember feeling in that moment as though maybe God had made FaceTime just for me—as though he'd looked at his wrist in 2010ish and known that Kate was going to be far from home soon and that he better prompt Steve Jobs (or whomever) to get on it. I know this is inaccurate, so don’t jump on me; the Lord's plans and promptings of other people do not revolve around me. But this is what I mean: Sometimes his provisions seem so specific to my little heart that I can't use the phone or Skype or FaceTime or Voxer without thinking that their very existence and my very access to them is a reminder of the Lord’s love for me specifically.
11. New Taylor Swift finally.
What can I say about Taylor Swift that would convey the depth of my love for her?
I have had 1989 on repeat for a week now, and I'm already sad that I must again wait for more music from her. My immediate favorites are "All You Had to Do Was Stay," "How You Get the Girl," and "I Know Places.”
I'm toying with the idea of doing a blog post in which I analyze Taylor's lessons on love in a song-by-song breakdown of the new album. Would you guys like that? Sort of like a true-or-false quiz covering Taylor's take on life.
12. One year in Louisville.
Halloween marked one year since I moved to Louisville. A WHOLE YEAR. It almost pains me to say that because—though some things about living in Louisville have been great—in general, the year has been marked by loneliness. It's not that people here haven't been welcoming and friendly; they have. It's just—honestly, I think it would be difficult to feel settled anywhere when you’re just one person and 97% of the people you love live elsewhere. I picked Louisville for a lot of reasons, but one was this: I’m tired of moving. Oh, my little heart. I switched schools in 2003, moved states in 2004, graduated from high school in 2007, graduated from college in 2011, graduated from grad school in 2013, and that adds up to five community changes in roughly a decade. I just wanted somewhere that I could stay. I’m tearing up as I write this. On paper, Louisville looked like a logical place to try to settle, but, in reality, I’ve never felt more unsettled in my life.
Travel stresses me out. I love it in theory and enjoy it once I’m doing it, but when I’m planning for it, I have to, like, repeat Psalms to calm myself down. When I was little, I dreamed up this thing called “Vacation Preparation” and made my brother and sister participate in it with me.
Every summer, for two weeks before vacation, we would have daily meetings in our (non-air-conditioned!) attic in Pennsylvania. There were folders and a Fischer-Price chalkboard involved. As the name suggests, we spent these meetings prepping for vacation. More specifically, we prepped for the road trips. Who was sitting where? Which stuffed animals were we bringing? Did they all have carseats? What candy did we need? How were we going to ration the candy over the course of the 15-hour drive down south? (I remember that one summer we actually decided on one piece of candy per hour, which, in retrospect, seems super self-controlled for three elementary schoolers, but we were also the type to have daily meetings in the attic, so.)
In the year-ish since I moved here, I’ve traveled to Columbia three times, West Virginia twice, St. Louis twice, Chicago twice, Nashville, Georgia, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Charleston. Undoubtedly, all this travel has added to my stress level and sense of unsettledness, but it’s so good for this little heart of mine to see the people I love, and I’m finding myself curious about where the next twelve months will take me.
Adulthood, you know?
Dear readers, I'm sorry that I did not get a blog post written for you last week. Things were just too busy here in Louisville. But, in the wise words of bachelorette Nikki, "I'm really looking forward to, like, really putting last week behind me." I will catch up by combining the past two episodes in this week's post.
Both episodes were basically all about kissing. Lucky for you, I am an expert on this subject. (Just kidding. That is not true. And none of you are surprised.)
In episode four, Juan Pablo decided not to kiss any more women because he had already kissed six in the first three weeks. It actually sounded almost noble for a second.
(Unfortunately for us, he did not decide to quit wearing henleys and hoodies every day.)
Juan Pabs' decision to tame those latin lips of his coincided, coincidentally, with multiple girls' decisions to kiss him at all costs.
Every season it is clear that these girls view kissing in much the same way that they view the roses themselves, as assurance—that they do have a connection, that he feels what they feel, that what they have is "real." And perhaps, most amusingly/interestingly/ disturbingly, they view the kisses and the roses as a way to "solidify their feelings."
Because everything on this show is gauged in terms of feelings.
Here's the thing that I would like to explain to these girls about feelings: You can't solidify them, and you can't even really trust them.
Universal Truth of the Week: If feelings are your gauge, your gauge will always be broken.
I distinctly remember that Bachelorette Allie from several seasons ago always said, "I'm looking for a feeling." She was one of many contestants who've expressed that sentiment over the years. "I just want this feeling to last forever," they say—every single season.
Well, the scientific term for that feeling (er, the chemical that causes it) is dopamine. And the scientific term for a person who tries to get it to last forever is crackhead.
(Yes, the chemical associated with infatuation is the same one amplified by COCAINE.)
The speed with which these girls move from feeling good (post-kiss, for instance) to feeling miserable (post-remembering he's kissing everybody else, too, for instance) seems as though it would be enough to convince them that feelings are inconsistent and less than reliable.
Actually, the fact that they can feel good about any aspect of this situation whatsoever when he's dating a dozen other women seems as though it would be enough.
But, somehow, they're still looking for feelings, listening for feelings, and then expecting the good feelings to last forever.
Someone please remind these girls that feelings are just feelings. The worst ones will pass, and the best ones will, too. And part of growing up is learning to listen to feelings and know when they're lying.
Part of growing up is also not publicly likening yourself to a baby giraffe, but we'll save that lesson for another day.
One of the producers' favorite ways to elicit drama on The Bachelor is to send the girls on group dates, and this week we effectively got double the group date drama because, in addition to the regular group date, Juan Pabs "decided" to have a pool party.
I’m only exaggerating slightly when I say that group dates turn the women into the worst people ever. I think this is because group dates combine and exploit two of girls’ nastiest inclinations—the inclination to compare and compete with other girls and the inclination to seek validation from men.
We witnessed Kat’s parade with JP in front of the other girls at the pool party, and Clare’s teary breakdown in the bathroom, and Sharlene’s gag-worthy kiss on the soccer field sudden insistence that she and JP have crazy chemistry. (Where was that two weeks ago?) And it all just looked like selfishness and jealousy and insecurity.
And it also sort of looked like me.
Because maybe I’ve never monopolized the Bachelor at a pool party, but I have my own ways of seeking attention and affirmation when I feel insecure and insufficient.
Several seasons of watching and comparing The Bachelor and The Bachelorette—as well as 24 years of being a girl—have led me notice that, whereas a guy’s pursuit of a girl tends to bring out the best side of him, a girl’s pursuit of a guy tends to bring out the worst side of her.
I can hear a little Mr. Darcy in my head saying, “Are you so severe upon your own sex?” (Every girl has a little Mr. Darcy in her head, right?)
Well, Mr. Darcy, what I mean is that, most of the time, guys pursue us by trying to show affection, and we pursue them by trying to win affection, and the difference is both profound and painful. In other words,
Universal Truth of the Week: When a guy goes after a girl, it's all about the girl. When a girl goes after a guy, it's also all about the girl.
It's hard to watch episodes like this week's and not just see a bunch of girls hoping to be told that they are good enough. They're not trying to convince Juan Pablo that they love him; they're trying convince Juan Pablo that he loves them, and they're trying to convince themselves that he loves them. And, if I am any indication, I think all girls have done that at one point or another—or maybe even do it on a regular basis.
When my roomies and I finished this week's episode, I was like, "Y'all. Um, I think this week's UTOTW needs to be that girls are cray and we all need Jesus." And, at the risk of turning this entire blog series into one big Jesus Juke, I feel the need to assert that, yes, undoubtedly, girls are cray, and we all need Jesus, and this episode was evidence if I ever saw it.
My apologies about the fact that last week's post was generally light-hearted and this week's post was decidedly not. I hope you'll view this piece of wisdom from Chelsie as a parting consolation gift from me:
C.S. Lewis once said, "We watch The Bachelor to know we are not alone." No, wait, he said that about reading, I think, but it's basically the same principle. To know we are not alone, all we must do is tune into ABC on Mondays at 8/7c.
There we watch heartbreaks and awkward first dates and obsessive crushes played out on the TV screen, and we know that other people are just like us.
Sometimes people ask me why I like The Bachelor, and I consider this question both completely legitimate and completely impossible to answer.
The whole show is a mixture of the boy-girl dynamics of elementary school + the crushes of middle school + the heartbreaks of high school. Throw in the sting of rejection and the complete weirdness that is dating, and I just can't look away.
And that— that is why I like it. I feel empathetic and vindicated when I watch it. The Bachelor, in all its ridiculousness, somehow manages to capture and convey various universal truths of dating and guy-girl relationships.
Yeah, I said it. UNIVERSAL TRUTHS. ON THE BACHELOR.
I've decided that, this season, instead of just keeping these truths to myself, I will blog about them. Each week I will share at least one universal truth gleaned from the most recent episode.
Episode 1: Bachelor Premiere
Juan Pablo met 27 ladies this week, and 26 of them wanted to marry him right off the bat.
One even showed up with a fake baby bump under her dress to demonstrate how cute she would look as his future wife and baby mama.
I wanted to be like, Look, sister—can I call you sister?—tone it down. Just because you're imagining yourself as the mother of his children doesn't mean he needs to know you're imagining yourself as the mother of his children. Take it from someone who knows.
Other look-at-me, look-at-me tactics included:
- Putting Juan Pablo on a massage table and giving him a massage
- Bringing test tubes for a "chemistry experiment" to facilitate a terrible play on words
- Getting out of the limo with a soccer ball (i.e. the classic "Like me because I like sportz")
And OF COURSE he gave the first impression rose to the one girl who told the cameras, "If I'm being 100% honest, I wasn't quite feeling the insta-chemistry I expected." Which leads us to our first UTOTW.
Universal Truth of the Week: If 26 women in a room are crushing on a guy and one woman isn't, he will go for the one who isn't.
I learned this the hard way in third grade.
Tune in next week for more Lessons on Life & Love from Juan Pabs!