31 December 2015

The Year of Courage, 2015: A Year in Review

The Year of Courage, 2015: A Year in Review

"Let me be brave." - Clara Oswald, Doctor Who



















It is the morning of December 31, 2015. I am awake at 8:30am. I am drinking coffee without the slightest of hangovers. I am snuggling with Igor. There is an amazing man still slumbering in my bed upstairs. I've been messaging with Ashley. Or, in other words, #blessed, #recovery, #lotsoflove #itsbeenalongyear, #ithasbeenanamazingyearforme.


Without a doubt, 2015 will be a turning point year for me.

I went from being a "her" to being a "me." Now, I know, this sounds crazy to some of you, but it is true. In the past, I always sat a little outside of myself, just off to the side. I wasn't connected to me, but rather, I saw myself as performing some version of who "Katherine." Like, I had double vision, where I was blurry, almost two blurry versions of myself...but little by little this year, they've come into focus. To become a singular me. But maybe even more than that, I am realizing that ME has value. I deserve things. I deserve good things. This also means that I'm far less apt to give my time to people who don't value me.

Yeah, I know....2015 has been like an exercise in self help.
But guess what, I'm happy now. I mean, most of the time.

#recovery is fucking hard. It is a daily battle. But, it is getting easier. Because, now, safety and trust and deservingness are becoming more of a habit. But there are some fucking days, I just want to pull the covers over my head or run away from this lovely man in my life or tell the girls that I don't want to talk. BUT, I'm trying to be brave. To be vulnerable and bad ass all at the same time. To put on my cape while also saying, "Hey, I'm afraid you might hurt me." And like Clara Oswald said, "Let me be brave." I need to be brave. Every. Single. Fucking. Day.

In review of the year, here's what happened:

1. Obviously, the DISSERTATION. I was reviewing what I wrote last year on this date and completing the dissertation was priority two. I'll get to priority one, which is actually quite sad in retrospect. I started January with a #31daysofdissertating. I started a habit of writing for the first two hours of the day. And now, it is done. I'm still in a little bit of shock that I'm officially Dr. Everhart. I'm still lost some days when I don't have to get up and pull up those files and try to hammer out two hours of writing.

2. It hasn't been all roses this year. The year started by my family losing one of our best, Brad Stafford. I remember that it was a couple of days after Christmas that we discovered that Brad had liver cancer. And it took a toll on the family. It was so hard on my mother. And it pained me that I couldn't be closer to her. I've certainly realized this year how much it means to be close to your family. Now, let's not get carried away here...I don't want to live in Charlotte. But I would like to be closer one day. That being said, when I was faced with the financial difficulty of trying to get back home to be with my family for Brad's memorial, I came to realize just how amazing my department here can be. Without my knowledge, they circulated an email asking people to donate to a fund to get me home. They raised enough money to buy me a round trip ticket home so I could be there with my mom. It still makes me weepy to think of that generosity and how supportive they've been. I think of Brad often. In my living room, I have a picture of him playing baseball as a child. He was so amazing. I think we will always miss him, without a doubt. If you feel so inclined, here is a link to my eulogy.

3. Health and Self Care. This was another resolution for 2015. And I must say, I've done a stellar job of it this year. I've started exercising again, even if sometimes that means drinking wine while riding my exercise bike. I started yoga, which has been absolutely amazing for my mind and body. I get a massage every three weeks with a really great massage therapist who just gets what I need. And, I mean, come on, y'all. BATHS. BATHS. BATHS.

4. THERAPY. I mean, seriously, y'all, this has been so important to me this year. I started therapy in July of this past year. Some sessions are rough, rough, rough. Some sessions make me feel like my therapist is giving me a gold star for being so brave. But this I know, my life has changed so significantly because of the work we are doing together. My therapist is kind and patient. She never judges me, even when I'm suggesting something so very far fetched. Because she knows, I'll get there. Maybe not tomorrow or the next day, but eventually. I tell my students often about going to therapy. Most of my colleagues think it is quite strange that I share so much of my personal trials and tribulations with my students. However, I have spent most of my life struggling with some of the same core issues. And I can't help but sometimes be a little pissed off that my life might have looked very different if I had started the road to recovery much earlier. BUT, in a typical Milan Kundera fashion, I dare not spend too much time thinking about my other lives. I mean, like Rami might say, "Nobody knowsssss." And it is true, BUT, the important part for me is to model to my students how I navigate all of this. To let them know that therapy doesn't mean you are a damaged person, but rather, it means you are so very strong. And that therapy is good for everyone, not just when you are the bottom desperately clawing your way back up.

5. Relationships. Okay, so I saved this for number five. Not because it wasn't as important, but mostly because it was a result of the items that came before. All the health, self care, and therapy drastically started to change my intimate relationships.

Last night, when I reviewed my journals from the past year, I saw that my first priority for the year had to do with Manny, my ex. I wrote that one of my resolutions was to learn to trust him more. For those of you that know about our relationship, this is #funnynotfunny. For those of you that don't know, Manny and I were in a long distance thing on and off for about three years. I'd see him maybe once or twice a year. It was good at times. And it was very bad at other times. When I look back on it now, I don't want to place blame. Though, I'm often still very angry. I think what is best to say is that we were two people very ill-suited for each other. We were two people with so many walls and defenses up that we were never able to really ever say what we needed from each other, but instead, it was an endless cycle of shame, blame, distrust, fear, and lashing back at each other in very aggressive and very passive ways. It was NOT healthy. As you know, I'm not someone who often regrets. And I don't regret my relationship with Manny. But I do regret that I let this cycle between us go on for so many years. It was incredibly hard to put an end to it. We had become habit for each other. But then, it happened. I wanted so desperately to learn how to trust someone else and for the umpteenth time, this was violated. It reaffirmed everything that I've thought about myself. And at that moment, I realized, "No. You have to stop this. This hurts too much." And I did.

I also went through an awkward tinder phase. It was entertaining. But ultimately, really unsatisfying.

And then there was...that one. When I first moved to Flagstaff, I felt crazy alone. I felt like I was out here on my own with little connection to my life back in Nashville. And there was this one man who helped keep me tethered to the world. He wrote to me every day, inquiring about my life here. I needed that. But then, it turned into something else. It wasn't my finest moment. And yes, in retrospect, I look back and realize just how flawed it was. But alas, this is what you learn in therapy. You start to pull back the layers and see something for what it really is. Undoubtedly, I've come to see him for who he really is, but at the same time, I want to recognize just how important he was for my growth. He was one of the first men EVER to call me on my shit. Because he SAW me. And then he asked me: "Why are you doing this?" A very emotional day in Nashville in June, this question forced me to see myself. I thought to myself, why AM I doing this? And then, I opened the deep dark recesses of my mind. And then, there was therapy. And then, there was a realization that this relationship was not healthy for me. And so, I have to thank him for that. Because I learned what it really is that I WANT in a relationship.

And it wasn't just amorous relationships...I stood my ground in my friendships too. I learned how to set boundaries with friends. I eliminated stressful and negative relationships.

And of course, now, there's a new relationship...more on that later.

6. The girls. The entire recovery process would not have been able to really happen without the girls. After that fateful day in June, my emotions were raw and terrifying. I was staying at Carly's place...and I was sort of dramatically flung on a bed crying my eyes out. My hands were shaking. I was starting to have some very huge realizations about myself. Really fucking scary realizations. And the girls reached out to me. We didn't have plans to get together that night, but they saw I needed them. Ashley picked me up and we headed over to Michelle's. We sat on the stoop and I let them see me, like REALLY SEE me. I said things I've never said to anyone. And they held my hand and listened and told me how proud they are of me. They realized I was about to embark on an amazing, yet arduous, journey. And it was really that moment on the stoop that propelled me to get better. We also started a group chat on Viber called "Trifecta." It is like this safe haven. No matter what is happening, we know we can go there, send a message and at least one of us is available. I am so thankful for this. It makes me feel like they are always close by, cheering me on.

7. Nicki Minaj and Beyonce.

8. Watching Baseball at Picazzos. Hell, just Picazzos in general. I'm sure going to miss Gilbert when he departs for a new adventure.

9. My road trips. There were so many last year. I've realized just how important it is for me to travel at least once a month. Last year, I spent time down in the valley for spring training. And subsequently, so many other baseball trips-- Las Vegas, Salt Lake City. Thank goodness spring training is just around the corner.

10. My newest nephew, Jack. I finally got to meet him at Christmas. And I'm totally in love with him. So absolutely beautiful.

11. #HolidazeRoadTrip and Rami. Yes, yes, yes, you know. You've seen. I'm all goofy and silly and swooning over a man these days. Yes, it is out of character for me. But perhaps, what is the most out of character is the man I've chosen to do this with. I told my therapist about him. She said to me, "So, what happened? Your picker must be off. You've chosen a man very different from all the others." And she is right. He is so very different. And exactly what I need right now. Plus, y'all, omg, he is soooooooooooo cute. But mostly, I love these small moments that we have together. Like, when we were on the road, it was about 8pm at night. Pitch black everywhere. No gas station in sight. We were on fumes in the rental car. It was 16 degrees outside. We were stressed. We were sitting quietly, both fretting. I think he was praying and I was just thinking, WTF are we going to do? I pulled off an exit where there was suppose to be gas. It was so dark, I wasn't sure where the road was...and we were both exhausted. Rami said, "Why you go this way? This is wrong! Turn that way!" And I yelled back, "I don't know where we are! How am I suppose to know?" I think we both wanted to strangle each other at that moment. We found our way back to the interstate. We drove in silence for another 15 miles, as the gas light blinked over and over again. Somehow, we made it. After we filled up the gas tank, we got back on the road. And within a few short moments, the two of us were laughing hilariously about how freaked and tense we were. Now, we keep laughing about it. And I think that's it....I'm pretty sure we could laugh our way through anything. But again, he's also reallllllllllly cute too.


2015. You kicked my ass. But I love you for it. Because I feel #blessed today. I feel like I am being seen and heard, not just by the people in my life, but most importantly, by myself.

So, cheers to all of you. I hope you have an amazing new year. And remember, be brave my darlings, particularly, all the bad ass/boss ass bitches in my life. Because YOU are amazing. And you are what remind me to be brave, everyday.


20 December 2015

One Foot in Front of the Other: Katherine's 14th Annual Mix 2015

One Foot in Front of the Other: Katherine's 14th Annual Mix 2015

Pulling Back the Layers. 















I usually start out my description of the year by saying, "I don't know where to begin." But maybe for the first time ever, I know exactly where to start. 2015. I saw myself. I heard myself. And I started to realize who I really am, and even more so, what I deserve. Can I throw in a hashtag? #recovery

I won't lie. I had an amazing year. But also, I have to admit, shit was hard this year. First, I remembered who I was as a teacher. And my students responded resoundingly. Then, I remembered how much I loved the student movement at the University of Puerto Rico of 2010...and I finished my dissertation. But more so, and probably more than any of these achievements, I remembered who I am. Maybe it was less about remembering...and more about discovering. Opening the flood gates and letting me really be me. It hasn't been easy, as most of you have observed, but here I am. Exposed. Revealed. And finally, ready to let myself to be seen. By my friends. By him. By you.

In my next end-of-the-year post, I can review more what happened...but you should know this before I present you with the annual mix....I'm in love. I'm in love with happiness. I'm in love with pop music. And I'm in love with a man (though, this part scares the shit out of me).

Undoubtedly, you'll notice a huge departure in my musical tastes from the past years. I wish I could explain it in a way that would make sense to most of you. But I know I can't. Here's the thing. I got tired of listening to sad-bastard music. And actually, this happened because of a student. She wanted to do an independent study with me on the feminism of Beyonce and Nicki Minaj. I was apprehensive, but I thought it would be interesting. And she won. By the end, I was convinced. But more so, I fell in love with pop music. I realized while I was listening to the musics of these two women, I felt happy. I felt strong. I felt brave. And then I realized, I wanted to feel like this all the time. These women made me feel good. And so, I kept listening. And it is true, I feel empowered listening to their music. And without a doubt, my life has changed as a result.

No, it wasn't just the music (sorry, Nick Hornby), but it was the music in conjunction with so many changes that I MADE happen this year. Probably for the first time in my life, I'm recognized how much I can control what happens in my life. I can make my own decisions. I can say yes. I can say no. I know, I know, so many of you think, "Well, yeah." But for those people like me, who endured the traumas, this is a big deal.

So here is how you can find access to the mix:
1) On Spotify at: One Foot in Front of the Other Mix

2) On YouTube at: One Foot in Front of the Other Mix

1. Darlin' All I Ask: Jaymay
"How I loved you suddenly, it just totally scared me. That don't mean I don't take you seriously. And I love you terribly, its just ridiculous. All I'm just saying, is I want you so bad. I wanna love you like that, I wanna be your lover, why don't you just think about it?"



2. What's My Name: Rihanna (feat. Drake)
The first song he played for me was a Rihanna song. But when I heard this one, I realized it was about him. And when he called me that night and sang, "Uhhnahhna, Uhhhnahna," into my phone, I fell in love. Because, he listened to the song I sent him. He heard me. That's it.

"Hey boy, I really want to be with you, because you're just my type..."


3. Ex's & Oh's: Elle King
Now, let's turn the clock back. Those fucking ex's and o's.


4. Hotling Bling:  Ceresia
Sorry, Drake, let's flip the script. I'm sorry you feel left out. Ladies, we have to do our own thing.


5. Love in the Dark: Adele
Okay, so we need one song on the mix about the heartbreak of this year. Yes, I fell in love this year. The most fucked up part of it is that it was in a place in which I could never actually have it. Which if you know me, it isn't that weird. But, I'll dedicate this one to him. Because he made me realize so very much. He made me realize how much I was worth, despite the fact he couldn't give that to me. And with his words on that fateful day back in June, everything started to change.


6. Hiding: Florence + The Machine
And the biggest part of the fuckedupness of what happened before was that I sought out therapy after the fact. I couldn't have done this without the amazing support of Ashley and Michelle. Whether it was the shame hotline, our group chat on Viber, or sweet notes of encouragement and support, these ladies really helped me find my way. And this song, well, I dedicate it to the little girl inside of me. I just want her to know that I'm here to protect her, even when she is too afraid to let me in.



7. Nicki Minaj Records "I Still Rise" by Maja Angelou Still, I rise.


8. I'm Out: Ciara (feat. Nicki Minaj)
'Nuff Said. For my ladies.   


9. I'm the Best" by Nicki Minaj
I listened to this song, over and over again, before my dissertation defense.

"To all my bad bitches, I can see your halo..." 



10. Feeling Myself (feat. Beyonce)
Ladies, anytime the self doubt creeps up, just turn this one up loud.


11. Only: Nicki Minaj (feat. Drake, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown)
Listen to Nicki's verse.  I fell in love with here with this song. I mean, seriously, duct tape, pop quiz, cutlet and seasonin'. Goddamn she's good. 


12. Birthday Cake: Rihanna
This was the song. He won me with this one.


13. If I Can't Have You:  Etta James
When I realized, that I need you. 


14. Compartir: Carla Morrison
"Quiero dormir y soñar, caricias contigo, 
Quiero reír y llorar, con tus ojitos,
Quiero compartir mis secretos y mis suspiros,
Quiero aprender a entender al mundo contigo 

Pero hay una cosa que te debo decir,
No es nada fácil, estar tan lejos de ti..."



15. You Da One: Rihanna
When you fall for someone hard, but rather, you realize you choose to fall for someone. Because you deserve it, and they deserve your love.

"You the one that I dream about all day
You the one that I think about always
You are the one so I make sure I behave
My love is your love, your love is my love
Baby, I love you, I need you here
Give me all the time
Baby we meant to be
You got me, smiling all the time
'Cause you know how to give me that
You know how to pull me back
When I go runnin', runnin'
Tryin' to get away from loving ya
You know how to love me hard
I won't lie, I'm falling hard
Yep, I'm falling for ya
But there's nothin' wrong with that..."



16. I'm Yours: Alessia Cara
 Alessia Cara is absolutely adorable.

"Some nerve you have
To break up my lonely
And tell me you want me
How dare you march into my heart
Oh how rude of you
To ruin my miserable
And tell me I'm beautiful
Cause I wasn't looking for love no
Nobody asked you to get me attached to you
In fact you tricked me
And I wasn't trying to fall in love but boy you pushed me
So all that I'm asking
Is that you handle me with caution
Cause I don't give myself often
But I guess I'll try today

Cause I've had my heart
Broken before
And I promised I would never let me hurt anymore
But I tore down my walls
And opened my doors
And made room for one
So baby I'm yours..."



17. Best I Ever Had: Drake
At first I thought that I only had one king in my kingdom, which was Idris Elba, but this year, I also made room for Drake. Not just because his dance moves, but because yes, he gets it. And yeah, there are some other fellas who might think this is about him, but this is about my one and only, because he is the best, the best I ever had.


18: Simple Things: Miguel
Yes, baby. I just want someone. I just want you. And maybe Miguel. Haha.


18. Flawless with Beyonce (feat. Nicki Minaj)
Again, to all my bad ass bitches, to my boss ass bitches, you are fucking #flawless. Every time I hear this song and watch this video, I can't help but think of all my ladies.

Yes, I worship at the altar of Queen Bey.

"Bow down bitches..."

"But tell them winning is my motherfuckin' protocol, ' cause, I score before I ever throw the ball, this bitches washed up and there ain't no fucking soap involved...mayday mayday, earth to bitches, slap these hoes like we birthin' bitches, the Queen of rap slaying with Queen Bee, if you ain't on the team, you playin' for team D..."


19. Can't Feel My Face: The Weeknd
What can I say about The Weeknd? Beautiful. 


20. All Eyes On Us: Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill
You heard us, we are the ill-est. I think he catchin' feelins. I can't wait to celebrate the New Year our counterparts, Nicki and Meek. 


21. Amen (feat. Drake): Meek Mill
The day after my defense, I listened to this one 873 times. And one of my favorite parts is when I forced Jennie Ann to listen to this song in the middle of the night. And she wrote me back and said, "I'm not sure I'm listening to the right song, this one is about church..." And I wrote back, "Listen more closely." Ha. I love love love this song. Wealth and health, y'all. Plus, how can you not love a song with Meek and Drake. What's good, Nicki, what's good?

"Plus I’m on probation, when they test me I just pee Rose..."


















19 June 2015

I See You: Reflections on A Trip to Nashville























Since I moved to Flagstaff last August, I've found myself looking around to find my Nashville places in Flagstaff. Oh, The McMillan, that's my Silo in Flagstaff. Oh, The Campus Coffee Bean, that's my Red Bicycle in Flagstaff. Oh, BunHuggers, that's my Cowboy Kewl in Flagstaff. Obviously, leaving behind Nashville, but more specifically, Germantown, has not been easy for this ol' gal.

I did not have a chance to visit my old home until 10 months after I left. In May, I breezed into town for a mere two days in a whirlwind trip. When I left, I cried my little eyes out, missing all the faces and places. When I returned to Flagstaff, I made a decision to come for a longer visit. A 10 day visit. Oh, those fateful 10 days...

Those 10 days were something. It was intense. It was sweet. It was sad. It was nostalgic. It was weird. But when I finally left (which I was luckily able to do, since my wallet got nabbed while I was there), I was okay with leaving. Now don't get me wrong, I heart heart heart Nashville (well, Germantown); but, I think I grew to accept that it isn't where I live anymore. I assume some of this has to do with the fact that two of my bestest friends there will be leaving in the next couple of months, as well as most of my grad school friends will not end up living there. And so, Nashville, as I know it, will look very different when I return next. I suspect in the future, I might spend more time there. Hell, I might even return before too long. But for now, I know that it is good that I'm in Flagstaff. And I intend to embrace Flagstaff for what it is, without trying to discover the Nashville in it. THIS is a big step for me.

So, what happened? You know me, I'm not one to give too many details...so, I'll just give a quick rundown before I get into the reason for this particular post.

Cancelled Flight. Rebooked. Missed Shuttle. Rebooked. Late Arrival. Allison. Silo. Ben and Charles. Brunch at Mad Donnas. My Koozie. Kick Ball. Rosepepper Cantina. You Stupid Ass Bitch. Chronology. Kickball. That One. Silo. My Girls. Jack Browns. Late Nights. Lyfts. Sophie. Afternoons. Carly's House. Taco Mamacita. Movie Night. Germantown. Germantown. Germantown. Stairs. O'Reillys. Silo. Sandra. Jack Browns. Heath. Nice White People. Silo. Lost Backpacks. Lunches at the Cafe. A BREAKDOWN. Ashley and Michelle. Realizations. South Street and Pork Shoulders. Stoop Time. Zeke and Troy. GLAAD CMA festival. Play. Kicked Out. Kellis. Get Robbed. Pedestrian Bridge. Downtown. Flowers. Saying Goodbye to the Trifecta. Silo. Jack Browns. Cafe. Silo. Kelly. Grand Gestures. Brunch at Marche. Pool Day. Silo. West End with Allison. OITNB. Pool Day. Baseball Game.

But yes, right there in the middle at "BREAKDOWN" is the moment when things changed rather drastically for me. I might call it breakdown, but it probably more accurately is a breakthrough.

I don't want to get into the details, but some shit went down. I hurt someone. And for the first time, in so many years, I felt bad about it. As I tried to apologize, I found myself explaining myself, but in the rawest way I ever had. Because, see, this person is someone that I care about so much that I couldn't just mail it in. No, he could see through all of that. Looking at myself like that for the first time in so many years was painful. Luckily for me, two of my bestest friends were in close proximity and changed their plans so we could talk it out. And that is just what we did. We cried it out. We talked it out. And I remember a conversation about being seen by someone. Like really being seen, without all your bullshit and boundaries and walls and all that fucked up shit. But, rather, someone seeing you and calling you on it. For the first time in so many years, someone called me on my bullshit.

I can't lie. Its much more complicated than that. But I do know this, I learned so much about myself during this trip. And I can't help but thank two of my bestest girlfriends for allowing me to talk through these realizations, and to you, for calling me on my bullshit and making me look in the mirror. You see right through me. And I thank you for it.

"Defend my honor, protect my pride. The good advice, I always hated. But looking back it made me greater."  -Nicki Minaj




"You see right through me.
How do you do that shit
You let me win,
You let me ride
You let me rock
You let me slide
And when they lookin'
You let me hide.
Defend my honor
Protect my pride.
The good advice
I always hated
But looking back
It made me greater.
You always told me
Forget the haters
Just get my money,
Just get my weight up.
Know when I'm lying,
Know when I'm crying
It's like you got it
Down to a science
Why am I trying
No you ain't buying,
I tried to fight it
Back with defiance.
You make me laugh
You make me hoarse
From yelling at you
And getting at you
Picking up dishes
Throwing them at you.
Why are you speaking
When no one asked you.
You see right through me.
How do you do that shit
You see right through me.
How do you do that shit
What are we doing,
Could you see through me?
Cause you say Nicki
And I say who me?
And you say no you
And I say screw you.
Then you start dressing
And you start leaving
And I start crying
And I start screaming
The heavy breathing
But whats the reason.
Always get the reaction you wanted
I'm actually fronting
I'm askin' you something
Yo, answer this question,
Class is in session,
Tired of letting
Passive aggression
Control my mind,
Capture my soul
OK your right
Just let it go.
OK you got it,
Its in the can.
Before I played it
You knew my hand.
You could turn a free throw into a goal.
Nigga got the peep hole to my soul.
You see right through me.
How do you do that shit
You see right through me.
How do you do that shit
Stop,
Stop,
Would you just stop looking through me
Cause I just cant take it.
No I cant take it.
You see right through me.
How do you do that shit
You see right through me.
(you see right through me baby)."

31 January 2015

In Memoriam of the Amazing Brad...

My mom and Brad with their two babies, Julius and Luigi.

Loss is not new to me. Not only have I lost several people very close to me in the early 2000's, but I lost my grandmother only a few years ago, and now, this week, we also lost Brad. Given my history of loss, I know what I need to do in order to properly grieve. Writing this blog is one of the ways that I do this. So, indulge me and celebrate the life of one of the most amazing people I have ever known-- that of, Brad Stafford, my mother's partner.

I can't lie. I'm still in shock. And I don't think it was until today that I fully realized what has happened. See, this wasn't expected. I was home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. And while I knew that Brad wasn't feeling great, I had no idea. None of us knew. We thought maybe he just wasn't feeling well. We had no idea that on merely two days after Christmas, we'd find out he had a very advanced cancer, one that would take his life in merely one month. And while cancer is never easy, it seems fucking unfair that we lost Brad within a month of his diagnosis. I'm pissed off that everything happened so fast. That this amazing and wonderful man disappeared from our lives so very quickly.

So, what can I say about Brad? Well, he was absolutely amazing. In the past week, my head has been haunted my memories of him. And those memories are mostly of him laughing, joking with my mother, dancing, telling me just how much he loves my mother. And, you know, this is the part that is the most painful-- while I loved Brad on my own, the most painful part is watching my mother deal with the loss of her life partner. Yeah, okay, he was her husband, but I continue to refer to him as her partner, because, that is what he was. He wasn't just a husband. He was her partner. He was her person.

The television station he worked for put together a tribute to him. I posted it online a couple of days ago. But I haven't been able to watch it until today. I just couldn't. And when I finally did, I let go of the strength that I've held onto for the past few days. They featured co-workers talking about him. His patience. His kindness. And they nailed it. That's Brad. He was kind. He was patient. And these are exactly the reasons he was perfect for my mother. This is what she needed.

When he fell in love with my mom, it happened quickly, for both of them. I knew nothing was ever going to be the same after that moment. Mostly, what I realized was that my mom was in love, she was with the person she was always destined to be with. He was kind to her, he was patient with her. He loved her in a way that I had never seen before.

There are so many memories, so many moments that flash through my head when I stop and think (which until tonight, I've tried to avoid). Actually, there are so many, it is hard to confine them to a few moments to convey to the rest of you. I remember my mom telling me about the first time the two of them every spent time together and she played Bright Eyes for him. I remember him on the Sims. I remember us driving out to Concord to hear some music in some really strange bars. I remember all those trips to see Bright Eyes in various cities and Brad talking to Conor, Mike, and all the great folks that play with those guys including Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. I remember all of those holidays together, I remember us all doing karaoke that one Christmas, I remember him always losing at Monopoly. I remember him dancing to Sir Mix-A-Lot. I remember us all sitting around listening to old country music. I remember showing him and mom different television shows and how he always questioned the validity of the show. I can still hear him saying, "Well, now, I don't think that is possible..." I remember him dancing with my best friend, Jennie Ann and her husband, Derek, during their first dance at their wedding reception. I remember me, him, and mom going to see Justin Townes Earle a few years ago. I remember how much he helped take care of my grandmother when she was dying. I remember him being contrary, very very contrary during all our fantastic discussions about social issues. I remember how him and mom *always* fell asleep five minutes into watching whatever show I was showing them...and I remember the exact look on Brad's face while he was sleeping. I remember him looking up the traffic and the weather reports. I remember his selflessness. I remember how from the very beginning, I realized, this man loves my mother so very much. I remember thinking how I would be lucky to find a person like Brad in my own life. And mostly, I remember how Brad welcomed me into his life. And it was all so very easy. One moment I didn't know him, and the next moment, he was someone I loved so very much.

Brad was one of a kind. One of the best kind. And I'll always treasure those moments, during the day while mom was at work, when Brad and I would sit across from each other at the table in the house and talk for hours. I would tell him about my work. He would tell me about what he discovered on the internet. We would spend hours sitting there together. Those are the moments I will miss the most, when it was just the two of us.






  

31 December 2014

The Year of a Buscabulla....A Year in Review, 2014

The Year of a Buscabulla....A Year in Review, 2014

"I've come to realize that we're only here briefly, and while I'm here I want to allow myself to feel joy. So fuck it." -Amy, Her

"Don't know if we will survive your departure." -Robbie, President of Germantown

What can I say about "The Year of a Buscabulla?" I'm not quite sure. Mostly, there is so much I can't really tell you. Hence, the name of the year. But at the same time, there is so much. Too much almost. It was a whirlwind and I'm still trying to catch up.  One thing is clear, it has been one of the best years of my life. At the beginning of this year, so much was left unknown. I had no idea where I would be in the coming year. I had to say goodbye to way more than I wanted. There were so many new beginnings. But most importantly, there were so many wonderful people that coursed through the fabric of my life at any given moment. And because, the last song on the annual mix was this one, I wanted to share it again, because I want you all to know just how much I love you and thank you for all the wonderfulness that you bring into my life. So, cheers to another year to all of you and keep bringing all that joy to me in 2015, my darlings.



So, what were some of the highlights of this past year?

1. First and foremost (and obviously), one of the most important aspects of my past year has been Germantown, my old neighborhood in Nashville. 37208. I loved it so much, I had it tattooed on my forearm. Saying goodbye to it was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. I'll never forget that morning when I drove away in the Penske truck on my way to Flagstaff. I felt as if I was leaving behind a huge part of my life.  And I was. However, I know it is always there with me, right next to me with all the memories.

And some of those memories...Gals of Germantown, 8th Avenue Market, the Rite-Aid folks, the Farmers Market, the Red Bicycle, The (Germantown) Cafe, 312 Pizza, City House, and all those really random nights at Silo (mostly, with the President of the neighborhood in tow). It sure was nice being the First Lady of Germantown for my last year. One of my goals in the new year is to put together my pictures from #28daysofgermantown, a hashtag I created for my final days in the neighborhood with the purpose of capturing everything I've always loved about the neighborhood. More to come on this one. And soon.

But yeah, Germantown, because I've never known a neighborhood so fucking fantastic.


2. Obviously, my career. I had the chance to present my work at the Young Scholars Social Movements Conference at Notre Dame and meet some of my scholarly heroes, I published my third article, I spent *most* of the year doing interviews on the job market (like, 13-14 phone interviews and two in-person interviews), I got a job offer (on April 23rd), I got a R&R on a collaborative article, I took a new job at NAU as an Instructor in which I've fallen in love with the department and students, I've continued to work on my dissertation (as time allows). One of the things that I can say about my career this year...I picked the right job. I love being back in the classroom. I remember while I was trying to decide about which job to take this past year, one of my mentors reminded me, "This is YOUR life," and it continues to ring true.

So, yeah, Sociology. You continue to rock my world.

3. I watched a shit ton of television. And I loved all of it. The list is incomplete, but some of my favorites this year: Sherlock, Doctor Who, Queer as Folk, OITNB, True Detective, Orphan Black, Gilmore Girls, American Horror Story, The Wire, Black Mirror...trust me, the list goes on and on.

4. "MARRY ME, PLEASE!" I realized in going through my last year that this statement originated from my New Year Day celebration with Ashley and Michelle from our watching of Valley of the Dolls. It happened here first. But then at the Capitol Street Festival in Germantown (see, I told you, it would come back again), it came to epic fruition with Russell. I don't think there was ever a moment when Russell and I didn't grasp one another in a huge hug and scream out, "Marry Me!" And, only a couple of weeks ago, when I was missing my friends in Nashville something awful, I got an audio message from Russell that said just this same thing, "Marry Me! Marry Me!" And Russell, in case you are wondering, the answer is YES!

5. All those late night conversations with Jennie Ann, Allison, and Carly. Ladies, y'all keep me sane.

6. Um, BASEBALL. The Sounds groundbreaking event in our neighborhood with Michelle, all those games with Michelle (like a ton of them), the #lastcheeratgreer, #mylastcheeratgreer, those crazy ballplayers, listening to baseball on the radio with Michelle on the stoop, listening to the games once I moved to Flagstaff and tweeting the game with Jeff, a trip to ABQ to see our guys play and well, and lastly, all those weird exchanges (ahem, buscabulla). ABQ, baby, ABQ. See y'all at spring training.

7. Finding my winter fashion. You know, the one that looks like a child put together my outfit.

8. Those Nashville rock shows. The Pixies with Anna, Allison, and Ryan; Neutral Milk Hotel with Erin; Tacocat with Allision; and Dave Dondero with Manny, Allison, and Heath.

9. My brother John's amazing wedding to Jessica in Mobile, Alabama.

10. Sam Favata. (I thought about specifying all the reasons why, but I think Sam just deserves one line that reads his name after his presence in my life this past year).

11. All those amazing out-of-town visitors to Nashville and Flagstaff. You know who you are darlings, Ian, Manny, and Bobby. Let's add more to the list for 2015. Yes, I'm looking at you, Jennie Ann, Allison, Ashley, Michelle, and Robbie. You heard me!

12. Sleepovers with Allison. Actually, all of my times with Allison. All the shenanigans. But mostly, when we would wake up in my bed after a long night, screaming to Igor or whomever else may be in the house. Our random and weird nights throughout the neighborhood and all of Nashville. That gal is one of a kind.

13. QDP. Not once, not twice, but maybe thrice. With all sorts of guests. With all sorts of pictures. With all sorts of shenanigans. And all the moments when I felt like Leslie Knope (I hope you get the joke, because pokerfacepokerface, I felt like it was true at the time).

14. #katherinesbestofnashville

15. My going-away party.

16. All the new friends I've met in Flagstaff, but mostly, the wine o'clock Friday celebrations with Marisa and the Wednesday Super Supper Club with Marisa, Michael, and Krystin.

17. Yvonne in Flagstaff...and all our wonderful conversation over bottles of Malbec and the foods.

18. Every single time I've remarked, "I really need a burner phone." Because, it is true. Trust me, for those of you in the know, I've got a collection. In fact, enough to make an entire calendar, or two.

19. Idris Elba.

20. The Flagstaff earthquake. Not to mention, the fact I thought it was simply Sabine running up the stairs in the apartment.

21. The amazing generosity of my friends and loved ones who helped me financially get to my new destination. You all were amazing and I still can't believe I raised enough money to get get me here. I couldn't have done it without you. Literally, I couldn't.

22. Robbie and our shenanigans. Every single one of them. The list. You know the one. I almost completed it. So close, but yet so far. And, always, walking home from Robbie's house and every single scar I brought home from those nights.

23. 8th Avenue Market. That weird show in East Nashville. QDP. Afterwards. An afternoon. Then, three afternoons. And the fact that, actually, if anyone has really been there for me since the move, it was you.

24. Silo. That weird and wild bartender, An-tony(!), the formerly Tiny Chef Larry Bird, and his hat, and all the other shenanigans that took place...including the many, many nights that we (as, in all of us in the neighborhood) ended up there with cheeseburgers and drinks.

25. All of you that have entertained my weird late night text messages.

So, I guess what I've learned from this year; if 2013 was about learning who I was, 2014 was about learning who I wanted to spend time with, because if anything, this year was about spending time with the people I love, every single one of you.

And on this last day of the year, I think forward to a new year and what that means. As the year comes to a close, I find my heart heavy with some potentially bad news. I can't help but try to think of the sun shining in my face and to relish all the joy of the people that I love. Here's to hoping for good news. And most importantly, as one of my loved ones said to me today, albeit in his broken English, "Forget it and start fresh new year."

So, to all of you, no matter what your year brought, forget it and start fresh new year.




21 December 2014

Conjectures: Katherine's 13th Annual Mix, 2014

 
Conjectures: Katherine's 13th Annual Mix, 2014

"The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don't always spoil the good things and make them unimportant." -11th Doctor, Doctor Who

I don't know where to begin. I think it suffices to say that 2014 was a year of change and transition, or in a manner of speaking, a year of conjectures. As you are probably aware, the biggest transition was my move from Nashville to Flagstaff. After six years in Nashville, I packed up a truck and drove across the country to start a new life in a new place. And honestly, it has been bittersweet. It should come as no surprise that everything about this mix is tied to that moment, because if anything, 2014 was about that moment. From the seemingly endless job market to the official acceptance of a new position, this transition was woven into the fabric of my year. 

I can remember celebrating the New Year with Ashley and Michelle and all the lovely folks of the Germantown neighborhood, thinking, "This will likely be the last New Year we get to all spend together." And it became a joke (in that, every time I did ANYTHING, I said, "But, what if it is the last time?), but it always felt all too true. And then, one day, it was the last time.

 I plan to post my annual "A Year in Review" post closer to the new year; however, until then...here is the annual mix, complete with my typical banter about each song, some lyrics, and a few videos.

1. I Know It’s Wrong (But That’s Alright): Hurray for the Riff Raff
Unfortunately, I only happened upon Hurray for the Riff Raff in the last month. I say unfortunately, because I could listen to them 22 hours a day and never feel bored (or, as my students might write, “board”). As typical in my "end of the year lists," there is generally a  band that I’ve only just heard of that shapes the transition from one year to the next. I have no doubt that this is the band that will do this for me. Absolutely amazing. 


“The sun is laughing in my face, shining its light on my mistakes,
You could be my Adam, I’ll be your summertime,
I’ll feed you watermelon off the vine, I know it’s wrong, but that’s alright.”

2.     Head Underwater: Jenny Lewis
I suppose if I was going to have a theme song for 2014, it would be this one. It reminds me of the feelings I had about leaving Nashville and moving to Flagstaff. It reminds me of all the heartbreaks that implied. It reminds me of that one afternoon in July, when you stopped by after work, walked into my apartment, and we danced in the living room...although I knew we shouldn’t have been doing any of that. Or, when we sat at that bar in Albuquerque. Because, there’s a little bit of magic in all of you. Every single one of you. It certainly reminds me of many thing I knew I shouldn't have done, but I did. And I don't regret one single moment. Because all of these moments are beautiful, no matter how weird, complicated, awkward, and well, fleeting. 


“I’ve been wearing all black, since the day it started,
When I stopped and looked back, as my mind departed,
I’ve been losing sleep and I cannot sleep still
I’m not the same woman that you were used to...
There’s a little bit of magic, everybody has it,
There’s a little bit of sand left in the hourglass, 
There’s a little bit of magic,
Everybody has it.” 

3.     How: Regina Spektor
And, the heartbreak anthem. This one reminds me of 37208. It might be weird to dedicate a song like this to a neighborhood, but you know, I was in love with Germantown...and everything about it. And furthermore, it is hard to imagine ever loving a neighborhood and the people in it as much as I loved it. 



We will meet again somehow, my darlings. 

4.     Blue Eyes: Paul Baribeau
There’s miles in between, miles between… Yup, I can’t help it, but I miss you all the time, no matter the color of your eyes, my darling. 



5.     My Silver Lining: First Aid Kit
 If there ever is a song about my move, this is the one…


“I don’t want to wait anymore, I’m tired of looking for answers,
Take me some place where there’s music and there’s laughter,
I don’t know if I’m scared of dying but I’m scared of living too fast, too slow,
Regret, remorse, hold on, oh no, I’ve got to go,
There’s no starting over, no new beginnings, time races one,
And you've just gotta keep on keeping on…” 

6.     Violent Shiver: Benjamin Booker
I mean, Benjamin Booker, come on. Have you heard him? Have you seen him?

  

7.     Today and a Lonely Night: Justin Townes Earle 
Y'all know I heart JTE. He will always be Nashville to me. After moving, it took me a couple of months before I could listen to any of his music. I would hear his voice and the sadness I felt about leaving the city behind was too much. But I remember one day, I was walking around Flagstaff listening to his latest album. And this song played and it reminded me of how much I miss and love about that town. But how, sometimes, we also need to move somewhere new to start over again. Always, knowing we'll be back some day.
 

“I’ve been thinking of going West, just to climb up as high as I can get...I know inside, I’ll find my way back to this city tonight, feel the ground shake as the train goes by and not a star in the sky…” 

8.     You Are Your Mother’s Child: Conor Oberst
To all the beautiful babies out there part of my life, particularly my nephew Emmett and niece Rowan. I love watching the two of you grow up. 


9.     Cold Hands: Ezra Furman
I’m pretty sure I’m incapable of making any mix without the past three artists; however, out of all of them, Ezra belongs on every single mix. And honestly, the sentiment with this one works. 


“No particular pleasure to measure up to the pain. I want to be held in your cold hands.”

10.  History Eraser: Courtney Barnett
 I don’t know anything about Courtney Barnett. She is one of those last moment additions, as I came across her music recently. I love EVERY SINGLE THING about this song. 

“I got drunk and fell asleep atop the sheets,
but luckily I left the heater on.
And in my dreams I wrote the best song that I’ve ever written,
Can’t remember how it goes. 
I stayed drunk and fell awake
And I was cycling on a plane 
and faraway I heard you say you liked me.
We drifted to a party—cool. The people went to arty school.
They made their paints by mixing acid wash and lemonade.

In my brain I rearrange the letters on the page to spell your name.

I found an Ezra Pound and made a bet that if I found a cigarette,
I’d drop it all and marry you.
Just then a song comes on: “You can’t always get what you want,” 
the Rolling Stones, oh woe is we, the irony..."

11.   Forgiven/Forgotten: Angel Olsen 
My love affair with Angel Olsen continues.



“If there’s one thing I fear, there’s one thing I fear is knowing you’re around, so close but not near, so close, but not with me here. So close, but not with me here.” 

12.  When I’m Gone: Caitlin Rose
Leaving behind the place that became your hometown is hard. Leaving behind your friends and family is hard. There is no doubt about that. But, I think another difficult part may be leaving behind people that you grew close to in the hectic months before your departure. You know, they aren't the ones that shaped the years you lived in the neighborhood, but rather, people you find yourself getting closer to, when you know better. And no matter how much you may try to keep distance, they come into your life so rapidly, right before you are leaving to start a new life somewhere else. But you throw caution to the wind. You try to soak up every moment, knowing the days are numbered. And more than that, you know that when you leave, they'll be but a fleeting memory of the hazy days when you use to run around that old neighborhood. 



“Thinking, I’ve been thinking about leaving this old town behind,
I’ll beg and borrow, to leave tomorrow,
Find all my sorry, and take it back.
Come on, you can sleep when I’m gone.
I was lying when I said there’s plenty of time…
Lying, I’ve been lying,
I’ve been lying around with the dogs in this town too long…”

13.  Tennessee: Gillian Welch
You didn’t think we could make it through this year’s mix without a song by Gillian about Tennessee, did you? 



14.  No One Else: Hurray for the Riff Raff 
I want to drink the red wine until our lips are stained purple and dance with you in the kitchen to this song. 


15.  Slippery Slopes: Jenny Lewis
Seriously, Jenny Lewis, get out of my head.


16.  My Dear Acquaintance: Regina Spektor
Happy New Year, my darlings. Cheers to another beautiful year, full of sunshine and joy. Keep those that you love close by and embrace every single beautiful moment. And is there a better way to end the annual mix than a cover of a Peggy Lee (is that all there is?) by Regina Spektor? 




Here's how to access the mix for your personal listening pleasure. There are several options:

1) Subscribe to the mix on Spotify. Here is the link: Conjectures: Katherine's 13th Annual Mix, 2014

2) Watch and listen all the songs on YouTube. Here is the link: Conjectures: Katherine's 13th Annual Mix, 2014

3) Or, if you'd like a hard copy of the mix and/or cover art, send me a message via email/Face/tumblr with your address and I'll send you a copy for the holidays.

16 June 2014

June 16. Song of the Day. The Living and the Dead: Dave Dondero.



June 16. Song of the Day. The Living and the Dead: Dave Dondero.

"Got a scrambled heart, it's a little over cooked
Got a novel full of wishes missing from your book
There's no insurance in this life
No protection from the night
Too many rules and no direction
You walk under a knife
It's just this temporality, creating fleeting moments
If your lacking in permanent
You better make your moment potent..."

Today, this one feels perfect today. All this temporality, make all those moments potent, folks.

June 15. Song of the Day. Fade Into You: Au Revoir Simone.




June 15. Song of the Day. Fade Into You: Au Revoir Simone. 

15 June 2014

June 14. Song of the Day. Shoop: Salt-N-Pepa


June 14. Song of the Day. Shoop: Salt-N-Pepa

Last night was certainly one for the record books. We started with dinner and drinks at Silo with Ian, Ashley, and Michelle. Then, we ran into Robbie and Alan. And, luckily we were able to convince Allison to come back out to join us. We closed out Silo, before heading to the Queer Dance Party over on the East side. There was loads of dancing, karaoke, and laughter. And it became abundantly clear to me that if I was ever to do karaoke, it would have to be this song, and only this song. I'll never forget dancing my butt off surrounded by this fantastic group of people on a random night in June.


14 June 2014

June 13. Song of the Day. Perfect Day: Lou Reed


 
June 13. Song of the Day. Perfect Day: Lou Reed

This one has been stuck in my head since last night when it played on the jukebox at The Villager. And now, it will forever remind me of that wild and crazy night with Ashley, Allison, and Ian.