Monday, June 14, 2010

A Tale of Two People

First and foremost, I must thank Liza for two things: (1) doing her Pillowbook blog, which has me thinking about things that I haven’t thought about in years (2) giving me a chance to be daring and put my writing “out there”. I totally agree that to write is to be daring and to share it with others is not only daring, but scary. I find that after I read each post, I ponder about things that I have stored away in a distant corner of my mind. These are not good or bad things, more like self reflection things. It is almost like coming out of a fog and becoming a thinker again. Believe me, when the mystery in your world is “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?”, then you can really appreciate Liza’s blogs! (Oh, for those who don’t have kids and are not “privileged” to being forced to watch today’s cartoons: I am referring to SpongeBob Square Pants).

When I decided to write something for Liza’s blog, I thought of many things that would be fun or interesting. I reviewed some of her previous blogs and thought about a response or variant view, but decided instead to write about something I think we can all relate to: “Who are we really, and what makes us that person”?

I will go ahead and admit that this issue has been weighing on my mind as I recently turned the dreaded age of 30. Now, do not make the mistake of mentioning that to anyone over 30! I did and believe me all I got was the typical “oh, wait until your 40”, or “you are still young”, or worse yet, “wait until you are 80 and nothing works like it used to”. Really? Not the response that I was looking for. Instead I wanted all the sympathy that I deserved and I know all my 29 year old friends will agree that this age is probably not that big of a deal, but it sure sucks to not be able to say “I’m in my twenties”!

As the gloomy day of May 23 approached, I found that I was being overly emotional and to be honest “bitchy”. When my husband, Tommy, asked the inevitable “What is your problem?” I had no idea. That is the worst answer to a man’s question! So, I told him the typical female response of “just leave me alone”. For a change, he did and I started to wonder “what is my problem?”

I started thinking back over my life of almost 30 years and the person I have become. With a shock, I realized I have become two very different people. Even more astonishing are the reasons why: where I live and the effect of my husband. Now, for those that don’t know me I will try to very quickly explain the difference.

I was raised in Burkesville, KY with Liza, Lindsey, Melissa, Leslie, Mandy, Kristen, and others as my best friends. We all could tell stories on each other that would send the others into fits! As all good things must, we all went our own ways after high school. Sure, we would see each other on occasion, email, or call but we all changed and grew as individuals. Many of us moved to different places, while some stayed in good old “BurkesVegas”. I was one of the nomads who traveled from Bowling Green, KY to Albany, GA, to Lexington, KY, and now Nashville, TN. I married another “good ole boy” from Burkesville, Tommy, at the age of 22. Little did I know that my journey as a person would be influenced so dramatically by leaving Burkesville and spending all these years with Tommy (11 and counting).
First, let me explain the “Tommy Factor”. Tommy Carter is a very outgoing, opinionated, loving, courageous, and difficult man. He is a six-foot , red-head that I swore I would not like, and would only go out with for a free dinner and movie. Watch it ladies, that always bites you in the ass! My point is that over our 11 years together he has not only had a great affect on me as a person, but also on my personality. I am now an extrovert, outgoing, and courageous. Some would say this is a bad thing. I think it has helped me overcome many issues that have bothered me for years.

It is true that your friends know you best. My group of friends from Burkesville would see me as funny, outgoing, and friendly. Well, of course…they are my friends! Those who were not close to me saw me as stuck-up, a “prep”, or thinking I am better than others. SO far from the truth! Instead, I was always unsure of talking to people I did not know well, or feared rejection. I was a typical follower, not leader. That is how I have been in Burkesville my whole life. Only recently did I realize that I am not that person in Nashville. Instead, the friends I have made over the years, and the people that I teach with have described me as a dominant personality, not caring what anyone things, highly opinionated, and a leader. So, does where you live determine who you are? For me, it seems so.

I have tried to figure this out and have very few answers. The main issue I believe is that I feel that while in Burkesville I am judged by who I was in school, who my parents are, etc. Basically, other people’s opinions that I have no control over. In Nashville, I am just another face in the crowd. There are no preconceived notions of who I am, my family, my childhood, etc.. In Nashville I feel that people get to know the real “me”. I will give you a perfect example: going to the grocery store. When I go home to visit my parents I dread having to go to one of the two grocery stores. I always wonder who I am going to run into, will it be friend, foe, or undecided, and how bad do I look. I go in the store with my tunnel vision, get my items, stand in line and fidget nervously, and finally get the heck outta dodge as soon as I have paid the cashier. In Nashville, I go to Kroger or Wal-Mart wearing a pair of worn out sweat pants, old t-shirt, and my hair in a messy ponytail. I don’t care who I meet or what I look like. I am not going to run into anyone I know, and if by some chance I do, they have already seen me look this bad on multiple occasions. Thus, a tale of two people.

Now, the tricky part: How do I merge the two Kristi’s? I would like to think it would work like Liza and Lindsey’s great recipes that I drool over, but never have time to make (which totally pisses me off by the way). All the wonderful ingredients come together to make a healthy and wonderfully tasteful meal. However, my fear is that I will become the bipolar/schizophrenic type who needs meds!!! (This is the comic relief, please laugh).

When I presented this to Tommy he was totally confused, but could see small differences. His question was how can I love a place as much as I do Burkesville, want to retire there, have great friends that live there, yet have these negative feelings? Good question (dang it I hate it when he does that)!! In all honesty, I am not sure how to resolve the issue. I believe that I am a blend of the two and need to find the balance. My goal is to do exactly that: find the best of the Burkesville Kristi and Nashville Kristi and be the person I want to be. Via Liza, I will keep you posted (if you care:)).


  1. Kristi,
    I can totally relate to feeling like there are several versions of "me" (and I'm not on meds for schizophrenia yet either!). The conflict of all these selves can be confounding, especially when they seem to contradict one another or be opposites. The older I get, however, the more I'm learning to feel comfortable with keeping people--maybe even myself-- guessing about who I am today. It's also very logical to note that "place" can elicit different facets of our personalities--in some places we feel comfortable, other places, less at ease, or pushed out of our comfort zones. Both are probably good for us, allowing us to enjoy anonymity (the trip to Target in our sweats) and, at other times, the familiarity of community and people who know us and our history. I think we probably have some wonderful versions of ourselves that we haven't even discovered yet!

  2. Great post Kristi and I can identify with your thoughtful questions of place and self identity. As a very recent 31 year old (feel free to gasp), I find that age (and the trials and experiences that come along) is helping me to feel more comfortable with who I am at any given time and in any given place. Enjoy the insights and lessons that your 30's will bring and always remember Kristi (and Liza)- at least you are younger than me! :)-

  3. Ladies,
    Thanks so much for your comments. It is so comforting to know that others have experienced these feelings.
    Melissa: I never thought of this as a positive, but now can totally see your point. Thanks!
    Lindsey: I also forgot that you have one year of "experience" in the age department. Funny how I forgot that....but I can SO remember that you had your driver's liscence first and us all stacking on top of one another in the white Saturn!! Good times!

  4. Kristi, thank you again for such a wonderfully interesting and thought-provoking post. I've always been a bit of a roamer...even when physically settled, my mind was often in numerous places, imagining things I could do or "lizas I could be." I think Melissa and Lindsey are right - accepting all of our sides and nuances is not only "okay" but good for us. I think the trick to happiness is to simply "decide what to be and go be it." Figure out where (and with whom) you feel like the best version of yourself at a particular point in time and be there. This rationale is why I am back in Cumberland Co. and why I am with Andy - neither were necessarily the easiest of choices or things that just "naturally happened"; sometimes, though, we have to quit overanalyzing things and just do what we know (for whatever reason) is right. If Nashville (or anywhere else) is where you feel like the best version of yourself, never feel guilty for not living here.
    Love you! Great work!

  5. Kristi, enjoyed your blog and I loved what you said about reading these blogs bring out hidden thoughts or ideas in all of us. I jsut appreciate all your thoughts and feelings and you wrote them so well. I am just learning so much from all you girls. Many years ago I attemped to teach you girls some life facts and not you all are teaching me much more. Enjoy your summer break.