Below is an email I sent to a group of close friends last week.
The responses I received, combined with some incredible talks I recently heard (more on that later) inspired me to start this blog.
Hopefully this blog will inspire you to start something too.
SUBJECT: I did something bold today....thought I would share!
Some of you knew me when this relationship dominated my life, some of you knew me after. Either way I know that I've at least mentioned my long distance/online boyfriend Nick* from [city name]*. I met him in 9th grade (online), and eventually started dating my junior year. Multiple hours of the day spent texting, talking on AIM, and racking up our parents' phone bills. Multiple cross country trips to visit each other, attend high school with each other, even prom, and ultimately Mexico. He was my best friend for so much of my adolescence and he was my first *AHEM*.
Anyway, distance, youth, and technology make our long-distance breakup a big blur. Drunken texts (mostly mine) and "don't talk to me anymore"s (mostly his) left me without closure for SO. LONG. I can't even tell you how many times my mom has said, "Kimber. Let it go."
True to form, I ignored that advice and just bided my time til the day I would go back to [city name]*. The internet would once again prove a useful tool for knowing too much about people and I would easily message him on Facebook and get the reunion I always wanted.
Well not quite.
I'm in [city name]* now. I'm here for a conference with friends and I did what we all knew I would do, I looked him up on Facebook.... Got nothing. Looked him up on Instagram. Nothing. Linkedin, twitter, whitepages, google. All yielded NOTHING. As if he DOESN'T post pictures of his food and let people tag him in drunken photos from 4th of July. (What kind of monster is he??)
So in a last ditch effort I googled his full name, Nicholas*. One picture showed up. This picture.*
So for three days, I've had this knowledge. For three days I've known he is a short 6 minute drive from where I'm staying between the hours of 9-5. For three days, I've been in [city name], wondering how to casually show up at an auction house* and not get the cops called on me. Not get screamed at by someone who thought they had eliminated me from their life.
I didn't even know if he'd be there. I mean what is the work environment even like at an auction house?? Does he go in every day? Does he wear a suit? Does he talk really fast now? Who knows.
I managed to convince a girlfriend to come with me as a buffer. Also to catch me when I fainted.
We blasted "eye of the tiger" in our rental car as we drove to the Auction House and I screamed and laughed out my nerves.
When I got there, I asked the closest front desk person "if Nick* was working"... like I'm in freaking high school calling Subway to see if my bf is working that day. She went back into her office and said she'd call him to come down.
He actually does come into the office. I gripped the nearest structure for support, hoping it wasn't some $15,000 antique waiting to be auctioned off. My girlfriend took a seat on the sofa, trying to act as natural as someone could for feigning invisibility.
And then he walked out. He was wearing the same skater clothes I had seen him in 12 years earlier and after the longest 10 seconds of my life, he said "Kim?? is that you?"
And then I passed out.
Ok, not really. I said that I was shaking... as if that would make it stop. Said that I had looked him up on google, and wondered if he wanted to grab coffee while I was in town. He made some passing comment about me being a stalker (as you do). But really, it went so much better than I could have ever thought.
He asked if I could wait a few minutes and wanted to grab lunch. At a nearby cafe, we talked and reminisced and I dropped the word "surreal" a good 20 times. I was very smooth.
I showed him pictures of Abby, and explained my current lifestyle in a way that [I hoped] didn't make me sound like a jerk. He said he lived at his grandma's because she needed someone to take care of her and refused to leave her house. I remembered how he was always more selfless than me.
It was a reunion I've literally dreamt about for 12 years. Because that's what lack of closure will do. He was so sweet and so thankful for me being bold, and my heart is so happy and warm.
It could have gone horribly, but I feel rewarded for taking the chance and I just had to share! BE BOLD LADIES. In whatever way that means to you.
*I've changed his name and hid his photos and the city he lives for privacy's sake. Just because I can look him, doesn't mean everyone should.
Here are the responses I received from my friends:
So from these messages, I was able to glean a few things:
First, someone needs to teach my friends how to update their email signature on their iPhone.
Second, no one thought I was bat-shit crazy for having tracked down a high school love to find closure! So either we’re all bat-shit crazy (haven't ruled it out) or the happy ending made the ballsy move easier to digest.
The biggest takeaway, though, was that every single friend SUPPORTED me. All the taboo or scary things I’ve done in my life have maybe invited a few questions, but mostly they’ve inspired or impressed those who knew me.
People ask me all the time, “How did you quit your job to travel?” “How did you make money and live wherever you want?” “How did you date someone across the country when you were 16??”
The answer is usually just… because I wanted to. I often don’t ask permission because I won’t accept no as an answer. (I'll explain in a later post the logistics of dating someone you met online when you're a minor, pre-tinder, pre-facebook. YES I'm that old.)
For 12 years, I didn’t accept no as an answer and last week it came to pay off.
Do I think this is a green light for anyone to track down old flames or not appease someone’s request for space? No. Absolutely not. You could maybe --probably-- end up in jail.
I’m saying I had a gut instinct and I went for it. I didn’t let my fear of rejection or the advice of my parents stop me. My need to know and my willingness to act trumped everything else.
It’s okay to take risks if you trust yourself.
It’s okay to be curious about things people tell you to leave alone.
Sometimes fostering that sense of curiosity is more important than trying to be courageous. Author James Stephens has a quote, “Curiosity will conquer fear more than bravery will.”
Curiosity for me has come in many forms. Most of them challenging the status quo in some way. Why can't I love someone I met on the internet? Why should I work from a desk in Maryland if I could work from a desk in Italy? Why are cheez-its so much better than cheese nips?
Why should I feel ashamed of these questions?
In this blog I want to share stories and adventures that I would not have otherwise had if I didn't ask why?
Ultimately I want to hear the stories of my readers as well. If we don't share what we know, then how will anyone else learn?
- This is the first post. Chances are good that my writing will improve.
- It's okay to take risks when you trust yourself.
- Give people the chance to be inspired by your courage and curiosity.
- Cheez-its ftw.