When did I become THAT girl?

Let’s get one thing straight: sometimes I make mistakes.  Oftentimes, actually, and this weekend was one of those times.  If you missed Saturday’s post about why I didn’t want to go rock climbing with My 50th Date or Sunday’s post about what happened when I did, go back and read them because they’re important.  It’s hard to pick out the turning points in your own life, especially when you’re right in the thick of it and tend to overdramatize everything in the first place, but I think I might have turned a corner this weekend.

While attempting to clean my room on Sunday morning, I came across the following photograph.  This is me almost nine years ago, and even with all of the headshots I’ve had taken over the years, the images from last month’s photo shoot and all of the wacky outfits I’ve dreamed up for my former editor over at AOL, it’s this picture that I love the most.

Kat Richter

It was taken by my first boyfriend at a youth hostel (Wombats, to be exact) in Vienna.  We were both 17 at the time and I was halfway through my first solo trek through Europe.  There’s nothing glamorous about it—I’m not even wearing a bra!—and I’ve got laundry hanging in the background, no makeup, no earrings, and definitely no stilettos.

I remember putting on a dress later that evening (and getting pissed at my boyfriend for not bothering to don a proper shirt for what was our last night in Europe together) so clearly I wasn’t completely embracing the “backpacker grunge” look at the time.  But I was happy in this photograph.  I was doing something adventurous and even though it scared the living daylights out of me half the time, I wasn’t trying to be somebody I’m not.

In reflecting over the events of the past few months, I’ve begun to wonder what the hell happened to me—to the girl in that photograph?

I like getting dressed up and drinking fancy cocktails and seeing just how far I can get with men like Date #4 and the rest of the Impressionists but if I’m to be totally honest with myself, I’ve never been totally honest with them.  There’s a part of me that doesn’t like getting dressed up all the time, a part of me that would (God forbid!) prefer a picnic to a 5-star restaurant once in a while, a part of me that’s always just pretending to be a successful girl about town.

Sometimes I’d rather just curl up and watch re-runs of The Office and confess that I don’t always know what I’m doing in terms of my career—that making a living as a freelance writer and teaching artist is harder than I ever imagined it would be and I’m not sure if I want to go back to school or not.

When I think back to that time not so very long ago when I fished my grandmother’s pearls from my jewelry box in the hopes that they would make me look more Republican (and therefore more apt to belong at the Union League) I kind of want to punch myself in the face.

What the hell was I thinking?

Sure, the Union League is gorgeous and I was blown away by the opulence of that particular evening (which I why I let that “evening” last as long as it did) but the Union League is not a place I want to belong.  I’m not saying I want to spend the rest of my life braless and sleeping in bunk beds at some Viennese youth hostel but there’s got to be some sort of happy medium— because the persona I’ve created for the purpose of this “experiment” is kind of a bitch, and her conduct is starting to get on my nerves.

This isn’t me.

At least, it’s not all of me.

And it’s high time I stopped pretending it was.

(Whoops– I was supposed to tell the story of what happened after My 50th Date invited me in, wasn’t I?  Well, don’t worry: I will.  First thing tomorrow.  In the meantime, check out my new post over at Too Darn Hot.)

19 Responses to “When did I become THAT girl?”

  1. Lavender Blue

    I get it. I’ve felt the way you possibly felt when you wrote this. That “who in the hell is this person!” feeling. I don’t know you, but I like your blog, I like your writing and right now I relate with you. This may be the best thing I’ve read all week (since last Monday, at least).

  2. Debbie

    Someone recently told me that the best way to attract a man was to become comfortable and confident in your own skin. Sometimes it takes some “trying on” of skins (so to speak) to find the one that fits the best. Congratulations for taking on the challenge, reveling in the discovery, and coming back to your self.

  3. Zak

    Remember when you blogged about going hiking? https://katrichterwrites.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/me-and-my-snuggie/

    The part I liked about it was that you do other things (camping) and are apparently quite capable (pitching a tent, etc). You also have your own political views that you’ve shared and you blog about things other than dating (dancing, teaching, etc).

    Basically, while you may feel that you’re not doing everything you want – I can relate – you don’t seem to be too far out of balance. So, perhaps take a week or two off (any more dates except #50) and see how you feel then?

    Oh, and you’ve won even more “awesome” points: you watch the Office!

    • Kat Richter

      Haha, thanks Zak– The Office is pretty awesome 🙂 I’m going off both Match and eHarmony in a few days and although there are a few more dates on the horizon, I think I’m slowing down… which is probably a good thing!

  4. jennigetsit

    I enjoyed this piece. You are honest and so willing to take the long hard looks that we all should take at ourselves when things just don’t feel quite right. It is in those moments that simple things present themselves and give us answers if we are willing to listen. Photos are wonderful examples. Keep your heart open, keep noticing those signs and keep listening to that inner voice! She will guide you where you need to go and support you every step of the way! Take it from someone who knows. Give your authentic self a go!

  5. Rachel

    pearls = Republican – ha ha ha! This Republican thinks you are funny, even when introspective. It’s hard figuring out what we want and who we are vs. what we think we should want and who we think we should be. Best of luck!

  6. chauffeur

    Its like a yin and yang thing, keeping that proper, healthy, worldly balance. Sometimes one can go too far one way or the other, but then you’ll find the middle again and go from there.
    Look honestly at yourself, and make any necessary adjustments….thats great, but do not be too hard on you.

  7. Kate Ferguson Writes

    This post really moved me. I love your writing and I think that reading between the lines, a sense of who you are does emerge. Keep it up, things will fall into place.

  8. Justine

    I think there hardly ever comes a time when we meet men who address many, if all, aspects of our personalities.
    Some of them fit the republicans in us, some of them the writers in us and some of them the scholars in us.
    You’re such an amalgum of completely different “bits&pieces” – you tap-dance, you teach children, you’re an academic in dance history, you’re a writer, you’re an online dater, you’re a trekker and adventurer. It would be hard for anyone to keep up with.

    Rules of engagement/Dating games aside (which you are very skilled at)… When you come across an all-encompasser you might be out of luck – he could already be married/be too old for you. It happens even to the best of us.

    I believe it’s more about what you yourselves in your relationship build as your own world. As long as there is “your place” where you can feel mutual trust, desire and support and all the fluffy-girly stuff, stuff men enjoy like hell but are too scared to show appreciation for, you’ll know you’re really happy… Sometimes it’s little things – texts in the middle of the day with a quote from the book you both read. Sometimes it’s sending you an encouraging e-mail with a unique metaphor. Most often it’s some kind of ritual you both can only share and enjoy – bath-tubs every now-and-then, hikes, chess matches (I’ve seen it, honestly…). It’s private and it gives the bond between you time to heal&grow.

    You’ll find it easy to build such a sphere with some men who might have many unusual aspects to them . They could be a lot more high-quality relationships than with all-encompassers.

      • Justine

        Glad you liked it. 🙂 I’ve been thoroughly enjoying your blog entries for some time now (middle of “the experiment”) and I like the direction you’re taking them in.

        Was it hard to digest because of the writing style?
        Or was it the emotional processing of ideas expressed in the post?

  9. Lost in France

    In life we can not necessarily just know who we are. But may have to try on a number of different costumes to decide which one really fits us.
    The coincident of finding this photo, tying in with your completely unglamorous date has made you reflect on which has made you most happy

  10. Jody

    This is the best post you’ve written for a while! Having had some similar experiences to your own, I’ve been sitting here wondering when something would change. And now it has! Congratulations! Honesty to yourself is so important. I found myself so focused on ‘dating’ and all the rules and expectations that I totally lost an understanding of the real me and what I wanted…and also what I truly had to offer.
    But here you are, being honest and very brave. Letting it out for the world to see. I’m impressed!


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