Looking at Who You Were

That was me circa 2009–back when I lived on Wall Street. It’s funny because I swore I saw her last week in New York. The ghost of who I’d been.

And I laughed at her. Because she was so pretentious. Caught up in owning the best of things. Eating at the best restaurants. Buying the nicest Burberry bags. At living the best life. Somehow that always translated into material possessions.

Walking around the city last week, I saw so many people who were like her. And I realized how I used to be. Who I am no longer. It was an eye-piercing moment.

I apologized to Ant for all the times I was obnoxious. He laughed. Then I asked him, “How did you put up with me?”

He paused and thought about it. “Because I knew that wasn’t the core of who you were.”

Which is probably the nicest compliment he could ever give me. We’ve know each other decades and grown up, apart, and back together through the years. We’ve become the people we needed each other to be.

I’m very lucky to still have him in my life. Because that is a rarity. Someone who sticks with you as you evolve away from the person they love and into someone they tolerate to get glimpses of the one they love.

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56 Responses to Looking at Who You Were

  1. Cat Forsley says:

    WOW KOURTNEY …..
    WHAT A BRAVE PIECE ,…..
    GLIMPSES YES ……..
    I THINK THIS IS MY FAVOURITE PIECE OF YOURS …..
    BECAUSE IT’S COURAGEOUS AND HUMBLE AND SOOOOOOO
    HONEST AND UNIVERSAL XO
    BIG HUGS FOR A GREAT WEEK AHEAD XOXO
    C

    • Thanks Catherine! It was weird to realize that I didn’t like that version of me. And it was a relief not to be her anymore.
      Glad you liked this one, it was a little hard to write but I wanted to say it. :)

      Hugs for a lovely week,
      Kourtney

      • Cat Forsley says:

        SERIOUSLY BEAUTIFUL PIECE KOURTNEY
        YOU WERE AWESOME THEN I AM SURE …..
        BUT THAT’S GROWTH RIGHT ? WHEN YOU CAN LOOK BACK AND SAY WOW !!!!
        I HAVE CHANGED …..
        I KNOW THAT HAPPENED FOR ME BIG TIME SINCE 2010 ….. AND NOW 2012 – WELL I FEEL LIKE A NEW CATHERINE XO
        KUDOS TO YOU FOR WEARING YOUR HEART ON THE OUTSIDE XOXO
        MUCH LOVE XX
        C

        • Thanks Catherine. I had some seeds of awesomeness, maybe even a few sprouts of it back then. :)

          It’s really cool to see how much you’ve grown. What you’ve carried forward and what fell by the wayside. Congrats on evolving into Catherine 2012. :)

          Hugs,
          Kourtney

          • Cat Forsley says:

            YES
            SUPER YES …..
            SPROUTS !!! LOVE THAT …..
            YOU ARE SO POETIC IN YOUR RESPONSES …..

            AND CONGRATULATIONS KOURTNEY 2012 !!!!!!!!!
            AND EXTRA ERXTRA HUG FOR THE AMAZON SEMIFINALIST WHOM IS PERSISTENT – COURAGEOUS AND A LOVELY FRIEND XOXOXOXOXO
            PS- WHEN WILL YOU KNOW ABOUT THAT …..
            LOOKING AT THE TIME DOCK ON MY COMPUTER !!!!!
            LOL XOXOXO
            C

          • Thanks! I try to mine my well of words when I write comments. :)

            Thank you very much! Aw, Catherine you write the loveliest kindest comments. :)

            Double hugs back.

            Amazon officially announces it May 22nd. Though they are supposed to contact the finalists by email or phone around May 14th. I’m sure they make you agree not to say anything until they officially announce, so I can’t make any announcements until May 22nd. But I should know a week before that.

            XOXO,
            K

          • Cat Forsley says:

            OK
            GETTING THE KOURTNEY POMPOMS OUT …..RIGHT NOW ….:) !!!!!!!!
            IT’S NOT FAR AWAY XO
            I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU …….
            AND JUST MARKED THE DATE ….
            I WON’T ASK UNTIL THE 22ND ,,,,,,
            PROMISE ……
            SHHHHHHHH :)
            DRUMROLLLL ON THE 22ND……!!!!!
            GIMME A K
            !!!!
            XX
            C

          • Thanks Catherine! :)

            It’s pretty close. I can’t believe it. I mean there is a possibility I could be in the finals?!

            Thanks. I promise to announce on the 22nd–whether I made it or no. :)

            LOL. You are the best cheerleader ever!

  2. stuartart says:

    We make our own luck so you must of deserved him. :)

  3. Sally Panayiotou says:

    Ah how wise we are when we can look back and see the mistakes in our younger selves. It makes you want to run over to those daft girls and set them straight, but they’ll need to learn it for themselves. Just share what you can and continue enjoying become a better person with each new day.

    • So true Sally! I think life lessons have to be learned. There are no shortcuts. I’ve tried to give people advice but I realize it’s the going through it that made me understand and no amount of talk will every equate with the experience. :)

  4. kford2007 says:

    What a beautiful post. I’m glad you found the real you. I’m even more proud to have ‘met’ her. Keep up the good work, hon. You’ll go far. (cute dress in that photo, tho). :)

  5. Cherie says:

    Interesting, Kourtney. Wondering if you can see any correspondinig changes in your writing…

    • Very interesting question Cherie. I have been more able to admit what wasn’t working in my writing and to accept feedback quicker than I used to. In my new draft, I’m more focused and more into the emotions of the characters. So I do see a shift there too. I didn’t even think about it until you mentioned it. :)

  6. Samir says:

    Awesome insight, Kourteny. Really cool that you can look back and see it as a phase you had to go through and can now move on. I think I can identify with these sentiments… hm, do I sense a future blog post coming up? :-)

    • Samir, it’s that hindsight thing. Never saw it in the moment I was living it. Only when I was way past that moment and then immersed back in the same place that I saw it clearly. :) I love how we bloggers inspire each other with posts and support each others’ writing. It’s an amazing community to be a part of. :)

  7. winsomebella says:

    Love this, especially “We’ve become the people we needed each other to be.”. Wonderful post.

    • Aw, thanks! It was one of those little epiphanies that hit as he and I walked up Hudson after dinner. We had left my old neighborhood and walked through his old neighborhood and I thought about all the people I had been over those years. And who he had been. And how somehow we evolved into what we needed in each other. :)

  8. I went through some old pictures with my mom recently and marveled at the young girl I saw looking back at me with a version of my face without any crinkles at the eyes. Ach.

    • It’s so weird to walk down memory lane and see the old versions of yourself. I remember in college I was so slender and I had no idea. I was always trying to lose those pesky 5 lbs. Wish I had that problem now. :)

  9. Whew – something about old pictures – and old haunts. (is this what they mean by you can’t go home again?)
    Loved this, too: “We’ve become the people we needed each other to be.”
    Sounds like you had quite and adventure – and revelations.
    Cheers to you!

    • Seriously. Pablo Neruda said it best, “When you wander too far into the past, it becomes a prison.” I just skimmed the surface. But there was so much I couldn’t and didn’t see about myself back then. :) Yeah, the person I had to be to live in NY was not the person I necessarily like being. :)

      Thanks! It was a very insightful few days there.

  10. I wonder if we strutted past each other in NYC–me in my pretentious fashionista disguise, you in all-things-Wall St. ;) Not that we would’ve noticed. LOL

    You’ve come a long way, lady! Admirably so. Thank goodness for friends who see past our facades, even when we seem incapable. Love this post.

    • LOL. Probably. But I was pretty caught up in me and likely would have thought, “Wow, she’s gorgeous, now back to me.” :)

      Thanks. I cringe at how materialistic and obnoxious I was. Seriously, friends that love us when we are rich or poor, self absorbed or self-less. Those are definitely keepers. :)

  11. crubin says:

    Funny–I never took you for a dress-wearing girl. In my world–the one where your Hungarian-accented grandmother lives–you dress very Gap-ish and Banana-Republic-ish like me: pants and sweaters. Always good to shake up my assumptions. :)

    But I joke. In all sincerity, I loved this post. We all evolve, and the hope is we can find someone to evolve with us, in both good and bad times.

    • Carrie, I used to be into dresses for a while in NY. (Not my norm though) My work clothes tended toward Ann Taylor and Brooks Brothers. LOL. But that’s another story. I was most comfy in Lucky jeans and an Anthropologie top.

      Thanks so much. :) Very true. It’s rare to find people that can come along for the entire journey of our lives.

  12. klynwurth says:

    Yes, I can look back on times like those you mention. It is humbling and a relief for me, to realize that all of my efforts to belong weren’t necessary in the long run, although they may have taught me a thing or two. I like to say “no experience is ever wasted.” Maybe I’m just evolving into an old girl…but that sounds pretty good, actually. Being thirty-something (and beyond) was sure exhausting…you couldn’t pay me to go back. Thanks for your post, Kourtney. I love reading you….

    • Kelly, I was thinking how much more pressure there is to fit in and wear the right clothes in the city than in the countryside. Everyone thinks the city is so freeing, but I find it a bit stifling now. I prefer being out in the burbs now. Weird shift. :)

      LOL. Yeah, I look back on my 20s and think, goodness that was rough. Thirties are getting better. :)

      So glad you enjoyed the post. I enjoy your blog too!

  13. Insight is a funny thing. I think this: “Someone who sticks with you as you evolve away from the person they love and into someone they tolerate to get glimpses of the one they love.” is actually one of the saddest things I’ve read. Beautiful line, insightful, but…how sad to be the person watching the one you love change, getting only glimpses of how he or she used to be.

    Happy it all worked out for you and you became yourself again, true to your core. :) And, I’m sure the Kourtney of 2009 was probably not quite as awful as you think. If she were, the Kourtney of 2012 would not be able to write something like this.

    • Jeannette, I think that is terribly sad too. I feel awful for putting my friend through that. I had zero awareness of it at the time. Still, I’ve apologized and will continue to make amends. Very happy I got back to myself. :) I will agree, she had her good points, but there were some bad points. Things she was working through that were manifesting in really obnoxious behavior. Thank you though for your kind words. :)

  14. CC MacKenzie says:

    Aww, I love this post.

    We all change and grow and develop and that’s fine, that’s how it should be. Don’t be too hard on yourself as Jeannette says above you wouldn’t be able to write this post!!

    • Thanks CC. I agree, we have to make mistakes to grow and learn. I think it’s really important to own those mistakes especially when they affect other people. At times, it was hard to stay my friend, but he did. And I appreciate that now more than I could back then. :)

      I will probably continue to make mistakes. The only thing I can do is own them and apologize and try to be better going forward. :)

  15. It's the little things that make life great.berry says:

    How honest. Isn’t funny how our values change. Good friends stand by through it all. You are lucky to have such a friend.

    • Thanks. It really is weird how much we change. Or evolve into and away and back into ourselves. :) Good friends are worth their weight in gold. I am very blessed to have him! :)

  16. jmmcdowell says:

    I think we must change as we go through life or something is very wrong. As our experiences accumulate, our thoughts and attitudes shift from the new perspectives. We have to make mistakes and learn from them.

    We’re fortunate when people we knew at one stage can continue with us on the next.

    Thanks for such an insightful glimpse into your growth.

    • JM, that is such a wonderful perspective! Thanks for sharing it here. :) Very lucky indeed when people can come along through a few stages with us. Thanks for giving me even more perspective on it. : )

  17. Cedelle says:

    I must agree, It must be great to have someone like Ant in your life! oh and… O_O Must. Have. Dress…

    ~C

    • He’s definitely a blessing. :) LOL. Thanks! It was made by this team of seamstresses “In the Starlight” that I found online. Very talented ladies. They went out of business in 2010. :(

  18. Debra Kristi says:

    I think it’s beautiful that you are able to look back and see the change in yourself. See yourself for the better person you have become. I, too, used to be too hung up on material things. I admit to liking some nice things now, but when it comes to how I dress myself, I don’t need designer anything. I can think of a hundred different ways to put the money to better use. I think less about me and more about the impact I have on the world around me and others. That’s what really matters now. And changes, I can see a lot of changes in my life. Which ones lead me to feel this way? *shrugs* Can’t really say. But I’m happy for the change. Fabulous post, Ms. Kourtney.

    • Thanks Debra! It was an odd disconnect, being back in the city I once loved and seeing it from an outsider’s perspective. And all those obnoxious, pretentious people–I used to be them. Filled with self-importance yet trying so hard to prove I mattered. It was surreal. I still like nice things, but I’ve learned a lot about what I can do without. What is essential and what is nice but unnecessary. LOL. I’d rather spend the money on books and writing conferences. Such a shift in priorities. I’m glad for it too!

  19. It’s good to have insight. Even if it’s only hindsight insight. I love your honesty.

    • Thanks Carol. :) Insight is good. Even if it’s after the fact. i feel like the only way I can hold others accountable is if I start with myself. Hardest thing I ever learned to do was admit I was wrong and apologize and make amends. It’s kinda like rejection though. It gets easier each time.

  20. sportsjim81 says:

    Stellar piece of writing. We all have moments like this in our lives, whether it’s about things we might consider small or incidental, or huge, atomic-bomb-sized issues, but we rarely express them so well. Great piece, and congrats on finding the real you.

    • Thanks so much Jim! I really appreciate it. :) I think I’m getting closer to the core of me. Still discovering things I love and am not to happy with. But I think that’s a part of life. Sculpting yourself into the person you want to be. :)

  21. zelmare says:

    What a very special man! You’re a lucky girl! :)

  22. La La says:

    Very insightful…these types of people are hard to find.

    • Thanks. Yeah, I must have done something really good in the last life…then again maybe he did something really bad! :P Seriously though, I’m really lucky to have him. :)

  23. 4amWriter says:

    I love looking back on a time of life to know that I’ve made huge changes for the better. I never forget how I got to be the person I am. You’re lucky to have such a wonder friend to know the true you. :)

    • Kathryn, I have a yearly ritual around my birthday where I pull out my old photo albums. I take a walk down memory lane seeing who I’ve been, where I’ve been and remembering how long it took to get to who I am now. It’s a time to reflect on what I’ve done and think about what I want to do next. Indeed I am. I’m starting to see just how blessed I am. I’ve got two dear dear friends from elementary and middle school who ground me and who I can come back to over and over again and we pick up where we left off as though no time has passed. That’s incredibly rare and lovely. :)

  24. Pingback: The Bodacious Blogger’s Essential Ingredients | August McLaughlin's Blog

  25. I love this post. My husband has stood by me each time I’ve evolved, whether it be away from or to my core self. You come highly recommended via August McLaughlin–and I am very glad I stopped in for a visit. See you again soon.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by! August is one of the most amazing bloggers I’ve ever met. I swear she makes me a better person by reading her blog. :) Aw, that’s truly awe inspiring. You are very lucky to have him. :)

  26. Pingback: Some Favorite Posts on My Favorite Blogs! And I Got Another Award! « Lisa Hayes Blog – For writers (& fans) of Women's Fiction & Roots Rock Music.

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