I don’t know.

I haven’t written in this blog in a long time. And until just a few moments ago, I couldn’t really tell you why. Being busy, not feeling “inspired,” or not having anything to share are not really accurate excuses. I think it’s because I’ve been hiding.

Photo by A. Pagliaricci
Photo by A. Pagliaricci

I didn’t know I was hiding, not at first. But like a shapeless, dark monster that creeps into your dreams, vignetting what seems to be a fairly standard happy image, I had this growing suspicion that something was not quite right with me. It’s been plaguing me for weeks, this sensation that something is about to fall apart, that I’m not truly alive and aware, that any happiness I’ve felt was false. I’ve talked about it at great lengths with my close friends, my therapist, writing about it in my journal. I could articulate it, yes, but at most it was an intellectual diagnosis. It felt like someone dubbing over my own voice in a foreign language. I knew, but I couldn’t touch it. It hadn’t hit me yet, it floated above me, mockingly. I was pretty sure of what I wanted to eat but I had yet to order it and actually ingest it.

Okay, enough metaphors. You get the idea. But for someone who always has to know the answer to everything, this uncertainty has been difficult for me to live with. So I simply didn’t. In the past 3 months since I’ve last posted, I’ve been quite busy. I held a fundraiser party, I went home for the holidays, I finally wrapped principal photography on my film, I started a writers’ group, produced and acted in a new comedy web-sketch, as well as started developing more web-sketches for PITtv. Meanwhile, I’ve continued to work full-time and go out with friends or on dates. I’ve been very busy. I’ve been barely home. I’ve been rarely alone. Because I’m hiding.

When my best friend suddenly died last June, all I wanted was to be alone. Grief was the most isolating experience of my life. I’ve lived quite an individual life so far, but the alone-ness was palpable. I couldn’t be around anyone, I couldn’t smile for anyone or make small talk with anyone. I just wanted to sit outside and listen to our favorite music and cry. Nurse my grief like it was the last drink I’ll ever have. I walked the streets of New York with a bubble around me, protecting me from interaction, from engagement, from life. I just mourned.

So when I finally came out, when the sun’s rays finally actually got to touch my skin again, when I looked up, it felt miraculous. I slowly started to feel inspired again, the need to be productive, to continue living. After a while, I wanted to see other people. I wanted to start working on my projects again. I would never be the same, but I was back. And once I got my footing, I took off running. I filled my schedule and took on new projects and set up meetings and dates and outings and laughed and talked and acted like my old extroverted self again. But I was hiding.

I was hiding because I was afraid of being alone again. If I was alone, then I would think. And if I thought, I would think about Matt. And if I thought about Matt, I feared I would slip back into that dark yet brightly-lit, stark, empty room of despair again. I still am. I’m afraid. I’m afraid to be sad. I’m afraid to let myself continue to grieve. I’m afraid I won’t come out of it again. It’s been 8 months and 17 days since Matt died and I’m not still fully healed. I’m not over it. That’s okay. I’m never going to be over this. People tell you about that deep loss. I know this. But I might not also fully heal from this.

Why do we look at wounds as things that need to heal? I kept trying to become this holier-than-thou totally enlightened wise being in the last several months. How pretentious of me to go on and on about how my best friend’s death changed me? I would wax poetic about death and the meaning of life like I suddenly had all the answers now that I’ve experience such profound, tragic loss. (My friends know exactly what I’m talking about. Thank you for not slapping me, but god somebody please slap me next time.)

That is total bullshit. Okay, not total, but I was missing the point, I see that now. That was me trying to tie everything up neatly with a bow again. That was the same Katie that pretended to give eloquent interviews about world issues to the mirror when she was 9 (okay 15… okay 21… okay fine, last night) but still – I have this need to romanticize everything in my life, to package it neatly and analyze it and understand it all, but the truth is, I really don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know anything at all.

Photo by danabooo
Photo by danabooo

I’m a mess. I’m a flawed, messy, emotional human being. Made of flesh and blood and bones and chemicals and weird shit like that and I’m trying to figure it out desperately like everyone else. I miss my best friend and I still grieve for him but also sometimes I don’t think about him. And yeah, I feel guilty about that too. I don’t always stick to my diet and sometimes I get drunk on weeknights and I date the wrong people and I can be flaky and I don’t call my parents nearly as much as I should. I make snap judgments and I say things sometimes just to get a rise out of people and I get secretly possessive over my food. I have hateful thoughts sometimes and I’m mad at my best friend for dying on me and I miss him so frickin’ much and I worry way too much and I really do want love and children and a family someday. I cry at the drop of a hat and I have dry skin and I don’t like to follow rules and I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m a human. I am not a saint, I am not the Buddha, I will not rise out of this like a glorious wise martyr. I am ugly sometimes, and I have ugly emotions sometimes, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad. I’m allowed to be ugly. I’m allowed to be human. I’m allowed to let this wound fester a bit.

This all came to a head while I was listening to the Strangers podcast while at work.  I highly recommend everyone listen to this episode. When I first started researching about grief in the initial months after Matt’s death, I would scoff at those articles about broken hearts. “Who cares about a break-up? I f*cking lost my best friend – he f*cking died! We can’t ever see or talk to each other again because he doesn’t exist on this planet anymore!” But the fact is, a broken heart is a broken heart. Listening to these storytellers talk about their own experiences after a devastating break-up, it echoed exactly what I went through last summer. When Annie McEwen and Lea Thau said that even waking up is hard, realizing that this is the world you live in now, that’s exactly how it felt waking up every day last summer. And in Annie’s story, when the female character mentions just living with her lost love, not being consumed by it but giving it space and just knowing that she has to live with this feeling, without him, every day – it resonated with me.

Like these two women, my heart is broken. And I agree with Annie, I don’t think I’ll ever love the same way again. I don’t think losing Matt is something I’ll ever fully heal from. What Matt and I had was special, our friendship was truly one-of-a-kind. But I don’t think I’m necessarily a better person for having lived through this experience. I am a person. And it has deeply affected me. That’s really all I can say. But like Annie, I am more compassionate than I ever have been, and I’m finally going to start being compassionate with the one person I’ve been hardest on my entire life: yep, myself. Me. I’m going to do that by letting myself have flaws. By letting myself be messy. By letting myself grieve and cry and scream and laugh and dance and drink and eat carbs – and do whatever I need to do.

Death sucks. Break-ups suck. Having your heart ripped from your chest and stomped on really frickin’ blows. And I can’t tell you why. I have no idea why life is so unfair. I don’t know. I really don’t know. And that’s okay.

2 Steps Forward, 5 Steps Back…

I didn’t want to make another political entry so soon, they don’t seem to be anyone’s favorite. But I have to say something.

There has been a lot of news lately with several women coming out accusing of being sexually assaulted/raped by comedian Bill Cosby. When I first saw the headline online, I didn’t click on it. Like these women felt, like so many people feel now, it was just easier to ignore it. How could such a beloved celebrity and family man do such a thing? It made my heart so sad. But eventually, I did start reading about it. Because like war, death, genocide, disease, famine, and all other things that may be unpleasant but very real, we cannot just stick our heads in the sand. We should NOT be ignoring this story.

I can't look at Bill Cosby's picture one more time right now, so instead, here are a bunch of beautiful women from all over the world.  Photo credit to: Robyn Jay.
I can’t look at Bill Cosby’s picture one more time right now, so instead, here are a bunch of beautiful women from all over the world. Photo credit to: Robyn Jay.

Regardless if the allegations are true, what’s more appalling is the public’s reaction. Anyone who comes forward and admits to being sexually assaulted deserves to be heard. If you’ve never done it, imagine the shame, embarrassment, the risk – it takes incredible courage. These women are now being called liars, ladder-climbers, skanks, or worse – for admitting something so terrible and personal to the public? For trying to get justice and expose the truth about an incredibly successful man? Sure, that sounds easy. They obviously just want the negative attention.

Today, ET just released an article about Janice Dickenson, the latest of the now 15 women who have come forward accusing Bill Cosby of raping them. Please do not read the comments on that article if you do not want to weep/have a rage stroke. I did, unfortunately (it’s a bad reflex) and I was just… stunned. These must be trolls, right? Please let them be trolls.

“Why did she wait so long to come forward?”
“She took the drugs and glass of wine willingly!” (He told her it was aspirin, according to Dickinson)
“She’s no saint either, she’s playing the victim!”
“She’s just looking for her 15 minutes of fame”
“Bill is rich and powerful and has a beautiful wife, he could have any woman he wants, why would he rape?”

And then here’s this gem, “YES… It is true ladies..There were days when you are out drinking and partying..And you had one night stands..You know you had sex forced on you because you were either drugged or intoxicated..And then the next day feeling like crap because you know you had sex the night before..You feel humiliated and hurt because you can’t remember everything..And you know he forced himself onto you..TO ME! THAT IS NOT RAPE! You are just as much to blame as the man who forced himself on you. You put yourself in that situation, by going back to his room or to a hotel with them.”

… I just can’t. I want to write so many angry responses to each of them and smack America upside the head.

I know this news is upsetting. No one wants to accept or even think of our beloved Comedic-Jello-Pudding-Loving-Crazy-Sweater-Wearing-TV-Doctor-Dad as a rapist. It is not pleasant. And hopefully more information will come and he will receive a fair trial. But we need to STOP with the victim-blaming. We need to STOP with the rape culture. It’s 2014, and this is how we respond to women who accuse a man of raping them: paying them to stay quiet, publicly shaming them, threatening their careers and reputations – no wonder they didn’t come out about this in the ’70s or ’80s. We can’t even handle it today – we’d rather run them out of town or burn them at the stake, than face some unfortunate news.

Pretending the Holocaust didn’t happen, doesn’t mean it didn’t. Trauma is trauma, it’s there and it’s real. Ignoring it only lets the wounds fester and become infected – and infections grow – they grow until they consume and poison the entire body if they are not stopped. We’re not ostriches. We need to grow the f*ck up and try to be critical thinkers. Take in the information, THINK about it, read and research, gather the facts, and try to stay objective. Try to have some frickin’ empathy – what if this happened to you? Your sister? Your mother? Your daughter? Your son?

Rape happens. Sexual assault happens. The statistics are there, and they only cover those reported. I have many friends, male and female, who have confessed to me that they were sexually assaulted. For me, rape is personal. And it should be – for all of us. 97% of accused rapists will never spend a day in jail. Meaning they are free to go about their lives and rape again – by not talking about rape, by not reporting rape and sexual assault, we endanger others and we endanger ourselves.

This is why I’m a feminist. It’s not women vs. men. It’s humanity vs. inhumanity. This is why it matters. This is why I will not shut up.