Three Months

Before we were dating, back when we were just friends, my ex once told me that I had “perfect skin”. I don’t remember how it came up as we were driving in my car, or what we could have been talking about that led to that lovely, albeit somewhat unbelievable, compliment. But it stays with me. At the time it was just one of those nice things that someone says that you don’t particularly agree with, but are happy to hear anyway. No, you deflect, no I don’t at all. But secretly you’re pleased. You want to believe it is true.

When we started dating a bit later, I remembered that passing comment, so insignificant at the time, but now, with the attached meaning that hindsight provides, hanging like a sort of albatross around my neck. He thought that I had perfect skin. What if he saw this blemish on my chin, or these lines on my forehead? He must expect that he will always see perfect skin, and what if someday he can see that I most definitely do not have perfect skin? If he thought my skin was perfect, what else needed to be perfect? My hair, my clothes, my body?

So I tried to give him what I thought he wanted to see. Makeup-covered, cutest outfit-wearing, blown-out-hair me. Beyond that, I attempted to BE who I thought he might want to see, might want to love. I tried to be casual (I’m not), I tried to play it cool (nope, not that either) and I tried to seem like the most perfect, has-it-all-together girl he could have ever met (not even a little).

It didn’t take very long for that to crack. There was the time I got a stomach bug on our first trip together. That splintered the image a little. The time I drank too much and cried drunk tears in front of him. That didn’t help the façade. Or when I finally admitted that I really cared, that I wasn’t casual or cool or any of those things he may have thought I was. The crack became an actual break.

Three months. That’s how long I could sustain this persona I had created for myself. That’s how long it took for the real Katie to make an appearance. That’s how long it took for him to realize that the real Katie was not what he signed up for, and not really what, or who, he wanted at all.

When that relationship imploded for the second time, about three months in again for the second time (as so many before it had as well), it broke me. 

The heartbreak, certainly. The pressure of starting over, again, absolutely. But mostly it was the idea that maybe no one would ever be able to be with me for longer than this trial period. That no would decide to keep me for longer than the standard 90-day return policy.

That no one could actually love the real Katie.

It was a dark moment in time, full of confusion and doubt, despair and fear. After so much pretending, I didn’t know who I was anymore. Or how to be someone who somebody would want. I didn’t know if that was even possible.

But from this breakdown came the breakthrough.

Something clearly wasn’t working for me in relationships. Some pattern seemed to be repeating for me regardless of what “type” of guy I dated. Somehow I wasn’t achieving that real, true, lasting connection with anyone. Someone was preventing me from making it past the three month mark.


Or the “trying-to-be-the-perfect girl” version of me at least. That version was always destined to crack. It would always come up short. It was always doomed to fail. Because it wasn’t real.

The real Katie is very sensitive, and very clumsy, and gets pimples, and has frizzy hair and cares too much most of the time. The real Katie does weird Rain Man-esque things like separate candy by color and only eat the orange ones and memorize numbers and check United miles obsessively. The real Katie likes classical music and Lifetime movies and so many other things that no exes ever knew about.

Maybe if the real Katie showed up at the beginning things would be different. Maybe if there was no façade, if there was nothing to crack, things wouldn’t break. Maybe someone wouldn’t return this real version after three months.

And maybe, just maybe, someone WOULD love real Katie.


41 thoughts on “Three Months

  1. What a great insight! I believe that when you are ready the right relationship shows up. Someone soon will be privileged to be able to love the real Katie!

  2. You are such a beautiful and authentic writer. Sometimes I feel like you are reading my mind! I have spent way too much of my life trying to “be the perfect version of myself”. Personally, I love the real Katie too. Your words are such an inspiration…keep sharing!

  3. Oh Katie! Your light shines so brightly and you are so lovable and very loved. Being authentic can be very difficult, but it is when all tends to falls into place!!! Love this piece XO

  4. I’m 28 this year and I’ve been in 4 failed relationships! I always wonder why it doesnt go past a certain amount of time. I feel like you’ve somewhat answered the question for me….but I do now more than ever that if anything I’m more myself now then I’ve ever been in the past….we’ve all been there, trying to be the perfect girl for what we thought was the perfect guy…
    beautiful writing..


  5. You are perfect. Perfectly you, as we all are beautifully flawed…”coming into this world on the wings of angels” -Oprah.

    People who desire a mate that passes the test of their vision and checklist of perfect…Blah!! Yuk! Boring! That would be a mate on a ship no one should board! I would look for a possible shipmate on a course with a destination to “always evolving”.

    Perfectly flawed, authentic, a seeker, and lover of the beauty in truth…now that sounds like a partner that just may pass the sexy test to me.

    Be you.

    We all want someone to see us as beautiful, smart, funny, fun to be around, different in every way we think could be better than another and possibly make us stand out and be noticed. Yet the one you will really love, the one you will be attracted to and discover is your new best friend first and foremost, is the one that sees you, all of you, and accepts you for EXACTLY who you are at any given moment, every single day. When no persona is masking you and they see you, they really see you, and you see them. That’s where it’s at! That’s the sign of a good egg.

    When you let go and just be, they find you. The lucky one is waiting for you.

  6. It’s quite a breakthrough to realize that to find real love, you have to let the real you shine! The right person will love you for all your imperfections.

  7. I love this. Absolutely perfect. Especially this part:

    The real Katie is very sensitive, and very clumsy, and gets pimples, and has frizzy hair and cares too much most of the time. The real Katie does weird Rain Man-esque things like separate candy by color and only eat the orange ones and memorize numbers and check United miles obsessively. The real Katie likes classical music and Lifetime movies and so many other things that no exes ever knew about.

    those parts of myself are always the hardest for me to acknowledge and show people in my life – yet they are my favorite things about the people i love in my life! i love when i find the perfectly imperfect quirks- they only make me love more.

  8. Katie, I am a dear friend if Kate (363til30)-and came across your blog by chance. II am now a sure reader, and follower, and love, your honesty, openness and writing. Keep it up, your post made my day, and it made me remember what truly moves me.. Me! Love, light and levity …

  9. I ended up here after coming across your article on MindBodyGreen about not taking everything personally (preaching to the choir). When I read “The real Katie does weird Rain Man-esque things ” I knew I’d found a virtual friend 🙂

  10. This is very honest and you’re a wonderful person. However, you’re wrong. The real Katie is not at all like what you describe. You are not your pimples. You are not your drunk escapades. You are not your rain man esqueities. You are not that uncool, untogether person.

    Because all of these are just words. You cannot be words. It would be silly if you were just words. Who you really are is much more complex than that and it’s different every moment.

    The only person you really are is the one that’s *looking* at this text right here, right now. You cannot be anything else. You cannot be your past or your future. You can only be.

    But goddamnit, it took me ages to figure this out. I hope for you that you will figure it out as well. It’s very liberating!

  11. Pingback: I Created A Persona For My (Ex) Boyfriend | Thought Catalog

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