My Name is Karen and I Don’t Suck, by Karen J. Graves

My Name is Karen and I Don’t Suck, by Karen J. Graves

Hi. My name ís up there (^). Tomorrow, at midnight, it will be my birthday. I will be 26 years old. And I feel as if I have absolutely nothing to show for it. I’m writing this post because I’m hoping that I can talk (write?) some sense into myself. I’m hoping, that I can convince you, whoever you might be, that I am not a horrible person. I do not have anything inherently wrong with me. I am not broken. I am not damaged goods. I’m hoping that if I can convince you, whoever you might be, wherever you might be, whether you know of me or not, that I will convince myself.

I’m going to ask Lizy not to post this until a later date. Right now I’m not sure when that date might be, but I’m guessing that it will be sometime within the next week. Normally I wouldn’t expect myself to follow through on this timeline, but I’ve already talked to my mother. She understands and she makes me not as afraid.

I am a serial monogamist. I have never had many boyfriends (or girlfriends, for clarifications sake), but when I have and when I do; I mean business. I mean talk about babies/houses/cars/joint bank accounts/diamonds business. I fall hard and fast and I am the most stubborn person I have ever known. I will try and try and try and pretend hard enough to fool the biggest skeptic. I don’t do this because I’m a horrible person. I do this because I don’t want to believe that something that was great is gone.

Truth No. 1
Technically, I would count three as my number of serials. One was only six months and I was 15/16 but for the purpose of background, I will count One as the first serial. He was different in the fact that when he ditched me for another girl, I was still living at my parent’s house. I remember the feeling of shame being so odd, like I had done something to deserve a punishment, and that embarrassed me to have my mother and grandparents know this. I know that feeling was falsely held, but hold it I did. Despite this, surprisingly enough, the world didn’t end.

Truth No. 2
Two is a man who divided a life. He is a person, an event, which creates two portions of your biography: Before Two and After Two. Two, for me, lasted five years. For two of those years I had a ring on my finger. For one of those years I was desperately unhappy. And for four months of those sixty months I was terrified that Two would kill me.

I try not to talk about this part of my life because sometimes when I do I can’t stop. Also, everyone who knew us has taken sides. I still like most of you, if you are reading this, and I know that the majority of you didn’t mean to and may not even know you have. But everyone has. I resent the fact that not many cared enough for me to say something to Two when “shit-was-going-down.” There were many who offered support before or after certain events, but would stand to the side and watch me be thrown against the car or screamed at and held against a wall. You would be watching, and see that I was being humiliated, that I was trying or wanted to get away, and you would do nothing. If you did anything at all, and we were on your property, you would ask that we both leave, even though that meant me leaving with Two.

For the very, very few who didn’t (and I can think of only a handful): thank you. Thank you for helping me realize and agreeing with me, that this wasn’t normal. I will never forget and you will never know what it meant to me, standing on the front porch that morning, when you laughed as I retold you the events from the previous night, when I told you how Two had said I would never find anyone to treat me as good as he did. You laughed. And for the first time I let my stubborn ass of a self believe what I had known for a long time. I couldn’t fix Two. I was making it worse. I was the rabbit that the little boy loved and loved and squeezed and hugged until I died. If you don’t know me or Two then this is all you need to know.

The hardest kind of loving is loving someone enough to let them go, knowing that they are better off without you or you, without them, and courage is being able to do this before one of you is hurt desperately enough that you would rather cut off your left arm than let the other walk away or, in turn, be the one to leave.

Truth No. 3
Three doesn’t know he ís three yet. I mean, I guess he knows that he ís my third serial monogamist, but he doesn’t know that someday there is going to be a Four. I have never broken up with anyone. (Two and my relationship ended the night I had my leg stitched and he slept in the jail. I didn’t feel I needed to have a discussion with him about the fact that our relationship was over.)

I’m not sure what I’m going to say, or how I’m going to say it. I like him as a friend and I have watched him grow from a figurative boy to a man. He has accepted responsibility and overall become a better person since I’ve known him. His wild-streak is still strikingly apparent, but Three has grown. We have been together for two years and ten months. I did love him madly, but part of me has always known that I loved him as my best friend. He has been working out of state now for almost a year and I realize that I don’t find myself looking to call him every day now. I don’t think throughout the day, when I hear a joke or an awesome new song on the radio “Damn, I can’t wait to tell Three about this!”

He won’t believe me, but I will always love him and I will always want to be his friend, but we aren’t getting any younger, and we owe it to ourselves to go out and to find that can’t-eat, can’t-sleep, reach-for-the-stars, over- the-fence, World Series kind of stuff. I’m doing the right thing for both of us. He won’t believe me; but I know he feels the same way I do, but I know that he doesn’t know he does.

Truth No.4
I will most likely be getting very, very drunk this summer. I will either have a killer tan because I’ll be out and about distracting my broken heart with sunshine, or I will be white as a ghost because I haven’t been able to talk myself into getting out of bed. I’m going to try really hard to be tan. Also, I’ve established a set of rules for myself, and I am dedicated to them being following strictly once in effect.

Karen’s Life Rules

  1. Dancing on bars is acceptable, but not when wearing a skirt or dress.
  2. Before leaving the house I will make a commitment to my footwear (thank you Jenna Marbles, you are my homegirl). This is especially important giving my most recent thrift shop find and spring clearance purchases.
  3. I will go to work even if I will cry during every bathroom break, from my door to my car, from the car to the office, and back. I will go to work.
  4. I will not hurt myself in any way shape or form.
  5. I will call my mom. I will try to do this most often during the hours of 6am and 8pm. Sober.
  6. I will let myself be a stuck-up-pretty-bitch. If doing my hair and make-up every day before I leave my apartment makes me feel better about myself, I will do it and not feel bad about it.
  7. I will disregard rule #6 when appropriate.
  8. I will continue to breath and live and love and hurt. I will try to do these in equal amounts.

I hope you all have a fantastic summer. Three, I hope that you can forgive me someday for breaking your heart. Please know that itís not for lack of trying. I just really, really want to be happy and I want the same for you.

I read somewhere today that happiness is the highest level of success, and all I’ve ever wanted was to be successful.


I have been 26 and breathing and living and loving and hurting for two full days. I have come to realize that two people can remain friends after a break up, especially when they are as fantastically-awesome as Three and I are. I have lost one pair of new cute shoes, but successfully retrieved them the following day. I also wanted the world (AKA whoever you are, dear reader) to know that I credit Three for putting me back together after Two ripped me apart. That remains one of the many reasons I will always love him. And, who knows, maybe I’m meant to be my own Four. Maybe I need to love myself fully and completely and then maybe I can finally feel free to let someone else love me back.

Karen J. Graves and I met when we both had the glamorous job of working in a call center. We became instant friends – the kind of firey relationship that sparks immediately. Karen is courageous,
knows when is a perfect time to get drinks, taught me how to make the coolest of updos, and introduced me to the world of martinis. Be like Karen.

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