Friendly Ghosts

As a senior in high school I received many accolades, but nothing will ever stand out as much as the title of “Most Likely to Die a Virgin.” Mean-spirited as that may seem (it was not), it was all in good fun and received more laughter from me than anyone else. I was, as I well knew, quite the goody-two-shoes and lacked the dating experience of all of my peers. Regardless of my inexperience which remains as such (in comparison to others my age), I consider myself to be very lucky in love. Of course I didn’t realize this until much later in life. Admittedly it doesn’t hurt that in retrospect, romance disasters tend to be a lot more comical and less mortifying. Still, my love life lacks the deadbeat scum and heartless Lothario types who seem to be present in almost every gal’s tale. For this, I am grateful.

Here is what I’ve come to know: dissolved relationships, unsuccessful dating and unrequited love don’t necessarily make one’s love life less fulfilling. How can you fully realize the good in your life without it being tempered with the bad? Surely these missteps don’t seem ideal at the moment of heartache, but to me they are essential in molding a person, defining one’s taste and overall resilience. Fairy tale romances make for great movies but in real life they’re a bit of a bore. I wax poetic about Romeo through the aquarium, but I prefer my own love life to be a little less sappy and a little more silly. Super mushy romance, from any other’s lips but Romeo, makes me uneasy. Besides, I’m glad I didn’t find the love of my life straight out of high school. I thought I wanted my first boyfriend to be my only, my last – I’m not sure what I was thinking. I would have always been wondering what I was missing out on, even if I had it all. Instead, I found Matthew, the love of right-then: that was, and still is, good enough.
If you have followed my blogs since the OD and LJ days of yore, you probably know more about my romantic interests than I would like you to admit. Joey Daniello, my first real crush, was the topic of numerous high school dear diaries, regardless of his lack of interest (to my knowledge) in me. I will always be grateful for choosing such a nice boy to have a crush on, even if we were polar opposites in several different ways. Crushes can be just that: a compression of your insides, excruciatingly painful and nauseating. If you choose the right one, it’s less of a crush and more of a tickle – teeny little butterflies that bring a flush to your cheeks and make you stumble in your speech. My crush was more of the latter, thanks in part to his sincere and sometimes awkward compliments, warm smile and…well, he acknowledged my existence and that was a first. I never dated Joey Daniello and even lost my chance to tell him just how I felt about him. But I’ll always be grateful for the love that never was, because he made stepping into the dating world just a little less scary.
Then came college; it was a fresh start, new people, no plaque on the wall proclaiming my status. Right off the bat I made a bold decision to wear my heart on my sleeve and my thoughts on my tongue, confessing my feelings to every boy I ever liked or found attractive, whether in writing or passing. I proved to myself that regardless of the outcome or response, sharing a fondness of another is rarely an unpleasant thing – simply pay the compliment and walk away. It opens the door for a reciprocal divulgence, while still maintaining a secure and shameless exit if they don’t feel the same way. After all, only a complete jerk would react badly toward a simple compliment; I wouldn’t give them a single thought, let alone find myself attracted to someone like that.
With my newfound, somewhat manufactured confidence came my first relationship. It lasted for four years, which is probably far too long for a first relationship at such a young age. Still, I have no regrets. We had ups and downs and stand-stills; we were in love and then we were not. I learned a lot about myself as an individual and a companion; I learned about what I can and cannot tolerate and which actions of mine were also intolerable. I realized that I was settling, he was settling and we were too young to do so. Contentment with mediocrity is unacceptable, especially when you’re in your early twenties and in your first relationship.
So I dated. When I say “dated,” I don’t mean your normal kind of dating…I don’t even know if I’m capable of such a disconnected ritual. I tried and failed; I have a hard time finding myself attracted to someone I don’t know yet. I tend to rely on developing crushes on acquaintances or friends, or worse, fictional characters (Romeo, Romeo). After Matt, I ended up dating a good friend of mine which was great, got complicated, ended in tears, became a close friendship again, ended in tears. Even my dating becomes too serious; I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I’m not a girl you can just date. I don’t even know what that means. I still can’t even talk about it too much because I get sad and angry, in that order. If you break my heart, how can you be mad at me for mending and moving on?
Moving on.
Other than that (up until now), there were some little flirtations and odd occasions here and there, as well as what has been called a “neither here nor there.” I’m not one to look back with regret (that may be a little bit of a stretch) but I’m also not a fan of loose ends and self-doubt. My only real regret is ever letting myself feel for someone who was already bound to another. Even as I write this, I feel a tad uncomfortable. Although I kept my feet firmly planted on the ground and my steadfast hands at my side, my mind leapt over a self-imposed boundary and tangled itself in what-ifs and maybes. Despite my daily mental lashings, I became whom I always loathed – a girl who had a crush on someone else’s boyfriend. (No, I’m not talking about Bobby; my feelings manifested only recently, long after either one of us was tied to another.)
My regret is tinged with shame, because it’s only half regret and not the fully dedicated “shame on me!” regret that it ought to be. I guess it’s because this particular fondness made me that much more dedicated to holding out for exactly what I wanted – no more settling, ever. It’s this person that made me stop doubting myself because he made me feel worthwhile, even if only as a friend. I never fancied us together but began idealizing bits and pieces of our friendship as an outline to the future me and future him, whomever he may be. Our relationship was a lovely mix of utter childishness and adulthood – pandas, cookies, forts and playgrounds, art, music, design and conversation. As my great-grandma would say, we belonged to the mutual adoration society. Maybe for a moment I mistook it for something else. Thankfully, he remains a cherished friend of mine, albeit distant in miles. I’m still a card-carrying member of the society; I hope he is, too. Good friends are hard to come by.

When you find a good friend who transitions to a possibility of something more, it’s natural to hesitate. Hesitate I did, for a plethora of reasons. I was not only afraid of ruining our friendship, I felt guilty. I knew that by dating Bobby, I would be risking a friendship or two, as well. In addition to all of that and then some, I was dubious about being in another relationship. I didn’t think I was ready for that, and wouldn’t commit until I was absolutely sure. The longer Bobby patiently, silently waited, the more I became aware of my feelings for him. It was plain to see how much we cared for one another, but I resisted almost by routine. I was no longer afraid of ruining our friendship, because our months of living together in New York demonstrated just how compatible we are, on all fronts. I was perfectly content with being single (you get a lot of work done!) but the idea of being in a relationship with him kept feeling more and more charming. The only thing that was still keeping me back was my fear of other people’s reactions. Once I realized that, I let go and moved forward. I was sacrificing my own happiness for people who wouldn’t have done the same, and rightfully so. Now I am happier than ever, even when I’m down. Having a Bobby in your life is just all around wonderful; ask my friends and family. He’s a little pocket full of sunshine. I adore him, through and through. That’s as mushy as I’ll allow myself to be!

It’s more than likely my current state of contentment that has me looking back with fondness; I have been known to wallow and weep about love and boys on more than one occasion. From time to time, it’s nice to make my thoughts into something a little more concrete, for present and future analysis. Now that I’ve aired my dirty laundry, there’s a paradoxical feeling of lighter shoulders and a heavier heart. Both are fleeting, like a momentary lump in your throat that always shows at the mention of a prominent figure from your past, who is at present, a ghost.

Still, they’re friendly ghosts – even the one who bears a grudge against me.

-Keiko Lynn

p.s. I couldn’t sleep last night, so I wrote this in stickies (at 5 AM) to clear my head and make room for rest. I’m sorry for being so verbose and scatterbrained in this post…I’ll try to keep the words to a minimum, in the future!

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  1. wow. i read this ALL. which i cant believe i did because i tend to not like long blogs! hah. and keiko, besides your gorgeous self, i think you are also a really good writer! love that make-up btw.


  2. Leah:
    I was hesitant to post this, for that reason – but I’ll try not to make any lengthy posts like this anymore, haha. On LJ, there are cuts, so you can hide part of the post behind a jump. I don’t know if blogspot has that but it would sure make things easier, so people could skip the wordy posts like these.

    p.s. thank you!

  3. It makes me so happy to hear you are finding loads of happiness with Bobby! I’ve followed your lj for a couple of years (eep, sorry to sound creepy!) and I couldn’t think of two more adorable, well-suited people!

  4. I had a feeling just by looking a photos of you two, how close you guys are and that you may have not known. Although, who am I to say, as I dont know you personally but I guess photo do say a lot 🙂 This enrty melted my heart 🙂

  5. This made me feel so much better. I just up with my first boyfriend, we were together for two years and it stings because I feel so empty now. We’re still the best of friends but sometimes I wish we could go back to the days of being “us”.

    I’ve asked him about it and he says as much as he still has feelings for me, he just can’t go back to having a relationship with me because we would destroy each other. We’re perfect as friends, just not as a couple. I have to agree with him on that one but it still sucks. I guess I can’t help but want something more because he really was my first love ):

    Sorry to rant it out here but I just feel that although both our stories are different, you’ve experienced something similar and I thank you for sharing.

  6. I greatly respect and relate to your history of dating. I’ve never liked the idea of outright dating. The crush and the giddy waiting is always so much fun! I’m so happy for yours and Bobby’s mutual appreciation; you two certainly seem like genuinely great individuals.

    P.S. I’m not sure if I ever mentioned it, and I’m sure I’m not the first to mention it, but I linked your blog on my blog. I feel like it’s proper e-etiquette to mention this.

  7. Wow Keiko…this post was perfect for how my day went today…

    I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, since your words helped and comforted me more than anything that’s been said by those closest to me today. You have a wonderful way with words, and an excellent way of thinking (especially at 5 am on stickies :D)

    I’m glad you’ve found happiness with Bobby, and hope it lasts for a very long time. And, if something were to happen, I truly believe you two would still be extremely important to each other.

    Thank you again,

  8. Wow. I can’t tell you how perfect the timing is for me to read and you to post. I was just talking to my best friend about how having an over-the-top romantic relationship in highschool won’t necessarily be the most life-fulfilling when you simply don’t feel any kind of sincere attraction to anyone. We were both doubting it for a second, thinking we needed a relationship for validation, but it’s nice to know that it’s not true. It’s a sign of assurance and comfort to see someone feel the same, and I thank you for it!

  9. I actually really enjoy the long posts. It’s always nice to be able to relate to another person, and (I mean this is in the least creepy way possible) I do feel like every since I first found you on LJ that we’ve been leading parallel yet different relationship lives. I don’t understand modern dating, and I’ve only ever dated close friends. I’m currently dating a guy that I’ve known since I was 10 years old, but never even considered a relationship with until about two years ago. It’s comforting to hear another person going through similar experiences, and to know that we all share the same fears and hesitations. No reason to apologize for such honest words!

  10. Keiko, that was incredible. You’re such a good writer! I love reading your entries! Especially about relationships and love, you have such clear and good thoughts about them. I would love to buy a book by you someday. 🙂

    Thanks for posting the link on LJ – I often forget to check you blog. You are so wonderful! (And I’m super glad you’re so happy!!)

  11. Wow, this is very moving, and beautifully written. I share the same vision of dating, it seems always creepy to me to meet someone in a bar and just start a relationship in the second.My boyfriends was first of all someone I knew I could trust, then we fell in love.
    I’m glad you found happiness with Bobby, you seem to be perfect for each other, although I only see it in pictures and here : but every time I looked at your photos, even when you weren’t together yet, I always thought, god, she seems to like him so much, and they seems to be so happy, and that cheers me up for the day 🙂

  12. beautifully written. 🙂 I don’t even know how to respond – just to say: MORE! 🙂

    oh, and:

    that makeup is just glorious! I’ve loved your earlier makeup tutorials – PLEASE do one for this look, PLEASE? ;D

    LJ user nipple_salad

  13. I think this subject sure deserved a long post. If the writing is great there’s no need to keep the words to a minimum and this is all just amazing. It’s fantastic to realize love and friendship really are the same all over the world, here in Sweden as well. I’m trying to figure out my own thoughts on friendships turning into something else and this post helped a lot. Me and my friends have had so many discussions on the subject but there never seems to be a right answer…

  14. Very much enjoyed this post. I believe a have a couple friends with whom I am involved in the “mutual adoration society.” Thanks to you and your grandma for giving me a title for it!

    Take care.

  15. Wow, all I can really think is how lucky you are to have found a friend to be your boyfriend. I’m the same age as you, live in the same city as you, and have basically been left to meet people in bars and online. Once college is over with, the opportunities to meet people shrink considerably. So far it’s been a crapshoot, if not a cesspool. You were completely right in choosing to put your happiness first. After all, we are truly the only ones responsible for our wellbeing!

  16. Hi Keiko!
    I love your clothes and the way you dress, etc. And I posted a photo of you (and a link to your blog and store) on my tumblr. Please let me know if you would like me to remove it (anniehinton@gmail.com), I’d be happy to do so.

    Have a good day!

  17. I agree with Anna – this subject does deserve a long post!

    I swear the entire 1st paragraph describes me to a T… you definitely wrote it more eloquently than I could have though!

    Love the blog!

  18. Keiko, you write beautifully and that was an amazing piece of prose. (And the accompanying photographs are perfect too).

    I enjoy lengthy posts, if only because I have a tendency toward them myself! But, you have the advantage over me, in that your writing isn’t rambling, but flows wonderfully. Absolutely adore your blog!

  19. Hi Love… As I read that post… and saw that there were 25 posts.. I wondered how many of these people actually know you like i do.. or how many are just Keiko-fans.. which is a neat little thought..1st of all that post was like that Alanis Morrisette song.. if u have no idea what iam talking about call me and ill make sure you here it.. also yay for Bobby and You.. I recently saw a old pic of you two with “bff” under it.. and i thought “boyfriend forever” lol…too anyone who makes you cry.. boo and remmeber we only care about the ones who wanna be friends with us.. no time for the rest..cue Matt Dourdis lol

  20. I’ve been reading your blog since 2007 (?), and this was maybe the best writing i’ve read in here. Being a reader of your blog for so long time i have learned to wait for your “thinkin posts”. It’s so great that somebody can be so honest and truly herself as you do. And so talented as a designer and so on…. It’s a joy to read your blog. Have a great day, all happiness to you and bobby and never (well, almost :D) stop writing this blog. 🙂


    Ps. Sorry about the possible errors and funny mistakes of my English, I’m from Finland, and am not capable for so fine and intelligent writing as you there. Plus it’s freezing cold outside (-17 F, hrrr) so i can think nothing else than a hot chocolate!

  21. Oh gosh, I cried over reading your blog. I’m so damn lovesick by now. But you are absolutely right. Every feeling -good or bad one- makes the world a little bit more meaningful and maybe a little bit better.

    Kisses from Germany

  22. as always, fantastically well articulated. thanks for the story! i love that you and bobby are together! i knew it would happen (i’ve been reading your blogs for a while)!


  23. That is the most I’ve read in…probably a year, lol, considering I hate to read. As I read this, it reminded me of that convo you and i had at like 4am in my old apt. when you were visiting over a yr ago, lol. I think it’s awesome how you put yourself out there. You’re a great writer btw! Much better then I, You should consider going into journalism 🙂

  24. that was a really lovely post. I really enjoyed reading it and getting to know you on a deeper level through your writing. I haven't experienced a breakup yet but I think if I ever do I'll think back to this post and reread it for some advice on love and life. <3

    you look lovely as usual!

  25. i dont usually read your blogs cause i feel kind of stalker style seeing as i dont know you but instead just look at your gorgeous clothes with envy of your sewing ability. but lurk as i may, i stumbled on this blog and the one of your papa that seriously made me almost start crying reminding me so much of my papa joe. thank god for such amazing guys like them. you should probably see the movie “someone like you” on hulu if you havent seen it.

    and heres a song you should listen to too


    check it out and i hope you enjoy

    : 0 )


  26. Hi Keiko,

    I just want to thank you so much for your post. It really speaks to me as well, as other readers have said. I, too, have read your blogs on prelapsar.. for a few year, and truly appreciate the windows you open up into your heart and mind on your posts.

    Reading about your reflections on love make me feel in good company, since my love history is pretty modest too, and it’s really hard to try and “date” in this college town with it’s one-night-stand values.

    I am really happy to hear about you and Bobby. Keep on reflecting and being happy.

  27. Please don’t apologize for the long post! I’ve just found your blog tonight and I found this post particularly inspiring. I’d love to read more like this, although I do love outfits as well!

  28. don’t matter about the length, this was beautifully articulated! stickies always work well when you’re trying to sleep and have so many thoughts swimming… or a mobile phone! i have these same thoughts when i am showering and i almost always forget them!

  29. If any true romance were to exist in this era, your tale is a testament of truth and a flawless conviction full of desirability.

    You should not apologize for anything other than your high affection and consistent capacity to bewilder. :]

  30. I know this is from awhile back, but I just wanted to say thank you.

    There's a lot going through my head right now…relationships and such and how torn apart I am by letting past experiences affect my present. And it's not only killing me, but it's also killing the one I "love."

    Reading this post made me feel a lot better about a good number of things that are trying to get my attention all at once.

    Again, thank you.

  31. Hi Keiko!! It's me, Claire. Well there might be a few people named Claire that you know but just to make ot clear, this is Tessa's friend Claire. Anywho, this blog was truly amazing!! It was so beautiful! I absolutly L-O-V-E-D it! It was nice to see you. sorry I'm commenting so late on this blog but I was lookinng at alot of them and this one was one of my favorites.
    Lots of love,

  32. I read all of this also… Idk, but I found this helpful. Thank you so much for posting this.

    I always find myself feeling confused about my current bf cuz he has had other gf's before me and he is my first bf and many times, I feel stupid for that.

  33. Keiko, I got goosebumps reading this.. and the reason is that I was on the opposite end of this… I had been madly in love with a guy for 3 years, and we had an off and on relationship which basically ended. I found a new guy, but I still had feelings for this one and maybe always will, though he didn't feel the same way.. Well, I had introduced him to my best friend, someone I had been closer to for over ten years than any two people I knew about.. and I told her about all my ups and downs with him.. and after they met, they began to date. And our friendship ended as a result, something I never ever imagined possible. I understand the fact that people need to pursue their own happiness, but just the way I heard her say the same thing leaves me really sad, in a way, because our friendship and part of my happiness was totally taken away. I don't know what happened with you, but I have such unsettled feelings about this situation… and though I understand following your heart, for me it will probably always be a painful way to look at things.. The way you expect things to turn out when you are young really change and you no longer have control over things they way you planned. I feel too old to feel that teenage angst or anything, but I am still left with a very hollow place for the friend I used to have.

  34. ahhh, i see.. that is really different.. I haven't read any blogs you had up till this so I don't really know what's happened with you, thanks for clearing it up. it seems what you had was not only a friendship but a person who couldn't neutralize their feelings for you after you moved on. now i know 🙂