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Me, laying out my heart for you.

It’s funny how every decision we make in our lives has potential life changing consequences. Even the seemingly simple or mundane ones. Here are a few examples.

Recently, quite sadly, two recent graduates from our local high school were killed by a wrong-way (and drunk) driver on the interstate. Driving right down the center of a three lane highway, going the wrong way. Unavoidable for those poor kids. But small decisions they made put them in harm’s way. A lane change. The speed they were travelling. Leaving the moment they did from where they started. The route they selected. Any small alteration of those decisions and they continue about their lives as usual. [Obviously the decision by the idiot driver to get behind the wheel was the one decision we would like to have seen changed.]

The high school I selected has greatly altered my life. I am the oldest (four children in four years so of course you can guess, we are Catholic) and I selected a private all-boys school while my sisters all attended the local public school. I look back in hindsight and see who you now know as Kandi directing my life, even back then.

Almost all of my friends would not be my friends without that choice as most attended high school with me. I am certain I would not have selected the college that I did otherwise, where I met the remainder of my friends. I probably have ten real good lifelong friends. I would not have attended a party on New Year’s Eve 1984 if I didn’t know these people. If I decided to leave the party simply two minutes earlier, I would not have met the woman who is my wife. Our children would not even exist. You get the point.

Small and large decisions all shape our lives. They place us on a path and that path has many forks, most of which we cannot even see or know exist. We may not even realize we took one fork or the other.

So as it relates to our mutual interest here, every decision does matter. Do we go out? How do we present ourselves? I prefer considering what I wear as my “presentation” and not just the clothes I wear. Everything factors into how the world perceives us and therefore how we are treated by it. You can trace consequences back to some point where you had a choice. And even then, you may have made the choice that everyone would have made. Decisions, circumstances, fate, whatever you want to call it, life has a way of making things interesting.

That day in October 2014, when unconsciously I finally admitted to myself what I am has greatly changed things for me. That realization was a subconscious event, I hadn’t been wresting with it, just was miserable with myself without really realizing so. Most of the subsequent changes and results have been very positive, but let’s not fool ourselves. It has its’ negative sides as well. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t congregate in places like this, we wouldn’t seek similarities with others. We wouldn’t keep it secret from anyone. So strap it up and go along for the ride. But that simple decision you just made may change your life. If not, it will certainly chart the path you are on.

I made some poor business decisions in 2004. They were made in survival mode and have completely ruined the life I had planned. But something else may have altered the path if not this reality. Yes, I absolutely do have a wonderful family and for that I am incredibly thankful. Yes, I do get to be Kandi.

But being Kandi doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. It’s window dressing. Helping others hasn’t done that much for me, I guess. Being a good person in the world is not always rewarded. But we persevere, we move forward and we do the right thing simply because it is the right thing. This post was originally written in early 2020, before we ever knew what COVID meant. It had a much more somber ending at the time. Then things went to hell in a handbasket. While some days are still struggles, I am no different than anyone else. Different struggles, but we all struggle, generally. I am looking forward a bit better now, although much hasn’t changed. Trying to chart a better path, a different way to approach things. And since I generate frequent content here and use this as my therapy couch, you hear or read more than one would hear otherwise from me. I would simply eat all of these feelings, bury them.

Life continues on. It’s lightning in a bottle. Grab it while you can because nothing is promised to us. Not even tomorrow…… I continue with a pessimistic optimism. I trust no one (outside of my direct family, my parents and a handful of friends, those that have proven themselves trustworthy), but always hope for the best.

Epilogue: As we stated, this post was written in early 2020. This Epilogue was written on June 11, 2023. I have just returned from my 40th college reunion. This was definitely not a Kandi event, not an event Kandi would even be welcome to attend. But then again, the issues that have manifested themselves as Kandi were gone there. Those four years, my “issues” didn’t exist. They were gone….but not really as I now know.

I hugged, I drank (a LOT) with people that are lifelong friends and will always be. I told many people I loved them. I made sure! I was not shy about saying farewell with a big “I love you” (so maybe Kandi was indeed there). We lost one of our roommates to the bottle, having passed about two years ago. I remain an imperfect human being. But oh have I gotten the thing in life about having friends right! I both love these reunions (I attend every five years) and then leave feeling drained by the fact that it is damn near impossible to maintain all of the connections, all of the shared experiences, all of the absolute connections we all have with each other. These people are much closer to me than my siblings or any family member outside of our children. They are part of who I am. They helped form me and I them. Four of us sat for a couple of hours playing Euchre. We did that daily in our dump of a house, after a dinner prepared by either me or one of my friends, engaged in what is now apparent was an act of love. That Euchre game yesterday was one of the best things I have done in my life and it seemed so common (my partner and I won!). It wasn’t. The book that is me is still being written…

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PPS: Try and find a blog that daily makes you think, never mails it in, brings different viewpoints, different voices to what has become a growing and caring community. Good luck with that! Tell a friend about Kandi’s Land! Earlier this week a sister reached out for a private discussion about religion and being trans. She was referred to us by a friend who was referred to us by a friend whom I originally met on Facebook and have subsequently become real world friends with! You never know where that single connection (that decision) will take you.


10 Responses

  1. Kandi ,
    If we knew what fate had in store could we change it and would we ? Basically we learn from life , it’s not something pre-rehearsed we hope we make the right decisions but being humans we don’t always . The twist is sometimes the wrong decision at the time proves to be the right one eventually . While it’s hard at times we must try and live our lives without regrets , what has been is history and we can’t change that . I’m the World’s worse for beating myself up but age mellows and time is running short . You are now Kandi and I’m very much Teresa we must make the most of the moment and enjoy it , we may not have had choices with our needs but if it’s part of us then so be it , we are the lucky ones who can freely live it .

  2. A great, thought provoking post, Kandi.

    Philosophically speaking, if we regret any point in our life, then by definition we have to regret everything that happened after it too. A different decision at the point of regret would mean life taking a different course from that point on. Hindsight is a great judge but, sadly, only available after the fact!

    I love your ‘pessimistic optimism’ – expect the worst and hope for the best and life will rarely disappoint!

  3. Thank you for sharing this inspiring post, Kandi. I tend to take , small yet important, things for granted and do not stop to smell the roses as often as I should. Reading this motivates me to pay more attention to details in life!


  4. Well, Dear Kandi, something connect you and I here, then others by association, so that was meant to be and has so much for me. Thoughtful post.

    I have often wondered about those “what if…” moments. Had one before I revealed Crystal to my wife! Still unfolding, as you know, but glad I did it. No regrets! In fact that is an interesting phrase. Recently I heard Daniel Pink talk about his book: The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward. It is an amazing book and relates to your excellent post.

    He lists 4 kinds of regret from his global study: Foundational Regrets (tough life, health, business), Boldness Regrets (like not telling our wives, or not going out dressed), Moral Regrets (self explanatory) and Connection Regrets (“I should have asked him or her out!”. What I learned is that we all have regrets, its how we process them that matters. Admit it, learn from it, use it in future decisions.

    Also, a less ponderous example comes in the movie “Sliding Doors” with Gwyneth Paltrow. Very insightful and fun.

    Thanks for being an online part of my life, Kandi.


  5. Kandi,

    I’m past retirement age so am able to look back on a lot of years and find numerous things I dearly would have loved to change, especially when I was in my 20’s and 30’s. But one day I realized that, if I had changed even one of those things, I probably would not have met the woman I married and who was the love of my life. So I stopped ruminating on the idiotic and sometimes problematic choices I made because I was happy with the end result of it all.

    And luck plays a part in it as well. When younger I was in a management training program at a large nationwide retailer. When I finished the program they could have sent me to any one of 7 or 8 stores to work. I wanted to go back to one in the area where I grew up but they sent me to another one that I really didn’t want to go to. I took the position anyway and that store I went to was where I met my wife to be. If they had picked any other location my entire life would have been different.

    So yes you are right, fate has a way of making life interesting indeed.

    Be well,

  6. Regrets, yes I have a few and as you know most revolve around my marriage and then divorce
    I know I could not keep Rachael down and she or I was going to be me but yes had I been more respectful of my wife I’m almost certain I would still be married, well maybe
    I tend to let the past haunt me and I know that isn’t ideal but I do my best to heal and move on.
    I do enjoy your blog here and am grateful for the sisters here and especially you my friend
    Love ya Rach

  7. Several things in my past have changed the path I was on and lead me to where I am today. There are things I wish never happened, but they did, so I must live with them. Many were injuries. A horrible pelvis injury lead to wearing panties (urologist suggestion); hand injuries lead to pedicures and then manicures and finally colored nails (fulltime); and a massive calf injury lead to fulltime high heels. Do I wish these events didn’t happen? Yeah! But that’s doesn’t matter, they did. All you can do is to use the past to help guide you in the future.

  8. Great post Kandi , life is full of decisions and sliding door moments. If I hadn’t seen your profile somewhere , can’t remember even how I saw you , but I did, I wouldn’t of know about this amazing place and yourself and all the other great girls here. I have legitimately nearly died 3 times, all from last minute bad decisions. I’m still here and now with an accepting wife and great support from you and the others here , I’m feeling so much better about life . A slight set back being retrenched from work yesterday. Keep sharing your insights Kandi . Much love to you and the other fantastic contributors. 🥰

  9. Hi Kandi,
    This was a very thoughtful, moving, and excellent essay. It resonated with me, as with so many others I know, in many ways.
    I tried to post my comment yesterday but when I clicked on ‘post comment’ I was immediately taken to a security web page that asked for my e-mail. My comment then seems to have disappeared, and was not posted. I don’t know if this was a tech glitch in your security setup or what, but I would be curious to know if any others affected by this unusual tech event.
    Best to you,
    Marissa in Ohio

  10. I want to thank you all for the wonderful comments, further deepening the discussion and thoughts posted here.

    Your support remains simply a joy!

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