Life lessons: What Kat taught me

To hear the audio file of this blog:

Oh, Kat. For a long time, I had never met anyone even remotely like Katrich. She truly is a special type of spirit. Some would say she is a special type of crazy. But not “crazy” as in mentally insane. No. Not that type of crazy. “Crazy” as in, Kat always went against the norm and that is a great thing. No, seriously, that is a great thing. Kat challenges everything that occurs in her life that does not genuinely feel 100% authentic and she does this so naturally. Not because she read it in a book or saw an episode of Super Soul (though she actively seeks out information to better her understanding of the world around her in terms of energy and intention). She has done this since the first day I met her almost 20 years ago. I was 18 when I met Kat and I still remember that moment and that interaction between us.

  • “Do you think you’re fat?”… Now, you may not think this is a life lesson, but it is. Those words – “Do you think you’re fat?” – were the first words Kat ever said to me. Yes. A complete stranger came up to me, an 18-year old girl who weighed 114 lbs, without judgment, just matter-of-fact, asking a genuine question. “Do you think you’re fat?” I, looking myself up and down, responded very matter-of-fact and honestly with, “no”. I knew I was not fat. I was far from fat. And being 18 years old, I was not as concerned about my weight the way girls are now because, honestly, I was fortunate enough to have a fast metabolism (that changed quickly when I hit my 30s though. Ha!). But that question made me evaluate my external with my internal. It helped me to get perspective. This was reinforced whenever we went dancing.

Kat was and still is very matter-of-fact. But she is in a very sweet and endearing way. There is absolutely no judgment. And without her knowing, she continued to teach me a great deal. I remember going out to my first clubs with her and feeling insecure because I was around all of these older more “mature” adults who were beautiful and dancing with amazing rhythm.

  • “Why else are the mirrors there, Melissa?”… Have you ever been at a club and noticed the mirrors on the walls? When Kat was teaching me how to dance, she forced me to look at myself and observe how my body felt with how it looked in the mirror. I felt embarrassed, but it was just another way of her teaching me (though unknowingly) how to evaluate and reconcile my external with my internal. It helped me to own how I felt and how I looked, forcing me to get out of my head and see the truth. So now if you see me dancing with me head down, even for a second, it’s not from embarrassment, it’s from actually enjoying the night, the music and just that moment.
  • Never follow the crowd – Kat and I lost touch after a few years. We no longer worked in the same place and we were never friends who chatted on the phone day in and day out. And then one day, years later, I randomly bumped into Kat in an overpacked New York city subway platform. True to form, Kat was trying to exit the platform against the crowd. As I was trying to exit the train itself, and allow myself to get swept away by the passengers exiting going north, I saw her pushing her way through, heading south. I spotted her immediately and had no choice but to push against the crowd in the opposite direction to catch up to her. And if you have ever been on the 33rd street PATH platform on a hot summer day after serious delays, you know all to well that going against the crowd is practically a suicide mission. I mean, why would you do that to yourself? But, Kat did and for the first time, so did I.
  • Never give up and never stop growing – Kat actively works on achieving the goals she set for herself years ago. She never gives up. I honestly don’t think she’s capable of it. She’s written a book and has produced her own music. I know her goal is to be a successful singer. And despite feeling like the oddball of her family and neighborhood, she continues to improve her mental wellbeing to keep herself grounded and balanced. Like I said, she wrote a book, she also became a radio personality. She learned to realize that maybe she isn’t the oddball after all. Perhaps she’s the unicorn.
  • It’s okay to evolve and follow your joy – Now, Kat has been working on being a successful singer since she was practically 18 years old. She is in her 40s with a son who graduated college and still, she knows she’ll achieve her goal. And when we talk, we debate the fact that I am not in the ocean swimming with sharks. In Kat’s mind, I gave up and gave in. But I appreciate the discussions because it helped me realize that I did not give up. I evolved. My priorities shifted and I accepted that. It took a long time to accept that, but I have. I realized that the only reason why I am living the life I am living right now is because of the choices I made and I don’t regret them. It’s okay to evolve. Yesterday a marine biologist, today an HR Manager, tomorrow a dog walker or the owner of a bed and breakfast. Either way, as long as you stay true to yourself and follow your joy, trust that you are where you are supposed to be and you’ll get to wherever you need to be.

My dear friend Kat is an amazing being. She is one of the last true unicorns for sure. She goes against the grain and makes magic happen. Truly. In honor of her and her talent, one of the best songs I think she’s ever written and performed – Tristan. This song came from a place of true love and loss of a dear friend who passed from ALS. There’s also a photo video that you can find on YouTube here, but for now, let’s listen to the song.

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