So excited about this week’s guest blogger. Kristi Prokopiak is so talented in many of the things she has done in her life, but that doesn’t mean everything comes up roses. Lots of ups and downs, but realizing with age and experience that it seems to get better.
Lately I have realized my thirties don’t suck.
See, here’s the thing. My life went through a major shift recently, and for the last few years I’ve been super pessimistic about it all. “I’m too old for this shit” was my daily mantra. I took all of life’s curve balls as an insult, like God was personally and specifically punishing me for being such a hideous piece of shit. (Seriously, this was my inner monologue. Nice, right?) Yet somehow through all of these trials, I have come out less worried, less self loathing, and more peaceful. I’ve finally started to see it’s not about me being reprimanded, it’s about me learning how to love life even when it seems cruel and ridiculous and wrong.
I got married when I was 25. I left my husband when I was 29. Not only did I leave my husband, but I also left our business; the one I dropped out of school to start. I also left behind any alimony I was entitled to. I moved to Brooklyn with nothing but my dog and my wardrobe. I lost my car in the first three months of living there. I lost my sanity shortly thereafter. I was working at Anthroplogie doing window displays and buying six packs of PBR every evening when I got out of work. My life was a shame spiral of nights at Matchless, explicitly creepy text messages from weird men and 7am shifts that would start with my friend Haley borrowing my baby powder for her roots because neither of us had made it home to shower from the night before. Somehow drunken nights in Williamsburg turned to whiskey filled nights in Morningside Heights. I was living with a drug addict, in love with a man who didn’t return the feeling and everything felt so hollow and bleak. One day I woke up and realized that I was getting divorced and had nothing to show for my life but some killer handbags and a bunch of fucking scrapbooks. Then my dad died. Really, God!? Yet another painful relationship that had yet to be resolved ending abruptly and without closure. It was way too much to deal with.
Through a peculiar twist of grace, the unrequited love showed me that maybe my life felt so out of control because all I did was drink my face off every night. I decided getting hamskiied all the time wasn’t the best idea and I decided to lay off the booze. In the last year and a half I’ve had a total of 8 drinks. I started meditating, praying, and chilling the hell out. There has been a massive shift in my perception and my general attitude towards life. Thanks to my newfound perspective, I am unlearning the pain I experienced before I even knew how to talk. I face each day with a clear mind, and I can begin to understand that the past is not my fault. I don’t need to see everything as a threat. I will not be broken forever. The patterns aren’t easy to change. Yet somehow I learn to love myself a little bit each day. I fight back to that bitter voice in my head and I slowly accept that I am beautiful just as I am.
Do I screw up? Yes. Do I develop crushes on unavailable, inappropriate men? Yes. Do I eat entire burritos in one sitting? Yes. Do I have a terrible relationship with an abusive mother? Yes. Do I splurge on vintage white motorcycle jackets? Yes. (Fuck yes, that shit looked great on me). Do I get tattoos so I can feel physical pain instead of emotional pain? Totally. Do I think I am disgusting and no one will ever love me the way I need to be loved? Occasionally. But through all that bullshit, I also know I do not need to have it all figured out. I will never have all of the answers. But I can show up and kick some ass along the way. I am tough. I am smart. I have a huge generous heart. I am full of gratitude. I am a fighter. I am strong and I am working on the things that will make me an even fiercer woman tomorrow. The journey towards accepting myself has been something only a woman in her thirties could face. Women in their thirties have seen some shit. Women in their thirties know that getting there really is half the fun. Women in their thirties are willing to forgive and let go. Even though I constantly bitch about all this work I have to do, I am kinda starting to like it. I finally feel like a grown up. A Converse wearing grown up, but still.
Kristi Prokopiak resides in Brooklyn, New York with her hairless terrier Chloe. She is 32 years old and currently going back to school at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan (like only a bad-ass, single, thirty something female can). When not at school she is hustling balls at The Meatball Shop in Williamsurg. She enjoys good coffee with good friends, that Gotye song, knitting sweaters for her pup and taking pictures for her daily photo project. To learn more about this little sparkplug, (and check out some of her work) follow her here:
big cartel: lovekp.bigcartel.com
Kate O'Brien says
Kristi….this is beautiful. I related to so much of what you wrote. love it.
Kristi, I have admired your ‘fucking scrapbooks’ from way back when. I read your piece today and it really spoke to me, I visited your tumblr and was thrilled to see you still scrapbook, I love your clean, effortless style and the honesty in your pages.
Wishing peace and love to you and Chloe as you embark on this new chapter in your life.
Lee S. says
So glad to see you are still out there scrapin’ and arting.
Yay Kristi – I have always been a fan of yours and love reading this great news about you. So I hope to see you on Project Runway sometime soon, right?
So glad to see you are intact, despite having gone through all this stuff. Wait till you hit 50 – Fifty is Nifty. Please keep creating and posting. Love your art still. Last year I made some bird statues. I made Pimp Bird, complete with pager and Rolex, holding a sign saying Shut the Front Door. He was perched on a tape roll labeled Valium, and went to my brother who is a federal judge and totally did not get it. I credit my early years’ exposure to the Dares for my oddball creative tendencies. It took guts to share on this post and those of us who appreciated your art Back in the Day ALWAYS knew you had guts. You go, girl.
I miss seeing your work. I am glad I located your name now. I am in my 40’s now, and life is good. I was widowed at 40, and life was crazy, but it calmed down and I am grateful. Keep doing what you are doing! (I go to the meatball shop in the village, love the food there!!)
Wow! I can’t believe what a similar writing style we have! Sounds like you’ve been through a lot. Best of luck!