Jeff's online journal, ramblings, whatever.

Archive for August 18, 2005

Who am I, anyway? And Kimberly Isom.

Sorry I haven’t been keeping up-to-date on this thing; but then again, it’s been like about every other journal I’ve kept in that regard.

I’ve been watching old family videos, in preparation for editing them and putting them on DVDs. And, as I’ve been watching I’ve had a chance to see myself in all sorts of past stages of my life, from toddler hood all the way to three years ago. My first impression of myself was, “Man, I get picked on!” Of course, being the youngest, that’s not surprising, and that’s something that continues on to today, as evidenced by earlier posts in this very blog.

One question I’ve always had is what kind of kid I was to garner the reaction that I normally got from other kids. I was definitely not one of the popular kids in elementary and junior high; in fact, I was probably near the bottom of the social totem pole. The parts that were my fault were my smarts(I had skipped kindergarten and was a year even farther ahead in certain subjects), my loudness(apparently I was incapable of saying anything without yelling it), and my quirkiness(my mannerisms, my mode of speech and action, were just a little off. I can’t really explain it better than that). Consequently, I can count the friends I had from entering school until probably about 8th grade on one hand, and that’s including five different schools. Since I wasn’t accepted into social circles, I never learned the basic social skills needed to make friends, which kept me out of the social circles. One of those nasty circular things. Maybe that’s why I haven’t really dated anyone for a long, long time. It scares me to no end, because I lack some basic communication skills or something. This issue of my life is quite complicated, to say the least, and I can’t easily spell out my motivations about everything. Confused yet?

Speaking of dating, that brings me to my next topic; and that is one Kimberly Isom. No, she’s not someone I’m currently dating. Let me explain this whole saga. We were friends whenever we saw each other growing up(which wasn’t often, to be sure). Her older brother Garrett and my older sister Annelise were both good friends(she had a crush on him for a while), and occasionally he’d come over to our house to take music lessons from my mom or whatever else, and that’s when I spent time with Kim. We were both very young at this point, less than 9 years old or around there. In fact, we even have a family video where the Isoms came to my grandparents’ house in St. George for Thanksgiving in 1991 which I watched just yesterday. In any case, after we moved to Riverton when I was 11, I didn’t see her for a very long time, and in fact had nearly forgotten our earlier friendship, although I definitely remember Garrett with the way Annelise went on about him, even long after her crush had subsided. She apparently had remembered me much better though, and had even gone to see Travels, the musical that my friend Nate wrote and I orchestrated in high school. She was going to Bingham High School and was a year behind me, despite being the same age(I had skipped kindergarten and therefore graduated from high school a year earlier). Oddly enough, Bingham would’ve been the high school whose boundaries I was in and that I would’ve gone to had I not been commuting to Hunter. Anyway, we met again at a Hunter/Bingham football game that I had taken Josh Reese to for some random reason, and there she was; hanging out with the pep band and Dan Omer(who she knew from Granite Youth). We reacquainted ourselves, and I also noticed that the intervening years had been very kind to her. We didn’t see much more of each other until May of the next year(2001). I was playing a big Starcraft game with other people on the floor in the Deseret Towers dorms at BYU when suddenly my phone rings and it was her! We talked for about two hours, and she said she had a special request for me. Her brother Garrett had died not long before in a car accident(which I had heard about) and she requested that I compose a medley of his favorite hymns for her and some other friends to play in his honor. We met not long thereafter to discuss it, and I agreed to do it, the deadline being sometime before I left on my mission at the beginning of the next year. Eight months is definitely long enough to arrange three hymns, right?

Now, here’s where the real problems start surfacing, and they were all completely my fault. Truth is, I hadn’t much experience writing more spiritual types of music, and EFY stuff drove me nuts. So I experimented with different themes and arrangements, trying to find something appropriate for the hymn yet not so derivative or cheesy that I wouldn’t like it myself. ‘Twas a tough line to tread. Apparently too tough, for I never actually finished the arrangements! I barely finished the first section(“A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”) and was about a third of the way through the second before I left on my mission. I could’ve spent a lot more time than I did on it, and it’s completely my fault. That’s strike one.

Strike two came not long after I had agreed to arrange these songs for her. For some reason I had gone with Annelise to her house in South Jordan to visit with her and her mother. The visit was pleasant enough; what wasn’t was when Kim wanted to show me a piece she had written for her high school music theory class and wanted to know what I thought about it. I agreed and she pulled it out and played it for me. In all honesty, now I don’t remember the song at all, but I do know it was better than I think I told her. The one thing I remember telling her was that it was good, but then I started nitpicking it, much like my college professors always had done with my work. I don’t know if that was the best tactic, however, for all she said was that her teacher(who also happened to be my estranged aunt Cindy) had said it was exemplary and had given her an A. It deserved an A, and I was probably much harsher on it than I should’ve been. I think the reason I was, though, was that, as I said before, my professors were harsh too, and she had asked for my opinion. I myself am a bit of a perfectionist(which is why I never finished that medley), but it certainly didn’t help her opinion of me when I treated something she was proud of in such a way. Hope you followed that convoluted line of reasoning. That was strike two.

Strike two-and-a-half(I hesitate to call it strike three, for it was nobody’s fault really) happened later that year in the fall. I had stopped going to school at all in preparation for my upcoming mission, and she was starting her freshman year at BYU. I don’t remember who arranged it, but somehow we agreed to meet for lunch and talk about how the project was going. At this point I was feeling terrible about letting her down, both for being harsh on her music and not advancing very far on her project. Plus, (and here’s the crux of the whole deal) I liked Kim a lot. I mean, a lot. I would say I was in love with her, but even at this point in my life I’m still not exactly sure what that means. But I do know that, at least back when she gave me the project and had invited me to her house that she liked me a lot, too. However, at this point I didn’t know anymore, and so part of the reason for lunch was to find out for sure. I don’t remember what we talked about at all, but I do know that it was a pretty superficial conversation. My opinion of it now is that we both had strong feelings for each other, one way or the other, but were both unwilling to admit anything to the other person. Consequently, it was an awkward lunch, and I personally went away feeling more confused than ever.

We barely contacted each other after that, although she did come to my farewell(and made a comment along the lines of, “So, Jeff, have you done some more *thinking* about that music yet?” to which I had no good reply). It haunted me throughout my mission, especially in the MTC, and I tried to get her mailing address to write her back and finally apologize to her, something which I really needed to do and yet hadn’t. Finally, about halfway through my second year in the field, I got her address and wrote her. I don’t know her reaction, or even if she got the letter, for I never got a reply.

When I got home early last year(2004), I wrote her an email to her old address, which I didn’t even know if she was still using, but got no reply. I ended up going to BYU-Idaho for a year and a half, so I was a state away. Then, that spring, she one day paid a spontaneous visit to Annelise’s house. They caught up on old times and stuff, and Kim even agreed to take a trip with us to West Yellowstone to see Kjersti at the Playmill(the precursor to the trip I took this year). I also was planning on going on that trip with Annelise, and I was super-excited. It was now finally time to fess up, face the music(so to speak), and apologize, even make up for it. Unfortunately, she didn’t end up going on that trip with us, for suddenly Annelise couldn’t contact her. She never returned phone calls or replied to emails, leaving me to ponder her motives. Was it all innocent, or had my stupidities really caused her to not want to see me or even contact me again? I didn’t know, but there wasn’t much I could do about it, for I was going back to Idaho in the fall.

Now to the current situation. I’ve come back from Idaho, never to go to that school again. Instead, I’ll be transferring back to BYU in Provo, where she is still attending school. This summer I’ve been working for my brother-in-law Mickey(Annelise’s husband), who is also in the 23rd National Guard Band. They had marched in either the 4th of July or 24th of July parade(I don’t remember which), and Mickey mentioned to me at work the day after that he had seen and spoken to Kim at the parade. Apparently she had been elected 1st Attendant to Miss Provo for 2005. This automatically prompted a few thoughts in my mind. First, that she wasn’t married yet, for beauty pageant contestants have to be single. Second, that she was still living in Provo and had to be for at least another year to retain her title. Third, that I’m going back this fall to BYU, in the music department, just like her(she plays the harp) and may still have a chance. Now, tonight, I received an email about practice room sign-ups that was apparently sent to all BYU music majors and had a ton of email addresses. Apparently whoever sent the message doesn’t know what Bcc: means, but it does mean that I now have Kim’s new email address, one that she’d be more likely to respond to, hopefully.

Which brings me back to now. I have absolutely no idea what her opinion is of me at this point, since I haven’t had direct contact with her since 2001. However, I still feel horrible for letting her down with the medley. I have since worked on it, and improved it, but haven’t finished it yet, which makes me feel even worse. “So FINISH THE BLASTED THING!” you might say, but it is still just as hard as it was three years ago, and I don’t think I can give it the proper sentiment on my own, since it is for her brother. If I can find her again and she will talk to me, I figure we can write it together, since she’s now had a lot of music training at BYU as well. But even more important than that is that I still have strong feelings for her, even with the passage of time. I’d always hoped that somehow we could at least get to the mutual state we were in when this whole fiasco started, and now that we’re both more mature(and I’ve served my mission) thing might even go farther. But what would I tell her to even get there? I wrote one letter that apologized and tried to start over already, and that one didn’t get a response. I’ve never wanted to reunite with somebody this strongly ever before, which is why I don’t want to screw it up even more than it is. I think I do love her, at least as far as I understand what love is. I can’t explain why; I may be in love with a phantom, or a person who no longer exists, a person untainted by the betrayal of trust; my betrayal. Please, Kim, hear me out; give me another chance. I won’t let you down; I can’t let you down this time.

Long? Yes. An entry I’ll never read again? Probably; but many of my more deeply personal and/or emotional entries I can’t bear to read again. I can’t even read part of my childhood/adolescent journal for that reason. A little sad, but then, so am I. Anyway, ta ta for now!