I only titled this piece as such, because I thought you would read it if I told you not to date pilots. Really, this blog is called “Love + A Box Of Crackerjacks.” I hope you read it anyway. —Kara

“Darling, you’re like the prize in a box of crackerjacks. You’re why we buy crackerjacks in the first place! We all want that damn prize! If he can’t see that, he’s a fucking idiot.” My heart melts as the words cascade, from one iPhone to another, in his signature Southern twang. The analogy engulfs me like a secure and caring hug; one that’s brimming with safety, appreciation, and value—everything that the man in question hasn’t made me feel.

I wonder why I tolerate the treatment that I do in certain relationships. What feels lonelier than being alone is being with someone who does not appreciate who you are and what you are worth. I won’t cast blame. That seems, not only counterproductive but also already apparent. I broke my own heart. You get in life what you are willing to tolerate.

I loved when I should have walked.

I cared when I should have found indifference.

I invested when I should have debited all.

They say don’t date pilots.

I say, “I don’t fucking care what you do for a living.”

Just, don’t do what I did.

Don’t date someone who

Isn’t ready for the prize

of who you are.

I scream, alone in my car while driving to an evening church service, “I did NOT ask for this! This was NOT how I expected to be living and NOT the life that I wanted!” Anger and fury pierce the darkness, as I turn onto a meandering Hollywood Hills street— idyllically dotted with perfectly picketed fences and families that go with each of the attached residences. The life that I am addressing in this one-sided fight to the Heavens is that one found within these neighborhoods; in neighborhoods everywhere. The one that has someone special in it with me. The one that has MY family. The one that is very normal and typical. I don’t want normal and typical, but I’m just so tired of going alone.

I’m good at going alone. My high school friend, Jeff, told me this week. “You always blazed your own path. You were always a bit of an outlier.” I remember feeling lonely in high school and college, too. I had many dates, but no one who wanted to date just me. I wished I was the girl who always had the boyfriend, but instead was the girl who always didn’t. I was never willing to trade mediocre for amazing. I guess I haven’t changed much. Sadly though, while living an AMAZING career life, I allowed mediocre to mask as ‘casual,’ while I pretended to be fine with a relationship that wasn’t one. I fell for someone who would never fall for me. I was loved for being smart, pretty, skinny, funny, but I was never “just loved.” Maybe today I would be wanted, but tomorrow I would not. It’s scary to live with a love like that. Insecurities and inadequacies flourish in my usually confident soul. Oh, how we crave as humans, in this wild world, for someone to truly just love us. As is. Nothing more. Nothing less.

I was taught my whole life that Christian values and a Christian college, would pave the way to the aisle. I’m pretty sure that’s what old-school Church solidifies for young girls…way to create a young generation of “dreamer’s.” Whether a husband was what I had wanted or not, I was never made aware of any other option. Regardless of how successful and happy I am with my career and being a flight attendant for almost ten years now, doing this lifestyle was not what I originally wanted. I always thought getting married young would happen. I always expected to find someone who would want me. I never questioned if I would be a mom. I love what I have the privilege to do for work, and the way I get to create my lifestyle, but I find myself burdened by a struggle of constantly being alone. Do you ever feel like the people you love will never love you? Do you feel overlooked and ignored? Do you wonder, “When will it be my turn?” Yeah.

I’m not talking about community, friendships, and work life— I have the best of that, which I am eternally grateful to have. More accurately, it’s that I cannot reconcile that— if God wanted Path A, B, and C for my life— why the hell does it feel like I was given a ticket for destination X, Y, and Z? Literally, the FARTHEST away from everything tradition taught me were good, right, and accepted. If you wanted me to be ‘her’— the Christian girl who makes all the right choices— WHY DID YOU NOT GIVE ME THAT LIFE????

And as I strongly ask for a different life, I know I am not being completely sincere. I don’t want to trade what I have now for the other and equally and as strongly believe that I am co-creator in my life. I would have been divorced by now if I had done this any other way. I needed to search for me. I’m on this search and have no other choice but live as fully and vibrantly as possible— even if it feels so lonely lately.

This is the fight. This is the fight between tradition, perception, ‘supposed-tos,’ and reality. I’m blaming God for my choices and the way that I hurt when I ‘knew better.’ ‘Knowing better’ doesn’t erase the pain of a mistake. There is something that corporate flight attendants will say. “Unfortunately you sometimes have to make the ‘mistake’ to never do that again.”

And so, I’ll date pilots again. If you don’t think I didn’t learn, it could be that I didn’t learn. But, hopefully, I have. Because next time, I’ll at least make sure whoever he is, he understands this very large Crackerjack-box world and the very sincere and hopeful woman taking her chance at it.


About the Author

Hello, I’m K. J. Watts, but my friends call me Kara. I fell into the sky and have worked as International cabin crew, on private jets as a corporate flight attendant, and earned an FAA Private Pilot Certificate. Over a decade ago, I started this blog, which developed into a love for writing and a debut memoir based on Flight Attendant Life. A California native, I now live in Sydney, Australia, where I enjoy spending time with my husband, writing, and surfing.

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