Will the Real Karen Renee Couch Brier Please Stand Up?

A friend from the WLS board commented on my post about this not being the new me, but the REAL me. That made me think. Who is the real me? The real me is someone I live with almost every day now, but I only got glimpses of her in the past. She’s smart and strong. She’s fierce and brave and adventurous. She’s witty and entertaining and not always tactful or politically correct. She’s messy and creative but loves making order out of chaos. She’s easily hurt but a good actress that can hide it. She loves to sing but is tone deaf. She wants to be a writer when she grows up, but keeps showing up at her day job so she can support her husband and son in their homeschool adventure (who in turn support her in her goals to get healthy).

So when have I glimpsed the real Karen?

  • When I was a little girl called KayKay who lived at the dead end of a dirt road but read every book she could find (thank you Nanny and Aunt Tena for the books)
  • Like when I joined 4H in the 4th grade so I could do presentations and get over being shy. (I think that worked, don’t you?)
  • When I decided in the 6th grade to be a writer and started writing.  (Mrs. Agnew – where are you?? See? I’m writing!)
  • When I learned in the 7th grade that it was easier to win a fight with my brain and my smart mouth than my fists
  • When I got my counselor to get me waivers so I could apply to every Ivy League school  (and got into Yale…)
  • When I played Albert’s Mother in Bye Bye Birdie and wore combat boots with a sable coat and sang from a trash can in my senior play. (Hi David and Lana!)
  • When I worked to support myself through college with sometimes 2 or 3 jobs at a time.
  • When I got a job at the Yale Film Studies department so I could see every movie ever made
  • When I took on some bullies in the TV room one night over Remington Steele vs the football game and won (and most important, met my best friend)
  • When I talked the head of British Studies into letting me into the program so I could study abroad.
  • When I went to London with only $400 and managed to live on it for 4 months until my scholarship check finally arrived after the Yale strike  (thank you Ellen, I will never forget you!)
  • When I bought a beaded black gown in a thrift store and threw a huge party just to wear it (I miss you, Sam)
  • When I stood up to a bully head cook in a restaurant where I was waiting tables to pay for my first car and took off my uniform and threw it at him and then told him off  (so loud everyone in the restaurant heard!)
  • When I impulsively decided to move back to Georgia rather than hanging around waiting for a guy to notice me (Danny, did you ever know?) and was packed and moved two weeks later (Thank you Meredith! I miss you Lisa and Cathy)
  • All the times I sold everything I had to travel (and then slept on sofas when I got back (Thanks, Andy!)
  • When I worked at Coke and got to travel around the world (Miss you Ross, Teresa, Rose, Karen, Julie, Sandra, Rick – best team ever)
  • When I went to Spark and discovered I was a “whole brain” and understood why I could always see both sides of an argument (to the point where it annoys even me)
  • When I was on the board of directors of ARCA and helped run the Uncork a Cure fundraiser (Hello, Andrew! Chris and Matt!)
  • When I volunteered for a 3 month assignment in Africa and had to leave for the airport the same day.
  • When I found out I had a four day wait in Nairobi and was on a plane for the Masa Mara an hour later.
  • When I met Fred and was friends before anything else. (And we’re still friends almost 16 years later)
  • When I quit my job at Coke after a completely unfair and politically motivated review
  • When I had a new job 45 minutes later, closer to home, business casual and a 30% increase in pay (thank you, Fred – the best revenge is living well!)
  • When I used my huge profit from my Coke stock to take a year off
  • When I hiked the Appalachian Trail
  • When I kept going when my partner quit after the 1st week (Hi Ron and Sheri!)
  • When I planned our beautiful wedding at Nantahalla Outdoor Center alongside the AT (and 12 years later, people STILL talk about it!)
  • When I said no the first time Fred proposed (I really needed to make sure HE was sure)
  • When I went to Montreal to help with the twins after my miscarriage
  • When I had my hysterectomy and started to get control of my health for the first time in decades
  • When I went to Sante Fe on a spa trip with Meredith (we need to go again SOON)
  • When I traveled to London, Dubai and Singapore for IHG and did great work and had a blast
  • When I joined Weight Watchers
  • When I found a weight loss therapist
  • When I had weight loss surgery
  • When I signed up for kickboxing
  • When I joined the first Biggest Losers Challenge
  • When I started my blog and started writing EVERY DAY (what took me so long?)
  • When I went to my 25th reunion wearing clothes from the Goodwill (and looked GREAT!)
  • When I was the first one on the dance floor with my son at Reunions
  • When I signed up for scuba lessons
  • When I signed up for belly dancing

Well, now they are getting to be pretty much every day or at least every week, so I guess I need to stop listing them. Thanks, Teresa for the inspiration. Thanks to anyone who is reading. Thanks to Dr. Finley for my surgery. Thanks to Fred and Jacob for always being there for me. Thanks to my friends and family who have been so supportive.

It’s been an amazing year, but it’s only one year out of 47 amazing years. I can’t wait for the next 53!

4 thoughts on “Will the Real Karen Renee Couch Brier Please Stand Up?

  1. Karen, enjoyed reading this blog entry so much! It really takes us back down memory lane. You have accomplished so much in your life and especially in this last year healthwise. Can’t wait to for you to add “Diving the Great Barrier Reef” to this list. Keep up the good (great!) work and good luck tomorrow in the 5K!

  2. Karen,

    Can you print this out and bring it with you when i see you in Sept? There are so many things about you that I didn’t know. Not just the ones that happened before i knew you, but during the years that I have kown you.
    It’s wonderful that you and Fred and such good friends. Wish i had taken longer to set a good foundation.
    So proud of you!

  3. Hey, Karen!
    This is a wonderful post. I made a list once of 100 things to celebrate and this reminds me of that list. It gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes. I went to my 40th class reunion this weekend…similar feelings. Where was the real me all these years?
    Congratulations on your success. You are an athlete!

  4. I love this blog for so many, many reasons. I have always said that if you wind up on a Broadway stage or Hollywood screen, I will not be surprised in the least. No matter what our struggle as we live and learn, I think those moments when we are real and true are vivid and worthy of celebration! I so enjoyed reading this list and would love to hear more about so many of these moments!

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