Stranger 021


What’s your full name?

Kaylie Hanson Long 

 Were you named after anyone?

Nope. To this day, my mom claims she invented my name, so I guess all the other moms naming their kids Kaylie must have been inspired by her creativity! 😉

 What’s your average day like?

Most of the day is spent working and keeping up with the news for my job. When I’m not working, I’m working out, seeing friends, or sleeping.

How far away do you live from where you were born?

I grew up in Connecticut, so now that I’m in Washington DC, that’s about 5 hours.  

 Is that distance something you think about? Do you any connection to your place of birth?

I love that I live driving distance from Connecticut, so if I ever need to get up there quickly and unexpectedly, I can. I do still feel connected to Connecticut, probably because I worked for both of Connecticut’s senators. A lot of my friends in Washington are friends I met in those offices and they also have Connecticut connections. Oh, and my husband went to my high school, so I guess Connecticut never really leaves me. 

What do you consider to be your “home”? 

Wherever my parents, brother, and husband are. I’m very connected to Connecticut, but even if we travel as a group, we could be on Mars and it would still feel like home.  

At the moment, what’s something you’re looking forward to? 

Going to the gym. I had a really big dinner last night…! 

What items do you always take with you when you leave the house?

My keys and my phone. I hate purses and I hate carrying stuff, so I try to take as little as possible with me whenever I leave the house.  

 When you look in the mirror, what do you notice first about your appearance?

Yikes. I guess it depends on the day. Thinking hard about it, have a really bad habit of sleeping with mascara on, so in the morning I guess I’m always checking to see if I have smudges all over my face (which I do most days).  But otherwise, I guess it depends. I would love to know what other “strangers” in this series say!

If you could change something about your appearance, what would it be?

As women, we’re trained to think about this a lot. But after decades of thinking about it, at this point, I actually don’t think I would change anything. Only because the stuff I’ve got is the stuff that’s mine and I’m lucky to have it and be healthy, I guess. 

Take my hair for example. It’s fine, frizzy **and** curly, a lethal combination because eliminating frizz in your hair requires heat, and when your hair is as wild as mine, you want to smooth it and heat it a lot. But then it gets really damaged because it’s so fine. It’s a very annoying cycle, but I’ve learned to live with it and be thankful I have hair at all (and a great blow-dry bar that can help me out, too!).

What do you first notice in strangers?

I think it depends on how we are defining “stranger.” Are we talking about someone you meet, or interact with? Or are we talking about someone who just passes you on the street that you’ll probably never see again? Because the answer is pretty different in each. 

For the former, I think I notice if they’re friendly or not. There’s no reason, in most cases, to not start off on the right foot with someone, even if you’re only going to talk to them for 5 minutes and probably never see them again. I really hate when people aren’t nice. In fact, I hate it so much that if someone is mean or rude, I try to think of some backstory in my head about why that person is acting like that, even if it just helps me tolerate the situation (maybe her hot water isn’t working at her apartment, maybe his kid woke him up at 3am and he couldn’t go back to sleep). 

If it’s someone I’m just passing on the street, I notice the person’s looks. If we had pages and pages to dedicate to this topic we could get into a really interesting conversation about race and gender, and probably a million other things, but those topics are too important to short change, so I’ll just leave it there. 

What do you think those that know you say about you?

And we’ve arrived at the scariest question portion of this interview! They probably say I am emotional, and they wouldn’t be wrong. I am very opinionated, and I cry a lot because that’s just how I process emotion. It can really freak people out! But for me, crying is the same as someone furrowing their brow, or pursing their lips, or even smiling. It just happens. But I’m not ashamed of it, actually. My grandma was like this and when I was little I thought it was super weird (maybe it is). But she cared SO much about things that she would just tear up a lot or would defend her point of view and sometimes that would lead to tears, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. 

 What would you hope they would say?

That they like to be around me. 

 What do you think strangers notice first about you?

Probably my hair. Back to the fine, frizzy, curly combo. Some days (cough-mostdays-cough) my hair is a train wreck and pretty noticeable.  

What is your proudest moment? Biggest victory?

 Choosing a career that allows me to have even the tiniest impact on the causes that are most important to me.

What is your biggest regret? Biggest failure?

Not dancing as much as I could and should. I love to dance, and I danced in college, but I let other things in life get in the way and I miss dancing every single day like I used to. 

If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I could be more present in the moment. 

What makes life worth living?

My family. I have a huge family, and they mean the world to me.  

 If you could know exactly when and how you would die, would you want to know? 

No way. I worry way too much already about what’s happening in the future, and it’s really frustrating.

What is the one rule you try to live by? Do you feel successful at following it?

To be nice to other people but don’t back down from what you believe in. I think I do this well most days, but there is always room for improvement! 

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