Monday, January 30, 2012

the right ending.

If I had to sum up my weekend in one word, it would be 'unproductive.'
Aside from reading this 900 page book that just happened to be the last of a trilogy that I'm pretty sure was written for 14 year old girls.  I know this because it was in the young adult room at the library. Just working up the nerve to waltz into the young adult lair at my library took all the courage I could muster.
There's a story behind this, I promise.
About five-ish years ago I read the first two books of this series... which would mean I was still probably a little old to be reading them, but WHATEVER, maybe I like reading books about magic and England in the late 1800s, written for preteens. I'm not ashamed. I call these little dandies 'junk food books," because sometimes I just need to read something that isn't intellectually above my head/exhausting.
Anyway, this third book wasn't out yet when I read the first two, so in my college/life haze, I completely forgot about them and the release of the third and final book. Until recently, when thanks to pinterest I rediscovered/remembered how much was yet to be resolved in the dramatic conclusion. 
So yeah. I went back and reread the first two books last week and read the third one this weekend in all its nearly 900 pages of glory.
It was a labor of love for me and my poor eyeballs... until about 15 pages to the end when the author did something to the main characters that PISSED ME OFF. I'm tensing up just thinking about it.
I mean, I threw the book down and stomped off to go grab a beer and mentally steal myself for the final 15 pages of disappointment. It was 1:30 in the afternoon... on Sunday.
And because I'd committed myself in time and emotional investment, I finished the book whilst crying my eyes out because sometimes that's just what happens.
In true dork/neurotic form, I read the interviews with the author about the trilogy after completing the series. in an attempt to make peace with her decision to not give me the ending I craved.
And I'm still not quite at peace with it, because if I can't get the fairytale ending at the conclusion of a story written for adolescent females... where can I?
However, I sort of, kind of have to give this author the props she deserves. Because you know what? She didn't write the easy ending. She wrote the right one. Sure, the budding romance that had built momentum throughout over 2000 pages of text that I was anxiously chopping at the bit to finally see actually happen didn't get the shiny/happy/predictable ending. Instead the male love interest met a tragic end in order to save the main female character. The remaining 15 or so pages of the book follow this leading lady as she grieves, casts off the traditional London "season" that young ladies go through to find suitable husbands and secure a top place in society, and instead sails to New York to attend college.
It's a good ending, really. This girl shows strength of spirit and gumption. She lives boldly without the need of a man or really, the approval of society. I admire the writer of this series for giving the main character such a strong and independent end. Ultimately, I thank is important to show young women that casting off traditional roles to follow your dreams is a worthy thing. That being a strong and independent woman is not something to be ashamed of, that you can survive without the love of a man.
So yes, I'm making peace with this because the 25 year old woman in me knows it's the right message to send.
But the 14 year old girl in my heart is still pissed because, damn it, I still want to believe in fate and love being enough to face any trial or tribulation and the passionate kiss at the end of the day.
So, hats off, Libba Bray. You didn't give me the conclusion I wanted, but you gave the one we readers needed, and I've got to believe that's even more important.
But seriously, please write a 4th book. Please?
... And that, my friends, was my weekend.

Friday, January 27, 2012

irrational hatred!

If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you've probably been able to surmise that my life is basically a constant struggle of finding a way to accept how fucking weird it is to be human while simultaneously taking everyone for what they have to offer with that idea in mind.... with a positive attitude. Basically, I'm shooting to be an accepting type.
Work in progress. 
Key word : PROGRESS. 
But that in no way means that I'm not a total asshole (um, duh) and so today I'm going to embrace that fact by sharing five things that I have an irrational hatred toward. Don't get me wrong, I hate lots and lots more things, but I'm going for irrational things, so basically stuff most people aren't bothered by or actually like.... sorry if I offend. But if you're offended, you're also wrong in my eyes, so there's that.  
1. Lenny Kravitz.
When I originally decided to write this post, it was because "American Woman" came on the radio on my drive home last night and I punched the power button as fast as I could, but I was already seething. That's how quickly Lenny Kravitz can ravage a decent mood.  Why? Because I hate the fuck out of Lenny Kravitz. For no reason, which only makes my loathing even stronger. Irrational hatred doesn't need a tether like 'cause' because it is self sustaining and viral.
2.  Emoticons
I'm an emotional person who believes in displays of sentiment. Yet, my hatred for emoticons knows no bounds. There is no logical explanation for me visibly shuddering every time I get a winky face via text/email/facebook, yet there is no escaping it. I mind this transgression most at work where it's totally unprofessional and unnecessary and least when it's by one of my friends doing it on purpose to get a rise out of me. But generally, I feel a low-grade revulsion toward it at all times.
3. Raisins
I have not eaten a raisin in 15 years, a fact of which I am perversely proud. Around age ten, I started spreading the word that I was 'allergic' to raisins among my friend's parents every time I was offered them as a snack. Being a generally unfussy child in the eyes of most of my friend's parents, this claim was never questioned or disputed and I still have no idea why. Who the hell is allergic to raisins?! In reality, I simply hate them.  I refuse to eat anything that wrinkly and shriveled and that's probably the basis for my hatred for raisins.
4. Running into people I know, even most of my friends, in public.
There are probably five people I could run into in public without warning that I'd be genuinely happy to see. Mostly, I fucking hate it. It's not that I don't love my friends, but because honestly, I'm really, really awkward and anxiety-laden in the public setting. Like, if I'm at Target, I know what every person in a twenty foot radius is looking at and I'm hyper-aware if they so much as glance at me. It's kind of pathetic. So when I run into someone I know,  I go through this internal battle of whether or not to say hi, then if we should hug or shake hands or awkwardly side-wave- and then if we actually engage, how long we should talk, what if they're in a hurry? Am I in a hurry? What if one of us is buying something embarrassing? Why are we not here together? Is this the place I want to catch up? No.  If I'm not included in this plan, seeing them and engaging feels like some sort of intrusion for us both, even if I was going to tell them about it later. I don't know what's wrong with me. I swear I'm charming in social settings. But chance encounters with people I know? I hate them.
5.  The "What do you want for dinner?" conversation
Holy hell do I hate this question, and it happens almost five days a week between 5:03 and 5:15. As soon as I hear it come out of Matt's mouth, the entire tone of the conversation changes in my mind. Because honestly, I don't give a rat's ass what's for dinner as long as I'm not the one making it. This conversation has been known to cause prolonged silences and ruin entire evenings. I get it, to most people it's a really considerate question, but to me it has become a call to battle that becomes a stand-off with neither one of us willing to make a concrete suggestion or decision. I just don't want to pick. I will eat literally everything (except raisins, teehee) and Matt is the pickiest eater known to man, so why would this decision ever, EVER fall on me? Yes, I realize it's totally irrational and bitchy for me to get this upset about a polite question, but it's SO MUCH MORE than just a question to me, and also, this is a list of irrational hatred, obviously. If it was up to me, I'd throw together a salad or eat toast and eggs or a fucking hot pocket every night. That's right, a hot pocket. There, I said it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

token mildly-offensive religion post.

Sometimes when I am asked, put on the spot, curiously inquired "What do you believe in?" I don't know what to say.

Partially, probably, because on any given day I am not really sure exactly what it is that I believe in.

Is this is question of faith? Of God? Of specifically what I DO to insert myself into a group of people who do the same things, which gives us an identity in this portion of our lives? Is this even about God? About finding common ground? Another manifestation of the fact that we're social creatures? Or is this all a quest for some type of serene knowledge?

Am I part of the safety that comes with numbers? Am I naive enough to claim I know the all or nothing of this great debate? Do I love freedom enough? Because don't you dare question my love of freedom.


I just don't know.

Not for lack of introspective thought on the topic, let me assure you. Even when no one asks me the question, I ask it of myself.

Come on! What do you believe in, Sara?

There are obvious answers. I believe in post-it notes, for instance. I am very faithful to my relationship with them. I keep them with me almost constantly. I overuse them if possible. I utilize them to keep me on track, organized, to remind me of things too important to simply file away in my mind. I believe in post it notes because they keep things in the forefront. Because they work for me.

There are the less tangibles. I believe in saying 'I love you" every single time I hang up the phone with someone in my life that I love. Perhaps it is fear that drives this along, just like religion for some, knowing it could possibly be the last phrase I say to my loved one, the last chance I get to set the record straight. Love you. When I stop myself from saying it, it weighs on me until I talk to the person again. I believe in saying 'I love you,' even if it's based on superstition, especially if it's not at the end of a lengthy, pour-your heart out conversation, and again, especially if it is, too. I'm sentimental, I believe in sentiment, in 'I love you's.'

But it only grows from there. What else do I believe in? The power of love? The changes that come with time? Evolution? The New Testament?

Am I a Christian?

What kind?

How do I feel about Jesus?

Do I even believe in God?

Of course I believe in God.


I was raised Catholic, as were many of my friends. What a trip that was. I mean, when you roll with the Catholic crowd, you get some real crazies. Devoted folk too, but damn, crazy. I'm confirmed Catholic, which means I basically signed a blood oath to remain faithful to their ideals and do all their shit and no one else's for the rest of my life. Okay not really, and not a blood oath, but you know, at 15 they told me I was an adult in the eyes of the church and basically I didn't feel any different except that no one else was going to let me be an adult for like three more years. I jumped on that ship right quick, and since I do things all the way or not all all, I started leading youth group and doing bible study.

I loved that shit. I spent more time at church in my final two years of high school than I plan to for the rest of my life. I learned a lot in a general sense, and I learned a lot about Catholicism. And then I got to college and fell in love with my own freedom and actually being a quasi-adult and boom, all of the sudden my path wasn't on the road to righteousness... I was on the fast track to feminism and left-wing politics.

I'm not trying to bash Catholicism. I honestly feel like it's one of the least social-climby branches of Christianity out there and I love feeling like a part of something when I go back. Also, I have so much love in my heart for tradition, as nontraditional as I can be at times, and so many people I love the most in life are Catholic.

But I'm not exactly a practicing member anymore.

Religion is about more than knowing when to sit and kneel, the words of the chants, wishing those around you 'peace' mid-mass. For some, maybe that's all it is, to be a part of something bigger and feel comfort in knowing all the cues in weekly one-hour doses. It's just not enough for me. Because there are some things that I just CANNOT get on board with, and they pretty much cancel out the joy of feeling like I belong as a part of something.

 One of many of these issues (and I mean many, but for the sake of this being a blog post and not a book, we're going to talk about one very well known one) is the fact that we're not supposed to be cool with birth control or abortion. And I'm thinking to myself..... right. I guess it's the pull out and pray method then? I mean, I know that we're supposed to be forced into celibacy or a life of shame, but man, get real first of all and stop trying to scare me straight second of all.

Not really going to work to today's world.

I mean, I love you Jesus, really I do, but the whole immaculate conception story is really only going to work once and I've got living grandparents I'm trying not to shame and a bad case of the "I'm-in-no-condition-to-be-a-fit-mothers."

Don't get me wrong, I think it's wonderful when people have babies, even when they're not married first. My sister got pregnant four months before her wedding! Now we're all baby crazy! I'm going to be an aunt! I can't wait to squeeze the shit out of that little bundle of joy and teach it to say 'diahrea' before 'daddy' and spoil the everloving shit out of it! Look how accepting I am! YAY!

But I also believe in making the right choices for your body and mind to forge a path toward the happiness we're all desperately (some less desperately than others, assholes) pursuing... and damn, I don't think even I could spin a baby to my advantage right now.

This is life. It's basically the ultimate fight to the death cage match. Earth being the cage. I know, big cage, right? There are no fucking maps or strategies and we're all basically the blind and the blind leading the blind, so you know what, yes, I'm going to take any route/shortcut that will even TRY to make this journey easier. You can call me lazy, but come the fuck on, who is anyone to judge another person's choices in a fight to the death?

HOWEVER, I do believe in this idea of a higher being. Of something greater. Of a reason that we have faith. A reason for faith. Something that can't be explained with words or logic or complex equations.

Trippy, right? Damn right, it's the ultimate trip.

I also believe in an equal playing field and treating people with respect and kindness. I believe that there have been some wise, wise people in our past and even now that have had these lasting ideas that stuck and we all have so much to learn from them. But not everything- so much does not equal everything. No one is all knowing. Except God, maybe. I don't know. That's the point! No one knows! *(#&$*&#$!!!!

I also believe in making the choice that works for you. Not the easy choice, not the wahhhh-I-don't-feel-like-getting-out-of-bed-on-Sunday choice, but the decision to say, "Look, I get it, this is how you feel close to God and I respect that, I respect the validation that comes with ritual and gathering among people that hold the same beliefs and and would never try to deny you from doing what makes sense to you, what makes your soul feel peace." Because that's a beautiful thing for those that want it. And those that don't, psh, I'm cool with you too because to take a stand like that requires some guts and some heart as well. 

But I'm fully committed to finding what makes my soul feel peace. It's not comfortable, not knowing. Floating around and always kind of looking for something that makes enough sense to commit to. I haven't found it yet. I haven't found what makes sense fully and completely to my heart. When I do, I'll know, and I have faith that I will.

For now, just feeling that curiosity and desire sustains my faith that it is out there.

So maybe I don't always know what it is I believe in. But I do believe that it's different for everyone, and I will thank God for that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Do you ever put yourself out there and end up getting burned for it?

I know I do.

Actually, it is my personal preference to only associate with people who are willing to put themselves out there. For what is mostly irrelevant, but the willingness to make a figurative leap is non-negotiable. We're not talking about blindly jumping off emotional cliffs like lemmings, so much as having something deep down that makes you tick, that matters enough that when it comes down to it, you'll put yourself out there for it.  The more people I meet, the rarer a trait I find this to be; people like to keep their heads down with the rest of the herd it seems.

My friends and I joke about it sometimes, that feeling we all crave. "Let's get all hopped up on whiskey and take some risks!"

But really, it's not just the liquid courage or the laughter or the foolishness in behavior that usually comes with finding your niche; it's something hidden from the surface that has to be felt to be believed in.

It's having something you care about enough to take a leap of faith and the willingness to suffer the consequences- whether it be financial, a falter in stride, humiliation, heart break.

The leap that forces pride, despite most of our strongest instincts, into the back seat. It's passion, it's the glint in your eye, it's a constant and insatiable hunger for whatever it is that keeps you up nights.

It's always wanting more.

I was just thinking about the leap. I've always really liked the feeling right after, sort of a free fall before the result reveals itself, the euphoric knowledge that you found it within yourself to jump anyway, regardless of what happens. No one can take that away.

Getting to the jump though, standing on the mental ledge and forcing yourself off, that's the hard part.

In truth, it's almost never only about the outcome for me, which I know is a little hard to believe, but I've given this a great deal of thought and, at least for me, it's really true. Even when the end result doesn't pan out to my advantage and I'm thrown off course or worse, I'm still just about always glad to have taken the leap, to have risked, to have had enough passion coursing through my veins that I was willing to have things go either way just to know how the cards would fall. That's doesn't mean it's easy, though.

Knowing the result, that's the payoff.

But taking that leap of faith, sending that letter bursting with emotion or moving to that city on a whim, that's proof that you're still more than just alive, it shows you're engaging, that you're living. It's a way to finally clear the air or an opportunity to fall on your face and lose all your money, but maybe you at least discovered some good restaurants along the way- as I found out first hand in both cases.

Anyway, I'm working on taking some leaps here coming up. I'm inching up to the ledge and looking down. I know I'll jump, and though I don't know exactly what will happen, I know there will be results both good and bad.  I also know, without a doubt, that I'll be glad I took the chance instead of standing in place.

Cheers to the feeling of your stomach falling through your feet, and cheers to finding a soft spot to land.

Monday, January 23, 2012

in case we get separated.

A couple of weeks ago Matt sent me an email entitled "In Case We Get Separated." In it was the confirmation number for the hotel room he booked for our weekend trip to Cleveland.
In case we got separated.
And it struck me, how thoughtful, how prepared, how loving that smallest of things can feel to the right person. I've, without a doubt, never been with anyone else that would have thought to ease my mind that way.
I was reading back through some old emails when I noticed that one again, and just skimming the title sent a wave of gratitude washing over my entire being. Because those type of gestures are what made me fall in love with Matt. And those type gestures lessen my disgust and impatience at certain other pieces and parts of his being.  
Seeing the actual man, living with him, knowing all these pieces and parts and personality characteristics is to know that they are interwoven and that when you love someone, you don't get to separate the this from the that, what you will take versus what they will need to change, at least not if you intend for it to last. You take a whole because, I don't know, because it's worth it to you. Because the sum is greater than the parts, because love isn't checks and balances, it's an email that says without saying, I don't want to lose you. If I do, here is how we will find each other.
When we travel, the fact is that we rarely are out of each other's sight, although I have the tendency to just drift through places without giving a thought to how far away I'm going. The fact of us being separated was altogether incredibly unlikely.
 But if we did, we had a way to get back to each other, which is nice.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I'm not always a little emo bitch.

NYE 2012
 ... really, I'm not.

Although lately you'd never know it based on all the sad-sackery I've been throwing around.

So let's bring it up a couple of notches, eh?

By the way, while writing this I'm listening to "You Shook Me All Night Long," which should make for an interesting mindset.

IT'S FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I would add a few more exclamation points, but I think you get the point. On another side note, I was taught as a wee pup that the correct term is 'exclamation point,' yet I see people throwing around 'exclamation mark,' like, all the fucking time. I mean not all the time all the time, but you know, when it's brought up conversationally. For some reason this really chaps my ass. I'm too lazy to google the correct answer... plus I don't want to be wrong today... so fuck it. I'm just saying.

Matt's on call this weekend until next Friday morning at eight, which in reality happens every six weeks, but it feels like every other stupid weekend... so we'll be laying low. Which is fine with me because I've got a surplus of energy and four blank recently-purchased canvases sitting in my house just waiting to be made into beautiful wall-hangings. Also, at least three bottles of champagne in the crisper waiting to stimulate the creative juices, or really, just be the creative juices.

Did I mention that I paint?

Oh, sometimes I paint. Nothing spectacular. But you know, it's another expensive hobby I can't really afford, so why not?

HOLY MOLY, update on the song (ipod is on shuffle)-BEWITCHED, Cest La Vie!!!!!!! Hot DAMN things are look up. Does anyone else claim this as their one-time JAM, I personally do.


Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, I'm tired of being miserable and lamenting the fact that I don't have as much figured out as I want to or thought I would at this point. Confusion is just another adventure, and I personally love adventure.

So come Monday, I'll maybe post something whiny and pathetic that makes you want to slap me. But you won't be able to... because this is the internet. Boom.

Enjoy the weekend, there is SO much to smile about.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

easily the worst post i've ever written... don't waste your time.

I'm pretty unexciting right now.

Matt and I traversed to Cleveland last weekend. It was fun. Our team lost the hockey game we attended, but I got kind of sloppy on $8 - 24oz Honey Brown cans, so it wasn't a total wash. Also, we got along abnormally well, so I'm thankful for that. I lived way beyond my means, aka I partied like a rockstar in Cleveland, so now the rest of my money will be going to gas to get me to and from work until I get paid again in 10 days. Yay, adult decisions.

"Nerd" said in a demeaning way has become my new favorite insult, which I think is okay since it could easily be turned on me accurately. Correct usage? "Get out of the way, NERD."

We're watching the series ALIAS from start to finish (SEASON THREE HERE WE COME), which has become intensely emotional for me, for whatever reason. Like, I'm obsessed with spies now. And Michael Vartan. And Jennifer Garner.  I get really sucked into things. I've probably never been so excited to watch television in my life.

Most evenings I head to the library from about 7-9pm to "work on my grad school applications," aka gchat with my friends that live across the continent/world. I'm just fucking tired of the entire process and totally running out of steam. I've probably put in over ten hours on one personal statement alone, though. Basically, if I don't get into grad school, I'm planning to disappear... which could lead to a half-hearted attempt to become a spy. COME ON GRAD SCHOOL.

I started crying while trying to explain Eating Animals to someone I'd just met over beers recently. That was pretty much a low point. Seriously though, a very, very good read.

Blahdy Blah.

This is already pretty dismal, I don't think I'll add anything else. Anyway, it's time for lunch so I'll probably go sit in the conference room with the $1.00 microwavable meal and watch ALIAS clips on my phone.

Hopefully things will take an upward swing soon. I'm trying to laugh a lot, anyway.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

weird, weird times.

I think I'm entering/have entered a very contemplative time in my life.

It's not the first and it won't be the last, but when they happen there's no telling how long they'll stay or what I'll learn.

It's always a little weird, to be honest. The other night at the bar, over fries and beers, I started crying while trying to explain a book I'm reading to a friend's boyfriend I'd never even met before. Hello, freakshow.

During these times I feel everything very acutely and I'm incredibly emotional all. the. time.
Not a sad emotional, just moved. It's as if everything and anything could have the power to move me.

It's strange. I don't exactly dread these phases, but I'm not jumping for joy to start weeping as I consider how everyone perceives a certain patch of road differently, either.

Speaking of perception, this is taken from one of my new all-time favorite reads, Anthropology of an American Girl, and it touched me so deeply that I've been thinking about it for days. I even read this passage out loud to Matt on the way home from Cleveland yesterday so that we could discuss it.

 Bless his soul for humoring my fragile state of being. (I'm a nerd, through and through.)


         "Actually," Dan said, "I was just thinking about qualities that are essentially incommunicable, like color. For instance, take roses. Kate and I can both call a rose red, though I might see coral and she might see pink."
         "Do you mean color blindness?" Kate asked 
         "Not exactly," he guided gently. Dan was always gentle with Kate. At parties he would dedicate songs to her, or he would write compositions called "Kate 9" or "Kate 16." "My point is that it's impossible to know what I see matches what you see when we both say red. Comparisons of redness aren't possible. Redness is ineffable: it has to be experienced to be known. "

         "Big deal," Jack said. "Perception is variable. If you perceive a speeding car to be forty feet away when it's really four feet away, and I perceive it to be four feet away, I'll jump, and you'll get hit. Relative perception doesn't change the position of the car, and it's doesn't affect the color of a rose. The rose doesn't care what color you think it is." 

        "I'm not saying that physical absolutes don't exist, " Dan said. "You're right-the rose is the color it is. I'm saying that absolute perception doesn't exist. That no one interpretation is more valid than another. Like redness, or jazz, or--"

        "Nationality," I added, "Or race."

        "What's your point, Daniel?" Jack wanted to know.


"Art doesn't have to be held accountable to accuracy, and there's no one right way to look at things."

(Pages 142-143) 

Friday, January 13, 2012

a weird day. a full day.

Yesterday was a weird day.
Too full of emotion and heartbreak and inspiration and strength for one day. No. Not too much. Actually, if I had my way, every day would force so much feeling. So much recognition of what connects us. So many reminders that this is humanity and it is what we have to work with and the best we can do is to seek to stretch the limits that confine us. Push it out. Let ourselves feel it all. Look up from a book at the library and realize you're crying. Not because something sad or catastrophic happened, but because someone finally found the words to say that one thing. Because it feels like it could be you.  
Yesterday was an emotional revolution for me, from start to finish. On a personal level.
I learned a lot. Isn't it bizarre that sometimes you learn so much in one span of wakefulness?
I was honest with myself for the first time in a long time, the kind of honest that feels good even when it's not what you wanted to hear or admit.
A friend told me yesterday that she'll struggle until the day she dies with the idea that life isn't black and white, and that resonated with me. Because wouldn't it be easier? I can't help but think of myself as black and white sometimes, drawn to the poles and extremes. But the gray, the different shades that fill in around everything easy to place, that is perhaps our greatest treasure, the most important gift granted to humankind.
The gray. The interpretation, the individuality, the hard call that went the way you weren't expecting, that is the beauty of us.
Which I think I was trying to say yesterday before I got caught up in confession hour and media criticism.
We may strive for black and white, for understanding and clear lines, but the truth is that we're gray and I'm beginning to realize how thankful I am for that fact.
The other day I posted about a friendship I didn't think I could salvage, so I'd decided to scrap.
For some reason this fits: "Man plans, God laughs." I don't know if there is a God, but I sure hope someone is laughing at all the folly.
It was done, for me. I was going to cut my losses, even though they were big. Then I thought, maybe after one last conversation. Yes, I decided to go for the confrontation. And in thinking and worrying and trying to form any semblance of organization in what I wanted to express, I realized that maybe I was wrong.
Not wrong in how I felt, or wrong to take a step back. Every friendship, every true friendship has tests and moments of tumult. But I realized that once I let people in, gently ease my level of heavy into their hands for a moment so they can gauge it before I take it back within me, sometimes, on rare occasion, they hold my gaze and say "Oh, that's how much? Yes, yes, or course. That's no trouble at all. I can help carry that," and then a certain agreement has been reached. That I'm responsible too, for their heavy. That periods of silence can be comfortable and that sometimes what we're carrying ourselves gets too heavy to allow anything else. Not that we don't want to throw it right on top and carry it too, we just can't.
Friendship, it doesn't mean approving of every decision, or not stepping back. It means making the hard calls, and also accepting that sometimes, for no other reason than that we can and we want to, we change our minds.
I know that I've already done my resolutions, and I'm off to a pretty winning start, although I haven't delved into the bubbly since NYE, but I want to add one more, not for this year, but for forever, for my life. I want to, need to, start dancing in the gray parts. To see the beauty in the fact that nothing, nothing that has to do with the realm of human relationships and the spectrum of our emotional capabilities is black and white. Not just because it's so rare that I feel things absolutely anyway, but because it wouldn't be fair to expect myself to.
We are fluid, not steel, not matter how hard we try to be. But that doesn't mean we're not strong, perhaps it just means we have the advantage of flexibility, and change.  
And that's just part of what I learned yesterday.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

ten points if you make it through

Last night Matt and I disagreed about something that happened on a TV show we watch and I couldn't form a coherent argument as to why it bothered me so much. Not the fact that we disagreed, that's not a rare experience at all, but that we held such different views on something that we had seen simultaneously, under the same circumstances, the only differing variable being the interpretation of our own minds.

At the risk of this explanation becoming more boring and verbose than it will already be, I'll say that this was a moment built up between two fictional characters over a period of almost two seasons. That's the marketable way to do it, stretch the viewers' patience as long as possible. In this case, two seasons of meaningful glances/smiles/wistful looks,  near-misses, and talking about their feelings to everyone but each other and finally, finally, a kiss. Not just any kiss, a big whammy, an embrace, a block-all-the-world moment.

It was cathartic, for me, to watch this thing under the surface, that was so clearly just out of reach, finally come to light.

Finally a release.

As the viewer, I watched in anticipation of this moment, willing it to happen every time the two characters were in the same frame. It may be fictional, but that doesn't mean the people watching don't invest emotionally in what we see. So while I essentially squealed with delight at the dramatic first kiss between two people forbidden to be together by circumstance, I glanced over at my own love, to gauge his reaction. It's something that I do often, look to see Matt's reaction to things, because as well as I know him, as much as I like to think I've pieced together a reliable map of this mind and heart, we are two beings independent of each other, and there are always mysteries.

He was not as thrilled as I was.

Actually he was disgusted and he accused me of condoning infidelity because I was so thrilled to finally see these two characters get to share a truly happy moment together.

You see, the man of the pair was in an on-again-off-again relationship with a woman who didn't know many things about him, one of which being his feelings toward the female lead. But then again, everyone on the show lies to the people they care about. For the sake of their safety, of course. The lies, the covering up of the lies and the near-misses with them, it's a central part of the story line, woven in with the romance, another factor of suspense.

Another reason we watch.

But does it justify lying?

Matt's disapproval led me, of course, to think about my feelings on infidelity.

Cheating, I know, I believe, I fully feel, is wrong. It's grounds for separation,  for re-evaluation, to end something special that has been mutually worked for between two people.

As a person that has experienced first-hand the feelings of disgust and pain and fury and just filth that surround the person you are with, to whom you've handed over part of yourself, to whom you've tried to make yourself fit, betraying my trust for the cheap thrill of the warm touch of someone else when mine wasn't convenient and handy, I know what it's like to feel seared alive. Then to continually press on the seared spot of your being to try to understand the pain, the motive, the reason. And to find that sometimes, there is not a reason, sometimes there is not logic, sometimes the only thing you know for certain is pain. However, I have never been left at the discovery of someone better, either. Only someone more opportune.

I also can't say that I've always played my heart exactly by the rule book. Because in truth, I've never been able to find a rule book that seemed fair to me.

I'm not a cheater. I feel that my integrity is intact.

But come on. I'm not perfect either, as hard as it is to admit about something so charged, being faithful and trustworthy and sturdy and true, I can never claim that my slate is clean. Not completely.

In college, my first two years, I was in love with a man so sweet and gentle and caring. He thought we were going to get married. I wondered often what our life would look like in five, ten, fifteen years. Would we still have the same arguments? Would we still be able to make each other laugh? Would we ever stop drinking every weekend?

I felt committed, devoted. We practically lived together. We spent every possible moment together. It was so much fun.

And then I would come home for the weekend and I would immediately call Matt and hop into his truck and we'd drive around together for entire nights. Driving no where, looking at the stars, laughing and singing along to the music.

And I loved that too.

And it made me feel like a monster.

So that meant I was doing something wrong. Your insides know past the rationality of your mind when something strange and wrong is afoot. Anything that feels that wrong means it is wrong. Just to be clear, it doesn't seem to work both ways, just because something feels right, doesn't necessarily mean it is. Another lesson hard-learned.

And yet during that time Matt and I never kissed. But more than once we went down to visit friends at their colleges and got drunk at parties and I'd wake up in the same bed with him, with his arm thrown over my body, both of us fully clothed and on top of the blankets, like we'd fallen where we stood talking.  And I'd think, "Fuck fuck fuck."

And then I'd pretend it was nothing and I'd done nothing wrong, not violated any sacred unspoken agreements, not been a poor example of character or someone that cannot be trusted. Because I hadn't kissed him, right? I always reminded myself of that. But it felt wrong because I knew how I felt, pulled in two directions, stretched. And I knew how they both felt about me, and I learned that you don't get to dole out permission for someone to love you.

Sometimes, they just do.

And sometimes you don't get to decide either. Sometimes, even the most disciplined of us cannot stop the runaway train of emotions that hits unexpected, violently, defiantly.

I know that it was wrong that those two characters kissed before the writers made them single and available, morally right, but it adds to the drama. It adds to the conflicting emotions that stir within us and keep us coming back. Is it truer to life? If they're so broken and they're beautiful and we get to watch their most private lives unfold, then it's okay, maybe, that I'm broken and imperfect too?

 Am I able to be the kind of person who will close my heart off to that explosion of attraction? Is monogamy a pillar of my heart's fundamental belief system? Of course it is, but what constitutes cheating? Why are we so compelled by the idea of forbidden love, even in a fictional sense? How big should be the guilt in my soul for the sins I committed in the past on the journey to discover the lessons I've learned? How much weight should I feel for the hearts that I've surely damaged along the way?

I was 18 then, 19. Everything I felt, I meant. I meant it all so much. I don't know if I've ever let myself feel so much since then. That love at college was sacred to me, it still is, because it was my first. But this love that I feel now, it is more sacred to me. I tell myself, completely honestly and truthfully, that I would never let it go there now, not when I've learned so much and lost so much and come so far.

Not with this love. Maybe then I had the steady truth that I'd never let my feelings be proven, my lack of faith be brought to light with a physical manifestation, a kiss, but it is my perhaps ignorant belief that emotionally bonding with someone other than my partner, my lover, my best friend, Matt, would hurt him far worse. And now, certainly, I would never let myself take it there. Not only because I know pain of heart but because I treasure what I have too much to risk it, to play with it. It is not a game, not that I ever felt like it was anyway. 

Also what of the media? Is is desensitizing me to monogamy? Is it fucking with my moral code? Am I less now, less because I wanted, hoped, wished, imagined, obsessed, fixated these two people sharing that first kiss?

Is Matt hypocritical for reacting the way he did when in fact, he told me he was still in love with me before he'd had the chance to end things with his ex-girlfriend after reading my letter, in which I begged, calling him back to me? Or is it okay because we didn't actually see each other until after it was done, ended. Who am I to declare my feelings at the expense of some other girl's happiness anyway? Is it because I felt we were meant to be together, that despite circumstances and obstacles in the way, I was willing to forsake the code to make it known?

Is 'fair' just an ideal we can use as a point to strive for, like Utopia? What is fair? Who gets to say? I want to know.

In life, things are less compressed, action packed. When events unfold slowly as they usually do, some of the drama of the situations we endure is lost, or spread out to seem less extreme. And thank god for that, our lives were not fabricated for the entertainment of others. But have we been trained to set that as the benchmark for success? Do we need the explosions and fireworks or are they just a precursor for disaster? I recently learned that we're not the only organisms that can manipulate one another. Is that all we are,  animals? 

Would we tolerate all that drama that we get sucked into,  or do we long for it?


I don't need to know that answer to the last question.

I just want to get back to my show.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

because I want to.

I'm getting swept up in a vast storm of negativity today lately. So I lieu of my currently non-existent "about me" section, and to distract myself, I'm going to spout off five or so random facts about moi,  probably unbeknownst to you up until this point. Maybe not.

1. Shit. This is harder than I thought it would be.

1.  I ran cross country and track in high school. It was basically one big happy cult family. Other than running ridiculously long distances in extreme heat and cold, not much else happened. We didn't drink. We didn't do drugs. There were a lot of carrot sticks and co-ed sleepovers. There was also a lot of driving around aimlessly on country roads and loud music. We did occasionally egg people's houses. It wasn't that terrible, really. For some reason, I always feel seventeen in the town I grew up in. It's like it's too small to take on everything else I've become since then.

2  I was really reluctant to give in to the whole skinny jeans thing. Like, really reluctant. Enough that even though that phase of my life is basically a blur of college, I remember fighting skinny jeans tooth and nail. Hello, my name is Sara and I have a huge ass. Strangers grab it on occasion, to the point where I swear it's like moths to light. I've now been safely converted, despite my ass's persistence in all things protruding, to the joys of tight pants. Skinny jeans.... I love you. I promise.

3.  I realllllly dislike wearing glasses in public. Have a mentioned that? I'm not sure. I just don't like it. I feel so vulnerable, as if at any moment they're likely to fall off my face on the ground to get trampled by oncoming traffic. Then I'll be blind and have no way to get home. I freak out a lot. The funny thing is, I get hit on about 7:1 more times when I'm wearing glasses. A little weird if you ask me. Good thing I already snagged a total babe because if I had to resort to wearing glasses to rope in eligible men, I'd have a panic attack a minute about my vision being limited to the constraints of the lenses. I freak out a lot, I told you.

4.  I don't listen to her music that much, but that stupid "You and Me" song by Lady Gaga makes me tear up every single time I hear it. What the hell? I don't even know anyone from Nebraska.

5.  On Saturday it was so unfairly beautiful outside that I left the library and drove to the park. I read a novel while I laid in the grass and let the sun warm me instead of finishing my grad school applications. It's January. In the Midwest. As far as I'm concerned, that's the closest I've ever been to divine intervention. As for my grad schools apps- still looming large.  Everything in due time, right?

So now you now all about me and my aversion to glasses and conversion to skinny jeans and everything else.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

dropping the string.

I've been thinking about friendship a lot lately.

I usually do, because I pull myself thinly in every direction in a never ending battle to stay in touch with all of the people that I care about. Not just in touch, but to stay friends with. To span the miles. To span the time apart. To be a viable person to pick up the phone and call.

As much as I hate to admit it, it's harder when you're in a romantic relationship. These things take time to upkeep, force things that were once in the foreground out into the periphery. I've struggled with that a lot since Matt and I got together. Before, I was mostly single for two years, and before that, I was always sort of a rolling stone anyway. I'd prioritize girl time above all else. Now, it's different. Not worse or better. Just different.

I heard once that we only have the emotional capacity to really engage in a limited number of relationships at once. Like theater seating almost. You have your front row, the next row, and everything else receding behind it tapers in importance and investment. I just try to stretch the limit.

I always want more.

It's not really THAT many people, because I am a bit of a friend snob. I always have been. I've never been incredibly popular, or the person that everyone orbits around, the glue. But I have a discerning eye when it comes to forming relationships. I'll hold out when I have to. I'll cut people out without warning when the situation requires. 

I don't trust easily.

The people that I surround myself with, they're my heart. In return I'll give you my last dollar, tissue, minute of free time, gallon of gas, and I'll love you. I'll love you the best I can, which admittedly sometimes falls a bit short. But I try. God, do I try.

I've missed things, gatherings. Whole weeks I could have spent within a tight circle of gal pals, sleepovers and wine nights and movies. I've missed things, I know I have. But in as many more times I've risked the peace of my relationship to stay relevant within the group. I strive for the balance, even if I've fallen short. And I'm quick to say "I'm sorry" when I feel I haven't upheld my end of the unspoken agreement, when I've lacked in some way at being a good and decent friend.

I'm an introvert. When I make connections with people, they mean everything to me. I'll turn a single exchange over and over in my head trying to make sense of it. I'm slow with friendship. I'll build it, patiently, defying my usual nownownow outlook on life. Most importantly, I make sure it's built strongly. With the best materials- double, triple reinforced.

I have honed my skill, when it comes to picking out people to trust. I rarely make mistakes now. I rarely waste my time. I'm efficient when it comes to relationships, if nothing else. It's not about judgement, it's about knowing you could trust a person not to crush you. It's about being willing and able to give and receive friendship. Holding a bond, the other end of the string. Trust.

Sure, I've been crushed, I've made mistakes in choosing friends. Who hasn't?

But I've been right more than I've been wrong. It's one of the few skills of mine that I truly treasure. I know a good person. I can see right through.

Recently, though, I've had a sneaking suspicion that I've made a huge mistake.

That something, someone I put so much faith and time and effort into maintaining a friendship with, they're just slipping away.

And no matter how far I try to reach to meet them halfway, they're walking in the other direction.
To be rocked this way, to be wrong, it feels almost like a breakup, although there will be no closure. No conversation. No confrontation.

In some ways ending a friendship is so much more painful than ending a romantic relationship. Sure, you don't have to show up with a box of things to return, necessarily. Divvy up the memories to 'yours' and 'mine.' With friendship, I've found things fade away. Lose their luster. The tide recedes back into the rest of the ocean. There's not really a point in confrontation, because at best, things are never as effortless as they once were, and at worst, it's an awkward conversation or disagreement that creates and chism between the entire group. There's simply no end. Just the haunted feeling that even though you grasp your end of the string with all your might, the other person has let go, wandered off.

We'll still see each other at group gatherings. I'll still laugh at her jokes. 

But I don't see how I could let her in again. It's not even really a choice. I just can't.

I'm just tired, so tired of exhausting myself and fretting over what I could have done to salvage it.

I'm done. The string? It's probably floating around in oblivion somewhere, with no one left to anchor it. The pictures? They can stay.

Monday, January 9, 2012

wiping away the dust.

I was going through my old drafts today, little snippets of discarded insight, when I came across the passage below. I wrote it about the year I spent in Kentucky, living hotel-to-hotel, as a union organizer. I was 22 and it was my first job out of college.

I'm so glad I found it, a little glimpse of summer in the middle of January.


There was something that I loved about walking out of my hotel room on a summer morning, when the air was still cool enough and everything was still damp, before the sun scorched mad and forced the dew to evaporate.
I never had to be at the office until 10. TEN! Do you know how long I'd already been awake by then? Hours. I almost never had to rush around in the morning to get ready, and if I did it was because I'd taken too much time eating breakfast, gotten engrossed in my book, let the shower water caress me longer than usual.
My walk was cheerful then. I was approached once walking into a gas station by an older gentleman who asked me if he's seen me reading the news. I grinned and told him it wasn't me and he said "Darling, you've got the aura of a movie star." I told him he made my entire day, and it had. I felt pretty, assured.
I guess having a career at 22 will give you a false sense of confidence.
Those mornings, they stick with me.
It's really one of the most lovely times to be by yourself. You have time and your full attention to devote to the subtle changes around you as morning gives in and the meat of the day begins to take shape. I had a lot of mornings like this, in Kentucky. All the time in the world to myself and I think I realized that I needed to relish in it a little. I almost never turned on my televisions in the room. I loved that. I don't prefer to spend my time that way. I made friends that invested their time in hiking and tennis and seeking out adventure. At night I'd drink wine and soak in the bathtub while reading a book almost every night.
I was lonely, I remember that. At least for part of the time. But I think I settled in to a point where even that faded.
I miss it.
I miss those mornings and the freedom and the frustration and the challenge.

Friday, January 6, 2012

you're all the pretty music that i need.

We were driving home from a wedding and it was December, but unseasonably warm. I was hungover, with that shaky, tired, blah feeling. It has started to sink into the entire day following a night punctuated with any amount of drinking. Old at 25.

He sat behind the wheel of my Jeep and maneuvered us through the cities' grid and leisurely steered our way toward the highway. Toward home. Two hundred miles to go.

We'd had an explosive fight the evening before, midway through the reception.  The drinking had been fuel for the fire. Threats had been made, but without the umph behind them that carry enough weight to bring out tears and desperation. Still, it was ugly. And then, just like that, minutes or maybe a half an hour later the storm passed. We were drinking beers again, rolling our eyes to each other in secret alliance. He bought me a hot dog from a vendor on the way back to the hotel. We curled up and tucked in and slept in a cloud of fluffy white, then cuddled as sun steeped in through the floor to ceiling window overlooking an Orthodox synagogue below.

I was feeling a bit silly, as I often do when cooped in a car for long, or let's be honest, short periods of time.  I slouched down in my seat and banged my feet against the dash to the rhythm of the music. I threw my voice all over the range it would stretch to, and boogied in my seat.

Suddenly he grabbed one of my feet. The left one, closer to his place in the drivers' seat. He started singing into it for a couple of lines, until he flung it back to the dash and took both hands to the wheel, smiling, but otherwise acting as if nothing out of the ordinary had just occurred. 

No one has ever made my foot into a microphone before.

I wondered, in that instant, and still: Is this what love is? Those fleeting moments that you remember when you're screaming at each other across the room, that keep you from hurling those certain words and phrases that would surely tear the whole thing down?

A microphone foot. Love. It must look different for everyone.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

for shame.

I hit a door last night. The linen closet door.

In frustration.

I mean, I really smacked the fuck out of that thing.

I've got a bit of a temper, but usually it takes a a lot to get me worked up, and then I start hollering and carrying on nonsensically. Occasionally, I cry. Frustration is one of the only things that makes me cry.

But I never hit things.

I've been known to bust bottles and tip things over for fun, to blow off some steam. Not because I'm pissed,  but because I'm being rebellious, because I don't give a damn, because it thrills me. Because it makes me feel young.

Hitting things, there's no thrill in that. Just impact. The sound is not even as impressive as busting glass. Hitting things doesn't make me feel less frustrated, I found out. It makes me feel even less in control.

I'm on a short fuse lately.

It takes nothing to set me off.

You know why I threw that tantrum? Because that's what it was, a tantrum. I threw it, I hit that damn door because Matt was taking out his contacts and I told him I had to go to the bathroom. I told him and told him and he thought I was playing around, which I wasn't. So he decided to trim his mustache.


Really rub it in that he was taking as long as possible. Messing around with me. He thought it was all just fun and games.

And I had to pee.

And I was not in the opinion that this was fun and games.

I maybe could have held it. Probably, I'm not a toddler.

But instead, I couldn't get him to take me seriously in my pleas, so I took out my aggression on a door frame.


And last night we went to bed not speaking to one another. Over something so incredibly stupid that I cannot even make sense of it.

I need to get a grip.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

foiled again.

At my library the new books are '2 week only' books. Which means you can only check them out for two weeks.
That explanation was unnecessary,
Anyway, you can't go online and renew them if you're not done reading them yet which often happens with books since I always manage to check out like 50 at a time for some reason, as if the library is going to be closed for six weeks instead of open every day and two minutes from my house.  Yes, I often run into a little problem with two week books. Because sometimes, SOMETIMES, I don't get around to opening them until the 12th day or so, and then it's a race against the clock. I almost never win these races.
Either I pay a daily fine for hoarding them.
Or I'm sneaky and I run into the library, have the clerk check it back in and then immediately check it back out.
Whew, problem solved.
I get the book for longer and I'm not holding it hostage and everyone is happy.
Until yesterday.
Yesterday I strode into the library urgently because I wanted to make sure I was in the clear with The Marriage Plot, which happened to be due and I was just at a really good part and wanted to get back to reading it immediately.
I was on page 139. I had marked pages 116 and 136 because I took a certain shining to quotes on both of those pages.
I was about to take the book back and drive home impatiently, burst in the door and kiss my boyfriend and hug my dog and grab a handful of cookies and promptly disappear into a fiction-induced haze for AT LEAST two more hours.
Then came the fateful words:
"I'm sorry, but it looks like there is a hold on this one."
heavy sigh.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

lack of patience.

Sometimes when I want to do everythingrightthissecond, I need to just remind myself to just knock it off. Yes, it's 2012 and I'm itching to get my year off to a good start, but I'm not going to accomplish everything overnight.

Which is basically the hardest thing to try to tell yourself when you spent college completing semester-long projects the eve before they were due and still getting A's. Because then, everything could be accomplished overnight.

This is not college.

This is real life.

And these things take time.

So, someday, but not today, I'll look back on all the progress and be impressed.

Until then, I'll be dreaming of this: