Friday, January 29, 2016

ten minutes

This morning on my way to work I went somewhere in my head that I really only let myself go for those ten minutes on my way to work.

I thought about my trouble in interpersonal relationships lately. My lack of confidence and feeling of ineptitude. My feeling of being excluded. 

I thought about this g-chat conversation and the moments it described:

me we went with two other couples to trivia last night and the last gal showed up late because she was at the gym
 Jessica ok
 me and so she got there and i asked her how it was and she said 'sweaty' and then basically ignored me
and then the other gal came back from the bathroom and asked her how it was
and she was like 'good!' and launched into an animated explanation of it
 Jessica oh jesus
that's just rude
 me i don't know, it just rubbed me the wrong way
  i know she doesn't realize she's been doing it

And then I started thinking about you. Because when I'm low, I want to get lower. And you're a first class ticket to the bottom. 

Sometimes lately when I'm driving to work I spend those ten minutes thinking of how I feel like I'm in the periphery of every group. I remember that I didn't always feel this way. I didn't always feel obsolete and unnecessary, just a supplementary addition. I remember my 17 year old self, sitting shotgun next to you in your truck, driving anywhere. I felt like the center of the universe then, like a leading lady in my own story. Prickling with explosive energy.

So in less than ten minutes, I worked myself up to tears this morning and then had to immediately recover and slap a smile on my face when I got to the school, so now I'm feeling a little bit of emotional whiplash.

But I guess I'm finally feeling like writing with real emotion and not some half-assed attempt at humor, so it's a start.  

What I want to say is this. 

I miss you every day. Not every second of every day, but still, every single day. I wish I could say that I want you out of my head, but the truth is that I'm terrified of not missing you. I'm terrified of you not being in my head, because I need you there, I need to know that everything that happened between us is real. That you were my best friend and I was yours, even if it couldn't stay that way. Being that vital, indispensable, it's a good feeling. 

I get the impression now that if I wasn't here, no one's life would really be all that different.  

And I worry that you're always going to be the most important person in my life, and you're not even in it anymore.

And what does that mean for me, then? What do I have to look forward to? 

I'm a little scared that I'm going to keep walling myself in with people who don't make me feel special because it makes it easier to not let them be special to me. That I'm not going to be special and so I somehow deserve to be in a relationship with someone who has refused to have sex with me for six months, for no reason at all. That no one has to say bless you to me when I sneeze and mean it or ask me what I think about the silly little decisions of everyday life and want my input. I have a good life, and my partner loves me, but I am so, so lonely. And I sometimes feel like it could be anyone going through the motions with him, it doesn't have to be me. 

I'm not special.

There was a version of me that never never would have stood for this, and I can't decide if I lost her by accident or on purpose. 

I miss being the me who people heard when she talked, even in groups. Who was part of an attentive, inside-joke filled, sensitive, honest, open, pair. Because even when we had disastrous arguments, at least I knew you'd say you were sorry if you hurt my feelings. At least I knew that at the core of it all, that you came from a place of deep love and had my best interest at heart. I knew it and I took that for granted because I guess I thought it was always going to be that way no matter who I was with.

I miss the way you would defer to me, refer to me, when having a conversation in a group. Especially when I was standing right there. It made me feel worthy, important to you, like you were proud to be with me. "Sara's really good at that too." or "Sara was telling me about that a few days ago." I know I did that for you too. I didn't realize how important that part was until my boyfriend started turning away from me when he got into conversations, instead of drawing me in. I feel excluded. I feel like maybe I should be more independent? I feel like it's all my fault, apparently. Maybe it is.

The fact remains that I never feel that anymore, like anyone is proud to be with me. Maybe I'm not that person anymore, or maybe I just have a knack now for picking people who only care about making their own point, feeling proud of themselves. Maybe it's a flaw in me, that being proud of myself isn't enough. It makes me feel like I deserve more. It makes me oh so aware when I don't get it.

I made my choice. The last time we slept together, I flew back to Montana two days later. The one who is with me now picked me up at the airport. It was the beginning of something new. I was excited. Bloated with hope.

And now I am where I am. I've waffled with you enough in the last 12 years. Changed my mind. Been unsure. Reminded myself why it can't work. I can't turn back now, I made my bed.

I'm not going back. 

So here is where it always goes. It goes to reminding myself of the reasons why not. I cling to them. Those reasons, they've become the most important thing about me. They keep me in line.

And that's about as far as I get in the ten minutes I allow myself each morning. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

sore muscles

As you may have seen, one of my new years resolutions this year is to find better ways to occupy my time. 

You see, I fell into this pattern where I actually had too much time on my hands. Like, it felt like a struggle to fill up my days and like it took too much energy to do anything other than the Netflix binge I was going on- nearly every day after work. 

Yes, I said that I actually have too much time. 

This doesn't seem to be a common problem for a lot of people I know. However, I am fortunate to work from 8-3:30 during the week, except Thursdays when I get to leave at like 2:30. 

Oodles. Of. Free. Time.

Previously, being totally wasted.

BUT, I think I'm making a little headway. 

Every Wednesday I have American Sign Language for two hours in the evening, now. It feels really great to be learning something new again. It's fun. Working a muscle that I haven't utilized in a while. Learning for the sake of enjoying the taking in of knowledge. Plus I get to make some really dramatic gestures and facial expressions. 

Also, I joined a gym about a week ago, which you may have learned from my group exercise post. I'm spending a fair amount of time on the treadmill, which means I get to stock up on alone time, but also feel the burn. And many, many parts of my body are in pain right now. But it's the good kind, so I'll take it. 

And, I'm writing again. It's hard, it's miserable, and another one of those waking-up-an-underused-muscle metaphors would definitely fit. I'm still hating everything that I write. I know that it's not funny and most of it rings a little more on the stale than inspired side, but I'm trying, and that's something. 

I keep telling myself, I have to start somewhere.  

So, all of my muscles, mind, body, spirit, they're a little sore, but that means they're being used again, and that's a start. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

kick and core.

Let's talk about group exercise.

It seems like everyone I talk to is a huge fan of it. You know, working out in a room with a bunch of people, doing the same stuff to really loud music with heavy bass. They talk about accountability and healthy gal pal bonding time. They talk about 'fun' and how 'fast' a workout seems to fly by.

And they always say "You should totally come along! You'll love it."

I've been pretty reticent to participate in this form of exercise because usually when I tell one part of my body to do something, like four other parts of my body respond by doing something embarrassing. I ran cross country in high school- a team sport, but pretty much a solitary endeavor with a solidly repetitive body motion. It was a good fit for me.

So when I decide I'm going to get into shape, which I do from time to time, I usually turn my trusty running shoes to the streets, trails, or treadmill- with varying degrees of success. Because sometimes, I admit, I do get pretty fucking bored with the same old running, day in and day out. And then I stop with the exercise and then I continue to be out of shape.

Do you see where I'm going with this yet?

I allowed myself to be talked into a group exercise class called 'Kick & Core' last night.

I should also mention that in a weak moment I gorged myself with Arby's about 2.5 hours prior to this initial attempt. That turned out to be a poor idea, because trust me, Arby's does not taste as delicious multiple hours after consumption, coming up instead of going down.

No, I did not vomit during group exercise, mercifully the universe spared me that degree of humiliation. But I will say that there were a couple of touch-and-go moments and I definitely got to re-taste some of that poorly planned meal.

I wore my normal running attire, which consists of a baggy t-shirt, some capri length  black leggings, legs that haven't been shaved since New Years Eve, and some old running shoes. Let's just say no outfit would have made me feel like I fit in with these women, but running a razor over my legs in the past 25 days would have helped me to feel like I was at least a female.

Despite my Sasquatchesque appearance, I felt welcomed and and not singled out as the new girl, which is my biggest fear. I went with one friend and felt some relief that I could look over and give her a bewildered eyebrow raise at any time.

Still, I  wish I had the words to express how uncomfortable it was for me to sweat my tits off in a room completely lined with mirrors. It allowed me to be intimately aware of the fact that I was always two to three motions behind the rest of the class, flailing wildly. It also let me know just how miserable I look when I'm doing squats. Approximately the same amount of miserable I feel. At least I'm proportionate.

My one consolation the entire work out was that everyone was probably concentrating so hard on keeping up that they didn't have time to notice what an absolute ass I was making of myself.

When it was over, I was relieved. Like, whole soul relieved.

I do think this world needs group exercise. "Fun" exercise. I think they need peppy instructors who are impossibly fit and don't even grow winded throughout the hour-long routine that you yourself barely survived. We need these kind of women, even though when they casually mention their two year old child you are completely baffled that a baby made it's way out of their perfect body only two years ago. Maybe some people really are motivated by the idea that they will be missed by the group if they don't get their asses in gear and go work out with their friends.

I wish I was motivated by that.

I think I have some kind of physical insecurity that doesn't translate to my normally confident psyche. I think it has to do with how out of shape I really am right now, compared to in shape it seemed like everyone else in the class was. Maybe if I has been back in the exercise saddle for four months instead of four workouts, I could have laughed and poked fun at myself for how uncoordinated I am, like I would in pretty much any other setting. But probably not. I think I'll never like staring in the mirror while I sweat my ass off and wish I were dead, surrounded by the group of thirty beautiful and more coordinated women whose bodies actually do what they tell them to do.

The truth is, I think I prefer solitary exercise. I think I prefer pretty much solitary anything over large group activity. Besides, have you seen treadmills nowadays? They have T.V.s on them! I can stare at pretty much anything I want.


Monday, January 25, 2016

on being bullied.

You guys, I'm turning 30 this year. 

But that's not what I want to talk about right now. 

I really want to talk about bullying. Because even though I'm 29 years old and, to gently toot my own horn: articulate, professional, educated, and qualified for my job- haters gonna hate. 

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I work at an elementary school. I am a child therapist, and I'm contracted into my school through a mental health organization to work with kiddos who meet the criteria for an SED (severely mentally disturbed) diagnosis.  But I don't work for the school or the district, so I'm kind of in a weird outsider role, too. Basically I work with the kids who the schools have tried everything with, and just don't know what to do anymore because their behaviors at school are so disruptive, dangerous, or extreme.

So yeah, my kids are the tough ones, and they're great. I love working with them. I think they're actually little bad asses for all they can do despite some horrific pasts. 

So I'm there to give them a safe place to put big feelings and to learn some better coping skills and to work with their teachers to make accommodations for them in the classroom so that they'll have more success with the learning process. 

Although it's not really in my job description, advocacy is a big part of what I do. Sometimes I advocate for the teachers, but most of the time I'm advocating for the kids I work with, because the traditional classroom setting, for whatever reason, is just a really big struggle for them. And some of these kids are incredibly bright. Not like, shiny and wonderful and special in my own eyes. Like, really high IQ bright. 

Which brings me to the bullying that I mentioned earlier. 

I work with a lot of truly wonderful teachers. I work with clearly devoted educators who put in way more than the required minimum because they care and they take the task of facilitating the learning process very seriously. I work with a lot of warm, funny, friendly teachers. And one who happens to be a bully. 

This particular teacher has been teaching for almost forty years, and I believe her to be a good educator and someone who cares about children. And I honestly don't know what makes her want to chip away at my fragile, 2nd year therapist confidence. At first, I kind of thought I was taking things too personally, and it was just in my head. Then I started to feel targeted, disrespected in front of children I work with and consistently undermined. And it became this yucky, dread-filled haze every time I saw her walking toward me down the hallway. 

Luckily, only two of the 13 children on my caseload spend any time with this particular teacher. And as I'm writing this, one of them has been pulled from her class, in large part because of her unwillingness and inability to alter her teaching style even a tiny bit. 

How does someone who has taught for forty years not understand that she may need to try something different when a child is blowing out in her classroom every single day? At what point do you not ask yourself if what you're doing is part of the issue? Or maybe try the behavioral plan created to give the child consistency with all of the adults they comes into contact with at school. But then again, I authored that plan, so I'm sure she never even read it. 

I realize now that I was just a punching bag for this teacher's own issues and insecurities. She is unwilling and unable to collaborate with someone clearly younger and less experienced because she believes that forty years has made her all-knowing. I would have nothing to bring the the conversation because not only am I younger, I am also not a teacher. I just spend my days studying the behaviors and emotions of traumatized children, trying to help them heal and help their teachers find a way to get through to them that feels safe and doesn't trigger them into a full blown escalation. 

Boy, did I try to kill her with kindness. Time and again, I put myself out there with a validating comment or an offer of meeting to work together, even after I started feeling condescended to and verbally abused in our conversations. 

So when, day in and day out, the child in question was triggered by her method of teaching, it became my fault. Instead of facing her own insecurities and trying to work with me to come up with a plan that used both of our knowledge, she gave up on the child and now ignores me completely. 

And it makes me kind of sad, really, because I think I could have learned a lot from her.  And I know the kiddo could have.

Bullies, man. Turns out they're really just insecure, sad, and a little lost. Doesn't matter how old they are. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

You know those absolute truths in life, that when looked back on kind of make you feel a little sad about their inevitable downfall?

I see them everywhere. Those seemingly infallible truths, washed away without ceremony. 

But some version of me believed in them completely, once. Some different, earlier, less developed, worthy, lovable, messy me.

At least for me it's messy. Sometimes I'm amazed I ever made it from point a to point b.

Over time, the person that I was wrote down a bunch of these things that I thought were unshakable, because, I guess I like making declarations. Because I'm an asshole who never seems to learn that there are no absolute truths in this lifetime. Because I'm always trying to explain things to myself, to make sense of the chaos so that I can be okay in the world.

And sometimes I like to reflect on times I've been wrong, and consider the things I've learned from those errors.

I've declared things like, "I'll never be this happy again as long as I live." 

I have been. Happier, that is.  But maybe I was paying attention in that moment in a way that I never had before. And I'm glad for that, even if it turned out to be false, because happy moments should be treasured and remarked upon. Noticed. And I am also so, so glad that a fleeting moment at age twenty-one wasn't the best it got.  

"I will always love you more than I'll love anyone else ever again."

In my infinite wisdom, I have said some version of  this to more than one person. I don't say it anymore, because I've stopped wanting to limit myself. Why attempt to limit the amount of love I'm capable of feeling? Why pin that albatross to someone in that way? I think it's too much for them to try to live up to. Too much for me to try to force them to do so. 

"Nothing you could ever do would make me turn my back on you. You're my best friend for life." 

This one, of course, surprised me the most in its inaccuracy. It turns out it wasn't a something that broke apart our friendship. It was a collection of different sized slights and betrayals on both of our parts. Helping each other through trials and tribulations seemed like a breeze compared to the status quo our friendship settled into.  I took for granted the title of 'best friend' and she exploited it. In the end we both walked in opposite directions, not exactly turning our backs to one another, but rather on a relationship neither of us really cared enough about to repair anymore. 

In the end, it turns out there is one universal, absolute truth I'm still clinging to, hoping to never be proven wrong.  

It's okay to be enormously wrong, sometimes.

 It's okay to keep growing and learning. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

riding the manic wave?

Okay, let me tell you a story about the current state of my life. I want to preface this story by letting y'all know that while I'm probably not like, the best I've ever been, I'm probably the most stable and balanced I've ever been. Which is something. Not like, working out on a consistent basis kind of stable, but paying my bills on time and walking my dog regularly kind of stable. 


On Tuesday at work, I waded through what can only be described as a 'shit storm' for eight hours and reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally wanted to have a drink or seven when I got done. But then I was like, 

"Sare, what happened to better choices? What happened to really liking not being hungover at work? What happened to PROJECTS?" 

And then of course I replied. "You're right, Sare. I totally need a project."

And then in struck me like a manic wave. Like a manic Tsunami. 


Don't know what that is? Don't worry. I will explain everything. Let's rewind for a sec. It all started out when I picked up a piece of 'art' at a local thrift store for nary a dollar about two months ago. About a month after that, I hung it in my kitchen. Two weeks after that, my friend complimented it. 

It looks like this:

It's a woven wall hanging. Pretty straightforward. But that compliment stuck with me. And I just knew, deep in my bones, with the accuracy of a trend forecaster, that loom-woven art was going to have a HUGE revival in the coming months. 

I've actually never been more sure of anything in my life, and I make a lot of snap decisions. I'm not a waffler. I trust the gut.

So I kind of back-burnered this knowledge, because what am I going to do, buy up all the loom woven art I can find and then sell it at a major profit when it gets big with the hipster set? Possibly, but not if I actually have to make an effort. 

And then, the manic wave struck. And boy, did it strike hard. 

I would become a loom artist. Not only would I weave, I would make my own looms. The weaving would make me wise and balanced and healthy. Weaving was the next chapter in my life, obviously.  

And I swear to you, I could see it. Sitting in my dimly lit office, scouring pinterest for tutorials and counting my minutes until freedom, I was perhaps only hours away from a radical change. And boy, do I dig a radical transformation.

I could almost see my etsy shop and eventually moving to an adobe house in the desert and living off my art with super bohemian friends. You know, the ones with a wavy gray hair and flowing outfits? Yeah. We were drinking red wine out of heavy goblets and doing whatever it is that desert bohemians do. Weave on looms, I suppose. Compliment each other's loom tapestries. My imagination ran wild, and I hadn't even left my office yet. Never mind the fact that I have no desire to live in the desert, because that was an integral and highly desirable detail of my future, I was sure of it. 

Finally my moment of freedom came and I called my loving boyfriend, frantically explaining why I wasn't coming home to see him before he had to go to work. I ran out of breath trying to explain it in one sentence because I didn't want to waste time on words when my art was calling. Obviously the boyfriend replied with "What is this, the 17th century?' And then offered, somewhat begrudgingly, support of my plan. He indulges my whims. It's why I keep him around.

I spent the next two hours driving around to various thrift stores and well known craft  imporiums, frantically looking for my 'mediums.' You know, earth toned yarn of various thicknesses and stuff. 

It wasn't until leaving a Jo-Ann Fabrics store with yet another four or so bundles of yarn that I started coming out of the haze slightly. Which, since I wasn't even home and had just spent over 50$ on yarn, was really way too soon to start losing steam.  

Fast forward a few hours and a few failed attempts to create a loom out of sticks pulled out of the firewood pile in my backyard, some of which had obviously been chewed on by my dog somewhat aggressively. Because sticks=nature=rustic=much more desirable, in my opinion. I finally gave up and wrapped some string around an empty picture frame. LET THE GAMES BEGIN.

The game initially sucked, actually. I wrapped the string too close together and it was practically impossible to get good at the whole under-over motion.

This is one failed attempt:

Anyway. I finally finished the loom from the old picture frame after weeks of avoidance and hours of actual weaving.. And you know what I realized? Weaving is fucking boring and also where was my wine? I mean, I tried, I really did. And if I can get some weird hippie weaving circle going, maybe it would be bearable. And then I thought, 'You know, this is just the town full of weirdos to find some loom-dreaming enthusiasts.' And I decided to read a book instead. 

So much for projects.

UPDATE: Turns out I kind of like the monotony of weaving. Below is my recent second attempt.

Monday, January 4, 2016


I don't know if it's still cool to believe that a new year means a prime opportunity to strive to better yourself, but I sure as shit hope so, because being more hip is obviously on my list of new years resolutions. Lucky for me, it seems to still be super hip to lose weight 'get healthy' and get organized 'become your best self'.

These things rarely work out for me, resolutions, but I love making them. I love the idea of a solid fresh place to begin again. Maybe some people do that April 18th, but I prefer January 1st.

Anyway, I guess it's time to get down to brass tacks

The thing that  always holds me back is that I have excuses and rationalizations for most of the ruts and unhelpful patterns in my life. Trust me, I can put a spin on any of my own bad behavior. I guess I probably have to in order to continue to get out of bed every morning. But rationalizing has kind of taken a primary role in my life, and it just isn't really making me happy. So I'm going to try to be more honest. I like to laugh at myself, and I think that is such an important part of who I am, but that doesn't mean I have to be a joke. I think honesty is kind of going to be my theme this year. It feels right, anyway.

So here it is, rather inconveniently not in list form:

I really, really need to stop distracting myself from my life. From living. 

That means less disappearing into binge reading spirals, Netflix rabbit holes, a bottle of wine, etc. I'm not getting shit done. Like, I'm really not getting any shit done. I'm not getting out. I'm not working on my relationships with people. I'm not bettering myself. I'm not bettering this world. I'm basically checking out so I can pretend like I'm keeping myself super occupied when really I'm just escaping. I have oodles of time and my life isn't that fucking bad that I need to escape from it. In fact, it would be pretty sweet if I starting hustling even a little bit. 

Speaking of hustling. I claim to love this mountain filled landscape and an active lifestyle. I'm full of shit, obviously, because I just had two weeks straight off of work and I went on exactly one hike. Getting in shape for the new year is cliche for a reason, because it's true, damn it. For me, starting that journey to a new gym for the first time feels harrowing. Well, I suppose it's time I put on my bad bitch panties and realized I'm never going to stop hating the way I look unless I start to feel good about how I treat my body. That doesn't mean I'm ever going to love baring it in a bikini, but at least maybe I'll stop scowling at myself in the mirror as much. 

But, you know what?  Neglecting my body isn't the only reason I'm scowling in that mirror, oh no no no. I suppose there are plenty of reasons for that, but not meeting or even bothering to make personal goals is definitely a contributing factor. So, I'm going to write something at least once a week. I may not post weekly, but writing for the sake of it is a salve, and I need it. I still want to read at least a book a week, which will actually involve me slowing down a bit, but at this point I really need to join the world more than I need to continue to pretend it doesn't exist outside of the book i'm reading at the moment. 

Another thing I desperately need to do is finish all the requirements for licensure in my profession. It's sweet that I can practice without it, but it's costing me an arm and a leg. I'm so close to being there in requirements, it's just all the tallying and organization that's holding me back. It's time to get that shit going. I could be making more money! For the same exact job! And I really need to be making more money, because guess what? 2015 was the year I finally started putting a little money aside, and boy does it feel good! 

So there we go, honesty and hustle. And trying to come up with the cleverest insta #s, obviously.