little sarah Big World

Tag: acceptance

I’m Gonna Live Forever

~OR~

Fame

“I’ve been immortalized on the Wall of Fame, Brandi!”

There’s this guy that comes into my coffee shop from time to time and draws pictures of the girls at the counter. He’s been doing this a long time–portraits line the wall in the back room and date back to before I worked there. He comes in, asks you to try and hold still (which you can’t, because you’re, you know, working), draws an overly or underly flattering picture (Diana’s has weird, krinkly hair, while Ellie was depicted nude in a vat of coffee beans), then presents it to you and asks what you’re able to tip that day.

Or so I’d heard. Because he always comes in the afternoons, and I leave by 12. I’d never even seen the guy.

Not gonna lie, friends–I really wanted to be on that wall.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Good Morning

~OR~

But Now Am Found

Last night I stayed up ’til nearly 2 am, writing. On paper. Laptop off, typewriter put away, just pen and ink on the page.

For 5 1/2 pages. Read the rest of this entry »

Spring Has Sprung

~OR~

Lately…

I think a lot of people go to Grad School because they don’t know what else to do, they’re unsure of what comes next. After graduating from college and living the dream for a while–just hanging out, working a couple part-time jobs, keeping up with the ol’ hobbies, etc.–they begin to wonder, “Now what?” They have interests, passions, curiosities, but maybe that’s not enough. Maybe they want something bigger for themselves.

I think most people want something bigger for themselves.

And there’s so much pressure to succeed in measurable and familiar ways. That’s why you end up with a whole flock of uncertain, indebted 20-somethings, “advancing their careers” with more schooling. I’ve seen it happen, like a fever spreading among my peers. They’re not sure exactly WHAT they want, but they need some sense of forward momentum, and society approves of higher education.

“What are you up to?” your parents’ friends ask, and you get to say “I just got accepted to Fancy Pants Academy in Ivy Town.”

And then everyone’s happy.

Except…except maybe they’re not. Maybe they don’t actually want to be a doctor or lawyer or mathematician. Maybe they just know that they’re ready for something more, something bigger than house parties and part-time jobs and poor finances. So they commit 2, 3, 4 more years of their lives in the hope that they will then be transformed, birthed like a grungy pheonix from the flames into full blown adult-hood.

Don’t get me wrong–I think Masters degrees and PhDs are fine, if you know what you want. If you are passionate about Physics, go for it. If you’ve always known that you want to be professor, or a doctor, or a lawyer, then study up and make it a reality.

But I think it’s wrong to pretend you’re something you’re not, to follow a set path and give up your individuality for the approval of others. Progress for the sake of progress, with no regard for who you are or what you want. I think there are many ways to “grow up,” move forward and be constantly changing for the better, and I would never push myself to blindly follow someone else’s definition of the next logical step, just because I was ashamed to admit that, honestly, at the age of 26, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

I think I might like to be a school teacher, or possibly a journalist. I know I could succeed in either of those careers. But right now those are just notions, and there is plenty of time. I’m not certain of those choices, but I’m more and more certain of myself.

Recently I realized that most of my anxiety stemmed from trying to figure out the next step. What do I want? Where should I go? How can I best plan out the future in order to move on from the past?

It was freaking me out, Friends, trying to maintain a hectic, busy life here while also planning for a future that I could never quite convince myself of…so I stopped. I stopped planning. I stopped working so hard just to make a buck so that I could keep living a life where I’m working so hard all the damned time. I’m not going to move back to Spain, I’m not going to make any radical career changes, and I’m not going to Grad School.

Instead, I will:

-read more, watch TV less

-write more, facebook less

-run more, worry less

-listen more, talk less

-walk more, rush less

-sleep more, work less

-share more, isolate less

-hug more, stress less

-cry more, feel more, listen to my heart more, dream more, defy more, and spend less time obsessing over what my former classmates are doing, what my former friends think of me, and what my former goals were when I was a person who would ignore her gut instinct and stick to the plan, one foot after the other, even when it made me sick and anxious and depressed

In short, I will do as I please. I commit to me, to my ideals, my passions, my creativity and self-worth. They don’t give out degrees for that, but I feel a hell of a lot more certain of myself and what I want than so many of my peers that I see grinding the axe at a nine to five plus night school, just to get ahead. Even if all I’m sure of is taking things one day at a time and doing what feels right. Because what I’m sure of…is myself.

*       *       *

I think a lot of people go to Grad School because they’re unsure of what comes next. But I know exactly what I want. I want this, I want here, I want now. Spring is here, life is good, and every day I feel more and more alive. I’m not going to Grad School, because I’m committed to the present; I don’t want to change a thing

First a quick trip to South America, though. See you in 3 weeks and 3 days, Friends.

Luck Be a Lady

~OR~

Gratitude, Re-Examined

Sometimes you get what you want. Sometimes, after a really rough year that culminates with you sitting in bed,  crying, and your friends have to come and sit on the bed with you and force you to talk and eat things…things take a turn for the better. Sometimes you go from sleeping next to the coal shoot to having your own studio; from having shitty friends, to no friends, to amazing, caring, devoted, silly and wonderful friends. Sometimes you go from working all the time and resenting everything to working a good amount, saving up money, and totally digging your job (most of the time).

Sometimes you think you are going to have to make yet another Big Decision, and you are totally prepared to face it, to do the grown-up thing, cancel that darned South American adventure in favor of a stable job and a fulfilling life in a small(ish) town (to see that integrity wins over desire, as Ms. DiFranco might say)…but then instead you get everything. You get to keep that job, the friends, the life, the boyfriend, the apartment.

At least, that’s what’s been going on with me. And I feel guilty. For getting what I wanted. For things working out.

I want to say that it was hard work. That I deserve the life I have because I’ve worked for it, suffered through years of tedious jobs and flaky friends, and I’ve always sought better for myself. Or maybe it’s my Positive Mental Attitude, I tell myself–I’ve willed this better, more sustainable, more fulfilling life for myself by staying positive, dancing when I’m down, and letting things go.

And this is all true–I’ve worked hard and tried to stay positive, tried to grow from adversity–BUT if my current, pleasant situation is due to my own self-love and PMA…then why the guilty feeling?

Well, because. Because, Friends. Because sometimes, self-love is not enough. Sometimes good vibrations and an honest day’s work aren’t enough. Sometimes not even patience, not even just waiting out the storm, can explain the sunny skies.

Sometimes you have to admit that your hard-earned good fortune is really the result of the love, energy, and effort of others. That your many blessings you receive are the cumulative result of those who care about you and going out of their way to make your life better and easier, for no reason other than being outstanding human beings who want the best for you.

And then what do you do? How do you relieve that nagging guilt? How do you let yourself feel that you deserve this?

Well, I guess you just do your best. You keep working hard and looking up and trying every day to show that you are forever grateful to those who’ve taken a chance on you and your happiness.

You say Thank You.

You say: I don’t know if you still read this, D, but thank you. Thank you so much.

Then you move on.

Milestones

~OR~

Please Let Me Remember Tomorrow That I Dropped Picked-Off Nail Polish Into a Water Glass and Not Just Re-Fill It and Start A-Drinking

 Tonight my mom asked me why I’d decided to become a vegan.

Then she listened carefully to the answer. And later she seriously considered my suggestion that she eat more whole grains.

It was pretty bad-ass.

*       *       *

Yesterday I went to brunch at Vertical Diner with Nicole friend. We had both been pretty shit-faced in public the night before. She’d rambled on to an acquaintance at a bar, and I’d negotiated with a high school-aged Jamba Juice employee. Milestones. 

I am not yet too old to be publicly intoxicated. I have not yet reached Patsy and Eddy status. But someday, when I do reach that point, I will be okay with it.

SO okay.

*       *       *

Anyways, the point is that Nicole and I have decided to regress to high school levels of debauchery. And I’m okay with that as well, Friends. I’m okay with staying out late and having sleepovers and making bad choices and giggling and hanging out with my friends as though they were my very life-blood.

No parents, no rules.

(Which at this age means not only that my folks aren’t around, but also that I, myself, am not a parent).

Except my mom IS around. And we drink two gin and tonics (each) on a Monday night. And shoot the shit.

Then I come home and blog.

*       *       *

You’re Welcome!

Some Days

Some days you just can’t win. Some days people expect more of you than you’re willing or able to give, and it is only 9:20 am. Some days you have more things to do than time in which to do them, and it is snowing, and you ride a bike, and you know that nothing is going to be easy or convenient or efficient.

Some days you have to boil potatoes before 10am, just to stay on top of things. (But the steam on the stove makes the kitchen warm and fuzzy).

Some days you know that you are going to get a talking to, and it will not be pretty. You know that you have to tell the truth to some friends, and that it will not be any prettier.

Some days you cry (sob, really) in the bathroom at work for a solid 15 minutes. You pace the halls and take deep breaths, and you are not proud of yourself, but you love yourself and so you say “It’s okay.”

Some days you return to work with eyes so red and swollen that there is no denying what you’ve done, yet nobody says a thing. And that is somehow worse than whatever you’d dreaded them saying.

Some days you roast potatoes, with garlic and rosemary. 

It’s your own recipe, and you use a fancy tip from Cooks’ Illustrated, and they turn out just right.

And you know that, when you get off of work, you will turn those potatoes into potato salad. You will pack up that potato salad, along with some mustard, vegan bratwurst, and beer, and you will go watch Newsies and have a meat-n-potatoes dinner with your girlfriends.

At least that much you can do right. And some days that’s the best you can do.

*       *       *

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

-Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit

-Cut some red potatoes up into little cubes. I used 5 medium potatoes, with the intention of feeding about 5-7 people (as a side dish). Leave the skins on for maximum nutrition.

-Boil a big pot of water, then add cut up potatoes to the boiling water PLUS a bit of baking soda. Say…1/2 a teaspoon for lots of potatoes, but only 1/4 of a teaspoon for not so many potatoes.

-Boil for 3 minutes. Then drain. Then let those hot little spuds cool off.

-Toss your potatoes in some olive oil, a bit of salt, and crushed or chopped garlic.

-Spread the whole mess out on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with more salt, some pepper, and rosemary sprigs (fresh or not, whatevs).

-Bake/roast for 20 minutes or so, until they are golden brown and crispy in parts and a fork slides easily in. BONUS: you can add some lemon juice for the last 5 minutes of roasting for extra amazingness.

-ENJOY! Try them in a salad with mixed greens, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and tuna. Or not.

Happy Birthday to Me!

~OR~

The Lessons I Never Learned

Today is my birthday, and that is a happy thing. I am one year older, one year closer to remembering that I can’t have 7 drinks on a Saturday night and feel fine the next day. Right? This is a lesson I will learn, eventually?

Because hangovers are NOT a happy thing, and yet I’ve devoted the past two Sundays almost exclusively to honoring them. Oops.

Today I am 26 years old and not even stressed about it. I’ve been working on embracing confrontation, on standing up for myself and fighting for what I want. So 26 seems promising. I had ridiculously high hopes for 25 (that being my favorite number and all…), and though it was certainly a year of growth, acceptance, and transformation, it was also kind of a lonely shit fest.

My hopes for 26 are more reasonable. It is more about steady change and movement.

I think Lindsey friend said it best when she said “I always think odd years are going to be awesome, but the even years are usually better.” TRUE.

Especially if you put a lot of value into numbers, which I DO.

Today is my birthday, I am 26 years old, and I have received many lovely, thoughtful gifts, chief among them thing homemade e-card from Kevin. All photos were taken by him, in Madrid, and…

…and the panda thing is a reference to Saturday night. Night of the 7 Drinks. Apparently, in a late night international phone call that I do not remember, I drunkenly lamented that I would “never be as cute as a panda bear.”

Aaand then I fell asleep on the phone.

*       *       *

Oh, but that was back when I was still 25, Friends. Today I am 26, which means that last night I only had six drinks, and today I am only a little hung over. Totally different. Totally mature. Totally worth it:

Haven’t Slept a Wink

~OR~

I’m So-oh-oh Tired

Because I am just going with it, living in the moment and going with friends to late-night bars, where we indulge in late-night bar food, juicy secrets, and the honest truth.

And because I work an early morning job now, all coffee and sunrise, so I am up and at ’em by 7 at the latest, sometimes as early as 5:30.

And when I’m not staying up late with friends, I’m staying up late baking, and doing laundry. That’s life, I guess–it can’t all be chicken wings and beer.

But I am also very calm, which is a new and strange thing for me. It’s partly due to exhaustion, and partly due to something else, unnamable. Some sense of grace that I’d so long hoped for, and I am feeling more grown up of late. I feel prepared for 26, whereas I dreaded 25, didn’t think I’d earned it. Wasn’t ready to grow up.

Not that I’m ready now. BUT, I am calm. And strong. The days pass by in little slivers and I appreciate most everything. Making a salad for work…

…how delicate and tart and fresh and pink an apple can be…

…and taking a moment to snap a photo, even in the middle of a whirlwind-busy day. Because it’s the right thing. Suddenly the right thing seems so obvious, if I only slow down enough to listen. Today it was: buying a little gift for my Dad, just because, and baking bread for the staff meeting.

It’s strange, because last week I was feeling so dis-jointed, so distant and isolated and irritable. (Probably also due to lack of sleep). But…I just let it go. I let it go, and I think things are going to be fine, and everything else is out of my hands, so I will probably just eat a salad and bake some bread and read in bed ’til I fall asleep about it. What else can I do?

Last week I felt like I just didn’t care anymore, about anything. I didn’t freak out about it, I just let it happen, submerging myself completely in the feeling. Like swimming through a lake, and now I’m on the other side. Not sure where this is, exactly, but it feels new, and real, and good, and calm, and utterly blameless.

The world is quiet here.

A man just came to the desk where I’m working and donated the remainder of his clementines from a meeting in one of our public rooms. I have been craving citrus lately.

Artwork by a young patron. A gift. Okay, it was a barter.

Life Goes On

~OR~

“Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da”

Last night I was yelled at by a cab driver. He said my card was denied, that there was no money, and called me a liar, when I said I was certain that it was just a mistake. He refused to run it again, said that running a different card would waste even more of his time than I’d already wasted, yelled at me “What are you do?! Why you call a taxi if you have no money?!”

I stayed calm, repeating “What do you want me to do.” He screamed at me, threatened to call the police.

“Belligerent,” I believe, is the word.

Finally he ran another card, which of course worked. I slammed the door on my way out, and he rolled down his window to say “Attitude! You do not need to have an attitude.”

I staggered to the porch, fell into a plastic chair, and sobbed. What else could I do? How can people be so irrational, so needlessly cruel and harsh?

(Some days I am still little sarah, and it is a Big, Bad world).

But then…then there was my Stephanie P. friend, who rushed over, with hugs. Kind words and the promise of a brighter tomorrow. She had never seen me cry before, but I am not embarrased, and anyways, that’s what friends are for.

Today I made salad with bean sprouts, bloomed simply and magically in Sister Natalie’s kitchen. I like sprouts. I like eating a salad for lunch, and the way the sunlight comes in through my kitchen window. I love the little gifts and tokens of affection that my loved ones give to me, something green, and new. Like a bit of hope.

*       *       *

A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full
	hands;
How could I answer the child?. . . .I do not know what it
	is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful
	green stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped,
Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we
	may see and remark, and say Whose?

Or I guess the grass is itself a child. . . .the produced babe
	of the vegetation.

Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow
	zones,
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the 
same, I receive them the same.

And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.

--Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

 

I Am a Big Girl

So I can:

-have popcorn and dried fruit for dinner

-with a side of wine

-okay, many sides of wine

I can:

-spend a night by myself, and it will be okay

(it does not mean I’m undesirable)

-dance by myself

-and it is not pathetic

-it is just dancing

It is a release.