Monthly Archives: October 2012

What I Almost Was

Autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place | And I can picture it after all these days |
I know it’s long gone and that magic’s not here no more | And I might be okay, but I’m not fine at all | It was rare, I was there, I remember it all too well

Tomorrow my ex-boyfriend is getting married. I know, people break-up all the time, things don’t work out and people move on and other than an occasional major event like tomorrow’s, for the most part, the past remains the past. Most of my friends now are unfamiliar with the existence and history of my past relationships and when they learn the fact that I was once in a six-year relationship, their responses are usually all the same: shocked, jaw-dropped, ‘wait, you what?’ and always followed by the question, “Why??”

I did some research on things that take six years to happen. According to a Google search, it takes six years to:

  1. Earn $61.5 million playing football
  2. Sit on a couch
  3. Wait for the Cranberries to reunite
  4. Have a baby turn six-years-old
  5. Get a Ph.D.

Okay, so I couldn’t find cooler facts, but seriously, six years is a long time – a lot (or not so much) can happen in this amount of time.

The inevitability of tomorrow got me thinking and how the two people both him and I used to be, no longer exist. In fact, I can hardly remember that Sarah. The one who used to fear speaking out in public spaces, who avoided leftover boxes at restaurants and who believed life’s order to happiness was graduate, get a job, get married, have kids and grow old. And as much as I could have been content living in my suburbia normalcy, I can’t imagine all the exciting adventures I would have missed out on. Like…

Six-Year-Relationship-Sarah (S.Y.R.S.) would never have the guts to move to a new city not knowing anybody. S.Y.R.S. would not know how to pitch musicians for media coverage or know how to walk an artist down the red carpet or know what a line feed meant. S.Y.R.S. would never have the guts to call a boy fearlessly and tell him she likes him. S.Y.R.S. wouldn’t dream of walking into parties and weddings not knowing anyone and having to make conversation with a stranger.

There are times when we think our life is taking a detour, a momentary “turn for the worse.” Whether it’s an extended detour into singleness or unemployment or whatever we connect to our happiness, let’s be honest, this detour can bum us out.

My friends know me as a dreamer. I don’t want to live in proverbial boxes or behind white picket fences, I want to do things and say things that are different, that changes things and move people. Six-Year-Relationship-Sarah was also a dreamer. But her dreams were filled in notebooks of bouquets and wedding cake designs. To be honest, I was content in my proverbial box and I was going to deck it out in black and white with pops of green.

Dreams change and people change, but I know in the moment when you’re watching your life crash and burn before you, it’s hard to see any sign of a silver lining. But don’t doubt that our God isn’t a more brilliant dreamer than you. He dreams beyond bigger pictures and fluffy white gowns and although your plans may be changing, His is staying the same – evolving into something better.

Thanksgiving is coming up and we usually spend this holiday slathering on the things we’re most thankful for in our lives and wrap them up in a perfect, little fall bow. Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond thankful for my friends, my job, the roof over my head, the introduction to the TV show “Revenge,” Frothy Monkey and all of that…but when was the last time you thanked God for pulling the trump card over your plans?

One day, you’ll be able to look back on your once broken dreams – maybe on your ex-boyfriend’s wedding day – and find yourself taking a huge sigh of relief. This weekend, I am thankful to be spending it like any other weekend and not as the girl prepping for a rehearsal dinner and getting ready for a wedding that was never meant for me. Instead, I’ll spend my weekend at delicious brunches, getting a fabulous facial, going to the flea market and spending time with my favorite people in my favorite city.

And I thank God for who I am, and not the girl I almost was.

(Photo Credit)

The Fall

Fall is here and where I live, it’s absolutely stunning with all the reds, oranges and browns blending in ever so perfectly with the greenery. One of my favorite parts of driving to work is that I am panoramically surrounded by the beauty of fall. I constantly find myself trying to take mental pictures of the view outside my window and sometimes in an ever-so-safe way, attempting to grab a photo along my drive. I know it may sound cheesy, but the view continues to take my breath away.

I was driving in to work today when I noticed a patch of trees that had one brightly colored tree in the midst of sheer greenness. It seemed as if this little tree had decided to change its leaves before the rest of the colony of trees around them. It got me thinking about how we’re all kind of like this colony of trees. We try to adapt to our surroundings, fit in with the people we’re around and hope that we don’t stick out like a sore thumb.

Let’s be honest, no one likes change. We weren’t built to accept change well and when things start to get shaken up, we panic. We complain, we whine, we fight whatever forces we can to stop the inevitable. Change scares us. And because we hate change, we’re even less likely to be the person initiating it.

Here’s a question: why not?

I’ve read about a lot of great men and women in history. Ones that started revolutions, ended wars, created gateways and helped pave the way for better lives for people they will never meet. All of these people came from different places around the world, they didn’t drink the same water/punch or get attend the same university. No, all of them had a stirring inside their heart that asked the question, “Why not, me?”

Sometimes I feel like a coward. I hear stories that break my heart or have dreams to love extravagantly and I find myself more often than not, cowering in the comforts of my couch watching television. In the last month I’ve started saying to people “real men seize moments” and as I chanted this phrase in different situations I began to realize that when the opportunity presents itself, I don’t seize many moments.

There’s always going to be a story that inspires us. Fearless people seize moments and face change head on. They’re no different from you and me. Who says we can’t be a part of something great? Who says we can’t be the one to instigate change? I mean, why not?

Picture this orange tree standing tall surrounded by a bunch of green trees. When you drive past, you don’t gasp in the beauty of all the green trees but of the single one that looks different from the rest. It sticks out, but you don’t pity it. It doesn’t look like everything else, yet you think it’s the most beautiful one in the group.

I hope you’re following me on this (and yes, what I’m saying is we can all learn a little something from the fall trees). If you’re familiar with nature, this sea of trees won’t stay green for long. Soon, their leaves are going to change too and before you know it, you won’t be able to recognize the first from the last. You see, change is contagious.

Whatever it is that is tugging on your heart, go for it. Why not? People might think you’re crazy or laugh at how ridiculous you look, but when you choose to take some risks and change your leaves to a different color, the ignorance and petty comments of people around you stop to matter. And don’t be surprised when you attempt to stand out and be a little different that you’ll look around and see that people are excited to change right along with you. So be brave. Be fearless. Be a leader. Let yourself stand out. Seize your moments.

Why not?

High School Doesn’t Last Forever

I recently came back from spending a long weekend of camp with 450 teenagers. I was feeling a lot of anxiousness the week leading up to the trip and on the bus ride there, it hit me why. High school sucks.

There. I said it. The end.

But seriously, I don’t know why we don’t talk about how much it sucks more often. I feel like people are always talking about the “glory days” and how high school was some of the greatest years of their lives and how they miss being carefree and surrounded by a sea of friends. For those of you who had this type of fairy-tale high school experience, well, congratulations, you also suck. Just kidding (kinda).

My high school memories aren’t filled with football games, pep rally’s and deep, long-lived friendships. They are dark, lonely and full of deep insecurities. To top it all off, I wasn’t very funny in high school, and if you know me now, being funny is, well, my thing. So as you can imagine, I was pretty miserable in high school.

As we rode on the bus, I watched the girls quickly pair up and sit next to their token buddy as a sea of hooligan boys staked claim to the back of the bus. There was a lot of screaming, rowdy chants and inappropriate dancing that happened on the bus ride and I kept repeating to myself, “It’s only one weekend. One weekend. It’s only one weekend.” You don’t see it at first, but in the crowd of deafening noise there was a cloud of fear among the group – fear of rejection, fear of being noticed, fear of being invisible. It made me realize, some things don’t change after high school. We grow up, live our lives and still struggle with the same fears we had when we were 13 years old. And the older we get, the more desperate we get on not just being accepted in, but being known.

A couple months ago I had a conversation with a barista at my favorite coffee shop in town. We chit-chatted a bit and at the end of our conversation, he looked me in the eye and simple said, “It’s good to know you, Sarah.” I’ve gone on and told several people that story because there is so much power even just in the word ‘know.’ We live in a world of nice-to-meet-you’s when our hearts crave to be someone that is good-to-know.

High school is a good reminder for me that wherever I am in my life, the best is yet to come if I allow it to be. It’s easy to underestimate the power of time. When we’re living in the moment or the past, it’s so difficult to look forward to what is yet to come, but like high school, nothing lasts forever. A song that I love speaks has a beautiful repeating truth that I hope encourages you today: It’s higher than the mountains that I face, it’s stronger than the power of the grave and it’s constant in the trials and the change, this one thing remains: Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me. What a great reminder that everything will eventually come to an end – yes, that includes high school, reputations, gossip, insecurities, immaturity and everything and anything in between. And when everything is stripped down, only one thing remains.

We all want to be known, to exist beyond our high school reputations. Face your today’s like a chapter out of high school – get in some dorky school photos, graduate and move on. You’ll find yourself looking back at these photos and laugh, think about how ridiculous your haircut looked and wonder if you still have that outfit in your closet. You’ll find that these moments aren’t filled with pain or misery, but they’re bittersweet as they stand as a reminder that people change, life evolves and we forget too soon the things we thought we would never forget. And before we realize it, today doesn’t suck anymore. After all, high school doesn’t last forever.

Dancing Shoes

You can tell a lot about a person based on their shoes. There’s the guy who wears all-stars verses a person who wears laced up boots. Then there’s the girl who wears high pumps verses the girl sprinting around in Rainbow flipflops. Everyone has a different piece of style when it comes to fashion, but each one just may reveal a little bit about them.

I started noticing shoes years ago when I would meet homeless people. I had just finished reading an article written by a man who said that he had pretended to be homeless to get money from strangers. He said one of the telling marks was whether or not the homeless person had nice shoes or not. If his shoes were squeaky clean, chances are it was a scam.

After that, it became natural for me to observe people’s shoes especially when it came to the guys I would date. I know what they say about judging a book by it’s cover, but I was determined to find the right man – and if the right shoe fit…

One guy I dated was self-conscious about his height and so he would wear platform shoes. Brown, suede platform shoes. Then I dated a guy who didn’t know how to pick out shoes and would wear down his shoes until there were holes in the soles. I remember he finally caved in to buy a good pair of every day shoes and came back with a pair of cheesy looking tennis shoes. I’m not saying shoes are a dealbreaker, but the Cinderella girl in me still believes that the right pair of shoes can change your life.

There have been girl friends, boy friends, relationships and acquaintances in my life. And the older I get the more I learn about myself and what I’m looking for especially in the case of better halfs and forever and evers. One of my failed relationships was with a guy who was pretty adamant that he hated dancing. I am a terrible dancer, but I love to dance. I love being, feeling and looking ridiculous as I do the Macarena on the dance floor. Don’t judge. I fully embrace that I dance the way Phoebe (from Friends) runs. One of the pivotal disagreements in our relationship was when he told me he didn’t feel comfortable dancing at our wedding. I was crushed.

There’s a song by Green River Ordinance called “Dancing Shoes,” the first line is: Put on your old black dress / And grab your dancing shoes / Head out to the old bar Rose / And we’ll dance away our blues / Spent all week waiting / Now my mind’s on you / Hold my loving arms / My loving arms are for you. I don’t know what kind of shoes you are looking for in the season that you’re in right now. Whatever it is, I think we all deserve to find our perfect pair (pun attended).

Keep watching for the right shoes to walk in, have faith and don’t settle. If you have to, break it off with stilettos. Say goodbye to those old sneakers. And kick off those painful heels. I promise you, you won’t regret it. When my day comes, the day I put on that new white dress, I guarantee you, we’ll both have dancing shoes.

Photo Credit: Prague Wedding Photographer (http://www.prague-wedding-photographer.com)