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When I Was a Young Warthog May 31, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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Everyone says growing up is hard to do. What they don’t tell you is that you will never stop growing up. As a child I was teased mercilessly for the size of my eyes and the length of my toes. That was over 20-years ago and I still recall how devastating that was. Throughout junior high and high school I was beset with such rebellion against my fellow classmates that I absolutely refused to see myself as anything other than beautiful and strong. My attitude about my capabilities and general awesomeness clung to me until my mid-twenties when, when no longer confronted with hateful kids, fled. I was on my own.

I don’t mean I was on my own because I moved out of my parent’s home, had a job, and was raising a family ‘on my own’ — I mean my self-image, my behaviors, my auto-self-defense mechanisms were all on me. If I felt ugly, I was to blame. If I felt I failed on something, I had only myself to blame. I could no longer look at myself in the mirror and defiantly claim to be better than ‘so and so’ said I was (regardless of its truth)…because, well…because it was no longer necessary to do so.

So instead of telling myself I was good enough, I went about turning my life into what I really wanted it to be…something that wasn’t some obscure reflection of what was popular or anti-popular (as would be more the case with me). Over the years I learned that what I liked was organization and cleanliness…structure. Sure there was time for random activities…sometimes. And everything would be great in my life and I would be happy, as long as that image of my life remained sturdy in my mind.

Today, sometimes it seems life is going just as I mean it to. It’s not some effortless thing when you work hard to make things go the way you mean it to. The house is clean and organized, dinners turn out well, the kids do exceptionally in school, work is smooth. These are the moments in which you can breathe…really breathe. You may even stop and smell the roses. I have these “perfect moments” infrequently, which is not to say few and far between…I actually have them once or twice a week. My problem is I want that feeling just about every day, which is silly. I know. But when everything is humming along its never just a small thing to slam into you, uprooting your level-footing and tossing all deck hands off the side of the ship — it is always something big. Always. 

And this is what I find bothersome. It’s like relationships in which you feel everything is going along all nice and dandy when one day your partner goes off on you. WHAM!  You never see it coming and it throws you off. The bigger the problem, the harder it is to regain your footing and move forward. I hate those moments. I hate reeling. These moments remind me of being a teenager staring at my hated visage in the too-well-lit bathroom mirror. I feel awkward. Unacceptable. Obviously, I prefer sure-footed-ness.

When I wore the clothes of a younger woman I always thought life would get simpler and smoother the older I became. It’s like that assumption that pimples go away once you turn 20 and are safely away from being a ‘teen’. Pimples don’t go away and life doesn’t get simpler. What does happen is you gain insight and maturity — things that will enable you to deal with the crap that comes your way. It doesn’t get easier. You get stronger.

Just Like Life May 28, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in Everyone's A Critic, My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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I have just finished watching a film called “I Capture the Castle” starring various actors I know of and some I do not. The movie was a bit of a slow story about finding love, turning away from love, and all the angst, desire, and heartbreak made capable by love. Has there ever existed love that did not also bring heartache? Love loves misery. Or it fights it. Or it finds it. In a world of 7-billion people and days and weeks filled with dozens of acquaintances, friends, and strangers…how do we find love? In a single week I may, may, see one man whom I find attractive enough for a second glance and that does not mean that I am hung up on looks…when I say attractive, I mean he is attractive to me. I do not look for the tall, dark, and handsome man…I look for one with an ease in his step, a careless smile, a spark of intelligence and wit in his eye. I notice his lips, the fall of his hair, and the way he holds his arms at his side as he walks. And sometimes…sometimes I see a man who catches my eye.

But I do not approach. Mostly, because I am at an age and stage in my life where the sheer idea of dating exhausts me. The effort that goes into the meeting, the flirting, the discovery of his past, the learning of his life, the hectic scheduling between work and children and school — why would I? When it does not work out in the end. I would have spent weeks, perhaps months, getting to know someone. I will end up either caring for him when he cares not at all for me, or I will come to dislike him greatly. I have been told I am too young to be so cynical about love and…the truth is…I am not cynical about love. I believe, wholeheartedly, that people find someone who will stand beside them in life, holding their hand, holding them up, and never ever letting them fall on their face unless they themselves are also on the ground and incapable of holding one up. I believe he makes her laugh with his charming manners and makes her meals of such exquisiteness for only one purpose: to see the light in her eyes. This man would not hurt his love.

No. I am not cynical about love. I am cynical about loyalty. The man I’ve mentioned is difficult to come by, the diamond in the rough, and just shy of impossible to find. At my age. At any age.

In the movie, there are two sisters and two brothers who find themselves at a chance meeting and fall for each other. Who falls for whom? Well, you might ask and I spent most of the movie wondering myself. One sister was proposed to by a brother very much in love with her, though it turned out that (even though she accepted his proposal) she was in love with his brother. And the other sister was in love with the brother who proposed. This is a story built on truth and, in fact, could very well be based on a true story. In the end the two that were madly in love with each other married and went away, leaving two very unhappy and lonely people to go their separate ways.

There was an ending to the movie…but not a happy one. Just like life.

I Chew The Same Gum… May 26, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011.
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loveyou.loveyou.loveyou.

I chew the same gum and I don’t mean I keep a pack of gum in my purse to indulge in when the mood strikes. I chew the same gum a minimum of four times a day. Like an addict. It began with a need to keep myself distracted from sitting all day in one place when I started working again after a four-month layoff. Then it became a ‘wait, my jaw isn’t moving’ movement. Today, one year after beginning to work again, I buy three-packs of this gum at a time, keep one in my car, one in my purse, one in my desk. When someone asks if they can have a piece I have to restrain the snarl that leaps to my lips. MINE! 

So. It seems like a small problem…is it a problem? On the outside you wouldn’t think so but since I do chew at least four pieces a day, every single day, for over a year now…if it was Vodka, it’d be considered a problem. You’d think I’d be bored with it by now and eager to try a different flavor, a random brand of something on the shelf. I’ve tried. When I reach for some random brightly colored package of gum on the convenient store shelf, my hand knee-jerks over and to the right, where my gum always seems to be.

All that being said, I have to fight this sweet, cool, minty love of mine — if for no other reason than to claim I can break away from it. The plan, my friends? To try other gums. All other gums. I’ll have to report back my findings because there are 25 different brands of gum (according to the ever reliable yahooanswers.com (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080324152228AApBjVH) and there are multiple different kinds of gum for each brand. I’ll have to figure out exactly how many different kinds.

Stay tuned for day #1 tomorrow.

I Am…Woman? May 23, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011.
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Being a man is hard enough, I suppose, for the ones who are born as such. You are expected to provide for your family, have a great career, provide offspring, and take out the garbage. Oh wait-

So…being a man is hard enough but if you are a woman who has to fulfill both gender-specific tasks, things get…a little tricky. So, sure, I’m single. I haven’t always been that way. I wonder if it is more difficult to have been married for a decade (with a man around to be the man) and then transform into a woman-man morphed existence…as opposed to having done it all yourself all along — or if it is basically the same either way.

For instance. Yes, I can take out the garbage…no mean feat that — although, according to every man I’ve come in to contact with, it is the most onerous task alive. I can hang paintings on the wall — although, for some reason the damn things lean to the same side all the time. I need to buy one of those gadgets. You know what I’m talking about…with the yellow jelly thing that moves back and forth inside a little bubble attached to a large flat object. What is that? Anyway, I’d know it in Home Depot if I saw it.

I bought chemical sprays for things like cleaning, door hinges, and spiders. I take my car to the auto shop for oil changes instead of having my husband do it. And…what else? Hmmm. I unclog drains, change air filters, and fix things that break. And I know I didn’t mention mowing but that’s because someone else mows my lawn for free, not because I wouldn’t do it. I actually like mowing — very therapeutic.

But tonight, I’m having an issue with my Wo/He-Man status. Why? I’ll tell you. Because my washing machine is trying to electrocute me. I know it has something to do with wiring and electricity and water. That’s about all I know. So…I unplugged the death trap and stood back to survey the machine from a safe distance (unplugged or not). I know diddly squat about wiring. Zilch. Nada. Zero. And then I thought that thought I swore I would never think.

I need a man. 

Yes, it is true. It might happen that I had a man and even he would not know what to do. But a man won’t tell you he doesn’t know how to deal with it because even if he doesn’t, he will call someone who does. (which is the obvious solution for me — just call someone who does know). But part of the greatness in having a man around to fix things I’m ignorant about is being able to pass the task off to someone, smack my hands together lightly, and move on to the next more-womanly task.

But this is my life. And this is me. Trying my best to be a man. Sort of.

My Spectre Around Me… May 21, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in Poems, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People, Writing.
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***William Blake (1757-1827) uses the word ‘spectre’ to refer to his constant, redundant inability to embrace love…or the object of his affections. When he vows to ‘turn from female love’ he is not suggesting becoming homosexual or ascetic, but to give up the act of embracing love. He wants to be happy and decides that the constant attempt to embrace love is making him unhappy, so to break himself from the cycle of inability, he is giving up the pursuit.***

My Spectre Around Me Night and Day – William Blake

My spectre around me night and day
like a wild beast guards my way
my emanation far within
weeps incessantly for my sin

A fathomless and boundless deep
there we wander, there we weep
on the hungry craving wind
my spectre follows thee behind

He scents thy footsteps in the snow
wheresoever thou dost go
thro the wintry hail and rain
when wilt thou return again?

Dost thou not in pride and scorn
fill with tempests all my morn
and with jealousies and fears
fill my pleasant nights with tears

Seven of my sweet loves thy knife
has bereaved of their life
their marble tombs I built with tears
and with cold and shuddering fears

Seven more loves weep night and day
round the tombs where my loves lay
and seven more loves attend each night
around my couch with torches bright

And seven more loves in my bed
crown with wine my mournful head
pitying and forgiving all
thy transgressions great and small

When wilt thou return and view
my loves and them to life renew?
When wilt thou return and live
when wilt thou pity as I forgive?

Never, Never I return
still for victory I burn
living thee alone I’ll have
and when dead I’ll be thy grave

Thro the heaven and earth and hell
thou shalt never never quell
I will fly and thou pursue
night and morn the flight renew

Till I turn from female love
and root up the infernal grove
I shall never worthy be
to step into Eternity

And to end thy cruel mocks
annihilate thee on the rocks
and another form create
to be subservient to my fte

Let us agree to give up love
and root up the infernal grove
then shall we return and see
the worlds of happy eternity

and throughout all Eternity
I forgive you, you forgive me
as our dear redeemer said
this is the wine, and this is the bread.

How Great Change Can Be May 20, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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No one likes change. They want to change one thing — just one — but a great many other things change as well. The pebble in the pond theory. The idea (or dream) of winning the lottery, for instance, sounds great. Being able to fearlessly pay your bills is awesome. But, what about the ripples? Those little waves being users, disasters, strangely predictable bad luck, etc.

This is one area where my over-analysis really pays off. Knowing what to expect, for the most part, and considering the possibilities, makes change a little more palatable. Having change foisted on you is, yes, a tad different…or, the same, because it presents the unknown and unexpected.

I’ve had conversations with people who landed a great job they applied for — a huge pay increase, benefits, insurance, family-friendly — and they resign from their current job, in favor of the new one. Seems the obvious choice. Within weeks the eureka from landing such awesomeness turns into a daily complaint about the commute. Pause. Tilt head to side in imitation of confused dog. You didn’t know how far a drive it was when you applied?

Every action has a consequence…causes a ripple. In fact, even inaction has a consequence. Every step, every word, every action has an effect. Your actions force change on dozens of others every day. Change of thought. Change of direction. So it makes sense that occasionally you will be effected by someone else. It simply is. Life is.

Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing and doesn’t deserve its stigma.

During my 10-year stint at a company, I was forced to read “Who Moved my Cheese?”, which actually wasn’t too bad of a read but the reason for why I “needed” to read it wasn’t the same as what I got out of it. The purpose I deduced was that I should make change to improve myself or my situation. I was the mouse who went looking for cheese because I was hungry — not the mouse who had to be brow-beaten and then abandoned because he would not change.

The whole point behind instruction to read it was because we were being taken over by a stifling new management. So, because I’m the first mouse, I left the company. 🙂 And met some great people I would otherwise not have met.

See how great change can be?

Dear You… May 19, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Writing.
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Dear You,

Today I told you I was bored. Exceedingly bored…so full of disinterest I had begun to compare myself to an elderly person just waiting for “it all” to end. I told you I couldn’t find a spark…that little fluttery thing to ignite my interest. Every day is the same thing, all day. Ho-freakin-hum.

You told me to find something that excites me, some event to entertain — to relieve the boredom. As I drove home, I put serious thought into it.

What, for the LOVE of God, would I find entertaining?

The question is harder than it seems. When the boredom creates a feeling of lethargy from the top of your head to your toenails…how do you convince your blood to boil…your heart to beat a little lot faster?

You suggested sex, which of course is an obvious thing to get the ole heart going and, as you are a man, completely predictable that this would be the first suggestion offered. But aside from that…what?

So I drove, lost in thought and completely uncertain how I managed to drive the entire route on auto-pilot, and I thought I was just like Winnie-the-Pooh…think, think, think. And so I did.

I thought about all the things in this world I find pleasure in — like dancing when I vaccuum and finding that perfect scenic spot for a picnic. I thought about playing boardgames with my kids and having coffee with my sisters. I thought about all the times I laugh with my friends or scream on carnival rides. I thought about the movies I see on dates and the photographs I take when I go somewhere to be alone.

I thought about the sound of dozens of different voices laughing over the years. And I thought about you. I thought that perhaps all I really needed today was to hear from you and be reminded of all the pleasure I already have, just in the every-day.

And then I thought I would Google sky-diving.

The Robot Never Dies May 18, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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This weekend I was dancing with my son to the new J-Lo song. Grayson said I should dance to the girl parts and he would dance to the boy parts. So, I did my best dancing when J-Lo sang and Grayson…well, he did the robot. Being a 6-year old, he should have absolutely no opportunity in which to have witnessed the robot being performed so I’m not at all certain where it came from. He interspersed the stiffened dangling arm movement with variations of old-school break-dancing.

I wish I’d had a video camera on me, it was that great. He smiled and blushed in self-consciousness but I just smiled and told him he was amazing.

But it got me and my ex-husband to discussing the self-consciousness that effects people as they get older, especially when they dance. Sure, no one likes to look like a fool (and understandably because people are jerks). But man to be a kid again with no real concern for how you look…just out there having fun. That’s how I dance, too, when I go out. Who the hell cares how I look? I want to have fun and I’m going to have fun.

I hope I’m not the only one who thinks people are amazing when they dance. Not because they have great moves or because they’re reinventing the robot or break-dancing, but because they think enough of themselves to get out there and dance regardless of anyone else.

The Invisible Voyeur May 16, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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1flirt verb \ˈflərt\ intransitive verb — 1: to move erratically : flit2: to behave amorously without serious intent

Today as I trudged through the office corridor, weighted down with purse and book-bag while juggling a travel mug of stale coffee, a styrofoam cup of ice chips, and my keys, I thought about a conversation I’d had with a sometimes friend. I considered how my life had changed since the day I met him, and all the ways I had changed. It seems our conversations remain the same, however, and this (at least) is something I can count on. I heard his voice in my head as though he moved beside me in that lumbering gait of his I find charming.

I was distracted from my thoughts by a woman’s laugh and I glanced up. Twenty or so feet ahead of me she moved towards the outer office door, leaning toward the gentleman who walked beside her, and laughed again. I was struck by her body language…not to mention the sparkle in her eye I could just barely see. Or maybe I imagined it was there. It was difficult to look away — mostly because I was following them toward the parking lot but also because I was struck by a memory.

She laughed in such a way…that flirtatious, throaty way, that a woman does when she’s charmed by a man. While moving steadily forward, she leaned toward him in an intimate way that he didn’t really reciprocate and I figured she liked him well enough but he wasn’t really on the bandwagon just yet. She laughed again, though I could not hear what he said to her, this time louder and the sound bounced around the tiled floor, travelling back to where I moved like a silent voyeur.

I thought about that memory I mentioned, about how I used to walk beside a man while laughing and gazing at him with sparkling eyes, somehow hoping and dreading that he would see my feelings. Or my appeal. Or…something. Today I considered the risk of body language. To me, it was obvious she liked this man walking beside her. So obvious he should also have been quite aware. Maybe he was but he didn’t seem to be. And even though her body language was screaming ‘I like you’…they just walked on with him murmuring whatever it was he was saying and her giggling like a 40-something-year old school girl. But for what it was worth, she was putting herself out there…trying to make a relationship out of nothing at all.

And this is what single people do every day. Meet new people and try to turn something out of nothing. Sometimes it works, and kuddos to the people who find the connections. It just seemed…lonely, to me. A lonely thing to do. I don’t know why. But I was struck with the feeling and turned my eyes to the cement as I trudged toward my car. The feeling remained long after I’d climbed into my car, turned on my GPS for traffic updates and made my way home.

There is fun and enjoyment to be had in flirting and engaging in pleasantly unaware obvious body language. There is a feeling that consumes you when someone looks at you and sees you. It’s quite possibly one of the most incredible feelings. I suppose the problem is…when no one looks at you, no one sees you. It’s like being an invisible voyeur.

The Momentum of MY Life May 14, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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pur·pose  (pûrps)    n.    1. The object toward which one strives or for which something exists; an aim or a goal.

I imagine, as different as we all are, that every one of nearly seven billion beings frequently considers their purpose here on Earth. In this life. The object toward which one strives or for which something exists. Why do I exist? Sure, my parents met each other, fell in love, and wahlah–Sarah was born. But why do I exist? What is my purpose here? Do I have one? I think many people are terrified to find they have no purpose at all and are simply here. For no reason at all…as though by chance or accident. It is my opinion that these people are easy to scope out…they’re the ones who have no real motivation in life, have no goal towards which they are striving. No purpose.

 

I understand that some people believe that life is just meant to be lived. Life is a terribly cruel chance of fate that is nothing more than hardship, pain, existence, and ultimately followed by death. I also understand that some people believe their existence is so purposeful that to fail in any one endeavor is the be all end all of all things. They say the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can effect a tsunami on the other side of the world. Can one person truly alter the course of the world? I believe the answer is no. You may have one person as the face of the movement but there are hundreds of other faces, hidden faces, supporting the one.

 

But my course is not to change the face of the world…no it is not my purpose, not my goal, not even a dream of mine, and not because I fail to see the possibilities but because I know that is not why I am here. But I do not know what my real purpose is. Will I accomplish anything at all or will I spend my life spinning wheels and then simply die? Become dust in the ground, remembered by a few, forgotten by many. One hundred years from now, no one will know my name. Or…they’ll know my name but they’ll not know the person behind the name. 

 

Sometimes I feel that wheel a-spinning. I clean my house, wash clothes, complete homework, make social niceties…and for what? What is the purpose of any of that other than to fill my hours? Fill my calendar? Complete a degree to get a better job so that I can spend every day completing the same tasks? I will not save lives in my chosen career, nor will I teach children to become our future, and I certainly won’t save the planet from the eventual explosion of our orbiting sun. I won’t invent time travel or space travel or the Jetson’s cars. Being an accountant certainly doesn’t own to greatness. 

 

So, one day (maybe one day soon) I’ll lay in my death bed and think…what? That I accomplished something? Did I use my time here wisely? Would it matter if I spent my time wisely or squandered it away? In a way, I think this is what people fear about death. Not the dying, not the leaving the family behind, but that we didn’t do everything we meant to. But if we don’t know what we’re meant to do, how do we ever accomplish it?