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Let’s Vacation July 23, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People, Writing.
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I had forgotten how saltwater effects my ears but, for the first time in years, the hearing in my left ear has returned. And so as my children squabble over the television channel, space on the hotel bed, and the hot tub, I can hear every octave of their shrieks and even their mutterings.

It’s currently almost ten o’clock at night and the children are finishing a long day with a dip in the hotel’s indoor pool. Well, two of them are anyway, my fourteen-year old daughter, having espied a good-looking boy with a mohawk in the hot tub, has decided she’d like to swim after all and has gone back to our room to change. After a short period of time she returned clad in her yellow bikini with her hair nicely combed.

My ex and I then began a conversation about the dating ritual and concerns of youngsters. My ex, Ben, referred to the kids (teenagers and all) as “carefree”, to which I replied  “who, in that room, is carefree?” My argument being that a 14-year old girl is extremely sensitive to her expression, hair, laughter, outfit, swimming technique — every nuance of behavior matters. That’s not carefree — that’s all care.

And then Ben says how silly that is because guys that age don’t particularly care about any of that. She’s cute and that’s the be-all, end-all. He says the majority of men, as well, are this way. Good to know, I say.

It was nice, though, that we were all completely unconcerned with all nuances of behavior (other than behaving in a socially acceptable manner, that is) at the beach today. I didn’t even notice other women being particularly concerned with their persons. What I noticed, instead, were the families building poorly constructed sandcastles, flying kites shaped as hawks, and wading deep into the intense waves slamming to shore. The temperatures remained in the nineties, a lovely change from the over-100-degrees for three weeks weather back home, and the breeze remained constant.

My son, upon his first experience with the ocean, deemed it acceptable entertainment in his 6-year old mind with the exception of all that pesky salt in the water and, therefore, perhaps the hotel pool was better. Kids. My 11-year old daughter has outdone herself in remaining positive and atop our non-schedule. Directly after dinner tonight she, my son, and Ben went outside to be free of the arctic air conditioning system of the hole-in-the-wall we found, and my 14-year old and I sat inside, eating ice cream and discussing the benefits of moving to the coast.

We decided it was difficult to judge the benefits because it’s easy to enjoy a vacation spot when you don’t have to work or go to school because then there’s no stress or responsibility really. But if we moved to the coast, the stress and responsibility would simply follow us to the coast and then…would we still enjoy the coast better than home? It was too difficult to decide so we simply finished our ice cream, pondered the intensity of the waves some more, and then stepped out into the ocean air.

Your Face/My Face July 6, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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Several days ago I took my children to the local water park. It was a hot day filled with an over-abundance of roiling heat, noisy children, and a crush of bodies. The water park provides a lap pool, which I utilize, and a pool for small children — both indoors. Outside there is a lengthy lazy river pool, a children’s water playground, and four ridiculously tall, curving slides. After my children abandoned me to one of the aforementioned delights, I sat on my towel and grabbed my latest read: Discovering Roswell. I slipped my finger between the pages held by my bookmark and took one last glance around the water park, searching for the familiar blonde heads of my children. I didn’t see them but wasn’t alarmed and, instead, my attention was diverted by something else.

Women.

Anyone who has ever gone to a water park, local swimming pool, the lake, or the beach, has seen women aplenty running amok in their swim suits. Because stores vie for the most sales during the swim suit season there are plenty of colors, designs, and patterns. Such variation. But, again, this is not what truly caught my attention. I noticed the swim suits, sure, but what I really took note of was the behavior exhibited by these women.

For instance the smiling brunette with the long legs and bright red bikini providing standard coverage. Her legs dredged through the calf-high kiddy playground as she moved from one side to the next where she met some alarmingly attractive man. The man isn’t the point. Or maybe he is. Amid the joyful screaming of the children, the multitude of water-spraying canons, the heat, the crush of bodies — the brunette moved confidently. Her arms swung at her sides as though forgotten and they certainly weren’t used to cover this spot or that spot — some seemingly flawed portion of her body only she could see. (as is the way). She was confident.

Then there was the tiny, big-breasted blonde lying in the shallow side of the kiddie playground with her arms stretched behind her to prop her body forward as she sunbathed. This one wore practically nothing but the practically-nothing was white and cute. She knew it. It’s possible no one paid her any attention whatsoever but judging by the way she held her body — stiffly with unnatural angles caused by her legs and head (meant to show to the best advantage) — she thought everyone was watching her.

Someone was watching her. An overweight woman with long red hair curled up into a bun on the very top of her head. The red-haired woman chose not to wear sunglasses that day and her squint only emphasized the other creases in her face. The bathing suit she chose was probably suitable, probably respectable, but it didn’t look right on her at all. The plain brown one piece was covered with baggy beige shorts, meant to provide additional covering where the woman deemed necessary. She glanced at the woman in white and then pretended not to glance down at herself before moving away to some shady spot where her towel waited for her.

There were more of them but instead of my minute inspection of each and every one I began to sort of…catalog them. The ones who wore skirts with their suits. The ones who wore one-pieces versus two-pieces. The ones whose arms behaved like darting shields to cover bits of their bodies as they walked. The ones who walked as though they wore a business suit and had no fear.

And then I thought. How different would we be, self-consciously, if everyone looked exactly the same? If each of the women in that water park had the exact same face and the only real concern we had for whether anyone liked us or not, was related only to our personality? You would know if you were liked, or loved even, just for being you. And only for that reason. There’s a kind of security in such an idea. I appreciate individuality and uniqueness in people and especially in myself. But I wonder how different we would be, how different our relationships would be, if the only thing to be seen was what you couldn’t see?

Thoughts on Roswell June 14, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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In the grand scheme of things, why is it important for the government to keep an alien spaceship under wraps? The world is divided by believers and non-believers, but what makes one group believe and one group not? The few people who saw the crash, the few people who saw the debris, and the few people who actually had access to the craft itself — all were discredited in one fashion or another and yet some still believe. Is it an ingrained distrust of the government? Or did the distrust for government come after Roswell? And if it came afterwards, what did the government gain?

In the grand scheme of things, why did it matter? So aliens came to our planet. Not only came here but crash landed here. Did the government believe the population would be so disturbed by this event that it needed to be covered up with so much crap that even governmental officials didn’t know what to think? Had the government been more open about the event, how would that have changed the world? How different would the world be today?

The world at large has long looked for signs of extraterrestrial life…some indication we are not alone and that there is a way of life outside our own. When that extraterrestrial life appeared before us we…denied its existence? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I understand keeping information from people to protect them–this is a concept I grasp easily. I’m a mom and I don’t tell my kids everything. But, I suppose I struggle to understand the harm in knowing about the very life we all search for.

In a way, I’m glad I wasn’t around in 1947 to become consumed with this debacle. To have hope, to have that hope crushed, to have my entire life and reputation crushed. But how long should we sit back with a shrug and let it go? Where is our evolution? Where is our human growth? Are we never going to have intergalactic travel? We should be there already. Does the delay have anything to do with governmental fear? Are we more afraid than we are curious?

Where has our cowboy spirit gone? Pony up people.

 

Letting Go June 11, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011.
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Verb 1: let go of – release, as from one’s grip

Until today I don’t think I ever really understood the significance of letting go. I hear people say ‘let it go’ all the time when something is upsetting or annoying. Topically speaking, it just means ‘don’t worry about it’. Or when something bothers me I say I’m just going to let it go. Again, so as not to worry and stress over it. But this almost always means that whatever that something is, it is small. Insignificant.

Letting go, is entirely different.

Today I wandered around my house thinking about the past. The past equals all things that have effected me up to this point in my life. 32-years worth of little somethings that create a larger whole picture of Sarah. Some of those little things I no longer remember and it doesn’t mean that those things were bad things or boring things…they’ve just faded away. Some of those little things are happy memories I cherish all the time…things that have followed me through the many days, weeks, months, and years of my time here in this life.

Other things, though, are bad things. Sad things. Angering things. And today I thought about the sad things. One thing, in particular. I had this person in my life for years who I built so many dreams around and he was (in my mind) someone very special. Special to me. Special in this world. Just special. And I kept trying to find a way to fit him into my life even though no matter what I tried, I failed. And I’m not a quitter so I kept trying. For years. I simply could not let go of that dream. It’s like growing up with the plan to go to Harvard, or Julliard, or to be an actress or quarterback. It’s a dream for your future that you work towards in a lifelong commitment of smaller plans that lead up to the great plan.

But I’m the quarterback who sustained a life-altering knee injury in the game. And just like that, the dream died. Stubborn and unready to give up on the dream, I worked out and stretched the injury, slapped band-aids on it, fought back the tears. But eventually I came to realize the dream was over.

And still I fought against it. I’ve lived in my own mind now for a long time, sequestering myself and my future in and around this dream. Until today. Today I realized that no matter how much I still want that dream and no matter how much I think those band-aids might eventually turn into wound-altering sutures, I have to let it go. The idea of taking something I love with my whole soul, tying it to an invisible balloon and letting it float away on the breeze, is terrifying. Heartbreaking.

That’s how I know letting go of something is significantly different from letting something go.

Holes June 9, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011.
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“One must desire something, to be alive.”-Margaret Deland

I am 32-years old and have always loved a man. Not always the same man. When my heart has been broken, it has taken the desire of a new man in order to heal my heart and move on. Therefore, even though it’s not always been the same man, I’ve always loved a man.

Until now.

The difference in my mood, behavior, and train of thought is obvious to me. I find very little funny, very little interesting, and very little worth the effort of any effort whatsoever. It’s deadening. I’ve been sitting here thinking tonight about the feeling…trying to figure it all out because I’m an overly-analytic person. And what I’ve realized is that Margaret is right…you have to desire something in order to be alive. Even if your desire isn’t a mate, you need the feeling of excitement — those butterflies, the breathless anticipation of whatever it is.

For me it is the breathless anticipation of the sound of his voice, the smell of his skin. When you desire someone, the whole world fades into insignificance, disappearing altogether until the moment of his arrival and suddenly the hills really are alive with the sound of music. It’s like that scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy steps out the front door of her black and white existence and into techni-color munchkin land.

I try not to be so stupid about love, I honestly do. And sometimes I’m fine. But other times, seems more and more frequently now while I’m in this hole, I wonder why I bother painting my face, artfully securing my long hair back, and changing out of sweats. Why do anything more exotic than rolling over in my bed and returning to sleep. Because the dreams are currently better than reality.

It’s pathetic I know. I just…I’ve never experienced this hole before. It’s as boring as this blog.

Resistance is Futile? June 3, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011, Thoughts on People.
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Tonight I attended my oldest nephew's high school graduation commencement. While I was too pregnant to attend my own high school graduation, today I sat in a coliseum chair beside hundreds of spectators and was instantly transported to the year I was eighteen years old. You think, at eighteen, that you have seen so much of life. I believe, no matter what people say, the first eighteen years of your life drag by at such a pace one will never experience a second time. Every moment of school, the friends made, the friends lost, the experience with bullies, the inspirational teachers, the parent drama...is so fresh in mind and so important. At eighteen, I felt my entire life had been one long struggle. Graduating high school and becoming an adult was akin to having an ankle chain unlocked...I was free. Free to do whatever I wanted, be whoever I wanted, go...wherever I wanted. It was my second cleaned slate. The theories, or hopes, I had at eighteen were much like the ones I heard in the coliseum tonight. Big career, special life, impacting the world...all things that were possible upon my eighteenth birthday. Man, the things I would do. And as I sat in that chair watching the hundred plus seniors walk across the stage, grinning at each other, so proud of their achievements thus far and full of dreams and hopes for the future, I tried to remain optimistic. It was strange how easily that feeling returned to me. That bubble of excitement in my chest, the butterflies of the unknown in my stomach, the sensation that this great big world I live in just became a little more available to me. I tried not to think about the dreams those kids have and how they'll shatter one day to be rebuilt into another dream that will also be shattered, only to be rebuilt, etc. Nothing ever turns out how you think it will turn out. At eighteen you think you know a thing or two about life -- it's why they really don't listen to anyone when someone tries to offer caution, which is why I keep my thoughts to myself. I also remain silent because I don't want to steal that feeling from anyone. Not ever. That feeling of overwhelming possibility will dissipate soon enough on its own and need not be hampered by any well-intentioned remarks from me.One of the valedictorians said her message to her fellow classmates was simple. Be. Just be. Be something, someone to anyone. It need not change the face of the world, impact society, or be some impossible feat. Just be. Most of what she said afterwards flew over my head because I stared unseeingly into the mass of spectators around me wondering when it was that I became so caught up in the day-to-day mundane existence of a whole while forgetting to be me. An individual. When I stopped dreaming. When I stopped attempting to be whoever I wanted, do whatever I wanted, go wherever I wanted. When did I lose sight of the eighteen-year old me? Somewhere along the road since high school graduation I forgot that I meant to do something. I didn't even remember enough to be aware that I forgot.

I know there are innumerable ways to merge knowledge from Star Trek with real life…but here is one more way. The Borg, whom no one envies, are a collective hive of workers geared towards one common goal, moving in tandem at some unspoken command, without question, without dreams, without individuality. And sometime in the last 14 years I became one of the hive. I know there are circumstances and explanation aplenty about how and when I came to be where I am today but I hope, having remembered for just the smallest of moments who I used to be, that there is still a chance for me. I hope it is not too late to rediscover the old me. To discover those dreams and hopes. To live this free adult life the way I imagined I would, once upon a time.

More than that, I hope the Borg are wrong about resistance.

The Smell of Grass June 1, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011.
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When I was a little girl I used to sit outside in my grandmother’s yard while she talked to me of things of old and I’d lose myself in the smell of grass. I spent hours lying on my back in the grass, staring up at the blue sky and lazily drifting puff clouds, daydreaming and losing myself in the smell of grass.

What is it about the tangy scent of a freshly mowed lawn to capture the senses? Those thin blades are so vibrant, so green, and testify by their very existence the continuity of life. Even if that life is nature. How long has grass existed on Earth? Longer than I have. Longer than any of us have. And still its here. You may not see it in the city where people have chosen to live sans landscape, but in the country the grass grows wild in a haven of unencumbered life. It’s unrestrained, undemanding and, if left alone, will branch out in an untethered blanket of billowing green.

It’s beautiful. I love driving through the country with my windows down so I can inhale the crisp scent…there is nothing else like it. And while I love the smell intensely and might wonder (for the smallest of moments) why it remains unbottled…I suppose I would rather smell perfume on my skin…perhaps Noir, which I find desperately lovely, rather than ode de grass.

But…it’s a thought.

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.