It’s Only Been One Year

Today I looked in the mirror and for the first time in a very long time I wasn’t ashamed of what I saw.  And I cried.

I can remember being unhappy with how I looked as far back as fifth grade when my jeans started getting tight.  I would beat myself up because I wasn’t a straight line like the rest of my friends.  I was more the kind of line that you get when you draw with a sharpie and hesitate and let the ink bleed.  Nothing I wore was sleeveless because I didn’t like my arms and I didn’t wear skirts or shorts because my legs were too big.

It got worse when I started high school.  I was shy and quiet, only a handful of friends, and I blamed my appearance for that.  All the popular girls were skinny and had loads of friends and confidence to boot, at least on the outside.  I was just as good as them, so naturally the only thing holding me back was the fact that I didn’t look like them.  So I decided to change that.  Towards the middle of my freshman year I joined the tennis team and I worked my ass off, literally.  I lost twenty-five pounds in four months and I was so happy because for once I started to see myself as pretty.  And then everything stopped when an older girl shoved me in the hallway and called me ugly Betty.  I cried for an hour after that.

I feel so bad when I think of that.  It was just one comment from one girl whose name I didn’t even know and I let it completely shatter every bit of self-confidence and appreciation that I had built through months of hard work.  I feel like I should’ve been stronger, like I should’ve been able to handle that better, but I can’t really blame myself for simply being in the headspace I was back then.

I became obsessed with my weight after that.  I would get on my scale at least four times a day, usually more, and I would just stare at the screen and hope the number would be different from what it was an hour ago, but it never was.  I hated that thing.  I remember one night after dinner I went into the bathroom and stared at the toilet, contemplating whether or not I should throw up.  To this day I’m certain that I would have if it hadn’t have been for the fact that we only had one bathroom in the house and eventually someone would’ve found out.  I didn’t want anyone to know what was going on with me.  I didn’t want anyone to look at me like they felt sorry for me.

After that first night in the bathroom I went back countless other times.  I would stare at the toilet and I would be tempted.  Sometimes I would cry, other times I wouldn’t, and eventually I would go back into my room.  And then I had enough.  I put the scale up on a shelf and closed the toilet lid and decided to pretend that they didn’t exist.  I wasn’t in the least bit close to being comfortable with how I looked, but I figured I would probably start feeling better about myself if I pretended that scale didn’t exist.

So I tried my best for the next two years to push my weight out of my mind and focus on better things instead.  I applied to schools, said goodbye to my friends, and headed off to college after a much anticipated graduation.  My life completely changed after I stepped onto campus.  I became friends with amazing people I never imagined I’d meet, I found my independence.  I fell in love.  I don’t know exactly how I did it, but over the course of the year I took advantage of the blank slate that college offered me and I changed myself.

The thing I’m most proud of is my wardrobe.  I went to college with one pair of jeans and a slew of baggy boy t-shirts and now, a year later, I own nothing but dresses.  They’re all sleeveless, too.  Fifth grade me would cringe.  But every morning when I put one on I look at myself in the mirror and I think of her and marvel at how far I’ve come.  I wish I could talk to fifth grade Sara and tell her that she doesn’t need to be ashamed of who she is.  I wish I could show her the pretty dresses that I wear and tell her how happy I am and show her that she’s going to be okay.

Yesterday I voluntarily stepped on a scale for the first time in three years.  I was utterly astounded when I saw that I lost 30 pounds since my doctor’s appointment in January.  I didn’t even realize it was happening.  I fell asleep confused, went to the mirror this morning, and I cried.  As happy as I thought I was, I didn’t realize just how unfair I was still being to myself.  I looked in the mirror this morning and what I saw was so drastically different from what I saw yesterday that I can hardly believe it’s only been one night.  It’s incredible.

I don’t really know what else to say now.  I’ve caught up to the present, so there’s not much else I can share.  A big part of the reason I wrote this was to let someone know because I’m that kind of excited where you need to share with somebody, but I hope somebody out there will find it helpful.  I say that a lot when I write these kinds of posts, but I really do.  If I can let someone know now what I wish I could’ve told myself years ago and help them out, then I would be so happy.  I hope you see how beautiful you are.

~Sara

Second Semester

Well, it’s the eve of the beginning of my second semester in college. I go back to campus tomorrow and I have to say I am way beyond excited. I’ve been sitting at home on winter break for over three weeks and in that time it’s been crazy how much I’ve noticed my life has changed since I started school in August.

My brain feels like mush. I am so ready to start classes again and actually have to use it since this whole break it’s done nothing but rattle around in my skull and watch Netflix and look at Tumblr. I’m not saying those are bad things because I totally like doing them, it’s just that three straight weeks of it can start to wear on you. My brain needs my Game Studies class and ethical reasoning and questions about Tolkien (Oh yeah, I’m taking an entire class on Tolkien literature. How freaking awesome is that?).

I actually miss being around people. Growing up, I was never the person who liked being around people that much. They either ignored me or bothered me way too much, with hardly any happy medium to entice me any further. I figured that when I went to college I’d find maybe one or two cool people to be friends with and stick with them whenever I wasn’t sitting around in my dorm room preoccupied with either school work or Netflix (I realize that I have already mentioned Netflix twice in this short post. Netflix is a big part of my life and I am not ashamed to say it). Now I have a group of seven people that I hang out with so much that I’m hardly ever in my room anymore. I even miss sitting in the crowded cafeteria, although the noise bothers me sometimes. I’ve become someone who enjoys being around people now, and that is a weird concept for me to get accustomed to.

They’re not really huge changes, but when you look at them and compare them to the amount of time that I’ve been at school it’s a pretty cool thing. I’m happy with them, anyway. College has been good for me in tons of different ways and I am so ready to go back and see what kind of changes I’ll make this semester.

~Sara

Oral Hygiene: It’s Important

So, I’ve been gone for a while now, but, hey, life happens. Also, college is a thing.

These past three weeks have been a weird, stressful, emotional roller coaster and honestly I think I’m still trying to process it. I moved out of my house. My college classes started a little over a week ago. A week before that my grandma died.

Quick warning: stuff’s about to get heavy.

I haven’t addressed it. It’s been two weeks and I haven’t addressed it and I feel like I should. I haven’t talked to anybody about it, except to tell someone that it happened, and I have a bad track record with keeping things bottled up. So, in keeping with my goal of using my time at college to become a better person, I’m going to try to chip away at that problem and open up.

It’s been hard. Or, I guess it kind of hasn’t. It was hard at first, a definite shock, but after that first night I kind of blocked it out. I remember that my dad and my sister came and got me, told me that grammy had died, and that we had to drive to her house to meet my mom. Let me just tell you, shock is very real. It may be hard to understand and you may be a little skeptical if you’ve never experienced it (as was I), but after you do you’ll never doubt again. I was in shock. After a few minutes of sitting in silence, though, I just started to cry. They were such weird tears, too. They were the kind of tears you see actors cry in movies that you think are so obviously fake because they don’t do anything that everyone normally does when they cry. When you think of crying you think of sniffling and sobbing sounds, and squinched faces. Just a general aura of deep sadness. But those actors don’t do anything except stare straight ahead with a blank face as their tears fall, so that can’t be real, right? Wrong. Those are the worst kind of tears. Those are the tears when you know something affects you so deeply that, even though you can’t process it yet, your subconscious already knows how to react. You don’t even feel sad, your body is just doing it by itself. It knows that if you were thinking correctly you would be crying, so it just figures it’ll have your back and just go ahead and do it. That’s when you know something is going to hurt a lot.

The silence was horrendous, too. Everyone was quiet and that silence felt physically heavy. It was like it was pressing in on me from all sides, like it was hard to breathe. And suddenly I just had this burning need to get out of the car, to escape that silent pressure. I needed to talk to somebody, needed to take away the silence. I needed to call my friend.

Dustin, who’s been my friend longer than anyone else. We’ve been best friends since 4th grade and somehow managed to stay in contact all this time, despite all the moving around we’ve both done. He’s the funniest person I know and some part of me knew at that moment that I needed him. When we pulled up at the house, I walked out to the garage and called him. He sounded so happy when he picked up (we hardly talk on the phone) and I felt bad that I was probably going to ruin his day, but as soon as I heard his voice I broke down. And he listened to me sob over the phone while I told him what happened. He told me he was sorry and asked me how my family was doing, specifically my mom. Then he started talking about other stuff, just random things to keep my mind off of things. We talked about how he was going to break the record for having the most children, how we were going to both become poor English teachers and live off the kids’ salaries and his brother’s eventual musical career, how we’re gonna get married when we’re old and live above the country bakery I’ll open. And it was just what I needed. There’s just no room to feel sad when you’re laughing.

That’s the reason I threw myself into YouTube again. Anyone know any great Let’s Players? Chilled Chaos? Seananners? Cryaotic? Cry’s the best, let me tell you. Those guys might as well be my family. I go to them anytime I’m feeling unlucky or depressed, whenever I need a good laugh in general. They’re always there playing games, joking around and being happy. It’s easier to feel happy when you’re watching someone else be happy. They’ve helped me through some tough times. YouTube is a godsend.

Then my uncle came down from Oregon, only the second time I’ve physically seen him. It was easy not to feel sad then. I even put together the slideshow of pictures of my grandma to show at the funeral and it wasn’t hard. But then the funeral came around. I was fine then, too, until the man stood up at the front and started talking. And I crumbled. Mirisa was there, which was good. I needed that support. Then the funeral ended and we went to the outside room for people to come give us their condolences and I had to leave. I find it extremely difficult to cry in front of people and show that vulnerability, so when I saw the first person coming I hugged my dad and ran to the bathroom. I collected myself as I looked in the mirror, then went back out after most of the people had already left. I’ve been fine since then, with the exception of right now when I’m writing this.

We still go over to her house and it feels empty. I have pictures of her up on my dorm room wall and when I look at them I have this weird feeling that I can’t quite explain. They feel empty, kind of like the house. Any pictures of her feel like ghosts. I had a nightmare the other night about her ghost coming back and haunting me and my sister. Now, that messed me up. She’s the first person in my life that’s died that I’ve had any attachment to and that’s a weird adjustment to make to your view of the world. I still feel sad when I look at pictures of her, but it’s some foreign sort of sadness that I’ve never felt before. Almost like a hollow kind of sadness where, if you were to look inside of me, a part of me empties out when I look at the pictures.

I try not to think about it too much because it makes me sad, but it’s hard to think about all the stuff that’s going to happen to me that she won’t get to see. She saw me graduate, but she won’t get to see my sister. She won’t get to see either of us graduate college or get married. She won’t ever be a great-grandma. She was so concerned about my moving away to college, but she never got to say goodbye.

I feel so bad for my roommate right now. She’s getting ready to go out tonight and I know the sniffling sounds coming from my side of the room are anything but pretty right now. I’m almost done though, so at least there’s that. Sorry, Brit.

I guess I’m going to leave off with giving that old advice that everyone gives after experiencing the after effects of death. Don’t wait around. You don’t know what’s going to happen or when, so don’t put off telling someone something because you assume you’ll have the chance to tomorrow. That’ll just lead to regrets, and those are the cavities to your life candy. They’ll just grow and get worse with time, causing more and more pain. You can’t enjoy candy with cavities and you know they won’t make your teeth look better. So, just remember to brush your teeth, kids, with…uh…words I guess? Heartfelt confessions? Something like that. Tell someone you love them and give them a smile every day, even if you feel like crap. If anything, you’ll brighten at least one other person’s world and that should be worth it.

That’s it. Thanks for sticking around if you did. I kind of feel like pretty much all of my posts are really heavy, and I’m sorry if you’re not into that, but that’s just the stuff that’s easy for me to write about. That’s the kind of stuff that feels real to me, so that’s the kind of stuff I want to share. I don’t want to lie to you guys because I love you. Yes, this random girl you’ve never met loves you. Deal with it. Also, you’re beautiful. Goodnight.

P.S. Did anyone read the title and become quickly confused when you actually started reading the post? Because that’s awesome. Your teeth are important though, so get on that.

~Sara

Find the fuel for your fire

As I’ve been preparing to step into the next chapter in my life, I’ve been looking back and reflecting on what I’ve done to get to where I am now. You don’t really think about it all that much when you’re just going about your day, but when you compare the way you are to the way you used to be, taking the time to seriously consider it, it’s surprisingly easy to notice the changes you’ve undergone.

For me, I’ve become a lot more relaxed, which can be good and bad. I love school. I love learning and challenging myself and when I was little I never wanted to miss a day. I could be melting from the inside, but I’d still try to go to school because it was my favorite place to be. Not really the case now. I still love school, but I love sleep more now and school’s too early to balance those passions out. Senior year I missed so many days just because I didn’t feel like getting out of bed and putting pants on, and looking bad I feel really bad about that. I prided myself in being a straight A student until high school where I got my first B and even a (shiver) C. That C would’ve given me an aneuryism when I was younger, but it doesn’t stress me out as much now.

I’ve also gotten better at talking to people. This is probably partially due to the relaxing part, but over the past few years I’ve accepted my characteristics and tried to focus more on being myself rather than who everyone else wants or expects me to be. I’m still by far one of the most awkward people I know, but at least now I can hold a semi-decent conversation with someone I hardly talk to. For me, that’s major progress.

I’ve changed a lot over the years, and I can say I’m pretty decently happy with who I’ve become. Yeah, there’s still some things about myself that I’d love to change. A lot, actually. I wish I didn’t have that habit, I wish I’d had this one earlier, maybe things would’ve been different. It’s scary to think that I’m still this young and I’m already having regrets. Yeesh. But hey, regrets have their ups and downs. They aren’t fun, but they’re kind of essential to the human experience.

Throughout your life you are constantly changing, and regrets are partially responsible for that. While you’re alive, you’re constantly taking in what’s happening around you, what’s happening to you, and evolving and adapting as a result. However, you have to be open to the change, and regrets can help. If you miss out on an adventure, you bet you’re not going to miss out on it the next time. If you do something to let that girl slip away, there’s no way you’re going to make the same mistake again.

Regrets sure as heck aren’t fun and they can definitely can bog you down, but you should try not to let them. Use them as fuel, as motivation to change yourself for the better and accomplish what you regret you didn’t do before. You’ll have less in the future if you take advantage of them now and act on them.

For me, I regret not being more social and having more fun in high school. I mostly focused on school, and that’s good because it’ll help me later in life, but it could be lonely and boring a lot of the time. To fix it, I’m going to focus extra hard on finding a good balance between friends and school while I’m in college. I want to talk to more people and be more outgoing so I can work on my terrible people skills. I regret not being more active and focused on my health, so that’s going to become a priority for me now. I’m going to take all these things I feel bad about and use them to fix myself so I won’t feel that way anymore. Fuel. It’s all about the fuel for the change.

Find your fuel and use it. You can make it work.

~Sara

Summer suuuuucks

Dudes. DUDES. I’m getting cabin fever super fierce up in this house. Summer can be loads of fun for some people, and I get that. It’s super fun for me for the first week, maybe two, but I have no life. The internet is my life. I have no real life.

I hardly ever see my friends outside of school and now that we’re out of high school I’m super scared that I’m not going to see them at all. I’m moving away and they’re staying, yada yada yada all that crap I’ve mentioned before. Yeah, it’s only been a week and I probably just need to chill on the whole friendship doomsday prophecies, but I’m a natural worrier. It’s what I do. It’s like my hobby or something. Whatever.

But seriously, cabin fever. SO STRONG. My cabin fever’s not usually that bad during the first month of summer, but since I’m going into this one with the knowledge that I’m probably hardly ever going to see the people I’ve seen every day for the past four years ever again it’s super bad. That’s some hard stuff to process.

But yeah, I probably just need to chill out. I should just enjoy my summer of relative freedom before I scamper off to college in the fall and start having to face real life, or the watered down student version of it anyway. I should be enjoying it, soaking it all in. I’m getting some good quality time with my sister and some much needed cuddles with my cat. To be honest, I’ll probably miss him the most when I leave. Sorry family members, it’s true.

To be honest, though, I kind of wish someone would tell me I’m right. Everyone keeps telling me that all the bad scenarios I’m thinking of won’t happen and that I just need to chill out and look forward to all the fun stuff that I’ll be doing. That’s great and all, and I totally get what they’re trying to do, but I stopped needing that a long time ago. I have more than enough people doing that for me, that’s covered. Now I kind of just want someone to tell me I could be right and that my fears are justified. I need someone to tell me that all those bad scenarios could happen and then hug me and tell me that they won’t let them happen. That would be really nice. It would definitely be more comforting than everyone just shrugging all my fears and worries off like they’re nothing.

Because they’re not nothing. They’re tearing me apart. I’m going mad inside this house, I swear. I’m alone with hardly any human contact, locked away worrying about stuff that won’t even happen for another two months. Two months of stewing in my own worry juices. I’m going crazy. Telling me to chill out isn’t going to help that, it’s just making it worse. It’s just making it seem like I’m being overdramatic and dumb and I’m not. I’m terrified. I am legitemately scared of my future.

Yeah, everyone’s scared of the future. I get that. But that doesn’t make my fears any less real. That comradery doesn’t make it any better because no one ever shows that they’re scared, and that just makes everyone feel more alone. Well Internet, I’m scared. I’m scared of my future. I’m scared of losing my friends. I’m scared of being a failure. I’m scared of going to my high school reunion in ten years and having everyone wonder what happened to me because I had such great potential. I’m scared I’m never going to change and that I’ll keep all these terrible habits and idiosyncracies that I hate. I’m scared I’ll be alone. That’s probably my worst fear, to be honest. Being by myself is okay, but being alone is terrifying. Yeah, there’s a difference. I don’t want to be alone. I really don’t.

Wow, now that I’m rereading this, everything I was writing went downhill pretty quickly. I started out trying to write some decently interesting piece about summer and cabin fever and my stream of consciousness writing took me way deep into this heavy stuff. Sorry, didn’t mean it to come out like that, but on the bright side I feel a little better for letting it all out. It’s out there now. I just bared a little bit of my soul in those few paragraphs. It’s a doozy, am I right? Good luck to whoever gets stuck with me for the rest of their life, they’ll need it.

Anyways, it’s midnight now. Oddly enough, the headache I’ve been nursing all day has magically disappeared after writing this. Maybe it was just stress, who knows? Yeah. I’m sleepy though, so I’m going to go to bed. Again, sorry for the heavy stuff. Stream of consciousness man, I tell ya. Didn’t mean to darken your day, so I hope you have a brighter one. Think of cuddling and cat stomachs and that satisfied feeling you get after you have a really deep, delicious yawn. Yeah, those are good thoughts.

~Sara

Life is scary, yo

Guys, college is scary. I’m so worried about this I don’t even know what to do. I feel like all I’ve really been talking about is school and the future, but, hey, I can’t help it. That is literally all my life consists of right now.

That means all my life has consisted of for the past couple of months is fear. Honestly, I’m terrified. I’ve been trying not to let people know, but forget that. It’s out now.

But really, my whole life is about to turn upside down. I’m only going two hours away from my home, but that might as well be on the other side of the country. All of my friends are staying here together and I’m the only one moving away. I’m going to have to find my own way around instead of relying on my parents. I’ve lived with my sister for as long as I can remember, and now I’m going to move in with a complete stranger.

I am so scared of my friends moving on without me since they’ll all be here and I won’t. I’m scared of losing touch with my sister, the person closest to me out of everyone. I’m scared my parents won’t know what to do without me (Wow, full of yourself much?).

But whatever. Fear’s a part of life and I’m going to just have to deal with it. I’ll just have to believe that everything’s going to be okay. It’ll be okay.

~Sara

I guess I’m an “Adult” :/

It still feels weird to think that I won’t be going back to high school when the summer’s over. It’s going to feel even weirder when my sister has to get up in the morning to go and I’ll get to sleep in and not worry about sending in an excuse for being absent.

And I use “weird” a lot, but it’s really the best way to describe the feeling. Right now I’m in that transition between graduation and the start of the new school year where I’m still trying to comprehend that I’m now an “adult”.

Who decided to give me that title? I’m not ready for that! I still can’t legally drive by myself. I still have my parents buy my food. I still watch Veggie Tales and sleep with stuffed animals. I shouldn’t be an adult.

But I am and now I have to deal with that. I mean, I don’t have to go out right away and start handling mortages and a job and piles of bills. I have college to deal with before that, thank God. But I’ll have to deal with it eventually and that’s weird to think of.

I’m transitioning well, though. At least, I think I am. Little things here and there are helping to make me feel a little more grown up. I’ve been hanging out with my friends more lately and getting to come home late, which is pretty sweet. I’ve been driving more, I bought some stuff by myself with some money I got for graduation, I have a lanyard now with some keys on it. Don’t knock the power of a lanyard, those things work miracles.

Whether or not I feel like I should be considered an adult, I’m getting there regardless. I mean, just look at the stuff I’m doing now. I am an adult. I’m adulting all over the place. I know there’s more to being an adult than just buying your own stuff and being able to come home late, but right now I’m in the super early stages and that’s pretty much what it consists of. It’s the little things that are starting to get to me and are easing me into this, and it’s really not all that bad.

~Sara