Saturday, December 27, 2008

I am not, I am

I am not the keeper of your secrets.
I am not "on your side."
I am not here to suffer in silence.
I am not your comrade, your brother in arms.
I am not your defender.
I am not your friend.
I am not where you get your supply.
I am not the one who will hold you up when you fall.
I am not going to be here forever.
I am not falling for your attempts to make me feel guilty.
I am not going to back down.
I am not going to break under your hands.
I am not going to forgive you this time.
I am not weak, scared, or broken anymore.
I am not going to pretend its all okay.
I am not going to put on the happy face for your relatives.
I am not going to lie for you.
I am not any of these things.

I am your daughter, and only that.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

This is what it feels like:

Today I deleted all the sites on my favorites list that had to do with gastric bypass surgery. It felt like letting go. It felt like ripping off the band-aid. It felt like standing up. It felt like the deep breath before the dive. If felt like the shaky legs after getting off the eliptical machine. It felt like staring up at the up escalator, wondering if I could run all the way up. It felt like saying good-bye. It felt like walking away. If felt like that last glimpse of the trees and streets before the airplane takes you into the clouds. It felt like finally finding the right exit ramp on some long roadtrip. It felt like taking that step when you know you can never go back. It felt like triumph. It  felt like failure. It felt like driving without a seatbelt. It felt like waking up. It felt like seeing something beautiful and dangerous for the first time. It felt like hope. It felt like the end of hope. It felt like the swinging chairs that pull you up the side of the mountain on a cable. It felt like the sudden stop when the car spins around on the ice. It felt strange.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I wish I was skinny.

I just googled "I wish I was skinny" just to see what other people are thinking/writing about the same things. They were all skinny people. I mean, they were all like 120-135 wishing they could go back to the days when they were 100.  Two things about that:

First, I was angry. I weigh 265lbs right now and that is amazing to me compared to the 320 I was a few months ago. Still, I'm not HAPPY and I keep thinking I wont be until later, until some magical day when I'll realize that I am finally not fat anymore. But how can they, who weight less than my GOAL, be unhappy? They could probably never even dream of what it means to be fat. There is no comparison. It doesn't matter if they feel insecure about the "meat on their bones". I cant even SEE my bones. What bones? I have meat on my meat. God. I'm so angry at them complaining about having the very thing I dream about. How can they be so unappreciative?

So, second thing. I realize that "happiness" isn't going to come from a number, but inside of me. It doesn't matter what I weigh if I don't like me. No thing on the scale, no pant size, and no mirror will ever be good enough unless I fix the things inside of me. Obviously, those girls haven't done that yet either and I shouldn't be mad at them for it. They are just as broken as me, and just as helpless to fix it. Maybe even more because they cannot see it. 

Oh, third thing. I'm sure there are things in my life that I not only take for granted, but complain about, that others in the world would love to have. For example, every time  the water gets turned off I get really, violently mad and I don't even take into account the fact that entire nations have no access to running water anywhere. I can brush my teeth at walmart. I can use the bathroom at the library. I can stay all night somewhere or use the laundry mat. I have options. Some people have no water at all.  So how do I have the right to get upset about people not appreciating what they have? I don't. So I'll shut up.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Another Tattoo and, of course, rambling.

I haven't written in a while. I do that sometimes. I get distracted by life and forget that I have things to say that no one wants to listen to. This time, the distractions  are weight loss, new friends, end of the semester stress, graduating stress, money stress, impending unknown future stress, and apartment finding stress. This all sounds very stressful, hmm? But no, I only focus on one thing at a time. Freaking out doesnt help anything anyway.

So I've lost fifty-five pounds now. I got another tattoo to celebrate that. Everyone seems to think the tattoo is too large but I'm quite happy with it.

I'm going to do what I want to do now and not what I think other people want of me. I've spent a lot of time trying to be everyone else's idea of a good girl, hoping that would make them love me. I thought that being fat was something I had to compensate for, I had to be extra in every other category to make myself worthy of someone else's time and attention. Still, I felt, and feel, that I'm never quite as good as other people. I don't deserve your time. I don't deserve your attention. I suppose it doesnt help matters that society reinforces this message for me often enough. Still, if I cant change the way I think about me yet, I'm going to change the behaviors that stem from those beliefs. If I do it, maybe I'll believe it. So, I'm going to do what makes me happy, so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. I'm not going to be quiet. I'm not going to be agreeable. I'm not going to let them tell me what to do.

In other news, my proffessor handed back papers today and she wrote  on mine that I am brave and unassuming. No one had ever called me these things before she did, and I had never thought about those words in associaton with myself. But I know in that moment I cared more about what she thought of me than all those other people that call me nice, friendly, cute, kind, happy, or pretty. I don't believe the cute and pretty and sometimes I'm only nice, friendly, and happy so that people will get over the fact I'm not pretty. But unassuming and brave, well, those things I am all by myself. Those things are me, apart from the weight. I was shocked. There is a part of me that isn't a direct result of my weight? There is! I am unassuming. I am brave. And one day, I'll be beautiful.

Of course, if I don't go to bed, tomorrow I'll be tired and thats not beautiful at all.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Who is this person parading around in your body? I still catch myself expecting her to be you.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Same old argument.

Me: You make me feel like I don't matter to either of you.
Her: You act like we do it just to piss you off like we do it intentionally just to upset you. You make me feel like I can't do what I want to in my own house, like I'm doing it just to make you mad and you get upset with me like I'm doing it intentionally, just to piss you off. You act like I sit around and plan ways to make you upset, just to piss you off and then you get mad about it. You try doing something your whole life and then changing all of a sudden. Its hard and you act like I'm doing it just to piss you off, just to make you mad. I've been doing this my whole life. You dont know how it is to change something like that and you get mad like I'm doing it intentionally just to piss you off.
Me: Well I'm sorry I make you feel uncomfortable in your home, I'll leave as soon as I graduate. And I just recently changed everything about my life, I know what it is to break addictions. It isnt impossible, especially if what you are doing is killing you.
Her: Then you KNOW how hard it is Sarah and you act like I'm doing it just to piss you off. I've been doing it my whole life and you think I'm planning it out just to upset you. . .

I walked away while the cigerette still burned in the ashtray next to the blender.
I guess it can't be sunshine and cool breezes everyday. Sometimes, the clouds turn gray and the wind whips sheets of freezing rain across exposed skin.

Monday, November 03, 2008

White ink, one week old.

So the blue all went away and its still pink from healing, but this is how it looks so far. I'm happy with the effect it has, but I'm definately going to have it gone over again because I want it brighter than that. Hopefully, another layer of ink will do the trick.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lifting weights is never fun.

One of the reasons I got "STRONGER" on my wrist was because I've learned that the hard things in life are the things that make me stronger. I got it to remind myself of that when I get to those days when I feel like I cant go on, when life feels like too much for me to handle. I know that days like that make me stronger, and I am strong enough to beat them.

I also got it as part of my weight loss journey. I know that every time I eat, and everyday I have to make decisions between healthy choices and what might feel good temporarily. I have to be stronger than those temptations. So, the word is on my wrist because I will have to face it every time I decide to eat ice cream instead of yogurt, or to take a nap instead of going to the gym. Am I stronger than that temptation? I am.

Its in white because it is just for me. I don't care if complete strangers notice that I have "STRONGER" on my skin. They don't know me and they won't know what it means. I'm not trying to advertise how strong I am, that's ridiculous. Its a reminder and testament for me. And when white ink heals, it looks like a scar. This seems really appropriate to me because all these experiences: my parents, the drug abuse all around me, the obesity, the challenges of life, they all leave me with little scars. And despite all of that, I'm going to be beautiful.

So, when I came home last night and my room smelled like pot, or when I came home the day before to overhear a drug deal, or when I came home today to a house filled with cigarette smoke and strangers, I try to remind myself that these things are going to make me stronger or make me bitter. And I get to choose.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My brother smoked pot in the basement. It then got sucked into the heating system and is now merrily blowing into my office and bedroom. I cant even begin to describe how upset I am right now, so I wont try.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

White Ink Tattoo

This is my new tattoo one day old. The blue parts are from the stencil mixing with the ink. Hopefully it will fade as it heals. If not, I'm going to have to get it touched up. There is already less blue in it than there was before, so I'm feeling hopeful. I'll post another when its all healed up.

So I got a tattoo.

Somehow, the car couldnt go fast enough. Every traffic light seemed too long and the road stretched on longer than normal. I wanted to be there right now.

This happens everytime I want something. It takes me a long time to decide whether or not I REALLY want a thing, but once the decision is made, I do not want to wait. At all.

Finally, I pulled into the parking lot as my heart started racing and my hands shook. Inside, three men lounged on a couch near the window. I tried to keep my hands still enough to unplug my ipod and stick it in my purse.

I was alone. I didnt want anyone else to go with me because I wanted to be able to do it all by myself, without support.

Inside, one of the three lounging men asked me what I wanted. I explained. All three offered their opinions on the negetive qualities of white ink before deciding which would tattoo me. It was a scary five minutes as the artist, Nate, prepared the area, his tools, and my stencil. My hands continued to shake and I wondered if that would negetively affect the tattoo.

Finally, I was sitting in the chair as he got ready to place the stencil on my wrist. I explained tohim that I wanted the word to face me and he smiled and said I wanted it the wrong way. I was making him letter backwards and in white ink. I told him he could probably use the challange. The stencil was in the perfect place and I admitted I was scared. Nate assured me that he would hurt me as little as possible. Then, the gun came on in the most terrifying buzzing noise as he dipped it in the ink and then brought it towards my skin.

"Are you ready?" He asks, and I say I am. I brace myself for a pain that will make me cry. I am ready for something more than I can handle. I remember that "massage" I got on the cruise where I nearly asked her to stop because I couldnt take the pain. It would be worse than that, I assured myself. I could handle it.

The needle touched my skin. The horrifying pain did not come. It felt nearly like a rubber band sting. I watched in fascination as he worked along each letter, wiping away excess ink. I kept waiting for the bad part to begin. It never hurt.

Now, I have the word "stronger" on my right wrist. I'll take a picture after it heals. Right now, its not so pretty.

Sarah Jo

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Things I never would have done before:

I bought a belt.

I went up the "down" escalator. I didn't make it to the top, but I got about 3/4 of the way there.

I climbed down that hill in the woods in the dark and then back up it again.

I danced while knowing other people were watching me.

I went hiking on the trails on campus.

I flirted with that server.

. . . because I've lost 35 pounds and I feel good about me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just an observation:

So it was a little over a year ago that I started seriously considering gastric bypass surgery. I remember learning about the diet and exercise necessary after the surgery. I also remember learning about the vitamins. I told myself then that I would most definitely follow the vitamin schedule, but I had seen that the surgery was successful even without diet and exercise, so that stuff wasn't important to me. Then insurance stuff got held up and I had to wait.

During the waiting, I found the YouTube community of ladies doing everything "the right way". They counted calories and watched sugar and fat intake. They exercised nearly everyday with cardio and strength training. They drank protein shakes. I decided that I could definitely handle the protein shakes and watching sugar and fat intake, but there was no way in hell I was counting calories or doing exercise. I would exercise when I weighed less, when it wouldn't suck so much. Then the will stuff got held up and I had to wait till may.

During the waiting, I discovered that exercising before surgery would make my heart healthier and surgery safer. They also said I should lose ten percent of my body weight (32lbs) to shrink my liver or something. Also, if I did strength training my muscles would recover better during the rapid weight loss and not look so bad. I decided I could do cardio but there was still no way I was going to count calories, lose 32lbs, or do strength training, Then my surgery got cancelled altogether.

I gave up on life for quite a while.

Then, I decided that I couldn't stand being miserable anymore. So, I started doing all kinds of cardio, and I lost some weight. I started counting my calories and I lost more weight. I even started doing strength training and I could measure inches lost. Now, I've lost 32lbs, ten percent of my body weight. It took me a whole year, but I'm finally doing everything I should have been committed to before. Except now, theres no surgery looming on the horizon.


Monday, October 06, 2008

This is the start of something good. Don't you agree?

Today my father said to me - You move thinner.
What? - I ask, clearly confused.
He explained that I move different now, like a thinner person would. He said I look more comfortable with myself.

I joined sparkpeople and starting tracking my calories and exercise and stuff. Its work, but its nice to see what I'm doing and where I am. Today, I didnt get enough calories so I had to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I wasnt sad about that at all because black rasberry jelly is pretty amazing. I know that if I dont get enough calories my metabolism wont work right or something. I dunno. I want to be healthy.

My arms have that strange wobbly feeling I get after strenght training. I like the feeling much better the next day when it burns a bit. Thats nice. I also like the feeling I get when I stand on the scale and the numbers are lower than last time. Ah.

Sarah Jo

So this take home exam is due tomorrow and I haven't started it yet.

Its late. I should be in bed but I just wanted to write something because I feel like my creative outlet is being neglected by my extreme lack of idle time. I don't say "free" time because I'm spending all my free time on my friends. Oops.

I'm staying up to late and going out when I shouldn't and spending time away from them thinking about them and its amazing.

Every thursday, friday, saturday, and sunday seemed to be filled with consecutive fun activities.

Thursday was Kidd coffee and watching the boys swim.
Friday was that wierd movie Blindness.
Saturday was making mix cds, Kidd, the bar (dancing, dancing, laughing, dancing), the van, and my house.
Sunday was the potato festival, the walk in the park, and Drews house.

So, as you can see, homework appears no where on that list. Oops.

Sarah Jo

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I know you don't care, but I think my boobs are getting smaller.

During the last full moon ritual on my list of things to release, I listed negative thoughts and feelings about my body. I said that these would fade each day like the light of the moon until, like the new moon, their influence would be invisible in my life. I've been thinking about that alot today. Monday, I think, was the new moon. Are these negative thoughts and feelings gone? I think they are considerably faded anyway.

I keep my iPod on shuffle most of the time. Lately, I've been exasperated at the amount of christian music I have. If I delete all of it, am I deleting part of myself? Will I want to hear these songs again? Can I take what lessons I can from them, even if I don't believe in the nuts and bolts? Mostly, I've been skipping them.

Today, a song called Free by Ginny Owens. The lyrics go something like, "You're free to dance, forget about your two left feet. And you're free to sing, even joyful noise is music to me. And you're free to love because I have given you my love and its made you free." And I wondered, am I free? I've been bound and shackled by the insecurities of my body. I can't dance because I don't think my hips work right, the way they look swaying back and forth isn't right, isn't like those skinny girls. And awkwardness seems to be painted across my limbs like freckles. All I ever want is people to not look at me, to not notice the fatness, and physical activity seems to draw more attention than I want. Have I let myself be free?

I don't become any more or less fat when I dance. Those people around me are comfortable with my body because it is me and they are comfortable with me. They aren't surprised when my stomach shakes, when my arms are soft, when I have a double chin. These are things they see each time they look at me, they feel each time they hug me. They don't recoil from me. So why do I recoil from me?

So I dance and I hope the horrible insecurity doesn't show on my face. I climb into the van and try to become as small as possible and pray that no one notices the emotions etched in my fingers and shoulder blades. I keep thinking that eventually, if I go through the motions of things, they will become natural to me. After all, I pretended to be okay for a long time and eventually, I was. But I don't think the pretending is what made me heal.

So whats next?

I keep going to the gym and eating things like grilled chicken and yogurt and fruit. I keep passing up things like ice cream and fried things and pop. Slowly, the weight is coming off. But if I can't change the way I see myself, no mirror is ever going to make me happy. There will always be some other flaw to obsess over. Is my nose too bulbous? Are my eyes crooked? Are my pores too large? It would never, ever be enough.

So I resolve to take notice of things I like about me every time I look in the mirror, every time I start to dance, every time I curl in on myself. Even if I have to go through the list of negatives first, I will force myself to find the good things first. This won't be arrogance, this will be learning to love myself, my physical self, in a way that I have never allowed myself to do.

So, for right now: I like the shape my face is taking now that the edges are starting to show.

Sarah Jo

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Your charm had not gone unnoticed by the angel.

I have a lot to say.

First, the title was the fortune in my cookie Sunday at the Chinese restaurant. I find it strangely comforting, even if I don't know who said angel is. At least my charm didn't go unnoticed.

But I'm also curios. Who IS this angel? And why is it noticing my charms? I want to write a story about it. A young girl is trying desperately in her quiet way to be noticed, to be seen, and no one does. Silently she struggles to overcome even the simplest social obstacles like where to put your hands when you talk and how to respond to questions appropriately. It is awful for her and she is failing, sitting in the dark corners alone. But 'the angel' sees her, watches her from another dark corner, tearing apart her every action, every flick of her eyes or nervous shrug of her shoulders. He wants so desperately to know her, to have that unsure voice speak his name but he can only approach when invited, and why would one such as she invite one like him closer? He may be called an 'angel', but humans have no idea what that entails. . .

Okay. Wow. No one cares about my random story ideas.

Yesterday I went on a walk around campus with the mission of finding beautiful things to admire. The mission was successful. I found some paths through the trees and and spent time there. It was nice just to take time to appreciate the beauty in the world. I felt like I used to feel after church.

Now I dont remember what I wanted to say in the first place. That story idea stole all of my other thoughts.

I don't know how to find the words to tell you how happy I am right now. I've found this group of friends that makes me feel so complete. Its like suddenly part of who I am is The Group and so now my spirit is so much bigger, but when I'm not with The Group, then I feel a little empty in a new way. Does that explanation work? I suppose I mean they feel like family. And they challenge me to be better than I am with love and not with force. And they are just there, all the time, like someone I don't have to call because I know they'll show up. And I'm happy.

And this whole weight loss thing is exciting, I'll admit, but that doesn't mean I don't still wish for that surgery. This is going to take me years and I could never find the words to express to you how unhappy I am with my body. I finally learned to compartmentalize the unhappiness so it doesnt infect every other part of me. I can carve out a safe place for my happiness to grow. Still, I feel trapped and uncomfortable and hindered. I know now that I can do this on my own, but the time and the fear of failure still loom before me. I am terrified and miserable. But now people are saying its a good thing I didn't have that surgery and that I shouldn't have it now. I can agree that it was probably a good thing I didnt go into that surgery in May with the way I was thinking about things, but I cant agree with the never having it part of that statement.

I suppose to me it sounds like people saying that it doesnt matter if I suffer for years to come because its healthier that way. It doesnt matter if there are some moments when I forget how to breathe because it hurts so much, because its healthier this way.

I didn't get what I wanted more than anything else in the world, so I'm trying my best to find a next best thing.

I think my charms are going unnoticed by the angel.

Sarah Jo

Sunday, September 28, 2008

All I have to say is:


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Girls arent supposed to tell you how much they weigh. Why?

I got up early and went to the gym. I have NEVER done that before. It sucked. I'll probably do it again.

Anway, the most I ever weighed was 320 and that was in June. Right now I'm at 296. So, progress is happening, even if its slow. The goal is to be under 245 in a year. So. . . maybe September 23rd, 2009. I figure thats slow enough weight loss that I can do it in a healthy way that will last.

Well, time to get ready for work.

Monday, September 22, 2008

La La La I sing when I'm happy La La La

I'm starting to formulate a new personal definition for me. Who I am is different now. See, the other day Casey asked us to make a list of the seven deadly sins in order of how guilty we are of each one. I made mine based on who I've always been:


But then I realized that my list has changed. Now, its something like this:


What I mean to say is that the gluttony and the sloth are no longer ruling my life. I'm not saying they arent a constant battle, but I've been making the healthier choices lately. And I've lost 24lbs so far. So yeah, it takes a LONG time, but at least I'm doing something, right?

And anyway, I feel better about myself. I don't feel amazing, obviously, but I feel good about who I am knowing that I'm changing the thing that makes me the most miserable.

I decided that my lifes mission was to become the best possible version of Sarah Jo. If something isnt who I am, I will stop doing it. So, is Sarah Jo defined as "fat person"? I don't want that to be true, so I'll work on changing that.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Things you can't do by candle light:

I wanted to write about saturday with the jazz club, the abandoned school, the police in the park, and the moon ritual in the hotel.

I wanted to write about sunday with the waffle house, falling off of vans, holding hands in the park, and melty ice cream.

I wanted to write about Monday with the day off work and attempting to play ping pong and sitting in the driveway and the arboretum.

I wanted to write about Tuesday with one cancelled class and dinner at Wendy's and an almost bonfire.

I wanted to write about Wednesday with the library, the mall, olive garden, el rancho, Kidd coffee and more hanging out in a van in the parking lot.

But I didn't have power.
So, I'll try to tell you later.

Sarah Jo

Friday, September 12, 2008

What makes the best fertilizer? I'm trying so hard to grow.

A few weeks ago the doctors told my mom that if she didn't quit smoking, she would die. So, she quit smoking, right?

I just walked into her bedroom to find her smoking. Everyone else in the house knew already, I guess. So now I'm two kinds of upset.

I don't know if the good and the bad have to balance each other out, or if it only seems that way to me. It doesn't matter I suppose.

Lies and deceit. Addiction and death.
But dont the flowers grow from the ashes?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I used to hide links in my titles, when did I stop doing that?

Every once in a while, I read back over my old blog posts to see how far I am from where I've been. Sometimes, its not very far at all, and other times I can celebrate the growth I can see. Mostly, it makes time seem so much more tangible, a thick shroud between today and all those yesterdays.

Somehow, today is the best day of my life because its the only one I have. It doesnt matter about tomorrow or yesterday. They aren't mine to have.

But it still frightens me that I still want the things I've wanted for the last four years I've been recording. Surely, someone can't wait so long with no change. New age philosophy would tell me that wanting something so much only creates the feeling of want, so I should instead feel gratitude that the thing is coming. But its hard to feel grateful when I've seen so much time pass. So much time, and so little, right? There are years and years ahead of me. But I only have today, and I still want.
Having a new crush is always so exiting, from them moment you become aware of it until the time it finally moves into something else. Every little thing about the person is exciting and amazing, and all you want to do is get to know them more and steal more of their time. I wonder why that feeling always fades?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I am completely happy with who I am, but I can't make my body match my heart.

This blog has largely been my forum for working things out for myself, in the best way I know how: by writing. So, I'm going to do that in the space that follows.

I'm feeling unpleasant today. Upset. I would say that my feelings were hurt but that sounds like something that would fall out of the mouth of a five year old. So, I was hurt by the comment of a friend. I'm absolutely sure that she had no intention of hurting me, but still, it hurt. And I don't know if I'm more upset about what she pointed out, that fact that there was something to point out at all, or just that she had no idea that saying such a thing would hurt me so much. Because it did hurt very much.

It is not her fault, or anyones fault at all, really, that the situation exists. Its a thing apart from blame, but a thing that causes me much pain anyway. And sometimes what is painful to one person is another persons joy. So, she pointed it out to me in her joy, because it makes her happy. I suppose that only leaves the problem of her not realizing that her words would hurt me. I thought I was so open. I thought that she would see me the way no one else does because she always sees me that way, but in that moment, she only saw HER.

On top of all of this, I'm upset with myself with being upset about this. But, since when were feelings ever rational? There is a stark difference between the way things are and the way I wish they would be for me and no matter what I do, I cannot change that. The hurt was already there, simmering under the surface, hiding from my conscious mind most of the time, but she turned the spotlight on the difference between she and I, the difference that I wish I could make up, but I can't.

So I'm trying my best to force the sadness back into a corner somewhere, and let joy wash over me. I think the thoughts that made me feel joyful yesterday, but they are only memories now, no longer enough. I'm sure that sometime very soon, I'll forget about the hurt for awhile, but I cant ever escape it, the thing that drove me to the eventual mess of four months ago. Yes, I've recovered from the destruction, but the reasons behind the whole mess are still there. If I hadn't been here in the first place, I never would have gone THERE.

I'm sure that most of this makes no sense to anyone, and I'm sorry for wasting your time if you've gotten this far. I still don't have an answer. I still don't understand.

Monday, September 08, 2008


I used to have nights where I couldnt sleep and I wasnt satisfied because I just wanted to talk to someone, about anything. I feel that way tonight, and I guess it sucks mostly because I havent felt it in a long time. And this time the feeling is more specific: I want to be sitting in that place with those people again. And I have to wait until Thursday.

Sarah Jo

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I only say "the thing" because it still hurts too much to use the right word.

It started as a seed, sometime before it became my everything. When everything else comes to me in waves or ripples or even almost-unnoticed drips, this came as a seed. Most new things wash over me slowly in a fluid way, gently changing the tone of my thoughts or subconscious until every thought rearranges itself to make room for the new one, to make connects in the fluidity of thought. But this thing was a seed.

At first, I rejected it, reacting to the new sensation like a cancer. I avoided the thought, tried to drown it in silence, grind it between the stones of denial. But it stayed there, working its way deeper into the layers of my mind, hinting at the possibilities, the beautiful changes.

Eventually, I accepted it. I poured all of my hopes into the little seed. I shone my imagination onto it until it started to grow roots and branches. They worked themselves through the whole of me, up and down, until even my toes and fingers and hair became extensions of this foreign thought that began to rule me. It was beautiful and exhilarating. It carried me forward and up until I was a creature quite unlike myself, someone new. I didn't see until later how dangerous it was.

But later came. When the thing was ripped away from me, there wasn't any part that survived. My deepest desires, inclinations, and thought processes were churned and shredded until I was completely unrecognizable, but only on the inside. Somehow, my bones and muscles and skin held themselves together while the inside of me turned to ash, my entire inner structure razed to the ground. Gone.

At first there was just pain. I couldn't gather enough energy to form thoughts to even process the change. Only pain. And when the thoughts came, they were only razors and shards, tearing away at the joy and contentment that seemed to be at the core of me. Somehow, I was breathing but I couldn't get enough air. And I didn't want to go on. I prayed that something would come along and end my existence so that I didn't have to hurt anymore. How could something hurt SO much? But the destruction didn't rain from the sky and I had to get up and go to work and then come home and keep going through the motions of being alive.

Months passed. Eventually, the pain turned to a numbness that eventually turned back into feeling. Eventually, I began to rebuild something that looked like my former self. But it wasn't the same, and will never be again. Eventually, I found that my fake smile was real again and finally I felt happiness that was something like what I knew before.

But the thing changed me. I will never again let one thing become my everything. It is much too painful to put so much hope in one thing. I cannot survive something like that again. I never want to be in that place again.

Still, I like this new version of me. I never would have gotten here if it hadn't been for what happened four months ago. The longest four months of my life. Somehow, after all of that, I like me. And now, I appreciate the happiness because I know what it means to lose it.

So if I seem different to you, it is because I am. And I'm happier than I've ever been.

I only left because I had to pee. (Stupid bodily functions!)


So I just typed the word "I" and got stuck because I wasn't sure what words would properly convey what I'm feeling. I dont think words can. Actually, they never do. We try our best to make words represent ideas and experiences but all we are ever doing is trying. Anyway, thats not what I wanted to talk about.

I spent the evening at Kidd again, hanging out with Robbie, Dennis, Zach, Casey, Drew, Jared, Josiah, and other people whose names I didnt learn. After Kidd closed, some of us headed to someones house to watch a movie and then I ended up in the parking lot again to get back to my car. Its amazing how something that should take no time at all, like getting out of one car and getting into another, can turn into an hour-long process.

But see, even those words dont convey how it felt to just be. Its seems like I should be able to record this feeling now so I can play it back later when I don't feel so good.

I'm sure I'm much more articulate at normal hours of the day.

Casey asked if I was hurt when I fell out of his van and I told him I'de only hurt my pride, but when I got home I discovered a long, angry scratch on my thigh that is already bruised. I'm sure it will look worse in the morning, but I'm sure my pride suffered more damage anyway.

All I mean to say is that it was great in a way that seems too much for such a thing. Like, being so satisfied usually costs more. And it only gets better from here.

Sarah Jo

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

You take for granted the things I wish for the most.

School started again, and hopefully for the last time for me. I'm taking Identity and Conflict in Greco-Roman Egypt, Roman Cities, Peoples of the World, and Human Sexuality. This is the first time in my life I have felt like everyone else knows more than me in every class. I have no prior knowledge of ancient Greece or Rome, I'm not very educated about other cultures, and I certainly dont have any experience with Human Sexuality. I feel like the silent, dumb person in the back I've never been. I suppose this should be a humbling experience for me. I'll try to take that lesson from it. I'm not as smart as I thought I was. Or rather, I have so many oppurtunities to learn!

Moving on . . . I'm still playing the "avoiding my parents" game, and it sucks. They make me feel so guilty when they tell me they need money; yesterday my mom came upstairs crying telling me she didnt have anything to eat and she was hungry. Still, Dad had beer and cigerettes so I'm pretty sure their priorities are a little mixed up. Plus, when she tells me she's hungry and asks for money and not food, I begin to wonder exactly what she REALLY wants the money for. Sometimes, I hate it here. Shoudn't home be the one place a person should feel safe?

Well, my safety has moved to the coffee shop, I suppose. I'm meeting some really incredible people lately, and it's just been an amazing experience. People that accept me for who I am, instantly. They don't care that I'm not a christian, in fact, they think thats cool. They want to particpate in a full moon ritual with me. Wait, did I tell you I'm not a christian anymore? This has become a point of conflict in my life recently as people ask me to explain to them so they can better try to convert me back. Whats wrong with letting me believe whatever I want to believe?

Anyway, I'm really just saying all this to avoid the horror of: making dinner, eating dinner, cleaning up after dinner, going to the gym, showering after the gym, and doing masses of homework all in the next three hours. Its not going to happen because there isnt enough time. So, I must sort my priorities, though these all seem like MUSTS to me. I suppose I could sleep less. No one likes a grumpy Sarah Jo though. Hmm. And this isnt helping either. All right, I'm off.

Sarah Jo

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I'm hiding from my parents right now because they want money from me. I'm thinking I'l have to find someplace to be all day tomorrow. Too bad Kidd is closed on Sundays. I may just get ALL KINDS of homework done at the library.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Nights like tonight almost make up for how painful life is.

Tonight I spent some time at Kidd coffee watching handsome young men do magic. Normally, I'm excited about one thing, like hanging out at Kidd coffee, but tonight had three: Kidd coffee, handsome young men, magic. It was very entertaining and I got to meet all kinds of new, interesting people as well as see friends I've already made. I love the way life presents you the opportunity to make strangers into friends. Afterwards, I went out to dinner with Johnna. When we came back, some of the guys were still at the coffee shop and I wanted to stay but I wasn't sure if THEY wanted me to stay, so I left.

So I'm happy. I mean, I'm usually happy, but I'm extra happy right now. I just wish I could rewind and stay there just a little bit longer.

I'll tell you a story from work:

Me: Whats your address?
Customer: something something something, apartment G.
Me: Apt. G?
Customer: G as in 'gorgeous' *wink*


Oh, and an amazing number of people think I've flirted with them. I think the difference between flirting and genuinely being friendly must not be very clear, because I don't think I've ever "flirted" in my life. It sounds like some kind of awkward word-dance I don't know how to do. Why cant we just say, "I like you and I think you're interesting and I would love to get to know you better?" But then, I'm a pretty direct person. I'm not sure this would work with everyone. I believe there are some social rules I missed out on one day at school, like, "things you don't say to people you don't know well." Nika calls me blunt. I just don't see the point in being anything other than perfectly honest.

Where was I going with this?

Oh, never mind. More importantly, I just realized why the whole, "I like you and I think you're interesting . . . blah blah" thing wouldn't work. People flirt to see if the other person is interested as well. I just assume the other person isn't interested.

After all, I've never dated anyone. I've never held hands. I've never kissed (or anything else, for that matter.) And for most of those things, its not because I don't want to, its because no one is interested in me.

Perhaps one day there will be some guy who will be absolutely satisfied with being my first everything.

But I'm not going to think about that anymore because it makes me grumpy and I was in a good mood just a few minutes ago.

I hope you find happiness as frequently and abundantly as I do. And I hope you can survive the painful parts.

Sarah Jo!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Actions speak louder than words. (Or annals of the fat friend.)

A couple days ago a customer told me I had the most angelic face he had ever seen. Then, as if to emphasize, he repeated it again: I have the face of an angel and I radiate pure joy. Once, when we studied the words of the day, my friend said the definition of effulgent sounded like me. Customers, strangers, and friends tell me that I am the most friendly person they have ever met. I am so nice. I am so joyful. Kind strangers say that I have a beautiful smile and gorgeous hair and shining eyes.

And sometimes, when I look into the mirror, I believe them all. For short moments, I see the glimpse of something beautiful inside me, and all around me.

So why can't I remember these things during those moments when I feel so unpretty. I feel like I will always be the fat friend, the friend that everyone is nice to while they ask the other one on a date. I dont want to tell myself that it will be better later; I want it better now. I want everything else about me to be good enough for someone to want more of me. I've wanted it for so long, its like wanting to see the world or wanting to end world hunger, those things you wish for in a way you think will actually never happen.

So, when people give me those compliments, I say "thank you" and I try to soak them up as long as possible. I let the coolness of the words sink as deep as they will go and I hold onto that feeling until it is enough, but it must be enough, because there might never be more than the kind words of strangers, the distant hope that something else might come along later, something people write songs and stories about. Something I apparently dont deserve.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I was so scared

Something was terribly wrong with my mother. She could barely walk, half bent-over and swaying from side to side. She couldn't talk, mumbling incoherent things and asking questions I didn't understand. She was confused, not understanding how she got to the bathroom or how to walk back down the stairs. Her face was slack, her lips and cheeks and eyes didnt move when she spoke. I was terrified.

So we went to the emergency room tuesday night. Now its Friday, and she is finally coming home. Turns out, she has congestive heart failure and something calld COPD. She must have had these things for awhile. We've been to the emergency room before when her legs have swelled up and she passed out and couldnt wake up, but they just gave her an IV and sent her home. We didnt have insurance, and she was dying. This time, we went to a different hospital, insurance in hand. We got help.

Apparently, she got so bad the last couple days because her lungs were filling up with fluid. If we had waited another day, she would have died in her sleep, suffocating. At the hospital, they pulled bags and bags of fluid out of her. She lost thirty pounds. Now, she'll have to take about four different pills and day and stop smoking.

More than that, she sounds like my mother again. I had assumed that the death of her mother had caused this change in her, making her confused and tired all the time. Suddendly, this woman I've missed is back and I know just how close I came to losing her. I was so, so scared.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Something I just found:

We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.
- Henry Charles Bukowski

Daylight come and me (don't) wan' go home.

If its okay, I would like to say some things here that I cant say to my father:

You make it so I don't want to come home. Do you know that? I try to figure out places to be until you are asleep so you wont ask me for money. You dont listen when I say no. You make me feel guilty and unreasonable. And now, I am having nightmares about you. In my dreams, you steal from me until I am in debt and then say you had no choice. In my dreams, you don't care, and I'm beginning to think that you don't care now. I am trying my best to lay down a foundation for my future, a future where I am not poor, living from paycheck to paycheck, like you. A future where I can take things like toilet paper, running water, and a place to live for granted. I want to know what its like to not appreciate the toilet flushing. Is that wrong of me? But you, you make it so I have to bail you out of jail and pay the rent and the water bill and wonder what will happen next while I try to pay off my credit cards. And I feel guilty about going on a cruise with my friends because I know I cant afford it because of YOU. But more than any of this, I am most troubled by the fact that you make me NOT WANT TO COME HOME. If I cant come home, where can I go? This has always been the placein the world that I feel the most comfortable, even when I dont feel safe, but now I dont like being here. It is like a film on the walls that clings to my skin and gets into my lungs and follows me out the door. What do I do? I love you, but you are making me miserable.

In other news,

I took myself out to dinner tonight (for aforemention reasons) and with my reciept, the server gave me his phone number.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I've been reading some new-age books.

So I've been trying really hard with this whole thing about positive thinking attracting positive energy to your life and negetive thinking attracting negetive energy. I've been thinking positive about things and not focusing on the negetive. I do feel better, most of the time.

But is it okay that I now feel guilty whenever I start thinking negetive thoughts? I think about how I am unhappy, and then I'm feeling unhappy and guilty, and where has that gotten me? I do think that positive thinking will cause me to carry out actions either conciously or subconciously that will work towards my goals, but I don't know about never having negetive feelings. Its not working for me. Instead, they are sort of festering under the surface inside the little bubble I've forced them into. How do I find a balance?

Because I am still unhappy, and I try not to think about it but then I see the youtube videos of all the wls girls or I go to the movies where the seats are almost not wide enough or I worry about how much damage I do to my own furniture simply by sitting on it. Is it okay for me to be upset about these things, or should I pretend that I'm not upset and hope that I eventually believe the lie?

Dwelling on how upset I am will fix nothing, but I cant not cry sometimes. Where do I go from here?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Dream Board

I made a dream board. All the instructions on the internet said to use pictures to represent your dreams, but I like words better than pictures, so thats what I used. The center image should be of yourself or something you enjoy looking at; mine says, "I am happy." surrounded by white space. Nothing else, no conditions, no pretty pictures or fancy caligraphy.
I've been so unhappy lately and it seems that everything I want is just beyond my reach, impossible for me to ever attain. So, here they are, the things that matter most to me, all laid out in plain text on white paper.
The plain piece of paper at the top is for things so great, I would never even dream of them. I thought I should leave room for that.

Friday, July 04, 2008

I'de like to share

something that just came out of me during an IM conversation:

me: I hear all kinds of people that say, "I'll be happy when. . ." It makes me wonder if "when" ever happens, of they spend their whole lives waiting. I could say, "I'll be happy when I'm not fat anymore" or "I'll be happy when I finally move out of my parents house" but that would be many, many unappy days, waiting. And then when I'm not fat anymore, I'll find something else to be miserable about.

So, I'm happy today. And I was yesterday. And I willl be tomorrow.
even when it hurts
even when it takes all my strength

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Experience has taught me.

I used to think that if someone took the time to get to know me, they couldn't help but fall in love with me. I believed that there was something inside of me worth loving, no matter what my size. And I thought there was a beauty in my face and voice worth finding, worth holding. I assumed that some man would love to look in my eyes, would want to touch my hair, would want to explore what it meant to be together with me.

I don't think that anymore.

I write bad poetry that makes me feel good.

What I want from you:

You said,
“What do you want from me?”
last Tuesday, after midnight
I didn’t answer you
what do you say to that?
But I’ve had some time to think

I want you free time,
not even all of it
maybe just most of it
we can spend all day doing nothing together

I want your stray thoughts
they should be all for me
not just occasionally
definitely constantly
I want you obsessed with the idea of me

And all your daydreams
should be of you and me
doing “couple things”
making promises
build an imaginary house for us to live in

Give me your future
I’ll plan your destiny
fill every day with me
it will be bright and clean
I claim every tomorrow until one of us forgets to breathe

I want your hands
all over me
or simply clasped in mine
they should belong to me
I will memorize the lines across your fingertips

I want your good intentions
I want your grumpy face
I want your joys and disappointments and secret hopes
I want your babies
I want to see what you are like when you are 83

You said,
“What do you want from me?”
last Tuesday, after midnight
I didn’t answer you
What am I supposed to say?
You don’t want what I want anyway

Monday, June 23, 2008

More complaining from the new, depressed Sarah Jo

I know all I do is complain anymore, but I dont know what else to do. I can talk about all my happy things with other people, but discussing the fact that I'm still miserable and impatient isn't really exciting for anyone. Everytime someone asks me how I am, I just want to tell them that I am one step away from falling apart. But thats not a topic for casual conversation. It reminds me of my customers when I ask them how they are and they say something like, "I'm so bloated, you know how it is." Uh, no I don't and I would rather not know anymore. So instead of sharing it, I write it here.

I don't think my poor mom can handle any more of my tears. She would fix it if she could, but there is nothing she can do but wait with me. It seems everyday is ticking by without my permission. Why should the calendar move when my life has stopped? I am being dragged forward to a future I do not want. If I knew that I would be stuck in this body, just like this, for the rest of my life, I don't know what else I have to look forward to. It would be a miserable, uncomfortable future. I would lumber through, trying unsuccessfully to lose weight and maintain happiness until I died of some co-morbidity, alone. Excellent.

SO, this is what I'm thinking about when I gaze off into space. It is nothing you want to hear about.

Sarah Jo

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I have to tell someone.

I wake up to screaming. 4A.M. Chris and Amber were staying at a friends house but must be home now because the screaming is Chris. It's right outside my bedroom door. I flail around in the darkness for my glasses, the light, the deadbolt. I open the door to see Chris turn the corner on his way down the stairs. The baby is screaming in his arms. Anger is in his face.

In the bathroom, Mom is slumped over the toilet, leaning against the wall next to it with her legs limp in front of her. She sways and mumbles. I ask her whats wrong. Nothing, she says. I ask her what drug she is on. Nothing, she mumbles. The screaming starts again, this time from downstairs. I ask mom to get up off the toilet. She sways. I ask mom to get up off the toilet. She mumbles. I beg mom to get up, come downstairs. What is she on? Whats wrong with her? Why is Chris yelling? PLEASE get up.

Finally, finally she stumbles to her feet. She clutches the walls for support. Her feet are akward down the stairs. I stay behind her because I can't catch her if she falls. In the living room, Amber and Kiersten cling to each other on the love seat. They are both staring into the kitchen. Chris is still screaming. He says: Do you even know who I am? Wake up! You have to wake up, John. Do you know who I am? Get up! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?

I make it around the corner. Dad is cross legged on the kitchen floor. The barstool is on its side. His wallet is on the counter, contents spilled in all directions. His eyes are unfocused as he bats weakly at Chris' hands. He stares at the floor, closing his eyes again. Chris yells. I tell him to stop. Why is he so upset? Yelling doesn't help the situation. Why is he SO upset?

He came home to find Dad passed out on the kitchen floor. It looked like he fell off the barstool and stayed there on the ground. The back door was open, screen door locked. Chis couldn't get in. He saw Dad on the floor. Banged on the door. Screamed. No response. Chris broke the screen door to get in. Dad was still breathing. He decided to leave Dad on the kitchen floor, let him wake up that way to see what he had done to himself, but the baby was crying.

In my parents room, Kiersten is alone on the bed, waking up. At her feet, there is a tray of food, the remnants of a TV dinner. A plate. A cup. A knife. Kiersten is alone on the bed near a knife and Dad is too far gone to wake up even when his head hits the floor. That is why Chris is so upset. After that, he ran upstairs to find Mom pinned in the space between the toilet and the wall. She was stuck and struggling to come awake because of the yelling.

As he tells me this, Dad begins to realize where he is. He starts yelling back at Chris. He stands up. That tray is now on the counter and Dad tries to grab it, to throw. Mom is screaming. Chris is struggling against my Dad. Amber paces with Kiersten behind me, looking for the phone to call the police. Dad breaks free. He cant get to the tray so he throws the fan. The metal face comes off the front of the fan and the blades thunk rythmically against the metal face. They are still screaming and pushing. Amber still can't find the phone. I run upstairs for mine.

I don't want to call the police. I dont have anymore money to bail Dad out of jail. If he is in jail, he can't work. I can't support the family on my own. I hesitate. Chris has a warrent out for his arrest. Something about the Dog and the kennal he says. I'm sure they would arrest all three of them anyway. Chris has been smoking pot. Mom and Dad are clearly on something.

Downstairs again, Dad is trying to get out the back door. He wants to drive away. I'm scared. I beg Chris to stop screaming at him. Stop provoking him. Leave the room. Go sit down. Go calm the baby. I talk to Dad, he screams at me. I beg him to go to bed, we'll talk about it in the morning. He screams and screams. In the morning, I say, when everyone is awake, we'll talk about whatever is bothering you. Lay down. Go to sleep. Please.

Mom is in the living room trying to get the baby. She starts screaming at Amber. I tell her to go to bed. She can't, she says, Daddy is leaving. No, not leaving, I say, going to bed. Go to bed too. I push her towards the bedroom. I speak in low tones. I agree with everything she says. Anything to get her into the bed.

They are both in the bed now. Dad turns out the light. Mom is sitting up, wobbling again with a ciggerette in her hand. She puts in the ashtray. I close the door. Five minutes later, I go back in. She didnt lay down, she just fell over on top of Dad. I think they'll stay like that for awhile. I take the ashtray and the lighter. I don't want fires tonight.

Chris, Amber, Kiersten and I sit in the living room waiting for our pulses to slow. I think of the song, "Never Going Back to Okay." Eventaully, I decide to go upstairs, but I jump at every sound. It's just the TV. Its just my jewelry falling over from the slamming door. Its just the candle jar falling off the table because of the fan. Its just Kiersten waking up again. Its just the fridge kicking on.

I tell Chris about the song. "Yeah, we're never going back to okay. We're never going back to easy. We're never going back to the way it was." He says it was never okay. It was never easy. I tell him it was, once. Doesnt he remeber being okay? He says we just didn't know we weren't okay. We didnt have anything to compare it to. He's right, of coure. I remember now. More fights. More broken glasses. Police. Homelessness. Fear. I remember these things now. Back and back until there is nothing else to remember. I had hoped Kiersten wouldn't have nights like these to remember.

6AM now. I think of a different song. Julia Nunes. "I'm waking up, to see the sun. Its a light that lets me know a new day's begun. I can leave behind the terrors of my unconcious mind to the sunshine." But its not the terrors of my uncouncious mind keeping me awake tonight. These are real terrors that don't dissapear with the light. They don't fade under scrutiny like so many nightmares.

Already though, the terror of the moment is fading. I tell myself it wasn't so bad. It wasn't so bad. It could have been worse. Its over now. It won't happen again. It wasn't so bad.

We're never going back to okay.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Things I keep doing.

I keep asking myself, Why can't I have it? Have I done something wrong? Am I flawed in some way that deserves punishment? Have I not tried hard enough? Am I not prepared enough?

I keep thinking that if I cry enough, it will stop hurting so much. Like when you feel sick and then feel better after throwing up. Surely I could eventually cry enough tears that the hurt would evaporate from my cheeks. But it doesn't.

I keep waiting for something to change, for today to be better than yesterday, but I'm still always on the edge of tears. I've tried to shut down the non-essential parts of me, shoring up the core so I can survive because this doesn't feel like waiting, it feels like the end. I can't see the future, I only see today.

I keep trying to find other things to look forward to but they are tainted with dissapointment and fear. When school starts in August will there be another classroom with desks too small for me? When I go to the bahamas will I be too worried about how I look in my bathing suit to enjoy the beauty of the ocean? When I graduate, will I move out or stay here waiting, waiting, waiting for something that may never happen?

I keep looking for the part of me that broke so I can try to fix it. I've always been so strong; what happened to me?

I keep praying to a God I'm losing faith in.

I keep looking to the sun for comfort.

I keep pretending that I'm okay because so many people expect me to be.

I keep pushing myself a little further away from those people that expect me to be okay. If they can't understand me now, they will never, never understand.

I keep holding on to the belief that it gets better because that's all I've had my whole life, the broken mantra "It get's better." But it just gets different kinds of worse all the time and after everything I've been though, after everything I've experienced I've let this one thing hurt more than anything and I don't know how to stop it and I can't figure out how to make it better.

Friday, June 06, 2008

And that's what's right with me.

This evening I cooked steaks on the grill with my family.
I planned a cruise to the bahamas with three girls who knew me before I knew who I was.
It was a beautiful, beautiful day.
I have loads of time for reading.
My food is now secure in a freezer that locks.
The baby started calling me "Ra Ra" and seems excited each time she sees me.
After three years, I still like my job.
I graduate in December.
Even though I must wait, gastric bypass surgery will eventually happen.
I have friends who are concerned enough about me to notice I'm not happy, even when I try to pretend otherwise.
Said friends seem to like me even when I'm grumpy. Go figure.
Bella and Edward do eventually end up together, no matter how much book two hurts.
Kaitlyn and I are writing a book and I don't care what happens to it because I so love to write.
Its summer and I therefore have no homework.
My financial aid package covered tuition, and then three more dollars on top of that.
I did by some pretty new clothes.
So you think you can dance is on.
I discovered that I'm a nerdfighter and am therefore not made of cells, tissues, and organs. I am actually completely composed of awesome.
"In your pants" may just be funnier than "Thats what she said." Maybe.
No matter how much I weigh, how much money I make, or how many countries I've seen, I am a person worthy of being loved.
Nearly twenty-two years now and I still think there is a man out there that one day decide he would like to spend the rest of his life with me.
Fruit Punch flavored Crytal Light IS better than Kool-Aid (And I've got a whole box!)
P.F. Changs is like, right down the highway.
I live in a country where food, clean water, electricity, jobs, transportation, housing, health-care, and air conditioning are not only readily available, but actually taken for granted.
My car starts everytime I turn the key, and it takes me where I need to go.
When customers yell at me, my co-workers sneak me sympathy looks and we complain to each other later.
I can still keep thinking of good things, even when I hurt more than I've ever hurt before.
Letters, white space, and punctation create a whole world for me to play in.
I've never kissed, which means I didn't waste it on that guy in eight grade who would have kissed me.
My laundry is all clean and my room smells SO good.
I survived every worst day of my life. There will be more, and I'll survive those too.
I am an impatient, demanding, selfish, blunt, uncompassionate human being and somehow people keep choosing to spend time with me.

So I'm going to try to stop focusing on whats wrong with me and start focusing on whats right with me.

Probably a repitition of things past:

I know I've said it before, and I may even have used the same words but: I still miss you. I keep thinking about the way it was before things changed when you were something I could always count on. Now, even when we are in the same room the girl that wears your face is no longer you. What happened to that girl I loved? I loved you even when you hated yourself and now I can't find you anymore. I try. I try. I try. But you don't return my phone calls or emails or invitations. Sometimes I try to wait you out, to see how many days I should wait before you break down for missing me so much and just call ME for once, but its been nearly two years and you haven't called me. Everything that happens in your life I hear about from your family members. They keep expecting us to be best friends again, but now

Now I'm not that girl I was when I was your best friend. Something inside me broke and I can't find my way back to it again. I don't know how to get back to okay. So now I wonder if you'll see the stranger in my eyes next time you look at me, or if you will simply look right through me like you have been.

I still miss you. Sometimes I wish so much for you to just get on my nerves. Remember we used to spend so much time together that we couldn't stand each other? I miss that. I miss you. I don't know if I'll ever find you again or if I'll ever stop missing you.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

As long as I don't think about it, it doesnt hurt. (I can't stop thinking about it.)

Monday, May 26, 2008

I'm so unhappy.

I'm so unhappy, and I don't know how to make it better. Before, every unpleasant thing passed so that I was unhappy for a day or two and then I got used to the idea of said unpleasant thing and found happiness again.

But no matter how hard I try, I can't get used to the idea of waiting any longer. I've waited and it was right there, I was two weeks away and now its supposed to be in some unknown date in the future. I don't know how to be okay again. Everyone thinks I should be okay and I'm not. I don't know how to be. So I keep crying all the time and I have to wait until no one else is around because they all expect me to be used to the idea that this surgery will happen later.

I'm so unhappy. And I cant stop. It doesnt mater that "things happen for a reason" or that "it will happen in time." I'm so unhappy. I don't even have words for it when words have always been enough for me. I just want to give up on everything and stop trying to live anymore. I want to stay in my room and hope that time speeds by without me so that I don't have to face the situations that make me miserable.

But I'm trying.

One of the things I was looking forward to after the surgery was throwing away all my new clothes and staring over with new ones. So today, I cleaned out my closet and I bought some new clothes. It wasnt what I really wanted, but it was close. I figured I should spend my life waiting for something that may never happen anyway.

And I still go out with my friends and go to the gym and go to work, but I feel like a liar the whole time because I've given up inside and now I'm just pretending to be okay. I don't care if you think I'm being dramatic or too emotional.

I'm so unhappy.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Oh, do the good things happen?

I made video, but I havent said anything here about it, but apparently my surgery cant be paid for until the estate goes through probate, which I've heard takes at least six months. This would mean me cancelling surgery until that time. I heard this on Tuesday and I took it really hard. I had a very rough time of it.

So, yesterday I applied for a loan to pay for the surgery until the inheritance comes through. I'm waiting to hear back on that one. I just really dont want to wait anymore. I know others have waited much longer and some never get it at all, but its really hard to have a date and then have it snatched away like that. I guess I'll call the loan lady back today, I havent heard from her yet.

If I cant get this loan, I think it might be awhile before I'm okay again. Its seems all I've done my whole life is wait for it to start. I thought the fat would end. I thought I had a way out and now I have to wait more.

I know that sometimes things happen for a reason but I find it hard to believe that a God who gave us free will is orchastrating everything to "his perfect timing." Either He lets us do what we want to do, or He controlls us. How is there an in between? So, I guess for me, it is finding the place God wants me to be with this news. After all, He knew what would happen whether or not He made it that way. He knows still what will happen. I really hope I can find a place to be okay about not having surgery. I shouldn't hope so much after being dissapointed so many times in my life. I'm afraid to want things but I can't not want this.

I've been going to the gym four days a week for the last month and I'm only gaining weight. Its so dissapointing. Its only affirmation that I can't do this alone.

For now, I'm anxious and dissapointed and waiting for news.

Sarah Jo

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sarah complains about fatness. Again.

My surgery is exactly four weeks from today. Four weeks. That seems so very far away and yet no time at all. Will it really happen? Will my life really change? I'm having a difficult time pretending to be happy when I know that it can all change and then I don't have to pretend anymore. I mean, I am happy about lots of things, of course, but I don't think I could ever accurately articulate just how awful being fat is. And even if I could somehow find the words, you could never know. Because, maybe, for a moment you would feel what I feel, but then you get to walk away. I cant walk away.

This is the beginning of my fourth week at the gym and I've actually gained weight. I've been making better eating choices and exercises and I gain wait. Its so discouraging. This is why I've failed so many times before.

Every Tuesday and Thursday I have a class on the second floor. Every Tuesday and Thursday I stop to "read" the bulletin board on the second floor long enough to slow my breathing back down again so that everyone in my class doesn't hear me panting from going up one set of stairs. And somehow, this is so much more awful than spending half and hour on the elliptical because at least then I'm supposed to be winded. And I've read about how fat deposits inside the ribcage so that the lungs don't expand as much as they should, even though the larger body needs more oxygen than before. I know that being overweight throws off the center of balance, causing my walk to be more inefficient and energy-expensive than a normal walk. I know that my muscles have to carry around an excess of more than 100 pounds. None of these things matter when I'm panting on the landing, looking up at the next half of the stairs. Being fat doesn't mean I'm lazy, but it sure does look that way.

I always feel like I have to work harder at work so that people will see that I'm not lazy. Do people make that assumption? And then I always wonder if I smell bad because other fat people smell bad and I'm not sure if its something inherent about being fat that makes a person smell or if maybe people don't wash well. But what if I smell bad like those other fat people?

I'm not sure if anyone else in the room notices that I cant cross my legs and that crossing my arms requires a most unnatural effort.

I swear, I'm going to tell you every wonderful thing that happens after the surgery. I will tell you when my jeans fit again and when the armrests at the movies no longer plague me. I will tell you when I can buy rings again and exactly how it feels to breathe.

What things will change? What things will never change? For example, I am a wiggly person. I can't sit still for very long; I am uncomfortable! When I lose weight, will I be comfortable, or will I be fidgety at any size? And I don't know what my body shape is. You know, they say there is a triangle, hourglass, inverted triangle, and rectangle but I'm just fat. I don't know where my hips and waist are underneath my skin. I don't know what my face shape is. Will the double chin melt away to reveal a long face? Will it be square or oval?

And will there ever be a day that a man will look at me and I don't cringe, waiting for the look of disgust that must surely be below the surface? Will I ever, ever know what its like to feel pretty? I've heard the words before, but only when someone is trying to comfort me, and that's not comforting.

People tell me to be positive. Its almost over! Still, I have so much grief, so much pain that I never talked about. I never acknowledged. And even though this surgery is coming up soon, I'm still here, everyday. Still here. And I don't think I'll ever be anything other than the girl who used to be fat. It will be there, always. I am who I am, partly because of being a fat woman. I'll have to figure out how to be a not-fat Sarah later, but what do I do with girl who learned to be woman who lived in this body right now?

I really look forward to having problems like that.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Things I don't remember:

I don’t remember all kinds of things. I can’t even see the places where those things are missing. I don’t remember any of the good things. I focus on the bad things like living in that hotel and hearing mom and dad scream at one another. My whole life has been bad thing after bad thing, but I’ve been happy. My parents deny the bad things, downplay them until they are no more than my dramatic overreaction to normal things. “It could be worse” they say, “You ought to be grateful for what you have” But I can’t muster any gratefulness for seeing my mom being shut into the back of the police cruiser and I can’t downplay how furious I feel when the water is turned off, but he’s still drinking beer. So, I don’t remember what its like to feel content and safe. And I don’t remember those trips to the park or how I played softball. I don’t know anything about those vacations we never took pictures of. They are just elements of stories that have disappeared for me. I do remember the prickly feeling of the foam padding on the floor when the carpet was gone. Why didn’t we have carpet, anyway? And I remember sitting in the back of the car while mom hunted for Dad inside the bar. I don’t remember the birthday parties or the happy Christmases or the sunny days at the pool. I don’t know what you intended for me, but this wasn’t it, was it?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A students guide to procrastination:

Hey guys, I guess I haven't posted here in awhile. The last month of the semester is always so hectic, but I guess you probably know that.

Mostly, I've become obsessed with weight loss surgery (wls) and it pretty much consumes my every free thought. Well, that and boys. Sigh. Haha. Not really. Mostly. Hmm. Anyway, I finally have all of my pre-op appointments scheduled, so thats cool. I orded all kinds of protien shake samples to try, but I'm waiting till after the surgery to do that because they say your tastes change afterwards. However, I did buy one big thing of kroger protien powder stuff to take now. And I joined a gym, so I'm working out too. The working out and the protien should help me heal faster and if I lose some weight, make the surgery safer too, which is always good. That not-safe surgery might be what the kids are into, but I'm all about safety! (Okay, I was going for grumpy old lady with that last statement, but I think it failed miserably.)

The office comes back tonight! We're having an office party tonight. By "we", I mean Robbie, Jenna, and I. And by "office party", I mean going out to dinner and then watching the office together. But "we" are calling it an "office party". Dessert will be involved (I'm making it, thats why this information is exciting.)

Now, people keep talking about visiting me soon after the surgery. I think I've told everyone, but I will repeat myself: I am a BIG baby. When I'm sick, I am grumpy and whiney. Just to let you know, you enter at your own risk. You may never think of me the same again.

I wrote an essay for creative nonfiction class called, "An addicts guide to parenting" and I'm really pleased with the way it turned out but I can t post it here because apparently there is a debate about whether or not posting something on a blog counts as publishing and most places wont publish previously published materials and my goal is to try to get it published but only after I've completed by present goal of creating an annoyingly long sentance while apparently making up words such as "annoingly" and avoiding that actual work of revising said essay because, as I've probably said before, I truly hate revising even though my professors tell me it is the real work of a good writer and damned if I don't want to be a good writer but I know I certainly don't want to be a "literary" writer as they tend to be published in things people don't read anyway and who wants to be published and not read? Whew.

Seriously though, I gotta get to work.

Sarah Jo!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Video Blogging

So, I've decided to start a video blog on youtube to document my gastric bypass journey thing. I'll still be here, of course, becasue my fingers like the keys much more than my face likes the camera. The reason I've decided to make videos is so that later, I can actually see the changes occuring. Also, there are many other people on youtube with the same situation; I find it so encouraging and informative. I would love to be one of those people. So, if your interested, the link is above, and I'll post the first video here. As a final note, I have to go buy a new webcam becuase this one isnt so great!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I just wanted to let you know about the hourse of research I've done online about nutrition after Gastric bypass surgery. Apparently, I'll be needing lots of whey protien powder as I'll have to mix it in like everything I eat. When you lose weight quickly, your body destroys muscle before fat. So, it is important to get plenty of protien, not only for that, but also to help the incisions heal quickly.

I'll also have to eat only low sugar, low fat items. But, thanks to diabetics and Americas diet industry, there are plenty of products available for that. IN the beginning, I'll only be able to eat about 1/4 of a cup at a time. Eventually, it will be 1 cup. I cant drink while eating or one hour before or after eating. Still, I'll have to somehow get 48-64 ounces of fluid a day and 65-80 grams of protien. This means that a lot of my "eating" will have to be liquids, such as a protien shake, soup, or broth.

I've just found loads of ideas about meals and grocery lists and vitamins and I'm so excited. I'm going to by little tiny plates, cups, and bowls and baby spoons.

Oh, I'll have to work out aerobically for 35 min. a day and later, do strength training three times a week. I'll have to join a gym, I think.

See, I don't expect this to be some kind of cure for fatness. Its gonna be work, of course. But for the first time in my life, I'll be successful at weight loss. Its gonna ge great.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Diary of a fat girl.

I found a woman on youtube who apparently had gastric bypass surgery a few months ago. I began to watch her videos, hoping to get some ideas about what kinds of foods to buy and things I would need. I went back all the way to the beginning so I could see how much she had changed, and, of course, was shocked. But more than that, I was suprised to see so much of myself in her. She had a video showing all the clothes from her closet she couldnt wear, but that she hoped to wear when she lost weight. I nearly cried. I have that same collection in the back of my closet, just waiting.

You know, when you are fat, you buy clothes that are too small to "inspire" you to keep dieting and excercising. What they do instead is mock you. I still cant wear those jeans! And the lady even had concert t-shirts she couldnt wear. SHe said they don't sell big enough t-shirts at concerts because "if you are fat, you don't like music." I loved it. I wonder if anyone else notices me asking what sizes the t-shirts go up to. I wonder what it would be like to buy the one actually made for the girls. Hopefully, I'll find out soon enough.

I am so, so tired of being fat.
Amber put seven month old Kiersten in the corner for "thinking she could get her way by being bad."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Two things:

First, I found a recipe for PF changs spicy chicken on the internet. It wasn't so great. After several adjustments, its amazing! Its nearly the same as the real thing. And the plus side is, I dont have to leave my house. Down side? I'm the one cooking it and cleaning up after. You can't have everything.

Second (and more important), my surgery is schelduled for Tuesday, May 20th. Yay! Goodbye food! Oh wait . . . haha.

Sarah Jo

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturdays were made for naps, doncha think?

Its spring break now, and I'm happy. I'm not going anywhere, but I will be doing whatever I want to do the moment it suits me to do it. I like that. Yay!

I just finished reading a romance novel that happened in Ireland and I want to go now. Well, I wanted to go before, actually. I want to see everywhere (that has plumbing).

I had a lot to say before I sat down to write, but now I lost it all. I know! I'll share more homework with you!

If I were a room, I would be . . .

My bedroom is my safe place, my alone time, my sanctuary, my temple. It is mostly because of the bolt-lock. The door sits uneven in the crooked doorframe; even if the ancient handle still had its skeleton key, the door wouldn’t lock. When we moved in, the first thing I did was install that lock. I have the only key. No one enters but me.

Then there’s the bed. It sits nestled up against the wall with its warm beige duvet cover and just-right pillows. I don’t like the windows. I covered them with aluminum foil and shades. I want to have complete control in this space; I’ll decide when it should be light or dark. And the carpet. I bought that carpet and dragged it up the stairs. My bare feet are the first to touch it. The color is tropical punch, but it looks like grey with secret bits of pink and teal.

Cheap wood paneling bows away from one wall, revealing hideous 1970’s flowered wallpaper in the crevices. But the paneling is a nice, warm color that matches my little chest. My great-grandfather made the chest. There is a picture of him taped under the lid, with a note for my mother reading, “Hi Red, take care of this for me” in slanted script. The chest is full of extra blankets and pillows, things that are warm and soft and smell of fabric softener and lumber.

And my little bedside lamp. I can turn off the lights from the safety of my bed. There is a TV over there, but its pushed into the corner and covered in dust. It mostly serves as a place to set my tissues. The closet is big enough for my dresser to fit inside. There are poles to hang my clothes on the right and left sides, with the dresser there in front of me. On the left, between the clothes and the floor is the perfect place to sit in the darkness and cry.

Hanging over the bed are those pictures I bought in China in those frames I bought at Wal-Mart. The one in the middle is my favorite: the one with the Chinese characters carved into the bamboo and the long hallway with doorway after doorway after doorway. Things I can’t read. An end I cannot see. But mostly, the memory hanging there on the wall, reminding me how it felt to miss home.

On the opposite wall, my name in pictures. Impossible things like dolphins kissing over a sunset, rainbows, and lighthouses make the letters of my name. The “J” is a lighthouse next to a sweeping cliff, the waters leap up against the brush-stoked rocks. Turmoil. Beauty. Meaning. Painted by that Asian man at the Pork Festival last summer.

I didn’t mention the fuzzy rug. It rests at the side of the bed, the alarm-clock side. The alarm clock isn’t pleasant to hear, but the first moment of my feet touching the ground is that soft, fuzzy rug that reaches up between my toes and tickles the tops of my feet. It had to be white.
But the most important thing is the bolt-lock, that cold, metal thing.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Reason

The assignment was to write a complete story using only fifty words. Here is my response:

The Reason

When you leave your towels on the toilet, across the headboard, and under the sofa, it shows just how much you do not love me, but that is not the reason I am leaving you. I am in love with your brother, and he picks up after himself.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

It must be magic!

So, I'm a fat girl. I know this. Its not really a secret, how could it be? And most of the time I feel like this strange, akward monster filling up too much space in the room. But sometimes, I magically disappear. Let me tell you about one of these times:

It snowed A LOT this weekend, and yesterday and we didn't have very many customers. We started sending staff home until there were just four of us there. This is what happened.

Random guy to my male co-worker: Well, at least if you get snowed in here, you'll be alone with three young women! That won't be to bad, eh? (Suggestive look)
Guy Co-worker: They are all married so . . .
Girl Co-worker: Sarah isn't married!
Co-worker: Oh, well she . . . Sarah is almost married.

Or, no one would ever even think that way about Sarah so she doesn't really count as a woman.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Do you ever feel like you're just trying to get through today?

I'll worry about tomorrow when it gets here.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Yesterday, someone called me beautiful.

Not cute. Not nice. Not sweet. Not any of those other words that mean my personality somehow makes up for my body. Beautiful.

And she really meant it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I keep finding more and more reasons to leave, but I just can't.

Last night, we didn't get back from the jail until 2AM. I didn't do the reading for today's class. Today in class, we had a pop quiz over the reading; I didn't know any of the answers.

I know that I should do my homework prior to the night before it is due.
I know that I could have stayed up later to do it.
I know that any other day, any other week, it wouldn't have mattered whether or not I read.

Still, I'm upset. I'm very upset.

More ridiculous metaphors for your amusement.

I was thinking about the title of my blog today: A Woman Under Construction (and how she feels about it). My blog has gone through many, many names, but this one feels the most right to me. It used to be Warm Fuzzy Feelings, but I don't get those very much anymore. And I think one time it was Orange Pineapple Juice, because its just delicious.

But I am a woman under construction. Hopefully, I will always be changing and growing. And how do I feel about it? Well, look at any construction site, and you'll see. Its no fun; its work! And sometimes things get to a point where it seems like more of a mess than improvement. Still, wait and you'll start to see the skeleton of something beautiful rising out of the strange machinery. The only problem with my little metaphor? simile? is that I don't have a blueprint. Sometimes, I find that whatever I've been working on should be completely destroyed and re-built. This growing-up stuff is hard work.

So, sometimes life sucks, like bailing dad out of jail. And bailing dad out of jail again. But these things are the machines that are making me. I am slowly starting to see that something beautiful. These things make me stronger. For instance, I don't freak out during an emergency. I've seen too many 'crisis' moments to freak out. Panicking doesn't solve the problem. And I know: I will be okay.

I bailed my dad out of jail. How was your day?

Every time I get a paper cut or stub my toe, every time I bang my elbow or knock my head against something, I am hurt and surprised. It keeps happening, and I keep feeling surprised and hurt. Its kind of like that.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Reasons I may never get married:

Mom: Sarah did the dishes today.
Dad: *laughs*
Mom: No, she really did.
Me:I really did!
Dad: You did?

We let time and distance do what we said no time or distance could ever do.

I was just feeling a little bit sad thinking about people I don't have anymore. We can't keep them forever, can we? Still, I miss getting coffee with Katie on Saturday afternoons and talking for too long about I don't know what. And I miss hanging out with Ashley for days at a time complaining about our parents and planning our next get away. We had so many plans then, but they are all gone now, just like the people.

Sometimes I look in the mirror and I am completely happy with what I see, but other times I'm terrified that it will only ever be me, just me.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Evidence that babies are, in fact, evil.

Kiersten got that awful flu. When I had it, I couldnt talk. When she got it. . .

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Conversation from work or there is a time and place for everything.

"Good morning! Are you having a good day?"
"Yes! A blessed day! Is Jesus Christ your personal Lord and Savior?"
"Uh . . . yes, Sir. Did you just need to renew your license plates today?"
"Yes, I do. Do you think he's coming back soon?"
"I don't think so. Is this for your 1997 Chevy?"
"Yes. Its only going to be a matter of months now before he comes. It has been prophisied."
"Thats nice. Is your address still the same?"
"Yes. Did you know that every generation in past history has reached heaven or hell through the grave, and we will be the first generation to ascend into heaven before our bodily death?"
"Thats interesting. Your total is 54.50"
"Aren't you excited?"
"I guess so, sir. Here is your change and registration. You have a nice day."
"You have a blessed day! And tell someone about Jesus!"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

You should reall watch this video.

The Belly Button Song

"I need to tell you sumthin: I don't got a belly button!"

Thats all, kids.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

And then I dropped my new *not washable* purse into a puddle of water.

I really wanted to hug those men, but I'm not sure how appropriate it would have been.

Miami has three campuses. This morning, two of them were closed. Which campus did I have class on? You guessed it: the open one.

So, I tried to go. You'll notice the operative word here is tried. Let me tell you why.

I was getting on the exit ramp, the one that curves right then left then right again. The roadway was perfectly clear, but I soon realized that the exit ramp was covered in a lovely mixture of slush and freezing rain. Suddendly, and somehow very slowly, the back end of my car swung around to the right, sending the front of my car to the left. I spun. And spun. And spun. Down the icy ramp. Soon, the back end of my car asserted itself as the leader and I was facing the wrong direction knowing that very, very soon, I would feel my car rolling over the median. Turns out, it didnt roll smoothly over the median but instead came to an akward and shuddering stop. I had two tires on eithers side of the concrete barrier. All kinds of warning lights came on. I cried.

That was two hours ago. Now, my car is at the mechanics and I came home to find an email telling me that class was canceled. Lovely.

It is, apparently, a dangerous assumption that everyone lives on campus and only has to walk to class.

On the bright side, my car was driven, and not towed, to the mechanics. I am not hurt in anyway. And handsome young paramedics happened to drive by just as I burst into tears, saving me and my car from . . . well . . . from having to call a tow truck.

What did I learn today? My priorities are a little mixed up. From now on, my personal safety will come BEFORE my attendance record. Thank you, world, thank you very much.

Now, were is my hot chocolate?

Monday, February 11, 2008

It will all be okay in the end. If its not okay, its not the end.

Before you read this: This blog has absolutely no point. I thought I would reach one, but it never happened. Good luck.

Oh man, I feel really good right now. It might have something to do with the Mocha Latte I just drank, but I'm going to say its real happiness and go with that.

I'm mostly writing here to postpone doing my homework for twenty more minutes. I know the typical college student wouldn't avoid writing by writing, but thats how my brain works. . . somehow. I suppose it works like this: I love to write until I HAVE to write, then its not so fun. I love reading, except the reading I'm assigned for school.

I read somewhere that if you find do what you love for a career, you will never work a day in your life, but I don't think thats true. I love to write. I can't think of anything more satisfying or fulfilling than a paper I just covered in ink. It is my thing. Somehow, I must write. But that doesn't mean that writing is always fun or amazing; sometimes, it is just work. Its no fun editing and it hurts sometimes to delete paragraphs or sentances, like cutting off healthy branches so that the whole plant can flourish. And I don't have kids right now, but I think the same thing holds true there too. People say that there is nothing like raising a child, but no one would say that there is no work, no pain involved.

But you know what? Things can't always feel good all the time. Think about perfume. When you first put it on in the morning, it kind of burns your nose and floats around your head while you put on your make-up, but later, it fades to nothing at all. All day long people may notice how good you smell, and they may even tell you too, but you don't notice that perfume at all. Eventually, all that perfume evaporates and you shower and it is truly gone. The next day, you spray it on again and WOW, you smell it again! Now, I know that was a really long example, but I am getting to my point: if things were perfect all the time, we would become desensitized to the goodness, taking it for granted. The bad days provide the perfect contrast to the good days. Yesterday it rained, and that makes todays sunshine that much brighter.

I'm twenty one years old now, and everything I think I know now might very well turn out to be foolishness in twenty one more years, but I right now, I believe what I believe with so much conviction because I only have my own experiences to guide me, and I've only had twenty one years to collect them. So please, excuse me if I sound naive or sugary, that is not my intention at all.

I'm moving on at exactly the same pace as my thoughts. I hope you can follow along.

I might have said this next part some time before:

Someone once wrote somewhere (I know, I'm TOO specific sometimes) that we are given the burdens we each bear because we are the ones strong enough to carry them. That really resonated with me. Sometimes, I get a little angry when I hear people complain about things I would love to consider "problems"; if that is the worst thing going on in her life, she must be lucky. But we never really know all the secret pains someone has to deal with, and to her, that situation may be devestating. I can't really wear her shoes. And I get angry with things I have to deal with because I think This isn't normal. Most people don't have to worry about things like this. But maybe its all for a reason.

Maybe some time in the future something will happen to me that will require a strong, resilient spirit. Maybe my future husband is the kind of man that requires a lot of patience from a woman. Maybe when God was trying to decide what spirit should inhabit this body, mine was the strong enough one. Or maybe the writer in me is always looking for the greater meaning in personal struggles. What does this singular story mean to strangers, to the world?

You know, I didn't know I wanted to write until . . . (here, my sense of time fails me) . . . I dunno, the last five years or so? I remember wanting to sing. That was part of my self-conception. I was a singer. But I'm not a singer. I don't have a passion for it. I think I sing passably well, but its more for me than to share with anyone else. I don't like it when people are looking right at me. But with writing, I can pour my whole self out onto the pages and shove it in peoples faces. Here, I feel really seen. ( And no one is worrying about my hair.)

But, you know, I really do feel good right now, even as the pile of homeowork glares at me from the corner, my Cafe Mocha looses its edge, and I am reminded that I alone, in this house of seven people, have a job. Excuse me while I go pay the water bill and return to my studies.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I wrote this for school. Yes, this semester, homework is fun.

I don’t remember any of the good things. My mind must be wired to only form and collect memories of the negative kind, because surely, there were good things. My parents always look offended when I recount my version of my childhood. A look of horror passes over their faces like they cannot imagine they raised such a child. We must be different creatures, my parents and I. A conversation about it might go something like this:

“Do you remember the time we stayed in that cabin for vacation?” My dad would ask.

“Yes, Mom was sick and stayed in bed the whole time, the lake smelled funny, and we left all of our cooking utensils in the drawer when we left.”

“But you had a good time. Remember, we drove out to that little store to rent movies to watch on that little TV.”

“Didn’t that TV get stolen when we were robbed? See, nothing good ever happened to us!”

“Well, what about all those days you spent at your Grandma’s pool?”

“Didn’t Christopher get a concussion there? And we were always afraid of the hornet’s nests by the side windows. And my aunts told us we would get sucked into the drain in the deep end and die. It was amazing fun.”

These aren’t the only bad things I remember. Other memories reach out and grab my attention as I search the mad filing cabinet of my mind: sleeping on a mattress on a floor with no carpet, packing all of our belongings into the minivan to go live in the hotel, having no running water for weeks at a time, seeing my mother run out the back door when the police knocked. These things turn into an ink, staining all the memories of wonderful things that must have happened too. I am angry, and I cannot stand to remember the Hanson ice-cream-cake (that probably melted) or the happy child in all those pictures. How can this little gap-toothed, shirtless three-year-old smile with the future looming in front of her?

We don’t talk about the bad bad things. According to my parents, they never happened. They didn’t matter. Everyone makes mistakes, why keep bringing it up? But I can’t seem to focus on the warmth of the sun or the cool relief of the water when the hornets are buzzing behind me and the deep-end looms dangerously before me. These events all happened as I was learning how to be me; I cannot simply leave them behind like our cooking utensils.

I still check my closet for monsters sometimes; I make sure the door is securely closed before I crawl into my bed. I’ve been known to sleep with the light on when the fear of something happening makes the shadows malicious and the random sounds turn into approaching footsteps across the carpet.

“It couldn’t have been too bad, “my mother would argue, “You have always been so happy; no one would think you were so negative about things.” And then she would try to make me feel guilty about accusing her of being a bad mother.

I’ll step back here and say that, at some point, we all accuse our parents of ruining our lives. This may just be my version, but I have a right to say it. So, how do I explain my apparent cheerful disposition in the face of such a negative view of my childhood? I don’t have all the answers, but I know that happiness is a choice, and those inky fingers haven’t quite reached out to spoil my future. Somewhere, in some vague tomorrow, I will be in control. I’ll decide what happens in my own house: the bills will be paid, the laws will be followed, and no drugs whatsoever will be present. Everything will be safe and consistent one day.

I’m still angry. I’m still hurt. I’m still waiting for the next bad surprise to come along. Will it happen tomorrow? However, my anger and hurt do not solve problems, they don’t make my family make better choices, and they certainly don’t make me a healthier person. So instead, I push them aside somewhere, allowing them to wreak havoc on my past while I work on finding happiness in the small things I see everyday.

In the past three months, I’ve had as many people offer for me to come live with them, but I stay here. I say I don’t remember any of the good things, but it must not be true, because even when I hate my parents for the choices they made, I love them even more. And I do remember that Hanson cake.