Archive | September, 2013
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“Nobody said it…

25 Sep

“Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start”- Coldplay

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Me? I’m scared …

24 Sep

“Me? I’m scared of everything. I’m scared of what I saw, I’m scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.”
-Dirty Dancing

The “Double Standard” and The Mystery of my Self-Imposition

23 Sep

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I have no issue with sex. Given, I don’t think it should be happening if it’s dangerous, involves children, hurting someone, or cheating- but those are other issues-      otherwise, shag away.

As most of us are familiar with, there’s been a “double-standard” for men and women when it comes to being more liberal about sex.

Double standard:  a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another; especially :  a code of morals that applies more severe standards of sexual behavior to women than to men.
This standard is certainly weaker in modern times but still looms above the heads of those of us who grew up with it. I’d love to say I’m all about equal rights and anti-sexism- except for this single really strange belief that it’s more acceptable for men to loosely sleep around than women. Okay, not women actually, just me.
I will congratulate my girlfriends for getting home with the hottie [I cannot believe I’ve stooped to using that word] from the bar. I’ll strategically plan with my guy friends scenarios similar to those of Barney Stinson in HIMYM. I’ve got no grudge against any girl or guy who chooses to do whatever with whoever whenever (just hope that they’re safe physically and emotionally). I’m not saying go wildly public with your displays, but what you do in the bedroom-or car or elevator or pool table- have fun.  I have accepted this for literally everyone except myself. I’m the only one who I still hold to this double standard.
I’ve never really been much for flings, and rarely a one-night-stand, but even in short relationships I’d feel this guilt about not restraining myself from engaging in sex. In fact, when this happens I’m usually so pre-occupied with my “giving in” that I hardly enjoy it and the next morning I just want the guy gone. I’m no psychiatrist, and god knows I’m still figuring out my own brain, but I’ve boiled this oddity down to two possible reasons I feel this way:
1) Control freak- Maybe not externally, but internally I feel a need to be in total control of everything. The few times I’ve let my guard down I got really hurt and now I’m just not letting that happen. Also, I seem to be strangely competitive with my id and superego. So, my poor ego is really getting slammed from this.
2) By the time I was “mature” enough for “casual” sex the standard had just been seared into my brain that there’s no getting out of it now. And that’s weird.
Way to go ruining a potentially realistic story with love Mila and JT...

Way to go ruining a potentially realistic story with love Mila and JT…

I’ve tried to adopt a “guy’s mentality” about all of it (yes, that’s sexist and stereotypical, I’m sorry, but it’s for the point). That sometimes sex can just be sex and it’s okay to move on after. It’s helping me not get hurt, but not helping my internal anger at myself for not “waiting” until things are a little more serious. We’ll see how that goes.Until next time –

Dear Sales Associates, Please Stop Stalking Me.

20 Sep

Dear Sales Associates Everywhere (but specifically here),

Perhaps this is just cultural to Central American countries, and of course this excludes many of you- but I have a teeny favor to ask. Please, please, please stop stalking me in the store.

I know that being friendly and helpful and available is part of your job. I respect that. There have been plenty of instances in my life where you’ve been of great assistance in finding a certain product. Especially a specific one I’m looking for but can’t find. Here’s the thing though- stalking me does not help.

When I walk into a store I’m totally cool with you asking if you can help find anything. If I need help I’ll say yes or come find you later if it comes up at another point. Thank you for letting yourself be known.If I say no, please walk away and let me browse without hawk eyes and standing right next to me.

Maybe it’s a bit of my introvert personality that causes this, but there is almost nothing that will make me walk out of an aisle or store faster than a sales person who won’t stop staring at me or leave me alone. You’re trying to be very apparent so I buy a certain product, or just buy something. The thing is, many stores have lost my purchase because I was so uncomfortable that I just walked out. Sometimes I honestly JUST want to look and not feel pressured. If there’s a group of you standing together…forget it, I won’t even venture near it.

So as an individual plea, and perhaps on behalf of a larger group- please let the consumers be. Ask if you can help, be available in case we do, but give us a little distance in the meantime.

P.S: I also recognize that sometimes extra pushiness is a requirement-and you must act like this to keep your job. SO.. to the bosses who push for this kind of behavior, please cut you sales employees some slack if they’re not in customer faces all the time. We’d appreciate it.

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“A mind that is…

18 Sep

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

The Overly-Committed Commitment-phobe

17 Sep

I have a problem. I mean, I’ve got lots, who doesn’t? This problem though is one I’ve started to grasp over the last year and it’s leaving me in a bit of a limbo.

My name is Sara, and I am a commitment-phobe. I have a fear of commitment, because I know when I commit, I over-commit.

I know, I’m ridiculous. I need to get my head on straight. If one is afraid to commit they just don’t, right? I wish.

I realized that I’m a very loyal person. When I say I am going into something, I’m all in. Through high school and college I got myself so involved that I was barely keeping my head above water. Even things I didn’t want to do I would say yes- and then never back out because I committed to it. I was so stressed out and emotionally struggling but I had no idea why. Not until my first true bout of freedom the summer after my grad-school year.

When I moved to Costa Rica to teach- that’s all I had to do. Teach. (Teachers, calm down, this includes the billion other responsibilities we have..). I felt so relieved to finally be able to focus on one main thing, that I felt under accomplished not being the head of something, or involved in 3 other committees or activities. I was a first year teacher though, and that was proving to be work enough for me despite my overactive past.

A parent asked me that first-year to tutor her child. Sure! Some extra cash, a little more involvement, sign me up. Turns out she wanted me to babysit her child from 7pm-11pm 3 nights of the school week and parts of my weekend. I didn’t find out these details until later, but at this point I had already said yes, and, you guessed it- I stuck it out because I had committed. My teacher friends, who thankfully have a little more backbone and logic than I do told me that I had to back out. That it just wasn’t reasonable and I was not some high-school kid looking to make a buck- I was an education professional and should be doing work as such. I found her a replacement and quit. This is the first time I’ve ever backed out of anything (except for my 8th grade school play…). Everything else in my life I’ve only ended because of the inevitable need to move onto the next stage of life, the time-period allotted ends, or I move.

Ever since I realized this habit of mine, I’ve been afraid to commit to anything.

  • A place to live that’s not for rent or lease? Forget it … I’m not ready to live in one place!
  • A job in the states? I’m pretty sure I fled the country not just for travel, but because I was afraid that once I settled down I’d never leave. I’ll be that teacher who’s been there for 50 years and everyone thinks needs to retire. And I’ll hate myself everyday not for my job but for not getting out there and DOING more.
  • Relationships? Ppsh, not unless I think we’re getting married. Not that I want to get married, but if you’re not freaking awesome and I can’t see the long-term with you I’m probably out. Once I’m in, I’m usually in until you break-up with me. No matter how unhappy things are. Sorry, sounds crazy but it’s that commitment issue again. (Although I think I’m starting to make progress on this one..)

“The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.” -Martina Navratilova

So, my dear readers. Do any of these symptoms sound familiar?

  • Feeling trapped
  • Anxiety
  • Loathing
  • Exhaustion
  • Disappointment

If so, you may be suffering from Overly-Committed Commitmentphobia.

Best of luck.

The Art of Goodbye

14 Sep

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Goodbye

I should be a pro at this by now.

  • Parents got divorced when I was 11, I don’t really understand how this is traumatic for most kids-it’s just something that happens, but then again my parents were pretty cool about it. Either way, I was pretty unaffected.
  • I moved in the middle of 7th grade with a fair amount of overly dramatic tears. (To be fair, I was the poster child for the moody withdrawn tween- but they DID make us move on my birthday AND start school on April Fool’s Day. To top it off we moved to our “rival school” …because that’s a thing in middle school…C’mon, that’s just cruel!) I was over it about a week later.
  • I left high school without caring a bit about leaving because I knew the few people I actually cared about I’d still see. I think I cried at out senior night for sports though.
  • I graduated undergrad at most, little nostalgic for “the good old days” and then didn’t even attend my grad school ceremony because I didn’t feel that attached to my peers.
  • I’ve watched friends continually commute between the states and elsewhere.
  • I’ve bawled my eyes out every summer upon leaving my camp staff and campers for that “one last time” and then for the actual last time.
  • I’ve had my fair share of gut-wrenching, head throbbing, heartbreaks that I swore I’d never recover from.
  • I’ve parted from my family at the airport curb at 4am, fresh out of grad school, suitcases in hand, leaving not for vacation, but to start a new life in another country. I hadn’t even lived at home for the school year or summer since freshman year.
  • I’ve come home and said goodbye to friends, potential future husbands, and family exactly 2 times since I moved to Costa Rica a year ago.
  • I’ve taught or interned at 5+ different schools and become invested in students that I eventually had to leave, even though I just wanted to keep watching them grow through the years.

By now, I should be good at goodbye.

I’ve done it enough after all.

The problem is that the more I do it, the harder it gets. I thought it was supposed to be the other way around. Maybe I’m just getting soft in my “old age” (I never used to cry at movies, now the slightest emotional scene between family or lovers has me in sobs). I’ve been puzzling this one over for awhile. As I’ve gotten wiser and started to understand how things work more, I figured I should be capable of letting go more gracefully but that’s still not the case. I’ve come to conclusion that that is exactly the problem. I understand.

Think about it for a minute.

The more you experience, the more you’ve seen. You know more emotions, you’ve become aware of the expanding variety of possible outcomes of every action you take. You’ve seen love and you’ve seen loss and maybe even felt it. You’ve built even stronger bonds and you’ve weeded out the weak ones. No longer is the world a place of a few options- it’s not just “don’t worry I’ll see you soon” -there’s very real chances that you may never see someone again. You now know that as much as someone means to you, you may mean just the same to them.

I think this reality hit me a little too hard when I actually left home for the first time. I’m not talking about college or summer camp. I could always go home and see the people I needed to see during that time. I’m talking “I’ve got a real job and a permanent residence that is not my parent’s house. I’ve got a real job that I’m contracted into and I’m not a few hours drive away, and I’m no longer a constant part of your life.”

When I leave now, I know that I’m really leaving. What’s worse is that I’m so much more thankful for them now and every time I visit home I get so much closer and feel like maybe I’ve made a mistake, maybe I should have stayed. I almost feel guilty for leaving them and living my life like I’m supposed to be doing. Like if something happened and I wasn’t there I don’t know if I could forgive myself. The same applies to friends. I’m missing out on their lives and growing away from them.

“Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I’m glad for that.”

-Ally Condie, Matched

As for the men. I meet a guy, I have to leave him or he let’s me go because i’m leaving anyway. It’s as if I’m watching my future get cut before I’ve even been able to choose what my future is going to be. I want roots and wings but can’t quite find a way to make them co-exist. When I finally settle down I have this fear that I’m bound to be isolated and alone in the sense that I was neglecting my relationships and they’ve all died or been taken care of by someone else. I’m choosing to leave, but to what cost? I’m essentially taking the time and care to build something and then in a quick ocean crossing destroy it. It’s exhausting.

So this art of goodbye? I’ve only been able to boil it down to a few things.

  1. To even get to the point of saying goodbye means you’re still living and exploring. We’re supposed to do that.
  2. I know I wouldn’t want anyone to stay idle for fear of saying goodbye, and I’d want them to get out and explore, so I have to try and stop feeling guilty for leaving.
  3. Leaving doesn’t always mean you don’t love someone or vice versa. You can let go and know that you loved the best you could, or you have the option of staying in touch but with an understanding that things will change.
  4. Maybe it’s crazy, but what’s meant to be will be. We’re all on this erratic path and we never know where we’re going or if we’ll return. Someday though, it will feel like you’re where your supposed to be. When it no longer does- move on. It’s okay to go again.

I’m not sure exactly how long this will work, and I never know what is the right choice until I’ve made it, or how to make saying goodbye hurt any less (even if it’s justified), but I can tell you this: life was much easier season by season.

-Sara

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PS- The title of this post was inspired by a random book I pulled off the shelves a few years ago called The Language of Good-bye by Maribeth Fischer. I highly recommend it.

Channeling Pocahontas

13 Sep

I had to laugh when I saw today’s prompt. It wanted to know abut my favorite childhood toy. To be honest, I don’t think I had one. I did gymnastics every night, read books until I was caught and forced to bed, and climbed things. If I can count every climbable surface as a favorite childhood toy then we may be onto something!

I never realized how much that may have told me about myself. The higher I could go the better. I still used to envy Pocohontas’ (the Disney version obviously) ability to run up cliffs and jump off waterfalls and climb through the tops of trees. I think I’m still trying to accomplish that.

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ImageThe reason I did these things (which I obviously didn’t know then) were for two reasons.

1) I wanted the challenge. I wanted to see how far I could push myself out of my comfort zone and make it to the next level. I wanted to be in a place nobody else had been and I wanted to be the first to take the jump. Literally at times.

2) I wanted to be alone. I’m much more of an introvert than I ever cared to admit. I wanted to be in that place not only to challenge myself, but to be away from others as well. When I didn’t want to see my mother I would climb onto our roof shed and hide behind the summer  leaves. Once I decided to climb into the storage space in the top of my closet and just lay there. With luck I fit and it didn’t break. My mother thought I was missing, and I thought it was funny and “serves her right” for whatever I was mad about, but still…

These places were places for me to just stay and think until i was ready to face the world again. It’s literally a brand new perspective, and one so much more vibrant and calming than the world below.

To this day, I find peace on top of a waterfall and a charge on the jump down. I renew myself climbing up trees and feel that energy from wonder when I reach the highest point I can and am just looking at the world around me. To be able to sit and think at the top of something with limitless time is a rare pleasure that I cherish whenever it comes around.

So my favorite toy? Yea, I guess you could say I’ve still got it 😉

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/daily-prompt-memento/

To the Exes: A Sincere Thank You

12 Sep

Dear Exes,

I’d love to say that I’ve grown tremendously as a person and experienced lots of success, no thanks to you, but that would be half a lie. I have grown and changed for the better- but it’s in large part thanks to you.

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If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here today. No, seriously…I wouldn’t have been anywhere near here.

Of course, the initial reaction to getting burned is denial, anger, or confusion. Luckily I’m far enough removed from all of that right now to be able to understand what I’m about to relay.

I want to, no I have to thank you for everything. The good, the bad, and the unexplainable. It takes change and challenge to grow and that’s why I am who I am today. Because you hurt me, loved me, challenged me, changed me. Because you ended things and forced me to reflect on who I was and if I liked who I was becoming. You made me consider who I was to myself and who I wanted to be to others. You made me face my faults and accept yours. A few years ago I would have just said you were a dick and I’d never recover. I’m glad we’ve passed that point.

From big things to small things you’ve molded me into a better version of myself. I like to think that I’m much more logical and understand when things don’t work out. People go different directions, they fight and they find other people. It’s all for good reason. When you’ve broken up with me and told me I was being crazy or obsessive or too distant or too uninvolved you were wrong, that is until I stopped being mad and looked at it. So you may have been blowing it out of proportion a little but hey- for real thank you for forcing me helping me to think about that and evaluate my reactions.

I got cheated on by one of you. I was also the other girl when we started. What did I learn? If you start of a relationship with someone while they are still in one with someone else- things are more than likely eventually doomed to end the same way. Not to mention, I was a lousy person for getting into it! I will not be the other girl again.

There were a few of you where I just became so focused on making the relationship work that I lost myself. After these I vowed to never lose myself in a relationship. I’ve started into relationships as a very  ambitious, persistent, and pretty stubborn (to put it nicely) girl. I knew what I wanted and what I deserved. After time and all was said and done, however, I realized that I had lost myself trying to hold onto something that was wrong for me. Thanks to these experiences, I now look for someone who compliments that rather than shadows it, and I realize that I need to keep being myself for an over quality of life.

I don’t like to hold a grudge, so with almost all of you I’ve tried to stay friends. After much continued difficulty I’ve come to know that staying just friends after an extremely high intensity relationship doesn’t (usually) work. We tried, and we were there for each other, even during the times we hated each other- but eventually one of us always started feeling that warm and familiar non-platonic longing to make it happen again-usually while the other did not. Sometimes you’ve just got to let go. Eventually you heal.

Oh and dear exes, how many of you have I tried to rush into relationships, or at least convinced myself I had a time-limit to secure things?! Had I only listened to the wise men who say “only fools rush in”, then perhaps I would have not ended up in the predicaments that led me to this lesson:

Respect yourself, or nobody else will.
I had a short-lived fling with a few of you over the years at different stages. I had an amazing time just talking with you and your friends, and playing games and getting to know you. I loved hearing about your ambitions and felt relaxed and alive when we were hanging out (which obviously I’ll never find again…or again..or again. No really, all my chances are up this time!…).  I was so anxious not to let something potentially good slip away so I tried to jump into things quickly just for the chance that it might help seal it and prevent it from disappearing once break was over and things went back to normal. I’m not really sure what caused me to have that insane schema, but my belief that I had to move quickly or else it would be gone actually had the opposite reaction. So, some of you I slept with quickly, thinking that would work…and you didn’t respect me or think of me as more than sex. At first I was really pissed about this. After, however, I grudgingly realized that you had a point. If I didn’t respect or believe in myself enough to think that I was worth building a foundation with, or that someone would stick around long enough to do that, how would anyone else believe it?

Then there was one of you who turns into my “the one that got away” story. We were inseparable at points over the years and you knew you wanted to be with me long before I was out of my ignorant determination to be with all the wrong guys. I totally friendzoned you. I’m sorry. You listened to me rant about the other guys without a word to let me know I was probably hurting you. You spent lazy days and crazy nights with me, talked to me literally all the time, and I loved every minute of it- but I didn’t want to take it past friendship. I had moments of doubt about my stance on that, but I always found a reason to deny it. Excuses after excuses. Finally, almost another year later, when I realized even more what an amazing person you were and how you were exactly who I wanted to be with- it was too late. Not only did I get denied, but I lost my best friend. Awful of you right? Wrong. I can’t blame you for reacting how you did. I hadn’t been fair or mature for years and without thinking about it, I had been a real jerk and took for granted that you were still always there. Unfortunately, not even my epiphany and regret, or time could recover that one.

Last, as a select few of you are aware, I live in Costa Rica. You select few are really special, especially the second of you. You broke up with me because I moved to Costa Rica. How dare you?! I mean, how on earth will I ever find another person JUST LIKE YOU who I finally trust and connect with? It’s selfish of you, really, to not stay with me when you won’t see me for months at a time. (Hopefully you’re picking up on that sarcasm). But honestly, to one of you- thank you for ending it. First off, you actually weren’t right for me. In fact, I don’t even know why I fought for that because you embodied at least half the the things that make me cringe. Second, I was able to enjoy my time so much more not worrying about getting home and skyping with you. I actually lived my life. To the second one of you, you’re wonderful. I’m still recovering from losing you but you showed me that even if the time isn’t right, even if I’m positive that I’ll never find anyone as understanding, and kind, and sexy, and compatible as you- that there’s still some good guys out there and that some relationships just end because of logistics, not emotions or events. It also gives me a nearly impossible bar for any future suitors, but I guess it took this long for me to realize I was worthy of the attention of someone that wonderful, and that I now know what I want.

I know I’ve conveyed these experiences in rather one-sided view. I know that I’m not perfect and I said and did things to help push different relationships towards their doom. I know in some cases I really wasn’t in the wrong. I still have a long way to go, but thanks to these main endeavors, I think I’ve grown stronger and more confident in both what I want, and how to give and receive a healthy balance. There are undoubtedly more mistakes and heartaches down the road- but hopefully now I’ll be able to handle them with a little more strength and grace.

From the bottom of my broken/healing/scarred/reconstructed/changing heart,The-HealingHeart

Sara

~*

PS:

Here are some extra positives and less significant stuff you guys gave me that became a part of me, thanks!:

Learning how to make bangin’ pasta and creative pizza, being introduced to The Used, starting to learn to drive a stick, my first surf lesson, swimming under the clearest and biggest mass of stars I’ve ever seen at 3AM, actually becoming interested in sports, renewing my excitement about my job, forcing me to get awesome pillows, keeping me invested in staying in shape, and so much more.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/daily-prompt-thanks/