Tuesday, November 24, 2015

On Learning to Become my Best Self

(Insert obligatory apology for it being over a year since my last entry....and moving on...) 

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to find yourself.  More specifically how to find your BEST self. 

And hold onto it.

I know I found my best self once.  It took me years but when I discovered her, there all the time…those were the happiest and most content years of my life. 

I knew exactly who I was and that gave me confidence, compassion, charity, and love. 

And then…

I lost her.

Two years give or take, and I lost her.

Anxiety, depression, and a total lack of trust of my mind, my heart, and myself took away all my confidence.  Everything I was so positive of.  And with it went the contentment.

I’ve spent the better part of the last 2-3 years trying to find her again.

I still haven’t succeeded.  I’m not giving up.

But here’s the trick to that: You’re best self is never the same person twice. Just like YOU are never the same person twice.  We are all constantly growing, learning, and moving in some direction that changes us.  Whether infinitesimally or in great leaps and bounds, we are all changing.  For better. For worse.  That’s up to you.

But the change is there.

And so with that knowledge comes the impossibility of ever being someone you used to be.

This was something I didn’t understand for a long time.  When I lost my confidence, contentment, and all that I thought was “my best self”, I was convinced that I knew how to find her again, and stick her back to me like Peter Pan trying to stick his shadow back on with soap. 

I believed that if I could just gather all the components of my life while I was at my best and jumble them together in the life I had now, that I could be that version of myself again.

I believed this and as I desperately tried to execute it, I didn’t want to hear any different.

Luckily, I had a very patient and understanding friend.  He told me over and over that I was fighting a losing battle.  That I could never be who I was before.  And that all the things I was doing to try to get there were going to end up simply disappointing me. 

I fought back for quite a while before I realized that he was right.

And for a while I was angry and upset and it felt hopeless.

I thought that if I couldn’t become who I was when I was happiest, then there was no way I could ever be in a happiest state again.


You can never be the same person twice.

I was never going to be that girl again.

And as long as I kept trying, I was going to keep myself from becoming the woman I had the potential to be.

I was trying to ignore all the flaws I had picked up, all the cracks in my mind, all the nonsense.  I was trying to force myself back my skin from two years ago.  Like trying to fit into the clothes you wore when you were a child.

What I needed to do was accept those flaws as a part of who I was becoming, and then use them to shape who I wanted to be. I needed to be comfortable in the skin I was in and then work on making the improvements needed so that I could be my best self 2.0. 

Little by little I have picked up pieces.  I have sewn torn seams, I had sealed cracks.  Only to find new ones from time to time.

That’s life. 

The only time we find ourselves perfected is in the life to come.

Even now I have days where I feel like I might never find my best self again.  I’ve come close, and then lost it.

I feel at times as if I’m still losing it.


Further and further away from the vision of the woman I saw myself becoming.

Eventually, I will have to turn away from that image and create a new one.  One just as pleasing and grand.  One with just as much confidence, potential, compassion, and love as before. But different.

Because I am changing every day.

Some days it’s a new crack.

Some days it’s a repair.

I am thankful for that friend who helped me see the truth, and stop holding onto the past.

It’s ok to  use the past as a template, and a learning experience. 

But never should we try to go back.

That leads to madness.

Always we need to be moving forward. For all forward movement is progression.

And it will lead us home.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

On the Beast Inside.

*******This is a post about anxiety/depression.   It's very personal and not typically something I would post on such a public forum.  But I feel the need to share.  To be honest.  And I am going to do so now.  Fair warning*******

It's been nearly a year, folks.

About 11 months since I posted anything.  

I don't really feel an obligation to this blog anymore, to be honest (that being said I intend to visit here more frequently again).  When I created it years and years ago in college it was a place to just put things.  Thoughts, emotions, tidbits about my life.  As time went on it was a place to update my family on my life (when I was in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine).  

Now?  Well, the updates are mostly unnecessary. Nothing exciting has really happened.  As for thoughts and emotions?

I've had a bombardment of those in the past 11 months.  More than I think I've ever thought or felt.  Nearly none of them thoughts or emotions I felt inclined to share.  

And right around August/September of last year is when it all got really hard.  

My way was suddenly barred by a beast I never thought I would have to battle.

The double headed monster that is depression/anxiety.  

It took a really long time to admit to the anxiety.  Even longer to admit to the depression.  And it took until a week or two ago for me to admit that I'm not fully recovered.  That while in general I can see the world in a positive light, I still battle that beast, even if he's in a smaller form.

I don't speak honestly to create discomfort.  I speak as one who understands that sometimes we don't speak of these things enough.  Because we are ashamed or in denial.  We insist that we need to be stronger.  Hide it.  Keep it all inside.  Admitting it means admitting to weakness, right?  And we can't have that.  Telling others and asking for help is putting too much on someone else when we should be able to handle it ourselves.



I post now about these things not just because I feel the need to come out of blog estrangement, but because I've seen too many people that I love live in denial, or hide away the things they struggle with.  That beast? He works within.  He eats away at the core of you, creating imbalance and pain.  

You can have a dozen good days and then suddenly he's there again.  You can't get out of bed and force yourself to be productive.  You can't smile genuinely because in your head there is nothing really to smile about.  You look inwardly and instead of the beauty you see the beast.  And to your eyes, the beast is yourself.  YOU are the horrible creature that is destroying everything good.  There is self-loathing, there is despair, there is fear, and there is physical pain.  

A friend of mine recently shared a buzzfeed post which I really appreciate.

You too can read it by clicking here.  

I want to specifically mention some of these.  

Number 9:  It's frustrating to be that person.  The person who doesn't want to burden anyone else with my problems.  For me it's not an inability to express what's wrong.  It's not wanting to assume that other people are willing/able to just listen.  To just be there.  To take a tiny speck of my burden on themselves.  Because sometimes you DO just hurt and want someone to hold you and say it's going to be ok and expect nothing from you.  It seems silly to want to be alone but feel terrified of being alone at the same time.  I was lucky enough to have a very close friend who never judged, who loved me enough to just be there so I wasn't alone, but not expect anything from me so that I didn't have to deal with the world.  A friend who made the world melt away.  I hope everyone can have a friend like that.  And trust in them.

Number 10:  A million times over (both in my head and out loud to my friends) I have said "I'm not the person I used to be.  I miss that person".  I miss the carefree, stress free person who loves hiking, biking, cooking, reading, learning the guitar.  Who isn't a control freak and doesn't get anxious or sad about the silliest little things.  I miss the ambitious girl who had a goal in life.  I miss the girl who was strong enough to look her temptations in the face and say "screw you, I'm better than that".  The girl who was strong enough to bare OTHER people's burdens.  I hardly recognize me anymore.  Sometimes I see the old me and I feel joy.  Like greeting an old best friend.  I'm still trying to morph into the new beautiful butterfly that is a combination of who I was and who I am now with what I've experienced.  But that metamorphosis takes time and means letting go.  

Number 13:  I hope that not every person who goes through anxiety or depression (or both) has to have a friend say the following to them: "There are people out there who have it so much worse than you."  Because those words hurt more than almost anything else.  Why?  Because YOU have been saying them to yourself all along.  You know they are true.  You have been beating yourself into a corner with all those words of "suck it up.  You're better than this.  You have nothing to be sad about.  Get over it".  And then here comes a friend who you hope to lean on and it feels like they are joining in the beating.  Kicking you while you are down.  They don't MEAN to.  They are trying to help you have perspective.  

Let me promise you, friends of anyone who is or has gone through anxiety/depression: these words NEVER help.  They only hurt.  More than that person may admit.  Please...never use them.  

Number 14: Very close to my heart is this one.  The friend I had who was closest to me through all this was wonderful.  Tried to help me gain a new perspective on life so I could pick myself up.  But this friend used this one so much...and I couldn't make them understand.  That it didn't matter. "You have so much going for you...you have less reason to be insecure or down about life than anyone I know...".  These words hurt almost as much as telling me there are people who have it worse than me.  So what if I have a lot going for me...if feels like your saying I have no reason to be anxious or depressed.  You think I don't know that???  But that doesn't matter.  Knowing that I have so many good things in life is not the sword that defeats the beast.  In fact it only feeds him and makes you feel worse because you hate that even though you know what's good about your life that you still feel awful.

Number 16: Never tell a friend who is going through this that they are being silly.  Or ridiculous.  They know.  And it hurts.  They are trying.  What they need is encouragement. 

I feel like a lot of the ones that touched me had a theme.  

And so I again want to reach out to those of you who know someone who is going through these things.  Maybe you understand what they are going through are just want them to snap out of it because it hurts you to see them feel pain like you did.  Maybe you don't understand and have no idea how to handle it.

In either case I promise you-don't try to help them rationalize through it.  Because the nature of the beast is to generally be irrational.  There are things that your friends will go through where they need that slap in the face.  A big "HELLO!  You are being silly or dumb.  Stop it.".  When it comes to this, the majority of the time all that friend needs is an "I understand.  I'm here for you for whatever you need" or an "I may not understand, but I love you anyway."

Give them a hug.  Tell them that it will pass and you will be there for them until it does.  Don't leave them behind to deal with it alone.  We are not solitary people.  We were never meant to be alone.  Don't beat them up for it.  Don't be angry or upset with them.  Be patient and considerate.  Encouraging.  It's ok to offer them incentive to get out of the house or to have fun.  But if they can't do it, don't guilt them for it.  Offer to be there but don't feel slighted if they just need some times alone.  

I could never have written this in the midst of it all. In the darkest parts of my experience.  Because I saw no light in those times.  And so I never came here because I felt I had nothing good or rational to say.  I've gone through so much more than just the anxiety/depression this past year.  But I'm starting to come out of the woods.

Now, I am more light than darkness for the most part.  But it's still there from time to time.  And I have to remind myself to be kind to myself.  For this too shall pass.  

I want to thank you, readers, for being patient with me and this entry.  I know that for some of you it will touch a part of you that knows exactly where I am coming from.  I hope for some of you it will be a lesson.  And for others I hope if will be a reminder that you are never alone.  

I want to personally thank those of you who have been there for me through any step of the journey.  You were essential.  

I want to leave you all with one more link to a comic.  I think the end of this one touched me more than anything.  To those friends out there who are helping someone through this, my prayers are for you as well.  To have the strength and presence of mind to simply say "hard day again, huh? I'm sorry."  And then give that friend a hug until their pieces start to glue together again. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

From the other side

A lot of words.  A lot of introspection.  A lot of sharing in this one.  Feel free to pass it up.


I thought I knew myself.

I figured "Hey, I've lived for over a quarter of a century.  I know who I am and where I'm going. I am in control."

Then something happens...and I lost sight of that. The who that I was got shifted, molded, altered.  Into something...unexpected.

Good in some ways.  Not good in others. 

I'm hard on myself.  Who isn't?  I've always seen myself as above emotional weakness (silly me). Telling myself that "I'm smarter than that.  Rational.  Chill.  Relaxed."

But then I suddenly realized that I'm just like everyone else.  And in a terribly prideful way, I resent myself for it.  Because I feel I SHOULDN'T be like everyone else. I should feel this way or that way. 

Being a rational person...it's hard for me to feel irrationally.

So while I've experienced lessons in confidence, extroversion, sociality, etc. I've also learned about anxiety, discontent, loneliness, and all those other things that normal people feel in their normal lives.  It's just that in the past they were a muted presence that I could write off with a good Bon Jovi song or a walk in the woods.

Now...not so much.

Sometimes you live your life in a whirlwind and its not until you've stepped out of the fray that you realize where you were and where you are now.

It takes time to re-orient yourself to your surroundings and to adjust to the new environment you find yourself in.

It's been ages since I posted here regularly.

I think I could fill a book with words on my life in that time.

A book no one would want to read.

I mentioned turbulence a while back.

I feel that pales in comparison to gale I allowed myself to be swept into.

I've experienced selflessness, as well as selfishness.

Contentment. Little things I've never felt before as well as big things.

Learning to let go.

Learning to hold on.

A lot of firsts.

And in that time I developed a new normal.  One I felt comfortable with. Knowing full well that this "normal" was temporary. It had an expiration date. And I was okay with that.  Because it was just nice to have the experience, you know?

Even in that knowledge, one can hope. And have expectancy. A time frame, maybe?


All at once, that normal was punctured.  Slowly leaked out air.

Causing tightness, uncertainty, and a sudden change in everything. Meaning that I had to change again.  And learn a new normal knowing what things could be like.

My relationship glass has been shattered (a la HIMYM) and there is no going back to the normal I had before it all started.

I tried to convince myself that I was more than human.  Better and stronger than the emotions that flooded through me.  What did it matter that millions of people had gone through the same thing and THEY weren't spared the experience?

I had gone into it knowing what it was, knowing it would end, knowing that it was what it was and nothing more than that.

So who was I to feel all those things that are human, natural, and expected?

I tried to turn it off.

And failed.

So I let myself feel.

And started to move on.

Usually I'm pre taking a situation, looking at it from outside myself, evaluating my thoughts/actions/emotions, then rationally trying to work through it.

All my tactics were proving less effective this time.

Hot herbal tea.  Good, soul healing music. A nice long walk outside. Watching the stars. A long drive.

These things used to heal all.

Maybe you come to a place where you see yourself whole.

Normal becomes a possibility again.

(Forgive my random tense changes as I write this...I can't help if. I go from "I" to "You" back and forth.  Try to keep up because I am ultimately talking about me, of course).

You smile for no reason, sing along in the car instead of talking to yourself, get random songs stuck in your head again. Laugh. Joke. Breathe easy. And are generally happy.

You're sure it's real.  You're positive that you have a handle on things.

Then in an instant, all that can change. Suddenly all the ground you gained is lost and you are back where you started when it all first ended.


Because like billions before you, you allowed yourself to hope.  Even just a little bit.  It was enough to taint your new reality just enough that when that hope is extinguished it's all the much harder to let go all over again.

So, I told myself I could let this happen once, but never again.

All the conclusions I had come to, the truths I had realized, the advice I've given myself...it was gone in an instant.

You're sitting there and suddenly it's all "Deep breaths, here it comes."

What is it?

I have no idea.  I can't put a finger on it or rationalize it.   But it's there.  This undefinable worry.


A knot in the pit of my stomach that I can't explain.

This isn't me.  The Sarah Lambson I know well is rational.  Stable.  Feels emotions deeply, for sure, but is in control of them (unless she is watching the end of Return of the King or Dead Poets Society).

(allow me to change tenses for a moment)

Suddenly there's the hole again.  Deep in the core of you.  Yearning for something else.  Something more.  Something you know you aren't meant to be without.

All you want to do is fill that hole.  You know logically that this should be possible.  Fill it with the things you love, the people you care about.  Fill it with service.

But you find, instead, that you don't want to do those things you love. Not unless you can do them with someone else.  The people you care about offer welcome relief, but it is temporary.  You can find peace in service, but at the end of the day you must also take care of yourself.  As you are taking care of others who is taking care of you?

These thoughts, feelings, stresses, anxieties.  They used to center around a particular subject.  But lately that has faded into the background and you are left befuddled.  Completely baffled as to why you feel they way you do.

Maybe it's residual.  Mostly it's irrational.

But probably it's wishful thinking. Trying to convince myself that it's nothing to do with what it was about before.  Because I'm over that.  I've turned over a new leaf and discovered release.

But have I?  Is this new found release causing new feelings of unfamiliarity?  Is this experience of letting go leaving me drifting aimlessly?

I was holding on. Tighter than I'd like to admit. It was kind of like Eric (Magneto) holding onto that submarine as it plunges deeper and deeper even though I know I'm probably going to drown.  I finally let go and I'm floating directionless and disoriented in the water.  Listening as hard as I can for that Charles Xavier voice in my head-drawing me back to the surface.  While I'm down here, I can't breathe.  And I have little direction.

I feel like I let myself go in that whirlwind.  I didn't keep my eyes fixed on something still.  And now I'm left discombobulated.  Trying to find something to fixate on again.  Focus, drive, motivation.  What am I moving towards?  Could someone tell me?  Because I've no real idea.

All I know is all I can do and lately it doesn't seem like enough.  It's like I WANT to do all that I can but I keep getting pulled back being told "not yet".

Not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet....

Why is it so hard right now?  Because even a few weeks ago I had times of peace and contentment.  Maybe it was false reality but it was there.  There was something sure about gripping that submarine.  Either I was going to accomplish my goal or I was going to die trying, dang it!

Now as I'm drifting?  I feel discontent.  Unsure about everything.  And that peace just isn't there and if it is, it lasts only moments.  A flicker that burns out quickly.

I know it's irrational.  I know I have no reason to be unhappy. To worry so much about NOTHING.  Or about things that are out of my control.

That's why it's so hard.  Because I don't understand myself.  I can't rationalize through the way that I'm feeling.

Maybe it's because I know I'm waiting and waiting is just about all I can do. I need to wait PATIENTLY and wait well (meaning not just sit here twiddling my thumbs, but be progressively moving upward).  And this is the restless anxiety associated with waiting uncertainly for something.  Like test results.

What are you supposed to do while you are waiting?

When you've been told that ALL YOU CAN DO is wait?

Endure to the end, do all that you already are.  Press forward.

And that's it.

You can't do any more than that.

Patience is one of the hardest lessons to learn.  Knowing that you could have what you wanted if only it were the right time.


Then time moves on.  Little by little you learn what you need to.  Realize what everyone has been telling you all along.  Move on.

And eventually a light bulb goes off and you think "yeah.  It's time."


Things aren't perfect.

I'm okay.

This is all just angst flowing out of my brain and through my fingers.  It's therapeutic.  Putting it all out there because I know others know exactly how I feel.  And this, in some weird and unnecessary way, connects me to those people. 

Helps me relate.

It's why I blog, honestly.

It's not for the benefit of anyone else but myself, really.

This was a doozy.  If you got here, thanks for taking this journey into my brain with me.

I have been so wrapped up in the insanity of the summer and of my emotions I have had no desire to blog.

The fact that I'm here again is a good sign to me.

Even if I do tend to overshare. 


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Summer of Change

I'm still alive, I promise.

I feel like I blinked and May, June, July just disappeared.  August is following suite-it being the end of the month.

Lots has happened and I've found myself not only insanely busy and perpetually occupied.  Honestly though, even if I'd had the time, the crud in my brain has been of a murky nature lately.  Nothing that came out of it in the past 3-4 months would have manifested itself in anything other than something that resembled teenage silliness or angst.  Nobody wants that.

A lot has happened, though, and I feel like I need to get everyone updated!  Just because.

And I've got pictures!

First things first.

This is my boy.

I obtained him from the Central Missouri Humane Society towards the end of May.

He wasn't what I was looking for, exactly.  I had a few other dogs in mind.  But Steven and Tamara went with me and talked me into him looking at him.  That was enough to show me it was meant to be.  He was so smart, and playful, and affectionate! 

His name is Bones.  No, not for the TV show with David Boreanaz. Nothing to do with him being a dog and dogs liking bones. 

Nope, it's much nerdier than that. 

He's named for Dr. Leonard McCoy off the original Star Trek series.

Yup.  That's right.

He even has the Trekkie name tag to prove it.

He's incredibly playful which I love!  He loves his toys (playing fetch like a pro and tug of war) and romping/wrestling. 

He also loves his cuddle time and is a champ about sleeping in when I want to.

Just look at that face!!

He's about 1 and a half years old.
He for sure has beagle/hound in him, but he doesn't have a houndy bark.  He sounds and acts more like a terrier sometimes.  So there's SOMETHING else in there.

He doesn't bark too much except in extreme distress or excitement.

He is almost over his submissive/ excitement peeing. Never had accidents in the house.  He's a sweetheart, ready to fall in love with you after 20 seconds of interaction.  He'll crawl right into your lap the second he meets you.

His big thing right now is chewing anything he can get his teeth into and finding creative ways to get around the methods I've used to dog-proof the place. 

We're finally getting into each others pattern.  He goes outside off leash to do his business and we've even taken walks up the drive with him leashless.  He is really getting a feel for how far is too far away (though he is easily distracted). 

I'm really falling for this guy!  I think he might be the one. 

(har, har, har)

Ready for my next addition?

First, lets say farewell to the retired Mexican Drug Lord, Javier. 

I resented him most of the time I owned him (because he wasn't a stick shift and he wasn't the car that I wanted going out to Maine). But over the 2+ years I owned him he got me to and from Maine and has been a loyal vehicle.  I treated him right and he got me where I needed to go.

I can't say that I'll miss him all that much but I am grateful to have had him.

Now, please welcome to the Lambson vehicle family, JUDE!
(Or as others tell me he is to be known: The Slammer-a name originated from my nickname in the YSA branch: Slambson)

Despite what others may assert, Jude is a boy car.  Though I reserve the right to change my mind as I get to know him better. 

 He's a 2008 Toyota Prius. Started with a little more than 60,000 miles on him.

He's my first big girl car.

And I love him.  He rides so smooth.  All I have to do to start the engine is push a button!  He's whisper quiet, like a ninja.  Roomy. He's pretty awesome.

More responsibility, more money, longer loan, etc.  But I'm glad I went through with it.

Thanks goodness for friends who convince you that sometimes you need to make the grown up decision and OWN it.

I'm happy with him.  I do a lot of driving-and because of him I fill up less which is nice.

Plus with all I hear about these cars, he's going to last me a while.

Yay for big decisions!

And then I went to a Weird Al concert!!  We were near the front and it was awesome.  That guy knows how to entertain even on a low budget.

Behold! The many faces of Weird Al.

He played a few old school songs, a lot of ones from his newest album, some of the classics (my favorites being Yoda, The Saga Begins, and Smells like Teen Spirit). It was a way fun concert.

(Sarah and Aaron heighten it up after the concert)

And just for good measure, here's a pretty picture of purple cone flowers. Taken at Shelter Garden's.  It wouldn't be spring/summer in MO without a trip there.

It's been crazy.

Like really crazy.

And I can hardly put into words all the self discovery and change that's happened over the summer.  But that's another story for another time.

So there you go, my summer update!  Hope you enjoyed.

I promise to try to be more consistent in the future.

It doesn't help that I don't have internet at my place that that's the most convenient location to blog.


Oh, and as a side note, there was a boy for about two months.  We dated. Then we weren't. And that was that.  Started out as a good friend and still is.  That is all.

Monday, May 6, 2013

On My Revisit to the world of Blog

Ladies and gentlemen, can I have your attention please?

For my next trick I will make what has vanished re-appear!

Watch closely.


Okay.  So, it's been months.

I've started and erased many entries since then.  I had one I was going to write for my birthday a couple weeks ago.  It was awesome.  Simple, beautiful, exploratory, mildly artistic.

And then life just kept on happening, giving me no time to breathe.

I feel like I've not had a chance to catch my breath since March.  The moments I've had to stop, take a breath, and take a look around have been so brief and scattered that none of them have allowed me to take a little time here.

This blog, off and on a place full of life updates, has once again become simply a place of exploration (which is what it was originally created for).  Living in my hometown of Columbia does that to me.  While I know there are plenty of those people out there who AREN'T privy to my life experiences, I often lack the time or energy keep you all updated.

To be fair, I've sacrificed many things of late to the time gods.  TV shows being one of them.  Once the fall mini-break happened, I pretty much lost track of every show I've been following.

I hardly read anymore.  A tragedy that I am aware of almost constantly.

Obviously I am never HERE.

I don't practice the guitar anymore (it doesn't help that my instrument is being held hostage...but even if it were here I doubt I would be taking advantage of it).

There are plies of things started and never finished all around my apartment.  Reminders that I still don't really have this life things figured out.

There are small clusters of books I intend to read lying here and there.  And magazines.  All forgotten.

A stack of started letters.  Some even mostly completed.  Unsent.

1-2 story ideas sit in the back of my mind growing mold with a few pages each as the only evidence of their potential existence.

 A basket of family history items provided to me by my wonderful mother lie unexplored in a basket.

Don't even get me started on my hammered dulcimer and didgeridoo...purchases that had so much potential and have sat collecting dust.

It makes me a little sad.  I look at the state of my life and wonder what on earth I would do if I were forced to really grow up.

I've been thinking about growing up a lot lately.

26 was an interesting age to approach.  I never pegged myself as the age-concious type.  The kind of girl who says things like "I feel so OLD!" while I'm still living the best years of my life.  Mostly because I used to get so annoyed when people under that age of 50 said "I'm old".  Because they aren't.

I'm not old.

But there is no denying that the feel of time is different from the other side of 25.  I'm not sure what it is really.  Maybe because I am now closer to 30 than I am to 20 and the view is different over here.

I feel like I've taken huge strides lately in the right direction.  I've made decisions that any true and mature adult should be proud of.  I look at the state of many things in my life and I think "okay, I've got this well under control.  Go me!"

But in all honesty, I feel like I'm still waiting to really grow up.

And that's hard for me because deep down, I want to stay young.  We all do.  I want so desperately to keep that youthful part of me alive.

At the same time there are things in my life that I want very much. Grown-up things.

In the past several months I've actually heard people call me mature.

Every time I hear that I am at first shocked, then I glow a little with pride, then I feel an immense amount of pressure to live up to that perception.

The truth is there are parts of me that do indeed feel mature.  I know I've come a long way from where I used to be.  I've made some good decisions.  I made some significant progress.

Despite that, there is always Mindy.  There is and always will be that part of me who is so abysmally immature it's embarrassing.

I've come to realize, however, that this is part of being human.

I cannot in proper words express to you how turbulent the past couple months have been emotionally.

Some of you know (in varying degrees) of what I am talking about.

Some of you have no idea what I am referencing.

That's okay.  I'm not obligated to reveal all the intimate details of my life.  Know that I am sparing you by not delving deeper into the recesses of my mind.

I will, however, share with you some insights I have come upon.

One of them can be summarized by a Cat Stevens song:

"Don't be shy even, when it hurts to say.  Remember, you're gonna get hurt someday anyway."

It sounds a little depressing but here is what I glean from this little gem.

Don't be afraid to act, and don't be afraid to be honest, don't be afraid of making mistakes.

You are going to make mistakes.  It's part of life and growing.  You're going to get hurt.  There is no way to totally avoid emotional pain.  So stop making excuses because you're afraid of that pain.  You never know what could happen.  There could be pain, but there could be wonderfully exciting things as well.

"If you never try you'll never know just what you're worth".

That one is Coldplay.

While I feel parts of me have matured, I've found myself experiencing new levels of less than mature emotions.  Ones that I know even the most well-adjusted of adults feel (so I don't feel quite so guilty in feeling them).

The fact remains, however, that these feelings are new and foreign to me...at least to the extent and context I feel them.

Some of them are positive
(excited, joyful, elated, desired, understood, appreciated)

Others are negative
(jealous, insecure, doubtful, impatient)

It's the negative ones that worry me.

I've had a few people tell me that it's okay to indulge Mindy every once in a while.  She'll help me with that desire to feel youthful.  She can help me experience exciting things that "mature", rational Sarah normally wouldn't try.

But those four above emotions...those are the dark side of Mindy.  When dark Mindy rears her head I find myself regretting letting her gain even an inch.

Externally I'd like to think that I am pretty good at keeping her at bay.

Internally the wild winds are high and fast.

Like I said...turbulent.

All revolving around a particular subject (with a few other subjects thrown in the mix just to make things interesting).

I asked for this.  Believe me what I say that.  In truth I would not trade these experience for the world.

I do complain a lot about Mindy.  About being on this roller coaster.

In truth, it's exhilarating  terrifying, infuriating  and exciting all at the same time.

All at once an amazing and yet frustrating experience.

During it all I feel like a complete novice.  Like a flailing newborn horse trying to find its footing.

I know I can't be expected to get it right immediately...and I'm just waiting to fall flat on my face, cringing and hoping with all my heart that it doesn't happen.  Knowing that if it does, it will be an important growing experience.

Through it all I am immensely grateful for all those friends and family who are constant sources of support, advice, or simply a listening ear.

You do me more service than I think you realize.

I've no idea what the near future is going to bring.

That's a little scary.

But I find peace in the knowledge that I have my eternal goal in sight and nothing is going to lead me away from that.  Each step I take will only propel me forward, even if I end up having to backtrack or find my way because I got a little lost.

This is life.

This is what it means to live.

As my wonderful older sister mentioned in one of her blogs, THIS is life.  I need to stop waiting to live it and LIVE it because this is it.  Right now.  

And it is a fascinating and miraculous thing.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

On a Snowed in Sabbath

Sure, I'm disappointed that the earth is covered in the wet, cold, white of snow right -it being the end of March and SUPPOSED to be spring.

But in all honestly, the thing that was the worst for me was that the snow today took away something that I really needed: going to church, partaking of the sacrament, renewing my covenants, and recharging my spiritual battery.  I awoke to the snow with thoughts of forlorn disappointment.

(Totally not me, by the way.  I ADORE the snow, but REALLY, Missouri?  It's almost April.  This is not cool.).

Normally I would have immediately said my morning prayers, but I was awoken by text messages seeing what my status was with the snow and trying to confirm if church was happening or not.  I spent the first hour of my morning making sure everyone was contacted and told that church was in fact canceled. With each new text I felt more and more depressed about it.  How dare winter come along with one final massive blow and take away the thing I needed most at the end of this rather turbulent week?

Once everyone had been contacted, I took some time to pray.

The second I got on my knees, I felt I was being wrapped in the arms of the comforter.  My heart was filled, and a sure knowledge entered my heart that just because the elements prevent me attending church does not mean I could not have a meaningful and spirit filled Sabbath day.  I felt the warmth of the love of my Father in Heaven, assuring me and letting me know he knew my disappointment and of the worries and insecurities of my heart of late.  I knew that if I did all I could to try and keep this Sabbath day and make the most of it, I would be blessed.

I started it with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and my scriptures.  Then I read an article in the Ensign.  Then with my parents (whose house I'm invading to avoid being blocked into my home like I was the last snow storm) and Kailey, who was our guest, we watched "To This End Was I Born" and then listened to the Jeffrey R. Holland talk "The First Great Commandment"  from last October's conference.  We finished with going though the discussion questions of this weeks Sunday School lesson.

I didn't get to partake of the sacrament.  I didn't get to hear the testimonies of my friends and peers and be uplifted by them.  No singing of hymns with the congregation.  And I didn't get to share MY testimony, which is something I've been bursting to do since last Fast and Testimony meeting.

But the spirit was present, as strongly if not more strong than I would have felt at church today.

My testimony was strengthened.

And I felt at peace.

In my scriptures this morning I found my bookmark at the following verses (with good reason).

Romans 2: 2, 9-16

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good.
 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Be of the same mind one to another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits."

Those bolded phrases really hit me.

I was reminded, as I often need to be, that I can be IN the world but do not need to be OF the world.  It reminded me of a scripture in D&C to Emma Smith to seek not worldly things but to "seek for the things of a better".  It was brought home to me that worldly doesn't necessarily mean material.  There are attitudes of the world, social norms and expectations that don't necessarily need to be sought or followed.  We don't need to let the expectations of the world wear us to nothing.  We need not be ashamed by those in the great and spacious building who watch mockingly from their lofty places.

Dissimulation: the act of deceiving.  "Let love be without dissimulation."  I don't think anything else needs to be said here.

Maybe it means something else to others, but "Be of the same mind one to another" means to be united in progression and purpose.  I also think it means being honest and communicate with one another.  Communication is one of those things I need to work on in my life.

The one that is most important to me lately though is this : to be patient in tribulation or trial.

Today my dad found this while looking though files in the house.  I've head versions of this before, but I would like to share this one with you.

It's called "Laws of Nature"
"I remembered one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the bark of a tree, just as the butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out.  I waited a while, but it was too long appearing and I was impatient.  I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it.  I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle started slowly crawling out and I shall never forget my horror when I was saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them. Bending over it, I tried to help it with my breath. In vain.  It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding wings should be a gradual process in the sun.  Now it was too late.  My breath had forced the butterfly to appear, all crumpled, before its time. It struggled desperately, and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand.

That little body, is I believe, the greatest weight on my conscience. For I realize today, that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of natureWe should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the eternal rhythm."

-Nikos Kazantazakis

This analogy touches me.  Deeply.  Not only on a literary level (I love nature analogies) but on a spiritual level.

I've been a long time coming out of my cocoon.  I have only myself to blame for that.  But now that I am ready to come out, I find myself impatiently trying to force something that has to happen in its own time with its own natural rhythm.  I am being refined and prepared.  I am proceeding forward as steadily as I can.  I know I am doing what is needed, taking the steps that are essential to me spiritual and social development.

I just need to have patience.

I've been promised some important blessings.  Ones that I know I will receive as long as I am worthy.

But the waiting is the hardest part.  I know this.  Because I am imperfect I know I will faces those stretches of impatience.  Of doubt.  Of frustration.

The important thing is remembering these times-times when I know with a surety that I can become all that I'm meant to be as far as I hold steady to this path.

I was going to bare my testimony today in church but since the snow has prevented that from happening, I think it appropriate to share a portion of it now.

I have a testimony of the pure love of Christ, which is Charity.  When I need it most, I feel the deep abiding love my Father in Heaven and my Savior have for me.  It fills me.  It pierces me. There are times when I recognize that love as something that is felt for every single person on this earth.  In those moments, the veil of this mortal existence is pulled back and I see in others their glorious potential.  Suddenly I am filled with that pure love of Christ and it is directed through me to others.  My regret at these times is that my simple mind is insufficient to express this love to others in such a way that they can appreciate it for what it is.

I have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know that as I follow His example my life will be blessed and enriched.

I know that as we seek to better ourselves through the refining nature of repentance we can constantly become better versions of ourselves and progress towards that eternal goal of celestial perfection.

I have a testimony of the divine nature of every one of us.  Within us we all hold a tremendous potential.  For some it takes longer to realize this and seek to achieve it.  I know we all have the ability to be the version of ourselves we wish to be as long as we hold fast to the rod and never lose sight of our eternal goals.

I have a testimony that every single challenge and trial that we face refines and defines us.  We are fashioning and molding ourselves into who we will be for all eternity.  That takes time.  And it's not easy.  As long as our faith never wavers and we do our best to endure we will come out the other side better and stronger than we were.

Maybe this snow storm happened because I needed today.  I needed a day like this.  A day to discover how enriching every moment can be as long as we are willing to make the most of it.

I hope all of you reading this know how much I love and appreciate you.  I only wish you could understand just how much.  But alas, even in my way I cannot express it in words.

If my love is this great, only imagine how much greater the love of your Father in Heaven is.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

On Mindy (AKA The Beast Within) Or Me Admitting I am a Little Insane

Today as I walked home, I stopped and listened.

To the peepers.  To the moving waters.  To the breeze that has not yet found her true voice among the trees.

I breathed.  It smelled of early spring.  Rejuvenating, invigorating.

All of it filled me.

I paused for as long as I could.

Drinking it all in.

After all that has happened this week, I felt revived for the first time.

And I smiled.  A true smile of peace and contentment.

It was a beautiful, brief reprieve.


NOTE: if you thought that was lovely and would rather not have your opinion of me tainted by my honesty, feel free to stop reading now.  You have been warned.

Now prepare yourselves because I am about to go into an extended metaphor that delves deep into the psyche of me.


Because I know there are several people who read this who would understand and right now that's what I need. Understanding.  Support.  And a good kick in the pants.

Remember THIS post?

This is an extension of that.

I've spoken here and there about the 19-year-old in my head.

This is all about her.  She is the beast within.

I think she needs a name.  At least for this post.  Because it gets tiring to keep typing "the 19-year-old in my head".

Let's call her Mindy.

So.  Mindy.

I keep her carefully locked away.  And by carefully, I mean she is shut off by whatever material my mind is able to muster at the time.  Lately it has been flimsy chicken wire.

I try to keep her complacent.  I've found that as long as she is starved of all things she desires she is pretty docile.  And so I have hammered a big sign by her cage reading "For the Love of Pete do NOT Feed Mindy".  Too bad it is invisible to all but myself.

People unknowingly toss her crumbs.  Nothing substantial, but it is enough.

Mindy can survive on very little-and a little goes a long way.  Before I know it she is relentlessly clawing at the chicken wire which begins to give way.  I wish desperately that my mind had invested in reinforced steel for her cage.

I can feel her gaining ground.  The enclosure begins to give way.  I try my best to patch up the damage.  But before long she has broken free.

She wrecks havoc.

Most often in the form of one of the most dangerous emotions: infatuation.

The state of being carried away unreasoned love.

A foolish, unreasoning attraction.

All in all, a stupid thing.

Here's what happens (exaggerated, of course.  But you get the idea).

Mindy sees the particular individual in question and instead of seeing him for what he realistically is, she plucks away every single possible redeeming quality.  THEN, she molds and fashions these into a kind of idol.  And it is him and only him she sees.  I (the mature 25-year-old) approach her as she kneels before him (praying to her false idol that he would just SEE her for what SHE is).  I put a kind hand on her shoulder.  I begin to try and help her see reason.

She lashes out.

Defensive of the lies she had told herself about this person.  This false religion she has created.

I present her with clear and obvious flaws in this idol.

Suddenly I am brought back to all those high school discussions on religion and the LDS church.  One side tries to convince the other they are right.  Both with convincing and knowledgeable arguments.

That is how Mindy is.  For every hole I poke into her logic, she comes along with an argument to fill that hole.  It's hopeless.

See why I never feed her?  Never let her out?

I don't mean that I seek to see only the flaws in people to save myself the aggravation of infatuation.  I just mean that I try to see what is real, rather than this perfect, false being that has been created by Mindy.

Her pillar of stone can never love because he does not exist.  Not as SHE sees him.  

I know that these feelings aren't real.  But for Mindy, they are VERY real.

All she sees is that he makes her laugh, shares many of her interests, pays attention to her.  Seeks her company.  These are all things she thrives on.  And they make her stronger.

So I do the only thing I can think of.  I try to remove the smorgasbord.  I starve her of what she craves.

But my attempts aren't always 100% successful.  I'm still the only one who can see that sign.  So there are still people feeding Mindy little bits here and there (often it is her idol unknowingly doing this).

And even after all this time, all my experience with infatuation (and unrequited love for that matter) I would think to create a cage of sturdier stuff.  Sadly I can only use what my brain provides.  And all I have is this chicken wire.

Sometimes I can reinforce it with boards or planks (provided by wonderful, loving friends and family).  But these have a tendency to rot away as time goes by.

Mindy is a beast. Sometimes she makes it really hard to be around those that I would simply see as friends.  It happened in high school, college, you'd think by now I would be past all this.

But Mindy is ever present.

So it is up to me to do what I can.

Truth is, I eventually win out.  The battle may be long.  I may lose ground several times.  But infallible logic always prevails.  And if not logic, the relentless passing of time will do the trick.  Eventually Mindy will see that the idol she has created is either rusting, crumbling, or simply never replies to her pleas.

It is in those times that I am there.  Just me.  Having triumphantly locked Mindy away.  And for a time, I feel blissful relief.  Peace.

Here's hoping I find that peace again soon.

Because right now, Mindy is winning.


Avoid false idols.

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