Rosie

Sounds of the Velvet Underground and
incense in the air.
Foot tapping the floor,
eyes bright.

He had an air about him.
Like a plastic
finger puppet monkey.
Mischievous
and bendable.

Well crafted words and
half a sandwich.
Yet he gave more.

She looked at him
in silence.
Wanting to soak it all in
like a Jules Verne novel.

Sunlight danced on her arm
through the window.
Fluorescent sneakers
offended her from the street.
She smiled, her heart
at peace.

She welcomed the sweet, sweet silence
of the Velvet Underground.

Shame Cloaks and Jam Jars

Teenage years are like exclusive clubs.
Most of the time you’re not let in.

You watch from the sidelines as someone else – someone prettier or sportier or smarter than you – walks through the invisible doors to the join the rest of the people that you wish you were like.

Pain, you push it back.
Loneliness, you ignore.
But shame, shame you wear like a cloak.

Shame comforts you. You know it well. It’s what keeps you from entering into the exclusive clubs, or starting your own.

Shame holds together all of the lies that you’ve believed. Shame binds your insecurities with un-truths, and shame slowly suffocates you. Till you’re breathing half-breaths. Living a half-life.

What if you stopped believing the lies? What if you gave up your shame cloak and embraced your insecurities? What if you could understand that life itself is often an exclusive club?

I imagine then, if you could do that, that you’d be happy on the “outside.” That you’d experience the joy that comes from knowing yourself. That you’d understand that shame is like a mold growing inside the jam jar in your fridge – once you find it, all you need to do is let it go.

Good-bye moldy jam jar.
I’m better now without you.
I’m happy now.

The Genetic Lottery

I met with the founder of WriteGirl today.

The dynamic, Vancouver grown, Keren Taylor – founder of a non-profit in L.A. that empowers women and girls every day to express themselves and to find themselves through writing – had breakfast and shared stories with me today.

We had a charming breakfast date, she and I. We sipped deliciously foamy latte’s, remarked on the pacific northwestern style decor inside Rainier Provisions in Gastown, and talked a lot about girls. About women. About justice. About silence. About stories – 0ur stories.

She suggested that I watch Carmen Russell’s Ted Talk on beauty… so I did.

To be quite honest, shockingly honest, I haven’t watched a single Ted Talk yet.
I know, I know!!

I’ve heard the reviews, picked up on the buzz and excitement surrounding these short videos, been verbally supportive and excited myself with people, but I’ve never sat down and watched one myself.

Carmen’s talk was my first.

And you know what? The truth and impact of it all, of what she shared, was like a soggy wet spaghetti noodle, stuck to my neck.

It’s as if I’m the worst spaghetti eater in the world, and every day I have a noodle stuck on me somewhere. As if I can’t get rid of it even if I try. As if the beauty that she talked about, the beauty that society desperately desires and encourages, is the soggy wet spaghetti noodle that I’m stuck with.

And she’s right. I’ve lived so many days of my life with the same mindset – that I won a genetic lottery (completely by chance) and that there’s nothing I can do about how people perceive me. Some people judge me, stereotype me, and put me in boxes because of how I look. Others are impressed with me before I even open my mouth. Like the greasy looking man at the Jiffy Lube today who changed the oil on my car and gave me a $6 discount because I was a “pretty little thing.”

If only society didn’t view women as “things.”

If only society could place as much value on who we are, as it does on what we look like.

For the record, I do think we’re getting better. We’re evolving and we’re making strides towards further gender equality, but… we still have a long ways to go.

People like Keren Taylor give me hope and inspiration, and help me to believe that one day, I too will be a strong advocate for women. That I too will escape the pressures forced upon me and feel grounded in who I am and what I offer others.

WriteSarah

I’ve always felt like I never quite fit.

Never quite fit into what others wanted me to be, or what I wanted to be. Never quite made the cut. Never quite had real friends, real support, real guidance. Never quite knew what it felt like to be accepted, to truly fit.

There’s something to be said about being beaten down so much, that you’re at the point where you can’t even see yourself anymore.

When you’re at that point, face flat on the cold wet, cigarette littered ground, there comes a moment where something inside of you snaps. Something inside of you demands to be heard.

For me it happened slowly. I started writing.

I started expressing my deepest pains, started using my voice, started pushing back the silence that had smothered me for so long. Writing set me free from the world and it set me free from myself. But even writing had its sticky spots.

I wanted my writing to be more than it started out to be. I wanted to really be heard. I wanted the pain that had stifled me for so long to be ingrained in text for the world to see – undeniable and un-erasable.

I tried writing for an online magazine. It was tough.

Tough to have an editor take my words and change them. Tough to have someone delete half of what I wrote, re-arrange sentences, and then slap my name on it. Tough to realize that my writing didn’t fit into what they wanted it to be. Tough to realize that my writing (and me by association) wasn’t acceptable the way it was.

I tried again. I embraced humility – fully embraced it – and asked for a second shot. I asked a few times actually. And yet nothing.

So now as I sit here, bowl of cheerios getting soggy beside me as I type, I’m realizing that I don’t want to fit anymore. I don’t want my brain to be ruled by the idea that I SHOULD fit anymore.

Which leaves me with this: an emotional, often over-personal blog, that’s 100% me.

And I’m good with that. I’m good with that because I have a family that accepts me, friends that accept me, and a man that accepts me. I have my people and I fit with them.

Writing helped me to find that place of acceptance within myself, and ultimately, writing helped get me here, to this place of not caring about fitting anymore. Of being happy by just being me.

And Oh sweet blueberry pancakes, it’s a good place to be in.