Old Patterns Need New Perspectives

*In the tune of the narrator from Jane the Virgin Welcome back friends!*

It has been a wild last couple of weeks. I apologize for not posting last week, but I was stranded in Myrtle Beach, with no computer, and lots of tears. Such a mess.

But I am back baby and ready to write some more.

This week was pretty exhausting. Traveling can really take it out of you and then work was also pretty hectic. So, it feels good to just be in my apartment, with my PJ’s still on, the taste of an everything bagel lingering, and the creative juices flowing. This is my happy place.

I’ve also learned this week that my happy place is definitely not in front of the camera.

On Sunday I got to be part of a really cool project called The Conversationalist which is currently in its infancy, but I imagine it going very far. The project is a content platform for people to have conversations where voices can be heard. In my interview with Sophie Beren, the amazing human who founded The Conversationalist, we discussed social media, body image, and mental health. It was fascinating because these are all pieces of myself that I write about weekly, but for some reason talking about them in front of a camera added a whole new level of fear.

I walked in and could immediately hear my heart begin to race, felt my mouth get dry, and my voice sound a little shaky. This was not something I was expecting. I thought ‘how hard could it be? I talk about this stuff every week. Easy peasy.’ As it so happens, being out from behind the computer is very different. Sure, 90% of my audience knows who I am, but my words are edited and rewrote and erased and thought through. I can write about my body image while I sit in a sports bra at home. I don’t actually have to visually see my face while I write about my face. It was almost like an out of body experience. I could hear myself answering the questions, but did I answer them the way I wanted to? Was it really how I felt? Was there more that I could have said? The answer to these questions don’t really matter though. The important thing is that I did it.

I have really been pushing myself lately to try new things. To get outside my comfort zone and challenge myself in ways I never have before. This was absolutely no exception.

Following that experience, I did the therapeutic thing I would recommend to any client I am working with- I journaled about it. My journaling process is messy and helpful. I write all the things that comes to my head for about 30 minutes. No interruptions. No distractions. Just free-for-all writing. I don’t journal as often as I would like, but when I do it feels so freeing. No judgement. No guide on what things should look like. And when I am done journaling I page through all my past journals to look for patterns, new feelings, similar feelings, etc.

As I skimmed my journal this week, I noticed a theme that I was surprised I hadn’t noticed before. It starts with a desire to figure out how I am feeling- “Hi. I don’t know how I am feeling right now. I really need to figure it out. I feel like crying, but I don’t know why.” Very common reason for my journaling to start. Following that there tends to be a message about how I am feeling about myself- “I don’t like my body right now. I feel fat. I feel stupid.” Which then leads to a discussion about my desire to find love- “I miss my ex. I wish I had a boyfriend. I hate being alone. Will anyone ever love me?” Of course that leads to my existential crisis about this- “I don’t need a man. What am I talking about? I am great. I am a goddess sent from above. I WOKE UP LIKE THIS.” With a conclusion about how I am going to move forward- “I need to keep going. I need to work out. I need to eat better. I need to take care of myself and the rest will follow. You’ve got this girl. Now go on, stop writing, and make a move.”

Sundays journaling exercise was no different. I felt sad about feeling sad about my body as I sat in front of that camera and talked about body-positivity and self-love. I felt like a hypocrite and confused. I felt like I left out parts of myself because I was in such a panic and desire to come off as cool, calm and collected. I wished I had someone to be there with me. I wanted to call my ex and tell him. I challenged those thoughts. I told myself I was great and even if I don’t remember exactly what I said I am sure it sounded just fine. I wrote about how doing something new is always going to create new feelings, scary feelings, and I am going to want to resort to old ways. “Stop that” I wrote.

All in all, it was a very cool experience and I am glad I was part of the conversation. I feel grateful that I pushed myself out of that comfort zone and I tried something new. As I looked through my journals though I realized I also have to try something new when it comes to writing. I need to break these patterns of thoughts that have been inherent in my writing for so long. Can I write a post without talking about boys or my body? Can I discuss my emotions that aren’t centered around fear? Can I expand my writing to be more? Of course I can, I can break any cycle that I want. I am in control, after all.

So, in order to help me break my cycle I have decided to add a new layer to my blog. I am still going to write and discuss my own life experiences, but I would also like to incorporate other people’s life experiences. Once a month I would like to feature someone else’s narrative. I will interview the person and find out what story they want me to tell. New perspectives, I believe, is the best way to break any cycle. Sitting in front of that camera, being front and center, was a new perspective for me. Giving people the opportunity to sit front and center in this blog can be new perspective for me and others that I believe will lead to even more connection. I want this to be a place where new ideas and experiences are shared. This is an concept I have been toying with for awhile and I am very excited to see where it takes me and what stories I get to be a part of along the way.

If you or anyone you know would be interested in sharing their story with me, please follow the contact link here or hit the contact button at the top of this page.


*For more information on The Conversationalist follow the link*

No Words Needed.

I set every intention last night to wake up and write about one of my #metoo moments. The bravery of those who have come forward has been both heartbreaking and comforting. I woke up this morning and decided I don’t want to share it. I don’t have to share it. And most importantly the world does not need to know it right now.

What the world does need to know, and more importantly what my readers need to know, is that they are not alone. All these rally cries are warm hugs by those who want to break down the toxic system. These rally cries are about the victims and survivors. Because we are both victims and survivors. People are quick to cast judgement on someone who claims to be a victim. “GIRL, YOU ARE A SURVIVOR… NOT A VICTIM.” No. We are both; we suffered… we may still be suffering. AND we are living.

I felt so proud of the marches that were held all around the world yesterday (there were none in Craig, AK that I found, but I did walk outside with my feminist shirt on and marched around in the rain… so, yeah.) One year later and we are still marching for black and brown lives, for women, for science, for lgbtq+ community, for dreamers, for those who can’t march. I couldn’t help but think of the Hunger Games, because hellloooo THE DYSTOPIAN FUTURE IS NOW. I am watching the speakers that have such beautiful and poetic things to say and I am picturing J.Law looking into the camera saying “If we burn, you burn with us!” This thought gave me all the good tingly revolution feelings because it is about damn time. “Their time is up” as Oprah, said.

And while all this magical goodness is going on around me, I am also very aware of the scary side of things. The things that often keep people inside, under their covers. The fear of war and corruption and literally all of us burning. I am so wholly aware of this that I watched several hours of awesomely terrible cable yesterday to try and distract myself from it. Just so ya know, most everyone did say “yes” to the dress.

Which brings me to why I am not going to write about my #metoo moment today. I will some day, just not today. Today, I would like to use my love interest as the center of this post. *My whole family just gasped and whispered, “Sarah is finally in love!!”* Sorry, fam. I am talking about photography. I did not mean to get your hopes up. I have felt a passion for photography ever since I was a kid. The thing I love most about a picture is not that it is worth 1000 words, but rather it needs no words at all. A good picture leaves you speechless. In a time where words are cutting like knives, I would like to get rid of my weapon for a moment. The series of photos I am going to leave you with date all the way back to 2008. These are some of my favorite pictures that I have taken throughout the last 10 years, in order of oldest to most recent. Of course, I would have many more before 2008, except during a serious dark depression in high school, I got rid of everything on my Facebook. I was v. dramatic, #hormonesmademedoit. It really worked out though because 10 is a solid number. I will not tell you what these photos mean to me, but rather I hope you look at them and perhaps one (or more) may leave you speechless.

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If you are interested in seeing more of my pictures follow me on insta: @sarahlorrainerobinson

Finding Your Cheerleader

Hello all! I hope you are having a fantastic weekend and if you are not that is okay too. Sh*t happens, amiright?

In fact, I am right. That was a rhetorical question in case you didn’t know. I know I am right because as I type this the news is playing in the background… It is dark and depressing and sometimes makes me want to throw my television out the window. Except, I can’t because I am currently living in a furnished apartment, so the TV is technically not mine.

I am often asked why in the world I even watch the news? Most people have stopped, I know this. Heck, I stopped for a long while. Partially because I didn’t have cable in New York and partially because I knew if I watched it, it would only deepen my depression. For those of you that still can’t turn it on, don’t. Be selfish. That may sound like I am being mean and calling you out, but I am being 100% genuine here. The word selfish gets a totally bad rap, but I think it is something that needs to be discussed. When people think of the word selfish they often think of that episode of Friends where “JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD.” Neither do I… but I am talking about a different kind of selfish. The kind where your happiness comes first. It has to come first. If you don’t put your happiness ahead of others you won’t be able to give the world the best parts of you. So, technically it is a disservice to those your truly want to help. Don’t keep up with the world if you feel like you can’t. Sure, I like people to be informed, and more than that, I like people to feel as safe and in control as they can. This idea is proving to be difficult, because even when we turn off the TV we hop onto social media and see things like #icantbreathe #metoo and #shitholecountries trending.

Something we can control though, is how we decide to navigate this scary world. I try to navigate this world with laughter, “aww” moments, and deep deep breathing on a regular basis. I cry, often. No dry eyes over here! I love to cry. It is this sense of relief that is unlike any other. Sometimes I go for a run. Yesterday, I went for a run and ended up skipping/dancing down the street because my playlist was bumping. Most days I talk and I talk and I talk. On Sundays, I write. The important thing I would like to note with all of these activities is that none of them dismiss the bad. None of them let me hide from what is going on, I can’t push it under the rug. All of them help me to live in unison with the bad.

And while it does seem like I am very fixated on the bad stuff going on, I want to stress the importance of finding the good as well. As Timon and Pumbaa once said “ya gotta put your past behind ya… Hakuna Matata.” Of course they were escaping, not living with the bad. They tried to push it under the rug and we all know how that ended up. In world of Simba’s.. be a Nala. That was a weird Lion King tangent… anyways… All I am saying is that when I watch the news I also see things like penguins being weighed at the zoo and a town rallying to help a flood victim in need. There is good all around us, we just have to keep an eye out for it, and if we don’t see the good, the good can be us.

I often think back to the day after the election where I couldn’t move, paralyzed in fear. It was the same exact feeling I got when I took self defense. At the end of the class, the only way to graduate was to fight a man in a huge protective suit. As soon as my fight started he grabbed my legs and I fell to the ground. I definitely blacked out for 5 seconds. The class actually tried to prepare us for that moment, but somehow I was still in pure shock. I couldn’t move. When I came to, all I could hear was my coaches yelling “FIGHT BACK, SARAH! FIGHT BACK!” Through my fear I pushed him off of me, wailed on his head just long enough to escape. I was the last one to fight and naturally I spent our graduation party crying, but it was the most freeing moment of my life. Through the tears and the anxiety I fought back.

It isn’t easy to fight back. Some days the bed calls my name and I want to lift the sheets over my head. Some days depression whispers my name and I don’t want to shower, or brush my teeth, or move. Some days are the days I know I have to fight back. It wouldn’t be possible without the cheerleaders though. My family and friends who are always encouraging me to get back up. We all need a cheerleader in our life when we black out for those 5 seconds to wake us up and tell us to fight back. If you don’t have a cheerleader currently, that is what I am here for.

My dear reader, if you are paralyzed on the ground right now “FIGHT BACK! FIGHT BACK!” and if you can’t fight back right now, I’ll be here to keep cheering you on until you are ready.