Which is not my favorite day of the year. Birthdays, Christmases, the last days of a school year. Really, any day that involves anticipating greatness, I don't like them. They're always disappointing.
This year, in anticipation of the magical day when I quit saying "I'm thirty-one" and start saying, "I'm thirty-two," I did a few things for myself.
I demanded space in my house that is solely mine. A writing room. I bought myself a beautiful antique desk from one of the shops in the Westbottoms, and I got rid of the useless dining room table that was just being used as a landing space for my husband's growing D'n'D collection. I shampooed carpets to attempt (and fail) at getting rid of the smell of cat urine that pervades every corner of my house, and I moved in. It's not perfect, but it's nice. I just need to:
a) find a way to keep the cats out and get rid of the smell.
b) create and hang up some art (Erika, if you're reading this... I'd happily commission a piece by you!)
c) move in my record collection
I dyed my hair back to brown for the start of the school year.
I accepted the weight gain from the past year (thanks to stress eating, thanks to my former boss who treated me like garbage) and purchased new work clothes.
And... most importantly.
I saw a therapist. I haven't seen a therapist in over ten years. Since before I was married or a mother. Nearly anyone who's met me doesn't know pre-married or pre-mother me.
Sometimes, I look in the mirror and I don't even think I know who pre-married, pre-mother me was. Like an entire part of me is lost. In many ways, the truest, most Sarah part of me. The part of me that isn't beholden to another human being is gone.
So for my birthday this year, I sat on a couch and cried my way through half a box of Kleenex. Super fun.
But, it's a step in the right direction. I've known I needed this for years, even pre-married, pre-mother me knew there was something not quite right about my mind. Looking forward to putting in the work to get better, to handle disappointment better, the practice patience and to finding my inner calm.
So, year thirty-one in review:
a) I taught a really fun, interesting, and cool group of 6th graders! And I genuinely loved every one of them. They were a good group of kids.
b) I got a new job as a high school teacher, and I'm looking forward to a change of scenery. I'll miss my colleagues from the middle school though. I've been having very mixed feelings about this move, but it is what it is.
c) I wrote the rough drafts to two manuscripts. One, a story of a sixteen year old girl who gets pregnant and must navigate her ever changing world. The other, the story of a fallen angel learning what it really means to be human. (not quite finished, but very close)
d) I rewrote CODY, and I feel it's much stronger now. I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed it didn't sell early in the submission process, BUT... I know it needed to be rewritten. At first, this felt like a setback, but it's not. It's an opportunity for growth. If CODY sells, or if it doesn't, I know I've put in the hard work to improve myself as a writer, and that's something.
e) I'm currently working on a new project with 6 points of view and several intersecting storylines, and a whole bunch of characters doing not very nice things to each other, and it feels monumental and impossible but that just means it's a CHALLENGE. And challenges help us grow. So even if it's a colossal mess that can't be salvaged at the end, at least I pushed myself.
Plus... I get to listen to a TON of excellent punk music while writing it, so winning!
And with that, I leave you with: