Sunday, March 02, 2008

Not weight loss or baby related...deep thoughts.

Did you fall off your chair after reading that headline? LOL It seems that the majority of my posts have been pregnancy related rather than weight loss related as of late. Of course being pregnant kind of puts a damper on major weight loss so it makes it hard to stay "on task" for the blog, especially since my mind is flooded with all things baby 24/7!

But today, call it pregnancy hormones if you will, I had a bit of a *deep heavy sigh, what am I doing with my life* moment and I thought I'd just jot down some of my thoughts and get some feedback if you're willing to offer it. (Keith and Josh, be kind or shut up).

A little background, I packed up my life and moved to Amsterdam quite unexpectedly in 2004 when I met Marco. Let me define "quite unexpectedly". I met Marco on Valentines day, 2 months later we were engaged, 3 months later I moved to Amsterdam to be with him and 6 months after that in November 2004 we were married. How's that for whirlwind?

I left my friends, my family, my job that I had been at for 5 years, my school, my apartment...everything... and came to be with the man I love and start a new life here. But the thing is, I never felt like I ever really "started" my life here. We had planned on moving to the US after being here a year so I could finish my degree (I left after my sophomore year was over) but you know how life goes, the only thing you can really plan on is to not have a plan at all or at least that's how it seems to work for me. So I've always sort of had it in the back of my head that "well I'll be in the US eventually and I'll do _____ (fill in the blank with words like finish school, write, get a job I love, hang out with friends) then. I have been living my life that way for some time now, almost 4 years to be honest. I'm quite over it.

I think that's why I was so excited about doing the radio show a few weeks ago. For once since I've been here I was actually doing something from my "old" life. It was like one of my ancient goals was revived and breathed new excitement into me. I'll admit it, I was giddy. I was studying mass communications, minoring in creative writing, in college and had always planned on taking some courses in radio just because it seemed cool. Being at that radio station was like getting back on track. It was a small step but a step I had desperately needed to make for a long long time.

I have email the station a couple times to see about getting some more air time but it seems that they're a bit flooded with volunteers at the moment. This is what spiraled me into my abovementioned *deep heavy sigh, what am I doing with my life* mood today.

I have a decent-ish job. I'm not exactly fond of what I do though. Okay, I have no interest what-so-ever in what I do. I have wonderful coworkers but the work in itself is just not for me. At all. Ever. (I do have some opportunities at this company but it's too much to get into here). I stay because it's difficult to find a job for English speakers only (I've said this before, most people here can speak 3 or 4 languages at least which makes my "fluent English" laughable on my resume). My Dutch is still not good enough to say "I am fluent in Dutch" on because eventually they will call me in for an interview and say "your dunglish is craptastic Sarah" and I don't think I can take that kind of rejection right now.

I stay because I didn't finish that damn degree and it's amazing the kind of education they want you to have even for entry level positions here.

I also stay at this job because I'm pregnant. Duh. Not much splainin to do with that one.

I also don't leave because what the hell else am I going to do? Yeah, I can find another office job because lord knows my admin skills are awesome by now but why move to another job where I'm going to be feeling the exact same way as I do with this job? A lateral movement is not what I'm looking for in the least.

So, I say to myself, self, what will make you happy? What is it that you think is going to magically happen once you move to the US? What is it that you're waiting for? What do you think you can do there that you just can't do here?

And I say to myself... good freaking question.

What do I want to do? I want to write. Period. That's what I want to do. That's what makes me happy.

What do I want to write? Everything. Anything. I want to write magazine articles. I want to write books. I want to write children's books. I want to write a story about my grandma. I want to write about our infertility struggles. I want to write about the struggles of others. I want to write fiction. I want to write an assignment. I don't care. I just want to write. I want to be creative. I want to be funny, powerful, witty, eloquent, touching, thought provoking. I want to be all of these things and what's funny (in a funny queer way, not haha funny) is that I really think I can do this.

So, self, why aren't you doing this? As I was discussing my reasoning's of my foul mood with Marco today he asked me this question. I gave him my answer. It's a stupid answer, I'll admit it, but it is my honest to God truth, cross my heart hope to... well not die, but cross my heart anyway. Girl scouts honor. I don't write because...

I'm afraid to fail.

See, my theory is that if you don't try, then you don't really fail. That's sensible isn't it? I see you're all shaking your head in agreement, good. I mean nobody can say "yeah she tried to be a professional swimmer but unfortunately she swam like a rock" if you never jump in the pool, can they?

But the more I think about my "theory" in my head the more of a coward I think I am. And I don't like being a coward. I mean for pete's sakes look at me! I have done things tons of people would never imagine doing. Were they always smart decisions, probably not. But I've taken chances on things before and they could have really went pear shaped but I did them anyway because I wasn't afraid to fail.. So why is this one thing, the thing I am most passionate about, keeping my head buried in the sand?

That's what I'm trying to figure out. Oh, I've made excuses alright:

"All the information out there is so overwhelming. I can't sift through it all."

Hi lazy excuse, have you seen Sarah anywhere?

"I just don't know where to begin"

If it clucks like a chicken... well... you know the rest.

"You have to know somebody to get your foot in the door."

Oh puh-leez!

The truth is, the only way I'm going to become a writer is to write. So that's going to be one of my big goals this year. Well besides becoming an outstanding mother, a great wife and super radio show host. Have you seen my red cape anywhere?

So I've already looked into an open mic night that they have here. The first one is March '28th. It's a Friday night and lord knows I never have any pressing plans on Friday nights so Marco and I are going to go. I'm going to check out the atmosphere and see what kinds of things they are reading. It's open for writers, musicians, poets, storytellers... so quite a buffet-o-talents there. Then I am vowing that the following month I am going to submit something to be read. By me. In public. In front of people, which is what in public means, but really, I'm going to do it. I have to. I just can't keep waiting for life to slow down before I start living it the way I want to.


I would like to take this little moment to thank MJR, my dear sweet husband for encouraging me to follow my dreams. As I moaned and groaned to him this afternoon he asked me "if you had to do it all over again, would you not come here and marry me?" Is he trying to break my heart? Of course I wouldn't change THAT for the world. We have some very wonderful things in our life and I wouldn't trade them in for any book deal. My husband is indescribable in words and absolutely irreplaceable. I don't know what I would do without him. What I would change is my piss poor attitude for the past 3.5 years. I would quit living in the "someday soon" and start living it immediately. I love you MJR! I'd chose the whirlwind over and over again every time you asked!


Anne Shirley said...

Hi Sarah,

I've been reading your blog for quite a while now, and I think I've probably even sent you a comment or two over the past couple of years. But I knew I had to comment when I read your blog today, because I could have written so much of it myself.

I too, want to be a writer. I too, am doing a job that does not fulfill that desire in anyway. I'm a banker, of all things! It's a great job, with a lot of room for growth and career advancement, but I will admit, i don't find much fulfillment in it.

I have recently taken steps to start writing again (including registering a blog! And note, I said, registering, but I haven't actually loaded any content to it yet). But just like you, I have avoided writing for so long because I was afraid of failing.

This past year of my life has been quite tumultuous personally. Many people have told me how impressed they are with the courage I have shown during this year. And in my heart, I can't believe them, because I know what a coward I am professionally. I've always wanted to be in the arts, but never had the courage to follow my dreams.

Like I said, I'm taking some small steps. Small steps, but forwad steps nonetheless.

I hope you won't give up on your dreams. And I also hope you continue to blog about it. Your blog has been a true joy to read over the past couple of years. You're a great writer - don't give up!!

All the best,


Monica said...

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Ali said...

Wow. You just totally described what I feel. This is really creepy, it's like I could have written this exact, same post - only exchange the "writer" for "photographer".
I too am stuck in a job that I don't like (even though I have just gotten promoted to be a manager which I never thought was for me but I actually feel really good in that position - only that I would want it to be in a much more creative field and a for a much more creative job).
I also daydream about changing my life and I also think "why the heck am I still here". The original plan was to leave NL 4 years ago to pursue my career as a Photographer in an English speaking country but then I met my future husband and all of my plans went out the window.
I have finally started to study Photography online recently. It's not the best course - I probably could have gotten into a real university studying Photography but like you I was afraid to fail. Even now that I am studying I am not giving it my all even though I am plenty motivated because deep down I am still not sure I am good enough. It's pretty complicated.
In a way it's like with the weight loss - whenever I am doing really well and I finally get to the hump I have been trying to get over for the last six month I start eating more and exercise less again. I have read on your blog you have a similar problem.
If you look at all of this - self-sabotage seems to be a personality trait in both of us.

By the way - my favorite excuse is "In Holland you can't get a creative job if you are not Dutch".

The husband and I will be moving West at the end of this year because I am sick of my own excuses.