<3.

I’m not sure if you could tell, but I’ve been a bit of a downer lately. This is about 100% due to the fact that I am an adult woman in a holding pattern. I could, at any time Monday through Friday 9am-5pm Eastern time, find out that I’m cleared to move halfway across the world and start a brand new life. I sit in that anxiety every day I know the visa office is open, just waaaaiting for an email from them. I’ve tried not thinking about it, but when the wait stretches across four weeks, it’s hard to keep finding ways to distract myself. Luckily, I’ve got some pretty adorable tiny crazy people within walking distance, which makes all of this much, much easier. See? It’s not all doom and gloom around here!

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I’ve got to soak up as much time with Fiece #1 and #2 before I go, because I will miss them SO MUCH when they’re not just around the corner.

My resolution for the new year? Be as grateful as humanly possible for all the incredible support and love I’ve received from all the wonderful friends (the grown up and the still very small) I’m so lucky to have in my life.

I quite literally could not have done this without them.

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Weighty Matter.

Long, long ago, one whole lifetime ago, pre-Ireland, back when I was married and trying to have a baby and before I was divorced and waiting for a visa and living with my parents, I wrote a post called “Bikini Body,” which was Freshly Pressed and got me a lot of attention. (“A lot” being relative here.) It was about how aggravating it is to be a woman with a body in the world. I wrote it on a whim and certainly did not expect a lot of attention for it, so it was short and sweet and didn’t outline all the ways it is difficult to be a woman with a body in the world. The post was specifically concerned with the public’s laser focus on a woman’s desire to eat food (you know, that stuff that keeps humans alive), but what it really was about was this bizarre and often hugely gross universal that a woman’s body is for other people. This universal makes it okay for people to holler things out at women who are just walking on the street, because if they didn’t want sexual attention from men, they wouldn’t be out there, taking their vaginas out for walks, right? This universal makes it acceptable for tabloids to post unflattering photos of women enjoying themselves privately at the beach, with giant red circles around their cellulite, because how dare those women leave the house looking like actual human beings.

This universal also opens up a woman’s body as a topic of discussion for everyone around her. Every single woman I know has gotten unsolicited commentary on her body both from people she knows and from strangers. This has happened to me since I was eight years old, when my little brothers, who were “growing boys,” got to eat their bowls of ice cream in peace, while I was once told to “cool it with the sugar,” by someone I’ve already made to feel really badly about it for twenty years, and therefore won’t name here.

As a girl, this feeling that my physical body exists for the enjoyment (or horror) of people who are not me has followed me my whole life. I’m particularly fired up about it right now because the last four months have been a total free-for-all in terms of commentary on what I look like, with very little attention paid to what I feel like.

Since June, when I left for Ireland, I have lost twenty-five pounds. I haven’t weighed this little since I was fourteen years old. This weight loss has not been intentional nor has it been the result of healthy eating. Apparently, coming home from a major life-changing trip and looking at every aspect of your life and thinking, “Nope. Needs to change,” makes all food taste like dust. When you upend the table of your life – your job, your relationship, your house, your life goals – and you sit in the middle of all the pieces, you can’t even want to try to eat a cookie. This is the first time in my life I haven’t been able to eat my feelings. In fact, my feelings have been so hard and brutal and tragic that they’ve made even food seem useless. So, after walking around in an anxiety cloud for months, working full time and writing a Master’s thesis and commuting for hours a day and processing a divorce and getting a new job and worrying about moving across the world and handling some other things I’m still not brave enough to discuss here, I’ve lost a ton of weight.

Because I have not been well. I have not been happy or healthy or a joy to be around. I’ve been miserable and stressed out and without an appetite.

And you know what I’ve heard, from everyone? “You look so great! What are you doing?”

Most Women Never Do.

Why hello there. I’ve been intentionally avoiding posting, because I’ve got some pretty enormous irons in the fire and I wanted to wait to discuss them until I had solid answers so I could fully celebrate the end of the most emotionally traumatic autumn of my life. However, it’s been months now and I’m tired of Miss Havisham-ing my existence, just waiting for news, too paralyzed by anxiety to move forward in any direction. So, here’s what’s been up:

1) I finished my thesis! And had it approved by the university library! For many frustratingly bureaucratic reasons, I have to wait until next quarter to officially “graduate,” but I have a Master’s degree now! I’m also now planning on starting a PhD – eventually.

2) I applied for, interviewed for, and was offered a university research position in the UK! This is huge. HA-UGE. It is exactly what I want to do with my life and I’ll be working with a professor who studies exactly what I attempted to in my thesis. I am both insanely excited about this development and also terrified, as I’m still waiting for my visa application to be approved and it’s been nearly four weeks. It’s been a little more complicated than I anticipated, and now it’s the holidays so offices are closed. I am so hoping I get good news next week. Has anyone else applied for a work visa? I don’t think I have ever been more stressed out about anything before – and I just got divorced, people.

3) I’m proud of myself. Like, genuinely proud. I’ve met people who have negative opinions about what I’ve done for myself personally in the last few months, but ultimately, I don’t care. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life treading water, too scared to make any moves or to really pursue what I loved. For some reason, I decided that a big, bold, fulfilled life wasn’t in the cards for me. And now, in a matter of months, I am making it happen.

4) I saw my paternal grandmother yesterday. I haven’t been incredibly close to her as an adult, and I hadn’t told her about ending my marriage or moving out of the country, because I don’t see her often and I wasn’t sure she’d understand. She’s the kind of woman who was raised to grin and bear it, and I didn’t think she’d be super open-minded about my deciding to divorce. Honestly, I was convinced she would think I was gross. And so, we went the whole day with no mention of any of it, until we were saying goodbye. I don’t know why I thought no one else would tell her, but apparently a story like mine is too insane not to have made it through the grapevine. She’d known for months. And the only thing she had to say about it was that being happy is the most important thing. Following happiness and making damn sure you do everything you want to before you aren’t able to do it anymore. And when I told her that I feel like I’m finally living my own life, she said, “I’m so proud of you, Sarah. Most of us women never do.”

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