Breaking Down Boxes: The Freedom to Become

The morning after I posted my last blog post my phone rang at around 7:30am. Let me be clear, I am NOT a morning person by nature. Regardless of the fact that I have been getting up for work before 6am for the past two years pretty regularly, I still hate that moment when the alarm buzzes. So when I answered my phone to discover my ex on the line, I wasn’t completely coherent.

“I figured out your problem! You are a lesbian!” This may or may not be what he said verbatim, but it is certainly the gist of it. Now let me say this, there is nothing wrong with being a lesbian, if you dig members of the same sex, that’s cool. Date whoever makes you happy. It just isn’t what floats my boat. I am perfectly content with my heterosexual status.  If you know me at all, then you know that I run toward the “boy crazy” end of the spectrum. I like men; I have dated quite a few of them in my 31 years, all shapes, sizes, and personalities. While I have finally learned that there are a couple of types that work best for me, I appreciate them all. I am clearly not a lesbian; therefore by his logic, I must be a fraud.

Now for the reasoning behind my ex’s proclamation. Apparently, this was brought on by the last topic or all topics that I write about here on Wandering Ginger. I am no longer the girl that he was in a relationship with through the years. His rationale is that I am either a) a lesbian or b) a fraud, writing about who I want to be rather than whom I am.

I can understand his confusion, or anyone’s really, over my transformation over the last few years. Especially if you only came to know me intimately over the first few years, I spent in Florida. I was just getting my life back together after quite a few years of utter chaos.  I was only interested in pulling things back together, in falling in line with the prevailing ideology of those around me, of the norms of upper-middle-class twenty-somethings.

Needless to say, I had certain ideas about how my life was supposed to look from the outside. Some of these things weren’t even possible at that exact moment – i.e. having a college degree – due to the choices I had made in my late teens and early twenties. The others, though, I emulated to the best of my ability.

To be fair, I was just getting to know myself, so it is not surprising that I had to try on a few different hats before I found the ones that fit me the best. “Housewife” with an education that I never had cause to use was one of the first stops on my journey from where I had come to where I am today. This is the hat that I wore for most of the time that he and I were together. It is the role that I tried the hardest to fit into, over and over and over again. I was hellbent on fitting that role no matter how many times I had to bang my head into the wall of failure. I was sure if I tried hard enough, if I just behaved myself and were a nice girl, I would be a happy homemaker, and we would live happily ever after. You know the type, nice home, expensive SUV, Lululemon filled closet (not that I don’t still LOVE Lulu), seeing a trainer several times a week, extensive travel, and a little help from a house cleaner.

Now there is nothing wrong with this picture. I really enjoyed it for a time and may or may not again in the future. I just couldn’t find fulfillment in that existence at that moment, so the ex and I would break up and makeup. I would run, or he would get tired of my bullshit. Yet, I couldn’t let go of the idea of what I thought we were and the ideas of what our future was supposed to be.

Let me say that I was intolerable a lot of the time. What I thought I wanted was utterly at war with what I needed to be happy. He was a good boyfriend and a great provider. I just needed things that he could not give. The final goodbye was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. And occasionally I entertain the idea of trying it all over again.

The rest of the stops on the journey have been shorter, but just as important. There was my time as an inspiring college English professor. Getting my doctorate felt like the only way I could prove that I was successful until I realized that the idea of doing the work required to become a tenured professor followed by what the job actually entailed made me want to run screaming from campus. This was followed by my summer as a yogini in training, where I spent 9 weeks sans music, caffeine, loud noise, and meat, in hours of silent 6am meditation, and even more hours on my mat or teaching. This was great until I graduated and went back to my day-to-day life, which has little room for 30 hours of yoga a week. Next up was my stint as band groupie for Black Taxi, my favorite foursome! I’m pretty sure that this one ended only because they are currently spending all their time in the studio working on their new album. It is hard to follow a band if they aren’t touring. This leads to my latest phase, my wandering phase, where I cannot seem to sit in one place for very long at all.

All of these periods and the fears that have come along with them have been integral in shaping me. Some bits and pieces stick with me as I move from one phase to the next. I still love cooking, wearing Lulu, and expensive accessories, I wish that I had time for yoga and meditation, Black Taxi still makes me dance around my house alone and sing at the top of my lungs, I even try to see the guys anytime I visit NYC, I see as much live music as financially possible, and I clearly have no intent on staying put anytime soon. So you see, I am not a fraud, just a girl in evolution on her way to something unexpected and amazing.

I would really like to take exception to either of my ex’s assertions, but I find that I cannot. I am so much different than I was then, or at least who I thought I was. I think that his logic is interesting and understandable in a weird, not based in reality kind of way. It has given me cause to think about my own reactions over the years as I have noticed marked changes in the people that I have known well at one time or another.

Do I give people the freedom to change, to become whoever they desire, without my own judgments getting in the way? Or do I discredit these changes as my ex does, if people step too far out of the box in which I have placed them?

I would love to say that the answer is yes; of course, I allow people the room to change as they wish! I mean, I expect people to give me the freedom to change and grow into the person that I would one day like to be, so why wouldn’t I give them the same courtesy and understanding? I am afraid that I haven’t though. I get so caught up in the way that I think people should behave, in the way that they always have, that I cannot see beyond my own expectations. I feel let down when they show up differently or in ways that are unexpected.  I begin to question the validity of our previous interactions and sentiments towards one another. Sometimes I am angry with them for the differences I see.

I am happy for that 7:30 wake up call. It has brought to my attention the amount of rigidity I still exhibit in my relationships, both romantic and platonic. That is not the kind of person that I would like to be. It is something that I can work on though; it gives me an ideal to work towards.

I want to be the kind of woman who brings light, love, and understanding to those within her circle and even those outside it. I am intimately acquainted with the fear that goes along with breaking down the box, and I want to be someone who encourages people to make the change and face the fear.

Thanks, Stink, for the enlightenment and for always being there, even when it is begrudgingly. ILY.

And thank you @GatorFrank for being a source of inspiration this afternoon!

No Sleep or Dating ‘Till Brooklyn?

I had an afternoon coffee date last week. He was an attractive, ambitious, well spoken man. I found myself taking about my travels. The more I talked, the more that he looked at me like I was an alien. My sentences all began with “last weekend when I was in New York” or “when I got back from Europe” or even “when I was following Black Taxi a bit this summer.” These apparently are not normal conversation topics or relatable experiences. My priorities are not necessarily the norm.

I sometimes wonder if my capriciousness makes it harder for me to find people with whom I can really connect. Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are others out there who value travel, change, and experience as much or more than I do, I’ve met them, but we seem to be few and far between. Currently though, this difficulty in my dating life is a godsend. It looks as if I am going to be an extremely busy lady over the next year!

Up next on the eccentric Sarah front, my lofty idea of making the move to NYC. I am finding just the idea of the move, makes me giddy and tingly all over. I am so excited for what the future may hold, but I am a little nervous as well. What if I cannot get my family on board with the idea? What if my plan for a roommate falls through? What if I never even find an apartment in the first place? What if none of the graduate programs in the city accept me? Or if I cannot find an internship in the fall?

These are a lot of “what ifs” and pretty large ones. Luckily, I am quite convinced that this is the path that I am supposed to be on, which makes it easy to have hope and faith that it will all fall into place one way or another. These questions also make my drive to accomplish a great deal in the next seven months very strong. I am a force of nature if I want something bad enough. Now is time to harness all of that power in one direction. Look out! I may just conquer the world! 😉

Nothing in Moderation

I started an internship this week with a startup tech company in Miami. I have a title, Public Relations Associate, and a work email. It all feels very grown up. Did I mention that I have no idea what I am doing?

The commute from Lake Worth is atrocious, but I think that it it worth it. The company is in a very exciting phase and the team I am working with is great. My hope is that this experience will teach me a lot and look great on my master’s program applications!

The fact that I went from working one day in December and no more than 8 during each preceding month to working 36 hours a week with a 3 hours commute each day on top of my studies does not surprise me. I am an extremist.

Take my travels for example. I went to NYC for the first time in the end of October. I fell in love with the city. I have been back twice since that initial trip and I am in the process of planning a trip for the beginning of February.

Or my yoga journey. I wanted to find something to help me learn how to focus my mind. It was suggested that yoga and meditation would be helpful, so I began doing yoga in October of 2012. By June of 2013 I was in a 9 week intensive teacher training program that required me to put in between 30 and 40 hours a week, including daily 6am group meditation, as well as give up television, music, meat, caffeine, and loud places for the length of the training.

You can even look at my concert going and see this excessive trend. I mean, if one night at Madison Square Garden seeing Phish is good, then 3 is much better! Black Taxi in Tennessee? Sure! Five shows in one week across the state? Of course!

My point here is that balance is difficult. I find something I like and then I want to do, see, eat, listen to, play with only that thing. One day, hopefully, I will get the hang of that mysterious thing called balanced. Until then though, I think that I will just enjoy the ride!

2013: The Year of Discovery

As I lie here, dying on the couch, I think back on the amazing year that was 2013.  I saw so much this past year and learned so many things about myself and the things that give me joy. My life has gone in a direction that I never would have imagined.

This time last year, I was in Savannah Georgia, freezing and grumpy, trying to make something work that simply could not. I don’t find it odd in the least that 2013 came in with travel and went out the same way.  I have found that I am a wanderer by nature. That life, for me, is best when I am out of my comfort zone. I love the rush that comes from landing in an unfamiliar city, alone, and having nothing to rely on but myself.  The self confidence that is gained by traveling alone has been invaluable to me. I now know that I can handle any situation that I find myself in, regardless of how new or scary it may seem.

I have found that my life does not have to look like the lives of those around me. This was a hard lesson for me to learn, but an important one. This knowledge has given me the freedom to follow my bliss wherever it shall take me.

I traveled a lot this year, as most of you know. My travels took me to many places, but the most important was New York City. I now know where my place is and have the motivation to reach for the stars.

I saw a ton of live music as well. Travel and music seem to go hand in hand for me. The most influential band that I was introduced to this year was Black Taxi. They don’t know it, but their music has honestly changed my life. My relationship with those guys has given me the courage to dream the dreams that I was afraid to even admit to myself. I will be forever thankful.

I suppose this is enough for the first of hopefully many posts. Happy New Year, y’all!

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