the process of becoming

a blog for twenty-somethings trying to navigate the world and follow your dreams


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the end of an era

It’s official. I’m going to semi-retire this blog. Not because I no longer desire to share the joys and woes of this 20-something life, but because my passion lies in a much more specific field, and it’s not fair to neglect this blog with the intentions of not doing so.

Whenever I prepare for an interview—whether for a paying job or an internship—I re-realize why I’m doing it and why I’m pursuing book publishing. I have SO much excitement about the literary scene and community here in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota (the “Twin Cities” for those of whom do not live or have ever been here), and books and writers themselves bring me the greatest joy. I’ve had the privilege of meeting awesome people in publishing and the joy of becoming acquaintances with writers and MAGERSliterary figures who either call the Twin Cities their home or are visiting.

So why am I telling you this? I’m not going to dissolve all my interests into only book-related things (secret time: I have lots of hobbies. I play a few video games, I knit, and I LOVE horror movies, to name a few), but I am going to start something that I’ve been meaning to return to for a while, which is creative writing (in a new way), and I really want to share my excitement about the people and experiences that I’m getting here.

AWP-signA year ago, my mentor challenged me to go to one literary event/reading a week after hearing me express how many I was finding out about and how I felt it almost too much. Suddenly, I found myself last minute at the Saturday sessions of AWP—by myself—and loving being there. And then there were more readings, and events, and then a job where that is what I do, and an internship and gwsuddenly I know people. Not only is my husband graduated and excited about art, but I have this very young community around me that I want to reach out to in new ways.

Thus, my new blog will be about that. About the amazing literary events happening right rain taxi 2013.jpghere in my hometown (and oh, yes, across the river in St. Paul too ;)). About authors, debuts, poetry slams, book festivals, collaborative readers, books in art—you name it! And hopefully also a place for discussion to start.

So farewell, the Process of Becoming. I do believe I achieved what I set out to do—become a 20-something who, despite the mishaps of post-college adulting, is proud to have discovered who she is, who she’s become.

Thank you for reading!

Best wishes,

Sarah

P.S. I will tell you when the new blog is live!


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I’m not going to apologize for being “crazy”

This post is for the woman.

The woman who was brought up to be guarded, dare I even mention the word “submissive,” and proper.

The woman who felt then—and still does—SO. MANY. EMOTIONS. Who just wanted to be heard, noticed, appreciated. Acknowledged that having those emotions was, and is, perfectly okay. Whether that’s being really really happy, a little (or lot) depressed, or just plain moody.

Whether you were raised in the church to always “guard your heart,” whether your parents or relatives were good at discipline and children had to be “seen not heard,” or whether there was a boy who just couldn’t “handle” your tears, I’m here to tell you not to change.

I’m not going to apologize for being emotional, for feeling everything, for “being crazy.” And neither should you.

You are either 1) not crazy, so stop thinking/saying/feeling that you are, or 2) that “crazy” is the beautiful hot mess that is you—goofiness, wonder, passion, interests—all bursting out during moments of energy. I love it. Keep it up, okay?!

I had a rough time in high school where I couldn’t decide whether sharing my emotions was going to turn people off from being my friend. I was moody, dark, somewhat depressed, and I wore black a LOT (long live the band T-shirts). I knew that I had a lot of empathy for basically everything under the sun, but I didn’t know about anxiety disorders back then or the chemical cause of depression. I thought having a boyfriend meant that he’d take you as you are, emotions and crying episodes and all. I didn’t know how not to feel.

And I remember feeling inadequate when I was rejected for showing my feelings. For being “crazy.”

And then, halfway through college, I realized that I didn’t need to apologize anymore.

I don’t need to apologize to my now husband for bursting into tears unexpectedly. I don’t need to apologize to the world for not feeling well enough to venture into another crowd. For being too anxious to pick up the phone. For feeling depressed.

Men, this doesn’t just apply to women, obviously.

I’m simply referring to the generations before us who taught us that women “shouldn’t” you-fill-in-the-blank.

I’ve slowly and gradually learned that there’s only so much you can do to “self-improve.” Find where that stops and celebrate who you actually are.

There’s no stopping my emotion train, but there is therapy or medication for anxiety disorders for those who need them. And then there’s just really emotional people, and sensitive people, and artsy people. And poets. (I could go on)

And I am so so blessed to have a husband who recognizes me and my emotions for who we are and lets me be me. I’ve stopped apologizing and spent more time bursting into laughter over emotional breakdowns now.

Women, stop being sorry. You are beautiful for all the neurons and brainwaves and things you feel. KEEP FEELING THEM. Don’t apologize.


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10 scenarios over-anxious people understand

1. That moment when you have to make a phone call and your pulse was doing fine but now you’re at 160 and breaking a sweat. For no real reason.

2. You are almost constantly thinking you should have said something different during social interactions (and/or texts and emails) and replay the conversations in your mind (especially if it’s your crush, an interviewer, or someone you super duper respect and you’re always like “ahhhh”).

3. Naturally, you always sample cookie dough or brownie batter before you bake it. But then you always question your stomach health for that evening. And probably your life decisions. But you still don’t regret it.

4. You actually question every major (or minor) life decision that you make ten too many times. And then wonder if you’ve made the right choice for a long time afterwards.

5. The moment you turn out the lights to go to sleep, your mind decides to turn ON – full blast – and relive both today and imagine all of tomorrow. And maybe also a year from now.

6. Most of when you cook, you ask yourself a million questions: “Am I doing this right? Did I hear my mom correctly? Or maybe I should have done it this way…” And then find yourself calling or texting your mom or cook of choice anyways to ask for help.

7. Watching movies with your friends is torture for them. Especially mysteries and especially if you are an external processor because you say so much out loud, worrying about and questioning everything. You apologize over and over and hope they’ll forgive you each time.

8. You try not to over-question every comment someone makes around you, but still always secretly wonder if it’s about you and what they think of you and how you interact.

9. Dressing for the day is THE WORST. Even outfits you love become horrible depending on where you’re going, who you’re going to see, and what the weather’s like. And that’s why your room is always a mess after you finally leave.

10. You have to daily remind yourself that whether you’re nervous about something or not, life goes on and you’ll eventually get over it… hopefully. Like Anne of Green Gables (my favorite fictional character) said, “The sun will go on rising and setting whether I fail in geometry or not.”

Preach it, Anne.

overthinking funny

(image via Pinterest)


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remembering, and coming back to… where?

Whoa. Hey. I’m back.

But the question I ask myself is… where, exactly? This blog name is temporary, this post will only be seen by few before even I forget about it, my apartment lease is only for 12 months, I won’t even be a STUDENT anymore come mid-December… oh my gosh, nothing is permanent.

Nothing is permanent.

I will graduate, have to find a new job and a new apartment, write stuff (?), maybe change my marital status, do ministry, expand my family, live in other countries, make a difference….? Such lofty dreams for a 21 year old who feels as fragile as papyrus.

Nothing is permanent except Christ and His glory. That I can take faith in. He promises He won’t change, and He is just – yesterday, tomorrow, today.

Yet I rarely take real and true (as in … tangible, that prevents me from stressing) comfort in the promises of the Bible these days. Now, I don’t know if it’s because I am undergoing so much change, and my limbs are flailing out towards a grip in the midst of foaming rapids, or because I just feel… dry these days, but I’ve been facing a lot of lies. And I really need something to hold on to. My faith is still there, even if I still forget, still worry if my next paycheck will cut it, still worry about the rubble of student loans awaiting me in a few months, still doubt myself to the point of tears on random nights where I should instead be rejoicing.

Life is hard. It’s more than we can handle.

I watched footage of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers today, in remembrance of September 11th, 2001.

My nine-year-old self slept in that day, until right around 9 am. Shortly after finding breakfast, I walked to the downstairs of our small Minnesota-suburb home to start on my schoolwork for that day (this was shortly after my parents started homeschooling me).  I picked up a grammar book (Dad taught grammar and English in the morning before switching with my mom and going to work) just as my dad ran down the stairs and flipped on the TV in front of the couch. And for two hours we did nothing but stare at the screen.

I don’t really remember what emotions were going through my head. I wish I could find my journal entry (I was an avid writer even back then), but I can only see the screen. Falling debris. Ebony smoke rippling into the sky. Ash everywhere. People running. I didn’t understand…

Years later, I can’t remember exactly, the Christian radio station my mom listened to constantly in the car played an audio drama of one man’s phone call to his wife and children from one of the top floors of one of the towers. Mom cried. I cried. I think it wasn’t until then that I felt like I was in the shoes of those who were impacted. I had felt affected before, but that moment stands out in my mind more. I pray for those who lost family members and friends, and I still feel like I’m nine and I’m watching it for the first time. I shocks me every time.

I just finished the book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which made me want to start writing fiction again.

Slowly but surely I am realizing who I am and why and how experiences shape me into this person. But I am also learning about who I want to be. I don’t want to be someone who casually shrugs off what’s happening in this world, but I also can’t be the other extreme of crying over the little things (not spilled milk, but like… similar things. I am such a girl).

Anywho, my heart is heavy today as I write this, for more than the reasons listed, but I have this strange hope I haven’t felt in a long time… like God is answering my prayer to get me out of this desert and make me into a sturdy book instead of a fragile thin sheet. I will wait on Him for as long as it takes… which means my whole life.

This is worth it.

More later. My thoughts are a little scattered right now. But hey… I’m back. To here, at least.


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thoughts about my career life

Today, I am doing Writing for Magazines homework, which, at this moment, entails finding a magazine that accepts freelance writers that I could submit a piece to.

My last project was a zombies and spirituality article I wrote for relevantmagazine.com (which is still in the drafting process, though I plan to share it with you soon!). For round two, I’m having troubles. The travel bug in me has turned into somewhat of a zombie itself, whispering “italyyyyyyy. ITALYYYYYYYY” in my brain until I just can’t take it anymore: I have to stalk my study abroad school’s photos to see what they’re all up to. 

Then I start getting sentimental, I think of ideas for my personal essay I’m writing for senior project about my experience, I get on Tumblr, turn on the Candlepark Stars… and I’m gone. 

This time, I stopped myself. I googled freelance writing magazines and have been perusing the travel writing guidelines and submission possibilities ever since. Then the idea occurred to me. Haven’t I been born and raised in Minnesota? Can’t I write something fresh and new about my very own homeland? 

Pushing away the doubts and lies of “oh you’re too young. You haven’t really experienced Minnesota or city life at all, how could you write a piece and expect to get accepted when you haven’t even kept up on these magazines,” etc etc and blah blah blah, I decided to see what’s out there.

#boom 

And then I start to get dreamy again. 

http://www.minnesotamonthly.com/media/Blogs/Minnesota-Journeys/Meet-the-Bloggers/

I mean, look at these people. They’re living in their amazing hometown city and they get to explore and write about it for a living (well, I assume). And then they get to travel elsewhere too. 

Is it too late (or, rather, too soon) for me to dream? Can’t this just be me one day? 

And yet, I soon think about other factors: my introvertism and how I’m not sure city life would really be the thing for me (we’ll see what happens when I start living next to noisy neighbors in an apartment complex), or how what I really really want to just write for a ministry of some kind and get to work by forming relationships with people and serving them, or how… or how… 

Excuses. 

Who knows what’s going to happen. Maybe one day I will write a mind-blowing article about some awesome thing to do in St. Paul. Or maybe I’ll write a homeschooling article (now there’s where my experience comes in. Ha. That could be interesting) or a piece on “going up north” and all those things we Minnesotans do (don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about. You betcha). 

Finding something fresh and new that hasn’t been written before is so, so challenging. But I can’t let that stop me from engaging in what I am experiencing and writing it all down. The fear of rejection can be a harmful anchor, and I refuse to let that prevent me from trying to succeed at something I love. 

This degree will be worth it. Prepare to see my fruit. Image

(photo courtesy of http://srephoto.deviantart.com/art/Minneapolis-Skyline-165237664)


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the start of something new

Okay, okay.

So I know what you’re thinking. “Another blog? Really Sarah?”

But no. This is serious. I’m 21 now. Let me be an adult. Disregard the fact that I’ve had like, 12 of these things, and then follow me. Because I have a lot to say. About Italy. About life. And about spirituality.

This is not a rant blog. This is life. No expectations (at least not for this blog. Give me grace), just hope and growth.

This is the start of something new, of my, instead of taking control of my life, like many people will start to say, but rather a surrendering of what think I should dwell on and a focus on glorifying God no matter what. This life is really not about me and how I handle this stressful time of senior year. This world is about the Lord and what He is doing.

Here’s what He did today. He showed me that my struggle to grasp understanding is in vain. Uncertainty is a part of my life. I get to deal with it. His presence is the only thing that matters.

“When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God.” (Psalm 73:16-17)

AMEN.

I may be all talk right now, but I don’t want to be. I realize my emotions tend to go wacko and wahhhhhhhhhhh and EVERYTHING IS GOING WRONG but no. This is noooot the case overall. My emotions are situational, but my God is not. He is doing a work in me, and He is doing a work in the world that is soooooooo much greater than I. Yes, I am about being “relevant” and engaged in what He is doing, but ultimately He is the focus, not how I feel about everything going on.

“But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” (vs 28)

This is a blog of raw reality and spiritual truth. Let God get the glory.