In the Interim

Ohhhh, goodness.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it guys? Boy have I got some catching up to do.

I know I always make the excuse when I don’t write for a long time that I’ve been busy, or lots has been going on, but I promise that when I don’t write for two months, there’s been some things going on.

Let me explain.

In my post from January when I talked about how I missed my friend’s wedding because I got lost, I also talked about New Year’s resolutions, and I made a short and simple list of what I hoped to accomplish this year. In case you don’t want to click that link and re-read that (I certainly try to forget that ever happened), let me refresh you on what those resolutions were.

Sara’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2014
1. Finish my novel.
2. Get a job.
3. Move out with my sister.
4. Get a tattoo.
5. Go on a date (maybe).
6. Not miss any other weddings I am invited to.

So, to bring you up to speed, let me tell you how close I am to achieving any of these.

1. Finish My Novel.
Okay, this is kind of a throwaway if you’ve read my blog at all, because I not only finished my novel, I self-published it on Kindle in July. And while I haven’t checked in a couple months, I’d sold like a significant amount. Like, well over 500 as of Septemberish (Maybe? To be honest, I stopped checking because I was afraid people would stop buying it and I didn’t want to know).
But anyway, I well surpassed any expectations I ever had. I also am about to self-publish the first run of paperback copies of my novel, and so many of my amazing and wonderful friends have signed up to buy it, which still just blows me away. Like, I still can’t really believe sometimes that people want to read my novel, much less PAY MONEY for it. I honestly still find it hard to believe that people actually want to read this blog.

Whoa.

Whoa.

But anyways, the point is that I think I can safely check this resolution off as completed.

2. Get a job.
This is also kind of obvious if you read my blog, because I’ve also been working at a wedding shop since July. Getting to dress people up in wedding dresses and veils and also getting to do so myself = automatic awesomeness. Not much else to say about that. I’ve truthfully already picked out my dress, belt, and veil and I tried to say yes to the dress, but my boss pointed out that I might want a fiance first. I just laughed that off, because I probably need a boyfriend before I even worry about that hurdle. But the job hurdle? Check!

Just call me Gatsby!

Just call me Gatsby cause I’m making paperrr.

3. Move out with my sister.
Okay, so this is kind of the big one. This has rather been the one occupying most of my time. As I type this, I am laying on the couch in the living room of the house I share with my sister.
That’s right, guys. I moved out. And it’s super, super weird. Like, I honestly feel like I did in college, when I was just living at school but my home was with my parents. It’s not helping that I had to leave Gus with them because he’s obsessed with running outside and we live on a super busy corner of a super busy street. I also miiiight have gotten a new cat named Henry who is like ridiculously adorable.
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He had to live with my parents for a while though, because it literally took us like two months to get our new house (duplex, actually) ready for us. I swear to god, it was a money pit. We just kept finding more things wrong that had to be fixed. I’m pretty sure that I have spent as much money in the past three months as I have in my entire life.
But he and Gus instantly became best friends, and now I feel incredibly guilty about taking him to our house, especially since we’ve already brought Finn up here (who took a full two days to come out from under my bed and even look around). So this has resulted in me going back home rather a lot.

HOW CAN I LEAVE THEM THOUGH

HOW CAN I LEAVE THEM THOUGH

But for better or worse, we are moved out and giving this thing a go. It is exciting, because we moved in just in time to celebrate Halloween and we had some adorable little trick or treaters come visit.

I also might have made a visit to my parents' house...

I also might have made a visit to my parents’ house…

We’re also planning on having Thanksgiving for my parents and some of my other family members at our house, so that’s also pretty cool.
But moving out? Check.

4. Get a tattoo.
So this is also kind of a new one. One of the main issues with getting a tattoo that I’d had before was that I couldn’t decide which one I actually wanted first. But after I lost Boo, it kind of helped me realize that I wanted a cat tattoo first in honor of him.
Thanks to my amazing best friend Brenna and her (then) fiance Jennings, I managed to accomplish this one.10699704_10153380516909057_5693046581355142999_o

Best photo of the whole experience.

Best photo of the whole experience.

The final product and its inspiration.

The final product and its inspiration.

Getting a tattoo is not exactly the most pleasant of experiences, but it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. I have like zero pain tolerance so I honestly was terrified I wouldn’t be able to get through it. But the whole process only took about 10-15 minutes, and Brenna held my hand the whole time so I managed it. I am unbelievably pleased with the result.
I decided to get it on up my upper left leg, right where Boo always used to curl up and sleep against me. It makes me feel like where ever I go, I have him just right there with me. It’s honestly one of the best, most important things I’ve ever done for myself, and I love it.
So tattoo? A painful but well worth it check.

5. Go on a date (maybe).
Ah, despite my strong misgivings and uncomfortableness with the whole idea of dating, I even did this. Thankfully the date I went on was with a friend from high school who was very cool and nice about the whole thing and picked an awesome date (going to a local art museum) and the whole experience was really perfectly fine. (Except for the part where we got trapped for thirty minutes in the same parking lot where I went the wrong way and backed into a car–I’M TELLING YOU THAT PARKING LOT IS SENTIENT, IT IS EVIL, AND IT HATES ME).
But I did it, guys. I went on a date. Check. (But seriously, no rush on the next one because those things are emotionally EXHAUSTING)

6. Not miss any other weddings I am invited to.
Perhaps the hardest one of all with my sense of direction. And yet the two weddings I’ve attended since I last wrote were two of the best, most wonderful of my life.
In September, my long time friends from college, Lauren and Scott, were married in a sweet and elegant ceremony in Tulsa. They even asked me to read a poem or something along those lines during the wedding (they also told me they didn’t want me to tell them what I was reading, which let me tell you IS PRESSURE.) I went with one of my favorite poems of all time, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116. Luckily, I think they liked it and my speech, and I was absolutely honored when they asked me to be one of the witnesses that signed their marriage license. It was truly an absolutely wonderful experience, especially since I got to go to the rehearsal and dinner and spend the evening before with Lauren.
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In July, on the exact same day that I started working at the wedding boutique, my very first best friend Brenna got engaged. It was one of the best days of my life when she subsequently asked me to be her maid of honor. She was married in an absolutely gorgeous and stunning ceremony in Norman, and I literally cried through the whole thing. It was both strange and wonderful, because I couldn’t see her the entire time after she came down the aisle, but I could see her fiance’s face and the way he was looking at her was just pure love. I could tell he adored her and I was just so happy I couldn’t stop crying. I had tissues hidden in my bouquet and I’m sure it looked like I was literally wiping my face with flowers, and it was still one of the best moments of my life. I was afraid from the moment that Bren asked me to be her MOH that I would bawl my way through my speech, but luckily I think I cried it all out during the ceremony. Though I choked up a couple times, I managed not to cry during my speech.

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I also managed not to miss any of the weddings I was invited to. Check, check.

So. As you can see, I genuinely have been busy. I managed to complete all my resolutions, and by October–with a couple of months to spare!

That being said, life, as I have learned repeatedly, is always up and down. And the past few days for me have been very down.

My cat Gus, as I mentioned, stayed at my mom and dad’s house. A few days ago, he started throwing up everything he ate. My mom eventually took off work and took him to the vet, and they gave him a nausea shot to help and said he didn’t seem seriously ill. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t take the news well. I had a panic attack–the first I’ve had in months.
I talked before about how much I struggled with depression and anxiety in the past year and a half and what an enormous challenge it was for me to overcome. But with the help of my family and my doctor, I got counseling and I also got medication, and it has seemed to make all the difference. That’s why it made this panic attack so absolutely terrifying–I thought I was better. I though I was DONE with panic attacks.
It was so scary to realize that, even with regular medication, even with special medication to help me prevent it if I felt one coming, I could still have panic attacks. It was exactly the way it used to be, the same sickeningly familiar symptoms. I got dizzy and nauseated, and I couldn’t seem to stop crying, and I felt convinced that Gus was going to die at any minute. Ironically, an incident when we thought Gus might have eaten something poisonous and I had one of the worst panic attacks I’d ever had is what made me finally stop and say, I think something is wrong and eventually led to me getting help. It was a bizarre kind of full circle.
My sister drove me to my parents’ house, and I spent the evening there with Gus, who seemed to be doing better and who even managed to eat and keep it down. I started to feel better, and it seemed like he was better as well.
The next morning, I woke up and started getting ready for work, only to get a call from my mom that Gus was throwing up repeatedly again. We both agreed that we desperately needed to get him back to the vet for bloodwork–the problem was, no one could take him. Thankfully, my incredibly understanding boss let me have the day off so I could get him to the vet.

The experience I’m about to relate is not for the faint of heart, so if you’re squeamish about medical stuff or have a weak stomach I suggest you skip it.
I rushed to my parents’ to get Gus, who absolutely hates riding in the car. So, he proceeded to climb into my back window and howl for the fifteen minute drive to the vet. The vet doesn’t take appointments either, so when we got there we had to sit in the car and wait. We waited for almost an hour, and the only reason they called us back was because they had to have the bloodwork done by 10 in order for us to get our results back that day (it was Friday, and if we’d waited any later we wouldn’t have gotten them back until Monday).
So they took us back to like a nurse’s station where they do the blood drawing. They had to shave a little chunk of poor Gustav’s hair off, so he has a little bald spot on his neck where they drew the blood. Now, let me preface this by saying that as you may know if you’ve ever met me, I kind of have a problem with needles. Like, I hate them. Like, they literally make me sick. Like, I haven’t gotten a shot since I was 17 and my mother could no longer make me get them.
So they were trying to draw blood from a vein in Gus’s neck, but the first needle they used was too small. So then they had to get a bigger needle. And as they’re struggling to draw blood, the nurse is like “I think I should’ve got an even BIGGER needle.” Now, you may be wondering why I didn’t step out of the room since I have such a problem with needles, right? Well, in the first place, I didn’t realize I had a problem with needles when used on pets. I’ve seen my dogs get shots a hundred times and it never really bothered me. Second, poor Gus looked absolutely terrified as they held him down and I know it cannot feel good to have people stabbing at your neck with different needles (that phrase literally makes me sick to my stomach). So, trying nobly to be a good cat mom, I stayed so I could pet him and talk to him. As they were drawing the blood, however, I heard one lady say, “Man, this blood is so dark and thick.” I, of course, immediately looked at the syringe, because this concerned me. What did that mean? Was that a bad sign?!
She followed it up by saying, “Of course, you’d expect that in a cat that’s been throwing up.”
I felt immediate relief, followed by immediate heat. A short time later, I realized that I was staring at that little bald spot where they had the needle in, and I was getting even hotter. I realized I probably should’ve taken my coat off, and proceeded to sling it somewhere (I honestly don’t know where I put it). Abruptly, I realized I was also very sick to my stomach, and somewhat desperately I inquired where the bathroom was. They told me it was out of the room, down the hall and around the corner.

Now, I remember walking out the door of the room, but after that my vision disappeared. All the sound started roaring in my ears, and I felt myself fall against a wall. I was sentient enough to realized I had fallen into the wall, and I heard myself say, “Oh, oops!”
I don’t have any memory of what happened after that until I woke up and found myself sitting on the floor. I was incredibly confused and disoriented, and couldn’t figure out where I was in the vet or how I’d gotten there. I probably wasn’t out more than five or ten seconds, but I was DEFINITELY out. A nurse came out into the hall and goes, “Oh my god, are you okay?!” I sort of realized then that I’d fainted, and I replied in a low miserable groan, “Noooo.”
Then, I proceeded to throw up on the floor of the hallway at the vet’s office.
Yep. On the floor. In the hallway. At the vet’s.
I heard someone go, “Oh no.”
Then, a trash can was shoved at me and I managed to throw up three more times into it before dry heaving for a bit. At this point, there were people flitting about everywhere, because the more people to see my shame, the merrier! Someone handed me a roll of paper towels as someone called for a mop and I realized that I was half-sitting in my own throw up. It was then it occurred to me that I was within one of the lowest moments of my life.
I started apologizing repeatedly, and everyone was super nice, of course. The nurse brought Gus out into the hall and he was just meowing in her arms like, “Um, what are you doing? I am the one who is sick, not you!”
They made me sit in a room and drink a glass of water while I was waiting for the doctor so I could recover. Unfortunately, this also left me time to sit and stew in my shame and humiliation.
When I finally got to go home, I immediately collapsed in an embarrassment-and-exhaustion-fueled sleep. When I woke up that afternoon, I realized that I still had some throw up in my hair and I had to take a shower.
So, all in all, definitely one of my finest, proudest moments.

This was only the second time I had actually fainted; the other was when my sister had to have surgery and they put the IV in and got blood all over her hand. I made my way into the bathroom, sat on the floor, all the sound started rushing and getting louder in my ears, I passed out for a few seconds, and then I threw up three times in the toilet. Nice and tidy. To be fair, I hadn’t eaten dinner the night before, then I’d barely slept, then I didn’t eat breakfast that morning, and I was overall incredibly stressed.
I have to say, my second experience with passing out was much worse than the first. Again, to be fair to me, I hadn’t eaten dinner the night before (panic attacks kill my appetite), I didn’t sleep well, I didn’t eat breakfast, and I was incredibly stressed.
So I think I’ve figured out the recipe to make me faint. Needles + blood + lack of sleep and nourishment + stress = shame and embarrassment. A winning combination.
Luckily for my sanity, we got the results back that same day and Gus’s bloodwork was completely normal, so I count it as worth it.

Basically, in the interim since I last wrote, I have been checking off resolutions… and humiliating myself in brilliant, awe-inspiring form.

So pretty much the same old, same old.

Goin’ to the Chapel and I’m Gonna Get Lost

Hello, Readers, and welcome to the new year.
When I was a little girl, every new year I used to make resolutions. Everyone did so; I always heard adults or my friends or people on TV discussing what their new year’s resolutions were, so of course I always had to make my own little list.
This list, which was always very vague, always ended up completely forgotten by Valentine’s Day. I made resolutions just to make resolutions, because that’s what everyone else did, but I was never truly resolved to do anything.

Very briefly.

When I got older, I just stopped making resolutions. People would still ask me, but I never could really think of anything. A few times, I would throw out one of the classics, like to exercise more or lose a few pounds. But eventually, I got to the point where I just shrugged, and admitted that I didn’t have any.

Well, except the only one that mattered.

At some point it occurred to me that the reason I never could think up any resolutions was because I didn’t know what I wanted. My life seemed to have a pretty pre-determined path that included playing soccer, attending school, and working, and there never seemed to be a great deal of room for deviation.
I’ve also always had this weird mental thing where it’s like if I consider how many bad things can possibly go wrong in the year, there’s no way they can sneak up on me and surprise me and therefore they won’t happen. It’s like if I appreciated what I had hard enough, the universe wouldn’t take it from me. Making resolutions and saying I am going to make this, this, and this happen this year, felt almost like I was tempting fate. I had no way to know what an entire year might bring, but trying to impose my plans on it seemed very uppity and presumptuous, like I was asking to have my plans wrecked.
It occurs to me as I type this that I might be something of a pessimist at times.

It’s 50/50, really, what a new year might bring.

In my most recent years, I have occasionally gone a third route, and made resolutions that were almost guaranteed to come true, barring my death or utter catastrophe. A resolution I made for 2013? Graduate college. Which I did, four months after making it. Not even long enough later to forget my resolutions.
I can say, unequivocally, that the months following my graduation made me into a new person–into an adult. The death of my best friend, my sixteen year old cat Boo, and then the subsequent death of my beloved youngest dog, Cash, in my lap were enough to ensure that. But as life-wrecking as those things were for me, 2013 was more than that. For the first time in eighteen years, I had no plan, no clear direction. I’ve found myself in that dreaded quagmire of the college graduate– unemployed with no prospects even remotely relevant to my degree.

I’ve struggled with the inevitable curse of the writer– trying to believe your work is good enough. I worked my butt off and committed to putting time every day into  a book I was writing, only to get sick of it and hate it and completely give it up… only to read it again months later and fall back in love with my own work.

I have wrestled with the reality of relationships and what true love is and the stark truth that it’s not like books or movies, but rather incredibly murky and confusing and often doesn’t work out at all. I’ve come to wonder if I’ll ever even find anyone for me– I’ve also questioned if I even want to find anyone.
But more than anything, in this strange, almost purposeless time in my life, I’ve been thinking. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. When you go from pretty much every day of your life having a regimented purpose, to suddenly being jobless and schoolless, when you no longer really have deadlines or timelines or even really much of an idea what day of the week it is, you have a tendency to spend a lot of time lounging around and thinking about things (or at least I do).

My life right now is a vacation, except it’s one where I never go anywhere or do anything and my money still slowly dwindles away.

But in all this thinking I’ve been doing, especially amidst a lot of upheaval in my life, I’ve been thinking about what it is I want in life. And I finally was ready to resolve something. Finally, I came right out and said to myself– 2014 is going to be a great year. I’m going to make it so.
Let me tell you how that’s gone so far.
One thing I was most excited about in the new year was the fact that one of my long time friends from high school, D’Erin, was getting married on January 4. Now, you probably know if you’ve ever read my blog before that I also have a fashion blog. Well, I’ve had my outfit for D’Erin’s wedding planned since before I even got the invitation to her wedding. D’Erin also made a dream of mine come true–she let me go wedding dress shopping with her. To say I was looking forward to the wedding might have been a bit of understatement.
Throughout December I was searching (in vain) for a pair of gold tights for a reasonable price to go with this dream outfit I had been planning for months, because it was going to be January in Oklahoma and I was going to need me some tights. Never finding anything likely, I settled on a black pair with gold polka dots as my backup, and resolved to go about just making a pair of my own sparkly gold tights. I went to Walmart and started looking up DIY sparkle tights on Pinterest, but unfortunately my phone signal always goes wack in our Walmart and I couldn’t get anything to pull up (make a note of this–it’s intense foreshadowing that I should have paid attention to).  So, I decided to just wing it.
map throw

10,000,000 points to Gryffindor if you got this reference.

10,000,000 points to Gryffindor if you got this reference.

I picked up a pair of white tights–but the cheap, $1.50 ones, just in case. Next I grabbed a bottle of gold glitter.  Then, I literally sat myself down on the floor of Walmart for fifteen minutes trying to decide the best way to affix said glitter to said tights. They had all types of craft glues, but most of them didn’t actually appear to be glues meant to be used on fabrics you were going to wear. There was also fabric stiffener spray, but I could not imagine a world where wearing stiff tights would be enjoyable for me. Then there was a little three pack of glues, one which said “wearable fabric spray glue” and I got very excited, because, hello, that’s exactly what I was needing. But they only had it in the three pack, and the tiny bottle inside it wasn’t going to cut it for an entire pair of tights. So, unless I wanted to buy like three of those packs and spend a lot of money, that wasn’t an option.
Finally, after much deliberation, I simply decided to buy some craft glue and attempt to mix the glitter into it and then sort of paint it on the tights. If that failed, I figured I would just try to stick the glitter to the tights with a whooole lot of hairspray.
I arrived home and busily went about mixing my glue and glitter mixture, which ended up being harder than I thought. When I tried to paint it on a test section of the tights, however, I realized very quickly that it was a disaster and definitely not going to work. So I fell back on plan b.
I set up my tights, congratulating myself on thinking of cutting up a box that a 12 pack of Diet Coke cans came in– each of the sides was the perfect size to put inside the tights to keep them taut and from sticking to each other when I worked on them. I got a box lid to catch all the loose glitter, and went to work. I soaked sections of the tights in hairspray, dumped glitter over them, and then layered over the glitter using more hairspray than Dolly Parton’s hair and hoping for the best.

Ingenious.

Ingenious.

Periodically, I would pause and take the whole contraption into the bathroom, where I would attempt to blow dry the tights to see if the glitter was going to stick or not. Aside from the fact that blowdrying a box containing lots of loose glitter resulted in my face being showered with glitter, the glitter on the tights actually seemed to be sticking.

My bathroom during this process. (Also, this joke never gets old. Never.)

After I finished the second leg, I thought perhaps I should just leave the tights alone to dry, but let’s be honest here, I don’t have that kind of patience and I wanted to know right then just how amazing these things were sure to look. It also occurred to me that perhaps I might not want to let the tights dry too long on the cardboard, because they might stick. I began attempting to remove the cardboard from the first leg of the tights that I had done, only to realize that the tights had, in fact, become stuck to the cardboard.
As I began the process of trying to peel them off, I was struck by how similar it was  to when you try and peel one of those anti-peel stickers off of something you’ve bought, usually a gift that you want to look nice, which means the sticker inevitably rips and leaves gross reside and white bits of paper you can’t get off no matter how hard you try.
In this case, the gross residue and bits of papers was actually represented by the ink from the Coke can box, which had bled all over the white tights after getting wet from the hairspray soaking. At this point, I realized in the back of my mind that there would be no salvaging these, but I’m no quitter (okay that’s patently false) and I was going to try those tights regardless of what they looked like.
When I finally got both cardboard pieces out of them, I decided it would be a wise idea to step into the bathtub when I attempted to put them on, since glitter was falling off of them like snow at the North Pole. I did so, and managed to drag them on. For your benefit, because I value you so deeply, Readers, I did not take a picture of myself in those tights. I did, however, take a few pictures of them all by their lonesome for you to peruse.

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Ooooh

Ooooh

Ahhh

Ahhh

Pretty colors

Pretty colors

Disastrous, I’m afraid. Also, my house is now covered in glitter. So this was how it stood so far:
2014, 1. Sara, 0.
But I mean, hey, it’s just tights, right? Not really that big of a deal. Sometimes (usually) craft projects fail. It happens. I still had my backup tights, and I still had the wedding of my dear friend to look forward to. That was the real point, after all.
So the next day, the day of the wedding, rolls around, and I start getting ready well in advance. I had never been to the church it was at, and I wanted to leave myself plenty of time to get there, find the church, and get myself a seat. I was going by myself, because my two friends I knew would be there were bridesmaids, and, naturally, D’Erin was going to be a little preoccupied getting married, so I didn’t want to come slinking in two minutes before the ceremony started and have everyone turn around and be like who is this weirdo??

Excuse me, pardon me. just trying to sit down– where did Michael Jackson come from???

Don’t mind me!

But of course, since it is me, it didn’t really work out as I’d planned. By the time I left, I was running about five minutes later than I wanted to be, but I was determined to speed my way there. I punched the address into my GPS, hit go, and took off.
Now, to preface this, you need to understand just how little sense of direction I have. Whatever way I’m facing feels like north as far as I’m concerned. I have very poor spatial conception, and I can ride in the car somewhere fifty times and have no clue how to actually drive myself there. I just can’t seem to get a sense of geography in my mind. And when people give me directions, I usually forget them approximately 7.893 seconds after I hear them. Much like math, directions go into my mind and just get all jumbled around.

North? Southeast? These terms mean NOTHING TO ME.

All this means that I rely utterly and totally on my phone GPS to get me places, with the exception of like, four or five specific places I have drove to over and over again. The church my friend was getting married at was not one of those places. It was a church on a service road of the interstate, which means it’s one of those little roads that only run one way, along the side of the interstate, and if you miss your turn or go too far, the only way to get back to it is to drive under the interstate, take the other service road on the other side all the way back down, and then come back up the other way, making a complete circle.
I had a margin of no minutes as I was coming up to end of my GPS navigation– I was already going to be arriving like three minutes after the time the wedding was supposed to start. I wasn’t too worried, however, because most weddings don’t start EXACTLY right on time. As long as I got there quickly, parked, and hustled in, I should be fine.
I exited the interstate onto the service road, and toodled along. Suddenly my GPS told me it was time to turn NOW and I panicked, because the road didn’t look like the right road and I didn’t see a church anywhere– so I overshot it. I got really angry and turned immediately at the next turn, which led into an apartment complex. I was hoping that it might have a through road to the road I should have turned on, so I drove around in it, desperately looking for one.
There wasn’t one.
Worriedly, I pulled out and back onto the service road, and made the first of the numerous loops I was going to be making that evening. I went around the little corner under the interstate, came back up the other way, then cut across again, and got back on the original road I was on. This time, I turned on the street it told me– and it led me right into an apartment complex. Confused, I drove around in it, hoping desperately that the church was somewhere behind it.

“Ummm… is there a church in here somewhere?”

It wasn’t.
I pulled my GPS back up, and typed the address in again, just in case I hadn’t got it right. It was at this point I noticed that even though I was typing the number part of the address in, when I was hitting go, it was inexplicably dropping the numbers and searching only for the street name. At this point, I was a little over ten minutes late, and I started trying to google the name of the church.
Now, remember when I told you that I should have paid attention when my phone started messing up in Walmart? Well, my internet basically started refusing to work. I had no 3G, and it wouldn’t pull up anything. I wanted to call one of my friends and ask them what I should do…. but they were in the wedding. Panickedly, I called my mom and asked her to google the church to make sure I was putting in the right address, even though I was typing in exactly what it said on the invitation I was mangling in my hand.

SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT HERE

My mom googled the church, and told me that the address was 1039, not 1029 and I cried out in triumph– I KNEW something was wrong!! Gleefully, I typed the new address in, and made the loop again. However, as I came up on the place it was telling me to turn, I realized with a sinking feeling that it was taking me to EXACTLY THE SAME SPOT. By this point I was fifteen minutes late, and I was freaking out.
I had no idea what to do, so I just started driving down the road, hoping the church was just further down or something.
I drove about two miles, with nary a sign of a church, before I decided to drive down the other way. I was coming back up on the road I had been turning on to go around to the other side of the interstate, and I knew it was pointless to drive back down that way again. The wedding was to have started at 5:30. By this point it was 5:47. Finally, I pulled into a gas station and started crying. Naturally, I was wearing lots of eye makeup. I usually wear none, and if I do, it’s usually only eyeliner. But I had even put on mascara for this very special occasion, and I knew I needed to get myself together if I didn’t want to show up as a raccoon.

BEYONCE never would have gotten lost and missed her friend’s wedding

I just kept trying my internet, and then FINALLY it started working. I went to the church’s website, and as I should’ve done from the very beginning, pulled up my GPS from the map they provided on their website. I tried to put it into my navigation, but apparently I had not been punished by the geography gods enough, because my GPS satellites chose that moment to stop working. My phone had no idea where I was, and so it could not navigate me to the church, even though it now knew where the church was.
I sat there and just kept reputting it in, over and over. Finally, I restarted my phone, and sat waiting. After a couple more minutes, my GPS found the satellites, and provided me with the route– I was 0.7 miles from my destination. If I had only gone past the street I had been turning on over and over again to go back up the other side of the interstate, I would’ve found the church. I had been within two or three miles of the church the entire 40ish minutes I had been driving in circles. The gas station I had been sitting at for fifteen minutes was literally two minutes away from the church. I could only stare at my phone in utter defeat.

Yep, that’s it. I quit.

I pulled up to the church at 6:10. There were still cars everywhere, but I had little hope. I decided to go in and see if I could find one of my friends. There was a reception that was in downtown Oklahoma City, about fifteen minutes away. But I had no idea if I should go to it yet or what anyone was doing. I walked in, and there were people standing all around. They all gave me strange looks as I hesitantly wandered around, looking for anyone I knew. I found the chapel, and saw my two friends sitting in the pews watching as D’Erin took wedding pictures. I stumbled up the aisle toward them, sat down, and told them the whole story. Naturally they told me one of my other friends had been there, and I could have callled her.
I mean, of course.
I waited until all pictures were done with the bridal party and they kicked everyone out so they could do pictures with just the bride and groom. I drove to the reception, which was at the Oklahoma Museum of Art– somewhere I had actually been. I arrived, and everything was absolutely lovely. I didn’t have the heart to tell D’Erin when I saw her that I had missed her wedding, but it’s something I’ll regret for the rest of my life. (PS D’Erin if you’re reading this… yeeeah, I missed your wedding. You do not know how sorry I am.)
2014, 1,908,3753,508,035,938,517,394. Sara, -58.

This seemed to be a confirmation of every fear I had that if I tried to declare that 2014 was going to be a good year, it was going to turn around and kick me to ground. But here’s the thing with all that thinking about what I want– it doesn’t go away. In 2013, bad things still happened to me, even when I tried to avoid them. And at least if I make resolutions in 2014, I can resolve to make sure that good things happen to me as well. I feel like, as I always do at the end of the year, I am amazed by how much more it seems like I learned, how much I have changed and my life has changed. I feel like I’ve finally matured, and gained some hard-earned wisdom. I know what I want now, and while I may not have a clue what else might be in store for me in 2014, there’s nothing wrong with going after what I do want to happen. And so, I have made a short list of resolutions I will be working towards this year.

Sara’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2014
1. Finish my novel.
2. Get a job.
3. Move out with my sister.
4. Get a tattoo.
5. Go on a date (maybe).
6. Not miss any other weddings I am invited to.

Some of these will be hard, some I’ll have no control over, and some will be entirely up to me. But it’s really exciting to picture myself at this time next year, looking back on these– because who knows what I might have accomplished?
And in the meantime, my house is looking pretty magical with all that gold glitter…. it makes it seem like the possibilities are endless.

A Vignette of the May 20, 2013 Tornado in Moore, Oklahoma

I know this is going to sound cliche, but it is truly strange to me how much can change in a short period of time.
I had no idea when I last posted that the next two weeks were going to be some of the craziest of my life. When last I left you, I was on the verge of going to my friend Kady’s bachelorette party. Let me just say that we now are nearly certain that I am allergic to alcohol and the doctor agreed, and I will never again drink more than a glass or two at a time (no one mistook me for a man, at least, so that’s something).
That was on a Saturday. The next day, while I was busy being violently ill in reaction to my suspected allergy, I was vaguely aware that in certain parts of Oklahoma, some pretty seriously awful tornadoes were going through my state. A few people even ended up killed. I remember as I was hazily stumbling out of the doctor’s office looking at a tv in the waiting room and being horrified by the destruction I was seeing. That was May 19.
The next day was May 20 which, if you watch national news at all, you probably know was the day that one of the worst tornadoes recorded ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, and killed 24 people.
In Oklahoma, especially in May, people are pretty used to the threat of bad weather. I have grown up with a healthy terror of tornadoes and a intimate familiarity with the steps of taking your “tornado precautions.” Even on Saturday when I was at the bachelorette party, there was risk of bad hail, and it poured down torrential rain on us for awhile. We knew that the next couple of days were high risk for tornadoes and dangerous weather. The problem with living in Oklahoma for a long time is that there’s always risks during the spring for tornadoes, and you eventually just get to the point where you’re ready for them, but try to believe that it won’t end up being too bad. If you believed that every time there was severe weather in Oklahoma it was going to be as bad as May 20, no one would live here. We would have all had heart attacks at some point and moved to Europe.
My dad is a mailman, so he gets off work pretty early in the afternoons generally. My sister and I usually wait for him to eat lunch, and we did so that Monday. We went to a local BBQ restaurant (one that I worked at last summer, as a matter of fact), thinking we had time to eat before the weather got too serious. We were still in the midst of our sandwiches when rain started pouring down. Suddenly, the tin roof of the building was pounding like a bass drum at a rock concert, and we ran to a window to watch in horror as pea to golf-ball sized hail started flinging itself down on our hapless car in the parking lot. People started running out, dodging hail madly, to get to their cars and try to find somewhere to shelter them.
We weren’t going to take that route, so we sat down and quickly finished our food. Luckily, it seemed as though the hail and rain had started letting up, so we decided to try and get to our house, which was not even five minutes away. We had barely pulled out of the parking lot when the first giant pieces of hail started thudding down on us. The truly big ones were only sporadic, thankfully, but that made them particularly startling when they did hit. I kept letting out a little scream, terrified that our window would break out before we got home. To our relief this was not the case, and we managed to get home. We shielded our cars as best we could under our trees, but they were noticeably dinged up.
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We were so incredibly lucky that day. The storm that eventually produced the horrible Moore tornado formed over the area we live, dropped that hail on us, and then moved on. We were never in fear, or really in danger. The hail storm lasted probably less than 30 minutes. We lost power briefly but had it back shortly. We spent the day watching Moore be ripped apart, as well as other towns beyond it. It was eerie listening to the weather stations because it was the most awful sense of deja vu. I was seven years old on May 3, 1999, when the worst tornado this state has ever seen ripped through Moore the first time. We were at a hockey game downtown, and I remember we had to leave it to go to a nearby  underground parking garage. We walked outside and I can still see, clear as day, what that tornado looked like. It was enormous, and nearly unbelievably black. It dominated the sky, even from miles away, looking like some sort of elemental monster.
On May 20, 2013, we followed desperately the stories of victims and the search for survivors. I cried when they talked about the schools being hit. My mother is a teacher, my sister will graduate in December with her Early Childhood Education degree, and I spent four years working in daycares. I adore children, and teachers are very close to my heart. One of the teachers from Plaza Towers Elementary is the sister of a girl I played volleyball with in middle school and high school, and for a while they did not know if she was dead or alive, though she survived.
I have talked about my best friend Kasey on here numerous times, and her family is like a second family to me. Her father, someone I consider a second father to me, is a teacher in Moore. The gym and part of his school was destroyed, and his car was totaled. Kasey had to walk two miles to get to the school to even see if he was okay, which by a miracle he and everyone else in his school were. My heart shattered on Monday night when we finally turned off the tv, with reports coming in that the death count could even be as high as 91.
The next day when we heard that the number had been reduced to 24, I could not help being thankful, though I was in no way happy. It’s just that when I watched videos of that storm and looked at the damage, it is amazing to me that more lives were not lost. And the strength and love and dignity my state showed filled my heart with pride. The support we received from the world was overwhelming, and humbling. It seemed almost strange to me, just how much people cared. I saw articles from newspapers in England and Britain talking about Oklahoma, and the Nightly News broadcast from here. When two English Premier League soccer clubs played an exhibition match in St. Louis, they teamed up with the Cardinals to raise money for children affected by the storms. They wore black armbands to honor those lost, and all stood together behind a sign that said “Together in support of Oklahoma.” It was a bit jarring; I am so used to bad weather and the destructive powers of tornadoes that it seemed strange to me that people wanted to help us. It reminded me that perhaps the only good thing to come out of the darkest of events is the wonderful, amazing people who step forth to bring light again, and that those people are everywhere.
Shortly after, one of my best friends, Stephanie, asked me to help her do laundry at a laundromat in my hometown because the water was out in all the ones by her house because of the storms. She is married to a youth pastor, my friend Gavin, and I just assumed they were gathering clothes to donate to people and they wanted to wash them. I rushed over to meet Stephanie, who had a younger girl with her that I had never seen before. Stephanie asked me to go help her bring clothes in from the car while the girl got the washing machines set up. When I got to her car and started sorting through stuff, I realized it was soaked and muddy, just covered with debris. Something clicked in my head, and I asked Stephanie, “Did that girl lose her house??” Stephanie looked at me like I was crazy, and said, “Yes, this is the stuff we could salvage when we all went out there to look.” We had about three or four bags of clothes for an entire family. Three or four bags of clothes for four people.
We carried the stuff back inside, and I suddenly did not know what to say to this girl, this fifteen year old who had lost her home not even 24 hours before. The best I could come up with was telling her how incredibly sorry I was. What amazed me was how gracious she was to me, how calm she was acting. I tried to imagine myself in the same situation, and could not imagine smiling, like this girl was doing. I realized she was wearing some of Stephanie’s clothes, and she had on an old, too-big, holey pair of Stephanie’s husband’s shoes, because Stephanie wore a smaller size and that was the best alternative they could come up with at the moment.
So we did laundry, and it was so surreal. I had to pre-wash a lot of the stuff by hand because it was so dirty with debris that it would have made everything else in the washer dirty if I didn’t. After we got all the washers loaded, I rushed back to my house (which was only about five minutes away) and quickly went through the embarrassing amount of clothes I had to see if I could find anything to give this girl. When I got back, Stephanie and I’s friend Lisa had showed up with literally her entire backseat stuffed with clothes to give, and I felt so proud to call Lisa and Stephanie my friends.
We put the stuff in the dryers at this point, and then sat down to just talk with her. She described what it was like going through what was left of her house afterwards, and she even told me how her brother was asleep when the tornado was coming because he worked nights. His girlfriend got ahold of him just barely in time, and he left about 10 minutes before the tornado destroyed their home. The whole time, she was so calm, making jokes and laughing, and I just didn’t understand how she did it. But finally she said to me, “I think I’m still in shock. I think that pretty soon it’s going to hit me, and I’m going to break down.” I didn’t even know what to say. My heart simply broke for her. I honestly wanted to cry, but if this brave girl was not, then I certainly wasn’t going to.
When the laundry was done, we folded it and divided it up according to which family member it belonged to. It was a humbling experience. Everything this family had to wear fit in three laundry baskets and a duffel bag. When it was time to go, she hugged me and thanked me so kindly for helping her, and I just felt so lacking. I wish I could have helped her more.
That Friday was Kady’s wedding, and it was beautiful and sweet and everything a wedding should be. It was a bright spot in what had been an otherwise very traumatic and heart-breaking few days. Saturday I went with my sister to one of her long-time friend’s weddings, and it was lovely as well. It helped me to remember that even in the worst of times, life goes on, and that happiness and joy come again, even when it seems impossible.
At the end of last week, I was hurting for my state, but so proud to live in it. I was amazed at the goodness of people and the peculiarities of life, yet things were getting back to normal.
But this is Oklahoma. In May. And things rarely stay normal for long.

If you would like to hear about my experiences with the tornadoes of May 31, check out my next post. This one is already way too long, and I should have written it sooner. I just didn’t feel ready to try and sum up something so monumental in a blog post, and now I have even more to tell you. I hope that you’ll want to read it.

Bless your heart,
Sara

PS “Bless your heart” is about as Okie a phrase as you can get, so it felt appropriate.