So around the same time that blog was started my home life had blown up and I was ejected into the world with absolutely nothing to prepare me for how unforgiving it can be. Prepare you for the outside world 8 years of homeschooling does not. Like many others in such situations I was faced with rent, bills, groceries and other necessities that all of a sudden I had to come up with on my own. Yes, I had a degree but a job was something I needed now now now, and so I ended up as a waitress.
Alongside this, I was encountering the grey areas of life that I hadn’t been prepared for. My outlook was incredibly black-and-white. You were good, or you were bad. Smart or an idiot. A saint or going straight to hell. I had an inkling of where I stood on that level, and it did not involve polishing my halo. I had a lifetime of ideas being presented to me as true with just enough theological study to be able to come to some conclusions about my personal relationship to the divine and those conclusions left my spirit as a nexus of fear. Fear of doing the tiniest thing wrong and thus being unworthy. I’m not sure exactly where it came from, but I was an expert in finding the technicalities that would leave me deficient in some way. Given the wrong bit of advice regarding my fear at just the wrong time, I came to wholeheartedly embrace my Vessel of Wrath status and almost wore it as a badge of pride.
So. Newly minted heathen forced into the world of adulthood with little to no preparation. I think bitterness was probably unavoidable at that point.
There was another thing that I don’t talk about a whole lot that contributed to the “nobody and nothing cares about you, tiny insignificant speck in a universe blindly hurtling towards inevitable heat-death” outlook. I had a boyfriend for a short time in college who was killed in a car wreck; the particular circumstances of that event changed me as a person drastically. At the time the event had occurred, I’d been avoiding him for a couple weeks because I’d never had a boyfriend before, wasn’t sure I wanted one and was terribly confused about the whole thing. My solution (avoidance) was incredibly immature, but through the lens of self-compassion I can say I literally didn’t know of any other way to deal with it. I grew up hiding my feelings to avoid rocking the boat and communication was not something I’d ever really picked up on. But suddenly I would never have a chance to sort out my feelings and apologize for being an unintentional dick about it.
The finality of death is a hard thing to come to terms with regarding someone so close to you in age. Although I’d heard about young people dying in car accidents I wasn’t ready to have one of my young people die that way. I froze, and my subconscious took over and buried all my feelings so far down they only became accessible much later with the help of a great deal of Capt. Morgan. And the guilt over the fact that I just went about my day without so much as crying ate at me in a way I didn’t realize until some time had passed.
There you have it. A short version of the firestorm of events that created Hater Sarah, world-weary, bitter, hellfire-bound waitress (and later bartender which adds all kind of BS into the mix). Too smart for her own good and more emotionally stunted than a bad romance novel hero.
High INT, low WIS. As it were. I had the self-awareness of Magnus, the Very Virile Viking.
I wrote a short story years ago about future versions of me visiting and giving me advice, but really if I was to visit my past self at this point I would just give myself a hug. She had a lot on her plate. She didn’t realize it at the time, but she was in a pretty good deal of pain.
That’s not to say I don’t have my problems now but I like to think I’m facing them head on instead of hurtling through life towards its inevitable conclusion. In college I buried myself in intellectual pursuits and ignored what was happening to me emotionally and spiritually. After that it was a series of excuses not to deal with shit, or pretending to deal with it but not actually internalizing and accepting what had happened. A lot of denial happened in that time, a lot of anger and a lot of very ill-conceived internet diatribes.
Over the years, though things changed. I started to realize I didn’t actually hate the entirety of the human race, I in fact loved and admired it. I started to develop acceptance, as it were. But it was only acceptance of other people, not of myself. To myself, there was still the bitterness and the black-and-white thinking. I was either completely selfless or a monster. Perfect or damned. I was the first pancake, and that was a fact of life. Kind of a weirdly selfish way to think about yourself when you break it down.
It rather came to a head a couple years ago - I had a very public crisis wherein a bunch of my Twitter friends had to convince me that death wasn’t the answer. Started making improvements here and there but it wasn’t until a few months ago that I really started to dig in and forcefully look at myself with some compassion. It is (I am) a work in progress, but I think I’m going in the right direction now.
Why am I writing all of this now? Is this insight or a cry for attention? Well, one thing I’ve learned recently is that two motivations for an action can be present at the same time. So maybe it’s both. But there is one thing I want to get out there for people who might be struggling with things that happened to you in the past, or you’re worried there are things you need to deal with.
Be nice to yourself. Take the time you need to process shit. And if you realize later that you might have been a little bit of heartless jerk, make the amends you need to make but don’t get down on yourself for it. It’s a new concept for me, but self-compassion is super important. Things aren’t black and white in life. Different feelings can coexist in the same space.
This kind of trailed off from an explanation of why my blog posts were so bitter and judgmental in my younger days. I may or may not start posting more self-reflection in the future, as it comes to me. Because who knows, maybe one day in the future I’ll look back on this website and laugh. Hopefully laugh. Because the progress I’ve made is cemented into the archives of cyberspace.