A Promise to Myself

Hey guys,

This is a bit of a left turn compared to what I usually write about, and in some ways, it’s not.  Either way, I hope you enjoy these thoughts.

I’ve always been a bit of a flake.  Yeah, super surprising, I know! (NOT!)  Seeing that my posting on here is sparse and sporadic I’m sure you’ve caught on by now.

I’ve always thought…no wait…let me provide some background first.  When I was little, I was obsessed with being right.  I always had to be the “good” one.  The one who smiles, who’s sweet and is a perfect angel…at least when everyone is looking…ESPECIALLY when everyone is looking.  I thought that was how I was going to do life.  I thought that’s what I wanted.  Then I grew up and realized I’m not perfect and I will never be able to convince myself or anyone else that I am perfect.  It made me angry and bitter.  I lashed out.  I’m still lashing out today.  I think that it just isn’t fair that I’m not perfect.  Because perfect is the best, right?…right?  I’m learning it isn’t the best…and it never was, at least not for me.

Being perfect, for me, means being fake.  It means not being sincere or real or authentic with ANYONE.   If you let even one person know that you don’t have it all together than the word spreads and you can’t stop it, you can’t control it.  Being perfect means lying to people you care about.  Being perfect means hurting people who you’ll never truly get to know because there will always be a wall between you.  Being perfect means you will never be satisfied.  Being perfect means a lifetime of company with one entity…your ego.  And believe me when I say, your ego sucks!  Or at least mine does.  He tells me I’m awesome one minute and awful the next.  He tells me that my dad isn’t proud of me when I KNOW FOR A FACT, he is crazy proud of me.  My ego tells me that if it isn’t perfect, or if I can’t be the best, it isn’t worth trying.  Yeah, this guy really, really sucks.

Worst of all, being perfect means you never truly know who you are because you’ve never thought about what drives, fulfills, or excites you outside of what others think.

I don’t want to be perfect anymore.  I want to be me…whoever that is.  I want to be me more than I want to be right.  I want to be me more than I want to be liked.  (That song from Mean Girls Musical is in my head now so I’ll have Spotify play it, just for the fun of it)  I’d rather be me.  I’m not going to believe that all too familiar lie that being liked is everything.  It’s not.  Those who like me, for who I really am, mean more than a sea of fans who don’t know the first thing about me.  (You know who you are. <3)

So what does being me mean, practically speaking?

  1. I do what I say I will do when I say I will do it.
  2. I don’t lie (not to save face, not to seem better than I am, and not to myself)
  3. I don’t need to impress anyone else to feel good about myself
  4. I put others before myself (specifically my family)
  5. I know my strengths and my weaknesses and I continue to improve (for myself)
  6. I am the same person everywhere I go (no matter who is or isn’t there)
  7. I finish the hard stuff first

I want to be a person I would be impressed by.  I want to be a person I admire.  Now I sound like the speeches Matthew McConaughey gives at graduations and award ceremonies! *roll eyes*  But he’s right when he says we should compete with ourselves, the person we will be in five years.  I want to be her.  I can see her.  She’s amazing.

She doesn’t care what other people think (and not in a “I don’t give a f*ck” kind of way), in that it’s irrelevant what other people think.  I know I sound like a poster with a kitten on it saying “Don’t give up!” or something stupid like that but this is just me processing.

Cut back to me in five years.  She’s a leader in her community.  She sets an example.  She takes care of herself.  She looks out for her family.  She keeps a clean home and cooks semi-decent meals (I’m not expecting miracles here lol)  She has written and published her first novel of many.  She has a job she adores to pour her soul into without fear.  She has a guy by her side that she is devoted to because she knows she does not hide anything from him.  I know right!  She’s fricken awesome!

Today, I am not this girl.  I’m not even close.  But that’s the point.  I’m not going to get down on myself and hate myself for not being her.  The truth is, I haven’t even tried.  On the contrary, lately, I’ve given up.  So if you wonder if you’ll ever see your dreams become a reality, know that I understand.  It’s not easy to come up with a plan that can make your goals feel possible even for just a second, but that’s why you can’t quit.

You can’t quit, because I see your potential.  Just like my friends and family see it in me.  You might be thinking, “Sarah, you don’t even know me.  How could you know if I have potential or not? Pssshhhh.”

Ok, first of all, the “psshhh” was unnecessary. Lol.  Secondly, I see your potential because I know we all have potential inside of us.  God made each and every one of us.  (If you don’t share my beliefs, that’s fine, but just keep reading)  You have a purpose.  There’s a reason you are here and you aren’t going to know what it is until you’re 80-something sitting in your rocking chair looking back on your life and you’ll smile.  (Now I sound like Tony Robbins and his rocking chair theory, lol)  You aren’t supposed to know.  If I knew where I was headed it would take out all the fun in getting there.  You’re supposed to give it your all, while not knowing.

So, instead of being a flake who makes promises and never gets around to them.  I’m making myself a promise.  I’m going to keep this promise.

*raises right hand and crosses heart*

I promise to never be anyone but myself.  Good or bad, pretty or ugly, right or wrong.  I promise to be the best version of myself every day.  I promise to be grateful for the gift of a second chance.  I promise to be myself.  Just me.

I hope you found some value and relatable thoughts in this post.  Let me know what you do to process things like identity, personal responsibility, and growth.

Bye guys,

-Sarah January

Nixola Research

Hey all!

I bet you’re wondering…I wonder if Sarah is ever gonna finish that book she talked about writing.  Have no fear!  Life has been crazy and I’ve been thrown a few curve balls but I’m still here and I will bring Nixola’s story to life if it kills me!  Figuratively speaking of course. *wink*

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, let me tell you a little bit about my current WIP (Work In Progress).  Back in May, I graduated with a Masters in History.  In order to graduate I had to write a thesis.  I was allowed to pick from a vast choice of subjects but I felt drawn to journalism.  Specifically, I wanted to write about female journalists.  Next, I needed to narrow down a time period.  I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the Gilded Age and the Industrial Era, so naturally, I wanted to see what happened next in the story of America.  What comes next is called the Progressive Era.  Note: Don’t think too much of the word Progressive.  It doesn’t mean today what it meant back then.  I started combing the time period for at least three female journalists that spoke to me.  Of the three I chose, Nixola Greeley Smith stood out the most.

Clipping from The Evening World - Newspapers.com

Nixola Greeley Smith is the granddaughter of Horace Greeley, a man who established The New York Tribune.  She worked on The New York World for most of her career as a journalist.  She interviewed well-known figures like Thomas Edison, Helen Taft, members of New York’s high society.   My favorites articles concern much more common issues of the day.  For example, for most of her career, she kept a love advice column.  (Think Sex in the City but just set in 1901, LOL)  She offered an award to “working girls” (prostitutes) to allow her to interview them so she could show the world what it was really like to become a “working girl.”  Nixola covered the Thaw Trial which was the first time a woman took the stand and had to describe her own rape in public.  She wrote about girls wanting to be boys so they wouldn’t have to follow so many rules.  She wrote about women cursing.  She wrote about marriage, about children, war, women’s votes and any other subject that struck her fancy.  This is where I think she shines.  She didn’t care if no one else would say it.  She knew the people wanted to hear the truth.

Recently I have made some tremendous progress in my writing.  I have finally finished 5000 words!  Eeeeeeekkkkk!  The most fascinating part of this process is the list of subjects I’ve researched.  It is an odd list.

  • Turn of phrase during the turn of the century
  • Curse words-native to the time period
  • Clothing for both middle and upper class
  • Vehicles, carts, trolley’s etc
  • Restaurants, vendors on the street etc.
  • Telephones, telegraph, messengers
  • Office environments, cubicles, set-ups
  • Brooklyn Bridge-when was it finished?
  • Common names for the time period
  • New or common food for the time. e.g. Gum

See what I mean.  I never thought about all these little things I would need to know a little bit about in order to recreate an authentic replica of the time period.  And I’m only three chapters in!

I didn’t think about needing to understand basic turn of phrase that fits the time period.  I found this to be the most fun subject I researched.  For example, a talkative woman was sometimes referred to as “a church bell.”  If you wanted to call someone brave, you might use the adjective “bricky.”

What is your research process like?  Do you use any particular sources?  Do you research before/after/during your writing process?  Let me know your tips and tricks!

Til then,

-Sarah the Nerd

Just Being Honest…

I’m not sure what it is…I’m just going to be honest about it.  I haven’t been blogging since the start of 2019.  I didn’t even really do a proper post when I finished my #40booksin2018 goal!  I want to be honest about my absence and quit making excuses for myself and maybe then I will be able to figure out what’s going on with me.

I’m not always motivated to write.  I love to write, but sometimes I deliberately avoid it.  It doesn’t matter how much time I do or do not have, how many positive quotes I save as my lock screen wallpaper, or how many times I say to myself, “I’ll write later today.”  I still don’t write when I don’t feel like it.

For the first time in my life, I’m actually sick of my feelings running my life.  I don’t “feel” like working out.  I don’t “feel” like getting up early.  I don’t “feel” like writing.  I don’t “feel” like working on that project.  True I don’t HAVE to get up at 5am.  I don’t HAVE to work out.  I don’t HAVE to write a blog.  However, if I want a different kind of life, don’t I HAVE to do the things most people would not do?  Yes.  Getting where you want to be is not easy.  I used to think if I was just making progress, I wouldn’t care how hard it was to get it done.  That’s definitely not true.  I care A LOT.  I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to sticking it out.  When things get tough, I tend to bail.

I rarely look at my shortcomings because it makes me so uncomfortable.  I’m not doing this for anyone to feel sorry for me.  I’m facing this reality because you have to admit when there is a problem or you will never start looking for a solution.  The hardest part of the solution to my problem…is the fact that it is simple.  Easy answers are always the hardest to implement.  I simply have to ignore how I feel and do what needs to be done regardless of whether or not I’m in the mood.  Easier said than done, I know.

So, obviously…I need a plan.  *cue the dramatic music*

So if you don’t already know, I am a journal freak!  I have way too many and I use them for different things.  I have a traditional journal where I write on big days in my life (birthdays, graduations, etc.).  I have a complaining journal where I’m allowed to say whatever I want even if it’s hurtful (it helps me work through my feelings and thought processes). I even have a time-of-the-month journal…go ahead and judge me if you want. Lol.

close up journal

This is a journal by Atticus, an amazing poet (which is no longer available, unfortunately, *sad face*)!  Get his second book, The Dark Between Stars here on Amazon and follow him on Instagram @atticuspoetry

He also has some amazing prints for sale on his website at: www.atticuspoetry.com

I’ve decided this will be where I write down my victories.  I will plan them and I will execute them, one at a time.

My first priority is an illustration project I’ve been working on for over a year now.

My second priority is to read at least 100 pages a day.

My third priority is writing either for my blog or for my novel, every day.  It doesn’t matter the volume.  Simply write every day.  I need to create that habit of writing.  You’ve got to write a lot of crap so you can get to the good stuff.  lol

Let’s see if I can make my New Years’ resolutions last a little longer than February 1st. lol

-Sarah

bookshelves far shot

It’s Official/I’m a Writer/EEEEP!

So I have some pretty exciting news for you guys!Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 12.57.18 PM

I’ve sold my first article!  I know right!

If you go to the November issue of the Fort Worth Magazine

Then go to page 10.  You’ll find a mini bio (Read it here) on me as well as a short interview as the guest writer for the November issue!

I keep pinching myself, but it is real!  I’m a professional writer 🙈

That’s my picture right there at the top of page 10! 😳

bio clipThen if you go to page 18 you’ll find an article titled “Trinity Valley’s First African-American QB Talks Breaking Barriers”

Go here if you’d like to read it!

The process was so exciting!  I called ahead and arranged to meet the coach and Kingsley, the young quarterback the article was to center around.

They were very kind and obliging throughout the interview.  You could really tell this coach cared about his students.

 

I enjoyed learning more about the team aspect of football since I’ve never played sports.  This young man was so talented and humble.  The coach was so proud.

Did they change my article some, of course!  Does it matter to me, not one little bit!  (ok, maybe for like two seconds) . But this is the coolest thing that has ever happened to me!  The best part is, this is just the beginning!

If you’d like to read the original article I wrote, just keep scrolling!

Hugs!

-Sarah

Kingsley Ehiemua

Kingsley Ehiemua: King on the Field, Leader at Heart

By Sarah January

The senior quarterback at Trinity Valley School (TVS) in Fort Worth Texas, is anything but ordinary. Kingsley Ehiemua is a towering boy of six foot, four inches, with broad shoulders, a bright smile and an eye for fashionable footwear. He is a true southern seventeen-year-old who says “Yes, Sir” and “No ma’am” when asked a question, and oozes character with every word from his mouth. Unlike other students who move to TVS, Ehiemua transferred later than most. Students who transfer to TVS usually switch over around 5th or 6th grade. However, Ehiemua made this strategic move during his sophomore year.

The football field is a home away from home for Ehiemua. He began playing quarterback when he was only four years old. Football stayed with him all the way to high school. After spending his freshman year at two different schools, Ehiemua made the calculated decision to transfer to TVS. Isaiah Jackson, current running back for TVS, told his friend, Ehiemua, about TVS. Trinity Valley is known as a college-prep school, and Ehiemua’s mom was very interested to see how he would flourish in such an environment. They agreed TVS would be a place where he could finish strong.

Head Football Coach, Aaron Mattox, stated his goal for each student was for them to feel included. “I’d hate for someone to come to Trinity Valley and not feel the family atmosphere we provide.” he said. The transition from public to private school proved to be an adjustment for Ehiemua. However, when it came to the football team, everything just clicked. Last year,

Ehiemua led and encouraged his team all the way to the state title. It is clear to see, Ehiemua has found a home at Trinity Valley School.

An interesting fact about Ehiemua: he is the first African American starting quarterback at TVS. Ehiemua admitted he didn’t even know this until someone told him. The question is whether or not this fact about Ehiemua accurately represents TVS. Coach Mattox and Ehiemua say no. Coach Mattox stated, “It just so happens, he is the first one.” Here’s what Ehiemua had to say: “When people say ‘The First African American Quarterback,’ I take it as a blessing…It really makes me play no different. I try to stay grounded and I look at myself just like everybody else. Everybody’s equal. It [TVS] is a very diverse environment. You name it, we got it!” It is obvious, TVS has a good reputation as a diverse and inclusive environment that accepts all races, colors, and creeds. With determination in his eyes, Ehiemua had some advice for other African American students looking to break barriers: “Hard work has no color to it. If you work hard and you do the right thing, anything is possible.”

When it comes to the rest of his life, Ehiemua is just like any other kid. To de-stress, he likes to write. “I write for fun. Anything that comes to mind, really. I write about my day. It’s a way to get the stress…off of you.” He sets goals for himself. Ehiemua wants to win back-to-back state titles with his team. When he’s working out: do one more set. When he’s reading: read one more chapter. This is the motto his coaches taught him, “The goal is one more.” His hero is his grandfather, who is a pharmacist and according to Ehiemua “He never takes off work.” His grandfather owns his own pharmacy and he teaches free classes for underprivileged students. What are Ehiemua’s future dreams you might ask? If you’re thinking of NFL drafts and brand endorsements, you’d be wrong. Ehiemua wants to be a physician’s assistant. He

wants to help people…just like he does on the field…just like his grandfather does in the classroom.

Some might look at Ehiemua and see the first African American quarterback at TVS. To his team members, his coaches, and his family, he’s Kingsley, their brother, leader, and teammate. Ehiemua would like to encourage Fort Worth as well. The next time you want to give up, remember: “The goal is one more.”