Sweet & Savory Life

Tag: brene brown

The times they are a-changin’

i got the job

I have some exciting news: I got a new job! You are now looking at the new Marketing Specialist for Suddenlink. Pleased to meet you.

For a while now, Shelton and I have been working on getting new jobs (no easy feat – just read any of my posts from summer 2012) and after weeks of searching and interviewing, he was brought on by a nationwide property management company that has a couple complexes in Greenville as a Leasing Manager. It was so exciting (and nerve wracking) watching him go through the process of job searching. All the “what ifs” and “maybes” liked to kill me, but when he made the final decision to leave it just felt right. And then I knew I needed to do the same thing for myself.

Cue my freaking out. I haphazardly applied to a handful of positions I thought I was qualified for. Shelton and I spent two whole days going over my cover letter and resume with a fine-toothed comb. I cried only once (success). And then randomly… I got a phone call. From one of the jobs I’d haphazardly applied for.

Just a phone interview. No big deal. (Wrong.) The phone interview turned into an in-person interview two days later. I chalked this up to a good freaking sign.

The in-person interview went well and they even treated me to lunch afterwards. I heard from my references the same day that they had been called and were rooting for me. And then a couple days later I was sent a list of three test projects that I would need to complete to assess my skills. I was really excited about these – it felt kinda like a school assignment! Two of the projects I had to present to the team the following week.

Cue my freaking out. Again. This freak out session lasted about six days. I brainstormed and made outlines and researched and then spent an entire day putting the presentation together. Shelton listened to me give the same presentation three times, critiquing me each time. I started out pretty rocky, then got better with every run through. And then when it came time to present, all the information felt second nature as I shared my ideas with the team I hoped I’d be working with.

My pre-presentation permission slip a la Brene Brown

My pre-presentation permission slip a la Brene Brown

They seemed impressed. I was told that the last part of the interview process was meeting the VP and Director of the company – the two biggest movers and shakers.

Cue my freaking out. For the third time. This freak out session really just revolved around the fact that I had nothing to wear, and I don’t mean that in the way that most girls do when they say that. In this case I actually it was actually true, because I have two pairs of dress pants and I had already worn them both. I couldn’t do a repeat, I just couldn’t. I think guys will even understand this. So I bought some khakis and a colorful top from Express, wore my blue blazer and game face and hoped that this was it.

celebration

Celebratory Drinks at Carolina Ale House

And… it was. I got a call the same day with a job offer, and justlikethat I was on top of the world. It was a feeling of vindication that is very hard to describe, because in so many ways I feel like I have been working towards achieving this stage in life for a very long time.

Back in 2009, when I graduated from college, I immediately started working full-time at an advertising agency in Dallas and it was a tough experience for me (read: I learned a lot.) I ended up leaving after a year and then began working at UNT doing administrative work (and took a huge pay cut, but my sanity was worth more than a dollar). I wound up loving the role I played at UNT, and ultimately it defined my life in a huge way because this is how I met Shelton. Then I got promoted within the department we worked in, and as our relationship solidified, so did my need to push myself to get back out there to do bigger things. Then last July Shelton got his first job in North Carolina and it didn’t take me long to follow him out here. Literally a few days after I arrived in Greenville I began working with a small local advertising agency, and I worked very hard to get my chops back. (Another huge pay cut was taken, but again, it was worth it.) Shelton supported my decision from the beginning, and for the first time in years, since 2009, I felt like I was working towards something.

Now Shelton has a better job and so do I. And I have this really great feeling of pride and establishment that I’ve never had before. Individually and collectively, we’ve both worked so hard to get to where we are right this second. I think that’s huge.

As Bob Dylan sings, the times (truly) are a-changin’. Life is a-changin’. Everything about me is a-changin’. And it’s freaking awesome.

brave and scared | sweetandsavorylife.com

I start next week and I am very excited. I feel so ready to go on this adventure. Brene Brown says the great thing about being vulnerable is that it gives you permission to be brave and scared in the same moment. And I feel that way – both brave and scared, but it’s okay. I know I can handle this.

I know this post was a long one (telling a short story is not in my DNA), so thanks for hanging in there with me. And thanks for just hanging in there with me in general. It means a lot to this little blogger with big dreams.

-Sarah

I almost didn’t go to boot camp this morning.

sunrise

It’s 4:57 AM. My alarm is going off. I am smacked in the face with sleepy, and literally cannot picture myself getting out of bed and going to boot camp. I think, “Just sleep, Sarah. You need the rest.” It sounds so real and so right, that I confirm, “Yes. Yes, I do.”

Then it hits me like a ton of bricks. How I don’t really need “the rest” because I went to bed at 10:30 PM and slept like a rock last night. That if I miss boot camp, I will feel guilty throughout the day. As I laid there in bed, bargaining with myself, I knew this to be 100% true. I did what I had minutes before deemed unthinkable, and got dressed.

I’m well overdo for a health/fitness update. Been putting it off for a while now for quite a few reasons. None of them are good, so I’ll spare you. The last update I gave you was on December 2, 2012 when I posted I AM ENOUGH: The first steps on my health journey. I opened up to you about how vulnerable I’d become about my (progressive) weight gain and how it was affecting me emotionally. I revealed how much I weighed, why I wanted to change my habits, and also my need to accept my body just as it was – before I did anything to alter it. I talked about eating healthier and starting a boot camp class, and when I submitted that post I felt really good about my outlook. I felt it was positive, but without high expectations. As you probably know, when it comes to any kind of lifestyle change, it’s hard not to set yourself up for failure by raising the bar too high. Of course, we never mean to do this. It just happens.

Even though I just said that my outlook was positive and without high expectations, looking back, I now know that only half of that statement is true. I was positive, and I did have high expectations. Damn. As I sit here now typing this truth to you, I can’t help but feel like I let myself down (even though that is not true). Over the past few months I have regularly retreated to my negative, self-shaming place where I remind myself of the following:

1. All the times I cracked and ate unhealthily or had a celebratory moment.

2. How I’ve been boot campin’ it up for almost three months now with nothing to show for it.

3. That I’ll never have what my mind’s eye perceives a healthy body to be, because I don’t deserve it.

4. This is all easier for everyone else. No one understands my struggle.

What a mess. All those statements I have felt and believed, but are completely false. In I AM ENOUGH, I spoke about self-acceptance, but the truth is that an undertaking of that size is not something that can be checked off a list and considered “done” in an instant.

“I now love my body, even my muffin top that hangs over my size 14 jeans.”

Nope. It’s just not that easy. It is a daily process. Changing clothes in front of the bathroom mirror and looking at your body with appreciation, not depreciation can be a tall order on a bad day. I’ve had quite a few bad days over the past three months. Change is never easy – especially changing how you perceive yourself.

Let’s break down my go-to self-shaming with honesty and empathy. Maybe you tell yourself some of the same things? Whether your change is related to weight loss or something else, I’ve learned that anytime negativity is part of my mindset my progress time is cut in half. If not more. It’s so important to get to the root of where the shaming comes from, and why it is done. As Brene Brown says, light must be shone in all the dark corners.

1. Indulgent moments, splurge meals, celebration and the like. During the holidays, I ate like it was the holidays. Once or twice a week, I’d have some kind of splurge meal with Shelton, usually on the weekends. There was a lot to celebrate over the past few months, what with my best friend getting married (bachelorette party + wedding). Could I have splurged less? Yes. Could I have celebrated less? A resounding NO. On this health journey I am learning that regret is akin to poison. It just brings me down like none other.

How to battle regret when it starts hitting: focus on the now – the choices you can make right-this-second that are positive. Pour a glass of water, eat an apple, do 30 jumping jacks. We all know that the smallest things can make the biggest difference. Put that truth to work. Remember that you are human, and it doesn’t matter what has transpired. It only matters what happens now.

2. The amount of work put in compared to perceived “results” (or lack thereof). Yes, I’ve been working out regularly for three months and yes, my thighs still jiggle. It’s hard not to think that it’s all for nothing. That no matter what I do, my body isn’t going to change. It’s so incredibly easy to hone in on what you don’t have instead of what you do have. We all want tangible proof though, don’t we? We want our clothes to be a bit baggier, people to notice our change, and so on. It’s exhausting for me though – this vicious cycle I get so easily caught up in.

Instead of obsessing on what you lack, tell yourself what you have. I say tell, not remind, because sometimes I really have to tell-off my inner critic a lot. Reminders don’t always work – they can be counteracted. Tell yourself what you’ve got, as many times as it takes.

“It is now part of my routine to work out, I’m proud of that.”

“I’ve learned to cook many new healthy meals that I wouldn’t have before.”

“I have a better understanding of myself, and right now that’s worth more than fitting into my high school jeans. If I keep loving myself like this, I’ll eventually get there.”

3. That what I see in the mirror is not how I picture myself in my head, and is also no where close to how I think I should look. The belief that I do not have a perfect body yet because I don’t deserve one. I have a very specific image of myself in my mind, and also another image of how I believe I would look if I was perfectly skinny. Guess what. The self-image I have of myself is off base, and also my visualized my “perfect” body is not attainable. Go with me on this.

While I wholeheartedly believe that visions can be road maps, when it comes to something so personal as my body, I am literally too close to it to see it objectively. Craft projects are different. Recipes are different. Visualizing a clean junk drawer is different. My body is not a DIY project. My body is alive and moving and changing even when I feel it’s not. When I see myself tagged in pictures on Facebook, that’s me. That’s my body. That’s how I look from the side. It’s not a “bad picture” or a “bad angle.” It’s a moment, captured. Understanding this is what self-acceptance really means to me. Not constantly trying to match up what I picture in my head to what I see in the mirror, but really loving what’s real. The mental pictures are not real and they are not signs pointing me in the right direction. If anything, they’re detours and fruitless meandering paths. What is real is what I see with my eyes and know to be true in my heart. My head will jack me up every time.

Insert deep, grace-filled breath here.

I am going to let go of my visualized perfect body. The one I picture hundreds of times a day, the one I’ve been using as motivation to keep going. To combat my go-to metal images, I will focus on what is real in this moment, and also liberate myself from what “could be.” It’s entirely possible that whatever I can achieve physically with my body is more than I could ever project. I accept and welcome “the unknown” in so many other parts of my life. This should be no different.

Wow. Just typing that I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

4. The idea that living a healthy lifestyle is easy for everyone but me, and that no one understands my struggle. Granted, I’m feeling very mentally balanced as I write this so that’s why I am all “zen,” but I do know that what looks to be easy hardly ever is. If it was easy to practice this lifestyle, no one would be obese and we’d live in a world without Jillian Michaels. I compare myself so much, to my friends, actresses, random girls I see when I’m running errands. It’s endless. Some days it seems like everyone else is so effortlessly thin, and basically what I deduce is that something is right with them and wrong with me. I ask myself, “What are they doing right?” and then “What am I doing wrong?” Goodness. For the most part I consider “right” and “wrong” to be four letter words. I even wrote about the idea of “right” in this post, There is no such thing as “the right time.”

Just because my friends and family are more fit than I perceive myself to be, that does not mean I understand all their daily struggles, some of which may include their own self-perceptions. Just because I see a girl at Target that looks incredible (to me) in her leggings, that does not mean she works out every day or even works out at all. She doesn’t have some secret to weight loss. She’s just living her life, shopping at Target. The end.

To live in the world is to be a part of that world. That means being surrounded by many different people. Some big, some little, some I know really well, some I don’t know at all. I shouldn’t fill in the blanks to their life like a Mad Lib. I am not them. I do not understand them. Any time I spend trying to figure them out is time I could be spending on figuring myself out. I don’t want to go on detours. I want to stay on track as much as possible. I want to know and love myself more than anything else, more than spending energy analyzing things I will never fully understand. I want to be present.

As I read over my words, I know that I have come further in the past three months than I ever have before. I feel that this mindset is a part of who I am now. I have never been able to stay committed to a workout/diet plan for longer than a month (truthfully) and now I feel the self-motivation to keep going. After February, I intend to mix up my workouts a bit and spend more time practicing the breakthroughs I’ve had. It is a journey, and not a short one. But it’s okay, because at the end of each day, I like it. I like the opportunity to challenge myself (both mentally and physically) in this way and want to experience more so that I can learn more. So that in turn I can write more. It really is that simple, even though fully loving myself everyday is a practice. But it’s one that I’m getting better at, and to me, that is success.

-Sarah

February Blog Date

Happy Valentine’s Day to you! Whether you’re in love with someone or just in love with yourself (highly recommended), today is a day of showing appreciation. Send a sweet email to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Send flowers to your mom. If you go out to lunch, bring back a snack for someone you work with. There are so many ways to show you care – that’s probably why I adore this holiday so much! Let’s have a little blog date so that I can share with you a few exciting things that are going on in my neck of the woods, as well as some awesome discoveries I’ve made. I would love it if you’d comment and share as well!

books

On the way back from Alex’s wedding, I finished the most incredible book: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. I’m gonna have to write a whole post about Daring Greatly and the intellectual prowess that is Brene Brown. I’ve talked about Brene once before in this post. Let’s put it this way: I seriously highlighted and dogeared every other page (pretty much) and consider this book the manual to my life. Amazing, mind-bending, eye-opening ways to think about life. I eat that shit up.

DSC_0034

I am so proud of my compliment bouquet DIY! Most of the time when I brainstorm a project I turn to the interwebz + Pinterest for inspiration, but I had no such luck when trying to find a similar DIY. So, I did what any crafty girl does. I created what I wanted from scratch. You know how some people can cook/bake from scratch? Yeah. I am not so great at that. But a craft project? I can do that all day.

Pink TOMS. My new pink cordones need no explanation. They ship tomorrow! (Looks like the style I just ordered isn’t available anymore!)

I am learning French. One of my goals for 2013 was to start learning a new language. I thought about it a lot, and have chosen to give French a try. I bought a book last week to start familiarizing myself with verb tenses, etc., and hope to eventually get Rosetta Stone. I just love the French way of life, and think it would be so cool to go to Paris in the future and be able to speak/read a little bit.

Simplifying + Dreaming. Lately I feel like I’ve had a lot of breakthroughs mentally, emotionally, and creatively. Sometimes I feel like my life is such a mess and that there’s no way to keep it all organized. While that is somewhat true, I’ve been focusing more on my accomplishments (no matter how small) and trying to not compare myself to others. I remind myself that my life is my own, and I get to choose how I want/need to live it. Some days I have to remind myself of this a lot, but that’s okay. It’s sinking in. You can expect a few more changes here on the blog, but I’m really excited to continue pruning my work and this outlet. It’ll be great!

scarf

Knitting, among other things. Look at my finished cowl neck scarf! I finished it a couple weeks ago. My mom got me some knitting supplies for Christmas and I finally pulled them out and re-taught myself. I’m not sure if I love knitting or not, but finishing my scarf was an awesome feeling. I’m going to try to knit more often, and already have my second project planned. Stay tuned!

My new favorite necklace from Shelton + New opportunities! So, the other day Shelton said that a package would be coming for him but that as soon as it came I was not to look at where/who it came from. Read: this package contained my Valentine’s Day gift. (Perk/Downfall of working from home.) I obliged, because I love surprises! When it came on Monday, I did not look and set it on the counter. Monday was an especially exciting day, because Shelton accepted a job offer with an awesome student housing company called American Campus Communities. They are pretty much the Walmart of college apartments and have properties all over the United States. He’ll be working at a complex here in Greenville and it’s a great opportunity for him and, ultimately, us. Since they have locations every where, being with ACC is technically our ticket, well, anywhere. Him wanting to leave his current job and searching for a new position has been a stressful process that I didn’t really want to share here. But – it all worked out and that’s what matters. He came home with a 18-year-old bottle of Chivas Regal (fancy) and said, “Tonight, we drink like Hugh Hefner: in our robes.” I thought it was so cute, so I put on my robe and settled on the couch to enjoy my very delicious scotch-whiskey blend. Shelton opened his compliment bouquet and we relaxed to catch up on some DVR. After a while, he asked for a glass of water. Me, being ultimately lazy, thought oooooooookay, I will get up and get you water. When I reached over to set down my whiskey glass, I felt something in my r0be pocket. Kind of hard? My first thought was why is Shelton’s wallet in my pocket? No lie. “What is this?” I asked, feeling the shape through my robe. Shelton is incredible at playing things off. Remember by birthday? “I don’t know…” he kept saying. I was laughing and smiling, thinking, damn, he got me uh-gain. But then I pulled out the box and all laughing stopped. I gasped. Because the box was a tell-tale blue.

tiffany's

The whole moment shifted. I was speechless – what was in the box almost didn’t matter, because, wow. Tiffany’s. The ultimate. I unwrapped it to find the most perfect little heart-shaped locket, and very tiny on the front, two letters engraved: “SS.” This is the part where I cried. It was just so sweet, so touching, so us.

I haven’t taken it off since. The end.

~

What a great week it has been. February is halfway over and I am feeling a lot of love and support lately from many different directions. I am motivated to keep working towards my goals and am doing my best to not dwell on any shortcomings. I enjoy moments of clarity like this like you wouldn’t believe.

What have you discovered lately? What breakthroughs have you made in your life?

Remember to share your joys –  it makes your happiness multiply.

-Sarah

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