The “One Size Fits All” Advice

“What do you write about?” “How often do you write?” “Why do you write?”

These are the most common questions I am asked whenever someone notices that I have my own website (followed by “can you write about me?” or, if we’re talking about f*ckboys “oh shit…did you write about me?”). I usually struggle with answering these, because I don’t have a specific topic that I center my posts around, and I don’t put myself on a regular posting schedule. Most bloggers are extremely serious about their calendar and genre, considering their income depends on it. Since my website was created as solely a creative outlet for me, I typically answer these inquiries with a shrug. Well, today, I’m answering them: I write when I’m inspired. Most of the time, this inspiration reaches me in one of two ways: I’ll read something that immediately sparks an idea in my head, or someone will say “hey, you should write about that” after I’ve told them a story or shared with them a belief of mine.

Today, the topic at hand is something I read, and also something a friend told me I should write about. This may be the most straight-forward, no-bullshit, easy-to-follow, one-size-fits-all piece of advice I have ever written about. A lot of times, posts I create are for narrow audiences: the timid woman, the girl with the shitty ex, the aspiring Christian, the college student, the young Republican. This one is for everyone. No matter how old you are, what stage of your life you’re in, or where you are – you need to do this.

Stop saying no when you want to say yes.

It’s that simple. How many times has someone offered you something, and you’ve declined, solely because you were being “polite”? If you couldn’t think of an instance where you’ve been guilty of saying no, you’re lying. Everyone does this, myself included. Well, not anymore. I’ve started saying yes, and I’ll tell you why.

First of all, if someone is offering you something, that means they want to give it to you. They want to buy your coffee. They want to pick you up. They want to pay for your lunch. They want to get the first round. Let them! If they could not afford to do you that favor, they wouldn’t suggest it. You will likely have the chance to repay them in the future, and you probably don’t want to spend that $3 on Dunkin this morning, so why not let the kind person pick up the tab today? Not only is this great motivation to pay it forward, but it also will make you realize the value of doing small things for others.

Why are we so accustomed to saying no when we want to say yes? Here’s the truth: we would rather say no than say thank youHow sad is that? People would rather awkwardly decline a nice gesture and head for the exit than look someone in the eye and express genuine thanks. I’m gonna be honest with you. By doing this, you are only hurting yourself. In this deal, you’re potentially losing money or time, you’re making things uncomfortable, and you are denying a nice person their good deed of the day.

You’re probably thinking but Sara, what if it’s some weird dude? And I don’t want to give him the wrong idea? Then, fine, that’s your prerogative, but I’m sure you’re overthinking things, and that ‘weird dude’ wasn’t proposing to you. He was being nice. And you don’t want to have to say thank you, so you’re creating an uncomfortable situation in your mind. And now you have to pay for your own coffee.

Think about a time you might’ve been on the receiving end of this behavior, when you genuinely wanted to do something for someone, and they politely awkwardly declined. Don’t you feel a little… weird? Like, okay, guess I won’t offer them anything again…

So, you can take my advice, say yes, and continue to pay it forward, or… you can be weird about it. Yup. That’s it.

If you’re still not sure about this whole “thank you” thing, I’ll help you out. How about “oh wow, that’s so nice of you! Thank you so much!”? Or you could hit them with the “thanks, dude, that’s really cool of you.” Or even “aw, thank you!” would suffice. If you need practice on the whole accepting-people’s-gestures thing, you could say “you didn’t have to do that, I’ll get you next time.” Or (get ready – this one’s really out there): “thank you for that!” If it’s something really extreme, take it back a couple decades and send them some old fashioned snail mail. This is my personal favorite thing to do, because I get to use my cool (or lame, depending on the type of person you are, to each their own) monogram stamp, and who doesn’t love getting mail?!

Saying no when I wanted to say yes left me poor, hungry, and awkward. Saying yes when I wanted to say yes has earned me free drinks, happy friends, and a full stomach. And now I’m a freaking PRO at thank-you’s.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading! *wink*

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Nashville: A Guide

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I have a feeling that some of you may be wondering what’s up with me lately (especially if you follow me on social media). Does this girl live on Cape Cod? Wait, now she’s in California? Hold on, I’m confused, Nashville?! Yeah, I guess I’ll explain now. As I’ve likely said on various social media platforms, I work as a sessional lobbyist in Connecticut. Their legislative session only occurs a few months out of the year; January – June in odd years and February – May in off years. That being said, I finished my time in Connecticut on June 30th, and will begin working there again at the start of the next legislative session. During my time off, I have decided to travel as much as possible. A few years ago, while in Greece for a few weeks, I vowed to myself that I would see more of the United States before I traveled anywhere else abroad. I have made it my goal to see all fifty states, and what better way to do that than with a road trip?! Continue reading

A (Really Long) Letter To His New Girlfriend 

This is never something I thought I would write. Three years ago, when I was fully encompassed by what I would later recall to be the worst relationship dynamic in the world, I couldn’t fathom the thought of my then-boyfriend someday treating another girl better than he had been treating me. If you are a loyal reader of mine, or someone with access to my personal life, you may know that I spent much of my past relationship waiting for my ex to change. Waiting for my ex to stop cheating on me. Waiting for my ex to stop lying to his family about me. Waiting until the day I would no longer have to make excuses for him. Waiting for him to show me off to his friends. Waiting for him to wake up one morning and finally see me; finally have that epiphany that oh, wait, he did in fact have the perfect person right there at his fingertips, patiently waiting for – no, actively hoping for – him to accept the love she was willing to give. 

At first, I thought I was willing to wait forever. I thought that I loved him, that I was meant to be the one to fix him, and that I would be able to reap the benefits of this (extremely difficult) project. However, three years of my life had passed, and I realized that they had been spent unhappy, degraded, and ashamed. He wasn’t adding a single positive thing to my life. I finally came to terms with what I had secretly known for two and a half years after our relationship began – it was time for me to end things with him. 

The reason I hadn’t been strong enough to end this relationship once I felt it going downhill is something that I chalk up to pure hopefulness. I had so much hope he was going to change, and I was so nervous that once he did, he was going to find someone else to treat the way that should be treated. I can even recall telling him during one of our many fights that I didn’t want to be his practice run, and that it would hurt me so badly if he were to move on and treat another girl significantly better than he treated me. I viewed myself as an abandoned puppy dog, sitting cold in the corner of an alley way, waiting for my owner to take me home. 

It isn’t easy to admit that I was making a conscious choice to be in a relationship with someone who I knew didn’t deserve me. In fact, it makes me feel stupid every single time I think about it. I still shudder when I think about the lies – the compulsive, frequent lies – he told me. I wince thinking about my best friend screaming at me, asking me why the hell I was with someone like that. I practically get nauseous when I remember the time I was in the hospital and my mom asked me why he wasn’t there, and I didn’t know the answer. I get embarrassed when people bring him up, because they used to believe the elaborate excuses I would make up for him. They thought he was great, and I couldn’t disappoint them. 

I was in love with the idea of love. I thought that if I wished and hoped and prayed for him to change, that it would work. I would suddenly be happy with him, and my first boyfriend would be my forever boyfriend. This is another thought that is vomit-inducing to me now. Why in the world did I think that I should throw everything I have into such a toxic situation? Why was I so obsessed with someone who didn’t even understand who I was as a person? Why did I put so much effort into trying to love someone who couldn’t even admit to his friends that we had gotten back together?

Even though thoughts like those are cringe worthy, I am mature enough to realize that my relationship was something I was meant to go through. I do not forgive his actions, but in some sort of twisted way, I am thankful for them. They made me realize the kind of love I deserve, and I will never accept anything less than that ever again. Upon ending that relationship one year ago, I was the happiest I have ever been in my life. My smile was more genuine. I became significantly more adventurous. I didn’t worry whether or not someone else will be okay with my choices. I had no desire to apologize for who I am as a person. I felt a physical weight lifted off my shoulders on the night that I ended that chapter of my life, and I watched my anxiety set with the sun. Getting back together with him was never a possibility, or even a fleeting thought. 

Until it was. A month or two after I broke up with him, he tried to enter my life again like it was normal. Like he always did after a break up. Not this time. Nope. I wasn’t having it. I was happy, and I wasn’t going back. Other boys were in my life now. I had written so many posts about how strong I was now, about emotionally abusive relationships, about my bad experience with him… no. Thinking about being with him again would be taking one step forward and sprinting six miles back. 

I denied his efforts at first, proudly. But slowly, I became weak again. He promised that he changed, he swore he finally had the epiphany I was desperate for. He was in love with me now, he finally realized. Everything I was waiting for came true. So I quietly gave it a chance. I reluctantly went to his house in December, after very much convincing on his part, and found that nothing was different at all. His father asked me if I had ever been to Long Island before, and I was immediately bombarded by flashbacks of all of the times he made me feel like he was embarrassed of me. The time I gave up my shift at work to drive five hours to his house, only for him to tell me he decided it was more important to see Derek Jeter’s last game with his friends (who, of course, didn’t know I was coming, and probably didn’t even know we were dating at all). It took everything I had not to inform his father that his son had been lying to him about me for three years. He had texted his friends and told them that he couldn’t go to the Knicks game because “I know it’s stupid but DG’s (the nickname they used to call me) on the island so I told her I’d hang with her” even though he begged me to come. He didn’t even have the decency to call me by my first name. I immediately regretted giving him another chance, and I went home feeling defeated and annoyed. Since when was I that kind of timid person who let an insecure, immature boy push me around? Since when did I let other people make me feel inadequate? 

He kept trying with me. He still is trying to this day. He has sent me cards, flowers, and presents. He has said he will move to Boston for me, said he will do anything for me. He has sent me emails, left me voicemails, and long, emotional texts. And in his defense, that’s what I had originally said I wanted from him. I thought maybe that if he tried hard enough, I could forget every lie, every other girl, every mean word, every cold shoulder, every awkward fight. But I can’t. As horrible as they were, they made me who I am today. I choose to believe that the negative experience I had was meant as a lesson for me to learn. 

I’m assuming that after reading this, if he reads this, he will stop trying. He will give up on me, and I will finally be okay with that. I have moved on, and despite every bad thing that came of my relationship with him, I hope he moves on, too. It is unfair for him to focus his efforts on me when I am not focused on him at all, and have no plans of looking back on that time in my life. 

If he tries to contact me again, I will confidently tell him that what I had said in that aforementioned fight was false. I do not want him to have an epiphany that I’m the one for him and reach out to me. I do not mind if he loves another girl like he should have loved me. I am fine with being his practice run, because he was my practice run, too. 

I do not believe that my ex has a new girlfriend. But if he did, the first thing I would say to her would be “you’re welcome.” The second thing I would say to her would be “I hope things are different for you,” and I would genuinely mean that. I do hope that whoever he is romantically involved with next has the opposite experience that I had with him, because it will prove that our messed up relationship was not a waste of time. I learned so much about myself in the past year, and I am so proud of everything I have accomplished. 

I am happy, truly happy; something I never felt when we were together. I still look back on those years and think about how differently I looked at life, how narrow my perspective of love was, and am mind blown. 

If you are currently in a situation that isn’t working for you, but you haven’t had the courage to get out of it, pull the trigger. Take the jump. It WILL be worth it, even though it hurts like hell right now. Maybe it’ll take you an entire year to completely and totally move on, like me. But I promise you, the way you will feel once you have become the person you want to be is worth the wait. 

“You’re Too Much”

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to talk. I can talk for hours about anything, to anyone. During recruitment, my sorority sisters would always volunteer me to do all the talking because “I could talk to a tree all day if I had to.” While browsing in the bookstore a few days ago, I ended up talking to a random police officer that I met for an hour and a half. This type of thing happens to me almost every time I go anywhere by myself. I simply have a lot to say. In fact, sometimes I have so much to say that my mouth can’t keep up with my brain and my words come out in a language that I’ve never heard before. Continue reading

A Lesson On Self Worth

As many of you know, I began my big girl job working with Connecticut lobbyists a few weeks ago. I begin every morning by sending out a report of what happened in the Senate and the House of Representatives on the previous day. To make sure I didn’t miss anything, I look over the “journals” put out by both chambers, outlining things like which bills were passed and who voted which way on each bill. The House always begins with a prayer, and because I’m normally in a rush while reading through the journal, it’s something I usually skip over. This morning, I had a few extra minutes, and found the time to read it.

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Did Someone Say the “G” Word?

 

In less than one week, I will be a college graduate. The concept of *gulp* graduating is absolutely unfathomable to me. What do you mean I have to worry about more than just research papers and finals? I have to live without my best friends being one door away? It is so hard to believe that my four years is finally up, and that I have to continue on to the *another gulp* real world. Throughout my college experience, I have learned so much more than I ever imagined possible. I’ve done things that I never thought I could do, with the most amazing people I could have hoped to meet by my side. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be graduating with three degrees in four years. I had no idea I would have the opportunity to travel to England, Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, or Mexico. I definitely didn’t think I would get so involved with Connecticut politics; working at both the Superior Court and the Capitol.

Most shockingly, I could have never predicted accepting a full-time job lobbying for the municipalities of Connecticut. I still remember the first conversation I had with one of the first boys I met in college – him telling me he wanted to be a lobbyist, me asking “what’s that?” like an idiot, and then upon him explaining it to me, responding with “that sounds horrible.” I guess I owe you an apology for that one, Ross. It’s scary to think that at eighteen, I was completely turned off by the idea of doing exactly what I’m doing today – and now, it’s something I’m passionate about. This just goes to show that you have no obligation to be the same person you previously were; which brings me to the purpose of this post – to tell you about some of the most important lessons I learned while in college.  Continue reading