August Friendships

August. Triple digits and humidity. By far the worst month of the year and the price us Arizonans pay for perfect weather eight months of the year. However, this August proved to be a great month as I experienced some great moments with some very important people in my life. These moments also helped this girl have some high fives with herself for just how much she has valued the friendship with herself.

The beginning of August began with an exhilarating road trip through southern/central California. I posted a few times while on the trip, but the trip overall was so much of what I needed. One of my favorite parts of the trip was having tea and desserts with one of my favorite people on the planet, my friend Jenny who I have known since seventh grade.

So much girl power in one picture! Jenny is the type a girl who you know you can be yourself around and engage in fun and meaningful conversation with. That’s why I love and admire her so much. We talked about where our lives are now, how our families are doing, and of course reminisced about all of our favorite high school memories. A good chunk of the conversation turned to mental health and my own journey this past year to be true to myself. I found myself in one of the most healthy and enjoyable conversations about mental health I have ever been a part of. The reason for this, and one of the reasons I love this girl so much, is that Jenny has a knack for truly listening to the meaning behind the words being said and then asking questions that really make you think or using statements in such a way to make the most uncomfortable things seem important enough to explore just as much as the good. She is also much like me in that the occasional joke will slip in to break the heaviness. What I also discovered was that this girl I admired so much had dealt with some of what I had gone through as well. We explored it and had exactly what each other needed, someone to listen. Someone not only to listen, but someone who could listen without feeling like they needed to then fix you. We respected each other’s journeys and recognized we were strong willed women ready to take on whatever was thrown at us. As we talked I could feel myself learning things from her story, and she expressed she had some takeaways of her own from my story. When Jenny and I finally parted ways, I could feel myself thinking “gosh I respect and miss her so much!” We always used to joke that we were seasonal friends because we would have periods where we would see each other all of the time, and then we would disappear from each other for an extended period of time. Funny thing is as soon as we would see each other again, it was effortless to pick up right where we left off. Excuse me for a moment while I text her to tell her just how awesome she is.

Now this next moment may throw a few people off because you may ask yourself “why would this be a great moment?” Well I hope to do a good job explaining myself.

The main reason I hit the road to California was to visit my two great friends Kristy and Steven.

Seeing them in CA has become an annual event that I very much look forward to. We had a great time lounging on the beach, eating great food and drinking great wine, and of course binge watching goofy reality TV. The last day I was there however, Steven and I got in a fairly heated argument about our viewpoints on Serena Williams yelling at the chair ref during last year’s US Open. I was on the side that I understood why she did it, and did not hold anything against her, while Steven thought the opposite. Knowing we had differing opinions and not feeling any overpowering desire to change his mind, I defaulted to “we agree to disagree.” Here is where this moment with my very dear friend became a big moment for me.

Some background. This year has been the year of Sarah finding her voice. I have always had a tendency to read situations and then respond in whatever way was the path of least resistance or would keep people happy with me. I would do this even at the expense of my own thoughts and feelings. The feeling of being abandoned by someone or not belonging far outweighed the feeling of not being true to myself.

Cut back to the royal rumble happening in a nice comfortable living room in a quaint little costal town. As we continued to debate whether or not Serena should be ashamed of herself, I decided I was done and looked at Steven and simply said “why can’t we have differing opinions? Why does it have to come down to one of us being right and the other being wrong?” This sparked further discussion that was very similar to an intense back and forth you might see at the US Open. I very much just wanted Steven to hear my voice and understand that I had changed a bit over the past year, and Steven dug his heels in and insisted that he wasn’t trying to prove me wrong. I wasn’t going to let him get off that easy because he most certainly was. I then began to ask why he then insisted to keep debating after I had offered the idea that we could just recognize we didn’t agree and move on. It was then that the anxiety started to kick in. I started to think this might be the last time I was going to have a normal conversation with one of my best friends. I started to think of all of the ways I could backtrack, but then Kristy chimed in and validated what I had thought. I didn’t need to backtrack, but then I really thought I had messed up because now my friend’s girlfriend was against him. I had become a homewrecker!!! However, I then locked eyes with Steven and told him that I respected him and cared a lot about him, but it was exhausting debating and feeling hostility and negativity. There was a pause and my heart sunk and his face dropped a bit. The conversation then took a turn to being about just how much all of meant to each other. It didn’t matter anymore that we had a difference in opinions regarding something as silly as a tennis match. What mattered is we had the same opinion about how awesome we thought the other person was. What also mattered is that I also had really hit a milestone for myself. It was scary, but liberating. It had me sick to my stomach, but glowing. I stood up from the couch with a tight jaw and full heart and hugged my dear friend. As he got ready to leave for work and I started to pack up to continue my road trip, it was business as usual with us throwing sarcastic remarks at each other and vocalizing our hopes and dreams for the Suns to be somewhat decent this season. And wouldn’t you know it, we also continue to chat/text just as we used to. I wasn’t abandoned. I was still part of the awesome threesome that was myself, Steven and Kristy. And I am sure I will be just as excited to plan my next trip to California to see them next year.

While I was out traveling and visiting friends at the beginning of August, the end of August found me connecting with a good friend right in my own home. And what is my home has now become our home.

My good friend Ashli has been chasing down her dream for the past year. And when I say chasing it down imagine a mouse trying to chase down a horse. She has been through so much to keep her eye on the prize which is catching that horse, hopping in that saddle, and grabbing those reins to be in complete control of her dream. I honestly feel like the level of uncertainty and pressure she has faced in the last year would have broken many people way sooner. At the end of August, Ashli sold her house in preparation to leave for training and to save some money, and had moved in with her family. Unfortunately a week later her family had a falling out and it was the straw that broke the mouse’s back. She was devastated as she has always been very close with her family. Without hesitation I said “get your stuff and get over here because my guest bedroom is all yours.” She has only been here about a week, but I already see relief in the way she talks and acts. It’s as if the little mouse now has a jetpack on her back and has her sights locked onto that horse. I can’t wait until she gets the call and starts the next step towards achieving her dream. I will definitely miss my roomie though.

If I took anything away from August this year it is that I have been very fortunate to have met some truly amazing people in my life. It would have been so easy for us never to have crossed paths, but the universe did me well and made sure we did. These awesome people challenge me to be my best self which I thoroughly appreciate as well. Here’s to more high school gossip, fights about sports that end in hugs, and evenings on the couch talking about our days before we head off to our bedrooms.

Love you all so much!

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