By Sarah Swain
I was a straight A student until I realized I didn’t want to learn the things that did not interest me. I was a judgemental kid towards other kids so I could be liked by the other kids. And then the other kids told me I had a big nose, and that one of my ears was bigger than the other – true story, you’ll have to guess which one. People also think I have mastered the art of the raised eyebrow, but actually, one just sits higher on my face than the other, the side with the bigger ear. Okay so my face is actually crooked – I’m cool with it now. I wasn’t then.
I allowed the need to feel popular guide elementary friendship decisions. I used to believe I was right all the time. I used to be incredibly close minded. I was bullied in high school and I wanted to leave the country. I once spelled a word wrong in an essay and my teacher publicly shamed me in front of the class. It broke my confidence in writing and expression. I started partying at age 15 and continued to party like it was 1999 for the next 8 years. I fell in love with people for who they were, not based on their skin colour, religion, or their body parts.
I went to 3 post-secondary institutions and only graduated from one. I have spiralled into the abyss of depression and climbed my way back out. I know how to safely operate power drills, firearms, mitre saws and many other “manly” tools. I also know how to knit, paint and put Martha to shame with my home decor. I cook without recipes, and allow flavour profiles to guide me. But, I despise baking – too much science. I wasn’t interested in learning science.
My weight fluctuates by about 20lbs every year. I don’t like cleaning the house, and shamelessly pay someone else to do it. I also shamelessly pay someone to pick up the dog’s turds – I’m not even sorry. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I knew how to operate ATVs, boats and snowmobiles before I knew how to drive a car. I’ve had my heart broken. I have broken the hearts of others. I love wine. Sometimes my wine glass is 750ml.
I know what it’s like to only have $2 in your bank account, and carefully pump $1.99 of gas into your car to make it home. I believe in starting with why, instead of focusing on what. I know what it’s like to earn a savage 6-figure income. I also know what it’s like to achieve a goal, and wonder why I thought it was something I desired to achieve in the first place. I’ve experienced the highs of being promoted 8 times in 10 years.
I value time more than money.
I love my husband, and how he balances my mind when I am my most unbalanced. Other times, I don’t think he understands me when I am in my highest Unicorn state. Dogs truly are a human’s best friend. I often have my greatest epiphanies and conversations (with myself) when I’m with my dogs. When I think about space, and the entirety of the universe my head starts to physically hurt. I just can’t.
Humour is everything. Family or bust.
I know what it’s like to earn frequent flyer status and feel like a baller. I also know what it’s like to lose it, and be wildly excited about what that means – I get to be home. I appreciate a few solid friends over many acquaintances. I once had 7 piercings and removed all of them but my earrings in the name of “being professional”. At 32 I said fuck it and got my nose pierced. I thoroughly enjoy my own company. I cherish rest and sleep. Sometimes I go to bed at 7pm.
Being comfortable is uncomfortable to me.
I once confronted an all-male executive team about International Women’s Day, and their lack of concern for it. I love Christmas – it makes me feel like I am breathing magical air for about 45 days straight. I don’t like Halloween – it scares me. I believe feedback is a gift, especially when it stings. I have been sarcastically referred to as “unmanageable” by my past leaders – one of my greatest compliments. I eat healthy about 85% of the time. The other 15% goes to pizza, chips & anything else high in sodium.
I have taken a stand for myself in the name of my societal expectations, because I matter more. I believe everyone should take responsibility. Early morning is my favourite time of day. I love yoga, even when the yoga teacher lies about only holding it for two more breathes. Nature is my favourite place to be. The majority of my money is spent re-investing in me, not my wardrobe. I believe firmly in the need for tribe. I believe firmly in self-discovery. I believe there is magic in all humans, but most are afraid to let it be seen, for fear of disapproval from others. I used to be afraid of that, too.
I am Sarah. I am me. Transparent. Authentic. Unapologetic. The cool part is, you get to be you, too.