Sarah McCarten


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When I tell you that I’m scared of failing.

playing_playstation_flickr__cc__s-revenge_4664950_lrg‘I can’t believe he’s got no ambition, he doesn’t want to do anything with his life, he just wants to stay home and play on his PlayStation all day.’ My friend explained how her son had no desire to work towards his A Levels. She’d pushed him got him through his GCSEs, kicking and screaming. He’d passed, mostly, but he’d not done brilliantly. She told me that she hadn’t thought that things could get worse, she said she’d thought it wasn’t possible for him to try less, but she’d seen a whole differently level of complacency.  She couldn’t believe how content he was in underachieving.

I listened to my friend and I offered her some advice, I told her that I thought her son was scared of failing and scared of being out of control. I explained to her that if he didn’t try he didn’t fail; he was in control of his future. It might not be a bright future, but it was a future he could take deliberate steps towards. Even if those steps were sitting at his games console.

My friend thanked me for my advice; she said she’d never thought of it that way. She asked me if I’d studied psychology, I told her that I hadn’t, she called me insightful.  I didn’t tell her it was because I saw myself all over that image of her son.

I could tell you about many times I’ve not tried and not failed; but I’m not going to do that. Mostly because it would be embarrassing, but partly because it’s self-indulgent.

What I will tell you about is something I’m trying; something I might fail, but I’m going to give it a shot.

I’m going to try being a writer.

I hear you saying; ‘Sarah, you have a blog, what are you talking about’. What I’m saying to you is that I’m taking it seriously now, outside of people and work and church this is going to be my priority. That means, writing when I don’t feel like it, writing about the tough stuff, writing consistently, and trying to get my writing in other places than my blog.625488_10152709706935004_895663287_n

I tell you this because I want you to keep me accountable, please, because if you know me, you know what I’m like.

Hear me right, this is not an ‘I’m putting all my eggs in one basket’, like if my blog fails I fail. I’m not going to give up my job and move into my parents loft so I can be a writer. I’m telling you I’m going to try and I might fail.

As part of this, I’m taking Elora Ramirez eCourse Story101.

I tweet here.


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When I tell you that I didn’t get out of my car.

IMG_0082I saw her in the rear-view-mirror of my car. I was in a service station about half way between my parents’ home and my home, about a hundred miles from each. I was surprised to see her as she was so far from home. I thought about getting out of the car and saying hello, but I was in a rush and she looked like she was talking to her friend.

I drove out of the service station I felt gutted that I hadn’t made the effort and got out of my car, I could turn back but I was on the motorway and it would have added at least 30 miles and a half an hour to my journey. Besides, I couldn’t even be sure she’d be there on my return. I had plenty of stuff to do when I got back to London and I was sure I’d see her at some or other church thing some or other time.

It played on my mind the rest of the journey. I’d spent so much time with this lady in my teenage years, she’d made such an effort with me, she’d really helped me realise my potential, she was one of the first grown ups to not treat me as though I was weird and I as though I just needed to conform to some evangelical ideology of faith, she’d let me do my thinking for myself. I’d been too lazy to get out of the car and say hello to her.

I visited my parents a couple of months after that and they told me that this lady was sick, she had cancer, but she probably wasn’t going to die, it was curable. I knew that 1 in 3 people in the UK got cancer each year. I didn’t know, and still don’t really, how many people die from it. I went on about my day like nothing had changed, I trusted that the doctors knew what they were talking about, and in my experience, if they’d said someone might die, there was a chance they’d live, if they’d said they’d live, they had. If I’m honest I thought that this lady would probably end up cancer free and she’d have a good Jesus story to tell.

Since no one had mentioned it I’d forgotten that she was I’ll so when I was visiting my parents recently and my mum got a text message it wasn’t the first thing that came to my mind. My mum told me that this lady had died.

Actually died, like I’d never see her again, I’d missed my chance; this wouldn’t be a happy Jesus story. It was just crap.

I was angry with the colleague of my mother’s who had text her to let her know. I was angry with myself also, firstly because I’d not gotten out of the car those few months ago but mostly because I had never told her how much her support had meant to me during my formative years.

Now I’ll never get the chance.


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When I tell you why I’m writing again.

imageI feel like I’m a fraud.

I feel like that partly because I’m not a writer and partly because I’m not prepared to share all of myself on the internet.

I wonder if I’ll ever be able to call myself a writer. I’m convinced that it’ll never be my profession, but I am convinced that it’s something I should be doing and that it is a part of my calling.

The thing is, that has never bothered me before, I don’t mind saying ‘I write’ or ‘I have a blog’ the writer label is something I’ve never really aspired to.

I’ve been reading lots of wonderful blogs over the past few months and I see people sharing honestly and frankly and it is beautiful. It’s not because I can’t write like that, it’s not because I don’t have those stories. It’s because it’s not me. That’s not my way. I’ve come to realise that is alright.

People share things in their blogs that I don’t even talk to my best friend about. That’s me, I’m not a big ‘sharer’, and in general, I’m happy with that. But then I feel guilty, I feel like a phoney because I’m not revealing a secret about myself every other week on my blog.

So I stopped writing.

There’s been this massive gaping hole in my blog.

I received some advice from a couple of wonderful friends recently; that when it comes down to it if you’re being yourself you’re not being disingenuous.

So that’s it. I’m back! My writing might not be like everyone else, but it’s me, and that’s the best that I’ve got for you.

Would you excuse me if my voice is a little croaky over the next while, I’m working on using it again.

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I’m including this post in Kirsten Oliphant’s Writerly Blog Hop, if you’d like to you can check it out here. I tweet here, do follow me. Thanks so much for reading, it really does mean a lot to me.


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A letter to my married friends.

Hello! I wrote a new blog! Sorry it’s been so long! Hope you’re good!

My dear friends,

I wanted to write to you and let you know just how much I love you and to tell you how much I value your friendship. You really do mean the world to me.

I am so happy that you’ve found someone to spend your life with.

I know that our friendship has changed since you guys were married and I’m not resentful of that, but I wanted to let you know how that it has affected me. You see, sometimes I get the impression that you think you’ve had this massive upheaval and things between you and I have stayed the same, but they haven’t, but it’s not bad, it’s just different. And I am okay with that.

Before you were married, I could expect that you’d treat me as a priority, I don’t have that same expectation anymore. Your husbands and wives get that privilege, and so they should. I need to let you know that though I love you, but you’re not my priority anymore either. You see I need to spend time with people who will prioritise spending time with me too.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’ve been telling you less of my secrets. I just wanted to let you know that’s not because my life suddenly got boring after you got married, but that I want to honour your marriage, which means if I’m not prepared for your spouse to know my secret, I won’t tell you either. I was talking to a friend a few months ago, a good friend, and something came up in our conversation, and I said to him, I’m going to tell you something which I’m quite prepared for you to tell your wife about but I don’t want her to talk to me about it. His wife, graciously hasn’t mentioned the incident to me, or given me a knowing look of disapproval. You see if I wanted advice from your spouses, I’d ask for it. For some of you, I don’t even do that; for I know that some of your husbands and wives cannot resist giving advice, even with regard to things that are none of their concern. For others, you get offended at my not wanting to discuss my secrets with your spouses, either because you think that they and I are better friends than I do, or because you think that your husband or wife is the wisest person in the world, so why should I not want their advice. The truth is, I wanted to be friends with you, I want to know what you think, I want your advice. Your husbands and wives are great, they really are, but if I wanted to chat to them, I would, I promise.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you’re less available to me in all kinds of ways since you’ve been married. I want you to know that is right and wise and appropriate. However, I cannot spend my life sitting at home, I have to make new friendship, or cultivate old ones. I know that sometimes you resent these friendships, it may be an off hand comment or a sneaky look or a whisper to your husband about how you don’t see me any more. The truth is, that you don’t see me any more, I genuinely feel that your husband or wife is so big in your mind that often distorts your image of those of us around you. I know that will change, but I know that they will and ought to be the most important person in your life. I am alright with that.

There are limitations to you being married, I’m sorry that if you didn’t realise that. I really want you to know that I love you! This is not meant to be a moan or a rant but really an explanation, please take it as such.

Thanks for reading! It really does mean a lot to me! You can follow me on twitter here.