Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My Favorite Blog Posts

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I've gotten scarily off track with this 'blog everyday in May' thing. I think I've hit about 4? But we'll disregard that and pick up where we left off. Today's prompt is "Link up your favorite posts you've written", so I'm going to sort of summarize them and link them below. Because it's been almost 2 years since I started Sarah Smile, I've amassed quite the little collection of posts, on everything from 50 Shades of Grey to What to Pack for College, but I've narrowed it down quite well I think. My favorites are the posts I was scared to publish but felt very proud of. Posts where I stood up for something I believe in, even when it was awkward or not so mainstream, so without further adieu, here's a little catch-up!
Relationships and Faith | 4/23/15
 This was my second post on relationships in about a week's time, so I actually ended up deleting the first post, because I liked this one better. I was trying to figure out how I felt about a lot of things, and writing about it helped a lot, but I think, especially for twenty somethings, relationships are going to constantly be a struggle, and I'm glad I have this post to look back on to set me straight. 
My Thoughts on 50 Shades of Grey | 2/13/15
This post was really only the second time I talked about my faith and how it effects my daily life on Sarah Smile. It wasn't the most popular opinion at the time, but I still feel the same about it, and I'm glad that I felt brave enough to say it.

My Truth About What It's Like When Someone You Love Dies |11/3/14
This was was rough. I was sitting in my room in England feeling pissed off, guilty for feeling that way, and annoyed that I felt guilty, and also ugly crying because of all the feels. I'm making light of it because I'm awkward about feelings, but it really is one of my most vulnerable posts. I talk about my sisters a lot, but I'm never truly honest about that time in my life or how long it's taken me to readjust, especially with my family, so this was a hard one to publish, but it needed to be done, and it actually encouraged some good talks, so all's well that ends well I guess.

Stop Calling Hillary Clinton a Bitch | 7/31/14  
Sexism is not something I take lightly. Like, I will joke about pretty much anything else, but sexism pushes me over the edge and I can rant and rave about it until I'm blue in the face. I started with one thing to say about sexism in the 2008 campaign and I ended up angrily watching Carl's Jr commercials. CAUSE REALLY THEY HAVE NO POINT.
Lessons The Fault in Our Stars Taught Me | 5/21/14
I read the book and watched the movie like everyone else, but I felt like I got a little something different from them because of my unique experiences. Basically, this post is about those.
The Struggle is Real | 5/7/14
That time I talked about my feelings and felt hella awkward about it. 
Letter to My 16 Year Old Self  | 2/19/14
 High school is rough. It was not my favorite time in my life so far. Here are some of the things I wish I would've known.
Sex, Religion, and Politics |12/19/13
Posting this one was a bit of an accident. I got really wound up about something I don't even remember now and just 'angry typed' for about an hour. I then posted it without really thinking about it and I'm actually glad I did. I don't talk about sex, like ever, with people outside of my friend group, but I think it was important for me to not only talk through what I believed and why, but share it with everyone else. Not many people are open about their views, especially when it relates to their faith, and I don't want to be like that. I want to be a good example for my sister, and my friends, and her friends, and all of you who read this space, and that means being an honest, open book.
That Weird Thing Called Grief |11/19/13
I wrote this after my grandfather died and it's really the first time I ever talked about my struggles with grief, and feelings, and my sister on Sarah Smile. 
White Jeans and Jesus | 4/28/16
  Y'all, I love this post. It makes me so happy because i get to talk about two of my favorite things: my faith and Myles. If you need a pick me up or just need some lovin', this one's for you. 

That's it for my favorites! It was SO fun getting to look back and read over some pretty old posts, and I hope you enjoyed them the second time around!
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Monday, May 25, 2015

Lessons The Fault in Our Stars Taught Me #TFIOS

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Oh, TFIOS. I finally caved (and actually had time to read) and I was not disappointed. For me, TFIOS did not reveal some existential life truth or totally change my views on life, love, death, etc., but it did teach me a lesson or two and I was really impressed with John Green's truthful, realistic yet not cynical, way of writing. 
In my life, I have witnessed a sort of tragic love story very similar to Gus and Hazel's relationship. And no, living it and being on the sideline are not the same thing, but watching people you love love someone who is sick, loving someone who is sick, and then all together with the people that you love having to watch them die is a terrible, awful thing. I could understand Hazel's view of not wanting to hurt those around her and wanting to minimize the damage but I could also "to my core" understand Gus, knowing it was worth anything to be able to experience all the goodness. 
I was worried to read it because I hate books that are overly cynical about death and dying and especially patients with terminal illnesses because I absolutely do not believe that they are always depressed and angry and hopeless. I know that they're not and I hate when they're painted that way, however, I also hate when they're painted as warriors who are so much stronger and more courageous than the average human being, because they're not. They are normal people who are dealing with it the only way they know how (albeit very bravely most times), and painting them in either light puts too much pressure on them to be a certain way when they have so much else to worry about. I would agree that dealing with death in any way, shape, or form is horrible, but there are lessons to be learned from it. There is something strangely beautiful about the way people change when they know their days are numbered, more so than yours or mine, I guess. 
I loved the idea of infinities being different sizes for different people and situations. In my life, my sister Mal met a guy named Aaron less than a year before she died and even though they didn't even get a full year together, that time changed both of them so much. For him, he'll be different for the rest of his life, and if that's not an infinity, an infinite experience, than I don't know what is. For me, I got 17 years with her and her creative, confident, strong, and hopeful presence and that changed me forever, and isn't that infinite? So the idea really clicked for me, and I think it's a much more hopeful, positive way of looking at sucky situations. 
I also loved the way that Gus stuck with Hazel, and Hazel with Gus, in the face of such scary, hard to deal with things. To me, that is so admirable in a person, the commitment no matter what, and I think that that has fallen away some in modern times. I will never forget Aaron telling Mal how proud he was of her in the last few moments and that moment, that gesture, is something I will always equate as the measure of really loving someone, sticking by them even when it doesn't necessarily benefit you or when it gets hard, staying even when you could walk away, and I really respected that in both their characters. 
Lastly, Hazel's view on everyone being obsessed with leaving their mark on the world, even if that mark is a scar, was really amazing to me. So often we do become fixated on making our lives mean something, anything, that all too often we forget to make sure that our mark is a good, albeit smaller one, rather than a large, ugly scar. That is a lesson I learned from Mal without even knowing I was learning it. She affected so many peoples' lives and taught people so many important things about life, and love, and being courageous in the face of adversity, and she did it so humbly and without fanfare, and I really respect that and am proud of that. There will be no monuments in their honor or biographies about her life and death, but the people who knew her were changed and made better by the sheer act of knowing her, and the people who witnessed her and Aaron got to see something really special, got to see what really loving someone looks like and how much it can change a person, and I think that is quite enough. More than most can hope for but something everyone should strive for, I should think. 

So thank you, John Green, for making things clear that I already knew and writing something so complicated and tricky so, so wonderfully. 

Have you read The Fault in Our Stars? What'd you think?
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Sunday, May 17, 2015

10 Things That Make Me Happy | Every Day in May

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Remember that time I said I'd blog every day in May and then completely neglected it for 2 weeks? Yeah, me neither. Today's prompt is : Ten things that make you really happy. So let's get on with it! In no particular order...

1// Music. 
My current happy song is "Sunday Kind of Love" by Etta James. I love lazy Sundays and love the idea of finding a love that makes you feel like Sunday all the time.
2// Sugar. 
Especially Coke, but also fruit loops, Reisens, cookies, cookie dough, cupcakes, etc. I just love sugar.
3// Traveling. 
I absolutely love everything about traveling. I love feeling like it's okay to get lost. I love the excitement of being somewhere new when everything becomes an adventure. There is just so much to see and do in the world and I want to do it all!
4// Crushes. 
I love crushes. I think they're fun and silly and even though my mom thinks they are a waste of time, I think it's fun being fascinated by someone (while it lasts). I love that feeling when you first meet someone and you just think that everything they do is the coolest you've ever seen and they just look adorable no matter what. I think if people remembered that feeling we'd have a lot less divorces.
5// Politics. 
The strategy. The manipulation. The competition. I love it all.
6// Open windows in the middle of summer. 
There is just something about natural light lighting everything up and hearing all the birds and animals all the time that I love.
7// The beach. 
I love the salty air and breeze that always is blowing off the water. My favorite place is Amelia Island, where we go every year, and I love the freedom of having no schedule and just doing whatever we feel like when we wake up! I wish I could wake up and ride my bike to Main Street for ice cream every day of the year.
It sounds silly, but it really is one of my favorite things. I try to surround myself with people that make me laugh, because I just love that feeling when your cheeks and stomach are sore from laughing and smiling so much. I tend to giggle about everything, but I really love when something just makes you belly laugh and you just can't stop. That's my favorite.
It really is the best meal of the day. You get sweet breakfasty foods mixed with salty lunch foods and you can still sleep late and enjoy it. What more could you want?
10// Family days. 
My absolute favorite times are when I have lunch at my grandmother's after church, with all my mom's side of the family, and then go to my dad's for dinner with all my step siblings. We have so much fun just catching up and I feel like I just laugh and laugh, especially at my dad's, and I always want to have that. I love big family get togethers and I hope that my sister and I will keep having them once we're older.

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Things That Make Me Uncomfortable

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Day 3: Things that make me uncomfortable...
1. Toes
Specifically boys' toes. I don't know why, they just weird me out. 
2. Feelings
Especially when people are crying hysterically or can't get themselves together, I get really uncomfortable. I'm just so not that way, I don't cry at sad movies, and even when I feel upset I don't react that strongly, so I never know how to handle that. 
3. Smushy foods
It's a texture thing. It just freaks me out and I can't eat anything that looks smushy, like most vegetables, oatmeal, and sometimes noodles.
4. People talking about money 
I think this one is pretty universal, but I just hate it.  Money is a personal thing and I've just never understood why people feel the need to talk about it, because 1. it's not going to impress me, and 2. on the list of things that matter in life, money is pretty low. 
5. Failure
I am not the best at empathizing with people. I hate when I fail at something, especially publicly, so I have no clue how to handle when someone else I care about fails. I feel embarrassed and just get all weird about it, when I probably should just be quiet and supportive. 
And that's it! There are probably more I can't think of, but those are the most prevalent. Have a good Sunday!
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Saturday, May 2, 2015


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So Day 2's prompt is "Educate us on something you know a lot about or are good at." I'm going tot take this day as a time to tell you that KATE MIDDLETON HAD A GIRL THIS MORNING! 
I clearly know a lot about the British royal fam and so it obviously fits. The bells at Westminster Abbey will play a special song on Monday at 2 pm, the Tower Bridge will be pink when it lights up tonight, and all mail sent today will have a special commemorative postmark! Ahh, to be in London right now!! I'll be spending my day stalking twitter and watching the "Royal Baby is born" feed on snap chat. Lol @studying. 
Have an awesome day!
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Friday, May 1, 2015

Life Story

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 Today marks the beginning of May, but also the beginning of my newest blog challenge. I've kind of neglected this space lately, both because I'm terribly busy with finals and life, but also because I've been feeling uninspired, and I really don't think Sarah Smile can handle another relationship post. 
This challenge consists of a prompt every day in May, thanks to Story of My Life, and so each day I'll be sharing little snippets about what that prompt means to me - sometimes serious, sometimes funny. Here goes!
Day 1: The story of your life in 250 words or less...
The story of my life is fairly simple. My name is Sarah Ashtyn Simmons, I am 20 years old, and I go to LSU studying poli sci - and loving it! I grew up in a small southern town running around barefoot and playing with all the many animals my sister's and I grew up with! I have two sisters, Mallory, who would be 27 this year, and Hannah, who is 18! Most of you who have been reading for a while know that illness is a big part of my life story, because my older sister had Cystic Fibrosis for her whole life and passed away a year and a half after a double lung transplant, two weeks before I left for LSU, and my little sister Hannah was going through leukemia treatment at St. Jude's at the same time. However, my life is also filled with many wonderful things, like finding what I'm passionate about (politics) at a very young age, being privileged enough to go to a school I love, having wonderful precious friends both in my sorority and out, and most of all, an amazing family who supports me through everything I do! I spend most of my days drinking TONS of coke, laughing about everything, pretending to study when I'm really blogging, and just trying to soak it all up. I'm obsessed with everything British - from boys to food to the Royal Family - and I'm constantly trying to grow in my faith and become a good leader, sister, friend, and daughter.
So that's Day 1 sorted! I'm sure I'll touch on lots of those things later in the month, but there's a condensed version of me for your reading pleasure. Have a great day and see y'all tomorrow!
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