Last month, a feature-length article about military sexual violence was published by Italian Vanity Fair.  My story was one of three described in the piece.  I still haven’t seen the translation, so I’m not sure what exactly is detailed on the pages, but the journalist seemed genuine in her desire to tell stories like mine because of her belief that it would help others, so I assume it is a well-written, accurate article.

Sunday morning I received the following email:

Good Afternoon Miss Sarah, I am Luca, and I write from the North of Italy (Europe). I have just read an article on an international review, and I found your interview. I have been so afraid for what happened to you about the retirement from Iraq, that I wanted to express my little substain to you. Luckyly, on the net, I found those great things you have made after that experience. So, what I wanted to say…is just…never give up! And you are making great things. My solidariety to you. Pardon for disturbing you in this contact. Best regards. Luca

I’ll admit that I needed that yesterday.  I’ll admit that I’ve gradually “lost” the yoga bliss I brought back from Costa Rica with me.  I’ll admit that I’ve been feeling insecure and anxious for the last month.  I think it would be dishonest to portray things otherwise.  When I read other peoples’ blogs and read other authors’ advice and it’s all cheery all the time, that’s great, (I prefer that over those who complain incessantly) but then when I feel like crap, I wonder, “Am I the only one?”  I know that I’m not, but as much as I am a positive person most of the time, I have my down days, too.  I struggle with my family, with a sense of self-worth, with my physical pain, and with feeling overwhelmed by all that I’m not doing sometimes.  I know better than to let myself slide down that slippery slope of self-pity, although sometimes it seems to just happen no matter what I do to healthfully fend if off.  I’m grateful that I have reminders to stick it out through those tough days and support close at hand, though.  My three-legged dog, Bailey, and my wonderful boyfriend, Pete, are two of the best daily reminders to keep pushing through whatever physical limitation or self-doubt I may be grappling with.

This weekend was a good one for me.  I started to turn the tide back in a positive direction once more.  I dedicated my time Saturday to researching literary agents and working on my book proposal.  I self-published a very short ebook on Friday – temporarily very excited about that fact –  then realized there were major formatting problems (it basically came out like a PDF), and decided to can the whole thing and start from scratch.  It was a blessing in disguise because I ended up shifting my whole plan of attack.  I remembered that my true goal was to get my first book published by a publisher.  So, in the spirit of staying true to your real you I pulled out my book proposal outline, began working on it, researched literary agents, and finally told myself again “You can do this.  You really can.” And I actually believed it.

Another thing that has helped is that I’ve begun really running again.  Running recharges my system and reinvigorates my mind.  I forgot how much running helps me think, how it gets my creative juices flowing, and I’ve missed it on a spiritual, emotional, and physical level.  Yoga is still a daily part of my life, as well, and helps center me when calming the F down is what I need! 😉 But running is in my blood, and I need it, too.

Then on Sunday, I wrote for a little while, took Bailey to his second formal training session (and he did great!), got some fresh groceries, made wonderful lunch with Pete, then taught two yoga classes at Feel it Burn.  I taught the Restorative Yoga class outside and wow, what a treat!  The students were a delight, the weather was perfect, and it was the perfect way to cap off the weekend.

But alas, Monday morning has reared its ugly head again.  Do you need a little motivation today?  Does someone in your life need a boost?  Does a stranger need a smile?  Can you pay it forward and buy the coffee for the person behind you in line?  What little thing can you do today to brighten someone’s day?  Perhaps you can stop and think this Monday morning if there is someone in your life – friend, family, or stranger – you want to tell “Never give up.”  Don’t just think about it; tell them.   You never know what a difference it may make in their day, let alone their life.  One simple seed of encouragement may grow into a tree of self-confidence.

Blessings today to all of you readers, friends, and strangers 😉

PS. I wrote Luca a short response and here was his.  🙂

“Thank you very much for your answer, Sarah!

I appreciate it so much! You are really a positive lady!
I live in the North part of Italy, in a city of 200.000 inhabitants called Brescia. It is 90 kilometres in the east of the most famous Milan.
It is really nice to discover that you visited my country!! And you have great words for Italy!
Tuscany, Rome and Venice are wonderful places. They all have something magic.
In Tuscany you can dream about nature and peace; in Rome you find great history; in Venice you find marvellous little streets where to walk. And…when spring comes…their colours conquist the visitors’eyes.
I think that these images can always help our souls to get peace, and hope.
Sometimes we need to stop for a moment, and to live in contemplation.
I confess I am really happy that you saw my contry, and its beauty.
Your eyes can be surprised once more from the beauty of life and nature, Sarah.
Still, I thank you for you answer, and for writting me.
It is my honour.
Best Regards.”