Back to December


I know, I know. I said I was coming back and then I didn’t come back. Don’t worry. I’m about to explain.

If you’re not a fan of my intensely personal and uncomfortably philosophical (ie full of daft sh*te) musings you’d best look away. However, if you’re brave enough, you’re more than welcome to stay.

When last we spoke, dear readers, I had no idea that I was still in the midst of a tornado that would bring me to where I am today. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so high and so low in the space of such a short time and it came as an absolute bolt from the blue.

It was a GOOD bolt though because it made me realise one very important thing. You only get one life and there’s no point being bloody miserable for the duration of it.

Looking back at my 18 year old self I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell happened? When did Sarah ‘force of nature’ Doran alias Dora and the artist formerly known as Red become a wilting flower? When did she cease to be the confident, bubbly, creative, fulfilled and crafty young monster that Pobalscoil Neasáin helped pull from the ashes of a bullying firestorm?

Opinion: When you beat a bully nobody wins

And then it hit me.

When she stopped doing what made her happy and started worrying about everyone else instead. When she stopped putting her feelings, her needs and her wishes up there with those of the people around her.

When she settled for second best in life.

There’s a fine line between arrogance and self esteem and it’s one I’ve been so worried about crossing that I’ve spent years beating myself over the head with a stick. “You’re pretty, but not conventionally pretty”, I was told once. Instead of slapping the idiot square in the face I sat there and believed every single word.

“You’ll never have kids with that anxiety of yours” came next. Did I explode and call it for the nonsense that it was? Did I, the girl who at 22 had walked straight out of college and into the job she’d always dreamed of, the girl who took risks and fought SO hard for the people she really cared about, have the balls to shout bulls*it ala How To Lose A Guy in Ten Days?

No. I stood there and took it because I was too scared to actually find out what it might be like to be happy.

Happy means having something to lose you see, and when you’ve something to lose you’ve everything to fear. And fear, that old boggart in the wardrobe that I call my life’s partner, is the greatest enemy of them all.

Anxiety & Me: World Mental Health Day

Ultimately, the choice to make a leap was taken from me in early December (that’s what this was all about) and rightly so. It was the right thing to do and if I wasn’t brave enough to make the call someone had to be.

A lot of the time that grass isn’t greener on the other side but y’know, every once in a while it REALLY is.

Something completely unexpected happens and you understand why some things need to fall apart.

“People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime” a woman far wiser than I told me recently and, in a completely non-Twish*tey way, I really do believe it.

All it took was coming across someone who I could be more open and honest with than anyone else, for no apparent reason, to make me realise that.

Was what happened bizarre? Beautiful? Or completely bloody bonkers? I don’t really care to be honest. It felt nice to feel nice with someone else who felt nice. At least I hope that’s what was happening and I’m not just a massive fool.

When the conversations stopped the world didn’t end. It was never going to but honestly, the days felt just a tad less bright. I’m finding it tougher to shake off than I ever thought I would

It’s like a little piece of Lego, lost in the bottom of the box. I can build without it, hell I might even find another piece that fits just as well or a whole lot better, but there’s just something about that brick. No matter how much you try to forget about it you just can’t. You’re not even sure you want to.

In the end though, you just have to accept that it doesn’t want to be found. And that’s perfectly OK. Ridiculously frustrating, but OK.

Anyway, the brick’s the one missing the rare opportunity with a very special Master Builder.

I spent the best part of a day telling myself the strange feeling of sadness came because I wasn’t really ready for what transpired. The truth is though, the sadness came because I actually really was. I just said I wasn’t because I wanted to make it OK for everyone but me.

It’s MAD, Ted, but I’ll never ever regret taking chances. In fact I’ll probably take more of them because God knows I really am worth it. I’m worth every single terrifying leap.


Speaking of which, throughout November and December I took a MASSIVE risk and entered an open audition process for another of my dream jobs. By some mad twist of fate (and of course, talent, hard work and sheer determination) I ended up among the final 12 would-be new children’s TV faces of the Irish national broadcaster, RTÉ. I didn’t get the job in the end, for various reasons, but to know I’d made the last 6 girls from over 600 applicants on my first attempt was incredible.

Needless to say that’s not how I felt when the rejection email came in. The tears flowed until I stemmed them with a gingerbread latté and many things I shouldn’t have bought. It was a bit like the Leaving Cert results all over again.

Life beyond the Leaving Cert: So you didn’t get 600 points

“What’s for you won’t pass you”, another very wise mother of a dear friend maintains and I’m also inclined to agree. Though I do believe there’s some merit in making the effort for those rare things and those select few people you have an inexplicable sense of faith in.

So, what does all this mumbo jumbo, this heart spilled on to a page nonsense mean? Well, it means that Dora’s getting her groove back. From here on in, the child who thought she could be Dark Phoenix is back in book, TV, movie and Sci Fi business basically.

To paraphrase the great Julie Andrews in one of her most famous roles, I, Sarah Kate Doran, am practically imperfect in every way.

I’m not like any other girl I know. I have mad notions. I also have zero interest in Girls or Lena Dunham or Sex and The City. There’s nothing wrong with them, or people who do, I just don’t get it.

I do not understand the “rules” some women have when it comes to men. And no, I don’t want to swipe in any direction on Tinder because I only go on dates with people who have the balls to have a conversation with me and get to know me, face to face. “Get me” and you ‘get me’, if you’re able for me that is. I won’t be (overly) offended or (that) upset if you’re not.

I don’t have the time or the patience for games and pointless drama. I call a spade a spade and if I dig a MASSIVE hole for myself doing it, well, so be bloody it.

Fact is, I don’t need someone else to complete me anyway. That’s not living. And it’s why I don’t hand my heart over lightly or often.

I let that same heart rule my head though, and I’m perfectly ok with that because when it comes down to it, I get things done and I survive. There is nothing I cannot do, as long as it’s legal mind you, and I’ve spent far too long worrying about what’s right and wrong for other people.

Opinion: Picture Perfect

Trying to be something you’re not is pointless because you’ll just catch yourself out in the end.

Stop worrying. Stop waiting. It’s NOT your fault. NOBODY can blame you, nor should they EVER make you feel guilty for wanting to be truly happy. You can’t be happy for someone else. You can’t sacrifice your own happiness for someone else.

You can only be happy for yourself.

And you certainly can’t get to that point when you’re trying to do the Kessel Run in less than 12 par secs in anything other than the Millennium Falcon.

It’s only when you face your fear head on that you can see what’s standing right there in front of you and know that you can take a chance and go for it, without hesitation.

Life is FAR too short to worry about whether things are clearly wrong or clearly right.

It’s the opportunities and yes, even the everyday people who make each day just that little bit brighter just by being themselves, for however long, that are worth the tears, facing your fears and the fight.


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