WHAT THE FIRE LEFT

There are years in life that float by unnoticed, smooth sailing. There are others that are completely life altering, years on fire. I have been dancing in the fire for months. Changes like sparks on dry kindle. From the moment I saw Penelope's heartbeat on the ultrasound ... spark.

Some things in my life grew stronger in the fire. Or remained untouched. Others caught and warped, changed shape, some became ash. I felt mostly burned down last winter, I craved sleep like cold water. Last February I would tell myself that one fresh April morning I would wake up and realize I had lived. I don't know why April, it was far enough to be believable and close enough to keep me from giving up. To keep me from laying down in the ash.

It wasn't a green April morning that I finally woke up. It was a smokey week in late August. Deep in fire season. It was a hot red sun hanging overhead, and my baby turning one. My feet finally under me. My vision clearing.
A video posted by Sarah Mac Robinson (@thatsarahmac) on

A video posted by Sarah Marie (@oiselle_mac) on
My running stood the fire, a vision of myself from before, a phoenix to ride out on. To fly above the fire. Even when I ran broken down, it brought joy. Like a telephone line to an old friend. Like a bridge to the past and a push to the future.

I saw a glimpse of an old goal in September, I followed my heart to CIM. I ran my dream marathon. I ran from the ashes, I ran in cool perfect rain. I ran for me. And I earned a spot on the starting line I dreamed of since I was 16. It was a big clear win in a hard year.


Other things became clear in the miles I ran, in what the fire left. Someone asked me how I balance it all, and my answer was I don't. Balance is a myth. It's like trying to add up to 115%. Something's got to give. And if you don't say what it is, the fire years will decide for you.

This year (and a half) has brought the biggest changes of my life. Some are more bittersweet than others. After five years at Oiselle, some of the most vibrant, exhilarating, hard and important ones in my life, that chapter is closing. It's hard but ultimately it’s right.

How could I know that one Tweet five years ago would change my life? I walked into the dream factory with Sally and I never looked back. I believed and believe in the mission Oiselle is on. I believed right away. I'll never forget those early days packing web orders complete with handwritten notes, moving the site from Flash (yes, Flash), modeling, coding, directing shoots, writing and dreaming…the years are a blur of thrill and love. I remember sending out email after email asking people to run for our team. Nearly all responses were "no" and "who?”. Last week I watched, tears running down my face, as Oiselle pro-runner Kara Goucher thanked Oiselle for being what I knew it could be all those years ago. Something bigger than a definition.

I am honored to have been a part of Oiselle's story, and to continue to be part of it in different ways. I'll still be proudly running for Oiselle Haute Volée and potentially lending my voice to content and art direction in the future as a contractor. Oiselle is a brand I helped build and it's a community I believe in. It will always have an enormous piece of my heart and of my story.

As for that story, my story, there’s more to be written. Professionally, the ideal is to freelance in my areas of expertise and passion, including content strategy, digital marketing to continue to grow into opportunities in art direction. Personally, I want to be present in Penelope’s life. And I’ll be chasing fast times on the roads with Steph Bruce as my coach. I am loving the process of training and racing right now, I’m excited for what’s next.

And (most importantly) on social I'm now @thatsarahmac on Twitter and Instagram. Same me. Turns out my first name isn't Oiselle. Just plain old Sarah.


Ultimately years of fire are the hardest and they are the most important. They make us who we are. What the fire left is me. Intact. The parts that are most me. The things I will carry. The rest is ash not to mourn. My wings are out.

Comments

  1. So excited for you. More time with Penny, how wonderful for you all :)

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  2. So excited for you. More time with Penny, how wonderful for you all :)

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  3. Sad to hear that I won't be working with you anymore but excited for your future! You are an amazing young lady and I know that there are amazing adventures ahead for you! <3

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  4. It's funny I got my tax return and used a huge chunk of it for Oiselle merchandise because I'm just so inspired by the company and what it stands for. Having 4 daughter athletes it's just so inspiring. When I got my last couple boxes there was a card and a picture that you were on. That picture from CIM is all of us no matter what distance as we live our dream and reach our goals. Much love to you as a new mom. My 5 are my greatest gift.

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  5. It's funny I got my tax return and used a huge chunk of it for Oiselle merchandise because I'm just so inspired by the company and what it stands for. Having 4 daughter athletes it's just so inspiring. When I got my last couple boxes there was a card and a picture that you were on. That picture from CIM is all of us no matter what distance as we live our dream and reach our goals. Much love to you as a new mom. My 5 are my greatest gift.

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  6. Good luck in your future adventures Sarah. You'll excel at wherever life takes you.

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  7. Sarah,

    I just wanted to tell you that I read this morning's blog post with tears running down my face. When I decided not to go back to teaching full-time after Thea was born, I felt so many of the things you are now. I'm also trying to do the freelance (+ coaching my HS girls) thing and I am so happy I am. Some days are still crazy of course, but at the center of all my days is a bright light of joy in little Thea.

    I've loved following our nearly parallel motherhood journeys and your honesty. I hope you find time to keep writing and posting pictures of your sweet, spunky girl.

    Amanda

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  8. Ah, that is so awesome that you'll get to spend more time with P. I've followed Oiselle and you for several years and I can only imagine how tough it would be to leave something you helped build (even if you aren't leaving it 100%). But I also know that having a little one changes everything. I feel incredibly lucky and happy I get to spend my days with our little guy yet still find myself yearning for a career. I guess there's always a bit of "the grass is greener over there."

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  9. Get it lady! Gotta say I'm a big fan of working for myself, ha! So glad you will get more time with your little bug!! If you ever visit Burlington hit us up!

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  10. Wow. I've been running through fire too and you put it so beautifully--when sometimes it is ugly as hell and far from beautiful. I am so glad I have running to carry me though it. Thank you for sharing and telling it so beautifully.

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  11. I had tears reading this; it was so raw and genuine. Reading your story and seeing your emotional finish picture from CIM really found a way into my heart. I was at the Olympic marathon trials and I feel truly blessed to have been able to cheer for you and see you run. You are such an inspiration, can't wait to see what you do next!

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  12. Very well written. I wanted to meet you the year we were in Bend at camp, but you were busy having Miss P. I can't wait to hear about all the things that you are going to completely kick butt in!!! :)

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  13. Spending more time with your daughter is a great choice, although I'm sure it was a hard one to make. I know Oiselle will miss you but it sounds like you'll still be a big part of the brand. Good luck with everything and I'll still be following right along!

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  14. Thank you for writing this. Thank you for being so honest. I'm stepping into my own fire, and I needed to hear that part of me, the most important parts of me, are going to come out the other side.

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  15. Sarah, this is just so beautiful. I have that CIM picture as part of a collage of running photos on my office computer, to remind me of what I love and why I love it, to bring back the spark. I've been in love with Oiselle since having a revelatory shorts experience in the dressing room at Portland Running Company in 2007 (I ran my first marathon in those shorts 6 months later!) and it's been such a joy watching all these things BECOME. It's hard to imagine the company without your face, but what exciting times for you! The team loves you and wishes you well, glad to know you'll still be out flying in the singlet :)

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  16. Oh Mac...you will never be "plain old" anything. Thank you for sharing your journey with the Oiselle community - I have no doubt you will continue to inspire as you forge a new path. ❤️

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  17. Awww, what bittersweet news to hear! You will always be tangled in my ideas of what Oiselle was/is/will become and I will forever think of you as Sally's muse! I feel confident that your next adventure will be just as grand as your contributions to Oiselle. You will be greatly missed, but luckily not gone. Big hugs to you Sarah!

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  18. Thank you for this. I have followed your journey through social media for a while now. I have admired you courageous spirit, dedication to excellence, transparency and your ability to fly (both figuratively and literally of course :-)) I admire you now even more for choosing what matters most. I doubt you will look back at the tapestry of your life and ever regret choosing to be more present with your precious girl. We are often pulled in so many different directions in life. The older I get the more I realize there is no perfect situation, more just choosing not necessarily the lesser of two evils but more the better of two goods. I think in choosing your daughter you are choosing the best. I look forward to watching you continue to soar as you embark of this new adventure, thanks again.

    -Hannah

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