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My Week in Letters.

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ve known even if I don’t post consistently throughout the week, you can always count on my Monday post, 7 for seven. Every now and then I digress, make light of things, and lean away from Internet-vulnerability in transitional times when I need to hold my cards a little closer to my chest and I post #TheStruggleisReal. I’ve decided after a challenging week to forgive myself more and to allow myself to live more flexibly, so I’ll post whatever I damn well feel like posting every Monday — this is my blog, after-all; I just don’t want any of my readers leaving me — don’t leave me!!! I miss diverging without apologies. This week was one of those weeks that reminded me how important balance is, and if I don’t seek it, the lack thereof will come pouring out of my eye sockets on a Friday evening when I’ve set down my bags, collapsed on the patio, and the dust around me settles. Oops.

This week I spent too many late nights working, stressing over new projects, trying to balance the people I want in my life that I don’t seem to have time for anymore, feeling a sense of loss for the people who left my life for reasons unbeknownst to me, understanding why more than a few people from my past have come out of the woodwork in one week making me feel like I’m living an episode of The Twilight Zone, and unrelenting fellows not willing to take no for an answer — I’ll never understand that, but my sensitive heart has a more difficult time handling it than most people. I’m ridiculous; I’m fully aware. Saying “no” to people and things I don’t want should be easier. I’m working on this.

Nevertheless, I am grateful for not one, not two, but three {my favorite number} serendipitous new people in my life this week that came in the form of letters. Life is sweet like that — just when we need them, and they’ll never know just how meaningful their timing and words have been.

  1. The first letter was validating for both me and her. I’ll be vague, more for her, but I will say that sometimes shitty experiences that happen because of the same flawed human (yes, aren’t we all in some way), bring good, like-minded people together for a reason. I’ve said this countless times on this blog, but I’ll continue to say it again — if you have an urge to reach out to someone, do it. It’s the universe speaking to you about how interconnected we are, and how everyone wants to be understood. It’s the greatest feeling. I’m sorry unfortunate things happen to good people, but when we dig deep enough, there’s something better on the other end waiting for us.
  2. The second was a woman responding to this linked post about an incident in my college years:

“‘When we share our stories, we free others of shame and of the fear of coming forward. We create important shifts in thinking for present and future generations — Please keep the dialogue going and remain open to allowing it to make actual change in you and others — even if you can’t immediately relate, we are interconnected in unfathomable ways.’ This statement is amazing. I was raped nearly a decade ago and I just last night finally had the courage to share. I thought I was fine, I thought I had “dealt with it” until I heard about the Stanford rape case. I read her letter and was struck to my core and didn’t have the courage to address what actually happened to me until last night when I decided to write about it and share it with all who cared to read. There I found freedom. I am not alone in this. I am not to blame and it is encouraging to read how other people cope and grow as a result of something so horrific. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for encouraging me.”

NO, THANK YOU, BRAVE, BEAUTIFUL SOUL. It’s so important to tell our stories and reach out more (see, I already said it again), as you just never know who it affects and how we can learn from one another’s experiences. Sometimes, they are silent, and sometimes, they come forward, but they’re always there.

Only the like-minded share photographs of their same pink sky and same tiny moon when miles apart.

Only the like-minded share photographs of their same pink sky and their same tiny moon when miles apart.

3. And finally, the third — not so much a stranger from the Internet, and not someone I met just this week, but a new friend none-the-less, and a musician away on tour. I’m not sure how he would feel about me posting our correspondence on my blog, but I’m just going to post my last letter to him because it makes me smile knowing I can lean into and feel understood by another human being on a level that’s authentic to a side of myself I’ve forgotten about far too frequently:

Good Morning [INSERT LASTNAME THAT WILL REMAIN A SECRET] (your last name sounds like a term-of-endearment),

I like that I’m your travel companion from afar — hopefully I kept you warm last night. I was in the calm, blue flames and woven into the threads of your blanket.

I woke up at seven because a bitter cicada stuck in the wall told me it was time, but mostly, I wake up with the sun and ignore bossy insects. All houses should face the east, as long as there is still an evening view of the pink sky on the west. The deer are greeting me again this morning — I think it’s mating season, and a stray cat just pranced up on the deck like she owned the place. Standing up tall was enough to intimidate her off the deck (I’m not a cat person — have I told you this?).

My migraine is still lingering, but not so much so that a little coffee, fresh air, and new sun on my back can’t fix it. Are you a coffee drinker? Sometimes I feel like if heaven exists, it would surely present itself on the inside of my coffee cup. I get migraines only from time to time, and regardless of the instigator, I take it as a reminder that balance is the key to good health and happiness. I lost sight of that just enough this week, but reminders come quickly when you are aware that your body and the universe lend important feedback.

Thank you for sharing your time in Salt Lake City. You described it so well that it felt like a memory I displaced. I’m glad you got to spend some quality time with your friend in-between your long miles on the road.

I also enjoyed your Mojave sketch — you bring out my creative side that I too often bury as an adult who allows the burden of 9 to 5 (7-9 if I’m honest instead of borrowing clichés) to bury it. I might be wrong, but you seem to share the same romantic view of the world that I do. It’s not that I’m unrealistic, but I choose to focus my lens on what’s beautiful because life is so much better like this. I feel sorry for the people who don’t tap into their capacity to see it that way.

I’ll write a quick sketch for you now. While love, death and solitude, and the solace found in each are common themes in your writings, finding solace in vulnerability is often mine — I don’t think the manifestation of those themes look much different from each other — they are often one in the same.

I’m thankful for the sun
that baked the earth into my hair
where chemical perfumes
worked tirelessly alone, next to the miners of gold. These roots should
rest gently on my head as though they want to be no other place but
bound by the natural hold of their mother.
Instead they penetrated further — unlike a tree giving into the soil,
letting go of its want to only reach upward and away,
forgetting to ground itself in what birthed it to thrive
in the first place.

Safe travels on the second-to-last leg of your journey!

-LAW

And safe travels to you, reader, as you navigate this week. Until next Monday.

-Lauren


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7 for seven

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*NOTE: I wasn’t planning on bringing back my 7 for Seven today. When I took a break from my vulnerability hangovers, a symptom of revealing some of the more intimate moments of my life to “strangers,” I knew I would bring it back again someday, but I had no plan in mind for when that should happen. There are several reasons why it just felt right when I woke up this morning: 1. My lamest reason — I was underprepared for this week’s #TheStruggleIsReal post. School started back this week, and I slacked from paying attention to my too often comical woe-is-me moments (well, hindsight is 20/20). 2. Life is a little bit hectic again. I want to pay more attention to all I have to be grateful for — I have so much. 3. I want to live my life with less limitations, and one of them is my fear that creeps in time and time again and that keeps me from allowing myself to feel vulnerable in my honesty — open to others seeing my failures, as when things go up, they have a longer way to fall. 4. I turned thirty-four yesterday. I’m not getting any younger, and I prefer my life as a 10, even if I burst open to reveal the inside of a wet, popped balloon, void of air at a -1. I’m not as frequently an even 5, and I’m okay with that… starting today.

Let’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why, every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what we have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.

1st day of school

1st day of school

1. Welcome Back. After a restful summer, where I quickly wrapped myself up in a warm-blanketed routine of waking up slowly, enjoying a coffee on my balcony (my morning meditation), working out for an hour, swimming, writing, and going on a cathartic night walk with my ear buds on blast, this week back at work confused my stress-free body. This teach. was. tired. On the first Friday of the new school year, my body gave out before 9 PM. However, once back into the swing of things, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my job and everything that comes with it. I’m so happy to be back.

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2. Creating an Experience. This year, my biggest growth goal as a teacher is to make each school day more about creating a positive, uplifting, and memorable experience for my students. I want my students to walk away from my class every day feeling a little bit more confident and fulfilled. I know it’s a lofty goal, and I’ll probably fail at it more often than not, but I’m hell bent on it. My coworkers inspire me to do better, and my students deserve it. This year, the 7th grade team held our “boot camp” again that I created last year to bond with our students and show them that their team of teachers are on the same page as far as rules and procedures as well as being there for their success. It went really well, and the buzz in the hallway among the staff and the students made me proud of the school where I work. The next day, my students experienced a CSI: Character Study Investigation, as I played the CSI theme song as they entered the classroom, dressed up in my protective crime scene gear and greeted them at the door. Today, students danced to the Whip/Nae Nae song as they entered the room and learned a verb song and dance. I’m having a blast stepping outside of my box, and I am hopeful that my students are, too.

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3. Fbook Posts.  Yesterday was my birthday, and I know I am not alone in getting Facebook messages on my birthday from friends and people who I haven’t heard from in a while alike, but it never fails to make me blush. I felt so loved. Though I have to say, my sister’s post (who shares her birthday with me) takes the cake (yep, pun intended). She posted these two gems in my feed from our dance recital days.

Photo by Andy Davidhazy

Photo by Andy Davidhazy

4. Saturday Night.  The night before my birthday, I was happy to spend time with some of my good friends at a small brewery in Austin. It was put together last-minute, so I didn’t get to enjoy it with all of my friends, but I am so grateful for those that showed up and spent time with me. I feel pretty lucky to have such good people in my life that genuinely care about me.

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5. Birthday.  One could say a thirty-fourth birthday would be a pretty anti-climatic one, but after yesterday, I could refute it. I shared my day with a friend who “gets me” and nurtured the side of me that both resists and craves a little bit of healthy fear in my life — and realizes that when pushed to do things that may be out of my comfort zone, they ultimately make me feel more alive.

6. Wombmate Time.  After a full and active day, my sister and her husband invited me over for cake. I couldn’t think of a better way to end my birthday than with someone who entered this world with me.

7. Epiphany.  “I prefer my life as a 10, even if I burst open to reveal the inside of a wet, popped balloon, void of air at a -1. I’m not as frequently an even 5, and I’m okay with that.” My twin sister is launching a Kickstarter project soon for a dress line she designed and modeled after all of the positive female figures in her life. In her description of the dress she designed after me, she said I was “petite, feminine, and fiery as hell” — exclamation point. I wasn’t entirely sure what my sister had meant by that, so I put my sister on the spot and asked her to tell me her intention behind that statement. To a little bit of my surprise, she told me that I wasn’t often calm. Considering the fact that calm is a desirable way to feel, I couldn’t help but feel a bit deflated after my sister’s response. My parents are almost completely opposite as far as their demeanors go. My dad is often the calm one, and while my mother is the most nurturing woman I know, she is, well, fiery. I hope my mother doesn’t take this the wrong way, but for some reason, I’ve always hoped for people to see my dad’s calm demeanor in me more often than my mother’s passionate, fiery side. Upon reflection though, it’s not because I admired my mother’s qualities any less. Instead, it was probably because I see more of myself in her, and it’s about time that I accept all of me, and cherish that part of who I am, because it’s NOT a bad thing — it’s just different. I may not always have an even demeanor, but when I feel, I will feel everything more, and you will get to share in that when it’s really damn good. And trust me, it’s really damn good.

I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss!  Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!

Have a wonderful week!

xo,

Lauren