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7 for seven

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’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 I 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.

1. Spring DreamingBetween opening up shop, SXSWin’ (new festival verb), and doing the opposite of adjusting to the loss of one hour during my spring break, I am exhausted — reason one for the second late post in last two weeks. Whoops.

Despite the fresh bags under my eyes, I started the break off in such a great way, but I’m keeping it a secret — for now. I’ll explain later! Wink. Wink.

2. Get Out. I know a movie is good in my book when I cannot get it out of my mind (see what I did there?). I really couldn’t though. This movie was smart, intense, profound, littered with metaphor and nuances, and highly entertaining. Plus, I got in free this week, as The Alamo’s (Austin movie theatre) annual spring break treat to teachers. Score. Go see it!


3. Web-Shop Opening.  It was an exciting and busy week for Patrick and I, as we launched our web-shop, http://www.timberandbrass.com. We were up late and up again early in the morning the day of the launch. I am so thankful to my family and friends who have been so supportive during the opening. Patrick and I feel really lucky to have such supportive, kind, generous people in our lives. We feel the love and the whole-hearted well wishes; they have warmed our hearts!


4. My Baby’s Bday.  On the day of the web-launch, Patrick and I had yet another thing to celebrate — his birthday. We started the day by getting Patrick’s favorite breakfast — tacos and bloody marys. Afterwards, we did a bit of spending with some birthday gift-cards he got, and then headed back to get ready for the evening. We met up with his aunt and uncle who were in town, as well as his cousin, for dinner and drinks at a pizzeria. I loved his family right away, as they reminded me so much of my own. They were fun, sweet, and emotional (yep, just like mine!). At one point, after telling stories about when Patrick and I met and them telling me about the family learning about me, the entire table teared up. I’ve never felt so loved by people who barely knew me, and it felt so much like home. We ended the night with Patrick playing his first SXSW show at this cute outdoor bar. His family and I sat around, shaking maracas along with the music, and then shared a big birthday cake with him when he was done. It was a great day and evening. One for the books!


5. SXSW X2. Patrick and another band played a different show Saturday, and my sister and her husband finally got to come watch him play. I was so happy to be surrounded by his family and mine, as I proudly watched this talented man.

6. Love.  Patrick and I spent a lazy night after feeling beat when SXSW was coming to a close, watching one of our favorite Netflix shows together and eating greasy burgers and fries. Sometimes, it’s the simple nights that bring so much joy.

7. Backyard Bar  & BBQ.  Sunday, Patrick and I woke up late, made breakfast, and then headed to watch a friend’s boyfriend play in his band in the same bar Patrick and I met (we even sat in the same spot). Afterwards, Patrick and I went to his cousin’s house where her parent’s grilled out and cooked for us, her roommates, and her friends. It was a motley crew of sorts, but not one of them lacked an appreciation for the food and the company — what a pleasant group of people and a pleasant end to a spring break.

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


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7 for seven

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’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 I 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.

1. Shopping with the MommaMy parents were in town this week and stayed with me throughout the Thanksgiving holiday, and it was so nice to have them around. On Monday, my mother and I went out to brave the busy grocery store together, and we dropped off a car full of donation bags to Goodwill on the way there. It was a relief to have the company along with me to do the things I often dread doing (not the donating part — but that never stops me from driving months with the same darn donation bags in the trunk of my car — whoops). Grocery shopping was made a lot easier with company, though, we had to laugh at the two of us combined, as we are both self-proclaimed terrible grocery shoppers. Our route through the store resembled that of a quickly deflating balloon, BUT we got it done!

2. He’s Back!! After his music tour and work travel, and what felt way too long, my soulmate is back in Austin. Even better — he surprised me by showing up a couple of hours earlier than expected. I brought him a homemade meal after his long drive back, and we enjoyed knowing that our time together would not be cut short for a while before he is off again on another adventure. My cheeks hurt that night from smiling so much.

3. Meeting the Family.  With my family and my boyfriend in town at the same time, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for them to meet. Typically, I feel a bit hesitant introducing someone new to them, as at the age of thirty-five, they have met their fair share of duds (as well as good guys who didn’t work out) ((my poor parents)). However, there was no hesitation here. There is no fear here when I say, he is the man I’ve been waiting my entire life to meet. And the love feels incredibly mutual — there’s no greater feeling. Okay, I’ll stop gushing for a bit to tell the rest. He met my family, even though they were busy preparing for Thanksgiving, and of course, it went smoothly (wasn’t expecting anything less). He fit right in and warmed the house with his genuine smile and demeanor. I’m so proud of him, and I cannot wait for my family and friends to continue getting to know how amazing this man is and how good he is to me (and all the people in his life). I’ve never met another man who is more compatible with me than him and who makes me look at him the way I do. I am in aw of him. Okay, I’ll stop. For now. 🙂

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4. Thanksgiving.  In a room fuller than even four sometimes, I tend to take a backseat. I’m not a person who talks freely about my life or feels that people are interested enough to give them details, so events like this often overwhelm me, though it doesn’t take away from how happy I am to see my family each time. It was nice to mix things up a bit this year with relatives on each side of my family — ones that tell wild stories, make me laugh till I’m near tears, and ones that warm my heart with their love and wisdom. I’m lucky to have been surrounded by so many amazing people who happen to be family.

5. Meeting the Family Part Deux.  This week turned out to be the perfect week for both my soulmate and I to meet the respective families. The day after Thanksgiving, I met the mother of my soulmate (we decided this is a much truer term-of-endearment than boyfriend/girlfriend, which is not dissimilar enough from “going steady” or other seemingly archaic terms from our youth). She was in town as well to have Thanksgiving with her son and niece. It’s not hard to see how he turned out so well. She came across as a strong, independent, smart, and loving woman, and I am so grateful that he was raised by a woman of her caliber. I told him, not too long after I met him, that I couldn’t wait to hug his mother for doing such a great job of raising him — truly. Luckily, he is my same brand of weird and didn’t think this comment was strange at all — and told his mother almost immediately after. 😉 Ha!

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6. It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas! The next day, my soulmate’s mother made four different kinds of cookies, while we sat around, talked, drank some whiskey, and did a terrible job of decorating those cookies. Luckily, she didn’t seem to mind too much. In fact, I enjoyed watching how much joy it seemed to bring her to bake for her son. It was quite precious. We finished  the night by watching A Christmas Story — and it is officially the season. Yaaaaasss.

 

7. Sunday Lunch.  Sunday, the soulmate took his mother, and cute-as-a-button cousin out to lunch to say farewell. We devoured a pizza and a pitcher of beer. It felt so good to spend time with them, and I look forward to getting to know them even better over time. They are good people. Oh my, am I lucky?! I must have done something right.

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


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#TheStruggleIsReal

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I’m taking a break from my 7 for seven posts for a while after some recent changes, as I always desire just a little more privacy in the transitional stages. I thought it would be fun to do a throwback of when I use to do my #TheStruggleIsReal posts, as I navigate this new phase of my life.

Just as I aimed to ease the Monday blues with my 7 for seven, I aim once again. Though this time, I need a good laugh — at my expense, because if I don’t do that every once in a while, I risk taking myself too seriously. Upon announcing to my roommate one morning before work, “I had to talk myself into washing my hair this morning in the shower to avoid it looking greasy, but now I can’t talk myself into drying it, so now it just looks greasy anyway!”, her dead-pan response to me was, “The struggle is real.” That seems to be her go-to response to me quite often, and it’s since become my inner-mantra whenever I need to just stop, step outside of myself, and laugh at myself and my “problems.”
Last week’s “struggles”:
1. “My hair is too long.”

2. “I made it to work after that torrential downpour and want to know where my ‘I survived the drive to work on August 22, 2016’ shirt is.”

3. “Come on, we need a picture of our last day before we start work again to commemorate the day — or is it to commiserate?”

4. “I’m fairly certain everyone was asleep during my presentation; I was jealous.”

5. “I can’t. I’m at work on a Saturday. I know how to live.”

6. “Have a cold one for me. I’m outta beer, and the store is too far.”

7. “I can’t. I’m at work on a Sunday. I know how to live.”

8. “My arms were sweating [during hot yoga]. I didn’t even know arms could sweat.”

9. “Sorry, I just left butt-sweat on your chair. Let me clean that up.”

10. “I really have no idea why you haven’t pretended your phone died yet. It would be really easy for you to just end this conversation with me.”

Have a great Monday! Whether you work in education and are greeting students back to school today or shuffling off your kiddo to school, have a wonderful, new school year! Share your laughs with me!

xo,
Lauren


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#TheStruggleIsReal


I’m taking a break from my 7 for seven posts for a while (at least this week) after some recent changes, as I always desire just a little more privacy in transitional stages of my life. I thought it would be fun to do a throwback of when I use to do my #TheStruggleIsReal posts, as I navigate this new phase of my life and meet new people. As I wish for them to meet me more organically, rather than finding out too-personal things on my blog, this type of post allows me more ambiguity in the little details. Some of these things I may or may not have said on a date, and some of them you will be hoping to GOD I didn’t say these on a date (to which I most likely did…). Here goes.

Old Intro:

Just as I aimed to ease the Monday blues with my 7 for seven, I aim once again. Though this time, I need a good laugh — at my expense, because if I don’t do that every once in a while, I risk taking myself too seriously.
Upon announcing to my roommate one morning before work, “I had to talk myself into washing my hair this morning in the shower to avoid it looking greasy, but now I can’t talk myself into drying it, so now it just looks greasy anyway!”, her dead-pan response to me was, “The struggle is real.” That seems to be her go-to response to me quite often, and it’s since become my inner-mantra whenever I need to just stop, step outside of myself, and laugh at myself and my “problems.”  
Last week’s “struggles”:
1. “I just reported an actual penis on [dating website]. It’s official, online dating is amazing.”

2. “Instead of being the type of person who knows the right people to get the password to get into a speakeasy, I’m the type of person that just sneaks in behind someone. See?”

3. “Something that defines me as being a ‘lame old person’? Hmm. I once use to find excuses for not going out on a Friday night so I could stay in to watch Ghost Adventures. Zach, the host, is amazing. He’s the type of guy who will faux-hawk forever, dons Affliction shirts, and always skips leg day. I only wish I were as disproportionately confident as he is.”

4. “I have to be an actual adult again tomorrow. Ugh.”

5. “I resurrected you today [from the lake] and almost your phone (but I still think there’s hope!); I think that’s a win.”

6. “Pierce Brosnan was filming outside the Firehouse Lounge last night while I just stared blankly at him. Thought it was just a lame car commercial with some no-name. I had no clue it was him until I walked away. Missed my chance! He totally would have fallen for me!”

7. “Hmm, my celebrity crush is Cary Grant. Yeah, you’re right, he is dead, but this suits my similar unrealistic expectations in the real world, and I’m all about consistency.”

8. “I need to convince my parents to get that boat with the slide and grill on top. Easily done. It’d be so frat of us.”

9. “I’m going to ask him if I can borrow his unicorn [floaty]. …I’ve got to be careful how I phrase that.”

10. “Someone on [dating website] told me I was getting kind of old, and he needed to speed up the process because he assumed I probably wanted to start a family. Don’t know if I should be more offended by the implication that my eggs are growing old and stale or that he propositioned himself to give me a baby before asking me out on a date.”

11. “I hardly ever get angry, unless I’m in traffic. I spend most of the time muttering, ‘The left lane is for passing only. Passing only!,’ on repeat. It’s a waste of breathe, really, but it feels so dang good.”
Happy Monday! I hope you have a great week. Share your laughs with me!

xo, 


Lauren


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7 for seven

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’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 I 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.

After last week’s vulnerability hangover, I’m choosing to be short, sweet, and vague this week because it feels just about right for now.

  1. Starting Over. After experiencing heart-break, the idea of having to start over yet again is one of the exhausting truths that hits almost immediately (dating blows), but at the same time, if taking the right perspective, it can also be exciting. I get to have someone who gives me his full heart and not just a part of it this time, and how can that be a bad thing? If anything, life is less exhausting that way. Sometimes I get stuck in this rut of a scarcity mindset after a break-up, but thrusting myself back out there onto the dating scene has given me all but a depleted pool. There are plenty of good men still out there; single women — do not give heed to the naysayers.
  2. Sitting. The timing of my recent move out of the city and transition from not so single to suddenly very single was ideal — the situation, maybe not so much, but the distraction was never so welcome. My sister and her husband are house-sitting downtown while renovating their East Austin home, but went out of town recently, so I agreed to house-sit and dog-sit for them, which allowed me to get out quite a bit, meet new people and old friends alike, and distract myself with good company in the thick of downtown Austin.
  3. Big Move. Though I loved living so close to downtown and being smack in the middle of both work and play, I’m excited for a bit of a change in pace out in the hill country. If you missed it, my roommate recently got a job elsewhere, had to move quickly, and I had to find a place to stay. Not sure where I want to move next (gross — moving), I decided to save money for a while in my parents’ vacation home on Lake Travis while they are still living in Dallas. It’s a bit far from civilization, but I could totally get use to enjoying my coffee on their wrap-around porch, having the lake right outside my door, and seeing the views of the water and hills out of almost every window. Le sigh. It’ll be a great retreat after a long day of work.
  4. Serendipity. I’ll be super vague here for multiple reasons, but life is so funny sometimes. I truly believe we meet certain people at a specific time in life for a reason, and the way I met someone this summer was quite hilarious and serendipitous, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know him earlier than I was suppose to (ha, that sounds so funny, and I’m not going to lie, it’s kind of fun being a little secretive about it).
  5. Kayaking. Surprisingly, I’ve never been kayaking before, especially odd since my parents own a few kayaks at their lake house. However, I went for the first time this past weekend, and it was great. Looking forward to taking advantage of having a kayak on hand at all times in “my very own backyard”!
  6. Last Days of Summer. Although my summer off is quickly coming to a close, I’m actually looking forward to seeing more of my coworkers again and starting off a new school year. We start again this Thursday and the kiddos come back in a couple of weeks. Bring it on 2016-17 school year (Can you believe this will be my 11th year? — eek, makes me feel old)!
  7. Happy. After all that I’ve been through (particularly in my romantic relationships), it would be easy for me to get stuck in the woe-is-me mode. However, when one is genuinely happy and able to find the joy in even the smallest things, no one person can change their outlook or derail their big plans. It feels really good to be in that place. Thank you (yes you) for your support, whether you commented, sent me a message, got me out of the house, bought me a drink, or even if you were just a passerby reading my blog; I am grateful for you and your heart

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


9 Comments

7 for seven

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’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 I 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.

**PLEASE READ FIRST** Lessons in Love Edition: This week’s 7 for seven will deviate from the norm. As my readers (hopefully) know, I’m an open book, but I was keeping my last relationship fairly private toward the end, as things were unclear and up-in-the-air. I’ve given it enough space and feel it is time to talk, as we are now two months removed. I write to heal (though I feel healed enough already). I also write to open truth. I realize it is not my job to open someone else’s truth, but my intentions are pure and not to lambast — I truly want him to heal too, to never hurt anyone else the way he hurt me, and to find love again. He deserves the best. I’ll also start by saying, I’m hesitant to open up about a past relationship in such a public way — I am back on the dating scene (a little over two months is enough for me after only a seven-month relationship that ended in such a succinct way). I’m not ashamed to admit, despite my track record, that I’m a believer in on-line dating at my age where meeting other singles is like searching for a live, English-speaking operator for AT&T. In a day where reverse Google image searches are well-practiced, social media is not as private as I would like to think, and on-line detective work is easy, I am well aware that my blog is not far out of reach for potential suitors (I strangely love this word) from the on-line dating world. If you are one of those who “stumbled” upon my page, and this scares you away, it wasn’t meant to be. Acting out of fear hardly bodes well in the romance department. Don’t fear — I’m not getting any younger, I know my worth, and I’m never one to slip backward, especially when someone lets me go — to that I’ll always say, “Go ahead, let me go, so I can find someone who knows my value as much as I do.” Even after a short relationship, when we get older, those break-ups only get harder, and it takes more reflection sometimes to feel that the time spent invested in it wasn’t a wash. Despite the lousy way it ended and my being duped in such a profound way, I learned so much from this experience, and I’ll use it to fuel whatever else new comes my way.

1. Be MyselfImmediately after the break up, the most challenging thing for me was the loss I felt after having finally found someone with whom I felt I could immediately be myself around. When one is thirty-four and has been through the wringer as far as relationships go, the guard is a hard thing to let down, but he made me feel 100% comfortable with myself. No one had looked at me the way he did in a long time, and I had not a single encounter with him that wasn’t ridiculously fun. I told my twin sis this, and it’s so true — she is the one person I’ve always had in my life that I’ve felt I could be as goofy as possible around, and she would still accept me. My favorite pastimes are with her, dancing like loons to Michael Jackson, singing into our hairbrushes, and laughing until rolling around on the ground. It’s difficult to find someone who matches that, but somehow, he did. Literally. On one of our first dates, we were the only two people dancing our butts off to Michael Jackson at a bar, moonwalking and high-fiving each other in our happy stupor. But I’ve since come to realize, I didn’t give myself enough credit for this comfort — it wasn’t just his doing; it was mine. I allowed myself to open up, and I made the choice to go back to the old Lauren who knew how to let lose again even after being hurt so many times. I’m proud of myself, and I know I will find someone quickly to have just as much fun with, if not more because I’ll make sure of it.

2. Love Hard. Often times I receive advice after a break-up, telling me to give my heart away more slowly the next time. I don’t give my heart away easily, as I am protective of it, but one thing I do know is, I am good at jumping right back in the saddle again. The best way I know how to move on is… to move on. I’m careful, but I pride myself on the fact that my heart is so immensely open. Truthfully, I love this about myself, and I’m unrelenting in letting this quality go. My heart doesn’t break — Instead, my love for him goes with him, and strengthens his heart so that he can go on to find a stronger love. In fact, I told him this during our break-up, and I meant it. And I’ll do the same — I’ll take the love he gave me to strengthen my heart, so that I can love hard for the man who deserves all of my heart.

3. Listen to Your Gut.  Our problems never arose when in each other’s company. They arose when we were apart. When we were apart, inconsistencies happened. He didn’t communicate much when we weren’t together, which should have been a red flag for me, but until I realized the truth, I chalked it up to it being a strange quirk of his. And a part of me, though frustrated by it, admired how present he was with whatever he was doing or whomever he was with when we weren’t together. In fact, he was like this when I was with him, too — ever-present, in the moment, not on his phone. He didn’t have social media, either. There was only one time when I vocally questioned his intentions and his character in a moment of frustration, and he got upset and offended that I would think that of a genuine, honest person. After seeing how much it hurt him, instead of trusting my instincts, I allowed him to talk me out of them. I vowed to never again allow baggage from being duped in a past relationship, to affect my trust in him. …Hindsight is 20/20. Long story short — he asked for a break about two months ago to figure things out. He was clear about not wanting to date other people, and let me know that he would communicate with me if things changed. Almost immediately after the break-up, he told me he felt there was more to our story and that he had made a huge mistake. We continued to see each other romantically, though sporadically and I found myself caught in his push-pull web. Every time I grew tired of not knowing what he wanted and walked away, he would reel me back in and tell me everything I wanted and needed to hear, but then of course, his actions would not quite match his words and promises. At one point, I asked him point-blank if he was seeing anyone else, to which he said he wasn’t. This leads me to the next lesson…

4. Trust.  Yes, even though he ended up lying to me, a lot (and maybe more than I know), I learned to trust with him. It took me a long time to trust again after being in an abusive relationship in my twenties, so when I finally trusted him and discovered how deeply duped I was, I could have easily reverted back to not trusting people again. However, I’ve come to realize over time that trust doesn’t have as much to do with the other person, and has more to do with the self. I will trust someone relentlessly until they give me a reason not to. I just have to trust myself that I will know how to handle it if someone fails to match this trust. I gave him every opportunity to be honest with me and walked away because he wasn’t. Right before I left for a ten-day Europe trip this summer, he and I met the day prior to departing. He told me he loved me and wanted to make things work again, and he promised to be here when I returned. However, when I returned he was difficult to reach. He told me he had to travel to Houston for the weekend to take care of his mother during an emergency spinal surgery. Monday night, he said he was staying to have dinner with his dad and brother and would return Tuesday to see me. That night, I checked my Instagram and a mutual friend of ours (who had no idea he and I were still involved) posted a picture of a group of friends at a Houston Astros game. In that group of friends was my ex — with a girl on his arm. My immediate reaction was to send him a picture of the picture, letting him know that I knew his lie. However, I refrained because I wanted to give him an opportunity to be honest with me first and to see how deeply willing he was to hold onto it. Selfishly, I also wanted to not give him any time to think up an excuse — a liar is a liar. So I sucked it up and met with him the next day. I asked him many questions, allowing him opportunities to tell me about the Astros game and the girl, and he never once admitted the truth. I thanked him for being so honest with me during our relationship, even when it was tough, and I could see him getting uncomfortable, but he was unrelenting in his story. Finally, I told him I was going to show him one picture from when I was away in Europe that I felt encompassed everything that happened while I was gone. He thought it was a Europe picture, so I’m sure it shocked him, as he stared at it for a long time without saying a word. Finally, it was me who had to break the silence. He lied again and told me the girl was a college friend, but after probing, he finally admitted it was a girl he was seeing. He also claimed he met her through a friend and meeting someone wasn’t intentional  (“It just happened”). He claimed to be off the dating website in which we met (to which, unbeknownst to him, I recently discovered he was active on the day he told me this — another lie).

5. Forgive.  As crazy as it sounds, I forgave him almost immediately, and actually not just for myself. Of course, it’s easier when you know your only choice is to walk away. He has to deal with his terrible choices now, not me anymore, and it is a relief. It is not up to me to teach him a lesson. He will not learn from this unless he is willing to make a change for himself. But I do want that for him. I want that for him, so that he will never hurt anyone or himself in this way ever again. Unfortunately, I feel that he will, but that’s out of my hands. And yes, mostly, I forgave him for myself. I knew immediately, and have known throughout this journey with him that I deserve REAL love — to feel it in someone’s actions and not just hear it in his words, and I know in my full heart that this had absolutely nothing to do with me and everything to do with him. I want him to heal whatever deep wound is there preventing him from taking that other foot out of the door and planting it firmly in front of the person who he should be holding onto tightly.

6. Don’t be the “F-You” and Walk Away Girl.  I talked a lot about what I was going to say to him to a couple of friends because it was my way of dealing with it before I was actually able to deal with it. I desperately wanted a “zinger,” something I could say right before I walked away that would make me feel a sense of satisfaction and closure (knowing full well I may never have that) — a slam the door, make-you-think-hard moment I wanted and felt I deserved. Most women said I should just say, “Fuck you” and walk away, or some other variation of that. However, this is what came out in the moment, “If I were the ‘fuck you’ and walk away type, I’d honor that right now, but luckily for you, I’m not. Instead, I’ll just say, don’t ever hurt anyone again in this way, and stop hurting yourself,” and I gracefully walked out. Being the type of person who will say something strong and trip on her way out the door, I was feeling pretty good about myself for not. However, instead of tripping, I did something much worse — I left my dang phone on his couch after leaving — after waiting for an elevator for what seemed like ten minutes, taking said elevator down, and walking all the way to my car. Once realized, I quickly wiped my tears, muttered a few profanities, shut my car door, and braved another entrance. Despite my blunder, what transpired after that was one of those moments women always wish they had but rarely ever do — I was momentarily a fly on the wall after a break-up and saw what truly happens when he is finally alone. He was blasting the record I gave him with our song on it, drinking a whiskey on his balcony, and losing a hard battle of fighting back tears. When he turned around to see me, tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat, he said “I fucked up. I self-sabotaged. I have never loved anyone as much, or felt like this in such a long time, and it scared me.” Hearing that felt good, but at the same time, it felt worse. It felt worse knowing he threw it away instead of holding onto me tightly. I told him about wanting a “zinger” and not knowing what words to leave him with that would truly give it closure, so I let him have the final word, to which he said, “You are amazing; you are like no other girl I’ve ever met. Words cannot express to you how sorry I am. You trusted me after it was hard for you to trust, and I ruined that. I’m a terrible for doing that to you. Tonight, needless to say, is going to be a scotch night. I’m going to drink a lot.” And I walked away — not before tripping on the way out (I wish I were kidding).

7. It’s Okay to Feel Anger.  Although I didn’t toss around words of anger toward him when I had every right to, I knew being true to myself would mean holding onto my strength and compassion. One of the things that saves me from the depths of woe-is-me, is understanding people on a deeper level — understanding what motivates them. As long as we continue to label people as jerks, or evil, etc., we will never see an end to people doing things that hurt others and themselves. In a time when it seems that mindless acts of violence and people acting out of fear instead of love are the norm, it seems all the more important to dig deep and understand the inner-workings of these terrible decisions, if anything to help us heal and understand, and to not take these acts as reflections of ourselves or humanity in general. This all being said, I will not express anger toward him, but it is okay for me to feel it. I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. However, I won’t hang on it to it for long because anger is an unproductive emotion long-term. I’m moving forward, and I feel better and stronger than ever. I’m excited to be set free so that I can continue to search for the love I’ve relentlessly looked for my entire life. It’s going to be profound. 🙂

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


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7 for seven

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’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 I 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.

**NOTE: This week’s post was more challenging to write — not because last week wasn’t great, because it was, but because something has changed since that week that feels like it could be a betrayal of my trust and how I felt about last week. At times like this, I question if my perception is reality and sometimes I feel when I write this post, I’m not always telling the full truths because my focus is to only talk about the positives. Well, life isn’t always the good and the bad — sometimes there’s a grey area. For the sole purpose of sticking to the reason for this post and finding happiness with what we have, I will save the other side of life for another post — and for a time when things are a bit more clear because the truth is important to me, and it’s important for me to be authentic in all that I do, including my writing.

1. Gal Time. A gal-pal of mine asked me over for a much-needed pizza and summer cider night. That night, I was craving some vegging and banter time in the comfort of someone’s home, and it was as if she read my mind. A keeper, that one. She’s a friend I can always count on, and I’m so grateful for that.

2. Blood is Thicker Than Water. I met my sister and mother for lunch last week, as the rents were in town for a quick vacay. We caught up over tex-mex and then spent some time shopping for my sis’s house that’s in the process of renovation. Not only was it nice to catch up, but nothing beats shopping vicariously for someone else without emptying the ol’ pockets.

3. Paying it Forward.  Ten years ago, before I was a teacher, I was an actress. I performed in college and in a company in Dallas, TX — which may shock some people, as I tend to be more of a reserved person, but it was once a huge love of mine. My theatre professor in my first two years of college invited me to be a part of his theatre outreach class at the time, in which we discussed current events and the things that were most important to us. The purpose was to write, produce, and act in a play that promoted awareness and/or advocacy about one of the issues discussed. One morning, on September 11, I went to class, just after the second plane hit the World Trade Center, and we ended up being the only class in session at our college that day. What evolved from that experience were strong connections and a dialogue about the importance of understanding our interconnectedness at times like these. Our play became just that, and we performed it at various grade schools in our community. My professor pulled me aside one day and told me I should pursue writing, after that experience — which, now that I think of it, may have been his gentle way of nudging me away from an acting career – ha! He and my English professor wrote me a recommendation letter to SMU’s creative writing program, and from there, I fell in love with writing and the way my professors taught it. That’s one of the main reasons I decided to become a teacher, and I wanted to pass on my love of writing with other students and show them how it could promote social change. What I didn’t realize then was that my professor was exposing me to project-based learning, which is more than the new trend in teaching today — it is the best way to engage authentic learning experiences. Recently,  I was invited to attend a three-day course on how to teach this way and given an opportunity to work with someone above me on creating this type of experience next year for my students. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as after the recent Orlando mass shooting, it became excruciatingly urgent to me that I use education more as a means to advocate for accepting differences, pulling my students out of the little bubble of their community, and showing them that literature and writing can serve both as a mirror and a window to each other’s lives. I’m so excited about this new opportunity and the beginnings of what I’ve created for next year and see this a way to finally pay it forward to what my professors showed me years ago.

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4. 10K and Story-Time.  I’ve taken up a new love of running, and I’ve been slowly but surely graduating myself from walking to walking/running, and eventually I completed my first 10K while running the entire time. I was so proud of myself. Plus, I may be the only oddball on the planet that “kills two birds with one stone” and listens to podcasts while running instead of music. I may or may not have been that weird girl weeping and running at the same time, but I listened to this story that made me both stronger physically that day and also stronger mentally. In that podcast, a woman told a story of dating a man for a few months and the lessons she learned while with him. She was confused by this relationship because he didn’t fit any of the items on her list of what she desired in a life partner– she didn’t know why she was attracted to him, but she kept finding herself drawn back again and again. One morning, after apparently having the best orgasm of her life, she just wanted to get out of his bed. So they did, and on their hike that day, she climbed up a tree to avoid all the confusing thoughts in her head that were making her confused about whether or not she wanted to stay in the relationship. He was telling a joke, and while impatiently waiting for the punch-line, the tree-branch broke and she fell. In that moment, when she was given no choice, remarkably, she was finally able to surrender — something she had essentially tried to do all her life, but failed to do. This is something I could immediately relate to, so I was hooked. Long story short, it took a lot of work, but she finally let down her guard in the hospital room one day (her body had been paralyzed from that fall from the waist down), and allowed that man to visit her. Something hit her, and she didn’t want him to leave her side from that day forward. And he didn’t. Several years later, they are married and have children together. Although she could have grown bitter from the experience, she said she is just grateful she got to learn the lesson at all, and even if it took that terrible thing that happened to make her realize how to let go and allow herself to be loved by this man, she would do it all over again. One of the things she said, stuck with me, and I never want to forget it, “Everything you need to know about your life is happening right now, so pay attention.” And that day, while running, and even throughout the rest of my day – I noticed things I had never taken the time to digest before – the colors of the leaves, the way people’s faces moved while laughing, what people do when they are nervous, and how good it feels to be desired.

5. Man-Date.  See what I did there, eh? Such a word-play nerd. The man in my life asked me to a dinner date Friday night, so I was excited to get some margs after a long run that day. Before dinner, he suggested going on a swim first, as his afternoon meeting was cancelled — even better after a long run in the heat, so I gratefully obliged. The sun was brutal, but the cold beers, soothing water, and good company eased my sore muscles and worked together to put my spirits in a really good place. We shared several small plates at dinner that night and continued at a dive bar near by and laughed at the strange people around us (terrible – but let’s admit, behind closed doors, it’s a bit fun to do at times). It had been a while since we shared whiskey and danced cheek-to-cheek in his living room, and it just felt right later that night. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad time with that man.

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6. Father’s Day.  Saturday morning, I met my fam for a quick Father’s Day greeting, as my parents were headed back to Dallas Sunday morning and my sis could only spare a couple of hours that day due to her hectic schedule. Granted, my funny dad was working on the exterior of the house the entire visit (go figure — always the busy one, that man), it was still, as always, nice to visit with them. My dad is such a great example of love in my life, and I’m so grateful to him for having set the bar so high that I will never allow myself to settle for the man in my life.

7. B-day Shin-Dig.  Later that same day/evening, a friend of mine’s husband had his big 3-0 birthday celebration at their house complete with beer, pizza, corn-hole, a dirty board game (ha!), and really great company.

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