99 Problems but Good Friend’s Ain’t One

I recently drove from Texas to Florida with my best friend. Normally I would caution anyone and everyone to skip the monotonous drive and hop on a plane, but on this occasion I recommend enduring the 16 hours while listening to a healthy mixture of ScHoolboy Q, the Dixie Chicks and an audio book. From the long stretch of Texas to “Gator’s One Stop” in Mississippi, all the way to Daytona, up until I hopped on the plane and headed home, I was reminded of why Jenne is my best friend.

I sat on the plane and said to myself, “I just left my person in Florida for 6 whole weeks.. what do I do when I need to cry? Where do I go when I just need someone to go to sonic with me because it’s been a bad day, it’s after 8pm and milkshakes are ½ price?”

I hadn’t realized how much I depended on my friend until I couldn’t anymore. Coming from someone who is extremely independent, that would normally freak me out a little bit. I do not like to need people. I do not like to feel like I cannot do something on my own, but time and heartbreak have proven that there are some mountains in life that you need help climbing.

Rewind to being in Florida. It was my second to last night there and Jenne and I were sitting at Bubba Gumps enjoying our usual kids meal. We talked and laughed about how I had a beer with my kids meal, about boys, and all other “normal” topics best friends cover at dinner. That is all on top of everything we talked about on hour 16-hour car ride because I drank a huge red bull before we hit the road and let’s face it that will keep you up for 36 hours easily. Though those conversations are held in truth, what came next was nothing but pure, unadulterated honesty.

I got on a soap box about the kind of woman I want to be.

If you know me even a little bit you know that I am a passionate person. I want to live life with gusto. My heart is almost always on my sleeve and I will not apologize for it. There in Daytona Beach I rambled on and on and on about how I want to be strong, self-reliant, kind and courageous. I want to leave a footprint in this world because there are some things that are so important that we cannot, and should not, be quiet about them.

Women’s empowerment (and mens. Go men!). The importance of self worth. Being gentle with yourself and others. Why people are more than the words you give them. These are the things I will not silence myself on.

And silent I wasn’t.

I poured out my hopes and dreams right there to someone who not only listened to every word, but who loves the heart that is behind the words.

This. Is. Huge.

I dated someone for a while who never listened to me. Do you know how absolutely frustrating that is?

“So this is what I did today”* Stares at the video game in front of him*

“I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and…” *Once again stares at the video game in front of him*

After that ended I told myself that never again would I spend copious amounts of time with people who do not care what I did that day or do not want to hear about my heart.

Support is important. I want to be a strong woman but I cannot be that without courage. Author Rene Brown shows a different side of courage in her book I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame.

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences — good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.”

Reading that continues to excite me. How simple it seems to have audacious courage in the face of our insecurities and misgivings. Yet without someone fighting alongside us saying, “It’s okay to be honest about who you are” it is not simple. It’s hard. It’s really, really hard. People are not always going to like what we have to say. They may not agree with what we stand for. Sometimes they flat out just might not like us. That’s okay, too. Besides, they’re not always going to “get it” as I have said before.

There are so many different things that my friends have taught me that have helped shape me into the confident person that I am today but there are a few that I find particularly important:

Stand up for yourself. I went through most of my life with the “some battles aren’t worth fighting” mentality. Or I thought that I did. Really I lived as if most battles weren’t worth fighting as long as it came down to me having to confront people that were mean to me or had wronged me. After hearing “Lauren, you really need to learn to stand up for yourself” enough times it clicked. (CC: Mallory and Britney) I finally got it and let me tell you it feels really awesome to look at someone who’s being an asshat and tell them that they can talk. To. The. Hand. Or whatever the kids are saying these days.

Appreciation is medicine for the soul. How satisfying is it to have people that tell you how much you mean to them? Appreciation helps us to be strong and courageous even when we are low. Having friends come beside you and say, “Thanks for being my rock” is like a spoonful of sugar. We need gratitude. It’s fuel. It’s life-giving. It let’s us know that the phrase that we all learned in grade school, “If you want a friend, be a friend”, is actually worth remembering.

People share because they care. The quote I used by Brene Brown I first heard in a TED talk on vulnerability that Meghan sent me the link to. Obviously I loved it. Obviously she knew that I would and that I needed to hear it. Having friends who know what you need when you need it is another kind of medicine in itself. They come over with ice cream (or take you to get margaritas since we are adults now) when you are crying because growing up is just really hard, okay? They tell you to woman up because it’s not cute to be petty (and hey, we are working on being kind). They send you funny pictures because they know that you’re going to appreciate them just as much as they do. It’s people like this that make me want to be strong because they deserve that to be shared with them.

If something or someone is toxic, run as fast as you can but it’s okay people will still love you even if you’re kind of speed walking (Ok maybe sitting on the couch still). We all have our vices, but stronger is the bond of our friends. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard “Lauren, you deserve better than that” or “Lauren, it’s time to let that go” and I did not listen. Still here I am writing a post about how thankful I am for my friends. They give me their strength when I do not have my own.

So go on that road trip. Drive the 16 hours. See what you find at dinner with your best friend. Be grateful. Be honest. Be strong.

Lauren and Jenne 1  Lauren and Jenne 3Lauren and Jenne 2

Being Youer than You in 2015

There has always been something distinctly dreamlike about my life. Everything wasn’t necessarily tangible, I was always pining after some kind of perfection that was just out of my reach (as most things are when you’re 5’1″). I couldn’t quite get “it” right, whatever it was. I was always falling short of my own expectations – expectations I had for myself because I needed people to think that I had it all figured out. I was always the “wise” one, the one who was “too smart” for “that”, whatever [that] is. I was always in a gridlock with myself, trying to fight being who I really was and who everyone else expected me to be (or who I thought they did). I reached as far and as wide as I could to grasp onto the person that I thought I was supposed to be, to the things that I was supposed to believe, still everything was hazy – like a dream that never really had a point. I had worked my entire life to be “good” and a “leader” and the one who knew without a shadow of a doubt who she was or what she believed.. In the mix of trying to please others, I realized I was exhausted and it was getting harder and harder to pretend to be someone that not only I was not, but did not want to be. 

At the beginning of 2014 I started to make decisions for myself; I tasted pieces of carnality, driven by instinct, ridden with wide-eyed stares from onlookers who “just didn’t understand.” As the year progressed, and I fought my way through the haze, the stares turned to whispers and the whispers turned to backhanded remarks belittling my choices and creating no value in the eyes of those who didn’t understand. But that was the thing – and still is – I am building from ground zero. And not everyone wants to, or needs to, do that so they don’t understand and may never.
When you have made decisions for other people (or religion) your entire life, then decide to make them solely for yourself, people will not always “get it.” Just like I never got “it.” And that is okay. But I needed to start over and find out who I wanted to be and I am still left standing on my own two feet, better than from where I began.
The question I kept asking myself was, “What all do I leave in the rear view?” I didn’t want to be someone I didn’t recognize, but I knew I wasn’t being true to myself by pretending to be the girl on the pedestal.
As 2015 has approached I have put much thought into how my life has become clear “old me” and “new me” (if there is such a thing) – it isn’t the new year that has taught me lessons on who I am, but the past one and all of the years previous to the last. It has been the people who have loved me without condition and for my sometimes brutal honesty of who I am. It has been the new (and old), unique friendships and the time that has been lent to me that have helped make me a whole person. So to time, life and my loved ones – thank you. Here is a list of 10 things that you have taught me in 2014 that I will take into the New Year and forever:
1. People will not always agree with or understand your decisions, but as the cliche goes they do not live your life – and they can’t. The older I get the biggest favor that I have done for myself is learning to make a life for myself that other people can either fit into or fade into the background of. If they’re supposed to stay then they will.
2. People (even your friends) will talk and that is just part of life. Other peoples words do note create or disseminate your value, no matter how vicious. They will not stop the world from spinning and as you focus on reaching for the things that you love and for your goals, all of the words (especially the ones that hurt you) become nothing but background noise.
3. You can be, date, love, sleep with, eat with, scheme with, or create dreams with whoever you want. Period. The end. You owe no one an apology or explanation for it.
4. Happy girls REALLY ARE the prettiest girls. Do things that bring you joy. It helps keep you young.
5. When you need to vent take 3 breaths and call your mom. She may be crazy sometimes, but she is always on your team and won’t tell everyone the words you spew out of frustration.
6. You cannot fix people and it is not your responsibility. If someone wears you out, breaks you down and takes advantage of your friendship – you do not owe it to them to “be there for them through whatever” because sometimes there comes a point where “whatever” hurts more than the person going through it.
7. It is not worth it to be bitter – especially over things that truly do not concern you. You’re only hurting yourself. Drop the hatred. Love is easier.
8. Mind your business. Mind your business. Mind your business.
9. Love and relationships are amazing but don’t sacrifice all of your independence. If every plan you make for your life is synonymous with someone else’s (especially to the point that making plans throughout the week is solely dependent on them) then you need to create another part of your world that revolves around you, not them. Be dependent on yourself, not someone else. Add them into your world, don’t make them the crux of it.
10. People who really love you, love you for you. If they don’t they will show it and you are much better off without them. Don’t be afraid to be yourself!
“Today you are you and that’s truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” Dr. Seuss 

Love Was Made for Me and Me

Living in a house where 3/5 people are undeniably in love comes with a cornucopia of different feelings for those that aren’t. This is something that I am sure most people can relate to at some point in their life, and can raise the third-wheel flag in surrender. As this semester is coming to an end I am reflecting on not only the relationships that I have watched blossom, but also the ones that I have watched crash and burn, fade away, or oddly seem to take form in my own life.

I spent months watching Samantha and Haley, unknowingly, take notes from John Green. They fell in love the way that you fall asleep, slowly and then all at once. Clay spent all of his time with Samantha whether it be at our house or his; they cooked together, laughed together, and even obsessed over video games together. Zac lives in Lubbock so Haley doesn’t get to see him as much as she would like, but the distance truly has only made her heart grow fonder.

The question could not help but be begged… Where was my prince charming?

Well, I have come to find out that not all princes are charming, and sometimes the frogs are better kissers.

As vague as it all seems, the point of this story is that all of this time that I spent wanting what my roommates had I forgot how beautiful it is to simply love yourself. Forming a relationship with myself is the most significant thing that I have learned to do this year. If no one wants to hang out or doesn’t have the time, that’s okay, I can hang out alone. If there is a new movie that I want to see, I can take myself on a date. In other ways I have focused on my career goals and began getting my Real Estate license, I’ve gotten back into running regularly, and I’ve realized that if I want to eat sugar then I can eat sugar (hints the utter adoration for my Easter basket… a depiction of true love.)

Image

After it is all said and done I am left with this: I am my own best friend.

Carrie Bradshaw said it best when she said “But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”

And after learning to be okay alone, well, my life has become fabulous.

PS An anon on twitter that I have found that truly seems to understand what it means to just live every day life (and tells you about hers) and seems to genuinely understand everything that I just talked about, is @fierceandlittle. Go follow her: https://twitter.com/FierceAndLittle

Society today is in a very digital age. We are constantly refreshing our timelines, putting our thoughts out on the world wide web for anyone to see, and reading what others have to say. I know that in my house we tweet about, or to, each other constantly (Mostly @jennebroccoli and I). So for this post I decided to search the depths of twitter for things that other people around the internet have to say about their roommates. Some have proved to be hilarious and in good humor, and others… Well, let’s just hope they’re sleeping with one eye open.

 

Check out this storify post that sums it all up: https://storify.com/LaurenIndian/roommates-across-twitter

Finding the Time to Dance

In life there is a time for everything under the sun: A time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to laugh and a time to cry, and even a time to tear apart and a time to sew together. With college comes a wealth of life lessons from mistakes made and chances missed. The hard part is sometimes getting through all of the noise to find hope and clarity.

At the start of this semester my life had gone from a blissful walk in Central Park to a whirling tornado that continued to spiral out of control. My uncle was pulled off of life support and passed away the week before the first week of the semester so I missed that crucial time due to the funeral. (Here’s a cool article honoring his life: http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/lead-guitar-player-will-indian-passes-away) As I finally made my way back into town I never got the chance to settle into a groove because for the first time in my life I had my heart honestly broken by a boy who couldn’t stick around. Then as the weeks progressed, I continued to digress; making decisions that ultimately were causing me to self destruct.

It’s a funny thing living on your own, making your own decisions, and trying to find solid ground to catch your breath on. I wasn’t prepared to be thrown for such a loop, but every day I thank God for my roommates and my friends.

Jenne and I at my Uncle Will's benefit concert

Jenne and I at my Uncle Will’s benefit concert

When I missed that first week of classes Jenne went to all of mine that she could to make sure I got a syllabus and the notes that I needed so that I wouldn’t be too far behind. From heartbreak to a quick digression my friends held my hand reminding me that even if it is not okay today that one day it will be, and there is no shame in letting yourself feel what needs to be felt. If it weren’t for their encouragement, support, and accountability I wouldn’t be able to be standing with my back straight and head high. They have kept me together even when I swore that I was unraveling at my seams.

In college you don’t always have your family around, so thank God when he creates an extra one for you.

Now that the storm seems to be subsiding they still offer their strength, and are helping me find that time to dance.

Pics or it Didn’t Happen

As the digital age continues to grow there has been more and more definition given to the term “white girl.” There are twitter accounts dedicated to the idea (cc: @commonwhitegrl), Starbucks has become a staple icon for reasons other than it’s dedication to keeping people caffeinated, and every moment of every day is recorded via twitter or Instagram.

Jenne and I are apples that do not fall far from that tree. Yesterday we decided to go on a hike; it was a beautiful day and our muscles were yearning to be moved. The excitement began as we made our way to Jacob’s Well in Wimberly. We had a backpack full of snacks, sandwiches, and water, our hiking shoes were on, and of course our phones were fully charged. As we parked and made our way to the well that is when our inner White Girl made her appearance. It started with pictures of us standing in front of the well, then progressed (or digressed, pick your poison) into pictures on the rocks, on top of the things that we had climbed, action shots, and posed “best friend pictures.” It was a theatrical hike to say the least.

Later that day we all tweeted about our adventures at some point and made sure that all of our favorite photos made their way onto some kind of social media site, to be seen by all of our friends.

We can rag on ourselves for being so typical because we know that we’re a product of a technological age – and I’m sure that most girls from teenagers to young adults and even to parents can agree that this is something they have done or do regularly. Reflecting on the notion it is a shame that we don’t always live in the moment when there are phones around, but as a common white girl I also won’t apologize for the awesome pictures we got.

So in what may very well be the whitest thing I’ve said so far, “sorry not sorry.”Image

Here’s a well-humored article of things that “white girls” hate: http://thoughtcatalog.com/kate-bailey/2013/10/16-things-white-girls-hate-more-than-being-told-they-are-stereotypically-white/

What to do When Life Hands You Lemons

It is a common occurrence that life hands us lemons that are not refreshing nor similar to the color of sunshine, but resemble more of a dilapidated trailer that’s seen too many tornadoes. In my house life hands us all kinds of lemons – sometimes we are feeling generous and pick up dinner for each other or help with the pressing weight of homework. Other times we get those dilapidated lemons, maybe like a spilled margarita or eggs tumbling like humpty dumpty to the ground.

marg

A couple of weeks ago we decided that it was a good idea to make some strawberry margaritas. It had been a long day and we were ready to relax, but as Sam tried to pour the drink the top of the blender fell off overflowing the cup and letting the frozen treat fall onto our freshly cleaned counters. Now we were in the midst of a dilemma. Do we nix someone’s margarita or do we share what is left and get a lesser amount? Well, life handed us the lemons and we chose to save them. Why waste a perfectly good margarita when the counter is clean? So out comes the plate and the day is saved.

Then there are other times where you are trying your hardest to continue to save something with fear of waste, but it does not turn out the way that you planned it:

As you can see even though we try our best to keep things economical, sometimes the lemons are too rotten to be used.

Why, why, why?

Haley Lauren Jenne

Haley, Myself, and Jenne

For my Fundamentals of Online and Digital Media class we were given the assignment to create, and keep up with, a blog of our choice throughout the semester. As I scavenged my brain for a good idea to choose as my topic nothing seemed to jump out and scream, “Lauren, this is it!” I am an avid advocate of classic fashion, reading, and living a healthy lifestyle, but I knew those were things that I didn’t necessarily want to write about continuously. I kept asking myself, what would you want to read from someone else? I wanted an inner monologue that wasn’t an opinion being shoved down the readers throats; something funny, sometimes serious, and most of all relatable even if it is in a backwards sense. That’s where the idea for this blog was born. Why not write about all of the oddities that happen within my own home and town? Living with roommates in college produces not only the rawest stories, but odd habits, uncoorelated events that somehow still end up running into each other, and advice for what to do when you see that boy that you accidentally gave your number to. So here’s to a semester of blogging about what-did-you-just-say’s, tweets sent out about the obscenities we hear/see on the bus, and all of the times we drink wine out of coffee mugs.

Lauren and Sam roommate

Samantha and Myself

Here’s the link to my twitter to see the things that I see on the bus, from my porch, or just in every day life: https://twitter.com/LaurenIndian