Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Friends


The end of my fourth grade year my father, the Navy man, got orders to  move to Virginia. At the time my family and I lived on the outskirts of town in Mississippi. The dusty, rural roads made almost every home look like a small farm. It also didn't help that most of my neighbors had hogs, chickens,  or snapper turtles they caught from the creek. I didn't know much about Virginia, but the thought of moving there was exciting. 

It was the summer of my fifth grade year when we arrived in in the commonwealth to begin our new lives. I remember feeling nervous and anxious about living in a new place,  and I often wondered how people  would embrace a tomboy, countrified girl like me.  Luckily for me the first friend I made in Virginia was a Tomboy named Pam who loved boy stuff even more than me.

Pam was everything I wasn’t. She was tough, and pretty in an effortless way. Somehow the girl made scuffed jeans and a flannel shirt look cute.  Boys were constantly checking her out. She was oblivious to the affections. Pam had bigger things to worry about like, nabbing the TLC 'Crazy, Sexy, Cool' album or balling up her fist to let a boy knew she was serious. She took very little bullshit.   Whenever someone said something mean or cruel to me, Pam would step in front of me, and give them the most intense stare. I never saw her actually hit anyone, but it seemed no one wanted to press their luck finding out if her jab was as fierce as her gaze. I also loved that Pammy didn’t give a damn what anyone thought of her. Most of the boys at our bus stop adored her, but the ones that didn’t Pammy paid no mind.  I hoped that some of her confidence would rub off on me, sadly it didn’t.  She fought a lot of my battles, and by her side there were times I felt invincible.

Pam and I were best friends my entire fifth grade year. We did the quirkiest things. One boring summer day, we buried all of our old teenage notes in a time capsule. The idea was to go back and dig them up ten years later. I pray no one found those letters. I don’t want to see inside the mind of my elementary girl self; I imagine they are hilarious though. Now many moons later, Pam and I have very different lives.  She is a mother and lives in the country. I am a single woman living in the suburbs with three fur babies who do not consider me an Alpha dog. Such is life. Even though we’re on different ends of the spectrum I will always consider her my road dog, my tomboy friend, my sister from another mister.

I learned a lot of core values about friendship from Pam, things like loyalty, trustworthiness, the power of humor, supporting one another, the golden rule, and how critical it is to always have your girlfriend’s back. I carried all of those lessons with me into my high school friendships and into adulthood. Let me tell you how amazing this chick was. We both had a crush on the same guy in elementary school.  As luck would have it he liked Pam not me. He asked her out to the school dance on a Thursday. That Friday he was at my door asking me the same thing, why you ask? Pam being the class act she was turned him down.  Not feeling extremely confident in myself I jumped at the chance to be on my crush’s arm at the school dance.My mother bought me a white dress with huge red flowers from Fashion Bug and, Pam couldn't be happier for me.  She was super supportive of me going to the dance with our crush.  I’m sure you are wondering how this turned out. Well I got so nervous I almost fainted; I ditched my crush at the dance. Like always Pammy there to pick me up.
“He wasn’t all that anyway,” she said.
“Pammy I blew it. No guy is every gonna ask me out now,” I replied wiping tears from my face.
“His loss girl! Besides who needs boys anyway?”
That was so typical Pammy. She helped you brush yourself off, and get back up. She will always have a special place in my heart.  Even now in my thirties, whenever I think about friendship I think of my fifth grade year with Pammy. Proverbs 21:17 reads, ‘As iron sharpens iron so a friend sharpens a friend.’  This scripture basically means that real friends motivate you, inspire, and sharpen you to be better. They push you to cut through life’s hardships, and get back up a stronger person.
I’ve been blessed to have several friends who have sharpen me. I have professional mentors who saw things in me I never knew possible, and motivated me to reach for my dreams. I have childhood friends who have loved me through my ups and downs. I have guy friends who help me realize my beauty and worthiness.  I have girlfriends who act as the sisters I’ve always wanted in my life. I could go on, but there isn’t enough paper to write how much my friends mean to me.
To everyone who called, texted, and wrote me during my tough time last year; there are no words to thank you for your love. Now that I’m back chasing my dreams, I’m so happy so many of you want to go on this journey with me.
Love you, Love God More


Friday, February 5, 2016

My Weight Loss Mission: Why I Gained the Weight

Sometimes when I look down at my now massive female peaks, round belly, and wide calves, I ask myself, ‘How the fuck did I end like this?’ I mean seriously, I worked my ass off in my twenties. I ran all the races I could, read the work out books, and ate healthy. How did I become the woman gasping for air at the top of the stairs? Or even worse, why am I resting at the Wal-Mart park bench to give my aching knees a break? This is not who I am. The short answer to those questions is, I ate my feelings. We all do it.

In the past, I’d celebrate a payday with a special meal and some Dateline. It felt good to reward myself with some new culinary adventure or escape into a fresh confectionary dream. What’s so wrong with that? I didn’t binge eat, and I rarely would buy enough of those high calorie foods to have seconds. When I was working out on the regular, I even allowed myself cookies, and brownies. What I’ve learned about successful diets is the ones that allow you to live your life tend to last the longest. So, say you’re craving a Krispy Kreme donut. Who wouldn’t? When that hot-n-ready sign is on it’s like the race bells are off for me. I’m going there no matter what. But, the healthy way to enjoy these sugary delights is to have one, enjoy it, and maybe put in a little extra in the workout the next day. Trust me I know all the right things to do to lose weight.  My days consisted of breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. I was also sure to drink lots of water. I almost never felt empty.

But that all changed when the thing I started feeding wasn’t my stomach anymore it was my heart. One night I came face to face with the decisions I made, the men that left me, and the friends I didn’t have. To ease my heartache I took a sip of a sugar laced Vanilla Coke. Over ice, the brown fizz came alive. That sound of fresh soda took me a way for a minute. Then I had to have something with it.

“What do we have in the house,” I ask myself.

Well there’s leftover pizza, and even cookies.  Then something in me says, “Yes that will do it.” I take the treats down to our family movie room, I plop down in front of the television, and my mind escapes. Some nights it was A&E Biography, other nights Alfred Hitchcock. Whatever it was the captivating stories mixed with my food debauchery took me away from any regret I felt about my past, the pain I felt in my present, and the hopelessness I felt was in no doubt my future. Every time it hurt, I just took another bite, another sip, another swallow. I let myself get lost in the flavors, the glare of the television, and before long I was in a full blown food coma. Knocked out on the couch, belly full of food, and for the moment a heart that didn’t ache.

I wish I could say that was the only time I used the food/television to comfort my broken dreams, my shattered heart, and low self-esteem. But it became my norm.  So, today when I look in the mirror and question where the fullness of cheeks came from or the extra jiggle in my step, I know exactly how it got there.

 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Weight Loss Mission: Acceptance

Well it is official, I am plus size. This truth was reaffirmed when I went shopping at the trendy clothes stores and I had to reach for the 1X, or the size 14. Curvy, voluptuous, thick, no matter how you spell it I’m officially a big girl. Trust me; I am trying to come to terms with that. But it is hard considering how healthy I was just years ago. In my twenties I worked hard to maintain a 130 pound frame.  I ate right, I worked out religiously, participated in races, and I even joined Weight Watchers (way before Oprah did mind you).  But, here I am 31, overweight, unsure, and trying to love the skin I’m in. I don’t say these things for pity. This is my truth. Every day I look in the mirror and I say to myself, “You are wonderfully made. You are beautiful.” It’s my little morning pep talk. I speak down deep to the little teenage girl who still remembers getting teased for developing lady lumps before the other girls. My heart aches for the even younger girl who boys did not chase and girls did not envy. Those formative years made me feel beauty was on the outside, and as a woman I’m trying to embrace the beauty  that is all of me: my smile, my laugh, my spirit, the pep in my step lately. That is not to say it isn’t hard.

Another truth of mine is this; I will lose this weight. It might take six months; it more likely will take a year. But, I am going to shed this weight. Not to attract men, trust me there are some who already want this jelly. It is not just to shimmy into all the cute clothes they make for skinny women. I am losing weight for me. My family has a history of deadly cancer. I want to decrease my odds.  I will run a half marathon even if I come in last. And, a big part of me wants to show others struggling with weight  loss that you can do this without a fad diet or a magic pill; you can do this just one day at a time. To be continued --- part two will discuss how I got all this jelly.

Friday, January 22, 2016

What's Your Theme Song

 

If you know me, then you know I’m a huge music head. Some people don’t understand this but I feel like God speaks to me through music, all kinds of music. I listen to pop, rap, hip-hop, some rock, country, the list goes on. Recently God touched my heart when I heard Carrie Underwood's song 'Heartbeat. Listen to this song, it’s simply beautiful. There is an awesome music video, but I will post the lyric video so you can read the words. They are so beautiful. I want to love a man this way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHRAKEgmZ1k

 

My favorite part is the chorus, ‘Tonight I wanna so far we’ll only hear static on the radio’ Now to me she’s saying let’s go somewhere no one can find us and just be together. We’ll go so far there is no radio reception and,’ We can’t see those city lights in. And I love the way you look in the a fireglow.’ That means we push out the worldly things, the distractions, and we just enjoy each other in the glow of fire. Ah I am melting right now. I could go and on about that song.  And I have totally met someone that made me feel that way. We’ll see if he returns the favor. (more on that another time)

 

I say this to say that everyone has a song or several songs that speak to their life. And recently I’ve started to think of them as theme songs. You know when you are watching a movie, and sometimes actors have a song that comes on when they walk into the room?  It’s like when the heroine in the film first sees the love interest. Sometimes it is slow, or fast but there is usually music that illustrates the feelings going on in the scene. No surprise that I love movie soundtracks. A few of my favorite are ‘Soul Food, Think Like a Man, and Waiting to Exhale’. Great soundtracks if you like love songs and R&B.

So what is your theme song? Is it something that illustrates your life, captures a moment in time, reminds you of a loved one, or makes you feel fabulous and sexy? I have several but I will only share the ones in heavy rotation right now.

 

1.)    Blessed by Jill Scott.  Favorite line “Woke in the morning feeling fresh to def I’m so blessed. Yes! Yes! Went to sleep stressed woke up refreshed I’m so blessed. Yes! Yes!” Who doesn’t carry the weight of the world on them when they go to bed, but when you wake up, and focus on your blessings it’s all good. I have to show the video on this one because it plays a big role in why I love this song. Here is this beautiful plus size woman owning her figure. I so need to do that right now. I know many of you have heard me complain about my new weight gain, and I’m trying to own but it feels so uncomfortable. But I am working on it. I’ve already lost close to 10 pounds in a month. I’m so blessed.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXeXV0vgrtY

 

2.)    Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld – This song speaks to my soul. And I feel God is trying to show me how to love myself, without a man, without a television career to put me in the public eye, and with all the haters out there. ( trust me yall I have them just like you. You have no idea.) This song is such a great pop track, and the message is right on point.  Hailee says, “When I get chills at night, I feel it deep inside without you , yeah.  Know how to satisfy. Keeping that tempo right without you, yeah.” What I take from this and you may read something different; home girl is saying she doesn’t need a man or anyone else to be with her at night. She keeps her own tempo.  Yes she gets cold at night without a man, but shes’ alright. I need to hear this because in the past I have relied on men for confidence and that stops in 2016. It has to come within.IT has to come from God. Cause if your confidence lies in man it will let you down. (That’s another thing I know to be true so well.)  “

 

       Pictures in my mind on replay, I’m gonna touch the pain away. I know how scream my own name.” This chick is like yes the past hurt me, and sometimes I do replay it in mind, but ultimately I brush that off my shoulder. Then it gets better she says,” I’ll scream my own name.” Basically Hailee says I don’t need anyone else to promote me or shout for me (namely a man) I’ll do it myself. Now for me I believe God screams my name when I walk with Him. And because of him yes, I don’t need a man to give me my confidence.

 

3.)    Booty by Jlo Now I know I’m going to get some flack for this last one, but I don’t care. It’s my theme song not yours. Moving on. Jlo ‘Booty’ is my jam right now and it is on heavy rotation. Jlo asks, “Have you seen her? On the dance floor. She got the boom, shake the room, that’s the lighting and the thunder.” Look this may not make sense, but many of you know I am self conscience about my weight gain. I’ve written past blogs about it, I laugh about it, but underneath I hate this so much. But listening to this song I’m like, ‘Wait a minute do men like this? Ok I need to maybe shake it a little, appreciate my curves and enjoy myself. No one cares Lauren that you gained weight.

       Jlo continues, “You wanna meet her, you wanna touch her. See the lights in her eyes it makes you wonder.” Now I know this song is also about loving big booties. But it is also about owning your curves. It is. It’s all about confidence . Confidence is sexyand appealing. Gosh I love this song, I’m going to play it after this blog is done.

 

So now I’m asking all of you-What is your theme song? The song that moves you, touches you, motivates you? We all have them, some like myself have more than others. Think about why this song speaks to you and really listen to the lyrics. I’ll leave you with a few others without video or explanation and let’s discuss what do you hear in these songs. I love a healthy debate. Love you all dearly, Love God more.

 

My other theme songs

 

Dance like We’re Making  Love- Ciara (holla Russell Wilson. Homegirl is trying to hold onto to the cookie)

 

Music to My Soul- Ceeloo Green- (saw this on that ratchet show Love and Hip Hop. I still watch it though)

 

Good to be Alive – Andy Grammar- (self explanatory)

 

XO- Beyonce- (another one of my love songs. I can see you in the crowd says B. Ahh man when will my man see me in the crowd, and pick me from everyone else?)

 

Feel Your Love –Grace Memo- (I heard this on Love and Hip Hop too)

 

Shame-Tyrese (um why wasn’t this man nominated for a Grammy. This song--- oh my goodness. The first time I heard it I almost melted in a public restaurant. That song, those lyrics, his lips, that bald head.; I was transported into his words.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A day I felt fun, sexy, and free--- and bumped into this guy I had a huge crush--- looking made silly. Those are the breaks those. Miss you chicks-- we were hot and fabulous


 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Thanks for the Love

Listen y'all listen. Y'all have shown me so much love it hurts. And I been praying for comfort. So here I am. Y'all know I gotta go to Lynchburg to see my pastor, my friends, love a man that don't know he needs it, and put my life on track. Some of y'all know I went 'Through the Wire' like Kanye West last year.

God is rebuilding me everyday and I will dance again. I love to dance y'all and God said wait baby girl, it's coming. When I started on this journey again, a friend s...aid go read Colossians. I couldn't understand it. And then my friend sent me this: 'Long ago the LORD said to Israel:" I have loved my people , with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. I'LL REBUILD YOU my Israel. You will be happy and dance merrily with your tambourine."

Look family I have never played a tambourine-- yall know I tried clarinet in high school. But I love to dance. God is really saying you will be happy and joyus agaain. I needed these past two days Shelly thank you. I learned a lot.
I'm just about ready to talk about 'Finding a Theme Song' I have three y'all One them is one a lot of you know.

'Woke in the morning feeling fresh to death I'm so blessed , yes yes"
"Went to sleep stressed, woke up refreshed I'm so blessed"
The woman who sang this was on the shows 'Being Mary Jane' this season. And honestly as a new plus size woman I was so happy they made her sexy.
Alright yall I gotta go have some tea--- and I'll get to work on the 'Theme Song' blog. You will laugh when you hear my favorite one.

The answer is : Jill Scott


Love,
LoLo
Be Blessed

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Seasons of Weight

          I’ve rode a weight roller coaster my whole life. Every season the struggle is different. Sometimes I’m up in pounds, sometimes I’m down. I never seem to find a resting place, a constant weight where I can eat a little, splurge a little, exercise a little and ultimately be happy in my skin.

In July I had this amazing trainer who was encouraging me. With her help I lost seven pounds and was snugly fitting into my size 10s again. She was amazing. Just as the pounds were falling off my amazing trainer, who is also in the Navy, was stationed to Florida. She left as the first cold gust of winter came, and as if it were instinctual I started hoarding food like a bear in preparation for the cold months ahead.
              Food comforted me; it helped me during stressful times, and it always knew how to make things right for the moment at least.  By November I had managed to pack on five of the seven pounds I lost with my trainer. Then I met Javi, this fine, suave Latino man who was very much into appearances. I wanted to look good, and by good I mean slim, next to this gorgeous man so I started hitting the gym again.

I started working out again every other day, and managed to shed about six pounds. But this time it didn’t feel as great as it did when I was with my trainer, working out for Javi felt forced. I could tell he liked that I was getting my shape back by his compliments and glances at my ass. But, it didn’t feel right, because I was losing weight for all the wrong reasons: to feel good inside, so Javi would want me, so I could feel beautiful.

By the time the holiday seasons rolled around, I was over working out. I wanted to eat whatever the hell I wanted and be one of those curvy women who love their full figure bodies. I wanted to not give a fuck what my boyfriend thought of my work out schedule or eating plan. So I started hoarding again.

Large fries, soda, chicken nuggets please, and yes I will have dessert. Eating took the edge off the pressure to be skinny, the stresses of work, and a boyfriend I no longer felt connected to. As I packed on the pounds, my self-esteem  plummeted.

I hit rock bottom when I couldn’t get my size 10’s to fit over my huge booty. I pulled, tugged, and stretched but there was no helping it.  Getting on the scale was even more depressing. I had somehow managed to pack on 10 pounds in a matter of two months.

With spring around the corner, I want to find a happy place, a place where I’m happy in my weight, comfortable inside and out. And, I desperately want to get off the roller coaster. This spring I just want to be healthy. I don’t have to be string bean skinny or humpty dumpty fat. I just want to be healthy whatever that means for my body. I want to go up a flight of stairs and not be winded. I want to shimmy into my size 10 and do a victory dance in the mirror. This spring I want to get me back. The slim, kinda curvy kinda slim, kinda thick Lauren who can eat food responsibly and not turn to food when my feelings overwhelm me. I am ready to shed my winter coat. And, this spring I want to do it for me.                                                                     

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Land of Motherhood and Matrimony


          Somewhere between graduating college and almost turning 30 I’ve stumbled into place where I am the minority. It’s a place filled with baby showers, wedding announcements, and sonograms.  I’m reminded of it almost every week with new Facebook statuses announcing marriage or baby plans. If you are single and in your mid to late 20’s you know how isolating it feels when your all friends start to have babies, and get married. This is how you know you’ve stumbled into the Land of Motherhood and Matrimony.

 Almost every holiday another one of my twenty-something friends gets engaged, married, or has yet another baby. The Facebook photo albums of their single party lives are replaced with pictures of their baby’s first steps, and honeymoon pictures. Somewhere after the twinkling twenty period of my life, I stumbled into this Land of Motherhood and Matrimony. But, I’m not a member. I am a  visitor passing through, and frequently people will remind me how far off course I am in life.  I wonder why my little single life isn’t enough.

I know other twenty-something folks know how I feel. I was in a coffee shop the other day, and I overhead what appeared to be a person defending her place in Singlehood to someone who had obviously crossed over into the Land of Motherhood and Matrimony.
              “So what if I don’t want to get married until I’m 35,” the young woman said. “I’m focusing on my career right.” She stuck out her chest as if to accentuate that she believed in her choice.

I could tell by her awkward pose that she wasn’t buying an ounce of what she was saying. Her friend’s judgmental inquiry into her babyless, manless life made her feel like she had to defend her choice to be single. Something in me knew she felt like an outsider too. I could sense she felt like a foreigner in a land where all her girlfriends and buddies were moving on without her. While they were talking of Mommy groups and playdates, she was still talking about crumby boyfriends, and bad first dates. I knew she heard the same clock I heard at night. It's the tick tock sound you hear when someone else joins the Land of Motherhood and Matrimony and reminds you that you have not.
This sound is the life clock. It’s similar to a biological clock, the reminder women get that lets them know their baby making days are numbered. When the life clock starts ticking it reminds you tick, tock, tick tock, where your life is supposed to be and where it isn’t.  Apparently by most of my friends standards I'm supposed to be move in the Land of Motherhood and Matrimony in my mid-twenties. What can I say I'm a late bloomer. I am almost 30. I have no child, no boyfriend, it’s just me. People frequently remind me how off course I am.

“You don’t have a boyfriend? You’re such a sweet girl. Oh, I know we have to hook you up with our friend. What’s his name? Right, Byron. Bryon would be perfect for you,” says a friend.
It’s as if people think something is wrong with me, because I am without a child or a husband.

                “Oh look she’s almost 30,” sympathetic older women will say. 

                 “Don’t you want to have babies,” my grandmother says.

                 “You’ll find the right one. Believe Lauren,” says my kind friends.

 It’s like some Hallmark statement for sad single people.  Why does singlehood get empathy, sad faces and a pat on the back? They might as well say, ‘Aw you’re single my condolences.'

 What is so bad about being single at 29? I have my dream job. I have an amazing condo, and a cute Volkswagen Beetle that allows me to drive in style. It does not have lot of fancy features but it gets me where I need to be. I have a small circle of solid friends. Don’t I get credit for that? Apparently all those things are not that important because I’m still single.

I can assure all of you that being single is perfectly fine for my age. I am certainly okay with it. I don’t need a man to complete me. I am fine by myself. And, if prince charming doesn’t come till 40 or never I’ll manage.  Also as happy as this land of Motherhood and Matrimony seems it’s also extremely frightening. I've seen my peers give up their single lives, their privacy, for these little bundles of joys called babies. They trust their lives to men (or as they call them husbands) they’ve only known a few years. Some of marriages fall apart, some husband leave, or they realize this life is not what they hoped for. Some of my friends have let their dreams fall to the way side to become parents. Do I really want all that?
             Sure when I turn over in my bed at night, the only warm body there is my nine pound dog Goliath. No one is there to make me coffee in the morning, or cuddle with me a night. It’s just me. Right now that’s perfectly okay.