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 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 with 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.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Discouraged but Determined

                I am on week three of my half marathon training, and I am slightly discouraged. The furthest I’ve run so far is three miles, and even then I had to stop a few times to power walk. The idea of doing 13.1 miles is feeling extremely daunting now. I mean 13.1 miles. How the hell am I going to make it that far when 3 miles is a challenge right now?

                I keep reminding myself why I am running. I’m running to renew a promise to myself to be healthy, a promise to my mother, a promise to minimize cancer risks. But, lately I’ve felt so overwhelmed by the idea of running a half marathon.   A 5K hell an 8k seems doable now but 13 miles. What was I thinking?
                As bad as I want to throw in the towel, I can’t. I have to keep going even if it means I have to power walk part of the way, I am determined to do this half marathon.

What Keeps Me Going
                I have enjoyed the therapy running has brought back to my life. Before I moved back to Virginia Beach, I was an avid runner. I ran every other day in Lynchburg. Lynchburg has the best running trails, and terrain for who people who love to run. Some of my best Sundays were hitting the running trail after church. As I’m trying to return to that lifestyle I am reminded of how much I love running.
                  I run with an iPod, but I love turning it off every once in a while, and just listening to my shoes hit the pavement.  In those moments I try to process what is weighing me down. I think about thing I have to do at work, friends I need to pray for, dreams I’m still chasing. And, with each step I feel stronger, and more determined to keep going.

What I love most about running it that it’s not easy. It’s personal, it’s singular, and it’s a battle of the mind. You have to push yourself to put those running shoes on in the morning; you have to push yourself to keep putting one foot in front of the other. That is what makes it even more rewarding when you finish a run, it’s because you know you did it , you broke through, and you didn’t give up. So here’s to not giving up.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Running a Half Marathon

I’ve decided to run a half marathon. My reason for this is not to prove I can do it. It’s to renew a promise I made to myself years ago. It's for my mother. It's for me. My mother is the reason I started running in my early 20’s, and she’s a big reason I am training for my biggest race ever. 

              My mom was diagnosed with cancer about six years ago.  I still remember running out of the house after she told me and my brother.  My boyfriend at the time chased after me, and held me under a summer moon until I got tired of crying. My mother told us she would fight cancer with every inch of her being, but she was prepared to die if it was God’s will. Things start to look a lot different when you or someone you love is at the brink of losing their life.  You start to reevaluate what is important, and what you’re doing with the precious time you have.
                My mom’s fight for survival made me realize I wasn’t pursuing one of my biggest desires which was to lose weight.  I seriously think I’m genetically predisposed to being curvy. I can handle that. But, when my mom was sick I was very overweight. Heck I’m overweight now. I wanted and want desperately to shed the weight.  I want to be healthy, go up a flight of stairs without getting winded, run a mile or two and feel good about it. I want to shimmy back in to my skinny jeans from my early 20’s and strut my stuff in my hip hugging dresses. These are things I am too ashamed to do when I am carrying around extra pounds.  

               When my mom was sick I looked at my body differently. I started thinking that the very cancer in my mother could be lying dormant in me. After mom was diagnosed I became obsessed with my cancer risks factors; I read books, researched cancer online, and went to the doctor way too much to see if I could minimize my risks. The doctor said while it wouldn’t completely decrease my chances, living a healthier life style could be a start. That is why I started my running journey six years ago, and in the process I lost 25 pounds.  Well here I am again, overweight, unsure, and ready for a change. I am approaching 30, the year I will have to start getting mammograms to look for cancer. And, I’m sad to say I’ve let life get in the way of my ability to be healthy, lean, and fit. I promised myself the year my mother was diagnosed I would be healthier, make smarter food choices, and stay active to decrease my cancer risks. I am sad to say I have let stress, work, life, and more stress get in the way of that. But, today is a new day, and I am training for a half marathon to put that promise back into practice. I am training for a half marathon to honor my mother by taking care of the body God has given me.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Finding Love Online

As a woman who has found very little success dating online, you may think I’m not qualified to write a blog on the topic. Oh, on the contrary. It’s because of the disaster dates, and pitfalls I’ve experienced online that I can boldly, honestly talk about the things that turn a lot of us women off from men’s profiles online. I also have a lot of girlfriends who have ventured into online dating, and we have a few things in common. There are certain things men do online that straight turn us off.  I am revealing these turn offs in hopes the love Gods will show favor on me for helping other hopelessly romantic women.

·         No naked selfies, bicep pictures, or abdomen shots. I like a six pack just like the next Channing Tatum fan, but on an online profile it screams, sex. The guy who takes several photos of himself posing in the mirror or lifting his shirt to reveal his stomach leaves us thinking two things:  ‘Wow he’s really into himself.” Or this guy is showing his body because he wants to get laid. I mean why else would anyone put these GQ photos on a dating profile? Guys if you are looking for the kind of girl to take home to mom, introduce to your siblings, stop this. You will mostly attract superficial women or those who just want to jump in the sack. And, if that is your intention why the heck are you on a dating site? Please get out of the way so I can find my real prince charming on here.
·         No pictures with other chicks. I don’t care if it’s your sister, your hot looking mom, and I especially don’t care if it’s a cute girl you partied with last summer. How the heck do you expect to attract a girlfriend when we see another woman with their arms around you? I mean really. I’ve seen a lot of guys do this, and it’s not cute. I’m left wondering, ‘Who is that chick? Why is he holding her so close? Is he a partier? ‘All questions that do not bode well for a first impression. If you look nice in the picture please just crop the other chick out.

·         State Your Intentions- If your profile says you want a serious relationship expect to attract people who are looking for a serious relationship. I’ve been on a handful of dates online, and I was disappointed to find the person I was with didn’t want the same things I wanted. I felt duped. Not only it is not truthful it’s a waste of my time and yours. I know well enough now you can’t change a man to be the King you him to be so please spare me the headache and be honest on your profile.

·         Do list your interests, and likes – I can’t tell you how many ‘About Me’ sections I have failed to read. They fall into two categories : the ones where there is barely anything written, and the ones that feel like I’m reading a novel. In a short, concise way state your likes, dislikes, the kind of things you could see us doing on a first date. This is like your relationship coversheet. In order to get the interview you have to sell me on the coversheet. But, don’t overshare. Please don’t tell me about your baby mama issues or how you hate drama queens. I will learn that about you in due time, and then I can decide if it’s something I can handle.

·         Ask Me Out or Stop wasting my time – Look dude I’m paying $35 bucks a month and you are too so are we going to do this or what? On one dating site I will not name I got dozens of emails, winks, and pokes. Again I can count on one hand how many people asked me on a date. It’s very possible these men just didn’t like me. I’ll take that. But, if we’re messaging each other every other day, you’re sending the winks, and pokes my way, let’s go out already. Or at least give me the middle school cope out, ‘I like you as a friend.’ I can handle that. My advice is if you are interested ask for the date, a coffee is better than a virtual wink via some dating site.

 I would much rather meet a man the old fashion way through mutual friends or a through a chance conversation in the check-out line. Who does this actually happen to anymore?  The fact is life has gotten busy, hard, and overwhelming so I’ve resorted to online dating in hopes of finding my “one”.  I haven’t found him yet and I’ve had to kiss a few frogs but I’ve learned so much about myself and men in the journey. But while I'm looking brothas help me out, stop trying to be someone else and just be you.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Hometown: Part 2

This weekend, I realized why I moved back to Virginia Beach, my crazy, silly, quirky family. I’ve been away chasing my dreams for the past eight years. I would come back periodically to visit, unwind, and collect myself. But, now I live just minutes away from my family. At first I thought they would cramp my style. You know how it is; mom calling all the time, sister nagging you, parents interjecting their opinion on your life choices. I can’t say I haven’t gotten a little of that. But, I’ve realized it’s perfectly ok.
               This weekend after a day of much needed girl time, I spent Saturday evening with my family. It was nothing extravagant. Come to think of we aren’t really extravagant people. My best childhood memories are simple; watching family home videos, eating breakfast together, and sometimes pranking each other. Yea we are a silly bunch.

                My mom, dad, sister and I went grocery shopping at Sam’s Club. We love a bargain. She pushed her giant Sam’s club cart up and down the warehouse aisles, and I could barely keep up. I forgot my mother walks like she is always on a mission.
                “Oh my God, mom why are you walking so fast?” I said trying my best to keep up with her.

                “You are so young girl, why are you lagging behind?,” she said. 
                “Mom, I like to stroll. Stroll mom, I’m a stroll kind of chick.”

Honest goodness my mother turned around and said, “Girl ain’t nobody got time for strolling.”
              This is my mother, always on the move, never resting, she always has a project.  My Dad is perusing the electronic aisle. I am secretly hoping he is shopping for the lab top I put on my Christmas list. Fingers crossed. He comes back and forth to the shopping cart periodically dropping almonds, water, and fruit in the basket. My Dad is always trying to be healthy. I think it’s where I get my eating habits from. Sometimes I stumble and order fries, ketchup and value size the tea. But, most of the time I am inclined to reach for healthier items; hummus, salad, baked chicken. As a Navy man my Dad is always trying to stay in shape. I remember as a kid he would wake up at 3:30 a.m. Monday through Friday to exercise before work. I think this is why I’m always trying to stay active.

I am trying to be budget conscience so before I place my items in the basket I access the price.
                 “Umm, seven dollars for a huge thing of mouthwash? I’m not doing that, “ I said.

                My mom smiles, “Well that is what you get when you come to a bulk store.”
                I decide I will find a CVS coupon and buy a smaller bottle. By the time we reach the check out line our cart is overflowing with my food, dad’s food, and the family’s food. I tell my mom I will pay her in cash the next day. She nods.

                “Hey, I’ll get pizza for dinner tonight,” I said.
                My mother never asks me to repay her for groceries. I want to say, “Mom how much do I owe you?”
                But, I know she really wants to do this for me without me drawing attention to it so I remain quiet on the ride to my condo. We separate groceries and my speedy Gonzalez mother hauls three bags inside and drops them on my kitchen floor. Again, why are we rushing?
             Afterwards we all go back to my parents place to chill. I realize I haven’t chilled with my family in three months. I've been busy chasing assignments, dating, and trying to lose weight.

            My dad goes into his home office off the kitchen. Inside his walls are covered with our accomplishments.  Me and my brother’s college diplomas hang on the wall. My first head shot I gave him for Christmas is prominently in front of his desk. My sister’s drawings are hanging on a cork board. A picture of me and Aunt Doris is hanging up behind his desk. My mom’s nursing degree is also on the wall. My dad is extremely proud of us. I never doubt that. He may not always say it with his words but I know in my heart my dad works to help us achieve our dreams. If it weren’t for him helping me in college I know I wouldn’t be doing my dream job. He always wanted me to have more than he did. And, honestly at 29 I do have more than he did when he was in 20’s. I own a condo, I drive the car I love, and I almost never go without. Dad you’ve done well.

                My mom makes me a glass of sangria, and I curl up in dad’s huge, brown recliner in his office, strategically placed in front of the television. I never realized how comfortable this chair is.  After a few sips of sangria, and about 10 minutes of watching old Dateline episodes with my dad, I am asleep. When I wake up I feel so extremely rested, motivated, and recharged. There is a mixture of chocolate and peanut butter in the air. Mom is making cookies. How did she know I wanted cookies. With my mom’s peanut butter and chocolate cookies, sangria, and my iPad I get to work. I am my mother’s daughter, I am constantly working even when I know I should be taking a break. I try to be the queen of multitasking. There is a documentary about the D.C. Snipers on. I am watching t.v. , checking emails, and talking to my dad about how crazy the sniper cases were. Once the documentary is over, I figure it is time to go. As I’m about to leave dad picks up the remote and changes the channel. The picture turns to snowy, white air mess.
                “Hmm, I wonder what happen?” he said.

                “Did you try restarting the t.v. that works at my place,” I said.

                Dad spends about 15 minutes trouble shooting this t.v. mess and I can tell he is getting frustrated. I decide to leave the room so he can figure the TV problem.

                “That’s it I’m calling Cox cable,” he says.

                I shake my head. My dad for the most part is a patient man, but when he get frustrated it’s another story. And, for some reason my brother always find his frustration funny. Wrong, I know.  I walk back in the room, to see dad holding the television remote in one hand and the phone in the other hand.

                “What do you want me to do read out all the buttons on the remote?” dad says.
                I am laughing as I write this. My dad’s frustration is hilarious. I can’t even contain my laughter right now. I must tell my brother what is going on. I go down to the extra room off the house we call “the man room” It’s a huge space with a bar, refrigerator, and a television. It was once my dad’s man cave until my brother moved back.

                “Jimmy you have to hear dad on the phone with the Cox people.”
                 I explain to my brother what is going on and he bursts into laughter too. I walk back to my dad’s office, and the television is working again.

                “Can you believe she wanted me to read the numbers on the remote,” dad says.
                “Dad, that poor Cox lady is probably so irritated right now.”

                “Yea, she probably is but they work 24 hours,” he says.

                My dad is hilarious. It’s getting late so I pack up all  my stuff to leave. I walk in the living room to see my mother asleep on the couch and my nine pound Chorkie nestled next to her.
                “Goliath, come on it’s time to go home,” I say.

                He lifts his little head, and then turns it to my mother.
                “Come on Goliath, let’s go,” I repeat.

                He does not move. Even my dog finds comfort at my parents place. I can’t even get hurt about it.  I understand why he loves my family. They are actually kind of cool. Sometimes they drive me crazy, but most of the time I adore them.




Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why I love the new Kimye Music Video - Bound 2

Ellen premiered Kayne West music video 'Bound 2' you on her show.

Watch it and then read.


Full disclosure I don't like Kayne West's attitude. I think he is overly arrogant, and full of himself. I didn't buy this his last CD because I thought it was a overreach --- I mean calling yourself Yezzus come on dude.... But, I am in love with this song.

It's obviously a love letter to Kim. In the song Kayne talks about how they met, how he waited for her to stop playing around with all those other guys. Listen to the verse,  'How you gonna be mad on vacation.' He's saying Kim, 'How is it that you have everything handed to you, a man on your side and you still aren't happy. It's because you weren't in love with these men.' To me it is incredibly endearing song. Notice Kayne is tough in public but raw and sensitive in his music. Listen to 'Roses' about the passing of his grandmother. That man has heart. It is only in his music that he can express these types of feelings. For some reason he just can't translated that humility into real life. So I get you Kayne.

I love hearing how Kim actually opened up to Kayne. If you're a pop queen like me you know Kim and Kayne have been friends for years. It is obviously that their friendship bloomed into a romance. And, falling in love with your best friend is one of the best things ever. Trust me ladies... if you haven't fallen in love with your best friend then keeping looking honey cause it's magical. So with all these other guys Kris Humpries, that guy she dated from the Cowboys (I seriously don't recall his name) , Reggie Bush; these are men Kim obviously dated before she knew herself. Before she knew that love was more than just a handsome man and some good loving. There is not doubt in my mind her past men were great lovers (inappropriate I know). But with Kayne I think this is the one man she can let her hair down with. I mean listen how she looks to him in this video. It's not just that she is almost naked. She is bare, raw , and open with this man. That is what her nudity in this video signifies. And, I think it is beautiful. it takes a lot to be that vulnerable with someone.

God I love this song---- before you judge Kim for showing off her fabulous body listen deeply to this song. Watch the way she gazes at him. It's so romantic. Before you say, 'Kayne you're so vain.' Listen to this song. Hear how he's professing his love for her, the mother of his only child.

I'm not saying this song means they are going to last--- but I am saying this song shows they are truly, madly deeply in love right now. I am officially team Kimye now.