Friday, December 31, 2010

Prospero Año

 It's the last day of 2010.

And I guess that makes some people reflective. 

What happened in 2010? What do I resolve to do in 2011?

In 2010:
  • Changed majors
  • Declared a minor
  • Stood up for my beliefs
  • Understood the importance of family ;)
  • Began to see the world through a different lens
  • Re-evaluated my goals and desires in life
  • Tried (and loved!) Japanese food
  • Ran over my toe with a cargo can (more about that later)
  • Rocked a knee brace
  • Practiced yoga
  • Turned 21!
  • Celebrated 'Fiji Day'
  • Appreciated great friendships
  • Fell head over heels
In 2011, what more could I ask for? I have the greatest friends in the world, scattered about the country. I have a roof over my head, I'm alive, I'm breathing. I'm falling for a guy that challenges my thoughts and constantly keeps me on my toes. I can't wait for another year, to surprise myself and push myself further than before.

New Year's Eve is like fireworks... it's just not the same if you're alone.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Apartment Therapy

So in my free time, tucked away in my bed's covers, I've been browsing through a website called Apartment Therapy. I'm pretty sure I've found my dream apartment. 

The apartment is 550 square feet of Bohemian splendor in California. Its owners are Sara and Michael. I think they are very cute. I hope to one day have a place like that.

For days, I have not been able to stop listening to Joni Mitchell's 1971 Blue.

And I want one of espresso maker with milk steamer. My online search seemed to provide a few reasonably priced ones.

I am still trying to decide what to do with my life. The least I can do is experience the reality of an apartment hunt.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Blue Room

I think it's time to share a bit about the blue room.

The first time I moved out of state was at age 14. I left my hometown, the state in which I was born, and all the people I'd ever known. I was Illinois-bound for high school. I thought I'd live there forever, too.

My parents bought a big house. It had way too many rooms. Rooms they filled with spare boxes and things they refused to get rid of, things I called "clutter." I couldn't stand the idea of a junk room. The feeling of it littered my soul.

But I had my own bedroom. My parents let me pick any color I wanted. I picked a vivid, dark turquoise. I had a reversible rainbow-colored bedspread with large polka dots on one side and stripes on the other. I had a small nightstand with two droors and a tall standing lamp with rainbow shades. I didn't have a bed frame but I did have a double-layered mattress cushion that acted as my bed. The very fact that it lay so close to the floor just added to the whole minimalist bohemian feel.

I remember at night turning the lights down low, positioning myself in the center of my mattress and reading The Catcher in the Rye for the first time. I was so into it. It became my favorite book for awhile.

No matter how crazy the rest of the house was, my room was a whole other world that could envelope me.  I could go anywhere. My mattress was my magic carpet.

Come senior year of high school, my parents informed me that we would once again be collecting our lives into cardboard boxes and moving away. This time to Kentucky. I was thrilled. I loved Kentucky. The two times I'd seen it, I realized I could attend college there and start a new life. I would miss my best friends dearly but they were moving away too. This could be my new start. Maybe I could live there forever.

Most of this time, my parents and I argued incessantly. In particular, my mother and I. She was hurtful, berating, and degrading. I tried to tell myself it was the medication talking but my conscience kept saying, "If you were a mother, it wouldn't matter how medicated you were, you would never say something like that to your daughter." And I knew it was right.

Once the house went on the market, things escalated from bad to manic. On Christmas break my parents bought two buckets of shiny white paint and told me that I would be spending my time making my room neutral. By that point in time, I'd obtained actual furniture; a bed frame, two night stands, and a TV station. Everything was moved out except for my bed, which was just scooted to the room's center. The carpets were laden with newspaper and old adds for electronics or what-have-you. We spent a couple days trying to cover the walls but streaks still showed through. It was like a prolonged torture. If they were going to take the walls away from me, they should've done it fast, rip-away-a-band-aid style. With a couple coats of primer, plus more white paint the walls were ready to dry into neutralization.

I had to sleep on the couch for a week or so. I remember my dad getting mad at me for staying up late and reading Memoirs of a Geisha. After he went back to bed, I popped the movie version of Memoirs in the DVD player and turned the volume down low. I also remember watching Shopgirl. That movie had such a weird mood but it captured exactly how I felt. So I loved it for that.

One day after a huge blow-up fight with my mother over God-knows-what I ran up to my room and locked the door. There were still paint fumes, newspapers on the floor and the windows were cracked. I played the very first song by The Doors that appeared on my iPod and let it play through in its entirety. I didn't come out the whole day. I remember feeling the hunger rumbling between my ribs and how good it felt. My path to enlightenment had to include suffering. I was freezing but I didn't reach for a blanket. I just stayed in the same position on my back all day, staring underneath my bed. They'd taken the blue room from me and they weren't even sorry for it.

Recently in my life, I've been experiencing a similar chain of events. I feel like my parents are trying to metaphorically paint my room again. For some reason, I've not met their expectations so I feel disconnected and numb when I'm around them. They're keeping me from people and things I love by the all-too-common "you-live-under-my-roof" rule. I feel suffocated, made to bury my own grave, made to paint my blue room white. I keep making preparations to move out but my attempts just fall short at this stage in my life. I don't know when or how I will get out, yet I know it necessary. It's terrifying to imagine a life independent with all my own costs.

In the meantime, I'm under my bed, atop newspaper, winter windows cracked, blasting The Doors, starving.

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Site

Come visit me at

Saturday, December 18, 2010


 So yesterday I was watching this global health series on 20/20 called Be the Change: Save a Life. It was basically a program shedding light on health problems across the world. They talked about tuberculosis in Cambodia, malnutrition in Guatemala, and the lack of clean water in Bangladesh among many other things. 

After my last post, I felt utterly shamed.

Here I am complaining about not being able to get into the Christmas spirit. Things like this really put life into perspective and make everything else seem entirely insignificant. I was reduced to watery eyes and I could feel my heart ripping open for these people. The only reason I sit here in a warm American home, typing on a laptop is because of an accident of birth. We do not ask to be born. We do not ask to be assigned an ethnicity or to inhabit a particular nation. Yet, we are all connected and it is our responsibility as human beings to help one another as best we can. 

And it all just sort of hit me. People are going to be my life's work. At first I thought it was all about words. But my words aren't going to make a difference without people. And I can't make a difference without them.

I don't know what I'm going to do. Or if it's even financially feasible or safe or practical. Maybe I'll take off to Guatemala and teach English as a second language. And while I'm there, help the malnourished. Maybe I won't go anywhere. Maybe my place is here. 

Either way, I have to stop living my life in the hopes of being like someone else. Living like I need to prove myself. Prove my intelligence. Living like a degree will define my success. 

I feel shaky, unsettled. But my heart feels pure.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Charlie Brown Christmas

This year I've been feeling a bit like Charlie Brown. 

It just seems like I can't do anything right. And (gasp) I can't get into the Christmas spirit. 

 I feel like I need Linus to sit me down and tell me about the true meaning of Christmas.

Then all my friends would come and wave all their hands around. Out would come a beautiful Christmas tree and we would all sing, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."

But in all actuality, there are a few reasons I've been out of my normal cheer.

First and foremost, I could feel the holiday season coming on about three weeks ago. I told myself, "Lauren, once finals are over, you can watch every Christmas movie, bake to your heart's content, wrap presents, listen to Christmas music, frolic in the snow, etc. all after December 11th (my last day for finals). Don't ruin it now by celebrating under stress! It will only make you mad at the season!"
Finals took so much out of me. I was writing pages of mediocre work just to get through. I was so tired and mentally drained. Finals have never been this difficult for me to get through.

After it was all over, I let out a truncated sigh of relief. My mother and I started fighting. Julie and I were supposed to have a much-needed girl's day, eating McAlister's and watching girly movies. Then, came the snow. Schools were canceled. Long story short, our day did not come to fruition.

Then, the mother of all cheer-draining took horrible form: my job. As previously mentioned, I work at an outdoor shipping business, 3rd shift. This Wednesday, we had an ice storm. Every piece of our equipment was covered in a layer of ice. We would have all fared better walking around with ice skates on. The docks and rollers that help move the thousand-something pound containers were also ice-laden. If walking were difficult in itself, imagine walking on ice-covered rollers pulling said cans.

I went to work that night at 11PM. I got off work at 7:35AM. And I know it could've been so much worse. Other people got off later. Some people signed up for double shifts and had to work until after 1PM. But alas, it left me horrible, haggard, wet, cold, ugly, and all sorts of grumpy and fatigued.

I was at my worst. I was swearing like a sailor and all I could think about was the Marilyn Monroe quote: 
 "I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."

 Easy for her to say. She never worked at UPS.

But lately, all I've been is my worst. I say things I don't mean. I complain incessantly. I can't seem to get my life together. I'm in way too many clothes. I'm sweaty and cold. My hair looks bad. I'm wearing hats so warm they make me look homeless. I'm sleeping all day.

After getting to bed at around 1PM yesterday, I woke up at 8PM. It was dark, I hadn't eaten all day, or accomplished anything. But the worst part was realizing that I was only waking up to go back to work again.

So, Tuesday I had a duel with a woman over a Christmas present.

I know she saw me eying her like a hawk about to swoop down and claim my rightful prey. Unfortunately, she won. So, I had to place an order. Hopefully it will be here in time...

Thanks to everyone. For accepting me at my worst. For helping me find my way. And for singing my praises when I feel like giving up.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A subtle thank you

It's days like today that I miss high school. Or rather the idea of high school. High school was so easy that it hardly necessitated studying or hours of homework. College on the other hand, college is about work. 

When I think back to high school, I think back to the days I spent with my three best friends. We would go get coffee at Caribou and find a seat in the narrow cafe lined with carved wooden seats that resembled logs. We would talk about our plans. Julia was obsessed with anything international. Kelsey was choosing between music and science. Ruth wasn't quite sure. I was of course going to be pre-med (ha). 

 After finals, during breaks, on Fridays, or just anytime we could find reason to celebrate, we would all meet up at Potbelly's Sandwiches and walk around the Commons. We loved going into Francesca's and snapping photos of ourselves in oddly-framed glasses. We also loved the dresses that always seemed to be slightly out of our budgets. 

Anytime someone had a birthday, which was February, May, and twice in September, we would go to Coldstone Creamery for icecream to accompany our cupcakes. 

 I remember Kelsey patiently teaching me how to knit, showing me how to make blankets, and ceaselessly repairing the broken strap on my favorite gypsy bag (which now has an un-repaired zipper). 

 Ruth and I would always celebrate the first day of spring. Of course it wasn't the official day or anything. It was just the first day you could really feel the warmth of the sun when the snow mounds began to melt. We could feel the end of winter was near. One year we went to Chipotle for burritos and to Hobby Lobby for paint and posterboard. We had a project in our History class over WW2 that required a presentation so we decided to paint the board in camouflage. It was decided that trench warfare smelt of "poop and licorice." We later met up with Kelsey at school for a fundraiser that would lower the cost of our choir trip to Disneyworld. The next year we got coffee, walked around town, got followed by geese, met up with Kelsey and went to the Scholastic Bowl/Chess Club banquet and celebration. We had pizza and went bowling. Then we may or may not have partaken in a cigarette, which at the time felt really cool.

 At Disneyworld, we all shared a room. We rejoiced over small things together. We discussed God. We learned a lot from one another. Julia would wake up, open the curtains, letting the sun in and say, "Hello world!" When a chocolate chip from her trail mix fell on the floor she regrettably decided that someone was going to think a bunny pooped next to her bed. We all got henna tattoos; Kelsey and Julia on their shoulders, Ruth on her wrist, me on my ankle. Sharing a bathroom with three other girls was not quite the crisis situation one would imagine. But then again, these aren't any ordinary girls. 

We all shared a traveling blue notebook which we named "The Notebook." We would all write in it about our lives and pass it on. It was a way to keep up with one another when times got busy. Along with the notebook, we passed around a heart necklace that we would wear when we had the notebook. A lot of people were curious about what we were writing about and would question: "WHAT is in that blue notebook?!" I'd always tell people that I could tell them but then I'd have to kill them.

When we had an AP English paper that required library research, we took it as an opportunity to get coffee, lunch, and to take photos of ourselves with Mark Twain's statue out front. And also we did a bit of research for our papers...

We all encompassed so much diversity but all saw the world through a similar lens. Julia was the quiet redhead that put in hours at the school newspaper. Kelsey was the blond science nerd that was also a Drum Major, choir president, and captain of the Scholastic Bowl Team. Ruth was sardonic with hair so dark it was almost black... she hated almost every subject in school and wanted to graduate so she could start doing something she actually liked. And I was the I was the busy brunette and Spanish nerd. Since 16, I was working at a grocery store almost every day after school and on weekends. The girls began to refer to my job as the "taker of my soul." Plans always had to be at my convenience... which I felt terrible about.

And even though we all wanted to get out of high school as fast as we could, I miss them. They helped me through a lot of sadness and helped me develop into the person I am today. I can never thank them enough.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Capture It

Do you ever have so many thoughts running through your head that you wish you could just make them into a picture book you could flip through?

 I've been obsessed with these long hippie-style dresses. I wish it were spring. Even if just for one day.

A recent search of left me drooling over more than a few items I would love to obtain. Again, I am such a hippie when it comes to these things.

 Here's Alexis Bledel returning from a film festival in Canada. Isn't she the cutest? I can't believe she's 28 years old. I always had this image of myself approaching 30 with frump. I hope I can still look as fun as Alexis at 28. Makes me miss old Rory.

 Well, I can't wait for December 21st. I need some Emma Stone magic in my life pronto.

J'adore. One day my room will be this color. And I will construct a similar gypsy-style bed.

 I've been dreaming of a bohemian apartment. (Okay, and a White Christmas). But seriously, I just can't live in my parents' house much longer. It's time for me to put my big girl pants on and buck up. That's not to say that I expect any apartment I could afford in the near future to look anything like these above. But a girl can dream. And be inspired.

I wish to one day obtain a professional-ish camera. Like a Canon or a Nikon that has a protruding lens and a strap you wear around your neck. I love taking photographs and love capturing scenes of life that I can relive over and over again; in the moment and in retrospect. Just like writing. Certain cameras just don't capture what your own soul sees. I edited the above photos from my personal album. One's from this September, a few days after my 21st birthday, of a bridge in the city I call home. The other is from over a year ago at a fall festival. Carnivals and festivals are just the perfect places to snap photos. People exit their seemingly stressful lives, if only for a few hours, and retreat into the whimsy of childhood. The food, the lights, the colors, the rides, the sounds, the smells. It's all a combination for impending magic. You just have to capture it.