Wrecked…

 

Full disclosure I’m a bleeding heart and I’ve always had a deep connection to music. So the other day one of my friend’s posts a new song she found from RaeLynn called “Love Triangle”. It’s about divorce written from a child’s perspective. Normally these songs are written from the husband or the wife’s perspective and that’s probably why they don’t hit me like this one did.

I was standing in the laundry room and as I changed over the current load I cued up the song to play. Mistake alert!! I was not ready for the gut wrenching cry I was about to experience. This song brought me to my knees in every way imaginable. It broke me down and kicked me right in the feels. She perfectly describes what it feels like being stuck between two parents who are in the midst of a divorce. Hearing the beautiful melody took me back to my childhood and having to pack my bag for my dad’s house and all of the struggle that came with that. (Did I have pj’s that fit? Were my pants going to be too short this time?) So many thoughts running through my head that a 6 year old shouldn’t have to deal with. It took me back to all of the hurt I’ve kept down and ignored for years.

Naturally you’d think I’d listen to it once, realize it upsets me and move on to a happy song. But that’s just not my style. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment. I continued to cry for the next four hours… taking me all the way up to 3:30am. Let’s just say the next day at work was brutal with a 7:30am meeting and a full day I headed into it with puffy eyes. Positives did come from it, I feel so much lighter though. That cry was cathartic and helped me to release pent up anger and hurt I had bottled up.

Here’s to moving on with a fresh outlook on my experience!

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Ouch… It’s Been so Long!

There’s things I wish for in life. More time is one of them. Since I’ve last shared with you so many things have changed. (Which I feel sums up the constant feeling of my late 20’s, but we’ll get to that)

  • I’ve gotten a new job!
  • I have an incredible boyfriend
  • I’ve moved into an adorable condo that’s smack in the middle of both of my families.
  • I’ve been forced into a gluten-free and dairy-free lifestyle. Thank you Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

New Job: 

In December I interviewed and accepted a position as an Assistant Event Manager for a small firm in Orlando. Let me start out by saying I love my job, my boss, his family and our clients. I was the Assistant Event Manager/ Volunteer Coordinator/ Administrative Assistant/ ((Too many things to name)) for the FIRST ever He Got Up event in Orlando, FL. It was the most incredible event I’ve ever worked, even above all of the concerts! Just under 10k people were helped on Easter Sunday, 4k haircuts were provided, over 500 showers, 18 palates of free clothes were given away along with 8 palates of toys. DCF saw over 500 families, helped people understand the services that were available to them. It was an incredible experience and one I’m looking forward to doing again next year.

I also did the Citrus Bowl Parade which was exciting up until I broke out in hives because as luck would have it I’m allergic to citrus. Overall, riding a police escort around Orlando was pretty exciting and the parade went off without a hitch.

Incredible Boyfriend: 

Let me start off with the disclaimer… we met on Bumble. I’ve gone on Bumble dates before but this one was different. We messaged back and forth for a week and he kept postponing our dates off because he was sick. The third time he postponed I started loosing hope and as a last ditch effort I re-scheduled for Tuesday, the day before I was leaving to London on vacation for two weeks. Because fate is a fickle witch she got me good. It turns out my flight for London was Tuesday night so this time I had to cancel our date… on the last possible day before leaving. He was such a trooper. He was positive and told me we could meet up when I got back.

We continued to talk while I was gone, he asked about my hotel and how I was holding up being overseas alone. On my birthday he surprised me with flowers! It was epically awesome.

We FaceTimed while I was gone and I knew I liked him from what I knew. He also volunteered to pick me up from the airport. He did and now the rest is as they say history…

New Condo:

Not too much to say aside from its perfectly located and super nice, aside from the cat stains from the previous tenants it’s awesome!!

New Lifestyle Diet:

This one was so not my choice but on my last day of vacation in Nashville my doctor called and diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditus which essentially means I can’t have any dairy or gluten for the foreseeable future. The transition hasn’t been an easy one but my family and boyfriend have been extremely supportive and encouraging. Here’s to hoping I continue to be successful on this journey. Wish me luck!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Hit Me Like a Wrecking Ball

I promise not to mention that super catchy Cyrus tune again.

Disclaimer: This post is technically about my faith but it’s relatable no matter what you believe.

Today I was absolutely wrecked in all the best ways. I felt it on my heart to reach out to my friend who is struggling in the aftermath of a divorce. So I texted her on my way to work and started praying. Within minutes it was like word vomit. I had so many petitions that it just kept coming. I know you’ve felt this whether you’re yelling to God, the universe or to yourself it’s that feeling of surrender where you unselfishly give every fiber of your being to a feeling, a thought, an action. It’s been longer than I care to admit since I’ve done this. Jumped head first into an abyss and waited for what was put on my heart. The tears and prayers kept coming five minutes became ten and I found myself in my parking space clutching my steering wheel and crying… Ugly crying with every ounce of my body. In that time of prayer I had felt God sitting in the passenger seat beside me prompting me to continue. As I walked into work I decided it was a great day to see my friend. We’ve both been through the ringer lately and today seemed like the right day to catch up and it was. We talked for hours. Giving each other advice, crying and being present.

Background: I’ve been going through some of the worst life changes lately. Not only have I been down but I’ve been battling feelings of unworthyness and loneliness. I’ve pushed almost everyone away including God and haven’t cared up til today. My friend is recovering from a toxic marriage that left her lonely, broken and scared. She has two beautiful little boys who are products of a strong woman. They are resilient and amazing. She has faced persecution and felt the need to defend herself in the eyes of people who are supposed to love her.

As we talked we opened up. She took a leap of faith and confided in me about a recent sin that has been weighing heavily on her. I saw her heart and how torn she is from her sin and I couldn’t help but feel ashamed knowing my sins are inexcusable and much worse. We both sinned the same way the difference being my sin was 8th circle of hell worthy. After hours of talking, confiding, tears and feeling every spectrum of emotion I opened up about sins I’ve openly committed, sins I could have stopped myself from it didn’t. I showed her my heart and instead of casting me to the side she spoke to me, her words were like a healing balm on my soul. I’ve never opened up to anyone about my shame and when I finally did I was met with open arms, not condemnation. This is how it should be. The people in our lives we count on shouldn’t condemn us but love us right where we’re at.

We briefly spoke of how her friend, and I use that term loosely, convinced my friend to take certain action and now the fallout and consequences of that are breaking her further. I know in the end some good will come of it, but how much longer will she hate herself for something she has already been granted mercy from? I wanted to scream, “don’t you think she’s suffered enough?” I could feel my friend’s brokenness and her desire to fix the situation, to take it back, to make it right. It’s a brokenness I’ve lived in for far too long. Too bad there isn’t a time machine to fix mistakes. If there was how would we grow and learn?

There are so many days where I feel unworthy, not cared for and unimportant. We live in a world that tells us we’re not enough or too much while God tells us we’re perfect because we’re made in his image. I read this amazing book called Be Rebellious by Megan Clinton and wow was it amazing and thought provoking. The world we live in knows nothing of grace and forgiveness so in a world that wants to beat me down I’m going to continue to stand up. If I fall there’s always tomorrow.

  
Let me break it down. Here’s what being a follower of Christ means to me. (Not all reasons will be listed, only ones pertaining to this post)

  • He loves me even when I don’t love myself.
  • I am worthy of his love because I am his daughter.
  • His forgiveness comes as soon as I ask for it.
  • He won’t hold it against me.
  • I am called to forgive others just as he’s forgiven me.
  • A sure fire way to turn people away from him is to judge and condemn them.
  • Grace was meant for everyone. Peter denied him three times and he was still loved as much as the most faithful servant.

I just want to end this post by saying you aren’t alone. Whether you’re behavior is self destructive or hurts others you can turn it around. It’s not going to be easy but it’ll be worth it. Fight for yourself, be kind to yourself and most of all love yourself enough to make a change.

The final straw…

This is me, what I look like at this moment… (You’ll need that for reference)

   

 

There’s days when I get wound up, and angry and flustered. Today is one of those days. 

I was standing in line at my local sub shop when I overheard a mother whisper to her daughter that “someone like that (referring to me) would never be able to get a real job.” Her daughter asked why and she began to explain because of the crazy colors in my hair and my tattoos for reference you can only see three of my tattoos, one on my ankle and one on each wrist. 

Now, maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t eaten all day or I was just finally fed up with this mindset but I not so kindly whipped around and looked at the daughter and said “Hi my name is Lauren, I am a 25 year old who graduated from Flagler College and I am a production office manager for music festivals. I pay all of my own bills, I drive a nice dependable car oh did I mention I graduated college debt-free and worked three jobs to do so. I used to be like your mom afraid to express my individuality and cared so much about what everyone else thought and then one day I realize that it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is what I think and my work and my work ethic speak for themselves.” 

To say the mom was shocked would be an understatement she tried to pick a fight but I said I wasn’t interested I was just sharing with her and her daughter the facts of my life before she goes and make snap judgments. I have faced criticism like this only a few times in the past but when somebody is trying to pass on awful ideologies to a child that’s what really bothers me knowing that they will grow up thinking the same thing their parents still just as my little brother has grown up thinking tattoos are stupid and ridiculous because that is how my father feels. 

To each their own opinion but keep it to yourself if somebody is within your shot of who you were referring to and cutting down this world has enough of negativity we don’t need to add to it.

Beautiful 

“She was beautiful, but not like the girls in the magazines. She was beautiful, for the way she thought. She was beautiful, for that sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful, for her ability to make other people smile even if she was sad. No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful, deep down to her soul.

It’s amazing what hard work and a smile can do…

So, I’m always being asked how I scored the job I have now which is production office manager for a music festival promoter. This job can make my life amazing and hell at the same time but I wouldn’t trade one second of it for anything else. So I figured I would share with you how I scored my, for now, dream job.

I volunteered. Yeah, that’s right. My volunteering at music festivals started off as me just trying to say thank you to the promoter for giving my college radio station 10 pairs of tickets to giveaway but it turned into so much more. So, I was free labor for 3 festivals before I broke the barrier into getting paid. The first festival I carried water to vendors, scanned tickets and strung lanyards, in the heat, in Florida. The second festival I helped with catering and the team started to notice that I was a hard worker. When they saw me come back the following year I was put with hospitality and I worked my butt off. My original shift was only 4 hours long… I stayed for 14. It was worth every minute because I got a call in the early summer asking if I was available for a week and a half in September to fly out and work a festival out in California. Since September 2013 I’ve worked up from hospitality assistant to head of hospitality  to now production office manager. Which is pretty awesome considering I was only doing 3 festivals a year at the time. Now that number has increased to 7 festivals for 2015 with the possibility of 2 more being added last minute.

I hear the same thing over and over at these shows. “You are no joke the nicest person we’ve dealt with on this run” or “wow you’re so sweet, thank you so much.” Here’s the thing in my position, or any industry really you need to be personable. I smile, I make people feel welcome. When these bands are on the road for months at a time sometimes all they want is someone to show a tiny bit of extra love towards them. Small gestures can make your day amazing. As can going the extra mile and taking the extra step. At the end I’ll share a couple of my favorite stories. 

Don’t be afraid to volunteer, or put in extra hours. Show commitment and the willingness to help where it’s needed. Carry that attitude with you. Once you get the job, don’t drop it at the door. Keep it up and work hard.

My 2015 Festival Motto is “have courage and be kind.”

My two favorite stories: The first, we had a smaller band playing and on their rider it had asked for a pack of black socks. When I had emailed their tour manager letting him know that was beyond the scope of what we provided he replied very sweetly and said it was no problem that they were just always loosing theirs or they were always dirty so it never hurt to ask. Well when they got to their dressing rooms I had 2 pairs of socks in little bags for each of their bandmates and crew. While it was only 7 people total their reaction was priceless. I must have been thanked about 20 times and since they’ve been on 4 other shows with us every time they tell me how grateful they were that I did that small gesture for them.

The second, I had a really angry tour manager storm into my office. Upset their room hadn’t been iced down and that hospitality wasn’t waiting on their hand and foot. Not like we didn’t have 22 other bands to take care of as well. So I killed him with kindness. I put a big smile on my face and ensured him a big part of my job is to make sure his day goes smoothly. By the end of the night he was bragging about our festival being easily the best one he’d ever been to. Best staff, nicest and most helpful.

One step forward two steps back…

That is exactly how my day is going today. You know those times when a loved one pressures you into doing something and you know it’s going to be awful but you say yes anyways? Well that was me today. 

My mother dragged me to a ladies’ tea at our church, which normally I would love because as 25 year olds go I’m kind of old school like that. Yes my future China pattern is going to be. So I’m looking at the program and I realize that my recent ex’s mom hosted a table at the event… seconds later her name was called and as she stood I was torn. Part of me wanted to run out of the room, the other half of me wanted to go up to her and tell her the kind of man her son is. 

I did neither. Instead, I held my head high as silent tears streamed down my cheeks I made my way to the restroom through the crowd, luckily I was alone, I held onto the sink and cried for what seemed like forever. Repeating over and over “I am beautiful, I am strong” after a good 15 minutes my message sunk in. I composed myself, put a smile on my face and walked back to my table. 

The rest of the event was excrushing. I wanted to leave, but I stayed knowing my mom would throw an epic fit if I did. So I endured, I suffered through it and you know what… I made it through and im still alive.

As I was listening to the guest speaker I realized her message was 100% for me and what I needed to hear. I’ve been harboring so much anger and hatred for someone and I need to let it go. Moving on may not happen immediately but I have to let go of the negative feelings and energy. They are holding me back from my own happiness. I’m not saying it’ll happen overnight, but I’m committed to trying.

A “few” hours later:

Now it’s not all good and great, I’m still exhausted partially from not getting to sleep till 6am from carpal tunnel killing my hands. But I feel better, I’m proud of myself for pulling it together and making it through the luncheon with at least a partial smile on my face.

I’ve spent the rest of the day with some much needed but not to excess retail therapy and I’m going to cuddle my squishy pup tonight and remind myself that “the sun’ll come out tomorrow”.  

Today’s loot below! The pictures don’t do the dresses justice.

   

The sun’ll come out tomorrow…

I swear those lyrics get stuck in my head everytime I’m feeling down and hopeless. But there ISIS much truth in them. No matter how dark things may seem you can count on that sun to rise in the morning… Unless you live in Alaska, and if that’s the case I’m sorry you’re SOL. So basically I’ve moved on to the anger stage and the “I’m better than that” phase rolled up into one not so neat little package. Let’s not go there tonight.

Hold up though, I want to talk about some awesome things happening. My next fest is less than a month away and I can’t wait! This has been the longest 4 months of my life and it’s just reassured me this is what I love to do and that it’s the life I want. I may always be traveling but at some point I’ll get to where I can take the pup with me and being away from home won’t suck so bad.

Turns out my older brother still owns his house here and I’m going to rent it from him  and fix it up so he and his wife can finally sell it. Looks like home improvement projects will be taking up a lot of my time and I’m okay with that. It’ll be a lot to handle bit good practice for my first home. Plus Edward, my dog, will have a backyard to run around in. Plus I won’t live so far from my friends or siblings and with a mall 5 min away what else can a girl ask for? 

So, lots of changes. A new house with tons of home improvements needed and more time on the road this fall. So far 1 show in April, 3 in October, 1 in November and 2 in December. Plus rumors of two more but we’ll see a girl can hope! I’m young, now is the time to satisfy my travel bug. (Assuming that it can be satisfied)

So basically when things look hopeless and dark and the mountain seems too big to climb just remind yourself “the sun’ll come out tomorrow.”