Friday, December 17, 2010

Fires and Fireplaces.

Life has a funny way of happening.

Last month, I woke up to screams and smoke...lots of smoke.

(photo found here)

There was a fire right below my apartment and the first thing I did when I saw smoke was run out the door as fast as I could.

"Oh my God, my brand new television."

This was the first thing I said to my roommate who looked at me with an incredulous look and said:

"Your life is worth more, Lauren."

And, to be honest, I remember thinking to myself -- "No, it isn't." I couldn't get my mind off the $4,000 electronic device I owned, even as I stood half naked outside my apartment building obsessing over it.

Now, I sit in the living room of my beautiful new apartment in West Hollywood in front of a lovely fireplace...with a different kind of fire. Television undamaged, happiness increased, a weight lifted off my shoulders.

"Lauren, you seem more comfortable in your skin and happier since the move" my stepmother told me over breakfast.

I smiled at her, not even noticing the change until that moment.

Perhaps a fire is just what I needed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's Tricky When You're Old. . .

For those of you who don't know my dad, this is him -- also known as Da Man.

It has been fun writing a book about dating with him and we've grown even closer.

Can't wait to see what the future holds! And for those of you who need some dating advice, feel free to ask this daughter-father duo.

Father and Daughter Know Best.

Dating ain'teasy, we all know that. But, with a positive attitude and a solid game plan...you can achieve anything.

Oh, and you have to get real.

Some questions to ask yourself...
Do I think of my dog as my "going out" buddy?
When my friends invite me to a movie do I ask, "what time you comin' over?"
Are my legs hairier than Chewbacca's?
We've all had our rough phases. And if you haven't, then all the power to ya. For all of ya'll down on your luck and wondering when love is going to come, wait it out. And, in the meantime,
shave your legs.
Exerpt from our (me and my father) book, It's Hard When You're Young, It's Tricky When You're Old: Gettin' Real About Dating.

Friday, September 17, 2010

"I'm Broke"

Money.

We all like it...or, at least the things it can give us.

I know I sure do. Since I've been working two jobs, I seem to have quite a bit of if. Actually, so do most of the people I work with as well. Yet, I always hear:

"I'm broke."

Hmmm...

It makes me wonder how many of us, no matter how much $$ we have, end up short each and every month. Wanting and asking for more money whether it be from G-O-D or your momma.

(photo found here)
Let's be frank. Some peeps just don't know how to save for a rainy day, or any day at all. Damn, it is a lot easier said than done when you're looking at a gorgeous flat screen television, or an Ipad.
It's almost like these things are just screaming, "Buy me!"
I get it, I do. But hey, we gotta be smart. It's all about balance. You can have that television and still save money. How? Here are some ideas --
1) Instead of calling your homegurl to go eat at Cheesecake Factory three times a week, cut it down to twice a month. You'll adjust over time. Also, replace eating out with your Boo by cooking dinners at home. Last month I went out to eat over 10 times, which cost me over $250 dollars. Yeah, we all have hiccups. It's about how you recover that matters. Doing this every now 'n then is okay.
2) Take the train instead of your car. I usually spend $150 a month in gas on average. When I take the bus for the majority of the month, I save over half of that amount. Hey, multiply what I save ($75) by 12 and that equals $900...enough for a flat screen television.
3) Get a Sugamomma or Sugadaddy.
4) Open up a Checking account. If you haven't, consider doing it. This is a great way to see your transactions and track the way you spend $. I look at my statements at least 3 times a week to make sure I am on top of things.
5) Put an end to buying unnecessary items. You know you don't need that $20 T-Shirt with the words, "Oprah, don't go." And Lady GaGa will be around next year so you can hold off on buying those $500 tickets to her concert. Don't even go near Ikea. Those multi-colored desk lamps and triangular picture frames will always be there.
6) Pay off and cancel your credit cards until you only have 1. And don't allow it to go over $100 dollars.
Hope this helps. Being broke ain't fun. But, if you are smart about your spending habits then you won't ever have this problem.
Well, that is, if you don't lose your j-o-b.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jobs and Interviewing and Fear.

(photo found here)
Jobs are hard to come by lately, but they are out there. I recently helped two of my friends by rewriting their resume in the hopes of landing them that beautiful and scary thang --
The Interview
Ugh. I know it's tough, but get over it and prepare yourself. It wasn't until I started practicing my job interviewing skills that I actually saw a huge improvement, and received a job offer. Here are a few tips, peeps --
1) Go to a local bookstore and run straight to the "Careers" or "Jobs" section and grab a few books on those respective subject matters. Buy one or two and then make yourself practice two exercises from each book a day, such as following up with networking contacts or calling companies to see if they are hiring. If you can't afford to buy the books, then just read a chapter a day and write excellent notes.
2) Practice with friends and family. But, uh, don't practice with your Boo. Ya'll know each other too well.
3) Research the heck out of the company you're trying to join. Know it like the back of your hand. I've screwed up on this before and looked like a total idiot when I didn't know the answer to an easy question about a company I failed to learn about. Ya live and you learn!
4) Dress well. Look, interviews are not for jeans and T-shirts. I don't care if you're applying to be a janitor at Burger King. Put on some slacks and a nice, ironed top. No exceptions. I've seen individuals called out for not dressing the part. Plus, you feel more confident when you look/feel good. If you can't afford to buy clothes, try a thrift store.
5) Practice in front of a mirror. This allows you to pick up on your body language and anything you do that isn't so hot, like twitch or blink too often.
6) Always start off by handing that person your resume. He or she may be looking for you to do this, or simply didn't bring it. This always makes you look good. Also, it's always great if it's wrinkle free and on a white sheet of paper. Common sense to most, but not to all.
7) Know your place. Don't pretend to be a Know-It-All. Answer any and all questions. Say what you need to say to present yourself as the best for that position and that's it.
Interviewing is hard, but it's totally fun once you get the hang of it. If you're straight out of college or a young person looking for your first job, follow the above tips and you'll be golden.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chronicles Of A 20-Something - The Ex.

"Should I get back together with my ex boyfriend?"
"My ex girlfriend is suddenly being nice and wants to date again. Should I say yes?"
"He's saying everything right, but...I'm just confused."
"Yeah, we didn't work before, but maybe the timing was wrong."
"She knows me well and maybe this is as good as it gets."


(photo found here)

These are all questions and thoughts I'm sure most of us have had at some point in our life...like me.


Can it work out after it didn't go so well in the past?


Only you can answer and figure this out, of course. But, trust me, I know it's tough. I've been spending time and hooking up with my ex girlfriend for the past month and it has been great. But, some of the same issues are still there that make it obvious we are not meant for each other. And to be real, no matter how old you are, it's confusing when love and sex is involved, which is okay. We're human. We feel all types of thangz.


Here's what I recommend doing if you're torn --


Nothing.


Just live your life and see what happens in the Present moment. Truth is, it's hard to figure out what you want. And that can change by the minute/hour/day/month. There's nothing worse than having regrets and wondering, later in life, "I wish we could have tried again."


Make mistakes. Do stupid shiznit. Embarrass yourself a little bit. At least you'll know without any uncertainty that you gave it all you had.


However, let me say this:


If you're considering going back to someone who doesn't treat you well or takes you for granted, then run out the door as fast as you can. You deserve the best and anything short of that should be a booty call!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Chronicles Of A 20-Something - Work.

I have to say that it's tough to find time to hang out with friends, relax, and enjoy life when you're working over 55 hours a week.

I get it, this is what being young and motivated is all about. But, we all need a back rub and some affection every now and then...right?

I've come to the conclusion that it is all about balance. We must be held sometimes while we must work until our bones break during others. And sometimes sipping on a glass of Chardonnay underneath the California sun is all that matters.

Let's say you died and God asked you, "Do you have any regrets?" What would you say?

I would reply, "I wish my heart broke a little more and my bones didn't ache so much."

Yeah, I'm still finding a balance. Time to go ice my back.

Friday, May 28, 2010

New Book!

Hey there,

As many of you know I am working on a book about dating with my dad. It's going to be done in less than 4 months! Yay!

We're looking for a photographer and an artist to draw some pictures for each chapter (11). If you're interested or know of anyone, please E-mail me at --


Lezzieindacity@yahoo.com


Thanks! It's going to be great!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chronicles Of A 20-Something, Marriage Rules

Marriage is no joke. I ain't in one, but I can see from a distance that it takes work, commitment, and patience.

It ain't for kids, though many tend to be.

In a recent article, a list of 9 "marriage rules" will help to successfully maintain your relationship. Let's break it down --

1) Never go to bed angry.
Sometimes anger makes things a little sexy.
2) Always be 100% honest.
Lying ain't cool, unless it's part of a sexual game.
3) Never vacation without one another.
How the hell do you get a break from seeing one another then?
4) If you fight, you're headed for divorce.
Fighting happens...but should never be abusive. Chris Brown activity ain't cool.
5) Once you have children, they come first.
And if you have 'em, get ready to pay not just for your health insurance, but their coverage as well.
6) You should never sleep in separate beds.
...unless you payed thousands of dollars for your couch. Gotta get your money's worth.
7) Partners should sync up their hobbies.
Maybe having a few of the same ones is a nice idea, but all of them? Hell naw. You gotta have your own interests, marriage or not.
8) If there's no spark, you're dead.
For some, they may enjoy the lack of excitement. There are peeps like this, and that's cool if they find the same in a partner...just don't ask my ass out. I ain't tryna be bored with ya.
9) Boring is bad.
Good point, but how do you keep it from not being boring when you're around the person all the time? It ain't like when you go home after a long day they aren't there. You have no free time away unless you go on that vacation alone, or with your friends..right?

To be real, these rules are beneficial for every kind of relationship. But, I don't know how realistic it is to sustain them on a day-to-day level.

We're all human and fight sometimes.

Or, don't want to have the same hobbies. Hell, I may want to sleep on the couch one night, especially if my stomach is actin' crazy.

Does this mean we're doomed for failure in relationships and love? Probably...or, not.

Truth is, no one can predict what happens in the future. You may follow all of these rules and still fall flat on your face and divorce after a few months. From personal experience I know the feeling of believing a relationship will last forever only to see it gone within months. That's why I try to live in the moment, knowing that marriage will come one day -- even if I break a rule or two.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

To The Left, To The . . . Right.

Life can be tricky, and it can be challenging. It can also be amazingly rewarding and fulfilling.

Hopefully.

And to be real, sometimes we face tough choices. The right path can be a little hard to see, just like the wrong one.

(photo found here)

Whatever you're struggling with, allow yourself to feel what you're feeling.

Then, scream.

Then, breathe. Twice. Hella deeply.

And ask your heart, what the hell do you wanna do?

. . .

I guarantee it'll whisper something back.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Prostitutes and Streets and Home.

I live near broken roads
...
in between dirty fences and run down churches.
Oh...and prostitutes.

(photo found here)


Sometimes
Late at night, after work, I drive home.
And, sometimes I get scared.
You know, after the car's parked and there's no one in the streets.
Just me and the dark and my heat hot breath.
The pulse of my heart.
Breathing. Heavy.
Yet, when I look over my shoulder
I know it's okay,
because she's always there
he's always there
they're always there
Looking. Waiting. Watching. Protecting.
Even before they get into that stranger's car.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chronicles Of A 20-Something - Reality.

INT. CHURCH - DAY
It's hella windy, but I'm inside. Thank goodness. I sit down at a table with a Co-worker. She's 26 but doesn't look a day over 19. Her shoulders are slumped and she looks worried. Very worried as she punches numbers into a calculator.


I look over at her and smile. I can't help but wonder, "what the hell is she obsessing over?"


After a few moments, she turns to me.
Co-Worker: "I'm wondering how I can pay all of my bills this month. It's never going to happen. Or, I fear that it won't. That wouldn't be good."
Aww, she's so cute and awkward. I feel like giving her a hug.
Me: "Well, I'm sure this job will be enough with the hours they give us."
Co-Worker: "Yeah, but I have another job. I can't leave them high 'n dry."
Nothing like some guilt.
Me: "I'm sure they'll understand if you take a day off or two since this job is temporary. Plus, it pays good money, so you gotta consider that. But, you should be fine because we'll be working on the weekends. Your other job is during the week, right?"
Co-Worker: "Yeah, but I need two days where I can relax. Just for my sanity...ya know? Like, I have to take care of myself."
I lean in closer, making sure to listen and not seem like I'm judging.
Me: "You ultimately have to do what's best for you. But, gurl, the reality is you need money, right?"
Co-Worker: "Yeah, I do."
Me: "Okay. So, if you're taking two days off a week then you aren't making money, which can be the reason why you aren't able to pay your bills, what good will that do for you? In the end, you aren't really taking care of yourself since your basic necessities won't being covered."
She takes in my words, thinks.
Co-Worker: "I guess that makes sense. How many hours do you think we'll get here?"
Me: "Well, up to 36 it sounds like. And that's a lot of money if you calculate it."
She punches into her calculator again, reminding me of WALL-E in a strange way. As she does that, I begin mingling with other peeps. After a few minutes, she taps my shoulder.
Co-Worker: "I've figured it out, Lauren."
Me: "Cool!"
Co-Worker: "You're right. I don't need to be taking so much time off. I have to focus on working and, if I make more than I need, I'll just save it for the next month. Or, something may come up that I must buy."
Me: "Sounds like a good plan you got there."
Co-Worker: "You think?"
Me: "Hell yeah, gurl, you're smart."
Co-Worker: "Thanks!"
We smile at each other, feeling like we made a huge accomplishment. Maybe we did...

Let's break it down --


Facing reality ain't so easy.


It requires seeing the truth and forcing yourself to move those dark clouds of denial and fear to another sky. It's uncomfortable and allows No room for any type of fantasy.


Being in yours 20s, or just someone who is still struggling to figure out how to survive, requires patience. Some of us will continue on the path of I-got-no-idea-where-I'm-going while others will take another route, also called:


I got this.


Because, the reality is, that's the truth. If you believe, just f-ckin' believe in yourself, the world has no other choice but to eventually accommodate your ass.

Who really knows if you or I will make it each month. Maybe we won't, maybe we will. And yeah, some peeps are lucky and land an amazing job that they never leave. There are also many folks out there who don't even work hard, (Lindsay Lohan) but make a ton of money. Yes, this can be tough to swallow as we struggle, at times.

Ultimately, I think it's about the journey and the steps we take in our own big sky. No one knows the outcome, or has control over what happens. However, we do have control over whether or not we enjoy those steps that we do take.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dreams And Peanuts.

Today the licensing rights for Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and the rest of the "Peanuts" gang were bought for 175 million bucks.
(photo found here)

Charles Schulz, rest his Soul, created these cartoons based off of people, or things in his life:

Snoopy: based off a dog Charles owned as a boy.
Charlie Brown's parents: based off of Schulz's own parents.
Linus & Shermy were named for good friends of his
Charlie Brown was like Mr. Schulz, withdrawn and shy.
Peppermint Patty was inspired by one of his cousins.

Most of us, without knowing it, don't see the gold that surrounds us:

Family
An amazing friend
Your lover


Some of us may even be taking these folks for granted. Or, not want them around due to a fight or misunderstanding.

What if we all appreciated the Peanuts in our life? Maybe then we'd see how rich we really are.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Life and Sailing and Calling It Quits.

This is Abby Sunderland.

She's on a mission: to be the youngest person to solo-circumnavigate the planet in a sailboat.

(photo found here)
Yesterday, this 16-year-old had to call it quits on her journey due to a faulty autopilot system.
"I gave it my best shot and made it almost halfway around the world," she said. "I will definitely keep going, and whether or not I will make any more stops after this I don't know."
Knowing when enough is enough for your own good.
In life, sometimes we'll be faced with a tough decision, like: getting out of an abusive relationship, dropping out of college, or deciding to stop your diet.
To some, this may be giving up. To others, like Abby, it's simply making the best decision for yourself.
You may be sad right now. Maybe you're sitting in your office wanting out of the job you have because it's not your passion. Perhaps you're even on the brink of depression.
It's okay.
Just know that at any point, you can steer that sailboat off to the side of the ocean and jump off for another journey, a new beginning.
Now ready and willing to weather any damn storm.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chronicles Of A 20-Something, We Freak Out.

INT. APARTMENT - DAY
I sit with my Friend in a chair. He's relaxin' on my bed, a blanket on his lap. I guess the sun's not warm enough.
Friend: "All I'm sayin' is that you never know what someone is going through. Maybe she didn't text him back because she forgot or didn't have time."
Me: "Well, he sent her a Facebook message. Not a text."
Friend: "Same thing. It's still a way to communicate where the intention or tone isn't clear."
Me: "I can understand if she forgot to respond. Or, if she just didn't have time. But, it has been over a week and they kind of had a disagreement. So, there's a little back story there."
Friend: "I still think you're way wrong, potentially. Because look. I've had friends who have gone M.I.A. for, like, two years. And, at first I took it personal. I would E-mail or call and get no response. Then, two years later, a few of them E-mailed me within two months of each other and said they were just going through a lot."
Me: "Those peeps are different. Our group hangs out on a regular basis and her behavior is usually different than this whole non-reply thang. You really think that her lack of response isn't on purpose?"
Friend: "Totally. Well, actually, I think you are over thinking it. I know her. She's not upset with him. In fact, when she saw him today she ran over and gave him a hug."
Me: "It is never what it seems. Some of us are nicer to our enemies than our friends, which isn't right. But, it is true in some cases. I'm not saying I know or that I'm right. The point is, he sent her a message and she hasn't responded after they had a small fight. That's not just being busy or forgetting. Women are different than men. We ignore. We do things on purpose. Some of us our passive aggressive."
Friend: "So are men!"
Me: "Yeah, but women are reeeeeallllyyyy good at it."
Friend: "I guess you make a good point, but still...you're wrong. I know it."
Me: "I guess we'll see if she ever responds."
Friend: "She will!"

Who knows why she hasn't responded, but maybe he's right.

Assumptions can get us in trouble...and leave us freakin' the hell out.

I can't tell you how many times I've reached out to someone -- romantic or not -- and tripped out after not hearing anything. This could have been after a few minutes or a few days. Thoughts like, "What did I do?" and "Did he die?" would flash in my head. I always check my phone like a mad woman and made sure to put the ringer on max volume.

And then, one day, I decided to let it all go. "They'll get back to me" started to pop into my brain, or I wouldn't think about it at all. I'd let it be.

Sometimes what keeps us sane is finding a middle ground between these two extremes. After all, a peaceful insanity won't do much good. Facing things, like a fight, head on may not be the best approach. There's power in silence and time and letting go. And, if we're lucky, it's

Healing power.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chronicles Of A 20-Something - Long Distance Love.

INT. STORE - NIGHT
I stand in a corner next to some wine. For once, I am not drinking since I'm on the job. A cute Blonde Girl approaches me, smiles.
Me: "Hi, would you like some wine?"
Without hesitation, she walks toward me.
Blonde Girl: "Totally."
I pour her a glass and laugh as she downs it. My boss said she was mean, but I doubt it. Everyone tends to get judged out here without a fair chance.
Me: "Rough day?"
Blonde Girl: "No, no. I'm, like, really freakin' nervous. I'm going to Mexico City tomorrow to see this guy."
Me: "Oh, cool. How long have you been dating?"
Blonde Girl: "I dunno...like a few weeks or something."
New love. I like the way it looks, especially in her eyes. She looks so happy. I like happy peeps.
Me: "That's awesome."
Blonde Girl: "Yeah, I met him in Mexico City when I was hanging out with friends and then we hooked up. A week later he came to Cali and we spent time together for ten days straight. Now I am going back to see him."
Me: "Sounds fun. Are you staying in a hotel?"
Blonde Girl: "No, I'm staying with him."
She's really going for it. I remember those days.
Me: "Awesome, does he have a nice place?"
Blonde Girl: "I dunno, I think he lives with his parents in, like, the basement. I really have no clue."
Part of me admires her for going for it and not thinking about the details, or safety. She could get killed, but let's not focus on that.
Me: "Sounds fun. What does he do for a living?"
She looks up at the ceiling to think, or to dream.
Blonde Girl: "I don't really know. I think he, like, works with homeless people. It's something we don't really talk about."
Instead of taking the time to judge her words, I pour some more wine into her glass.
Blonde Girl: "Thank you for the wine. I love your make-up by the way. What's the brand?"
Me: "Um, I totally forgot. I bought everything at Sephora though. Ya know, people probably think you're nuts for going to see this guy, but I think it's cool. I took a plane to New York to see a woman I hardly knew and it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life."
Blonde Girl: "Wow, that's cool."
Me: "Yeah, I fell in love for the first time and have no regrets. People thought it wasn't smart and told me not to meet her, but I had to follow my heart."
Blonde Girl: "Exactly. I mean, who cares, right. Like, life is short. I am twenty-five, in school, and have no idea what I, like, really want to do with the rest of my life. What's the big deal with that?"
I take her words in and find myself agreeing. Many of us think 25 is already kind of old, but it's really only the beginning. If only we believed that...
Me: "Honestly, I don't even know. I think everyone is still figuring it out, gurl."

Long distance love.

Most of us have a strong reaction to these words that's either, "Oh hell no!" or, "I'd love to try that." I've done it and it was great for that time. I remember feeling free and happy, even in those moments of complete ignorance.

But, as a young woman in your 20s, there should be some common sense in regards to safety and boundaries. Going to Mexico City to see a man you hardly know in addition to staying with him without seeing the accommodations just ain't smart. It's kind of fascinating, though, that she's doing this. It makes me wonder --

What makes us act with so much disregard and reckless abandon? What makes someone take a week off of work, call in a ton of favors, and ignore any and all advice to go do something like this?
It's naughty.
It's dangerous.
It's cool.
It's sexy.
It's gross.
Some may say that taking a flight to meet a complete stranger is just...stupid. Well, let's get real, most will say that. But, not me.
Why not take a chance -- even if it gets you killed?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chronicles Of A 20-Something, Marriage?!

EXT. HOTEL - MORNING
I sit on the terrace a prestigious hotel with my Parents. The sun is at my back, and so is a monstrously large woman as she swims in a pool. I'm eatin' a bowl of fruit in between smiles and mellow sips of mimosas. We are celebrating their 11th year marriage anniversary, which continues to go strong.

Sundays are for relaxin' and talking, sometimes about love.

Parent 1: "Whew, I feel so much lighter now that I saw that man about a horse."
Parent 2: "I hope you sprayed."
Parent 1: "I did. Who knows if it'll help, but I feel ten pounds lighter!"
Ew. Is this what marriage is all about? I can't envision talking about my poo-poo so openly with my wife.
Parent 1: "What's this?"
He notices a card in front of him, opens it.
Parent 2: "Just a little something, something."
He reads the words. You can tell, though he's not emotional, that he's touched. Hard.
Parent 1: "Wow, that's special. What you said is special."
Parent 2: "I love you and here's to many more."
Parent 1: "That's right!"
I look at them and feel so glad that I am single. 11 years? And, that's not including the years they were together before that. Is it possible?
Me: "That's sweet, ya'll."
Parent 1: "Yep, you'll find this one day."
Me: "Um, I don't know...it seems so difficult. Relationships are hard, ya know."
Parent 1: "No, they aren't. Not when you find the right one. It's easy."
Parent 2 shuffles in her seat.
Parent 2: "I wouldn't say it's easy, but it's definitely smoother when you're with someone you love and who loves you back unconditionally."
Parent 1: "I think it's easy. Relationships should be."
Me: "I guess. It's just the whole marriage thing. I don't see that happening. At all."
Parent 1: "You're young. As you age and mature, you'll get a better sense of what you want and who you are...and you'll also find someone who you want to spend the rest of your life with."
He looks at his wife with love and I honestly feel like yawning, but not out of boredom. Out of pure lack of understanding of the connection that these two people have.

Being 20-something and just beginning the process of adulthood is a daunting task in itself. It's hard to conceive the future in three months let alone years down the line. With this unpredictability comes much freedom, experimentation, and frustration.

There are things yet to be understood, like marriage. A truly healthy, long lasting one at that. To be real, it's the farthest things from my mind. But, I can't help but feel like the older, wiser wisdom I received is in fact true -- marriage will come when you find the right person.

But,

My question is, what prepares you for staying strong during the tough times? Who and what gives you faith after the fifth, tenth, and 20th year? Are things always fresh and fun and new?

Perhaps the answer will only come as the days pass and our hair begins to change color. Maybe it'll be like that one missing puzzle piece you find underneath a shoe in the closet and just click when that time comes because you will have been through so much already. And you will have learned what love is really all about.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chronicles Of A 20-Something...Love and Dating.


Let's be real --

The 20s ain't so breezy. At all. For many reasons, like:


Peeps don't take you seriously.
You're constantly struggling to prove yourself.
Every time you get caught up on bills, your car suddenly needs another tire, thus leaving you with only $1 left in your bank account.
Makin' mistakes is as common as Tyler Perry coming out with another film based on stereotypes of African-Americans.
But,
the hardest thang above all others is dating. Oh, and love.


(photo found here)

Why? Honestly, the reasons can be debated until the end of time, but here are a few guesses:

There's no filter or ability to look out for those red flags that someone in their 30s, 40s, or 50s sees a mile away.

You don't put on the brakes when something deep down in your Soul doesn't feel right because they haven't been installed yet.

Plus, much to our regret, we don't just walk but run into those burning buildings. Those banks being robbed. The prisons full of convicts and chaotic peeps waiting to eat our heart for breakfast and sh*t it out before dinner.

Most of us simply know no better.

Yes. We go all in and don't look back, or think twice. We aren't jaded (for the most part) or wishing ill on an ex lover (yet).

We just want to love and be loved because, in the end, that's all we've ever known.

Until love and dating really begins.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dating - A Strong Woman.

This is Chaz Ebert.

A strong woman.


(photo found here)


As many of you recognize, below is Robert Ebert -- the world's most famous film critic. He's been a popular public figure for decades with shows such as Siskel and Ebert and The Movies and Sneak Previews. His voice is recognizable to millions, including myself.

Which is why I was shocked after finding out that he would forever be unable to speak when he suffered post-surgical complications related to thyroid cancer.

(photo found here)

Chaz and Robert Ebert. As you can imagine, they've been through a lot in the past several years. And the entire time, Chaz has watched and supported Ebert through all of the ups and downs of a tough disease called cancer, which she makes look easy:

"Sometimes, I'm almost ashamed we feel so positive. People think you shouldn't be so happy, because when you fall, it's going to be that much more disappointing. But you know what? We'll take each day as it comes" she told PopEater.

After watching them on Oprah, you get a true idea of how much they love each other. Ebert can't smell, taste, or talk anymore. Most people would spiral down into a deep depression, but not him. Everyday he watches movies and continues to write reviews. And, guess who is by his side -- Chaz. She drives him to every event, eats lunch with him daily, and always supports his decisions.

Strength.
Unconditional love.
Present moment thinking.

These things are hard to come by, but from what I've learned this past year in Los Angeles as a young adult, it's in all of us. Sometimes we have to be pushed, or hit rock bottom to see how strong we are inside.

We are all Chaz's. This isn't a question for me -- whether or not I would stand by my partner's side if she got cancer -- it's a fact. However, I know everyone is different. So, I'm throwing this out to you:

What would you do if you found out your boyfriend or girlfriend...husband or wife had a terminal illness?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Jobs and Hope and Paychecks.

Most peeps know the amazing feeling of opening up an envelope and grabbin' out a check with your name on it.

(photo found here)
You earned it.
You worked hard for it.
You deserve it.
For those of us, young and old, who came into the workforce when the economy just went into a recession --
This feelin' is something new.
Perhaps that's why when I received my weekly check today I almost wanted to cry. It was like all of the pressure and worry I have had over the past year came to surface and finally left my body.
A check. How powerful it can be. Not just the dollar amount, but also what it symbolizes --
You're valued.
Part of me wants to frame it and keep it on my wall. The way I feel -- appreciated -- is priceless. And now I understand when people say how important the journey is. This is obvious to me as I look at my college friend who has grown so much in the past year as well:
INT. BAR - NIGHT
I stand at the bar with a glass of champagne in my hand. A gorgeous view of Los Angeles is at my back and I feel great. After a few moments, I spot my Friend. He's in a nice blazer and looks good. As I approach him:
Me: "Hey man, you look great!"
Friend: "Oh, thanks Lauren. Yeah, I figure I should dress up since there are a lot of important people here."
Me: "Yeah. Totally. But, you look happier, dude. Like a weight has been lifted."
Friend: "I feel good. I really like my job now. I think it's what I want to do for the rest of my life."
For some reason, I am so proud I want to give him a hug. A year ago he was crying every day and I couldn't crack a smile out of him. Now...he's so strong.
Me: "I'm so happy for you."
For both of us. We're making it on our terms, mistakes 'n all. As we sip on champagne, our gaze lands on the city. It's beautiful and alive -- like us.
Me: "It's good to see you doing so well."
Friend: "We're doing it. It's taking time but look at us. We're doing okay. Want another drink?"
Me: "Yeah, but just one more."
As he goes toward the bar, I take one last look at the night and smile to myself. We are doing it. And boy does it feel great.
Perhaps we all need to hit rock bottom, or some type of bottom to really enjoy the great things in life -- like getting a paycheck. Or, being able to buy a drink for your friend.
These days may not be easy for some of us, but the important thang is enjoying each step that we make...even if we go in the wrong direction. Most of us eventually find our way back anyway.
Off to da bank.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dating - Top 5 Signs You Ain't Over Your Ex.

Top 5 Signs
You Ain't Over Your Ex
1) You are always on his (or her) Facebook page looking at pics, his current fling, and anything you can get your virtual hands on.
2) Everytime you're sad, happy, or having a bad day you call your ex instead of your boo.
3) When your boyfriend asks you to cut all ties with him you refuse and accuse your man of being insecure and rude.
4) There ain't just clothes in your closet, but also everything she gave you while ya'll were together -- from a watch to a Hard Abs DVD.
5) You often bring him up in conversations, which makes you dwell on the past and wonder if you made the right decision...everyday.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Love and Disappointment and Hope.

Unresponsiveness. Passive aggressive behavior. Full of attitude.

We all have experience with people who are like this. You reach out and get little to no response. Or, what you get is full of anger and meanness.

Sometimes,

You get a response but it's elusive, inconsistent, or blaming which leaves you asking questions. Even worse, blaming yourself.

It's like a puzzle that won't come together. Ya know, one of those 3,000 piece puzzles that you know they packaged incorrectly since you've been working on it --unsuccessfully--for five days straight.
You're left wondering why this and why that. And oh, don't even mention your friends. They ain't makin' it easy with shiznit like --

"He's an asshole, forget about him!"
"Move on and delete her from Facebook."
"Gurrrl, you best go Angela Basset on his ass."
Then you have those therapist types who say --
"Maybe it's better to focus on why you're reaching out to this toxic person."
"Perhaps a journal will help you to clarify things."
"Ever thought about anti-depressants?"
Yeah, sure, these are all options, but here's the issue --
They ain't your options.
Ultimately, you have to live with you and only you know what you want/need.
Howeva,
When someone isn't communicating with you or has inconsistent behavior, it may be a good idea to take a step back for your own sake and ask what you'd like to accomplish. It could be as simple as, "I'd like to talk every now to let him know I care." Or, it could be, "I want to work things out and get back together."
Whatever it is, clarify what you're seeking with yourself and consider dropping all expectations.
A lack of response can mean a variety of things just like passive aggressive behavior can as well. But, simply throwing out good energy every so often, whether it's a call or E-mail, offers a good balance.
Just because they ain't consistent doesn't mean you have to be that way as well. Follow your heart and change the dance by practicing unconditional love and healthy indifference. It's totally possible, although very hard.
Oh, and make sure you're ready. It's always a good idea to consider giving yourself some time to heal, whether it's from hurt by a former lover or family member. That way you'll have a better chance next time around when you do speak again.
Easier said than done...right?

Obama Helps Out Da Gays.

Ya'll know politics ain't my thang, but I am becoming more involved as a young person since every decision made by our politicians ultimately impacts my life.

Speaking of which,

President Barack Obama recently mandated that nearly all hospitals around the country extend visitation rights to the partners or gay peeps and respect patients' choices about who they want to make important health related decisions for them.

(photo found here)

If I could hug ya man, I would!

Find out more information by clicking on this link.

Conversations With A Therapist.

INT. ROOM - DAY
I sit in front of my beautiful, bald headed Therapist. She has a mug of hot chocolate while I have a nice cup of coffee.

It helps to calm me...or, perhaps, just the opposite.

Therapist: "...so, you feel like the relationship should have ended?"
Me: "Absolutely. Now I want to focus on healing. I know it'll take time to do that, but that's where I want the focus to be."
Therapist: "Makes sense. We all need that time. Do you think it could have been any different?"
Me: "Naw. This is how it was meant to go down. It's just...I knew in my gut it wouldn't work out. Like, I read the blogs I wrote about meeting her for the first time and I even mentioned there not being any feelings there."
Therapist: "Hmmm. Do you feel like you're at fault?"
I take a sip of coffee. Ahhhh.
Me: "I don't know. It could have been different. I definitely judged her a lot, which I feel bad about."
Silence.
Me: "Honestly, I feel a little shame."
Therapist: "That's what I was trying to get at. Why do you feel that way?"
Ugh. So much talking, so much digging. But, this is good for me.
Me: "Because it didn't work out. Because I didn't protect myself and I should have...and, I just wish I could have made it work. But, it wasn't possible."
Therapist: "But, it isn't your fault. Things just don't work out sometimes."
Me: "I know and my mind gets that. My heart is just trying to catch up. I can't help but wonder what I was thinking...though I am grateful to have loved her."
Therapist: "Maybe it's a good idea, then, to focus on that. The positives she brought to your life."
Yeah. Easier said than done. We sit there, enjoying our beverage of choice and the silence of this moment.
Me: "...I had a dream last night."
Her eyebrow perks up. She smiles.
Therapist: "Oh, really. About what?"
Me: "Being in love. It was strange because the woman I was in love with is someone I work with and have zero sexual attraction to...like none. But goodness, I can still feel how strong my feelings were for her. I felt so free, so alive. And, I could see she felt the same way about me. We laughed and had dinner over wine. There was no other place I wanted to be. It felt fuc*ing amazing."
Therapist: "Wow, I love dreams like that. It could be your Soul telling you not to worry because something amazing is on its way."
Me: "I like the sound of that. Dreams are cool."
Therapist: "Totally.
We smile to ourselves. I twist around in my seat slightly...maybe, just maybe my Soul is trying to say something to me. What that is I hope to one day figure out.

Song of the Week.

His words touch me --

(Maxwell; photo found here)

"Playing Possom"
Come back from the dead
You left my, my heart here
Say what you will and won't forget
Express disappointment, speak your regrets, yeah
Or baby call out my name,
I'll be where you are
I'll be very still, step down to my heart
Amend this broken
If only you'd wake up from your constant possum playing
If only you'd wake up
I'm begging you sugar, have some leniency
Call the President and ask him baby, to pardon me and bring you
Back to me
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oooooh
Amend this broken
If only you'd quit this nonsense of you possum playing
If only you'd wake up, would you wake up baby,
Wake up baby, baby, yeah

Dating - Top 10 Red Flags!

Let's get real,

Dating is tough. You never know what the heck you're gettin', which can be a scary thang.

For me, I find that having a list of red flags in my mind saves a lot of time. It's the difference between wasting a few minutes, or a few months when you know what you want.

When you don't have an idea of that, you can find yourself hangin' with a person who isn't fulfilling your needs, wondering: what was it all worth?

(photo found here)
Top 10 Red Flags
1) Texataholic. Every time you hang with your special somebody, they always scan their phone or text during the date. This is disrespectful plus it ain't cool. Give 'em a shot to improve, but if it doesn't, move da hell on.
2) Dressed not to impress. You know how this goes -- the guy or gal comes to the club with sandles on and a dirty tank top. Or, she never puts on perfume/make-up when she probably should. Unless you like that look, you're probably better off bouncin' before it's too late.
3) Too much chaos. Does your love interest always talk about who they're fighting with or has a pattern of attracting drama?
4) Something doesn't smell right. Having a strong natural body odor is different than not showering or wearing deodorant. Check it.
5) Bad communicator. If ya'll can't figure out where to go on a date, or find that you express feelings in the opposite way, the road is gonna be hella rough. Like one person shuts down to solve an issue and the other insists on talking it through -- gettin' on the same page will be a challenge. But hey, if you're willing to work on it, don't fold on a pair of aces!
6) What are you looking at? If you're the only thing he or she can't keep their attention on, then pick up your keys and run out the door. There are many peeps who have the respect and kindness to Not look at others while spending time with you.
7) What's fake and what's not. Can't tell if her weave is fake or if he's really that well-endowed? Be honest and ask 'em...well, maybe not over dinner.
8) Let's Drink...again! Drinking in the morning, evening, and...well, all of the time, ain't cool. If you're seeing addictive behavior, be real with yourself.
9) The relationship addict. I don't know about you, but I'm definitely cautious of someone who is always in a relationship. How do you have time to know yourself and heal if you don't stop and breathe for a while?
10) Where da morals at? This is a big one. Don't let a nice ass or big breasts distract you on this, peeps. If you're dating someone who lies to others, steals, or participates in negative actions, run to your car. And if you stay, don't be surprised when your flat screen TV goes missing.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dating - It's Cool to Focus on You!

It's a beautiful day.

You're single, whether it's recent or...not so recent.

And, it's all good.
You ain't trippin'.

(photo found here)

A new day. A new perspective, or two. A new outlook.

You find it nice to talk to a man or a woman and not feel a need to need them.

There's beauty in connecting, but connecting with yourself these days.

And the way your body moves when it's walking on the beach, how your toes sneak into the sand or simply float...you never noticed that before.

Or, how you like listening to music in your underwear while sippin' on hot coffee (okay, maybe that's just me!).
You're here.

Reflecting on life. Reaching out to old friends and new ones.

These are the things you're living for now -- a different kind of love thang.

And, ya know what?

It's Cool.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dating - Let's Go To The Movies.

Got a hot date planned but don't know where to date him or her?

Have no fear, the lezzie's here.

Date Night starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey is entertaining, funny as hell, and touching.

I went with a friend and enjoyed every minute of it, including the credits. This was the first time in several years that I spent 15 bucks on a movie and didn't feel like someone robbed me.

Date Night focuses on a boring married couple thrust into violence and car chases as they experience a case of mistaken identity in New York City while dining out to spice thangz up in their relationship.

Can't say it will make you want to get married, but you'll have many laughs. And, in terms of dating, that's a good thing. If you like the guy or gal you're seeing, go ahead and pay the $30. If not, take 'em to McDonalds and rent a movie for 3 bucks and call it a night.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

For Your Viewing Pleasure.

Some visual love makin', in the form of art, for ya'll --


Defriended!

You start your laptop.

Sign onto Facebook.

Update your status. Look at different profiles. Check up on your friends, family, etc. Waste an hour or two chatting...and staring at random pictures.

Then...bam!! You notice that you're no longer friends with someone who means a lot to you.


(photo found here)

And, just like that, the questions begin. Why did they decide to do that? When did this happen? Couldn't they have said something first, or at least communicated their reason for this action?

We've all been there at some point. And if you don't think you have, guess again. Check your friend count. I guarantee it's lower than it was a month ago.

I've done this before, years ago, for two reasons: because someone greatly offended me, and to avoid having to see an ex girlfriend's status update all of the time.

To be real, it helped. A lot. But, having it done to me has made me think about it now. What do you think? Have you done this before and why?

Song of the Week.

Music is a beautiful thang. It's always great to have an ipod nearby, ready to take with you on the bus. Or, on a date. One of the cutest things a woman did on a date was pull out her ipod on the train and share her headphones with me so that we could listen to a song at the same time.

Music reminds us of experiences...memories. Things we've been through. People. Lovers. Hurt.

Like when I listen to opera, I smile. It reminds me of being in love in New York City and the person I was back then.

For me, this man's voice touches my Heart --

(photo found here)

"Bad Habits"
Make me crazy, don't speak no sound
I want you to prove it to me in the nude
Addicted to the way you move

Honey, if anything ever should change in you
Don't worry I'm standing still
I'll move in with the right of will

This is the highest cost, take you and make you off
Love you and leave you lost, will you forgive me?
Asked out all over town, drags you and keeps you down
Two times in a day around, will you forgive me?

I can't control the feeling girl 'cause I know you're here
I feel you from the floor to the ceiling
Girl, I feel you when you comb your hair

Lady when we lock it low we get together, it's an overdose
I'm slipping, I'm here, I'm on my knees
I feel my heart's about to explode

This is the highest cost, take you and make you off

Love you and leave you lost, will you forgive me?
Asked out all over town, drags you and keeps you down
Two times in a day around, will you forgive me?

Baby to tell the truth when I'm sober I jones for you
When it's over I'm overdue
Girl there's no one as bad, no one as bad as you

You got me, you got me
You got me slippin' around with it, around with it, oh why?
You got me sick with this love baby
I'm so, I'm so in love, I can't come down

This is the highest cost, take you and make you off

Love you and leave you lost, will you forgive me?
Asked out all over town, drags you and keeps you down
Two times in a day around, will you forgive me?

You're my bad habit baby, you're my
You're takin' my soul down to the letter O
Can't escape the way you got me locked out baby
I gotta break from you, break from you, break from you

This is the highest cost, take you and make you off
Love you and leave you lost, will you forgive me?

Asked out all over town, drags you and keeps you down
Two times in a day around, will you forgive me?
Will you forgive me?
Will you forgive me?Will you forgive me?
Will you forgive me?
Asked out all over town, drags you and keeps you down
Two times in a day around, will you forgive me?
I can't control the feeling...I can't controling the feeling, feeling, feeling.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Unhealthiest Coffee Drinks.

According to a recent article I read today, some coffee drinks can be much higher in calories than the meals we consume.

Like a 20 Oz Krispy Kreme Lotta Latte Chiller. It has 1,050 calories and 40 grams of fat.

Sexy, right?

In life we take a lot of risks. Walking down the street. Breathing in polluted air.

Falling in love.

Yet, we continue to sip sip everyday, forgetting about any potential life altering effects.

(photo found here)

But hey, let's get real.

No iced coffee drink, Big Mac, or piece of fried chicken is worse than --


(photo found here)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chronicles Of A 20-Something, Pictures.

Was on my way to work and thought I'd take a picture or two for ya'll --


Nature does everybody some good:


We all need hobbies to balance out the normal routine of each day. As we grow older, learning more about who we are usually comes with the territory.

This is a good thang.

I'm finding that taking pictures helps to relieve stress. And, it keeps my mind in a positive, fun place.

What are some things you do that make you smile?

Do You Hear Me, Father?

As a maturing woman in her 20s, I am beginning to appreciate the people I love more and more. Specifically, my family. Life is so short that I would hate to look back and think, "I wish I would have been closer to my brothers, or my father."

Regrets ain't so cool.

When I'm old and grey, I want to be able to chill on my porch all day with a smile, knowing that I lived and loved. Hard. And, that everyone knew how much I cared.

That's why it breaks my heart to watch shows like Intervention where relationships have been destroyed due to an addiction to drugs, pills, etc. You see a childhood that was lost. A gap in the Soul of these peeps that may never be filled.

There was this man on a recent episode. With dark-rimmed glasses and a stone face caused by years of neglect from not having a father at home. Who is his daddy? Rocky Lockridge, a once famous boxer but now broke and homeless bum living in filth on the streets. He's also addicted to crack and has no other passion in life except to get more.

That's why he's the main event on this week's episode of Intervention. And, that's why he doesn't know any of his sons; he left them when they were small boys. For most of their life, they grew up thinking he was dead, not living in another state doing his own thang...which he was.

So, you can imagine, when this stone faced man finally sat in a room with his father during the intervention stage, there was moment when his voice cracked. A moment when his Being let out a sigh after years of silent tears and wishful moments of a father that never was around.

Until finally, the words started pouring out --

"People tell me that you're the champ. The champ of what?"

"You've left me looking over my shoulder at every black man that walks past me, hoping that it was you."


(photo found here)


"I've waited over fifteen years for this moment!" He yelled, tears running down his face. "Do you hear me?"

"Sure son. Ain't nothing slow 'bout your daddy 'cept the way he moves," Rocky replied with a sad look in his eyes.

"I have no faith in you."

Ouch.

"You've caused me to hate you with a passion so deep it runs through my veins like the blood that flows through yours! And still I am here because I know that somewhere, deep down in my heart, I still love you."

Rocky, unable to keep his composure, let out a loud cry that lasted over five seconds. It felt and sounded like a terrible, deep pain that lives in him.

This is the moment where I broke down. A family ravaged by an absent father. Torn apart by the man they needed to see everyday. An old boxer who couldn't live down his past, or the shame of losing his success as a boxer. It's sad. It's f-cked up. It's messy. It's full of tears.

When his son says, "Please change my faith in my father," you hope that he will. For his family, for himself, and for their future.

We all deserve to sit on that porch.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Chasing Pavements.

Some of us

protect ourselves because it hurts too much to let go.

Or, maybe because it’s scary to let someone see what’s deep down inside, past the blood and the guts and the tears.

Like a prison, almost. Except it’s our own.

Don’t come too close or you’ll bite...right?

Or, perhaps, you’ll get bitten.

But, let’s get real --


Sigh

Screw it, what do I know? I got my guard up, too. And frankly, I’m one heartbreak away from lockin’ up shop permanently. I know there are many of you out there smiling in agreement, two seconds away from callin’ it quits on love. At least you wouldn’t have to shave your legs as often, among other thangs.

I identify with wanting to give up, with not understanding what it was all worth after putting in all those sleepless nights and endless fights. I see you --

The jaded hearts.

The mangled limbs.

The life still waiting to come back into the Soul that fell to the ground when she left.

I feel you.

Yet, just as we almost finish building those steel doors and cement walls around our heart, another PYT comes walkin’ around the corner.

Then:

We, you, and I fall even harder as we chase her pavement.


(photo found here)

Copyright © Lauren Hamilton April 2010

Love My O.

Dear Lord, Oprah. I love you more and more as the days go by.


(photo found here)
You are the realest thing on television.
It's obvious that Oprah is going out with a bang and on her usual mission of touching people through the TV screen.
She won't be here much longer, folks. Tune in and enjoy...or, just purchase a subscription to her network -- OWN.
Today she had on a woman who lost 175 pounds and then gained it all back. My heart broke for her, but then it was put back together as she explained that her husband stuck by her side and supported her the entire way.
:Sigh:
Unconditional love. The kind of thang where you'll be by your partner's side no matter what happens. It's something that I admire in people. And, also something I haven't experienced
before on a romantic level.
Truly feeling like I can be myself and not feel judged. Not feel like the person is going to run off when I have a moment of vulnerability. But, perhaps, that's my own issue. Okay, it totally is my issue!
Howeva, as a single woman, that's what I'm looking for: unconditional love, which starts with me. Knowing that I deserve that shiznit. Believing it. Feeling it.
I think that's the key to dating. Taking yourself out for a while, again and again until it starts to feel good. Buying yourself a gift or two until you start to get used to it. And then, forgiving yourself when you make mistakes. Like --
When a relationship doesn't work out
You have to ask your pops for rent money
That job interview didn't go the way you had hoped
Perhaps it's when we say it's okay that there's a shift. When we breathe and embrace who we are deep down, even the darkest part of ourselves. Knowing that it's part of being human and part of what makes us the amazing person that we are.
. . . Maybe.