Wednesday, May 25, 2011

True Love

I would like to start off today's post by giving a HUGE shout out to a fabulous artist and friend DJ Catrow for designing a logo for my blog on his own free will. He is getting his Masters in Fine Art at SAIC in Chicago......he rocks. I miss the hell out of him and all of my CCHS class of 2003 friends.

This brings me to today's topic. TRUE LOVE:

From a young age I have had an infatuation problem. Some may have called me boy crazy, but to me it was different. I wasn't really interested in having a boyfriend per say, I was more interested in how people's minds worked and who they were as people. My first victim was a boy named Shermy Butts, yes I said it, SHERMAN BUTTS. My guess, he is probably seeing a therapist weekly based solely on his birth name. Anyway, this kid was also a ginger (imagine that) and I was in love....or so I thought. I remember to this day trying so hard to impress him. I would ask him during coloring time if he had watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lately. Then, I would make up episode plots to act like I really was interested in the show. He never caught on, to my knowledge, and he will be forever known as my first crush.

As I moved through grade school, the crushes continued. Once I felt I had gotten to know someone pretty well, I was ready to pick the next victim's brain. I was also known to be a repeat offender. Sometimes, I would realize I hadn't gotten an accurate portrayal of who the person was, so I would go out with them for round two. Mind you, going out at this age meant that you called them your   "boyfriend," but never actually talked to them or hung out with them outside of third period spelling class.

Once I moved on to High School, it was all over. Now, there were OLDER boys in my classes. Let's just say, the infatuation continued. If I found someone attractive both physically and mentally, I would sometimes dream up what they were really like. "Oh there's Joe Smith. He is so dreamy. He's in my art class and portrays things so well through his art work. I bet he's super sensitive and deep." When in reality, Joe Smith may have been a talented artist, but in his spare time he killed kittens and made bombs in his basement. Don't get me wrong, most of the men I dated /was interested in, in High School I will never forget. Especially those, I actually had dating relationships with. I believe they all shaped who I am today in some way, even if the relationships only lasted a few months.  While all of these experiences were good, I still had never really experienced love. Or at least a love that was long lasting.

Late in my senior year of high school I was in a bit of a boy drought. All of the older boys I crushed over and was infatuated with had graduated and I had drawn out my day dreams on what the boys in my class may really be like. All but one that is. My first REAL relationship was with my best friend. He and I had "gone out" in grade school, but ever since then I was the girl he came to to talk to about his girl problems. The man was a serial monogamist. He was always in a relationship of some sort, while I was fantasizing about what all of my crushes were like from a distance. Towards the end of the school year, an extremely intense feeling came over me. Every time he walked into English class, my stomach would flip and as soon as the bell rang for dismissal I would crave the next time we would be sitting by each other again. WHAAAAAATT? My best friend? The guy that I already knew so much about? But, there wasn't anything to imagine about him!?!?!?!? Our relationship continued for just over a year and a half. I remember feeling so intensely for him. I had no doubt in my mind that we would some day be in marital bliss. happened. I was in college and hadn't even seen the world yet. This was my first real relationship, but so much of who I was needed to be discovered.

Over the next ten months, I did some serious college time. I was overly social, meeting new people everyday and searching religiously for something that was missing in my life. After about ten months went by, I came across a group of people who would change my life significantly. In this group was a guy with the most gorgeous straight, white teeth, long shaggy blonde hair and a red beard. His eyes sparkled blue and he wore plaid like it was his job.....totally my type. I remember knowing the minute we met that we would be together. We met at the end of his freshman year and my sophomore year, so we didn't set up any dates for that year because we were going home for summer. However, I knew the whole summer at home that has soon as we got back to school, it was on. Like clockwork, we met up early that September before school started at the OSU vs. Texas game and started dating the next week when we moved into our individual apartments across from one another. I even ended the relationship two months in because I didn't think he was ready for a relationship, but the whole time I was giving him the "its not you, its me" speech, I was very calm. The calm came from the fact that I knew we were going to get back together.

Now, I know this sounds weird, corny, etc. and I don't think this is necessarily how it happens for everyone. In fact, I think for some people it takes years before they realize someone is "the one." Also, I am not sure that there is only "one" for everyone. All I know is, from the time I have met's just always been DAAAAVE. The best part is, it was just so certain. It was a realization that I was so calm and happy about. Not one that I would lose sleep over or feel anxious about.

Here is where the TRUTH part comes in. I am ready to "cut the bullshit." I have noticed since Dave and I have been together and especially since we have been engaged that many other women are doing exactly what I have done for most of my life: glamorizing the situation."You guys are so PERFECT," "Look at their engagement pictures, I bet they never have problems," "why can't my life be like that?," or my favorite...."when is it my turn?". Well ladies (and gents), I am here to bring you back down to earth. YES, Dave is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. YES, I now know that he is who I want to spend the rest of my days with. HOWEVER, neither of us are perfect. In fact, we are both bat shit crazy. We have now been together for almost six years and have gone through every stage of a relationship: infatuation, like, love, intense love, annoyance, doubt, dislike, resentment, depression, anxiety,falling back in love, more doubt, acceptance...... the list goes on and on. I have learned through my relationship with Dave the truth: relationships are A LOT of work. I know we always hear our parents say that, but I never knew to what extent.

One of my biggest beefs with the women who have gone before me is: WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME? Why didn't you tell me that I would sometimes be attracted to other men? Yes ladies and gents, the crushes DO continue. Why didn't you tell me I may have moments of doubt about my relationship? I am sorry, but all those women who have been with a man for over five years and have claimed they have never found another man attractive, doubted their relationship or had a complete freak out are lying, lying through their teeth. The truth is, when you find true love it is in real life. Sometimes one of you is down so low and the other is euphoric. Sometimes, you are so annoyed by the smallest thing that the other person does you think you might pull your hair out. SOMETIMES, you are attracted to other men/women and wonder what life would be like if you were with the other person. Don't let these thoughts scare you. Finding "the one," doesn't mean these thoughts stop happening, it just means that they happen and you still decide to choose that person you are with everyday. Everyday I wake up, I choose Dave. I choose Dave because his mind is so open. I choose Dave because he tells old man jokes. I choose Dave because he knows what I am going to do sometimes before I even do it. I choose Dave because I can be honest with him if I have a crush on someone else and he knows it's not a threat. I choose Dave because I know he is going to be the best husband and father for me and my future children. I choose Dave because he is my best friend and the love of my life.

You are hearing it from me. A real person, who has been in a real relationship. It is definitely NOT always glamorous, in fact sometimes it SUCKS. However, if you are willing to work at it the times of happiness will far out weigh any times of complete misery. (insert smiling winky face here followed by "JK.")

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Best Years of your Life

Many of you have probably heard from an older family member, friend, etc. that your college years/ your 20's are the best years of you life. To me, this is very depressing. To be honest, once I hit my junior year of college life got a whole lot more confusing. At age 21 I was having to decide what I would want to do for the rest of my life. I was at college pretending to be a normal student, when all I really wanted to do was drop out and go to beauty school. I remember there being such a stigma and attitude about beauty school........ in fact, there still is. But here I was day in and day out going to class, doing internships and holding leadership positions in student organizations trying to convince myself that rubbing people's faces and painting their nails all day was not acceptable. Luckily, that same school year, I was interning with the Columbus Symphony in a nightmarish position of kissing donor's asses in order to keep the money coming. I would schlep in day in and day out, sit in my cubicle and work hard at my position as the Development Assistant. Luckily, God intervened... (yes, I believe in God. Please feel free to insert your higher power of choice if it makes it hard to relate i.e. the universe, the spirit, Buddha, Mohammad etc. ........I don't discriminate). After working in the development department for several months, I came in one day expecting to meet with my boss about earning credit hours for my internship. The meeting was at 4 p.m. on a Friday ("a bit naive" applies well here). Once the meeting time arrived, I gathered my internship paperwork and marched cheerily into my bosses office. I remember literally smiling ear to ear asking her how she was and how excited I was to be meeting that day. When I looked up at her, I realized she did not share the same excitement. "We will not be discussing your internship today," she said as she pulled out several donor letters with red marks all over them like a mass murder had happened in her office directly over the letters the night before. She slid the letters across the table toward me and as she did I felt a heat wave consume my body. "This is unacceptable," she said. As I looked down at the letter, I realized that she was referring the the fact that I had mailed out several donor letters with the donor's named spelled incorrectly. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKK. This is a BIG no-no. Needless to say I lost my INTERNSHIP at the Symphony that day. Really? Who gets fired from an internship?

I guess my biggest point is.......COLLEGE IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. What if I don't want to be a nurse, doctor, lawyer, psychologist, teacher, engineer? Why are we looked down on for doing what we love? Don't get me wrong, I don't think that you should graduate from high school and live a life of lethargic apathy. But I say if you want to cut hair, change oil, work on cars, paint pictures, or clean houses for a living: MORE POWER TO YOU! Granted, if I had skipped the college experience, I may not have met Dave or any of the other wonderful people in my life right now. Also, I feel like I found out a lot about myself in college. However, if I had skipped the 4 years of the collegiate experience I would be much farther in my beauty career and be pocketing an extra $500 a month that I fork over to the student loan fairies every month. That is a car payment for a very nice car.......just sayin'.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Truth

Over the past several weeks...okay maybe months, I have felt very rebellious. Maybe its that I am getting ready to get married, that I finally feel free to make my own adult decisions, or that I finally realize most of what I thought about life or how life should be as a child or adolescent is a load of bull. Either way, I feel liberated and I want to share this feeling. I should start by saying that I was raised in a family of perfectionists. While my parents did an excellent job of undoing many of the ideals that were passed down to them about perfectionism it was still passed down to both my sister and me. For example, my dad was raised in a household where the idea was: if you got a 100% on a test you should really try for 110% next time. "Wasn't there some extra credit or a bonus question?" I must say that both my mom and dad did an excellent job of nipping that idea by the time I came around. I now joke  with my perfectionist fiance that my mom used to take me out for ice cream when I came home with an 87%. Thank god for this, otherwise I may be in therapy indefinitely. However, perfectionism still reigns within me and I have to work very hard to control it. For example, as a child I had the idea that my life would be perfect. My room would be perfectly clean and decorated, my homework would have the perfect handwriting and most original idea, I would win every award, I would be a ballerina and excel on pointe, I would meet the perfect boyfriend in High School and we would marry shortly after college followed by the purchase of a home with 3 bedrooms, a white picket fence, 2.5 children and a golden retriever.............and I wonder why someone once told me that I was "a bit naive."

Land the plane Lauren............
My point is, our society is f'ed up. There are all these "supposed to's" in life. You are SUPPOSED to go to College, you are SUPPOSED to get married by a certain age, you are SUPPOSED to have children by a certain age, you are SUPPOSED to meet "the one," you are SUPPOSED to save money.


The quote that I am guilty of using is "I should be making this much money by now," "I should be engaged by now," or "I should own a home by now." a magnet on my sister's refrigerator says "when will we stop should-ing all over ourselves?'

My new-found liberation has been creeping up on me for years now. I always had this idea that I needed to be a certain weight, look a certain way, say yes to everyone, be nice to everyone, never get tattoos, never question God, NEVER move in with a boy, don't drink until it's legal, always make your bed, cursing isn't flattering, always be modest. Now, I say eat healthy and exercise, wear make-up when you want to, say NO to as many people as you can, be nice to those who don't take advantage of you, tattoos are beautiful, questioning God is a way to find his existence, move in with your fiance before you get married (you will thank me later), sometimes you just don't have time for things, cursing adds character, and sometimes posing for a sexy photo shoot can bring you a sense of confidence and self love.

The idea for this blog is to share the truth. Things in life don't always turn out the way you thought they "should." In fact, it usually doesn't turn out that way at all. Sometimes life knocks you flat on your ass and you are in bed for days. You don't have to be perfect all the time, you don't have to find Mr. Right, you don't have to always look good, you don't have to always be nice. The best part about all of this is that it is the truth. This truth will set you free. Life is STILL beautiful without all of the "should be's," "supposed to's," and "have to's."

Finally, don't idealize someone else's life. I am sooooooo guilty of this. Like so guilty I should probably go to jail...prison maybe. "Look at her! She is so pretty, skinny, her boyfriend is perfect, her house is amazing, she dresses so cute, she is so nice, funny, knows all the good music. Why can't I be like that?"  Once I almost gave up Facebook because it was becoming harmful to my mental health. I would sit on it for hours and look at how happy everyone was with their pictures, the life successes etc. As one of my dearest friend's and kindred spirits once told me "Facebook is like Vegas, you can be whoever you want to be." Thank you JAK.

To be honest, this page will probably help me more than anyone. You may already know all of things I intend to share with you. It has taken me a little longer to realize these things. To be honest, I prefer life without the sugar coating despite the fact that I am a sweet tooth.