Month: January 2014

Drumming My Way Into Friday

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#100HappyDays Day 9:

Friday.

Move over, Rebecca Black. I’m taking over your favorite day of the week. You know why? Because it’s MY favorite day and I’m older. End of discussion.

What’s not to be happy about on a Friday? It was my favorite day when I was younger. It was the day to be hungover in college and then get excited to party again that night. And once I got out of retail, it became the day that marked my two days off from the corporate world. HELL. YES.

I’m also happy because I get to spend the weekend with my Drummer. It’s been almost two weeks since we’ve seen each other. Work has been crazy for him since all the kiddies moved back to school last weekend, so we’ve been on pause, but this weekend will totally make up for it.

I know I haven’t written about him in a while, but honestly, what’s there to write? He’s awesome. He’s the sweetest thing ever and I’m happy I found him, or rather that he found me.

I guess I never told you guys about that huh? When I was thrown onto the tracks of the Online Dating Train, I was the pursu-ER. When you’re a female on any sort of website, the attention you get is ridiculous. The messages POUR in and you barely have time to look through them before your inbox got full. I didn’t want to wait and sift through a bunch of “Hey ma’s” and “Sugar Daddy?” messages so I took it upon myself to do all the looking and contacting. All of the dates I went on were a direct product of MY elbow grease in this business. Nobody can ever say I didn’t try. I was not one of those women who waited. Never been. Never will be.

I saw The Drummer’s profile a few hours before he messaged me, but I didn’t click on it for some reason. Then, I received his message. I had written in my profile about my love for whiskey and pizza, as well as my passion for blogging. He touched on all three of those things and apparently was intrigued. I tend to intrigue men with my whiskey obsession. I don’t understand why. Vodka tastes like absolute shit and beer has too many calories. What the fuck ever. Sorry. Rambling.

Anyways, I saw the message. Took a quick look at his profile and moved on. A few minutes later I popped back into my inbox and stared at the message. I had already promised myself that this round of OKC was my last attempt at online dating and I was going to be picky. But something just stood out about him. He was extremely good looking, but it wasn’t his pictures. We all know how awful men are at choosing online dating pictures (Sorry Drummer!) I honestly have no idea what it was, but I figured if I was this interested, I should shoot a message back. That message turned into dozens. And then we made plans. And then exchanged numbers.

Even leading up to the date, I wasn’t that nervous. The only reason I had any sort of anxiety was because this would literally be my last date from a website if it turned to shit. I was so sick of going on RIDICULOUS dates with ridiculous men only to be extremely disappointed. Little did I know it would be my last date, but for all the right reasons.

As soon as I got out of my car that night and walked towards him, I haven’t stopped smiling. He looked even better than his pictures, and had the best personality. It was such a relief to have a great time with someone when all you’ve done is waste time with others. And I’ve never felt so wanted by someone in my life. It’s quite nice.

I wouldn’t let him read my blog until recently, though that was the first topic of conversation we had. After a while of him hinting, I just let him have it. I’m honest with everyone in my life, even you guys. Why would I be any different with him?

Our little thing we have is still new, so it’s continually a learning experience. I’m content where I am. I feel lucky, but I also feel like I deserve such a great person. Everyone deserves that in their lives.

I don’t think of the “what ifs” or the future. I just think of how at the end of my workday I’m going to pack my things and then drive over to my super sweet dude and squeeze the crap out of him.

And today, I am happy.

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#100HappyDays 8: Shine On

#100HappyDays 8: Shine On

The Sun.

The sun is out today! What a great thing to be happy about.

The morning started out a little rough. I left my coffee mug at work yesterday so I had to scramble to find another one. Then I lost my keys and ran around the house like a mad woman looking for them. Perk #46781 of why I love living at home: My mom found my keys. THANKS MA!

As I was eating my breakfast, anxious thoughts ran through my head about work. I love my job. Don’t get me wrong. And everyone at work loves me. They go on and on about how I’m the best thing to ever happen to the office. But sometimes, they forget that I’m only one person, and also, what my job responsibilities are. There’s only one other person in the office with my job title besides me, and I’m the easiest to come to of the two. So people tend to come to me with all of their concerns and all of the work that needs to be done even though there are two of us available to do it. I know it’s because everyone knows I will get it done ASAP and do it correctly the first time, so I try not to let it get to me too much, but some days when I have a million other things to do, it would be nice if my other co-worker got her share of the problems. I’ve mentioned it before to upper management and it was fixed for a period of time, but now that things are busy again, it’s LARA TO THE RESCUE!

If you’re anything like me, you have your morning planned out by the half minute. If anything disrupts my normal course of morning routine, I’m late. All of my anxiety at breakfast didn’t help me find my keys or look for another coffee mug. It was a little nerve wracking, but when I looked in the mirror to put my scarf on, I stared at my prehnite stone, sitting on my neck and remembered what my mission in life is all about. What this challenge is about.

One Hundred Days of Happiness

Deep breaths, Lara

Of course it can be difficult. It’s a CHALLENGE. Ding Ding Ding! But dammit, I will conquer these 100 days, and I bet I’ll be happy for 100 more.

After having time to calm down about work, I realized I need to relax and take it all in. If I really feel like I’m being overworked, I need to tell someone about it. But that is only in dire situations. I need to grab hold of all the experience I can get because I have been blessed with a job that lets me take care of so many different tasks, that my experience will build and grow over time. Since having my second coffee and cigarette of the day, I feel a lot better about the workload as well. It makes me feel great to know that people love coming to me for help because it makes me feel wanted. And I am appreciated. They don’t forget to give me praise. Ever.

I guess I’m a little stressed today because I’ve been having weird dreams about my ex. Like something is wrong with him, or at least not right. Nothing to do with our relationship-that ship has sailed and I’ve embarked on a new quest with my Drummer. If it was relationship dreams, I wouldn’t care so much, but they are different. I’ve had two or three, two for certain. In one dream he had bruises on his face, as if he was severely beat up. He’s not the fighting type, so I took this as more mental than physical. And then in my dream last night, his best friend was telling me that something was wrong. He wasn’t himself. And he was just not doing well. And I woke up pissed off, naturally. Get out of my sleep cycle, dude. I wanted to reach out to ask if everything was okay, but I didn’t. It isn’t my problem anymore. He has a great family that can help him with any mental struggles he is dealing with. I couldn’t help him when I was with him, so I certainly can’t help him now.

But alas, all of the morning troubles left me as soon as I walked outside and saw the sun shining. With all of this crazy weather, it’s been nice to wear my shades and drive to work blaring my upbeat tunes.

Tomorrow’s Friday. My favorite day of the week. I won’t have an issue with tomorrow’s post!

Love others, but most importantly, love yourself.

#100HappyDays 7: Gotta Have Faith

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Faith.

What a word. What an idea. 10 years ago, I would have told you I had none. I’d ask my mother, “How can someone have faith in something that you can’t see?”

My mother would just look at me with such certainty and reply, “That’s what having faith is, Lara.”

I never really identified with a specific religion. I grew up Catholic, forced to go to church and Sunday School. My parents would drag me there and I would spend a few hours playing Jenga, only moving pieces when I’d recite a prayer with no mistakes.

It felt forced. Unbelievable. Tiring. It felt like I was being punished.

Though I’m glad I was pushed into the realm of believing things that aren’t staring us back in the eyes, I wish it had been gone about differently. Even today, I don’t resonate with my family’s religion. I am spiritual, not religious and it sometimes breaks my father’s heart. I wish he would realize that to believe in something greater than myself is better than not believing in anything at all.

The only thing that kept the idea of faith in the back of my mind was a reoccurring dream I had as a child. I would be in my bedroom with a chest at the foot of my bed. Jesus would wake me up and point to the chest. Inside, I would find a box with light breaking through the cracks. I would open it, light would come out and brighten the entire room, and then I would wake up.

Freaky, right?

Even then, I had little faith.

When adolescence hit, it was like a ton of bricks. In the body. In the brain. It just came crashing down and broke me into a million little pieces. I still sometimes wonder if what I went through was just puberty, or if it was truly depression.

I’ve touched on a bit on my teenage experience and how awful it was.

Fueled with bad decisions, drugs, and alcohol, my developing brain couldn’t handle the psychological overload and put me in a very dark place. Self mutilation, mentally and physically plagued my psyche and well being. I had this addiction to physical pain because it felt so real. It reminded me that this life wasn’t a dream and that I was actually a human being, playing a part within this filth I called a human body.

Not only was I high on pretty much everything, I heavily lacked individuality. Those years were honestly the hardest times of my life.

I kept this entire situation a secret. From everyone, including my best friends. My family was involved in serious turmoil at the time, and I didn’t want to burden my poor parents any more than they were already being subjected to.

The only place I could get all of my feelings out was in a miniature journal I kept in my bedroom. I still cry when I read it today. I filled it with all of the darkness that I had kept inside. Poetry. Prose. Pictures. I filled the pages with everything that I was.

Looking back on it, I’m honestly surprised I didn’t end up dead, in jail, or in an institution.

How did I become this Lara that screams positivity and “it’ll be okays?”

Faith.

Even through the most trivial times in my life, I had this little glimmer of hope that something better was out there. Even when I felt like I had nobody, it always felt like someone was watching over me.

I knew I was meant to be happy. It was just buried so deep inside of my darkness that it was blanketed.

But just like trying to find your remote in a bed full of tangled sheets at 2 in the morning, it was possible. Difficult yes. But I was fully able.

As I got older, the sadness slowly washed away. I began to see the world in a new light and with the idea that I was destined for spiritual greatness. As I finally grew into my own skin, I realized the potential I had.

I crawled out of the dark. Slowly, but I made it.

And the further away from the darkness that I traveled, the closer to the light I had come.

Today, I am happy for my faith. My faith in something bigger than me. My faith that this physical life is only secondary to what will come. My faith in positive thinking, holistic healing, daily prayer, and endless possibilities.

And my contentment with my beliefs.

Just because I don’t put a stamp on myself declaring which religion I am, doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in such things. I just choose not to put a label on it. And I also choose to accept everyone for their beliefs, or lack thereof. Many religious people don’t understand that kind of acceptance.

And now that I have hindsight on my side, I see that the light bursting from my dream-like box is a wake up call, all around me…

It’s called life.

#100HappyDays Day 6: Sweatin’ Coffee

#100HappyDays Day 6

Coffee.

I wish my day began like the Folgers commercials from the 80’s. Laying in bed with my hubster while that sweet, sweet aroma makes its way from the crappy coffee maker up the stairs to our bedroom…

Except in my version, hubs and I would get in a morning quickie before the kids followed the scent of coffee.

“Go play with your dolls, girls! Pancakes when Dad and I are done!”

No, but really. Today I’m giving a shout out to my big, long-time supporter in life: Coffee. I don’t discriminate. I love all of you. I’m sort of the pimpstress of coffees. And this one’s for you baby..

Dunkins. You’ve been my dude since high school. I’ve had you when I shouldn’t and longed for you when I was in need. Though your prices creep up slowly like a stranger in an alleyway, I turn around and give you that extra ten cents because that turbo shot makes my heart go boom boom.

Starbucks. You’re like a stripper at a really expensive night club. As I wait in line, I catch a glimpse at all of the desirable sweet treats you have to offer, but I stray away from them because they’re bad for my health. Most of the time, I’m cheap and pay for a tall macchiato, but I know if I really want a vente in the back room, I’m going to have to pay top dollar. So when I’m feeling a little extra, I slide right into home with you.

McDonald’s. You’re definitely a grow-er, not a show-er. When I first saw your small, itty bitty price, I thought I was going to get robbed out of a good time. But as soon as I handed over my dollar, I was returned with this surprisingly big, big cup that filled my mouth with such joy that I couldn’t even look Dunkin’s in the eye as I drank you at the stop light in the plaza. Newman’s, you Own my heart.

Maxwell House. I’m going to end with you because since I start my morning with you, it wouldn’t be fair to my other caffeinated bitches if I didn’t give them a second in the spotlight. My mom introduced us back when I realized I was spending too much money on the other hoes. It took a while to get used to your unsweetened taste, but when I met the Columbian blend, I got my socks knocked the frigg off. That blend makes me go all day, and I know that if I drank it before bed, I’d go all night too. Kisses, boo.

I Love Me My Coffee. And That Shit Makes Me Happy.

#100HappyDays Day 3-5: Worth the Weight

Happy Monday Everyone! I tried my absolute hardest to get on here over the weekend to update my 100 Happy Days, but fortunately I was out and about. Yah know, being happy? The whole point of this challenge?!

I had a college reunion with a bunch of my old friends. We haven’t all been out together in years, so it was absolutely amazing to take a step back in time (yet old enough to drink) and get wild with my lady friends. That was totes a day full of happiness.

Sunday was spent with those said friends, getting breakfast at our old hot spot and then making my way home to my lovely family for a day full of reorganizing my LIFE. When I moved home with my parents last September, I thought it was only going to be temporary, so I just sort of just shoved my life into boxes and stuffed them in closets. Well, after over a year of shopping and shopping and (you see I have an issue) more shopping, I ran out of room to put all my crap so I completely revamped my room and threw some serious junk away to make it more of my own space.

Yesterday’s happiness definitely had to go to my family. I appreciate them immensely for letting me stay with them, rent free, while I pay for current college, pay back my last degree, pay for my brand new car, etc. etc. They don’t suffocate me, I feel like just another roommate there, and it isn’t bad that my mom cooks my dinner and folds my laundry sometimes either. HEY MA!

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Today’s #100HappyDays post is something a little personal and close to my heart. I wanted to make it up to you guys for not posting this weekend. So without further ado:

.Sorry For The Weight.

I have suffered with body image issues, on and off for pretty much of my entire life. I’ve been battling with my weight for 18 years and it hasn’t been a war that I’ve always won. And it definitely hasn’t been easy.

I wasn’t always overweight, either. I was a twig until I was in second grade. One day, I was playing outside in my backyard while my father was mowing the lawn. All of a sudden, a rock flew out and hit me directly in my left eye. That pain was the worst pain I’ve ever suffered. I threw up for hours after the event because the trauma was so bad and finally my parents took me to the hospital only to find out that I had a cataract in my eye and barely any vision left.

I was in the hospital for over a week and after that I was confined to my bed getting eye drops every 2 hours but not being able to move more than that. No running. No jumping. I couldn’t even bend over to pick something up because the doctors were afraid I would suffer from a detached retina.

Finally after seeing specialist after specialist, one eye surgeon found the slightest bit of sight in my eye and put me in for surgery. I underwent cataract surgery and a few years later, Lasik eye surgery. I still have really bad vision, but that’s for another time.

In those few years that I wasn’t able to do anything that an active child was able to do, I put on a little weight. All I could do was eat, and shit, that’s exactly what I did. Middle school threw some bullies at me, but it was maybe one or two boys at the most. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but it still hurt nonetheless.

By 7th grade, my mom signed me up for a weight loss program and I lost 30 lbs. Throw in some puberty boobs and a growth spurt and I looked pretty awesome.

Cue 8th grade and high school: That all went down hill.

Throughout most of my adolescence, I was in the dark. Drugs. Drinking. Smoking. Partying. I was the wildest 14 year old you would ever meet in your life. I was like a guest out of the Steve Wilkos Show. I didn’t slap my mama or anything, but I definitely hit the bottle hard. This topic will most certainly be covered another time because my story is far too long for today’s happiness tale.

During that time, I blindly ate. And drank. And ate. And ate. Until finally by my senior year of high school/freshman year of college, I tipped the scale at a staggering 210 pounds. To be completely honest, when I looked in the mirror back then, I had NO idea I was that big. I don’t know if it was my adolescent drug induced haze or maybe the beginning of my happy life that distorted my perception of myself, but I’m glad I realize it now.

And here, we have the before picture:

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Sorry about the awful red streak across my face, I try to keep myself anonymous though I’m sure it doesn’t work too well haha

When I got to college, I had no car. I think that’s what honestly saved my life. I had to walk EVERYWHERE. I had to walk to get food, to go to class, to go to my friends’ houses, etc. It got me moving. WAY more than I ever moved in my life. And by the end of my sophomore year of college, I was getting compliments that completely confused me.

All of a sudden, I started glancing at pictures like the one I just showed you and my jaw dropped.

WHAT IN THE HOLY HELL? DID I REALLY LOOK LIKE THAT?

HOW IN THE WORLD DID I MISS THAT?

IWASAHOUSE.

It was then that I started to care a little bit more about what I ate. It was an extremely slow process. I started out by just paying attention to my nutrition. I mean, it was still college so I definitely had my fair share of pizza, but I traded most things for Smart Ones and cereal after I realized the old me could make a cup of water quiver with every step like I was in Jurassic Park.

Over the years, I’ve learned SO much about food. Nutrition. Good foods. Bad foods. And the scientific reasoning and processes behind everything we eat. I now tailor my diet to my specific personality. I eat all the healthy foods I love, but on Saturdays I get to crack out on pizza. It’s my favorite food, and dammit obesity, you will NOT take pizza away from me.

Once I realized eating right just wasn’t going to cut it alone, I started working out. I’ve been really into it for almost a consistent year, and in and out of the game for a few years. To go from never working out to trying to be hardcore is tough. I HATED working out. Honestly, when you’re fat and tired from walking up a flight of stairs, why in the world would you want to work out for an hour? It took an easing into it and now I love working out. I switch it up all the time and I make sure I’m always having fun.

Now I know I know, where’s the after picture right? First off, I just want to apologize for my Charlie’s Angels stance. I don’t have any social media and it was the only picture I could find with a full body side profile.

And now…

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That’s me a few months ago. I’ve actually lost 8 or 9 lbs. since then, so as you can tell, the work is never finished. I’m 70 pounds lighter. SEVENTY POUNDS!

It’s been hard. It’s been a long road. I have cried many, many, times, but I am stronger now than I ever was. I have 10 lbs. to go before I am at my dream weight. The weight I’ve always wanted to be. And I think I’m going to cry harder than ever when I reach that. But this time, it will be tears of joy.

So today, I am happy for the determination and hard work it took to get me where I am today with my health. I have struggled with this for my entire life and I probably will continue to struggle with it for the remainder.

But like I always say, life isn’t easy. And if this is a challenge that I have to face to be the happiest person possible, well then,

GAME ON.

 

#100HappyDays Day 2

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Friends

Friends start out as a lesson in socializing from a very young age. A way to teach you to share. To be fair. Or quite frankly, to not. As we get older, we feel this automatic need to love and bond with our friends and we slowly learn the shelf life of each one.

When I was in middle school, I remember having this insane fight within my inner circle. We were all so angry with each other and as a passionate youngster, it took a serious toll on my 10 year old heart. We went to a mediation session with a faculty member and we were all crying and yelling at each other. It was then that the teacher said something that resonated with me:

“Can I be honest with you girls? Look around the table. There’s a very good chance that by the time you get to my age and even younger, you won’t even be speaking to one another. I have one friend from middle school that I’m still in contact with.”

It might sound a bit harsh to say that to middle school girls, but let me tell you: Every time a new “OHMYGODSHE’SMYABSOLUTEBESTFRIENDFOREVER” girl blew away with the wind, I always went back to that conversation. And it always eased my soul.

Because my heart was always bigger than my mind growing up, I had friends who used me, mentally abused me, and walked all over me.

My very first boyfriend in high school cheated on me with my absolute best friend at the time. I was devastated. And I stayed friends with her for two full years before finally cutting ties. Maybe that’s why I waited 7 years to have another relationship. And to this very day, I get anxiety when introducing someone I’m dating to a girlfriend.

I’ve had friends who used to yell at me for no reason. It was always their way or the highway. I used to appease them by molding myself into whoever they were or whoever they wanted me to be. They would tell me to “shut up.” They would ditch me to hang out with boys. They would use me for rides, for food, for comfort, yet I never got an ounce of that in return.

And for most of my life, I was never myself. And never happy.

When I left for college, I left a lot of that behind. The first day in the dorms felt like the first day of the rest of my life. I honestly sighed with relief.

A new start. Nobody who knows me. Nobody to tell me how to live.

I still had a few of those awful friends, but by my sophomore year, I let them go. And as I progressed through college, it became easier and easier to cut ties with anyone who was awful towards me.

One of the questions I asked my Liebster Award nominees was regarding when they felt that they finally became the person they are today. My answer is college. I started to become the Lara I am today, and I stopped molding myself into the people I hung out with. And that’s when I started creating meaningful friendships with like-minded people. Sure, I’ve had to let go of others along the way to the present time, but it got easier. I’ve stopped holding on to others who want to hold me down.

Friends are supposed to be the wind beneath your wings, not the rocks sitting on your fallen feathers.

They are there for support. To fly with you. Not against you. To laugh with you. To cry with you. And everything in between. They are honest and kind. Helpful, but not too much. And no matter how much time has passed, your bond will remain the same.

I’ve found those people. Finally. After years of sifting through dozens of people who wanted to claim my mind for their own superior gain, I have finally found friendship with meaning and love.

My Taco. One of my absolute best friends has shown me what true friendship feels like. The first time my ex and I broke up, he stayed with me every night for almost a month. Sleeping next to me, even though he loves being in his own bed, just so I wouldn’t cry alone. And every night he stayed with me was a night I did not cry and I actually got sleep. He has no idea what his 7 years of friendship means to me.

So today, I am happy for my friends. I have a good handful of them that I could write about for days, and wouldn’t trade them for anything. Not 100 more friends. Not a million dollars. Their existence keeps me going and I know I do the same for them. And I know that as we grow older, our physical time together will weaken, but not our friendship. We will soar together through blue skies and lock arms through dark times.

What I want you to take away from this is the fact that nobody can ever tell you how to live. A friendship is everything and more than what I’ve talked about today and it should be no less.

It doesn’t matter if you are 10 or 30. There are full grown adults who still have rotten friends because they don’t know how to just let them go. We all know this.

But can I tell you what it feels like to live a life free of drama with no one but internally beautiful and honest people? It feels amazing. Uplifting. It eases the difficult journey through life. You don’t need more bumps on an already rocky road.

It’s your right to be happy. And today, I am.