growth

Frosty Windows

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Though it seems Autumn may signify the death of nature,

it does not.

It preserves – it protects – it strengthens.

The trees still stand tall,

and below the Earth’s surface lies the warmth that we all hold dear to our memories.

Do not fear or dread the winter chill or the long haul of darkness.

Preserve – protect – and strengthen yourself

so when the trees bud and the flowers grow again,

you may grow taller and stronger than the year before.

Embrace the frost.

Embrace yourself.

And though your skin may be cold, keep your heart warm.

Life your life with peace,

and with the certainty that much is uncertain.

Breaking the Habit: Part Two

You can find Breaking the Habit Part One here!

Ah, back to blogging about the butts. I had to write the part two sooner or later, and I’m happy to announce that as of today I am cigarette free. I didn’t quit on my birthday like I had originally wanted, but I was down to one cigarette a day for a few weeks before I finally just threw in the towel. I had run out one day and I was like you know what, Lara? You don’t need that one stupid cigarette anymore.

And just like that, I broke free from the habit that would eventually kill me one day.

Let me tell you, though, it was NOT easy. It’s been hard. Really fucking hard. I honestly have come to the acceptance that I’m just going to be a little bit bitchier for the rest of my life. For every time someone cuts me off on the highway, or anyone at work aggravates me, I don’t have that precious rolled up piece of goodness to get me through that spike in my blood pressure anymore. I have “deep breathing.” Pardon me while I hypothetically throw up all over that phrase because quite frankly, I’d rather smoke a cigarette.

BUT. The list of diseases my family has from smoking is of enormous quantities. So I’d rather be an old bitch than a nice young corpse. It makes life spicier that way anyways.

I’ve only cheated 3 times too! And it’s only when I’m drunk. Anyone who has ever been a smoker can attest that nothing is better than having a cigarette and a drink at the same friggin time. Ugh. It’s amazing.

But you know what? Each time I’ve cheated has never been followed by a relapse.

I won’t go back to it. I CAN’T. I work out six days a week. I do intense cardio and lifting. There is NO way I would be able to accomplish what I have with cigarettes. I can’t believe I got through workouts as a smoker. I used to smoke one right BEFORE a workout. HAHA seriously, Lara? Seriously.

Once the withdrawals go away, it truly is just mind over matter. My entire family smokes. Every single day I am surrounded by cigarette smoke. That’s will power right there. Just like how every day I decide to not eat the cookies on my counter, I also decide not to smoke a cigarette. And the fact that sugar is just as addicting as cigarettes is a WHOLE other post for a different day. And seriously, that WILL be discussed eventually because it’s just as serious as any other addiction in this world.

I can’t lie though. I DO have a crutch. And this “crutch” has been up for serious debate but it’s saved my lungs. What is this magic that I speak of? E-cigarettes. Not just any e-cigarette. A Provape – It’s one of the top ones on the market. NOT cheap but when I do the math between smoking that and cigarettes, my vape is FAR more superior. And I know what you nay sayers have to say:

E Juice is dangeroussss! OH NO PLEASE DON’T SMOKE THAT STUFF LARA!

This isn’t a debate, but I’m just going to leave the vape talk off with the fact that I haven’t seen one piece of research against e-cigarettes. I’m extremely careful with it, I keep children away from it, and I don’t poison my neighbors with it. A few puffs of that a day to keep me sane is extremely better than smoking a pack of cigs a day. I pick and choose my dangers wisely.

Anyways, I’m 4 months strong and so far, not wanting to go back. They say trying to quit after failing to quit is one of the hardest things to do – harder than the original quit. I won’t let myself get to that point. As long as I have my health on my side, I think I’ll be okay. Even if I’m a little bitchy 🙂

Summer Came & Went

Well, considering I haven’t written a single thing since JUNE, I assume I should do some “catch up” until I get to a somewhat present moment.

The summer flew by faster than it ever had before. I guess that’s what happens when you spend most of your free time sober. Somewhere between my terrible break up and meeting The Drummer, I had some weird change of the heart and mind. All of my drunken escapades where taking a toll on my body, and since I’d worked so hard on losing weight and getting healthy, I knew this lifestyle couldn’t last forever.

It began in June, when I finally quit smoking cigarettes. I had slowly weaned myself off of them – first by cutting the pack in half, and then another half, until I was down to just 1 per day. Then I ran out of cigarettes one day and just decided that was it.

And That. Was. It.

I don’t care what anyone says. I was a heavy smoker for 14 years. I couldn’t even STAND the thought of quitting before that point, but when I did, it felt like cake. Don’t get me wrong. I will ALWAYS have a love for those little cancer filled sticks of deliciousness, but I couldn’t fucking breathe. It just isn’t worth it.

Once I quit smoking, I started realizing how much more capacity my lungs could hold during workouts.

I CAN BREEEEATHE! I CAN BURPEE! I CAN NOT WANT TO DIE EVERY TIME I RUN!

It’s quite the feeling. You don’t realize how important breathing is until you actually get your ass out of bed and jump around every day. I’m in love with breathing now! And every time I want a smoke, I just think about how hard it would be to accomplish the fitness goals I have with cigarettes.

That’s where my next addiction comes into play…Fitness.

Exercise is the healthiest addiction there is. Of course, there’s always a way to make it completely unhealthy, but when you’ve done as much damage to yourself as I have, it’s hard to get to that point.

I spent ALL summer working out. Every damn morning I was up at 5:30 AM, hauling ass, eating eggs, and then going to work. It feels pretty rad to walk into work and smile at all the tired people – because in my mind I’m all like Yeah, I just jumped around for an hour. Take THAT!

So all my hard work eventually paid off – I surpassed my goal weight by 15 pounds, and am now lifting and focusing on toning and all those other good fake words to describe reshaping my body. I joined a gym so I could have access to all of those fabulous cardio classes that you see in the infomercials AND so I can take yoga classes. I’ve also heavily researched fitness and nutrition and hope to share all of the information I’ve picked up on here to maybe give some inspiration to others because if I can do it..seriously…anyone can.

Before I knew it, summer was gone! My class started at the end of August so the reality of summer’s end slapped me faster than the other people who got to wait until at least LABOR DAY to be depressed.

Not a very enthusiastic summer, but for me it was a rebirth. Less drinking (come on – I still have to let loose once in a while), more moving, and just feeling alive for the first time in a while. And all with a great guy that I met in the depths of online dating world. More on that next time.

Where to Begin?

It took a long time to gather the ability to begin this post. It’s been months since I’ve written. It’s been months since I’ve looked into my soul. The last time I was on here, I gave word that intothebeauty might be no more. That I may delete it. I definitely stepped away for, shit, MONTHS.

But, no.

I couldn’t delete it.

I couldn’t get rid of the one thing that kept me going when my psyche was on life support. This blog helped me through more hard times than I can count. It helped me release the sadness and disgust for this beautiful world we live in. And it helped me connect with people who, one way or another, felt the same exact way.

And now that I’m breathing on my own, how dare I walk away from this?

I’ve wanted to catch up for a while. I just lacked the motivation. I’m not afraid to admit it:

I have been fucking blog lazy.

Not lazy, lazy. I’ve been SO damn busy it’s not even right. Saturday marked the end of another class toward my HR certificate. Two more classes to go! And just recently I was promoted to management at the job I was just about to quit (I’ll fill you in on that later). Not to mention, I’m feeling my age a bit more. Christ, after working like a dog day in and day out it’s so hard to get the motivation to do ANYTHING extracurricular.

But life is too damn short to be lazy, so I’m back.

I was going to scrap this whole page and start with a new one but there’s just no fun in that.

I’m in my twenties. There are the bestworstgreatestcraziestundecided years of my life. I need not start over! I have just BEGUN! And whenever I need a good laugh, I have to be able to turn back time and revisit my crazy dating days. If you’re just tuning in, get the fuck back to my archives. I’ve got some SERIOUS stories within the dating realm.

I’m still in the works trying to co-create my health blog that I’ve been starting with some friends, but that’s taken a pause until we get some stuff worked out. I’m not any good at graphic designing and I refuse to start posting professional shit on a semi professional website.

However since health is such a big part of my life, I will definitely incorporate it here because this blog is all of me, not just bits and pieces.

OH and I’m still with The Drummer. Yup! Our one year is next month. CRAAAAZY. I’ll get to that later.

So, whelp. I’m back. In the flesh, or…the virtual flesh…whatever. I’m here. And I’ve missed you all! I hope to see some fresh faces and as always, some of my old wordpress crew. In the coming weeks, I’ll try to pick up on where I left off as well as incorporate some new shaat to this lovely blog of mine. Let the rebirth of my blog begin!

Hearts, Stars, and Horseshoes

BOOM. HEY. YO. What in the world is up?!

It’s been well over a month since I’ve popped into my corner of the internet. Christ, I can’t believe I still have followers. Writing material just seems so difficult for me to pick from space when my insides aren’t jumbled up into one hot mess of a person. But here I am, for your eyes or not.

I’ve been well. Stagnant, but well. Summer is here in New England, and let me tell you: You have to soak it up all you can because 9 months out of the year it’s cold. As SHIT. Today is actually the first scorch-ah (I had to, sorry) and it’s not even as hot as it’ll get. Thank God for my closet full of dresses. No pants all summer.

I haven’t been up to much since my last post. My birthday passed by without a hitch. Without TEARS. It was amazing. Though I hate being a year older, it definitely has put my future into perspective for me.

First off, I need a new job. Don’t get me wrong, I love my current job. I love what I do. I love the people. I wish there was more for me to do work-wise, but hey, we do have our busy seasons. It’s honestly about the money and growth right now. I can’t grow much here – financially or on the totem pole. And as a 26 year old woman with one degree and another on the way, I deserve much more than I get. I gotta pay Sally Mae back before I kick the can, you know? Being financially stable and racking in more dough to my savings account will set me up for the future – and emergencies.

Secondly, I gotta finish school. I can’t wait! Three more classes. Three more classes and three thousand more dollars and that will be one less bill I have to pay for. And that piece of paper I receive at the end of it all will benefit me far more than my psych degree is right now.

Third – the Drummer brought up an interesting proposition to me last week regarding location. He’s looking at PhD programs both in this state and a few others and the thought of him leaving made me sort of sad. We’ve had the most fun these past 7 months (can you BELIEVE it’s been 7 months?) and I’d just hate to separate after such a good time. And then he proposed that I think about coming with him if it were out of state. I mean, it wouldn’t be for another 14 months, but it’s still a lot to think about. Honestly, I’m young, intelligent, and spunky. I could get a job practically anywhere. And if we weren’t sick of each other after two years of dating, then why the hell not? My home is my sanctuary. I love my family. And the most wonderful thing about them is if things didn’t work out elsewhere, I could always come home. If I have the opportunity to leave, I WILL take it if it feels right because I’ve wanted to leave this state for so long and the time to do it is while I’m still young and resilient.

The only thing holding me back from 100% excitement is my parents. I’ve always worried what they would do when they grew old. Who would care for them? I spoke to my mother the other day and she assured me that if I ever left for good, her and my father would retire to Abu Dhabi (where my brother and his wife live) and be happy. That sort of distance just doesn’t sit right with me. My parents are my world and since I was young and I first learned they weren’t in fact immortal, it has bothered me to no end. Since then, I’ve had an abnormal fear of my parents’ death – Because they are my world, and if my world dies, that leaves me with another hole in my brittle heart. Ugh. Enough, Lara. Seriously.

All of these futuristic thoughts are connected – Finish school –> Better job —> More $$$ —> More savings for a possible out-of-state adventure. And now I have little goals I have set for myself to achieve all of it. Life isn’t to shabby right meow.

So, see? Stagnant. F*cking stagnant. Boring. YAAWWWWN. Are you guys still awake? I’m way boring being in a relationship. Plus, I’ve cut down on the drinking since I’ve become such a health nut these days. Which leads me to my next and final subject….

A New Blog

This blog has been and has done so much for me and I appreciate it and all of you more than you know. However, I find that I have no ammo anymore. I think I’ve exhausted writing about the ex – and that’s what blogging was about for me. Therapy. Healing. I will forever be healing but I’m not sure if it’s as much as I needed previously. I’m on a new adventure in my life and it’s a happier, more positive one. I worked really hard to get here and I will continue to write about what I’m passionate about.

My friend and I are in the works on creating a new blog. One that’s got a mind and body theme – specifically health and wellness. We’re only talking about it right now and haven’t started it up, but for anyone who is interested, I will keep you posted. I know many of you come here for dirty stories and laughs, so I’m on the fence about whether or not I’ll keep this one open for the public, but it’s all just thoughts at the moment. And I know not everyone is into the whole “health” thing, so if there’s any other way that you guys want to connect, drop me your e-mails and we can stay in touch through that portal – or Instagram – I’ve got one of those now HA! Sorry, no Facebook still.

Anywho, I had to write something on here. My blog looked so lonely and isolated. And I wanted to tell you all that intothebeauty might be no longer in the coming months. I don’t know though. Ugh. Eh. Even saying it makes me second guess it. We’ll see.

I love you all. Every single one of you. Until next time.

An Open Letter to Myself

I wasn’t going to post this one. Sort of for myself. But I thought, why would I make a post private when I never have before? Honesty is what I’m here for.

Dear Lara From One Year Minus Three Days Ago,

I know you can’t breathe right now, but you’re going to be okay.

Today was one of the toughest days of your life thus far. Top Ten for sure. You did what millions of other people do every hour of every day. You felt what it was like to love someone for a long time-not like mom and dad, mind you-and then have them not love you back anymore. Hurts, huh? Remember when all of your friends went through that and you’d just shrug it off like, “What’s their problem?” Well, in hindsight, I wouldn’t wish that pain on my worst enemy. But after all, hindsight is always 20/20.

I’m here to tell you there’s a silver lining in the not-so-distant future. I know you already have an inkling, but I want you to be certain, because it’s there and you’re going for it.

You spent 3 and a half years in a fantasy world. A great one, but an illusion nonetheless. Yes you loved him, Lara. You loved him with everything you had in your gigantic, warm heart. Come on. I mean, who pathetically cries tears of happiness after an orgasm? That’s love, girl. Probably a little weird too, but hey, you’ve always been a bit strange.

Where you went wrong was believing this would last forever. You always knew it wouldn’t, but love can make a person so fucking blind that their amazing gift of intuition can be hidden as if it never existed.

I’m sure he truly loved you too. You could see it in the way he would look at you-especially when you weren’t paying attention. Remember how your friends would joke about his gaze toward you? It was love. Just not unconditional. You can’t hate him for that. And like I said, you always knew that.

In the next year you’re going to go on QUITE a ride. The first few months will be an absolutely alcohol induced, fuzzy time in your life. But hey, it’s summer. You’re totally allowed to go all out.

Get drunk. Make out with tons of guys. Put that breakup CD on repeat and drive to fucking nowhere while you cry your eyes out. That’s fine. You have to cry. And TRUST ME. Girl, you are going to be crying a lot.

You’re already steady love for your friends is going to grow in tremendous proportions. Taco is going to stick to your side like glue. Him and K be there every weekend to dance the heartbreak off and to give that weirdo that you’re drunkenly talking to an evil eye that means “STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM HER.” Heath and Matt are going to take you under their wing and let you stay with them in PA whenever you need to. That will be a blast. Be careful with the assault rifles, though-“woman scorned” isn’t your strong suit. You’ll reconnect with old friends you haven’t spoken to in a while and even make some new ones. Isn’t that the best thing about break-ups? The free time keeps on rolling. Though, I must say, I’m proud of you for always making time for your friends even in a relationship because that is why they are so understanding and more than willing to help you through this tough time. Don’t ever change that aspect of your personality.

***

Dating

Psh. Darling, you are going to date until your eyes bleed from the heinous acts of men. You’ll be fooled a few times, but quickly remember that not all guys are like the one you were with for so long. You will realize that the men you meet at bars are jerks, the ones your friends set you up with are emotionally unstable, and so you will enter the perilous realm of online dating.

*ALERT!* ONE OF THE WORST DATES YOU’VE EVER BEEN ON WILL CONSIST OF A MAN’S TOOTH FALLING OUT. Just get drunk and be nice to him. He means well.

You’ll have an attempted theft on your underwear. Ugh. Sigh. Men.

You will date and date and date until you’ve given up on, not only men, but humankind altogether. But then, on your last attempt at online dating, you will strike gold.

I’m sure today you would never think you could ever date someone else, but you can. And you will.

He will be just as kind, if not kinder. He will be smart, funny, and driven. He will have life plans that don’t consist of playing in a mediocre band for peanuts the rest of his life. He’ll want to watch science shows with you and talk about religion and politics and all of the things that you never got to do with anyone else. He’ll wake up in the middle of the night just to kiss you. He’ll let you sleep on his chest when you don’t feel well and make you soup after all 1,000 of your stupid gum surgeries. And you won’t stop smiling throughout fall and winter. It’s still new, but he’s cool. I promise. You’d never date a shitty dude this long. Truuuuust.

Most importantly, you will get your life back. I’m not talkin’ the post-break-up life. I’m talking about the PRE RELATIONSHIP LIFE. The life before you fell into that illusionistic love. Not all love is an illusion, but from the moment you met your ex, you disappeared. And you will realize that throughout the course of the next year.

Real relationships do not form when two halves come together to make a whole. They consist of two individuals who want to remain individuals but be together simultaneously. They don’t complete each other, but compliment each other. And you certainly have become complete again since losing that half of yourself that you gave to someone else years ago. You’ll never do that again.

There you have it. Never fear, Lara, dear! You’re going to be more than alright. You’re going to be better than you ever have. Because you will find what you loved most in this world-yourself.

So get ready to cry. And laugh. And scream. And every other emotion that exists in this dimension. Because you are going to experience it all. But in a year from now, you are going to be one happy lady, and because of nobody but yourself.

Keep your head up kid,

You.

P.S. You’re totally going to be named Employee of the Month tomorrow morning. I know, I know. When you walk in crying your eyes out and dead from not sleeping, and your co-workers come out and yell SURPRISE! Don’t worry. They’ll understand. HAHA!

Don’t stop, no, I’ll never give up
And I’ll never look back, just hold your head up
And if it gets rough, it’s time to get rough

#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.