Thursday, May 27, 2010

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Or, as I've learned this year, when your life is falling apart around you.

It is May, y'all. May. And not the beginning of May either. It's the last week of May which means its really almost June which means I have been in New Orleans for almost ONE WHOLE YEAR now. How crazy is that and where the heck has the past year gone? I moved here the first week of July (2009), so we are quickly approaching my one-year NOLA anniversary...I feel like I should have a party or something, you know? Can we all agree that this has been probably the most tumultuous year ever, in the history of Lauren? I'm pretty sure at this point I've got nothing to top it.

Anyway, Spring in New Orleans is lots of fun. This is the time of the year when all (or a lot of) the music festivals take place for one thing. Not that I'm terribly into music festivals per se, its just that there is an overall festival atmosphere here that trickles down into other parts of life. Then again, that may have less to do with Jazz fest and more to do with just the city itself, I dunno. Oh and, it's crawfish season!

The only downside to where I am now? That's right; the heat. It's so freaking hot here already...and it's technically not even summer yet. I'm afraid for July and August. And I swear I'm convinced that New Orleans sits just outside the gates of Hell and no one realizes it. We are rapidly approaching a time when I feel the need to shower three times a day because the mere act of walking from my office to the car leaves me a sweaty mess.

Other than the heat though, life is good.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tell a Friend

I used to write a weekly column in the local newspaper back home. I started there the summer after I graduated from highschool and to date, it was one of the best jobs I've ever had. I loved it. I was fortunate enough to work for the paper in some capacity throughout college, and even continued to write my column right up until I graduated and moved down here to New Orleans.

My mom e-mails me all the time to tell me that she ran into so-and-so at the grocery and they just "loved your column and miss reading it every week." And "why have I quit writing?" I'm not saying this to brag because I've never thought my pieces were particurally special or exciting (I only continued to write them because I thought it was kinda fun) but to thank all of those people from back home who have been so supportive over the years. It means so much to me, even now, to hear from people who have read and enjoyed something I've written.

And I want you to know that I haven't abandoned you! I quit writing Under Construction for the newspaper because they quit printing it. I don't know why--we never had a formal arrangement one way or the other so I can't really complain. I just know that I would submit things that never got published, so after awhile I kind of just quit writing a column every week and turned to this bloggy medium instead. I like this because I'm not limited to any certain amount of space, I dont have a deadline or a requirement, and I can be slightly less politically correct than I could be when my stuff was actually being published!

I do miss though, feeling connected to the community I grew up in back home and getting feedback (positive and negative) from the readers. That was always lots of fun and usually pretty interesting to me, on a number of levels. So I guess what I'm getting around to is to ask a favor from those of you from back home who do read this--please tell your friends! Give them the web address and tell them that I loved writing for them each week and would love to hear from anyone and everyone who still cares enough to take five minutes to read what I have to say!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I realize I haven't been writing as frequently lately, as I did when I first started this thing. For what its worth, its not for a lack of material. In fact, quite the opposite. It's more like I have so much going on in my head these days that I'm overwhelmed at times, to the point that I can't even imagine sitting down and writing it all out. I probably should, as I find writing to be extremely therapeutic but frankly, the thought of doing it just exhausts me sometimes. I am apparently more lazy than I realized.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not Quite How I Thought It Would Look...

"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans for your life."
--Woody Allen

My life, that is. I'm referring to my life and how, if you'd asked me five years ago to tell you where I saw myself today I'd have painted a picture for you that is so far from the reality of things that it'd be laughable. And in hindsight, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The other day I was talking to my friend Jonnie (who I know reads this blog--hi Jonnie!!!) and we got on the topic of how, when you're growing up you have this mental imagine of who and what you want in life and how rarely those daydreams actually come to fruition. "Did you ever picture the type of person you thought you'd end up with?" she asked me. "Did you ever imagine what he would look like and how he would act and what his personality would be?"

I did. And I still do.

The thing is though, just because we think we want something, and even when we do our best to plan for and make it happen...sometimes it just doesn't. I don't know why. I guess because it is in times like these that our plans for our life don't quite mesh with God's plan for us so he is forced to step in and intervene. I have no idea. What I do know is that if you'd told me when I was 19 that by the time I turned 24 I'd be living on my own, going through a divorce, (in New Orleans of all places) I think I'd have assumed you were smoking crack and laughed in your face. "Not me," I would have said, with more than a hint of self-righteousness. "I'd never get a divorce. I believe in the sanctity of marriage and divorce is only for quitters. I'm better than that. And New Orleans? Nooooo way."

Gag me. When I think about how naive and just holier-than-thou I was, I want to punch myself in the throat. Ugh.

I think maybe sometimes we have to fall flat on our face in order to get it through our thick heads that we are in fact, all human and that we are all capable of things that we do not admit or realize. We're not nearly so perfect as we'd like to appear.

I do not know why my life's journey had to include this particular stumbling block but I do know that I've learned more from it than you can possibly imagine and I think in the long run, this whole experience will have changed me for the better. At least for me it took experiencing the pain of something as devastating as divorce to teach me that I am no better than anyone else. This whole thing has taught me compassion and empathy--never again will I look down on or judge people for the situations they find themselves in or the choices they make in handling those things. I've learned that no one can truly understand or appreciate pain like this until they've lived it themselves and for me to tell someone that what they have done is wrong, or to judge them for their choices, would mean that I have learned nothing at all.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Think I Met Jesus On the Elevator...

and He was dressed as a large, black woman.

I should back up and tell you that I totally, 100% believe that God speaks to us through other people all the time. Maybe even more than we realize.

Yesterday was not a terribly good day for me. In fact, on a scale of 1 to Awful, it was like a solid 14. Needless to say, by the time I left work I was just barely holding it together. Obviously I wasn't about to break down in the office but I'm not so sure I could have kept it all inside much longer. So I get on the elevator in the parking garage and this large, black lady gets on after me and immediately asks if I'm ok. "I'm fine," I nod, but at this point the unshed tears are darn close to falling so I'd imagine I wasn't terribly convincing.

"Are ya sure, baby?" she asked.

"Mmm-hmmm..." And I was done. I broke down and told her the story and why I was upset (which at this point is irrelevant) and yes, the tears may have started to fall.

And do you know what Jesus did? This woman that I didn't know from Adam wrapped me in a big ole' hug and rode all the way up to the 8th floor with me (past her floor mind you), then followed me out of the elevator to my car and told me that she had been through this very same thing and that it hurt at the time, but that it was the very best thing that ever happened to her and she knew that would be the case for me too. She went on and on, speaking the most wonderful words of love and encouragement that you can possibly imagine--to me; a total stranger. It made my day and maybe it wasn't Jesus talking to me through her...but you won't be able to convince me otherwise.
“Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see Life with a clearer view again.”
--Alex Tan

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

To Balance Out the Anger...

I want to share something with you; this was printed in the bulletin at church on Sunday. I thought it was really beautiful so I cut it out and put it in my wallet so that I will look at it every day. I think the world would be a much better place if more people were able to live this way...

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

I think this is something that, if we could all do these things--hate less and love more, encourage joy instead of sorrow, seek to accept and understand instead of condemn and judge...we would all be better off. I think this goes for everyone no matter what their views may be on politics, religion, or anything else. Whether we believe in a Christian God or a Muslim Allah, or no higher being at all...I think these are things that we'd all be well served to think about.


Well this place is old,
It feels just like a beat up truck;
I turn the engine, but the engine doesn't turn
It smells of cheap wine and cigarettes
This place is always such a mess
Sometimes I think I'd like to watch it burn.

I'm so alone, and I feel just like somebody else
Man, I ain't changed, but I know I ain't the same...

--One Headlight

Do you ever have those days where you wake up and just sort of feel like setting the world on fire? Maybe that's just me? I don't wish for violence or for harm to come to anyone...I just wish for a way to get rid of all the meanness and the ugliness sometimes.

(Sidenote: Today is probably not a good day to mess with me; I'm feeling a bit feisty). Kisses!