The ultimate curse word: happiness

And it’s not even four letters!

Hey there universe, it’s me, Lollie. It’s been a while. A little over four months to be exact. I started this “blog” or what was intended to be an online journal in search of happiness on June 17, 2017, with my post about “Adulting”. In that post, which I hope you read, I described my sense of misery I had been feeling as I was quote-unquote doing all of the right things to succeed in life and how none of those things were bringing me the fulfillment that I needed. I had realized that with maturity comes a responsibility to self-love and create your own path. I took the first step by quitting my big corporate job and moving back to Houston to live with my grandmother and be closer to family and friends. So, if you’re reading this, I might just be repeating that to you, but oftentimes as time passes, perspective changes our views of what was really going on when major life decisions are made, and I am here to say to you, with pride, that I stand by the decisions I made 100% and still believe they were made with the utmost clarity. Best decision I have ever made in my life.

It was incredibly touching to see how many people reached out to me after that post. Friends, Acquaintances I hadn’t talked to in forever. Strangers. It’s unbelievable that so many of us struggle with this, yet it is hard for us to discuss it. But, pushing forward, on to this next post.

I am still living with my grandmother. I am still working a job where I am overqualified and underpaid (I may or may not be done with almost all of my daily tasks by 9:15 in the morning… it’s funny how now I have to literally come up with projects to fill my time when I used to stress about not having enough hours/minutes/seconds in the day for the work piled on me). I do feel like I face judgment from some about the fact that I’m not in a “prestigious” position right now. But here’s the thing, it has almost been six months since I quit my previous job, and, at 27, I am a new person.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not that mushy gushy looks for the fairy tale ending kind of a gal. I’m a straight shooter. I stand up for myself if I feel wronged. I love logical thinking. I like to avoid conflict, but can’t ignore it. The kind of girl who probably would secretly feel incredibly special if a grand romantic gesture was made, but also be a bit embarrassed and instead of knowing what to say, would make a bad joke. While this is all a bit of a digression, my point is this: I have always had a very hard time believing that things will just magically fall into place and with a positive attitude, anything can happen. I believe that hard work and determination can help make things happen, but a little bit of luck is needed and sometimes you can be just shit out of luck. Traditionally, when good things happen I am terrified. I wonder, alright, when’s the shitstorm coming to hit the fan?

[Edit: I kid you not, this next sentence took me six minutes of staring at the computer before I could type it.] This aside, I am incredibly happy. I want to add in “right now”, as in “I am incredibly happy right now”, but I am not letting myself do this. While this may not seem like a big deal to you, dear reader, it is for me.

You see, admitting happiness has always been an incredible struggle for me. Writing this, I’m thinking of my life in terms of “before” and “after”. The event being this huge life change (or what some cynics might call my derailment from corporate America). Before, I could not remember a time where I would call myself happy. Even in middle school, I couldn’t understand why those around me were so light hearted and I was not. In high school, I would consider myself lucky if I had a single night of fun. That night would be what I would remember and think of for weeks as I felt a general dread for life. If happiness were to be put on a graph, let’s just say if most people’s baseline was right at the x and y axis, mine was somewhere in the fourth quadrant. It also didn’t help that I’m a hyper self-aware person and would just further my own frustration by knowing that I was unhappy and seemingly not being able to do anything about it.

I had a difficult upbringing. Those close to me, and probably my own parents, would probably beg to differ. But, we’re the only ones who know the entire story, right? Without going into details, let’s just say I have had more than one therapist say that they are shocked by my demeanor that certain events and circumstances surrounding my life have happened and that I have come out “okay” on the other side. That was before. Before, I let these circumstances of my upbringing follow me into my adulthood and create this looming belief that my past dictated my future. So, when I had moments of happiness, I knew they must be fleeting, because history taught me that that was the case. Why do we do this to ourselves? I literally feared thinking I was happy because I knew that what comes up, must come down.

Now, I’m going to pause for a second. If for some god forsaken reason an actual medical or mental health professional is reading this, I do know that my description of my thoughts sounds like some classic depression or other mental issue. I agree. It does sound like it. It partially was. But having spent countless hours in therapy, I assure you, that part of my life has been under control for years. In fact, it was once that imbalance was, let’s say, “balanced”, is when I was the most frightened about my mental state. Therapists assured me that I wasn’t simply a product of mental illness. That I had issues that were clearly following me into adulthood and effecting everyday life. Obviously, true. For some people, knowing this is the hard part. For me, it was acting on it. For a while, I thought that if I continued to go to therapy (something I am a huge advocate of), things would eventually, maybe get better. Better, but not great. I didn’t realize the onus was on me. Issues aside, I have had many blessings. My issues are emotional at this point – I have grown up more than privileged fiscally and was never an “at risk” youth. My upbringing set me up to have a great life if I did it right, and at least academically and socially – “doing it right” was, of course, so much easier than so many others.  But just because my shoes were always shiny and my tummy always full, does not mean it wasn’t a struggle. I can only imagine what it is like for those who have those other hurdles on top of what I have gone through.

Okay, back to it. Here’s the thing, it’s on us. The individuals. Things happen to us. For so long, I focused on things happening to me. In the past, present, what I assumed would happen in the future. But, what about things that I could make happen? How did that not cross my mind? Well, you can see when I had this epiphany in my original post. I actively made a change and a deliberate decision to be happy. So, for the first time, I am not only admitting, but PUBLISHING that I am happy. I will detail more in the days to come how this has happened, but with the progress I have made, even though I’m scared, I know that I can say I am happy and I do not think that this means the world will come crashing down around me. I am not cursing myself by declaring happiness, I am praising myself. It is a huge achievement. I made it happen. It did not just happen to me. Because of that, I can continue to make it happen and I can handle the road bumps that come along the way.

This has been a long post, so if you have gotten to this point, I commend you. If you skipped to the end, here’s the gist: for years I have been scared to embrace happiness and consequently, could not remember a time where I was actually happy. I am now. I’m scared, but prepared. My sister-in-law just told me the best thing anyone could have said to me last night – we haven’t seen each other in about 9 months and she just looked at me and said, “You’re lighter. It’s a beautiful thing.” So, from a girl who hates clichés, let me just say, drop the negativity. Drop the presumptions. Drop your expectations and expectations you think you need to live up to. Embrace your self-love.

Be light. Be happy.

Love always,

Lollie

P.s. sorry for the rambling

Entitlement

Dogs on your pillow. The definition of entitlement.

Alright let’s start with the elephant in the room – yes, I am on the older side of the millennial spectrum so apparently by the very definition of my existence I am entitled. Phew, glad that’s done. 
Ok, back to the real problem. My freakin dog loooooves pillows. I’m not talking will put his head on a pillow if it’s there or sneaking a cuddly comforting pillow grab in every now and then…. no, my 21 pound dog and I have full blown wars over my feather down pillows. 
Those who know me know me not as a single 27 year-old, but a single 27 year-old with her beloved dog Duke. Need quirky evidence? Check out @schnauzergonnaschnauze and while you’re there, please follow (I’m having the hardest time breaking 7,000!). 
Let’s go back to the beginning- Duke, my love, was originally my brother’s dog, and, for good reason, became mine when he was about one. My brother did an unbelievable job training him. I mean, this dog was one years old, only had accidents when he was sick and has become the best loyal companion a gal can ask for. 
Writing this makes me remember all of the duke related posts that I definitely need to follow up with, including when he was the pope dog when the pope came to philadelphia…. remind me if I forget. He’s a universal super star.
So back to the main point – this dog is perfect. Freaking perfect. EXCEPT HE STEALS MY PILLOWS. I push him off, he gets back on. I bought him a pillow from target… it apparently wasn’t good enough. His favorite? Sitting on the top of the couch pillows and absolutely ruining them. I finally cracked down on it and he at least pretended that he wasn’t doing it… problem was whenever I came home there was always a schnauzer sized dent in the pillow. Clever Duke, but not clever enough. 
So, now that I’m staying with my grandmother, she has really started commenting on his pillow habits and I’ve learned I’m an awful dog mother to let him be so entitled. Am I a terrible mother for ignoring his bad habits because it’s easier?
This makes me wonder, is this a fucking nature vs nurture situation? Was he born this way or have I turned my dog into #millennialdog? Whatever, this blog post is the result of me not wanting to chat with my uber driver today because I stayed out too late spending too much money and am headed to a bougie beer garden that I’ll probably snap about. I mean, I know it’s not about me, but I feel like I deserve to come home after the Texans game and not have a dog on MY pillow. 

Lord it’s so hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.

Gotta love some Willie Nelson right? I used to love this lyric every time I heard it. In fact, I’m sure if it was written out in some sort of caligraphy-o-rized script on @bitches instagram or some shit like that a few years back (if that was a thing a few years back) I probably would have thrown it a like or at least an internal smirk. Funny thing is, I just re-read that lyric literally as I’m typing this and instead of an internal smirk in an “oh so true” kind of a way, I read it in a jealous, dear lord I wish I believed that to be true way.
Insecurity is a really funny thing. In my mind, it is almost a curse word… but I think that may be part of the problem. The funniest part about using the term itself is actually that those that use the term frequently to describe others, are often using it from a sort of insecure place, or really as a way to insult someone without allowing themselves to believe that they are actually insulting the person. Allow me to elaborate with the following examples.
Example 1:
Girl A at party looks Girl B up and down. Girl B is flirting with likable guy.. like a lot. Girl A to Girl C: “Wow Girl B is such a slut.” Girl C to Girl A: “Well you know, she’s just insecure. You’re so much prettier. Don’t worry about her.”
Insecure = replacement for admission of jealousy or using meaner words to say how you really feel. 
 
Example 2:
Girl A tells beautifully skinny Girl B she should eat a hamburger. Girl C tells Girl B to not worry about it, Girl A is just insecure.
Insecure = replacement for meaner words of how she really wants to describe the woman/ excuse for behavior.
Okay, here’s my example. And most of you who know me know that I don’t typically bash on certain ex-boyfriend who I lived with and this HONESTLY is not meant to do so. But I am writing this to admit to you that I am insecure. I AM insecure. I WAS not.
While I was dating said ex-boyfriend we lived together. At the young age of 23, I was quite busy in my first year of law school and to be frank, just really didn’t have a jealous or suspicious bone in me. I don’t know if that was because I had a big head and didn’t think a guy would ever want to cheat on me or if I really just wanted to see the best in people. Either way, as said ex-boyfriend and I lived together, I would frequently use his phone to play games, etc. In about the last six months of our relationship, said ex-boyfriend would consistently tell me that I was paranoid if I asked him while he was taking his phone away from me. If I asked an innocent question about where he went while I was out of town, he would call me insecure. If I made a joke that he checked out a girl (I was probably checking her out in awe at the same time) he would tell me I was insecure and had trust issues because of my relationship with my father. The list goes on and on. Long story short, I think you can see how in these last six months of our relationship, where in fact he was having relations with at least 6 other women, he had somehow convinced me that I was insecure, even though I had never accused him of anything…. he ultimately admitted it after the first time I flat out asked him if there was something I should know.
Insecure = excuse for behavior/manner of making someone else question their own logical acts
 
So, I realize how roundabout this whole post is, but this is the funny thing. I was not insecure then. How do I know that? Because I truly, honestly I  am now. How did this happen? Did it happen when I found out about the first girl? the second girl? The fourth and fifth? Did it happen when I had to admit to people what had happened and people consistently asked how I found out? Instead, did it happen in the three years that followed as law school beat me to a pulp, I never really figured out dating and then fell into a job that convinced me I was less than nothing?
Several thousand dollars of therapy later and I honestly can’t answer that. I can say one thing. I was not insecure then. Sure I had my moments, but in many many ways I was a very confident young woman. But I also hadn’t experienced a lot of the life challenges that I have now. Call me an asshole for saying this but I hadn’t had troubles getting guys to like me. I really didn’t have a hard time with school. Aside from 20 pounds I’d like to forget my freshman year of college, staying in shape came pretty easy. Does my life suck? Absolutely not. Those 20 pounds went away and I still have a wonderful education and ultimately, am blessed for my work experience.
I find it pretty funny when people ask me if I’m “over” my ex-boyfriend. First of all, the ones who normally ask are people who have no business asking such a personal question and if I said no, would likely not be willing to help in any real meaningful way (aside from one unbelievable former educator, who had a lovely conversation about this with me the other day). Second of all, what does that even mean? Look, if my ex-boyfriend asked me to date him in any capacity again I would literally put water in my mouth just to have water in my mouth and spit it out when he asked because I was laughing so hard. Yes, in that sense I am over him.
SO HERE IS THE THING PEOPLE DON’T TALK ABOUT. When you are cheated on, you get over the person, but it is really really really hard to get over the situation. I’m talking REALLY hard and I am a damn strong woman. One day you are living your life with one reality and in a split second, everything you believed to be true no longer is. One day, you think you are the apple of someone’s eye and later that day you are that person’s worst fear. You are the person that they are scared will find out the truth. They are who you think is the closest to you in the world and instead you are the one person in the world they don’t want to let in. This is what I know about being cheated on. I also know, that in some twisted, fucked up way, when you are cheated on, at least for me, when the scorned ex drifts into your past and all you are left with is yourself, it is not them that you are left with being angry at, it is yourself. He’s no longer around. I can no longer walk in the other room and ask him if there was a seventh girl… and even if I could ahhahahahha dear lord I would not. But I am still here. I still live with myself. I am here questioning myself, my ability to read people, my ability to trust others, my self-worth and my reality. That’s the truth.
So here’s the time where I contradict myself and, spoiler alert, there’s no beautiful ending to this long-winded post that will bring it all together. A few weeks back I was hanging out with friends in Philadelphia when I made what seemed to me like a normal comment and my friend who I have not known for that long, very kindly said to me that “we need to work on your confidence. I feel like you think you’re not worthy and it’s just not true. I was the same in my 20s, but you deserve to know now that you’re not less than anyone.” He said it from such a place of warmth and love that I actually had to excuse myself to the restroom and actually cried a happy tear. I agreed with him, but to hear it from someone else was such a symbol of pure kindness, and I’m not quite sure why it was hard for me to believe that someone had that much kindness inside of them.
So, I had that conversation. I had the conversation with my former educator who says that he’s known I’ve been insecure since I was a child (probably true but in different ways) and that we need to figure out how to deal with it. Until a few days ago, while these words had been hard to hear, I knew they were true and honestly felt like yes, something I obviously need to work on, but in the end it was only myself that I was hurting.
Wrong. The other night, a close friend wanted to set me up with a friend of hers and invited me to a house-warming party at her place where said set-up would be. He was nice as can be… tall.. good looking… I mean, dream set up. It was a party, so of course it was a casual set up and it was not like I was his date or anything like that. During the party, he was nothing but kind to me and I realized at some point (through the haze of some pineapple vodka drink that has me on a temporary alcohol ban at the moment) that he was talking with another woman a lot. Call it flirting, call it whatever you want. It really doesn’t matter. He was/is single, it was a party and he had every right to. Well, in that moment I pulled him aside and COMPLETELY out of jealousy and nothing else, I said something really awful about the woman he was talking to. I don’t even want to repeat it because I’m ashamed. He appropriately thought my comment was disgusting and very nicely told me that (I believe something later like “that was  a strange comment” .. I deserved a much harsher criticism). Later that night I half-ass told my friend who was doing the setting up that I messed it up and she told me that she heard what I said and that she knows that’s not me, but I need to stop being insecure. So fuck me, what I said before was wrong. She was right and she was a good friend. I am insecure and I let it get the best of me. If I could have just trusted that whatever happens happens, that I’m worthy of being loved and if it is with this guy or some other man who comes along so be it, then I could’ve saved myself, my friend and the guy some embarrassment.
So if you’ve made it to this point then you’ve made it past whatever I’m going to reread for typos and you’re a fucking champion. I guess the reason I’ve written all of this is because over the last 24 hours I’ve been thinking about this insecurity and how it really has gotten the best of me. About a month ago, right before my first blog post, I also made a promise to myself to hold myself accountable for my actions. My flaws make me beautiful but negativity does not. So, I’m really dedicating myself to addressing this issue. Part of this is practicing self love. Focusing on my strengths and what makes me a good person. Knowing who my true friends are and also knowing how wonderful these people are and they would not be friends with me if there wasn’t something positive about me.
Ultimately, I stand by my statement at the very beginning of all of this that being labeled insecure can be an insult and most of the time, when we call others insecure, it is meant as an insult. If you are not saying it from a loving place, don’t label someone as insecure. It’s a real thing and it does hurt. On the opposite site of the spectrum, if you do realize a friend is insecure, tell them. Let them know you love them and they have no reason to be. NO ONE has a reason to be. We are who we are. If we aren’t where we want to be, let’s help each other get there. In the meantime, I’m going to work on being my own biggest fan.
So I’m sorry Willie, I am humble and I’m not perfect in every way, but I think I can try to find some sort of compromise where I learn to love myself in every way.
Would love to hear your experiences/thoughts/suggestions in the comments below. xoxo

Bacon with a side of bacon… 😯

“Have you had the burger here? It’s awesome!”
“No, I haven’t actually.”
“You gotta get it.”
“Oh thanks, no, I actually don’t eat red meat or pork.”
“Oh right, Jewish, I forgot.”
That’s funny, I think, never said I was Jewish…. also would love to learn when not eating red meat is a part of keeping kosher. Fact is, there’s no actual reasoning behind while I don’t eat red meat or pork, just the way I grew up. For some reason, I proclaimed at four years old that enough was enough! I would no longer be eating red meat! Why? Erm…not so sure. I’m pretty sure at the time the other women in my family didn’t eat red meat, or at least not often and I, being quite the little lady decided the same. And at 12, I decided I wouldn’t eat pork either. But I’m pretty sure that was just because I thought pigs were simultaneously adorable and filthy and therefore, I could stick to the poultry and seafood.
So, yeah, not exactly logically thought out reasoning there but also, for once and for all, you can rest assured, it is not because I am Jewish that I don’t eat beef.
So, phew, now that I explained my agnostic dietary restrictions, I can reveal to you something that only few know (and those who know it find it hysterical, I know). I have been hiding this for about a year now and I’ve felt so ashamed. I’ve tried to hide it, but it’s to the point where I need to tell the world or I’ll forever live in disgrace…. OK *spoiler alert ahead*
I. LOVE. BACON.
I know, who doesn’t right? Me, Me! For 15 years, I was so staunch in my eating habits, never failing… even dramatically spitting food out when I realized it was spoiled with red meat or pork filth. So, how did this happen you ask? It’s a slippery slope my friends. I tell you, only to beg for your understanding in my hypocrisy.
1. You start off strong. Like determined 12 year-old girl strong. You declare you don’t eat pork anymore and yes, that includes bacon.

2. You realize that everything on every menu everywhere has bacon on it or in it, you find the few items that don’t and you order those.

3. You get sick of being limited to a few items. You order other items, sans bacon. This goes well for the most part, but a lot of times someone gets it wrong and the meal arrives with bacon. You send it back.

4. You get sick of sending every meal back. You swallow your pride, attempt to push the bacon to the side and eat your meal.

5. Little bits of bacon you pushed to the side creep into your bites over the years. You like it. You say nothing.

6. The pushing to the side turns into “picking around” the bacon. You hope no one notices as you steadily do a worse and worse job.

7. You eat the bacon that came on the food you ordered.

8. You order bacon.
My name is Laura and I love bacon. I still don’t eat red meat or pork… only bacon.

#Adulting

Resume vs. Reality

I am 27, Ivy League educated, completely self sufficient, a lawyer at a large corporate law firm in Boston and compared to many, I have been known for the large part to “have my shit together.” This was 3 weeks ago.

Oh, I left one thing out: completely miserable.

Many would tell me to never admit that for several reasons – don’t show weakness, no one wants to be around someone who is miserable,  no one wants to hire someone who seems unhappy, it’s not a “good look”….. the list goes on and on.

But here’s the thing, do you know how empowering it is to admit that you’re unhappy? What once felt shameful to say out loud now feels energizing. However counterintuitive this may seem, once you admit you are unhappy, you can begin to try to figure out why it is you are not or even, what can help you chip away at that unhappiness. I’m not talking a pros and cons list here, no. I’m talking what your every day life looks like and what parts bring dread, and what, if any, bring joy.

For me, what I found may not be surprising to those on the outside, but was a personally starting revelation. I asked myself how I ended up unhappy and found that I could not trace it from any point where I can say I was truly happy. For as long as recent memory could recall, I felt like happiness would come once I finally graduated Penn Law, started my “dream” job as an attorney and with this, truly could live my life as an independent adult. But graduation came and went, months of #adulting came and went and the lawyering did not bring the so-called happiness I expected. In fact, it did the opposite. You see, by placing these intense expectations of happiness on one step, I also set myself up to fail and when failure is in the form of personal well being and mental health, that fall is crushing. By failing to live in the moment and instead constantly thinking of how things will be different in the future, I was bound to fall and fall I did.

Every day was a struggle – it simultaneously felt like every 24 hours lasted 24 years and like my life was passing me by. I woke up in tears and couldn’t explain it. Why did everything feel so hard! I really can’t explain it. The only thing I know is the most adult thing I’ve done in my life was sit back, admit I was unhappy and make an immediate and deliberate change. So, three weeks ago, I quit my “great” job in Boston and moved back home to Houston, Texas in search of my happy self. No, I’m not making the salary I was making there and yes, I’m living with my grandma who’s in her nineties. Some would say I’m currently doing the opposite of #adulting, but I really couldn’t care less. It is a beautiful thing to wake up every day and deliberately tailor your day in search of happiness and your true self. If this is failing, I’m alright with that. Because I have to tell you, taking the pressure to “succeed” off of myself feels pretty damn good.

That’s all for now, hopefully more stories of joy to come. Xoxo