Holler Out to the Masses

It has been almost two months since I updated my blog. No excuses. It is what it is (I detest that statement with a vengeance, by the way).

First of all, no one should let 16 year olds drive. They are like little babies. And they don’t have full prefrontal cortex development at all. And sometimes they say things like, “Well, I thought it was a trashcan, so I just kept backing up.” As if backing into a trash can is okay (But seriously, I’d take it over backing into a car which is what the supposed-trashcan actually was). The kid is a safe driver, just don’t let him drive backwards. He’s the opposite of Mater (that’s a reference to Cars, which is ironic because when he was a baby we watched that movie approximately 7 million times, so you think backwards driving would be where it’s at).

I’m losing weight and taking names. And running. And walking. And also I still feel tired. I mean, I went to Target with the kids, ate out on the patio, and did a quick tour of the Polk cabins, and I felt like I had been run over by a truck. I’m guessing this is what happens when you have been sitting home for a year and decide to venture back into the real world. As an aside, do you remember when we all said, ‘When I’m in the real world, things will be xyz.” I actually told my son something the other day and said, “When you’re in the real world,” as if the world he’s living in is not real.

The world he’s living in is TOO real. Our kids have so much stress. They are resilient beyond measure. He keeps telling me I don’t understand, and I don’t. I didn’t have the kind of pressure he has in his life. Shout out to the kids, yo!

That was a giant aside, so back to the losing weight and taking names. I decided a few months back that being a sloth was the pits. I basically only left the couch to pee. I would walk with friends, but most days I spent in bed, on the computer working, or generally not doing much. So I got to moving again. I started running and not worrying about my pace, just moving my body. I’m running about 4 times a week now. I run 3-5 miles depending on the day. I have a running buddy some days, and I go by myself some days. I sometimes sing to myself out-loud while running, so people smile and laugh at me. Good times. I really love this time of year when it’s cool in the morning, and spring is coming, and it’s warmer in the afternoon. I love exploring the neighborhoods near me by foot. I forgot how much running meant to me and how good it was for my mental health. When I start doing it, I start feeling happier. I’m a better parent, better wife, and generally a better and happier person. And I don’t even go fast. I probably do what most people consider jogging, but whatevs. I do it for me.

I wanted to write more, and I had this great idea to write about a world in which soulmates are determined through a program. And then guess what? In my many hours of binging Netflix and other streaming services (of which I pay for too many), I saw this show called One which is about exactly that. I am hoping one day soon to get back to novel-writing or at least short story writing or some form of writing. I love the way I feel when I write, just like when I run, so why do I fight it so much?

Anyway, we are getting ready to see family soon, which is so exciting because it has been so long. It’s amazing the perspective a 1 year pandemic puts into your life. It makes you look at your priorities, and change them. I feel this year has made me grow as a person. Probably COVID-19 coupled with the fact I’m now 40+. It’s true what people say about being over 40–you start not giving a shit about what other people think. You really come into your own. I am so much better at establishing boundaries than I was even two years ago, and at knowing what I want, and generally being satisfied with life. It’s crazy that it takes human beings almost half of their life to feel this way (or at least this human being). This has been some lifelong work.

Also, here is a picture of my dog Jazz. She’s awesome, and honestly once the hubs and I aren’t working from home anymore I’m not sure if she’ll be okay (she has a brother, Skippy, who is equally as awesome but doesn’t really like his photo taken).

My dog is cute.

Signing off.

Lauren

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Things I think while running

I started running again. Or attempting to run. I’m really walk/running at this point. But it’s an effort, and honestly I had not been making much of an effort before mid-December. I went to the doctor, and I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. It’s familial, and honestly it’s not even that high yet, but high enough for me to decide to get my butt in shape.

I’ve been running with a friend, who coincidentally moved to Charlotte from Montgomery a few years before me and lives in the neighborhood across the street from me. Life is random sometimes.

So what do I think while I’m running. Here’s a list:

  • The Very Beginning: This feels great! My body is strong!
  • About 5 Seconds Later: Well, now I feel like I’m running on my left leg wrong.
  • Telling myself to Settle and think: Why can’t I run on my toes?
  • Hyper-focusing on breathing, which makes me feel like I can’t breathe: Am I chest breathing? I need to belly breathe.
  • Questioning if my body is falling apart now that I’m over 40: What’s up with my left leg?
  • Almost to a mile and thinking about correct form and breathing techniques: Am I alternating each breath with each footstep?
  • One Mile In: Wow–done with mile 1 already. I’ll stop and walk for a few minutes
  • Start running 2nd mile: Why is this so hard? Have I been running forever? Everything hurts. I have 1,000 miles more to go to get to the 3rd mile.
  • Sail down a hill — Wow — I’m an awesome runner. I can go so fast. I’m a Gazelle! Look at me!
  • Struggle to run uphill — Why am I even doing this? Running is hard! I hate this. Hills are terrible. Who even made hills?
  • Hit the 3rd mile — yes! Almost done.
  • Run/walk/run/walk — why can’t I just run the whole time?
  • Finish 3rd Mile: 3 miles is so easy. I bet I could do 6!

Deep thoughts during a run. I try to get myself to settle, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Breathing has always been my problem. I guess this is because I have asthma, and therefore not being able to breathe can sometimes be a big deal for me.

I love the feeling after a run. It’s like I have just conquered so much, and it makes it all worth it. Sometimes on runs I come up with ideas for writing too. I need that right now, since I have had a writer’s block and really have not been producing much work. I had an idea during a run the other day, and I think I will start working on it. Not sure if it will be a short story or a novel, but here’s hoping I can get some words on paper.

Today, after my run, I saw this beautiful sight when I rounded the corner. The clouds pulling away and the moon shining bright like a beacon. A reminder that there is always something beautiful after the storm.

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2020 Blew Chunks

2020 blew big ass chunks. And it’s over. And today is the official first day of 2021. Despite the fact that we all now have PTSD from COVID-19, political and racial tension, and staying home with our kids for almost a full year, and helping to virtual school, some good things came out of this year for me and my family. I also learned a bunch of things about myself, which I guess is stellar considering I’ve had 40+ years to figure these things out. Who knew we needed a global pandemic to gain some perspective? Here’s the Top 10 of 2020.

  1. We moved. We love our new city. Charlotte is fucking ah-mazing! And it will be even better once we can see more of it. We love our neighborhood. We love our friends. I have never felt more welcome moving anywhere in my life. I don’t know if it was the circumstances of the pandemic, but we made friends easily, and we are so thankful that they were able to be stand-in family as we moved away from those we loved.
  2. I figured out that I am a pretty good cook. I can follow a recipe with the best of them. Things my kids liked: chicken stir fry, broccoli chicken casserole, the rice in pork chop casserole (although there was way too much of it for us to eat). Things my kids did not like: almost everything else I made.
  3. I can bake with the best of them. Mostly cookies. Because cookies are the best fucking dessert, and if you don’t think so you can fight me. Chocolate chip, Gingerbread, Sugar. Bring it on.
  4. I am still really lousy at keeping a clean house. And it is really hard to do when four other people are living at home all the time. Well, really three other people, because the oldest child basically lives with another family at this point. Random Side Thought: Trying to make a teenager understand that pandemics can spread is so hard. They think they are invincible, and they are so into their friends at this age. Being with family all the time, not for them. I do love seeing the person he is becoming, and I don’t agree with the general sentiment that teenagers suck. I think they’re dealing with a lot, just like us, and need to be given the benefit of the doubt. Just as long as they keep wearing their masks.
  5. When gifted a lot of time in my life, what did I do with it? Write? Read? No, I binge watched Netflix and almost every other streaming service in the world (and there are a shit ton of them–I mean really, how many do we actually need?). Normal People, y’all. So good. NSFW and NSFK (Kids, is that even an acronym?) Why do we talk in acronyms now. The Queen’s Gambit. All 12 seasons of the Big Bang Series. The Middle with my middle child. Sex and the City. I finally watched both Deadpools. Slightly disturbing and bloody, but so funny. And Ryan Reynolds–man, I need you in my life (sorry R!). Really, now you know why I’m lousy at cleaning.
  6. I really like my husband. Like really like him. I mean, yes, there have been some ups and downs over the last few months. We moved for his job, and basically he is still working from home. So cray-cray. And we share a home office. And he walks and talks on the phone, and he often does that right behind me while.I’m.trying.to.work. And sometimes he eats lunch at his desk, and let me tell you, he chews so loud. (I’m sure I do too, but I can’t hear me). But he’s nice and funny. And he makes me laugh. And he’s not-as-lousy at cleaning. And he cooks. And he’s a pretty good dad. And he tries. And he understands that I need alone time, and that sometimes I’m depressed and want to lie in bed all day or take a bath with candles and be left alone. He puts up with a lot of my shit. But really, he is my best friend. And it possibly took a global pandemic for me to figure this out. For those of you who know me and my husband, you know we have had a lot of ups and downs over the year. But we all good. There’s no one I’d rather spend a pandemic with, R.
  7. My sister and I bonded over Animal Crossing. We play a lot. It’s fun, and our characters have the best clothes. We talk on the phone and play. So much fun. We did a lot of playing over the summer, and then she had to teach, and I didn’t realize how much I’d miss our daily chats and play. But I did miss them.
  8. My family is the best. We Zoom once a week. I miss my mom and dad a lot. We went from living 5 miles away from them to about 400 miles. That sucks balls.
  9. My dogs get me. They are my emotional comfort animals for sure. Jazz got throw up sick and I thought she was going to die. She didn’t–thank God. But it made me realize how much comfort they gave me. Also, my dog looks really freaking cute in pajamas. I may have bought more dog clothes this year than I bought human clothes.
  10. The biggest thing I learned was to not take friends and family for granted. Before March 13, 2020, we were all going in different directions. R working, me working, kids at school, activities. Life felt so stressful. I felt pulled in a million different directions all the time. Overwhelmed, strung out. We took a big pause. Everything changed drastically and suddenly. That part sucked so much. But in the end, I realized how much these people in my life mean to me. And we were able to slow down and really reconnect. Will we have that chance again once this is over? Who knows. I love my friends and family so much.
Jazz in PJs — the best of 2020!

Lastly, as we move into 2021, COVID has not mysteriously disappeared. It is getting worse all over the U.S. Hospitals and ICUs are overwhelmed. The vaccinations are taking longer to distribute than was originally anticipated. Even once we’re vaccinated, we need to stay vigilant. My family has been so lucky in that we have not lost anyone to the pandemic. We have been careful. And there is hope. But many of us are experiencing pandemic fatigue. We want life to go back to normal, and we think if we just pretend there isn’t a pandemic it will go away. Well, this is not true. That’s why so many people are getting COVID right now and why so many people are needlessly dying. All those people who traveled for Thanksgiving thought, it will never happen to me. Well that type of thinking can almost guarantee it will happen to you! We as humans have this tendency to think we can escape travesty. We have this ability to look at statistics and think they only apply to other people. Perhaps this is a survival mechanism, a gift curse to us from our cavemen days. Pretending something won’t happen never means that it won’t happen. It just means you’ve closed your eyes to the possibility of it happening, so when it inevitably happens you act blindsided. So act as responsible as you can. We are all so tired. We all want this virus to end. But what we need to want more than all of that is for our loved ones to be safe and healthy. And we can only do that by continuing to social distance, to mask up, and to make the right decisions every day for ourselves and those we care about.

So be careful, stay safe, have hope, and GET VACCINATED in 2021 as soon as it’s available to you.

Now I’m going to try to write a book again. Take that 2020–on to the next year, the next goal, the next step.

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Christmas Vacation

It’s almost time for Christmas vacation. And we’re not going anywhere. We are being particularly careful as COVID-19 is getting worse all around the United States. I am in a mad dash to have my kids get caught up in their classes. As I’ve written before, I feel like virtual school does not work for my children. My middle and high-schooler are struggling so much. I’m sort of at the point of throwing it in the bag and just hoping they pass.

I’m wondering, realistically, how prepared my kids are going to be for their classes following these. I mean, I look at the work they’re supposed to have done, and it seems as if they are picking and choosing what to do. I will say Canvas is probably the hardest thing in the world to grasp. I mean, it does list a To-DO section, but that’s only recent To-Dos, and sometimes old To-Dos just disappear even if they haven’t been TO-DONE! It makes a mom super frustrated.

I feel the worst for my 10th grader. He doesn’t have much time left to make up what’s going on. I will say though you can tell what’s important. We received a message from the school saying GPA requirements will be thrown out this year for sports. Oh Hallelujah! Right, Sports the KING of the USA. No one should even be playing sports right now. I mean how ridiculous is that? Maybe we should throw out GPA requirements and testing standards for EVERY.SINGLE.FUCKING.OTHER.THING! Because how can you tell a kid he has to take an End of Course exam when he’s been virtual all year and sitting mindlessly in front of a computer instead of a real live teacher? It just doesn’t make sense.

It’s one of a lot of things that don’t make sense. I feel like, in this country which I love, we keep doing the same things expecting the same results (definition of insanity). Well our lives have changed DRASTICALLY! And yet we expect our most vulnerable human beings, our children, to do well and go on living like nothing has changed. Well everything has changed for them too. In years to come, this will be studied, and our future selves will be asking, “WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK HAPPENED and why wasn’t anything done about it?”

And can we talk about the COVID-19 vaccine for a hot minute? People are worried about taking it. WORRIED about taking a vaccine that could potentially save their life, their neighbor’s life, their kid’s life. WHAT? I get how people could be skeptical. But I am really doubting when the polio vaccine came around that some Karens sat around and said, “Oh, should I get Billy a vaccine or risk him spending his entire life in an iron lung?” Come on, people. Listen to the scientists instead of social media!

I promise I was going to write about Christmas Vacation. Mainly, because I wish it could last three or four months and that my kids wouldn’t ever have to go back to virtual school. In the mornings, before I go for a run or walk, I sit in front of the Christmas tree and I ponder things (when I’m not binge watching television). For one, I ponder why it took me eight months of being in my home to decide to get healthy and to get in shape? For two, I ponder how people who have grown up in the same culture, with give-or-take the same ideals can think so differently about things like science and practical thought, and three I ponder whether my kids are going to come out of this okay? I hope they do. I will say we have had a lot of togetherness. Possibly too much togetherness. And I hope they look back on this and don’t think about the time I made them get caught up on 7 billion assignments on a Sunday. I hope they think about the time we made cookies, and went exploring in the woods, and sat by the fireplace and cuddled, and talked about our feelings, and commiserated about COVID-19, you know, the good times. And I hope this Christmas, though it will be different for them, will bring them joy, love, and happiness, and give them a little bit of a break from the stress in their lives. I hope that for them.

I hope 50% of people in the US will take the COVID-19 vaccine, and eventually we can get back to a more normal way of life. And I hope in the future, people will listen to the experts and stop thinking about their own selfish needs and put other people before them for once. These are my hopes for this Christmas.

Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men (and all genders).

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A Different Thanksgiving

We are having a different type of Thanksgiving this year. With the move and with COVID-19 soaring in different areas, we as a family unit, decided not to travel to see my parents. I mean, I’m okay with this because I know it’s the right thing to do. But it doesn’t make it any easier.

Today, I am thinking about everything I have to make. We only have one oven. In years past, we would make our casseroles, bake them in our ovens, and take them to Mom’s house to cook. It also helps that my Mom has a double oven. This year, how are we going to cook the turkey and the casserole? Darling Daughter said to just throw the turkey on the grill. As if it were that simple.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I mean it revolves around eating food. And we all know I LOVE food. But it also to me means getting together with family and celebrating thankfulness and togetherness.

As I make several of our family recipes, I will be thinking about Thanksgivings in the past where we were all together. I will think how staying away for this Thanksgiving might guarantee another Thanksgiving with my family. The best thing in the world is for us to stay safe and healthy so we can come together again in the future.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Making Changes

Did you know there are people who have lost weight and gotten fit since Covid-19 started? I hate those people. Just kidding–sorta. I really do hate those people sometimes.

My whole life I have struggled with weight. I have never been a small person. In high school, I played tennis and had an athletic build. Of course, most of the time I looked bigger than I really was because of the clothes. I still can’t believe some of the things we wore in the 1990s.

My mantra this week is to do 5 things a day on my list. Since coming home in March, I’ve had a hard time with motivation. Blame this on my ADHD or something, but I find it hard to get off the bed, or stop binging Netflix. I have consistently walked with my neighbors. I’ve also consistently made excuses for why I packed on 15 pounds. I can tell you why I gained weight: I ate and drank too much and I didn’t move enough.

In that past, about 9 years ago, after my daughter was born I lost about 60 pounds. I did this by eating less and moving more. I know I can do that again. I am back to the same weight I weighed 9 years ago when I decided to lose that weight. It’s funny, because I consistently told myself I would never be that weight again, but here I am.

I know weight doesn’t make a person, but the truth is I feel better about myself when I weigh a certain amount. I can breathe better (I have asthma). I can keep up with the kids more. I’m happier with my body and my self image. Those are important things toward my overall happiness.

I’m sick of doing nothing, so instead I’ll do something.

Today my 5 goals:

  1. Ride my bike
  2. Clean the kids’ bathroom
  3. Write/Blog
  4. Spend Time Away from my phone and with My Husband
  5. Log my Food All Day

I think it’s important to recognize when changes are warranted and to start making them. As a person, we all grow and change as we move through life. I spent a lot of time at home once COVID-19 changed all of our lives. I am a homebody, and this is where I felt most comfortable. Unfortunately, it meant my life became more sedentary without me even realizing it. So I’m going to change for me!

Here’s to living life with purpose.

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Everything…and Nothing Sometimes

My attempts to blog more frequently have been thwarted by my attempts to do everything…and nothing sometimes. Virtual school takes up a lot of time. Not like I’m going to school, but I have to do a lot of follow-up with my kids to make sure they’re turning things in. I’m still not sure they’re actually turning things in all the time.

COVID-19 is so strange. I have been home more in the last 6 months then I probably have been home in my adult life. When I go to the CVS to pick up something, it feels like a REAL outing! Also, my husband and I are together ALL the time. I told my sister I think I have seen him more these last six months then the first 16 years of our marriage. I used to actually go to work. Now I just go downstairs to work.

Some days I do everything and some days I do nothing. Productivity during the time of COVID is hard. It’s like there’s a little voice whispering to me on certain days that streaming 9 hours of television and drinking too much is okay. And then I have what I like to call guilty days where I decide I will turn over a new leaf. On these days, I go for a run, log my food, get all my work done, read, and spend quality time with my kids. I need more guilty days in my life.

I have over the last few months been wondering if I am suffering from depression again. I went through a bleak period a few years ago where I had some familial issues. Those were dark times. I worry on days when I am feeling particularly low, but then I think of all the extenuating factors. First, the whole world stopped in March of 2020. And the U.S. couldn’t get its head out of its ass long enough to put policies in place to stop the spread or at least slow the spread of COVID. Then there became a lot of social unrest (granted–it’s about time). And don’t even get me started on politics. And then the kids had to do virtual school. Oh, yeah, and we moved away from our family and had to make new friends, move into a new house, and start all over. These are big life stressors.

My whole life I have grappled with the big question of why we exist. When my kids were born I knew I existed because of them. Holding my newborn son for the first time felt so eye-opening. But as months and months stretch on I wonder what my specific purpose is. I think about how I could have been so creative during this time. I could have really tuned into my writing, and I wonder why I chose instead to binge watch every single show on Netflix. I would like to live a purpose-driven work, but sometimes it just seems like so much work.

I met someone the other day who said her purpose in life is to make fun. Or maybe she said to have fun. I mean, how amazing is that? Sometimes I think as human beings we are too hard on ourselves for living our lives, for not being perfect, and for not being okay all the time. I struggle with my sad feelings, thinking I have such a great life that I should be happy. But what is happiness without sorrow? It simply does not exist.

Photo by vi Media on Pexels.com

I wake up each and every day with hope. I have my cup of coffee. I read or watch a little television. And then I tell myself that whatever I do today will be enough. That some days I’m capable of doing everything. And some days I’m capable of doing nothing. And that’s okay.

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Virtual School is For the Birds

Photo by Luca Paul on Pexels.com

We are in our third week of virtual school. With three kids. Two full-time work-from-home parents. Two dogs who lie around all day. And virtual school is for the birds.

I know there is not much of a choice right now. And overall, I will say my family is coping magnificently. I am still being productive. I make lists. I get my work done. I get the house cleaned occasionally. I stay on top of the kids…mostly. They are doing their assignments…mostly. We all still get along…mostly.

Today, the most-amazing teacher of my youngest child emailed me to tell me she hadn’t shown up for her small group? What? She has Whole Group followed immediately for small group. I walked into her room, and she is in bed playing her ipad. Grrr. Seriously? I had loads of work to do this morning, and I just assumed she was doing what she was supposed to do. You know what they say happens when you ASSuMe right?

I realize we are lucky, because we do have the privilege of working from home. But, geez, times are hard. It’s okay to not be okay with virtual school. Or with anything, because we are in the middle of a pandemic, and there is social and political unrest, but I I have these seriously mixed feelings. I wanted my kids to go to school, since they moved hours away from the only home they’d known and had to start over this year. But I also knew being in actual school probably wasn’t the safest place for them. So I felt okay when our district announced we would all start out virtual. Until it actually happened.

You know when you’re about to go on vacation and you have this dream that everything will be perfect. I had that before virtual school. Don’t ask me why. I must be a mostly positive thinker or perhaps I’m delusional. But managing virtual school for a high-schooler, middle-schooler, and an elementary-schooler is harder than I imagined. And the parent Canvas updates make my eyes twitch. I mean, I guess I’m appreciative of knowing whether or not my kid turns his work in, but I sort of feel like his secretary now. Pencil in your Thursday for constant nagging about that English paper that was due Tuesday at 8 AM.

For the most part, the teachers have been amaze-balls. I mean what a freaking hard time to be a teacher. Amiright? They basically went from teaching one way, to being thrown into teaching virtually in March. Then everyone hated on them, because it wasn’t amazingly perfect. I mean is it even possible to recreate the wheel in one day? No, the answer to that question is no. And now the teachers are going above and beyond. And I’m pretty sure they realize virtual learning sucks and isn’t ideal either. The teacher emailing me to tell me my kid didn’t come to class. I mean, how awesome is that. And they also realize how hard this is for the kids, and so most of the teachers have been so amazing about cutting them slack. My English teacher from high school would have circled every amazing in that sentence, besides the first one for repetition. Also, I found one of my high school papers the other day, and did you know the word “interesting” conveys nothing. How interesting.

I do feel lucky not to have a Kindergartener right now or any younger children for that matter. I have a friend who does. I cannot imagine trying to teach little children via Zoom either. My sister has that role, and I am having anxiety for her. She’s an amazing teacher, so I know she will do an awesome job. I mean, seriously, y’all. Our teachers need some serious props for putting up with all this shit. Their world has been turned upside down, just like our world. Let’s start really appreciating them during teacher appreciation week, and also during every.single.other.day they teach. They deserve mad props. Watch the video below to see why teachers are heroes. It will make you laugh, I promise.

The thing about virtual learning is it is only temporary. I keep having to remind myself and my kids that. Especially for my 10th grader, it feels like it will last forever. He’s missing out on his high school experiences, but let’s face it most of those suck. (Ha, just kidding–sort of). But we just need to tell ourselves, our kids, and our teachers every day: we’re in this together. We’ve got this. Communication seriously helps. I have had my kids email their teachers, I’ve emailed teachers, I’ve attended every optional Zoom parent call. Because I want to make this as easy on myself and my kids and their teachers as possible. Because, let’s face this, it’s not easy or even ideal. But we can get through this together.

And one last thing, if you want to be a hero you can donate to my fundraiser for NAAF. The link to the fundraiser is here: https://support.naaf.org/fundraiser/2880085. I am trying to raise $500 for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation to help them continue their research and efforts. Click NAAF to learn more about this amazing organization.

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Support the National Alopecia Areata Foundation

Most of you all know by now, I have alopecia areata. What? You’re bald. Yes. I’m bald.

My kids like to tell me how shiny my head is. Also, lately I have three new hairs on my head, and for some reason my right eyebrow is growing. My eyebrows were microbladed, so the hair is growing over the fake eyebrow.

When I was a kid, I didn’t talk to alopecia with anyone. In fact, if someone brought up the fact I had bald spots I would usually burst into tears or hide. I didn’t understand then that knowledge is power. Plus, I wasn’t completely bald, and I thought a good barrette or ponytail could hide my bald spots. (Pro Tip: They really couldn’t).

I found out about the National Alopecia Areata Foundation as a kid. They offer support for people with alopecias. They hold conferences yearly. I have not yet been to one. They have support groups. I have been to one of those. They also put money toward important research to find a cure for alopecia.

So this month, I’m raising money for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. That’s right. You can click National Alopecia Areata Foundation and go right to my fundraising page. You can find out more about alopecia areata there as well! This is obviously a cause close to my heart. I would give anything to go back to little Lauren and give her some guidance on how to cope, and NAAF does just that for a lot of children with alopecia.

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Day after Day

It’s been about a month since I began writing again. I haven’t started on anything substantial, like a book, or even a short story. For most of my life, I have had this creative need. As a kid, I wrote in journals. I journaled about the food I ate, the mean girls at school, and eventually heartbreak, love, and the journey of life.

Being in COVID quarantine with life not-quite-the-same as before has made me think a lot. I have always been an introspective person and sometimes this is not beneficial. There is a thing called thinking too much. But, being in COVID has also made me reassess my goals and my wants for my life.

Let me start by saying, I’m a hugely privileged person. I grew up in an upper class white WASP family. I was afford the privilege of private high school, and the privilege to change to another private high school when the first one didn’t quite mean my needs. My college experience was paid for completely by my parents, putting me in the position to graduate without debt, and the ability to live on my own and make a living without the burden of cumbersome student loans. I have had the ability to waffle about my career and my life. I have had the ability to give my kids experiences like six years of gymnastics team, ballet, playing the clarinet. I was able to change career paths at 40, to something more in line with my beliefs, where I felt like I could give back.

Not everyone has these privileges. Not everyone wakes up with two parents who care about them every day and a table full of food. In fact, most people in this world don’t.

When I think about my problems and when I get depressed, I tell myself it’s okay not to be okay. But in general, I feel like my issues are first world problems and white people problems. It doesn’t lessen those problems in my eyes, but it is good to realize ones own privilege and see it for what it is. I have the luxury to wallow in my own self-pity. A lot of people don’t.

This week, I watched in horror as a black man was shot seven times in the back. Actually, I decided not to watch the video, because the video of George Floyd’s death which I accidentally clicked on haunts me to this day. And now, as if to justify it news outlets are saying there was a warrant out for his arrest. And even so, does that give the police a right to act as judge and jury and shoot the man in the back in front of his children? In the very same week, we watched as Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17 year old boy, murdered two people and injured another and walked right by police officers carrying a AR-15. Kyle Rittenhouse had the privilege of walking away, simply because of the color of his skin.

Privilege is a funny thing. It can be used for good and for bad. But one thing has become abundantly clear to me in the last few years as I have had the opportunity to educate myself on issues usually swept under the rug: the people and the government of the United States continues to support people of privilege while suppressing people who aren’t born of the same advantage. This can be seen in public policies, news reports, and in the horrible cases we continue to see in the news.

So one question: will you use your privilege to help others? To change the way the world sees all people? To strive to help black people achieve the change and the justice they so badly need? Be an advocate and an ally. Don’t be a white savior. Be a friend and supportive. Talk to your children about race. Talk to your children about privilege. Make sure they are allies too. And if we all do this and we use our privilege to create real and lasting change, then maybe, just maybe, the future will be a better place for all people to live in. One of acceptance and joy. One where a black man can walk on the street without being afraid of being murdered needlessly by a police man. One where prison sentences aren’t decided based on the color of the skin, but based on the actual crime. One where our kids can play together, help one another, hold hands, and create joy and happiness.

Bridge the gap.

Photo by Matheus Viana on Pexels.com

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