F•R•I•E•N•D•S

Everyone’s seen the show. And if you haven’t seen it, you know of it. You know it’s a show about six late twenty-something year olds’ that have an unbreakable friendship, and go through all the trials and tribulations that those of us in our late twenties tend to come across. Some of them have known each other since they were kids, some met in college, and some met as adults, yet they just meshed so well.

Friendship is one of those words that has many categories. You have the following:

1. Social friends. We met at my cousins summer bbq and became Facebook friends, but haven’t talked or seen each other since.

2. Acquaintances. We went to school together and maybe had a few classes/sat at lunch/hung out in the same group together, but they have never been to my house.

3. Friends out of convenience. These friends you have so much fun with! Maybe they are people you work with, or your sisters friends that you’ve hung out with on occasion, but other than being in THAT specific setting, you wouldn’t necessarily pick up the phone and invite them over for dinner just the two of you.

4. Best friends. You may talk 24/7. You share every secret. You go out and spend time together as much as you can. You are inseparable.

5. Friends who are family. This person either has or will be in my life forever. We share this incredible closeness for whatever reason, and we can’t imagine our lives without each other.

I think this season of my life, being 25, is probably my favorite for many reasons. A main one being that most people at this point in their lives have found their tribe.

Tribes usually consist of a mixture of friend types 3-5. You often have the most of 3, and the fewest in 5.

One of my favorite quotes about friendship comes from one of my favorite books by Chelsea Handler:

“It’s been my experience that people who make proclamations about themselves are usually the opposite of what they claim to be. If someone truly is a loyal friend, then they wouldn’t need to broadcast it; eventually, people will figure it out. Who talks about themselves like that? I have a lot of good friends and not one of them ever introduced themselves by saying, “I’m a very good friend.”

— Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea

This probably has been the most true at this point of my life. Friendships as you get older can be complicated. Some of you have families, some don’t. Some are married and have spouses while some appreciate the freedom of being solo and travel extensively or continue to work up the corporate ladder. Sometimes you feel like you will have all the time in the world for that person, other times you may not communicate for weeks.

Let’s get one thing clear– can we all stop saying “you’re never ‘too busy’, you just don’t want to make it a priority”? I hate that. I see that stupid picture floating around Facebook WAY too often. Truth is, sometimes we ALL just run out of time. Here’s my schedule for instance:

9am-12pm: wake up, feed the baby, bath time for her, while Kyle gets ready for the day. I go downstairs, unload and reload the dishwasher, switch out the laundry, pack lunches, make breakfast, drink a cup of coffee.

12pm-3pm: baby takes a nap, eats a few more times, I do whatever housework needs to be done, I usually shower at this point.

3pm-6pm: groceries usually get picked up, I stop at Starbucks for a midday pick me up, spray tan or maybe get my nails done (if my kid behaves!), come home, unload whatever shopping I’ve done, switch out the laundry again, and start dinner.

6pm-9pm: Kyle comes home, we eat dinner, put the baby to bed, have 2-3 hours together before bedtime and then we go to sleep.

Now, please, to all my friends and distant family who constantly say “well you never make time for us” or “if it were important to you, you’d make it a priority”, please tell me WHERE in that schedule do you see any time for me to carve out solely for you? I’d LOVE to see what you see, because something tells me your schedule looks somewhat similar to this every day.

The types of friendships I’m looking for at this season of my life are simple: we check in on each other to make sure we aren’t dead, we tag each other in dumb stuff on the internet, and we SCHEDULE time to hang out!

Another one of my favorite quotes is by C.S Lewis. It reads:

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

I remember my first experience with friendship. It was about two weeks before I started kindergarten. My mom was a stay at home mom but ran a childcare center in our house Monday through Friday, but luckily my bus stop was right around the corner from my home. My parents bought a set of walkie talkies, so I could communicate to and from the bus stop. Coincidentally, a girl who lived on the other side of the road (whom I didn’t know yet), had ALSO received a set of two-way radios. One night my neighbor and I were using the radios to pretend we were secret agents. All of the sudden I heard another voice on the other side of the radio that definitely wasn’t mine or my neighbors! That girl and I talked almost everyday, and one thing I remembered that she had mentioned was she LOVED Scooby Doo.

A few weeks later, there I was in my kindergarten classroom, sitting under a table during free time pretending I was a cat (yes really, I believe my parents saved the report card from that year that said “I had a vivid imagination”. I now know that “vivid” is code word for total, fucking, weirdo. I remember a girl, came over one day and sat down under the table with me. She said she didn’t want to be a cat, because she liked dogs, and pulled out her Scooby Doo lunchbox to show me.

I don’t exactly remember how we eventually found out that we were the voices on the radio, but we were inseparable throughout the rest of elementary school.

Fun fact: I still do her hair and see her on occasion 🙂

Obviously now, friendships aren’t just as easy as sitting under the table and pretending to be an animal. But in some ways, they kinda are.

I’d say that I have two best friends at the moment. Both came into my life at super weird times when I didn’t even know that I needed them. One of them connected with me because we both hated this super psycho girl that we worked with, and we would spend hours on our off time sending Snapchats back and forth reliving that days drama. My other best friend got me high (edible in the form of a peanut butter cookie. I had never been high before!) without my consent while we were on a work trip together because she said “I needed to loosen up a little”. Both of these women are extremely opposite from me. Actually, come to think of it, they probably would like each other better than they like me! I’m not sure why we get along so well. It could be that they share the same super twisted sense of humor that I do, or because we all say the word “FUCK” like its going out of style.

I’m not quite sure why they chose me. But I’m oh so glad they did. Them, I’d “prioritize” the shit outta my day for. My one bestie that lives here just comes over whenever she wants, sometimes unannounced, while my other bestie who lives out of state calls/texts/Facetimes every single day, sometimes multiple times a day.

They both love me. The love my husband. They love my daughter. ❤

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” — William Shakespeare

 

How my relationship changed after my open letter to my Husband…

Considering I’ve had like 20 people ask me if Kyle read my last blog post, the answer is YES! He reads all my posts and loves them. One of his favorite things about me is my ability to “metaphorically insert my middle finger anywhere” LOL.

After he read my open letter to him, he came home, and we sat on the couch and had a very long talk. It was mostly him. I think he told me about a thousand times how much staying home to raise our daughter means to him and that I make a world of difference being in his life everyday. And that he loves me more than he could ever explain.

As nice as that was to hear, I had to let him know that that wasn’t the point of my letter. He paused. And sat back.

I said, “the point of my letter was to let you know that I KNOW you’re proud of me. I KNOW what I do for you means everything. I wouldn’t have written something so public if none of that were true.” The point of my letter was to let him know that as much as he still sees me, and I mean TRULY SEES me, I also see him.

Often, when a family of two becomes three, the husbands are often forgotten. By everyone. Even their wives. The point of my letter was to let him know that I see where I need to work on myself. I see how I need to learn how to separate myself from “mom mode” sometimes. And I see all of that because I have an amazing partner who keeps me in check.

I always swore once I became a mother that two things would never change:

1. My husband would ALWAYS come first. Always.

2. I would never lose sight of myself.

When you have a partner who idolizes the ground you walk on, it’s easy for them to see things that you don’t. Because they have studied and memorized everything about you. If you have a good partner, they aren’t afraid to tell you things that you might have a hard time hearing, because they know that it means they are going to be right along side you 100% of the way. Your problems are their problems and visa versa.

After I explained that HE was the point of the letter, he just hugged me. He cried. Then WE came up with a plan to help US continue to have a happy, healthy, marriage and journey through parenthood.

We’ve decided that twice a month, our daughter will go with my parents, and we will have date nights. One at home, one out on the town.

We decided we want to try one new thing together every month. This month is a Sip N Paint that I found on Groupon and we are really excited!

We decided that twice a week, we will put Lexi to bed an hour earlier, upstairs in front of a movie, and we will share a bottle of wine and sit in the bath.

We decided one night a week we won’t watch TV, we will cook dinner together and talk about our day.

And let me tell you, last night as we were sitting in the bath and our kid was in the next room watching Mulan, Kyle and Lauren got to have an hour and a half of alone time. We’ve been doing this ever since my letter was posted. Our marriage has never felt stronger. And that’s saying a lot because anyone that knows us, knows we have ALWAYS had a god damn solid foundation. But it was so nice to just, BE. And even though our baby was right in the next room, for a whole hour and a half I was able to relax and shut my mommy brain off. (Actually, it stayed off the rest of the night because my kid fell asleep and stayed asleep until 6am!)

Marriage is SO MUCH WORK you guys. We’ve often been told that we are “couple goals” or that we are “perfect”. We might be. But there is so much that goes into it. It is constantly evolving with one another, being disappointed and learning how to talk it out, sometimes making the same mistake twice (like I bought nothing on the grocery list you gave me but I got everything we DON’T need!) and admitting “I fucked up again”.

When you have so much love for a person, and you’re in a happy, healthy marriage, even the “hardest of jobs” seem so effortless– and are definitely, without a doubt, worth it.

Until next time Divas,

LQ

Dear Husband…

Hi there. Gosh it feels weird saying that. But, hi.

Remember me? I remember you. I remember seeing you for the first time when I was just a spunky, naive, 14 year old girl. Your smile was the first thing that caught my eye. I at that point, completely understood what the phrase “heart melting” meant. Because baby, your smile melted mine.

You were so carefree, and don’t take this the wrong way, but really, really stupid. And not to mention impressionable! A stranger could triple dog dare you to do ANYTHING, and my love, you would do it.

I was really uptight, just naturally. I didn’t really have a lot of friends, like you did. I wasn’t super into my looks, and I did OK academically. I didn’t know what Facebook was, I didn’t understand why the cheerleaders at our school were so popular, and I definitely didn’t (and still don’t!) know how to find the circumference of a circle. I didn’t know much at 14. But I knew I loved you.

I’m not sure why. Looking at your life compared to mine, well my love, yours was a complete mess. You were, for lack of a better word, a freaking weirdo! You skateboarded, smoked cigarettes and walked around the hallways with your phone blasting music and annoying everyone around you.

But my God. No one made being goofy look quite as good as you did.

On paper, we really shouldn’t work. I’m convinced Corinthians 13:4 was written entirely with you in mind. You are the most gentle soul I have ever encountered. You love anyone and everyone. Especially me.

I know I’m not easy to love. Especially since we’ve entered this new chapter in our lives. You work, I stay home. Some days I clean, but most days I don’t. I have super big dreams, but am having a hard time prioritizing them right now, but you always lead me with such grace and encouragement that I always feel like I could conquer the world. I am sarcastic, loud, and bratty. My ego is the size of Japan. I know it. I’m moody, even more so now that I’m home with a baby all day. So I apologize for any and every unintentional outburst that might happen.

I know I need to work on a lot. I will never be the perfect housewife. I don’t want to be. But I know I need to work on kissing you as soon as you come home from work. I know I need to work on being intimate more (my GOD I definitely need to work on that!). I need to start sharing blankets with you at night so we can snuggle, because I know that’s your favorite. I need to let you choose the movie every once in a while, because I think if you watch Elizabethtown one more time you might blow your brains out.

I feel like the one thing no one prepared us for was exactly how much a marriage changes once you have children. I never heard anyone talk about it. It changes in the best and worst possible ways. No books, or articles we read while I was pregnant ever mentioned anything. It was never mentioned how hard it is to compartmentalize being a parent, being a spouse, being a friend… There are days when you come home and I just don’t feel like being touched by anyone– because I’ve been holding a baby all day. I can’t imagine how hard that is for you. Just like there are days where you come home and have been thinking about having “alone time” with me, only to be turned down or have me fall asleep while rocking the baby, and then me waking up in the middle of the night feeling absolutely rotten. Like I had just failed as a wife once again, because I know when you wake up you’re going to try everything in your power to make sure I don’t see how disappointed you are. I’m sure you don’t know how hard that is for me.

I miss you. Even though I go to bed with you every night, and drink a cup of coffee with you every morning. I’m not sure what I miss. Probably a lot. I miss the simplicity of it being “just us”. Not that being a mommy isn’t rad. But I will ALWAYS be your wife first.

One thing that’s always been easy for us is communication. I think we’ve only ever had 4 fights because we never, ever hide how we feel. We always talk, and sometimes over share. Sometimes it keeps things fresh, sometimes it makes things uncomfortable. But I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything in this world.

One thing I did read over and over again in those parenting books was that being a parent always comes naturally to one more than the other. Now, you may argue, but being a daddy is 110% your thing. I had super high expectations, because I was pretty sure I was raised by one of the best fathers out there. And I know you felt the pressure because you wanted to be nothing like your own father. I know it’s only been 3 months– but as far as dads go, you’re about as bad ass as they come.

And as far as HUSBANDS go– you put all the others to shame. You’re so perfect, you often make it hard for me to relate to other people and their relationship issues. I never have to ask you for anything. You never expect praise. You go above and beyond for me. You make me laugh harder and harder each day. I think one of my favorite things about you is how you sometimes just say outrageous nonsense to get my attention and make me scrunchy face snort laugh! You never pass on a moment to smack my ass, or kiss my forehead, or hug me so tight I can’t breathe.

I’m so, so obsessively grateful for you. The life you give us. How hard you work to be the perfect husband, perfect daddy. I know sometimes it’s only going to get harder. And sometimes it’s going to be easier. As long as I have you, I know it’s all going to be worth it.

I love you.

Your Wife.

177+1128+56+369+288

I can say, with the upmost certainty, that this year coming to an end is extremely bittersweet. There are a lot of chapters being closed, some extremely sentimental. As most of you know, last December I had a neurosurgery on my spine, which literally gave me my life back. In fact, I was told that there was some permanent nerve damage that directly effected my left side– and that I would probably never be able to feel my left calf, and never be able to move my last two toes on my left foot. It was a pretty rad day when I woke up this summer (August 21st to be exact) and my little pinkie toe decided to wiggle. You never forget something like that.

You also never forget the look on your husbands, parents and best friends faces when you tell them that you’re FINALLY pregnant after three long years of wanting a family so badly and being told that it was literally like rolling a dice for you. Being pregnant is probably the most bittersweet chapter that’s closing this year. As much as I LOATHED actually being pregnant, the fact that we made our family of two into a sweet family of three is something I would never ever change. Finding out we were having a girl was extremely monumental for us. I always knew my husband was meant to raise girls. Now, this might sound dumb, but when you can say that you have been together since you were 14 years old, you have gone through some pretty extreme milestones together. I have seen him grow from a rowdy, yet gentle boy into a selfless and nurturing man. We helped raise each other, in a way. Seeing how he loves me, and acts like the ground I walk on is made from cotton candy and sprinkles, just made me 100% sure he was meant to be a girl daddy. I’m obsessively grateful for him, and everything he gives us.

In April, after almost 6 years of working a night shift job, my husband was FINALLY given the opportunity to become a mobile technician. Basically, he works on commission (making a shit ton more than he was before!), and creates his own schedule. Which means there are days where I can wake up and say “stay home and snuggle” or “I need help with the baby today, can you go in this afternoon so I can have the morning to myself?” and he gets to do just that. We are so incredibly blessed to have this. Because let me tell ya– nothing tests your marriage like opposite schedules. I worked mostly days, and he was always  nights. So being able to spend the last 8 months together, is everything I’d ever hoped for. This year has also been an interesting year for our marriage. Not hard. Not bad. Just interesting. I think when you’re so used to it just being the two of you never seen each other, to the two of you seeing each other, to the two of you going through a pregnancy (and an extremely high risk one at that!), to now it’s the THREE of you. And “my God why won’t this little pink thing stop crying? But oh God, look at her… She looks just like you when she yawns.”, And then, you go through that weird adjustment period of only one income. And not financially per say. But, he’s making sure that he’s billing enough, and also making sure I’m not losing my independence. Meanwhile most days I’m just proud of myself if I remember to eat.

Not working, is hard work. There are parts of me that feel like I’ve given up on my dreams. But then there are parts of me that think, “no, new dreams are coming!”. Ever since I was about 17, I new I was destined to be someone huge, helpful and important. I wanted a group of individuals to love me, and to love back. I wanted to come up with monumental ideas that changed outcomes, businesses, and eventually– lives. I wanted to be that girl with 2 cell phones and a bad ass resume. And being able to combine that with my love of the beauty industry was just the icing on the cake. Being given my first management opportunity when I was only 20 and having ZERO experience was exactly what I needed. I will never, ever forget the woman that took that chance on me. I am FOREVER grateful for her. I left the interview 100% sure that I was not going to get a call back. Well good thing that location was an hour and a half drive home, because I was about half way when I got it.

“I think you’re right for the job” she said, “but wear a longer skirt to your training. I’ll see you next week”.

I learned so much from that woman. I learned what sympathy and empathy were. I learned that it’s OK for everyone NOT to like you. Or even love you. I learned that I often overshare WAY TOO MUCH. I learned that it’s OK to say the word FUCK as much as you want. I’m getting teary eye writing this. She is/was my “Mr. Feeney”. I never thought I was worthy enough of being taught how to be a leader before her.

Now I’m probably making it sound like she died! She definitely didn’t! We still text every once in a while, and when we talk on the phone it’s like no time has passed. She has been there through every management trial and tribulation that I have gone through to date. Did I mention she doesn’t even live here, or work with me anymore? That’s how you know you’ve found YOUR leader. She leads me now and I’m sure isn’t even aware of it.

Fast forward a few jobs, and in November of 2016 I found myself at a little small business salon, interviewing for their management opening, just trying to make a difference. Juries still out on whether or not I did. I had grand ideas. I still do. Do I think I lived up to my full potential while I was there? No. Why? Because I was brunt out. I just wanted something more. I knew I needed something more. Right before I found out I was pregnant, I applied and interviewed for a Salon Development Partner position with Aveda. Basically, I would be living my dream. I would have hundreds of people to love on, assist and inspire. I would be busy. But most importantly I wouldn’t technically have to leave my current salon.  I interviewed for the position, and because it was a huge corporate position, your “pass or fail” was posted online. Mine was a fail. In the notes, it said “under-educated”. FORGET having a license. FORGET having actually WORKED in one of the accounts I would be taking over. FORGET the business plan I had worked on for a month. Forget the passion I had for the job… All because I didn’t have a bachelors degree meant I wasn’t even given an opportunity to shine.

After that, to say I was discouraged was an understatement. I was completely heart broken. All I wanted was to matter to a business. I wanted to help! I wanted to be inspirational and appear to be a genius. I wanted my name on a God damn website! Once my husband got promoted in April, we started toying with the idea of me staying home with our daughter. I hadn’t agreed yet, because I so DESPERATELY felt like I was on the verge of a breakthrough where I was at. Until August. In August, I was able to live stream Youniques annual convention. Let me tell you. I have NEVER been more inspired. My husband and I watched in amazement as thousands and thousands of presenters were recognized no matter what status they were. Lives were changed. People were loved. My husband looked at me and said, “This, you should do THIS.” Seeing those Elite leaders walk across the stage to a song of their choice, made me ugly cry. That’ll be me. And I already have my song picked out. (Something Just Like This by The Chainsmokers)

The next day, I gave my notice. Never have I ever felt more liberated. I got to leave a job that changed me. It showed me what I DIDN’T want. It showed me that right now, at this time in my life, I’m meant to achieve SUPERSTAR status. I’m so grateful for that place. My best friends, and second Mama’s,  and customers that I will always keep a relationship with came out of there.

It’s taken me a little bit to get started. Multiple transitions all at once can get a little overwhelming. I started by making a list of things I WILL accomplish in the New Year:

  1. Read one new book a month
  2. Achieve Elite Status (green or higher) by convention in August
  3. Become debt free
  4. Have a successful blog
  5. Start the process of a podcast for 2020

 

It’s going to happen for me. I know it will. It’ll happen for you too. MY best advice for you in 2019 is to find your SUPERSTAR. Whatever it is. If you want to sell mascara on the internet, do it. If you want to quit your corporate job and go sling coffee 5 days a week, do it. If you want to break up with your boyfriend or lose weight, DO IT. Speak it into existence.  Some of the best advice I was ever given was to “do it, and do it scared”.

So yes, while some sentimental chapters are closing this year, and I’m learning how to navigate my new “job”, keep a healthy marriage, stay HOT AF (sorry not sorry!), and keep my child alive, I cannot wait to see what the New Year brings for me and my friends.

Until next time divas,

LQ

40

Everyone has their favorite number. I’ve never had one up until now. But if I had to choose, mine would be 40.

See, this number has been thrown at me twice in the last 365 days. And with the anniversary of the most important surgery in my life coming up next week, and the birth of my beautiful daughter 11 weeks ago– I figured it was only appropriate to share my connection to this number.

In July of 2017, we were on our way home from our annual family vacation to Cannon Beach. I drove home (because I get car sick, so I am ALWAYS the driver!) and I noticed about half way home, my left leg started to ache. I chalked it up as too much sitting on the beach, and just figured I needed a hot bath once I got home and I’d be ok. Fast forward to September, when I was driving home from work and my leg went completely numb. I had still been experiencing pain, but it honestly felt like I had just pulled a muscle. And I didn’t learn much from that sports medicine class I took in high school, but I did learn that muscles can sometimes take forever to heal. That was until my leg went numb. I couldn’t feel it. I was convinced I was having a stroke, and luckily was able to pull over on the side of the road and wait until I could feel it again. That next day I decided it was finally time to go to the doctor.

Now let me back track a little bit. I’ve always had back issues. I was born with scoliosis, and when I was 10, I strained my spinal cord. So physical therapy, massages and chiropractic visits were nothing I was new to. When my doctor did an X-ray on my leg and saw nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary, he recommended PT three times a week, a massage twice a month, and prescribed me a narcotic pain killer, 800mg Tylenol and muscle relaxers.

End of October hit and I had been doing PT for about 6 weeks and my pain was getting worse. It was to the point where showering hurt, sitting and standing hurt, driving hurt. The “pain relievers” weren’t working, and the muscle relaxers were just “breath mints with flare” at that point. I was basically the Dr House of Salon Escape. No one knew it. Once I realized that narcotics were no longer working, I went back to my doctor. He did another X-ray and again declared nothing was wrong, but also diagnosed me as being in chronic pain. Literally, it hurts for me to even blink. I can’t function properly. My mind isn’t clear. Moving makes me nauseous. And sometimes I would consider that my life won’t ever be more, than the pain I’m in. And I’m only using my doctors descriptive words because it really is the only way I can actually get people to understand what chronic pain is. It’s like– your body goes into a depression. And that’s exactly what mine did. I couldn’t eat, or sleep. Or laugh. I was a clouded, drugged up, suffering psychopath. And I was honestly convinced it would never get better for me.

I remember the pain being so bad, we were next door at my neighbors house one night for dinner, and I couldn’t even get comfortable. I broke down in their living room and sobbed because my whole entire body was either numb, or felt like I was being stabbed by a thousand knives. Not even needles. FUCKING KNIVES.

I tried pot after I became immune to the Vicodin. Edibles actually, I have chronic asthma and my lungs will LITERALLY close if I inhale anything that isn’t air lol. They helped for a little bit. But I couldn’t be high at work! (Really though, how was pot any different than Vicodin)

About a month after my last doctors appointment, I got a call from my doctor. Saying he just couldn’t shake the fact that something was really wrong. He then ordered me an MRI at the local hospital, however I wasn’t considered “priority” because I didn’t ACTUALLY have a diagnosed medical problem. So I waited another month to get in. I will never forget that day. It was December 20th. The day my life changed forever. I went in at 6am for my MRI, not knowing what to expect. We were literally just thrown into the rotation that there wasn’t even a doctor available to meet with us before or after. It felt like flying on standby.

I got a call that afternoon. One of the scariest calls of my entire life. I spoke with a nurse, who’s name I can’t remember, and she was absolutely shaken. The only thing she could get our was “we have a call scheduled with a neurosurgeon at 12pm tomorrow. It’s critical. He will explain everything.”

WHAT. HOLD THE FUCKING PHONE. You’re telling me I have to wait ANOTHER 24 hours to hear what’s wrong with me? It was seriously (what felt like) the longest 24 hours of my life. My husband stayed home from work the next day, and I had switched my shift so I didn’t have to go in until later (big mistake, I should have just taken the day off. Lord knows I could not focus after that call!)

My husband and I both got on the phone with the surgeon, as he’s going over my X-rays. The first thing he says to me is, “I honestly don’t know how you’ve been able to get out of bed every morning. The pain you have been in is unimaginable.” Turns out I had three slipped discs and one that was completely dislodged. The one that was completely dislodged was less than 10 millimeters away from puncturing my bladder and my bowels. It was declared an emergency, and surgery was scheduled for December 27th, 2017. I had what’s called a triple microdiscetomy. Basically, what that meant was my three discs that were slipped, were shaved down and carefully put back into place (L3-L5 for all you nerds out there!) and my S1 (bone in your tailbone) was completely removed. The MRI showed severe nerve damage in my spinal cord, specifically leading up to the neurons in my brain that detected pain throughout my body.

I had a 40 percent chance of waking up from the surgery completely pain free.

40.

Worst case, depending on the damage, a year later I would have had to come in and had a tiny hole drilled at the base of my neck, to relieve the swelling on my brain. Worst-worst case, I would have to live the with pain my entire life. Worst-worst-worst case, I could amputate part of the muscle in the back of my thigh, which would result in the nerve tissue causing the pain also being removed, but would mean I would technically have a handicap for the rest of my life. Also, there still would be no guarantee that even after all of that, the pain would subside.

Luckily for me, I am almost 365 days completely pain free.

One of the side effects of having spine surgery, not to mention all your nerves tampered with and having some body parts removed, was the possibility of me missing 1-3 menstrual cycles.

Let me back pedal a bit. Coincidentally, that same month my leg started hurting, I had gone to a completely different doctor for a completely different reason. After almost 3 years of trying to get pregnant and not being successful, I found out that I seemingly just don’t ovulate. Which can totally be fixed my a daily hormone supplement, however being only 24 at the time, I didn’t feel like my biological clock was ticking, therefore I wanted to see if I could conceive naturally before I tried supplements.

SO SUPER FUN FACT. I WAS ABOUT A WEEK PREGNANT WHEN I HAD SURGERY. But because of everything else I had in my system, I got a super rare false positive test. Come to find out, that if I wouldn’t have had the surgery, my body wouldn’t have been able to carry a baby to full term. Call it what you what. Gods timing, coincidence, fate… but yep. I missed two periods, and didn’t think anything of it because I was told that was a side effect of the surgery. But something told me as I was buying my box of wine on February 12th 2018, that I juuusssttttt needed a twin pack of First Response tests to go with it! Coincidentally, a week prior, I had gone in for a 6 week follow up MRI and my UA came back with a high hormonal reading, but it was normally around the time I was supposed to get my period, so they chalked it up to that and moved on. They didn’t even test for pregnancy! Just simply asked if I could be pregnant! (And since they said no sex for 12 weeks after surgery I was sure that it wasn’t even an option!)

Ok, fast forward to my 20 week ultrasound. The most exciting one. The one where you find out if you’ll be bringing in a sweet baby girl or a handsome baby boy into your family. My scan was Memorial Day weekend, and we were one of the last ultrasounds of the day. We found out we were having a girl! The ultrasound tech has mentioned she looked a little on the smaller side– but didn’t seem concerned. We got our pictures, called our families, and went home! Monday morning at 7am we received a call from my OB’s office saying my husband and I needed to come in whenever we could today, that he would fit us in. There was something abnormal with our scan that needed to be discussed immediately.

We found out I had a condition called Velementous Cord Insertion. Basically, the umbilical cord implants itself into the cervical membranes instead of the placenta, making it shorter and more fragile. Think of it as an old rubber bad. You know the one you try to stretch, it turns white, and then breaks? Yeah, that’s basically what my cord was. The vessels actually sit right on top of the placenta, instead of tucked inside where they are well protected. What made it even worse is the fact that there are only 1 in every 5,000 pregnancies diagnosed. Which means it’s not something well known, or treatable. Babies are born a lot smaller, often having organs that don’t fully develop by birth, even if carried full term. We were then told the worst part of it all.

My daughter had a 40 percent chance of surviving until birth.

40.

2 out of every 5 VCI babies are still borns. Cord compression is extremely common, and it’s not something that the mother can feel from the inside. This meant I had a doctors appointment every week until delivery.

40. That was the second time I was given this number as an outcome in less than a year.

40.

Thankfully, the odds were in my favor again as my daughter was born right on her due date, at 5 pounds 15 ounces. Lungs checked out perfectly, stomach checked out perfectly, and her kidneys, liver and brain were fully functional. And to that, I truly couldn’t be more grateful.

I sit back and think that this is the reason why I have never been one to have a “favorite” number. That title was being saved for this. This beautiful, not-quite-halfway, number 40.

Until next time Divas,

LQ

We ARE Intrepid

Disclaimer: If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741. You are not alone.

 

in·trep·id

/inˈtrepəd/

adjective

Definition: fearless; adventurous

Synonyms: unafraid, bold, daring, gallant, audacious, heroic, dynamic, spirited

 

This is my all time favorite word. Everyone has a favorite word. If you don’t, I encourage you to find the closest thing you have to a dictionary, and pick one. Here’s why I love this word: it absolutely could NEVER be used in a negative connotation. Think about it. How are you going to call someone fearless in a negative way? YOU. CAN’T. This word describes me. I think my photo is actually listed under this definition in at least one of the Webster dictionaries. I constantly think of this word. I constantly want to live up to this word. And I honestly think, that’s why I have been able to avoid suffering from depression.

Full disclosure: I am well aware that there are things in this post that will ruffle some feathers. As I’ve stated in my previous posts, these thoughts are mine and mine only. That’s the beauty of me having my own blog to write is that I can say whatever the fuck I want too– and if you disagree the only thing you have to do is click that liitttllleeeee red “X” on the top right (or left if you’re a Mac user), and simply go about your day. So at this point, you’ve been clearly warned and if you don’t turn back now you have no reason to bitch.

Here’s the thing. What’s the freaking deal with using the word depression every. single. time. we are sad? Do people realize every time they use that word out of context you are offending someone with a severe chemical imbalance that they actually need to be medicated for? Oh, Susan you got a parking ticket? You’re SAD. NOT depressed. You know who has a right to say they are depressed? Every single person who has gone to a medical professional and has had the proper diagnosis. You know who has a right to say they are depressed? Those individuals who take their medication, go to their regularly scheduled shrink visits, and make changes in their lives. THOSE ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE.

You can’t be half way depressed. You can’t only get medication and do absolutely nothing else and expect to get better. Those that do that, sorry, but when I hear you complain and whine about how much your life sucks but you’re literally doing nothing positive… like, what the fuck are you expecting? Stop feeling sorry for yourself. I know people who have lost babies, or spouses– a hell of a lot worse than getting a freaking parking ticket– and they pick themselves up by their big girl panties and get shit done. Now, that’s not to say they don’t hurt. My goodness, half of the people on my Facebook timeline have gone through SOME SHIT and ALL I want to do is pick them up and squeeze them. But you know what I see them doing? They go on about their lives. Because that’s honestly all life is. One constant motion. And it’s about how we adjust to the flow of things that defines us.

Now, I myself can only speak from an outside perspective. I’ve never struggled from depression because FOR ME it’s totally a mind over matter thing. I was taught, by my mom when I was little and would get “an upset belly” (anxious), to make a list of what was bothering me. And then pick 5 things off that list and organize them from what’s bothering me the least amount to what’s bothering me the most. And I was ONLY allowed to focus on those 5 things. If it wasn’t on the list, basically I had to forget about it until my current list was dwindled down to nothing and I needed to start over. Do you know how much that helped me? I learned two things from making those lists:

  1. A LOT of my problems were/are self inflicted (i.e not paying a bill on time, or not turning in a homework assignment, gaining weight, etc)
  2. Anything that WASN’T self inflicted, was out of my control and I needed to let the universe handle it (death in the family, break up)

And this is what I mean by mind over matter. By making a list, you can LITERALLY see what’s causing your emotional roller coaster. It is THAT SIMPLE. So then this brings me to the REAL topic of this post (and this part really only pertains to moms but feel free to read it anyways!)

You really CAN avoid Postpartum Depression. Absolutely 100% avoid it.

Here’s how:

First, find your word. There are 171,476 words in the English Language and baby, ONE of those is for you. Find it, embrace it, love it. Let it define you.

Second, stop saying you don’t have enough time. I still need to work on this. We make time for what’s important to us. Stop saying “you didn’t have time to shower because of the baby” or “you didn’t have time to clean the house because of the baby”. Because that’s a bold faced lie. You CHOSE to not clean your house or shower BECAUSE you wanted to snuggle your baby instead. There is NOTHING wrong with that. It’s actually really sad that we, as moms, who are just trying to enjoy every second with our babies feel like we have to justify not doing simple everyday things over being with our babies. But own it. I currently am sitting in day old jammies with old makeup still on my face as I write this because all morning I’ve been watching movies with my little. That was more important to me than showering. And, I probably won’t be showered by the time my husband gets home either. And because he’s a fucking good ass partner, he won’t even bat an eye because he knows that I’ve prioritized my time to the best of my ability today. (Remember in my first post I said we have two jobs as a mom; to keep ourselves alive so we can keep our babies alive? Almost 3 months later I STILL live religiously by that!)

Third, don’t forget about yourself. Let your baby cry while you put on makeup. Let them sit in a poopy diaper for another 10, 15, 20 minutes while you finish blow drying your hair. I pinkie swear it will NOT kill them! Don’t hold them if you don’t feel like it! (And if you say “I don’t ever feel like not holding my baby” you’re absolutely lying and I promise I’ll find out.) You need to be YOU first. Point blank. Another amazing piece of advice I received from an old co-worker of mine who is not only a kick ass mother but also a bad ass wife, was that when a baby comes into your life, THEY adapt. THEY fit in where they belong. If you completely change your entire way of life because you feel like you “need” to have your life revolve solely around your child, I’m not going to tell you that’s wrong because we don’t mom shame here, but I will tell you that later on down the road that may lead to some emptiness/regret inside.

Fourth, stop feeling sorry for yourself. Because guess what, your child can sense that. Stop being emotionally unavailable to them. You are doing yourself, and them a complete injustice. All they want and need is to be loved. They really don’t care about anything else. So you and your partner split up after you had the baby? News flash. It probably was never going to work, the baby just made it easier for them to leave. And while I CANNOT imagine what that’s like, use that to your advantage to work on yourself. Because the relationship was probably unhealthy from the start and you just either A. love drama or B. don’t believe enough in yourself and think you don’t deserve better. In every relationship, someone is always the garden, and someone is always the gardener. It flip flops. But chances are if you were/are in an unhealthy relationship, you have been playing both roles for a long time and DAMMIT WOMAN it’s time to let yourself be the garden for once. This also goes for partners who stick around after an affair. Are you joking me? Cut that shit out right now. Khloe Kardasian doesn’t even make that shit look glamorous, WHY in God’s name do you think you can LMAO. Also, stop giving yourself a pity party because your body “didn’t bounce back”. LISTEN TO ME RIGHT NOW. You were either cut in half or pushed a watermelon through something that is the size of a captain crunch berry. Not to mention you grew, and fed, and cared for a human being that you hadn’t even met yet! (It’s true when they say it’s the only blind date where you’re guaranteed to meet the love of your life!) Bouncing back is a myth. Do you know how many BeachBody coaches I’ve had messaging me asking if I’m ready to “lose that pesky baby weight?” I literally LAUGH in their DM’s. Why is it just assumed that moms are supposed to have body issues after giving birth? I sure as hell don’t. You shouldn’t either.

Fifth, find your god damn tribe. They ARE out there. Find your support system. I promise you, having a partner who’s not afraid to stay with the baby so you can get some alone time, friends who love to babysit or parents who love to keep them over night, WILL FILL YOUR BUCKET BUTTERCUP. I hate when I see those posts on Facebook that say “you realize who your true friends are after you have a baby.” And then proceed to say that no one ever comes over or no one offers this or that. Here’s the thing. Relationships are a two way street. You ALSO need to invite people over. Before I had kids, I would have NEVER just invited myself over to someones house after having a baby. Because I would’ve assumed they needed their rest or wanted to be with their new family. Do you know that because I’ve actually communicated with people and not locked myself in a dungeon that every single person who said they wanted to come see my baby, actually has? I haven’t “lost friends” because of having a baby. Jesus Christ if anyone actually HAS then you should probably look in the mirror because I guarantee you having a baby isn’t why they aren’t sticking around.

Listen. I know it’s super easy to stay in bed all day. I’m the Captain of Lazy Town. My bed is my kingdom and my pillows are my royal subjects. I know it’s easy for me to sit here and say, as someone who has never suffered from any type of depression before, that it’s easy to snap out of it. But that’s not at all what I’m saying, and if you somehow got that out of this post the you need to brush up on your comprehension skills my friend. I’ve simply given you ways that have helped ME avoid it. Maybe they’ll work for you, maybe they won’t. What is the harm in giving them a try, if that means a happier, healthier you/baby/family? Just remember, you are not alone. Even if sometimes it may feel like it. You have a zillion people who have never even met you that have felt/are feeling the same things as you are. But you can’t let it define you. Let your word define you instead.

“You are intrepid. You carry on.”

 

Until next time, Divas

 

LQ

Sorry Not Sorry

Here’s the thing. I don’t floss. I never have. I lie to my dentist about it, but she knows I’m full of shit. Every six months the conversation goes like this:

Dentist: “So Lauren, it looks like your gums are a little inflamed, have you been flossing?”

And then of course I answer back with:

“Well, probably not as often as I should be… I’m sorry…”

And guess what? My dentist sees riiiggghhhtttt through my bullshit. Right the fuck through it. She knows I’m not sorry. And she definitely knows that I don’t do it PERIOD. And every time I leave, I always have it in my head that “this is it, this time I will start flossing!” but then I try and my gums are still sore from being poked and prodded at, so then tonight turns into tomorrow night and tomorrow night turns into next month and then next thing you know I’m at my six month check up again having the same exact conversation. It’s a vicious cycle. Flossing and I don’t get along and we probably never will.

So then, why do I do that? Why do I say something I clearly don’t mean twice a year instead of just being like, “no bitch I don’t”??? Even worse, why do I follow it with an empty apology? I hate the phrase “I’m sorry”. You wanna know why? 9 times out of 10 it’s never sincere.

Think about it, more often than not apologies lead with someone else implying you should be sorry. Oh, you overheard something you weren’t supposed to hear and the other person got mad? BOOM! YOU should be sorry for listening. Someone wasn’t clear on their expectations for XY&Z and you made an executive decision? WELL FUCK YOU BECAUSE YOU JUST EARNED YOURSELF A ONE WAY TICKET TO I’M SORRY TOWN! Or heavens forbid, you quit a job because you’ve found something that fills your bucket more than your current place of work: the conversation almost always ends with, “I’m sorry”. These situations in which we feel FORCED to apologized has completely ruined the phrase. If someone says they are sorry to me it almost makes me MORE mad because they aren’t doing it out of sincerity. They are doing it out of force of habit.

Which makes the phrase worse. Make a mistake? I’d rather you own up to your shit a thousand times more than insult me by uttering the two most overused words in the English language. But for some reason that’s borderline absurd.

And then what almost automatically follows a synthetic apology? (I coined that phrase by the way, feel free to use it any time you’d like!) ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Just like when I tell the dentist that I’m sorry for not flossing, and then continue to go on my merry little way for the next six months. N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

So how can we change this? How can we break this cycle of fake feelings and bullshit apologies? BE HONEST. And don’t EVER say sorry if you don’t fully mean it. Stick to your guns, girl! OWN YOUR SHIT! Cheat on your husband? Own it. Forget to pay your car payment? Own it. Overload the washer? Yep, own it. Life would be so much simpler. And then I think it would help people understand that we all make choices. Yes, some are worse than others, but not all rectify an apology for God’s sake.

So I leave you with this: stand your ground at all times, even if it’s tough. Understand that mistakes 100% happen. And they won’t ever stop happening. Force yourself to adjust to your path that you’ve created and stroll on with pride. And for shits sake, throw all your fake “I’m sorry’s” in the trash can along the way.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go NOT floss.

Until next time, Divas.

LQ