The Best Day

“God, I know I have betrayed you. I know I once said no to your existence. I was so furious with you, for here I was laying in my hospital bed, 89lbs to death, continuing the decade battle with my eating disorder. I needed you. You weren’t there. I was there, abandoned with my life sucking eating disorder and draining depression. Why would you leave me to suffer for so many lonely years?

Yesterday, I finally realized why. Your light shined through me, and in that moment, it hit me. You never abandoned me, you were there all along. It was you letting the hardship run its course so I could appreciate a happy moment so much more. People talk about happiness all the time. They ask, “are you happy?” And on impulse, because society tells you so, you respond you are.

But are you?

I thought I was. But my heart still felt a small hole, a spot that was waiting for true happiness to pour into it and make it overflow. I searched high and low, and couldn’t seem to find my niche, something that made me think, “finally”. Yesterday, I felt it. I felt you, God. You finally arose and allowed me to have my victory. You put all of the people I love in one room, and let our love flow like the Nile river. You answered all of my “whys”. You allowed me to feel full for the first time in 20 years, and for that, for You, I give my gratitude.

As many of you know and are aware of, I am very open about my struggles and what I have been through. I do not share for sympathy. I share in hopes at least one soul in this world can overcome the wrath of a mental struggle. Notice how I say struggle and not illness, and not disease. I am not a disease. I am not defined by what textbooks classify as an illness.

Powerlifting truly has been my light switch in life. It has taught me to nourish to flourish. It has brought people into my life who I couldn’t imagine life without today. It has rekindled broken ends in my life, and shown me forgiveness. The iron has given me the urge to take care of myself in all forms. It has blessed me with a family that I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for. On January 19th, 2018, I was blessed enough to be the recipient of the 2018 USAPL Most Inspirational Athlete Award. Never in a million light years did I ever imagine receiving such an honor. To anyone who contributed to me receiving this incredible award, thank you. I love each and every one of you, and I am eternally grateful for you all.

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Yesterday, January 20th, 2018, was the greatest day of my existence. I didn’t rely on luck, I knew in my soul I had earned everything that happened. I had put in the hard work, day in and day out. Even on my sick days with a 102 degree fever, I put in the work and never stopped grinding. Even when my back was absolutely killing me, I took care of myself and still worked. My eye was on the prize and I never once let my gaze shift. I envisioned my goals. I said my goals out loud. I asked God relentlessly to bless me with an end result I was going to be proud of. 

And I am DAMN PROUD. Yesterday was my best and most successful meet to date. At the 2018 USAPL State Championship Meet in Racine, WI, I ended up being the 63kg Raw Junior State Champion, placing 2nd in the 63kg Raw Open class, going 9/9 (not a single red light all day!), qualifying for 2018 Raw Nationals, and PR’ing on both bench and deadlift. I finished the day with a 253.5lb squat, a 132.5lb bench, and a 363.5lb deadlift. It was an incredible meet, that’s for damn sure.

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About 25 weeks ago, I reached out to Leanna Carr to inquire about coaching. She is an amazing and empowering woman, and I had looked up to her for many years prior to us connecting. I never thought we would develop the bond we possess today. She has changed my entire life. Leanna has brought me a sense of direction, confidence, and strength. I’ve never been more humbled by another human soul in my entire life, and I am so blessed to not only have her as my coach, but one of my best friends. She took it upon herself to come all the way from Colorado and surprise me at my meet. I still honestly cannot believe she did this for me and that her and my family organized such an amazing experience for me. She also brought along another huge inspirational person to me in the powerlifting world, John Haack, who also helped me behind the scenes of my meet yesterday. Thank you, John, for taking the time out of your day to support me. Your friendship means more than you will ever know. And to someone who is like a sister for me, Leanna, I don’t know how I will ever repay you for this weekend. I am just so thankful for you, that I don’t even know what to say. I have found a forever friend and coach in you. You truly are the most beautiful woman I have ever met. I have so much love for you.

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Then we have this guy named Jordan. You all know him as the almighty King Quadzilla on Instagram, but I know him as, well that, but more so one of my very best friends and biggest supporters. Yesterday would not have been possible without you, Jordan. I am so grateful for our Team Z family. You kept the winds blowing in the storm yesterday, and never once let them die down. Whatever you may need, name it, and I’ll do it. I would do anything for you to express my thankfulness. And Shannon, thank you for tagging along to support me yesterday as well. I’m so lucky that Jordan picked you to be his sidekick, because it brought me an amazing friend. You both are so strong, and boulders in my life. I love you both so much.

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To Alex, someone I crossed paths with in the more recent months, and someone I instantly clicked with. I’ve never met a more kind soul, someone who no matter what we are, he’s there for me. I don’t think anyone would’ve done what Alex did for me yesterday, and what he continues to do. He looks at me in any state, makeup or not, and still picks me. I not once had to ask him for his support, because he’s the kind of man who just puts himself out there, and is constantly thriving. I am so proud of you, Alex, and all that you’ve overcome. I am proud to overcome struggle together, and am so thankful for all the little and big memories we share.

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My family has been the Gorilla Glue throughout my entire journey. From beside my death bed, to beside the platform, they’ve never given up on me. No matter what I chose, I have their support. I wouldn’t have had a body to powerlift in if it wasn’t for them. I wouldn’t have a life to live to it’s upmost greatest potential if it wasn’t for them. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it wasn’t for them. I will spend the rest of my life thanking you all for everything you do for me. I know I’m a pain in the ass sometimes, but I’m happy to be able to say I’m your pain in the ass. My ENTIRE family, each and every one of you, I love you so much. My heart is so full from all of your love.

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To my powerlifting family, anyone who is in the USAPL that has allowed me opportunity and believed in my abilities as an athlete, thank you. Your support and love has shown me a whole new life, a whole new outlook on life. You know who you are. 💜

To my amazing friend group, to ANYONE that offered me the slightest amount of support throughout my journey, I give my thanks and love to you. A huge thank you to Paul and Lauren who took the time out of their lives to come and support me. You two are goals, and I’m so thankful for both of you and your friendship.

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Thank you to my beautiful and most close girlfriends, Emma, Alexis, Maddy. My best dude friends who I consider some of the most important men and friends in my life, Eric, Jarrod, Casey, and Zach, thank you. I’m so happy to be a part of your lives and to have each of the unique relationships we have.

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My heart is just so full. I could go on, and on, and on about how thankful I am, and I feel like no matter how much I say or show, I will never be able to tell all these special people how grateful I am. I never once believed that I would be here today, doing what I am, being capable of what I am. I wasn’t supposed to make it alive past 15 years old. But here I am. 20, thriving, constantly getting stronger, eating good, feeling good, and honestly, genuinely happy. Ladies and gentleman, I am just getting started. I am just beginning a legacy, my legacy. This is just me dipping my toes in the water. I have a fire lit under my ass. The fire within me is like one of those trick birthday candles. People will try over and over to put out my flame. But I will continue to rise, flicker, and flame. I am one of God’s children, and I will never stop being faithful. Again, thank you to everyone. I am beyond blessed.

This is just the start.

Xoxo, 

Lauryn

(THE BEST 63KG RAW JR LIFTER IN THE STATE LIKE WHAAAAAT OKAY THAT IS ME! WOWZA!!!)

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20 Lessons in 20 Years

Today is my birthday. A day of celebrating the fact that I've survived teen pregnancy, not getting into any (serious ;-)) trouble, but most importantly, celebrating the fact that I made it to 20 years old. Five years ago, I had barely enough energy to blow out the candle on my low calorie birthday cupcakes. Five years ago, this was me.

I remember this moment like it was yesterday. A forced smile in effort to try and cover up the anxiety that was eating me alive due to the lit cupcake in front of me. I tried to hide my trembling hands in my sweatshirt. When I first saw this photo after it was taken, I immediately was disgusted. 

"Look how fat my face looks. I shouldn't have ate that stupid fricken cupcake. It went straight to my face." said my dysmorphic, eating disorder consumed mind.

I look at this picture today, and my eyes swell with tears. How could I have ever possibly thought that this girl needed to lose weight? That she wasn't thin enough, not good enough. I hated her then. I woke up on the morning of my 15th birthday, and dreaded the day to come. I didn't want to celebrate my life, because I just wanted it to be over. I was exhausted, and another birthday just meant another year wasted, and another year to be a prisoner to my eating disorder. Little did I know, that another year wasn't supposed to be in the books for me. It was a miracle I made it to my 15th birthday. I was supposed to be a statistic. But today, I have proven every single person who told me I was going to be beneath the ground by 16 wrong. It's a blessing I made it to my 20th. I have fought for this. I have suffered for this. I have overcome the toughest obstacles for this. I made it. 

I often feel like I do not fit in with people my age. I feel as if my maturity is on a different level than most individuals my age. Within my 20 years, I've gone through more things that most people won't go through in a lifetime. Those 20 years have taught me many important lessons, but I've narrowed it down to a top 20 list. So here it goes. 20 things I've learned in my 20 years of life.

1.) It's okay to not have your entire life figured out. Society puts this immense amount of pressure on us, even in middle school, to have a set plan of what we want to do with the rest of our lives. Screw it. Change your mind mid-direction. Be spontaneous. Live. Screw society's standards. 

2.) People actually don't give a flying fladoodle if you have a flat stomach. For the longest time, I thought that everyone was always looking to see if I had a flat stomach. NO ONE goes around grabbing your abs. But the right people will go around grabbing your ass. ;-) Totally kidding. A little. 

3.) Do what you're afraid of. Go outside your comfort zone. Stepping outside my "safe" spots has only brought me the best things in my life. I've learned that by doing what I'm afraid of, I end up achieving what I've always wanted. 

4.) Your gut feeling is ALWAYS right. No matter what the situation is. Whether you're gut is trying to tell you to pick creamy peanut butter over chunky, or is telling you not to sleep over at dude's house, always listen to your gut, and not your head. 

5.) You won't be friends with the same people for your whole life. Honestly, I graduated only one year ago from high school and I don't associate with anyone from my class anymore. Friends come and go, and that's okay. 

6.) It doesn't matter whether or not you have name brand clothes. No one goes around checking your tags. And if they do, you don't need that kind of person in your life. 

7.) Procrastination gets you no where. I learned this the hard way during my 1st semester of college. Just do it, don't wait. It'll come back to bite you in the ass later. 

8.) Learn when to say no. I've also learned this the hard way. I've always been "too nice", and have a ridiculously hard time saying no. But by not saying no, I've gotten myself in some pretty sticky situations. You can't please everyone. Be selfish. 

9.) Drinking/partying is overrated. I'd much rather spend a Friday night eating cookies than getting shit faced. I'd rather spend my Thursday nights at a bar(bell). ;-) Sure, getting a good buzz on is fun, but isn't always worth the aftermath. 

10.) Take chances. You never know if you're going to like something unless you try, so live fearlessly. You might end up loving something you'd originally pre-judged as something that was going to suck. 

11.) Bring out your inner child once in a while. Sometimes, the best cure for a bad day is curling up in bed with your favorite childhood cartoon, and that's perfectly okay. Scooby Doo is the greatest cartoon of all time, and that is not to be argued with. 

12.) Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy. EveryBODY is different, and you are you. Comparing yourself to unrealistic standards is going to do nothing for your confidence.

13.) Don’t be so hard on yourself. We are all our own worst critic. The truth is, we are all doing a way better job than we think we are, and we don’t give ourselves enough credit.  

14.) Everything happens for a reason. There has been times within my twenty years on this planet where I simply did not see God’s logic for something occurring, but he has never failed to show me why later down the road. Trust that there is a purpose when something happens that you don’t quite understand (yet).

15.) Love yourself. Obviously, this is way easier said than done. Speaking from first hand experience, loving myself is something I struggle with every single day. But every single day, I try a little harder. Self acceptance truly is the key to happiness.

16.) Crying is okay. I used to think crying was a sign of weakness, when really, crying is just your soul’s way of speaking when your mouth can’t find words to say.  

17.) Save half of all the money you ever make. I started saving half of my paychecks when I started my first job as a lil’ cashier at a local Piggly Wiggly store. Without doing that, I probably wouldn't have  much to show for a savings account. 

18.) Treat yourself. It doesn’t have to be something you buy either. Whether it’s a bubble bath, painting your nails, treating yourself to an extra scoop of ice cream, don’t forget to be nice to yourself every once in a while. You deserve it. 

19.) Wake up early. The older we get, the faster time goes. The earlier we wake up, the more life we get to experience. 

20.) Never give up.  I’ve almost pulled the plug so many times on my life throughout my twenty years, but I kept fighting. I pushed past the pain. I swerved the negativity. I decided to not be a victim. Giving up gets you no where. 

Of course I have learned so much more than just twenty things throughout these last 7,300 days. I’ve learned that I am worthy. I deserve everything beautiful this life has to offer. I deserve to fall in love. I deserve every single spoonful of peanut butter. I deserve every powerlifting record I WILL set. I deserve to be alive. Today I’m going to be nice to myself.

Today I get to spend my birthday with the people who have been there for me all along, and the people I am so blessed to love and be loved by. From my oh so supportive family, to my incredible boyfriend, to my amazing friends, I am one lucky girl. 

So here’s to me. Happy Birthday, Lauryn. You made it. 

 

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It's that time of year again. It's the time where new year's resolutions are being made, Snapchat stories consist of people either getting sh*t-faced and/or dealing with the aftermath of being sh*t-faced, or couples are either getting engaged or are pregnant. If you're anything like me, making new year's resolutions are just casual promises to myself that I'm under no legal obligation to fulfill. We've heard all the cliche goal statements one too many times: "New year, new me!", or my favorite, "This will be my year!".

We've all made resolutions that we've told ourselves the new year would be different and would accomplish our new goals no matter what. However, when it came to actually acting on them, swept them under the rug when fear arose.

Guilty as charged. Year after year, I've made myself resolutions that I told myself countless times I would go to the ends of the earth to achieve. "But this year is different!" I would say to myself, but it always ended up not being different.

But you know what? This year IS different. Looking back on 2016, it has brought me many opportunities and changes to my life that entirely changed possible outcomes in 2017. I never really sat down and reflected on everything I accomplished in 2016 until the new year began creeping up. Why is that? Shouldn't we be thinking about the progress we've made all year to keep our motivation levels high? We should be, but it has become far too easy to get wrapped up in all of the negatives and forget about the positives (also guilty as charged). Seriously though, I've made significant strides in 2016. I competed in a powerlifting competition and qualified for the state championships. I graduated high school. I stepped outside my comfort zone and took up a serving job. I entered college. I joined a new gym. I made amazing friends that I now couldn't picture my life without. I made the Dean's list. I became a health and wellness coordinator at the Fond du Lac YMCA. Those are pretty freakin' cool accomplishments if you ask me. All of these happenings have ultimately set up a foundation for 2017. I don't have a ridiculously long list of new year's resolutions, but I do have a couple that can branch out into many resolutions within them. 

1.) Fall in Love

In 2017, I want love. I want love to give, and love to receive, but from one person. Myself. I want to fall unconditionally in love with myself and all of my flaws, not in a selfish way, but an appreciative way. Instead of looking in the mirror and saying, "I don't like this imbalance, I need to make this better", I want to look at those imperfections and recognize and accept that they aren't really flaws at all, but are what makes me who I am. I must learn to change the things I can't accept, and accept the things I cannot change. Who knows, falling in love with myself might lead me to falling in love with someone else. What girl wouldn't want that? 

2.) Grow

Lately, I've been craving growth. For so many years, I've wanted to make myself small and fragile. I've strived to take up less space in this enormous world for almost half of my life. This resolution goes hand in hand with my first one. In order to grow, I must learn to love myself. I've always danced around the subject of allowing myself to grow. While some people have resolutions to lose weight, I am on the opposite end of the spectrum. I've fought my body for years and years. I've always viewed weight gain as the enemy, when really, fighting weight gain is the enemy. I have attempted to control every aspect my body for far too long. I thought that it would bring me happiness and confidence, but it has inhibited me from many opportunities, and to be completely honest, I feel less confident trying to make myself smaller and leaner. I've been down this road many times before, but this time I have ultimatums. If I want to become a stronger athlete, a better daughter, sister, friend, and possibly a mother someday, I need to accept that gaining and growing will only bring positivity into my life. 

3.) Be nice to my body (REST!)

I'm the kind of person who constantly needs to be on the go. I can barely stand to sit for a single minute without some type of movement. While some people struggle to get to the gym, I struggle to stay away. The gym is my comfort zone, my safe place; It's where I can go and none of my problems follow me. In 2017, I need to recognize that even if my mind wants to go, my body might not be on the same page. I need to learn that my body is not a machine and cannot give me 110% every single day. Pushing my body to its limits every day never ends in a good result. While I do believe it's important to push our bodies past it's comfort zone (change happens when comfort zones end), I also believe it's important to allow our bodies to rest and recover. I preach about rest and recovery, but I never practice it. In 2017, I'd like to, no no no, I WILL change that.


In the words of Hannah Montana, life is what you make it. 2017 will be what you make it. What if this year is the year you actually follow through with your resolutions? What if this year is the year that WILL be different? Do you feel that? That hopefulness? That hopefulness is your gut telling you that 2017 could be the greatest year of your life, if you work for it. Good things don't come to those who wait. Good things come to those who work for them. So to all of my readers, I challenge you to make this one simple resolution. Act on your resolutions, no matter what size they are, no matter what amount of work you have to put in to chase them. Do it. Do it fearlessly and bravely. Do it for yourself. Do it for your future. Do it for 2017. 

-Lauryn

 

 

Young at Heart

Picture this.

You casually stroll up to the reception desk at Masters Gallery Foods and are greeted ever so warmly by a beautiful woman. Her dark brown flat ironed hair is styled a certain way so it shows off the glistening caramel colored highlights scattered about her scalp. An unforgettable smile spreads across her face, showing off her pearly white teeth. You take notice to the features of her smooth face; The shimmering eye shadow brushed across her fluttering eyelids, flawless cheeks, and her lips puckered with fresh lipstick. Her big brown eyes locked with yours as she says,

"My name is Paula, how may I assist you?"

Actually, Paula, no need to assist anyone today. Because today is all about YOU!

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. It's this hot mama's 45th birthday today. This woman is the most important woman in my entire life. I wanted to dedicate a very special blog post to a very special soul who is ready to party.

 See? Even Annie is ready to party with you, Mom!

See? Even Annie is ready to party with you, Mom!

No amount of advice from friends, parenting classes, or "how to" books could've ever prepared my mom for the cards life has handed her the past 45 years. She has been through the ringer, and she still stands tall. There isn't anyone more hardworking than her. She makes sacrifices day in and day out to continue to support our family. I often lay in bed and wonder how she does it all and still manages to put a smile on her face. 

Everyone has that one person they gravitate towards when something exciting happens in their life, a tragedy occurs, needs someone to talk to about their day, or just simply to vent to. My mom is definitely that person for me. As soon as I kick the covers off in the morning, I automatically think of how excited I am to go upstairs to find my mom lounged on our sofa sipping on her usual cup of Joe and nibbling on her daily English muffin with cream cheese and jelly (this combo is amazeballs, by the way). It truly is the little things in life. She knows everything about me. Every dark secret, crush, heartbreak, and feeling I've ever had, she knows about it. It's impossible to keep anything from her (not having her proofread this blog post has been a struggle). Throughout my journey, she has been my number one. This woman is my boulder, and has been there for every step, bite, pound, tear, and smile. She has to repeat herself endlessly with me, reminding me of the things that Ed wipes clean from my mind, and yet, she still is there for me.

Every single night, my mumma and I enjoy our usual "night snack" together. This is my absolute favorite part of the day. It's a time where we prepare our snack of choice (hers usually being a bowl of cereal loaded with fresh fruit and chopped nuts, and mine being a huge yogurt bowl filled with whatever my little heart is craving), watch our favorite shows (The Bachelorette as of right now!), and catch up on how our days went. She usually ends up falling asleep a fourth of the way through the show, but just being in her presence is enough. 

So obviously, I love her. I love her so much, more than I can even handle. As I grow older, my love and bond with my mother grows stronger and stronger. I am becoming more like her every day, and that's pretty friggin' cool, considering she's like wonder woman. All I want for her today is to feel absolutely nothing but pure bliss. Mumma, today is all about you, period. Sure, you can do your usual OCD things such as vacuum the rug in the kitchen and whatever keeps your pretty little mind sane, but prioritize yourself today. I want you to feel like the most beautiful woman in the world today (even though you should feel like that every day). So here's to you, Mumma. Happy birthday. I love you more than I love peanut butter, and more than you could possibly imagine. ♥

P.S: Nala loves you too. 

15 Things I've learned About High School

I never really realized how long we've all been in school until I sat down and physically calculated it out. If you started your education when you were 4 (das' me!), you've been in school for about 2,520 days. That number doesn't include the amount of times you've pulled a "Ferris Bueller", days where you were actually sick, or any other excused/unexcused days. 720 of those days have been dedicated to Plymouth High School. Everyone has a 720 page book to tell their future children, and each one has a different ending. The chapters are filled with stories of heartaches, drama, friendships, parties, struggles, and pages we wish we could rip out and burn. As I sit here reflecting on my book, I've narrowed it down to the 15 most important things (A/N: In no particular order) I've realized as my PHS career comes to an end. 

1.)  When you're a freshman, and a senior is slidin' into your DMs, he's just trying to make a tally on the football chart. 

2.) Prom, Sadie Hawkins, and Homecoming is overrated. All they really are is a big grind fest. 

3.) The BFF you have freshman year probably won't be your BFF senior year.

4.) Mean girls will always be mean girls.

5.) Wearing what you wore to bed to school the next day is totally okay. 

 6.) Senior pictures are a big deal for less than a month, then everyone forgets about them and stops caring.

7.) Your first heartbreak is going to feel like the end of the world. 

8.) You don't have to take all the advanced classes to be on the high honor roll and make it into college. 

9.) Not everyone is having sex, going to parties, and doing drugs.

10.) Don't stress about that "one" test. Regardless of how you do, you still have a future that isn't based off of that one calculus grade. 

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11.) You hear about all of these epic senior prank ideas brewing, but no one actually does anything to make them happen. 

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12.) You dream about senior skip day your entire high school life. You tell yourself you're going to do all of this crazy stuff, but you actually just end up using your senior skip day to sleep all day and call it good enough.

13.) Keep up with that dang Career Cruising, because if you don't, it really comes back to bite you in the butt later.

14.) Four minutes between passing periods is definitely not enough time.

15.) High school really does go by as fast as everyone says it does. A week before you graduate you'll be like...

  Mindblown.

Mindblown.

 

Of course, there's so many other little things that I've learned over the course of these 4 years, but I'm not trying to make this post into an encyclopedia. High school has been one hell of a ride. Personally for me, I am ecstatic to finally kiss it all goodbye for good. Everyone has different high school experiences. Some wish for it to never end, and some dream of graduation when they begin their freshman year. These last few days are bittersweet. So seniors, let's make the last few days count, and ladies, don't trip in your high stiletto heels on Sunday!

My Girl

We all know that when Marley in the movie, Marley and Me, begins to go downhill, that's the part of the movie we turn off because it becomes too challenging to handle. It has come to that part in my Nala's life that I wish I could turn off and not watch. She has been steadily going downhill for a while, but yesterday, God really hit the fast forward button on the remote of life for her. I had to say a very heartfelt goodbye to my baby girl this morning. Nala has been in my life for almost 12 years. She has been the greatest dog that one could ever wish for, and as cliche as that sounds, it's 110% true.

The look on Nala's face lately has said a thousand words. If Nala would've been able to talk or I was able to read her mind, it probably would've went something like this:

My snout rubbed up against the crisp blades of the freshly cut green grass that covered Gary and Judy's front lawn. My old sniffer wasn't in it's most prime state, but I could still smell all of the little squirrels and chipmunks that have scampered across the surface of the lawn. Speaking of sniffing, I was getting a glorious whiff of something cooking in the air. What was that? Chicken? No, no, no. It smelled like...turkey? YES. The scent of the meat brewing in the air reminded me of the turkey that I knocked off the dining room table that one Thanksgiving holiday and devoured, and not to mention the package of cheese that was still in its wrapping. It was a lot prettier going in, but not so much going out. (Sorry, Momma)

I began to gander over to where my nostrils were telling me to go, but my hips said otherwise. They have been aching for months now, and I wish I could tell Daddy, or someone...anyone. And that's when they gave out. My bony body collapsed to the grass and my legs sprawled out in all different directions. In that moment, I knew I wasn't going to get their leftovers. I knew that I wasn't ever going to get another piece of peanut butter toast. But most importantly, I knew that my spot in doggie heaven was soon about to become occupied. 

Everyone's eyes were watching my every move. I could hear words like "vet" and "pain", and from past experiences I've seen with some of my other doggie friends, I generally knew that those two words didn't mean anything good. Daddy scooped me up in his arms and carefully placed me in the passenger seat of his truck, my favorite riding spot. I used to love going for car rides, but now it was more of an inconvenience because of my damn hips. 

Momma and Lauryn baby set up a nice bed for me in the living room, and did the same for themselves. Momma brought out her favorite afghan blanket I always saw her snuggle with and made herself as comfy as she could on the couch. Lauryn baby arranged a sea of blankets on the floor next to me. The floor isn't exactly luxurious, but it made my old thumping heart happy to know she would endure one night of it for me. I overhead Momma on the phone using her "I'm talking to someone else other than my friends" voice, so I knew she must have been making formal arrangements for me. Maybe tomorrow I would finally be released from all of this pain I couldn't communicate to anyone.

It was a hot, sticky, and humid night. I tried to keep my panting mouth shut, but I just couldn't help it. My unquenchable thirst was getting the best of me, which resulted in a restless night for everyone in the house. Lauryn baby brought me an ice cream bucket filled with cool water many times throughout the night, but nothing could satisfy my dry mouth. Momma stroked my silky-soft ears all night long. I loved a good ear rub. My family gave me the best pampering and massages one could possibly give. 

The next morning, Momma's phone rang, and again she answered in her formal speaking voice. It was a brief phone call, and afterwards everyone was wiping tears from their eyes, and Lauryn baby was hugging me tight. She left for a moment and came back holding the plastic bag that contained my chewy cookies.

"Mumma, there's one last chewy cookie in the bag." Lauryn choked out with obvious sadness and despair in her voice. She set down the chewy cookie in front of my paws and I graciously began gnawing at my final treat.

After I polished the treat off, Daddy helped me get up, but to my surprise, this time I could do it on my own. He led me outside to give my bladder some relief. I still couldn't squat anymore use the bathroom, so I just had to stand like I normally do. In the twelve seconds I was standing there, I watched Momma tuck in an old bedsheet into the backseat of her car. This must have meant that I was about to go for a ride, hopefully one final ride.

Lauryn baby sat with me in the backseat and rubbed my distended belly the whole way to wherever Daddy was driving us to. My heart began to pick up it's pace, and my panting went from a minuscule level to overboard very quickly. I think Lauryn must've gotten a little car sick on the way there, because she was complaining of how rancid my breath smelled. 

The car finally came to a hault, and the backseat door popped open. Daddy cautiously lifted me out of the back, and I began to roam around a little bit around the ranch style building. As Daddy would call it, I did my little "bunzers" and I was then led into the building by my pink and brown polka dotted collar. 

My sniffer went into full commando mode as I explored the rooms of this familiar place. I think I've been here before, maybe for shots or something else I absolutely hated. A heavier set woman I haven't become acquainted with yet kept calling my name to try and get me to settle down on a fleece blanket she had sprawled out on the floor. I was getting special treatment, that's for sure.  All of the ear scratching, neck rubbing, and kisses were making me feel so comfortable and like I could just doze off and never wake up at any moment. 

After I finally laid down, the heavy set lady shaved a section of hair from one of my back legs. For whatever she was doing it for, I'm surprised she needed to shave a section off at all. My legs had been losing all of the hair on them for months now.  The lady stuck one of those pointy needles into my leg, and I felt the fluid rush through my aching body. Man, it felt quite soothing actually. What was happening?! My pain was disappearing! Who was this incredible woman healing my legs and where has she been all my life? Momma, Lauryn baby, and Daddy's love and passion towards me increased as they sobbed into my neck. My vision was slowly going away, but the more it faded, the more at peace I began to feel. My bloated belly began to feel not so nauseous anymore, my rapid heart beat that always made me so warm was finally settling down, and I began to feel the most alive I've ever felt in a very long time.

All of a sudden, I was hovering over the scene, looking at my people gathered around this yellow lab doggie and showering it with kisses and love as they whispered, "I'll see you soon, babygirl." Daddy had a very broken and depressed look on his face. Was he crying? Yes, Daddy was! I've never seen Daddy cry before, and that makes me sad. I love him so much. I love them all so much. They've been so good to me. All of those times I ran away and was naughty, they never loved me any less. As I hovered over this dog my people were gathered around, I began to think, "Hey, it kind of looks like me!" Well, I'll come back to them later to see what this whole situation was about, but for now, I was going to go run freely for miles on end, chase all of those damn mice that escaped my captivity years back, and let my inner puppy do what it's been anxiously waiting to do for a long time.  

 

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Nala girl, you were and always will be my best friend. I loved coming home to be greeted by your bubbly personality and puppy face. Remember when I went away for that one month a few years back? The only reason I wanted to come home was because I missed you immensely. Seeing your happy tail-wagging self as soon as I returned home made every night away worth it. I could go on and on about everything I will miss about you, but there is one thing I won't miss...and that is your stinky rotten-egg smelling toots. I'm not handling you being gone very well, but I know that we will meet up again someday, and I can hold you for the rest of eternity, blissfully and pain-free. I love you so much. 

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This blog post is dedicated to Nala Wala Ding Dong. Rest in peace, baby-girl. You're free now.  

Christmas in February

4 a.m, up and at em', rise and grind. 

I sprung out of my bed faster than my 7 year old self would on Christmas morning. For only have fallen asleep a mere 5 hours prior, I was more awake than someone who had just chugged a 5 hour energy drink. This wasn't Christmas though. Well, it was like Christmas in my mind. It's meet day; a.k.a, the Whitnall Powerlifting Invitational State Qualifier. Instead of presents neatly wrapped and scattered under the Christmas tree, there was a duffle bag over-stuffed with Adidas powerlifting shoes, Converse, a lever belt, wrist wraps, and any other accessory I probably wouldn't need but packed "just in case" all sitting at the food of my bed. My next sight of attack was the kitchen. I thought to myself, "Thank God I don't have to worry about weigh-ins, because I'm about to eat my own body weight in oatmeal, peanut butter, and eggs." 

And that's exactly what I did. Being the usual Rachel Ray I am in the kitchen, I scrambled some egg whites and whipped up my usual dark chocolate infused oatmeal topped with a crumbly yet deliciously foodgasmic Quest Nutrition peanut butter cup, and a generous tablespoon of whipped peanut butter. 

Now I was reaaalllyyyy rearin' to go. After dashing around the house like a mad woman and yelling at my procrastinator of a father to kick his rear into gear a million and one times, it was 6 a.m, we were finally off. Greenfield, here we come. 

We arrived promptly at 7:15, right before weigh-ins started. The first person I greeted as I entered the doors was my coach, Rg (the greatest guy ever). He handed me my weigh in and attempt card and hurried me off to the girls locker room for weigh ins. You know, you've never been in a more awkward situation when you're at an event you've never participated in before, not knowing what to expect, and you walk into a locker room full of girls stripped down to nothing but their sport bras and not much to show for underwear, awaiting weigh-ins to begin. I guess this was the "norm" at meets, so I played follow the leader and joined the almost butt nakey party. Stepping on a scale isn't something I use as an addiction or fear anymore. I can step on it and see a number that isn't Ed's "ideal", but yet not give a hoot about and carry on with my day. To my surprise, I weighed in lower than I expected. It surprised me because I had not worked out how I usually do all week, been eating the same glorious amounts of food, and been taking it easy. I thought to myself, "So stick that in your juice box and suck it, Ed."

After weigh ins were said and done, I wrote down my first attempts I would be trying for squat, bench, and deadlift (A/N: For those who don't know how a powerlifting meet works, there are three attempts for each category (squat, bench, and deadlift). You submit your first attempts at the start of the day, but cannot write down what you will be trying until you perform your first attempt. You want your first attempt to be something you can easily get in the gym on any given day).

And now, we play the waiting game. I had an hour to kill before warm-ups began, so it was time to initiate the carb-stuffing. My first carb of choice to inhale was a cinnamon raisin swirl bagel smothered in of course, peanut butter. I haven't had a bagel in over 6 years, and it was pretty damn tasty if I do say so myself. Another great thing about today was no food was off limits. I wasn't about to listen to Ed telling me that poptarts, candy, and bagels pre-lift was going to make me fat. No way, not today. I needed the quickest form of energy, and that comes in the form of sugar (no complaints here). 

 Dat raisin chunk doe. 

Dat raisin chunk doe. 

One of the best parts of my day, was being surprised by my grandparents. Both Grandma Judy and Grandpa Gary took their day to come watch my special day, and I was definitely feeling the love.

Warm ups went smoothly, and I was feeling ready to go. Lights, camera, action

Next thing I know, I was chalking up my hands, about to approach the squat rack. My name flashed across the projection screen on the wall. A moment of silence poured over me. I had never seen my name presented on a screen like that before and it was an adrenaline pumping feeling.

"BAR IS LOADED" called out the referee. I sauntered over to the squat bar and lifted it off the rack. Two strong steps back, and my eyes locked with the front facing judge. His hand signaled a downward motion as he called out, "SQUAT". The crowd's gaze was fixiated on me, and the butterflies in my stomach started to party like it was Super Bowl Sunday. I thought to myself, "Stop Lauryn, just do you", and quickly snapped out of it. I took the deepest breathe my lungs could hold, shot my eyes up at the ceiling and descended towards the ground with ease. I sprung back up with no problem and awaited the "RACK" command. The judge called the command, and racked the barbell. I looked at the three unlit lights, awaiting the result. (A/N: There are three white lights at the edge of the platform, one light for each judge. In order for a lift to count, you have to get all three or two out of the three lights to light up white. If you have all three red, it's a no lift. Two out of three red, no lift. However if you have one red and two white lights, it's a good lift.) 

All three white lights flashed, and I smiled with confidence. The crowd cheered with excitement, and my dad's claps were the loudest of them all as he yelled, "YEAH, KABACHIE!" (Don't ask, nicknames are common in my family) and walked off the platform. I high fived Rg, Matt, and Lauren and took a seat, waiting for my squat number two to begin. 

The girls in my flight completed their first attempt squats, some receiving a good lift, some not, and it was time for round two. Squat attempt number two went just as I had planned it, and once again, the three white lights lit up. Feeling ambitious, I submitted my final squat attempt. A 25 pound increase was risky, but I was feeling ready to take it. 

As I unracked the loaded barbell and walked out with it, I could feel the heaviness sink into my trap muscles. I received the squat command, descended, and began to come up ever so slowly. And that's when I got stuck. Mom and Dad were yelling, "PUSH, PUSH, GET UP!!", the crowd was screaming, and I was most definitely pushing myself, harder than I have before. My eardrums started to pop, and that's when I knew I wasn't going to be able to get back up. The spotters took the bar from me and the red lights flashed a no lift. I was pissed. Pissed at myself, pissed that I was so close, but just couldn't get it. 

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 Check out that face. You could put a tomato next to my face and see no difference in our skin tones.

Lauren (a world champion powerlifter that I have the privilege of being mentored by and developing a good friendship with) gave me the pep talk I needed to hear. She told me to give myself 30 seconds to be mad at myself, have a pity party, get over it, and move on. Because if I didn't, it would affect my whole day. That's exactly what I did. Threw my pity party, built a bridge, and got over it. It was time to bench.  

Bench came and went faster than I had thought it would. All of my bench attempts were a success, and my confidence levels were through the roof.  

 

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Deadlifts were the final lift of the day, my personal favorite. I don't know why I like deadlifts so much. Other than the fact they make me feel like a total badass, I just really love them. My opening attempt was 225, and it came up with ease. 

 

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I thought I knew the rules of the USAPL handbook like it was the back of my hand, but missed one thing. I was not aware that you have to submit your next attempt within a certain time limit after you preform your lift. I took too long to submit my next attempt, and was penalized for it. The penalty was not being able to submit the lift I truly wanted. The judges only would let me submit a lift 5 pounds above what I had just lifted. I was confused and angry. After talking to many trusted sources, my final decision was made when Rg told me to skip it. My eyes widened with confusion.

"Skip the next lift? But I want to lift 275 for my third attempt!" I said.

"Then lift it. Simple as that. Why waste your energy for a lift only 5 pounds heavier than what you just pulled? Skip it." said Rg. 

Well, he is the coach of many world champions, so I did as I was told. I purposely skipped the lift, and sat patiently waiting for the third round of deadlifts to begin. 

It was go time. My hands were coated in chalk, my eyes were on the prize, and it was time for the biggest moment of the day. The command was given that the bar was loaded and ready for me. Before I stepped onto the platform, I muted the rest of the world out. 

"This one is for you. Screw you, Ed (except I didn't use the word screw). This is for everything you've taken from me in my life. Watch me finally rise above." I thought to myself. 

Reality resumed, and I was positioning my feet in a sumo stance at the bar. My hands gripped the bar, and I could feel my heart thumping thrugh my chest. I began to pull the bar up, my face turning bright red, pulling harder than I've ever pulled before. I could hear the entire crowd screaming "GO! PULL, PULL, PULL!" Rg, Lauren, and Matt were yelling, Mom and Dad were in the background shouting at the top of their lungs, and I pulled 275 pounds to the top. I held it with all my might and every last little bit of strength I possessed. The judge's hand swiped down as he yelled, "DOWN!" I slowly let the barbell reach the ground, not letting my grip release from the metal barbell. I looked up at the lights, awaiting the result. 

And that's when the best moment of my life began to take place. All I needed were two white lights to make this last lift. 

Thats exactly what I got. 

I threw my arms up in the air and the tears began to flood my bloodshot eyes. I ran off the platform and rushed to Lauren and Rg who hugged me with pride. I glanced over at my parents and sprinted to them. They threw their arms around me and held me as we cried tears of joy. It seemed as if the time had stopped, and we were the only ones in the gym. And in that moment, nothing else mattered. That was the moment I have been searching my whole life for. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and skipping my second deadlift was for this reason, this moment. I haven't been able to say I am truly 150% proud of myself until yesterday, until I pulled what my mind said I wasn't going to be able to. To be honest, I can't even begin to truly explain what that feeling was like to you. It was pure bliss, and what I have waited my entire life for.

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You know that moment on Christmas morning, and you unwrap the present you've been drooling over and dreaming about for months? Yesterday was that moment. That meet was my present I've been drooling over and dreaming about for months. I received fifth place out of my entire weight class, was the only raw (no special equipment) lifter in the entire competition of 220 people, and qualified for the state raw meet. I didn't receive first in their book, but received first in mine. I had gotten here completely on my own. Up until I met Rg about a month or so ago, I was completely self taught. I had brought myself to this point using my dedication, determination, and will-power. Of course, I wouldn't have been there yesterday without my amazing rock of a family, friends, and other supporters.

I have questioned where I am going in my life more times than I can count. I have questioned if I was going to survive my struggle more times than I can count. I have questioned whether I not I want to be on this planet more times than I can count. But you know what? I'm not ashamed of a single one of those times, because yesterday was the answer to all my questioning. My reason, is here. I am finally on the path to finding my reason, and am enjoying the ride. 

Life's a climb, but the view is great. 

 

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A special thank you to my entire family, friends, Rg, Lauren, Matt, and anyone else who has helped me along the way. I love you all more than words can even begin to describe.  

"Gaining" New Years Resolutions

We all know the most common and often pushed to the side resolution after we give in to a sweet tooth craving. That resolution being no other than the the famous, "I want to lose weight!". The gym over-floods with people for about a week, and then bam. People fall back into the detrimental Big Mac trap, losing sight of their goals. 

I also am a victim of the Big Mac trap. However, my Big Mac isn't something you eat, but a voice in the back of my mind telling me NOT to eat. Every year I fall victim to this voice, and every year I make a resolution to go along with what the voice is saying. 

Unfortunately yes, any resolution having to do with changing appearance has fallen on my list numerous times. I've had resolutions such as:

1.) Lose weight  

2.) Have a flat stomach and "get abs"

3.) Be toned (A/N: Don't ever say to me that you want to be "toned". Toning is for copy machines or printers) 

4.) Eat less junk food

 Blah blah blah blah blah. We all know that drill. 

As I have been thinking over the last few days on what I should make as some of my New Years resolutions, I thought, "Has anyone ever made a New Years resolution that is the opposite of losing? What about resolutions revolving around gaining ?"    

Thats right. I'm going to be a badass this year (even more than I strive to be now) and go against the odds. I'm going to focus on gaining this year. 

Not gaining weight necessarily (but if I could grow some hella muscles that would be friggin' schweet) , but instead gaining the following things:

1.)  Self-acceptance at all stages 

This one is a toughie for me. Ed seems to only be content with what I look like when I don't feel "fat". Days where I am bloated, feeling a bit fluffy, or just not very confident are days where I struggle the most. I want to strive to try to accept myself at all stages of the game. Whether it's on a day where I'm feeling a bit under the weather, or a day I feel as fierce as Beyoncé.

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2.) To successfully pull a 300lb deadlift, upper 200lb squat, and 115-135lb bench press

I've gone from deadlifting 135 for a struggling 6 reps, to 225 for 5 sets of 5, squatting 95lbs with terrible depth to 180 for ass to grass reps, and not gonna mention my bench press progress because I have a poverty bench. All this happened in less than a year (thanks carbs). My knowledge with proper form, technique, and breathing continues to expand everyday. I am completely self-taught. Hell, I'm testing maxes on Friday, so who knows what I'll pull! 

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3.) To step outside my comfort zone in college and meet new people 

Being outgoing is hard for me; I've been shy my whole life. It's weird to look back on who I started high school with as my friends, and who I'm ending it with. I would much rather have one true friend, then a bunch of fake ones. So when I venture off to college in the fall of 2016 (yikes, still can't grasp that concept!), I want to step outside my comfort zone and actually try to be social, and talk more than just to my dog (who doesn't?!).

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4.) To focus my energy in places other than gym

Don't get me wrong, I will always find time for lifting, because it's truly my "me" time. However, the only miles my car sees are the ones to and from the gym. I want to be and do more than how I preform in the gym.

5.) Compete in a powerlifting competition

Even though this is definitely already in the works (February, baby!), I would like to take on at least one if not two powerlifting meets. Everyone has to start somewhere, and I want to show the world what I work so hard for.

6.) Have a better relationship with my dad

This one is kind of personal for me, but I learned the hard way that keeping stuff inside is not the answer. My daddy was my best friend when I was little, and I would like to get that back in 2016. We've both changed a lot over the years in both bad and good ways, but I would like to find something to bond over again. (Dad, my non-technology savy best friend, Kabachie misses and loves you). 

Don't ask about Kabachie. My dad has a very creative mind when coming up with nicknames.

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7.) Become more flexible  

If you asked me to do a cartwheel, you'd end up with me doing some type of tumble and a face plant finale. I have tried to be better about my stretching before and after my lifts this year, and yes I have noticed a huge difference in how low I can get into my squat, I'd like to become Elasta-Girl from The Incredibles. 

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Kidding. (Sorta

 

8.) Be more thankful for my body (especially my stomach)

I've put my body through hell and back. I'm the biggest bully to my body lately, and I hate how it's effecting me. Why should I be so mean to the body who held on when I was hours away from dying? My stomach has been my biggest "enemy" since day 1. I'm not sure how to resolve this, but I want to strive to find more reasons to love it in 2016. I want to truly discover the meaning of the quote,"love your body and it will love you back".

9.) Move recovery off of the back-burner

I struggled in 2015 to try and seperate recovery from fitness. Recovery has been pushed to the back burner because it was becoming too hard for me to handle. I believe I'm at the hardest stages of recovery, because I'm finally at the core of it all. Self acceptance. I need to find the balance between flexible dieting (which has saved my life) and recovery.

 

And for the 10th and final goal... 

10.) Actually practice these goals

I think that I am a very good writer, but your fellow blogger admits that she never ever practices what she preaches. As my mom reads this (Hi, Mumma) , she is nodding her head in agreeance. I want to see myself how others see me. I want to learn how to use the coping skills I offer. I want to quiet Ed's voice even more than before. I want to win the battle called life

 

I am more than ready for a fresh start. I believe that 2016 will be the year of a lot of change. Graduating, college, recovery, fitness goals, I am beyond ready for you.   

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Wait, I'm 18?!

The title of this post pretty much says it all. Did I really turn 18 years old yesterday?! 

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Yes. I do still have my Scooby Doo comforter under my real comforter on my bed.  

 

Yesterday was a huge milestone for me. It was my 18th birthday. I'm officially an adult. It still hasn't really hit me that I am 18 now. But really, what does being 18 truly mean? By society's definition, it means that you are now a legal adult and can vote. By my definition however...it means so much more, and yesterday I proved not only to others, but myself of what being 18 meant to me.

My day was filled with lots of new emotions and experiences. I started off my day crossing off something on my bucket list I thought I would NEVER do. 

I got inked. TIMES 2 !

Yeaaaaaaah that's right, I just took my badass-ness to a whole other level. Be afraid.  

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Walking into the parlor, I was all like, "You got dis. You've been through way worse. Hell, if you can have a feeding tube jammed up your nose 6 times, you can handle this".

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And then, I sat in the chair. 

Yeah. The tables have turned for Miss Lauryn. 

I had a grip on my mom's hand so tight that she probably thought she was getting her hand amputated. 

Tears were shed, but they were few and far in between, because hey, I am a... 

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This was one of the two tattoos I  had done. 

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And lemme tell ya'...the second one was a walk in the park compared to the first one. 

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There's a little more meat on my neck than my forearm! 

After everything was said and done, I was one happy camper. No pain, no gain right?! I am incredibly proud of them, and am very impressed with how they turned out. 

All that tattooing and "adulting"  worked up an appetite, and that problem was shortly resolved after a night out at The Depot restaurant.

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The famous hot pretzel. Good Lord. This is every carb lover's dream. 

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I would rather have this veggie burger than a regular hamburger any day. (Sorry Moo-Moos)

And of course, what is a birthday without cake?! 

Well, I definitely wasn't expecting what came out from that kitchen. The owner (Judy, you're the bomb.com) came towards me with an ear to ear grin, holding this glorious candle lit dessert dish. After she placed it in front of me, I realized what it was. 

Drumroll please. 

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FRIGGIN' CHOCOLATE COVERED PEANUT BUTTER PIE. 

An entire dish (personal pan sized) made especially for me. 

The entire dining room sang happy birthday as my cheeks turned red. I blew out my candles, and you know what? I didn't wish for anything. Everything I could've possibly wished for, I had. I was surrounded by the people who truly cared for me. I was spending my special day with the people who made it happen; what more could I possibly wish for?

Naturally, Ed was SCREAMING at me as I dug into this pie.

"You can't eat that!! What are you doing?! All that hard work in the gym, ruined. You already had a good half of that pretzel, the burger, AND fries. Does that pie really taste as good as seeing progress does?"

That's when I decided I was going to finish the whole. damn. thing. 

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My mom's eyes lit up as she kissed my cheek, "I am so proud of you". The guilt was starting to set in, but after a pep talk with Mumma, I moved on. I couldn't un-eat that pie, and everything else, and I wouldn't, even if I could. How many times a year do I eat like this? Am I really going to try and count macros on my birthday? Do I honestly want to look back on the day I legally became an adult and kick myself for prioritizing Ed's rules instead of enjoying heavenly food?

Absolutely not. 

I eat so well, I take care of my body, I lift like a boss, and I love like a lady. I deserved that food. Eating that pie was a big kick in the face for Ed, and a fist in the air for me.

And I mean come on. I am the peanut butter queen. Like I always say, peanut butter does make everything peanut better!

So I think it's safe to say, I had a pretty amazing birthday. I am so incredibly blessed to have been able to celebrate like I did. I never thought I'd be writing this to you tattooed, happy, and let alone...alive. When I was so deep into my disorder, I often wondered how I was going to avoid these kind of situations. The truth is, you can't overcome what you don't face. I realize that each time I do something Ed considers "scary", the easier it becomes to do each time. So with that being said, this week, I will face one fear, no matter how big or small. Any kind of victory is a win in my book. 

I want to say thank you to anyone who wished me a happy birthday, helped me celebrate, and continue to support me in my journey. I am eternally grateful for anyone that sticks by my side (I'm a bucket of sass, so I'm actually REALLY grateful for the people who put up with me!).

Here's to many more milestones, tattoos, peanut butter pies, and victories. 

The First Last Day

I don't care how old I am; I will always have butterflies dancing around in my stomach the night before the first day of school. However this year, these butterflies are throwing a rager party in my belly days before the first day is even here. I've been anticipating this day for years, and now that it's here, I wish I could put it on pause for just a while longer.

I can't believe it. I literally cannot grasp the fact that I am a senior. Me, Lauryn. A big dog at PHS; the highest upperclassmen; a senior.

*gulps*

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You know the future is really happening when you start to become scared. And I am scared. In fact, I'm more than scared. I'm nervous/excited/afraid all jam-packed into one emotion. I'm like, pre-stressed out about the stress that the stress of senior year will dawn upon me. Just like Augustus Waters, I fear oblivion. I mean, if you think about it...that's what senior year really is. 180 days of the unknown. People always tell you all this stuff about what happens/what to expect during senior year...senior pictures, college applications, scholarships, senior skip day, exams, and all the final hoo-rah's and stresses this year will bring. But what they don't tell you is how to mentally prepare for each and every one of these days and events. My philosophy? I truly believe that life is what you make it (also learned from the many many MANY times my momma preached this philosophy to me). I am the first one to know that if you wake up in the morning and automatically decide you're going to have a crappy day...well guess what, you're going to have a pretty crappy day. If you've set your mental state to a negative approach to today, (and if you're stubborn like me), nothing will change it until you decide differently. I'm not perfect, I have days where yes, I do decide it's going to be a crappy day. But hey, I'm only human, and I am perfectly imperfect. 

So many people overload their plates their senior year, only because they think that this year has to be the year they decide what path they're going to walk on for the rest of their life. The truth is, there is no deadline on deciding what is the right path for you (I mean, you don't want to wait till you're in a nursing home to decide you want to become a lawyer either, but ya know what I mean!). Say you've reached graduation day and you don't know what you want to choose as a career. Guess what? It's okay. Say you're not certain on which college to attend halfway through senior year. It's still okay. Everyone thinks that at this point in our lives, we have to have the rest of our lives figured out. It's okay to be indecisive. What's not okay is to be hard on yourself for not taking all of the advanced classes, having a full schedule, and not knowing what salary your future occupation will bring you. Wouldn't you rather wait till you find your true passion, rather than rush into something you're conflicted about just to meet society's "standards"? I know I would, and I am. Create your own definition of success.

As I picked out my first last day of school outfit today, I decided instead of dressing up and trying to put together an outfit to portray me as something I'm not...I'm going to go as myself. Lauryn, the indecisive senior who may or may not be wearing workout clothes everyday to school; the senior who isn't completely certain about what she wants to do with the rest of her life; the senior who never thought she'd make it to her senior year.

 No one really understands how much senior year truly means to me. I've gone from being too physically weak to even get up to go to school, to attending half days, to now living the school days till their fullest. I wasn't supposed to make it to my senior year. I wasn't supposed to make it this far. Hell, I wasn't supposed to make it, period. But here I am, about to begin the final stretch. Here I am, the healthiest and happiest I have ever been. 

So my fellow senior classmates, here's to one hell of a year. Here's to all stages of senioritis. Here's to the future. 

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Good Times and Tan Lines

Long lines, cute little kids running around in swimsuits, tan lines, the occasional cute guy reppin' an impressive six pack, and watersliding till your back is rubbed raw. Perks of living in Wisconsin include being only a couple of hours away from the waterpark capital of the world where you score all kinds of fun. 

Oh yeah. I'm talking about the Wisconsin Dells, babyyyyy!  

Every year, my family takes a three day trip to the Dells as our annual family getaway. We've done it ever since my brother was able to walk, and we had to keep the tradition alive! 

It seems like everything is more fun as a kid. For crying out loud, I would get excited about a trip to Walmart when I was little.

Wait, that's still true. 

ANNNNYWAYS, back to the point. 

The last few years we've gone to the Dells were anything but a vacation. It was more stressful to be on vacation than it was to not be. I would completely freak out about not being able to exercise, not having control over my meals, and basically living in a swimsuit for three days. For anyone who struggles with an eating disorder, it's their worst nightmare. 

Vacation is supposed to be about family, making memories, laughs, and cherishing your time with people who truly matter. But naturally, food comes along with it, and instead of hiding from it like I have the last five years, I wanted this vacation to be different. I wanted to face my fears, let go of my control, take a break from the gym, and count no macros what so ever.  

And that's exactly what I did.   

I experienced for the first time in years, what anyone else would call a normal eating life. I ate when I was hungry, stopped when I was full, and listened to what I truly wanted. I've been counting and measuring for so long, and I guess I didn't realize that I am perfectly capable of eyeballing portions without having to whip out my food scale. 

People always wonder how to stay on track with their healthy habits on vacation. These last three days have taught me its really as simple as balance and mindful eating. The more you overthink it, the more complicated it's going to be (even though it's not complicated at all). For example, I knew that after my tuna, avocado, spinach salad with a side of carrots and hummus I had for lunch, I was going to need some serious carbs.

Cuz' carbs. 

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So yes. I indulged in froyo (all 18 oz of it), sweet potato fries, cream soda (shoutout to Sprechers), caramel popcorn, chips & salsa, and really...anything that was there.  In moderation.

There are 365 days in a year. Was I really going to let 3 of those 365 days be counted, measured, and trained on, when really those  3 days were supposed to be about family, memories, and good times? Of course not.

So I enjoyed myself, my time with my family, and delish food that came along the way. I didn't look at menus online ahead of time, I didn't take any laxatives to make sure I looked okay in a swimsuit, go on a 14 day fast beforehand, or anything like that. I went as myself. The truth is, people don't really care what you look like in a swimsuit. They're too busy worried about themselves. You should only be worrying about what YOU think of YOU in a swimsuit.

So on your next vacation, remember to treat yourself. Listen to your body. Order the first thing that catches your eye off the menu, healthy or not. Know that your goals will be waiting for you at home. Cherish what vacation is supposed to be about, and remember to live a little. I challenged myself to things I wouldn't even dream of doing this vacation. I conquered my fear of heights (after a few tears, heights usually make me want puke) and zip lined 1400 feet across beautiful lakes. I ordered a cream soda as a drink instead of water. I asked for the avocado ranch for my burger instead of saying plain. I went to a vending machine for something to satisfy my sweet tooth even though I just ate my weight in food. And you known what?

I'm still here.  

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Finding Love Within Loss

Life: (noun) The period of time or experience of an individual being alive.

 

By a dictionary, that's what the definition of life is. But life has a different meaning to each and every person you meet. When you think of 'life', what comes to mind? Is it your favorite memories, or the people and places that make up the world surrounding you? Whatever it may be, its what makes your life valuable to you

How many of you didn't gave your parents a hug this morning? Or left the house on a bad note after bickering with your sibling? Or didn't give your pet a kiss goodbye and talked to them like they're a baby? (Don't even say you don't talk to your pets like they're human because that would be a lie.) 

I know I'm guilty of these things, and probably more than I should be. We as humans take everything in life for granted way too easily. You don't think that when your parents drives off in their cars for work that it might be the last time you'll ever see them. You don't think when you tell your sibling to leave you alone that the next day they would leave you alone...only this time they would leave you alone permanently.

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Did you ever think that the things that we take for granted, are the things that someone else is praying for?

"I pray for what I want, but rarely what I have." -Lisa Jo Baker

There was a time in my life where I took flushing a toilet for granted. Yes, a toilet. When I was in treatment, we weren't even allowed to flush our own toilets. So when I got home...you can only imagine how happy I was to be able to flush my own toilet (well maybe you can't, because that's kind of weird if you are picturing that). 

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When loss strikes in our lives, it's like a lightening bolt that shakes the foundation of our makeup and forces us to question if there's anything more we could've done to prevent such tragedy. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Even if you don't see the reason immediately, know that God has a plan. We have no control in that plan. Accepting that not having a say in what the plan is, everything else falls into place.

Why are people so ashamed to cry? Crying is healthy. Crying isn't a sign of weakness. It's the way your eyes speak when your mouth can't explain how things made your heart broken. It's okay to cry. It's okay to be pissed off. It's okay not to be okay. It's part of the grieving process.  Everyone has their own way of grieving. Some shut others out, while some let others in. Either way, you do what works for you. Don't let anyone tell you there's a right and wrong way to grieve. There is no time limit, right or wrong way, or anything like that in order to grieve. However, you can't let yourself stay in the dark hole in which you feel you can't come out of unless your loved one is with you. People find themselves stuck in grief and unable to move on all the time. Sometimes this happens because we're hesitant to give up our grief, even after it's run its proper course. We force ourselves into believing that the pain of the loss is the only thing keeping us connected to our loved one, or to feel happy again we would have to put the significance of the relationship you shared with them behind you. 

Neither of that is true.

Even when the people we cherish die, our relationships with them live on. We still have feelings about them, memories of the silly things they might have done, or things they would've said in a current situation you're in. Just because the pain of their loss slowly fades over time, their impact on us doesn't have to. 

This past week has been a rough one for Sheboygan County. We are grieving over the loss of some incredible individuals. These individuals were all unique in their own way, and left an everlasting impact on all of us. It seems like we only realize how fragile life is when events like this occur. You never think its going to happen to you. This is the kind of stuff you see on the news while you're drinking your morning coffee, not giving it much thought, and proceed on with your day. Are we really ever prepared for death? We may think we are, but you can't tell me that there's one person on this earth that's ever 100% ready to fully let go of a loved one, no matter what state or condition they're in. After attending a candle lighting ceremony last night in honor of one of these individuals, my eyes were truly opened. You could literally feel the love within the group of people there. You know, as much as we all complain about hating each other, we all have each other's backs when things like this happen. We're a family. 

So with all that being said, I have a homework assignment for any of you reading this. I want you to soak this all in, stand up, and go give everyone in your house a hug. Hug them long, hard, and tight...and tell them you love them.

 

This post is dedicated to Eddie, Mr. Slagle, Brianna, and Haley. You all were beautiful people with incredible talents, and will never be forgotten.  You all may be gone physically, but your spirit here lives on eternally. Rest in peace. ♥

 

 

The Big 21

Today is a very special day, and not just for the fact that we are one day away from Friday (even though everyday is a Friday now that it's summer in my book).

ITS SOMEONE'S BIRTHDAY. 

Whose you may ask? 

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THIS SEXY MAMASITA'S.

Yes, you heard me. That babe is turning 21 for the 2nd time (+2) today. Personally,  I think the 2nd time is her best yet. ;)

I don't think anyone understands the bond me and this woman have. It's not just your average mother daughter bond. I mean, I can't live more than a couple hours without having some type of contact with my mom. There's something about being wrapped up in her arms that just feels like home (well that, and she smells really good. SHE LOVES BELARA  PERFUME IN CASE ANYONE WAS WONDERING WHAT TO GET HER). 

We share e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. together.  

To food, 

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To kisses, 

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To memories, 

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(Plus Gare Bare)  ^

 

To everything and anything you can think of. This woman is the reason I'm laying in bed typing this blog post. Not only did she give me life, but she has saved my life, and I am eternally grateful for her. 

I do have one question though. Is it appropriate to make your mom the maid of honor in your wedding? Because when that day comes, appropriate or not, I want that to be my mumma. 

ANYYYYYYWAYS.

Happy happy happy friggin' birthday, Mommy. Today is your day to do whatever the hell you want, so eat all da cake, drink all da booze, and smile all da smiles.   

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I love you to the moon and back, and back again, annnnnd back again, annnd, well okay you get the point. I JUST LOVE YOU A LOT OKAY. 

 Xoxoxoxoxoxoxooooooooo...

-Noini

(It's funny because no one but us will understand what that is, how to pronounce it, or why I said it.) 

Start of something new

First off, I want to apologize for the delayed blog post. A lot has been happening and changing in my life. Not to mention, I'm less than a week away from finals and haven't even started studying yet. 

So if you don't hear from me on Tuesday, it's because I drowned myself in my ten billion pounds of notes and exam prep. 

ANYWAYS, like I said before, a lot has been changing in my life. 2015 has brought me many great things already and we are only a little over 2 weeks into the new year. I could definitely get used to this. And it all started with one woman.

Brittany. Dawn. Aka, the most inspirational, strongest, caring, and determined woman I have ever encountered. 

I have always awed over her Instagram, forever wishing that I could be a part of #TeamBrittanyDawn, envying her proyo bowls with mounds of peanut butter, Oreos, cereals, candy, chocolate, ect; wondering how the heck she stays like a lean bean while eating all of that!

I mean, do I even have to explain the picture above to you? Who wouldn't want to stay lean while chowing down of bowls of heaven? Weirdos obviously.

I'll admit, I was at a low point this past December. My confidence was in the toilet, my gym sessions felt like a job, my strength was at a plateau, my food was the same boring thing every single day, and overall...I was just very depressed. I decided enough was enough. I was tired of eating the exact same things, doing the exact same exercises, and most of all, I was tired of feeling crappy about myself. So what did I do? I emailed Brittany, asking her if she thought she could help me. Well that answer was of course, so I decided to go through and hire her as my 90 day macro-nutrient and personal trainer. 

Brittany introduced me to a concept called, "IIFYM" or "if it fits your macros". Basically, this means that you can eat whatever you want, as long as it fits your daily macro-nutrient split of fat, carbohydrates, and protein. You don't even have to count calories because if your macro-nutrients are in check, your calories automatically add up!

Did this scare me? More than anything. I usually eat clean foods ONLY. I was all like, "what do you mean I can eat Oreos, cheesy popcorn, and still lean out?! "

IIFYM doesn't mean that you should eat crap all day long even if it does fit your macro split. 80% of the day is nourishing, healthy, balanced meals. The other 20% is treats. I think both taste equally amazing. I love the taste of "bro foods", and when you don't have treats all day, it makes that 20% that much more enjoyable. 

I'm currently on day 5 of Brittany's plan and LOOOOVVVVVIINNNNNN' IT! Her workouts are killer, I'm sore as h-e-double hockey sticks, and my food variety is widening. 

 

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Um yeah, oreos are definitely a food group. 

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YES THAT IS BUTTER (Friggin' Blue Bonnet y'all) ON THAT BANANA BREAD ENGLISH MUFFIN WITH HUGE GOBS OF MELTY PEANUT BUTTER. AND AN OREO. AND SUGAR COOKIE TOAST CRUNCH (and my grammar gets really awful when I get really excited so my apologies).

I am so grateful I went through with Brittany Dawn. She is always there for me, and I love her already. Not only is she opening my eyes and changing my mindset, she is helping me prepare for my first ever...

BIKINI COMPETITION ON MAY 2ND! I have always wanted to stand on that stage and show what I work so hard for. I do not care what anyone thinks of me. Do you know how much dedication it takes? This is not a phase, a diet, or anything temporary. This is a lifestyle. My lifestyle. Learn it. Live it. Love it. With that being said, I plan on entering the 2015 WNBF/INBF Pro-Am Central USA Natural Bodybuilding, Physique, Fit Body, Figure & Bikini Championships. It just so happens to fall on the same day as my prom.

Darn, I'll just have to wear a bedazzled competition suit and strut my schtuff on stage instead. ;)

I'm going to try really hard to post more now that I have my writing spark back. Not to mention, food porn to show you all. 

One last thing....

#TeamBrittanyDawn