No time like the present

I am not the best at New Year’s Resolutions. Coming up with them and sticking to them is a recipe for an anxiety attack, most of the time. For me, anyway. For you, maybe it works.

This year, I mentioned to a couple of my friends that I wanted to hear what their resolutions were, kind of hoping they’d spark an idea in me of a better way to do this whole self-improvement year-over-year thing. They did, but it wasn’t what I expected.

Some of my friends use a different approach to “resolving” what to do in the coming year. They pick a word. Or a phrase, but usually just a word, and use that to guide their actions throughout the year. Everything they do will be with that word in mind. I’d never thought of doing it that way myself, really, because in a lot of ways, I do better with lists. I rely on lists for most aspects of my life. Example: A running list of house projects to do (just crossed one off last weekend), a list of books on Goodreads that I want to get to and might someday (there’s probably 600 on my want-to-read list currently). I even make mini to-do lists in my planner day-to-day and set reminders in my phone with a list of things to get done.

Naturally, I expected what would work best for me for setting goals and a resolution was to keep up that list mentality. Make a list – it can be short – of things you want to accomplish this year. And then proceed to stress about getting the things done on the list and if you don’t by Dec. 31 you’re obviously a lazy failure.

I looked into the statistics a little though and saw that most research says I’m not alone. According to various outlets, an average of about 10 percent of the people that make resolutions actually follow through with them. Cool. Good job, everyone.

All of this considered, I took a few days in early January and thought about what I really wanted and needed in the coming year. And I’d be lying if I said 2020 and all its insanity didn’t play a big part. I talked a little about the challenges from last year and how it changed the way I look at some things in my last post. But I didn’t mention what was possibly my biggest takeaway from the year and how that has influenced me and changed my thinking going forward.

I did tell you that I spent a lot of time at the beginning of the pandemic looking for an end date. I was searching the internet for a news story with a credible source that said exactly what day we could “go back to normal.” I clung on to deadlines our company set for getting us back in the office and watched as they came and went. I online dated because I wasn’t as good at being alone as I initially thought. I stressed about the things that got cancelled, and if they’d be able to happen at a later date, if at all. I wondered and worried what would happen in my company, with my job, what was I working towards?

Y’all. That shit’s exhausting. And fairly unnecessary, honestly. Because you know what it does? It takes you out of the moments you’re in. You don’t focus on or enjoy the present because you’re so worried about the future. And in the end, that doesn’t help anything! You can dread something or worry until it happens and then what? Did that change anything? Nope. You just wasted a few more months fixating on it. And in the meantime, you missed what was/is happening right in front of you.

The day that all clicked was like a switch was flipped in my brain. Seriously. Not to say that I’ll never have my anxiety again about what comes next, what will happen later, what if what if what if. BUT. Holy shit am I getting much better at slapping those thoughts out of the way just about as quickly as they come.

I also saw a quote somewhere – let’s be honest, it was probably Insta – that said “Be where your feet are.”

Duhhhhhhhhh. What? OF COURSE.

It’s the second time in my life that I have been significantly affected by a simple phrase that should be pretty obvious to most people. (The first was in one of my first therapy sessions ever when I worried about everyone’s opinion of me and if they were mad at me all the time and she said: “It’s not about you.” and my life was forever changed.)

But think about it. With social media, and smartphones, and needing to keep yourself distracted all the time (especially in the past year because DUMPSTER FIRE), most of the time, most of us aren’t where our feet are. Not mentally. I think about how many times I have been in a room with people I love and scrolling through my phone at the same time. Not for any reason in particular. Just because. Or I was there but I was in my head about something at the same time — a person, a conversation, a milestone that I had set for myself based on everyone else or something arbitrary.

And then came a year when I couldn’t be in a room at all with most of the people I love. And I realized I’d taken that time for granted.

Where it really hit me though was when it came to my nephews. They are growing so frigging fast. And I don’t want to miss a second of it. So why take myself away from any time with them by not completely, fully being there.

I don’t want to be worried about making more money and having enough to retire or when I’ll get married and have kids of my own when I have two kids right in front of me that want to play and want my attention. Or when I’m with my friends playing Jackbox games virtually, or watching Married at First Sight.

Besides the fact that it takes away from being in the moment, its fruitless. Worrying about money will never stop. Because as soon as you have enough you want to have more. Or your car has a transmission problem and you have to throw all your extra emergency cash at it and drive your dad’s old truck for a week. (First-world problems, I know).

Worrying about when the pandemic will end does nothing but make each day full of anxiety and another day to just “get through.” Before what? Before I go back to being so super busy to stay distracted and forget everything I learned in the last year? (That’s not to say I wouldn’t have liked to learn it without a global pandemic but lemonade, right?)

Worrying about finding/starting a relationship and what that will look like and when I can be a mom doesn’t help anything because how will that change it? My trajectory in that department isn’t gonna look like I thought when I was younger, but I also thought I’d work for Rolling Stone one day. Focusing on wanting another person to…. what? Validate that I’m awesome? Make me happy? Feel like I’m worthy of something? I know, most of the time, that I’m awesome. And worthy. And cute AF. Worrying about a timeline for possible future kids and my ability to have them does nothing but take away mental capacity and time I can spend loving on ALL of the kiddos currently in my life. (Full Aunt LaLa blog coming soon too…)

Also. Damn. It’s a lot to carry and I don’t have to. I’ve gotten to know myself even better in the last year and like I said before, I have to keep working on giving myself grace, and loving myself more.

Because, as my girl Ru says so wisely:

Can I get an Amen?


So anyway. My resolution for the year is to have no resolutions. But I did pick a word. And I’m using that word to influence and inform decisions I make, things that occupy my time, and my mental health. It’s already begun. I have consciously made decisions in the past few weeks with this word in mind, and I have felt better for it.

The word? PRESENT.

Hello from the other side

2021. It’s good to see you. It’s also good to see this blog, which I apparently haven’t updated in almost three years. So consider this a new start in all forms. We’re two days in to a new year and approaching some things that way has already helped me considerably.

There’s not a lot to say about 2020 that hasn’t already been said, and said ad nauseam. It was a pretty shitty year overall in a lot of ways. But the last few days, I have been thinking about it all and reflecting on where I was a year ago and all of the things I have learned and worked on since.

A year ago, I was planning for a good year. I was finally feeling really secure financially, I had ended a supremely toxic friendship a month before and was already feeling better about that decision and stronger emotionally. I was confident that I would be able to grow my skills and talents at work and had discussed my future career plans and goals with my bosses and the CEO. The PTSD from my hellish job before this current one was fading even more into the background. I had trips planned, I was counting the days to being an aunt for the second time. My Special Olympics basketball team was about to start what would prove to be an almost undefeated season and I was feeling good about where I stood with being involved at church and with the youth.

Then came March. As we sat three to an office, my coworkers (friends) and I discussed the possibility of this new virus and what that would mean for all of us. We were told we’d be shutting the entire office down and expected to be working from home for a couple of weeks while things got under control.

You know what happened next.

Y’all there’s normal anxious, and then there’s PANDEMIC ANXIOUS. And yes it’s in all caps because it feels like all caps all the time. Ya girl thrives on predictability, control, and taking care of other people. And this shit took all of that and threw it in a dumpster and lit it on fire.

Before I go further, I want to emphasize that this is my personal experience from the past year and no one else’s. I do not pretend to know how things were for you or your loved ones or anyone else. There are thousands and thousands of people who suffered through much more than my mental health and I did, and I do not wish to diminish that in any way by sharing my experience. I share because writing helps me understand and cope and because I hope in my sharing, others will feel safe to share their experiences and struggles too as it relates to mental health specifically. I also do not write this for pity or anything like that, more for processing, because this is one of the best ways besides therapy I know how to do that.

At the beginning, I wasn’t feeling terribly bad. I’d just had a mini-vacation to DC to stay with my friend Rachel, where we ate, played tourist, watched Netflix and my knee was scarred possibly for a lifetime due to some accidental Parkour. The idea of working from home for a couple weeks was welcomed. I didn’t have to drive across town every morning, I could work from my couch and in my pajamas. As someone who had been running fairly ragged with extracurriculars like coaching and youth group and book club and a social life in general, I was fine with the break, because I figured things would get back to normal soon.

Before 2020, I thought I was an extroverted introvert. NOPE. I’m an extroverted extrovert, it turns out. And after a few weeks of nobody’s company but my own, I was ready for normalcy again. But, again, we all know how that turned out.

My anxiety really started to ramp up in early April. My sister was about to give birth to my second nephew, Benjamin (more about him in a later post, he’s WONDERFUL), things were getting much more serious with the virus, and when the CDC released the list of at-risk people, I realized more than a few of my loved ones met that criteria. As someone who worries about everyone else basically for a living, that sucked.

We all stayed home, locked down, and used all the hand sanitizer and toilet paper we could find. Groups scheduled to tour with my family and I’s bourbon tour company cancelled left and right. Restaurants were closed – meaning they didn’t really need to be promoted on social media. Two sources of income – which kept me financially sound and comfortable – were gone. I started reading the news and consuming any news I could find, looking, essentially for an end date for all this. When would it be over?

My nephew arrived healthy and happy, and we had to wait a couple weeks before getting to meet him. My family was all safe and healthy and I was staying isolated so that I could still see my parents and sister and family.

Derby was cancelled. A summer trip planned to Europe was cancelled. A family reunion for late summer was cancelled. There was a possibility of major changes for a wedding I was set to officiate in October (more on that soon, too). They kept pushing back the office re-opening date.

But all of that pales in comparison to the other major events that took place and changed everything.

In May, news broke in my hometown about Breonna Taylor’s murder. Protestors filled the streets, and soon the world was focused on Louisville. And rightfully so. What happened to Breonna Taylor should never have happened. And her death helped bring to light just how far we still have to go in terms of racial equality. It sparked conversations worldwide and within families and friend groups about race, equality, justice, the law, and more.

I am in no way qualified or educated enough to speak to the issues of racial equality, systemic racism or just about any of the other issues brought up by her killing and subsequent protests. I will say it opened my eyes to a lot of things, made me incredibly angry, and ignited in me a desire to both learn and do better for those who are mistreated by the system, the laws, society and ignorant people. I am just disappointed in myself that it took until now to do so. I became blindingly aware of my own privilege and frustrated that I didn’t know what to do to be a better ally for those of all races, genders, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation.

So I got to educating myself. I checked my privilege, my blind spots, and took a hard look at my own behavior and responses to things. I am not even close to done learning, but I’ve started. And I will continue to learn and listen and do better in any way that I can.

As the year continued, there was more protesting and more virus spreading. It was hard to feel any kind of hope. The Zoom Happy Hours and Game Nights and virtual Scrabble and shit were long over, because why be on your computer/phone any more than you had to. The lines became blurred between work and home because when you work on your couch/in your guest room/at your dinner table, being done for the day is just a matter of closing your computer. And that’s it.

I started long-term dog-sitting for a friend’s pup in July, and while it helped to have another living thing in the house and something to take care of, he also doesn’t speak, so I was still craving human connection. I spent a lot of time with my parents, and with my sister, brother-in-law and nephews. I kept a fairly small group of people in my “bubble” and only hung out outside with anyone else, if at all.

My family and I were luckily able to go to the beach and remain socially distant from people for a week, which provided a change of scenery and much-needed togetherness. My parents and sisters made the tough decision to not attend my cousin’s wedding, where I would be officiating. I made plans to go, but with the caveat that I would not see anyone for 2 weeks after returning and getting tested.

My therapist will ask me a lot of the time in our sessions, “What do you have to look forward to?” And though it was crazy last year, for a long time there were things to look forward to in one way or another – whether it was a book club gathering spread out at the park or a chill holiday celebrated with a smaller group than usual.

And then came late October/most of November/early December. We’ll call that The Spiral. Now there are spirals throughout the year, tipped off here and there from some incident or another. Sometimes they’re ridiculous things (seriously), and sometimes they’re warranted. But this one was a doozy. (Doozie? Who cares.)

I felt it coming in a way – because I always feel the Seasonal Depression start acting up. It’s like clockwork. End of October I start getting really angry at little shit/for no reason. When I realize after two weeks it’s not due to my period, I remember the seasons are shifting and with it my mood. This year, we had the added issue of Pandemic Depression – not knowing when the end of all this would be, missing my people, uncertainty about the future in all kinds of ways. So, The Spiral. I started sleeping more. Napping more. Not caring too much. Sleep was my drug of choice because then I didn’t have to think about anything and would kill some time in the process. I’ll let you guess how that worked out.

It piled up for a while, with a few other outside forces not helping things, until I went over to my sister’s one night. She took one look at my face and asked if I was OK, and I started to get teared up and shook my head no. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I talked to her, I talked to my mom, and I talked to my therapist. I made plans to stay at my parents’ house for almost a week to have company and a change of scenery. I stopped putting pressure on myself to do anything past the minimum it took to survive and get through the day. I watched seasons of The Great British Baking Show for like the fourth time through because it’s comforting as fuck and if you don’t believe me, turn it on and try not to feel all warm and safe and like everything will be OK.

My thinking in 2020 was all over the place. I thought I’d be so much more productive working at home. I’d start writing again. I’d complete some projects at my house. I’d cook more. I’d exercise more. I’d use the time I got back from things being cancelled to refresh. I thought trying online dating during a fucking pandemic was a good idea (get ready for that story soon..). For a couple weeks and in spurts some of those things happened and helped. But then we always ended up back at Square One – worrying about All The Things. Would I be healthy? Would my family be healthy? Would my job be OK? Would my company be OK? Would our family business stay afloat? Do I like being alone this much? Will I run out of stuff to watch on streaming services?

It took till just about the end of the year, but I realized there’s only so much (read: nothing, really) that I can control. What I can control is how I react and respond to things and situations. And some of that requires giving myself some grace.

At our last appointment, my therapist asked me what I had learned about myself in the past year. And it took a minute, for sure. But I think ultimately I learned that I can make it through some tough shit, mentally. (In case that wasn’t evident from THE JOB FROM HELL 2010-2015). I learned that I am definitely an extrovert and a people-person. I learned that I don’t have to do X, Y or Z to have had a successful day, week or even year. Simply making it through is an accomplishment.

I did, however, read 50 books, my Goodreads goal for the year. And I did a shit-ton of puzzles. I also spent an insane amount of quality time with my family, specifically my sweet nephews, that I would not trade for anything. I am so grateful to my family and my friends for helping pick me up all the times I was down, not just in 2020 but always. You all are the very best.

I spent yesterday being surprisingly productive and have set some goals for this new year, keeping in mind that like 2020 showed us, it could all just go to shit fairly quick. But I have learned to be nicer to myself, and gentler on myself, no matter what happens.

Oh and to try and read 55 books this year. BOOM.

Happy birthday, best friend!


Today you turn ONE YEAR OLD! What?! Just yesterday you were our little baby and now you’re a big kid! It seems as if you’ve just gotten here but at the same time, as if we’ve never known life without you!

I’ve been wanting to write something to you on here, especially, to keep and look back on when you’re older and remember this time. But I’ve waited and waited because I wanted to get it right. So here’s my best effort:

Bubs, you have changed our lives. For the better. This past year has been one of the happiest and most fun times in my life, and I know the rest of your family will agree.

Watching you learn and grow and become this amazing little boy has been something I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. You are so happy, and funny, and sweet, and I hope you never lose that as you get older.

I, for one, am pretty obsessed with you. My heart damn near explodes when I see how you react to me walking into a room, or when I can make you laugh, especially those deep belly laughs where your whole face just crinkles and we can see all your teeth.

When you reach for me to hold you, I will always pick you up because your cuddles are the very best. You are such an affectionate boy – one of my favorite things you do  is when someone is holding you, you rub their back, or their arm, or their elbow, or rest your hands on their arms. And you’re always ready to share your food with one of us. Thanks for letting me have a bite of your birthday cake!

I love how smart you are. And how much you love books. I love that you love to be in the middle of the action, and are just as content playing with your toys as you are watching the adults play a game. (Also really excited you’ve caught on to Dutch Blitz in your own little way).

I love your love of puppies and dogs and would buy you the real thing if your parents would allow it.

Little Buddy, being your aunt is without a doubt the best thing that’s ever happened to me (yes, even more than that tweet I got from Chris Pratt, which I’ll tell you about when you’re older and can watch Jurassic World with me). I love you more than words can express and I hope you and I always have the bond we do now.

You are my sunshine.



#tbt: Tales of a second-grade Laura

In honor of the holiday we’re doing this a day early. Check out this journal entry from 26 (!!!) years ago. Note the line near the bottom about how “Some people ONLY get Valentines from their parents.” This is still something I’m working through.

Forever a bookworm

Buckle up for some humblebragging.

I could read before kindergarten. In fact, when I went into kindergarten, I once got in trouble for reading the teacher’s lesson plans. THAT WERE IN CURSIVE.

In first grade, during reading time, the teacher sent me to the class with fourth- and fifth-graders to read with them.

All through elementary school we did the Book-It Program with Pizza Hut where you got a free pizza and stuff once you’d read a certain number of books each month. And guess who was at Pizza Hut quite a lot in those days? Yours truly. Because books. And also because pizza, of course.

So, I’m a bit of a reader, you’d say.

My reading got me in trouble when I was in middle school because I decided to try out some more Stephen King after I’d read his “Eyes of the Dragon” and enjoyed it. The book I chose next? “IT.” Weird, suddenly I’m fucking terrified of clowns forever.

Another time books betrayed me – and actually continue to – was when I went to a bookstore. For as long as I can remember, and before, according to Mom, one thing happens when I get to a bookstore. I always have to poop. (We were done with the humble bragging part, in case you were confused.)

For the longest time, I felt alone in my affliction. Was it the excitement of being in the bookstore that caused it? Was it the anxiety of having to pick just one book out of all of these on the shelves? Was it lactose intolerance? (Probably).

But apparently it’s a legit thing that happens to lots of people. And even has a name.

Anyway. All of this is to say I like books. I like reading. My ideal desert island scenario is an endless stack of books, a hammock and Chris Pratt.

It’s also why one of the things on my Life List is “Start a book club.”

Do you know how hard it is to start a book club? (First world problems, I know, shut up). There’s the finding others as interested as you are, coordinating schedules, deciding on books, deciding on food… it’s not as easy as it seems!

My friends and I have mentioned the idea of starting a book club a few times but it never went anywhere. We would be talking about a book one of us read and then say “Oh we should start a book club” and forget about that thought by the next day. We’ve had unofficial tiny book clubs in the past where a few of us will read a book recommended by another one of us and kind of sort of talk about it in passing.

And book clubs in movies and TV always look so exciting. Like all these friends get together and have wine and snacks and talk about a book – THAT’S THE DREAM.

Around sometime in September, with the threat of winter ahead where nobody feels like doing anything, the book club idea got brought up again. But this time, it became more serious. My friends and I decided to actually make it a thing. Mainly for the food.

We got real official with it, too. We figured out a date that would probably work for all of us, decided we’d all bring food and a drink of some sort, and created a poll filled with suggestions of books we all wanted to read and everyone voted on that month’s winner. LEGIT.

And of course there were rules. Basically we’re like a fight club but with reading.

1. You can’t talk about the book with any book club member until we all meet and discuss.

2. Our meetings have to have food.

3. No new members unless we all approve of them.

4. You have to have finished the book by the time we meet up (we’ve gotten slightly lax on this one a couple times since because life.)

The first book we chose was my suggestion – Samantha Irby’s “We Are Never Meeting in Real Life,” because I’d heard about it from several blogs I follow and on Twitter and it sounded right up my alley as far as humor and whatnot.

Reviews of all the books we’ve done so far are at the end of this post.

At that first meeting, a couple of the girls were sick, but the rest of us met and ate entirely too much food (I still dream about the salad bar that Kristen brought). And then settled in to talk about the book. We started with “Did you like the book?” but by the end of it were talking about much deeper stuff, brought there by some of the things the author had written and other things that we’d felt based on what she wrote and how she wrote it.

You guys, my little book nerd heart was so happy…

I don’t know what it was specifically, or if it was a combination of a lot of things. I loved having this time with my friends. I loved that we’d all read the same book. I loved that it sparked discussions of all sorts. I loved that some of us had different opinions and some of us felt strongly one way or another about things. It made me feel somehow more adult – I can’t explain it.

Since that first meeting, we’ve read four more books. We’ve all had all kinds of thoughts and feelings about all of them and the discussions we have had have been as light-hearted as “How were you picturing this character?” or “Were you pronouncing her name this way or that way when you read it?” to “If this was you though, and your child/mother/friend, how would you have reacted?”

It’s been so awesome. And it’s actually pushed all of us to read much more than we had been before we started the Book Club. It’s like suddenly there aren’t enough books and there are too many books all at once.

And I think doing something for five months straight makes it pretty official, so I’m going to go ahead and say we are official. I mean, we even have a Facebook group and a group text, so…

I highly recommend doing something like this with your friends. Maybe it’s not books you talk about. Maybe its a TV show? Maybe you knit or something? Or scrapbook? (I don’t have the patience for those last two but really appreciate those who do, just FYI).

Whatever it is, it’s essential. I consider this a form of self-care. It’s something I look forward to every month and something that makes me happy.

And I’m reading books I may never have picked for myself, so I’m finding new genres I may like which just gives me that many more books to choose from at the bookstore. Which means I have to poop again.

Book Reviews:

October – We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, Samantha Irby
She’s a good writer, don’t get me wrong, but I finished the book feeling bad for her. It wasn’t because of what had happened to her through her life, it was that she was really sad, or seemed to be. The whole book was so self-deprecating. I don’t mind that, in moderation, but when you seem to dislike yourself that much, how am I supposed to like you? I was disappointed because lots of bloggers and writers I follow on Twitter had raved about this book and I basically just tried to get through it.

November – The Girl Before, JP Delaney
This wasn’t a good book. It had an interesting premise, and yes I continued because Book Club but also kinda because I wanted to know what happened next, but at times it veered into Fifty Shades/Twilight territory and it wasn’t really written well so I don’t recommend. Also, thus far it’s the only book we’ve read written by a male author.


December – When We Were Worthy, Marybeth Mayhew Whalen ⭐⭐
This book was the first one we’d read I liked. It was a decent story, by a much better writer than the previous month. Small-town drama and a couple twisty things I liked, 8/10 would recommend for a beach read.




January – Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I really, really liked this book. I’d read some of Celeste Ng’s writing before, and saw this book on like, ALL the “Best of” lists from 2017 so had high hopes. She didn’t disappoint – it was good from start to finish, and though I had the flu the day the girls met, I was FaceTime-d in for some of the discussion, which was definitely the best one we’ve had since we started the club. There’s some serious, complicated stuff in that book and it was awesome to hear everyone’s views on it.


February – Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat, Patricia Williams
I haven’t started it yet because it’s fairly short and I want it fresh on my mind when we meet for Book Club, which isn’t until the end of the month. Some of the girls have finished it already though and like it a lot, so I’m excited.



Happy reading, friends!

In the Room Where It Happened OR 59 thoughts I had while seeing Hamilton on stage in Chicago

Note: Gifs are from Original Broadway Cast version in New York.

1. Why are my hands shaking? I’m not performing.


3. What if one of them has a sub-par voice? I’ve been spoiled by the original Broadway cast recording.

4. Wonder if they’ll have a female Burr or Hamilton ever… I could totally do either part.

5. Don’t sing along, don’t sing along…

6. What’s your name, man??! ALEXANDER HAMILTON.


8. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a fucking genius.

9. Low-key have a crush on this Hamilton.

10. They need more people in the company I think. Katie and I should go volunteer at intermission.

11. Oh, yeah, I couldn’t dance like that though, so if that’s a requirement…

12. This King George is pretty great.

13. George Washington!!!!!! I think I wanna read a biography about him now.

14. True Life: Hamilton made me more interested in American history.

15. The conundrum of me listening to/daydreaming about being in this show. Do I play Eliza or Angelica?

16. Got-dang, this song (Satisfied) gets you right in the feels.

17. She’s giving up her happiness for her sister’s. She loves her sister. I’m crying. I have sisters. I LOVE MY SISTERS.

18. This is so much better than just listening to the cast recordinggggggg.

19. Wait For It. I think I feel bad for Aaron Burr.

20. This song might make me cry too. I don’t know. I’m just really emotional about being here, y’all.

21. When I do concerts in my car I KILL IT with this song.

22. So this part in the recording always gives me goosebumps, when Hamilton and Washington are arguing……. oh, yep, THERE THEY ARE.

23. My God, I am a nerd with this shit. Sorry not sorry.

24. Stop singing along.

25. Must also stop smiling… my cheeks hurt and my face will be stuck this way at the rate we’re going.


27. Is it too late to start a second career in theatre?

28. How do I get into the cast of this show?

29. Maybe I could just do their social media…who do I talk to about that?

30. Dude in front of us just got up for the third time for a bathroom break – HOW CAN YOU LEAVE THIS?!

31. Oh shit, Nonstop. My other great car concert performance piece.

32. Intermission? Already? How is it already halfway over? It seems so much longer when you listen to the cast album multiple times in a row!

33. OK, I changed my mind, if they had women taking these parts I’d be Jefferson. He’s having the most fun.

34. He also gets the most reactions from the audience…interesting.

35. OK we’re to the Cabinet Battle. I wish I could freestyle rap. Just once I want to go up to someone, rap some insane verse I just came up with off the top of my head and drop the mic and leave.

36. Who am I kidding – I just want to be able to drop the mic one time. On, like, anything.

37. Did. he. just. do. the. Carlton. dance. YES.

38. OK we should be real mad at AHam in this song but it’s a good song. And I’m low-key jealous of the girl playing Maria Reynolds. Katie is too.

39. Room Where It Happens – this is what I’ve been waiting for. Don’t disappoint me, Chicago Burr.

40. This song is about FOMO. I know that feeling. I feel like I kinda have it for being a part of this show somehow. Does that make sense…

41. This is the best song in the show. Don’t @ me.

42. This is living up to all of my expectations and more omggggggggggg.

43. CLICK BOOM. (It took everything I have not to shout that just now…)

44. France.

45. May or may not now be obsessed with George Washington. He’s so fucking good. One Last Time gets you right in the feels. I feel like we should all be saluting him right now.

46. Shit’s about to get real bad. Where’s the handful of Kleenex I brought?

47. Secondhand embarrassment for Hamilton telling everyone in the country about his affair and thinking that was doing the right thing. Yeesh.

48. Burn that shit, Eliza. But also – um, hi, stage people? How do we make sure that doesn’t all catch on fire because it’s looking precarious AF.

49. Yep, crying. And also still slightly worried about the fire in the bucket on stage.

50. Stay Alive Reprise/It’s Quiet Uptown – I am realizing I did not bring enough Kleenex. #feels

51. Can we get back to politics? PLEASE. I feel you, Jefferson.

52. I’m obsessed with this Jefferson. Christopher Lee, you the real MVP of this show.

53. Your Obedient Servant is highly underrated. And, I wish my name was cool enough to be abbreviated like A.Ham. It’s L.Hag. HAG. NO.

54. NO, don’t go, Alex! Stay home!

55. So this kills me. Nobody gets a happy ending in this thing, really. Hamilton? Dead. Burr? Only remembered for killing Hamilton. Sucks all around. I think about this musical far more than I probably should. Nerd. #nolife

56. Chills. Chills. Chills.

57. Oh damn, ok. I didn’t realize that’s how it would end. You got me, Eliza.


59. Um, yeah. When can I see this again?

New year, who dis

I’ve never been one to make a big deal out of New Year’s Eve. Sure, my friends and I have had some awesome parties for it and there was that one time on Bardstown Road, but really, it’s just another day/night for me.

I do try to think of a resolution of some sort – usually involving some sort of cleanse after the massive amounts of eating done during the holidays. And by resolution I mean like 25 things I’m going to start doing, stop doing, or do more of in the year ahead. Because #overachiever.

Then we get to like, day 4 of the new year and I haven’t done any of the things I said I would (or I have even though I swore I’d stop) and the anxiety kicks in. Welp, the year’s a waste. You fucked up. Set the bar too high, try again next year. Because I am nothing if not really easy on myself…

It is fun to go around the room before the countdown begins on Dec. 31 and hear what everyone’s best moment of the year was or what they want to do looking ahead. But for someone like me, who is a ball of anxiety at all times, it can also be a little bit stressful.

Now before you remind me that NOBODY is making it stressful for me but me let ME remind YOU that DUH. That’s what anxiety is. Hi. Welcome.

And it’s not like, the soul-crushing anxiety I get from other things like choosing a good Halloween costume or baking something (more on that here on the blog soon). But it’s me wanting myself to do better. To be better.

Don’t get me wrong, life is steadily improving for me year after year.

Aside: As more and more people I know are joining me in the over-30 club, I am telling them (and meaning it) that my 30s have been so much better and more fun and awesome than my 20s ever were. So, you’ve got that to look forward to, youngins.

But even though life is getting better – I’m getting better – there are still things that gnaw at me. Things I want to start doing: learning how to cook better, taking compliments without deflecting them somehow, giving money to the offering at church. And things I want to stop: being so hard on myself for basically everything, taking other peoples’ bullshit personally, wasting nice days indoors doing nothing.

And I don’t know if it’s the anxiety or the mild OCD or what, but for some reason I seem to get in my head that these things can ONLY be started/stopped at the beginning of a year or else they don’t matter as much. Because I AM THE WEIRDEST.

Here’s the thing though. Couldn’t tell you what my 2017 resolution was if I tried. Maybe I wrote it down somewhere? But I have no idea what my plan was for last year and if I accomplished it. Let’s say I did, just for fun.

I tweeted Dec. 31 that one of my goals for the year was to write every day. I wrote Jan. 1 and 2 but on the 3rd I didn’t make time for it. FAILURE. REDO. START THE YEAR OVER, RESOLUTION IS BROKEN. And that’s when I realized I was going about all of it the wrong way.

All kidding aside – my goal/resolution/what have you, for the past few years has been to take care of me. To get me better – mentally, physically, everything. And that’s been an uphill battle sometimes but I 100 percent believe that the person you see before you today is far and away more healthy than she was a few years ago. I’ll have a story for you soon re: dating that will show you just how much, actually.

I talked resolutions with my cousins and sisters at our family Christmas and everyone mentioned what they were going to try and do or not do this year. One of my cousins said her plan for the year was the same as it was every year – to kick ass.

That’s all. To KICK ASS. Not: “Make sure to eat vegetables with every meal.” or “Go to the gym 4 times a week.” or “Volunteer 40 hours a month.” It was simple. Kick. Ass.

That’s all any of us should strive for, right?

At church recently, the message was about purpose. And getting up every day and saying “Alright, what are we going to do today to live out our purpose?” And he wasn’t talking about your job, or your volunteering or anything like that. He was talking about “What are you going to do today to live out being YOU.” Because that’s our purpose.

And to do that, you have to first be OK with yourself. Be nice to yourself, accept that maybe you can’t do it all. But you can do some. And you can continuously try and get better every day. And that’s a resolution that doesn’t have to start or stop when the date changes.

So, I’m stealing my cousin’s resolution. And continuing down the path I started a couple years back. I’m going to kick ass this year. I can’t wait to see what that looks like.

Reaching the Light

Note from Laura: This post was not written by me. It was written by a very close friend of mine, who is going through a hard time. In the interest of supporting her and supporting lessening the stigma surrounding talking about mental health, I’m sharing it here, with her permission, and actually at her request. She is a fellow writer and understands the power you feel in getting things like this off your chest and out into the world, whether spoken or written or drawn or whatever. I absolutely hate what she’s gone through, but I also completely get it. Depression and anxiety can be debilitating. But you don’t have to go through it alone. My friend’s hope – and mine – in sharing this with you is that if you feel this way, you are not alone. You are not broken. You are not beyond repair. You can come out the other side stronger and you have many who are willing to help you do so, usually many, many more than you know. Here’s my friend’s story.


There’s a quote that I’ve always gravitated toward, attributed to the ancient philosopher Plato – “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” This summer, this quote has been circling around in my head, and I think about it often as I interact with people daily. Because this summer, I have been living this quote.

Three months ago, I experienced a trauma that rocked me to my core and has left me scrambling to pick up the pieces ever since. There were a few minor events in the months leading up to the big one, like small tremors before the big earthquake, that weakened my body’s defenses and made me more susceptible to a chemical depressive episode, and when the big event happened, it was too much for me to handle alone. For the past three months, I have been treated for depression, anxiety, and acute stress as a result of this trauma.

Because of the nature of what happened, I was only able to share what happened with only my immediate family, a few close friends, and my work family. Most people in my daily life had no idea that I was struggling to function at the most basic level. I was fighting a hard battle that they knew nothing about. It’s estimated that one in four Americans will experience some sort of mental illness at some point in their life. Indeed, they fight a hard battle that we often know nothing about.

Depression takes many forms – sometimes contradicting forms – in different people. For me, it slowed my thinking and physical actions, making the most basic chores, like going to the grocery, clearing the dishes, or making a to-do list, overwhelming, frustrating, and exhausting. I lost a lot of weight. Sometimes people – who didn’t know about the battle I was fighting – would comment on my weight loss, making me angry and more frustrated. Although I didn’t really sleep for almost two months, it took everything I had just to get out of bed in the morning. And oftentimes when I did, I would shower and be so overwhelmed that I would just get right back in bed. I would wake up in the middle of the night with this feeling of dread that something horrible was going to happen and be unable to recover from it enough to fall back asleep. The smallest thing during my daily life might trigger a paralyzing flashback.

I found it difficult to be around people who didn’t know what had happened. I think this was because I was worried about seeming distant or quiet around them without them knowing why I was that way. I missed my college roommate’s son’s first birthday party. I didn’t feel up to attending my cousin’s wedding shower. Many times, I had to cancel plans with friends at the last minute because I was having a bad day and couldn’t get off the couch. On my birthday weekend my parents came in town to visit me, but I couldn’t even go to visit with them because I literally couldn’t pull myself off the floor.

I described my depression as feeling like I was in a black hole. It was pitch black, scary, and full of despair. I could see a light far in the distance, but it felt like that light was too far away for me to ever reach. At my absolute lowest, which thankfully only lasted a few days, I felt like I didn’t want to exist anymore. The pain was too great. I went to bed hoping that I wouldn’t wake up. I would never do anything that would put myself in harm’s way, but a part of me hoped that something happened to me that was beyond my control. I had all these people around me to lift me up and support me, but I felt completely alone.

For a long time, I thought that I must have done something to deserve what happened to me. It isn’t that I thought that I was immune to experiencing pain in my life. I volunteer with refugees, and I am reminded often that bad things happen to good people. I spend time with a family from the Congo who spent 20 years in a refugee camp in Tanzania and a Syrian family whose patriarch was blinded in an explosion in Aleppo. I look to these families as inspiration of the resilience of which the human spirit is capable.

I was lucky. I work in healthcare, so I have an above-average understanding of mental health issues. I was able to quickly connect to the resources that I needed to ensure my most speedy recovery. I have an amazing therapist who I see from time to time when I need help effectively dealing with stress in my personal and professional life, and I worked with her and my primary care physician to start an antidepressant that has helped boost my recovery and speed up the process. Weekly, I attend talk therapy sessions, and I always leave them feeling better and more empowered than when I walk in.

I also made sure that the people closest to me knew what I was going through so that they could help me in the ways that I needed, as stubborn and fiercely independent as I am. Relying on others in a time of need is a sign of strength, not weakness. It is easier to withdraw, shut people out, and hide behind depression. It’s easier to try to get better on your own and not be vulnerable. It takes you out of your comfort zone to let people in, to ask for help where you need some. But it speeds up the process tremendously and makes you stronger. I don’t remember a lot from the first month or so. Friends and family would show up with food, giving me one less thing to stress about. Friends were OK with me showing up randomly at their doorsteps crying. They would take me in, give me my favorite snacks, and hold me as I sobbed so hard that I couldn’t speak. My work family helped me lead my meetings and encouraged me to take time off as needed. I owe all of them more than I could ever repay. These few sentences don’t begin to comprehensively list the ways that my loved ones were there for me.

Again, I’m lucky. I knew exactly what I needed to do – and who I needed to turn to – when I needed help. Most people with depression don’t seek help for years, either because of the stigma attached to mental health issues or because of a lack of knowledge about how to get started. That’s why I am sharing my story, to hopefully create purpose for my pain. If someone is struggling with depression, anxiety, or stress, there is no reason to treat it any differently than if it was kidney infection, a broken arm, or diabetes. Mental health is physical health, and it is time we start treating it as such. By not sharing some of my health issues, I only contribute to that stigma.

I wish I could write this solely in the past tense. I wish that I could say that I am past the depression and everything is perfect now. I’m past the worst of it, and things continue to get better. But it’s not a linear process. Which is particularly frustrating to someone as goal-oriented as I am. It’s frustrating to feel like I’ve reached a milestone, only to slip backwards a moment later. Some days I take a step forward. Some days I take two steps back. Still others I leap 10 steps forward. Ultimately, it takes time, diligence, and trust in the process.

I still struggle to trust happiness. I now realize how quickly it can be taken away, without warning. There are moments when I’m unguardedly happy, and then I realize that I’m happy and instinctively pull back, so that I’m never again blindsided when it is taken away. And then I have to force myself to let myself experience the happiness. But I will get there. I am resilient. This battle will be won.