College Graduation – One Year Later

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One year ago today, I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.  I have struggled with doubt post-graduation.  My memories are vivid, but emotionally and physically I feel as though those three years never happened.  Sometimes a moment will suddenly come to mind and shock me; my response is “Oh my gosh!  That really happened!”  Feeling like the early mornings and sleepless nights never happened makes me doubt how hard I worked and if my achievement is really an impressive accomplishment.  I look at the people in my life continuing their education, and, in my brain, I look lazy in comparison.  Of course that is ridiculous, but I still struggle nonetheless.

On my first day of college,I spent my one hour break crying in a bathroom stall and telling my parents over the phone that I couldn’t finish.  They encouraged me to at least finish my first day and go from there.  I was focused on holding back tears the entire time, but I did make it through my second class.  The rest of the week was horrible, an experience I will never forget.  I slept on the couch and barely ate anything.  My fear was so intense, it made me physically ill.  It was a “Slower Than Molasses” process, but, week by week, I felt better.  I did not like my major.  There were photographers more experienced than me.  I had formal critiques every week.  Every step of the way, I felt like I was fighting against a wall.  I wanted to be anyplace but there, and yet I refused to let myself fail.  I survived!  I made it all the way through and walked a stage in front of a few hundred people to receive my degree.  It all happened so fast, but it did happen; I have the piece of paper to prove that.

Enough of the self-doubt and self-pity!!  I did not get myself through college.  God and the unwavering support of my family pushed and pulled me all the way to the finish line.

(Image Source: https://goodnessofgodministries.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/i-can-do/)

(Image Source: http://quotesgram.com/ohana-means-family-lilo-and-stitch-quotes/)

Words will never be enough to express my gratitude. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

(Image Source: http://wherebrownmeetsblue.com/2014/11/11/november-11th/)

*** To those of you currently attending college, you are doing great.  Don’t give up!  You can make it through! ***

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(Image Source: http://daily-blubb.blogspot.com/2015/06/shia-labeouf-do-it-motivational-speech.html)

*** To those of you who have graduated college, congratulations!  Please do not doubt yourself.  What you have accomplished took a lot of sacrifice, hard work, and dedication. ***

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Shout out to my fellow “Class of 2014” graduates!!  :D :D :D :D :D

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– Lauren Michele <3

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The Fickle and The Faithful

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Once again I find myself blogging early in the morning about a not-so-pleasant subject.  But, it must be done because bottled up emotions are never a good thing.  This morning I am venting about fickle friends.  OOOOOHHHHH SNAP!!!!!  You are probably thinking I am  calling out someone specific.  These thoughts are inspired by personal experiences, but I am speaking generally.  The first thing I want to address is this:  Everyone has been a fickle friend at one time.  Do not beat yourself up if you have thought badly of a friend, gossiped, yelled, or been physically mean.  Those things are terrible, but what truly matters is your heart and what you do to make things right.  Friendship is a two-way street; if all persons involved are willing to trust one another and fight together, that relationship will last.

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  – Proverbs 18:24

I have lost more than a handful of friends during my twenty-two years of life.  I have grown a thick skin and would even say I have a certain amount of bitterness in my heart towards friendships.  However, I would be lying if I said that losing friends does not hurt me in the slightest.  No one should ever feel like they are convenient for another person.  “Our parents know each other.”  “We do the same activity together week after week, year after year.”  “We go to the same school and attend the same classes.”  I know what it feels like to have compartmentalized friendships.  Once those “compartments” are no longer part of your life, the friendships eventually fade away.  Why?  The convenience is gone, and suddenly the friendships requires effort in order to last.  It hurts to share secrets and fears with someone for a significant number of years, and then one day find yourself on the outside looking in at their life.  No matter how high your walls are and how thick your armor is, the pain of losing a friend will find its way to your heart and sting.  I want to encourage those of you who have had similar experiences and/or feel like you have no friends.  You are not alone!  Do not give up on yourself!  The only people you need in your life are the people who want to be there.  I know this has been said a million times in a million different forms, but it is the truth.  I would rather have one genuine, through-thick-and-thin friend than numerous fake friends.

*** Cue the friendship quotes and gifs!!

My best friend Gabby :) :D :P

My brother John <3 <3 <3

(Source: http://www.prettydesigns.com/25-friendship-quotes-for-summer/)

This is just for laughs because I actually hate hugs.  LOL!

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*Tears*  Disney for the win!

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I hope you feel encouraged.  I will “see” you very soon.  Feel free to leave comments and thoughts below.

Cherish your true friends and no matter what, be a friend readers!

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Debbie Downer

Illustration by Lily Clark                     Clark, Lily. 2011. Web. 16 June 2015. http://www.layouth.com/held-down-by-depression/.

Prepare yourself.  I’m about to vent about some not-so-happy issues.  Me and my mom recently relocated to the west coast to join my dad and brother who had already been living in that area for a few years.  Because of college, the move was stretched out to three years for me and for my mom who selflessly chose to stay behind and help me.  Words will never be able to express my gratitude!  An impending out-of-state move is not easy to deal with while going through undergraduate education.  As if the stress of daily homework and sleepless nights wasn’t enough, let’s throw in living out of boxes and without furniture.  Fast forward to now.  My family is currently sharing a mini apartment above a garage, a space I have nicknamed “The Loft”; it has one main room (a living room, table, and kitchen with no stove), one bathroom, and one bedroom (two small beds).  In case you haven’t already done the math, four adults are sharing a living space meant to comfortably accommodate two people, perhaps two adults and one small child.  I can’t complain because at least my family has somewhere to live.  However, living in small quarters for an extended period of time is not a comfortable situation to be in.  The cherry on top is I have no job, no money, and no car.

I am an introvert therefore it is important that I force myself to go out otherwise I wont do it at all.  So far I am failing miserably even though living like a hermit is sucking the life out of me.  I am pale from not going outside.  I have no physical energy.  I have way too much time to analyze and criticize myself.  I am becoming even more uncomfortable around people.  I am stressed to the point of regular migraines and anxiety attacks.  In a nutshell, NO BUENO!!!  Why the heck am I writing all this down on my blog??  Well, Tuesday was one of those days when I was stuck in the loft working on my laptop and stressing over my current project and life in general.  Also, it was really hot outside, and heat is the worst possible antagonist on a stressful day.   I doubt it is too late for me to get out of this awful cycle, but in my “Debbie Downer” brain, it is.  Being social has not produced positive results in my life therefore I am very cautious.  I am unfortunately comfortable in this way of life, but I know it is not a healthy way to live.  The moral of this story is “Don’t live like a hermit if you have the choice not to.”  The black hole does not magically disappear and replace itself with sunshine and rainbows; it only gets deeper.  Find a happy medium between being yourself and living without regret.  I am going to close with a list of things that make me happy.  Let’s end on a positive note!

– Books –

Bookstore(Source: http://ericsmithrocks.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/gif-belle-books.gif)

Reading(Source: http://cdn1.theodysseyonline.com/files/2015/02/20/6356007252500528281501978539_reading-icarly.jpg)

– Dance –

Dancing 2(Source: https://38.media.tumblr.com/aae44b2e115758ff9f398dafd9d0baca/tumblr_mw9jc58eUV1rk27dgo3_500.gif)

Dancing 3(Source: https://38.media.tumblr.com/6cec61d67499e2f768b5a81978562039/tumblr_mzfcf5cEhA1s2ntk9o4_500.gif)

– Disney –

Disney(Source: http://33.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m3krhzBJEL1r63keto1_500.gif)

Disney 2(Source: http://imgfave.com/view/5795750)

– Fashion –

Shopping(Source: http://s3.scoopwhoop.com/osi/momshop/12.gif)

Clothes(Source: http://media.giphy.com/media/iB37W6VDrWWAw/giphy.gif)

– Music/Singing –

iPod(Source: http://cdn.pigeonsandplanes.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Commute7.gif)

Singing(Source: https://38.media.tumblr.com/189f117354908443e8d52ab73d2517f9/tumblr_mh7c8ceZjz1rrlldmo1_500.gif)

– Water –

Dancing in the Rain(Source: http://media.giphy.com/media/ZotL3kezxlpFC/giphy.gif)

Swimming(Source: http://33.media.tumblr.com/82a0f1d735eb1f001888dc0f4a0c4df3/tumblr_inline_n5heuejuuH1scyims.gif)

I spent the rest of the night playing a video game and watching a movie with my brother so I already feel much better.  Keep moving forward, and don’t look back readers!

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”  – Albus Dumbledore, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkban”

– Lauren Michele <3

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