Life Chats with Feather

Kyle Featherstone and I have the world’s most millennial meet-cute. In fact, we could write a new “You’ve Got Mail” if we wanted to. Highly Attractive Blonde Boy meets Even More Adorable Blonde Girl on the internet and they live happily ever after. That’s almost exactly how this friendship started.

In the years that have followed, I have driven miles, flown in planes and purchased lots of coffees to be supportive of the soul that I have gotten to know. Not only was he dreamy and talented, but, Kyle also became a friend like none other I’ve ever had. He is compassionate, kind, genuine and above all things he is brave. Can I be honest with y’all for a moment? I would choose his friendship a million times over if I could. I stand behind him, next to him, wherever he’ll ask me to in this and all future endeavors.

You see, as growth and change hits all of us so did this wave of ache for Feather. He was evolving. Sometimes, that includes walking away from well worn paths in the familiar ways of touring bands full of friends you love and choosing something new to protect your own joy and goodness. It is a choice that is different for everyone. He was finding new skills and embracing the possibility that comes to all of us post life changes. What do I do now?

As many of you may have figured out, the re-launch is my “What do I do now?” cry. So, I decided that snuggling up with a soulfriend in the name of change was the perfect way to christen the new music series.

It was before sunrise on a cool morning in March when this process started for me. I was stuck. I hadn’t written in months. I hadn’t read anything that sparked my interest. I hadn’t worn makeup in weeks. I was not myself.  It was time to take control of the goodness inside of me before it escaped. So, step one? I opened an empty word document.

I stared at it for an hour. I reheated my coffee twice, pacing my new home for some semblance of the writer that used to live in the woman who lives here. The haiku that came about two hours later went like this:

Coffee cannot wake dreams

lying in unwashed sheets 

Washed in pen’s new dawn.

Now, I’m not a poet, but, it was a start. A flickering, deep start with no full flames. But, flickers are where hope shows the way in the dark.

What do I do now? I read a lot. I listen to almost too many podcasts. I’ve turned to learn new skills (Hello HTML and CSS!) but, I’m still finding my footing. Watching the man I knew Kyle to be recognizing his own greatness has been such a joy. It has been an encouragement to me in my own journey and I hope we can make it so for you!

While I should have called to sing him Happy Birthday a week or more ago, instead I clicked “play” on the remix he did of Lauv’s “I Like Me Better” and y’all, I channel my own mother with pride fueled dance moves! Tammy would be so proud. It’s a freaking great song.

In the last year I have tried to convince the man I will never call “Feather” out loud to do many things.

“Will you produce a song for my wedding to the man I’ll decide not to marry in a month?”

“Will you make a moment for coffee with me when I’m in your city in a month?”

“Will you be my best friend?” He always answers with a joyful, darling “Yes”. This step into his new adventure is that. A joyful, hope-fueled “Hell yeah!” in response to the universe’s “Do you trust me?”

I am so beyond grateful that I get to be a teeny tiny part of this moment for you, Kyle. Keep being great. I’m so proud of you.

Check out Feather’s remix of Lauv’s “I Like Me Better” right here!

 

You are so loved. Go Change the world.

 

xx, Laura

 

The Happy List

It’s 5:30am on my only day off this week. Here I sit, in the dark, staring down a blank word document for the first time in something like seven months. Maybe it’s been nine. I don’t know.

What I am totally aware of while my feet freeze against the tile in my basement apartment is this. You would  have run, too. I think we all would have. I’ll get deeper into the reasons I left the blog to sit someday. But, today we’re going to talk about this one. I was genuinely unhappy.

I had lost my voice, my passion, my drive and sense of creativity while trying to keep up with public perceptions of me. “She’s like sunshine in human form.” “She just gets it.” “She is known and loved by everyone.” The truth is, y’all, I wasn’t. I was working enough that between both jobs and my ridiculously high standards for”finding my tribe” or whatever that I avoided human interaction at all costs. From the months of about May 2017 to  about December 2017  I would go to work, come home, close my door, binge watch Netflix shows I had already seen a million times and eat junk food alone.

Seriously. That’s what I did. I had convinced myself that it was “soothing” and “good for my soul” because, well, going to the gym and getting endorphin highs suck when you’re plus sized and Palsy riddled and that that was everyone’s fault but my own, of course.

During this time I had fallen in love with a man who wasn’t really good enough for me. Not to say that he wasn’t kind, smart, genuine, funny, etc. But he didn’t have the same drive for things  I did and I kept trying to convince myself that I could encourage him to be better. I could set an example. But, instead, I was getting used to his patterns and ya’ll? They weren’t working for me.

There had to be something else. Some other way to make myself feel better, right? Some way to encourage all of the things I missed about myself. Maybe.

So, I started to read a lot more. Self help books, mostly. Books on expanding the joy in your life. Books about people I was aspiring to be.  This little exercise I’m about to do with you is a product of a bunch of things I read. I just sort of smooshed them into the same place and am forcing them to be friends. This is The Happy List.

We all have dark days. We all have days that crabby, biting, mean and grumbly control our interactions with the rest of the world. Trust me, girl. I’m in Customer Service. I’m so aware of this that it’s crazy. Sometimes, that feeling warrants a pretend sick day to sleep iit off and I for one am not going to be the one to tell you that Mental Health Days shouldn’t be more acceptable in the eye of most employers. Mental and Emotional health matter, too.

But what if that’s not an option for you? What if you would rather just trudge through? How do you fix it?

Well, I have developed my Happy List for my moments just as these. So, get out a piece of paper and a pen, or the Notes App on your phone and join me with this prompt okay?

Twenty Things, for less than Twenty Dollars that you can do in less than Two Hours to improve your mood. It works. I promise. Here was the first one I wrote down when I did this exercise the first time.:

Going to a movie alone.

Now, I know we just talked about me spending too much time by myself but, have you ever gone to a movie, purchased popcorn  not had to share!? It’s so freeing. (I save this one for Tuesdays, I get free popcorn and a $5 ticket.) Pick something funny or sexy! IF you’re into scary movies, you can do that too, I suppose.

The point is to create an action plan for yourself in times of crisis.  Little moments of reset. Here are a few of my simpler self-care actions.:

Drink a large McDonald’s Diet Coke in my car and listen to a comedy podcast.

Most of the time this includes seat warmers. “Good Christian Fun” is good if you’re familiar with Christian Pop Culture and like to laugh. Dax Sheppard’s “Armchair Expert” is pretty great.  My friend Keegan and her love for true crime really digs “My Favorite Murder”. The internet is full of amazing intelligent, funny people. Go listen to them.

Do you get the gist yet? Cool. So, here is the rest of my current Happy List. Let me know what makes your list!

  1. Order a fancy coffee at Starbucks as work day fuel.
  2. Take a good book, leave your phone at home, cuddle up on a park bench after work.
  3. Try a new, healthy, fancy Pinterest recipe for dinner.
  4. Buy a new shade of lipstick at the drugstore.
  5. Tidy the apartment while watching Friends.
  6. Go for a walk listening exclusively to songs you can’t help but sing along to.
  7. Go to a movie alone. Don’t skimp on the popcorn.
  8. Take a nap.
  9. McDonald’s Diet Coke and a funny podcast.
  10. Call a friend, go somewhere with great appetizers, split a few and have a good chat
  11. Make homemade pizza for a classic movie movie night. Casablanca wins every time.
  12. Go to a local trivia night and ask a random team if you can join them.
  13. Stretch.
  14. Pack yourself a really fancy, delicious looking lunch.
  15. Go to an open mic night.
  16. Drive to Peoria just for dinner. Anywhere you want.
  17. Take a long shower.
  18. Buy a new book you’ve been dying to read.
  19. Go to Target and buy yourself one splurge item. (It’s always candles or clothes for me.)
  20. Set an early bed time

 

You are loved. You are cherished. We’ll get through this together.

 

 

Re: Solutions 2018

Dear 2017,

You were exhausting. You were two jobs, a car purchase, a move, a death, a visitation, a funeral, very little sleep, a new relationship. You were new eyes. You were the same old desk job and restless feelings. You are the reason I’ve decided to make a change and frankly, I’m really over you.

In the dawning of a new year I’ve decided to make some resolutions that have nothing to do with gyms, makeovers or cleaning house. They are about a clear view of myself and a move back to her. I’ve lost the idea of fun in payment deadlines. I’ve lost the sweet moments of female companionship to busy schedules. I am ready to kick debt’s ass and make new friends. I’m prepping this year to do four things.

  1. Learn to take vacations: Don’t just use my PDOs for boughts of the flu, but long weekends on the couch and TRAVELLING as well! This comes with a caveat. I want to have perfect work attendance in 2018. No call ins, planned days off only.
  1. Kill Debt: I paid off two large credit card balances and a surgery in December. I also set up my Emergency Fund. It made me feel like a badass! I’m going after my student loans next. Sidebar to this one, I’m not going to let paying off debt make me an unfun hermit.
  1. Make my place Home: I moved in November. As much “stuff” as I put in here it still doesn’t feel like a place that’s mine. I will hang art. I will cook. I will play music. I will make myself a bright, cozy home base. Side bar: I will not spend tons of money. I will frame photos. I will make this place sentimental and delightful.
  1. Present Myself: I love makeup. I love doing my hair. I love shoes and clothes and all things. I have gotten out of the habit of dressing in a way that makes me feel good. I’m going to do it! Sidebar: I threw away a lot of my clothes in the move. It’s winter. I now have no sweaters. I have so much work to do!

Tell me about the things you want to do, the moments you’re thankful for…all of it! I’m excited to spend 2018 with y’all!

The Icebox Doesn’t Get Crushes

Science says that the symptoms of love are identical to those of fear. Sweaty palms, hearts racing, Adrenaline junkies of the world rejoice!

I am not that. I am not the hot fearless girl that jumps out of planes. I don’t get tattoos, I don’t go places where I know no one. I am safe. I am perfectly content in the context in which I live. Blogger Babe Hermatige. I like to be alone.

…and then it happened.

I dreaded it. The moment that He Who Shall Not Be Named left me for some good, and some really crappy reasons I was in dread of this.

The heart racing, sweaty palms, stuttering and idiocy of the first post-big-break-up crush.

Jesus, does he have to be so nice!? Does he have to look at me like that!? Does he have to so intentionally be entirely good to me!? Does he not know that I am damaged goods? Doesn’t he know that I have fallen in love and been left? That it’s left me unable to eat less than a pint of ice cream at a time, sleep normal amounts or Heaven forbid see myself naked?

I have been ruined for men everywhere. Forever.

Until I left the bar, got home, took out my contacts, washed my face, threw my bra on the floor, sat down and considered putting it all back on again just to go back there because, I missed him. I missed his presence in my life. I missed his warmth and kindness. I missed knowing that he was intentionally listening for me to speak. At least, it felt that way.

So, now here I sit. About half naked, bare faced and really wanting to focus of the Grey’s Anatomy episode I convinced myself to watch but, instead I’m wondering if he misses me too. If he felt a shift when I walked out the door, if he wants to go home and tell his cat about me. If he has a cat. Does he have a cat? I don’t have a cat, so, I choose y’all instead.

I’m trying to convince myself that to allow that heart flutters is bad. To allow myself to text him is bad. To allow myself to be anywhere near him is bad but, for some reason, it’s the only place a feel the most centered, seen and comforted.

That can’t be bad, right?

 

 

Music Monday with Bo Weber

Upon closing the door behind me tonight, I kicked off my shoes, put the needle to vinyl on some Nat King Cole and cuddled up with good old Earl Grey. It’s been a heckuva day, my friends.

I’ve never written you at night before! How was your day? I hope that someone told you how spectacular you are. I hope that your hard work was appreciated, your smile was useful and your coffee was delicious. You matter so much. You work so hard. Thank you for being you.

Hard days make for sore muscles, tired eyes, and restlessness for me, now. I got lost in the barrage of name calls and rough voices today. Tis the nature of the beast, I suppose.

In the grand scheme of things, I’ve had myself a Monday. Upon clock out, music and softness make for rest. I recover quickly.

My sweet friend, Bo Weber, who you will meet tonight has somehow found a map through the darkest of days. His new album, “Wendy” while entirely beautiful is a testament to the life of his mother, her hard fought battle with Ovarian Cancer and the healing that was left to be done.

I may have put the cart before the horse here. Let me introduce you to my new friend properly…

Even in written forms of chats, texts, and emails, Bo has a joy that is contagious.  We bounced from heavy,  to joyous and back again without missing a beat and for his open heart, I am so thankful.

The vulnerability and openness that Bo exudes in conversation are only amplified in the tender, beautiful songs that he is about to release. I wish so much that I could give it to you all today and we could enjoy it together but, alas, I cannot! You’ll have to buy it!

As a writer, I am a sucker for lyrics. I think you’ve all known that for a long while now. I wouldn’t love a song if the lyrics weren’t perfect. Bo’s read like, sound like, diary entries at their simplest. They are unbridled, filterless confessions of the heart.

At their most complex, they are counselling sessions between a broken heart and a pen. The words themselves mess, mend, clutter and cleanse all at once.  From the deepest of grief to glimmers of hope, Bo opens himself to the world and asks us to sing along. What a treasure.

From great sorrow comes greater joy. From darkness comes light and from silence comes music and dancing. Bo’s album comes in swinging against the thing that his mother fought with grace and hope. Each and every physical copy of the  record goes to fighting in his mother’s place, one hundred percent of the money made from physical copies goes directly to Ovarian Cancer support and research  I am honoured to stand beside him in this fight. You can, too!

Purchase your copy here: http://bit.ly/WendyWeber

Bo and I made a playlist for you to enjoy right here: https://open.spotify.com/user/1218253885/playlist/2qQhpdQrwOinM2cOareEnr

 

Please know that I love you. I am thankful for each of you and the life you let me live through this blog. Thank you, thank you!

 

xoxo, Laura.

An Open Letter to the Next Man I Date

It’s 5:13am on a Thursday morning in Midwestern February. I’m writing now, because, when I’m awake I’m awake and my brain thinks about all of the things I would normally bury beneath busyness before the sun’s awake to shed light on the world I’m supposed to live in.

I want you to know that I pray for you. Not the way that every Christian dating blog post tells me I should.

I pray for your smile. I hope that it graces your face a lot today. I pray for your patience, because, I’ve met me and you’re going to need loads of it. I pray that your meals of the day are delicious because, life’s too short to eat subpar food or drink anything but the best coffee. I pray that you understand the art of swear words. While I choose not to use them for ninety-eight percent of my life, a well-used F Bomb is a thing of beauty.

I don’t care if you love the things I love. In fact, I hope you love lots of things I know nothing about. I want to learn from you. If you’re passionate it I’d love nothing more than to spend time learning. The point of joining lives together it’s necessarily to accumulate duplicate copies of albums. If Wilco sits next to Wu Tang Clan in our record collection, I’ll be entirely happy with that. If reading this prompts you to then Google who Wilco is, I’m even happier. I hope your search has lead you to listen to “Jesus, etc.” I really love that song.

There are a lot of days I think you may not exist. You’re some sort of figment of my imagination that I’ve been convinced is real. Like Santa Claus or the imaginary friends of my childhood. I’m pretty sure the ache in my heart that I feel when I think of you wouldn’t exist if you didn’t. I wouldn’t swoon over your possibility if it didn’t make sense to me.

I apologize for not having more experience before you. I don’t know if that’s silly or not, but, the little experience I’ve had with men that aren’t you have left scars. Even the smallest moments have ruined me for you in my mind and I’m sorry. I’m sorry I kissed the Oxford grad the night I met him. Something about his accent, education and the lonely made me think I could replace you for a moment and I should have known better. I’m sorry I said words that I had saved for you to the preacher. He had me convinced of forever for a moment and took me for a fool with sweet words and grand promises.

I hope you realize that when I say I want to marry you, I don’t mean within moments. I want to spend the rest of my life with just you. That doesn’t mean I’m a crazy person. I’ve never really explained that to anyone before. I’m afraid to date anyone that’s not you. I don’t want you to think that’s commendable. I make more sense like this.  Busy, over-caffeinated, under slept and too damn cute for the rest of the world. I’m sorry that my scars and weaknesses have built walls for you to climb. I’m sorry that I’m going to need so much reassurance. This is the mess the few before you have created and I allowed them to.

I think about dancing with you, sometimes. I’m a terrible dancer. Every musician I’ve ever worked with is well aware of that because, lots of them have seen it. But, it won’t stop me. I should probably apologize for that too but, I have a feeling you’ll get used to it.

I want you to know that I already love you. I am already so swept up in how you love me that I can’t wait to experience it. You are worth all of the dark mornings. You are worth all of the meals for two recipes I’ve been adapting for one. You’re worth all of the Friday nights I don’t spend in bars, and the reason that the ones I do involve working for souls that already respect what belongs to you. They already treat me with love, care and joy because, they want you for me just as badly. (For the record, some of the men are the very ones that scolded me into deleting dating apps. They are on your team. It makes me happy.)

Today, I’m pretty excited for meet you. Take your time getting here if you must, but, I cannot wait for our adventure together. I love you always.

Music Monday! with Kyle Featherstone of The Millenium (the sequel!)

Happy Monday, sweethearts! How are you!? Do you feel well loved and cared for? I hope so! I truly love and care for each of you very very much. Thank you so much for continuing to do this thing with me. It’s the coolest.

 

I have waited months for my darling friends, The Millenium to release new music. Seriously, this feels like Christmas Morning met my birthday and had a baby on the Fourth of July. I’m stoked to let you know that these men have worked impossible, beautifully hard to put out a new full length album and it’s the most genuine, deep, warm and real thing! It’s tremendous and well done, men. I hope you read this and realize how fantastic what you do is.

 

I got to see these guys play four times in 2016, which isn’t too bad considering that none of those shows were anywhere near my home town. I went to Minneapolis, St. Louis, Chicago, Nashville and beyond, all for blog-related reasons (because, y’all, this is my job. You make this my job! HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT!?) but, I couldn’t have miss a chance to wrap my arms around these friends, dance to their music and feel the goodness that is what they do.

 

I have introduced you to my dear friend Kyle Featherstone before here, but, today I hope that you get to know him not on a rockstar swoon level but, on the level that I get to. When Kyle called me Wednesday night, I was fresh out of the Emergency Room, fresh onto some pain killers and medications and he still was kind enough to chat me through his life. Not before he made sure he knew that I was well, feeling up to said life chat and in bed before nine-thirty. He’s a gem. Kyle is good.

 

Good seems so simple for what he is to the world around him. In a world of rushed mess comes a genuine smile and care in brief moments between the busy. That is a rarity. But, it come across in the music he makes with The Millenium, as they build community and safe space for everyone that even eavesdrops on their music, let alone comes to their shows.

 

I have listened to their new single “Midnight Bones” has been playing in my car for almost three days, and you should listen to it, too!

 

You can preorder their new album “But Do We Ever Ask Ourselves?” on iTunes before it’s released on March 10th! It’s great. They’re great. Love them.

 

Also, we made another playlist together! It’s right here: https://open.spotify.com/user/1218253885/playlist/4HIVLV3qbXZrWJ75p7f7kG

 

I love love love you all. Have the most beautiful day!

xx. Laura