A former teenage author turned twenty and her stabs at writing life and living to write.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Quarter Life Crisis of a Twenty-Something Is REAL

Let me say this. Mock millennials all you want. Until the sun goes down and yoga pants go out of style. Hey! I'll even join in for a verse of "put that phone back in your backpack or so help me. . ."

But I will say that growing up, no matter your generation, is a difficult time. Maybe that's why it's so easy to poke fun at the rising generation with their misdirection and their superficial emotions and their epic failings. It's not even that the rest of the world doesn't fail; they do. My generation, however, tends to do so with the volume up.

I'm not going to get too introspective and deep here because I think failing and sucking at life every once in awhile is important. It keeps you from having "perfect" syndrome and walking with your arms floating behind you and all the while being completely incapable of understanding empathy. (breath) But does it ever get EASIER? Do you ever wake up and realize, "Oh! I'm still kind of the worst, but by golly I am getting better at failing my life!" (That certainly calls for a ceremonial woot woot)

This last year has been the epitome of my quarter life crisis, and I'm not even sure how or when exactly it began. But it has been something that I have most definitely perpetuated.

I won't get too much into the personal reasons why this year has been particularly difficult, but I will say this. If you see the following symptoms or similar reactions in either yourself or the people you love, you may know someone with QLCS.

I went from a blonde to a "purple-haired freak"
(may or may not be a direct quote)

I bought a house.
And sometimes, I still can't remember what led me to that rather large decision.
On April 1st I started looking (no joke  . . . heh . . . get what I did there . . . Because it's April Fools?)
And on June 10 I signed my closing documents

I went to Disneyland TWICE!
Hahaha jk. This isn't a symptom of QLCS.
It's just plain awesome!

All in all, it has been a year of many firsts. It has been a year of self-discovery. It has been a year of realizing that I don't know half as much as I'd like to pretend.

It was the year I had to paint my wooden fence by myself, and somehow proved that I could do it (nevermind the fact that I couldn't stand up straight for a few days). It was the year my best friend moved out and got married. It was the year I bought not one, but TWO shades of blue lipstick. It was the year I saw a mouse in my house and I considered for a good 30 minutes if I could put it up for sale the next day. It was the year I hired every single employee on my team at work. It was the year I made big decisions; some wiser than others.

It has been a year of pushing people away and slowly realizing those who would not allow themselves to be pushed (I owe you so much). It has been a year of feeling love, but somehow feeling more alone than at any other time of my life.

It has been a year of discovering what a home truly is. Not something you can purchase and move into. Unlike a house, a home comes with something far more unique than that. It's something I've sought my whole adult life.

I have a recurring dream every once in awhile. I'm lying on my mother's bed in my childhood home. She's there next to me as I watch the ceiling fan whir around and around. No words are exchanged, but every piece of me is safe and loved. The darkest thoughts and most terrible nightmares could be stalking outside her door, but I somehow know they can't be let inside.

Since losing my mother as a child, I have never been able to duplicate that feeling of peace except for in one place. In His house. In the place I had the priviledge to go nearly two years ago to receive my endowment. In the place where eternal covenants are made and His love is exponential.

It's not that this realization has dramatically changed my experiences this last year or the pain that has been dealt at times. Nor does it solve the problems still in my way. But it does everything a home should do in that it gives me (and everyone who works to achieve it) a safe place to land; a haven to wait out the storm. A place to refocus and refresh.

Let this, if nothing else, by my theme of 2017.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

New Year Reflections

I don't believe in New Year resolutions. Let's be honest; the end of the year comes after the holidays where we over-indulge on everything from our budgets to our waistlines. In an effort to over-correct, we find ourselves making commitments that we far exceed our true desire to create change.

At the end of the year, we find ourselves thinking back over the things we have done, the ways we have changed, and (often most notably) the ways we have fallen short of our own expectations or guide posts. 

This Year I . . .

Received my endowments in the Draper Temple

Planned a surprise "Dr Who" birthday party for my best friend (with streamers and everything because we're five years old)

 . . . It got weirder as the night progressed.

Nerded it up and went to Comic Con to get my picture with Matt Smith and to prove that I am Whovian enough to brave an enclosed space filled with people who do not shower on the reg. 

(If you don't understand the tally marks, watch Dr. Who. Like now. It will change your life)

Traveled to New York and saw Wicked at the Gershwin Theater

I went to the happiest (and my favorite) place on earth with my best friend!

I marked 10 years since losing my beautiful mother. Not a day has passed since when she hasn't been present in my thoughts. 

After 10 years, my sister and her family moved back from Alaska. I still can't believe they are really here. 

I went to Yellowstone for the first time and discovered the truly putrid stench that geysers let off. 

Traveled to Chicago for work and fell in love with the view from my room and the city in general (what our crazy schedule allowed anyway). 

We visited Sun Valley, where days spent by the pool with a good book were plenty and happiness-filled. 

Received a promotion to Communications Manager at Younique; the result from a long year of ambitiously striving toward that goal. 


Seeing these photos in quick succession (much like you do when scrolling through your Facebook feed), it is easy to assume that my year has been filled with happiness and success. It would be hard to think after reading this carefully put together post, that my life is anything but the depictions to which these images allude. 

Here's the fortunate thing about life; there are always blessings. There are always moments you can pull from a 12 month span that reflect happiness and contentment. There is achievement, adventure, success, love, and many more things to help you realize your life is rich and has meaning. 

What these images don't portray is the very real difficulty that has been this last year; a year full of pain and difficult change. From the loss felt from severing familial relationships to the testing moments of isolation and the very tangible realization of my own shortcomings. I won't share specifics here; it's not the appropriate place. But when the clock rang midnight, an audible "thank you" left my spirit. I was more than happy to say farewell to those last 12 months. 

If I know one thing, it is that happiness and light come from understanding struggle and pain. 

My early teenage years were spent solely in darkness, avoiding anything or anyone that shined too brightly. I despised those with health. I detested anyone that had a mother to go home to. And it almost killed me. 

I can't tell you when it happened, but there was a tangible moment when I realized that the pain in my life was cyclical, and that I had the power to control the spinning wheel. 

Pain and sorrow and trial have many ends; many real and imagined victories. Mine? The ability to truly feel joy and gratitude in a way that previously I could never imagine. 

The difficulty of feeling true failure, for example, only heightens the accomplishment of knowing success. The bitter loss known when someone leaves you only aids in the complete gratitude and love felt when someone stands with you. 

I look toward 2016 with hope and faith. Undoubtedly there will be struggle, but I anxiously await the joy and love and tangible happiness that struggle will unleash. 

May we all have courage to meet it head-first. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Skating with Mom

Sun Valley was my childhood refuge; a summer escape that meant forever wearing your swimsuit and smelling of sunblock and chlorine. It meant leaving school, leaving friends, leaving home and taking the family somewhere they could spend time alone together. It meant the strains of violins and thundering trombones catching our ear as we ate dinner on the deck, shoes off and plates in our laps as the symphony warmed up for their evening performance. It meant blueberry skies that stretched for miles as we hiked, as we walked, as we biked beneath them. It meant the familiarity of returning to the same haunts every year, ones that measured me as I grew taller, as I grew stronger.

I had friends there as a child; the old park behind the staff dormitories, the ducks and swans that frequented the pond outside the Inn doors. The cold stream that ran behind the village shops; my feet would numb as I absentmindedly squished the mossy bottom between my toes. Every year as we returned, the oak trees outside our window grew taller; majestically so. They seemed to protect our annual retreat, and as the imaginative eight year old I was . . . they were ceremoniously named. I know I named one of Herbert (I was strangely fascinated with that name at the time), but I can't remember the other. Either way, I fancied those trees my watchdogs, seeing that we returned every year; noticing the changes in who we'd become in the last twelve months. I'm sure they took notice of my vastly changing hairstyles, the year I finally accepted tomatoes into my diet, the unnatural amount of purple in my wardrobe. I imagined them noticing the years my brothers left on missions, or when my sister stayed back at home to be with her boyfriend.

They watched the year mom came in a wheelchair, and then not at all. That year I stopped imagining the trees altogether.

My first steps taken on the ice were at the skating rink behind the lodge when I was three years old. And those steps were the beginning of a deep-abiding love. And while I could never quite call myself the expert skater, sliding across the ice with the wind lapping at my lips felt like the truest form of freedom. I would glide, then fall. Get up again, and glide some more. Try to spin and crash to the ice. Pat my bruising kneecaps and try again. With my mom on the sidelines cheering me on; clapping at every successful jaunt around the rink and helping me up after every crash. And while I can never remember her ever tying up laces of her own and joining me, she was always there. Always present. Front and center; allowing me to take lessons, watching the Olympic skaters performing their twists and tricks. I'd stare up in amazement, wondering how anyone could turn and jump and waltz with such grace. Mom would only smile and tell me I could be just as amazing as they were. "You can be anything you want to, Laura".

I went back to Sun Valley this Thanksgiving, and it's still the same beautiful place. Blueberry skies and frosted peaks. My nieces and nephews wanted to go ice skating with me on Friday, and I was more than happy to take them. But I had to do something first. So that morning while everyone else was busy with other things (mostly rousing themselves from a turkey coma), I left the room to walk down the road, lace up my skates, and take to the ice alone. Partly because the silence of the cold morning air and freshly sharpened blades cutting through the ice is beautiful. Partly because I'm older now and don't always believe I can be anything I want to be. All I seem to find lately in my life are roadblocks and height requirements I don't live up to. But mostly because my mom was there and I wanted to skate with her; with her and every version of my childhood self that has slid across that icy rink.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Beautiful Truth

This idea I have to share is one that came upon me today with sudden force. It's something really very simple and completely obvious, but also amazing and wondrous at the same time. God loves me.

I could say God loves us, which is absolutely true. But the fact that He loves me so specifically (as He does each of you) speaks volumes as to my potential relationship with Him. My loving Father in Heaven knows my heart, my intentions, my pain, my soul. He knows and could name every tear I've cried, every person I've loved; every breath I've taken. He's seen me at my finest, at my worst, and everywhere in between. And despite everything, there is never a single moment of any day that He doesn't love me with all His heart. Why would I ever give Him anything but the same? 

Like any amazing parent, He not only cares about my spiritual growth. He cares about the little things in my life; the inconsequential things that have little to no eternal perspective. But He cares about them because they matter to me. Meaning . . . 

When I really start to like that guy that never calls back for a second date, He understands.
When I finally get the raise I've been working so hard for, He rejoices with me.
When I pray for the breath to stay out of the hospital and finish my education, He knows how much it means to me.

The thing is He wants to bless us. He doesn't want us to feel unnecessary pain or be lost in some abyss filled with doubts and fear. None of that comes from Him. All He asks is that we follow His teachings, listen to the Spirit. Because that is exactly what brings us those blessings. It's not like He's sitting up there demanding our full obedience or He won't be responsible for what happens to us. This is no ransom demand. Thing is; following the commandments, living the gospel standards. They are the blessings! 

Living our lives free from addictions gives us the freedom of our clear minds and openness for family, healthy relationships, knowledge, and the presence of the Spirit. 

Paying our tithing and fast offerings helps to build churches, temples, and to spread the gospel around the world. How could that not be a direct conduit to great blessings and happiness?

Reading our scriptures and following the leaders of the church? Well, let's put it this way. If I had to walk across a tightrope with a basin of hungry alligators beneath me (I know, slightly dramatic), I would want someone giving me directions on how to get to the other side. Where my Savior would be anxiously waiting, arms outstretched. But I can only fall into them if I make it there and take His hand. Otherwise, I'm somewhere far below; swimming with the alligators. 

I know He loves every single person on this planet as individually as He loves me. And I have felt that love so strong it's unmistakable. But it's been through this past week that I've realized something else. I can feel His love through the depths of my trials. During the most difficult and most frustrating of times, He is there. And His mercies are tender. They won't necessarily save us from the trying moments of our lives, but those tender mercies remind us that we are never alone. He is there.

Trials come from our Savior to prepare us, to teach us, to better us.
Our fear, our pit of darkness that we create while in the midst of them comes from Satan.
Don't let him in, don't let him win. 
Get on your knees and pray.
I need Him every hour. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Shower Monkeys and the Wackiness that is Me

Really, there isn't too much I can say to introduce this video I'm sharing with you. For those of you that know me well, this shouldn't be super surprising. I'm just kind of wacky. So I wrote this song years ago for my nieces and nephews. And while it's changed ever so slightly over the years, the general principle remains the same. And then, well. I got sick yesterday. And I was SO BORED I thought I was going to shoot my brains out. But no. I decided to make a music video for my new single, "A Monkey in the Shower". 

Enjoy, and remember. Sometimes you never know what you're going to find in your shower. :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013


For my momma . . . 

A long bridge stretching
out past the water and misty moon.
She stands at the other side,
hand to her breast and chin to the stars.
Her dress is long and soft and clean.
Her brightness grows in gleams.
Beyond her stretch fields of blooms,
woods with hanging moss and cool sheltered places.
Further beyond the mountains high,
so high they touch the sun
and the sun bleeds light.
Light everywhere
It extends to the earth, to every seed.
It touches the slumbering flea.
It encircles the woman standing still;
her palm reaches out.
I want to run, run fast
into her arms and weep.
But the bridge is worn and tearing.
I take a step, it creaks.
The canyon below is vast,
jagged rocks and shrouds of darkness.
Unable to touch, unable to hold,
unable to see her face.
I’m thrust to the ground
to bury my face and remember
a life that never ceased.
A world that lurks in my mind,
taunting me with time. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Me and Writing... How it all Began

I can't even remember the first time I heard the story of Scheherazade, but I do remember the fascination I had with the whole concept. In case you're not familiar, Scheherazade is the tale of a Persian king, who every night would marry a virgin. After their wedding night together, the King sent his newly wedded bride to be beheaded. A thousand young women he married and slaughtered in this fashion. (You'd THINK that some of those girls would pull a Julia Roberts, tie up their tennis shoes, and run away... but okay). 

Then he met Scheherazade. Against her father's wishes, Scheherazade volunteered to spend a night with the King. (Gotta love the self-destructive types). When she was ushered into the King's chambers, she began to tell him a story. But she stopped only halfway through as the sun began to rise. The King was anxious to hear the rest, so he spared her life one more night so she could finish the tale. But the next night, Scheherazade told the King another story, even more fascinating than the one before. 

This went on for some time. In fact, a thousand and one nights (and a thousand stories) passed until Scheherazade finally told the King she had no more tales to tell. But by then, the King had fallen madly in love with her and made her his Queen. 

Now, just as a disclaimer... I'm not necessarily advocating a husband-finding technique for all you story-minded girls out there. 

But here was the cliffhanger born. 

I've always loved the fascination that comes with a really great story. I know all of you readers out there have found those books that you can't bear to put down; reading every last word as though it were with your last breath. And even you TV-lovers, movie goers, theater majors (see? I don't discriminate), you know the power of strong characters, finely crafted plots, and excellent writing. THAT'S what writing has always been about for me. Finding the stories that bring people to betterness (it's not a word, but go with me). 

To take an adventure.

To share an idea.

To rally for the victory of a beloved character.

To find the ability to better ourselves.

To inspire!

To envelop!

To imagine!

I cannot adequately describe the thrill of creating a name, a physical description from thin air. And then, rather suddenly, that physical description takes shape; an expression appears from the otherwise empty face. A personality emerges from the background of the character's past. And that singular (and rather fictional) being suddenly has more than a name... but a sort of spirit. 

Through that character, you take flight.

You discover the world.

You change the world... even if only in print. 

This may make no sense to some, maybe to most. But every idea began with a word. Every persuasion (both good and evil) started with a thought. 

And for me, the mission of capturing those thoughts, words, and actions into thought-provoking scenes... THAT is the ultimate goal. To create something that could live in the hearts of many and change the life of even one.

THAT is what I desire to do. 

And maybe someday I will be granted that ability.