volume one

me to me: who do you think you are?

Hello friend.

I am really grateful you’re here. This is the first of what I hope to be many letters to you. 

I’m not alone in thinking the past 17 odd months have been life-changing. We have all known sorrow and despair and hopelessness, for a lot of us like never before. Some of us were lucky enough to even find and feel some good in this time too. It took me a while and it absolutely was a rollercoaster in getting there, but I am fortunate enough to be one of those people.

I recently had a breakthrough during a life coaching session where I realised this is the most authentic version of myself I have ever been. I had spent so much time wallowing in how lonely and unsupported I had felt, I failed to realise the positives of the lack of that outside influence. 

Don’t get me wrong, my sadness was (and is) totally valid and part of me is doing this newsletter just because I am like “the world is ending so why not fucking just do the thing?” so you know, I have my days.

The day everything shut down where I live (March 14th, 2020), I was on a plane moving to a brand new city for work and was entirely alone - no friends, no family, no support. The previous day I had gotten a call from my soon-to-be employer letting me know everyone had been sent home to work from there for two weeks (haha) and if I wanted to, I could delay my move as working from home for the first two weeks (haha) at a new company would be understandably weird. I took this call standing in my empty bedroom as the movers had just left with all of my things - so I was going! Two weeks would be fine! (HAHA TWO WEEKS!)

I kind of have a knack for moving to new places and starting fresh, it’s something I am really good at actually -- exploring, meeting people, being a stranger in a city. This time that was not the case.

I arrived to lockdowns, empty grocery stores and no way to find toilet paper or pantry essentials. Fast forward 17 odd months and I still don’t know when I will see my family and friends again. I have sick grandparents I desperately need a hug from, and a one-year-old niece I am yet to meet as all my family are still in Australia. Like everyone, I am missing all the things that usually bring me joy like hugs and karaoke bars and travel. To top it all off I moved to a city where I do not speak the language and due to the constant lockdowns, learning that language has been très difficile. If I do not have a cute convo with a cashier soon I might explode.

HOWEVER, once I had this breakthrough, I realised how many things I had to be thankful for. The authentic me being one of them. It’s little things like not stressing over the pressure of what to wear and just picking out an outfit that best suits who I want to be that day, not taking at all into account how anyone will react to that outfit. It’s the Netflix algorithm being very different than it was a year and a half ago because now I am purposely choosing things that bring me joy (hello sitcoms with compelling love stories!) and not being worried if what I am choosing to watch is “cool” enough to talk about in the office. It’s the way I post, or don’t post, on social media now -- with the intention to be honest and spread joy, without trying to hide behind a fake and seemingly perfect life -- choosing to show my human side and not copying what others do but finding my own voice.

But it goes so much deeper than those things too. I dove so deep into my sexuality, on a solo journey, and I have never felt so rooted in the ground around my romantic or not-so-romantic feelings. (I am a bisexual demisexual, and yes absolutely I am going to talk about my experiences being demisexual in these newsletters and if you ever want to pursue something romantic with me you better believe I am sending you that article I just linked -- buckle up!). 

Some other ways I have tapped into a more authentic me over this time are: finding an online queer community who I absolutely love checking in with every week, re-discovering my spirituality and defining how that looks to me (shocking spoiler it’s not the same as how I was raised), starting a podcast, writing a pilot (it’s a work in progress but she did the thing), joining a writer’s hour every day at 8 am, meditating, moving my body to benefit my mental health and not to fit society’s standards of body image, learning to be more emotionally mature, understanding and secure, getting sober, cutting off all my hair which is something I have wanted to do for a long time but societal pressures scared me off it… the list goes on. I also started seeing a life coach just over a year ago, who, among the many positive changes she has coached me through, truthfully kept encouraging me to write again long before I even considered it. So, add to that list that I found my voice and started writing again.

Essentially this is what I want to talk about in these newsletters. I want to share myself with whoever wants to read it because I am a chronic oversharer, yes, but also the way in which I have grown to be my most authentic self is through following my gut -- going where it’s warm. I hope this weekly mail makes you feel warm. I suggest stepping away from your screen now and going to make your own list of ways you have found your authentic self over this time and if you want to share it in the comments, please do <3

I love you.

Lauren xx

Three things I struggled with this week:

  • Not getting texts back from someone I feel I need to take care of, even from the other side of the world, and sending myself into a spiral that the person was not okay and the worst possible scenario had occurred (they were fine, their phone was broken and they were trying to get a hold of me via other people as they couldn’t fix their phone with the lockdowns). But something shared with me this weekend helped put things in perspective: Learning to be fully self-supporting has never been a struggle for me. The struggle has been to allow others to be fully self-supporting of themselves.

  • Sending myself to bed on time -- just...one...more…episode! I may have fallen asleep on the couch on Friday night.

  • I unexpectedly slept in on Saturday and was really mad at myself when I woke up, as my go-to reaction would be that “I am hungover and wasted a day”. I have been sober for a few months now and after the initial reaction passed I was able to just be grateful for the ability and time to get rest when my body obviously needed it, and then I got up and seized the day. Be gentle with yourself this week my friends, you are doing great.

Three blessings from this week:

  • A text from my neighbour at 8 am saying they left something in my mailbox and it was freshly baked chocolate chip cookies (evidence below). This is not the first time they have done this. I am so lucky to live in a building of pals (the group chat is titled ‘Queers of the Castle’ - iconic).

  • A fresh mani-pedi which has been so missed during the pandemmy.

  • Crossing the two-week-post-second-vax date. YAY! If you can get vaccinated, please, please do. If you are lucky enough to have access to it, you are so blessed.

Three goals for the coming week:

  • To review edits sent by a dear human on my pilot and jazz it the fuck up.

  • Spend more time creating and less time-consuming.

  • When I am self-doubting and second-guessing, in the words of Tranna Wintour - I am going to tell myself “a straight guy would never turn this down no matter how unprepared they felt, so I’m going to fucking do it”.

What I am enjoying this week: Writer’s Hour! It’s a magical and welcoming community and how I found my voice to write again.