Lot 48: i am strong

March 19, 2015

i am strong

hey hey hey!! it is you are beautiful linkup time!! today i have a really really special story for you.  it's kind of a long story but a really really good one and a story i really need to tell so hang in there with me okay? please?

 all growing up, i was a homebody.  in high school, my parents would give me a curfew and i would always come home early.  when i got home, my dad would look at me and say "what are you doing.  go out and have fun."  i would respond, "i just want to go to bed." we had yearly choir trips where we went up north for a few days to sing at different places, go ice skating (because where i grew up was a desert, no ice skating there) and do service.  i got out of it every single year thank goodness.  my homesickness was a crushing weight on my shoulders. i would get a panic attack if i was told i had to go on a choir trip or anywhere else.  it was more than a crushing weight, i just absolutely could not be away from home.  

even in middle school, it was much much worse.  i had serious separation anxiety and absolutely could not go to a sleepover.  i tried so many times but always called my mom to pick me up by like 11 pm because i was so freaking homesick.  

every summer, my church would do a girls camp trip.  5 days of being away from home.  i couldn't handle it.  i always came home early or begged and begged and begged not to go at  all.

so as college approached, i had no freaking idea what i was going to do.  but.  but but.  the summer between high school and college, i performed in a prestigious repertoire regional theater where performers came from all over the country, and a lot of them from broadway, to be in two plays for the summer.  we did les miserables and the sound the music. (btw i have never seen the movie version of les miserables because my cast is the best cast of that production to ever happen to the world, and i won't suffer through anne hathaway trying to be fantine because, just no.  when i say "my cast" i'm really talking about the other people, not me.  i was just ensemble, come on.) we alternated nights so my dad joked non stop "don't forget what show you're doing! don't put on your hooker costume for les miz when you're supposed to be a nun!" it was a problem.  at the beginning of les miz, i was a hooker, at the beginning of the sound of music, i was a nun.  but that never happened, the only thing that happened was a costar started putting on her nun costume on les miz night and i told her "katie! it's wednesday! you're a hooker today!" 

you're probably wondering what my point is.  my point is that i got to interact with all these amazing people from all walks of life.  people who had no homesickness and lived in new york and went to NYU and had been on broadway.  being with those amazing people made me yearn to leave my hometown and go to college.  it completely changed me.

given my serious homesickness, my parents and i decided that i would go to college just an hour away for my freshman year, to see how it went.  it went really well.  homesickness cured.  after my freshman year, i was accepted into a show at the amusement park up north.  4 hours away from home.  i had also decided to transfer college to the university of utah, 4 hours away from home.  

and away i flew.

fast forward 3 years. 

i was on my study abroad in london and was not homesick in the slightest.  in these past few unemployed weeks, i have been seriously taking a look at myself.  i keep saying i want to be the person i was in london.  she was sweet and didn't make a big fuss when her 3 roommates skyed with their boyfriends until 3 am.  she went with the flow, she put relationships other her own comfort.  she never wasted a single day in london.  she explored, she pushed herself out of her box as far as she could.  she had wings.  she was brave.  she was thousands of miles from home and didn't care. 

on my study abroad we had one travel week where we could go anywhere we wanted, but we just had to be back by saturday by 10 pm and you had to go with at least two other people.  3 girls from my group and i went to rome.

and then it hit.  

homesickness struck so hard and so fast it knocked me down.  i remember sitting at breakfast on our first morning there and having the biggest knot in my stomach.  in the past, when i have had homesickness strike, i would ignore it and it would usually go away.  so that's what i did.  i remember this trip in such detail, i remember every moment, every smell, how each ancient ruin felt on my hands.  my dad lived in rome for 2 years and all i heard about growing up was rome.  my mom would make spaghetti and he would put on his shirt that had the rome flag on it and speak italian as we ate.  rome was where i had wanted to go since i was a little girl.  i remember looking across the breakfast table at one of the girls while she was eating a croissant and thinking 'i am in f***ing rome.  i have wanted for as long as i can remember i am finally here.  shut up, push your homesickness away and enjoy it.  who knows if you will ever have this chance again.'

so i did this.

i enjoyed rome.  every feeling i had, i pushed it so far away it couldn't touch me.  i smiled.  i remember feeling a literal shock run through my hand as i touched the colosseum.  the colosseum.  touching it after looking at so many pictures of it, of dreaming of being there for sooooo long, the feeling was indescribable. 

i remember so clearly, freakishly clearly, walking across the street to this ruin and calculating in my head how far away from home i was.  i nearly fell over, i really did.  i was so. far. away. from. home.  i missed my parents so much in that moment it hurt.  it physically hurt.  i thought about how i would get to utah from rome.  how long the flight would be.  wait.  i didn't have the money for that.  so i walked across the street and took this picture.  suck it homesickness.

but then it hit again.  the girls wanted to go to this restaurant that was very far away from the colosseum, it took us about an hour to walk there. i was frustrated and hungry.  we ended up not finding the restaurant and went to one that didn't have english on the menu and nobody in the place spoke any english.  one of the girls spoke a little italian and looking back i feel bad about how much we relied on her for translation.  she managed to guide us through the menu a little bit and we ordered, having only a slight idea what we were getting.  we asked for water but they brought us sparkling water.  ew.  so i walked my glass to the bathroom several times to fill it from the tap.  

walking home, we walked along the river above, but above the river on the sidewalk.  i walked ahead of everyone, sobbing my heart out.  i was so far away from home.  i missed my parents.  i wished they were there.  skyping with my mom leading up to the trip, she told me how tempted she was to buy a ticket and come with me, but that she wanted me to have my own experience.  rome is her favorite city in the world. i sobbed and sobbed as i walked in the dark, so far ahead from the other girls i felt alone.  

we got lost going back to the hostel.  it was getting so late, we had walked so many miles, i was so tired, i started to brazenly show how annoyed i was.  i was rolling my eyes as they tried to figure out where we were, i wanted to get a cab, they didn't want to because it was expensive.  really, i was being a brat.  and to this day i feel badly for how i acted in that moment.  i knew i was being a total brat so i switched.  one of the girls was engaged and i knew she missed him desperately so i asked her questions about him, what they did on their first date, how he proposed, etc and tried to be a cheerful addition to the group as we walked another hour back to the hostel. 

that next day we were going to go to vatican city, and i was so excited i only slept four hours.  i tried everything to go to sleep but ended up watching only you on my phone (i think i watched it like four times while in rome at night and on trains because, duh, it's set in rome) but in the morning, i was miserable.  i was soooooo tired.  i even had the thought that i would go back to sleep and meet up with them later.  that thought didn't last very long because i was in rome and what crazy person would miss the vatican city because they were tired.  we walked an hour to the vatican and i drank so much diet coke that day.  in the sistine chapel, i pulled a piece of my hair and put it on the floor so a piece of myself would remain (for who knows how long) in that incredible, (there are really are literally no words to describe) the sistine chapel.

i think the purpose of this really long story (so sorry) is that you never know what you can do.  you never know the strength inside you.  you never know what you are capable of.  i'm writing this story right now because i need to remember, to remind myself in this time of miserable unemployment, that i can do hard things.  i have done hard things.  i forced myself to pick myself up in rome.  why should now be any different?  i have a husband i want to make happy.  i have a wonderful, blessed life.  i have an apartment i love and a really comfortable bed and despite tight finances, we always have food on the table.  we are somehow paying our bills.  why can't this be rome again?  i've thought so much about this story last week, and it resulted in the easiest week i've had since i lost my job.  and it's because i picked myself up.  i remembered what i am capable of.  

i was so homesick in rome it hurt.  i didn't know how i was going to get through those three days.  i just wanted to go home, to utah.  but by the end of the trip, i wanted to go home, to london.  london  was my home now.  

and let me tell you, i enjoyed every single second of that once in a lifetime trip.  

and now, i'm enjoying every single second of my life. 

now linkup below and grab the button!! tell me how you are strong, beautiful, tough, smart, etc.  help us create a positive and uplifting atmosphere of self love! 

the next linkup will be april 2.  

Lot 48


  1. The part of this story that stood out to me the most was when you realized you were pouting walking back to the hostel and you turned your mood around and asked the other girl about her fiancé. Only someone with a genuinely good heart and positive outlook would do that (:

  2. You have such a great spirit and can overcome anything, I love this!

  3. I love this, Lauren! You are amazing! And you CAN do hard things!

    Such an amazing trip. I can see why you fell in love with London. I wish I could have spent more than three days there. Some day I'll go back!

  4. Hi Lauren! Whilst I have unfortunately never been to Rome! I face the same, but different struggle. We have been living with my mother n law for three years! (hopefully to be out by this summer!) Every single day is a struggle. You really don't know how strong you really are until you are faced with something, you think you can't handle! Loved the post!


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