Lauren: Part 2

“I wish I could call you. I wish you were still around.”

Those were the words I heard coming out of my car’s speakers the last time I passed her house.

My Spotify was on shuffle. I had not choose the song. I had not planned to go by her house. I was just on my way somewhere else, and where she lived happened to be along the short cut – the short cut she had taught me – to where I was headed. It was all totally random. Totally coincidental. But it didn’t feel like it.

It felt like Spotify was being a dirty, dirty bitch. That’s what it felt like. I didn’t even realize what song was playing on my stereo until that exact moment when I passed her house. I was just day dreaming, enjoying my drive, and then I heard those words. When I did, I looked right, and her house was directly alined with my car. “Motherfucker,” is what I probably mumbled afterwards, half-chuckling at the incredible life fuck I just received.

You can always count on the good ole occasional nut punch from the capital-B life.

Wait; shit, my bad. This is all near the end of the story about her. I’m an asshole. Let me rewind a bit and tell you what happened after that first night with her before you all mutiny me.

Although you really should’ve guessed where this story was headed if you’re any good at being a pretend detective.


If things we’re only as simple as one night.

If all you needed was a feeling to make everything all right and to never have to worry about anything ever again. If all you needed was somebody. If all somebody else needed was you. Man, life would be awesome if all that were true. Unfortunately, life isn’t that simple. It’s a category-5 shit storm that teaches the best of us that we’re never fully in charge. It’s just life.

Goddamn I’d give anything to be back in that redneck campground with her. Just living in that moment. Having everything be so simple again. Having everything I ever wanted back again.

My heart screams for her just thinking about it.

It didn’t end after one night though don’t worry. We did date for a few months afterwards. Fuck, if that would’ve been the end and had she disappeared or something after that, I probably would’ve spent the rest of my life looking for her. I’m not sure what happened next is any better.

You see, timing is everything my friends. Our relationship in the months that followed that amazing moment with her – the moment that changed my life – was a mix of the most amazing feelings and the most debilitating all at the same time. Lauren was as hard to love as she was as easy to want.

When we met she wasn’t yet 21, so she had all sorts of ideas and plans and experiences yet to be had. Things I was never intended to be a part of. And even though love shouldn’t have been an obstacle to all that, it (I) was.

I’ve realized the hard way that certain plans just have no way of not being a distraction if you don’t see them through.

I knew this all to well myself, as I had actually just come out of a similar phase in my own life. Spending almost my entire undergrad experience in college being wild and crazy and void of responsibilities so that I could get whatever it was at that point in my life out of my system and move forward. So that I could be okay with moving on to adulthood basically.

I put aside friends, girlfriends, and life in pursuit of this sole mission –  to give those years pure hell. To live every image of college life I had ever seen or dreamed of. And I did. And if she had come into my life at that point, then I too probably wouldn’t have been able to handle the responsibility of her love because I wouldn’t have been ready. Trust me, I had a really awesome girlfriend at the time and I was a terrible partner to her.

So even though her circumstances were different, I could see a similar writing on the wall with Lauren because even during the incredibly amazing times we had together she would frequently say stuff like, “This can’t be real.” Constantly stopping herself from being fully present in the moment, and saying in effect that this couldn’t possibly be the end of her road when she had yet to travel. And it didn’t really matter where she wanted to go, I knew that those plans were without me.

Man, it was pure torture to hear those things from her and have her resist what I knew she felt too in those moments. To have such amazing feelings and chemistry; to have my heart feeling like it was ready to explode only to have to suppress it right before it burst. And it wasn’t even that she didn’t feel what I felt too, she was just in awe as I was at times with what all that was going on, stopping instead at times to say something like, “How are you doing that?”. But she wasn’t at a time and a place in her life where she could allow those things in her head and heart to solidify – to become a part of her. She needed to do more first. And because of that she also neglected my own feelings and affection because she could not appreciate them by default. It was a true roller coaster of love.

So in effect, as hard as I tried to ignore the signs with her and hope for otherwise, I knew she would eventually have to be set free in order for her to find any absolution in her life. For her to choose me too like I had no choice but to choose her.

And I really didn’t have a choice. After that moment with her I was infatuated. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I didn’t want to leave her. Everything about her awakened something new within me. The music she listened to was like discovering what songs had been playing in my head for years, the things she did (hiking, learning, exploring, etc.) were all the simple things I had forgotten how to do, and the way she looked at life was so innocent, naive, and beautifully attractive that I found my soul begging to let go of my own artificial existence to join in.

If any of my friends are reading this now, they probably realize they have a lot of me to thank her for.

Even her body was the most attractive body I have ever seen. She was the only women I’ve ever been with that I can honestly say I never even cared to glance at others when I was with, because she was the epitome of attraction to me. Not because I’d never seen or been with women who on ‘paper’ or in photos weren’t prettier (I mean I already said that it wasn’t love at first sight), but because of all that she made me feel. And that’s just it, she made me feel. That statement probably says more about her than anything else, because it would be a long time before I myself was just able to just feel on my own.

Despite all this though, there was just no escaping that she wasn’t at the same place yet in her life yet (no one ever really is) to allow for the same. So I knew it was only a matter of time before the inevitable had to happen.



Knowing all this though and accepting it are too different animals. Knowledge is a bitch.

Another part of the whole problem I think was that her mother had married young and that this created this understood desire for her daughter to have a different set of experiences in her life. To see and do and be much older before she decided to settle down. Not bad advice, but definitely not helpful to my cause. I almost even felt in a way that her mom may not have even wanted her to have the need for someone else. That she wanted her to become her to own person first without being held back by someone else. Once again, not bad advice, but not conducive to our happy ending.

I tell yah, to be the barrier to everything you could ever hope for in life is a unique feeling. To have everything you ever wanted right there in front of you and to have it want you back but not be able to give to you completely until you are out of the picture, that is a motherfucker. All that being said, and despite all this reinforcing what I already knew, I still tried to make it work for a long time and allow myself the idea that I could just put up with only receiving a fraction of what was there in order to have those rare moments together when she forgot how to resist or do what was expected. When I was able to experience the most amazing feelings in the world and have what I wanted more than anything else – her. It was almost worth it too.

Eventually though, I could no longer escape the reality I was in and what had to be done. I had to love her by letting her go. Some say that is the greatest form of love. But letting everything I’d ever wanted go, everything I honestly could have never even imagined go, in hopes that it would one day return, that was the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with in my life. And that’s saying something.

But before I go on though, I want to make sure I tell the whole story of her, so I want to stop here and say that that decision wasn’t totally of my own doing and that I was nudged a bit towards making that decision by someone else.

Right as I was nearing that decision to go forward with letting her go and in allowing her to do what she needed to do, one of her best friends told me that Lauren herself had told her that she was thinking of ending it soon.

I’ve never really known if that’s true, partially because Lauren told me afterwards that she would’ve never broken up with me, and partially because I later realized that that friend had an attraction to me as well – an attraction that she later tried to (and did) do something about – but regardless of whether it was true or not, being told that definitely forced my hand to move forward with that decision. Because if she would’ve been the one that ended it, that would have altered the way I had envisioned everything going down and how the fairy tale story of her eventually coming back to me one day unfurled.

So, I broke up with her.



Chapter 4 – mini me

Chapter 4 – mini-me

I’ll be honest, I kinda liked mini me growing up despite all that ridiculous machismo I tried to exemplify. I was incredibly raw and wild and free and happy, and the world to me held countless possibilities. There was no can’t in my vocabulary, and I honestly believed I could do anything I wanted to. I even thought I’d end up being President or something one day. Hey, not too late right? I mean if an inmate in West Virginia can get votes… Continue reading “Chapter 4 – mini me”

You Don’t Need Permission

You Don’t Need Permission

I thought long and hard about publishing this post with nothing but that headline.

In some ways I think that may have even been the best route to go. Who knows, but you’re going to get a little more detail as to what I mean by that anyways. Continue reading “You Don’t Need Permission”


An edited version of this article can now be seen on the Menprovement website by following this link

“I think people are obsessed with comfort to the point that they forget, if you don’t have any discomfort in your life how do you know when you feel good?” – Gary “Laz” Cantrell (Co-founder Barkley Marathons)

It’s time to get uncomfortable.

As the manager of a small circuit training gym I know that whenever someone walks through the door of the gym for the first time that the person standing before me is the result of a life; a life that has been led up until then; a life that is more or less comfortable to them, and that it’s going to take a whole lot more than diet and exercise to change that person into who they want to become. It’s going to take a new life (something very uncomfortable). But I never tell them that. I don’t sell ‘new lives’. Continue reading “Comfortable?”

Chapter 3 – All-American Boy

Chapter 3 – All-American Boy

Isn’t that pretty much all men?

That’s a question/statement I’ve gotten from a lot of women when I talk about my previous inability to be emotionally attached or available. As if they all are secretly head nodding as they relate. I think most women in America in fact have just accepted that we American men aren’t going to be someone they can count on to talk to about their feelings, or to share our own thoughts with (least expect more than a head nod or occasional glance up from our electronic devices while doing so).

To have a man voluntarily talk about his feelings in fact, would probably cause a member of the opposite sex to wonder if a pig is flying gleefully through the air somewhere. Yet, it’s the polar opposite if we were to turn things around and talk about women under the same premise. Continue reading “Chapter 3 – All-American Boy”

Real Love Songs


Featured photo via

Love Songs

Like many people I love a good ballad or some soul engulfing love song that promotes all the feels. A song you can turn on when you just wanna be engulfed in every little feeling like some giddy school girl. Orrrr, one of those songs that comes on your stereo and you swear your stereo is trying to fuck with you. Regardless, I’m not sure all the traditional sappy tunes we typically listen to really represent what real love is like. The I will always love you’s (don’t you dare talk shit about Whitney) of the world are far more Disney fairy tale than reality despite how much we adore them. Real love, or just our experiences with love in general, are far more complicated. Continue reading “Real Love Songs”

Art (is for pussies)


I abruptly made an audition the other night for a local TEDx event. Although it was a wonderful experience and I gained a lot from it, I had not planned on talking that night. I didn’t even have a speech lined out (outside of a few abstract ideas that had been rolling around in my head). I was just there to check out the competition and get a better feel for the formatting of TEDx since I was under the assumption I would be auditioning the following week.

I was wrong.

Long story short, I thought I was registered for the following week and I was not. However, there were a few no-shows that night, so I had the ability to just go for it willy nilly.

Continue reading “Art (is for pussies)”