LIAR, LIAR

I often like to reminisce about the time in my life that I was a bold faced liar.

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At six years old, I stood on my chair during show and tell and “told” that I had been adopted from Romania.

A couple years later, I remember telling the neighborhood boys that I was deathly allergic to crickets. In the summertime, my neighbor Bond would pick them screaming from the trees in his yard and throw them at me. “I’M ALLERGIC,” I would shout as I ran back to my driveway.

Soon after that age, it just became a cheap trick for boys’ attention. I recall telling people that Michael Jackson was my cousin. I would carry my my Fisher-Price cassette player around the neighborhood blaring “They Don’t Care About Us” feeling the emotion and anger of every line, because we were blood.

I told a boy in my 5th grade class that I owned every book in the Goosebumps collection. I told kids on the playground that my aunt would stay up late to watch QVC so she could snag those very rare beanie babies for me (something she in fact did do, but they were typically not very rare, and they were for her own daughters). I logged onto those early AOL chatrooms proclaiming I was 15/f/FL, when in fact I was 11/f/TN.

My lies were quick and to the point with little to no other details divulged. I thought the life that these lies played out in was more interesting than mine and it took a while for me to figure out that I was just young, obscenely bored, and didn’t know that things would get better. I would have real stories to tell one day. And good ones at that.

At 27, I have stories that sometimes I think can’t possibly be true but they are, and they happened to me. I have stories about a young child like spirit that has followed me around my entire life, a story about my neighbor’s house burning down in the middle of the night while my nocturnal duplex-mate tried to put out the fire in her pink silk bathrobe and garden hose, endless stories about my paralyzing fear of the post office. I have stories from my time battling insomnia that caused me to have hallucinations so real that I thought I was losing my mind, stories of getting pulled over going 20-mph over the speed limit but getting let off with a warning because the cop just so happened to be the brother of my tattoo artist. I have stories of love at first sight.

These are my bar stories. The stories I yearned to have as a child to tell on the playground but had little to no life experience. These stories mostly make people laugh, which I found out as I got older was all that mattered to me. I didn’t need boys to like me and I didn’t need to fit in in every crowd, but I did need to know that I could make people laugh, make people think, make people feel. I wanted to know that I had an affect on someone’s life; that my stories mattered.

At 27, I know they do and those stories are mine to tell.

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WRITING FOR DUMMIES

Since childhood I’ve held the term writer on a pedestal high above my potential achievements. A term only reserved for the published, I thought one couldn’t simply become a writer through just…writing.

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When I was a young it was all about writing and poorly illustrating children’s books (and journaling ala Harriet the Spy, of course). In middle school I finished approximately one chapter of a ‘chapter book’ I titled No Perfect Angel, a story of a young woman struggling to balance being a perfect daughter and becoming a popstar. Original.

Online journaling became a thing in highschool, then morphed into blogging, which I took seriously all through college. I thought I had found my place posting photos of my ootd (outfit of the day) and taking part in tiresome weekday themes like Monday Musings, What I Like Wednesday, Flashback Friday. I look back now and can’t begin to find an ounce of my own personality in those blogs.

Today I write a little, but not nearly as much as I want. There’s lots of unseen notes on my phone, endless Moleskine pages, I sometimes even record myself in the car when I have the urge but can’t get things down on paper. I lack structure certainly and I could gain from revisiting The Elements of Style, but the fire burns. So, I’ve set myself up for 30 days of essays. #essayaday is what I am calling it, because every 30 day challenge deserves a hashtag. My only rule is that I give it a solid 250 words. No topic is off limits. I plan to post some here (yesterday was my first), though I think most will stay private for now.

And for the curious, here are some female essayists and titles from my bookshelf:

Not That Kind of Girl – Lena Dunham

Sister Mother Husband Dog – Delia Ephron

I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being A Woman – Nora Ephron

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays & Stories – Marina Keegan

 

ALL AT SEA

Spending a week in the middle of the ocean with no cell service or internet will prove to be difficult but necessary when you are one of the average Americans that spend over four hours a day staring at your phone.

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Being quite literally all at sea recently has given me a new found appreciation of being disconnected. Disconnected from the jealousy pangs, the dirty laundry rage, and the general malaise felt when scrolling, scrolling, scrolling every free second of every single day. Even my unfree moments, err while driving, were spent scrolling when I could have been doing something productive, like watching the road. I scroll when watching TV, I scroll when on the toilet, I scroll when having conversations with other people, I scroll and scroll and scroll at night until I’m two hours past my bedtime and feeling anxious that I don’t have any house plants to take photos of and my bedroom isn’t painted matte white.

Consider me a convert. I’ll use my fingers for other things in my spare moments like turning pages of a book, organizing all the drawers in my house, and keeping my manicure somewhat groomed. I’ll use my eyes to watch the white dashes pass on the road, to look people in the eyes when I speak to them, and to take in the blue sky on a perfect Spring day.  I’ll use social media as a platform to share when I feel like I need to share. I’ll use it as a tool to keep up with people that I don’t get to see and talk to. I’ll use it as a source of inspiration free of judgement, free of condemnation, and free of comparison.

Our lives are not meant to be measured against another’s. Our lives are meant to be all at sea, taking in life’s pleasures and pains, figuring out where to turn your sails so you might get back to land, if only for a while to rest your eyes and feel the sand slip between your fingers.

OH, YOU AGAIN?

I literally forgot this little corner of the internet existed. Literally. How is it that we forget about things we used to love so dearly?

The last time I wrote here was nearly two years ago and my life looked different through those old lenses (even though I am technically still wearing the same glasses). Reading back on old entries I can see where I have grown and where I have settled. I can say I am very satisfied as things stand today in March of 2016. 2016 really looks like the future when you write it down.

I work for an advertising agency now, redpepper, in a position that I didn’t really understand in the beginning that I am now beginning to craft into my own. I work around insanely creative, smart, talented, driven humans every day. I let it get me down the first year and now I’m turning that fire into my driving force to just be a better me. 110%. Marinade in it, tweak it a little, and grow grow grow. In fact our whole motto is Hustle & Grow. I can’t say I’ve ever been good at hustling, but hell I can strap on some high heels for a few hours!

My latest adventure in hustle is my self induced slavery to all things fitness. I work out often, I count macros, I read labels, I spend my extra money on gym clothes, I drink less, I eat more of the right foods, and by golly – it’s actually working this time! I am actually sticking to something and seeing the fruits of my labor. I run faster, I feel better, I look leaner, I lift heavier, and I generally like myself more because I finally feel productive. I am finally keeping a long awaited promise to myself. I only had to fall off the band wagon 152 times and I am certain I will fall again in the future, so allow me to revel in the glory while its mine. I’m headed out on a cruise to Mexico in May so I can only hope the glory shall be mine until then.

I guess I leave you now with hey, what’s up, hello. I’m Lindsey Stout. A 27 year old modern day cross between Amanda Bynes and Daria. I live in Nashville with my 3 year old (maybe) Maine Coon, Dunkin, that was found in a dumpster at Dunkin Donuts and it certainly shows. I like to read, eat Mexican food, & I’m obsessed with the internet. My boyfriend is a traveling musician and I like to believe that I am fiercely independent and matured. In reality, I still call my mom any time I have a random life question like “what aisle is the lemon juice in?” and I am not above making my dad pay for my meal every single time we ever eat together. I like to write essays about religion, human rights, and goals that I never accomplish. I also write about coping with general anxiety disorder. It’s actually so general, there’s not even a cure! Just like the common cold.

Anyway, I hope you’ll come back. I have lots in store for you. See you around.

Meh.

Blah Blah Blah, 2008, ink on paper, 11 x 8.5 inches

I’ve been struggling a lot lately with where I am at and where I want to be. My mid twenties have been tough to navigate thus far. I’m constantly making up my mind about something then changing it a day later. I find myself feeling less confident in my abilities, my opinions, my self. I set goals & fail miserably at accomplishing them. I proclaim major life changes and make all these plans only to let them collect dust in the journal next to my bed.

I’m happy with my body. I’m unhappy with my body.

I don’t hate going to work. Yes I do.

I can definitely save up for a down payment on a car. HA what a joke!

I’m a great partner to my boyfriend. I’m failing in every aspect.

It’s like my brain’s main prerogative is arguing with itself, so in turn I am crying out for validation in every area. Tell me I’m great! Tell my I’m doing okay! Tell me I’m on a good path! Tell me anything at all to reinforce my existence and value and worth. It’s absolutely exhausting and turning me into the type of person I can’t stand being around. And for a girl who spends the majority of her time alone, not liking yourself is getting a little unnerving.

I’ve improved so much in some areas, but as those areas improve, others start falling behind. I’ve been able to gain control of a lot of nervous habits that I have had for years which I am extremely proud of but now I find myself wanting to sleep more, eat more, and exercise less. I’ve exchanged one bad habit for a different set. Despite accomplishing something, I feel horribly unsatisfied still.

I’m beginning to understand the idea of being able to have it all, but not all at the same time. I’m chasing everything all at  once and I don’t know how to slow down and focus on one thing at a time.

Can we just fast forward to 30?

STL

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Last weekend, for the Fourth of July holiday, my bestie Kayla & I traveled to St. Louis to visit our dear friend Shanda who moved there a couple years ago for a design job. It was such a treat getting out of town for a long weekend and exploring a new city! Shanda lives in the Central West End area – a great place for eating, shopping, & lounging at Forest Park (the most beautiful park I have ever seen!). We ate at restaurants with sidewalk seating and explored little shops. The houses around that area were our favorite part. So much interesting architecture and beautiful gardens right in people’s front yards! We took a trip downtown for brunch at Rooster and to get a look at the famous Arch. We also spent a little while in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. I honestly didn’t even realize basilicas existed in the states. It was such a wonder seeing the huge tiled murals on the ceilings and the ginormous statues all around. Definitely recommend exploring this place if you are in the area!

photo 1Exploring Central West End

photo 1 (1)Fireworks in front of the St. Louis Art Museum

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photo 4Lilly pads at Forest Park

photo 2 (1)Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

Monday it was back to the real world where work was tough and money is tight. Luckily today is FRIDAY and I have a whole lot of nothing planned for the weekend except lounging by the pool & watching lots of movies. Looking forward to having my babe back in town for a couple weeks. We haven’t really had a weekend together this summer so we have plans for the drive-in and Rock Island next weekend! Counting down the days…

CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL

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My sweet parents

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Alexis & Justin at East Side Hootenanny

This weekend was the chicken soup my tired soul needed. Despite getting zero sleep over the weekend due to my A/C going out at my condo, I welcomed Monday morning with open (tired) arms. Ready to be productive and feeling a sense of peace. I’ve slowly been getting back into running. Exploring the streets around my complex and treating the exercise as a service to my mental health instead of my physical fitness. Fresh air is sometimes the only therapy we need.

This week brings about a chance for big change in so many ways that I am crossing my fingers for. A little travel too, as I am heading out to St Louis on Thursday to visit a dear friend for the 4th celebrations. How can life be bad when you’re surrounded by people who love & support you?