Episode 16: Dance in the rain, stay to smell the petrichor

In which our protagonist speaks to herself and asks to be released

Dear Past Lauren,

Hello. I hope you are doing well. I remember those days, being you, and I remember there being not so many good days. So I hope this letter reaches you on a good day or at least shows you that there are good days to come.

Beautiful soul, I wanted to thank you for all that you have done for me. Your decisions, your behaviours, your actions have made me who I am. Sure, it was difficult sometimes - heck, a lot of the time - but you got me through it and here I still stand, telling tales of your bravery and wisdom. I am incredibly grateful to you, and I honour and appreciate the sacrifices you made for us both.

But the thing is, Past Lauren, if I can be frank here, it’s that you’re dragging me down. You’re still clinging on. You think life is still a minefield of threats and stresses and things that I need protection from. And I love that you want to protect me, really I do. I just… don’t need it anymore. 

You’re making life difficult, Past Lauren. Let’s take the last few days as an example - I know how you won’t believe it unless you see it for yourself. I was buzzing, doing well in my new health regime and actually f***ing ready to start writing this novel that won’t let me go - I have a beat sheet and a structure plan and everything! I know, crazy, huh? - and then the day I woke up ready to write, well, you visited. I told you how grateful I am for my bright future, and you said “Yes, but…”

You’re bored, you said. You need excitement in your life - no, not that kind of excitement. Nor that one. Just something else. Something not this. And until you find that something else, you want to keep us both on the hamster wheel. 

Past Lauren, I love you but you’re suffocating me. I’m paralysed and the book is scaring me. I’m paralysed and the need to exercise is scaring me. I’m paralysed and the world at large is terrifying me. You’ve made me a bit agoraphobic, truth be told. Whatever is out there are things you don’t want me to meet.

And I don’t think that’s very fair, Past Lauren. I don’t think it’s fair on either of us. 

You’re in my head. You’re making me question everything. 

Who do I think I am, trying to do these things?

As if anyone wants to listen to me. 

As if I have anything to offer. 

I should just go back to my life before I began this journey to self(ish). It was safe there. It was cosy and cuddly and I knew my place in the world. Sure, it drove me mad and I was a workaholic who didn’t look after myself - but at least I had some certainty in my life, you tell me. 

You tell me that I’m getting arrogant. That I’m letting my ego get ahead of me. That people don’t like me anymore. I’m a giggling idiot mess that should just go back into the shadows. 

The thing is, Past Lauren, that I’m traveling in the direction I’m meant to head. You know that, deep down. You can feel it. I am grateful to you for almost 42 years of protection and safety, and for the career credentials you earned for us and the amazing people you brought into our lives, but it’s time for you to release your hold. I don’t want to lose another decade to apathy and indifference while simultaneously racing through the world. The new me, the one who owns her gifts and lives to her full potential, is ready to slow down and learn to smell the roses. Heck, I want to learn to dance with the scent of petrichor in my nose, mainly because that is just an awesome f***ing word and I don’t use it enough. 

Dearest Past Lauren, I love you. I never said that enough, but I love you. Honestly, you made me tall and strong and proud, but I’m now ready to face what life has to offer. I don’t need you to protect me anymore. I release you from this burden.

Let me live. Let me do us both proud. 

I love you, and I release you.

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The week ahead 🗓

  • Writing: I had always wanted to go on an intense writing retreat week with an organisation such as Arvon, but I never had the time. Thanks to lockdown moving everything online, today I embark on my second week-long Arvon intensive. I’m learning more about the craft of writing from published authors Liz Jensen and Russ Litten, and getting stuck into my own novel at the same time. 

  • Work: The Arvon course has, though, made my week nuts. Work on the top secret project is continuing, just not with as much dedication as I’d like. Also, note to self: update LinkedIn with extended sabbatical details; I’m getting enquiries again and not in a place to take on work. 

  • Health: I’m getting to know my body’s needs a lot better through the Fast 800 programme, and noticing the impact food is having on my general psyche as well as physicality. It’s an interesting journey. But I do need to get into the exercise habit, dammit!

  • Routine: And of course, I aim to continue my daily practice: morning pages, 15 minutes of meditation, 10 minutes of stretches. Plus, join me and hundreds of others at the LWS Writers’ Hour every week day: 8am London, New York, California and NZ. 

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On the stereo 🎧

Infinity, by Guru Josh

Yes, this is a little off-piste, but hear me out: the other half is prepping a book based in the year 1990. And every time he says “it’s set in 1990”, I automatically reply “that’s time for the guru”. So, I am passing this joy onto you now. Bonus points if you end up going down the same rabbit hole of dodgy early 90s techno that I went on the other day. (Black Box! Technotronic! Snap!!)

You’re welcome.

Off the shelf 📚

Failosophy, by Elizabeth Day

The woman behind the hugely successful podcast How To Fail and the hugely successful memoir of the same name continues on the failure advice with this tiny tome. Day distills her years of talking about failure with famous people into what she calls “the 7 principles of failure”, or her failosophy, and peppers those with experiences shared by notables on her podcast. It’s a quick read and a useful one to boot. 

“We are taught to believe that success is external. We are taught to believe that success will come to us with job promotions, wealth, fame, designer clothes and superyachts. Success, we are told, is the ability to fly first class and accrue followers on Instagram and get tables at the hottest restaurants through the simple deployment of our name. We’ve been told that success is to be known by others, when in truth the most meaningful success is to know ourselves.”

Visual confirmation 📷

I could’ve given you the most gorgeous piccie of the bunny but I decided to go for this one - I’m so excited about the potential of this novel. I just need to get motivated to write the darn thing now!

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OK, fine. Here’s the bunny as well.

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