Critic

I’m still not entirely sure that I know what I want to say. This is one of those moments where I am truly relying on Him to give me the words. And another moment where I am trying my best not to hurt anyone. 

Because you guys know my saying, “Hurting people hurt people”. And I’m feeling pretty hurt lately.

This may sound like I’m standing on my soapbox. Maybe I am. But what I am about to say, is something that has really hit home for me. 

Last week, I was criticized left and right. From the way I look in my pictures, to what I do in the gym, to what I do in the car. 

I was called out on social media, directly and indirectly, by people who claim to be my friend. 

And I’ll be honest, it hurt. 

Here’s the thing, lately I have seen so many women (and a few men) hide behind social media and criticize other women. And I would even veer to say ‘bully’ would be a better word. These aren’t teenage girls. These are women, grown women, degrading other women because they might not agree with them. 

And I can almost guarantee you, they are reading this post, unaware that I am probably talking about them. Because they just don’t see it.

Oh, it’s easy to tell those on the receiving end to just ignore it. Or to not let it bother us, but the truth is, and I’m speaking for myself, is that it’s hard to ignore it. It’s hard to not let it bother us. 

Because I can promise you, these same women who hide behind their Facebook app, would not say these things to my face. 

Because they haven’t. 

But seriously, and here’s the part where I might get a little defensive, who cares about my selfies? Or what I look like in them?

Here’s the thing, for years I avoided pictures. For years, I hated mirrors. For years, I was so unhappy with the way I looked. 

Now I’m not. 

Well, except for this past week where your constant criticisms kept ringing in my ear. Where I started to believe the things you were saying about me. 

For years I was told I wasn’t good enough. I was called names. I was constantly put down. And just when I’m getting back on my feet, you take it upon yourself to knock me back down, why? 

Do you feel better about yourself? Do you like yourself a little more for letting me know that you don’t like the way I look? 

Or what about the person who made sure to say something about my gym selfies? To tell me that it doesn’t look like I’m really doing anything in the gym, but taking selfies? (You might take that back in just a minute when you read a little further.) Tell me, do you feel better about your training now? Are you hitting more goals since you’ve let me know that you don’t think I do anything? 

Or what about the mom who criticized me for my parenting choices? Who accused me of putting my children at risk? Tell me, are you a better mom for doing that? Do you love your kids more than I love mine because you think you’re a better parent than I am? 

I want you to look at this girl.

 

This girl hated herself. She had been knocked down over and over again, only to keep getting back up. Every time. Even the times she didn’t think she could, she did. And she isn’t that girl anymore, not from the outside anyways, but no matter how much progress she makes, when you cut her down, for whatever reason, this is what she sees. This is who she becomes. 

Because it’s so much easier to believe the criticisms. 

It’s so much easier to see the shortcomings. 

But now I want you to look at this girl. 

She got here in spite of. 

She got here without bringing anyone else down. 

She got here without criticizing others. 

She got here without hiding behind her Facebook app calling out every flaw of anyone else. 

She got here because she worked hard. 

She got here because she refused to give up.

She got here because she finally understood what it meant to love herself just the way she was.

She got here because she realized just how much He loved her.

And how dare you try and take that from her.

Because if you were her friend, you’d get why she takes a lot of selfies now.

You’d understand why the 30 seconds it takes to take a picture in the gym is nothing in comparison to the 2 1/2 hours she spends there 6 days a week.

You’d know that she has been doing everything for her kids and would never put them in any harm, ever.

And you know that she’s been through a lot in the last couple of years and that if you had reached out to her, just once, she would have done whatever she could to encourage and uplift you because for so long that’s all she wanted from anyone. 

Oh, how I want to hate you. Each of you. And I’m sure there are more than just the references I am making. I am sure that people have an awful lot to say about me. 

But I can’t. 

Oh, how it would be easy to point out your flaws and hide behind an app as I pointed them out to you.

But I can’t.

Because I go back to what I said earlier. Hurting people hurt people. I know because I was once where you were. Insecure and unsure, doing my best to convince social media that I had it all together. 

So, I’m not going to use this as a way to hurt you or to bring you down. I’m not going to use it as a way to criticize you. Because we both know, you are already your biggest critic. 

But I am going to use this as a way to pray for you. Not because I think I’m better than, but because I’ve been there. And the reason that I’ve come as far as I have is because of prayer. 

So, I’m going to pray that you get a glimpse of what He sees when He looks at you. Because when that happens, it won’t matter what anyone else sees. 

It won’t matter if people do their best to hurt you. 

It won’t matter what people think about you. 

Because even if you do find yourself off track for just a minute, focused on the critics, you’ll soon remember that He loves you, unconditionally, just the way you are, and if He can love you, you can love you. Despite what anyone else says. 

And even more than that. If He can love you, you can love your critics. 

That Girl

I don’t even know where to begin because I’m afraid this could come out all wrong. I’m afraid that people will read this and think ‘oh gah, who does she think she is?’ I’m afraid to start because I feel like it’s been building up for awhile now and I’m not sure that I’ll be able to neatly put it away.

The bottom line, I’m afraid.

It’s funny to see what divorce has done to me. What happens when your husband of 5 years walks out on you on your 5 year anniversary. I am not the same person. Some may say that’s a good thing, others might disagree.

I’m not sure how I feel most days.

I can’t tell you how many people reach out to me about my confidence. I get compliments all the time on how I’ve grown into myself. How I’m ‘more gorgeous than ever’. How I’m ‘so put together’.

And on one hand, I know what they say is true.

I want to look good. I want to feel good. For years I didn’t. I neglected myself. I was unhappy. I could sit here and blame my ex husband for all of my unhappiness, but I was the one who made the choice to neglect.

It was just as much me as it was him.

Sometimes I don’t know why I get all dolled up. Actually, that’s a lie. I know. I do it to pretend. Maybe to even convince myself that I’m going to be okay. That I’ve got everything under control.

If I look pretty and I look happy then I must be, right?

But the truth is, I’m not always. Most days I’m a mess because I never expected to get divorced. I never expected to be left. I never expected to have to start over.

So not only do I have no idea what I’m doing most days, but that’s not even the crazy part. I have no idea what it means to be pretty and put together.

It’s a completely different world. And I’m not saying these things because I am looking for you to tell me I’ve always been beautiful or anything else, but I’m telling you because I am completely lost.

You see, while I may look like I have it all together, I don’t. Not even close.

Underneath all of this, is still the girl who has always been. The nerd. The goody goody. The girl who falls too hard and probably too fast. The girl who was always just a little bigger than everyone else. The girl who desperately just wanted to fit in. The girl who pretended to be different just so she could hide all of her insecurities.

She’s still there.

And she’s still doing her best to hide all of her insecurities.

She still isn’t sure what to do when she gets attention. She still falls too hard and too fast.

And I think it throws people off. I think people expect that I’m good and I’m not. Not always. Not even most of the time.

I think they are unsure when they learn that I’m just as insecure, if not more insecure, than I was before. I’m fragile. I’m broken. I’m good at pretending. I’m good at smiling and nodding and doing my best not to make anyone else uncomfortable.

But I still want more.

Don’t even get me started on guys. I don’t want to be the way guys treat me, now that I look better. I’m not taken seriously anymore. I’m treated like the dumb, pretty girl. The poor girl who’s husband left her. The girl who is just nice to look at, but who shouldn’t open her mouth. The girl they want to take to bed, but not the girl they want to fall in love with. Or even talk to, really.

And no, I’m not looking to fall in love now, still technically married, but I want to be more than what they’ve decided I am.

The catch, I should be happier. I should feel better about myself, but like always, I let them tell me how I should feel.

I’ve always let them tell me how I should feel.

And honestly, it’s exactly the same way he made me feel when we were married. I was never good enough.

There was always something wrong with me.

Funny, how so many things can change, and yet, you’re still standing in the same place. Might look different at first, but you eventually realize it’s all the same.

Nothing ever changed.

So how do you change things? I have an idea that you have to love yourself. I don’t know that I do. I don’t know how to love myself. I don’t even know where to begin.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” Oscar Wilde

I’ve tried. But even in the relationship with myself, I’m still the quiet voice. No matter how many times I stand face to face with myself reminding myself that I am worthy, I can still hear all the times someone said I wasn’t.

I thought that by taking care of myself, by putting my best foot forward, that it would just happen, I would love myself. And yes, I do love the way I look now. I love what I do. I am proud of myself, but it still isn’t enough to undo all that’s been done. I’m still looking for someone else to tell me that I am enough.

I’m still that girl.

And while I know what most of you will say. While you will remind me that He loves me and that He has deemed me worthy, I just can’t find it in me to believe it. Not today.

Today, I’m just that girl.

Stay Connected! 

I have got so much coming up over the next few months. I promise you will not want to miss out!

So be sure to stay connected!

Also! Be sure to ‘like’ and share Lauren’s Beautycounter on Facebook. And when I reach 300 ‘likes’ I’ll be giving away a FREE Beautycounter Pouch! (Just make sure to comment on my page to let me know you’ve participated!)

XXOO!!

One Day

shower
Start my days around 5:45/6ish with a shower.
Countertime Soothing Face Wash, $40
Clean Everyday Shampoo, $20
Wash Everyday Body Wash, $22
Rinse Everyday Conditioner, $24
after shower
Then I hog the bathroom for a few more minutes while I get ‘ready’.
Everyday AM Hydrating Cream, $40
Lustro Oil 1, $64
Radiance Firming Complex, $60
Salt Water Spray
Calendula Lip Balm, $18
Lustro Body Oil, Rosemary & Citrus, $68
Anytime Eye Cream, $32
Hydrate Everyday Body Lotion, $22
morningcoffee
Then while the kids are still sleeping I have my coffee. I used to drink it with cream and sugar, but I’ve been drinking it black for about 8 months now. It’s so much better!
desk
Then I do my devotional for the day. Currently I’m doing Bible in One Year. I love, love, love the quiet time in the morning. I wouldn’t survive without it. I also have a cup of hot water with lemon. (That’s what’s in the mug.)
workout
I usually use my last 30 minutes of quiet time in the morning to do a little working out.
fixbreakfast
I’ve really been trying to focus on making us breakfast rather then handing them a bowl of cereal every morning. The request today was eggs.
breakfastwithkids
Love eating together. So grateful for God and His blessings. (dining room table)
playingtogether
Love it when they play together, although Adelaide’s controller doesn’t have any batteries.
prayertime
Because when they do, it means I get to have some prayer time. (And another cup of coffee)
adelaidetablet
Then we just kind of hang out for a little bit before Adelaide’s nap time.
clean house
I do most of my work when Adelaide takes her nap. Like clean the house and catch up on laundry.
worktime
Catch up on emails, calls, check-in with my clients, and doing whatever I can do to grow this business every single day. I love being able to bring home a paycheck without having to sacrifice anything else.
picture editing
I’m always editing pictures for the blog. It’s one of my most favorite things to do. Makes me want a big fancy camera, but for now my iPhone 6+ will have to do. (And it does a pretty good job!)
TV and Laundry
Finally got cable in our bedroom so now I can fold laundry and catch up on some news. I don’t watch much TV at all, but it’s nice to know what’s going on in the world.
reading
And since I love to read, I always make sure to get a chapter or two in while she sleeps.
afternoonpickmeup
After nap time I’m in desperate need of a cup of hot green tea and a few of my favorite afternoon pick-me-up’s.
Hydrate Everyday Body Lotion, $22
Rosewater Uplifting Spray, $32
Anytime Eye Cream, $32
Lip Conditioner Calendula Balm, $18
cook dinner
I’m not always in the mood to cook dinner and sometimes I luck out and Justin will offer to cook, but tonight I wasn’t so lucky. Oh well, I’m grateful to be able to cook for my family.
bedtime
Then it’s time for bed. I don’t think he’s as happy about it as I am. :) (Also, note-to-self: I really need to get a curtain in their room.)
goodnight
I end the evening with my skin feeling great, a little more quiet time, and maybe another chapter in my book.
Routine Clean Cream Cleanser, $24
Lustro Face Oil 1, $64
Vibrant Eye Perfector, $55
Nourishing Cleansing Balm, $75
self portrait
And that’s a wrap.

What does your day look like?

Photo Credit: Lauren Falber

And Now You’re All I Hear

I have to be honest with you. This is hard for me to write, but what I’ve learned is that the only thing I have left, the only control I have left is being able to write out how I feel and what I’m going through.

I have lied. I have pretended that things were looking up. Things were getting better. It isn’t. They aren’t. The truth is I am so hurt. I am so sad. I am so broken.

I have tried so hard to move forward. I have tried so hard to regain my strength, to be who I was, but that girl doesn’t exist anymore.

It has been one thing after another, over and over again. I have been overlooked, let down, disappointed and yet, through everything, no one gets it. No one understands what exactly they have done to me.

I don’t want to discredit the people who have reached out to me. Who have let me know just how important I am, but there are only a few of those people. To most I have become forgotten.

Moving to Texas last year was the worst thing that could have happened to me. I regret the decision every single day of my life. I hate it here. I hate the people here. I hate what my life has become here. There is no amount of money, no amount of anything that could make this decision better.

People laugh when I compare this place to Hell, but it is. The people are shallow. The people only think about themselves. And they bring out the worst in everyone.

I am bitter. I am resentful. I am full of anger and hurt. I have tried to get people to realize what’s happening, and it’s been happening since I got here, but no one gets it. I just need to have more faith, or give people another chance. I just need to accept it. Embrace it. Forgive. Move forward. Talk about it.

I am so sick of talking. I am so sick of being the only one who talks. Who constantly has to relive all of it. I talk. I get a handle on the situation, and then everyone is there to knock me back down. I can’t catch a break.

I try to remind myself that all I need is God. He is enough. He is enough. He is enough. But no matter how many times I tell myself that, no matter how many times I pray, no matter how many times I shut the world out and focus on just my relationship with him, it’s not, it’s not enough. I’m not there to pretend that it is. This girl, this woman, the one who never needed anything from anyone, now needs everything from everyone.

The truth is, I’ve been defeated. I am constantly reminded that I am not enough. I am not good enough. I have been abandoned, betrayed, forgotten, and left behind. Through all of it, I’m supposed to be the better person. Forgive, forget, move on. The truth is I’m about to lose it.

I have been isolated. I have no friends down here. Not like what I had at home. I have my church. And I have those relationships, but it’s not the same. No one knows me. No one can talk about the stupid things we did before. No one comes over. I can’t go anywhere. Everyone is moving on, moving forward, and I’m just sitting here, looking out the same window everyday, trapped.

The one person I had, the one person I thought I could count on through anything, betrayed me. He’s trying to make up for it, but the damage is done. And unfortunately, there’s not much he can do, not anymore. I think about it all of the time. I dream about it. I wake up and it’s the first thing on my mind. I go to sleep and it’s the last thing I think about. It controls me. It consumes me. And the sad thing is that it will never go away. It will be a part of my life forever. My marriage, my life, my family, none of it will ever be the same.

I don’t feel good enough, smart enough, pretty enough. I have no self esteem, no confidence. I hide all day long. Every insecurity I have ever had is taunting me now. They are in my face. They are constantly reminding me that I’m not good enough.

If I had been better, if I had been prettier, if I had been sexier, if I had been nicer, if I had been (fill in the blank), well, then he wouldn’t have cheated.

I can’t forget the pictures, the texts. It’s all there. Everything reminds me of it. A radio station, a restaurant, a hospital. And then I just have to deal with it because I believe in God, and I am, apparently, the only one held accountable for their actions, and well, it wouldn’t be very Christ-like if I did what I wanted to do, now would it? He forgave and did nothing to those that hurt Him and betrayed Him. He loved them. I want to get there, I do, but the thought of loving those who have done nothing but hurt me, well, it makes me feel pretty weak. And I am sick and tired of feeling weak.

I had to leave my family, my support, sure they are a phone call away, but it’s not the same. I come down here and I’m exposed to people who don’t like me. Who haven’t liked me. Who 9 years ago told me I was no longer welcomed in their house. Who have constantly played my husband against me. Who encourage my husband to lie to me. Who told my husband that it was either me or them. They fooled my husband into thinking they wanted us here. The truth? They wanted my husband. They wanted my kids. They did not and they do not want me here. I have tried to move on. I have tried, but they have defeated me.

They have lied. They have betrayed. And I have tried to keep my mouth shut. I have tried to turn the other cheek, but I’ve had enough.

I can’t help but wonder what’s wrong with me? Something must be wrong with me.

I’ve been forgotten and overlooked down here and my friends back home have done the same since I left. No phone calls. No texts. It’s honestly like I don’t even exist anymore.

All I do is cry and sleep. If it wasn’t for my kids I wouldn’t bother. I wouldn’t even try, but they are all I have now. I have tried to make it better. I have tried to reach out. I have tried to tell myself that it isn’t me, but when you are the only common denominator, well, how can it not be you?

I have tried to focus on work. Doing what I can with what I have. I have sacrificed EVERYTHING. And yet, the people who I expected to be supportive, to understand, they haven’t, they don’t. They ignore. They tell others that what I do is a scam. After I have supported them through everything. After I have been there when they decided to take chances. Suddenly, all of that is forgotten. Once again proving the point that I’m not enough.

Well, congratulations, you win. Each of you, you win. I have finally been defeated. I have been broken. I have been let down. I have been forgotten. Each of you took what you wanted from me, you took it and you made sure that I had nothing left.

How frustrating. Because I’ve been on the other side. I’ve reminded others just how loved they are, just how important they are. I know all the right words to tell myself. The logical part of me knows that it isn’t me. I’m smarter than this, but it really doesn’t matter. I’ve stopped listening to myself, and I made the mistake of listening to you.

And now you’re all I hear.

A Few Updates

Hey y’all!

So I made a few changes and updates to the site today. Let me know what you think! Please!!

I’ve added a few new categories to the site so that I can share even more with you. More recipes, more ideas, more, more, more!

Suggestions or ideas? Be sure to email me at Lefalber@gmail.com

XXOO

In My Bag

20140717-081125-29485660.jpg
(Trash and gum wrappers not included.)

I’ve got my ipad. I am always working and/or ready to work. My keys. My Peppermint Lip Balm, Currant Lip Sheer, and Lip Shine because I’m obsessed with my lips and feeling pretty. I’ve got my Hydrate body lotion and my Rosemary & Citrus Lustro Oil so I always have perfect skin, even when I’m out and about. And I also have my Protect Face so I don’t have to worry about aging skin and wrinkles! Finally, I have my little notebook, perfect for getting contact information from everyone I meet!

Tell me, what’s in your bag?!

Oh man.

Today is the day. I have been waiting for this day since I first left NC. I finally get to see my parents, and they finally get to meet Adelaide!

I had hoped this day would have happened sooner, but His timing is always perfect and I am just so grateful that He listened and provided.

But I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that part of me isn’t as excited as I should be. You’re probably thinking ‘whaaaa??’ I know, right, because this is what I’ve wanted and so I should be thrilled, but I’m also pretty sad.

You see, my parents will be here in just a few hours, and while I’m thrilled about their visit, I know that we will have to eventually say goodbye, again.

I’m not going to lie, sometimes I think it’s easier to be unhappy and alone, 19 hours away in Texas then to have to muster up the strength to see, touch, feel, love, and eventually let go.

I hate goodbyes.

(I’ve really never been very good at them. I used to cry when I would go to a slumber party.)

So while part of me will enjoy every single moment they are here, in the back of my mind I know it will be short-lived. Because once you move away, there’s never enough time together.

And so, I have to ask myself, ‘is it worth it?’ Is it worth the tears as I watch them drive away? Is it worth the heartache of not knowing when I’ll see them again?

Absa-freaking-lootley!

Because I would rather spend a few minutes with them then to never see them again. So bring on the tears because the answer is yes.

Mother’s Day

A little something I wrote for our Women’s Ministry Newsletter:

As Mother’s Day approaches, my friends begin walking on egg shells around me, for fear that I am just about to lose it because I’m not able to spend Mother’s Day with my own mom.

Yes, of course I miss my mom. I think everyone misses their mom when they can’t be around them and especially on holidays that recognize them, but my mom shouldn’t worry, neither should my friends, because I am okay.
I am okay because of her. You see, she has passed on her strength and her strong will to me. She did exactly what a mother is supposed to do. She kept me close for years, making sure that I had everything I would need in life and then she let me go.

She stood on the sidelines and watched as I took what she taught me and applied it to life. She bit her tongue and kept the criticisms of my mistakes to herself. She watched me fall over and over again, but she also got to see me get back on my own two feet over and over again.

But that’s the job of a mother. I may be a 1000 miles away, but she’s still standing on the sidelines watching me try to figure out life, she’s still my number one fan, and she has nothing to worry about. She did her job. And I am living proof that she did it well!

2 Kings 4:30 But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her.