My name is Lauren and I’m 24 years old. After a few near-death experiences, getting in trouble with the law, and struggling with abusing alcohol, I’ve made it my goal to heal myself through writing and hopefully heal others in the process. I’ve been interested in spirituality and mindfulness for years and I apply those principles to my journey of growing and finding myself.

There have been times where I felt like I lost joy in my life, so I looked for it in unhealthy, toxic places that inevitably robbed me of who I was at the core. I became somebody who found joy at the bottom of a glass or in temporary relationships which caused my self-esteem to dwindle more and more. There was a day when I looked in the mirror and didn’t know who I was anymore. It was like my inner child was looking at me and wondering what happened to her. She is kind, strong, beautiful, and creative, yet she only shows this side of herself that is broken and dependent on outward influences to make her feel whole. It was at that moment that I realized I was still there, I just wasn’t being true to myself.

As a young person, you might be surrounded by people that normalize substance abuse. You might have close friends that want you to “join in on the fun” at the expense of your well-being. It’s hard to feel like you’re missing out or not living up to the typical “college life” expectations, but you have to take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself if you’re living up to YOUR potential.

So, what makes me feel like I’m being my authentic self? Writing, painting, exercising, reading, connecting with others in a real and transparent way, being a helping hand to those in need, and making a difference. That’s what makes my soul happy. As you follow me on my journey, I hope you think about what ignites your soul, what negativity you need to shed in order to grow, and most importantly, what brings back your joy.

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