Loveli Loni

Monday Thoughts

“If you love something, set it free.

If it comes back it’s yours.

If not, it was never meant to be.”

I always thought this quote was dumb to be completely honest. If you love something why would you ever let it go? Well I guess that’s the beauty of getting older. Finding yourself in these weird adult situations. Although it’s a lot easier to picture the kinds of scenarios that were the inspiration for this quote playing out in my own life now, it still doesn’t resolve the dilemma for me. Is a well-known saying enough to convince me to let go? I mean this isn’t the Titanic, and unlike Rose I am dealing with a living, breathing human here. I need to know, was this something that was proven like the law of universal gravitation? Is it somehow related to the science that makes boomerangs work? Or, is it just another one of those sayings that help push people to make difficult and/or very necessary decisions…

If it is true, why am I the one thinking these thoughts? How did I draw the short straw? What about my current happiness? How long does it take for “the return”? Will you even know that there will be a return, or do you feel empty every single day until it happens?

On the other hand, what if it’s not true, and they never come back? What if I never find this again? What if it’s all a huge mistake? Will the lightening of the weight on their shoulders due to freedom from all of this anxiety provide me with enough joy to mask my pain? Do we really want to see someone happy if it’s not with us, or do we just tell ourselves that to feel better… to put up a front that is less for other people, but mostly to convince ourselves that we’re strong enough to handle it? Am I really crazy enough to (possibly) forfeit this?

I’m sure it’s easy to determine what to do from the outside looking in… whether to let go or to hold on for as long as you have strength. But, I’m not on the outside, am I? And, although I could rid myself of this constant emptiness in the pit of my stomach, I’m certain that missing all of their subtleties would bring it right back… like how they squeeze my first two fingers when I reach for a hand, or how they always attempt to hold back their smile a couple of seconds before it happens (if you blink you could miss it completely)…

There’s just no guarantee here, and in life you don’t get a re-do. This is like jumping off of a cliff without checking whether there’s water or rocks below. So, what would you do?  Comply or create your own rules? Release control or hold on for dear life?

– Loni

25.

A quarter century. If I had the choice, I wouldn’t change anything about my life to this point. I’ve grown a lot from all of the ups, downs, and mess-ups (mostly from these), but I see room for improvements. Slight adjustments. Not a changing of the overall essence of what/who I am, but moving forward as a smarter, stronger, more mature and more confident me. 

25 things to reflect on during this year and going forward.

  1. Stop “sleeping on myself”
  2. Speak up more
  3. Stop overthinking – especially to the point of inaction
  4.  Stop tolerating situations I shouldn’t
  5. Smile more
  6. Stop comparing myself to others
  7. Say “no” more
  8. Read my Bible daily
  9. Write daily
  10. Pray in good times too 
  11. Take time to rest
  12. Be more spontaneous
  13. Drink more water
  14. Turn off my GPS more
  15. Be direct 
  16. Embrace my emotions
  17. Call/see my family more
  18. Seek wise counsel 
  19. Forgive
  20. Do what makes me happy
  21. Worry less
  22. Be healthier
  23. Don’t be afraid to love
  24. Find the beauty in everything and everyone
  25. “Guard your heart”

– Loni

Law & Order 

You would think since I had a sister only “2 years 2 days and 2 hours” older than me, we’d be super inseparable. Not necessarily true. Growing up we weren’t actually that close. During my early life she was always the girl who was responsible for my missing front tooth in every school picture until 3rd grade due to a fateful game of Ring Around the Rosie, or the girl who caused me to split my head open on the kitchen counter in an effort to avoid the microwave door she swung at my face. Looking back now I think these were all secret plots to get rid of me.

We just didn’t get along. Not that it was really a problem… All siblings go through their ups, downs, and moments of “torture” from the bigger/older sibling. We were just two very different girls. She was a bubbly extrovert who always had a smile ready for anyone passing by. She always had more friends than me and had a date to all the school dances – both our school and those she didn’t attend. The only thing we had in common was playing on the same Varsity Tennis team my freshman and sophomore year of high school (the years we overlapped in school).

(Taking a slight detour here, but we could have been a dream team in all honesty. The Smith Girls. A dynamic duo. Imagine the things they would say! “Who all the girls wanted to be friends with and all the guys wanted to date.” Sorry girl, I kinda ruined that considering I only got attractive 30 minutes ago. Ha. Ok… back to the post.)

Despite all of this, she became a rock for me when our Mom died. How did that happen? I’m not really sure, considering she wanted to return me to the hospital years earlier. I’ve never said this publicly in an attempt to be as nice to those who tried to help me as possible, but I just appreciate (unlike most people) that she never tried to forcefully fill the void in my life. She never tried to be “a mom”. She just kept the law and order.

Imagine all the things your mom does or has done for you and your family. Now, take it all away. Crazy to think about right? It’s like a black hole appears in the middle of your household. Thank goodness that while I was mid-downward spiral into the nothingness, my Sister was calming the chaos for herself, for me, for our Brother, for our Dad… for all of us really. She was always doing the dishes or laundry, kindly suggesting (yelling at) us kids to pick up after ourselves, and reminding us of all the family events and birthdays. Her goal was simply to restore the closest feeling of “normal” as possible.

Everyone always talks about how much my Mom is seen in me. From her looks to her mannerisms, it’s all there. But, they don’t give enough credit to what she left behind with my Sister. She got my Mom’s law (it only makes sense that she’s a lawyer now). It’s like she wrote everything down on her little kid heart; detailing the instructions on how to keep things running. To be the same big sister she always was (I also appreciate that we never got “fake close” because “that’s what should happen”… News flash, that’s not how it works people!), to constantly be thinking of our dad and his happiness when the rest of us may not have been, to maybe worry a little too much, and to keep things in order. So, she did.

Why is this even on my mind? 

It’s random, I’ll admit. But, I was thinking that sometimes I forget you’re only in your mid-twenties… I actually think sometimes you forget it too. I find myself holding you to this super adult standard, which isn’t fair. Even though you may have been a person who grew up fast and spent years holding things together for others, doesn’t mean that you should have everything in your life figured out. There’s still time to grow towards all of your goals. You’ll get there. Don’t give up on them.

I also think we get caught up in measuring ourselves by our degrees and salaries that we forget to look at the other parts… The parts that matter. The impact we’ve had on the world around us. The example we’ve set for others. The care we have shown. I’m pretty sure you have me beat on all of that.

…Well, now you do. For a minute there I was questioning if I’d make it to college without some permanent reminder of your dominance.

– Loni

Pangea

I haven’t had the time or clear headspace to write for awhile… and now here I am up at 1:45AM. Dark room. Macbook on 30%. I feel the magic about to happen (Update – I overslept 9am service at church).

All the way through college (if you choose to attend), we’re all on the same supercontinent. There may be some natural disasters that shake our individual countries to the core, but life goes on about the same as before. You and your classmates wake up every day, go to school, study, pass your classes and ultimately the only thing left to do is graduate. If you stay on course, that’s your outcome. That’s life on Pangea. And, while we live out life surrounded by all this structure and certainty, the dream of how life will go is developing within it. Everyone is chasing something. Their picket fence and 2.53 person household. Their happiness…

Then world starts to shift and break apart.

Instantly, you have a handful of paths to take when there only used to be one flat land to walk across. One step into the direction you thought was straight ahead could leave the husband and children in the complete opposite direction. The next direction could be fame or overnight success. The third might leave you knee deep in water where there once was dry land. So, which path is right?

Call it a quarter-life crisis if you’d like or blame it on the deliriousness from my lack of sleep, but as I sit in this dark room I feel my world shifting. In fact, it is so quiet, I can almost hear the tectonic plates of my lithosphere making their tiny adjustments. All of my constants aren’t feeling very constant and my “for sures” are more like maybes. And, the personal life events of this past week and a half created a mixture of hurt, worry and confusion; the kind that buries itself so deep inside you and leaves you unsure if you should just vomit or cry…

But would you even feel like this if you weren’t focused on a perfect path? 

True. Currently, there is nothing wrong going on in my life. I have been grasping tightly onto all the little pieces in hopes of maintaining an environment that I think will make me happy down the road.

So, why not less of the path and more of the destination?

It would be a million times easier to move if I wasn’t trying to hold a continent together… And it can be so hard to accept when familiar people and situations float away to form something completely new and far away.

But, you shouldn’t have to force aspects of your life into future existence. What (and who) will be, will be. Worry less. Grow your gifts. Pursue your purpose. 

Thats my new focus. It’s time to confidently proceed forward (praying to God for solid, dry land with every step). The path won’t be pretty, perfect, or straight, but it will be right. Who knows what potential awaits in that distant place… what kind of peace and happiness that comes with reaching my destination.


The Word I received later this morning stuck out to me in particular, so I’m sticking it here at the end. My story has already been written, and every gift I need to fulfill my purpose I already possess. It’s amazing how you hear what you need to exactly when you need to hear it.

…And maybe my 2AM pep talks are meant to be heard by more than just me.

The Juice

I had a completely different post (or 4) ready to be published, but it will sit in my drafts until a little later… I thought it might be good to lighten the mood a little.

Have you ever had a friend that has everything going for them and isn’t entertaining/talking to/dating 20 people at once? Or, have you known someone who is super popular in real life, but it doesn’t go to their head and you never would have known via their social media presence? It’s seems super rare and incredibly refreshing, right? If you answered yes, then you might share in the sentiment that the concept of juice is something you aren’t really a fan of.

For my older (and of course wiser) readers, “the juice” I’m referring to here isn’t O.J. Simpson… but O.J. in his prime definitely had it. When I say juice I mean being popular with the ladies/fellas. To further clarify, if you wanted to use it in a sentence you could say, “WOW, you dated him? He’s fine! O, you got the juice,” or “You didn’t know? G is a Juice Gawd!”

(Yes, O & G are people, and gawd is pronounced god. Just text me if you have any more questions.)

Let’s start this post off by clarifying a couple of things. First, is that I have no juice. If I did I’m positive more people would read my blog out of some unsatisfiable curiosity and I wouldn’t be extremely single. Need further proof? Then let’s head over to social media – where juice seems to manifest itself – and pull out our calculators. I average 144 likes on Instagram and have 1558 followers (there’s an app for that), which means on average 90.8% of my followers ignore my posts. The last time I received a text from someone who isn’t one of my best friends was 6pm yesterday. And, on top of that, my Dad gets more responses to his posts on Facebook than I ever have in life. Maybe since I haven’t enjoyed the wondrous splendors of being incredibly “popular”, I can’t possibly understand it. Secondly, I have no problem with people finding others attractive or being a ladies’ man/gentlemen’s woman (why is there no female equivalent to ladies’ man? Sounds like a double standard to me…), I just don’t like the importance I feel that we place on being well liked.

So, why don’t you like juice? I’m glad you asked. Let me tell you.

It’s an Assumption – Unless they are the type of person who tells everyone everything about their personal life, saying someone has the juice is largely an assumption. The way someone looks and the things you have heard about them probably gave you that idea. I touched on this some in Computer Love, but the perfect profiles on social media aren’t really us. It’s not always a sunny day in perfect makeup and a cute dress. This isn’t true all of the time. So, what if it’s not an assumption, what if it is true? I would say that the confirmation that someone has the juice doesn’t stop our assumptions at all. Now that we know they are “popular”, we (myself included) tend to have this idea in our heads of what someone who gets this type of attention is like. That’s unfair. Just because someone is a large cup of guava-berry, doesn’t mean that they are the type of person you might categorize them as. They might not be promiscuous or even care about the attention they are given at all… Let’s be honest, they might not even be that interesting either.

It’s a Deterrent – At first glance this seems a bit backwards, but if I had a dollar for every guy who told me he was hesitant to reach out to a girl because she was “popular”, I would be writing this from a yacht… Ok, I would be writing this from a decently sized boat. They must be dating/talking to/situation-shipping with someone. It’s an unfortunate mindset really. I’m sure there have been plenty of missed opportunities because of this fear of failure/rejection. I can’t tell you when it’s the right time to “shoot your shot”, but in the words of Hitch (yes, from the movie… this is my blog, I make the rules): “Any man has a chance to sweep any woman off her feet. He just needs the right broom.” And if that didn’t help then, I can more factually state that 9 times out of 10, those heart eyes under her pictures are from someone she doesn’t even know that well.

It’s Not Important – I think this is a hardest part for people to believe when I say it, but I actually don’t care about the juice at all.  Sure, it’s great feeling to have people compliment you and I’m sure it is an even better feel to nab the guy that all the girls want, but at the end of the day does it really matter? If you had whatever it was that made (insert your most attractive/favorite person here) so attractive, what would that change about your life? If I had bigger boobs, I might have more followers on Instagram, but that’s really it. Who knows, maybe with a little juice you could finally get the attention of the guy you really like, but do you want someone who is caught up in the hype around you or who likes you for you?

With juice I feel there is really only one option: if it must exist then we all need to create our own. Does it really matter who/how many people like you or know of you? Do you even like you? So, every morning after you are done mixing up your bowl of happiness, grab a big glass and get to squeezing. This way you’ll be entering into the world with a nice full glass, and it won’t matter if someone is trying to pour you a little more or if you feel as though you’ve gone unnoticed for the day, because you’re already full. I think I have a cool glass of cran-apple going on today. What about you?

– Loni

 

Random Thought #1



This week Loveli Loni had its highest views since my launch week. When I see others reposting my link and sending me positive texts and comments, I reflect back to a week or two before I launched when only a couple of people knew it was happening. My first post was already written but I nervously changed it a millions times a day. A few days after Christmas I received a package that contained a black shirt with my logo printed on the front from my best friend (who I had been going back and forth with for years about how I desperately wanted to write). When I called to say thanks he reminded me that I was a good writer, yes, but more importantly I always put my voice, my most honest self, into everything I wrote, and because of that the readers would come.

I’m glad he was right.

-Loni

Loveli Valentine

Everyone wants to enjoy Valentine’s Day, but it’s fair to say that for a decent portion of the population, this day sucks. Unless you’re in a relationship, the holiday isn’t always full of romance and bliss. Instead, it feels more like a day to reflect on everything that you are missing. I can’t speak for the single men who are (more than likely) joyously enjoying their lack of V-Day responsibilities, but often single women spend the day avoiding cute posts on social media, watching The Notebook and/or eating their weight in chocolate. On a day where couples are tasked with creatively condensing all their love into 24 hours of pure magic, it seems like there’s no love left for you.

For me, Valentine’s Day was the most fun in elementary school. Why? Because no one was left out. It didn’t matter if you were a nerd or ugly or super shy, everyone got a Valentine. In middle school things started to get a little too competitive. At my school there was a tradition to send mini boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts to all of your Valentines and they would be delivered in their home room on the 14th. Needless to say, if you didn’t get any doughnuts, you felt some major V-Day shame. High school was rather uneventful for me during this time of year, but someone did attempt to be my Valentine once. My Dad called me to the door because “some boy” had candy for me… And, if you know my Dad you can be sure that this exchange of candy at my front door was the extent of that attempt. 

Since then, I’ve never had a Valentine (with the exception of my Dad, Brother, or Grandparents of course), and every year I would get myself down in the dumps about it. I was either very single or in that awkward middle ground of “talking” that our generation loved so much in college which meant I would spend the holiday alone. One particular year I thought I would have my first real Valentine (despite the fact that we weren’t official) and boy did that backfire. Thinking that I would have grand V-Day plans only to discover nothing would actually happen was about a thousand times worse than just sitting on the sidelines the years prior… Somewhere between that experience and now is when I decided to try to put some of my own love into Valentine’s Day.

For those who don’t have anyone to celebrate with, yes, this holiday can be absolutely terrible, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s plenty of love in your life to celebrate even if it isn’t manifested in a breathtaking date with Mr. Right. Celebrate your love for your family, your friends, your pet fish, but most importantly yourself. 

It’s not easy. From one serial single Valentiner to another, I know. But, my Loveli Valentines, our time will come. Until then, embrace the holiday. Show love for all of the things that you love in your life, make someone smile, and think positive thoughts. But, if you’re not ready to embrace the 14th… Pretend it’s a normal Tuesday and resist the urge to text your Ex. 

…But actually, you will regret it later, so just put your phone down now.

– Loni

Sister-Cousin

She was perfect and I absolutely hated the way I looked…. We were both skinny, spoiled brats, but when it came time to “grow up” her legs got longer and her chest got bigger and I didn’t change at all. High school junior… still without a period, 98lbs, flat chested, with an overbite my braces did not cure. And, it was all I thought about. Constantly, I had to ensure my legs and arms were covered (I reluctantly gave in to my Dad buying a uniform skirt my senior year of high school, I preferred to hide behind the other school uniform options of khaki or black pants), I always crossed my legs when standing to try to hide their size, and most importantly I always needed a new way to make my chest appear larger. I was so unhappy. 

Luckily, she was my best friend. 

It was a weird dichotomy of feelings to have. She was asked to school dances, I wasn’t. She needed to go shopping for bras and tampons, I didn’t. Her self-esteem was always through the roof, mine wasn’t. She still had her mom… I didn’t… I wanted to hate her for being given the life she had, but I just loved her so much. 

Now, since we’ve graduated high school and college, she constantly reminds me how proud she is of me and how much she has always looked up to me. It was something at the time I never would have understood. She had everything I wanted and all the while she saw things in me that she wanted as well. I always thank her and tell her that she doesn’t need to look up to me and that she’s doing just fine, but I’ve always been too ashamed to tell her that she was someone I wanted to be just like all my life. After all, I was the older cousin, I was supposed to be helping her through life. But, it just didn’t go that way in my mind.

Talking to you yesterday briefly on snapchat brought me here. 

In your early teenage years you became beautiful, yes, but you were confident even before that. Confident during the braces and the baggy jeans that you always had to take in at the waist. I looked up to you for that.

You were an extrovert with ease. You did solos at dance recitals, talked to anyone without being awkward seconds after meeting them, and never had to force a smile. I looked up to you for that.

Boys were crazy for you! But… you paid them no attention if they didn’t know your worth. If you only knew how much I looked up to you for that. 

You weren’t afraid of anything. You lived life to the fullest everyday, you accepted things that happened to us with grace, and you could see the beauty in all situations… I needed to look up to you for that. 

Truth is, Monie… you had your life together hours and days and weeks and months and years before I could even stand to look in the mirror and like anything that I saw. You’re not just my sister-cousin and PIC, but my confidence and a shoulder to cry on when I didn’t have any “good things” inside to have for my own… The role model I always needed. 

So, thank you

Love, 

Loni.

Beyond Life Friends

My friend and I went to North Carolina to visit one of our close friends this weekend. It was a gloomy drive, but we had an awesome weekend once we arrived. Driving back to Atlanta yesterday it was raining quite hard and my copilot fell asleep, so it was the perfect atmosphere to be alone with my thoughts. I couldn’t believe we spent roughly 12 hours in a car, the latter five and a half practically swimming down 85 South, just to be around a friend. We didn’t do anything particularly special, the weather wasn’t even that great, but it was totally worth it… And, I couldn’t help smiling a very familiar smile to myself. 

My Mom and Dad had really good friends that my siblings and I grew up to know quite well ourselves. They would come around for holidays and birthday parties and have us over to their houses to just relax or have dinner. Although I appreciated them, I didn’t really give much thought to their friendship until my Mom passed. My Dad’s friends became like second, third, and fourth sets of parents without being asked, but even more shocking to me was the continued presence of my Mom’s friends in our lives even when she was no longer physically present. There is never a birthday that passes without a card or gift, my graduations were just as important as those of their own children, and to this day there isn’t a month that goes by that I don’t receive a call, text, or Facebook message full of well wishes on everything going on in my life. They don’t have to do any of this, they just do… And they do so ten years later, still bearing that same smile. 

When I was younger I didn’t really understand why they did the things they did. Majority of my friendships at this point (teenage years) were surface level and heavily determined by the homeroom we were assigned, who was of similar popularity, and/or the brand of clothes I wore. After some time you naturally come to the realization that your relationships are becoming more mature the older you get. But, I will argue that despite this, your true friendships really start to blossom when you’re an adult. When you’re done with school and other kinds of forced social interactions, it’s easier to see who is still around for you and who you are willing to go out of your way to spend time with.

Whether I understood the friendships of my parent’s or not, I knew that I always wanted that for my life. And, I know it sounds silly, but each time I get that smile, accompanied by that deep, happy, warm feeling, I’m reminded that I now have it. The people who have helped me through insecurities. The people who have given me second, third, and fourth sets of parents. The people that will drive across Atlanta in rush hour traffic or even across state lines to spend time with me. The people I do life with. But most importantly, the people who give me my parent’s smile. My beyond life friends.

– Loni

Content

Lately I’ve been feeling very single. It’s similar to the feeling that you get when you go to a restaurant by yourself, except you experience it everywhere. Instead of hanging out with bae or going on dates, I have all this free time to, you know, live life… but when I leave my house all I see are couples and engagement rings. And, to make things worse, I can’t even get in any retail therapy because all the stores already have their Valentine’s Day gifts and candy out on display. Woe is me. However, I’m trying to remember that it doesn’t matter how badly I may want my life to mimic how I feel when I listen to Sure Thing, it’s just not for me right now. 

It’s hard to say something you want isn’t right for you at the moment. Being content with my current season of life is one of my biggest struggles. I’m a planner. Whether it’s relationships, work or school, I like to know how things will go. I enjoy having a checklist, and I especially enjoy checking things off of it. When I look at my life plan, it simply didn’t include long seasons of singleness in my mid-twenties. This alone can make it easy for anxiety to creep it. Trying to determine how your future will go when you saw your present going differently is a breeding ground for worry.

Well, I’m happy to inform you, that unlike a blueprint for a building, if your measurements are a little off your life will not come crashing down. Instead, be thankful for the ability to gain insight and to make adjustments! This could be time for you to enjoy or even avoid something that is being completely overlooked because you’re too busy thinking two or three seasons ahead about things you can’t even control. It could be that my next relationship will be my last, and I have some major growing to do before that can successfully happen. Maybe this season of unemployment is to direct you to your true purpose in life. Or it could be that you need to learn better budgeting skills before you are blessed with that new car (and the car payments that come with it).

I personally need to spend less time planning and more time praying. Putting things in God’s hands is so much better than worrying. With all the other things going on in the world, why carry that extra weight? He has something way better in mind than I could ever plan or even imagine, and that’s definitely worth the wait to me.

That may not change the fact that I don’t want to be single or that I have no idea how long this season will be, but I’m learning to be content and to do all of the “living” I need to do while I’m in it… But, just in case, I’ll avoid listening to Miguel and running into any department store holiday displays.

– Loni