It was in January, four years ago. I was struggling through a depressive episode and coming out on the other side of it in the new year.
I sat across from my therapist and talked about the things I felt, and the things I wanted in my life.
“I am lonely. I am surrounded by people every day, but I feel alone.”
I can remember the heaviness of that feeling, and the sense of shame I felt about having this need, as a grown woman, to have a tribe of people I was in love with — and they loved me.
Where was that companionship and culture of friendship many of us associate with childhood?
I had made connections with neighbors or people I shared a common factor with — like our kids were in the same school, or we worked at the same place; but I wanted something more.
Adulthood felt like people sort of dropped in and out of life according to geography, marriages, schools and churches.
Sometimes I’d have chance meetings with someone really cool at an event or meeting … and then things just sort of vaporized.
I told myself, “This is just how it is, Laura … you were always the girl that floated among many different people versus the one who got lucky enough to be taken into a tight circle. You’re not going to have that one person you can reach out to at any time; or a squad you have those dinners and conversations with you want so much. That’s a fantasy. ”
This next part is hard for me to say, because I worry it sounds self-aggrandizing, but I know that’s just my fear of vulnerability. And it is this:
I am an extraordinarily thoughtful woman — especially in my relationships.
When I know you, care about you, and you are connected to me and my life, then I let you know this.
I let you know I appreciate you. That I love you. That I want to see you. That I miss you when you’re not around or we haven’t communicated for awhile.
I give. I give you my time. I give you an open mind, and I listen. I can give you perspective, if you want it (I’ll always try to remember to let you ask first). I give you gifts. Notes. Small surprises to let you know that I know you.
I don’t say all of that out loud a lot. The people I love know this about me — my husband knows and sees this about me; but for years, I think I tried to hide this kind of stuff about how I am in plain sight.
My spirit and its capacity to be curious about, love, and nurture people has always been too pure of heart to dumb down or contain.
I just can’t help myself; and I think that’s how God comes through in people. How God comes through in me.
When I love, I love big. But the difference between the way I rise with that spirit now versus a decade ago is very different.
Seven or eight years ago when I’d connect with someone special, I would fall in love with them and revel in that friendship.
I’d love to talk, play, text, make plans, and have fun. Somewhere along the way, things would ebb more than flow. People would drift. I’d let the drift keep happening. Maybe now is the part where you expect me to tell you, “well — they obviously couldn’t handle alla-me?” or “That was when I realized I was a stalker instead of a friend.” Lol : ).
Maybe I was too much for some people, or maybe things just turned out that way because life is so full of personal twists and turns for people, and at different times, they have to focus on their capacity to deal with those things, but don’t have room in life for a lot of other stuff.
What I have come to understand about relationships that changed everything has very little to do with how I expect other people to behave, perform, or show up for me.
The shift came when I learned that who I draw into my life has everything to do with how I want to conduct my life to be the woman that I want to be.
People look at my life and the transformation I’ve created over the past few years and sometimes think the changes they see on the outside were part of some step-by-step, rote game plan to become different.
- “What did you stop eating?”
- “What workout did you do?”
- “How many calories would you let yourself eat?”
- “What is the airtight plan for starting the business or career you’ve always wanted? And when was the one moment when you figured all of that out?”
- “How’d you get your husband on board with you having short hair (true question!)?”
- “How do you make people who love you but don’t understand you, accept you and stay with you?”
- “What networking events did you go to so you’d meet new people?”
I know people love a solid, go-to template for certain things, but becoming the woman you want to be is too special to break down into measurements like calories or how many business cards you collect.
When I started asking myself very specific questions about how I wanted to feel in my life (confident, creative, connected — to name a few of my favorites), that’s when the actions followed. And the actions that followed were my choice and my design.
When you know the “why,” the “how” opens up and becomes more apparent.
That was how that palpable loneliness I’ve carried with me in some form since I was a girl began to become a feeling that visited every so often as part of the human condition, and was no longer a definition of my worth, character or destiny.
It didn’t own me. I own me. I define me. Do you know how fucking powerful that feels to stand in that? If you don’t, I want you to — more on that in a moment.
And those beautiful faces and scenes in those photos of my friends and me? That’s how we came to be.
I didn’t bend my spirit or my extraordinary love and thoughtfulness to entice people into my life.
I made my life enticing to me — and my body, my relationships, my style, and my career are the result of that.
I didn’t become a “new woman” so much as I came home to knowing this bodacious heart of mine has always been there for me to listen to and use as a guide.
That’s how the extraordinary people who wanted to enter my life and stay came to be. That’s what happened when I quit stifling my desire to connect with people on a deeper level and with strong commitment instead of telling myself that this was a fantasy.
Those relationships aren’t something that “other people” had or a television-show mirage; this was my real life. And I made it so by making decisions and taking actions around the woman that I wanted to be — not what I thought would fit into the lives of other people.
I have my times of loneliness like anyone else these days, but they do not rule me or lead me to withdraw further into myself.
Living is an art, and art is all about contrasts — light, shadows, order, messiness, perspective and color. It’s all beautiful.
Nobody’s better capable of designing what I want that life to look like than the woman staring back at me in the mirror.
And ain’t nobody gonna love me better than me.
Are you an extraordinarily thoughtful woman? My-sister-from-another-mother : ) ?
I coach and create communities for women to support my mission:
I am here on this earth to impart my spirit, wisdom and knowledge to make a powerful difference in women’s lives.
I want you to understand that your greatest creation — your greatest masterpiece — is the life you create with your mind and body.
I believe that when a woman realizes a deep love and reverence for her body and sculpts an empowered mindset, the result is nothing short of a personal revolution.
She not only comes alive and thrives in her body; she will evolve as a force of nature whose inspired action and energy will impact everyone she connects with in her life for the greater good.
Do you want those deeper connections in your life? With other people? With yourself?
I believe that the path to creating this is not contained to improving or transforming just one area of your life; I know from my personal and professional experience that true, sustainable changes happen in a person’s life when they look at the whole picture.
In Body of Work, my six week, online group coaching program, that is why I’ve created lessons around mindset, relationships, body image, health and fitness, environment, personal style and how to stay in your growth once you implement these changes.
I am 45 years old and am happier, more creative, more fit and healthy, more adventurous, and more fearless than I’ve ever been at any other time in my life.
It just keeps getting better, and I am the creator of that.
Ain’t nobody loves me better : ) .
What I live is what I teach in Body of Work, and I’d love for you to be a part of this community of extraordinarily thoughtful women and create what you want in your life — whether that has to do with your weight, your relationships, your career or all of the above and more.
I offer practical and powerful coaching, tools, and resources to help you get where you want to be, and you have the connection and support of up to 14 other women (I keep it small on purpose) while you’re in this process.
The next cycle of Body of Work begins on Thursday, February 23rd.
For the first time, the class will have an evening meeting time (7:30 p.m. EST) and we will see each other live via video conferencing on Zoom (and you’ll have a call-in number, too, if you’re not in front of your computer during class time).
All of the classes will be recorded for you to access any time you want.
These are just two of the exciting changes and additions I’ve made to the program this year. I never stop learning and I’m always weaving that knowledge into the classes I teach to my community.
Space is limited and this round is filling up, so reserve your spot by going to www.laura-wagner.com/bodyofworkcourse and making your deposit.
There are three levels of Body of Work that you can choose from; they are priced accordingly and payment plans are available.
If you want a taste of what the Body of Work experience would be like, join me for my free Valentine’s Day webinar, “Conversation Hearts: Four Heart-of-the-Matter Topics Connected to Your Happiness, Health and Relationships.”
It’s at 10:00 AM EST on Tuesday, February 14th. If you can’t attend the live webinar, you will get the recording and all of the materials. Register now at: https://laurawagner.leadpages.co/conversation-hearts-registration/.
And if you want to get really personal about Body of Work and if it’s a good fit for you, schedule a free 15 minute 1:1 phone consult with me. We’ll talk about your questions and goals to see where you land.
Schedule that call by going to https://laurawagnercoaching.acuityscheduling.com/.