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Drum Lessons

They are opening up a Guitar Center right next to our Trader Joes and they have a little promotional booth out front of the construction spot with a table and a little tent thing and a sign for all kinds of music classes. A group of boys in their mid to late 20s stands around the table talking to people as they walk by.

“We’re opening up a Guitar Center here and offering classes.”

“Hello! Can we help you with some music lessons?”

They are totally average, generally nice men. And yet! Whenever I approach them (on my way to get a fruitsnack or zucchini for zucchini pizza) I am transported back to junior high. I am suddenly the nervous, self conscious loser who has no business being around the cool musician/skater/athlete boys, especially in groups. I am just asking for ridicule, to be asked, “What do YOU want?” to be ignored even if I do have the gumption to say hi. I am 13 and I am asking, begging to be reminded that I am not cool enough, or pretty enough, or interesting enough.

This is me, at 27, walking past completely benign Guitar Center employees on a normal Sat/Sun/Monday afternoon. With my husband.

And every time we do walk past Kamel elbows me in the ribs, “Go ask them about drum lessons, Lauren! Go ask them.”

“No!” I hiss, like Kamel’s my dad and he’s telling me to go be polite and say hi to my friends at the video rental place. “No!” I say again, “not now.”

“You are so weird. I’m just going to go do it for you.”

“No!” I yank on his arm. “Let’s just get to the Trader Joes.”

There are two things going on. First, apparently I am afraid of boys. Or, more importantly, I’m afraid of the boys I thought were SO COOL when I was 13, because it’s not like the movies where the girl has a secret talent for bass and she woos them by being just as talented (probably more so) as they are and the lead singer falls in love with her despite her shyness. It’s not like that. It’s more like: I have no “cool-able” skill whatsoever and I’m probably never ever going to be all that cool, and those guys probably hate standing outside in the sun all day trying to sign up the neighborhood for lessons on various musical instruments, and when I sign up they will probably roll their eyes at me and think, “Ugh… another one? What does SHE want… like she’ll ever be able to play drums like a badass. What a waste of time.” So there’s that.

And the second thing is that I’m kind of done with doing new/challenging/scary things for a little while. In 6 months there was the new job, traveling for work twice, Barcelona, rock climbing, and hot air ballooning. The idea of drum lessons, even though I still want to tackle it, makes me feel very tired. I’m in my hibernating phase. And it has nothing to do with successfully avoiding the cool kids. I still have to walk past them and old my breath and turn invisible every few days. Obvi.

One year ago I was attempting to get my health on and you all had some excellent vegetable-focused advice. Advice I’m still taking!


  1. You’ve got one of the coolest things to have Lauren: you can write! You have the gift of being able to express with words and that is so cool!

  2. 1. What Kamel’s dad said
    2. Zucchini pizza is the best. Or Zucchini with cheese, or zuchini just in olive oil and herbs.
    3. I think it is ok if you take a rest from the excitement for a while
    4. It will be totally fine when you talk to the “cool” boys but I totally get you on the feeling.
    5. Maybe you can start the lessons in September or something ??

  3. I kind of know what you mean. This happens to me with a group of cute guys in college standing together. I walk past and small insecurities jump up. I try to remind myself that I’m older than them. Most of the time that helps a bit.

    • I felt this way recently around completely average 16 YEAR OLD boys. Ridiculous, right? I was kick-boarding in the lap pool, not full-on swimming because I never learned how–so I was already feeling a bit self-conscious. I go slowly and probably have the wrong form or whatever. Then a group of teenage boys, whom I would’ve found extremely intimidating when I was their age, came over and started horsing around in the next lane. Every time they laughed derisively (probably at each other), I instantly got red-faced and assumed they were laughing at me. And then I realized that they were my younger brother’s age, they probably don’t even notice the adult in the next lane, and who the heck cares what they think of my swimming skills anyway?? If I’ve gained nothing else by reaching (almost) 30, I should at least enjoy the fact that I don’t give a sh*t about whether or not cool teenagers approve of me.

      But it was like a momentary time machine back to 1997, when even walking past a “cool” boy (or girl) made me shrink.

      • thats it exactly! i wonder if i will ever have that “i dont give a fuck” mentality.i feel like maybe not until im 50… the age of 0 fucks.

    • The older I get, the younger young people look. There was a time when highschool/early college folks would look grown up. But now that I’m almost 30, they all look like goobery kids. Which does indeed help when you have to interact with them. hehe

  4. You definitely do need a break from adventuring. Hole up with more mundane activities for awhile so that when the chance comes and you feel up to it again you can do so easily and freely!

  5. It’s funny to me … everyone’s definitions of “cool”. In high school I WAS part of the musician/skater (or in my case, roller blader) crowd … and we were the misfits. While I wouldn’t (and didn’t) hesitate to walk up to the guys at Guitar Center, I’d be stammering nervous about the cheerleaders and their boyfriends.

    Funny how that differs, depending on where we grew up.

    That being said … the nervous “I’m not good enough for them” thing happens to me ALL THE TIME. Especially here in DC, where 95% of those I meet have some fancy government or save-the-world job. I literally have to remind (out loud, in the privacy of my own home) that my job, and who I am, isn’t less than theirs. That’s what they’re good at. This is what I’m good at. In that case, we’re both pretty awesome.

    Now, if I can just remember it next time I meet people!

    I’m glad you’re taking a break from adventuring … too much of a good thing can be so exhausting! Time to regroup, replenish, and enjoy. =)

  6. i’ve always had that strange “ugh i’m not cool enough” feeling around the college aged crowd — even now working in retail IN a college town. they’re everywhere, and i HAVE to talk to them because it’s my job. the nervous feeling hasn’t gone away, but i’ve discovered that reminding myself that i am definitely 5+ years older than them helps. almost like “i’m too old at this point for them to give a fuck about me, so i shouldn’t give a fuck either.”

    • ps – EEEEE! new picture! lol i love noticing the little changes & details. :) the hair is getting longer! stay strong, keep growing!

      • hahahaha thank you!! And yes… the hair. I had a dream last night that one side was REALLLLLLLY long and the other was still short…. weird.

  7. I’m so glad this is a common thing! I recently went to my 13-year-old nephew’s track meet by myself and felt so self-conscious sitting in the bleachers with all the teenagers. Are they laughing at me? Do I look like a loser sitting here by myself? Can they tell I’m way older than they are? And then my nephew comes up and triumphantly shows me his armpit hairs and I feel assured that I look like a grown up.

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Who the hell is she?


Seattle/Writer/Adventurer/Married to Kamel/Maker of many mistakes/Mom of 1 Gabriel and 1 TBD/Baker of things/Roaster of Vegetables/Maker of videos/Normal life photographer/Romantic/Irreverent/Honest

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