LULU LINDEN

Hurry Up And Wait 


Pardon me if this sounds a little too woo-woo for you, but I’m a firm believer that life speaks to you if you listen. There are times when she speaks to you so loudly it hits you like a book to the face and you can’t help but listen. There are also times when the message is a faint whisper and the only way you can hear is by quieting the world, your mind, and being still with silence until you can hear.

"...the confusing this about both of these is that there’s merit to both. On any given day, one just makes more sense than the other."

Whichever way it comes to me, I always try to take note. Oftentimes, though, if the message is one I don’t like, I don’t. This is a whole other issue I’m trying to dissect, but the one that’s causing me the most inner turmoil these days are the mixed messages.

The sign that says, “Yes, you should take action now! You have everything you need. You are enough. Go! Do! Be! Live! Love!” is the same one followed by a message of “Patience is a virtue. Don’t rush the timing of life. Relax. Don’t be so hard on yourself.” And the confusing this about both of these is that there’s merit to both. On any given day, one just makes more sense than the other.

So what do I do? Which path do I take? I've always resented the feeling of being paralyzed by choice so instead what I've been doing is...both. I'm hurrying up and I'm waiting. I'm meeting people then I'm hiding out in my apartment for a whole weekend. I'm basically becoming someone who seems rather inconsistent, and I can't say I like it. I want to stand steadfast in my choices — one choice. THE choice. But maybe that's the issue life is trying to whisper to me: we're allowed to change. You don't have to be a steadfast pillar, ever sure of all of your decisions. Nothing is ever as black and white as you'll hope to make it.


This is what we have left


Whether by design or out of simple necessity, humans forget a lot. Not just where we last left our keys or a friend's birthday, but bigger things. Like how a few days of a sleepy Indian summer can trick us into keeping our sweaters packed away, forgetting the true chill of fall is right at our doorstep. How one argument with someone can make you forget how much you truly do love them, or vice versa, how one breath-stealing moment with someone can make you forget how miserable they've made you.

"There'd always be more life to live, more summers to come, more love to give and take."

I've been caught in a state of remembering and forgetting things. Trying to decide what memories are worth holding onto, and which memories I should let fall away. The things we have, we won't always have, and I forget that. It's easier to keep on moving through life without certain memories hitched to you, but the truth is when you forget everything, you lose the good right on with the bad. I've never minded this because I always knew I could create more memories. There'd always be more life to live, more summers to come, more love to give and take. 

But this thinking, while not technically wrong, I think, has made me ungrateful. When you assume there will always be more of something — friendship, money, days of summer — you don't regard what you have in the present with as much reverence as it deserves. And this is why I've been digging through my memories. I don't want anything back, but I do want to practice gratefulness for what I've experienced. Life has kept me moving and going and achieving, just knowing there'll be more of everything to come. The only thing is I don't know when and I don't know how, and this banking on the future has left me diminishing my past. 

I won't get any summer days back, but flirting with the few warm days between it and fall gave me a chance to mourn them, but also to be grateful for them. Now I can unpack my sweaters.

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What is the emotional equivalent of a blazer?


We are in what is known as the transitional time of the year. You’ll see the headlines everywhere — How To Transition Your Wardrobe For Fall or 9 Style Staples You Need To Take You From Summer To Fall — and they’re not entirely unhelpful. This summer I became enamored with grandma-inspired night slips and I would’ve lamented their loss if I thought I couldn’t wear them for just a little bit longer. Thankfully, an oversized blazer proved to be just the styling tip I needed to transition it from wispy summer goddess to office ready business lady.

But these couple of weeks, while the temperatures have been cooling and leaves have been flirting with changing their color, I’ve also been going through a more internal transitional stage: the one from a pessimistic worrier to a positive being of love and light. 

"The minute I feel myself about to go into a deep thought spiral, I literally say, 'okay bitch, this is not productive. You need to not.'"

You see, my brain has been at constant battle. I’ve always been one to let my thoughts carry me miles from where I am. It’s what helps me as a writer, but it’s also what leads me to my most negative thoughts. And, in an effort to, oh I don’t know, be a better, happier human, I’ve been trying to stop those thoughts before they lead me into self-induced bad moods.

The way I’ve figured to make this transition is by telling myself to shut up. The minute I feel myself about to go into a deep thought spiral, I literally say, “okay bitch, this is not productive. You need to not.” This is usually followed by me trying to insert a slew of positive, empathetic thoughts instead. Is this working? Honestly, not as well as throwing a blazer over a slip dress works, but that’s the thing about transitions isn’t it? They take time.


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Open up, buttercup


I've come a long way since I started blogging. I'm no longer the 22-year-old perfectionist keying away about what I hoped and planned my life would be or wearing outfits representative of who I thought I was meant to become. Now, I find myself keying away about what life actually is and who I actually am, fully embracing that all of this is subject to, and most likely will, change.  Being open to the changes of my life has made me more open in general — especially here. In a recent interview with Dame, I gave them a tour of my bedroom and shared a bit about my journey to self acceptance. Below is my favorite excerpt, but see the full piece here.

So, now that I don't have that regular validation of having someone directly in my life who's like "I like your body, I like the way you look, I like these things,” ...I have to do that for myself.


Women have complicated relationships with their bodies, but it can be especially entrenched for black women. I was wondering if you could speak a bit to the journey you're on within your own body, and maybe how you've had to reframe what society has dictated about beauty standards in order to better love yourself?

That's something that I'm only looking at now. I'm thinking big picture, like going back to puberty. Because the thing about becoming a woman and blossoming...is that it always happens through the eyes of someone else. That's why people say, "The Male Gaze." I knew that I had wider hips and that meant that I was "more of a woman" because men started reacting to it. So, one thing that I've realized, in terms of accepting my body, is now I'm accepting it on my own terms. This is the longest I've ever been single, aside from childhood. I had a high school boyfriend, a long term college boyfriend, and then after college, I've pretty much been single since. So, now that I don't have that regular validation of having someone directly in my life who's like "I like your body, I like the way you look, I like these things,” ...I have to do that for myself. And when I do that for myself, it's not the same way that a boyfriend would. Mind you, I totally like my ass, my hips, and my boobs...and yes, a guy can like that for his own sexual reasons but the reason I like those things is it makes me feel really feminine, and I'm really loving my femininity.



Who You're Becoming and Who You Are


I think it goes without saying that growth is necessary. It's a thing that happens, right? As we continue to live, we continue to change, and much has been said about this type of change. One of my favorite quotes on change comes from a world renowned Brooklyn-born philosopher: "Everybody look at you strange, say you changed. Like you work that hard to stay the same." Jay-Z you guys, Jay-Z said that. 

"I feel more than anything like I'm in a stage of change where things are infinitely possible, and being open to all of those possibilities is resulting in an awkward floundering and figuring out."

But for all that has been said of change and the benefits of it, the good that comes along with the fresh new eyes you get from growth, I wish more was said of that weird space in between. I've heard the phrase "growing pains" used to describe it, but that doesn't quite fit for me because what I'm experiencing isn't painful. I feel more than anything like I'm in a stage of change where things are infinitely possible, and being open to all of those possibilities is resulting in an awkward floundering and figuring out. It's not painful, just unclear.

And while things being unclear isn't my favorite, it is something that I'm accepting as this part of growth. On my search for clarity, I'm posing questions to myself and those around me, forcing myself to try new things, to stretch into and fill the space in between who I am and who I'm becoming.


The Details




Hello Patience, we meet again


I have many strengths. I know how to make amazing mac n' cheese (the cheesy, baked southern kind), I can pick out the perfect red lipstick for any of my friends, and dogs love me. You’ll notice that on this list, patience doesn't make an appearance. That's because I don’t have it. I’ve never liked waiting, and while I know there aren't many people who do, there are some for whom waiting is tolerable. Can you believe that there are some people who see waiting as an opportunity to do something else? For example, if they’re waiting for a bus that’s a few minutes late, they cheerily use that time to read a book or call a friend. My brain doesn’t work that way. I’d spend those extra minutes mentally cursing the bus, the driver, its passengers, and worrying about what will happen now that I am all of 7 minutes late. So yes, waiting isn’t a very pleasant experience for me. 

"It's maddening to realize some things are just out of your control and subject to the timing of life."

And because life and the powers that be know this, it seems like more and more lately it’s been the one thing required of me. I'm waiting to get that next level in my career, I'm waiting for a strike of creativity to propel my next project, I'm waiting to find someone I can feel passionate about again. Hell, as I write this on my morning commute, I'm waiting for the 6 train to get moving! And all the time I'm waiting, I've been moving as many pieces as are in my control to move and sitting impatiently with my hands clasped. It's maddening to realize some things are just out of your control and subject to the timing of life. 

So, I'm trying to find my options. I can't be stuck in a state of frustration because of time. Either I get comfortable with where I am presently so I don’t even feel the need to wait for something better, or I just get comfortable with waiting. Because of who I am, I know the former won't work. It's that hope for something better that keeps me excited about life, which means I'm going to have to become good friends with patience—no cursing at the cosmos allowed.



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