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1-800-HEYLAURA is a bi-monthly newsletter dedicated to accessible sex and body image thought-starters. Each edition explores varied topics under a central theme to keep you motivated in your exploration through snackable facts, love notes, and personal challenges. 
 
From now until February 28th, 2019, 1-800-HEYLAURA will take on the theme SOLO as it relates to sex, body image, and confidence. 
 
This week: How To Be Alone 
Dear Reader,

I'm alone writing this to you. It is New Year's Eve and my roommates have already tried to convince me to go out (in the NYC cold rain, no less) and I'm surrounded by reds, pinks, yellow paint in anticipation for a peachy painting I’ve set my NYE sights on. This feels really good to me — I thoroughly enjoy time to myself without having to be on.

This is all pretty new. It will not always be available to me — the same way confidence or body positive is not always readily available. It takes time and energy to actually feel good being with yourself. 

In the first edition of 1-800-HEYLAURA, we dived right into why masturbation should be the epicenter of getting to know yourself. This edition wants to take that one step further by feeling confident being solo. We place value on groups. We ask about who we’re dating, who we’re with, we tag our friends during friends-only nights on our feeds — and for what? So the world knows we are worth it? That we’re good enough for the company of others? In this edition, I’d love for you to reintroduce yourself to you. See below some thought starters, notes, and advice on how to be alone.

xxx,
Laura
Soloing strengthens your self-esteem. Fear often comes when doing anything for the first time. Your brain travels to every possible scenario as to why you shouldn't be there, and we intentionally psyche ourselves out from the experience because of our fear of failing. Let me tell you a secret: This feeling happens to everyone. Yes, everyone. Even Zac Efron. Even your mom. Even me — hell, it happens to me every time I open up my computer to create this newsletter. BUT showing yourself you can do something alone helps build your self-esteem to conquer more then next time. “If you do something that requires a certain amount of strength or independence, you then see yourself as a stronger and more independent person. Your behavior is reinforcing a positive self-esteem. As your self-esteem grows, you start engaging in more independent, self-serving behaviors,” says licensed psychologist Dr. Chloe Carmichael Peet. Let yourself try something new and enjoy the experience.
Understanding your discomfort. In 2018,  I uprooted my life and moved into a studio apartment under the impression that I needed to feel like an adult. And from the moment I made the decision all the way to the day before I moved out (literally 29 days), I tried to understand why I would make such a move that I wasn’t ready for. But I learned a lot about myself because of that experience. I learned that I am uncomfortable with quiet, with how others perceive my adulthood, and with being content. And all of this hidden uncomfortableness was running around my brain like a toddler with a knife just waiting to cause damage when unearth. I’m not saying to change your living situation to learn these lessons. I’m saying: the next time you feel uncomfortable being alone, ask yourself why. Is it because it’s scary? Is it because you feel unprepared? Is it because you have to be with your own thoughts? Those answers will help inform your decision-making/readiness in the next step of your life. 
The moments when no one is watching. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be serious. I am 100% a guilty of this; so scared of making a fool out of myself. So, to embrace that fear this past week I did yoga totally naked in my room, I danced around while making cake, I practiced French to my roommate’s dog — all very funny and completely silly. However, the one amazing solo moment activity that I implore you to try is a masturbation date with yourself . . . yeah, this is a thing. It’s selfish and shameless and really let’s you own your own pleasure. And if we learned anything from the last edition of 1-800-HEYLAURA, it is that masturbation allows you to feel more positive about your body. So, let yourself be imperfect: dance, bake a cake, create a masturbatorium, speak French to a cute chien, and let yourself be good with your own self-pleasing moments. When you devote time to your uniqueness, it will feel less scary if/when presented in front of others because you've live in it! Etre nu, babes!
Dinner By Yourself. We place a lot of value on coupling/group dynamics; leaving solo activities left for the seemingly pathetic — a state in which you could not find another person to spend time with and now you’re resigned to The Lonely Island (sans Andy Sambergswimming in your own sadness.

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.  

I disagree with how we have chosen to position this powerful solo stance; especially when it comes to eating by yourself. There is something about the sheer confidence of walking into a restaurant and asking for a table for one. It says, Hello, I don’t need anyone else to have fun, I enjoy my own company, I live my life by what I need. I challenge you, dear reader, to take yourself out to dinner this week. Go by yourself, wear your most impressive outfit, bask in any stares you receive, and get off on the idea that everyone peering over their menu wants to be you. 


 
It took me a very long time to be okay with being by myself. Every time I was alone, my brain felt like it was on fire because I wasn’t being stimulated AND I had to deal with my own thoughts — thoughts I kept burying in the back of my subconscious. Let me tell you, they always make their way out.

As I moved forward in my own confidence journey, I gained a few key tidbits on how to feel good within myself and embrace my thoughts without fear. Here, 3 thought-starters for your journey: 
  1. Bake a cake tonight. It doesn’t have to be an amazing cake! It could be box cake. It could be an incredibly intricate cake. It could be a flourless, sugarless, gluten-free cake. This is your only job tonight. You’re telling your friends and partners and fuck buddies, Hey! Not tonight, I am taking time for myself. Bake the cake, write silly words on top in icing (it's what I do!), do whatever you want with it. This simple act of being alone and making something will get you used to being autonomous in other situations — baby steps!
  2. Stop telling yourself that you’re bad at art. You’re not. I promise. How many times have you stop/started something because the end result would not turn out perfectly? Yeah, I see all of you. Let’s try to get ourselves out of the habit of not trying something because of the potential imperfect outcome — it keeps you from having fun! Get some paper and pens, draw the things around you. Listen to some music, a podcast, or sit quietly! Just draw. This drawing doesn’t have to make it to your Instagram feed. You’re just getting used to not judging yourself for every single activity you do! 
  3. Look at yourself naked for a good long time. I know this is not always easy to do. We are told every single day to change who we are. But, ignore that. Take a good look at yourself and think about every single part of your super special life. Our brains associate value to what we consistently see. So, if you see one body type represented all the time you’re going to think that body is a body to strive for . . . a more valuable body. Expose yourself to yourself — it will change how you feel and you will see yourself in all your valuable glory. 
This week, I ask all of you what your favorite alone activities entailed and, wow, you delivered. Take inspiration from these incredible tips on how to enjoy solo time.
My dearest reader — I would love nothing more than for you to enjoy your own company. We fill our days and brains with all kinds of distractions that get in the way of what we actually want and need, and ignoring those personal prompts allow for us to be easily swayed, to prioritize others over our own well-being, and to make decisions we truly are not ready to take on. It isn’t easy to listen to what you have to say — goodness knows we all have some version of imposture syndrome inside of our bodies. But, it’s important for you to be alone, take the time to feel good about your thoughts and decisions, and find value within your independence. I’m proud of you for taking that step. 

xxx,
1-800-HEYLAURA

NEXT EDITION: FEB 7th, 2019 — VALENTINE’S DAY EDITION / THE NO-SHAME SEX EDITION
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1-800-HEYLAURA is a bi-monthly newsletter dedicated to sex and body image. Each edition comes (read: cums) in your inbox the first and third of every month.
 
DISCLAIMER: 1-800-HEYLAURA is not a licensed medical practitioner and not responsible for any E.R. trips as a result of the previous, future, and above advice — you still need to make an effort to see what can and cannot be put inside of you; she is just a person with an insane thought that all people should have the autonomy to explore, pleasure, and love themselves. 

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