Take More Tell More | Lauren

Lauren is easily one of the most genuine people I know. She's the type of woman who listens, really listens. She makes you feel heard and understood, like your story is worth telling. And she's got this really big heart, a heart that sees outside of her corner of the world. She's one of the founders of YouMe Clothing, an amazing San Diego based non profit. YouMe Clothing partners with communities in need and exchanges new clothes for their oldest garments - which are washed, cut, incorporated into YouMe pieces and sold. Proceeds then fund community-led development projects. It's a cycle - a beautiful rags to resources story. I sat down with Lauren a few weeks ago to talk about the challenges and joys that accompany her work. Her words are just like her, genuine and inspiring and worth taking a moment of your day to appreciate. 

What's the greatest obstacle you have come across in pursuing your passions?

L: For me, its been having a full time job and having this be my passion on the side. And figuring out how to make the transition into my passion being my full time job. 

What keeps you going when it would be easier to give up?

L: Seeing people take time out of their busy lives to come to a sew group, to cut out patches, to volunteer with us. It's amazing when other people support the potential you've seen all along, and help keep it going. Also, being on the ground and in the field and witnessing the full cycle of what we do. Seeing how excited the kids are, seeing them get to go to school for the first time because of the new uniform we've been able to provide them with. It keeps me going on the days when it feels ridiculous or small or overwhelming. I take out those photos and look at those faces and it keeps me going. Even the bad days are good when you know you're doing what you are suppose to be doing. 

What is the biggest thing life is teaching you at the moment?

L: Courage. I feel very scared half the time, I feel unqualified and fearful. Life's been teaching me to be courageous, be brave. Take risks when I normally wouldn't. I'm learning to reconcile the logical and the spiritual sides of me, to surround myself with people who push me to go out of my comfort zone, people that make me feel more courageous than I was yesterday. 

How do you think we as woman can live well rounded lives while still pursuing our dreams?

L: Over the years I've been learning that balance is a myth. I do think we can prioritize, but it's more about perspective. You'll never be able to balance everything at once. But you can be grateful for what's in front of you and take it a day at a time. You can invite your spouse and your friends and family into that space so that you're not alone. Trying to be everything to all people will leave us unsatisfied and burnt out. Unable to give our true gifts and our true selves to the world. Ask for help, collaborate,  you don't have to do it solo. 

What advice would you give to those who are considering starting something new?

L: Collaborate! Be open to working with other people, don't hold so tightly to your vision that you aren't wiling for things to change. Stay true to who you are, but be open to other peoples voices and ideas.  Hold fast to those non negotiable's, but recognize that other things might change, and that's okay. 

What are you most excited for at the moment?

L: I am really excited to create more awareness around what we are doing at YouMe. We are taking a trip to Mozambique in a few weeks to do an exchange with a community there. I'm so excited to come back with a renewed vision and passion and to go all out! It's exciting and terrifying all at the same time, it's a roller coaster of emotions. 


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