My entire life was planned out for me. I followed the plan and did everything I was supposed to. I depended on this plan. No one prepared me for change- for death, for trauma, depression, darkness. I was 15 and helpless and alone and hurting. I didn’t understand what was wrong with me until I didn’t notice anything was different. Surrounded by people who loved me, I felt ostracized.. I continued living. Until I was a freshman in college, and the bombs went off and suddenly everything built up inside of me was destined to burst out and leave me crumbled in a corner, just a shell of a girl.

But even in my darkest days one thing remained the same, art. Some nights I wasn’t sure if I would see the next but I would write or play music. I picked up a camera at 18 and what began as a form of therapy turned into a passion. It was something to look forward to, something tangible to hold onto. I’ve always loved so easily; especially those who could not possibly love me the same. I gravitated towards people built like me- broken. Misery loves company.

I really struggled in college because even after seeking help, the depression is never fixed. It comes in waves, feeling like as soon as I would hit a peak, there came the valley again. I thought I would never finish. When I finally began to see the light, I panicked, so I moved to Europe instead. My college career was coming to an end and still I felt alone and unsure of my next move. I transferred three times and didn’t have college friends to become my future bridesmaids. I didn’t meet my husband but instead one too many trolls. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, or feel like I belonged, anywhere. So off to Spain I went. I had never felt so much freedom as I did when I lived abroad. I was living each day as it came, with no plan, and nothing holding me back. I had the time of my life. I returned home with a magical new view on life, a beating heart and a thriving soul. I was better, stronger, and ready to take on anything. I felt, healed.

A year later I graduated and still felt like I had something to prove, so I returned to school to continue my education only to be met with fate, laughing in my face. The first week of class I was scouted for an art show case. A month later I was published in a magazine. The next, one of my photos was used as an iTunes album cover. Before I knew it my calendar was booked months in advance and I was spending more time editing than I was doing homework. I finally looked around at my life and asked myself, what the hell are you doing? Look at what is right in front of you! The dream, that I never believed could be reality, was amidst my fingertips.

I had no time to waste. I registered my business, discontinued classes and dubbed myself a creative boss babe all at the age of 23. Now I get to travel, meet new people, and capture their beauty. If I had only known what was yet to come... I wish I could go back and hug my younger self and tell her that life gets so much better. I believe the broken road I have traveled, led me right here to this beautiful life. Art saved me, and then I saved myself.​

More About Lauren

Lauren Parr, aka LP. Small town Texas girl living in the city. Owner of LP Photography. Austin Texas natural-light portrait, lifestyle and wedding photographer. Dog mom, Texas State Alumna and lover of kombucha.