Lunch with Laura Beth

If you look in the dictionary under the word “confidence” most likely you’ll find a  picture of my junior year roommate, Laura Beth.  She was goal-oriented, hard charging, commanding, focused, and ran our hallway with the skill of a drill sergeant.

She was ROTC.

Those girls were hard-core.

I was not ROTC.

That would have required me to exercise.

I was just starting to come into my own about my junior year.  I was fresh off a breakup of a two-year relationship, I had just started making a few close friends here and there, but I was still pretty reserved and wallflowery at the time.  One night as we were sitting around the dorm room, LB, in her inimitable fashion said, “Sus, I need to tell you something.  You have GOT to hold your head up, girl.”

I looked at her like she was crazy because I had no idea what she was talking about.  When I asked her to explain what she meant, she told me that she had observed me in the cafeteria that day.

“Susan, do you realize that when you walk across the cafeteria, you never look up?  Your head is down, you don’t look around at other people, you avoid eye contact, and you act like you’re afraid to be in there.”

I have to admit, I was a teeny bit afraid of the meatloaf.

Parts of it were unrecognizable and scary.

Food issues aside, you know what?

She was 100% right.

I wasn’t confident.  I didn’t want to be in that cafeteria.  I didn’t have the nerve to just sit down next to anybody. I didn’t think people liked me. I didn’t know how to approach people, and after two years of being there, I didn’t know that many people because my life had revolved around my now non-existent boyfriend.



Laura Beth continued. “Head up, shoulders back from now on.  You have nothing to  hide from and nothing to be afraid of.  If I catch you slouching in the cafeteria again, I’m going to call you out on it in front of everybody.”

With that one little conversation, she put the fear of God in me changed my outlook .

I started walking taller, looking people in the eye, engaging others around me, and my world opened up, all because of my bossy roommate who loved me enough to express confidence in me and speak truth to my life.

I meant to tell her this story when we had lunch together in Cary last week, but after eighteen years of not seeing each other, we had a lot of catching up to do about everything else and I didn’t get around to mentioning how significant that thirty-second dorm room conversation was in my life. I’m remedying that now.

Thanks, Laura Beth. You set me on a new path and gave me the boost I needed to go forth and conquer.

Or at least walk across a room.

You can hold your own head high knowing you’re the best bossy roommate I ever had.

Have a nice day.



13 responses to “Lunch with Laura Beth

  1. cool story!
    once I had a friend tell me (during my first pregnancy) ‘Amber, you need to know when people ask ‘how are you?’ they don’t really want to know. It’s a greeting, and when you then go into a longform answer, you are coming across as needy and whiny’

    made me cry, but she was right. tough friends are important.

  2. Vonda Livingston

    What an awesome story! Yea for the Laura Beth’s out there who encourage all of us! And even though I’ve never met you in person, girl it doesn’t look like you have one bit of struggle with your confidence now. 🙂 Blessings!

  3. I love the Laura Beth’s in my life. I may not love them at the moment they’re telling me hard things but I love that they’re bold enough to speak truth in love to me. Great story, Susan!

  4. It is truly amazing what one can do with a little adjustment. Fake it until you make it is the way to go.

  5. I love a good Truth teller….

    Excellent post friend!

  6. I love this. Isn’t it wonderful that God puts just the right people in our lives? I’m glad He gave you Laura Beth and He gave me Anna.

  7. Good friends are hard to find. Great friends that will slap you upside the head when you need it are true treasures.

    Love this post.

  8. I’m so thankful for the rainbow of friendships in my life. Like you…the straight shooter. And then there are the ones who just make you laugh, ones you can call and they know immediately when there is something wrong, ones that take you right to the feet of Jesus. I love the rainbow of friends!

  9. I can’t imagine you with your head down. You always light up a room with your smile and humor. There is nothing like a friend like your college roommate. I get to see my college roommate this coming up weekend. Yippee!!!

    To be honest…..I use to get nervous walking into my college cafeteria (known as the Chow Hall…don’t you love that name!) not knowing if I would see a friend.

  10. I lurve me some Laura Beth. And you.

  11. Well, hmmm….I don’t remember that conversation…wow…

    I was/am pretty bossy…I’ve just learned to bite my tongue in my old age….I do recall having that same conversation w/my 14 year old recently, so it probably happened….I just don’t remember. I hope I wasn’t mean!

    I enjoyed lunch and like your quilt….don’t worry about your hair! I’m trying to decide if I should go dark again…

  12. Rick was ROTC at Virginia Tech. They are bossy people, aren’t they? 😉

  13. Janet’s comment says it all for me, too. A “rainbow of friends” is what we all need: those who tell it like it is, for our benefit & to help us change; those who encourage us when we most need it; those who are our cheerleaders & make life fun; those who ask us the hard questions; & even those who are a challenge because we constantly need to be a cheerleader for them.

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