Sunday, August 6, 2017

Super Hero Training Part II - The Power of Personal Action

image via Google

Life comes in waves, and with those waves come the highs and the lows. Some of us who struggle with physical depression feel these waves more acutely than others. Whatever your mental strength, you will, at some point in your life, walk into a situation that seems hopeless. In contrast, you may feel like you’re at the top of your game, unstoppable, and all-important. The key is to find your balance. You are not all-important. You are not invincible. You don’t know everything. But, you are important to some people. You do have power. You do know some things.

You may think, “All I do in life is (fill in the blank).” When you are feeling down, you may shrink yourself to the point where you feel like an ant, just a tiny little insignificant insect in a huge world. This is, so some degree, true. You are just one in 7 billion. You are most likely not in a position of power that will cause any immediate significant change to the entire world. You probably have not created a life-saving medicine, built a sky-scraper, or done anything to radically change the world for the better. And even if you have, the things you have done will most likely be forgotten. People have a terrible time remembering their history!

Don’t hang your head, though! While you are not the most important person in the world, you are important to many people. Those who are closest to you, those who see you day to day. Your family, your co-workers, your friends, these are the people whose lives you impact every day. When you take care of yourself, and do your best to be respectful in your home, your family will likely respond well to you.

Every time you make a meal, do the dishes, do your chores, listen to each other, you are ensuring that your “corporation” is running smoothly. If you take it a step further and put your own desires aside, listen to your spouse, kid, or sibling as they talk about whatever (and really engage!) you are becoming a super hero.

At work, when you get things done on time, go the extra mile to communicate, take responsibility for mistakes, and treat others with understanding, you are becoming a superhero. If you suddenly dropped everything, and neglected all your duties, your neglect would have serious consequences. Imagine that you are a rather unimportant secretary at a large law firm. Even if most all of your duties seem menial, if they are not completed, the company might suffer mightily at your hands!

You often have power that you don’t recognize because it is not flashy or amazing. It is the power of personal action. When you make a mark on the world by any action, it will affect those around you for better or for worse. Whether you are a plumber, a chef, a teacher, or artist, your work is important to someone, and by your action or inaction, you have the power to change the world one moment at a time.

At the end of the day, your interactions with other human beings will be the only thing for which you are remembered. Do not use people. Be genuine. Your work is not what you are. The way you work, the way you live your life is what you are. Your personal action is your super power.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Voices Around Me

Sometimes it seems
I am not only me
But a sea
of faces
of voices
of lives
All trying to reach the surface
All gasping,
All reaching,
All trying for air,
Just a breath away,
Waiting at a moment's notice
To break free
and be truly alive,
Biding their time,
Waiting to arrive.
I become restless
as though I have a thousand feet
As though I've lived a million lives,
For haven't I?
Through the faces I've seen?
The things you've all told me?
Haven't I shared all your experiences?
My pen shakes in my hand,
such a weighty thing I'm entrusted with,
To tell your stories,
Accurately,
To capture the moments
Indefinitely,
To freeze time
Upon pages
For future generations.
This is why I like all your voices around me.
Live your lives,
Tell me your stories,
Don't stop talking,
Fill the air with your beautiful voices
That I might hear them,
Feel their warmth and their light
Their sorrow and strength,
So that I know just what you want to say
In the pages of your lives.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Superhero Training Part I - Why It's Important to Make Your Bed

Rarely do I dare to disagree with my mother. She is always right, I mean, always, to the point where it is almost freakish and would be considered annoying had she not saved my bacon on so many occasions! Recently, we were discussing the importance of teaching children to be tidy, making their bed in particular.

My mother has always said that a neatly-made bed leads to a neatly organized room. While I saw some sense in this, I just couldn't bring myself to believe that teaching your children how to make their bed was an all-important thing. I argued that children can learn responsibility and neatness in other areas of the home, that their own room can come be a sort of a "messy haven" if they choose. My mother disagreed.

I have a confession to make... I hate making my bed. I just do. I shouldn't! I am an adult with adult responsibilities, and at this point I feel like I should be able to make my bed without a second thought. I do make my bed, but maybe not as often as my mother would like... I guess I still haven't gotten over that "This-is-going-to-get-messy-again-so-why-bother" phase. It also doesn't help that I am not a morning person...
I have discovered through talking to several people is that I am not alone. Many friends and acquaintances my age and even older seem to have a hard time with keeping themselves organized. Why is this? Lack of parental insight? Personal preference? Laziness?

As to parental insight, I can attest to the fact that my mother was almost excessive when it came to neatness, so that was not a problem for me. Between messy or neat, I actually prefer things tidy. My mind feels freed to think, and when everything is organized it is much easier to complete tasks and projects. I pondered things for awhile, and realized that my desire for a "messy haven" was born out of laziness...

Laziness kills creative energy and productivity. Especially as an artist, when you are the sole manufacturer of your work, an idea without follow-through is actually a dangerous thing. Coming up with ideas can lead you to believe that you have done something when really, nothing has been brought to life. These are stillborn ideas, miscarriages of the mind.

Oftentimes, when I hit a mental roadblock, I allow tasks to slip by undone. Sometimes this is done out of fear, but sometimes it's due to laziness. I would rather not, and so I don't. This, of course, only leads to greater problems down the road. So, how does this tie into the importance of making your bed?

I realized today that making your bed is not just making your bed. It is doing something you don't want to do, a forced productive action, a discipline. This is the reason the military is so perfectionist when it comes to the barracks! Since human beings tend to have an extremely difficult time being self-governing and self-disciplined, any small training ground should be seized as an opportunity to strengthen oneself! If I want to become a "superhero," or in other words a reliable, trust-worthy, life-giving person, I must have follow-through on the smallest tasks.

So, as always, my mother was right... Needless to say, I will be enforcing a neat and tidy bed rule with myself from here on out!

Essays and Stories Coming Your Way!

Hello Readers! 

This summer, I will be sharing various essays on topics, mainly dealing with art, life, and philosophy. In the series, "Superhero Training," we will explore the deeper meanings of character, orderliness, and creative power as "super powers." We were not made to sit back and watch the world go by, we were created to leave the world better than we found it. With discipline, imagination, hard-work, and the help of our creator, we can become the people we are made to be! 


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dreams in the Making

If you've been following this blog since it's inception, you know that I have been working towards becoming a published author (hence the blog name, "There's a Book Out There"). This year, I felt more prepared and more propelled than ever into the world of writing. I realize that I have time to write at the moment, and no excuse not to sit my little butt in a chair and just do the hard work of sorting through sentences and trying to make sense of an almost four year old manuscript. If I don't finish this now, I never will.

So, for the past few days, I have been in writing bliss. Editing has never been a passion of mine, but my fear of editing is gone! When I was younger, I was so obsessed with having each little sentence being perfect that I could never finish anything. Now, I don't care if I have to turn my story inside out, cut it open, dissect it's heart, and splice it all back together again. I no longer fear criticism. In fact, I welcome it! It gives me an opportunity to do better. I suppose the biggest hurdle I have jumped in this whole process is the fear of failure. For so long, this poor manuscript has been waiting to be finished because I was too afraid of failing. But, I will fail. I will fail over and over again. The words will come out wrong, the sentence structure will be terrible, the plot will take wrong turns, and characters won't be the way I want them to. But, I can always improve as long as I keep going! And I mean to keep going!

Much love, ashley

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Mental Health Diaries - Limbo

Let's talk openly for a bit.

I have anxiety.

And depression...

In fact, I have a whole slew of mental health issues bundled up in a little two-faced package called Bipolar II.

I don't feel sorry for myself. Nor do I feel isolated. Having a name for the "thing" that causes me to not feel myself is actually quite helpful. Not only do I recognize that Bipolar, not my soul, my essence, is to blame for my irrational mood shifts, but I don't feel as alone. I know I am not the only person who is chained to this "thing" that I must manage in order to maintain my functionality.

What I do recognize is that I have limitations. As much as I would love to follow through with all the dreams and plans that I have, I now understand that some of them simply will not be possible. I also realize that I have been putting off facing some big fears...

There is definitely a stigma surrounding mental illness. I don't blame people for this. Mental illness is scary and unknowable, two things humans are very uncomfortable with. However, not talking about mental illness only makes things more crazy, more irrational, more unsafe. That is why I am willing to share my struggles with mental illness in appropriate contexts. I am not afraid to discuss the illness itself, but I am afraid of its impact on my life.

Life with Bipolar is like living in an "either or" illusion. 
Things are all good or all bad.
It's very difficult to see these things at the same time.

I am afraid of becoming too tied to responsibilities, not because I am lazy, but because I don't want to let people down.

I can't handle nearly as much stress as I once did, and that makes me feel both less valuable and more vulnerable. I don't want to be the "idiot" who can't handle life and bursts into tears because of a stress over paperwork. I don't want to be the person who can't look supervisors in the eye because of generalized anxiety which makes me feel like a criminal for no good reason.

After a long, very stressful family situation, my stress meter suddenly felt "broken." This was my first manifestation of Bipolar. It was as if the nervous butterflies that reside in the stomach were set loose in my head and I was spending every waking minute trying to put them back into their cage. I quit my job and spent lots of time trying to rebuild who I was after hitting rock bottom.

In order to manage Bipolar, it is crucial not to become overly stressed. Every person has a different measure of stress they can handle before inducing a flare. Sometimes, my life seems like a minefield of "flares." Eat grains, get a lupus flare. Forget to take your supplements, get a CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) flare. Get too stressed, get a Bipolar flare.

I definitely don't have any of these illness as seriously as some, thank God, because I have a DEDICATED Mamma who has done her research and helped me get back on my feet. But, I still have to learn how to provide and take care of myself. I need to find something I can do that is fulfilling, doable, and profitable. That can be a scary thought...

I absolutely trust God to give me strength and energy and opportunity. But, that doesn't make facing the monsters less scary. They still need to be faced. Even as I type this out, I am fighting back tears. I know I was made to be strong, to help other people, but it is so frustrating sometimes to be fighting secret battles behind a smile.

For years now, I have been in limbo. School was put on hold, my career has been put on hold, my whole life was put on hold! And now it seems I've grown accustom to the elevator music, to the point where I've made up a dance. I've gotten used to living in the hallways, watching other people enter and exit doors that don't seem to be meant for me. But there is no real living in the hallways, only the observance of life. It's time to live. Even if I am scared. It's time to step out of limbo...

If you are on a similar journey, please let me know! We are all in this together, unless we stay silent.

Much love,
ashley

Monday, June 12, 2017

Continuous Baby Steps

I am very excited... Why?

Well, I can't tell you... Not just yet...

However, this year is shaping up to be amazing! I am getting so many new artistic opportunities, and I can't wait to share them all with you! But for now, just remember, a forward moving life is one of continuous baby steps in the right direction.

Keep moving forward loves, we can do this thing!

PS: Found a new website about 10 seconds ago while looking up the photo in this post. It's a great blog called https://defyingshadows.com/ Check it out!


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Book Review - Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good


Just finished this book by Jan Karon last week. The cover really caught my eye at the library, and I had been looking for something that was written in a modern setting without exploding buildings, vampiric teenagers, or unrealistic relationship scenarios. Here is my review on Good Reads.com, a site which I highly recommend you join if you want to join a readers community and get good recommendations for your reading list! 



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Late Night, Incohesive Thoughts That Feel a Lot Like Tumblr...

Hello World,

These are just some candid thoughts coming to you from a late night thinker.

First of all, I should be sleeping. After all, tomorrow is my last day on the catering job that I am quitting, and I want to be in a good mood to say goodbye to everyone.

Why am I up so late... Oh, yeah,  probably a little too much chocolate before bed... Yep, WAY too much chocolate...

Speaking of chocolate, no more sugar. Ever again. It shall never pass between these lips. It's absolutely toxic, causes me anxiety, and makes my skin look and feel terrible. So no more, just in case you were wondering, dear future self, if you should cheat with that chocolate bar, the answer is no.

I wish I could be writing my story right now... Which story? Any of them... I can't wait until classes are out for the summer... I am going to do some serious writing this summer... I can feel it.

Got a desk. For free. God is good. My house/room/office is coming together, and whatever product comes out of this office has got to be amazing. Excellence, nothing less than excellence.

I love dance. I wish I could dance without hurting, but on this earth there is pain... Speaking of pain...



Working on mostly non-verbal ways of expression, especially when it comes to emotion like pain, happiness, joy, sadness, etc. Also ways to express virtue, like innocence. Visuals are powerful tools...

People are too often alone. They don't shoot the breeze anymore... There is a lack of the now, the present moment is too busy trying to be the future... People need to talk, to say little bits of nothing and everything, to dance, to touch, to be human. I want to bring back the tribal nature of human kind...
Alright, time to set the alarm. The fan is loud, boy is it hot in here... Wonder if I can buy a small air conditioner... Might cost a lot to run...


Take care dear world...

Blessings,
ashley

Sunday, May 28, 2017

And Then, They're Gone...

Last night, I learned that one of my cousins on my dad's side passed away. It was a tragic tale of drug overdose. While I was not very close to him due to a large age gap, I was close to his siblings, and I can't help feeling heavy for them, even though we haven't seen each other for many years.

What do you do in a situation like this? There are no words to properly emote feelings of empathy. Distance and time makes things hard, almost awkward. My dad's side of the family is terrible at sitting with uncomfortable emotions, so when my dad found out, he just kind of brushed it to the side. But my mother, the leader of the tribe, she knew what to do.

"Get me a phone, I need to call their mom."

So, she called my aunt. And as soon as their two voices exchanged a hello, they both sobbed. I, who really couldn't cry before this, feeling too separated, too distant, started crying. It was a powerful moment of two mothers weeping over a son. How many times throughout history has this happened before? How many needless, tragic deaths have been caused by illness, war,  murder, or drugs, all ending in a mother's tears?

It's strange... I've been pondering death, not really in a morbid way, but in a very real way. When death is close, it makes you aware of what is precious. I think we in the west are too far removed from death. We become cloistered, neurotic, and spiteful, thinking that we have forever to argue about petty, trifle matters. But we don't, we really don't... We only have a short while. So be aware, be tender, be gentle, for death is only a breath away...

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

May The Noise of Children Never Cease

Because I am the oldest of four children, and my mother has been chronically ill for nearly 16 years, I have pretty much raised my two youngest siblings. I moved away from my family for about 9 months, and felt like an empty nester... Now, I find myself back with my family, and this time someone, my youngest sister, is leaving me... I am incredibly proud of her, but I hate the change and the emotions that it brings...

Growing up and moving on in life is very bittersweet. Good things and bad things come and go, changing the scenery of your life. You can feel alone and quiet and distant, or you can choose to remember the beautiful things you had, and know that the best, permanant things are to come in heaven.

This poem is dedicated to my sibling "children," to parents, teachers, and to anyone who loves the children in their life.

-

May the noise of children never cease,
May it go on, may it ever increase.
Let your little ones shout and play,
For it won't always be that way.
.
Let your children know you care,
Let them know you saw them there.
Teach them how to understand,
How to love their fellow man.

Revel in the little things.
Celebrate bugs and butterfly wings.
Let them know that life is hard.
Tell them you will not be far.

And when your curtain call is close,
Let them know they meant the most.
Cherish their sounds, their laugh, their voice,
For life is in your children's noise.



Friday, May 19, 2017

Accept Today For What It Is


Jessie Willcox Smith - Young Girl Sweeping Front Step
Lately, I've found myself getting frustrated. Blame it on being more housebound this week, the mixture of emotions due to my sister getting accepted to college, or the aches and pains that just won't go away no matter what I try.

Today was spent preparing the house for a senior (senior citizen, that is) dance and potluck. I hadn't left the house since Thursday morning, and I felt stuck. I've washed more dishes in my life than I care to recall, and as I washed more dishes, swept more floors, I became angry for a few moments. With each little dish I pick up, with each little sweep of my mop, my back pain steadily increases. For this reason, housework is a slow, painful process. I used to be so fast at it! But as I've gotten older (and by older, I mean 24...) my spinal arthritis has gotten worse, and my hernias feel like they'll never repair.

I began to mentally whine.

But, then I realized something...

I have to accept today for what it is. Not for what I want it to be. Today's challenges, be it a small frustrations with housecleaning or a cosmic, internal conflict between my dark side and God, are scraping away the imperfections of my soul, polishing me like a stone.

Maybe I will never be able to clean very quickly again. Maybe I am doomed to feel like I am wasting my time doing the same chores, day in and day out. But if my heart is settled, and I am doing the best I can do, I am doing just fine...

PS. So excited to have a new blog layout!! I had a great big smile on my face, and my mom looked at me and asked what was making me so happy. Sheepishly, I said "Oh, just blogging!"

Friday, May 12, 2017

Take Yourself Seriously - The Manifesto

Its about time you took yourself seriously.

If you don't, no one else will.

If you don't seriously pursue your dreams, and make the necessary sacrifices to achieve them, they won't realize.

If you don't become a person of your word, saying exactly what you mean, following through with your promises, and cutting right to the point, people won't trust you.

If you are serious about starting something, do it right now! There is not a moment to lose!

I'm taking myself seriously. I am a writer! I have quit one of my jobs in order to pursue this, and I mean it with all of my heart, I shall become what I've always known I was meant to become.

It's time for action! I don't want to be a writer because I want people to know my name, or want my work to be well known. I am supposed to be a writer. Therefore, if I do not write, I am thwarting my destiny, my purpose.

Its scary now, to have this thing before me, this task. Good writing has always been so beautifully difficult because you have no one telling you or overseeing you, showing you exactly what to say and how to say it. It comes down to you and your guts, spilling them out onto the page in your every word.

So, here I am world, full of unspoken words. I can't promise you original thoughts, or well-written stories, or beautiful poetry, but I can promise you that I will observe, that I will think, and that I will try to capture the essence of human experience in the 21st century.

Always yours,
ashley

Friday, April 14, 2017

I Hold My Breath Too Long

I sit there in silence.
The clock ticks.
Eyes seem to watch me from everywhere,
From the closet,
From the folds of my sleeves,
From the face of the screens.

I hide from my own hands.
I hate the sound of my own breath going into my lungs.
So I hold my breath...

And the worry begins to build... I can't breath, I can't breath... my mind begins to race... I can't stop thinking, I can't stop thinking! Everything is rushed and pointed, like a arrow into my throat, into my ears, my eyes, the point between my shoulder and my chest-plate... I hate the sound of everything...

Responsibility! Responsibility! I can hear the ball and chain being ready to put it's shackle on me... Everyone is depending on you... it whispers as it scrapes the ground... I fill my mouth with whatever I can fit inside, trying to eat up the noise, the room itself, my thoughts my feelings, trying to make myself big enough to fit my problems inside, but its no use... I am trying to drink up the river that carved the Grand Canyon, and it is pointless... I stand on shaky feet. This will not kill me...

And all of a sudden, I realize... I was not breathing...
Slowly, I fill my lungs with air.
Do not steady me!
I must breath for myself!
I cry myself to sleep.
I am foolish.

I hold my breath too long.

That Thing (In My Head)

That thing in my head
Exactly measured

Prescribing precision
Like a knife.

Cutting through my thoughts
Barely causing pain.

Blood being civilized
With rubberized gloves.

I will think before I act.
I will dissect every angle.

Feelings must be processed
Effective, like a machine.

Is not a feeling only a set of chemical chain reactions?
Can I not override that which I do not wish to emote?

Can I not turn my heart into a machine?
Can I not rewire a metallic mind?


Thursday, April 13, 2017

That Thing (In my Chest...)

That thing in my ribcage
That wild piece of flesh
Which wages war with my blood

That hollow in my chest
That void in my stomach
Creating chaos I cannot control

That weary look of mine
That urge to risk it all
Gone is my sanity into the night


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Things I'm Feelin' Right Now...



When I say "feelin'" I mean things I'm sensing that I want to do, things that hang in air with a sense of wanting... ya "feelin'" me?

A post shared by ashley anne (@justashleyanne) on

1) Funny "spoonie" and AIP instagram posts...
2) Princess Bride (even my sister Rachel who generally hates this movie has agreed, IT IS TIME TO WATCH THIS AGAIN!)
3) A Robin Williams film...
4) Some drawing
5) These songs...

- Real Emotion album by Paper Route (especially Zhivago!)
- Graceless by The National
- Second Child by The Oh Hellos
- Cave by Mumford and Sons
- Random Haiku Generator by Soley
- Slave to the Rhythm by Michael Jackson
- Gone by Toby Mac
- Where the Light Shines Through album by Switchfoot
- Something in the Water by Carrie Underwood
- Me and God by Josh Turner (this man's voice is like butter, you MUST LISTEN!)

6) Long walks and creating a secret garden...
7) Eating in a healthy order and not cheating because cheating hurts my poor tummy and creates havoc internally which causes my back to go out, my brain to fog up, and my energy level to go down, and then I can't dance :'(
8) Writing, filming, and creating art again!
9) Getting physically stronger. Goodbye noodle arms and thunder thighs...
10) Kickin' back with my homies! Literally, the people I share physical living space with (and some friends too).

So, what things are you "feelin'" this week?


Magnifying Eyes

I am sitting on the lawn.
Perhaps I am a little different.
But I am only different enough to notice differences.
I think I just make others aware of their differences...

The scientists love me.
They want to analyze me.
They say they love me,
And maybe they do...

But every time they stare at me,
They do not realize
I'm burned by their magnifying eyes.

It hurts, and so I fly away.
This hiding makes them chase me...
Please, I will talk to you, but don't look at me.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Little at a Time

I am building myself
a little at a time.
Each moment well spent
marks my improvement.
Learning to work
In bits and doses.
Learning when it is best
to rest and play.
For I haven't got much time,
This I know is true,
But if I manage what I have
I will leave behind a legacy.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

So Many Thoughts...

I think I think too many thoughts
My mind is full of endless things.
Just carrying this mind of mine
Becomes a weight too tiring...

The immensity, the great expanse
of my internal mental caves,
Will proliferate plenty adventures
in life, from cradle unto grave...

I was born busy in this world
The aspiring attic of my head.
Perchance you should stumble inside
Perhaps you could see what I've said...

But there is only me to know these thoughts,
And only a few years to live.
There are so many diamonds in my dirt
So many thoughts to sift...

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Redefining Your Space

Organization is one of those things that I absolutely love... yet hate...

I am an absolute perfectionist, and when it comes to organizing, there are just so many great ways to organize, I can never find one I like the best!

When it comes to blogging, there are some things I have learned that I feel will be useful in this next phase...

1) People don't really care all that much about your life. They want to know how it relates to them. They want to know that you, as a writer, can identify with them! You are there to somehow improve their lives.

2) Don't go on, and on, and on. No one cares that much, nor do people have an exorbitant amount of time to read your gibberish.

3) Keep things professional... most of the time. It's nice to hear some personal things, especially when you are a growing person and you just what to know how the heck people make it out there in that big, bad world...

4) Be honest. Yes, be very honest. People want to know what life is REALLY like, not what its "post" to look like.

This is a place that I have carved my name into, and like it or not, its mine. Its real, its raw, its authentic, and should some young people stumble across it, I hope they read it as I read other's writings when I was young and find some encouragement. I also love the fact that my history is being documented, the good, the bad and the ugly. I also keep a journal, but this blog forces me to write in such a way that I am thinking about others reading it, which forces me to write with a better voice, and makes me try to capture life in a deeper way.

This is me, this is all of me, and I'm proud of what I'm slowly becoming. I am so excited for this new year, and I hope whoever finds this little corner of the web is happy too.

Love to all,
ashley

Monday, March 6, 2017

For the Kids Who Hurt Tonight...

For all my babies out there who are really, truly hurting, I'm so sorry that I get so caught up in my own little world. I feel you. God feels you. We'll cry with you. He won't let us go...


Sunday, March 5, 2017

I'll Rise Again Tomorrow

Brave little phoenix,
Don't you remember being burned to nothing but ashes?
"Of course I do," the phoenix replies,

"And I shall die another day, but I'll rise again tomorrow."

Deeper Still

Emotions run deep,
But your word runs deeper still.

Some things I cannot keep
But your truth will always fill.

Silence may scream
But your voice surrounds me.

Because however deep my troubled waters run,
Your peace runs deeper still.

Ghouveture:

GHOUVETURE -
adjective; a persistent re-emergence of thought-to-be-dead emotions, marked by a newfound life now attached to a more deeply dead emotion. The eerie afterlife of a love which almost was, or never could be. A bittersweet emotion of melancholy appreciation of love in any form. The sadness of being in love with ghosts which are not able to stay in solid form. The distinct feeling of reaching out for that which truly does not exist, yet insists on existing as a memory, only to be met time after time by a brief, sweeping sorrow. The act of trying to embrace an apparition. Finding deluded delight in lingering over the graves of ghosts which one has attempted to bury. The sound of wind chimes being blown by a breathy, almost-cold breeze, alongside the salt smell of ocean spray. Hearing the child which you never bore cry out for you to hold them, and feeling the hand of your never-was beloved brush against yours in the twilight.


There is Less Blood in my Love Now...

There is less blood in my love now.
I can sense it.
It's tired, and old, and terribly cold.
It's still there, but its thin and weak.
It isn't that it doesn't try,
but like the whispery skin of one who has aged
It simply can no longer endure...
The last tear has fallen,
The last drop of blood has spilled...
I have nothing left...
All is ghostly...
It is closing it's eyes, perhaps for the last time...
It's sad, but almost sweet to see it go...
It was so fragile, so weary...
There, there, let it all fall away...
Be at peace,
With blood no more...

Monday, February 27, 2017

Beauty Beside the Pain

Hello my dears,

Its been a rough two weeks. Maybe someday I'll tell you about it. Let's just say there were some of the highest highs and the lowest lows I've had in awhile. Most of the time, I like life to stay as even keel as possible, but every once in awhile, God sends us on detours that are meant to teach us something.

There were words spoken, ideas communicated, hearts opened, and minds exploded. There were also bitter tones, crushed hearts, and sleepless nights.

But you know what? I'm still alive...

And every time I emerge out of something painful, I feel somehow rejuvenated, like I have just been stretched further than I thought I could go, and my heart is now more flexible. Perhaps it is a bit macabre, but I love knowing that nothing can destroy me unless I give it that power. I love knowing how far I can climb, how deep into the unknown I can fall, and still trust that God will catch me.

That doesn't mean that trusting God is easy. But, with practice, it does become easier. And with each time, you learn that this physical world has a little less hold on you. That's what it means to be spiritual. I get now, after years of misinterpreting religion for spirituality. Religion actually ties you tighter to this world, with all its rules and rituals. Spirituality sets you absolutely free from this current reality, and you realize that nothing here can bind you unless you decide to be bound.

I've learned that love is a beautiful thing, and something worth fighting for. But I've also learned that it is found in the everyday odd places. So many people are busy searching for love in the face of one, not realizing that, while the love of one is incredibly beautiful, there is love in all things God has made. There is love in the face of a child looking wistfully at their father's face. There is love in the hand written note on the wall for all to see. There is love in the people you pass on the road. There is so much love everywhere, it fills the cosmos! Its beautiful, and its big, and it can't be contained. Its the story of humanity etched in each individuals eyes, no matter how small or insignificant they might seem.

I've realized that, yes, should I have the reason, should I have the task of giving my heart to another human being and to care for them, I have the courage to face this challenge willingly. I have the courage now to say "I forgive you" before I even say "I love you" because that is what humans need the most. But there is so much love out there, and people miss it everyday... It grieves me because while people are so busy trying to fulfill their lives with inter-personal romance, they often miss the cosmic love that is shivering, crying, aching to be discovered...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

January Musings


Well my dears, its been almost a month already in the year 2017.

There are so many things happening day to day, literally I feel like I wake up on Monday, turn around, and its Monday again! However, I'm very grateful to be busy with work I love and enjoy, and I'm looking forward to turning some dreams into realities this year.

Just wanted to note a few things from January 2017:

1) We have a new president. I stand for viewpoint diversity, which means the freedom to express one's opinion in an open forum where the exchange of ideas can occur, along with hearty, but respectful debate. Therefore, I will be uninhibited and say that not only am I happy, but excited for the freedom of liberty and choice that has been re-established with this change of power.

I know some of you are scared, but please, before you whole-heartedly embrace the narratives spewed at you from the media, give the new president a chance. In four years, if you don't see improvement in the government, by all means, work hard to elect someone you can believe in. Just remember, lies and rumors spread quickly, and tarnish someone even after they are proved untrue.

Think back to a time when someone spread a rumor about you... Didn't you want to be given the chance to prove yourself? Please don't shoot me down in your mind. I love  and respect you, even if you disagree with me. That is the beauty of a free society!

2) The last series of Sherlock has aired. I had a total fan-girl moment at the last episode... It was just so nice to see Benedict play a warmer character... He's one of those people who I would just love to hug! Sherlock has been such a fun show to be a part of as a fandom. While there were some episodes I really didn't like, the overall experience was wonderful, and I felt special being with it from its infancy to its finale. Lots of love to those who were also Sherlocked, and to the fabulous people who worked hard to make the modern world of Sherlock a reality. Overall, a fantastic job!

3) Dance classes are in full swing! I LOVE my students SO MUCH!! I have two big hip hop classes, and soon we will be adding the older kids, CAN'T WAIT!

4) Pogo has been my latest music obsession. I'm not quite sure what to make out of the artist; I will have to do a little further research, but he seems to be a more free-thinking person, which may be the reason I really appreciate his music. While it is electronic music, it feels deeply artful, almost subconsciously, perhaps due to the fact that he creates songs from movies that are familiar to the 90's kid in me. They are almost dream-like, and fabulous to dance to! Thanks Pogo!

5) Been working out. Almost everyday. Sweating. Like a boss...

6) Last, but not least, my family and I are moving. Yes, moving. It all happened so fast, but we will be getting out of our three bedroom apartment in which my two sisters, my mother and I have been sharing a room, and into a five bedroom house in which I will have my own room. I can't wait for the creativity and time this will bring into my life! I will update you on all our little adventures as they occur!

Hope you are all having a great start to your year!! DO NOT GIVE UP ON THOSE GOALS! This is the year, and today is the day :)

- ashley

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2017 - #Goals




This year, I want to... 

1) Lose 20 pounds
2) Make bare minimum $2,500 a month 
3) Start school again 
4) Compete at one dance comp. 
5) Finish writing a book 
6) Create a full dance curriculum
7) Start up official photography business 
8) Eat healthier on a daily basis 
9) Run thru the Bible multiple times 
10)  Heal my injured disks

Those are some BIG goals... but they are well worth pursuing. I am VERY excited about this year... I just am nervous that I will stand in my own way... But I am more determined, and have more skills than ever to overcome obstacles and reach these goals. 2017, here I come!!

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