An Open Apology to my Future Partner…

Dear future partner,

I feel I have to apologize already and odds are I haven’t even met you. I apologize for the walls you are going to have to get through, as I feel myself building them even as I write this. It’s a protective measure. My soul, at this point, cannot handle the idea of someone not being you. And so the fortress is being built around my heart quicker than I can even try to tear it down. 
People always said this would happen. That I was one more bad heartbreak from giving up altogether. I don’t know if I’ve reached the absolute end of my rope yet. I still have a slight case of hope the bubbles up occasionally. But I feel it dwindling fast. And while I still have a slight grip on the rope, I can feel the frayed ends close by. I’m trying to hold on…but it’s hard. 
Here is a list of things I’m not sure of as it pertains to you: 

1. If you actually exist. 

2. If you will be willing to break through the barrier. 

3. What parts you’ll even come with now. 

4. If I’ll recognize you when you show up. 

5. If I deserve it anyways. 
So I don’t know where this is going. Maybe it’s less of an apology and more of a warning. I know it will be hard. I know it will be difficult. I know it might not seem worth it. I know you’ll consider walking away. 
I don’t know if this will go away. I don’t know how high the walls will grow. 
I know I feel as if you are getting a broken version of what you deserve. Of what was once there. Before I only felt cracked. These days I feel destroyed. It comes and goes. I know I should work on glueing myself together so that I can be whole whenever you do show up. I know I’ve started, but it’s a lot easier said than done. I know I shouldn’t be so concerned about your lack of presence and that I should “wait on Jesus.” 
I’m sorry for being broken. I’m sorry for being a mess. I’m sorry for trying to make all of these other people you, when they weren’t you, and so now I’m holding it against you. I’m sorry for apologizing so much. I’m sorry for the walls. I’m sorry. 
I can’t promise much. I promise it’ll be tough. I promise it’ll suck. I promise I will try to help you tear the walls down. I promise though, that if you succeed, I will love your fiercely and completely and with all my tiny broken pieces. 
I’m sorry for the rambling…

Walking Thirst Trap

First off, you should know that I have very recently begun attempting to get my life together. Meaning eating right and hopefully losing weight. Today was my first day adding in the dreaded excercise to the combination which makes what I’m about to talk about even more entertaining to me. 
So today, on my very first walk in a very long time, I learned one valuable thing. Apparently I am causing men all over the world, or at least within my vicinity, to commit iniquities in their heart and mind because I wear…yoga pants. 
Confused yet? So was I. So let me fill you in. 
I’m walking. Minding my own business. Feeling healthy AF because I’ve been eating right for like three weeks. Today was, for some reason, a bad mental/emotion day so instead of eating my feelings I said “self” and self said “yea” and I said “let’s try this excercising for mental sanity thing and see what happens.” So myself and I put on some comfy clothes, my old sketchers, found my head phones and turned on Beyoncé Radio to get this walking party started. 
While still minding my own business, the first signs of an issue appear. Black car slows down, with black man in it giving me “the look.” If you are a woman you know exactly what look I’m talking about. If you are a man you know what look I’m talking about and have probably given it to someone. Car stops, rolls down window, and because my music isn’t loud enough I can hear him trying to get my attention. Against my better judgment, because I’m trying to work on being open to the universe and not coming across as a bitch, I take my head phones out and stop. I make sure to stay far away from the car so as not to get snatched. 
Here is the conversation that ensued:
Guy: excuse me. Are you an American? 
Me: ummm yea (mind you that’s a pretty loaded question right now so my mind is already on 100) 
Guy: what’s your nationality?
Me: I’m mixed. Black and white (oh lord here we go) 
Guy: ok. Let me make a statement 
Me: *to myself* ahh hell. 
Guy: you know you cause men to commit iniquity when you do this right. 
Me: *to myself* what the absolute heck is he talking about 
My face must have looked confused because he said 
Guy: iniquities. You know. Sin 
Me: yes I know what you meant
Guy: ok. Do you read the Bible?
Me: yes
Guy: a little
Me: I said yes
Guy: *holding up his bible* see I study the word. And when women (not saying you) walk around and men see you, it causes us to think lustful thoughts and your yoga pants (not saying yours) are….
Me: let me stop you right there. I’m just trying to go for a walk. Bye. 

First of all…I can’t. 
Second of all… sir don’t come for me today! 
I’m still trying to wrap my head around this encounter but here are just a few thoughts I have about it 
1. This is rape culture at its finest. Rape culture disguised as religious concern. If you can’t handle a woman wearing yoga pants because it might cause you to have lustful/sinful thoughts. That sir is your problem not mine. 
2. This is why women are afraid to go out in public alone. This is not normal, healthy or safe. Who does that?!?! It didn’t help that he looked like that man who shot the old man on social media and went missing for a few days. 
3. Clearly I am doing something right. When I said today was a bad emotional/mental day it was. I was getting stuck in my head and upset about no one wanting me. But apparently I was wrong. Apprently I am a literal walking thirst trap causing men to fall for me with every footstep. 
4. I wonder did he stop the two Older Latino women, or the white woman I crossed paths with a little down the road or was this just an attack on black women and an inability to appreciate and respect without oppressing. 

So the walk continued and the way it ended was such a beautifully ironic contrast I can’t help but think the blog gods created this moment specifically for me to write about it. 
I get back to my street (after checking multiple times to make sure I wasn’t being followed). My neighbor, who is also a black male, comes out of his house. I wave and say hello. This conversation ensues:
Neighbor: what about me?
Me: any time you want to come go right ahead
Neighbor: well I don’t like to just pop up. I was waiting on my invite. 
Me: any time!! 
Me to myself: must have been the pants. 

Moral of the story: Sir in the car…you don’t want these problems. Neighbor, you don’t want these problems either! 

Jesus loves me this I know…because everyone and their mama keeps telling me so!! 

First off let’s get something straight. I known Jesus. I love him. He loves me. We have a special relationship like everyone else should. So please do not take this as some post confirming your suspicions that I’ve gone off the deep end and no longer love the lord and need you to be fasting and praying for me. Pray for me all you want. It is greatly appreciated. But my soul is safe okay. 
But like the bio says…I love Jesus. I just cuss a lot. What do you mean Ashley?!?! How could you cuss and love the lord?!? That’s impossible. NEWS FLASH.. nobodies perfect. Jesus didn’t come to save perfect people. Jesus hung out with sinners, prostitutes and all other manner of imperfect creation and that’s why we are best friends. If he was looking for a perfect woman, he would have left me to my own demise a long time ago.

But before I get to far off from what my original intention of this post was let me reign it back in. So. I know Jesus loves me. People, however, seem to think it is their mission in life to remind me of this. And not in a like hey just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you and praying for you (this does happen occasionally and for those people I am eternally grateful) way.  But it’s usually more of a Hey Ashley your Facebook status (and now blog post) really has me questioning where your soul is headed and since you are so caught up on your singleness let me remind you that Jesus still loves you. 

YES!!! That’s what people do. Almost anytime I write about being single, someone reminds me that Jesus loves me. Like I forgot. But here’s the thing. No one. ABSOLUTELY NO ONE reminded me of that when I was in relationship. For nine sweet glorious months, I was free from Jesus cliches and reminders and “wait for Jesus” pep talks. 

So Jesus only loves me when I’m single? Or I only need reminding when I’m single? Or is it that my willingness to openly talk about it makes you so uncomfortable that you are absolutely unable to control yourself from reminding me that Jesus loves me so I should shut up and stop seeking love from a man and stop being a heathen?!?! Which one?! I’ll wait! 

So a few things: 

I talk about being single a lot because…well I’m single. It really doesn’t bother me as much as it used to but it’s still entertaining to vent and rant about sometimes. If it makes you uncomfortable I suggest you not click on this blog ever again. 

Also, I don’t hate men. 

I love Jesus. I know he loves me. 
In conclusion: if you have ever responded to anything I have written with a reminder that Jesus loves me…thank you…continue to do so if you feel inclined but know that I will be giving some serious side eye as I read the comment. I know it comes from a place of love but I just want to make sure you know how it comes across. 

Also, continue to pray for your girl. Clearly I can use all the prayer I can get. And not just because I’m single!! 

When choosing you is painful but absolutely necessary

Word of advice. Don’t listen to Adele “Love in the Dark” if your life ain’t together. It’ll have you at work, typing notes, trying to sing with a sore throat almost in tears. Or maybe that’s just me. But hey here we are. 

So if you’ve made it this far and got here by clicking on the link on my Facebook page then you are probably already aware of my terrible luck at love. But if you wandered here after reading one of my dear friends’ posts linked on their page, let me fill you in. Long story short: I have terrible luck at love. Even longer story even shorter: recent break up, 9 months (my longest relationship at almost 30), and he walked out leaving me at at Salsaritas. If it wasn’t for their queso and pineapple salsa I would have probably never gone back. 

So. Again. Adele. “Love in the Dark.” Listen to it if you haven’t. Listen again if you have. Cry if you need to. Proceed with this post when done. 

Sometimes choosing yourself is the most painful thing you can do. It is often that way for me. As a hopeless romantic, I long for the day I fall in love (again) and we ride off into the moonlight to start our happily ever after. I often doubt it’s actually meant to be for me but that’s another post for another day. What I have learned about myself in the few relationships I have had is that I will give 110% as soon as I care about you even a little bit. I will bend over backwards and find ways to part the sea if it means making you happy. What I have learned about other people is that this is typically not reciprocated.

So after giving so much of myself for any amount of time, the moment always comes when I have to make the ultimate sacrifice and choose myself. And it always sucks. I always feel like I’m betraying someone even though I’ve just spent any number of days, weeks or months betraying myself. 

Most recently, I spent nine months, miserably loving a man who was convinced I was not as amazing as I was presenting to be. He was scared and so I suffered. I gave, and gave, and gave in hopes that he would believe that I was who I said I was. And yet, he still walked out. No amount of love on my part could have made him stay. That was his stuff. I often took responsibility for his stuff. I do that a lot. 

But as is usually the case, they come back. They always come back. And up until this point in my life I usually took them back. But please refer to my bio. I mean it when I said 29 years and 9 months was the exact age when I became too old for this shit. This shit being not being appreciated, love not being reciprocated and having to be lost before being taken serious. 

So I chose me. I chose me even though it hurt like hell to do so. I chose me even though I could hear the tears in his voice and knew how much it took for him to write the emails. I chose me over the flowers. I chose me over the words. I chose the me I was now over the me I was for nine months. I chose my best life, even if it is a single life, over a life of frustration, fear, and sadness just for love. I chose me as my heart broke for this relationship one last time. And even though there was a very loud voice in my head saying take him back, he means it, it’s really what you want…I still chose me. 

As the days pass so does the pain. The relief I felt was almost instant and my clients and coworkers noticed it even if they didn’t know what it was. Choosing me was painful but necessary and I vow to do it every time the opportunity arises moving forward. Call me selfish, or mean, or tell me I’ve built the biggest wall ever. Who knows. But the way it’s been going, no ones ever chosen me before so if no one else will…I will. 

Not going to lie though, still secretly holding out for the day that someone does choose me and oh will I choose them with all that is in me…we shall see. 
“You have given me something that I can’t live without. You mustn’t underestimate that when you are in doubt. But I don’t want to carry on like everything is fine. The longer we ignore it all the more that we will fight. Please don’t fall apart. I can’t face your breaking heart. I’m trying to be brave. Stop asking me to stay.

I can’t love you in the dark. It feels like we’re oceans apart. There is so much space between us. Maybe we’re already defeated. Ah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah everything changed me. 

We’re not the only ones. I don’t regret a thing. Every word I’ve said. You know I’ll always mean. It is the world to me. That you are in my life. But I want to live and not just survive“- Adele

Thoughts I have had this week that I did not post to Facebook because I knew this blog was happening…

1. Y’all don’t want me to lose this weight? Why, because I will be out here in crop tops and high waisted shorts/ pants every chance I get if my body ever gets right. Don’t believe me just watch.

2. I think Cardi B was my spirit animal in a past life. I have zero current connection to anything she says but when I hear her I just feel it in my soul.

3. One month does not a changed man make. Let that simmer.

4. ProFlowers do not smell good when they’ve been heating up in your car all day.

5. Please don’t let me get arrested at work.

6. If I get arrested right now I’m okay.

7. I wonder if all those people who told me to start a blog will actually read this.

8. Ahhhh hell.

9. Pretty sure I’m getting sick

10. Yep I’m sick

11. Ashley, you definitely have the juice!

12. I hate odd numbers!

The Difficulties of Self Love: A Letter to My Current Self From my Future Self

Dear Current Self,

This is Future LeAnna. I see you girl. You’re struggling right now. I know that your body is changing faster than and in more ways you can imagine. Maybe it’s the medications you are on, maybe it’s the new city, maybe it’s your hormones, or growing older? I don’t know. It doesn’t seem like your old tricks are working anymore – you workout regularly, you walk more than ever, you eat well most of the time, and nothing works. And when you do lose weight, your body shape is really different from super past LeAnna. You need to purge many clothes that don’t make you feel good and don’t fit, and you need to buy new clothes, and dammit, as much as you love to shop, this a been a slow, somber, and laborious process. And you’re really struggling with if this is ok, is it enough? Every picture and many mirrors point to “no,” at least you believe.

You’ve really come far on this whole self-love and body acceptance thing, but you’ve had a long time to come, and so no, this isn’t perfect or quick or near. Mixed messages are driving you fucking insane. You know the ones – love yourself, but then people lose weight and are happier and have “post pics” where they’re smiling and shit. And even though you’ve got your health and diabetes now under good control (like non diabetic numbers), you still have this fear that you’re somehow sloppy and unhealthy and others think that of you based on your size, and there’s a good type of “plus,” the one that everyone else is but you – you know curvy in the right places, proportionate and a fat ass, and I’m not sure why you take these so personally, but you do (don’t worry, you’ll figure this out and be more compassionate in the future. Remember you always figure it out).

I know that these past two weeks, every time you look in the mirror, you’ve struggled to see the beauty in your eyes, your crooked smile,  your balding hair (another post, another day, don’t come from me or I’ll come for you), your bushy brows (I meeeeean, why the hell did you wait so long to get them done though?), and your squishy belly (by the way this is genetic). You’ve questioned if is this why he decided he no longer wanted you in your life? You were sweet, you supported him during hard times, you were bomb in bed, and you were authentic. But maybe, just maybe, he couldn’t get past your curves, the cushion, the arms that are muscular (the doctor even commented on how muscular they were when she put that nexplanon in your arm), but still kinda squishy. Maybe my eyes weren’t the right shade of green or hazel or the dimples in my thigh too deep? Maybe my double digit dress size would have been more appeasing in a single digit? Who knows why they disappear? But it leaves you in anxiety, but just as Past Lee learned, you will continue to learn, that these doubts are symptoms of your trauma and other shit, and you’ll continue to grow compassion for that part of you, instead of blaming it for others failing to love and see you. I know right now, you’re rolling your eyes, and saying that Future Lee is full of BS. But you’ll come to accept that more too.

Current Lee, I want you to know that you’re beautiful. And that reading this right now fills your heart with quickening beats of anxiety and doubt, and oddly, guilt for reading this statement (you never think you deserve this).. But you are. People are not lying about how your smile, eyes, and freckles make you beautiful. And when they see your beauty, they really do mean you’re beautiful on the outside, and not because they know you or love your personality, but in light all of that, you are. People are not lying about your energy; it’s your gift – use it. Your size is fine. Your body is fine. Your shape is fine. It’s actually better than fine. Girl, you are fine. You are healthy. You do enough. You are flexible and can run. It’s enough. No one judges you running down the street and if they do, fuck them; you’re powerful girl.

You have never loved your body fully; even when you exercised for hours a day, skipping lunch, and was half your size, on the verge of an eating or exercise disorder, and even your father commented on your small size and lack of eating. This is a symptom of something bigger, and future Lee wants you to know, that you will overcome this. It gets better. You deserve love and light and wonderful things, and you will get these things – as soon as you stop standing in your own way. You’re making progress though, you are just having a bad couple of weeks, letting self-loathing have a go at your life. But Current Lee, I love you fiercely – past, current and future – even when you can’t feel it. You are the love of my life. You are my soulmate. I’m waiting on you, Current Lee. You just have to get your shit together and accept my unconditional love. I know you want it. And you deserve it.

You. Are. More. Than. Enough. Today.

With love until the end of time and then even more,

Future Lee