Help!! Life is Driving me Crazy!!

I’m going a bit stir crazy from being stuck in the house since Friday due to not so hurricane anymore Florence. I’m working on my second puzzle, watched countless hours of tv and movies, taken several naps, eaten my body weight in hurricane snacks and played several card and board games with the family. It was only a matter of time before a blog post came along.

My daughter and I just finished playing “The Game of Life.” First of all, why does this game have a whole name and not just “Life.”

Anywho, I have played this game several hundred times since I was a child. Even though they’ve updated the game and cards, the premise is still the same. Hop in a car, spin the dial, go around the board collecting money, paying for things, getting a job, attempting to live your best life before ultimately retiring while you wait for everyone else to catch up.

Now that I’ve lived a little bit of actual life as an adult…I have a few bones to pick with this game! I’m also adding it to the list of things that seriously set me up with unrealistic expectations of real life adulting.

Here they are:

(I’m sorry there are no funny GIFs to accompany the list…my internet is on the fritz due to the storm and my data sucks)

1. You automatically start off with a car. This is not real life for the vast majority of people. Somehow in the game of life, however, everyone stars out on the same playing field with a whole car. And it doesn’t end there…

2. Everyone starts out with $200,000! Again, not realistic for 99% of the world. It’s safe to assume this game starts out fresh after graduation as your very first adult life decision is to go the college track or career track. I’m not sure I know anyone who finished high school and had $200,000 in the bank whether saved or given to them. My fri bad aren’t rich. I got a lap top when I graduated. Not $200,000. So let’s see, so far in this unrealistic life I’ve got a fully functional car which I did not have to pay for using my $200,000 in cash. Sweet!

3. Career or college track. So this one isn’t so bad. It’s pretty realistic for most people to go one or the other. Going to college track means you get to pick from special, higher paying college track jobs. You also have to pay $100,000 in tuition, which again, not super unrealistic. However, thanks to that random $200,000 you happen to baby lying around you can pay for it outright, don’t have to take out loans, don’t have to work your way through college and can afford to eat more than Top Ramen every day. Sweet!

4. Next stop: pick your career! Again, pretty reasonable. Most people have some sort of choice as to what job they have. Even if that choice is between two jobs they hate or don’t want to do it is a choice. We won’t knit pick this one too much (hmmm knitting. I haven’t done that in a while. I’ll add that to my list of things to do before I go insane in this hurricane). So I ended up being a veterinarian making $100,000. I’m not sure how much a vet actually makes a year so I’ll take the games word for it. I checked out some other cards though and realized this game is ridiculous. They have teachers make $100,000 and athletes making $50,000. We all know that’s a lie. I will say, maybe the game has it right on this one though. That’s definitely how it should be.

5. I only have to work for thirteen years!!! There are a total of thirteen pay days on the board. Assuming I make $100,000 a year and not every two weeks that means I’m only working for thirteen years before I retire. Sweet!

6. Action!! So as you go around the board you pick up action cards that either cause you to earn money or pay money. I had to give Taylor $20,000 for stealing a stapler but earned $40,000 for making a smoothie. These actions are beyond absurd but such is the game of life I guess.

7. You have to get married. There is no way around it. The board demands you to stop and pick a spouse. I have a current obsession with Kaycee from big brother so I decided we were getting married. If this game is going to make me live in a fantasy world where I managed to get married a year after graduating from college with a job paying $100,000 a year then I figured I might as well go all out and marry my current girl crush. Pretend life is good people.

8. I appreciate that it gives you the option to have kids or not. It may force you to get married but it doesn’t demand you procreate. Sweet!

9. Retirement. Every one gets to retire. No one works until one day they go home after the end of their shift and pass away in their sleep because they could never afford to not work, or they had to continue to work because their social security check wasn’t enough to make ends meet. Nope. You just pick wether you want to spend the rest of your life in a fancy mansion retirement home or a cozy cottage retirement home. Sweet! Also, if you are the first of your friends to retire you get an extra $400,000 just because. Double sweet!

10. Remember those action cards?!?! I hope you held on to them, because you get a smooth $100,000 for every action card you earned. Just imagine, if after you retire you got $100,000 for every memory you made along the way! You also get $50,000 for any kids you chose to have. Isn’t the game of life grand!

11. What’s missing?!?! Well, during this round of the game of life, me, my wife Kaycee and our daughter lived in my car the whole time. Yep. I never bought a house. There were chances to do so but I was never lucky enough to land on a spot in order to purchase one. Maybe this part is pretty realistic. But heck, since they were giving away cars and money at the beginning they could have at least hooked me up with a free apartment or something.

So yea…clearly I have spend entirely too much time in this house and the typically soothing sound of rain is actually driving me insane. Someone save me please!!!

I Love Myself…Now What?

“You have to love yourself before anyone else can love you.”

First of all…this is absolute bullshit. Let’s just put that out there.

Oh yea, I’m in that kind of mood. You might as well strap yourself in and enjoy the ride because I honestly have no idea where this is headed.

Anywho, as I scrolled through Pinterest looking for quotes to summarize how I feel right now, I repeatedly came across some variation of the bullshit mentioned above. As someone who has spent a lot of time repairing herself after others have come in like a bull in a china shop, as someone who has tried every time to put those pieces back together into something soft, and beautiful and not jaded by the selfishness of this world, as someone who does in fact love them-self including their flaws and quirks and oddities and imperfections, as someone who knows the world is out to make her hard when she is meant to remain soft…as that person I CALL BULLSHIT ON YOUR LOVE YOURSELF QUOTE!!

Why? Because it’s simply not true. Every day people choose to love others who are broken and do not love themselves. Every day people choose to be in relationships with people who do not have it all together and do not love themselves. Every day babies are born, and have no idea what it means to exist let alone love yourself, yet anyone within an earshot or their cries has the natural inclination to love and protect and nurture that tiny human…who does not love them self. Ok. I know that’s extreme but hopefully you get my point. People who do not love them self receive love, in all forms, all the time.

I have decided that this is another one of those things that people say to single people when that person is being extra vulnerable and the other person doesn’t know what to say. They mean well, but it’s actually quite harmful. What you are saying is…you aren’t there yet, you aren’t ready, you don’t deserve it yet, you aren’t perfect. As someone who has been told they are perfect and amazing, yet still no one wants to actually be with them…it’s infuriating. So for the record, don’t call me perfect. I’m not. It will only make me want to throat punch you three times in a row.

So here’s the thing. I’ve done the work. I love me some me. Yea some days I annoy myself, I get on my nerves, I question myself and my worth, I feel broken, I feel stupid, I feel unworthy, some days I look in the mirror and see a goddess, some days I see a monster, but at the end of it all I love who I am, who I was, who I will be, where I am going, what I am doing, and the way I choose to be in this crazy world. I’ve got that part down. I love me despite it all…

So if I go off this crazy logic, it should be raining men right now!!! NOT! Alas, here I am, with no one to love. AND BEFORE YOU GO THERE yes, I have my daughter, I have my family, I have friends , I am beyond blessed…BUT WHY DOES THAT MEAN I CAN’T BE GRATEFUL FOR ALL OF THAT AND HAVE A MAN!

I seriously wish someone would cut the bullshit and just be honest and not try to spare my feelings. I wish someone would just be like look Ashley, here’s the issue, your awesome but your breath stinks, or sometimes you have psychotic breaks and turn into the devil and no one is actually telling you, or that super hard blink thing that you do it’s just to much. No one wants to deal with that. Whatever it is just let me know. But this “it’s not you it’s me”, “Jesus hasn’t sent the one yet,” “your just so amazing and it scares people”…all that that shit is for the birds.

I know this. I have an intense, burning desire to love and be loved. Some days it’s a little less intense because life chooses to dangle hope in my face like a carrot and I get tired of trying to reach it. I don’t know how many more times I have in me to try to bite that damn carrot. I’m sure I’ll keep trying though.

Choosing me is hard, every time, but I do it. I just hope one day someone else won’t find it so difficult. Hope, however, is a terribly painful thing to have.

Happy Birthday Harry

It is no surprise to anyone that I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Those who aren’t fans may consider me a super fan but I’m a fan in that I have a tattoo, several clothing and jewelry items, and watch the movies often. I also fantasize about a Harry Potter themed wedding. I’m not so much a super fan in that I don’t dress up on a daily basis, or stalk the actors, or quote the movies and books in normal conversation. I’m kind of like an average super fan. Just enough for it to be quirky.

Anyways, today is Harry Potter’s birthday!

The actual character, not like the date the first book was published or the date the movie came out but just literally the characters birthday. And it makes me happy.

I’m not sure I’ve ever gone into detail as to why I love Harry Potter so much. Other than the fact that wizards and magic are just generally awesome, Harry for me is like an old friend who showed up in a time of need and while we may not be as close as we once were, he’s always there and always provides a source of comfort.

I must confess, there was once a time when I was anti Harry Potter. I judged it without knowing and had this Christian engrained mindset that anything having to do with witches and magic was obviously the devil incarnate. I am ashamed of this, but I have made peace with it and Harry has forgiven me.

Things changed when I was in my senior year of high school. I took whatever the name of the library class was as an easy grade. I was 17, pregnant and not really in the mood for most things. We had to read a book and write a report on it. I scanned the shelves and landed on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Call it fate, call it divine intervention, call it what you want but I found the book and never looked back. I read the book and instantly fell in love. Harry Potter transported me to another world. Where I wasn’t 17 in high school, fighting with my daughter’s father all the time, sick of watching TV, gaining what would be 100 pounds, and feeling more and more lonely as the days past. Harry Potter provided me relief and a break, comfort and peace in what would be the beginning of the rest of my life.

I met Harry, at the same time I made friends with a classmate who would be murdered later that year. I realize now I feel the death of people I don’t completely know the same way I experience the death of book characters whom I love. As if the world has lost someone amazing and I didn’t get the chance to fully know them. I grieved him and I continued to read.

I read through all of the available books (at that time it was through Half Blood Prince) in about 2 months. I even forced my social studies teacher to finish the library copy early and turn it on so I could check it out. He didn’t yell at me for reading in class.

And then I waited. The last book came out when my daughter was a few months old. By this time, her father and I had broken up for good, most of my friends were out doing whatever 18 year olds who aren’t pregnant and don’t have babies do. I pre-ordered the book, stood in line with my sister because my mom forced her to go with me, and waited for midnight. I remember this being the first time I felt like a bad mom since she was at home and I was out doing something that I wanted to do. I got the book, I went home, and I read until 4 am. I finished the book in two days Reading during a family reunion to make up for time spent in the car when I couldn’t read (stupid motion sickness). I came home, locked myself in my room and read until I was done. I cried. I laughed. I took a break and screamed when I thought Harry was going to have to die. I cried some more and then cried again in happiness when everything ended as it should. I grieved for those who didn’t make it. I closed the book and life went on. I felt different. I grieved that the story was over. I remembered there would still be movie premieres and that made me happier. For anyone who reads this and thinks “that’s it. She’s crazy”… well…

Or be offended. I don’t care.

It’s kind of hard to explain what Harry Potter meant for me at that time of my life. I won’t say it saved me from any deep dark thoughts as it has for others but it did comfort me. And that’s what I needed at that time. For that I am eternally grateful.

As time has gone on, I’ve noticed that for some reason Harry Potter has been a way for men to try to get in good with me (didn’t think I’d make it through a post without turning it into a commentary on my dating life did you!). Something they didn’t understand or care about but somehow I convinced them to watch it with me and then they realized it might be a good way to get into my pants or something. I’ve had to stop that. I’ve decided to keep it sacred for me. To only offer this piece of me and time spent with me to people who care. To not encourage just everyone to watch and read it because they may not appreciate it. And for the most part, to not really explain my love of it to anyone and just take whatever jokes they made about it as they came. One day, someone will appreciate it and they will also let me have a Harry Potter wedding because they love me! Or at least hints of Potter (maybe?!?)

But yep. That’s it. Today is Harry Potter’s birthday. I’m about to start my period so I’m a little emotional for no reason

And regardless of what life throws my way, I can rest safe in the knowledge that Harry Potter and all its magic will be a soft place to land if I need to recenter…

Heartbreak is a Universal Language (my review of the Sam Smith concert)

I had the pleasure of seeing Sam Smith in concert on Friday thanks to my fellow blogger Malcolm. It was bittersweet as I’ve been his honorary last minute concert buddy a few times and now he’s moving so that will come to an end. I will have to actually plan in advance to attend a concert in DC and hope he lets me stay with him if it ever happens again!! But back to Sam Smith.

This was definitely one of my most favorite concerts I’ve ever attended. I will be honest and say I haven’t attended many. The few I have attended have been pretty varied though. County music, Christian music, hip hop, pop, Beyoncé and Daley and Sam Smith whom I’m really not sure what to classify them as. I saw someone post on Malcolm’s status the other day that “blue eyed R&B” is a thing. Part of me was offended by that but that’s another post. Back to Sam Smith.

Starting with the pretend final song and into the definitely planned encore of the show, I started having this surreal moment and also began writing this blog.

He pretended to end the show with “Too Good at Goodbyes.” This is my ultimate Sam Smith jam. When I first heard that song I could have sworn he sat down and talked to me one day and was like “hey Ashley, I want to write a song about you. How should it go?” It is no secret to anyone that I’ve had my fair share of failed relationships, heartbreak, almost relationships and things just not working out for one reason or another. After this last one and the few mini encounters with people since then, I’ve realized that my ability to pick up the pieces and move on has gotten better each time. Not only is my fallback game strong but my comeback game is pretty good too. So this song definitely speaks to me on a spiritual level.

I stood in a stadium with several hundred people who apparently felt the same way. (One of those people kept farting and I just feel the need to call them out publicly again because they were a terrible person.) We all sang our hearts out. Old, young, Black, White, LGBTQ+, heterosexual and everything in between. Every last one of us sang that song as if it was written for us. Sam even told us to sing it to our ex and we sang a little louder and with a little more passion.

That’s when it hit me. Heartbreak is a universal language. In that moment, everyone in that stadium was taken to a place where we remembered a time where we were mistreated, misused, hurt, and felt that dreaded feeling of “well damn, here we go again.” I stood there singing, and wondering, why? Why does everyone go through this? Why do we mistreat each other? Why do we hurt each other? Why do you pretend to love people then walk away so quickly? Why do we try to force things that clearly aren’t working? Why is it an absolute in life that you will be hurt by love? While I don’t know why I do know that music has a way of bringing us all together to heal from those experiences even if just for a moment.

So we all sang that song. Saying screw you and screw Love.

I’m never gonna let you close to me. Even though you mean the most to me. Cause every time I open up, it hurts. So I’m never gonna get to close to you. Even when I mean the most to you. In case you go and leave me in the dirt.

But every time you hurt me, the less that I cry. And every time you leave me the quicker these tears dry. And every time you walk out, the less I love you. Baby, we don’t stand a chance, it’s sad but it’s true…

I’m way to good at goodbyes

But it didn’t stop there. Sam pretended like the concert was over, waved goodbye and walked off stage. I thought to myself “that was a very crappy way to leave what was a pretty intimate concert. I’m not buying it.” Some people started to leave as well. I would like to point out that one of those people was the smelly culprit because there was no more farting during the final part of the show. And that’s what their stank behind gets because they missed an awesome ending.

After tons of screaming, yelling and clapping, the band returned and Sam ascended some stairs. Clearly this was a planned encore and I’m not mad at him.

In a very Romeo and Juliette-ish manner, Sam at the top of the stairs and one of his amazing background singers at the bottom of the stage sang “Palace” to each other. And my theory continued. We all sang together of the pain of heartbreak and trying but this time we were all reminded that while it may suck sometimes, the real thing is worth it even if it doesn’t last. We sang this song about fighting for love, with just as much passion as we did when we said screw love. Because we’ve all known a love that helped us grow and become who we are today, even if they aren’t around to see it.

Yeah I know just what you’re saying and I regret ever complaining about this heart and all it’s breaking. It was beauty we were making.

And I know we’ll both move on. You’ll forgive what I did wrong. They will love the better you but I still own the ghost of you.

I’m gonna miss you. I’m still there. Sometimes I wish we never built this palace but real love is never a waste of time.

At this point I was about done with Sam and his mess. I’ve heard these songs a thousand times before including multiple times that day as I prepared for the concert. For some reason though, in this order, in this arena, with these people (minus the fart master) it was having an effect on my and my eyes were getting irritated.

And then he hit me with the icing on the cake and I wanted to cry, and scream, and laugh, and have a full on moment in the middle of the aisle.

Why am I so emotional? No it’s not a good look, gain some self control. And deep down I know this never works, but you can lay with me so it doesn’t hurt.

Oh won’t you you stay with me? Cause you’re all I need. This ain’t love, it’s clear to see but darling, stay with me.

Maybe it’s my own personal stuff coming out. Maybe it’s where my life has wound up. Maybe it’s being single, and thirty, with an achey womb and a ticking biological clock. Maybe it was because I was about to start my period and would have probably gotten emotional at a Plies concert. I don’t know. All I know is, at this point, maybe that’s all we are looking for. Someone to stick around. Preferably because they love you and want to be with you and want a commitment and long term relationship with rings, and dogs, and kids, and happiness and all those things that we are told we are supposed to have by now. But when it doesn’t happen. When it feels like it may never happen. When you start to question if there is just something so wrong with you that no one will ever want to do those things with you or at least not for a long time…sometimes it’s nice to just have someone who stays. Someone to lay with so it doesn’t hurt. If it turns into something more fantastic.

If it doesn’t…well…we can appreciate it for what it was and then turn up the Sam Smith really loud and wallow in our heartbreak with the millions of people around the world doing the same.

I Stopped Eating Meat…Kind of

Exactly 31 days ago I stopped eating meat…kind of. I must be honest. I had one meat dish a week and for the first three weeks those were some sort of fish dish. This week I had chicken for the first time. But other than that it has been 28 days without any meat at all and here are a few things I have learned/noticed and things no one tells you when I stop eating meat, just in case you were wondering.

1. It wasn’t as difficult as I expected in some ways. I figured I would have killed someone for a chicken nugget by now but I’ve been alright. There has not been any murder due to meat deprivation…yet. There have been times though that I have been really upset at vegetables.

2. A meatless diet makes you gassy. Like seriously flatulent. Not even silent but deadly just full on loud and disastrous! I had to google this to make sure I wasn’t dying. I wasn’t, I just smelt like it.

3. Probably common sense, but I did not realize how limited the non meat options are at fast food restaurants. Essentially you have French fries and salads and that’s not easy to eat driving down the highway.

4. Your family won’t immediately jump on board. I started this partially because my daughter said she wanted to but then she bailed on me until about 2 days ago. My parents are still very much judgmental carnivores.

5. Bread and cheese become the most logical substitute for meat. Which as we all know isn’t the most healthy of options. I have not seen any weight loss, which I’m not sure was actually a goal. If it was, this would definitely be the reason.

6. Family reunions are tough but under absolutely no circumstances should you bring black bean burgers or veggie dogs to a black family reunion as an alternative. Just lay low and only eat sides. Also, pretend you don’t see the ham hock in the greens.

7. Tofu is meh. It’s just a thing. It does the job. Black bean burgers are pretty good though but you can’t eat burgers every day, black bean or not.

8. I have been craving a roast beef sandwich for a few weeks. I couldn’t tell you the last time that I actually had a roast beef sandwich.

9. Meat makes your skin break out. Not eating meat clears it up. Or at least this might be true. My mom told me it was all in my head but I don’t normally get acne except for my monthly period pimple. Throughout this process I noticed an increase in acne. I then realized I was getting one or two, painful bumps once a week. I didn’t pay that much mind until this week. On Tuesday I had wings (not even going to lie, they were good) and then on Wednesday I had two new bumps. Coincidence…I think not. I also have weird blotchy skin on my back and was mildly hopeful it might clear up. I went to the dermatologist a while back and the antibiotic cream they prescribed didn’t work. The next step was two months of daily antibiotic pills which seemed like a yeast infection and pregnancy waiting to happen so I declined. Throughout the month I started to feel like things were clearing up but didn’t want to say anything. The other day my daughter randomly said “your back is clearing up” so I’m not crazy!

10. I am actually capable of doing something that is totally internally motivated without much pomp and circumstance to encourage me. I tried to only tell people when absolutely necessary and to not make a big deal out of it. Other then my daughter, I didn’t ask anyone to join in. I only didn’t really set a goal. I figured I’d give it a go, see what happens and reassess at the 30 day mark.

So here we are, 30 days in. I thought at this point I would probably decide to go back to some meat consumption while being mindful, but honestly number 9 is a huge motivator for me to at the very least keep up what I’ve been doing if not cut it out all together. Next stop, return to meal prep. Which should be a lot easier since…well…vegetables. Who knows…that roast beef sandwich still sounds really good.

Happy Thursday beautiful people!

I am tired…and it hurts

(You asked when I was going to write another blog post. I didn’t think it would be this one. But here we are)

I apologize in advance if this post seems random and all over the place. That’s where my mind and my soul are at today and I can only write what I feel and what I know in this moment.

It’s amazing how everything you know to be true and safe in this world can be turned up side down with a simple phone call.

I’ve had an intense last 10 hours and I’m still trying to figure out where I have landed amongst it all. I can say that the blog I was prepared to write at 9:30 this morning, is drastically different than the one I am writing now. I’m glad in a way, but that still would have probably been an epic blog. Maybe another day just for fun.

But today, in an effort to ground myself, calm myself, and find some peace amongst the chaos, I will instead write what I know to be true.

A list of things I must remind myself are true about myself and this world:

1. I am a good person. I deserve love. I deserve to be loved. I deserve to not be hurt. I deserve honesty. I deserve the truth. I deserve peace. I deserve a title. I deserve someone who wants to be with me and has nothing holding them back from doing so. I deserve this even if I show up in someone’s life randomly and unexpected. I deserve for that not to matter because even if it’s not the best time I deserve for it to be known that I’m an opportunity and a chance that should not be let go of lightly. I deserve to be wanted. To be wanted fiercely.

2. Even if no one in this world ever wants to give that to me, I still deserve it. Even if every man always feels there is something better. If they don’t feel a sense of urgency. If they are tied down or tied up with someone or something else. If they don’t see it. If they don’t feel it. If they don’t want it. If they are all scared. If they are all stupid. If they are all intimidated. Even if it never happens. I still deserve number one and all the amazing things about life and love that I did not list.

3. People are inherently good. Few people are evil. Some people suck. Most people are hurting and the things that they do are because of that pain. A lot of people do not know how to handle pain. The only way they know how to deal with it is to inflict it on others. It’s not an excuse. It just is what it is. Deep down, people are good. They probably want all the things I listed in number one and they deserve them too. When they don’t get them, that is when they become cruel.

4. I am loved by family and friends. They know me, they get me, they hear me, and they remind of who I am when I start to forget. They are the absolute best and I am blessed beyond measure to have them all.

5. Even though I have number four, it does not make number one any less valid. Wanting the love of another human being who is not required to love me due to being family and who is more than a friend, this is not a weakness. This is human. I am human. I am not weak. But…

6. I am tired. I am tired of not having number one. I am tired of having to be strong and pretend like being 30 and single is not hard. I am tired of catching glimpses of it only for it to be yanked away. I am tired of feeling stupid. I am tired of not knowing how these things work. I am tired of crying. I am tired of wondering what is wrong with me. I am tired of hearing “there is nothing wrong with you.” I am tired of not being wanted. I am tired of not being enough. I am tired of being too much. I am tired of being punished for some unknown crime or sin. I am tired of being given this same lesson and apparently not learning it. I am tired of this cruel joke. I am tired and…

7. It hurts. It hurts a lot. A physical, emotional, spiritual pain. It takes its toll. It makes me not want to try anymore. It makes me want to give up and close off my heart for good. It makes me want to scream. It makes me want to be someone who I am not because apparently being me is not working. It makes me want to cry. It hurts. If you’ve never experienced this pain I pray you never do. If you have, then I pray you would not purposefully cause others to feel it. It hurts. And I’m tired of feeling it.

A list of things that I’m not sure if they are true or not but that I hope they aren’t but with every day like this I struggle not to see it as proof that they are:

1. I am flawed, or broken, or inherently incapable of being loved or wanted or even liked in a way that leads to lasting commitment.

2. It’s just not meant for me. I’m not sure how people do it. I’m not sure how they date and get people to want them and want to be with them. I’m not sure how they get people to fall in love with them and want to treat them right. I’m not sure how they get someone, who may not be in a place where they were looking for a relationship, to see them or spend time with them and be like you know what forget that. This is what I want. So maybe it’s not meant for me. Maybe I will never be that for someone. Maybe letting go of that dream will cause these things to be less painful.

A list of things that I have learned:

1. To be a little more selfish. Not in a cruel and evil way but in a way that allows my happiness to be important as well. To say what I want without fear and to speak up when I am not pleased.

2. To say no without fear. That not wanting to do something will not always result in a massive argument. That it’s okay to be too tired or just not want to do something.

3. To be unapologetically myself. That everyone is not going to hate that. That everyone is not going to want to change that. That it’s ok.

4. That it is possible to know peace, and security in a potential relationship. That things don’t need to be rushed. To enjoy time spent with people for what it is and not always worry about why it is not something else. My only fear here is that it felt so good to feel this way and it was taken away so quickly that I will struggle if there is a next time. I hope there is a next time. I pray I won’t struggle.

5. That I am the skip bo queen.

And that’s what’s going on in my head and my heart. I am still tired and it still hurts, but, honestly, I don’t know. I was hoping something would come to me after I typed but, but it didn’t. Clearly.

Pinterest, however, didn’t fail me when my brain did. So I’ll leave you with this because despite it all…this is what I will continue to do…even if for now I need to rest.

I have become that person…but how?

I spent a lot of time with friends yesterday. A group of friends for brunch and then another friend stopped by to chat for a bit. That’s what adults do right? Eat brunch and chat? How did I get here?

Those two conversations were filled with lots of catching up and discussion of future plans as most conversations are. I’ve had similar conversations with all of these people multiple times because while I love them all dearly and am super close to them all I don’t see them frequently because of life and adulting. And that’s fine. We all are doing it and no one gets mad about it. I appreciate that about my friends.

At some point during both conversations though I realized, I have become that person. What person you ask? Well if your just a little patient I’ll tell!

In discussing some of my personal goals, the usual, weight loss, saving money, moving out (yep…I’m 30 years old and still live with my parents. That’s a blog for another day) came up. I’ve recently started to pick up on peoples responses to my saying I’m going to do these things. Let’s just say they aren’t good. Sometimes it’s met with laughter (thanks Dad), sometimes it’s met with harsh reminders (I thought you were on a diet) that only really serve to annoy me and trigger my stubbornness (thanks Mom), most times it’s met with slight side eye, sighs of “that’s great” with the undertone of “we’ve had this conversation plenty of times but yet here you still are” and encouragement with a hint of “there’s really no reason why you haven’t already done this you’re just lazy/content and used to this lifestyle” (thanks friends, family, coworkers, strangers). And I admit, since these are areas I am not happy with in my life, I probably read more into people’s slight shifts in tone, side eyes, eye rolls, and comments than they actually mean. And I put some of the stuff I’ve been already thinking into their comments too.

But, the realization that I have become that person, officially hit me after brunch, when my friend Michael stopped by and I told him my plan to move out and then my thoughts about potential life style changes for health purposes and both comments got a sarcastic slow clap with a “we’ll see.” A lot of people would be pissed at Michael for this response. I, however, have known Michael for going on 20 years (how did we get so old) and while he may be a self proclaimed ass hole, his intentions (towards me at least) are never to hurt or harm. We could all use a level headed, blunt, call it what it is friend…even if it bruises our ego a bit because on the flip side, Michael has always celebrated any of my successes with the fierceness of a loving brother.

So, what have my friends responses for several weeks/months/years and at brunch and Michael’s slow clap helped me to realize…I have become that person. Dear God lady what person?!?! I’ve become the person that no one actually takes serious when they set goals. The person that sets these goals and is super excited about them but somewhere down the line, and usually very quickly, falls off. It would not surprise me if my family secretly takes bets on how long I will keep up any dieting or healthy living practices. And I know for certain they do not believe me or even entertain my talks about moving out anymore. It’s as if everyone is just waiting to see if it happens but no one is holding their breath because they know the possibility of them dying in the process is high.

But how did I get here?

I’m not sure I’ve ever been a highly goal oriented person. I’ve always felt like most people have known since they were 6 what they wanted to do with their life. I literally decided I wanted to be a counselor one day while on campus my senior year of undergrad talking to a friend. I had about 3 months to get my application turned in take the necessary tests to apply. Then in grad school I felt everyone knew what population they wanted to work with. I have stumbled through the last five years finally finding a population that I absolutely love but even then had to step away from in order to be effective and not lose my own mind. Once a month, usually right before I start my period when I feel bloated and disgusting I go to bed and say “ok this is it. I’m going to get my life together.” Then I start my period, refuse to do anything that week because life is hard enough when your vagina is dying so I have all intentions of doing something when it’s over. My period ends, the bloating goes away, and while my body is far from perfect I usually catch a glimpse in the mirror before I shower one day and say “you know what, you good Ashley! If someone can’t love all of this then they don’t deserve you” and the cycle begins again. I can justify a lot of things and I ultimately refuse to shame myself for being human and doing things that humans need to do like eat, and rest, and enjoy life so as not to go crazy…but then I can justify doing these to excess which is where the problem begins.

It’s almost as if that slow clap Michael did made me connect all the dots and realize that while he’s the only person who did it outright, everyone else is probably doing it in their mind. My response to him was something along the lines of “don’t doubt me” to which he responded with something far less enlightening but similar too “I don’t doubt you can do it. I’m just waiting for it to happen.”

I know a few things about myself. One of which is that I can be really stubborn and strong willed and there is a certain level and type of negativity that I use as a driving force. It’s what caused me to give birth without an epidural, because everyone said I wouldn’t. It’s what caused me to go to college and grad school and find a career that I love, because I was afraid of becoming a teen mom statistic or being what I knew people were betting I would be…a failure.

But sometimes that backfires. And there is a moment where those negative comments become my way of fighting the system and my stubbornness becomes “oh I’ll show you that I absolutely do not have to do these things.” That’s usually surrounds any negative responses to my weight gain/loss or my still living at home.

So yes, I have become that person. I’m aware. I apologize to the people who are sick of hearing me talk about these things without seeing any action. I thank you for loving me all the same and not giving up. I’ve decided to make no promises and to also stop talking about it. Thank you Michael for that slow clap and gentle chuckle of supportive pessimism.

We shall see what happens!!