Living & Learning

“What is coming is better than what is gone.”

This small tidbit came in a fortune cookie I got this week with a side of orange chicken haha. I don’t even think those who believe a cookie can tell the future can even comprehend the timing of this message for me and where it got my mind wandering.

Ever feel like there was something greater out there waiting for you? Waiting for you to look up from the monotony of your every day life and realize that it is right where you needed it to be? There were no manual shifts, no rituals, no advice from anyone that could ever convince you – all you needed to do was get out of your own way?

Yup, that’s my current situation. Let anyone who does not see past their days tell you who they think I am and you will get the whole “she’s emotional and pregnant” bit, but truthfully, these feelings have been a huge part of me since I was a child. I have always felt this fear of the unknown and have had trouble making decisions because of it.

Now that I’m an adult, I feel a little stunted by all of the excuses that I have let others provide regarding MY emotions and find it even harder to get people understand that my feelings are real; although I have long given up trying to.

These days, navigating through them is so damn awkward but I always have this strange feeling that I need to just take that leap. Go out on on a limb and live a life where I can understand that not everything that I go through is terrible. Not everything will go as planned but I have to take what I can from the bad experiences in my life and appreciate the good ones as they come for as long as they last. I am learning that I always come out stronger on the other side, but that my mainframe when I make it there will forever be a strong indication of how I feel about myself and the world around me when I come out.

-Ash

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Sidenote: That orange chicken was amazing!! haha

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I am going to have a 2 year old in less than a month from now!

I am going through a bout of severe nostalgia since my birthday this past Saturday. Time is literally flying. Not only are we halfway through January, but my baby boy is turning 2 in less than a month. I have so many mixed feelings. I was just in labor for 12 hours one unexpected morning and had the opportunity to pull my little 6 pound best friend into the world with my bare hands. My bubs is now a toddler and as much as I miss those tiny baby boy days, the big boy days are so much fun. His intelligence, love, interest, mannerisms and vocabulary have seriously grown into that of a 16 year old at times but nonetheless have stunned me, taught me great “new mom” lessons and made me a proud mother.

I have been going back and forth since Christmas on how to give my little guy the “ultimate 2 year old party weekend”. Last year my mom insisted on throwing the ultimate one year old birthday bash and it was a great turnout but Gabe was absolutely oblivious to EVERYTHING happening around him. This year however, is something different. He’s making friends that he comes home and talks about when I ask about his day. He’s telling me how old he is going to be using his fingers and I truly think he will understand the concept of a party this year!

I decided to do a day with his munchkin friends and a day with just mom and dad. I loved seeing him rip gifts open this past Christmas so I think I’ll wrap most of them just to see his face light up as he opens them, cook his favorite food (spaghetti) and take him to our favorite place for a day of fun (the beach). The following day will be at the trampoline park for the munchkins with food, fun and gifts. We love Jurassic Park in this house so the theme has already been decided!

My husband came up with a nice idea to start a cool little montage of pictures from birth until now which my sensitive ass has totally decided to get started on after peeking through my iCloud drive this weekend. Time is flying and even with two little ones on the way, my love for Gabriel is forever growing. My first born, my rainbow baby, my first REAL love. Cannot wait for this special day.

-Ash

P.s. Enjoy one of my favorite snaps from this awesome 7 month old 🙂

 

 

January 13th – Ahhh! I’m 27!😭

Hey all! It’s been a few days since I’ve posted. My 27th birthday is well, today and unlike half of the world who begins their New Year on January 1st, MY New Year transitions springs into action on January 13th. I have set goals for myself for the start of it all. Some more personal than others but I felt my issue was rarely the goals I set for myself, but how to successfully execute them so that at this time next year, I am that much closer to being the best version of myself I can actually be. My top three tips to myself are:

  • Treat Yourself with Kindness

The first thoughts I have when something does not go as I thought it would or I’m feeling discouraged is, “What did I do wrong? Being the kind of person that has to find the why behind every situation has gotten in my way before but I refuse to let my mind flip the switch; making me believe that I am the problem.

Breaking my bad habits are at the top of my priority list and in an effort to not feel pressured, I am going to be as kind to myself as I can possibly be in the healthier areas of my life. If I complete even the smallest things on my to-do list daily, I will relish in what I have completed. If I get tired of meal prep for the 4th day in a row, I won’t let that slice of pizza I decided to have instead make me feel like staying on track is no longer worth it. Distancing myself from negativity and bad habits has to start somewhere and I believe it is in optimizing the good things and positivity I am able to accomplish.

  • Avoid the Void

When breaking bad habits, I found that dumping old, toxic behaviors leaves a lot of time to sink into temptation and the thought of going back. However, if you replace the bad habits with something more positive, it can be easy to find yourself back in an old slump.

I am filling the voids of unhealthy thoughts with a brand new gratitude wall in my home (my way of making those thoughts visible every day – even when I don’t have the opportunity to open my journal. I am filling the aches and pains from this pregnancy, bad nights of sleep and long days at work with routine stretch exercises (having a toddler makes this fun lol). Instead of watching shows and reading things that highlight negativity, I choose “feel good movies” and read encouraging “trial to triumph” novels. I’ve even filled the void of unhealthy relationships and conversations with more honest writing, time spent with my husband and son and or course, ME time.

  • When You Are Feeling Down, DO NOT GIVE UP – Be Prepared

THIS IS SO IMPORTANT! Quitting anything that you’re conditioned to doing can take a toll on you physically, mentally and or emotionally and being aware of these side effects can aid you in combating negative feelings. I have fell back into bad habits in the past simply out of boredom and as a result have felt serious regret and remorse afterward. Acknowledging that not every single day is going to be a good one has guided me through and I believe it is an essential part of any transition when trying to purge something.

The older I get, the more my birthday transitions from nights I can barely remember and mornings recovering, into pushing past pain, discomfort, negativity and flat out self sabotage. Cheers to my New Year – one that is launching off in pure positivity, happiness and severing toxic behaviors. Happy Birthday to this pretty lady😊

-Ash

Unspoken thoughts: My fear of raising a daughter

Let’s start with the idea that this fear doesn’t come from the cliché “I know how I was when I was a teenage girl” saga; that unruly behavior written off as teenage, female adolescence that I am almost certain most are expecting to hear. Yes, I am having two babies but I am not nearly as afraid of going from one child to three or even having multiples, as I am about hearing that I am having a baby girl.

I don’t know if it was because of the swarming number of family predictions or the fact that deep down, I knew I just was not “soft” enough to have a girl, I absolutely knew that Gabriel was a boy and when he arrived, I met my best friend.

It has been two awesome years of playing in dirt, repeatedly watching every single Jurassic Park movie on lazy days, roaring at each other until we lose our voices, owning every truck, train, and car in Target and honestly setting the foundation to raise a good man from the little goofball I am dealing with everyday.

This does not go on to say that my daughter will not enjoy all of these things, but I cannot stop thinking about the kind of woman I want to raise; especially without thinking about all that I had to go through to become the woman that I am today – forever learning and still growing. The layers are terrifying and I know how difficult things can be in terms of relationships (friends/boyfriends or girlfriends), competitiveness, insecurities and trying to continuously be who you really* are in a world that is determined to change everything about you.

Being the mother of a beautiful girl has me in fear that she will mirror the work in progress that is me. I know I am not perfect, but I want to raise a good woman. A happy woman. Full of love, happiness, and joy. One that will love herself unconditionally and not seek validation from anyone. One with big dreams and enough confidence not to let anyone allow her to believe they cannot be achieved. One who is giving and kind but has a skin thick enough for a world that is not as generous. I want her to find love, live a full life and hold onto values that make her spirit feel safe and free.

I would love for all of my children to live out these great qualities, just something about baby girl is sitting different – I guess I just know that once they place her and her brother into my arms, this fear won’t diminish but I will truly know that she is not me. I will be able to give her the love and support she needs from me to set the foundation for her to live out the infinite possibilities afforded to her from her very first breath. I mean, I am scared but feel super blessed to be able to bring two new lives in this world. My love for all three of them will shine through in their individual way but the bounds to which that love extends will be all the same. Thanks for reading.

-Ash

PSA: There are people out here you don’t have to beg people to love you – Part 2: My Story

Before we begin, and you read this post through and through, I would really appreciate you checking out Part 1 here: PSA: There are people out here that you don’t have to beg to love you – Part 1 I promise it’s a great read.

Any who, for the sake of being transparent, I have to admit I have been pretty much transparent my entire life. The really, pretty dark skinned girl that worked her summers away, kept her head down in the books and minded her business flew under the radar for as long as she could. My family didn’t come from money and my mom didn’t push as hard to get me name-brand things, as much as she did for us to have balanced meals every night (I bless her everyday for keeping me humble). I lived by the idea that if I bothered no one, no one would bother me. Cut and dry. Yet, unfortunately for me, starting high school and growing a chest that demanded I be seen, (even under a knock-off valor “Baby Girl” sweater) put me in the sights of some of the most toxic people I ever let into my world; looking to them to love me.

I became this overachieving threat to some which resulted in bullying and a prize to be attained by the boys which resulted in fraudulent friendships/relationships and unwarranted female enemies. You see, I got swept up in the word “love” with my very first boyfriend and the word “sister” with friends that did things so hurtful, you couldn’t even drum up in Lifetime movie specials. But more importantly, I became even more transparent at home, missing my mom among three other children and trying my best to look like I could handle me, on my own.

I started to think love was rides home from my minimum wage job in my boyfriends shiny, blue thunderbird, a few dollars for my boost mobile Nextel minutes (don’t judge me lol) and “payday meals” to the Cheesecake Factory and Friday’s disguised as dates but I was being finessed and manipulated. I dressed different, talked different. I started lying to myself to believe things about me that were not true. I begged my mom for extended curfews to look like I had “freedom” and I watched the girls getting it all and mocked the way they did things to get them. I was finally being seen. Only exception: I wasn’t putting out.

It wasn’t until I was pressured to make a choice between my said boyfriend at the time to give it up or all of the “luxuries” of being with him would stop. That’s when I started thinking, “What in the entire fuck am I doing to myself?” I mean it didn’t stop there. It trickled into my college years and although I’m married to my best friend who witnessed me come and go from such a dark reality and is still one of my biggest advocates to fulfill this unmeasurable love for myself unconditionally – I still find my mental stuck in wanting to be wanted; to be loved.

Being conditioned to something like begging others to love you is crippling. Younger and younger, teenage girls (and boys) are falling into this trap and many of them unfortunately and unconsciously are allowing it to navigate their adulthood until they get out of their own way. While most never really come to terms with it because they don’t love themselves enough to admit that this is what is actually occurring.

I don’t have any “one size fits all” advice because I am learning that things like this push you to figure out what your life needs and my cliché “ah-ha” moments are sometimes awkwardly not the same as others lol but I listened to my gut and I’m starting to trust myself more and more. The warning signs I once ignored, had they been tended to, could have saved me a lot of heartache and surely could have eliminated the doubt that I was and always have been enough.

-Ash

Cheers to the New Year!

It’s here! 2018, live and in full effect. My “hiatus” has ended and within that time, I have been able to do some serious introspection. I mean, not too many people knew, but I was hurting so bad last year. So much so, that if anyone even asked how I was through general conversation and the smallest bit of sincerity shined through, I could not respond without a trembling voice or feeling like I was standing in front of a crowd naked; exposed. Like they knew everything that had been going on.

I was struggling and as the year settled into Christmas and everyone pressed on with resolutions in preparation for this New Year, my mind began to slow down (only for a second) but everything, everywhere else was on the fast track to “wtf?!”. Any strand of mental strength I had left was plucked away by simple, everyday challenges that left me wide awake at night thinking how much something has got to give. That’s when it hit me – I needed a little bit of time to get back to ME, my blueprint, auto-reset: Just ASHLEY.

Now while six or seven beautiful days of chill doesn’t necessarily fix everything, that overwhelming feeling to “adjust, fix and fit” is at bay and I’m working hard on getting rid of those compulsions I have been conditioned to my entire life, completely. This year is the ultimate test of my strength to be who I truly am every waking minute. Never apologetic. Always working to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be and sharing my voice even when I can’t seem to find the right words but I know they are in here.

With all that being said, cheers to the new year. To a year full of positive choices that allow me to live in peace, happiness, immaculate physical and mental health, good fortune and love. A year where I will not hold back. A year where I follow my gut, my heart and my dreams and a year where I will stop looking at the success of others as my failures.

I hope everyone had/ and is having a safe and healthy transition into 2018! Happy New Year! New post coming soon!🧡

-Ash

The Hiatus

First things first, I found out the gender of the twins! We are expecting a baby girl and a baby boy April of 2018! We are so excited and nervous! Time is flying! 🙂

But honestly, even with all that’s good, when it rains, it pours right? This month has been one of the most challenging for me in terms of wrangling my emotions, taking care of things that are usually easy to take care of daily, my relationships with others, my relationship with myself and simply trying so hard to make sure everything goes right, that nothing seems to be working out in my favor at all. I am still moving steady though through all of those emotions, the feelings of sadness/frustration and all of the changes that are occurring in my life because I know that when things get tough like this, something so much better is on the horizon.

With that said, it might sound strange to some but I am going to be taking a little hiatus from social media of all forms until January 3rd. Please do not let this get confused with running because I will indeed be back but I acknowledge that sometimes, we need to take a step back for the sake of ourselves. The range of emotions I have been feeling has not only been affecting my personal life and those around me but also the content that I want to push out to my readers, friends and family. I have so many valuable things to share and I want to speak about things that I love. I want to be able to be consistent and post without the pressure of feeling like it needs to be done at the expectation of others. I mean, in case you haven’t noticed – Blogmas was a FAIL and that is because the focus has just not been there. But I digress. I am taking time to heal; time to figure me out; time to love on my family and myself; time to get back to why I wanted to share my voice to begin with; time to free my mind from unnecessary, everyday distractions and negativity; time to make the distinction between what I feel and what’s real.

I just need a little time and I hope that you all understand what your support means to me in the writing community and beyond. Not only will all of my content be as meaningful as the thoughts that put the words on paper, but my page will be a reflection of me as a whole. Cheers to a safe and healthy transition into the New Year. Thank you all for understanding.

-Ash